beauty

From Go-To’s mask to SkinCeuticals' serum: 9 cult products that are actually worth your money.

I have been quietly lingering behind the scenes on Mamamia’s delightful You Beauty Facebook group, scrolling through the vast amounts of posts made by people on the hunt for buzzy beauty products.

The beauty market is saturated and it can be really difficult to know what's actually worth the hype - so it makes sense why we see so many questions about cult products pop up on the regular. 

Because while some products truly deserve all the buzz, others can be pretty disappointing - and there's nothing worse than wasting your hard-earned cash on something that doesn't work.

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That's where I come in. 

I've been using some of the latest cult beauty products and techniques for a little while and figured, why not share my findings. 

Some of these products have become a staple in my bathroom cupboard, and I now incorporate many of them into my daily routine - and have recommended them to friends and family alike.

Let’s get this party started, shall we?!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, $28.

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Holy lip lords! I have constantly yapped on and on and on about this to anyone that will listen… but this is one of the best nourishing lip balms I have purchased. I am loving products that work their magic when I’m in my slumberland. 

Big thumbs up! 

This formula removes dead skin cells while infusing your lips with antioxidants, berry extracts and hyaluronic acid. By the time you wake up, your lips are smooth and supple and bouncy. 

Listen: Hear all about how Kirsten Carriol created a superbalm with a cult following on this episode of You Beauty. Post continues below.

I lather it on at night before bed and I wake up to the softest lips ever. Mind. Blowingly. Sensational. I just adore it. 

My personal preference is vanilla. It is ever so slightly scented which is great for sleepy time. I’ve had many friends and You Beauty members go out and grab a pot, it's also not a spendy. 

For $28, it’s a steal! You can find this cult item at Sephora and now at Adore Beauty. Get on it. You can thank me later!

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $228.

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This has been one of the most highly regarded products for a little while now, so you're going to bet I splurged on this potent vitamin C magical ham-smelling serum (yes folks, it smells like cold cut ham). 

My skin needed rejuvenation big time. I had very suddenly ran out of my current vitamin C serum because the damn bottle was not transparent, so I had no clue as to why it wasn’t coming out of the pump. That’s when it hit me - it's time. I have been eyeing off the C E Ferulic for ages, and just went for it. 

I had read some fabulous reviews - from minimising signs of pigmentation to firmer and tighter looking skin and a boosted glow; the results seemed endless. 

In my honest opinion, this bad boy works. 

I use four drops on my face (drop onto your fingers and pat in, try not to put on your face directly with the dropper – because, eww – bacteria growth!), every morning and on some rotating nights, and I still haven’t finished the bottle. 

I have found that this product has reduced the redness of the blemishes on my jawline and is evening out my skin tone. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic has 15 per cent pure vitamin C, 1 per cent vitamin E and 0.5 per cent ferulic acid, which all work to combat against environmental damage and premature signs of ageing (mostly caused by free radical damage which we all face, each and every single day). 

I will absolutely repurchase once I am down to my last droplet. And at least I can actually see through this bottle, so I'll know when to top up this time! I purchase mine on Adore Beauty.

Ellis Faas Skin Veil Foundation, $117.

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I am a long-standing Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation girl. We have had a solid relationship. Longer than any other. I don’t believe we will ever part ways. However! Sometimes I do feel the need to change it up.

Sometimes I want a little more dew to the mix. I want a more medium-full buildable coverage and a foundation that won't grab onto those dry spots lurking on my face. 

Enter: Ellis Faas Skin Veil. 

The Holy Grail foundation of choice to oh-so-many, I just knew I had to try it for myself. This foundation is beautiful and luxurious in texture. Now I know why it’s called Skin Veil! It’s so smooth and velvety. *Drool*. It's not runny, but it's not a thick cream - it's perfectly in between and holds its shape when pumped out – simply divine. 

I find that it's very easy to blend - whether you are a beauty blender kinda gal or stick with the stippling brush, you will not have any problem blending this beauty in. It is easily buildable and does not at all pill or amplify or cling onto any dry patches you may have (don’t be scared dry or combination skin types!). 

I have worn this for 12 hours straight and not seen it crease. I am in my 30s and have some fine lines, and this does not creep on in there. This second skin foundation has blown my mind. Sorry, Double Wear - you have an equal first. Skin Veil is taking place with you on the front line. 

P.S. For those who are interested, it's also vegan. You can get this fabulous foundation sensation at Mecca.

Go-To The Removalist Clay Mask, $48.

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This is one the newest additions from the fabulous Go-To collection. Most reviews are about people waking up to fresh bouncy skin and your face feeling softer than silk. 

Can confirm: THIS is my vibe!

This is a beautiful mask, filled with antioxidants and soothing minerals. The mask is purple, texture is amazingly smooth, and it smells like an acai and berry smoothie, mmm… yummy! 

It's soothing and cooling and does not harden or is painful to hang around in. It feels luxurious on the skin. It is advertised as suitable for all skin types and I can understand why - it's super gentle.

After unwinding for 10-15 minutes, it’s time to remove. I wash off with warm water and pat dry with my damp Face Halo and honestly, you feel the softness pretty much instantly while washing it off. 

After you’re all squeaky clean, follow with your nighttime serums oils and creams. If you want softer, calmer, brighter, and generally better skin, try this out. 

All other masks in my collection are about to visit the bin. This is the clay mask game changer. 

You can purchase direct from Go-To or head over to Mecca.

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser, $35.99.

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Retinol. Commonly known as vitamin A. Retinol sits under the retinoid umbrella. We all hear about it and its different versions of retinol. It can be extremely confusing with all over-the-counter options that are out there. 

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The main question is, what on earth is it good for? 

Well, quite a lot. It does the whole enchilada. It can combat conditions such as acne, can reduce signs of ageing and sun damage (don’t forget your SPF!) and target areas of pigmentation. 

The most important tip to know is that you need to start low and slow to reap the benefits of retinol. Too hard and fast can result in more damage. You do not want to feel that burn, baby! 

This moisturiser is a fabulous starting block to those who wish to introduce retinol into their night time regime. Long story short, I stopped using high strength retinol for a year due to magically having perioral dermatitis appear on my face, so I had to stop to calm it down. 

Fast forward to today, I re-introduced retinol into my routine, thanks to Olay Regenerist. I have zero skin irritation and no skin peeling and I use this cream nightly. 

It’s also super hydrating and super savey (BIG YES!). This cream has transformed my face overnight because all I want is JUICY skin with added benefits of anti-ageing and clearing up my skin tone while I sleep – and this does exactly that! 

This is the bomb diggity - a little hidden gem that you probably wouldn’t look twice at. Available at Chemist Warehouse and Priceline.

Maybelline Sky High Mascara, $12.47.

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WHOAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! Thank you for coming into this world, sunshine. Power to the people with those epic reviews that made me absolutely *have* to try this. 

I had to wait for the round two restocking of the goods to finally got my mitts on it. And yes, it was worth the wait!

On application, this mascara separates every lash, elongates your lashes without clumps or fall out. Say what now?!

Yes, really! You will NOT get panda eyes throughout the day. This is huge for me, since I always experience that dreaded fallout with most other mascaras. (Do I blink too much? Do I blink too hard? Cannot confirm).

Just check out the results below:

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The only downfall for me is the brush. I love a classic mascara wand and this one is a rubber bristled wand. However, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker for me because the formula is so darn good. 

If you've been wondering if the reviews live up to the hype, you won’t be disappointed. This mascara looks after you and doesn’t break the piggy bank either! I purchased mine at Chemist Warehouse.

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm, $49.

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K-Beauty fanatic here! *Jumps around*. Now, I adore Glow Recipe. Huge fangirl over here. I pretty much own 80 per cent of their product line and it mostly hits rather than misses. And snaps for Glow Recipe on how environmentally friendly they are with their packaging and ingredients used. 

Now, the balm! I am a double cleanser gal, especially if I have a face full of makeup and use SPF. My two-step process is an oil cleanser followed by a cream cleanser. I just have to have a clean face before my beauty sleep. This is a set balm in a gorgeous glass pot, which comes with its own scoop. 

I use it by warming the balm together and rubbing it in my hands before I put it all over my face full of makeup. The texture is smooth and oily, and you will not find any bit of harsh chunks or roughness. 

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It has a lightly fragranced fruit scent, however it's not at all overpowering. Once water is mixed in with the formula, it emulsifies to a milky consistency which doesn’t foam or cause any irritation on your face. 

I then wipe the residual product off with my damp Face Halo/towel before I get to the second cream cleanse. But, before the second cleanse, my face feels and looks squeaky clean. 

After the second cleanse there is very little product left over when I pat dry. I’m really enjoying the balm and you definitely get bang for your buck. 

Hot tip: You do not need a lot of product. I overdid it and my face wouldn’t stop milking... LMAO! 

Grab this one at Mecca.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $51.

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I have found what I have been searching for, for so many years. It’s THIS. It’s here in my hot little un-manicured hands.

 I have five items on my checklist in my hunt for a Holy Grail daily cream moisturiser, being:

1. Packed with hydration
2. Highly absorbing
3. Non-greasy
4. Lightweight in texture
5. Does not pill under makeup

No, joke - almost all of the moisturisers I've ever bought did not do one or more of the above. 

I actually had a moisturiser that somehow make my skin feel drier, even though it had the consistency of Clag glue… try to figure out that cluster mess.

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ANYWAY, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is constantly raved on about, and for $88, it isn't exactly cheap, but at the same time it isn't the most expensive moisturiser I've ever bought. 

I personally prefer pump packaging because I’ve never been keen on dipping my phalanges into a pot, but I'll forgive it for what’s inside this pot. Because this was made from the cream Gods. 

Why the heck did I not try this sooner? INSTANT REGRET.

I use the smallest ever amount, and it covers my whole face, and literally absorbs by the time I close the lid and pop it away. Silky soft, super absorbent and you can barely feel it. 

The key ingredient list is glacial glycoprotein (protects from weather temperature changes - thanks Melbs!), avocado oil to provide intense moisture to the skin and squalene to replenish the skin’s barrier and for softness. This is also fragrance, sulphate and paraben-free. 

I literally cannot fault this product. It's the best cash you will spend if the above is what you are after. And as an added bonus – THIS DOES NOT PILL! Nothing! Zip Zero! Nada!

Get it yesterday. Thank you to all the people who ranted on about how great this cream is, cause now I’m one of the converted. Kiehl’s, babes - this is going to be one long-term friendship. 

Grab yours at Myer/Mecca/Kiehl’s online direct.

Skin Care: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide by Caroline Hirons.

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Caroline Hirons knows what she’s talkin’ bout! 

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For those who do not know, Caroline Hirons is a highly respected and qualified skincare and beauty guru. If you, like me, have a keen fascination and want to learn more about ingredients in products, tips and tricks for anything skin care related – this will be your Beauty Bible. 

Perfect for people of all ages and skin types, she explains with plain facts and battles myths with the pathway to getting beautiful skin. 

I love how her explanations on ingredients are simplified, I actually don’t feel like such a novice when it comes to technical terminology anymore. I have learnt so much by reading this. 

I've also picked up some new steps which I've introduced into my daily routine. 

My favourite is: TITTS! Aka – take it to the tits! 

It took me a bit of getting used to putting cream below your neck, cause face cream is just for your face yeah? Big no. What goes on your face, should come down to your décolletage. Especially when it comes to sunscreen.

I also found it really interesting finding out all about which products and ingredients work best with other products to ensure best results. 

I love this guide and harped on about it so much that I bought one for my bestie to enjoy (cause, you know, I ain't sharing this one!). 

I purchased mine online from Booktopia, but it's also sold at Dymocks.

PSA: There is also an exclusive edition available which dons a pink foil cover! Adorable!

So, there you have it, beautiful people! 

From all the items I have tried and tested, these were the best. Although there were quite a few misses, it all comes down to what works for you.

We’re all perfectly different, with different skin types, different target areas and different needs. The best thing about all skincare and makeup is that we can all learn from each other’s opinions on products and take it how we want.

My mantra lately has been this quote: “Invest in your skin. It’s going to represent you for a very long time” – Anonymous.  

Check out more stories from the You Beauty Collective, where our beauty community talks all things skincare, makeup and more.

At Mamamia, we independently choose and write about products our writers genuinely recommend. We have affiliate partnerships so if you use these links to buy something, Mamamia may earn a small commission. 

Feature image: @maybelline; @gotoskincare; @laniege_us