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Guest Strategist Haul: What Author Shon Faye Bought in August

Photo: Courtesy Shon Faye

You may have seen the Strategist editors share their hauls, jibber-jabbering about their favorite purchases — whether that’s the result of canny sales shopping, real-life necessity, or a particularly good trip abroad.

To get that same personality and taste insight (via receipts), we occasionally invite interesting friends of the Strategist to run down their own buys. For this installment of “Guest Strategist Haul” author and Call Me Mother podcaster Shon Faye (whose debut book The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice is published on Sept 2 by Allen Lane) tells us what she bought in August.

Photo: retailer

I recently attended my first wedding — of a friend from university and his partner — since the lifting of restrictions. I have significantly cut back on frivolous clothes shopping over the course of the pandemic and tried to think about being more ethical and sustainable in what I buy. As a result, I decided I would rent a dress rather than buy one for this occasion (as no one really wears the same outfit to a wedding twice). I used the clothing-rental app HURR for the very first time. It was very easy — the lender posts it to you and the borrower posts it back at the end of the seven-day rental period. Dry cleaning is included in the rental price. It allowed me the glamour of wearing a more elegant and expensive dress than I would have been able to afford myself. I think I picked this gorgeous mint-green dress because of the satin fabric — slip dresses are a perfect combination of being slightly revealing but in a tasteful way and, as it was a gay wedding, there weren’t formal bridesmaids so I didn’t need to worry about upstaging anyone!

I have sadly fallen for the trendy scented candle … er, trend. I was gifted the Ambrosia scented candle from L.A. brand Boy Smells earlier this summer, and have now become a faithful customer. I enjoy strongly scented candles (the Ambrosia fragrance is much richer than it is from other brands) and a hot bath to unwind in a professionally stressful period. I’m afraid that I am useless with reading advice or instructions, so I burned the candle for too long in one sitting and didn’t trim the wick.

I have largely abandoned foundation in the humidity of this summer for tinted SPF moisturizer (which is kinder to pores and provides protection against the sun). Since a friend and I became obsessed with talking about skin care to distract from winter lockdown, I get all my skin care from subscription service Beauty Pie. The products are made in the same labs as the highest-end designer products but BP’s lack of expensive packaging and branding allows its products to be sold at a much lower price. This moisturiser is imported from Italy and provides a youthful glow and even complexion for my fairer skin. I just add blusher (also from Beauty Pie) and mascara (Benefit’s Bad Gal Bang) for everyday makeup.

I stopped wearing fragrance in lockdown for obvious reasons, but I have worn this scent since I was 19 and so recently picked up another bottle as my social life resumes. It’s a scent designed for men and wearing it predates my transition, but I quite like the fact it is a connection with my youth and I tend to prefer masculine fragrances to feminine ones. My dress and hair and makeup are, at this point in my life, quite conventionally feminine so a smokier, earthier fragrance balances that out quite nicely. [Editor’s note: This product is only available for purchase in store.]

I have been growing my hair longer again — now it’s back to brunette after being shorter and bleach-blonde before the pandemic. Olaplex has been a life-saver in being able to grow it out healthy and glossy. I have come to enjoy the ritual of slicking it over my hair and leaving it for so many hours that my hair and the product dries out, as it repairs the bonds in the structure of my hair. Then I relish the satisfaction of getting to wash it out and letting it air dry into a boosted shine.

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Having to sign over 1,000 book plates in biro was killing my wrists, so I decided to return to my school days and get a fountain pen that will hopefully give the illusion of elegance to readers who have bought a signed copy of my book. I use refill cartridges which need to be replaced every 1,000 books or so. But I am noticing a distinct reduction in my wrist ache, as the pen slides over paper much more easily.

I am absolutely hopeless at remembering where I left my keys, and it genuinely causes a mini panic attack twice a week — I remembered an ex-boyfriend who shared my affliction used this Tile key ring to link his keys to his phone and, given that I live alone, I decided being able to track my keys was a wise investment for my stress levels.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Guest Strategist Haul: What Shon Faye Bought in August