Beauty: not your average face mask


Make-up clubs and miraculous masks – the best new products.

The face mask everyone will be talking about
The regular application of face masks is becoming such a big thing I’d be surprised if face-mask doesn’t make it as a verb into the Oxford English Dictionary this year. All over social media, people are talking about spending nights in face-masking, sometimes double face-masking (this usually means one to deep-clean, followed by another to hydrate). I’ve had a preview of the latest masks from culty US brand Glamglow. There’s one called Gravity Mud. I cannot tell you how transformative it is in tightening the skin. It is also fun to use as it’s silver-white and peels off. It will be all over Instagram. You’ll have to wait until April to buy it in stores, but it’s available earlier online (£39; glamglow.co.uk).

Facial oil you can use with make-up
I love a face oil. I love to massage away the frown lines of exhaustion and injustice of an evening and go to bed with a thoroughly basted face. In general, I wouldn’t consider using it in the daytime – a bit slicky – and certainly not under make-up. But there’s a new oil in town (launched this week) that you can use not only under but over your slap. This is revolutionary. Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Oil (£115; selfridges.com) is a non-greasy treatment oil that firms and brightens skin over time, but also gives an instant perkening. I was testing it out during the party period and using it – like a slattern – to “refresh” make-up that I couldn’t be bothered to do again. It’s some sort of magic potion that made my face look fresh without disturbing the make-up.

Beauty Pie
This make-up range launched a couple of weeks ago, but people were too busy buying presents for others to see the full glory of this superb new way to treat yourself. It’s a modern, high-spec range of products – in terms of quality I’d rate them around the Bobbi Brown standard (high). The mascaras and lipsticks are about £20. But if you become a member of the Beauty Pie “club”, which costs £10 per month, you can buy the products at factory prices. So the Futurelipstick Matte becomes £2.26. And the Uber Volume-boost Mascara (which is excellent) is £1.93, instead of the full price of £20. The minimum membership is for three months, so there’s little to lose here, especially if you’re about to update your make-up bag or even buy beauty gifts. The whole thing is the brainchild of Marcia Kilgore – the founder of Bliss skincare and my favourite budget brand, Soap & Glory – so I expect we will all be shopping here regularly by the end of the year (beautypie.com).

The speed facial
I have raved before about Elizabeth Arden’s Oxygen Blast 15-minute facial, which you can get at most counters for £15. The brand is now adding to this “speed service” with a lifting and firming facial called Tone It Up (also £15 and also 15 minutes; elizabetharden.co.uk). I tried it a few weeks ago on just the left side of my face, to double-check the claims. Somehow my cheekbones looked higher and that furrow between the nose and mouth disappeared. It took about five years off me – on half my face, anyway. It’ll be available at most Arden counters from January 9. The £15 is redeemable against purchases so no harm in buying yourself a new mascara while you are there.

Some top-of-the-range organic products
Much as I love the idea of organic, plant-based beauty, I’ve never been able to fully commit. If it makes my eyebags disappear, I don’t mind how many hazchems are in the bottle. But this may be changing. The quality of some of the incoming natural beauty products is setting high standards. The new Susanne Kaufmann Advanced Anti Aging System will set the bar even higher. It includes a Skin Lightening and Radiance Complex (£312; liberty.co.uk) which, after a couple of weeks’ use, made my skin look more even-toned and bouncy. Please note this doesn’t make your skin lighter, just more uniform by fading out scars, sun damage and uneven pigmentation – this is the stealthy way to look more youthful. Backed up with the Night Cream Repair Skin Control (£270), my skin looked as though it had been ironed out. These products are so exceptional – as they ought to be, given the price – that I didn’t care too much about their botanical provenance. Look out for another fancy new organic British range called Vanderohe in February. I have fallen in love with the Nourishing Face Serum (£88; vanderohe.com), packed with anti-ageing essential oils from Egyptian rose geranium oil to Somalian myrhh.

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Louis Graves

I like pretty things and making myself, and others, pretty. Long time dog mummy and lover of beauty. Come and join me in my world.