The sign of a good product is when you can’t stop reaching for it, and when you feel a little burst of happiness and satisfaction every time you use it. Organising expert Marie Kondo — who says everything you own should spark joy — would be proud to know that I derive a lot of joy from all these products.
1. The Ordinary Squalane oil
If you’re wary of using facial oils because you think it will clog up your skin or make you want to wash your face right after, then I have news for you. Squalane oil is one of the stars of my winter skincare arsenal and I would recommend it for any skin type. It has a very light texture and one to two drops goes a long way on the skin. It leaves a bit of a sheen when applied but dissipates after a few minutes, so I even use it in my morning routine. This will probably change once summer hits, but for now this is saving my dry skin. Dh28 on asos.com
2. Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
Another punch of hydration in my routine comes from this sweet-smelling baby. From the chic green and natural brand (with beautiful packaging) comes this alcohol-free toner featuring the antioxidant CoQ-10. It also contains aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, which gives it its soothing and moisturising properties. I use it every single night and I can’t do without its magic. If my skin is particularly aggravated, it immediately calms it down. I even dab it over my eyes when my allergies make them really itchy. Dh126 on cultbeauty.com
3. Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Sweet Mandarin
I’ve temporarily given up my doll pink blushes for this perfect, peachy coral that works wonderfully with my brown skin. There’s a slight touch of gold shimmer, which is not so obvious that I end up looking like a light bulb. The coral is also not too orange, which makes it much more wearable. The texture of this blush is heaven — feathery light and buildable. The sign of a good blush is when it almost blends itself into the skin, making it look like a natural flush, and this one definitely does it. Dh95.50 on lauramercier.com
4. Sephora Collection Outrageous Extension mascara
I’m a mascara lover but also a bona fide mascara critic, especially when it comes to new launches that claim to do everything including lengthen, volumise, extend, clean your house and fix your acne. Thankfully, this new launch from Sephora’s own brand does not disappoint. The first time I put it on, I had to do a double take — “am I seeing this correctly?” It lengthens and darkens very well, with a fair bit of volume. There’s no clumping and it doesn’t flake off or irritate the eyes even after hours or wear. Dh95 at Sephora.
5. Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick
Bullet lipsticks are dime a dozen, but it’s the formulation that sets Fenty Beauty’s product apart. This has all the positives of a liquid lipstick — rich, deep colour in a single swipe, and long wearing even after eating and drinking — but none of the negatives such as that awful dry feeling and the funny looking puckering. The plastic packaging feels a little flimsy, which is disappointing considering the cost per gram. I’m guessing I’m paying for that excellent formula more than anything. Dh95 at Sephora.