From Chanel lipstick to faithful Frizz-Ease, these beauty products have a cult following for a very good reason
Crème de la Mer Moisturising Cream, from £105
Of all the moisturisers, this is recommended by beauty and fashion editors time and time again. It’s thick and creamy and melts into your skin – especially nourishing in winter. Treat yourself from your late thirties onwards, although a 25-year-old Amber le Bon told us she uses it.
Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream, £28
A-list fans of this cream including Jade Jagger, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss and Georgia Jagger. Each tube contains the extract of more than 1,000 organic rose petals, as well as rose-oil and rosehip extracts, which soothe sensitive or dry skin. It is all natural and ‘biodynamic’, which, to the purist, is superior to organic.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, £44
This night-time skin repair serum has won a host of awards and is a staple for beauty editors. It is favoured for its brightening, line-smoothing, skin-plumping effect as well as its role in helping the skin repair itself from the daily onslaught of UV and pollution. Ingredients include antioxidants, to neutralise free-radical damage, and peptides, which help in the anti-ageing quest.
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, from £15.50
Introducing the cleanser that paved the way for all the host of balms we know today. Massage the on to skin (it also removes eye make-up) and remove with a warm, damp muslin cloth. Soothing, gently astringent, purifying essential oils of rosemary, camomile and eucalyptus give a clean, refreshing scent. Glycerine and beeswax mean that skin feels soft rather than taut afterwards.
MAC Strobe Cream, £24.50
When this illuminating moisturiser first arrived nine years ago it caused a storm. It’s a perfectly balanced blend of vitamins and finely milled, light-reflective particles that give a soft, iridescent glow when smoothed over the skin. A flat, dull complexion is instantly illuminated. It’s 21-year-old skin in a bottle.
Shu Uemura Brightening Cleansing Oil, £30
Not long ago few of us would have dreamt of cleansing with oil, but it is incredibly effective at dislodging grime. It is also gentle, because it doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils. When Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils arrived in Britain from Japan they picked up a small cult following, but soon more and more women tried them. They are great value, too – the huge bottle lasts months.
Sisley Express Flower Gel Mask, £80
One of the original, super-luxe skincare houses, still privately owned by the d’Ornano family, Sisley is the preserve of the St-Tropez set (expect to see bottles of Sisley sunscreen lacing the loungers on La Croisette). Make-up artists like to use this mask to perk up exhausted models’ skin before shows and shoots. If you can splash out on some even once in your lifetime, your skin is unlikely to regret it.
Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £36.50
A make-up artist favourite and an essential in Linda Cantello’s kit, it has a sheer texture and a little shimmer in it, which makes skin look radiant. It’s especially useful if you’re somewhere north of 35.
Benefit Hoola, £23.50
Make-up artists and Benefit fans alike love this bronzing powder because it looks so natural. There isn’t a hint of orange, and shimmer is kept to an absolute minimum – too much twinkle can be ageing.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in ‘Black Ink’, £25
This waxy, solid eyeliner is a different take on liquid liner or kohl. Pressed along the eye line with a small, flat, slanted brush, it is a woman’s best ally for creating a defined eyeliner flick. Bobbi Brown has made life easier for all of us (liquid liner is terrifically difficult) and inspired a handful of similar liners.
By Terry Éclat de Teint, £36
Consider this a cross between concealer and highlighter from Terry de Gunzburg, the make-up guru responsible for creating Touche Eclat for Yves Saint Laurent. Use it under your eyes to brighten any darkness. In fact, you can use it anywhere on your face to make skin look fresher and more youthful.
Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in ‘Mademoiselle’, £25
At some point in her life every woman should experiment with red lipstick – and own one by Chanel. The modern way to wear red lips is to pat the colour on with your finger to create a stain.
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara, from £20.50
A Hypnôse mascara is sold every ten seconds across the globe. Now ten years old, Hypnôse broke new ground with a polymer formula, adapted from the world of hair products. It meant women could do naturally defined lashes with a single coat for day, and add more layers on top for extra volume at night without it caking or clumping. It’s a hottie on the red carpet.
NARS Blush in ‘Orgasm’, £23
When it first appeared in America in 1998 women jumped at the chance to try this soft, gold-flecked peachy-pink blush. Applied to the apple of the cheeks (the fleshy bit when you smile), it imparts a warm glow and seems to be universally flattering. It’s now also available in a cream blush stick, an illuminator and a lip-gloss.
John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum, £6.29
Nothing like this had been on the market before Frizz-Ease arrived in the early 1990s – it started a hair-styling revolution. For those in need of some curl control, it is a must-have. There are now different concentrations to suit varying hair thicknesses, so all forms of wave and curl are covered.
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, from £16
For lacklustre hair that is feeling the effects of one too many half-heads of highlights, this award-winning mask is the answer. ‘It is hard to get back that elasticity with everyday conditioners and this just seems to work,’ says Ben Cooke, a celebrity hairdresser.
Tweezerman Slant Tweezer £12
These slanted and fine-edged tweezers reach hairs others simply can’t get to, without them off as you pull them out. A classic make-up-bag essential.
Beautyblender Sponge £16
A sponge to dip in foundation and ‘bounce’ or ‘roll’ on to the skin, this gives amazingly even coverage. Be patient, though – it may initially take a little longer to apply make-up, but after a few tries you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Guerlain Météorites Pearls, £40
There’s something utterly indulgent about this finishing powder. Yes, its effect is pretty, but the packaging and bonbon-like pearls will also lend a Madame de Pompadour feel to any dressing-table.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, £34
Perfect for light coverage, and the secret behind many a dewy complexion, providing enough coverage to even the complexion, while allowing the skin beneath to show through. Apply an undercoat of the matching primer, and you’ll be fresh-faced all day.
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, £86 for a box of ten
Before a party, apply this hydrating cotton mask, impregnated with the Japanese brand’s signature ingredient Pitera (a blend of vitamins, minerals and proteins) for 20 minutes. Your skin will look as plumped as if you’d had a professional facial.
Nivea Smooth Nourishing Hand Cream, £3.49
A classic that never fails to deliver, this is better than many more expensive brands we’ve tried, it really sinks in and lasts for ages without feeling greasy. Good for elbows, knees and dry cuticles, too.
No. 7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum, £23.95
Several members of the Stella team swear by this hugely popular anti-ageing product and say their wrinkles seem ‘less cavernous’ as a result. They look great, so we have no reason not to believe in the power of this highly concentrated retinol-based formula.
Philosophy Microdelivery Peel Kit, £59
We’re quite wary of using abrasive peels and scrubs unsupervised by a dermatologist, but this at-home kit gives quick results without the scary red-faced consequences. It’s a two-step scrub and gel that you leave on for a few minutes before washing off to reveal the softest, smoothest skin.
Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré £22
This once-hard-to-find French pharmacy product has a cult following and is loved by make-up artists and better yet it’s recently arrived in Boots. A great translucent product that is perfect under foundation and hydrates even sensitive skin without causing irritation.
Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover £4.99
Fast and fabulous. You simply dip in your finger and twist to remove nail polish. No cotton wool required or ruining otherwise perfect nails when trying to remove the varnish on just one– a desk drawer essential.
Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Color Balm, £19
Quick to apply, easy to blend and chubby as you like, this flattering blusher launched an army of make-up in crayon-form. A contouring and highlighting shade is also now available bringing us steps closer to the cheekbones of dreams.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49
Make-up artist Tilbury’s own-name range has garnered quite the following and this is one of the best sellers. A double compact with a highlighting power and matte sculpting powder this is well worth the price tag.
Jo Malone Vitamin E Body Treatment Scrub, £70
It’s not often a scrub gets us excited, but this makes exfoliating a joy. Salt and organic brown sugar crystals are combined with ingredients rich in Vitamin E to slough away dead skin cells and leave skin so hydrated you can skip moisturiser afterwards. It smells of marzipan too.
Kérastase Nutritive Nutri-Thermique Masque, £24.25
With a loyal following amongst hair stylists, this deep conditioning mask gives life back to hair that’s dry, sensitized and in need of intense nourishment. If you’re regularly using any sort of heat-styling product, it’s a once-a-week hair must.
L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray, £6.60
A classic in every hair stylists’ kit. The preferred choice of hairspray backstage and behind the scenes on fashion and beauty shoots, a mist of Elnett holds styles and volume like no other, but brushes out easily so hair isn’t left stiff or powdery.
GHD Gold V Classic Hair Styler, £125
What did we do before GHDs hit bedrooms across the nation? It spawned the noughties hair trend for straightened locks, and in keeping with the current trend for more bohemian waves, a generation of women have also acquired the dexterity required to use these straighteners to curl hair too (the technique is similar to curling a ribbon with the edge of a pair of scissors).
St Tropez Self Tan Express Bronze Mousse, £33
A recent addition to the list of products every women should women, this fake tan develops into a light caramel after one hour, a toffee tone after two, and a deeper shade after three. It’s quick, bespoke and puts an end to the 8 hours wait it usually takes bronzers to develop.