Is it just me or does it feel like spring is finally starting to roll in? Well, I decided not to wait to get on the spring renewal. I desperately needed to get my bedroom organised, particularly my sea of products that threatened to overrun the top floor of the house, so what great news to hear that two of our greatest interiors and beauty products companies have teamed up to inspire us to renovate, renew and refresh our homes and our look! Habitat and Birchbox have partnered for March, the month of rejuvenation, to give direction to our at-home makeovers, starting with the return of the dressing table and the discovery of a new and better beauty regimen.
The Emil dressing table first caught my eye when I was doing a preview of Habitat's SS15 collection. I love the clean finish of the birch, the geometry of the components - that fantastically huge, round mirror! - and the vertical chest of drawers. A very unusual style in the best of ways, it's a refreshingly design-led, minimalist alternative to the fussier traditional dressing tables and offers far more storage than one could ever hope to have in a vanity. My hair appliances are now hidden away yet handy, and I can now justify all of my beauty bottles, samples and makeup for they finally have a tidy home.
However, my makeup was in need of an overhaul. I had a lot of old products and was still searching for the ultimate concealer and something to make my eyes pop a bit more. I need a routine that takes very little time because I just can't be bothered to take more than 15 minutes to get ready to go out, so the products would have to be easy to use. I was also looking for spring day time skincare that is lighter than the heavier winter products I was using but still effective at keeping skin looking great, and conditioning hair treatments.
I made my selection from Birchbox's vast range of products, the full-size offerings of the ones you may have tried through their fantastic subscription service that delivers a new collection of beauty and lifestyle samples to your door each month. I chose a mix of brands I already trust and love, plus a new one that I can't believe hadn't already found its way into my makeup bag. I can honestly say each product has been a winner in its own right and has become a must-have staple. And I'll tell you why.
My New Routine
Macadamia Nourishing Leave-in Cream - Hands-down the best range of hair treatment products I've ever used and allows me to keep up my salon blonde without having to chop off inches every few weeks to keep it looking healthy. Usually leave-in creams tend to somehow leave my hair feeling dryer, but Macadamia's - yes the magic ingredient is macadamia nut oil - softens while adding volume and texture and seems to even keep my hair from getting oily. Brilliant.
Caudalie is a tried-and-true favourite from France, free of all the bad stuff while delivering what it promises.
Step 1 - Tone and refresh with Beauty Elixir. This hydrating and smoothing mist wakes you up with an invigorating glow, making it the perfect 'good morning'. It's also great for setting makeup or for freshening up during the day.
Step 2 - Protect with Polyphenol C15 Anti Wrinkle Defense Serum. Contains a ton of great antioxidants but the bottom line is that as soon as you apply this serum you see a visible difference. Skin is immediately tighter and smoother and it glows. Seriously, it's amazing.
Step 3 - Moisturise with Polyphenol C15 Broad Spectrum SPF20 Anti-Wrinkle Protect Fluid. A moisturiser that does so much more, including protecting from UVA and UVB rays. Combined with the matching serum your skin looks amazing all day and stays feeling soft and fresh.
I found three 'miracle' products that I now can't live without!
Conceal - with Benefit Boi-ing. The box says 'industrial-strength concealer' and it's true, it will totally hide dark under-eye circles. Yet it covers opaquely with such a small amount, is light in texture and doesn't crease - if it's that easy why aren't all concealers this good?! And it stays put. I looked like I had an eye lift the first time I used it. Please don't ever stop making this product!
Line the eyes - with Benefit They're Real! Push-up Liner. This product was the biggest risk and the greatest surprise. I can't stress enough how bad I suck at applying liner on the upper lid, so I just didn't. I honestly thought my eye shape just wasn't made for wingy liner so I didn't do it. No lie, I got a perfect application from the first try and have not had to remove and start over. I don't wear any liner on the bottom so it was up to mascara and eyeshadow to do the job, but I often looked like I wasn't wearing any makeup by the middle of a night out. The pen is designed to be fool-proof and it is. The applied liner also stays put four hours and you have to rub it to smudge it. I now have eyes!
Stain the Lips and Cheeks - with Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain. This is one of those products that you can't believe does what it does. It's a pale pink translucent stick that doesn't look like it would stain a white rose petal. But apply it and watch your cheeks blush and the natural colour of your lips intensify. It totally caught me off guard. I put it on and forgot about it, and the next time I looked in the mirror I was all rosy cheeked like I'd just come in from the cold. It goes on dewy - but unlike other dewy products that contain parabens and silicone to get the effect, this won't clog your pores - and you only need to apply it very sparingly, so it also makes a great balm for the lips. It's a must-have in the bag when you head out and you don't get a build-up of product no matter how many time you apply it, so it's the perfect remedy for that Robert Smith mouth you get when you try to reapply lipstick too many times.
Tint the pale - with Caudalie Divine Legs. I'm not a tanner or one who bronzes. I use an SPF20 moisturiser on my face (as you now know). But my body is so translucent I suspect that I may be a distant relative of the jellyfish and with summer coming I owe it to society to present myself a bit more opaquely. Leave it to Caudalie to create a product that looks crazy dark in the bottle yet applies evenly, without streaking - you don't even need to mix it with a moisturiser - and leaves you with a natural colour and the confidence to go out with bare legs.
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This is what you get in the March Birchbox - with specially branded watercolour packaging in collaboration with Habitat - including one of Benefit's amazing mascaras and a notebook to jot down your makeover plans:
I'm actually showing part of my bedroom to illustrate how easily the Emil dressing table fits in less than roomy spaces. Despite being desperate for a proper place to do my makeup - I'd been getting ready on the bed for the past five years because the bathroom lighting is too shadowy at night - I never would have considered putting a dressing table on that wall. But thanks to the Emil's brilliant design, it fits perfectly and keeps everything in one place. I borrowed my Eames DSW chair from my desk, but I'm planning to get the matching Emil stool which tucks neatly under the table and keeps things streamlined. (And it just so happens that the white shelving unit is also from Habitat. There's a second one in the other alcove and they've transformed the room.)
Keeping in line with the pared-down geometry of the table, I added one of my Hay Kaleido trays to protect that beautiful birch from the inevitable spills and stains, and moved over my triangular-shaded floor lamp. That great circular mirror allows you to play up the angles as much as you want.
Have I mentioned how much I love this design?
I hope this gives you some inspiration to begin fresh with your own spring makeover!