As someone who tests a lot of beauty products, it always piques my interest when something a little off piste lands on my desk. Admittedly, a lot of it is smoke and mirrors, but every now and then I come across an absolute gem. Today I'm talking beauty products that we absolutely don't need, per se, but since when did we let that stop us?...
Oil that works under your makeup? Nope, I'm not kidding... On mornings when my skin is looking as parched as it feels, a few drops of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil help adds radiance and moisture without making things too slippy or breaking down makeup. Very light in texture, this absorbs surprisingly quickly... I usually restrict it to areas where I'm more prone to dryness - avoiding the T-zone - and think it will work best on normal to dry skin. When it comes to adding longevity, I still prefer the Primer Water, but this one leaves me good to glow (sorry, couldn't resist).
If you want your face mask to work even harder, spritz clean skin with Origins Maskimizer and pat in before applying a mask. This mask primer preps skin, boosting absorption and hydration levels for more effective results. I've been using it on one side of my face only and can feel my skin more tacky on the other side, as if the product is sitting on the surface, whereas this encourages my face to hoover up the mask! After removal, my skin feels softer on the side I've used Maskimiser (yep, I was surprised too). If you're choosing what to splash the cash on, I'd opt for a great mask over this, but think skincare lovers who welcome an extra step will enjoy it. (My face is currently loving this overnight mask.)
I've been intrigued by lip oils since Clarins and YSL introduced them a year or two ago, so hurrah for budget friendly option, GOSH Lip Oil. I use a face oil most days during the Winter, so why not treat my lips too? I'd describe the texture as a non greasy liquid balm; it doesn't feel oily and keeps my lips really comfortable. Mine is Raspberry 04 but they have minimal colour, so don't be too swayed by that.
Although my lashes are forever in need of a little boost, I couldn't imagine the benefits of a lash primer until I tried this one, which I think is the best around. Estee Lauder Little Black Primer has multiple uses: worn alone it gives the illusion of naturally dark feathery lashes. Layered under mascara it adds both length and volume - and applied as a final step it locks in mascara all day. I rarely go for the third option, but have been loving the first two steps since this launched last year. Oh and it's also brilliant on bottom lashes for non spidery definition.
Vita Liberata Body Blur is an instant, wash-off self tan-slash-body makeup with BB properties to blur minor imperfections and enhance the appearance of skin. It blends in quickly and easily leaving a glowing, luminous finish. While it may not erase quite as many of said imperfections as I'd like (ahem!), it definitely evens out skintone and leaves my limbs looking a lot more presentable than before. It's currently available in one shade that's a touch dark for my fluro Winter limbs, but should work well in Summer. Probably not an everyday solution unless your name ends in Kardashian, but a good special occasion option if you're planning to show a lot of skin.
If you avoid hair masks for fear of them dripping all over your fave PJs or making your fancy towels grimy, Heat Treat may be the answer - and it claims to make hair masks work harder. The hair version of Origins Maskimizer, you might say. A microwaveable hair cap, worn over a hair mask, the warmth helps open hair's cuticles, making conditioning treatments extra effective and comes with a plastic liner to keep it clean. One for a pampering night in with the girls?
I'm a long term user of Sally Hansen's Invisible Lip Liner, but struggled to get my hands on a replacement, so was pleased to discover Pixi's Lip Contour Liner. The back of the packaging says 'Invisible Smudge Stopper' and I can't think of a better way to put it. I mainly use this with red or plum lipsticks which tend to bleed or stray a little, drawing a line around the very outside edge of my lips. The waxy texture keeps everything neatly in place and being transparent, it works with any lipstick shade.
Do you use any of these products - or think any of them are taking beauty maintenance a step too far?
Hand on heart, I can't describe any of them as actual essentials, but do enjoy using them - and would be particularly loathe to let you prise Lip Contour Liner or Little Black Primer out of my hands.