It’s not easy to pick a favourite beauty product for 2018 – the year that gave us Chanel No5 in ruby-red lipstick form, bestselling US brand Drunk Elephant landed in the UK and The Inkey List became the latest brand offering effective skincare for the price of a Pret mac and cheese. Still, needs must, so we tasked our in-house beauty experts and contributors to spill the beans on the single beauty product that dazzled their socks off over the past 12 months. We hope you’ll love them as much as we do.
FRANKIE GRADDON’S PICK: BABYLISS BIG HAIR
I discovered the original Babyliss Big hair at the beginning of this year and have to say it changed my life – or at least my hair. Being both lazy and utterly useless when it comes to blow-drying my own hair, for years I have rough dried it, then tonged it into some sort of shape. However, this baby has revolutionised my hair styling game. Use on almost dry hair and simply run the brush through sections twirling the bristles as you go. You are left with a sleek and bouncy bouff in mere moments. The latest Big Hair rendition launched towards the end of this summer and has the added perk of regulating the temperature to limit heat damage. If desert islands had plug sockets, this would be in my backpack.
SAM BAKER’S PICK: GLOSSIER MASCARA AND BEAUTY PIE OVERNIGHT SKIN PERFECTOR
I am on a one-woman permanent hunt for a mascara that turns my non-lashes into long NATURAL-LOOKING lashes. It's surprisingly hard, but Glossier Lash Slick is the closest I've come. It lengthens without thickening and clogging, and you don't have to more or less peel it off manually, unlike some other mascaras I could mention.
I use this religiously twice a week at bedtime and, this morning, someone said they couldn't believe I wasn't wearing any make-up AND I had a hangover, so that's good enough for me. And all for under £7, if you're a member.
ATEH JEWEL’S PICK: HUDA OBSESSIONS EYESHADOW PALETTE
I’m a colour cosmetics girl. Nothing makes my heart beat faster than that first slick, dip, smear of a fresh palette, blush or lipstick. This year, I’ve been particularly impressed by Huda Beauty’s eyeshadow palettes. The pigment is deep and dense, which pops on my dark skin, and the range of shades will look good on all skin tones, which feel so democratic and celebratory.
I also have to give a shout to Becca’s Chocolate Geode Shimmering Pressed Highlighter Perfector – a rich chocolate brown with golden pearl sheen. It’s perfect for darker skin – most highlighters look brassy, orange, ashy or too light for my skin, so this is a game-changer. I also use it on my lids as an eyeshadow.
CATE SEVILLA’S PICK: OLE HENRIKSEN BANANA BRIGHT EYE CREAM
I went on a serious make-up and skincare regime overhaul this year – mainly thanks to Katie Jane Hughes' Instagram. This is one of her recommendations and, honestly, when I started using this I feel like it brightened my whole face. It's expensive, but one pot usually lasts me around six months. It's one of the few skincare products that I use all of and then immediately replace. It's tricky to get hold of at the moment (you can find it on Amazon), but, the brand will be re-launching into the UK in February.
LIZZIE OSTROM’S PICK: GUCCI GUILTY ABSOLUTE POUR FEMME
I should practise what I preach more often and smell perfumes unseen. Recently, at an event for the British Society of Perfumers, reviewing key launches from 2018, I was really impressed by a scent that reminded me a little bit of famed perfume Portrait Of A Lady by Frederic Malle but less intimidating, and with its own voice. It was later revealed this was Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Femme, which I'd utterly failed to smell previously because I assumed it was just a variant on Gucci Guilty. Anyway, as is often the way, it's completely different and launches with an amazing bursting blackberry note and a patchouli and vetiver base. This is berry-stained lips and a dark velvet gown in a perfume. It's quite winsome and makes me think of the model Karen Elson for some reason. It's lovely to see such a great scent widely available and at such a reasonable price, from £49. Well done, Gucci and perfumer Alberto Morillas.
HANNAH BANKS-WALKER’S PICK: L’OREAL X ISABEL MARANT LIPSTICK
I am obsessed with lipstick – there's no denying it. I have about 17 in my bag at any one time. But, of all of them, L'Oréal makes the best red. I've been hanging on to my favourite for a while now because the brand discontinued it, but then Isabel Marant made my dreams come true with Palais Royal Field, a red lippy from her range for L'Oréal. It's the most glorious colour, stays on all day and night and I love it. Val Garland told me she also loves L'Oréal lippies, so you can't really argue with that.
SAMANTHA SILVER’S PICK: ELIZABETH ARDEN SUPERSTART PROBIOTIC CLEANSER
For me, this was the year of the cleanser. There is no point layering the most beautiful serums, spending money on the most exquisite of make-up, if your skin is a smeared and dirty canvas. Luckily, 2018 has delivered no end of high-performing formulas, but one of my favourites has to be Elizabeth Arden's Superstart Probiotic Cleanser Whip To Clay. I love this because it isn't just a boring old cleanser. It's a double-duty hybrid: a whipped clay formula that, when left on the skin for a few minutes, transforms into a mineral-rich mask, purifiying the skin, grabbing every last particle of daily grime. But the results tell you what you need to know – my skin simply looks glowy when I use it. And for something that's created to be – let's face it – washed down the drain, it doesn't cost silly money.
GENA-MOUR BARRETT’S PICK: WELEDA SKIN FOOD
I’m pretty sure 80% of the people who follow Katie Jane Hughes on Instagram have bought this product on her recommendation and it’s not hard to see why. Weleda Skin Food is hands down the best intensive moisturiser I’ve ever used. It’s super thick, which is initially difficult to get used to (especially if you have oily skin like me), but once you do it’s the perfect product to keep your skin soft and hydrated. I use a pea-sized amount at night and mix it with one pump of Inika Certified Organic Pure Rosehip Oil. Buy it now and thank me later.
TORY FROST’S PICK: ISLE OF PARADISE HAPPY TAN
If an occasion has required I get my pins out this year, this has been my go-to. It's a foolproof gradual tanner that shows results in one go, but builds up to a lovely tan, not a garden-fence hue, after three days' use – ie incredibly natural and streak-free. Post-shower, just slap it on liberally everywhere and wait two hours.
ELLE TURNER’S PICK: SOLEIL TOUJOURS MINERAL SUNSCREEN GLOW
I didn’t think it would be possible to get excited over an SPF – we know we should wear it, but it’s not exactly a treat. Well, I’ve changed my tune on account of trying Soleil Toujours Mineral Sunscreen Glow, which I discovered through Caroline Hirons’ all-green beauty collaboration box with Space NK (so, bonus, it’s made from all natural ingredients). It’s a mineral sunscreen but, rather than feeling heavy, oily or leaving a white residue on skin, it has a lovely, light, silky-feeling texture and a pretty golden undertone that works across all skin tones and gives dull cheeks a healthy dose of oomf. In fact, so good is its ability to make me look awake, refreshed and radiant in the morning that I use it in place of a highlighter. Now that’s an SPF I can get behind.