Firstly, Happy New Year to y’all!
So I thought I would start 2015 with a series of ‘Top 5’ pieces that look back at some of my favourite products of 2014. First up, we have ‘My Top 5 Skincare Launches’. Strangely for me, there was little debate when it came to finalising this list, because for once I had very clear favourites in this category.
Believe me, I trial a lot of skincare products, in the never-ending quest for those that truly deliver. In terms of anti-ageing, I do think the top priority for skincare should be sunscreen, closely followed by a topically-applied antioxidant. However, looking down at the list below as I was writing, it couldn’t be clearer that, for skincare at least, I am also drawn to products that achieve radiance and dewiness.
All of the products in this list pick the skin up in one or both of these ways. I believe that both attributes are the sign of good health and youthfulness, and if you have to fake it, fake it! Better still if you find a product that instantly achieves this effect, but also goes some way to allowing your skin to pick itself up and achieve that look naturally too. I think each of my picks below go some way to fulfilling this brief.
So without further ado, let’s get started on the skincare countdown… (drum roll, please!).
Best Body Product: Garnier Body Oil Beauty Lotion
In at number 5, we have a product for both body and hands, the Garnier Body Oil Beauty Lotion. I love the technology now available that allows all the nourishment and radiance of oil application, but with none of the post-application greasiness. This product is a great example of it that also will not break the bank. It contains not just one oil, but a heady cocktail of argan, macademia, almond & rose. All of these are renowned for their nourishment and skin regeneration properties.
It leaves the skin soft and silky smooth, without a hint of greasiness or tackiness. Great for the summer, when you can show off the flattering radiant finish it leaves on the limbs. It multi-tasks as a nice lightweight hand cream too. The only downside is the heavy, sweet fragrance, which I personally am not a fan of. It doesn’t stop me using it, though, as the aroma is fairly fleeting.
Best Serum: By Terry Cellularose Brightening Serum
At number 4, we have this radiance-enhancing and luminising beauty from By Terry – the Cellularose Brightening Serum. I make no bones about it: what excites me most in the field of beauty is new and innovative technology. For this reason, I have long been a fan-girl of the brand By Terry, and its founder, Terry de Gunzberg. Put simply, her products perform, and I am usually first in the queue at Space NK when she launches anything new.
This product seriously plumps out lines, and makes my skin look so dewy that it positively glows – to the point where I get complimented on it! Do I need to say any more? I use it under my moisturiser as a serum, but also over skincare and makeup as a luminising pick-me-up whenever needed – throughout the daytime and evening. A great night treatment too.
Best Treatment: REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial
Number 3 brings a post-cleansing pick-me-up from REN – the Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial. Big on results for very little effort just about sums it up. Perfect to really brighten and perk the skin up before an event, or for the morning after a heavy night. It is quick and effective – what more could a girl ask for?!
However, the beauty with this product lies not just in the immediate brightening it imparts, but also in the long-term benefits the high dose of vitamin C it delivers can bring to the skin when used regularly. Vitamin C is still one of the few products that is actually scientifically proven to increase collagen synthesis over time, thereby plumping out the skin and bringing increased skin elasticity and firmness.
So this product is a win-win both as a quick brightening fix and in the longer-term battle with skin ageing. Just be wary if you either have particularly sensitive skin, or if you are prone to cystic acne (the glycerine-complex that stabilises the vitamin C content in this product may block pores and cause outbreaks).
Best Mask: Crème de la Mer Intensive Revitalizing Mask
In at number 2, we have one of the latest launches from Crème de la Mer – The Intensive Revitalizing Mask – so I immediately feel I should start with an apology. I am so sorry to include such an expensive item on this list: the price makes me baulk too. However, since receiving a sample of it to try when it launched a few months back, I have been hooked.
It does exactly what it says on the tin, I am afraid. At this ridiculous price, I would love to be able to tell you I have found it to be snake oil, but not so. Not only does it plump out the skin beautifully, filling out lines, it also leaves a beautiful, almost opalescent, finish to the skin. It is the perfect pick-me-up for tired, parched or hungover skin. You simply apply, leave for 8 minutes, and then apply your usual skin care over the top. Makes it perfect if you are struggling to function after little sleep – and with a hangover to boot! I even apply it over my skincare to pick my skin up during the day, and it also makes a great night treatment and lip-plumper.
Just be careful to avoid the eye area, as it can cause puffiness. In fact, that would be my one request to the product formulators at Crème de la Mer: please, please, please can we have a version of this for the under-eye area – the market is crying out for it!
If you want to try it, but are hoping to avoid a spending splurge after Christmas, do pop along to a counter and ask for a small sample pot – it can be used sparingly, and will seriously impress! Selfridges also currently have 10% off it and all skincare.
Best Facial Oil: Sarah Chapman Morning Facial
And at number 1, we have my current favourite: Sarah Chapman’s Morning Facial. This product is a very recent launch and I am already well into my second bottle of it, so that should go some way to demonstrate just how much I love it! (See my first review of the Sarah Chapman Morning Facial here).
Facial oils have been trending a fair bit again over recent months. Personally, I love them because they provide a great boost to the moisture levels in the skin, and they add a radiance that looks fresh and can take years off you. So I knew I wanted one in my ‘Top 5 Skincare Launches’ list, and I also knew there were two front-runners from those I have trialled: Sarah Chapman’s Morning Facial and Sisley’s Black Rose Precious Face Oil. Both of these are fantastic products, but I have plumped – pardon the pun – for Sarah Chapman out of the two. This is for three reasons:
Firstly, Sarah combines the latest scientific advances with cutting edge ingredients to produce targeted results. In addition to the oil content in her formula, the number of active ingredients she uses (and at levels higher than most brands) means that the product has the ability to deliver results above and beyond that which you can expect from a blend of natural oils alone.
Secondly, whilst being incredibly nourishing, due to its clever formulation, Sarah’s product is lighter by design than Sisley’s. This makes it more versatile, and suitable for both a day and night time boost (do not let the name stop you with the latter – it is great combined with a night treatment!). More importantly for me, however, is that it is light enough to be applied very sparingly under my eyes, and I have found this has really helped to keep fine lines at bay in this delicate area throughout the day, without causing puffiness. This is just not possible with other oils. And although this formula is lightweight compared to others, I have found the results from it to be cumulative, with hydration levels remaining high in my skin even after cleansing – impressive!
Thirdly, and finally, Sarah has applied clever cosmetic science to this product, formulating it with ‘Ultra-Filling Spheres™’. These beauties swell in the skin to really help smooth and plump it out, leaving a smoother finish, and priming it for makeup application.
The icing on the cake for me, however, is that this product is great when a drop is shaken in a small amount of water and spritzed on over makeup. It instantly sets the makeup, and adds radiance at any time of the day when your skin or makeup is flagging. I just love it!
You can see my ‘First Look’ feature on the Sarah Chapman Morning Facial here if you wish to read about the huge list of actives Sarah has included in it. My full review of it will also be coming soon.
OK, maybe we’re not quite done yet! Naughty, I know, but if I could have just one more, it would be….
Best Moisturiser: Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream
Although not strictly in my top 5, I had to sneak this one in. And yes, it is not strictly a 2014 launch either, given it landed on UK shelves at the end of 2013, and even pre-existed that form, back stage at fashion shows and shoots, as a mythical must-have before going into production proper. But it was launched in the US in 2014, so that’s good enough for me!
Charlotte’s Magic Cream from Charlotte Tilbury is aptly named for me on a number of counts…
Firstly, it contains the most important ingredient, a sunscreen, so it helps protect the skin against sun damage and therefore ageing. Secondly, it primes the skin beautifully for makeup. It sinks straight in, whilst still nourishing the skin nicely; it somehow manages to smooth the skin out, but with none of that annoying roll-off you can sometimes then find upon makeup application. Thirdly, it contains an impressive list of active ingredients and oils, which all help to plump the skin out and boost collagen production over the longer term.
For me, however, the best part is the radiant glow it imparts to the skin immediately upon application. It just lifts dull and lacklustre skin, faking a good night’s sleep. I often reapply a dab of it on my cheeks during the day to pep my skin up and inject a bit of life back into it. A real rescue remedy and good all-rounder!
Well that’s it, folks. These products are the best skincare launches of 2014 for me, and here’s to an exciting and innovative year in skincare ahead of us in 2015!
Please do add your comments below. Do you agree with my choices? Are there any other new skincare products that have been exciting you over the last year that you think I’ve overlooked? Or are there any upcoming product launches in 2015 that you simply cannot wait to get your hands on?
Check back again soon for the next in this series: ‘My Top 5 Cosmetic Launches of 2014’…. Don’t forget to click the ‘follow’ link below, and you’ll be the first in the know!
Posted by Jill
I am a skincare and beauty aficionado, and the founder of Nameless Grace. I aim to be your friendly guide through the minefield of
marketing claims and the latest beauty trends.