There’s been bona fide innovation in beauty over the last couple of years or so – like nothing we’ve seen before. It’s not just about revamped formulations or line extensions (Got the moisturizer? Buy the eye cream!).These are new product categories – game changers that actually add something useful to our beauty regimes, like BB creams, cushion compacts and home lasers. There are also the many in-shower products that make getting ready faster, easier and better.
Here are the latest and greatest, from a foundation that goes on like balm, dries like powder and makes skin look poreless, to a range specifically designed for menopausal skin.
How much do I love this product? So much that I’ve been using the wrong shade for a couple of weeks because it makes my skin look great, on the go, with zero mess. Applied with a brush or sponge, it has a cream/balm-like texture and gives light to medium coverage. It dries to a velvety finish, like powder, but doesn’t settle into fine lines and crow’s feet. Instead, skin looks poreless and flawless. You need to reapply after a couple of hours, but because it’s a compact, that’s super easy to do.
The regular version of this is a perennial favourite of makeup artists but no one really wants to bring a bottle of foundation out in their handbag. Now, Lauder has come up with a portable version. Open the compact and press the button once to release the right amount of foundation for light coverage, or twice for full coverage. Apply it with fingertips or a sponge. You get all the benefits of the DoubleWear formulation (hyaluronic acid and glycerine for moisturization, argireline to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, natural-looking and long-lasting coverage) but with the convenience of a compact.
Menopausal skin is not well catered for by beauty brands. This is sort of perplexing because menopause is as significant a change for skin as puberty – common problems include adult acne, dramatic sagging and wrinkling, papery texture and extreme dryness. These kinds of issues can’t necessarily be addressed with anti-ageing skincare designed for people in their 30s or 40s. The Neovadiol range has been around for some years and this serum is the latest addition. It supposedly compensates for hormone loss with a combination of moisturizing, retexturizing and plumping ingredients, leaving skin feeling softer and more nourished, and looking brighter.
Lining the waterlines (the pink bit between your upper or lower lashes and your eyeball) can make peepers look bigger and more wide-awake. It’s tricky to do with a standard eyeliner because that part of your eye is naturally wet, so most products run and vanish pretty quickly. This liner has a creamier texture that supposedly allows it to glide on more easily, and is waterproof for all-day staying power. It’s not particularly difficult to use– just press the pencil over the upper or lower waterline in small stroke. Remember to sharpen your pencil before you use it, every time – this keeps it clean so there’s less chance of eye infection.
At-home beauty devices have been a real game-changer for women who want real results but don’t have the time or money to regularly visit a dermatologist. This latest one is the eye version of the popular Tria Age-Defying Laser (reviewed here). Like the original, the Age-Defying Eye Wrinkle Correcting Laser works by damaging cells in the skin’s dermis, prompting the skin’s healing mechanisms so new collagen is generated and wrinkles are reduced. The eye version has a smaller tip than the original, so you can get much closer to peepers, and you need to treat the area for just a minute per eye. Pain levels are said to be roughly the same as the original laser – sore, but not agonizing, leaving redness and a hot sensation afterwards. You can use both lasers in succession, but only treating the eye area once, with the Eye Wrinkle Correcting Laser.
Colour-correcting products – concealers or primers that come in weird pastel hues and promise to cancel out redness, dark circles, sallowness and so on – have been around forever and a day. What’s new about this one is it gives all the colours you could possibly need – yellow and pink for dark circles, purple for sallowness, green for redness, plus two shades for normal concealing and contouring. It’s also easy to use, and it actually works. The yellow is the only thing I’ve ever tried that even comes close to hiding my mammoth eye bags, while the green is perfect for redness around the nose.
Bath bombs are fun – they fizz and turn your bath to lurid colours – but they’re usually a bit ugly, and they generally don’t do an awful lot for your skin. This one is white and minimalist, and contains mango butter, almond oil, honey and neroli oil to moisturize, plus oatmeal to reduce itching. There’s also Epsom salt, which is an amazing anti-inflammatory – for various unpleasant reasons, it’s a must after you have a baby. The bomb is Canadian made, and is exactly the size of a regulation hockey puck.
Lip inks, where you get the staying-power of a stain but the finish of a gloss, are all the rage in Korea. K-brand THEFACESHOP’s is one of the first to hit Canada. Hydrating (it’s 70 per cent water) and highly pigmented, it comes in 12 shades and promises to stick around for 12 hours.
Gel manicures were game-changing when they launched a few years back because they let you have a flawless manicure for a good couple of weeks, as opposed to the 20 minutes you get from regular polish if you’re anything like me. The downsides? It takes a while to apply because each coat of polish must be cured under a UV light before the next layer can be added. It’s also a pain to get off – you need to sit around in little acetone-soaked nail hats for 15 minutes before the polish can be scraped away. CND™ Shellac™ was one of the original gel manicure systems. Now it’s come up with the express version. It takes half the time to apply and just five minutes to remove, without any damage to your nails, but supposedly stays flawless and shiny for a good 14 days. Concerned about UV exposure damaging your skin? The system has internal mirrors to direct the UV rays towards the nail only.