It’s quite a shock, NGL, that I’m still here talking about beauty a whole decade later. When I hit publish on my very first blog post (about the hot pink lipstick trend, in case you were wondering!) I couldn’t have imagined the sheer volume of products I’d get to try in the coming years – nor the immense number of relationships built and the experiences garnered during that process. Beauty has always been my passion, as has sharing my must-have products and top beauty recommendations, and during the last decade there’s been a lot of them; but looking back there are only a handful of products that have stuck with me and remain a firm favourite despite younger, shiner and often prettier things trying to replace them.
Taking stock and realising which products you can rely on is often a lengthy but satisfying process, but I’m so glad I’ve taken the time to reflect and pinpoint those gems I’d never be without. NARS eyeshadows and Barry M crackled polish may have been and gone, but these are the twelve key beauty heroes from the last decade that I’m confident I’ll now never be without. How many have you discovered and loved too?
Gatineau Floracil Gentle Eye Make Up Remover* (£20.00)
Decend makeup removers are hard to come by, so I can count on my hands the number I’ve actually used for longer than a week; but Gatineau’s iconic formula blows it out of the park and has earned its place in my heart for life. This cornflower blue water miraculously removes all traces of mascara, liner and other makeup (even the waterproof kind) without upsetting the delicate eye area. The non-oily lotion contains the same pH as your tears (how cute is that?) so it’s suitable for even the most sensitive eyes, mine included. Enriched with soothing chamomile and cornflower to calm sensitivity, as well as algae extract to diminish dark shadows, Gatineau Floracil Gentle wipes away makeup in practically one swipe. There’s no rubbing required, no leftover residue and certainly no panda eyes the next morning – just a super quick, non-irritating and somewhat cooling cleansing experience. What’s even better is the pump-action bottle that means you don’t even have to get your hands dirty; just pump a couple of squirts direct into a cotton pad and you’re away! Although this isn’t cheap, in my humble opinion it’s absolutely worth it. (Read my original review here.)
Remove & Chill Nail Polish Remover Cream* (£14.25)
I was excited about this before it even launched, and not only because of it’s cheeky name (Nailfix & Chill unsurprisingly had to be changed for legal reasons!) As soon as I used this nail varnish remover cream I was hooked, as it effortlessly lifted away my polish so it could be wiped away without drying nails or leaving a mess behind; there’s no need to use drying or irritating liquid remover when this is ten times better, helping to leave my nails feeling hydrated and cared for after every use. It’s acetone-free and infused with an oil complex enriched with macadamia, almond, argan and vitamin E, making it truly revolutionary and super exciting. Basically, buy this. (Read my original review here.)
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream* (£31.00)
Undoubtedly my most used foundation of the last ten years, this remains a firm favourite and a constant recommendation of mine. Unlike a lot of other CC creams, which can fall short when it comes to texture, this rich creamy base is a dream to apply and leaves my complexion looking effortlessly radiant in only one pump. Thanks to the inclusion of light reflecting pigments, a hydrating formula and added SPF, it correct and cares for your skin in one swoop – while ensuring you still look very much like you. Its heavier base provides coverage that competes with a foundation but doesn’t leave skin feeling congested, ensuring it’s a fail safe everyday go-to for me and millions others. (Read a previous full review here.)
Bare Minerals Skin Longevity Sleep Cream* (£35.00)
One of those products that has quietly been on my bedside table for months and months, this super lightweight gel cream is perfect for applying just before bed if you want to boost hydration and plumpness. It contains Hyaluronic Acid to lock in hydration and soften the skin texture, alongside a blend of botanical extracts and the mineral-rich Long Life Herb – which works to create an antioxidant shield over the complexion, helping to repair the damage caused throughout the day. It’s perfect for layering, or for those of you who don’t like heavy or greasy overnight treatments, and one of those I just keep reaching for night after night. Other creams come and go, but this has been a long-term love that I keep turning back to (which is why I’m onto my third pot already,) delivering brighter and fresher looking skin the next morning. A worthy purchase. (Read an original review here.)
Pixi Glow Tonic* (From £10.00)
Within every beauty guru, makeup artist and beauty editor’s kit for a reason, this bright orange liquid helps to unlock your best skin – if you have the patience to stick with it. Described as an oxygenating and exfoliating facial glow tonic, this helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface for a healthier and radiant looking complexion after around six weeks. Wiped over your face as a final step in your cleansing regime, it not only helps to remove any last traces of grime but also gently ‘eats’ away at dead and dull skin to help with any pigmentation or congestion too. You may be forgiven for thinking this is too harsh for you, but it’s actually suitable for all skin types (including sensitive, but don’t use on broken skin,) alcohol free and contains soothing aloe vera. This is a formula I return again and again to, especially during the transitional months, and it never lets me down; I’ve recommended it to probably hundreds of people over the years, creating a flurry of converts in my wake that are not disappointed either! (Read my first ever review here.)
Olaplex No3 Hair Perfector (£26.00)
Few products impress me as much from the first use as much as Olaplex did; I could tell the difference in texture and dryness immediately, knowing this would be a hair treatment I continued to use for years to come. You don’t have to leave it on for a long time to reap the tangible benefits, as ten minutes provides an instant smoothing and softening effect; you can leave it on for longer for a more intense result, or overnight if you can’t be bothered to make the time in the morning. What’s special about Olaplex is that the formula seeks out broken bonds in the hair and permanently rebuilds the damaged disulphide bonds (which can be compromised as a result of colour or heat styling.) Every time I use this it’s almost like a re-set button, which is why I’m now a total convert: it’s intense and almost magical stuff, which is why until recently it was only available in salons… If your hair is limp, lacklustre, dry or damaged, get yourself some of this pronto! Although the price is high considering the size of the bottle (it’s only 100ml) you actually don’t need a huge amount as a little does go a long way. Worthy of every smidge of hype surrounding it, to be honest. (Read my original thoughts here.)
The Beauty Kitchen 60 Second Manicure* (£14.99)
One for the hand aficionados amongst you, this really is a miracle in a little glass pot. The beautifully handcrafted scrub features sea plankton, Himalayan salt and essential oils to scrub away dull bits while leaving skin and nails super shiny and soft; it’s fab at helping to remove dry skin, overgrown cuticles and generally tired looking hands, but it doesn’t damage nail polish or leave hands feeling greasy. I’ve gone through pots of the stuff and no other hand scrub has ever come close. I’m not sure what magic they sprinkle on top, but it leaves my hands feeling great in less than a minute! (Read my original feature here.)
UpCircle Coffee & Cacao Body Scrub* £14.95
Forget everything you know about coffee scrubs, because this is something fresh. Made using recycled ground coffee from artisan coffee shops, this is a super compressed and rich formula that leaves skin feeling incredible; it also contains sea salt, cacao, coconut oil and shea butter to provide a super luxe and effective scrub that I’m a bit obsessed with. Unlike the ones I’ve tried in the past (which come in annoying coffee pouches) this is a product you’d happily showcase in your bathroom, gift to a friend or buy time and time again for yourself. It’s one of those scrubs that I don’t use often, but I really do reach for it when I need a proper scrub session and it’s an utter pleasure; a relatively recent discovery, but still a firm fave. (Read my original review here.)
Clarins Natural Lip Perfector Lipgloss* (£18.50)
If I had to only use one lipgloss for the rest of my life, the Clarins Natural Lip Perfectors would be my choice without hesitation; I’ve adored them since they were launched, and every new shade brings a little more joy into my life. The creamy lightweight texture effortlessly creates a kissable and natural finish over lips, without it being too sticky or heavy; the colour ranges are subtle, the scent is sweet and the applicator ensures you don’t over apply. I have them in so many shades and I’m never without one in my bag – if you haven’t tried one already, where have you been? (Read where my love for them began, here.)
ARK Skincare Skin Protector SPF30 Primer* (£36.00)
This was a game changer for me when I was introduced to it in early 2019; incredibly lightweight, not at all greasy and suitable for any age, this doubles up as a moisturiser and primer too. Solving the dilemma of wanting to apply daily sun protection but hating the feel of heavy products on the skin, this is super easy to integrate into your regime all year round. I tend to layer this either over my usual serum and moisturiser, or if I want a lighter skincare regime just pop this on alone – either way, it helps to keep my skin protected and hydrated while ensuring my makeup lasts all day long. Containing Vitamin E for antioxidant protection, Shea Butter to nourish and protect against free radicals, and vitamin-packed Sunflower, this is one must-have that really is a must have. And everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it just as much as me. (Read more on this here.)
Maybelline Collossal Big Shot Mascara (£7.99)
A long-term fave of mine this delivers everything I want in one tube; the collagen rich formula helps to deliver tonnes of volume without any clumping, while the brush helps to lengthen lashes for serious wow factor. It separates lashes without leaving them feeling spidery, while the volume result is possibly the best I’ve ever gotten from a budget mascara. If you’re not a fan of a big brush though, this may not be for you: the bristles are quite stumpy allowing for lots of product pick up, so it can take some getting used to. The fact I’m on my fifth tube says all you need to know though… (Read all my Maybelline mascara reviews here.)
Burt’s Bees Lip Balm* (£3.99)
Intentional or not, I seem to have a little yellow tube in every coat pocket and handbag I own – while my husband is quickly following suit, having his own bedside stash after spending many years asking me for mine. For me, their texture is gloriously smooth and leaves my lips feeling protected without being coated in a gloopy or thick substance. Applying it is a pleasure, with no dragging or sticking, and the scent is strong enough to evoke the senses while subtle enough to only hit your own nostrils; their scents are also incredibly realistic and not at all sickly sweet or ‘fake’, unlike many other brands who cause the process to feel almost nauseous. But most of all, they do so much good for the bees that help to create these iconic tubes. Obsessed. (Read my recent feature on their newest flavours here.)
There are so many more I could add, so many other additions to the list I could have made, but being absolutely ruthless these are the twelve beauty icons and beauty heroes from the past decade that I would take with me into the next and beyond.
How many of my top twelve are new to you? Which will you be checking out imminently?
SHOP MY FAVES
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