February has arrived, which means it's time for my monthly beauty picks!
Lip products are launching LIKE CRAZY right now. Clinique, Chanel and Hourglass have each come out with new crayons, while Guerlain has a new stain, Bite Beauty did a new balm and Maybelline formulated a new lip liner. (Hence, just to warn you, there are way too many close-ups of my mouth, below!)
Besides lip stuff, I was also impressed by concealers, a sheet mask, dry styling sprays and more. So if you're wondering which beauty products are worth checking out this month, here's my full list of February favourites:
1. Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick
Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick Swatches
Clinique and Crayola have teamed up to create the Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick, and I can't think of a more brilliant collaboration. These are tinted lip balms in 10 shades inspired by the iconic Crayola crayon.
I tried three, and I can't even pick a favourite. Wild Strawberry is a sheer classic red, and Mauveberry is similar except with a slightly cooler, berry tint. Pink Sherbert is a baby pink, but with yellow undertones that make it more wearable than most.
They're easy to swipe on without a mirror, and keep your lips extremely hydrated. Only around for the next six months, so grab 'em while you can!
2. NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer Swatches
The Soft Matte Complete Concealer range is the latest from NARS, and is sure to be as popular as their hit Radiant Creamy Concealers that launched a few years back. While those apply with a wand, the Soft Matte ones are in pots, with a drier but still creamy, easily blendable texture.
Honestly, the texture is SO GOOD—they literally melt into your skin and don't look or even feel like you're wearing anything. You get full coverage (the highest ever from the brand) in a soft-matte, oil-free finish.
There are 16 shades, and I think they're the same as the Radiant ones, because just like with that range, Vanilla (the second lightest) is my best match. Crème Brulée and Cannelle are the next lightest after that.
3. Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon
Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon Swatches
If you've been following along with the awards season beauty reports, you might've noticed... practically every other starlet has been wearing a Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon!
These crayons couldn't be more different to Clinique's. While those were sheer and balmy, Chanel's version delivers rich, full-coverage pigment—so much so that you'll need to take your time applying—with a super-glossy shine.
There are 11 shades, and I tried two of the brightest. No. 6 Framboise, an electric raspberry, is my favourite. No. 7 Fuschia (yes, they spelled fuchsia wrong!) is also super-bright, but with much cooler undertones. I like blotting them once to tame down some of the shine, for a subtler daytime look.
4. Guerlain Lip & Cheek Tint
Guerlain Lip & Cheek Tint Swatches
Every once in a while, luxury brands like Guerlain come out with the cutest little stains that can be worn as lip colour or blush. Obviously, it was love at first sight for this Lip & Cheek Tint. Don't you just die at that packaging?!
Inside is a cream-gel that looks way more fluorescent than it applies on the skin. Apparently, it's one of those colour-adjusting formulas that adapts the tone of pink according to your unique pH. One coat imparts a soft baby pink, but you can build it up in layers to achieve more intensity. Unlike many stains, it dries down matte but soft—not drying. Love!
5. Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo
Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo Swatches
Yet another lip crayon option for you this month is the new Girl Lip Stylo collection from Hourglass. This range is all about modern colours and luxurious-feeling hydration, and they do not disappoint!
There are 20 shades in the collection. I tried three and fell most in love with Explorer, the coral (of course!). Second favourite would be Peacemaker, a peachy nude, followed by Believer, peachy beige). I think they particularly excelled at neutrals, so if you're a nude lip kind of woman, there are tons of options for you. Compared to Clinique and Chanel, the texture of these is a lot creamier, and again, I probably prefer them a bit blotted or softened with a fingertip.
Also, I have to commend them for the shade names. absolutely loathe the naming conventions of brands like Tarte (think: "Yaassss" and "Bae"... gag). Kudos to Hourglass for using these names to celebrate female achievement and empowerment!
6. PMD Anti-Aging Collagen Infusing Recovery Mask
Ingredients: Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Algin, Chlorphenesin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Mannitol, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Collagen, Sodium Benzoate, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15
PMD make my favourite at-home microdermabrasion device (the Personal Microderm), and now, the brand has come out with a sheet mask to be used right after your treatment—or any time you need a moisture boost. The Anti-Aging Collagen Infusing Recovery Mask is loaded with glycerin, hyaluronic acid, olive oil and peptides to soothe and plump the skin. (Collagen, too, but that ingredient doesn't penetrate well.) Besides moisturization, these masks are also said to help with fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.
I've been disappointed with most sheet masks that contain silicones, polymers and cheap oils, so I'm thrilled to have discovered ones with a relatively clean ingredients list. You get five in a pack, and they're coated with a lovely essence that will replace the need for any moisturizer post-mask session.
7. Maybelline Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner
Maybelline Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner Swatches
Now that lip liner—and overdrawing—has become a regular part of our makeup routines, I'm always on the hunt for good pencils that don't budge. Enter Maybelline Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner, a new range of 14 shades.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that these liners take quite a bit of work to get off. As in lots of scrubbing and lots of Bioderma Sensibio! But to me, that's a bonus, because you don't want your overdrawn lips smudging and sliding throughout the day. These have a dry texture that "grips" really well, although if you want to use the liner to cover your entire lip, it's more challenging; I suggest adding some balm to help it glide.
8. Cake Beauty Dry Shampoo and Dry Conditioner
Ingredients (The Locks Smith): Alcohol Denat., Butane, Isobutane, Propane, Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil Phytosterol Esters, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, Parfum (Fragrance), Isopropyl Myristate.
Ingredients (The 'Do Gooder): Butane, Isobutane, Propane, Alcohol Denat., Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Parfum (Fragrance), Distearyldimonium Chloride, Aqua (Water)
Cake Beauty has a new dry styling collection that uses more natural ingredients—something I've long wished for from mainstream hair brands. The 'Do Gooder Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray makes your hair feel fresh, clean and bouncy, and has the brand's addictive signature scent. Keep in mind that it is slightly whitening, so does need some brushing out, especially if your hair is very dark.
The Locks Smith Hydrating Dry Conditioner Spray pairs amazingly well with the dry shampoo, because it's not just the roots that are a problem, am I right? If you're anything like me, your lengths can get a bit ratty-looking on the second or third day, and this spray totally fixes that. It helps smooth and soften them while taming frizz, and without weighing you down.
9. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm Swatch
Ingredients: Lanolin* (Pharma Grade), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter**, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil*, Glyceryl Rosinate*, Cera Alba (Beeswax)**, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil**, Stearyl Alcohol*, Hydrated Silica*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Sterols*, Copernica Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax**, Heptyl Undecylenate*, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil*, Mica*, Kaolin*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Cera (Wax)*, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil*, Flavor (Aroma), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax*, Glycerin**, Tocopherol*, Sorbitan Stearate*, Vanilla Tahitensis (Vanilla) Fruit Extract*, Agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) Nectar**, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil**, Acacia Decurrens Wax*, Polyglycerin-3*, Trans-Resveratrol*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract**.
One of our favourite lip-specialist brands has just come out with a new lip balm. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm has the best texture I've come across in a long time. Unlike most products that have a lot of oil and slip, this one is quite solid and almost waxy—it actually "tugs" a bit on your lips as you apply it. But that means that it forms a protective, healing seal over dryness and chapping.
It also makes a wonderful base under lip colours, since the texture isn't greasy or shiny. The only caution would be to make sure you're not sensitive to lanolin; as I explained here, that ingredient can dry some people out.
Where to buy: Sephora
10. OPI Fiji Collection
My top picks are I Can Never Hut Up, that gorgeous iridescent grey, and Coconuts Over OPI, the taupe. If the warm weather ever returns, I'll be going straight for Two-Timing the Zones, the bright cool pink, on my toes!
11. L'Oréal Infallible Paints Blush Palette
L'Oréal Infallible Paints Blush Palette Swatches
The L'Oréal Infallible Paints Blush Palette had me at hello! These powder blush colours are so fun and bright, and I love that drugstore brands are doing more versions of high-end palettes now.
On the skin, I was surprised to find it is far more wearable than I imagined. I had to do a few layers to build up these swatches, so you'd get a much more sheer effect with a fluffy brush—which is exactly what we want. The peach and pink shades are soft and subtle for daytime, while the orange and hot pink are bolder for evening (or drab skin days). If I can get away with all of these shades on my fair skin, you know they're pretty goof-proof.
12. Chanel Plissé Lumière de Chanel Illuminating Powder
Chanel Plissé Lumière de Chanel Illuminating Powder Swatch
One more Chanel launch to know about this month: the Plissé Lumière de Chanel Illuminating Powder. This is from their Énergies et Puretés collection for Spring 2017, and in fact, the whole lineup is amazing. But I wanted to draw particular attention to this highlighter, because they don't do them very often. (I still treasure a cream highlighter from back in 2006 that I am hoping they re-release at some point!)
This one is a powder texture, with finely milled champagne shimmer. It's hard to photograph this stuff, because it doesn't show up on the skin except when the light catches it. That quality makes it ideal for the high planes of your face, such as the cheekbones towards the temples and the bridge of your nose. It's absolutely gorgeous and SO classy—no glittery disco ball illuminator here!
13. Sephora Collection x Utowa Pro Universal Curler
Shu Uemura obviously rules the category of eyelash curlers, but here's a fun fact. The late Mr. Uemura's son, Hiroshi Uemura, founded his own brand, Utowa, which offers a lash curler of its own. Now Sephora has teamed up with Utowa for the Sephora Collection x Utowa Pro Universal Curler.
Having used Shu ever since I started wearing mascara, I don't tend to trust other curlers, but I gave this one a go and I like it! It's nicely cushioned and doesn't make you feel like you're about to rip your lashes; you also get a really decent curl. Compared to Shu's, it feels lighter, and the space for your eye isn't as curved—so it won't disturb your eye makeup.
Where to buy: Sephora
14. Miu Miu L'Eau Bleue
Miu Miu perfumes have the BEST packaging. Like the original before it, new L'Eau Bleue comes in a gorgeous "matelassé" (cushioned) bottle, but in transparent aqua this time, adorned by a yellow plastic disc. Chic, chic, chic!
Both scents focus on lily of the valley, but L'Eau Bleue (which is an eau de toilette) is lighter and more spring-like. Its notes include honeysuckle, akigala wood and wild rose. Very airy and sparkling, but grounded by a lovely warm base.
So there you have it—the beauty products I'm most in love with for February. Clearly, crayons are going to be on high rotation this month! I'll be putting aside my eye makeup for lots of flushed lips and cheeks. (Hydrated with my new sheet masks and balm, of course!)
What's your favourite new beauty product this month?
1. Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick | 2. NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | 3. Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon | 4. Guerlain Lip & Cheek Tint | 5. Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo | 6. PMD Anti-Aging Collagen Infusing Recovery Mask | 7. Maybelline Color Sensational Shaping Lip Liner | 8. Cake Beauty The 'Do Gooder Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray and The Locks Smith Hydrating Dry Conditioner Spray | 9. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm | 10. OPI Fiji Collection | 11. L'Oréal Infallible Paints Blush Palette | 12. Chanel Plissé Lumière de Chanel Illuminating Powder | 13. Sephora Collection x Utowa Pro Universal Curler | 14. Miu Miu L'Eau Bleue