The Velvet Beauty Awards 2020
Prepare to be upstanding for the Velvet Beauty Awards. We have lifted the lids, squeezed many a tube and pondered over lotions and potions to reveal our podium-placed beauty products. This month we shine a light on marvellous make-up and next issue we will speak truth about skincare. A drum roll please. . .
Stila Beauty Boss Lip Gloss in Elevator Pitch, £14, select M&S stores and stila.co.uk
Though it nods to the Nineties fashion revival - the full-on glitter, the full-on shine, the fig-and-vanilla fragrance - this is a next-generation gloss, thanks to light-refracting pearl and plumping hyaluronic spheres. Ideal for going out-out.
Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer in Sugar High, £22, harveynichols.com
Glorious as it looks when first applied, gloss can fade fast. Not Enamored, though: along with the loveliest blush of colour, it delivers unrivalled - and remarkably long-lasting - shine, courtesy of Marc Jacobs’ coveted and closely guarded ‘triple shine complex’. Old-school glamour in a tube.
Sisley Phyto-Lip Delight in Cool, £37, Space NK, Trinity Street, Cambridge
Giving lips a polished-looking sheen rather than a megawatt shine, this skincare-meets-makeup formula gives lips a serious moisture and comfort boost (it contains plum, jojoba and shea oils) while making your pout look pretty. Every handbag should have one.
Trinny London Lip2Cheek in Lady J, £25, trinnylondon.com
I absolutely love this product. Tap it onto cheeks - and lips too - with a fingertip and pow! Just-been-for-a-beach-walk roses appear, making you look instantly fresher of face. The matte formula feels lovely on the skin and a little goes a very long way: the 4g pot should last six months.
Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff, £15, glossier.com
Available in six shades, all inspired by New York sunsets, this gel-cream blush is a bestseller. And no wonder: super lightweight and brilliantly buildable, it’s a dream both to apply, again with the dab of a finger, and to wear, blending seamlessly into the skin. Plus it’s hypoallergenic and free from fragrance, parabens and cruelty.
Sisley L’Orchidee Coral Three-shade Highlighting Blush, £74, Space NK, Trinity Street, Cambridge
This blusher-come-highlighter is a bona fide hero. Swirl a kabuki brush through all three shades and onto cheek apples for instant definition and luminous colour, then waft the brush across the rest of your face for a gentle all-over glow. Enriched with white lily, it’s also kind to skin.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Pillow Talk Original, £25, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge
This lipstick is a sensation: globally, one sells every two seconds. The nude-pink colour is universally flattering, shifting subtly with the wearer’s skin tone. Light-bouncing pigments and nourishing orchid extracts make lips look and feel instantly softer and plumper. It’s a little bit of magic.
Diego della Palma Mattissimo Lipstick in Flamingo Pink, £16, select M&S stores and lookfantastic.com
If you’re looking for a true-matte lip, Diego della Palma’s Mattissimo is the one to beat. Composed from 100% natural waxes and powders, it delivers vibrant, velvety, unshifting colour without the clumpy application and drying sensation that stymies so many other matte formulas. Genius.
Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Berry, £19, lookfantastic.com
It’s a clever one, this. Coming in a squeezy tube and applied via angled foam wand, the liquid glides on like a gloss, but dries to an intense, yet non-drying, matte. Featuring avocado oil, vitamin E and hyaluronic spheres, along with Too Faced’s signature Volulip formula, it’s also got serious lasting power.
Huda Beauty Rose Gold Palette Remastered, £56, cultbeauty.co.uk
Founded by the Iraqi-American makeup artist Huda Kattan, Huda Beauty has achieved cult status since its launch in 2013. Want to know why? Look no further than this palette. Spanning 18 mattes and metallics, from kohl-dark Black Truffle (which doubles well as a liner) to champagne-gold Bubbly, it’s a one-stop eye shop, delivering smart boardroom, laid-back weekend and dancefloor diva looks all under one lid.
Kat Von D Beauty Lolita Por Vida Palette, £45, Debenhams, The Grafton, Cambridge
I’m a huge fan of this brand: created by US tattoo artist Kat Von D, it’s known for combining sky-high performance (you won’t find better payoff or lasting power) with impressive ethics (it’s both vegan and cruelty-free). Choosing an ultimate KVD eye palette was therefore a challenge - the Shade & Light Eye Contour is a classic - but, inspired by Kat’s top-selling Lolita lipstick, a warm, wearable chestnut-rose, this new release tipped the balance, containing everything from fresh-faced nudes to party-girl creamfoils.
Beauty Pie Ten Best Matte Eyeshadow Shades, £35 (or £9.22 to members), beautypie.com
Lobbing a grenade into the industry, Beauty Pie sells luxury products at lab-direct prices to members who sign up to a monthly spend - numerous tiers are available. This slimline palette is brilliant: the neutral/nude shades are ideal for everyday wear and the shadows, imported from Italy, are soft, creamy, non-crease and, made with micronized mineral pigments, impressively high-impact.
Eyeko Black Magic Mascara, £19, select M&S stores and lookfantastic.com
If you long for go-big-or-go-home lashes but suffer with smudging - I have both heavy lids and watery eyes, so am prone to going full panda - this multi award-winning mascara really is magic. The water-resist tubing formula jackets each lash in carbon black, courtesy of a nifty curved brush that elevates, extends and curls. Shea butter and keratin care for your lashes, too.
Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara, £25, Debenhams, arc, Bury St Edmunds and The Grafton, Cambridge
If I was only allowed one makeup item, it would be mascara. And if I was only allowed one mascara, it would be this one. It makes lashes look thick, luscious and blackest black. The dinky bristle brush catches even the littlest hairs and allows you to build without fear of clumping. And, promising to stay put, smudge-free, for a whopping 16 hours, it will survive pretty much anything: wind, rain, a good cry.
IT Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara, £20, Boots, Petty Cury, Cambridge
Already a hit in her native United States, news anchor turned beauty mogul Jamie Kern Lima brought her IT Cosmetics brand to the British High Street last year. I’ve since tried various products and all have impressed, but this Superhero mascara is my favourite. Blending IT’s Super Black pigment with collagen, biotin and peptides, it effortlessly lifts, separates and lengthens; build up the layers and you’ve got a false-lash look, minus the glue and faff.
Clarins 3-Dot Liner, £22, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge
If you think liquid liner looks lovely but is too tricky for you, this product is a game-changer. Thanks to a nifty triple-point sponge applicator, you can simply dot it along your lash line for instant volume and definition; for a more dramatic effect, just sweep it sideways to join the dots. Once dry, it’s going nowhere.
No 7 Stay Perfect Gel Eye Liner, £8.50, Boots stores
Proof that it’s not all about the price tag, this gel liner is a winner if you’re handy with a brush. The texture - soft but not too soft - means it’s nice and precise to apply, so creating smooth kicks and flicks is no problem. The colour is good and strong and it won’t shift, either; No 7 promises 24-hour staying power.
The Quick Flick, £20, select Superdrug stores and uk.quickbeauty.com
An Aussie social media sensation with endless five-star reviews online, The Quick Flick promises just that: a quick flick. You get two double-ended liner pens, one for the left eye and one for the right. Use the pre-loaded stamps to print your chosen flick - they come in four sizes - at the outer corner of each eye, then swish the felt tip along the lash line, inside out, to join it. Easy and very effective.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Liquid Concealer, £24, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge
Five years in the making, this concealer fully deserves its ‘Magic Away’ name. Pat it onto any pimple, age spot or dark circle and abracadabra, it’s gone. Promising full-coverage colour to match any skin tone - 16 shades are available - it contains wrinkle-fighting actives, too. A must for the make-up bag.
The Body Shop Concealer All-In-One, £9, The Body Shop, Petty Cury, Cambridge and Butter Market, Bury St Edmunds
Offering a slightly lighter coverage, this concealer blurs any imperfection, but is my go-to for under-eye shadows: infused with vitamin E and marula oil, it’s silky smooth to apply, easy to blend and light as a feather on the skin, too, so there’s no clumping or crepiness. It’s especially good for the fair-skinned: I favour 00, a pale English-rose nude.
Nudestix Tinted Blur, £38, cultbeauty.com
A great troubleshooter, this lightweight cream-to-powder stick is ideal for evening skin tone, blurring blemishes and mattifying. You can even use it as a highlighter. Remarkably non-drying, thanks to cocoa and green tea emollients, and available in 10 tones, it’s the make-up equivalent of Photoshop.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £42, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, and Debenhams, The Grafton, Cambridge
The holy grail of foundations combining light-as-a-feather formula with almost magical coverage. A little goes a long way.
Dermalogica Sheer Tint, £41, dermalogica.co.uk and Dermalogica salons
I’ve worn this for years and love the dewy finish to this lightly-tinted hydrating treatment that delivers SPF20 too. Fabulous come spring.
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, £29, bareminerals.co.uk
An award-winning tinted moisturiser (comes in 16 shades) and foundation with an SPF30, the mineral blend of BB and CC properties evens skin tone and creates a radiant glow. You don’t know you are wearing it.
Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows in Linda, £18.50, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge
Tilbury knows a thing or two about make-up and this enriched formula comes in a wand-like golden tube and separates brows to define naturally and keep in place. Very easy to use.
Clarins Pro Palette Eyebrow Kit New, £35, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge
Three shades of powder and a holding wax to create the perfect arched brows plus a pink shadow to enhance eyes, tweezers and double applicator. Transformative potential in a compact.
Eyebrowqueen Brow-Pro, £22, eyebrowqueenpro.com
The self-sharpening triangular pencil allows you to draw precise hair strokes as well as shade and define where required. A brush at the other end is to groom brows in place. Easy to get awesome eyebrows.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, £56, Space NK, Trinity Street, Cambridge
A high-tech palette to artfully create a soft-focus finish and highlight and shade to angular effect. You can blur imperfections and add warmth to the complexion. Clever shades work with all skin tones. A worthwhile investment.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Champagne Pop, £30, John Lewis & Partners, Grand Arcade, Cambridge
Ultra fine luminescent pearls have earned this award-winning highlighter cult status. Champagne Pop is the best-selling shade blending soft gold and pinky peach to alluring effect. It’s a must-have for girls on the glow.
Lavera Soft Glowing Highlighter, £9.90
Vegan, gluten free, certified organic and well-priced, Lavera’s highlighter delivers an impressive sheen in a fetching shade of Shining Pearl. The creamy texture works well on skin and eyes and can be layered for a light or lightening glow.
Read moreFashion and Beauty
More by this authorAlice Ryan