Welcome to the first installation of ELLE’s Beauty Desk— where in this weekly series, I’ll be giving well-deserved shout-outs to seven best-in-beauty products that have made their way onto my beauty desk, my skin, and eventually earned themselves a spot in the top shelves of my vanity. We all know how beauty launches can get overwhelming (a colleague once commented that it’s like Christmas every day for me with the press drops — fun, but not really), so let this be a weekly diary entry that sheds light on the best ones that I’ve tried-and-tested, and found myself loving. You’re welcome.
Dr. Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Biome Essence, $79
When I say that this toner is a heavyweight, I mean it in the most literal sense of the word. It has a thick, melted jelly-like texture that’s more viscous than conventional toners, so it does take a slightly longer time for it to sink into the skin. Give it a minute, and the product will start to work its magic: skin feels soothed, hydrated, and super soft. I love that it has a faint coconut scent, too.
NARS Afterglow Eyeshadow Palette, $90
I generally love most (if not all) of NARS’ creamy eyeshadow palettes, but this limited-edition one stood out more than the rest in my stash. It’s what I call an elevated neutral palette — there are the matte browns, champagnes and golds (aka the basics), then a fun fuchsia and warm pinks (the extra pops). It’s a colour story that stretches; you can create fun everyday looks to poppin’ party ones with just one palette.
HERA Glow Lasting Foundation SPF 25/PA++, $79
Thank you, HERA, for finally creating (and nailing) a sister foundation for those whose dry skins can’t take the cult Black Foundation. This “glow” variation has medium coverage, and sets to an illuminated finish. It’s so, so gorgeous on the skin — not greasy-looking, but instead a glossy, fresh look. I had the foundation on for more than 12 hours and nothing slid or smudged off my face.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Liquid-Gel Eyeliner, $42
Last Christmas, MJB launched their liquid-gel highliners (as its name suggests, it’s the liquid version of their bestselling gel crayon eyeliners). Only the black shade “Blacquer” remained as a mainstay matte colour, the rest were limited-edition metallic shades. This month, five permanent colours join the line-up: Mo’cha (deep brown), Berry Deep (deep raspberry), Jelly Much (dark purple), Back To The Fuchsia (bright pink), and Twinkle (true blue). These liners are so crazy underrated — they are so pigmented, the colour doesn’t match or skip on the lids, the brush sturdy (yet bendy) for easy usage, and they last all day.
Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder, $137
I used this initially as an undereye setting powder, and the powder basically gave me an airbrushed-flawless undereye. Took it to the entire face, and it blurred out my pores. The powder isn’t an ultra-mattifying one; it takes away access shine, but leaves a pretty lit-from-within luminance on the skin.
Nudestix Magnetic Lip Plush Paints Liquid Lipstick, $42
If I could describe the texture of this lippie in one word, it’s airy. It’s airy, creamy, plush-y… almost like you’re applying whipped cream on your lips. Then, it sets to a blurred velvety finish, smoothing over any fine lines that you might have on your pout. I tried blending the lippie as a blusher too, and the fluffy texture made for a cute flush of colour on the cheeks. P.S. The colour Bahama Mama is the most perfect brown nude shade.
Sand & Sky Australian Emu Apple – Super Bounce Mask, $90
The tofu-like texture of this mask not only feels bouncy, it brings back a bounce to the skin, too. Enriched with Australian emu apple and riberry and peperberry (aka “glow berries”), let the silky mask sit on your skin for 10 minutes, and you’ll wash it off to a visibly brighter complexion. I use this twice weekly, on days where my skin looks especially tired and dull. Load it on your face, lather your shampoo, and rinse it all off together. Glowing skin in a jiffy.