beauty

From heart rituals to roses "harvested at dawn": I tried 5 cult skincare products that beauty lovers swear by to see if they live up to the hype.

Myer
Thanks to our brand partner, Myer

If there’s one word everyone hates with equal enthusiasm, it’s surely... moist

But, I believe that there are two situations where this word is a welcome descriptor.  

  1. You’ve just baked a flourless orange cake and you’re nervously watching your friends as they take a mouthful and you’re worrying that the almond meal was a bad choice and has dried the whole thing out. Then one of your friends opens their half-full mouths to assure you that the cake is in fact, extremely moist.

  2. Someone looks at your face and says, “you look moist".

You see, looking moist is my ultimate skincare goal.

Too often though, my friends are complimenting my cakes instead of my glowing visage. I’ll take it, but all I really want is that dewy, no-makeup radiance that just shows I have a hydrated visage.

So I did a little bit of digging on Myer’s new Beauty Fix hub in search of some answers. It's a one-stop shop for beauty info and products.

It’s a place where you can shop for all the skincare, fragrance and cosmetics you need, but then also learn how to incorporate them into your life (which is the part I have trouble with. How can ONE gal remember it all?).

You see, while I call myself a skincare enthusiast, I’ve never had a step-by-step regimen that I’ve followed religiously over a period of time. 

My routine is ad-hoc. I do skincare every night but with varying products and varying orders. 

I’m never sure which order to do things in, despite endless Googling and hours of listening to You Beauty. Every beauty-loving source seems to have a different opinion about the correct order of things, leaving me a tad confused what I should specifically do for my skin needs. 

Myer lays it all out simply and tells you exactly which steps go in what order and why, which takes out the guesswork.

After my digging on Beauty Fix, I realised it's probably time I built myself a proper skincare routine. I thought the best place to start was to try five cult skincare products that beauty lovers swear by to see if they’re actually worth the hype – and I used them to construct a five-step, nighttime routine.

Meet the group:

So pretty! Image: Supplied. 

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Oh, and before I start, let me give you a brief rundown of my skin.

Cons:

  • Dry patches of flakey skin

  • Constant blackheads on my nose

  • Pimples/blocked pores on chin

  • Fine lines around the eyes 

Pros:

  • About to start a new skincare routine

The 'before' pic. Image: Supplied.

Step 1: Cleanse

After all the stuff we put on our faces each day both voluntarily and involuntarily (like makeup, and then like air pollution), it’s important that your skin is totally clear of these nasties before jumping into bed. 

Cleansing should be the first step in your night routine and without it, your next steps won’t work as efficiently.

Choosing the right cleanser is crucial to clear the skin.

So, the first cult product I trialled from Myer is The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser. 

Image: Supplied.

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Why the cult status?

The Ordinary itself, which has built its following based on its no-fuss, science-driven formulations, was named the world’s most popular skincare brand this year, racking up over 37 million global searches over the past 12 months. No biggie.

And this cleanser sold out in just hours when it was first released in 2019.

It’s the brand’s first ever cleanser and retails for just $13.90, so you can see why it was so popular.

The deets.

Weirdly enough, squalane is actually a lipid found in sebum. Yep, that oily stuff that gets clogged in your pores. As someone who has a lot of blackheads, I was skeptical but was assured that it was non-comedogenic.

So apparently because it’s a naturally occurring substance, it actually helps to keep the skin moisturised, so in skincare, it’s a great hydrator. 

The cleanser promises to help tackle skin impurities which is something I was looking for in a cleanser. Plus, it’s alcohol-free, soap-free and silicone-free. 

Sounds pretty great right?

Here's how my trial went.

Images: Supplied. 

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I followed the instructions and rubbed it between my fingers for 10-30 seconds. Then I applied it to my dry face and massaged it in for about 30 seconds before washing it off with water. 

The product starts as a balm-like consistency which, once applied to the face, changes to a clear oil-like consistency. I had only used gel and foam cleansers before, so it was an interesting feeling at first.

After using it for a few weeks, I think it’s worked its oily magic on my skin. 

My skin isn’t left dry after using it and I feel like it really got into my pores and cleaned them out. Ick, but yay! 

Definitely on track for looking *moist!*

Step 2: Tone

The next step in your routine should be to tone.

I feel like toner has had a bad wrap. In the past, they’ve contained high amounts of alcohol and were known to strip the skin. It’s taken me a while to unlearn this but the toners of today have dramatically improved.

Like cleansers, they’re kind of like the wing-woman for what’s to come. They help prep your skin to better absorb the following products. 

They also catch any excess stuff that your cleanser didn’t get rid of so you can apply your serums and moisturisers to the cleanest face possible. 

It’s also an important step because it helps to balance your pH and moisture levels and keep your skin hydrated. 

For this step, I tried the Lancôme Absolue Precious Toner.

Image: Supplied.

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Why the cult status?

We all know French beauty brand Lancôme is one of the most iconic in the world. They’ve gained cult status due to their effortless approach to Parisian beauty and also their anti-aging products are some of the best-selling in the world.

Their Absolue skincare collection is their most premium skincare line, and infused with rose extracts. But not from any old rose. It’s the Lancôme rose that was selected from 20,000 species and whose petals were harvested at dawn. AT DAWN. I don’t know what to do with this amount of fancy specificity. 

Just a look at the packaging tells you this stuff is boujee. The bottle looks like a high-end fragrance and even has floating rose petals in it so it’s a *sensory experience*.

The deets.

The Absolue Precious Toner is a soothing gel with rose extracts and rose water and is meant to leave skin visibly plumper, revitalised and radiant. These are all big ticks in my book as my skin is pretty dull, especially after winter.

It claims to restore a youthful glow and leave your skin feeling soft and suppler.

Here's how my trial went.

Image: Supplied.

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After cleansing, I poured a small amount of the lotion onto my hands and gently pressed it into my skin. You could also use a cotton pad. I wiped it across my forehead, cheeks and chin.

It was super lightweight and after application, transforms into a liquid. Let’s just say that my skin felt like it had the hydration levels of that flourless orange cake. 

Even though you’re not meant to touch your face much after applying it, I couldn’t help myself: my skin just felt super soft, like after-a-facial kind of soft. 

Step 3: Serum

This step is where you can target any problem areas you may have, which for me, seems like my whole face. 

Great. A big canvas!

Serums are formulated to help your skin concerns, so here’s looking at you, my dry, pimple-prone skin.

They’re products that have a high concentration of ingredients and also prevent any long-term damage to the skin. They can also help give the skin a firmer, smoother texture and reduce the appearance of pores. 

I chose to try the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair.

Image: Supplied.

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Why the cult status?

This little brown bottle is one of the most popular skincare products in the world.

Launched in 1982, Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair or ANR as it’s affectionately abbreviated, has gained a huge following among fans and celebs alike (Eva Mendes, Liz Hurley to name a few..)

It gained popularity due to its revolutionary approach to overnight skin repair and now with its latest formula, claims to significantly reduce signs of aging faster than before, roughly three weeks! 

The deets.

This iconic bottle was one of the first skincare products to include hyaluronic acid. Its high level of the plumping ingredient helps lock in moisture and optimise the skin's natural repair process overnight. 

It features Chronolux Power Signal Technology which promotes the skin's natural renewal of vital new cells and boosts its natural production of collagen. In addition to this, it contains peptides and fermented extracts.

Basically, it promises radiance, hydration, and smoothing the appearance of pores and wrinkles. 

Here's how my trial went.

The Heart Ritual. Images: Supplied. 

Of course this cult product has its very own cult method for applying it too. It’s called the ‘Heart Ritual’ and of course I had to try it out.

You start by applying a full dropper of Estée's ANR to the palm of your hand. Then massage it onto the face in a small heart shape starting at the centre of your face and moving out to the ears. Using all fingers of both hands, glide your hands in the heart shape and finish on your chin.

Next, trace a larger heart from the middle of your forehead out to your temples and then down again to your chin.  

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My verdict is… this serum is seriously lush!! Hype = justified. 

I’ve never experienced quite an instant increase in glow. I felt like the hyaluronic plumping effect was basically immediate and after a few weeks of trialling it, this was the thing I credit the most for the increase in my skin quality.  

Step 4: Eye Cream

Well, well, well, if it isn’t the skincare step I’ve been avoiding all of my 20s. I never thought I needed this step, but I was quite wrong. 

The skin around these areas have been crying out for attention as they’re the thinnest, most delicate area on your face.

The eyes also age the fastest so I should have been protecting these areas a while ago but it’s time I started. 

Eye creams help to combat dark circles, puffiness and fine lines. 

I used the Clarins Double Eye Serum. 

Image: Supplied.

Why the cult status?

A bottle of this best-selling, anti-ageing serum sells every 5 seconds. Fans of the golden bottle say it’s a game-changer for all under-eye concerns. 

So what’s the fuss about? The simple answer is, it targets multiple concerns in one bottle. So it kind of is a one-size-fits-all approach and is suitable for all skin types. 

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The eye serum takes inspiration from another of the brand’s best-selling products, the Double Serum (launched in 1985) but compacts it into an eye-specific formula. 

The deets.

This intensive eye treatment is a lightweight, fluid-like treatment for the eye area. It features a dual pump (hence the ‘double’ in its name). So it pumps out two different formulas that you mix, before applying to your eyes. 

This unique two-in-one serum system is made up of ⅓ emulsion and a ⅔ gel formula.

It also contains 13 plant extracts such as wild chervil to strengthen the delicate skin and turmeric to limit ageing. 

Here's how my trial went.

Images: Supplied

I applied this eye-serum by pressing down gently underneath my eyes then shutting my eyes and pressing it into my eyelids. I also used some of the residual serum above my brows too, just coz 

It felt like it absorbed pretty quickly, probably because my under-eyes were so dehydrated and they’ve never had that much attention before.

I would probably have to use this eye-serum for a few months to start to see serious changes but from first impressions, my under eyes looked slightly brighter. 

I also noticed that after applying makeup, there was less creasing of my foundation and concealer under my eye.

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Step 5: Moisturise 

If you’re still with me, welcome to the final step of your skincare routine. What a journey! Everything you’ve been doing has led up to this moment. (*dramatic music*)

As your skin works the hardest overnight, you can really go to town on this step and apply a hard-hitting moisturiser as opposed to one you would use in the morning. 

I’m using Clinique Moisture Surge. 

Image: Supplied.

Why the cult status?

Imagine being named the most searched for moisturiser in the world. Pretty big name to live up to, right? Well, that’s exactly what Clinique’s Moisture Surge is. Since its launch in 1988, it’s been through many reformulations which means it’s stood the test of time.

This gel moisturiser takes the top spot for supposedly delivering 100 hours of continuous, long-lasting hydration. It locks in moisture, so it's perfect for dry skin.

Clinique actually trialled this product on women in Siberia in winter, which is one of the harshest environments in the world, to prove its moisturising and protecting effects. 

I’ve personally been using this as my moisturiser since high school. My mum took me to Myer and because she exclusively uses Clinique products, it was the intro to skincare product she bought me and I still re-purchase and use it to this day. Talk about loyalty!

The deets.

This fan favourite is an oil-free moisturiser with aloe bio-ferment and hyaluronic acid. It claims to go 10 layers deep into your skin. Let that sink in, literally. 

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It also uses auto-replenishing technology which means that this product actually helps skin create its own internal water to continually rehydrate itself. We’re basically like those self-watering pots you can get for plants and we're here for it. 

It’s meant to leave your skin looking plump, glowing and feeling more resilient. It’s also meant to trap (in the best way possible) all the other skincare you’ve popped on underneath.

Here's how my trial went.

Images: Supplied. 

I put this on after all the other steps, and even though it’s the final step, it didn’t feel super heavy, even though it’s super concentrated. 

My skin wasn’t left feeling greasy either, which can often happen with night moisturisers. 

It has an overall soothing effect. In the morning, after washing it all off, my skin still feels so soft to touch. Because of its consistency, it also sits so well under makeup. It can be used both as a day moisturiser and night moisturiser. 

Final Verdict

Before (left) and after (right). Image: Supplied.

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After trialling this skincare routine for the last few weeks I'm really impressed with the results. The before and after picture above kind of speaks for itself, but basically my pimples have cleared up, my eye area seems plumper and my skin is on track to becoming *moist*, just look at that radiance! 

Image: Supplied.

I'd definitely be confident to go makeup-free now as my skin has an overall radiant look and the pores on my nose have seriously diminished.

Get your beauty fix online or in-store from Myer, your hub for everything fixation worthy.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Myer
When it comes to beauty, we think it’s more than OK to be obsessed. We certainly are. So to feed your fixations… or find a new one… there’s only one place to turn. This season, we’re going to stoke the fires of your desires with the most lust-worthy products, trends and techniques. Whether you’re fixated on a time-proven regime, a hot new product or trend, keeping things fresh or a better way to express yourself, we’ve got you covered. Or not, if au naturale is your thing. Beauty Fix will become a hub for everything fixation worthy. Products you’ve used and approved, products and techniques we’ve discovered that we know you’ll love, looks to fuel your obsession further. We will create space to celebrate what you cannot get enough of - the freedom, the glow, the playful colours and so much more.