The ELLE Edit: Best Beauty Picks For May

As the seasons change and the months progress, so do the beauty products on offer by the brands. This month the beauty gods brought us oils (for the face and the body), damage repair haircare, a citrusy scent and bronzy makeup tones.

Once again members of Team ELLE divvied up the products and gave them a go as we review them and how they worked on our faces, skin and hair. Read on for the verdict.

1. Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Afternoon Snack/Mo’ Hunny, S$54.

What it is: A face colour duo that can be used on the cheeks, face and eyes or any way you please. A cream-and-powder hybrid, the left colour features more subtle sparkle for the day, while the right side has more punch. The new shades are Afternoon Snack (a soft, bronzed champagne) and Mo’ Hunny (a supercharged, bronzed champagne).

What we say: We’ve been fans of this highlighter since its launch and the new colour duo is very beautiful and wearable. It looks great on tan or darker skin, but would not be too intimidating even if you’re fair-skinned. We especially love the Killawatt formula that looks like a powder but adheres to the skin like a soft cream, as it’s easy to blend, but doesn’t run or smear when applied. Some ways to wear this shade is as a highlighter, on the upper cheekbones and temples on a night out, and as an eyeshadow duo — with Afternoon Snack as a base and Mo’ Hunny on the crease or corners of the eyes. A versatile product with good staying power, this is something we’re always happy to reach for in our makeup bag.

2. Hera Black Foundation with SPF15, S$75.

What It Is: A highly pigmented, long-lasting liquid foundation with a semi-matte finish by the luxury South Korean beauty giant, Hera. This liquid foundation comes in lieu of Hera’s hero foundation, the Black Cushion. 

What We Say: A little goes a long way when it comes to this product — a green pea-sized blob is more than sufficient for the entire face. Upon contact with the skin, the foundation spreads easily into a semi-matte finish (just a nice touch of shine) with high coverage (covers all your veins, redness, blemishes, and most of your dark eye bags). Unlike other high coverage liquid foundations, this formula doesn’t dry nor cake. It’s so hydrating — its consistency is similar to a BB cream. Another draw is the packaging — the foundation is housed in a lightweight plastic tube, making it shatter-proof, hygienic and really convenient to carry around.

3. Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, S$50.

What it is: A cleansing balm that melts away all traces of makeup, dirt and sunscreen and is in designed to be used on dry skin with dry hands.

What we say: This is not our regular cream or milk cleanser: inside the jar is a wax-like emulsion balm. The balm emulsifies into a smooth oil on dry skin and it melts away makeup effectively leaving a glowing dewy finish on our face. We would suggest to go easy with this balm — a little of the product is sufficient to clean the face and will be easier to wash off, as it’s oil-based. The bamboo booster that it comes with contains exfoliating granules and like the balm, a little is sufficient to exfoliate the whole face. The packaging is very pleasing to the eye with the bright green lid. Girls with long nails will also dig the fact that it comes with a magnetised spatula, reducing the risk of you losing it while travelling. Another convenient (and earth-saving) plus is that you won’t require cotton pads in your cleansing process.

4. Pixi Skintreats FortiEYE Firming Eye Patches, S$38 for 60 patches.

What it is: A jar of lifting, hydrogel eye patches — there are 60 inside, good for 30 uses — that contains botanical collagen to smooth the skin, peptides to firm the under-eye area and caffeine to energise your peepers.

What we say: We love the format of this product as the eye patches are easy to use while we’re doing other activities like typing on our laptop or catching Game of Thrones. The hydrogel formula feels comforting on the skin and has an immediate cooling effect. It also adheres much better than paper masks, and is able to stay on without falling off easily. While we didn’t see an immediate lifting effect, it certainly left our eye area more nourished and hydrated and look less tired. We liked applying this before makeup as concealer went on much smoother and our eyes looked brighter and more refreshed.

5. Uma Ultimate Brightening Face Oil, US$164.75

What It Is: A pure botanical face oil blend meant to brighten, hydrate, and even out the skin tone by the Los Angeles-based label, Uma Oils. This particular product, the Ultimate Brightening Face Oil, was made with 10 botanical oils — namely pomegranate, sandalwood, rose and ylang ylang — and is suitable for sensitive, dry, and mature skin types.

What We Say: If you have dry and sensitive skin and are too lazy for a multi-step regime, you might want to try this one. After cleansing your face (while it’s still damp), dispense three to four drops of the oil into your palms, rub them together, cup them around your nose and take a big, fat, whiff. The scent of sandalwood and rose calms your mind — even on a rushed Monday morning. Later, pat the oil around your neck and face. Individuals with sensitive skin will be glad to know that all of these oils were harvested in Uma Oils’ own meadows — and are 100 per cent organic. The oil doesn’t sting the skin nor the eyes and keeps your skin comfortably hydrated throughout the day — and you can stop here. Layer your sunscreen and primer over the oil, and go about with your usual makeup routine. This gives your makeup a nice glow, reminiscent of the dewy Korean complexion.

6. Legology Air-Lite Daily Lift For Legs, from US$49.43, and Cellu-Lite Salon Secret For Legs, US$52.

Legology Air-Lite Daily Lift For Legs, from US$49.43, and Cellu-Lite Salon Secret For Legs, US$52.

What it is: A line of legcare created by former beauty editor Kate Scott Thomas, this gives much needed TLC to your stems. The Air-Lite is a daily cream that enhances lymphatic circulation and drainage, while the Cellu-Lite oil contains detoxifying oils and should be massaged into the skin to reduce heaviness in your legs and flush out any trapped fluid that is causing the appearance of cellulite.

What we say: We love the textures and scents of these products that shine a spotlight on this oft-neglected area of the body: the legs. The Air-Lite Daily Lift for legs is just what the legs need after a long and tiring day. The scent of Amalfi lemons in the product’s fragrance is invigorating and refreshing and when massaged on — from the ankles upwards towards the heart — our legs felt hydrated, energised and lighter immediately after. The Cellu-Lite Salon Secret also has a nice texture, it’s not too oily nor too sticky, and a little bit goes a long way. Although we didn’t try this, it can also be applied on a body brush for ease of application. More use will be needed to see results with the oil, but these are quality products that filled a hole in our daily routine.

7. Two Lips Undercover Cream, S$120.

What It Is: An anti-blemish cream which lightens the skin around your nether regions. The product’s active ingredients are supposed to pull the plug on the chain of chemical reactions that results in the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for your skin colour.

What We Say: After towelling dry, you’ll want to dispense a pump into your palms, and rub your palms to even it out. When in contact with the skin, this lightweight cream spreads thin into a fluid-like texture. You’re able to quite easily and quickly slather it around all that folds — and the inner thigh region. A damp and sticky vulva isn’t the most comfortable thing, so give it some time to air dry (move on to your body moisturiser or oils in the meantime) before you pop your clothes on. However, as with all skin whitening products, it’s a test of patience. The brand, Two Lips, recommends a month of consistent use for noticeable change. We’ve been on this for two weeks, so we’re still waiting.

8. Schwarzkopf Extra Care Total Repair 19+ Shampoo, S$11.90, and Conditioner, S$12.90.

Schwarzkopf Extra Care Total Repair 19+ Shampoo, $19.90, and Conditioner, $12.90.

What it is: A shampoo and conditioner duo from hair professionals Schwarzkopf that tackles damaged and extremely damaged hair.

What we say: We’ve never met a damaged hair shampoo we didn’t want to try and this was no exception. The scent was slightly too perfumed for our liking, but we like the texture — it lathered well and it was pleasurable to use. Similarly the conditioner did smoothen the hair without making it too slippery. For a drugstore shampoo, this was great value, and we did notice less hair breakage and hair loss, although our tresses were not noticeably less frizzy, and still needed to be tamed with a lot of styling product. Unlike some damage care shampoos that can feel too heavy as the day progresses, this did not weigh the hair down nor make the scalp greasy.

9. Larry King A Social Life For Your Hair, US$27.

What it is: A finishing cream from top London celebrity stylist Larry King that can be used to tame curls and flyaways, and on damp or dry hair.

What we say: The interesting part about this product is that it comes in a tube form and the texture is also almost like thick hand cream, unlike other hair oils or creams in the market. We tried it in two different ways. First, by applying the cream on damp hair and blow drying it. Instead of a satin-silk finish which the product promised, it gives more of texture to our hair and enhanced our waves (in a good way, as it looked very natural).

Applied on dry hair, it tames flyaways and also gives good texture and separation for that piece-y look. Generally, the product is easy to apply even on dry hair and despite its thick cream form — you’re supposed to rub it into your hands like a cream before applying — it does not leave an oily finish. We also liked the subtle fragrance that it left on the hair that was not too overpowering.

10. Byredo Sundazed Eau de Parfum, from S$210.

Byredo Sundazed Eau de Parfum, from S$210.

What it is: A new fragrance from Byredo that is meant to invoke the joy and warmth of summer. Notes include Californian lemon, mandarin, cotton candy, jasmine, neroli and musk. The fragrance collection also includes a hand cream and hair perfume.

What we say: We tried this Eau de Parfum and were slightly taken aback. Perfume is nothing without context, what in reminds you of and what it takes you back to is sometimes even more important than what it actually is. For us, the mixture of cotton candy and orange right at the top aren’t notes to fall in love with at first spritz. The mixture of citrus with a slightly synthetic sweetness reminded us of the kitchen sink to be quite honest.

The drydown however is where Sundazed really flourishes, the slightly cloying cotton candy gives way to a more sophisticated neroli and jasmine blend that lasts for about seven to eight hours on the skin with a spread just wide enough to turn ordinary hugs into a nice summery embrace.

Photographs by Tung Pham and Gregory Woo