Between TikTok hacks and a never-ending stream of Insta posts, I haven’t written about beauty for a while as I felt a little overwhelmed. While I’m trying to negotiate this roadmap like everyone else, I have also realised I need less, and look all the better for it. If you have ventured out to a restaurant or bar recently, you’ll probably have noticed that most of us are still staying low-key. The first time I put foundation on again recently, I felt like I had dipped my face in cement. However, I also know that I feel so much more confident when I make an effort to be more groomed, and also blur out some of the edges that lockdown seems to have left behind.
So, with that in mind, I tried out a few new favourites to make sure I was investing wisely, and also because experimenting with something really new never gets old.
Here’s my pick of some of this summer’s freshest launches and beauty superstars:
Beauty Pie Uber Youth Neck & Chest Super Lift Serum Spray (£75 to non-members, £16.45 to members)
Firstly, thanks to the team at Beauty Pie for keeping us beauty fanatics stocked up over the last 18 months. They have managed to launch some brilliantly effective products during this time, and if I get asked which range is my favourite, then Japanfusion is hard to beat for sensitive skin that needs some TLC. This spray, from the Uber Youth range which I also love, has been much anticipated. Anyone over the age of a Love Island contestant knows that too much sun coupled with a little neglect is not a great combination for your decolletage. (I adore that word, by the way!) This wonder is packed with ingredients such as niacinamide and peptides, woven together in a Swiss formula, to help blur age and sun spots as well as protecting the skin’s delicate barrier in this zone. A little goes a long way.
Jones Road The Face Pencil (£23)
This ‘Everything Stick’ is from the new range by Bobbi Brown, legendary make-up artist and known lover of enhancing your natural beauty. This range is the very opposite of what you see in those online tutorials where someone is using 107 products, and 53 brushes. I’m not lazy when it comes to beauty, but when you want to look presentable in a hurry, beauty sticks and pencils are a go-to, and this range is packed with them, all wrapped in the type of quality you’d expect from beauty icon Bobbi. You can pick a close-to-skin shade to cover up any blemish or imperfection, or choose a lighter shade to blend under your eyes or use as a highlighter. Bobbi has some helpful videos posted under each product on the website, so you can sprinkle yourself in her expertise. This is lightweight but still covers a prominent facial scar I have. The perfect pencil.
Centred Altered State Shampoo Bar (£20)
One of my good friends, Tracy, has been encouraging me to try shampoo bars for a while, but the allure of the bottle has always won. However, I do realise that bottles take up so much space and are quickly empties, and so I plumped for this version by Centred. This natural beauty created an impressive lather, and it’s organic flowered and aloe vera formula, with gorgeous coconut extracts, helped to keep my dry, frizzy hair moisturised and well behaved. This citrus fragranced bar lasts for up to 60 washes, which makes it brilliant value, too. It’s also silicone and sulphate free, which is great if you have a sensitive scalp like me, and hair that screams lank when it is overloaded with ingredients.
Messiah and Eve Bath Oil Emulsion (£26)
This range is about pure indulgence, and I also like the fact that the brand supports all over body care. After years of investing in skincare, and then either neglecting my body skin or throwing on formulas I’ve chucked into my basket in the supermarket, I have come to understand that my body is, in fact, attached to my head and deserves the same level of respect! This vegan range is all about effective and stable products made from bespoke fragrance blends from France. This nourishing milk contains Sweet Almond, Borage and Jojoba oils and left my skin pampered and moisturised. A beauty treat and a perfect gift, too.
Leighton Denny Nail Rebirth Instant Nail Rebirth (£25)
If you have read any of my previous reports, then you’ll know I am already a Leighton Denny devotee. The ultimate manicure maestro has recently relaunched his eponymous range, and has packed it full of products to help hands and nails that have been dried due to our new, constant hand washing routine. These capsules target dry and dehydrated nails, which mine certainly were, and one capsule treats fingers and toes. I used these before bed every evening, and the bonus here is that you have to massage the product in: you can’t just plonk it on, and go! There’s a matching Hand Cream to apply afterwards, and during the day. Another product that proves why this man is a nail legend. Worth every hard-earned penny!
Clarins Calm Essential Redness Corrective Gel (£30)
Clarins was the first ‘luxury’ skincare brand I purchased from, and there is a reason why its tops beauty polls voted for by us everyday purchasers. I suffer from red patches on my skin and have rosacea which flares up from time to time, and this gel has a dual purpose during day time. First, it soothes raw skin, and mine reacts to so many situations, whether it’s a change in the weather or a pot of tea. Secondly, it has a green-base to it, which neutralises redness – trust me, it works! The whole range is designed to calm inflamed skin, which will be a welcome treat for anyone who has spent the last year and a half wearing masks, especially.
AVEDA at Next Beauty Stay Hydrated Nutriplenish Set (£35)
The online Next Beauty division has never let me down while we have been mostly stuck indoors: they just have a knack up blending all of the brands I love in one, gorgeous playground. This brilliant set features their Nutriplenish superfood for hair range, packed with omega-5-rich pomegranate oil. The shampoo, conditioner and spray-on leave-in conditioner worked a treat after a break away from home, and as sunny spells are on their way again, if you have dry, dehydrated hair like mine, then this trio will come to your rescue.
Valentino Beauty Rosso Lipstick (£40)
I’m trying to be sensible with beauty purchases, but sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind. I don’t wear a red lip very often, and I prefer the Gloss finish here, but I can’t deny the quality is as great as the packaging. The rest of the range is about pure luxury, with prices to match, but a great lipstick for special occasions is the perfect present, isn’t it? This has brought a touch of Italian glamour to summer 2021.
Skinny Tan Wonder Serum (£29.99 for one, or £39.99 for two on promotion!)
I am new to Skinny Tan, even though it is already very well established in the ever-growing self-tan market, and I opted for this version of their formula, as its serum consistency is packed with antioxidants. I find my dry skin suits serum formulations, and the colour guide meant I could see where I was applying the tan. I left it on overnight, and was really pleased with the golden results the following day. It also lasted for a week and faded naturally. I snapped up two bottles with the brand’s application mitt, which is an absolute Skinny steal!
Peaches & Cream Sun Tint (about to be launched!)
I had to mention this product as I had the privilege of talking to Kate, one of the founders of Peaches & Cream, as the team were developing it – so this is a bit of an exclusive preview! From their hugely affordable and fun range, Sun Tint has a non-sticky gel formula and can be applied directly to your skin with one of the range’s jumbo-sized brushes, to mimic the effects of the sun. It’s lightweight and super easy to apply, and blends beautifully. It adds an instant glow and is packed with hydrators. You can also take it down onto your collarbones, too. Keep an eye on their website for fresh updates. Kate’s weekly Insta lives have taught me so much over the last year, they really have kept my spirits up, and my cheekbones highlighted!
I think after such a testing time for us all, we have all had a chance to reflect on what really matters in life. For many of us, we have also worked out that spending some time on yourself, caring for your skin and hair, and even wearing a wicked lip when it’s absolutely not required makes life a brighter place.
Make mine a Rosso. If you see me around Abersoch giving it the Sophia Lorens, feel free to say hello.
Or should that be ‘ciao’?
Peaches & Cream is at https://www.fabulousmakeup.co.uk/
About the author: Nancy Buckland Kirk is a writer with a keen interest in fashion and beauty and a career which has spanned modelling, teaching and spreading the word about leading beauty brands. You may also enjoy: Nancy Buckland Kirk on why, in the world of fashion and beyond, change is not just going to come, it needs to come and Nancy Buckland Kirk reflects on sharing a birthday with Jennifer Lopez