Between Boris' incoming lockdown 2.0 announcement, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer's suggestion that those in creative industries re-train, it’s enough to want to throw the towel in. We give in! We surrender! In a year that’s been paved with roadblocks, is there any good news anymore?
The short answer is yes (albeit in paltry amounts.) Recent research this week found that one in five facial skincare users have spent longer on their routine in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, while 30 per cent said they had been using more moisturiser. The virtues of beauty are finally being recognised and celebrated, and for good reason too.
If you're a newly-initiated beauty buff, then CEW is an organisation you ought to know about. It's the most influential within the British beauty industry, and this year marks the company’s 15th annual Beauty Awards. In celebration, for this week’s Let’s Make-Up, I’ve selected my five favourite products from this year's list of finalists (the winners will be unveiled on Thursday 15 October.)
These products are the backbone of every good beauty line-up, they're the hydrating, skin-loving and glow-imparting goodies which work without fail each and every time. In these unprecedented times, in the ‘new normal’, there’s nothing like a trusty friend to get you through. These are some of the best.
Pai Skincare Light Work Cleansing Oil
Pai Skincare Light Work Cleansing Oil, £33, buy now
I’ve waxed lyrical about vegan beauty brand Pai Skincare, since I began using its products last year. After a recent re-brand, which has seen it slash its use of plastic to below 90 per cent, to see its cult Rosehip Cleansing Oil receiving a nomination from CEW to its best new skin prep category is so exciting.
I use the oil as my first cleanse (before I go in with a cream-based cleanser for my second.) Applying it on dry skin, it melts make-up, grime and SPF remnants from skin and smells delicious while working its magic. It’s a truly delicious – and gentle – cleanser.
Tan-Luxe: Super Glow
Tan-Luxe Super Glow Gradual Serum, £27, buy now
As a tanning aficionado, I know what sets a good self-tanner apart from the rest. First up is the smell; gone are the days of fake tan smelling of mouldy digestive biccies, today there's a legion of tanning products that smell as fruity and fresh as anything else on the market. Secondly, there's the issue of streaks, luckily tanning innovation has banished the streak-prone tans of yore and paved a way for truly streak-free tanning. And lastly, there are the tans which have combined faultless self-tanners with skincare perks.
The best of the bunch? Tan Luxe's Super Glow serum with hyaluronic acid, which is a contender in CEW's Best New Self Tan category.
Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Kit
Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Kit, £44, buy now
We all love a good pout-enhancing lippie and nobody does them better than beauty doyenne, Charlotte Tilbury. Her coveted Hot Lips kit, which draws inspiration from her army of supermodel friends, is a contender for the new lip make-up category and has our vote this year. The universally-flattering shaded lipsticks hit the sweet spot between being matte yet creamy, long-lasting yet not cakey. With a nod to the brand's increasing eco-credentials, the lipsticks are all now re-fillable, meaning you can hold onto the handbag-worthy vessels and just buy a top-up when required. For me, the stand-out is Jk Magic, a deliciously peachy nude.
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask, £44, buy now
The mask market is a saturated one and many unfortunately fail to live up to the hyperbole which accompanies their names. American brand Fresh's Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask, which is nominated in the best new mask category, is not one of them.
The two-part mask uses a rose petal-infused gel as the first step, which also contains the beloved hyaluronic acid (the ultimate companion for those on a quest for hydration.) The second step is a rose water-cream mask which imparts hydration like no other. I've been marinating my face in it while WFH and can corroborate that this is a fantastic face mask.
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, £15.50, buy now
My first-ever cleanser aged 14 was Liz Earle's cult Hot Cloth Cleanser and a decade later, it's still one I return to when my skin's barrier throws a tantrum. It's no surprise then that Earle's beloved cleanser is a nominee in the best beauty icon category because that's exactly what it is: an icon.
Creamy enough to slough off make-up and grime, it's also gentle enough for those who are prone to skin sensitivity and eczema. A true beauty cabinet stalwart.