From the overfilled shelves of our bathrooms and the full-length mirrors we sit across blearily every morning picking potions and lotions from overstuffed makeup bags, to you and wherever your stash of serums and creams inhabit, Best in Beauty rounds up the very best products we’ve smeared across our faces and spritzed upon our pulse points this month.
In the realm of skincare and beauty, fragrance is one of the most difficult products to recommend purely because scent is just so damn personal. Copy about eau de parfum and eau de toilette always tend towards the lyrical — How else would you talk about something you can’t see; can’t touch? — and, for some reason, top, heart and base notes, while hinting at what a fragrances could smell like, often times do not live up to expectation. Or is just a combination too complex to imagine. And, alas, smell-o-vision does not exist.
Despite how difficult it is to editorialise fragrances, four out of six of our Editor’s Picks this month are, coincidentally, perfumes. Which means you’re going to have to really use your imagination for approximately 66% of this month’s pick of beauty products. — Joey Wong, Editor
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I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that tucked metal spoons into freezers for de-puffing purposes, but I am not, mainly because my concept of object permanence is diminishing at my ripe old age of 27 and I will, simply, forget there are spoons in the freezer. Anyways. Chantecaille’s Rose de Mai Eye Lift — a silky eye gel infused with botanicals that work towards reducing puffiness, dark circles and fine lines — is dispensed with a little swoop of metal at the tip; a “cooling Zamac applicator” that feels exactly like a chilled teaspoon. I’ve been using it on my under-eyes and it’s been a joy; the one part of my admittedly-short skincare regime I’ve been looking forward to, day and night. Founder Sylvie Chantecaille also recommends pulling it up along the brow bone, too, for the look of a mini eyelift. Into it. — Joey Wong, Editor
Aesop’s collection of fragrances — it’s sparse; just a seven-count line-up — is exactly as you’d imagine: genderless, complex and utterly poetic. Each scent, bottled up in nondescript amber glass, captures something almost unknowable; a memory pulled from the threads of a daydream; the sounds and colours of Marrakesh; vignettes from the worlds built by the likes of Joyce and Melville.
Karst, my personal favourite, is, at its core, an homage to water. But it’s not marine; not sunshine-y as most water-inspired scents tend to favour. Rather, it’s moody. It’s stormy. It’s frothy waves rushing onto a craggy coastline overgrown with dark, spiny vegetation and anything allowed to grow where salt and sea meet. There’s also something mineral about Karst; “calcic”, is the word they used to describe it. It’s incredibly special. — JW
Yes, apologies. Another perfume. (Side note: I keep several at my desk and on my person; you never know what you want to smell like.)
Louise Turner, the nose behind Chloé’s Atelier Des Fleurs Magnolia Alba Eau De Parfum, created Magnolia Alba as an olfactory complement to the Magnolia blossoms — plump, slightly lemony and so very creamy — in her native England.
But Chloé’s Magnolia Alba EdP is what I’d call a fancy hotel bathroom scent — and I mean this in the most complimentary way possible. And you know exactly what I mean. It’s a five-starred, all-marbled, white-gloved-staff situ and the bathroom — in the lobby or near the pool — just smells phenomenal. Smells expensive. Smells luxurious. Go sniff. — JW
In the expansive world of fragrances, vanilla is often a controversial scent, considered to be too sickly, too sweet and thus, too cloying for daily wear. These are all assumptions that entirely do not apply to Byredo’s latest Night Veils addition, Vanille Antique.
An inspired study on balancing the rich, easily overpowering spice, Vanille Antique, by design, is an intense, highly concentrated and much more potent iteration than the usual beauty aisle counterpart in a deep, cognac-hued formula. Here, Madagascan vanilla beans are lifted by black plum and freesia, before settling into the velvety warmness of cashmere woods and amber for a much welcomed alternate take of spicy vanilla. One drop is all you need and your preference will be changed forever. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
A good aquatic fragrance is just so hard to come by — for some reason, “aquatic” is considered a detailed enough descriptor while our understanding of “aquatic” is, in fact, not universal (I learned it the hard way).
Jo Malone’s Crystal Campion Cologne was successful in creating a summer-oriented, blue dainty glass bottle sans citrus. This limited-edition scent takes you to the pebbled shores with soft, lingering notes of campion flower, rose, violet and blackcurrant, without posing as an overwhelming wave of florals.
If the fresh-out-the-shower sensation is something that keeps you from spiralling into madness each day, Crystal Campion Cologne is due an introduction to your routine. — Michelle Chan, Editor
I’m not one to try out new products all the time (anyone else with sensitive skin?) but I think I might have just found my holy grail. And I know this is a bit premature, since I’ve used the product a grand total of two times, but whatever, I feel obliged to talk about it because it’s just that good.
Last month, I wrote about Dear, Klairs’ Supple Preparation Facial Toner. Since then, I’ve started to revisit the brand, which is known for its clean and ethical practices — you know, free from alcohol, parabens, colourants, artificial fragrances, no animal testing — the whole shebang. Anyway, the new, amazing product in question is the label’s Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask.
To be honest, I didn’t think much of the mask at first, just because it was a complimentary gift from Dear, Klairs’ when I ordered its toner. Free stuff is usually, well, underwhelming. But I had a little extra time last night, so I decided to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen? (Actually, a whole lot, considering my acne-prone skin. Clearly I didn’t think things through.)
Anyone who’s been reading LSA’s monthly beauty segment, or even our weekly Best Bites, would know all about my acne problem, the way I go on and on about it (sorry). And it’s not just acne, I have horrendous scars too from the many cystic pimples I’ve failed to hold back from popping. So yeah, last night I slathered on a thin layer of the mask before my moisturiser and woke up this morning to brighter skin than I’ve had since before this whole acne ordeal began.
On closer inspection, the Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask is formulated with Niacinamide and Adenosine. The first is known to minimise redness and blotchiness, while the latter has anti-wrinkle benefits. And while it doesn’t contain Vitamin C itself, the mask is supposed to enhance its effects, and we all know Vitamin C brings about brighter, glowing skin.
Will continue using it and update y’all next month. Watch this space. — Charmaine Ng, Editor