This post is in collaboration with Boots.
2017 has been the year I’ve fallen in love with beauty.
Don’t get me wrong, Wonderful You was first inspired by my passion for it - but in these last few months I’ve realised its value more than ever before.
This year has shown me that no matter how bad I’m feeling, taking care of my body is a key part of taking care of my mind.
I’m not as naive as to say that superficial beauty holds the answers to inner peace: we are all beautiful, just the way we are - but the inner strength I can find from making myself feel more beautiful - whether that’s singing in the car or applying my favourite lipstick, isn’t one to be sniffed at.
A little bit of self love can go a long way - and yes, just lately I’ve not been reaching for my makeup as much as usual, but on the days I do, I fall even more in love with it. The world of beauty allows us to enhance, not mask, our natural state and experiment with different looks to suit different moods, and really, that’s quite a powerful thing.
I realised it’s been more than three years since I last shared anything beauty related on my blog and so today I wanted to share with you a number of my all time favourites. My beauty haul of fame, if you will. The products that I love dearly and have no doubt will remain in my stash until I’m grey and old.
I’m not a woman who is loyal to just one scent, but there are certainly fragrances that stick and Tom Ford is one. Velvet Orchid is sweet and velvety and dramatic and as soon as I spritz it I feel instantly powerful. It may be an absolute killer, but my secret weapon is teaming it up with the body emulsion; a hydrating moisturiser with the original Black Orchid scent - woody, dark and floral. I apply this to the areas of my body that perfume would naturally sit and use it as a base to intensify the scent - together they are an absolute dream.
My trusted trio goes to YSL touche éclat. I’ve used their illuminating pen under my eyes since I was 16 - a total lifesaver for those of us cursed with the dark circle gene. It’s super light weight, so do not mistake this for a concealer - but it is wonderful at correcting colour and adding brightness to an otherwise dull area. A more recent addition to the family, but loved nonetheless is the Blur Primer - holy crap it does what it says on the tin. Pores are instantly diminished, my complexion illuminated and my skin smoothed; it’s the perfect base for the foundation which I think will always be my absolute favourite. I use shade BD20 and with the signature light-reflecting formula it provides a weightless radiance with beautiful, buildable coverage.
I love playing with colours on my eyes and two high-street brands that get my vote are Stila and Barry M. To create this look I’ve used the Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish eyeshadow in shade Dusty Rose - it comes with an all day liquid primer that holds the eyeshadow in place beautifully and the intensity and pigmentation of this shadow is like no other. To add depth to the crease I compliment the rusty tones of the Stila shadow with the Barry M glitter dust in shade Crimson Pink, basically they’re a match made in heaven.
Liquid eyeliner is my favourite way to add a little more drama to a look and the YSL Couture Eye Marker is one of the best ever. It’s basically like using a felt tip pen and allows you to take a cat eye from thin to thick with its versatile nib. If you struggle with precision when it comes to liner, this is the one to choose, trust me.
Mascara is a game changer, isn't it? Without doubt, it’s the one beauty product I couldn't live without; and the YSL Volume effect Faux Cils is everything you need. Instant intense colour, volume and separation, it’ll grab on to lashes you didn't even know you had.
There’s nothing I love more than an all in one. The Clarins Face Contouring Palette enables me to give depth, warmth and colour to my skin and I ruddy love it.
Lastly are brows and lips - two of my favourite features to accentuate. For my brows I literally swear by Benefit; the Precisely My Brow Pencil and their Ready Set Brow Gel are second to none. I cannot tell you how much love I have for these two - they’ve completely changed my brow game and together allow me to create a super natural, defined look that stays in place all day.
When I’m letting my eyes do the talking there is one lipstick that I’ll always reach for: The Chanel Rouge CoCo Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in shade Cecile. The pigmentation is stunning and the glossy, full look it gives to my lips means I’ll repurchase it forever more.
When you’re boasting a full face of makeup you without doubt need a conditioning cleanser to get all that product off. In my 27 years on this earth there has never been an evening I’ve gone to bed with a full face - it’s so important to take the day off and let your skin breathe and Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream does just that. It removes my makeup like a dream, is kind to sensitive skin, and leaves it feeling incredibly soft and smooth.
When I was younger I wanted everything matte, but in my mid twenties I found myself craving more radiance. One face mask that is guaranteed to give you that luxury skincare boost is the GlamGlow flashmud brightening treatment. It’s a multipurpose mask that exfoliates, brightens and aims to balance skin colour. When there are so many radiating masks on the market it can be hard to choose, but I honestly couldn't live without this one.
My hair sees a lot of colour and therefore needs a lot of protection. I’ll always use a heat protector before applying any heat and TRESemme Heat Defence has been in my stash since I can remember. It’s affordable, smells delicious and most importantly, does the job.
When it comes to styling for me, messy is always best. I’m definitely not one to aim for precision and my two favourites to add texture and shine are from Bumble and Bumble. Their surf spray gives my hair the perfect amount of grit and the CitySwept Finish Spray gives hold, shine and separation that allows my hair to move naturally, but still hold it’s style.
And that’s it. The beauty products I swear by, that help me express myself and let those good days feel even better.
You can shop all of the products in this post via the boots website - what are your favourites from this look? I’d love to know if you give any of them a go!
Photography by the wonderful Kyle Galvin