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These 5 Products Are The Real Deal - Here's Why

January 1 | 4 minute read

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Words by Kerri Gordon

Originally published on | May 29

They say there’s nothing better than the real deal. With my credentials (returning from a family trip to Thailand with a DVD of ‘She’s The Man’ as filmed from the back row of a Russian cinema – and staining my chest with a green heart courtesy of the “not fake” Tiffany necklace from my first boyfriend), I’m qualified to agree.

When it comes to beauty – as much as I’d like to tell you otherwise – the same rule applies.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of the creative and scientific geniuses behind the world’s most-loved beauty brands, from Gucci Westman and Augustinus Bader to the likes of Dr Dennis Gross and Tiffany Masterson of Drunk Elephant. Listening to them talk about how they create and formulate over the years has completely changed the way I perceive and use beauty (and for all intents and purposes, cannot be replicated).

I collect iconic beauty products like infinity stones – here’s why these are the realest of deals.

What it does: Creates the appearance of skin that enjoys two litres of water a day, trains for marathons, holidays regularly in tropical locations, and is told “you’re a vision of health!”

Why it's worth it: These drops are famous for their bronzing effect, but read the small print and you’ll realise they have the most insane ingredients list. With peptides (the ingredient everyone in the know is using to undo wrinkles), vitamin D-mimicking antioxidants and barrier repairing oils and vitamins, by using these drops for instant gratification – a hit of bronze – you’re reaping longer term benefits of hydration (everyone needs it), plumping, smoothing, dew and glow, thanks to quality ingredients and bioavailable formulation (i.e. it actually works).

How to use it: Mix a couple drops into your favourite moisturiser each morning before smoothing over your face. They’re a godsend for fake tanners too; simply add a drop or two to your foundation to colour match.

Pair it with: Literally any moisturiser, but these drops are especially beautiful with Drunk Elephant’s LaLa Retro Whipped Cream.

What it does: Stops strangers on the street to compliment you on your skin. The first of its kind – and inspired by once unachievable social media beauty filters – this bottle of glow perfects your skin (without covering it up) to make it the best it’s ever looked.

Why it's worth it: This cult-loved product bottles the expertise of Charlotte Tilbury’s legendary career as a celebrity makeup artist, creative director and product developer. In each swipe you’re getting the inside secrets from Prada, Chloe and McQueen runways, over 100 Vogue covers, and the likes of M.A.C. and Tom Ford Beauty’s formulation labs. In fact, the guinea pigs who tested Hollywood Flawless Filter before it came to market are none other than your favourite celebrities. With a truly flawless, non-glittery radiance and the ability to make lines and creases almost disappear in plain sight, there’s no comparing this original icon.

How to use it: As a primer under foundation for lit-from-within glow, alone for a sheer, juicy-looking complexion, or tapped into the high points of your face for a subtle highlight (perfect if high-pigment highlighters scare you – they do, me).

Pair it with: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer just in the spots you require coverage (I use it under my eyes and to cover any redness) for the perfect two-minute no-makeup makeup base.

What it does: This blush stick makes you look full of life and cute as a button in 10 seconds flat. I’m talking Sabrina Carpenter cute.

Why it's worth it: Similar to Charlotte, in Gucci Westman’s formulas you’re getting the expertise, secrets and stamp of approval from a beauty great. Oh, you died for Anne Hathaway’s makeup at The Idea of You premiere? Live for Jennifer Anniston’s natural beauty? Trying to math Nicole Kidman ageing backwards? It’s all Gucci. This blush is my all-time favourite, and takes a hands-on, skin-first approach to bringing colour to your cheeks – its application is impossible to mess up, and the ingredients list is so gentle you could comfortably sleep in it (I have). The weighty, magnetised packaging is deliciously luxe too.

How to use it: You could use a brush if you’re so inclined – but I like to draw it right into my cheeks and tap away with my fingers to blend.

Pair it with: Anything, really. Though I’d be remiss not to mention that Westman Atelier’s Face Trace Contour Stick is the best contour you’ll ever try.

What it does: Evens out skin tone and alleviates redness without looking makeup-y… or leaving you resembling Shrek’s third cousin. It’s a MECCA iconic for its priming power, but also an under-the-radar gateway product for men.

Why it's worth it: One Step Correct is Stila’s bread and butter – and a rare product that has survived decades of beauty trends unscathed. It’s the ultimate troubleshooting product for skin that’s duller, redder or less even than you’d like it, and created the blueprint for the makeup/skincare hybrids that dominate the market today, with a mineral ingredient complex that hydrates, controls oil and plumps fine lines (while its trio of sheer pigments tackles everything else). I’m telling you; this is the cheat-sheet to healthy, satiny skin.

How to use it: Blended out evenly with your hands under foundation (you’ll find yourself needing less foundation, too), or alone for a healthy, fresh-faced complexion.

Pair it with: MECCA MAX BROW GURU Power Brow Strong Hold Gel brushed through your brows for a ‘You call that hot pilates?’ weekend look.

What it does: Moisturises your entire body, sinking in at speed to skip the sticky, greasy phase once associated with an effective body care routine. Oh, and you’ll smell like a pistachio-filled kouign-amann.

Why it's worth it: Admittedly, it took me A Long Time to dip into this pot of gold. I have a fear of hype-induced disappointment (credentials include never watching Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones), but I’ve been chugging the Kool-Aid since I tried a dollop of my friend’s Bum Bum on a weekend away. It’s rich and sumptuous but somehow, so light? It has a really satisfying slip that makes the cream quick and easy to rub in, yet retains its moisturising prowess for a good 24 hours. Plus, Amazonian-derived ingredients like guarana, Cupuaçu butter, acai and Brazil nut supercharge this cream to skincare effect for smoother, firmer, never-flakey limbs.

How to use it: Let your fingers take a dive, dot the cream around your body, and massage in!

Pair it with: By showering with the MECCA ATHLETICA Skin Perfecting Body Wash pre-Bum Bum to help shed away dead skin, you’re setting yourself up for ultimate silkiness and max absorption.

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