Before we start getting too excited about the new products arriving in beauty halls for 2014, let’s celebrate the best of 2013… Here’s my top ten beauty goodies of the year – starting with the Tom Ford palette which became an instant favourite in October, and shows no sign of being replaced in my affections any time soon ..Indeed, Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in Orchid Haze (£62), a coppery-pink quartet with four different finishes – sheer sparkle, satin, shimmer and matte – looks set to be a permanent fixture in my make-up bag, just as it has become a permanent addition to Mr Ford’s gorgeous collection.Probably my singlemost favourite product this year has been Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (£39.50; www.timetospa.co.uk). This luxurious-feeling, oil-rich balm melts away make-up and gives the skin a thorough and quick cleanse when washed off with a hot cloth. Smear a thick layer on before you dissolve into a warm bath, however, and the balm becomes a salon-worthy treatment which leaves the skin clean and feeling nourished. Cleansers are seldom this pleasurable to use..
For sheer ease of use and the fact that you don’t need to bother packing brushes into your overnight bag, Clinique’s Chubby Stick Shadow Tints for Eyes (£17 each; www.clinique.co.uk) proved a godsend when they were launched at the start of the year. Possibly the sexiest smells I encountered this year came courtesy of Tom Ford – not only was I rather taken with the luscious and dark Plum Japonais fragrance from the Atelier d’Orient collection he launched in the summer, but I also fell under the spell of the Arabian-inspired Oud Wood scent for men which was complemented this autumn by a shower gel and soap .
The biggest skincare story that I told this year was the tale of three serums from Chanel. The concept of Le Jour, La Nuit and Le Weekend de Chanel (£60 each, or £172 for a coffret containing all three) – of “re-setting” the skin’s clock by giving the skin what it needs at the right time of day, and even the right time of the week – may seem gimmicky, but it’s worked for me. And I plan to revisit it next time I am between experimenting with new ranges…Inspired by all things Deco – from the Golden Gate Bridge in its native San Francisco to the look of the summer’s big film The Great Gatsby – Benefit’s relaunched colour collection is striking not just in the appearance of its packaging but also the performance of its Creaseless Cream Shadows (£15.50 each; www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk) in particular. If you’ve never taken to cream colour, this is the range that will convert you. I loved using the Elemis Pro-Intense Lift Super System 30 Day Programme (£155) and did notice some improvement in the taughtness of the jawline – but it’s a treatment only to turn to every so often (when you’re feeling flush as well as flabby of jowl). The complementary night cream, Elemis Pro-Intense Lift Effect Night Cream (£95) was a stand-out which has now become a staple.
Chanel Le Volume mascara (£24) proved impossible to resist. I was seduced (though only once I had actually been persuaded to try it!) by the khaki shade which I was sent when it made its debut earlier this year. Since then, I’ve added the blue shade to my favourites. Why? Because it gives great curl (even to stumpy lashes), adds the promised volume and holds its own for as long as required. What more could you want? A late addition to my list of favourites from 2013,Clarins’ newest foundation – Extra-Comfort (£35; www.clarins.co.uk) – is a truly luxurious-feeling cream foundation which is as comforting to the complexion as a fleecy blanket, and imbues it with a lovely, natural radiant finish. I have classic combination dehydrated-oily skin and it ticks both boxes, leaving my skin feeling hydrated but not shiny.The emergency cream of choice on the beauty ward this year has been Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (£29; www.clinique.co.uk), a wonderfully calming and deeply moisturising unguent to which I’ve turned each time I’ve felt my skin has been particularly tight or dry-feeling. Slather it on in a thick layer at bedtime, and you’ll feel your skin is plumped up and healthier when you waken. Your pillow might be a little stickier in the morning but it’s a price worth paying!