Honest reviews, regular hauls and all things beauty.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? Plus a reflection on 2022 favourites.....

Wow - I did NOT expect to have taken such a long break from the blog! I got that awful flu that was going around in December, which lasted around 3 weeks and left me pretty weak afterwards, then I got Impetigo, needed a hospital visit for a scan and now I have Covid again.... so how was your Christmas?! It's not a pity party post, but I just wanted to explain my absence because I rarely take breaks that are this long! I think maybe once or twice before, and again, they were through illness. So, Happy New Year! I hope 2023 has gotten of to a good start for you and that you enjoyed the holidays that now seem like a distant memory? At the end of every year, I always post my favourite products from that year and I feel that I still have to do that, despite the first month of the new year being almost over! I have condensed them down to the products that have really stood out, as this post would be too long otherwise! Let's get started... (As always, anything gifted will be marked with a *)

I made some great discoveries last year, but also found myself going back to old favourites that I know I can rely on too - there are some products that I've been using for over 20 years because they just work for me. An example is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm*, which was reformulated last year (I was nervous about this because I thought it was perfect as it was, but it is actually better than ever - review here). This is a product that I can see being a constant in my collection for as long as I live, or as long as it's being made - whichever comes first! It plumps and invigorates my skin, making it look fresh, radiant and lifted, and all foundations apply beautifully over it. Another long-standing favourite is Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, which I have gone back to using consistently because very few other serums live up to it (full review here). A serum that gives it a run for it's money is Lancôme Absolue The Serum* - well actually the entire line of Absolue products. I've recently finished their Cleansing Foam* (and you know that I generally am not the biggest fan of foam cleansers), and I ADORE the Soft Cream with Rose Extract*. I noticed when using these products that my skin looks lifted and more youthful, even when ill, and I have dry skin, which is naturally prone to looking dull. This range is expensive (but refills are available), but if you can afford it, it is 100% worth the money, especially when you're starting to notice that the face looking back at you in the mirror isn't as fresh as it used to be! I've noticed that they have a Ultimate Rose Serum Mask, which is currently on my wishlist because it sounds divine. It's rare that you'll say that a range transforms the skin, but this line really does (not if you're in your early twenties though, as you don't need it then). A more affordable moisturiser that I have used a few pots of this year is Kiehl's Mullti-Corrective Cream, which I was initially gifted but when on to purchase twice more myself (my code BEAUTYLYMIN will save you 21% on Look Fantastic). Both this moisturiser and the eye cream give instant results - nourished, comfortable, plump and radiant skin, with the eye cream smoothing the under eye area. Again my BEAUTYLYMIN code works on this range on Look Fantastic. I was very pleasantly surprised by how my skin looked when I used Dr Barbara Sturm's Glow Drops - a hairdresser even asked me if I'd just had a facial when I went for a blowdry and was completely makeup free! My skin was glowing - not sweaty or a fake discoball look - my skin did look like I'd just had a facial. It made it look healthy, fresh, radiant and youthful (and as though I ate perfectly and always drank enough water and got enough sleep!). Again, it's pricey but small bottles are available. I've waffled on long enough about skincare, but it is my favourite category, however there are definitely other products that need a mention - Erborian Centella Cleansing Balm* - it's an oil in balm that melts all makeup away and is affordable, Dermalogica Multi Vitamin Power Recovery Mask, which I've used for around 19 years and I always say that it takes around 5 years off the face and I have repurchased it several times! And no favourites would be complete without the mention of Omorovicza, which regular readers will know I adore, I cannot be without their Midnight Radiance Mask, which is left on overnight and I know that I am guaranteed a great skin day afterwards. It leaves my skin looking translucent, radiant and refined. Their new Cushioning Day Cream* is as dreamy as it sounds, and perfect for the colder months as it nourishes and envelopes the skin in moisture, protects the skin's barrier and a little goes a long way with this cream. It's an expensive brand, but you can save 10% on all full priced items with the code SIOBHAN10. Finally, I have to give a mention to the L'Occitane Immortelle range (review here). I was kindly gifted some products and went on to repurchase the moisturiser myself and will do the same when I finish the oil. The products are packed with anti-oxidants and they leave the skin feeling elasticized, plump and nourished, whilst looking brighter. It also smells divine! Definitely one to check out if you have dry skin.

Ok, I'll condense my makeup and other favourites because believe it or not, that was the shortened version of my skincare faves!! Some discoveries that have made it into my favourites pile this year are Rodial Banana Lowlighter, which banishes dark circles in an instant and looks very natural on the skin, so I can even wear it on days where I don't want to wear makeup but need to brighten the under eye area. Another discovery, well two actually, were from Charlotte Tilbury's Beautiful Skin range - her cream bronzer and foundation. The bronzer is so easy to work with and blends into the skin for s natural sun-kissed look, while the foundation instantly improves my complexion on dull days, but doesn't look too glowy. If anything, it looks natural, even out skin tone and lasts very well on the skin (full review here). My go-to reliable foundations that I will never be without are IT Cosmetics CC Cream and Armani Luminous Silk. If I'm having a bad skin day, both of these will hide it, and I always get compliments on my skin when wearing these. In terms of eyeshadow, I'm no longer the palette addict that I used to be and tend to reach for either Natasha Denona Biba palette (a nice mix of finishes and a beautiful texture), or Victoria Beckham Lid Lustres, which are smooth in texture, make the lid look less crepey and are very long lasting, even on my oily lid/watery eye combination - I don't even have to wear a primer, which is unheard of! I primarily use Scott Barnes brushes because they basically do the work for you - blending is so easy with these and everything looks soft, without any harsh lines. They're the best that I've tried and I've washed them umpteen times without losing any hairs. My code BEAUTYLYMIN will save you 21% on Look Fantastic. You know I love liquid and cream blushes, well the standout one for me from 2022 is Iconic London Liquid Blush (again, my code will work on this), which is so easy to blend into the skin for a natural flush of colour. In terms of lips, I've narrowed it down to two favourites - Pixi Botanical Collagen Lip Gloss*, which is balmy, isn't sticky and really smooths the lips, making the lines disappear. It's ideal for no makeup days, as well as giving a lipstick a glossy finish. Finally (!), I am obsessed with Hourglass Phantom Volumising Glossy Balm in the shade Mist, which is a beautiful 'your lips but better' shade (for me, anyway). It adds a hint of colour, has a glossy (but not sticky) finish, in the shade Mist, although there are eight shades available.

Moving on to bath/body/hair/fragrance, and I really will try to keep this short! Haircare faves are the Kérastase Blond Absolu range, which keeps my balayaged hair from looking brassy. The L'Oreal Metal Detox duo lifts and mineral residue from my hair (we live in a hard water area and have a softener, but I still get build up in my hair and can see lime in some of our appliances). This duo leaves my hair super soft and brighter. I use them maybe once a fortnight. Of course, Olaplex needs a mention because that's what keeps my hair strong and prevents breakage. I also really enjoyed using my L'Oreal Steampod a lot last year - it's less damaging than other straighteners and gives a salon finish.

In terms of body care, L'Occitane is always a favourite - I'm never without some of their shower products, which both my husband and I love (plus I love that their refillable). For body moisturising, I adore Laura Mercier Body Soufflés, Caudalie Body Lotion and Legology Cellu-Lite Oil, which keep my skin supple and the oil is great for drainage, especially when used in conjunction with their body brush. I use Footner Exfoliating Socks a few times a year for baby soft skin on my feet - an essential before sandal weather!

Finally, it's fragrances and I could get carried away here, but I'm going to rein it in and just mention brands rather than individual fragrances - Armani Privé, Aerin, Jo Loves, Maison Margiela Replica and Viktor & Rolf were probably my most reached for brands last year. In terms of candles, Nest New York has seriously impressed me - the scent combinations are beautiful, they fill the room with fragrance, but not in an overwhelming way, they burn evenly and the jars are pretty, which is a bonus!

Don't forget that if you want to purchase any of these items, most are sold on Look Fantastic where my BEAUTYLYMIN code will save you 21%.

Phew! Thank you if you've made it to the end of this post! I would love to hear how your festive period was and what some of your favourite products from last year were?

Thanks for reading!

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All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.

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