How did your skincare journey begin? Was it born of a genuine need, a trend or did it takes shape late at night when scouring the internet? No matter, but here’s the thing; before we know it, we’ll all be trying to sing along to Auld Lang Syne again, so I wanted to highlight the skincare products (and one haircare product), that have stood out to me so far this year.
Starting with that lippy you’ll apply to ring in the New Year or for any day really, it will go on much better if your lips have been exfoliated first. Cue Apa Beauty Lip Loofah to slough away dead skin, smooth out your lip texture, offer hydration and even brighten your lips. Formulated with jojoba oil, sweet almond seed, orange peel and sugar, this has become a staple because of the benefits it gives to my perpetually dry lips. Don’t be fooled by the small pot Apa Lip Loofah comes in, because a tiny bit is needed to cover both lips. Leave it on for three minutes, five minutes or a bit longer and then remove it to reveal a smoother lip canvas. Even if you don’t apply anything once it’s removed, your lips will be smoother, brighter and hydrated.
Serum connoisseurs know that a well-formulated one will offer tremendous benefits to the skin. For drier skin types though, (mine included) the key need is usually for lasting hydration. Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Micro Serum delivers by keeping my skin supple and bright. While I bypass it if it’s a very hot day, it otherwise maintains hydration and even works beautifully as a makeup primer.
With a formula based on Camellia Oil Extract and a gel-cream, fast-absorbing texture, this serum can also be used by normal to combination skin types. If needed, you can spot apply if your hydration needs are focused on specific parts of your face. While Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Micro Serum contains fragrance, the scent evaporates quickly but your skin maintains a steady level of hydration while you’re wearing it, even when worn under makeup.
No skincare journey is complete without a good sunscreen, but the sunscreen scaries is something people of all skin tones can relate to. But here’s the thing, while I advocate for wearing a sunscreen, I also won’t villainise the sun because without it nothing will exist. But skin needs defence each and every day, even if it’s cloudy, raining or snowing. Whether you’re walking from your car to the store, or three blocks to the train and then into your freezing office, you need a sunscreen. Period. Enter Atzen Skincare and their Natural Protection Face and Eyes SPF 30, a full-spectrum sunscreen that also has anti-pollution properties, is water resistant and draws on the strength of zinc oxide as a filter. It protects without leaving a grey, blue or white cast and is safe to use around the eye contour. Fast-absorbing and fragrance-free, it works beautifully when layered over other skincare or when worn under foundation and powder.
Another magical product that works as a primer, night-cream, day-cream, and ‘make me look alive cream’, is actually not a cream but an oil from the beauty stalwart Guerlain. Guerlain Abeille Face Treatment Oil contains Ouessant Honey from protected bees dwelling on Ouessant Island, off the Western coast of France. I was quite prepared to tut-tut this oil as just another pretty bottle containing something that will leave my skin wanting and leave me annoyed. But I found myself pleased, happy, and excited by how well my skin responded to this oil and the fact that it played well under a full face of makeup. Some nights, I reach for this reparative oil as a source of hydration, wearing it alone, or layering it over an acid based product. I also use it as my daytime skin saviour and as a general skin booster on makeup-free days. Mildly scented with a light texture and also fast absorbing, this Treatment Oil is a well-formulated, anti-oxidant rich all-rounder that you can slot into your skincare routine as you see fit.
Now to a hair product that has been the first step in my washing routine. While the Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3 has not completely repaired the breakage I’ve been experiencing, it makes my kinky/curly, colour treated hair much more manageable and soft. I stopped relaxing my hair some years ago but then began to do keratin treatments. While I experienced hair growth at the outset of doing keratin treatments, eventually my hair began breaking. Do I blame my hair breakage entirely on the keratin treatments? Not completely, especially since hormonal changes also impact one’s hair and because hereditary thinning is also a factor for me. So using Olaplex has been a helpful step as I continue to work on cultivating a healthier hair journey.
I couldn’t discuss skincare stash superstars without including Oskia’s Renaissance Mask, a brightening, exfoliating, peel in a balm. Drawing on ingredients which include grapefruit, lemon AHA’s, papaya enzymes and passionfruit to exfoliate, brighten and refine, it goes from a pale pink to white as it absorbs into the skin. After fifteen minutes, my skin is left feeling invigorated, firmer and looks so much smoother and brighter.
Lastly, a gorgeous bath treat with sparkling, warm scents that linger on the skin post-shower is Tom Daxon’s Vachetta Shower Gel. Tom Daxon is a perfumer to watch, as his niche product line also includes thoughtfully composed fragrances, candles, and body lotions along with a sampling service. He has studied with some of the best people in the fragrance industry and is also the scion of a fragrance industry heavy-hitter. Vachetta shower gel is a blend of exotic and heady ingredients that include cardamom, tonka bean, jasmine, lapsang souchong, leather, nutmeg and musks. Every drop of Vachetta offers a sensorial experience and fills my bathroom with gorgeous vapours. It makes a lovely gift as well and is also a nice treat to offer in your bathroom when you have guests.
With the beauty industry showing no sign of slowing down in terms of projected revenues, there is unlikely to ever be a shortage of new things to play with. But standout products usually have a better chance of surviving, whether they come from a heritage brand or an emerging one. I think despite the volume of products around, finding standouts require resources, time and patience. The products I’ve cited in this post are definitely worth these.
*Atzen Natural Protection Face and Eyes SPF 30 was sent to me as a PR sample.