As a Beauty Editor I'm often asked what the 'best' products really are, to which I say (probably infuriatingly) that beauty is just so subjective. Your skin tone, type, tastes and budget may differ wildly from mine. That mattifying primer that works a treat on my oily T-Zone? It could suck the life out of your dry cheeks, just as your favourite va-va-voom volume mascara would leave a lattice-pattern on my hooded lids.
That said, there are some products that are just objectively good (and some that are truly useless) Now and then a clever shade of makeup, hair formula or fragranced body product is just so damn brilliant it transcends taste and type, so that's what I'm writing about today. A small selection of beauty products that suit everyone - that I love, as does everyone else I have cajoled into trying them. In fact nothing featured here has had its brilliance refuted back to me, so I truly feel, and hope, that you will love them too.
NARS Kohliner in Sorrento
When it comes to liners, I've tried 'em all. Deep set eyes plus oily skin means nine times out of ten it dissolves, imprints or, even worse, smears itself all over my lids by lunch. Hardcore black liquids have staying power, but require a very steady hand and can look severe, which brings me to this soft and smudgy stick of brilliance. The shade is a warm, burnished brown, so adds flattering depth and interest to every eye colour. It's twist-up, so you'll never need a sharpener, and you can reshape the nib into a point with the tiny tool in the bottom of the pencil.
The formula glides on softly without dragging or creasing, and you've got a good half minute to sort out any mistakes with a cotton bud before it sets into place and honestly goes nowhere all day long. The only downside is that this particular shade is limited edition for AW17, so you've got a couple of months to snap it up and pray it sells so well NARS decides to make it part of the permanent collection, as brands do from time to time.
Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Cleanse & Nourish
Traditionally, one-step cleansing conditioners have been used on thick, curly or Afro hair for their ability to gently cleanse off grime without stripping strands of their natural oils. This excellent example by Percy & Reed works beautifully in that respect, gently forming a lovely low-foam lather and leaving thick, brittle hair feeling silky as can be.
I, however, am in possession of fine dead-straight hair and find this a lifesaver too. I swap it in every second wash and it stops my roots going lank yet doesn't leave my hair all soft and fluffy like shampooing can. This makes it particularly useful for before a party, where I want to nuke grease but need the extra styling guts that not-entirely clean hair offers. Truly the best of both worlds, as all my friends agree, plus it has a lovelt lasting fragrance.
Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant Skin Finish
I didn't have much truck with instant tans - too orange, too messy, too risky in the British weather - then Body Blur came along and changed everything. Firstly it comes in three shades that truly cover all skin tones, from fair like my pasty Scottish self to Latte, for medium to olive skin and Dark Latte that makes black skin look fabulously even, sheeny and sexy. A tiny amount - I'm talking button sized - will cover both legs, you can apply it with your hands or a mitt in a fairly slapdash way and still get nice non-streaky results. Do it in as little clothing a possible and wait for five minutes before you dress, not only will your skin look uniform and warm in tone, it'll look slimmer and 'blurred' too. It's astoundingly sweat and transfer-proof, yet comes off easily with warm water and soap when you want it to.
Jo Malone London Lime, Basil & Mandarin Exfoliating Shower Gel
This one's pretty simple; everyone needs a great scrub in their life and they don't come much better than Jo Malone London's new(ish) Lime Basil & Mandarin Exfoliating Shower Gel. I'm yet to meet a person who doesn't love the fragrance; it's zippy and fresh but has a sexy, herby undertone that men and women become equally addicted to. The double duty formula with hydrating cleansers and soft jojoba beads is as time-efficient as it is sensorially lovely, both crucial for a shower product, plus it looks utterly fabulous in your bathroom, and lasts for ages with judicious use.
Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Noir
Chanel's Iconic inky garnet is the unimpeachable queen of day-to-night nail shades, and somehow manages to flatter every hand it goes on. If you're anything like me - i.e. unadventurous, a habitual chooser of classic colours I know will see me through the week clash-free - then you may already have a bottle knocking around (if you bought it back in '94 after seeing Uma Thurman wearing it in Pulp Fiction, a couple of drops of acetone and a good shake will revive any gloopiness) If not, consider a Rouge noir the smartest £20 investment you can make for your nails this year, and the next five too.
Do you love these products too, or are you dying to share your favourite suits-all beauty find? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page @womanandhome