Welcome to Allies Forever, a recurring feature in which Team Allies of Skin discuss our favourite products. Here is a round-up of the best things that are permanent fixtures in our beauty cabinets.
Nicolas, Founder & CEO
Dermalogica Multivitamin Recovery Masque
This creamy mask nourishes tired and dehydrated skin like a pro. The best thing about this is that it absorbs quickly into the skin to start working so you never feel like you’re wearing a masque. I like leaving it on for as long as I can – sometimes an hour or more before rinsing off. It’s great after a clay masque or peel, after a long flight when your skin is craving moisture and after a laser treatment to aid recovery.
Omorovicza Mineral UV Shield SPF 30
Sun protection is everything. It’s a non-negotiable. The best ones are made with physical/mineral filters like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. In my opinion, the best sunblock should melt into the skin and make you feel like you’re not wearing anything. This one is expensive but it’s also one of the best. It has a whipped texture and it melts into the skin without any weight or white cast for a semi-matte, soft-focus finish. It’s brilliant and worth every cent.
Manuka Honey UMF 20+
Manuka Honey is one of the best things you can ingest and use on your skin. Topically, it balances the skin, increases moisture, kills acne-causing bacteria and gently exfoliates the skin. So it pretty much does it all. I use this straight out of the jar on clean skin – simply use a mist to dampen skin (honey is a humectant so you want to apply it on damp skin so that the honey can pull the moisture into the skin) and then apply a generous layer all over the face and neck. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes or as long as you want; basically the longer the better.
Aida, Managing Editor
A makeup artist friend introduced me to Homeoplasmine over a decade ago, as we were traipsing around the pharmacies of St Germain and I’ve been hooked ever since. It does a lot of things, but I love this mostly for soothing dry lips. I also find that it’s especially helpful in relieving irritations on my skin and accelerating the repair of cuts and nicks. The matte, non-greasy formula is great too, as I’m not a fan of glossy or residue-leaving consistencies.
Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm
This body balm ticks all the criteria I look for in a moisturizer. Rich in texture but extremely hydrating, quick absorbing and not greasy at all. And a bonus is the heavenly Geranium scent! At home, I massage this into my skin after my morning shower and at night before I go to bed. And the air-conditioning in the office gets a bit arctic at times, so I use this to alleviate my dry hands and knees.
Le Labo Rose 31
The first time I tried Rose 31, I was trying to “graduate” from the Lolita Lempicka I was using in college and on the hunt for something decidedly more “grown-up”. The famous perfume critic Luca Turin likened this to the smell of “carrot juice” in his infamous guide to fragrances, and it’s also been described as “sweaty” – but this reacts to the molecules of my skin beautifully. Smoky, woody, ambiguous – men I’ve dated seem to love it, but it gives my dad a headache and an ex-housemate thinks it reminds him of curry. Somewhat polarizing, and complicated – this is rose infused with peppery notes of cumin, cedar, musk and oud – I’ve not worn any other perfume in the last ten years is how much I’m addicted to this!
The Fresh Sugar Rosé Lip Treatment with SPF 15
This has been my holy grail lip product for many years now. I have very dry & chapped lips, so I don’t usually wear lipstick. But this product allows me to look like I’m wearing lipstick, though I’m actually just trying to treat my lips. I love how hydrating it is, and how it doesn’t leave that stickiness on your lips. I have tried other colours in the line, but Rose has always been my favourite, as it has the perfect pink tint. It’s my go-to lip balm, especially when you’re going for that all natural look.
The COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad
I have acne-prone, oily skin and this really helps in removing excess dirt and makeup from your skin. It contains Betaine Salicylate, which is a gentle form of BHA and has significantly reduced my breakouts. A little secret is to cut the pad into two, as one entire pad is too much of a waste for one use.
LifeFlo Tamanu Oil
This was first introduced to me by Liah Yoo on YouTube. She is one of the few beauty vloggers that create really quality and effective content. The best part is that she has the same skin type as me, so following her skin routine was not a problem for me. I use Tamanu Oil to treat my acne scars. I usually mix it with my moisturizer, or even apply it directly but in very small quantity. Ever since I started using this, I have seen an improvement in my scars and a lot more hydration on my skin.
Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder
It’s hard to be faithful working in the beauty industry, but this bronzer will always be the one for me. It contours and blends so well, without appearing ‘orangey’ at all. I’m a guy so I like that this doesn’t have any added sparkle or shine, but gives my complexion a healthy natural glow. What more can a person ask for?
Cream of Tartar
This is normally usually used by bakers to stabilise egg whites, but cream of tartar is actually an acid derived from wine. It’s made by refining and drying the froth that forms on the surface of a barrel of grape wine. Acting on a tip from my vain girlfriend, I would mix a small teaspoon of cream of tartar with about a cup of cold water. I find drinking this helps to flush toxins out of your system and get rid of water retention. If you’re hardcore, as an alternative to water, the powder can also be dissolved in the juice of one lemon and about half a cup of red grape juice or wine – but I find it too strong for my liking!
Jim, Chief Financial Officer
King of Shaves Alphagel Sensitive Shaving Gel
This has been my favourite shave gel for years. Compared to other shaving gels I have tried it’s much more slippery and it doesn’t leave my face feeling dried out the way shave creams do. I also like that I can see where I’m shaving, so this gel’s low-foaming formula is great for preventing shaving mishaps too.
Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+ Mess Up Matte Paste in 2: Medium Control
It’s my go-to hair stuff. I find that this works better on my short layered hairstyle, compared to gel-based products. The consistency is just right – strong enough to keep things in order without being pasty at all. The matte finishing of this is also perfect as I don’t like my hair looking too shiny or glossy. The entire tub lasts me ages as a little also goes a long way.