Since so many of you have been asking about my favourite skincare products, (JOKES-literally not a single person has ever asked me this but I’m going to show you anyway) my top five favourite products that keep me looking like a functioning human when I feel more like I’ve just finished my 8th round in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson.
I’ve travelled the world for six years now, and I’ve learned through trial and error, as well as recommendations from women on every continent, about their favourite products and ultimate tips and tricks. I am most certainly not by any means knowledgeable or certified in skincare and beauty but, this is merely just me sharing with anyone who actually cares, my all time fave products that I hope I’ll never have to live without.
So here goes…! Your very normal, well travelled, girl-next-door-vibes, list of what’s stocked inside my beauty bag.
1. St. Tropez self tan Bronzing Mousse – EXPRESS.
I am a fake tan addict, something I inherited from my mother. Her catch-phrase was always “A streaky tan is better than NO tan!” and she’d repeat this mantra every weekend while she applied Rimmel Sun Shimmer to her legs, getting ready to go out.
It’s not surprising then, that I’ve grown up, always chasing the bronzed skin dream, despite my Celtic skin roots. My dedication to tanning has become so persistent that even flatmates who I have I’ve with, never clocked on to the fact that my “natural” skin tone is actually about seven shades lighter than the one they’d been accustomed to seeing me with. Of course, I was flattered. It just meant that I’d perfected the art of fake tan application and maintenance so well, that it looked natural.
But don’t get me wrong. I made many a mistake along the way. Think orange hands, green elbows, disastrous patchy feet, leg stripes sneakier than sliced bacon… I’ve tried instant tans, gradual tans, moisturisers and gels, mousse’ and creams, spray tans & daily build up tans. You name it, I’ve tried it. Name a brand, and I’ve probably tried them too.
On the more slightly more expensive scale of fake tans, St. Tropez is worth the splurge. Easy to apply and long lasting, the express one, develops between 1 and 4 hours depending on which colour you want to achieve. The longer you keep it on for before rinsing it off, the darker the end result will be. This means that it’s suited to all skin-tones, from the deathly pale to the super sallow. I personally prefer to use the mousse product although it’s available in a lotion form as well, just because I feel that it’s easier to blend in. Some tans go on clear, but thankfully, this one has a colour guide which makes it easy to see any body parts you might have missed.
my pro tips on application:
- EXFOLIATE. I know everyone says it, but I really must emphasise this. To get a smooth, even tan which actually lasts, you gotta scrub all those dry patches from your body, or it’ll start coming off of its own accord leaving you with a very dodgy looking skin tone.
- Blob a little bit of moisturiser on knees, elbows, ankles & armpits.
- Apply with a fake tan mitt (click here) and wear disposable gloves underneath to avoid any excess tan soaking through mitt and onto your manicure.
- Start from the feet up to avoid getting big triangle patches on the inside of your arm where your elbow bends.
- I use a different face specific tan on my face, also from St. Tropez (this one) which is a good idea for anyone who has sensitive skin and suffers from breakouts, like me. Body fake tans are too heavy when I use them on my face and result in more spots.
- When your tan is kind of dry, (speed this process up by blowing a hairdryer over your body) wear loose clothes, like pjs, a onsie, or even a maxi dress over the top while you’re waiting for it to develop. Anything tight such as skinny jeans or gym leggings will leave some questionable stripes on your body where the seams have been. Not cool.
(buy it here)
2. Becca Under Eye Brightening corrector.
This comes in two shades (no guesses to which option I went for!). This was a whim splurge in the American Sephora after a super long haul flight. Under the stark shop lighting, it was obvious that the bags under my eyes were less designer and more black bin liners, and right at that moment, as if by fate, I saw this baby on the shelf. The picture of the model before and after looked really quite startling, even though the cynic in me wonders how much of that difference is actually photoshopped… but a sucker for anything that promises results, I decided to try it, and I swear, I haven’t looked back since.
I’ve tried YSL, Chanel, M.A.C, Bobbi Brown, Rimmel, NYC… okay basically what I am trying to emphasise here, is that I have tried a lot of concealers in my life. Ones to cover spots, ones to cover eye bags etc etc. but out of all the ones I’ve tried and tested, this is The One. Lots of people comment on how fresh I look any time I wear it, which I think is hilarious, because when I actually wear it, is when I’m my least fresh – full on exhausted, deadly tired, zombie mode.
Tips for application:
- Apply in a triangle (like this awful attempt at a diagram I’ve drawn for you) instead of just kind of smudging it under you eye.
- Also dust a bit of setting powder over it when your finished to help it stay in place.
(buy it here)
3. DR. JART+Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30
It took me a few jaunts to Sephora before I actually managed to get my hands on this, and I actually love it so much, that when I finally got it, I bought two. One for when I travel (which is all the time) and one for home. So inseparable I became from this product, that I also transferred a dollop into a little travel jar that I purchased from Muji, so that I could carry it in my handbag with me at all times – never to be parted.
It’s not really common knowledge apart from those who know me well, that I have struggled incessantly with hormonal acne for the last decade at least, and like everyone who has battled with their skin, I’ve tried it all. From using heavy foundation to hide it, to taking medication and using all sorts of lotions and potions, this, for me, is the best all rounder.
Let me list the reasons why I ADORE it.
Firstly, it corrects redness, which is one of my biggest skincare problems. Even if I don’t have a breakout, the scars and the marks from the last pimple party stick around for what feels like eternity and makes my skin look constantly aggravated. So, although it goes on green, don’t be alarmed – it adapts to your natural skin tone as you rub it in, and neutralises any redness in the process. It’s just enough coverage to make you look fresh, and since it’s got a built in SPF30, there’s no need to layer even more products on top as you would have to do with some foundations and BB creams.
I wear this during the day now instead of foundation or BB cream to give myself a little bit of confidence without the worry of make up clogging up my pores or drying my skin out further.
The product container is made of glass and is a bit bulky, so if you wanna do as me, then buy yourself a little tub for your handbag and transfer some into that, et VIOLÁ! Problem solved!
(buy it here)
4. WISHFUL (by Huda Beuaty) Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub
I didn’t know until recently, that UAE beauty guru Huda Kattan (of Huda Beauty) had also suffered from acne in the past. Tried and tested by Huda herself, I kept seeing this pop up on my Instagram feed. It took me a while to make the jump and purchase it, but if I could shout about this stuff with a megaphone from the rooftops of Dubai, I would. In-fact, I’d even tell passengers about it over the tannoy system at work if I wouldn’t get fired for doing so!
Not only is it made in Korea – the birthplace of THE WORLD’S BEST skincare, but just one use of this scrub and there was already a noticeable difference to my skin. One scrub left my skin feeling as smooth as a baby’s bum and as looking as radiant as (a sunbeam…?). As someone who always suffers from red blotches of dry skin around my nose and persistent blackheads, there was an instant difference! I even tried to convinced my boyfriend to try it because “IT MAKES YOUR SKIN FEEL SO SO NICE!!!” (he declined… but don’t worry, it’s his loss – and leaves more for me!)
Having suffered from skin issues in the past, Huda has ensured that this product is gentle, clean skin care, with no harsh ingredients. This is the one product that since I’ve tried it, I don’t think I can live without!
(buy it here)
5. BRIOGEO Farewell Frizz™ Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioner
Probably no-one wants to take hair advice from me, since my hair looks pretty wild most times, but believe you me, it’s actually less wild than it would normally be thanks to this baby. I wouldn’t have even looked twice at this on the shelf to be honest, but last year for my besties birthday, I bought her a battle the frizz hair care kit from Sephora, which came with a miniature version of this. When she came to visit me in Dubai, she insisted that we stop by Sephora so she could repurchase it.
That evening, I sprayed some of it onto my own hair, and following that, I went straight back to Sephora the next day to purchase some for myself. I’m half way through my second bottle now, and not only does it help me get tugs out of my hair much easier meaning less damage, but it’s light and doesn’t leave my hair greasy or feeling heavy.
Another clean product, it’s vegan and gentle – free from harsh products. Plus, and best of all, it smells so good that you won’t be able to stop with the Ariana Grande hair whips so you can smell your yummy hair.
(buy it here)
Aside from these five game changers, I also can’t live without my tangle teezer, Benefit’s Hula bronzer (in Natural Bronze), and I love myself a Korean sheet mask. And at night, a few times a week, I like to sleep in Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask.
And I’ve heard only great things about Drunk Elephant and The Ordinary’s facial peels. They’re next on my go get list!
What are your favourite products? Help a girl sort her outside face while we are on lockdown, so that I can emerge from this quarantine as a butterfly, and not an ugly moth.