Boy, I haven’t done a favourites post in a while! I know the thing to do is to create a new favourites post every single month, but if I had to force myself to stick to a schedule I’d be scrambling to think of things to mention each time. So at least for me, I know it's more genuine if I wait until I feel like I have a good group of products to talk about, and that's what this is!
I’m reaching the stage where I feel like the foundation section of my makeup needs a bit of a refresh. I’ve decluttered some and am coming to the end of others, and with so many brands launching long-wearing foundations these days I have been getting samples left, right and centre to see which ones deserve a spot in my collection. One that has been around for a while but that I had never really paid much attention to is the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation (AU). I don’t know what took me so long to try this – it’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and out of all the testing I’ve been doing, this is the one that I knew I had to buy first.
It has a very thin formula so it feels really lightweight on the skin, and has a natural satin finish (rather than drying down super matte and powdery). It comes in a shade pale enough for me (090 Ivoire N) and it lasts incredibly well on my oily skin, which is the main deal-breaker for me when it comes to choosing a new foundation. I would say it’s got a decent medium coverage, and it doesn’t break up or look patchy on the skin as the day wears on. Basically, it ticks every single one of my boxes and if you like a natural, skin-like finish and struggle with oily skin, this should 100% be on your list of products to look into.
Another thing I have absolutely been loving is the Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm (AU). One of my lovely friends gave this to me as a going away present but I’ve only just started using it as I finally finished up my favourite Jurlique one. I like to keep my fanciest hand creams by my bedside so that I don’t use them up too quickly, and so they have the chance to sink in overnight, whereas I'm happy to use drugstore hand creams at work since my life is basically an endless cycle of applying hand cream and washing it off again. Not only does this hand cream feel lovely on the skin and absorb easily, it also smells absolutely incredible. It contains a blend of citrus oils (mandarin, grapefruit, orange) as well as lavender, cedarwood & rosemary and the combination of all of those scents is a complete delight, especially right before bed. If you’re looking for a new hand cream and don’t mind a strong scent, I definitely recommend this.
A new hair product that I’ve been enjoying is the IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel. I’m not typically one to try out every new high end haircare launch, but even though IGK are fairly new on the scene, for some reason I’m really drawn to their products (good marketing & branding, I suppose). I have long, fairly straight hair but it’s prone to getting really fluffy if I brush it while it’s dry, so I like to apply product to wet hair after it’s just been washed, let it air-dry and not do anything other than use dry shampoo until I wash it again. Anything that can tame and smooth my hair without weighing it down and that doesn’t require heat styling to work is my kind of product. I still love the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment which I’ve been using for a few years now, but this is a similar kind of thing and I’ve been enjoying trying something new. Plus I love that IGK offer most of their products in travel sizes so you can try them out without breaking the bank, and their packaging is absolutely beautiful too.
While in New York recently I finally got my hands on Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50, which is a total cult product among the skincare-obsessed, and is essentially the mother of all exfoliating toners. Because the brand like to be mysterious, you can’t really buy it easily – I had to visit a spa that specialises in their products to get it. They have various formulas with different focuses and at different strengths, but I decided to go with the standard one.
This formulation of P50 contains a serious cocktail of ingredients – including AHAs (lactic & malic acids), salicylic acid (great for acne), nacinamide (an ingredient I love), phytic acid (antioxidant) and gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid. PHAs have similar effects on the skin as AHAs, but they’re less likely to cause irritation and have been found to be compatible with sensitive skin, including rosacea and after cosmetic procedures – so, properly sensitive. Along with helping fight acne, this combination of ingredients will boost cell turnover (which in turn causes pigmentation to fade more quickly while also smoothing out uneven skin texture), boost collagen production (essential for plump, young-looking skin), and strengthen the skin’s barrier function (a strong barrier helps the skin retain moisture, which makes it look younger because fine lines and wrinkles will be less apparent). It will also help whatever you put on top to penetrate more easily, meaning your additional products will work harder.
I’m lucky to be able to say that I can’t remember when my last significant breakout was, so I can’t really give much of an opinion on how well P50 helps to clear up acne. I’m also just shy of 30 (eep!) and don’t have any wrinkles yet except for a few fine lines under my eyes, so again, I can’t say that this made my skin look miraculously younger either. But I’m nothing if not proactive about preventing the signs of ageing, so I’m perfectly happy to use this in a preventative sense – after all, I can’t expect it to reduce pigmentation, acne or wrinkles that I don’t have, but if it’s going to stop them from appearing in the first place (and I trust that it will) them I’m all for it. In terms of instant results, when I use P50 I wake up with smooth, baby soft skin and if you couldn’t tell – I’m a convert to the cult of P50.
When I was buying P50, the woman who sold it to me suggested I buy medical grade/fancy cotton pads because the cheaper ones can soak up more of your product. In the past I’ve scoffed at the idea of paying more than I need to for what is 100% cotton no matter which way you look at it. But when you’re spending $100 on a toner, it makes sense to spend a few extra dollars on cotton pads that aren’t going to waste your product. So when I got home I ordered the Shiseido Facial Cotton (I asked and she said these were fine, and I’ve heard lots of good things about them). The pads themselves are quite large and super thick, and Stephanie Nicole recommends cutting them in half because even halved they’re still big enough. At $11 (+ tax) for 165 of them, it’s not the end of the world, especially if you’re doubling up and getting 330 uses. I’ll still be sticking to cheaper cotton for my micellar water because a bottle of it costs around the same as the Shiseido cotton, but I don’t mind spending that little bit more if it means my bottle of P50 lasts longer.
One last thing that I also picked up in NYC is the & Other Stories Nail Polish in Star Marigold. They don’t seem to sell these online, but they had lots in store and I chose this beautiful pink/gold shimmery shade. I typically steer clear of glitter nail polishes because although they look beautiful, they’re a real pain in the ass to remove. Because this is more of a fine shimmer, it gives the nails a metallic look from afar, but isn’t anywhere near as hard to remove as a chunky glitter. In terms of wear time I can’t really say much as I only ever use coloured nail polish on my toes and it wore just as well as any other for me. This one is semi-sheer and looks lovely on its own or layered on top of other colours and, most importantly, it has a thick brush!
Bullet journalling is something I resisted getting into for a long time, but I mentioned recently that I’ve finally come around and have been loving it. You can start in the back of any old journal (which is what I did) to get a feel for it and see if it sticks, and since it’s been working really well for me, as I reach the end of my current journal I’ll probably switch to the standard Leuchtturn Bullet Journal. The beauty of it is that it’s completely flexible, and regardless of what people are doing all over Youtube and Instagram, you can spend as much or as little time setting it up as you like.
I’m a very list-focused person, so I’ll typically set out my weeks like this (though obviously this week was a bit different because of Good Friday), and so far that’s the majority of what my journal has been. If I want to write a different kind of list or plan anything out, I'll just flip the page and get started, though when I start my new journal I might be a little more planned out than that. The only downside of bullet journalling is that you kind of need to carry it around with you to get the most out of it, but now that I have a backpack that doesn’t really bother me.
My next favourite is obviously my Fjallraven Kanken Backpack (AU). I chose the Oxblood shade because red is basically a neutral for me, and I thought if I got black then I might as well get any old bag. These backpacks aren’t cheap so if I was going to spend the cash I wanted a cute one. I’ve been a religious tote bag wearer for so many years, but the reason I bought a backpack is because my shoulder had been hurting for a few months (like even changing my clothes made me feel it) and when I eventually mentioned it to my boyfriend he said it was because I’m always carrying around a tote bag on that shoulder and I was probably developing RSI. He’s not a doctor or a physiotherapist, but he was adamant that it’s not worth getting an injury and he practically insisted I buy a backpack. It was good advice, because now my shoulder doesn’t hurt anymore and I have a super cute backpack too.
The last thing I wanted to mention are these beautiful Horsebit Buckle Loafers I bought at & Other Stories in New York. I bought a pair of backless loafers last summer but unfortunately they gave me blisters every single time I wore them, and eventually I had to accept the fact that they weren’t going to be broken in. So I donated them, and in came this pair which were super soft and comfortable from the get go. These are exactly what I had been looking for and I’m so pleased I finally own a pair that I love (and can wear!).
I thought while we’re here I might as well do a mini wishlist so I can talk about some things that have really caught my eye. The first is the Diptyque Eau Duelle Eau de Parfum (AU) – not to be confused with the Eau de Toilette, this is an entirely different fragrance. I’ve heard people say that the EDT is Diptyque’s vanilla scent, but in terms of my personal tastes (think Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille) it always fell flat for me. It’s a very typical Diptyque scent in the sense that it’s light and airy, while I prefer scents that are very warm, rich and heady. Basically what I want is Diptyque’s Vanille candle but in a perfume. I spotted the EDP one day in Nordstrom and gave it a smell and fell in love immediately. Diptyque describe the EDT as a “white vanilla”, while the EDP is a “bourbon vanilla”. For some reason I can’t find the full listing of fragrance notes but if you like the same kind of scents that I do then this is definitely worth your time, and I am determined to add this to my collection one day.
Vans Old Skools in Zephyr/True White (AU) – After buying a pair of plain black & white Vans Old Skools a while back I’ve basically worn them non-stop. They’re super comfortable and they go with everything, so I’ve been thinking about picking up a cute pink pair for spring. I never saw myself as a sneakers girl, and I mean, I only own one pair of Vans and one pair of Converse (and my all-weather winter Vans which I used as my snow shoes), so in reality I’m still not a sneakers girl, but I’m seriously thinking about going wild and buying another pair.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Palette (AU) – This one a maybe, I still need to go in store to swatch it and see how many of the shades I think I’d actually use. Anastastia’s eyeshadow formula is one of the most hyped and most popular ones around, particularly after the Modern Renaissance palette. That has way too much red/deep pink in there for me so I’ve been patiently waiting for the brand to launch something more neutral, and this may very well be it. I'm not really a fan of yellow golds and I have a feeling this palette has more than one of those in there which may put me off, but I'm very keen on the warm pinky-mauve shades, so we'll see how I feel about it when I see it in person.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (AU) – I wasn’t really that interested in anything from Fenty when the line first launched, and I feel like this foundation got a lot of mixed reviews, but when I took a closer look I realised it’s made for oily skin! I feel like most foundations are aimed towards dry skin, so anything that claims to be longwearing has my attention. I got a sample from Sephora not really expecting all that much, but I was blown away by it! It looks really natural on the skin and it lasts exceptionally well throughout the day. Because the formula is so thin it doesn’t get cakey, and I’m even still going on my sample and I’ve definitely used it more than 5 times. It's safe to say that I will definitely be picking this up soon.