2020: The year where even an introverted stay-at-home-sloth like myself realised it is actually possible to have too much ‘me’ time.
At this very moment, I’m looking straight ahead to a pretty bare ‘to test’ beauty box which once was a mountain of “not right nows”. There are some much coveted beauty products that (despite their hype) I’d just not tried, until the gaping black hole of time that was 2020.
‘Maskne‘ had me reaching for salicylic acid (having dry skin meant this was a rare occurrence previously). I grew my natural hair colour out (I’m still sporting a kitchen scissors lob/mullet) and that meant me trying more strengthening hair treatments than usual. I also managed to test out some fake tans that had been rattling in the bottom of my drawers for some time, in the comfort of knowing that if it all went horrendously wrong, the only person to witness it would be my mum.
These are all beauty decisions 2019 me would never have taken a punt on. So here it is, the products that provided me with a glimmer of escapism, or at least a bucket full of dew, in 2020.
I bang on about this product so much on @bambidoesbeauty that I’m even a little embarrassed typing this out right now. I fell for every inch of this product. From formula that absorbs immediately, but leaves infinite glow to packaging that outshines everything else on your shelfie. This honey hued skin barrier strengthening serum is albeit ridiculously expensive droplets of heaven for the visage.
Founded by Jo Malone herself in 2011, I don’t know how it took me ‘till 2020 but here I am relentlessly firing up my log burner – aka Log Fires scented candle. I love a woody embers scent and this candle went above and beyond any realms of expectation. It makes me feel like I own a Cotswolds home, with stone floor and wood burning fires in every room. I don’t, I’m in Tier 3 in the East Mids living in the same bedroom I did since I owned a groovy chick duvet, but this candle takes you there, so I guess that’s saying something.
After years of bleaching my hair, it had gotten to a state of what can only be described as Worzel Gummidge meets the Weetos man. So I saw the cancelled events, and lack of IRL meetings as an opportunity to take the plunge and grow my natural hair colour out/nurse my hair back to health in general. A brand I’ve always turned to when it comes to hair health are Aveda and this year they launched Botanical Repair. A range that, 6 years in the making, took me 6 minutes after washing out to realise it was yet another hit. The whole collection is incredible ,but the stand out product for me is the Botanical Repair Intensive Strengthening Masque Rich aka the ‘no messing’ mask that strengthens the hair (needed) and softens it too (without silicones may I add!).
‘Maskne’ really gave salicylic acid it’s moment in 2020 and the salicylic acid product of the internet, turns out to be just as great IRL. I’m no stranger to a blackhead (or 10), but for some reason I hadn’t given this product a proper good go until this year, and I’m so glad I did. At 2% salicylic acid, it resurfaces skin as well as exfoliating within the pore lining itself, and I’ve never had a product make such a difference to my congestion. Paula’s Choice also do an Anti Ageing BHA formulated with peptides which soothe and soften the skin and fine lines, my mum’s gone through her bottle within weeks and is already asking for a top up (and note the only beauty products she’s ever wanted top ups of is Chanel bath and body, so the bar is set pretty high!).
If like me, you’re a serial fake tanner and just don’t feel ‘yourself’ without it, you’ll understand that testing a new one out is as scary as it is just plain unnecessary! That is until you do try a new one out and realise it’s even better than your last and didn’t make you look like a throwback to 2010, when more was more and fake tanning wipes were the forefront of beauty technology. Luckily I’d seen a few of Vogue Williams’ (the founder, aka beautiful accomplished and just all round likeable woman) IGTVs, where she applies it on herself, so I knew it was a good olive tone (very important). The formula glides on velvety smooth, I know fake tan is generally expensive but this had a more expensive feel than the packaging would have you believe, and the all important result is an olive bronzed hue…phew!
As a brand famed for their Liquid Gold (a chemical exfoliating solution) it may come as a surprise to you (as it did to me) that the stand out product from for me, is a teeny tiny unassuming looking serum, dressed in Glossier worthy pastel pink packaging, containing Vitamin E. The last time I stopped and took note of Vitamin E was probably when The Body Shop brought out their range, which was yonks ago and since then the likes of Vitamin C and A have taken centre stage. Vitamin E however, unlike the potent Vitamin C and A, brings a quiet calm to the skin’s moisture barrier, strengthening and nourishing even the most sensitive of skins. It’s a product I turn to regularly, even whilst it’s surrounded by a sea of serums on my shelf that are louder and punchier in their claims, my skin enjoys the calming comfort it provides.