Once you’re done paying for the food shop, covering the rent and the heart-attack-inducing energy bill, it’s sometimes a wonder that there is anything left at all. One thing is certain, in lean times we certainly appreciate the little luxuries and we resent forking out for a dud shampoo or a crappy cleanser even more. If it doesn’t bring good hair, better skin or general joy – what’s the point?
Our annual list of solid, best-rated, “10/10 would recommend” skin care, eye care, hair care, home fragrance and more is here – with 35 top-notch products that you won’t regret adding to cart.
Bath & Body
Acqua Di Parma Signatures of the Sun Bath and Body Collection
Pimp your bathroom to the same standard as a luxury hotel with the new Signatures of the Sun Collection from Acqua Di Parma. The Yuzu, Osmanthus, Magnolia Infinita and Oud scents are now available in Hand and Body Wash and Body Lotion in a generous 300ml format.
Every bathroom, shower room or downstairs WC deserves the five-star treatment.
Harry’s Wildlands Shower Gel
Prefer to shower in the morning, or the evening? Whatever floats your boat, you could do a lot worse than catch a whiff of Wildlands at the start or end of a busy day.
Billed as crisp, clean and serene, this new scented shower gel from Harry’s is fragranced with a blend of cypress, white birch and eucalyptus, in a richly lathering body cleanser that leaves skin feeling smooth and soft for a very reasonable price.
Byredo x Susanne Kaufmann Bregenzerwald Body Oil
This limited edition collab between fragrance maker Byredo and Susanne Kaufmann has arrived just in time to rescue our sandpaper hides and bumpy arms. Named after the skincare expert’s home in the Austrian Alps, Bregenzerwald is a sublimely scented body oil that captures the breath of fresh forest air with notes of green pine, juniper berries, galbanum and jasmine.
Mixed into a botanical blend of skin-smoothing natural oils, it’s a killer combination for dry, parched skin and minds in need of a little shinrin-yoku. Body oil is an excellent moisturiser when applied to damp skin, and an essential ingredient for any massage.
The roll-on version will be coming everywhere with us for some on-the-go forest bathing.
The Grey Face and Body Bar
Suitable for even the most sensitive skin, this gentle, soap-free Face and Body Bar is enriched with aloe vera, argan oil, and Vitamin E and B to protect and restore the skin.
Formulated to protect the skin’s moisture barrier and natural PH level, it lathers up nicely without leaving the skin feeling tight or dry.
Taking your manscaping routine to the next level is easy with Gillette Intimate. Dedicated to depilation, there is a cartridge razor, two trimmers and a multi-purpose shave cream, expressly designed to make body hair removal swift and painless, whether you’re tackling your chest, pits or ‘down below’.
The Intimate razor has twice the lubrication to protect the skin before and after the blades, a FlexBall head so that it can contour over those tricky, hard-to-reach spots, an easy grip handle and a shower hook to keep it dry and accessible.
The i3 and i5 trimmers each have sensitive comb attachments that use SkinFirst technology, so there’s minimal snag and drag on those more delicate bits. They both offer lifetime sharp blades and are suitable for in-shower use.
For the silver-backed gent/ frequent traveller, may we suggest the i5, which has a longer battery life at 100 minutes from a single charge, versus the i3 which gives 60 minutes. The 2-in-1 Intimate Shave Cream + Cleanser contains skin-soothing aloe, lathers to a rich foam and doubles as a body wash. So, you can stop trimming your balls and your beard with the same equipment now, ya filthy animal.
Selahatin Blue Forever Whitening Toothpaste
Quite possibly the fanciest toothpaste we’ve ever seen, Selahatin was founded by Kristoffer Vural, who at the age of 30, experienced a stroke which put him in hospital for a year.
The event left him more sensitised to scent and taste, and he realised that everyday things had a pronounced effect on his wellbeing; bog standard toothpaste, for instance, could make a bad day worse. After recovery, the experience inspired Vural to elevate the everyday, starting with this daily ritual.
With dreamy names like Escapist, Amorist and Hypnotist, flavour profiles listed like notes, and Eau d’ Extrait mouth sprays, Selahatin’s approach to oral care is more like a high-end fragrance house. Underpinned by a dentist-approved formula containing fluoride and anti-oxidants, Blue Forever is a tasty concoction of citrus, lime, licorice and peppermint, that will make your basic brand blush.
Kiehl’s Ultra Pure High-Potency Serum
New from Kiehl’s is a trio of hero ingredients in concentrated serums: 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid for dry and sensitive types; 9.8% Glycolic Acid and 5.0% Niacinamide for all skin types.
What to use them for? Hyaluronic Acid is the turbo-charged moisture lock, Glycolic Acid is the texture-smoothing, skin refiner and Niacinamide is the oil minimiser, used to reduce breakouts and blemishes.
Strong but gentle, you can mix and match as needed to deliver clearer, healthier skin.
Bulldog Skincare End Of Day Recovery
Bulldog’s new End of Day line is here to plug the gaps in your nighttime skincare with a three-step routine.
Start with the turmeric-packed, Recovery Cleansing Face Gel to take the grime off. Next, apply a layer of the Recovery Serum, a light but powerful serum aimed at reducing the appearance of fine lines using rambutan A (a naturally derived alternative to Retinol), Icelandic microalgae and hyaluronic acid to firm and hydrate. Finish with the Recovery Cream and a dose of sleep-inducing melatonin, tiger grass and shea butter to rehydrate and soothe tired skin.
Bulldog Skincare Anytime Daily Moisturiser SPF 30
Hitting the slopes? You need this. Jetting off for some winter sun? You need this. Headed down the pub? You still need this.
A daily SPF is the most reliable way to see off premature ageing and keep your skin protected from the UVA and UVB rays that penetrate the clouds all year round. Bulldog’s Anytime Daily Moisturiser contains broad-spectrum UV filters and Vitamin C for extra anti-oxidant protection from environmental pollution.
With a light and non-greasy texture, it offers full hydration and much lower odds of a sunburnt face.
Murad Targeted Pore Corrector
Like a hired hitman, this high-tech formula from Murad can literally make enlarged pores disappear. Made with bio-tech copper amino acid, smoothing soybean, ginger extract and red clover, it offers a multi-targeted approach with both short- and long-term benefits.
Thanks to its unique soft-focus complex, it lends an immediate blurring effect to diminish the appearance of dilated pores, while lessening their number over time. The trick is to tap, not pat, the product into the skin using the tip of the applicator.
Grown Alchemist Skin Renewal Serum
Fans of Grown Alchemist’s Detox Serum, listen up; it’s been reformulated into this new, multi-purpose treatment charged with five extra actives including niacinamide, ashwagandha and echinacea for increased protection against pollution, and you know, life in general.
Antioxidant and skin barrier strengthening, it has glycerin, peptides and hyaluronic acid to soften, smooth and renew overnight.
Laneige Water Bank Hyaluronic Cleansing Foam
As a Korean brand, you just know that Laneige will bring skin-perfecting goodies. Water Bank is a new line tapped with delivering extra hydration through blue hyaluronic acid – a high efficiency, low molecular acid that’s fermented with deep sea algae.
This extra cushioning Cleansing Foam also contains Papain Enzyme which gently exfoliates for a softer, smoother skin surface. More like a shaving foam than a cleanser, it lathers up to give a thick, mask-like consistency, making it a suitable sub for a shave cream, while deeply cleansing the skin of grime and impurities.
Paula’s Choice Resist Triple Active Total Repair Serum
Like a multivitamin for the face, this brilliant silky serum delivers three key actives – 0.3% retinoid, 5% niacinamide and 0.4% hexylresorcinol – in one powerful hit. In other words, the holy triumvirate of anti-ageing Vitamin A, Vitamin B3 and anti-oxidants has been finely tuned to improve the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores, reduce uneven skin tone and pump up the firmness in clinically proven results for all skin types and colours.
We noticed tighter, firmer, brighter skin immediately.
Alpha-H Liquid Gold Exfoliating Treatment With Glycolic Acid
Want to banish dull skin, dark spots or acne scars? This award-winning overnight facial from Alpha-H has been receiving rave reviews all year, so here’s another to chuck on the pile. It comes as a clear, liquid-like toner, so it’s best applied using cotton wool ball or pad, sweeping it all over the face and neck, after which you’ll probably notice a light tingling sensation.
As you sleep, the ingredients get to work by actually lowering the skin’s PH to stimulate cellular activity, accelerating the renewal process to brighten the skin tone and reduce marks, dullness, redness and blemishes.
Start by using it once a week, then as your skin gets used to it, move it up to three. We love it because the effort is minimal, while the results speak for themselves.
Horace Solid Purifying Face Cleanser
Solid bars last for ages and create zero waste, but sometimes the formulas can be lacking. Not so with this effort from Horace for oily/combination skin. Made with activated charcoal and sweet almond oil, it deeply cleanses pores without leaving the skin with that horrid tight feeling.
The additional magnetic hook will extend its life by keeping it dry between uses – because who likes using soggy soap?
Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 25% Acid Flash Facial
Need a fresh-faced look in a hurry? This fresh, lemony scented iridescent mask takes just five minutes to revitalise flagging skin.
With 25% AHA and PHA exfoliating acids, it visibly diminishes lines, wrinkles, pores and pigmentation and can be used up to three times a week.
Horace Bisous Purifying Face Mask
The Purifying Face Mask got a makeover earlier in the year as part of a Valentine’s Day collab with the very cool, Bisous Skateboards.
It’s the perfect antidote to New Year skin – you know the kind: grey, spotty and rundown from weeks of festive drinks, parties and overindulgent meals, with a flu/cold virus thrown into the mix.
The Grey Cleansing and Shaving Mousse
Streamline your routine with this luxurious, multi-purpose 2-in-1 face wash and shaving prep from The Grey. Made with softening and conditioning, Vitamin E, hydrolysed silk and panthenol, mushroom enzymes to exfoliate, apricot oil for extra glide and squalane to boost hydration and suppleness.
It lathers with a gentle foaming action to soften hairs and cleanse the skin.
Horace Moisturizing Eye Cream
We’re suckers for a metal applicator tip and this one adds a nice cooling touch while the ingredients of caffeine and hyaluronic acid reduce dark circles and send puffy eye bags packing.
Peep Club Eye Rescue Lidstick
All that screen time comes with a price and it’s often the eyes that get tapped for the bill. Researched and developed by optometrists, this best-selling overnight eye treatment is a soothing salve for dry, inflamed or sensitive eyelids and eyes.
Made with vegan, botanical ingredients – oat kernel oil to protect the skin barrier, kakadu plum extract, which is rich in skin-brightening Vitamin C, calming borage oil and Manuka oil, and nourishing shea butter – this unscented, waxy stick will smooth out crepey fine lines and comfort irritated skin.
Use in conjunction with the heated eye wand for the ultimate pampered peepers.
Shakeup Cosmetics Age Def-Eye Instant Lifting Eye Cream
The eye area is the first to show signs of wear and tear due to the delicate, thinner nature of the surrounding skin. To help protect and repair, this energising eye cream – made with caffeine and iPeptide™ – offers instant and longer-term benefits including tightening, firming and reviving tired eyes, while softening fine lines.
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright + Vitamin CC Stick
Quality sleep can be elusive year-round, but during the winter our dark circles always seem more prominent against the pallor of our pasty, sun-starved chops. Luckily, this wonder stick does a brilliant job of hiding the visible effects of lack-lustre shut-eye when used on its own or under concealer.
Available in three universal shades adapted to light and dark complexions, the Banana Bright + Vitamin CC stick cleverly covers blue, blue-purple and purple under eyes, for a brighter, more well-rested look, in an instant.
Augustinus Bader The Eye Patches
We’ve never met an AB product we didn’t love – from the cleansers to the moisturisers – so when we’re feeling flush we’re happy to pay top dollar because they work. The new eye patches then, at £17, seem very reasonable. Indeed, until you realise this is for a single hydro gel sachet.
With that in mind, think of it as your get-out-of-jail-free eye care card that you should reserve for a specific occasion – whether that’s prepping for a big night out, watching TV or scraping your hungover butt off the floor – the choice is yours.
Formulated with natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesised molecules, they brighten, tighten and revive the eye area with impressive results.
Gift Boxes & Starter Packs
Rituals Homme The Ultimate Men’s Gift Box
With 12 items (10 full-size), this edit from Rituals has the new-year-new-you starter pack written all over it. It’s got your gym kit covered with Sport Cooling Shower Gel, Anti-Perspirant Spray, Muscle Ease Body Spray and Sport Body Lotion, along with essentials like a Shave Cream, Foaming Shower Gel Shampoo and Hand Balm.
A couple of novelties, such as car perfume and mini room fragrance sticks, along with a scented candle and a travel size Eau de Parfum, will leave you well-scented at home or away.
It’s also a steal, as the products are worth double individually. While officially billed as a Christmas calendar, it’s not so festive in looks, making it a suitable present year-round. If you’ve been left feeling a bit disappointed by your seasonal haul, you have full permission to open all the doors in one go, or treat yourself to a lil’ pick-me-up as and when.
Named as one of the top plastic surgeons in the US by Newsweek, Dr. Nina S. Naidu is a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Park Avenue, New York. She created anokha to offer her clients clinical-grade skincare solutions without the typically harsh medical ingredients.
Anokha man comprises of three essential, unscented and beautifully packaged products that offer men a simple, effective grooming routine. Step one is the rice & hinoki facial cleanser: a gentle, natural cleanser made with rice water, coconut milk, bamboo water, lemongrass leaf oil and hinoki wood oil, with anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties to help to balance normal to oily skin.
Step two is a white tea & lychee toner: a gentle exfoliator made with botanical, antioxidant extracts of white tea and lychee, willow bark, rice milk and gotu kola.
Step three is the sake & sandalwood facial lotion: made with sake, rice bran, gotu kola, allantoin, sandalwood and bergamot, this lightweight lotion soothes and hydrates without clogging pores.
Never Go Alone The Hand Care Kit
Hand sanitiser is not usually something we get excited about. We’ve had a fair few accidents with unpleasant leaks, unless it’s very fancy it has a clinical, unappealing smell and the packaging is often downright ugly. Then we found this kit from Never Go Alone. Suddenly, sterilising hand care has romped up the charts from meh to must-have.
It contains three essential, germ-nuking products: Renew Hand Cream, Refillable Sanitising Treatment Mist, and Hand Wipes in the sexiest refillable dispenser we have ever seen.
With high-spec skincare formulas containing top ingredients, and a luxe Sandstone scent, it’s awesome and useful on many levels, but especially for the new dad who has to get down with dirty nappies, and the dog dad who has to poop and scoop.
Haircare & Styling
Alott Matte Clay
It took 12 months of development for co-founder and hair stylist Ross Parlane to produce this vegan, sulphate-free hair clay. Packaged in a fully recyclable white aluminium tin, it contains kaolin clay to absorb excess dirt and oils, Vitamin E to support a healthy scalp, organic aloe vera to soothe and hydrate, local Halen Môn sea salt from Wales for texture, and bergamot for a barely-there, natural scent.
Alott products also come in cotton canvas bags that come in handy for storing all manner of bits and bobs. This clay gives a re-workable, strong hold that can be reapplied at any time. The best bit? You don’t need a lot.
Horace teamed up with top session stylist Matt Mulhall, the Brit hairdresser to the catwalks of Burberry and Hermès, to reformulate its entire haircare range.
With increased efficacy and sensory appeal in the texture, lather and fragrance, these enhanced formulas cater for normal/oily, dry/ very dry and flaky, itchy dandruff.
Purifying and lightweight, nourishing and hydrating, they offer gentle cleansing and soothing scalp care with a fresh, green scent.
The perfect complement to the shampoo collection, the two, silicone-free conditioners from Horace are designed for normal/oily hair and dry/very dry hair.
Imbued with a citrus, fresh fragrance, the normal/oily conditioner will strengthen, revitalise and tone, while keeping oil levels in check. The conditioner for dry hair contains shea butter and mango butter to soften and repair your strands, leaving them with a sweet, woody scent.
Horace Bouncy Curl Leave-In
Those who possess unruly textures know that curls can be a challenge to maintain. This leave-in conditioner is a master in the battle against frizz, adding smooth, definition to kinks, coils and waves.
Just apply a small amount to towel-dried hair and leave to dry naturally, or use a dryer with a diffuser attachment. You can also apply to dry hair to tame dry, flyaway ends.
Davines Dry Wax Finishing Spray
Looking for a lighter wax? This finishing spray from Davines captures all the best properties of hair wax in a speedy spray format to make styling faster and without weighing hair down.
Super versatile, it’s suitable for any style or length, wet and dry use, and in combination with other styling aids, adding definition and body for an effortless, natural texture.
Apply from the mid-shaft through to the ends and ruffle for your desired look.
Hair By Sam McKnight Perfect Mess Soft Matt Clay
This weightless styling clay from Sam McKnight is made with natural ingredients – beeswax, kaolin, castor seed oil – and offers re-shapeable hold with a soft, natural, matte finish.
Adding lift, shape and volume to short to mid-length cuts, you can easily restyle it throughout the day with warm hands or a quick blast of a hairdryer.
D.S & Durga Big Sur After Rain Auto Fragrance
Forget those little paper trees, there are far superior scents on offer to fragrance your wheels. D.S & Durga’s scented paper tags give off a long-lasting, powerful aroma that puts Glade in the shade.
Big Sur After Rain takes inspiration from the famous Californian coast after a cloud burst, with notes of blooming magnolia, fresh eucalyptus, and salty sea air.
Hosting a soirée over the festive season? Bring instant Studio 54 vibes to your pad with Discothèque. These hand-poured, vegan candles take their inspiration from the disco balls, dance floors, and anything-goes atmosphere of the seventies and eighties international club scene.
Distinctly packaged and reasonably priced for a designer candle, you can shop by decade, colour and mood. Our picks include Le Baron de Paris, Tokyo, a citrus floral blend of jasmine, neroli and Rangoon creeper; and Milk! a balsamic leather with notes of weeping juniper and orris.
Paul Smith Home Storyteller Candle
This new brown and blue addition to the Paul Smith Home collection has smoky, warming notes of Madagascan clove bud, patchouli oil, vetiver, cade oil, intense woods and birch, so it’s an ideal choice to burn at this time of year – and whenever you feel like you need the hug of a cosy, comforting room fragrance.
Also available as a diffuser.