There’s no more convincing testament to a beauty product than using it to the very end of the tube or bottle or tub. To find out about the products that are worth excavating (as well as the satisfaction of snooping inside someone else’s bathroom cupboard), we occasionally invite friends of the Strategist to tell us about their empties for the month. In this installment, beauty writer for Vogue Business, the FT, and Strategist contributor Daniela Morosini tells us what she used to the last drop in October.
I buy Bioderma by the absolute bucketload. I usually buy at least three 500ml bottles at once, so that I can use it as liberally as I want without worrying about running out. For me, it is the platonic ideal of makeup removers, making light work of almost all makeup, never stinging my skin, and exceptionally gentle. I often find that some micellar waters leave a kind of oily residue on my skin, and this one doesn’t. I also use it as a toner of sorts, to remove any traces of face mask, sleep or other debris from my face, either with a cotton pad or just my fingers. A must-have, in my book.
I may burn through a bottle of Bioderma a month, but it’s taken me about a year to use this up. There’s a few reasons for that, but mainly, it’s far too expensive to use every day, and Bioderma is perfect for almost everything. However, for those really, really stubborn waterproof mascaras, residual lash glue, or liquid lipstick, you need something with a little more muscle, and Take the Day Off does that perfectly. I got this as a gift from the brand, but I’ve been very impressed and plan to re-purchase. It has an oilier consistency, and it really does melt away makeup rather than smearing it around. It’s very satisfying to use — I keep my bottle on my vanity, not in the bathroom, so that if I need to quickly tidy up a cat-eye, I can.
This cream hydrates your under-eye area, and makes it nice and smooth, but its uniqueness lies in its orangey colour. The orange tone helps cancel out any under-eye gloominess, much like a concealer would do, perking up the whole eye and making it look less tired. (On the colour wheel, orange is the opposite of blue, and what colour are dark circles? Well, a kind of greyish blue, usually.) What originally piqued my curiosity about this product was seeing lots of influencers and makeup artists, all who had very different skin tones, advocate for it — Nam Vo, Nikita Baffour, and Dana Alexia are all fans. A very, very tiny bit goes a long way, too — I’ve had this one on the go since at least June. Should you want to read more, I wrote about this last year.
I am deeply particular about lip balm. In my opinion, it’s deeply unhygienic to dip your finger (or a wand) in and out of a balm. The best applicator is the squeeze tube: You just dollop out the amount you need, without the mess. Lanolips 101 Ointment is my favourite by a long shot — Liz, who was my first boss and beauty director at Grazia at the time, got me into it. It’s incredibly thick but not sticky, so you can apply a really generous layer before bed (almost like a mask), or if you do use it throughout the day, you only need a really little bit. This tube lasted me a good six weeks, with diligent application. Sometimes I put it on while I’m doing my makeup, and just dab off the excess before applying lipstick. I’ve tried other flavours, but always come back to the tropical yumminess of Coconutter.
Generally speaking, I prefer cream makeup over powder. The finish is dewier and healthier, and I find powder can get a little chalky unless your skin has a good amount of oil. However, I was uncertain about the concept of a cream bronzer — I like to be very precise with my bronzer placement. So many of my colleagues in the beauty industry, both makeup artists and editors, were adamant that I had to try the Chanel bronzer, and happily, when I relented and bought it, all my fears were allayed. It gives a really lovely sheer and buildable finish, and the tone is neither red nor grey, it’s an actual healthy glow colour (I use 390, Tan de Soleil). Despite being a cream product, it’s really not glossy or shiny, and it sort of dries down to a powder, so it ought to work for all skin types. I use the Chanel Pinceau Retractable Kabuki brush to apply it, which very nicely disperses and buffs the bronzer in. The only downside? When I first purchased, it was stolen out of my makeup bag at the gym the very next day. I replaced it straightaway and have only just recovered from the ordeal. This is probably my fourth pot since.
This is another product I am known to be obsessed with. But it’s rare to find a product so effective, so versatile and so cheap. It’s a brilliant moisturiser that you really can use on your face and body, it’s unscented so it never stings after shaving, it’s not oily so it doesn’t mess with your self-tanner, and the formula is packed full of fatty acids called ceramides so it really does keep your skin soft all day. Non-greasy, too.
This is so expensive, but it really is divine to use. If I have any mild allergic reactions, La Mer calms my skin, it keeps it hydrated even when I’m using retinol, it’s the perfect makeup base and it makes my face feel so soft and supple. It’s not an everyday thing, it’s a special occasion thing. And I’m okay with that. My top tip would be to always run out around your birthday or Christmas, and then strong-arm your loved ones into buying it for you — this method has certainly always worked for me. I usually get the 60ml, which is sort of a medium size, and with restrained use, it lasts at least six months.
A facialist recommended I try this a few years ago, and I’ve used it fairly consistently ever since, just at nighttime. The texture is unusual — you think it’s going to be really creamy, but then it turns into a very light, quite matte serum very quickly. The main ingredient is niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3. It’s brightening, which is good for any kind of pigmentation, but I like it because it also minimises oil production and is thought to be a good preventative step to stop pigmentation or sallow skin developing in the first place.
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