Beauty Editors’ Top Picks — August 2019

What we’re loving, coveting and “borrowing” from the Gritty Pretty beauty cupboard this month.


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“Being a Taurean, I do love a good routine — and applying hand cream in the morning is a ritual that I never miss. Having the chance to trial the Chantecaille Retinol Hand Cream, infused with rose and Vitamin C, was definitely a treat and a step above my usual product of choice. I loved the texture — not too heavy, not too light — which absorbed into my skin easily, with a light fragrance that is pleasantly fresh without being overwhelming.  What also elevated this product from of the realm of other hand creams was the inclusion of ingredient-of-the-moment, retinol, which has improved the texture of the skin on my hands. My hands do tend to get a bit of a bashing, so being able to give them more care than usual is definitely a welcome change.” – Sue Hoffman, Brand Partnerships Manager.


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“I’m never not hunting for a new fragrance to add to my wardrobe (I’m a tad indecisive, what can I say?) So when the new Maison Margiela Replica ‘Coffee Break’ EDT arrived at my desk, it’s safe to say that I, the world’s number one fan of Replica’s ‘Lazy Sunday Morning’, was a little excited to try it out (a few threats may have been made to the GP team, #sorrynotsorry). Being a bit of a bean fiend, this fragrance temporarily satisfies my caffeine addiction — opening with the scent of smooth coffee, delivered sophisticatedly with notes of lavender, mint and orange blossom. These fresh notes then lift, settling to a delicious milky earthiness (courtesy of sandalwood and Virginian cedar), with just the right amount of spice. Definitely one to try if you’re into rich, warming fragrances that are a bit left-of-centre. – Hannah Paul, Editorial & Beauty Assistant.


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“Blush has never been part of my day-to-day repertoire (*Hannah falls off her chair*). However, I am an avid RMS devotee, so when this slid across my desk, with Hannah assuring me I would still look effortlessly put-together, I was keen to try — anything to fake a glow! This creamy RMS Pressed Powder Blush is my new everyday addiction. It lightly dusts over my cheeks to give the perfect subtle flush, and it feels extra fitting to add a little rosiness to my complexion to match the brighter, longer Spring days. I’m crushing hard.” – Amie Jones, Art Director.


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“I love these NARS High Pigment Longwear Eyeliners! Long-wearing pencil liners are often very dry and drag across the lash line on application — however these creamy pencils just glide across the lid and produce a clear, defined line. It was also a welcome surprise to get to the end of a full day and see that the liner had not smudged or budged at all — it definitely does what it says on the tin! Oh, and the shades are beautiful, I can’t wait to check out the other colours.”  — Erica Wildey, Business Development Manager.


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“When I picked up the Mr Smith Luxury Shampoo and Masque, I knew nothing about the brand or their products. What I did know, however, was that the ultra-chic packaging would look nice in my bathroom. Fortunately for me, this combo is just as luxurious as its name suggests. The shampoo has an expensive botanical scent, thanks to organic caviar lime, mountain pepper and aniseed myrtle. Meanwhile, the conditioner—sorry, masque—is a little richer than your average. My hair is pretty fried from copious amounts of bleach so I still had to spritz on some leave in conditioner post-shower, but apart from that, j’adore!” – Erin Cook, Beauty Director.


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“Being currently pregnant, I had to give up my early beloved retinol face cream. What is retinol? And, why did I have to give it up? To put it simply: Retinol is a type of Vitamin A, which is a a powerful skin care ingredient that speeds up cell division (quickening your skin’s renewal) and prevents skin collagen from breaking down.

Vitamin A in the form of “tretinoin” or “isotretinoin” plays a significant role in treating acne; and yes, oral consumption of isotretinoin has been shown in studies to produce birth defects. However, tretinoin and retinol applied to the skin topically (à la my favourite Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel and Sunday Riley A+ Retinoid Serum) are said to be less likely to be associated with birth defects.

So, while there is a low risk to babies — suggested by a handful of large studies comparing the effects of retinol-infused cosmetics used during pregnancy — experts still suggest that pregnant women avoid applying Vitamin A-based formulations to their skin during early pregnancy, which is exactly what this beauty editor did pushing it to the back of the beauty cabinet.

While I do miss my glow-inducing retinol dearly, Ole Henriksen swooped in with the perfect alternative: Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum. If it was the man himself, Ole would have likely fly-kicked his way into a room with a bottle; finishing off with the splits (yes, really – his energy and love of life is just one one of the many reasons I love the man behind this eponymous brand).

I’ve been lucky enough to experience that pregnancy skin glow people talk about (thank you increased blood circulation!) BUT with my Filipino descent, my pigmentation has gone up a notch (or ten) during my pregnancy. I’m applying SPF 50 like a maniac but to also tackle this skin concern, I’ve been applying this serum onto toned skin every morning. Ole Henriksen’s lavender-tinted face serum harnesses the power of alpha hydroxy acids (pregnancy safe) and bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative.

My skin looks brighter and I’m able to safely target fine lines, wrinkles, even out skin tone and treat my major concern, dark spots. I’d call that winning.” — Eleanor Pendleton, Founder and Editor-in-Chief.

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