There are so many brands in your local pharmacy or beauty hall. Here, I thought I’d summarise my thoughts on a few. If there are any others you want to hear about, let me know on Instagram @RoseGallagher and I can work them into the list or touch on them in IGTV videos.
I think it’s really important that we all live within our means. I’m fortunate to try lots of products and skincare because of my job. If you don’t do a job like mine, you don’t need a fraction of the things I talk about every day. Buy what you can afford, and don’t get yourself into debt. There are so many brands on the market, from low to high price point, that will do a great job. Yes, often something more expensive may have more sophisticated technology behind it. This is true. But that doesn’t mean less expensive brands aren’t good – lots of them deliver fantastic results as well.
Though fragrance is one of the most personal choices in any one person’s beauty regime, I really feel there is something for everyone at Atelier Cologne. All of the fragrances here are striking in their own way, whether sharp and citrusy or delicate and creamy. You’ll still smell this at the bitter end of the day. Orange Sanguine, Clementine California and Cedrat Enivrant are all sweet, citrusy and uplifting. Trefle Pur is clean and fresh. Bois Blonds and Musc Imperiale are sensual and cosy. Everything is unisex.
Sustainable, ethical, performs exceptionally well. Sap Moss, Damage Remedy and Nutri-Plenish are my favourite hair ranges. I also love the Chakra Mists for my flat. I could go on about Aveda all day but instead I’ll ask you to look at their website because there is so much to read in terms of the great work they have done over the years, all at the same time as making products that work.
A go-to for luminous skin. Highlighters of all descriptions are made well here. Their Shimmering Skin Perfector powders are thin in texture but rich in luminosity, they are completely unique to any other highlighters on the market. There is a perfect colour match for each complexion, so your skin just looks naturally well lit. Liquids and powders are all lovely. The Under Eye Brightener in the small pot is quite a wet, rich consistency which really brightens the under eye without looking heavy or dry.
They have every core basic of your make-up, including a very wide foundation shade range and a variety of textures and finishes. Brilliant pro-palette of all foundation and concealer shades if you’re a make-up artist. Also one of the few make-up brands with truly fantastic skincare – Hydrating Eye Cream is one of my all time favourite products. Make-up Melter Cleanser is my cheat when I can’t be bothered going through the rigmarole of my gentle, sensible rosacea skincare routine, and just want to get my make-up off quickly.
If you want to feel sexy, Charlotte Tilbury is the brand for you. Everything is laid out in pre-made sets so you don’t need to think about what to pair together. Eyeshadow palettes are brilliant and very easy to blend. Lip liners are buttery to apply but then stay in place. Her eyeliners are nice and creamy so they don’t scratch when you apply to the water line. Though her fuller coverage foundations seem to get the most praise, I personally love the Light Wonder foundation because it just makes the skin look so radiant and healthy. I do rate Magic Cream, but I think it’s best used as a base for make-up rather than in place of one of your everyday skincare steps.
I love the community that Cult Beauty have created. They animate beauty so well, educate their customers on how best to use skincare, and most importantly they capture that beauty is supposed to be FUN.
For facial massage, I really love Decleor skincare. The Aromessence oil-in-serum formulas will transform dry skin. Or for more of a thorough massage, work in a little of the Overnight Balms. Their body range is also very refreshing, I love the cooling gel for tired legs (think people who work on their feet, do a lot of exercise or need something to soothe the feet post-high-heels).
For glamorous make-up, look no further than Doll Beauty. Sam and Danni created the brand because they essentially filled the gaps in the market that they wanted in their own make-up. For example, rather than layer several pairs of lashes, they created their own really full strips. This is the brand for you if you want a really polished, glamour-girl finish and I also love that they’re an independent female founded brand from the north that worked hard and did well.
The hairdryer is fantastic. As someone with naturally dry hair which is also bleached, it has definitely helped me to maintain a much healthier hair condition because it doesn’t get terribly hot. Speaking of not being too hot, that said the Air Wrap was quite a disappointment to me. It’s a handy tool but I don’t find that the results last on my hair which is naturally frizzy and curly. I’ve seen much better results with this on my mom’s sleek, wavy hair.
If clean, green beauty is your thing, Herbivore Botanicals do it really well. Their products work and their aesthetic is very clean and pleasing.
Isle of Paradise
A brilliant tan brand with colour correcting properties. Jules Von Hep, the founder, was inspired to create this line because when he tanned celebrities he needed to add colour correctors to create the most realistic finish. Depending on whether you want to counteract redness or add life to dullness, you can customise the colour formula you use.
I work with IT Cosmetics as their UK and Ireland Brand Ambassador. Honestly, their make-up is brilliant and I’d recommend it to anyone. Everything is infused with skincare so you get little benefits with every step, for example biotin in the mascara to condition your lashes. They do the core essentials really well – base, brows, mascara, powder. The CC Cream is what I use on my skin every day for a full coverage finish that doesn’t look like full coverage. My preference is the original formula or the illuminating formula. The Bye Bye Pores setting powder is translucent and seals your make-up in place for the day – I like the luminous version because it gives a velvety finish but doesn’t look matte on the skin.
James Read Tan
Every kind of tan you want to achieve is possible with James’ tans. The colour is golden, it lasts, and your skin feels moisturised after you’ve used it. For the face, his Instant Tanning Drops are brilliant mixed into your moisturiser. For a soft glow, the Sleep Mask Tan for face and body are both brilliant and neither stain your sheets. It’s a very fresh, gel-like texture that is comforting after a hot shower. For a full tan, his Coconut Body Oil delivers a deep, golden tan overnight, and makes your skin feel completely silky soft. Do stretch to his velvety tanning mitt as well if you can, it delivers a completely smooth, even tan finish.
A newer discovery of mine, I have come to really rate and trust this skincare brand. DeliKate has made a significant difference to the appearance of my rosacea, to the point that people have been commenting on how different my skin is looking. The Dry Skin Saver is one of the richest remedies for dry skin that I’ve tried, and works very quickly, but doesn’t leave a heavy residue behind. There’s lots of different skin options here, made by a lady who is working with skin day in and day out and responding to what clients are telling her that they need from their skincare every day.
I get asked about La Mer a lot; I feel like it is seen as such an indulgent, luxury brand. Their skincare is lovely. The age old “is it worth it?” is really at your discretion. It’s a beautiful skincare range, elegantly packaged and has a soft, clean fragrance to it. Nothing is worth getting into debt over, beauty or otherwise, but if you have the money and you want to stretch to it then go for it.
La Roche Posay
A very simple skincare brand that just works. This looks after your skin and comes and goes almost undetected. Everything has been formulated with sensitive skin in mind, so even those that are especially sensitive will find something that works here. Fragrance free, family friendly, unisex, it ticks all boxes.
An elegant, classic brand with lovely make-up and skincare. Bi-facial eye make-up remover is one of the best, as is the Hypnose mascara. Everything is realiable and long-lasting. Fantastic shade range. Love the powdery, vintage scent of the lipsticks.
A make-up brand founded by a lady who understands what make-up should look like. Everything wears and sits well at Laura Mercier. The translucent setting powder will keep your make-up in place for the day but it feels lightweight. The Caviar Eye Sticks are my favourite wind up creamy eye sticks on the market – Burnished Bronze is my favourite shade. I’m not a huge primer person but if you are looking for primer then get it from here. And if you like sweet scents, her bath and body range is completely potent and extravagant in the best possible way.
Unique haircare brand unlike others on the market with lots of innovative formulas. The Dry Shampoo genuinely makes your hair look freshly washed and scalp feel clean. It isn’t cheap, so I keep this for when I’ve had a blow dry and want to make it last. The Colour Care shampoo and conditioner are great for when you want to keep blonde hair looking bright without making it look grey which lots of the purple shampoos can do. Also, it’s white, so it doesn’t leave purple stains all over your bathroom.
Every single product you can imagine exists at MAC and I love everything about them. Their ethos, their personality. If you need a lipstick or other make-up item to match a dress specifically (for example a bridesmaid dress) then MAC is for you. There’s a reason why everyone has always loved MAC. It just works. Every time you finish 6 products, if you take them back to be recycled you get a free lipstick of your choice. They’ve been inclusive and accepting of everybody since the very beginning – google their work with HIV and AIDS charities in particular. A very wide variety of finishes and shades in foundation. Don’t forget they offer lots of ways for you to build your own palette, so you can create your own combination of eye and complexion products and store them all in one unit. Antiqued is my favourite eyeshadow of all time and it looks beautiful on all complexions, eye colours and ages.
Skincare that really works. Their active ingredients are very well done – for example the Vitamin C range is very brightening, and I’ve heard lots and lots of rave reviews on the retinol (which I am gently dipping a toe into at the time of writing this post). The Water Charged Gel is a great place to start.
NARS don’t release things for the sake of releasing them, they tend to create timeless make-up. Especially great at complexion. Their foundation shade range is one of the best for those with warmer, golden undertones. They do palettes well (eyeshadows or multi-complexion products), and they excel at bronze and blush. Sheer Glow foundation and Radiant Creamy Concealer are fantastic, and I love the Tinted Smudge Proof Eyeshadow base for making sure your eye make-up doesn’t move all day.
I love Origins skincare, it really works. In particular I think they do masks very well, my favourite being the Overnight Drink Up Hydrating Mask. For tired, dull skin, check out the Ginsing range.
Peaches and Cream
Without a doubt the best eyeshadow pigments on the market. Pigments are thin in texture but offer incredibly high shine. Brushes come in all shapes and sizes, so you can really find the perfect sizes to suit your eye shape. Always lots of bundles available for personal orders or if you are stocking up for your make-up artist kit. Lip liner collection is brown, as opposed to pinky, which is quite hard to come by. Don’t be fooled by the affordable price tag because this will rival products in your make-up bag that cost 5x as much.
Fantastic products given their price. A really unique brand. Skincare is exceptional, lots of different ranges to choose from based on your skin needs, and formulas that are simple but really work. The Rose Ceramide cream is especially comforting, Pixi Glow Tonic is a toner that gently exfoliates the skin, and pHenomenal Gel is a rival to some of the most sophisticated skincare I’ve tried. I rarely use primers but will happily break that rule for the Flawless Beauty Primer because it adds glow. The eye liners are among my most used because they are buttery and creamy so don’t irritate the eyes. I’ve worked with them in Amanda Bell’s make-up team during various fashion week shows and their skincare products truly transform the skin in record time.
If you have tried lots of brands and never quite found the results you’re looking for, you might like Zelens. Truly their skincare works. Zelens Z Matrix is a gel formula that promises an “energy and moisture infusion” and I personally see and feel a difference overnight when I use this. It is always in my cupboard and has been since I first discovered it in 2013. Z Recovery Balm is a reliable remedy if your skin is in distress. I use the Body Defence sun screen regularly, it’s a silky oil that feels great and I’ve never burned using it. The facial SPF is lightweight but again you won’t burn through hit.