My beauty cupboard: 44 skin, body, hair and beauty products in action right now

posted on: Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The question I receive most often isn't about fashion. It isn't about travel. My number one question from readers and followers across social media is always about beauty. And here's the thing - I don't talk about it nearly enough. I casually mention products on stories. I'll occasionally showcase one product, or one product line that I'm obsessing over. But, I rarely, if ever, showcase the cabinet of curiosities, as my friends like to call it. My product cabinet looks like I'm a beauty obsessive. And, in truth, I am. But, I didn't found Fashion Foie Gras to talk about beauty. It was always going to be fashion led. How could I ever compare to the gurus like, say, Caroline Hirons? There's no way to compete there. Just no way. And, if you don't follow her... get on it! All that aside, I have decided to throw caution to the wind and start a monthly feature of products I've trialled and loved. This isn't a skincare guide. This isn't a how to. This is simply a FFG Loves moment. It will feature monthly and I hope it will help you navigate some new launches on a monthly basis. Nothing you see here is paid placement, but about 50% of the products featured have been gifted. Let's just be up front about that now, so there are no questions. Now, without further ado.... March's beauty cabinet...

First up, skincare for the face that I'm using regularly in my routine...

I have been using this pretty religiously lately, mainly because my eyes are starting to give away my age. They are traditionally the first thing to really wear and tear in my family, so I'm trying to get ahead of the game and this miracle treatment was recommended to me ages ago. It's a professional strength eye treatment that gives you an instant lift. You just put three pumps of the serum under your eye, place an eye patch (included) over the treatment and let sit for about ten minutes. Some tingling will occur, but I always just like to think of this as the magic at work. After you take the cotton pad off, your eye area really does feel like it's had a little lift. Right now I'm using this is be preventative, but the studies have shown that most women see an 87% reduction in wrinkles after using this product for just one week. Pretty damn amazing.  I use this three times a week! FYI. 

For those of you that have been following FFG for a while, you will know that I swear by Perricone MD Cold Plasma and have done since the first year it launched. I've worn it every single day for as long as I can remember. It is my secret....only it's not so secret. People who use Cold Plasma just simply swear by it for keeping their skin looking radiant and blemish free. If I stop using it, my face looks tired and grey. So, I don't risk it anymore. I travel with a pot everywhere. But.... Perricone MD have just launched a new Cold Plasma Plus, which I tried out last month. I used the face and eye cream and I can tell you it is everything I love in the original Cold Plasma and more. A word of warning here. Cold Plasma smells of fish. Yup, not pleasant. The scent lasts for seconds, and you do eventually get used to it. Although it shouldn't matter at all as you are simply placing it on your skin before a sweet smelling moisturiser so I can't stomach when people go on and on about it. If a product makes my skin look amazing, I don't care what stench it comes with! 

This is my big big big ticket item for this post. This is a new treatment from Estee Lauder that I've been using as my night cream. It retails for the equivalent of a nice handbag. Gulp. That being said, it's a treatment that reproduces a hot stone massage in your home. I was a little skeptical at first. If I wanted that treatment, I'd probably shell out for someone else to do it instead. I'm not big on beauty products that require a huge amount of effort on my part. But, I was pleasantly surprised. The creme mask is infused with black diamond truffle, apparently one of nature's rarest ingredients, and even I have to admit it feels like a million dollar creme. The smell, the texture and the way your skin drinks in the ingredients is a luxury experience like no other. Yup, I'm sold into the hype. But, for me the best part is using the hot stone to massage the product into your skin. You simply soak the hot stone in hot water for one minute before placing it on your face. It turns the product into a silky oil that your skin just absolutely loves. Bottom line - if I were a millionaire I'd bathe in this stuff. For now, I'm simply enjoying the skincare treat as I watch an episode of Gilmore Girls before going to bed. Simple pleasures, people. 

Kate Somerville is a brand I've only just been introduced to as they've just launched in the UK. But I can tell you it's a brand that's going to be a friend for life. It's also a brand you'll see mentioned with a few products here today. Let's start with one of Kate's latest products that has been many years in the making. This is DermaQuench and it's a patented technology that combines hyaluronic acid with oxygen to fight the usual suspects- dryness, wrinkles, sagging skin and more. It is a bit of a shock to the system as it's nothing like anything you've ever sprayed on your skin before. First of all it comes out freezing cold! For me, this was a bit over the top as I have really sensitive skin. So, I actually spray the product on my finger tips and then apply it to my face. It offers a pretty instant glow and lift to the skin. 

This is my wear and go that I swear by. You know those mornings when you wake up and you have about two minutes to get ready and get out the door? Those are the mornings where a ten step beauty regime is the furthest thing from your mind. Those are the mornings I reach for the Wrinkle Warrior. This is a two in one that I believe acts like a ten in one. It's a serum and a moisturiser, but oh so much more. I wash my face, throw this on and go straight onto some quick makeup. It makes for a great primer and leaves you with a pretty epic glow. I honestly don't know what I have done without this in my life and I travel with it everywhere now. Every trip these days seems to be carry on only and it really does replace so many beauty products that I faff about with on a regular basis. If you are a woman in a hurry but don't want your face to suffer the consequences, buy this. 

Alright, let's take a step back here and remember that there are a few days when I do have time to apply multiply products. On those days you can bet your bottom dollar that Estee's Youth Serum is my little secret weapon. This serum utilises the new Floralixir Dew and Ultimate lift technology. Or as Estee Lauder describes it - "Precious droplets suspended in the silky-soft serum encapsulate key youth boosters, then burst in a rush of renewal for a younger, radiant look." Let me translate. This is an anti aging product. It works to firm and lift the skin, and yes it really does work. It also has the glow factor. Can you tell I'm a woman on the hunt for the ultimate glow? I use this exclusively in the evening when I have a bit longer to spoil myself. 

Yes, Jo Malone has finally brought us lip solutions and this lip balm is heaven in a tiny little tub. I am simply obsessed. I carry it everywhere and I think of it as much more of daily skincare item than makeup. This is keeping the lips soft and chap free. Oh, and it smells amazing and has a hint of mint to help with anyone suffering from post-coffee breath!

If you invest in only one beauty product from reading today, make it this. I am obsessed with this balm. I carry it with me everywhere, but it has really showcased itself as a must have product while travelling. The first thing I do when I get on an airplane now is take off all my makeup and apply this balm. If it's a long haul flight, it gets applied two or three times. During the day, just running around London, I've been known to throw a quick flash balm moment in the back of the cab. My skin has never reacted to a product like this one before. It smells amazing, feels amazing and makes your skin look like you have a supermodel glow. I'm a woman obsessed. Can you tell? Buy this. Buy this now. 

Micellar Water is a product I've only recently discovered although everyone in beauty has been talking about it for ages. At the moment I'm using Olay, but it's because I picked it up at a CVS in New York to take off my eye makeup and the rest is history. I'm sure next month it will be a different brand, so don't pay too much attention the brand at this point. And please know that I only use it for makeup removal. This is not my only way of cleansing my skin as I actually am not a huge fan of the residue it leaves on my face. But, it feels a lot more gentle in removing the daily makeup than most makeup removers. So, I'd recommend it for anyone that's tired of feeling like they are stripping their face with traditional makeup removers. 

Here's where I have to admit to being a moron. I've heard people talk about Pixi Glow Tonic for years - mostly Caroline Hirons - and I've been a stick in the mud and haven't purchased it. Then one day I did. I passed it in Selfridges and took it as a sign. Within one week of using this twice a day I had a new face. I kid you not. My biggest complaint has always been the little bumps on my face that never seem to go away. Well, I found the solution - Glow Tonic. My skin was softer than a baby's butt and I became an addict. I now have travel sized bottles filling my cupboard as well so I can grab them and go on trips. There isn't a day that goes by now that I don't use this. Another must have, ladies and gents! 

I keep this in my fridge and use it as a pickmeup when my skin has that mid-day slump. It's just a nice spritz to wake your skin up. It's equally helpful when you just need to wake up in the morning. This is the way I'm getting my Vitamin C these days... don't tell my mom. She still believes I should be drinking OJ every morning at breakfast! 


Now onto the products I use occasionally....


Can you tell I have a thing for Pixi? Hey, they do good products, so I'm all too happy to spread the love. Their Rose Oil Blend is a new product I'm using in my path to getting my head around oils. I've never been a huge fan but I know they are great for the skin. So, on the weekends, when I have a little more time to let products dry before laying my head on the pillow, I'll apply the Pixi Rose Oil Blend. I can see the benefit. My skin, the next morning, is dewy and soft and full of life. More on this later... still in trial mode...

When my lips are seriously in trouble, this is the solution I reach out for. In winter, I put pawpaw on my lips every night just like I apply a moisturiser. This is my chapped lip solution and I am never without it. 

Alright, let's get into the masks here. Pixi calls their Oxygen Mask a breath of fresh air for your skin and marks it as the ideal product for city dwellers who need to give their oxygen deprived skin some help. I give myself a mask about three times a week and this is my Friday mask. I like to think of it as my city cleanser and way of saying goodbye to the city of London air for two whole days! Your skin does actually feel like it's cleansed and open to fresh air when you take off the mask. Plus, it's a pretty easy price tag for the wallet. What's not to love? 

I have to admit I was sold on the crazy appearance of this mask above all else. The silver mask goes on and when it dries it makes you look like the tin man. This is no joke. You finish with a shiny chrome face and it's all a bit insane. It's also a peel off mask, so it starts messy but comes off completely clean. It also promises to give you a firming and lifting result. Let's be honest here -it also makes for a kick ass instastory. 

I am pretty blessed that I have never had severe acne. Every single one of my siblings did and I felt their pain. But, this was a good 20-25 years ago and technology has come a long way. My skin has also changed a hell of a lot and I am now completely at the mercy of the hormonal breakout and when it's bad, it's bad. Last month, however, Kate Somerville introduced me to her Eradikate. It's a solution for breakouts. In fact, it's an overnight solution, as in one night you have a blemish and the next day it's gone. This is my bottle of magic. It really does work. You just stick a q-tip in, apply the solution to the problem, go to bed and wake up forgetting you ever had the problem to begin with. Nothing works like this. Nothing.

One last mask for you and then we'll be done. This is the Darphin Stress Relief oil mask and I use it for exactly what it's made for - stress. If I've had a day that has completely thrown me down a black hole, I come home, take off my makeup, throw on some sweats and sit myself on my couch with this mask on. The scent is heaven on earth and with every deep breath, I find every bad moment of the day slip away forever. It's great for skin glow, but I believe this is even better for the soul! This is my stress killer and I love it. 


Now, let's talk hair....


Every time I'm home, without fail, I buy a bottle of this hairspray. I fell in love with the smell, the hold and the product packaging during a blow dry in their salon in NYC. They sell their products in retailers across the USA and I just can't say enough good things.... 

The lovely guys over at 72 sent me a huge care package full of goodies last month and I pretty much fell in love with all of their products. So, it's worth taking a look at the whole line if you're in for a new haircare regime. But, I am a huge fan of the 72 Blow Dry Cream and the Oil. The Cream is really their hero product and as it should be. It cuts down on drying time, offers a great heat protectant element to your regime and gives you some locks that are seriously luscious. For me, this is my frizz killer when I'm in the South... and if you've ever been to the South you will know that humidity is the silent good hair killer! 

It's only recently that I've really started to take my haircare as seriously as my skincare. And just like skin, hair needs the occasional extra treatments. So masques have become a part of my weekly ritual. And the Lore Dry Hair Masque is my absolute love.... mostly because you don't have to wet your hair before using it. You can just throw it on overnight or 15 minutes before you shampoo and you will see some serious results. Don't ever forget that your hair is the hardest thing to replace. Take good care of it! They've yet to discover the equivalent for botox for hair. So love what you've got! 

This one's simple. You've all heard of John Frieda by now, so no need for an intro. But, you do need to know that if you need some extra body in your hair, this is the best stuff their is on the market today. Oh, and it's 100% affordable and sold at your local drug store. 

I believe every girl needs two brushes in their lives. You need a great detangler (and the wet brush is the best detangler there is as it doesn't hurt and it won't kill your hair). 


...and you need a Mason Pearson Brush. This brush is good for your scalp, great for distributing oil from scalp to ends and leaves your hair looking absolutely bloody marvellous, darling!

So, let's move on to body....


For me, this is the smell of home. Growing up in the south, I feel like there was always a smell of Magnolia in the air. Clarins have captured it perfectly and this hand cream is just fantastic. So yeah, there's a personal connection there. But, ladies, you need to be travelling with hand cream always! This is a great size and is made with a formula that leaves you with non greasy hands in seconds! 

I was born without a thigh gap. There. The secret is out. This also means that hot weather and dresses can be totally uncomfortable. I've written about thigh chafing before and I'm not ashamed to say that I need a little help in this department. Megababe is new to the market but it's the best. It comes in a cool stick (which is eons better than the traditional packaging of other products that don't work and are just embarrassing as hell to be seen with) and is easy to apply and travel with. If you have any issues at all with discomfort in the summer months, make this a purchase right now in preparation! 

I have worn this scent for nearly seven years now. It is me. It is also the best smelling fragrance of all time. But as fragrance is personal, I can only speak for myself here. I get a lot of questions about my scent, though, so thought I'd put this one to rest. 

This famous Brazilian cream may be designed for the tush but I use it absolutely everywhere. It is the best body cream I've ever used and I buy it three at a time to make sure I never run out! 

And finally, makeup.... as it's the last thing I put on! 

I use this palette for everything from eye shadow to bronzer and even for highlighting a few times, in a pinch. But, for £14.99, it's a pretty good deal for those of us looking for a great contouring palette that delivers in spades. 

29. Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder Eyeshadow
Annoyingly I don't think you can buy the Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder eyeshadows anymore. But, if you ever come across them, invest! These pigments are insane! 

This is the only powder I have ever used and probably ever will use. I don't usually wear powder, but if I'm doing any photoshoots at all, I always have this in my pocket as lights can make you melt! And this little pocket shine protector kills any glare on the skin while letting you maintain that healthy, un made up appearance. Can't say enough about this product really. It's a lifesaver. 

I love a two in one. I know it's against everything everyone is saying right now, but I just love when a product can do more than one thing. It Cosmetics have sorted me out with this blush and bronzer, mostly because it just makes me look healthy. I just whisk a bit on and I look like I've actually slept, when the truth of the matter is that I'm so jetlagged I'm surprised I look human at all. It's the first blush of any kind that I can put on without looking like a clown. Go figure. 

Let's talk primers. There are two I use for glow that you'll read below. But, there's one I use in case of emergencies. My emergency is usually a face that looks like a red tomato and that's where Clarins SOS primers come in. I can apply an anti redness primer and be good to go for putting on a great CC cream over and feeling somewhat normal again. These are new, but the concept itself is as old as time. Clarins have got it spot on with this formula and I couldn't be more appreciative. 

There are two primers I swear by to give me some great glow before applying makeup (the other one's next up), but there's only one I swear by when it comes to primer that can stand on its own without the need for additional makeup. This YSL Glow deserves a place in the beauty hall of fame. Most days I'll put it on and not feel the need for anything else. My skin just looks radiant and that's the end goal isn't it?

You'll see I mention another glow product from Charlotte Tilbury down below. She's the queen of all over glow and her brightening youth glow is my latest look into what she was capable of as a makeup artist. She calls this her "youth in a tube," and she's not far from the truth. It blurs blemishes, corrects skin tone and brightens your whole face with all kinds of clever magic.

This is new in and almost entirely gone. This is hands down the best highlighter I've ever used. I dab it on my cheekbones, cupid's bow and down the nose and I'm a glowing goddess. I'm not sure what makes this so different but there is nothing else like it on the market.

Totally put this in the wrong place as it should be in skin care - another mist that I keep in the fridge and apply before serums! 

I'm typically an Anastasia Beverly Hills girl when it comes to brows but I ran out and found myself buying Benefit in a pinch. My thoughts? It's not Anastasia, but it's pretty good. It does the trick and does seem pretty goof proof. But, I'm not sold on how long it lasted. The jury's still out so may report back more on this later....

I'm putting this under makeup instead of skincare, because it's so good I think of it as a concealer almost. The Decleor Eye Cream erases dark circles for most and diminishes them for those who truly suffer from under eye circles (speaking of myself here). This is some of the best eye cream out there and it is a daily must for me. 

The only red lipstick I use and will ever use. If I'm wearing a red lip, it's this. Need I say more? 

Clearly It Cosmetics is a brand I'm currently obsessing over, and with good reason. I have reason to believe they are the best. My skin certainly thinks so. I feel like I'm wearing nothing at all when I wear It Cosmetics, yet I feel like the products are truly making me look like my best self... if that makes sense? Their bye bye under eye cream though... this is the best under eye concealer I've ever used, as in I put it on in the morning and do not need to reapply an under eye concealer all day... even in 100 degree heat. Yeah, that's a miracle we are talking about. This is like armour for the eyes! 

I don't wear foundation - never have and never will. But, on the day when the redness is too much, I do wear CC cream, only one CC Cream. It Cosmetics CC Cream is something every single woman on this planet should own. The coverage is amazing, but also allows for your own glow to shine through. I wear this most days to help disguise the less than stellar complexion from too much travelling. Honestly, if you have not tried this, you are missing out. You really might not need that epic full coverage foundation you are swearing by at the moment. Give this a go. I promise you won't regret it. 

Charlotte Tilbury is the queen of the glow and pretty much anytime she brings out any product that promises a glow to the skin, I'm there in a red hot minute. She is the glow goddess for a reason... she knows what she's doing. Her new wonderglow delivers the ultimate all over facial illumination. I call this "St Barts in a bottle."

Ok, I have to eat my words. There is another blush I love, that I carry around with my everywhere because it's tiny and I can just dab a bit on the apples of my cheeks and look ready for whatever life throws at me. By Terry is legendary and this is definitely a hero product. 

If you are looking for a great new mascara, get involved here. This basically does everything - lifts, lengthens, separates and gives volume. It's also waterproof, so it's exactly what you need for the warmer months ahead. 

Alright, I need to stop writing now... my hands have cramped and if I write about another beauty product I might just die of boredom. Sorry but 44 products in one review is deadly. Why did I do that to myself? Hope you managed to get some good tips!