There are loads of beauty awards going on at the moment – I’m on the judging panel of two myself: the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards and also the Look Fantastic Awards. All very exciting and also surprisingly challenging – not in a MENSA kind of way, but it takes a while to really test things out properly and write intelligent things about them. Does for me, at least!
A little booklet came with my ELLE magazine this month; it was the Debenhams Beauty Awards booklet containing the winners. The first category was the ‘Can’t Live Without’ winners and I swear to you, I could have reeled off the names without even looking at the page. Because the ‘Can’t Live Without’ products are always the same. It doesn’t matter which magazine you’re reading, which celebrity you’re being nosey about, which editor is listing her ‘faves’; there are a few products that get wheeled out every time.
Now, you’d think that this would tell me something – something along the lines of, ‘these products are obviously really good‘ – but I simply cannot get my head around some of these ‘favourites’. Yes, they’re useful, but I’m not convinced that some of them aren’t a little outdated – that better formulas haven’t been invented…
What do you think? Do you like the products below? I’m not saying that they’re bad – not by any means – I just think that I could easily live without them! I’ve listed the six winning products below, and for each I’ve offered an alternative that I like more or that I think is an improvement.
1) Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
OK, I might give you this one. It is pretty brilliant… That was a crap start wasn’t it?!
2) Benefit Benetint
I have never got on with these liquid blushes. Posie Tint is easier to use, but still; it’s hard to use and it’s inconvenient. You get it all over your fingers, if you don’t rub it in quickly enough it stains, and I don’t really like the smell. Nil points. My alternative? Anything. I mean really: anything. It would probably be easier to rub a halved cooked beetroot over your face! Benefit do very excellent ‘powders in a box’ and if you want an instant flush, Bella Bamba is pretty nice.
3) Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Yes, it’s a classic. Yes, it’s amazing. But that doesn’t stop it from tasting/looking like something that has seeped from a bandaged wound. I mean really. Could they not have made it taste better? This is a hungover model’s nightmare, and makeup artists like to apply it at half-hourly intervals throughout a shoot day. My alternative? Dr Lipp’s Nipple Balm for Lips, medical-grade lanolin that tastes of nothing. Or, if you’re short of cash, Vaseline’s Rosy Lips is a pleasant alternative to the original (the stuff that vets use to lubricate their arm just before they insert it into a cow).
4) Clinique’s 3 Step
Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Is it only me that has never got on with 3 Step? I adore Clinique – many of their products are my absolute staples – but the 3 Step I just do not get.
Firstly, it’s boring – I hate to be tied in to any kind of regime that involves the same products day in and day out.
Secondly, let’s talk about step 3 and the JESUS CHRIST THIS BURNS effect that it has on your skin.Or is that just me? I’m pretty sure you could take nail polish off with Step 3.
Thirdly: soap. Soap? Nope. There’ll be no soap on this face: move along please.
My alternative to the 3 Step? Well, if it’s routine you’re looking for, may I suggest Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish followed by their Instant Boost Skin Tonic followed by a moisturiser of your choice? Bit more natural, nice on sensitive skin and might work out slightly cheaper.
5) Clarins Beauty Flash Balm
I can honestly say that I have never witnessed this ‘Beauty Flash’ effect and I have had this balm used on me about seven thousand times. I even bought some to see if it had some kind of magical effect that only worked outside of a photo shoot: still nothing. Has anyone had a ‘Beauty Flash’ from this? Can they describe it?
Tip: if you want an instantly luminous and bright-looking complexion, use a luminizer underneath your base or mixed in with your makeup. You’ll actually see a visible difference – you know, one that you can… actually see. I like BECCA’s Skin Perfector – expensive initially, but the huge bottle will last a lifetime.
6) Estée Lauder Stay in Place Double Wear Foundation
OK, OK. I can’t fault the Double Wear – the concealer from this range is outstanding. Can I suggest for spring the lighter version of this very same foundation? The coverage is excellent still but it feels fresher on the skin. If you’d also like to know what my ‘Can’t Live Without’ foundation would be, it’s actually mymix foundation by myface cosmetics and I think it costs around £12 – it doesn’t get half as much press as it deserves!