In our new column, Jessica Luper puts her face on the line so you don’t have to

A new year brings forth a host of new beauty possibilities, and with it a new column which I hope will bring valuable advice to product-addicted PHOENIX readers. It’s all too easy to fall prey to glossy advertising and PR nowadays, with pseudo-scientific claims and beautifully art directed images competing to overwhelm our reason and ignite our lust, so the aim of Tried and Tested is to find products that truly deliver what they promise; to trawl through the sea of beauty myths and find the treasure that will have a place in your cabinet for years to come.

My beauty resolutions this year are plentiful – as I hurtle headfirst towards my 30th year, I’m rapidly realising that I need to prevent and protect, to find products which feel as beautiful as they look, and to identify the small treats that will make me feel special in my increasingly hectic day. My opening ambition is to find a collection of stalwart products, from skin and haircare to make-up, that deliver consistent results, and improve my looks and spirits over the long term. I have a historic tendency to dash from one sexy new offering to the next in a panicked haze, whether I’m freaking out over a hormonal breakout, a hair emergency (and trust me, there are plenty of these when you have a jewfro like mine) or drag queen lips, rather than finding products that consistently prevent these problems in the first place. To kick things off, I’d like to offer a few of the beauty gems that have got me through the health nightmare that is Christmas, and that should help perk you up through the dark January days.

As a huge fan of exfoliating of any kind (I’ve always found that a good scrub can slough away the emotional baggage of a bad day along with the congested skin cells), I cannot recommend Liz Earle’s Gentle Face Exfoliator highly enough. The fine jojoba beads don’t make blemishes worse (a common hazard for an over-zealous scrubber), making this exfoliator – for once – genuinely gentle enough to use daily. Add the lovely natural, sinus-soothing scent, and a dopey winter morning feels like a brisk stroll through a dense green forest of eucalyptus leaves. A perfect New Year start.

Next, whether you dye your hair or remain au naturel, the CC Colourseal Conditioner that comes with Clairol Nice’n Easy hair dye is a little-known phenomenon. It brought my damp-matted curls (which became so tangled that I had to ask for help brushing them out), back into soft, shiny control. I get it from my Grandma, who finds it too rich but dyes her hair regularly; if you don’t, you can actually buy it separately, albeit in annoyingly small tubes.

Finally, with the basics under control, this is the one time of year you absolutely need a striking lip; a rich, dull metallic formula will lift, not reveal, sun-starved pallor and make you feel special when you need it most. glo minerals lipstick gives the perfect dull-dry sheen, as it’s formulated with antioxidants, including Vitamins A, C, E and Green Tea, plus Titanium Dioxide, which provides natural broad spectrum UV protection. I like Bordeaux, which looked like I’d been drinking lunchtime red wine and faded naturally, rather than in the patchy way that often happens with strong lip colours.

However, if you prefer a matte, vintage goddess red, I haven’t found a pigment stronger or more long-lasting than Mac’s classic Ruby Woo. It lasts for hours, doesn’t get on your teeth and smells like vanilla ice-cream. It might drive you crazy if you’ve just embarked on this years must-do sugar-free diet; but at least you’ll look gorgeous while you’re shlepping round the veg aisle in Whole Foods.

Words: Jessica Luper | Twitter | Pinterest


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