Working in the beauty industry, it's wild how quickly you acclimatise to the frequency of new brands and products being launched each week. In fact, it can be all too easy to get swept up in the excitement of trending products and the buzziest launches and forget that there's a whole back catalogue of tried-and-tested products that deserve a mention too.
So while I'm all working out what the must-buy products are from trending skincare brands like Drunk Elephant and can wholly appreciate the Instagram phenomenon that is Glossier, I thought it was about time that I turned my attention to some of the more classic beauty brands to give you my expert opinion on what's actually worth your dosh. First up: Estée Lauder.
Founded in 1946, Estée Lauder is the brainchild of one of the world's first female entrepreneurs and beauty industry veterans: Josephine Esther Mentzer. A native New Yorker, she took an interest in beauty during high school when her uncle came to live with her family. He would use the household kitchen to formulate skin creams, and it was there that she learnt the basics of product formulation and application techniques.
Using this knowledge, she eventually moved to Manhattan and launched her very own beauty company with her husband, Joseph Lauder. Since then, the brand's legacy has gone from strength to strength, and Lauder's skincare, makeup and fragrance products are now sold in over 150 countries around the world. The iconic Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup (£34) is the #1 foundation in the UK, and 10 bottles of the cult Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (£55) are sold every minute worldwide.
But where do you begin if you've never shopped such a classic beauty brand before? Worry not. I've tried pretty much everything from Estée Lauder over the years, but there are 14 products that I absolutely swear by. Keep scrolling to see and shop my favourites.
I rarely hear anyone talking about this unassuming cleansing bar, but it's genuinely pretty special. Packed with nutrient-rich micro-algae, it's formulated with oilier skin types in mind to purify skin, keep pores clear and dissolve impurities. Unlike traditional bars of soap, it doesn't leave your skin feeling stripped; instead, it provides a refreshing cleanse and leaves your complexion looking healthy, not shiny.
At first glance, this looks like a similar concept to YSL's iconic Touche Éclat, but this is miles superior. Not only does it offer plenty of glow and skin-brightening benefits, but it also acts as a decent concealer too, minimising blemishes, dark circles and redness. On good skin days when I don't have much that I want to cover up, it's great over moisturiser as a light, dewy base.
I normally avoid discussing favourite fragrances because they tend to be deeply personal, and if I'm honest, I'm crap at describing what they smell like. This is one of my go-to evening fragrances. Described by Estée Lauder as the "deeper, nocturnal, more addictive side of a Modern Muse," this is a warm, musky scent with hints of jasmine. I always feel pretty damn fancy when I wear it.
Arguably the most iconic Estée Lauder product, this overnight skin treatment was actually the world's first ever serum. (Major, right?) At its core, it's a hyaluronic acid serum, so it does a great job of both hydrating and plumping your skin and consequently smoothes over fine lines and pores for a more even-looking complexion. It also sinks in really quickly, so it's great for layering beneath your usual night cream. I always notice a difference the next morning in how healthy my complexion looks.
I'd like to take a moment to give a general shoutout to the Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess collection—a capsule collection that drops each summer with various makeup and body products along with the most iconic summer fragrance ever. Last year, the brand launched this lightweight body cream that's infused with the same tropical, beachy scent and leaves even the driest of limbs looking radiant. At the slightest hint of sun, you can find me at home slathering this on.
One of my favourite blush colours of all time, Sensuous Rose is a peach for those of us that just don't really suit corals, apricots or nectarine shades on our face but still want to wear them. (That's me!) This one has dusky pink undertones so manages to be more brightening on my complexion than peach-toned shades, which can make my skin look sallow. It's finely pigmented, so it blends beautifully and is basically my perfect everyday blush shade.
The classic Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup might be the best-selling foundation in the UK, but I actually prefer this more lightweight version. In fact, the classic Double Wear tends to always break me out in spots, but I've never had an adverse reaction to this formulation. It's described as having a medium coverage, but for me, I'll usually be able to skip the concealer after applying this, as it does such a great job of evening skin tone and disguising blemishes.
My fridge is always packed with eye masks to combat puffy under eyes in a rush, and these are some of my favourites. Although, at nearly £10 a pair, I save these for when I really want to bring out the big guns. Infused with the brand's iconic Advanced Night Repair technology, they're incredible cooling and soothing on tired eyes and leave the skin around your eyes looking plumper and brighter in just 10 minutes.
This is a fairly recent Estée Lauder discovery for me, and it totally lives up to some of my other brow-gel favourites (Glossier Boy Brow and Benefit Gimme Brow+ FYI). The applicator is tiny that so you can precisely coat each brow hair with pigment and comb them into place without ending up with hugely oversized brows. Plus, it's packed with fibres, so you get a subtly volumising effect that's perfect if you have sparse patches like I do.
Liquid lipsticks have definitely given way to sheer lip tints and glosses this year, but for longevity and ease of wear, they'll always be a staple in my makeup bag. The Estée Lauder ones, in particular, have incredible pigment, gorgeous colours and an ability to stay put through eating and drinking. My favourite shade is Controversial (a bright matte red), but the brand has an incredible selection of shades along with high-shine and metallic finishes too.
This is my holiday skin product of choice, and I repurchase it religiously each summer. It's one of those tinted moisturiser formulas that comes out white and releases its pigment as you massage it into your skin. While it won't conceal things like spots and dark circles, it delivers a healthy glow to your face along with plenty of hydration—and all-important sun protection.
Yes, another perfume has made my cut of favourite ever Estée Lauder products. What can I say? This brand knows how to do fragrance. This one is lighter and brighter than my other favourite, and for me, the overwhelming notes are of rose—a floral that I'm always drawn to. Vanilla, sandalwood and black pepper lend it a warm, powdery finish and keep it feeling modern. I love it.
On days when I wear eye shadow, I'll generally gravitate towards cream or crayon formulas rather than traditional powders. Mainly because I find they stick around a whole lot better on my oily eyelids, but also because application tends to be a lot more fuss-free. These gel-creme colours from Estée Lauder can be applied straight to eyelids from the applicator and blended out with fingertips for a sheeny wash of crease-free colour. Brash Bronze (a warm, shimmering copper) is my favourite.
This is a love letter to Estée Lauder brushes in general, as in my opinon, they're some of the best in the beauty industry. I remember my mum giving me a set as a teenager and those brushes stayed with me for around 15 years—if you wash and look after them then they genuinely last and last. This is one of my go-to brushes for applying blusher, bronzer and powder.