It’s that time of year again, when Savoir Flair scours stores and beauty counters, tries every lotion and potion, and rigorously tests must-have makeup to find out which products deserve a place on the Best of Beauty list. From finding the mightiest mascara to the best hair booster, we made it our mission to find the very best beautifiers that you should be buying. And here they are – introducing 2018’s winners from the worlds of hair, skin, body, and makeup, all of which will leave you looking and feeling fabulous from top to toe.
The Time Machine
Augustinus Bader ‘The Rich Cream’
Just when you thought the beauty industry couldn’t get any more scientific, it did. Enter: Augustinus Bader, a German university professor and specialist in regenerative medicine whose stem-cell skincare creams are a firm A-lister favorite. Rising to fame in 2007, Bader developed a breakthrough hydrogel to eliminate the need for skin grafts in burn patients, which inspired his two luxurious creams. Containing a complex of vitamins, amino acids, and compounds that mimic those found naturally in the skin, they treat everything from fine lines and dryness to redness and acne, boosting skin’s health and natural defenses whilst stimulating our existing stem cells to visibly reduce signs of aging. The creams are so inclusive that Bader claims you don’t need to use anything else after you cleanse, and ten percent of all sales go towards burn victims worldwide.
The Magic Wand
Chanel ‘Le Volume Révolution De Chanel Mascara’
It’s safe to say Chanel’s hi-tech ‘Le Volume Révolution de Chanel’ mascara was well worth the wait. Over ten years in the making, it was reworked over 100 times to ensure absolute perfection. We’d expect nothing less.
Its enhanced formula nourishes lashes whilst delivering intense pigments and thickness thanks to a blend of vitamins, polymers, and waxes. In a single stroke, it loads lashes with extreme volume (sans clumps) thanks to its revolutionary 3D-printed wand (the world’s first, incidentally). The brush boasts a totally new and original shape, while its granular surface ensures even product distribution onto every part of the lash in just one stroke. That means no double-dipping. Finally. Magic wand is an understatement.
If you still don’t take the time to treat yourself to a regular face mask, you (and your skin) are seriously missing out. Not only do they provide a targeted boost, doing everything from battling blemishes to plumping the skin, fighting fine lines, and tightening pores, they’re an excuse to do nothing for 20 minutes but look after you.
Not only does Origins boast one of the most comprehensive collections of masks out there, it uses organic ingredients, 100 percent natural essential oils, and the power of plants to keep skin healthy and happy. With instant results no matter which one you go for (there’s literally everything from the ‘Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay’ to make pores invisible to the intensely hydrating ‘Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask’), they’re the perfect pre-party pick-me-up or way to fake a facial in as little as 10 minutes.
The Thirst Quencher
Charlotte Tilbury ‘Magic Cream’
Although a lot of skincare products claim one thing but often end up being a whole load of hocus pocus, this mighty moisturizer is exactly what its name suggests – pure skincare magic. A potent hydrating potion that’s packed full of hyaluronic acid, bionymph peptides, wild pansy extracts, rosehip and camellia oils, and antioxidant vitamin E, it’s the next best thing to giving thirsty skin a big, beautifying glass of water. It also protects, firms, and plumps – giving you that supermodel glow Tilbury does best.
Sisley ‘Le Phyto Rouge Lipsticks’
Not only are these lipsticks seriously pretty and bang on-trend with their zebra-print gold and black packaging, but they also bring the best skincare benefits to each bullet. Loaded with active ingredients worthy of a top-notch skin cream, there’s everything from camellia and jojoba oils to soften and improve suppleness and elasticity, padina pavonica extract to moisturize and plump, and hyaluronic acid and konjac extracts to provide long-lasting hydration.
There are 20 stunning shades to choose from, all of which adapt to every skin tone, and their new-generation texture blends smoothly onto lips for long-lasting comfort and an ultra-luminous finish. Their angled edges also ensure perfectly precise application, every time. We know what we’ll be rocking under the Mistletoe this year.
The Power Tool
Dyson ‘Supersonic Hairdryer’
It’s official: the Dyson hair dryer is still unbeatable and has changed our lives (and our hair) for good. We’re obsessed, and rightly so – seeing as Dyson spent a casual $66 million developing the tool. The technology hiding inside the chic, sleek exterior is seriously impressive. Its digital V9 motor spins six times faster than your regular dryer, yet it’s so quiet you’ll forget it’s even on and it barely weighs a thing. Oh, it also measures the air temperature 20 times a second to protect against heat damage. Like we said – obsessed.
The New Kid on the Block
Okay so technically it’s not new (Boscia has been around since 2002), but it is new to the UAE, which is good enough for us. Plus, we waited a seriously long time for its arrival, which wasn’t easy.
Boscia’s plant-to-formula philosophy means that every product is jam-packed with natural goodness, but still manages to pack a serious perfecting punch. The brand founder, Lan Belinky, particularly fond of charcoal, which inspired a line of deep-cleansing, pore-unclogging products including cleansers, masks, and hydrating gels that guarantee your clearest skin ever.
The Sun Kiss
Nudestix ‘All Over Face Matte’
Powder bronzers are so passé, which is why this sun-kissed stick is our go-to bronzing boost. The perfect way to enhance a holiday tan, or to add a golden glow even if your skin hasn’t seen the sun, it’s a bronzing balm that melts easily into skin to add warmth and definition, all without a beach or a plane ticket in sight. Easily buildable, dual-ended to help you blend, and long-wearing, it can be drawn directly onto cheeks, eyes, and even lips (or anywhere that needs a touch of sun) to leave you looking like you’ve just come back from a tropical vacay.
The Pollution Protector
Dr. Barbara Sturm ‘Anti-Pollution Drops’
The biggest name in the skincare world this year? Dr. Barbara Sturm. The woman needs no introduction, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock, she’s pretty much the reason why celebs look so good and so young. Her medi-luxe skincare brand is revolutionizing the way we look at anti-aging and skin health, and that’s because she’s all about taking an anti-inflammatory approach.
This super serum negates the harmful effects of pollution (UV rays, free radicals, and even blue light emitted from screens) while loading skin with moisture thanks to an innovative blend of antioxidants, French Polynesian microorganisms, and natural actives. Worn alone or added to your skin cream, it boosts skin defenses all day long, no matter what life throws your way.
The Backstage Secret
Dior ‘Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation’
Not only did Dior surprise fans with the launch of a more affordable beauty line – Dior Backstage — this year, but it went one step further by bringing out 40 shades of the ‘Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation’, which includes 16 intensities and six undertones. The brand’s most inclusive range yet was created after Peter Philips, Dior Makeup’s Creative & Image Director, saw the need for more.
Whether you want a natural, nude glow or a high-coverage finish, this ultra-buildable foundation does it all, and then some. Enriched with beauty-enhancing pigments, it fuses with skin for a complexion so flawlessly natural you’ll forget you have anything on. It’s our backstage secret, but one too good not to share.
The Eye Opener
Jillian Dempsey ‘Lid Tints’
These unbelievably easy-to-use lid tints are so good we don’t know where to start in singing their praises. Created by the go-to makeup artist of the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart, Jillian Dempsey (wife of McDreamy Patrick Dempsey, no less), they’re a lazy girl’s dream. Use a brush or your finger to load lids up with gorgeous, glossy color, and rest assured you won’t need to exercise damage control, as they’re totally foolproof. Promise. They’re also loaded with organic, vegan ingredients – including nourishing oils and antioxidant rich vitamins – to perfect and protect your peepers.
The Face Lift
Rodial ‘Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel’
It might sound more fantasy film than luxury skincare, but this revolutionary gel is basically a face lift in a bottle. And no, there’s no actual dragon or blood involved – instead, it’s a complex blend of exotic sounding ingredients (Croton Lechleri tree sap, pomegranate extract, collageneer, and commiphora extract) that does everything from firming and lifting sagging skin to plumping, protecting, and smoothing. It visibly lifts and defines facial contours, and its light gel-cream formula is wonderfully refreshing. Supermodel definition, here we come.
Starskin ‘7-in-1 Miracle Skin Mask Pads’
When we say these pads do everything, we really mean they do everything. An exfoliator meets toner meets serum meets moisturizer meets mask meets primer (you get the gist), they’re your one-stop-shop to sublime skin without having to stock up on a million products.
The front side of the pads features exfoliating beads to gently slough away dry, dead skin while refining pores and promoting circulation, along with a balancing toner to brighten. Flip it over to load skin with a nourishing and protecting fermented serum concentrate, a hydration-boosting replenishing moisturizer, a leave-on replenishing mask, and a makeup primer. Seven seconds on each side et voilà: fresh, dewy-looking skin in a flash.
Tarte ‘Shape Tape Concealer’
Just when we thought Tarte’s concealers couldn’t get any better, they launched ‘Shape Tape’ – and we were making room in our makeup bags faster than you can say ‘Sephora Gold Card’.
One-hundred percent vegan and free from harsh nasties, they offer full coverage with a matte finish and will erase any blemish or imperfection in a flash. There’s no risk of flaking or creasing, and they’re loaded with nourishing skincare ingredients (licorice root and mango seed and Shea butters) to illuminate and lift. They’re so good, in fact, that one is sold every 12 seconds. Enough said.
The Treasure Chest
Huda Beauty ‘New Nude Palette’
Whatever Huda Kattan touches turns to makeup gold, and her latest palette is no exception. Reinventing the idea of nude makeup as we know it, it features 18 highly pigmented shades, a range of tantalizing textures (just look at those glitters) and even a concealer base to enhance and intensify any hue you apply on top. Formulated with coconut oil and aloe vera, they go on as smooth as silk, and they’ll stay put too, thanks to innovative silicones and waxes. A treasure chest of makeup treats just waiting to be discovered.
The Inkey List
In a nutshell, The Inkey List is “hero-ingredient skincare made simple” and, despite only launching a few months ago, it already rivals the likes of cult favorite The Ordinary. This isn’t just because of that chemistry lab-style packaging; its quality, high-tech formulas pack a serious punch without costing a fortune. How? They go straight to their raw-material suppliers to get the best ingredients at cost price. Clever. This means that absolutely nothing costs more than AED 50.
If you don’t know your retinol from your hyaluronic acid, The Inkey List’s labelling explains what a product does, where it’s from, who should use it, and how to use it, all without the fluff. It’s about time. We’re declaring this curated collection of 15 skin heroes – a glycolic-packed toner, turmeric moisturizer, lactic-acid serum, and caffeine eye cream included – your skin’s (and wallet’s) new best friend.
The Helping Hand
Byredo Hand Cream
If you catch us inhaling deeply into our palms with a look of pure bliss on our faces, it’s safe to say we’ve just applied a Byredo hand cream. Inside each monochrome tube is one of Byredo’s signature scents in the form of a light, nourishing texture that softens and scents skin to give you the most fragrant of fingers and the smoothest of handshakes. Enriched with vitamins A and C and nourishing Shea butter, it’s non-greasy yet seriously hydrating – giving tired hands a big dose of TLC. We guarantee you’ll be so addicted you’ll need one in your desk drawer, your glove compartment, all your handbags, and your bedside table.
The Mane Event
The world of haircare can be a daunting place, but to keep things simple, make Briogeo your go-to. In the words of founder and CEO Nancy Twine, “We should treat our hair the same way we treat our skin; by nurturing it with ingredients that detoxify, hydrate, and protect”. It’s so brilliantly obvious that we can’t believe it’s taken so long for haircare that mimics skincare to be an actual thing.
These New-York inspired, texture-specific products have something for everyone, whether you need a volumizing boost, extra care for your curls, or to inject some life back into dry, damaged locks. Free from parabens, sulfates, and all the other usual nasties, they’re cruelty-free and made from ingredients that are at least 90 percent naturally-derived. Cue the slow-motion hair flick.
If we could, we’d have a Diptyque candle in every room. Actually, make that every room in the world, because — let’s be honest — what better way is there to de-stress, relax, and unwind than by the light (and scent) of a fragrant candle? Especially when it comes in a Diptyque box that bears the brand’s famous oval logo. So fabulously French, they’re elegant yet cool, classic yet modern – combining the finest raw materials with the crème de la crème of French perfumery. Plus, when they run out, the blow is softened by the fact they make for the perfect (and chicest) place to store your makeup brushes. Win-win.
You don’t need to come from a land down under to reap the beauty benefits of The Bush. Teaming plant-based ingredients with laboratory-made formulas, Aesop brings together the powers of nature and science to make for some super skin, body, and hair products. Each one is housed in a beautiful amber glass bottle to ensure the high concentration of botanical extracts remains stable, which also gives them the added bonus of looking seriously good on your bathroom shelf.
From body washes bursting with coriander and peppercorns to geranium-leaf body balms and tea tree-leaf exfoliators, whatever your body care needs, Aesop aces it.
The Wow Brow
Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Brow Wiz’
When it comes to beautiful eyebrows, the rule is clearly the bigger the better. With that in mind, and to help you on your way to super brow-dom, brow guru to the stars Anastasia Soare created her very own eyebrow-boosting pencil that will transform even the sparsest and patchy of pairs. Thanks to its super skinny mechanical nib, there’s no risk of that ‘colored in’ block-brow look (no thanks), and instead it creates the appearance of individual hairs for a natural, full brow effect that gives Cara Delevingne a run for her money.
Lush is one of, if not the most pioneering beauty brands out there when it comes to doing good for the planet. And that’s a pretty major accolade at a time when the pressures on environmental and humanitarian ethics are at the forefront of the beauty industry.
This is a brand about so much more than fun, fizzing bath bombs, fresh face masks, and quirky product names, as its products are 100 percent vegetarian and cruelty-free, it fights against animal testing, supports fair-and community-trade initiatives worldwide, and spreads awareness of global issues such as immigration, pollution, and human rights. Its mission is simple: “For all people who have contact with us, from our ingredients suppliers through to our staff and customers, to benefit from their contact with Lush and have their lives enriched by it.” This really is beauty that gives back.
The brand also combats the over-packaging problem by creating products that can be sold “naked” – a.k.a. package-free. And if you do pick a product that comes in a pot or tub, you can exchange five empty containers for a free face mask. If that wasn’t reason enough to make the switch, we don’t know what is.
Ouai ‘Scalp & Body Scrub’
Sugar, sugar, how you get so fly? With Ouai’s sugar scrub, of course. Scalp scrubbing is such a big beauty trend that hairstylist to the stars Jen Atkin launched her own beautifying buffer, which sloughs away dead skin and the build-up of pollutants, oils, and products to help regulate blood flow and promote new hair growth and a healthier scalp.
It also boasts fatty acid-rich coconut oil that nourishes and moisturizes, and an exclusive probiotic blend that supports scalp health and aids natural defenses of skin’s microbiomes. The added beauty bonus? You can use it on your body, too, so you’ll literally be silky soft from top to toe. And it smells insane thanks to a blend of rose, lychee, bergamot, cedar wood, and white musk. Yes, Ouai.
NARS ‘Liquid Blush’
Nothing says healthy, youthful skin better than a flush of blush. In fact, for a beautifying boost that will instantly knock off the years, a blush will make a much bigger impact than an expensive skin cream. Not only can it transform dreary, dull complexions in a flash, but it also gives skin a gorgeous glow, lifts and sculpts the face, dispels signs of tiredness, and creates the illusion of skin so healthy that it radiates from within.
NARS nails it with this liquid blush, which gives all skin tones a natural-looking pop of color for a sheer or high-impact look. One pump delivers the perfect hint of rouge, along with monoi and tamanu oils to ensure a second-skin finish and a soft, healthy glow. Très cheek.
The Overnight Success
Caudalie ‘Vine[Activ] Overnight Detox Night Oil’
Nothing feels quite as decadent as smothering your skin in a rich, fragrant oil – especially one that works overnight to ensure you wake up a true sleeping beauty. This detoxifying offering from Caudalie works wonders whilst you sleep, thanks to antioxidant-rich grape-seed extracts and an array of natural oils including rose hip to regenerate, neroli to purify, lavender to soothe, and carrot oil to detoxify. It’s the perfect nighttime treat for skin that’s been exposed to stress, pollution, and UV rays. Success.
The Vitamin Shot
Drunk Elephant ‘C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream’
Dark circles and under eye bags are the beauty banes of our lives, and just when we were about to give up trying to find something, anything, to get rid of them, the Drunk Elephant line came along. Clean beauty at its best, it’s formulated without the ‘suspicious six’ (chemical screens, silicones, drying alcohols, essential oils, dyes/fragrances, and SLSs), and instead contains not one, not two, but five forms of vitamin C, cucumber extract, and brightening peptides to strengthen and brighten the eye area. You can officially say bye-bye to bags and adieu to dark circles for good.
The Glow Getter
Fenty Beauty ‘Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters’
2018 was the year of the highlighter, with radiant, glowing skin reigning supreme on and off the runways. And when it comes to the Queen of the strobe, no one does it better than Rihanna. Shine bright like a diamond (literally) with her high-shine Fenty highlighters, which combine insanely luminizing pigments with a weightless, long-wear cream-powder formula that melts into skin in seconds. A slick of this across your cheekbones and you’ll glow all night long. Riri, eat your heart out.
Founded in Tokyo in 1872, Shiseido is J-Beauty at its best. With 145 years of expertise under their (most likely stunning silk obi) belts, their sun protection products are the best in the business. Combining eastern tradition with advanced western technology, their cutting-edge formulas don’t just protect skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, they also combine groundbreaking ‘WetForce’ technology (which means water boosts their UV protection powers) with anti-aging and hydrating ingredients to treat skin from within. Plus, they’re not thick and sticky, and their feather-light formulas sink quickly into skin without that pesky white film.
The Art of Gifting
When untying the ribbon on your beautiful black Jo Malone box, you know you’re in for a (very big) treat. Not only does the luxury fragrance brand offer everything from exquisite soaps and body care to stunning scents, candles, and colognes galore, but it has also mastered the art of gifting by allowing you to create your very own bespoke beauty box.
Not only can you curate your own collection of products, but you can also choose your ribbon color, personalize your perfumes, and engrave your candles. This really is ultimate tailor-made gift for your loved ones. Or for yourself – we’re all for self-love and appreciation. Especially when Jo Malone’s involved.
It’s official; we want to move into the Aveda salon, stat. From the moment you step out of the private elevator, walk across the terrace, and enter the beautiful, spacious, and serene space, you just know that you’re in for an unforgettable experience. The attention to detail is incredible; whether it’s the selfie station that allows you to create the perfect flatlay for your Instagram or the Aveda Calming Tea ritual, where herbal tea is served to you in an ornate glass, everything has been put in place to ensure all your needs are met.
With four beautiful walls made of over 4,000 plants, it’s easy to forget that you’re in a beauty salon and not a lush, green rainforest. As you sink back into a huge, sumptuous massage seat for your mani/pedi, or take your position at a hairstyling station, you get to gaze at the greenery or out across the city to the Burj Khalifa. Plus, on arrival, you’ll be greeted by “Mr. Chakra”, who will help clear any energy blockages with a chakra spray suited to your needs, leaving you looking and feeling better than ever. You know where to find us.
Shop Savoir Flair's Edit of 2018's Best Beauty Buys
Photographer Alexander Wolfe Editor-in-Chief Haleh Nia Beauty Editor Frankie Rozwadowska Junior Producer Maria Popova