SINGAPORE - A rotation of these beauty favourites kept me camera-ready during the holiday season. If you are feeling antsy already about the long year ahead, arm yourself with these worthwhile splurges that will make the shenanigans to come a little more bearable.
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray ($55 for 100ml)
If I had to narrow it down to one item that kept my make-up in place underneath my mask, it would be this setting spray.
It locks in make-up without the droplets disrupting your completed look - and stays that way after full days out. Of course, there is still some make-up transfer onto the mask. But impressively, my complexion remains unmarred by awful mask lines.
On the rare occasion I forget to use it, I notice an obvious, patchier difference in how my make-up wears throughout the day. Perhaps it is the aloe vera and green tea in the formula that is supposed to hydrate and keep skin soft.
The product is overly fragranced but I can close an eye given its performance (I close two when using it because of the slightly aggressive nozzle).
Available at selected Sephora stores including Ion Orchard and sephora.sg
Sisley Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid ($175)
Pandemic-induced breakdowns - and tired eyes from late nights during the holiday season - had me reaching constantly for this.
The 2020 addition to Sisley's popular black rose line contains red vine extract and caffeine to help tone and brighten the eye contour area, while black rose extract helps soften it.
The fluid is thicker than an eye serum but more lightweight than an eye cream, and absorbs easily into the delicate skin around the eyes.
But its true beauty lies in the little cold ceramic applicator that dispenses the product. It fits perfectly in the hollows of the eyes, with an instant cooling sensation to rescue puffy under-eyes. Pop it into the fridge before use for an extra luxurious cold treatment.
Available at Sisley Paris counters including Metro Paragon and BHG Bugis
Chanel Rouge Allure Laque ($52)
The packaging alone feels worth the splurge - a weighted glass tube with a glossy ombre exterior to peek into the lipstick's shade.
But really, Chanel's unique new formula gets points for standing out in a sea of repetitive lippies. Imagine a lacquer crossed with a liquid lipstick, delivering high shine that somehow does not slip and slide.
It takes a few seconds for the nourishing oils in the formula to evaporate and the lipstick to set. Once it does, you forget it is even on your lips. Because it is not a traditional matte liquid lipstick, there is no uncomfortable dry-down and my pout feels moisturised from behind a mask.
The thin consistency makes it easy to build up in layers too.
I rocked a few glossy coats for festive dinner parties, but could also easily smudge a light layer with my fingers for an everyday shade. And while the lippie is not 100 per cent transfer-proof (nothing truly is with a mask), it stays intact even after I down a few glasses of wine.
Available at all Chanel Fragrance and Beauty boutiques and counters
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence ($45 for 50ml, $108 for 150ml)
Black tea looks poised to be the next trending ingredient in skincare, so reacquaint yourself with this favourite from Fresh, which claims to improve skin luminosity and texture.
There is something about Fresh products that makes you feel like you are really pampering yourself (and no, it is not the price). Like many essences, this one does not dramatically change my skin in any way, but only after I have finished a bottle do I realise how much I miss using it.
I chalk it down to the sensorial experience. Its star ingredient kombucha, or fermented black tea, has one of the most relaxing scents I have tried in fragranced products, which are usually off-putting.
The trendy antioxidant claims to protect against indoor, outdoor, and digital light pollution. I fancy it as daytime armour - a silky veil of protection that soaks quickly into the skin yet delivers ample hydration. At night, I layer it with thicker serums to protect against dust in the stale night air.
Available at Sephora stores and sephora.sg
IDS S3 Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++, $73.83
As a sunscreen enthusiast, I was raring to try this new tinted formula from local medical aesthetics brand IDS - particularly as the trend towards lightweight bases and tinted moisturisers looks set to continue as masking up remains the norm.
It does not disappoint. The peachy pink fluid brightens your face and adds a luminous sheen, subtly blurring pores and correcting discolouration - perfect for working from home, so I don't receive packages at the door looking like I crawled out from a crypt.
The updated formula also comes with added blue light protection and a literal seal of approval by the Skin Cancer Foundation that ensures safe use.
Best of all, its lightweight, non-tacky consistency means you can comfortably build up layers to get more coverage. I like that this also means you end up applying more to reap the SPF protection - heavy formulas often deter people from applying a sufficient amount. (If you think your pea-sized amount is enough, think again.)
Slather up, people. This rain will pass, but the hole in the ozone layer will not.
Available at IDS outlets in International Building and Novena Specialist Center, and jyx.shop