These beauty favourites will keep your skin glittering and glowing despite the winter chill
Another season, another crop of new beauty products tried and tested. Winter is always a fun season for makeup and skincare: a little sparkle for the holidays, a lot of hydration to counter environmental stresses. I've tested hundreds of products over the past season—from high end to drugstore—and these are my top picks to get you through the winter feeling nourished and looking radiant. And with the holidays approaching, these all make for fabulous gifts as well.
1. Sheet masks by For Beloved One
For Beloved OneAward-winning Taiwanese cosmeceutical skincare brand For Beloved One makes some of the very best sheet masks on the market. Their bio-cellulose mask is jelly-like (yet incredibly tough) so it adheres to every contour on your face ensuring all that precious serum actually gets absorbed. A few favourites: Advanced Anti-Aging Ceramide Squalene Mask (for glowing, plump skin) and Hyaluronic Acid (for deep hydration). Earlier this year, they launched a sister brand, For Beloved Girl, which uses a less sophisticated mask material but still delivers impressive results at much lower price points. Favourites here include the Flawless Brightening (for uneven skin tone) and the Tight V Contour (for swollen, puffy faces). Bonus: until Thursday, December 28, jumbo packs with 16 sheets are available.
For Beloved One, $62.99 for 3 sheets; For Beloved Girl, $12.99 for 3 sheets. Available at T&T Supermarket
2. Glitter & Glow liquid eyeshadow by Stila
StilaThese are the successors to the Magnificent Metals, which truly were magnificent, but also a drag because they involved combining a mixing medium with a pigment together each time—and the mixing medium invariably ran out long before the pigment. These new all-in-one shadows add high voltage shine and glitter to the eyes in a single, easy swipe. And it's truly best to try to get it in a single pass; this formula doesn't like to be fussed with after application. They come in a range of mostly lighter shades including Cult Classic, Kitten Karma (champagne with silver and copper glitter), but for the holidays, Molten Midnight (black with silver and gold glitter), is particularly stunning.
$31. Available at Sephora and online
3. Espada by Foreo
FOREOThis sleek device from Swedish beauty brand, Foreo, uses blue LED light therapy to clean and heal acne blemishes—and it actually works. The device is touch-activated, so when it's placed over a pimple, the blue light starts pulsing and the device begins vibrating with increasing intensity until the cycle ends at 30 seconds. Used twice daily on pimples, this really does reduce (and many times, eliminate completely) inflammation, irritation and swelling. The Espada can be used on mild acne (whiteheads, blackheads and papules) and moderate inflammatory acne (the pus-filled kind).
$199. Available at Sephora and online
4. 2-in-1 Moisturizing Primer by Nivea
NiveaFor those with dehydrated skin, a moisturizing primer is key. While these have been available for years now, Nivea's is the first I've seen available at the drug store. This has a gel/cream texture that absorbs quickly and helps provide a smooth canvas for makeup—but won't do anything to fill in pores.
$11.99. Available at various retailers, including London Drugs
5. Cool Glow Cheek Tint by Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth ArdenBeauty brand Elizabeth Arden is often under the radar but consistently produces stellar skincare and colour products. This new cheek gel comes in a small pot with a netted top, which is best accessed with a Beauty Blender or other makeup sponge. Just tap into the pot and bounce onto the cheeks for a sheer flush of colour. Incredibly quick and completely foolproof.
$34. Available at various retailers, including Elizabeth Arden counters and London Drugs
6. Skin Caviar Absolute Filler by La Prairie
La PrairieThis has to be prefaced by first acknowledging the staggering price tag for this face cream. La Prairie is definitely luxury skincare with price points to match. This new moisturizer was developed to restore skin density, increase elasticity, improve tone and refine contours—in other words, do the work of traditional fillers. It is rich, silky, hydrating and an absolute treat to use—I got addicted to this product and its results very quickly. It boasts high concentrations of caviar oil and caviar proteins to increase skin volume and firmness, stimulating collagen production at several layers. So, knowing all that, the price almost seems justified, right?
$775. Available at Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom
7. Master Strobing Stick by Maybelline
MaybellineDon't be fooled by its name ("strobing") or its colour (pink). This cream highlighter sits incredibly well on fair to medium skin tones (there's a darker colour for deeper skin) and doesn't look too bling-y or even strobe-y. Micro-fine pearls impart an ethereal glow onto the face. I'd suggest rubbing fingers into the product, then tapping onto the face. If you apply directly from the stick for maximum gleam, spend some extra time blending out the edges to ensure they fade well into the rest of your makeup.
$12.99. Available at various retailers, including London Drugs
8. PreCleanse Balm by Dermalogica
DermalogicaThe newest member of the PreCleanse family from Dermalogica, this new balm-to-oil is ideal for drier skins and comes with its own silicone mitt. Used as the first step (after removing makeup), this balm melts onto the skin dissolving impurities. Remember: like for like. So, you need an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based residue and other surface oils that can potentially clog pores. After massaging onto the skin with the mitt, simply rinse off with water and follow with your regular cleanser. Double cleansing is a must these days, with sunscreens and makeup formulas designed to last longer. The first cleanse (or pre-cleanse) is to remove residue; the second is to actually clean your skin.
$62. Available at authorized Dermalogica spas, salons, skin centres and online
9. Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup by Estee Lauder
https://www.esteelauder.ca/product/631/49039/product-catalog/makeup/double-wear-nude/water-fresh-makeup-spf-30#/shade/3N1-Ivory-BeigeThis is my kind of base: sheer (but buildable), weightless, hydrating and containing SPF 30. On the flip side, if you have oily skin or are looking for full coverage, this isn't for you. But if we're foundation twins, I wholeheartedly recommend this. The formula truly is water-like, so you'll need to give the bottle a good shake before each use. I prefer using a sponge to apply this; one quick layer to even out skin tone, a second layer to build coverage. It won't accentuate dry spots and won't leave you an oil slick by the end of the day.
$48. Available at various retailers, including Estee Lauder counters and online
10. Serums by The Ordinary
The OrdinaryParent company Deciem still hasn't made its mark out west just yet, but everywhere else—Toronto, US, Europe, YouTube—The Ordinary is a phenomenon. This Canadian company is making waves by offering no-frills skincare at exceptionally low prices. I've particularly enjoyed their serums, notably the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (previously Advanced Retinoid 2%) and the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Grape Seed Oil. At $9.80 and $9.90, respectively (30ml each), they're bargains. It's best if you do a bit of research to learn what your specific skincare needs are, as The Ordinary specializes in providing single-focused products, rather than multi-purpose ones. You can truly customize your skincare regimen here, without breaking the bank.
Various prices. Available online
11. Silk sleep mask by Cilque
CilqueThere's a reason why it's called "beauty sleep." Sleep is crucial for repairing the body; REM sleep is when skin rejuvenates itself. Using a sleep mask is one of the easiest ways to help regulate your sleep, blocking out ambient light. Even if you don't think you perceive "light pollution" during the night, your brain does and this affects the quality of your sleep. I'm always extremely wary of what touches my face, so I've often gone without a sleep mask rather than put something synthetic over my eyes. The Cilque eye mask, however, is made with 100% mulberry silk and is soft, luxurious and comfortable. It's definitely coming with me on my next trip.
Starting at $45. Available at online
12. Aromatherapy rollerballs
Silk Road TeaInner beauty needs a little help once in a while and aromatherapy is an effective way to manage stress, health and anxiety. Saje's Peppermint Halo ($26.95) works a treat on headaches, but is also a great general energy booster for when I need a little pep. Silk Road Tea's line is always an effective bet. Their Cold & Flu Ninja ($18.99) recently sped the healing of a nasty cold—I applied it directly to the swollen glands around my throat and also simply inhaled the eucalyptus, pine and lavender elixir every chance I had. Both retailers offer a variety of rollerballs individually as well as in packaged sets.
Available at Silk Road Tea and Saje retail locations and online