The Upgrades | LipsSoFacto

The Upgrades

0 Posted by - June 9, 2014 - Eye Makeup, Face Makeup, Face Skincare, Fragrance, Hair Products

Following a few recent conversations about the products I used when I was first getting into makeup, I realised very few are still in my routine. They’ve either been discontinued or I’ve ‘graduated’ onto something else. Maybe we can call it an upgrade (admittedly all but one product has been replaced with something a little more damaging to the bank balance) but that isn’t to say the originals are bad products; particularly in the case of fragrance, which is of course purely subjective. But here are five products that have convinced me there’s no going back.

Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl / Calvin Klein CK One > Maison Martin Margiela Untitled

One of the conversations that inspired this post was about early fragrance choices (Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male was a prevailing choice for men). My earliest olfactory leanings were for Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl and Calvin Klein CK One; both no longer in my possession. I tend to gravitate towards woody fragrances now, but the fresh green notes of  Maison Martin Margiela Untitled l’Eau (£70, reviewed here) are not a million miles away from those old favourites.

Head and Shoulders > John Masters Organics Bare Unscented Shampoo

If there is one thing I could go back and tell my teenage self (besides not to overpluck my brows or bother with that Biology A-level) it would be: ‘you don’t have dandruff or some bizarre disease, you’re reacting to sulphates and/or fragrances’. My hair and scalp were constantly varying degrees of painful and while the zinc in Head and Shoulders went some way to calm things down, ditching sulphates and unnecessary fragrance for gentler products like John Masters Organics Bare Unscented Shampoo (£14.50) has been the biggest beauty revelation of all.

The Upgrades

Clean and Clear gel cleanser > REN  Rosa Centifolia Gel Cleanser

Before my mum steered me towards Simple face wipes (an improvement of sorts) my teenage skincare was pretty heavy on Clean and Clear. Namely a brutally astringent ‘toner’ and a gel cleanser in some lurid shade of blue. They’re not my first choice for removing makeup, but I still like the texture of a gel cleanser when I’m not wearing much makeup or to team with my Clarisonic. I’m now on my second tube of REN Rosa Centifolia Gel Cleanser (£17), which is free from harsh ingredients and leaves my skin feeling clean but never parched or tight.

Benefit Dandelion > MAC Sheertone Blush in Tenderling

When one of my best friends got a weekend job on a Benefit counter about eight years ago we were all fanatical about their box blushes, and none more so than Dandelion. It’s a perky, brightening everyday blush on paler skin, but photos from our first parent-free holiday belie the chalkiness that can appear should you dare get a hint of a tan. These days I prefer the matte finish and sculpting, brownish undertone of MAC Sheertone Blush in Tenderling (£18) as my everyday blush of choice. It’s a dusty, muted pink still best suited for paler skin tones, but much more forgiving in photographs.

The Upgrades

Rimmel Brown Kohl > Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner in Scotch and Chocolate Truffle

School rules said no black eyeliner so, in a pathetic rebellion, I started ringing my eyes with as much brown eyeliner as I could get away with. Unfortunately that eyeliner was a rather reddish brown (I’m almost certain it was called ‘Rich Tea’) that, more often than not, looked less Chloé catwalk and more like a low grade eye infection. It also didn’t wear particularly well (this was before the days of Rimmel’s awesome Scandaleyes pencils).

I still love a smudge of brown kohl for easy definition but, having worn down my ByTerry Secret Brown to an unusable nub, I’ve now moved on to Bobbi Brown’s ultra smooth and long lasting Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner twist-up pencils (£18) in Scotch (a medium brown with a hint of bronze shimmer) and Chocolate Truffle (rich dark brown) – and, unless I’m sporting a smokey eye, it’s  top lashline affair only.


  • marikuska June 9, 2014 - 7:36 am Reply

    Great post, Meg! Very interesting to see someone evolve through the cosmetics they use.

  • Madeleine – The Daily Mark June 9, 2014 - 7:40 am Reply

    Great post! I haven’t tried any of these. Love the packaging of the Untitled fragrance!

  • Hetty Bavidge-Longmuir June 9, 2014 - 8:04 am Reply

    I adored this post, and I’m now feeling nostalgic for my late-teenage love for the Anna Sui perfume in the little handbag bottle! I was also obsessed with a shimmery creamy pink eyeshadow from The Body Shop, and I guess my love of Stila Kitten and Dune is a throwback to that.


  • Tazmin June 9, 2014 - 9:17 am Reply

    Such a lovely post idea! Clean & Clear, ah dear. My skin would be so much happier if I hadn’t used all of that harsh stuff. xx

  • Faith Mason June 9, 2014 - 9:25 am Reply

    Great post!

  • Rachael June 9, 2014 - 9:26 am Reply

    One of my first fragrances was Tommy Girl too, and I LOVED CK One! I was also a saint to the whole Clean & Clear / Clearasil thing back then haha. Great post Meg x

    What Rachael Wrote

  • Nicoco Chanel June 9, 2014 - 10:31 am Reply

    OH man, why did you have to include Tenderling? That blush has been teasing me for years with its beauty.

    Love the post idea – we all go through such awkward teenage choices that it’s nice to commiserate with people.

    x Nicole Isabella

  • Parisian To Be June 9, 2014 - 12:53 pm Reply

    I recently had the same scalp problem, except it’s weird because my scalp never had troubles until last year. I purchased the John Master’s Shampoo on your recommendation and I’m hooked. x

    xo Lillian from Parisian To Be

  • Kate Wilson June 9, 2014 - 1:50 pm Reply

    love bobbi brown eyeliner x


  • Emily Knott June 9, 2014 - 3:10 pm Reply

    I have been after that blush for a while now!

  • jen_cam June 9, 2014 - 4:25 pm Reply

    Tenderling was the first MAC blush I was sold many years ago (by one of their makeup artists). It is still a staple in my makeup drawer. You’re right, it just wears so well on fair complexions. I’m glad you enjoy it too.

  • Naomi June 9, 2014 - 6:58 pm Reply

    Meg, I love your way with words. You have a true talent for writing, for which you should be very proud!
    Love this idea for a post, it’s so interesting reading about what other people wore when they were teenagers. I was the same with clean & clear up until quite recently, ashamedly. However, I have moved onto La Roche-Posay, Vichy and The Body Shop to name a few and my skin has improved dramatically as a result.

    Naomi xo

    • Isa Dione June 12, 2014 - 5:38 pm Reply

      well said! Meg, have you ever thought about publishing your own short stories or a novel?

  • Jennifer Monforton June 9, 2014 - 11:09 pm Reply

    Great post! I’ve certainly moved from harsher acne washes to gentler options. I’m using the REN Clear Calm Clay Cleanser and my skin is happy for it :)

  • Catriona June 10, 2014 - 4:04 pm Reply

    AH that Ren cleanser is my HG cleanser! I’m on my 4th or 5th bottle now. Emma Hardie’s amazing face balm absolutely RUINED my skin (sooo sad about that), and that Ren cleanser totally sorted me out within a few days.

  • Arianne June 16, 2014 - 5:34 pm Reply

    Some weeks, I go through a brown eyeliner phase and I’m so curious about Bobbi’s Chocolate Truffle. Gah I want a truffle now.

  • Andrea Ogunbadejo June 28, 2014 - 2:08 pm Reply

    Love this post! It’s funny how much your products change from teen years to mid twenties. There are a few relics still sneaking into my bathroom, namely Liz Earle – I’ve been using it since I was 12!
    Drea xo

  • Alessia August 6, 2014 - 1:57 pm Reply

    Interesting topic. There are in fact some ‘cults’ that never pass away, such as for me Dior lipsticks and eye shadow palettes, and lots of other stuff we would never repurchase, not necessarily drugstore brands, but sticky super-shiny lip glosses that remind so much about teenagers in a disco toilet, as well as those super-heavy coverage foundations one could buy at a DIY shop among plasters, lime and paint for the ceiling.

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