Benefit Matte Rescue (HK$280 at Benefit Cosmetics)
I’m not a fan of Benefit’s cult favourite Porefessional, so I was sceptical of this product, but it’s actually very nice. The gel consistency isn’t slimy like silicon-based primers are, and there’s a sweet, refreshing scent. It kept my make-up in place for a good six to eight hours, even when I spent time outdoors; and while it doesn’t keep me completely matte, it does minimise the shine and leaves me looking glowy rather than greasy. However, I think it made me break out a little, so I’ll probably limit using it to a couple of times a week.
Faith in Face Magic Mud Ball (HK$178 at Mannings)
This is an intense cleansing mask, and stings a bit when applied, but that goes away after a few minutes. As the mud dries and tightens, it feels amazing – you can really feel it sucking the dirt from your pores. The sea salt provides a nice scrub as you rinse, although it may leave skin feeling a little dry. I’ve noticed my skin has cleared up a bit since using it, so it’s great for weekly deep cleansing.
John Masters Organics Lip Calm ($110 at A Beauty Bar)
I have relatively dry lips, and have always preferred lip balms in a tin over sticks ... until this. The first time I tried it, it felt too oily and slippery. Then I started using it overnight, which worked out perfectly, and left my lips feeling soft and plump in the morning. It’s as hydrating as tinned lip balms, but it’s more convenient. Just don’t use it under lipstick, and avoid using it during the day if you dislike the slippery feeling even more than I do.
Shu Uemura Calligraph:Ink Liquid Eye Liner (HK$280, refills HK$140 at Shu Uemura)
The idea behind this is awesome. For a liquid liner, it’s pretty easy to use; like a calligraphy brush, you can vary the pressure and angle to create everything from a pencil-thin line to a lid-thick swoosh. The problem is the set-up: you need eagle-strength eyesight to read the confusing instructions as to how to fit the ink cartridge, which requires surgeon hands to do. And then you have to keep it horizontal which, if you tend to lob your liner into a bag like I do, isn’t guaranteed. But refillable anything is awesome, so if you love experimenting with liner, and can get over this frustration, this is a worthwhile investment.
Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Palette (HK$420 at Make Up For Ever)
I’m far too lazy to contour every day, and I’m not a huge fan of cream products, but I must admit this is a decent product. I love the convenient packaging and the highlighting and contouring shades, and the blush is perfect for a natural-looking flush. I use a dense eyeshadow brush with a rounded head to place the colours where I want them, then blend it all with a damp sponge. But it can also easily be applied and blended with your fingertips, so even if you’re a contouring newbie, this won’t prove too complicated.