Earlier this month, my Twitter and Instagram feeds erupted with images of InStyle's annual 'Best Beauty Buys' supplement which is compiled by nearly 200 industry experts. I pick it up every year (it comes free with that month's magazine), and enjoy having a good flick through to see who the winners are.
The supplement is split into four main sections: Skin Care, Make Up, Body Care and Hair Care. I thought it'd be fun to do a combined 'Shopping My Stash' to see how many winners I have, which winning products I've tried out in the past, and which ones I'm going to be adding to my wishlist.
So first up we have Skin Care.
For the past 5 years, InStyle have partnered with John Lewis for these awards, and their Ultimate Beauty Icon is once again awarded to Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. I always have a bottle of this somewhere in my bathroom and have used it on and off for nearly 3 years now. It's an amazing cleanser which also doubles up as a fantastic makeup remover, so their minis are great for taking on holidays and weekends away.
Best Detoxifying Mask: Eve Lom Rescue Mask. Due to the price tag, I've never actually purchased this as yet, but I have had a couple of freebie samples of it in the past (ask nicely at Space NK!), and currently have a travel size in my stash. It really is incredible for clearing up a nasty breakout and getting rid of angry blemishes.
Skin Care winners I've tried before: Lancome Bi-Facial Non Oily Instant Cleanser (Best Eye Makeup Remover) is great but too expensive for me to use on a regular basis. I really like Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution (Best Wipe-off Cleanser) and will repurchase once I've used up some other makeup removers. I didn't get on with Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (Best Facial Exfoliator) or Decleor Aromassence Neroli Essential Serum (Best Facial Oil) as both broke me out.
Skin Care winners I'm adding to the wishlist: Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil (Best Wash-off Cleanser), Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector (Best Treatment for Dark Circles), and anything from The Organic Pharmacy (Best Eco/Organic Skincare Range).
Onto Make Up!
Best Cream Eyeshadow: MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pots. I have the shade Rubenesque and often wear it on days when I'm in a rush because it's so easy to slap on with your fingers and you're good to go. It lasts well throughout the day and doesn't crease on me.
Best Powder Blusher: NARS Blush in Orgasm. Ah, that peachy blush with gold shimmer that has spawned a million copies. I'm a big fan of this and use it constantly throughout the Summer months.
Best Lipstick Range: MAC. One of my first 'grown up' beauty purchases was a MAC lipstick and I remember standing at the counter with my best friend, simply being in awe of the sheer range of shades available. My favourites are Modesty, Shy Girl, Creme Cup and Please Me (see my post here).
Best Mineral Base: Bare Minerals Original SPF 15 Foundation. This has been on my HG list for a long time. It feels so weightless on the skin, looks incredibly natural (my skin but better style) and the coverage can be built up from light to around medium if you need it.
Best Eyelash Curler: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. Since purchasing mine, I haven't used anything else.
Best Tweezers: Tweezerman Tweezers. See comment above. I have the mini ones and they work just as well as the full sized.
Best Inexpensive Brush Range: Ecotools Makeup Brushes. It's great to see Ecotools in here, their brushes are lovely, soft and of course, cruelty-free. You can often find them in TK Maxx for an even more bargain price!
Make Up Winners I've tried before: I used to have a quad of neutral MAC Eyeshadows (Best Powder Shadow) which I was obsessed with, but lost on a night out about a year ago. As much as I loved them, I have so many eyeshadow palettes now and think that some of the MAC shadows are overhyped for what they are. Sticking with MAC, I've also tried their Lipglass (Best Lipgloss) which are good but nothing amazing, and their Ruby Woo Lipstick (Best Red Lip Shade) which I sadly found too drying despite being in love with the colour. I love Lancome Hypnose Mascara (Best Mascara and Best Waterproof Mascara) and am likely to pick up one of those duo sets in the sales later this year. YSL Touche Eclat (Best Under Eye Concealer) is so, so overhyped and I much prefer The Body Shop dupe.
Make Up Winners I'm adding to the wishlist: Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner (Best Liquid/Gel Eyeliner), Stila Convertible Colour (Best Cream/Gel Blusher), Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Best Skin Illuminator), Guerlain Terracotta Moisturising Bronzing Powder (Best Bronzer), Laura Mercier Secret Camoflage (Best Concealer), Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20 (Best Tinted Moisturiser), Laura Mercier Foundation Primer (Best Primer) and something from Charlotte Tilbury (Best New Launch).
Next up, Body Care.
Best Shower Gel: REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash. If you love modern rose scents, then you'll love this. It's such a beautiful SLS free shower gel, and one that I use before nights out and for pamper nights in.
Best Inexpensive Nail Varnish: Barry M. You really can't go wrong with Barry M Nail Paints and I have quite a collection of them (some of my favourites shown above). They have an enormous range of shades and are a good go-to when you want to try out a new nail trend because they're so affordable.
Best Top Coat: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Yes, it smells horrible, but boy, does it do the job! I've been using this for a long time and it's still the best one I've tried. Nearly all of my NOTDs feature this.
Body Care Winners I've tried in the past: Kiehls Creme De Corps (Best Body Moisturiser) is good, but I've found much more nourishing ones for half the price. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil (Best Bath Oil) is simply divine, well worth the splurge and lovely for a luxury pamper. I've tried St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse (Best Self Tan for Body) before but at the moment, I think I prefer their Everyday Gradual Tan Mousse which I'm currently using. Balance Me's Rose Otto Hand Cream (Best Inexpensive Hand Cream) smells so lovely and works a treat, as does L'Occitane's Shea Butter Foot Cream (Best Foot Cream). I have a serious love/hate relationship with Essie Nail Lacquers (Best Nail Varnish) - love the shade range but find some of the formulas a pain in the ass to work with which is why they're always the first ones I cull when I'm having a clearout.
Body Care Winners I'm adding to the wishlist: James Read BB Gradual Tan Face (Best Self Tan for Face) and Zoya Remove + (Best Nail Polish Remover).
And lastly, Hair Care.
Best Volumiser: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray. I like this a lot and use it mainly before blow-drying to create some extra oomph.
Hair Care winners I've tried before: I didn't like Kerastase Elixir Ultimate (Best Hair Oil) when I tried it as I found it weighed down my hair too much, and I didn't get on with Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (Best Deep Conditioning Mask) because it didn't seem to do anything for me. I'm not a fan of John Frieda's Frizz Ease Original Serum (Best De-Frizzer) either because it always leaves too much product build up afterwards and I hate Batiste Dry Shampoo Original (Best Dry Shampoo) with a passion!
Summary: Phew, that was a long post! Whilst I enjoy reading through guides like this, I do feel that they're seriously dominated by the bigger brands and looking at the list of who's actually judged the awards, goes to show how close knit the beauty industry is. It would have been nice to see some more independent companies in there, especially for the more luxury products, and perhaps a 'Best British Brand' winner. Maybe next year? That said, the addition of 24 first time winners injected some much needed freshness into the awards and helped to keep it current, rather than it becoming a 'best of the beauty classics' edition. As you can see above though, I do agree with some of the winners!
Did you pick up the InStyle Best Beauty Buys supplement?
What did you think? Do you have / use any of the winners?