WORDS EMILIE LOUIZIDES
Somehow we're well into 2023 and I've remained consistent with my resolution to downsize my possessions - particularly those in my medicine cabinet. As a beauty editor and makeup artist, I often find myself drowning in products that always seem to accumulate out of nowhere and distract from my actual favourites that get used on a daily basis. Trying new things can be a lot of fun but for now, these are the products that I'm in a committed relationship with. Everything on this list is either in my bathroom, my makeup kit, or my travel bag and I always have backups on hand. If you're curious about what a beauty editor actually uses regularly or you're looking to switch up some of your staple products, then keep reading.
We're such big fans of hello - the naturally friendly oral care brand - at F Word that we created a whole beauty editorial based on the brand's colour story. You can match your makeup to the post-consumer recycled plastic toothpaste tubes like we did or just admire them on your bathroom sink but the best thing about hello's products is actually using them. I find myself going back and forth between the Activated Charcoal, Anti Plaque and Whitening, and Naturally Whitening Toothpastes every morning and evening - I literally always have an open tube of each because I can't stick with just one for an extended period of time. The minty flavours, freshness, and cleanliness all measure up to one another, and the brand is vegan and cruelty-free, sustainable and natural, making it my current and sustained favourite.
KEYS Soulcare Golden Cleanser With Manuka Honey
If you're struggling to find a hydrating cleanser that also purifies the skin or a cleanser that clears away makeup, dirt and debris while still leaving the skin feeling nourished then here's your answer. Created with Alicia Keys herself, KEYS Soulcare explores ancient beauty rituals and extends to the whole self. Formulated for all skin types, the Golden Cleanser is comprised of soothing turmeric, antioxidant-rich and hydrating Manuka honey, and soothing chamomile. I shower at night and just as Alicia Keys intended, this cleanser is the best part of my evening ritual. The scent of honey and sage creates a calming atmosphere while the lather of the product cleans the day away. Ordinarily a purifying cleanser leaves my skin feeling stripped and dry but this one continues to benefit my skin after I wash it off.
Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum
It's widely known that skincare takes time to start working so, before I first tried Vintner's Daughter's Active Botanical Serum I was skeptical to read that the product produced immediate results. But sure enough, my skin looked noticeably radiant, plump, and somehow clearer after the very first application. According to the brand, our skin recognises the plant actives that make up the serum as the essential building blocks of its own structure, allowing them to stimulate cellular turnover, maintain skin elasticity, inhibit melanin production, deliver oxygen to cells, and nourish and protect against free radical damage. The steps taken to achieve these results begin with a precise, gentle and temperature controlled 21-day infusion process, resulting in the fullest spectrum of nutrition to be gained from the whole botanicals. I've never tried anything quite like this product and I plan to keep it as the most luxurious part of my rotation.
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Exfoliant
This bestselling exfoliant around the world has been talked about all over the internet for years and it deserves another mention here. We've all heard of this product but chances are, we haven't all heard of the woman behind it. Paula Begoun believes in telling the truth about skincare and creating science-backed solutions for our skin. Launched in the year 2000, Paula's 2% BHA was one of the first leave-on exfoliants to hit the market. Suitable for normal and acne-prone skin, this product fights breakouts and blackheads with a fast-absorbing liquid formula and removes built-up dead skin cells. I'm currently practicing skin cycling where I use this product one night, followed by a retinol the next night, and then I take two night off from acids and actives. The nights I use this product are my favourites because I always wake up the following mornings with what looks and feels like brand new skin.
COSRX AC Collection Acne Patch
I've struggled with acne on and off since I was about fifteen but it wasn't until this past Christmas when I featured COSRX Pimple Patches in our gift guide that I became a devout PPP (pimple patch person). Hydrocolloid, the main ingredient in these patches, maintains a humid environment over the blemish while simultaneously absorbing discharge and speeding up the healing time. I always think it's too good to be true every time I wake up with a spot but sure enough, every time I peel off the patch there's a satisfying build up of gunk that's left my skin and the pimple is either majorly reduced or completely gone. I wear these during the day because they're practically invisible, when I travel to keep airplane breakouts at bay, and overnight so I can wake up with clear skin.
Neal's Yard Restoring Bath Scents
If you also live in the UK, you're well aware that the winter cold sinks into your bones and doesn't leave. Wooly socks only seem to trap the cold and we only want to turn up our heating so high and for so long. Poaching myself in a scalding hot bath for a minimum of two hours is the only thing that truly warms up my body and for the past few months, no bath of mine has been complete without Neal's Yard Remedies Foaming Bath products. With organic blends of ylang ylang, clary sage, and patchouli oils in the Beauty Sleep blend, lavender, marjoram and geranium in the Aromatic blend, and seaweed and arnica in its very own blend, these bath products deliver options for a tranquil, restorative, and nourishing spa-like experience at home.
LUSH Shower Gel
My obsession with LUSH dates back to the old school YouTube days when the original influencers precariously displayed their bath bombs in glass apothecary jars on the edge of their tubs. From teenage hood to today, LUSH has always kept me coming back. While every product in this list - and across F Word's entire beauty section - is cruelty free, LUSH is extra loud and proud with their efforts to end animal testing in the cosmetics industry once and for all. This is the driving force that keeps me coming back to their Shower Gels over and over and over again. My favourite scents are Rose Jam, Happy Hippy, and Lord of Misrule which all come in bottles you can return to LUSH for money off your next purpose, creating an ethical cycle you'll never want to break.
Goop G.Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Exfoliating Shampoo
Okay, okay, I know. This shampoo is expensive. Like, silly expensive. BUT if you're like me and you only wash your hair once or twice a week, you'll be able to make this product last a long time; I started my first jar in October and I'm still working my way through it. It's also totally worth the investment if you're a wash-and-go girly who doesn't use many or any other hair products. The combination of detoxing Himalayan salt and replenishing cold-pressed moringa and rosehip oils has been keeping my naturally oily scalp balanced and for the first time in my life, I've been able to extend the days before my hair needs another wash.
Kosas Revealer Concealer
About a year ago, I decided it was time to leave my longterm, tested-on-animals concealer behind. Enter the internet's viral Kosas' Revealer Concealer, the most beautiful product that no other concealer, in my humble opinion, comes close to. Known for being the brand that creates makeup to improve your skin, this medium-coverage concealer contains brightening caffeine and pink algae, soothing arnica and provitamin B5, and plumping peptides and hyaluronic acid. The finish this concealer creates gives me the skin I've always wished I had naturally and when I wash it off every night I'm surprised by the clear quality and glow I'm left with. Kosas experiments and innovates exhaustively to achieve clean products that will benefit their customers. As a pro makeup artist, this is a brand I'll be keeping a close eye on.
Makeup By Mario Contour SoftSculpt Shaping Stick
Mario Dedivanovic is the celebrity makeup whose flawless work we've always assumed can never be replicated at home. I believed this to be true until I got my hands on his SoftScult Shaping Stick, a creamy, bendable product that can be used to warm up and bronze the face or give that full-on contoured illusion. This product blends so incredibly seamlessly and dries down to a matte finish, creating an intensely defined but somehow still natural looking face. I use this product to define my cheekbones, temples, nose and eyes. When I'm in a rush, it's often the only product I'll use and it leaves me looking both made up and effortless.
Blink Brow Bar Brow Gel and Mascara
Certain products live only in my personal makeup kit while others are only stocked in my professional kit but the Clear Brow Gloss and Iconic Tubing Mascara from Blink Brow Bar permanently exist in both. I can't believe I'm being so generous to divulge this info but these two products are what I use on myself day-to-day and on clients for the red carpet. The brow gloss provides the fluffy lift that I love without leaving residue behind or feeling stiff and crusty after drying. One coat of the mascara transforms lashes into the best version of themselves. I also love to start makeup on myself and clients with these two products; they emphasise my eyes so beautifully that a less-is-more approach can be taken with the rest of the face.