new (-ish) beauty products i’m currently loving, #2;

…and one that I’m not. But we’ll get to that.

It’s been a few months since I’ve done one of these so despite being old, set in my ways and conscious of trying to become a more conscious consumer, there are a few new products I’m enjoying enough to want to share with you. They include makeup, skincare and haircare – and even a homemade remedy (made for me by one of my best friends!).

I guess it makes sense to start with my first ever Colourpop palette, since it showed up in the background of the first post in this series. An impulse purchase from a hotel room in Toronto by an old-school My Little Pony-obsessed (none of yer Friendship is Magic shite) 30-something who had just turned down a themed dress, and who happened to come across a review of the range on Roxie’s blog at exactly the right time…

Beauty loves: Colorpop, Benefit, Rachelle Renee
Beauty loves: Colorpop, Glossier, Fenty Beauty

Retailing at only $16, the Colorpop My Little Pony Pressed Powder Shadow Palette is an absolute bargain, even when you add on $9.99 for international shipping (Colourpop offers free international shipping on orders over $50, but since that takes you well over the threshold for customs charges you’re as well shopping small and paying shipping). The palette includes 12 colourful matte, shimmer and metallic shades in cute My Little Pony-printed cardboard packaging, with a magnetic fastening.

I cannot overemphasise how much use I have gotten out of this palette. The combination of shades (the metallic peach Blossom, shimmery lavender Skydancer and silvery-blue Firefly in particular) works perfectly for me, and the lightweight palette is ideal for travelling. Colourpop opt to cut corners on packaging over product to get their low prices, but even throwing the mirror and brushes I need into my makeup bag make this easier to transport and less likely to break than any of my Urban Decay palettes. And, if that wasn’t hint enough, the quality is fantastic for the price.

After a few iffy reviews, I was prepared to hate Benefit’s latest mascara release, BADgal BANG!* (£21.50) – I mean, space age aero-particles? you’re having a laugh, right? – but guys, I’m here to report that there’s something about this brush/formula combo that leaves my lashes at their most well-defined, glamorous best (it also passed the ‘sob-test’, after I cried my way through a solid hour and half Lady Bird at the cinema). Sure, it goes on pretty wet, and comes in perhaps the most unfortunate-looking packaging I’ve ever seen for a mascara, but persevere and I promise you that the results are well worth it. If you fancy giving it a try, order direct from Benefit and use code BLOOMING at checkout to get a free Hoola Hottie makeup bag and three fun-size mini products with orders over £40 in April.

I’ve also added a couple more Glossier products to my regular rotation (remember, you can use my referral link to get 10% off your first purchase). I loved playing with the dewy Haloscope highlighter in Moonstone (£18) in Glossier’s New York showroom so much that I purchased one as soon as I got home – and the handy stick-shaped packaging meant it was ideal to slip into my handbag for glow-on-the-go on New Year’s Eve.

I’ve also been using, and loving, the buildable Priming Moisturiser (£18) as the first step in my daily routine. It’s lightweight and non-greasy, making it a perfect base for my make-up – and I can layer it up, on those rare days that I want to go without. The one downside for me though? No SPF, which just seems like a wasted opportunity in a day moisturiser. So I’ll probably be going back to the Arbonne one I like when I finish the tube.

Beauty loves: Glossier, Celeb Luxury
Beauty loves: Murad, Rachelle Renee's coconut oil cleanser

Should we move onto skincare then? Because I’d like to introduce you to the cleanser that has changed my life, even though you can’t buy it through an affiliate link. When I saw Rachelle Renée just before Christmas, she gave me a jar of her own home-made cleanser: a combination of coconut oil and what I will describe as a bespoke blend of essential oils because I don’t want to give away all of her secrets. It’s gentle, effective and my skin has never been clearer – and she also gave me some crocheted face cloths and cleansing pads to use with it, so the whole combo is packaging-free and super sustainable. It’s just a shame that, when I want to replace it, I’ll have to take a transatlantic flight.

I like to bandy around the phrase “game changer” far too much for somebody who prides herself on her control of language, but the Murad Instamatte Oil-Control Mask (£38), which was a Christmas gift from Laura, deserves a superlative or two. Working under fluorescent lighting, particularly in the winter when there is little natural light around, plays havoc with the oilier bits of my combination skin but a thin layer of this mask for a few minutes after cleansing sorts me right out. Sure, it’s pricey, but I don’t use it every day and for how effective it is, it’s worth the splurge.

Haircare next, and I’m struggling to find a UK retail stockist for the Celeb Luxury Viral colourwash shampoo* I was gifted at the Salon Success Christmas party, which is a real shame. This shampoo, which is available in a full-on rainbow of shades (and for more naturally coloured hair too, under the brand name Gem Lites), both cleanses and colours to help your hair retain its boldness between treatments. Weirdly, this seemed to have no effect on my grey roots, where I assumed it would take easiest – but I had people coming up to me weeks after getting my purple highlights in to tell me that they loved what I had just done with my hair.

Hey, you know when you find a product in a Birchbox that you absolutely love, but then you check it out in Boots and it turns out that it’s twenty-five quid?! That’s the horror that I’m going through right now with my new favourite haircare product, the oil and salt-infused Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (£23, Feel Unique). It turns out that that natural wave I thought I had in my hair was actually natural curls, and when I spray this into my second-day-after-washing chin-length hair and rough it up a bit, the effect is delightful. I’m growing my hair back for the summer, since it grows fast enough for me to have that luxury, and I guess I’m going to have to invest in a bottle because I’m excited to see how it works on longer hair.

Beauty Loves: Celeb Luxury Viral colourwash, Bumble and Bumble
Beauty loves: Fenty, Benefit, Glossier

At the risk of ending on a sour note, my biggest beauty disappointment of late has been the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r foundation (£26, Harvey Nichols). There’s nothing “longwear” about this, at least not on my skin; and while it performs a little better with a primer (on top of the Glossier moisturiser) it’s an additional step I’ve never had to take with previous foundations. It’s also so quick-drying that applying it is a game of concentration and skill, with unsightly streaks a daily occurrence.

It’s a huge disappointment because I love the brand, as you know; and the extensive shade range – although, funnily enough, I’m in between shades – sets a benchmark which every other beauty brand ought to be aspiring to. By the time I finish the bottle I’ll be ready for something lighter for summer, anyway – recommendations welcome!

Oh, the makeup bag was another gift from Rachelle Renée – isn’t it amazing?!

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

This post contains a couple of PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.