"Never write that again, it's lazy," I can still remember being chastised by my deputy editor as she scribbled out the words I had written a few days earlier.
I was a beauty assistant at the time, a make-up obsessive who was eager to impress and had made the mistake of describing a product as 'life-changing'.
At the time I was mortified, but now 5 (ish) years later, I'm grateful for that lesson, because it's true. No beauty product will really change your life. It won't make your sky-high electric bills disappear, it won't expand your family or help you with that house deposit and by describing it as such, you are doing a disservice to your favourite go-tos.
It doesn't mean that lipstick you found that's your perfect MLBB (my lips but better) isn't transformative and finding a foundation that gives you Hailey Bieber glowing skin can enrich your life, but dropping £30 on a product will never magically change your circumstances.
However, over my years of working as a beauty journalist, I have found a handful of products that have changed my make-up routine for the better.
Younger me would have said they've changed my life, but instead I can tell you that they have saved me precious time in the morning when I would have otherwise missed my train. Helped me to embrace wearing less make-up, accept my own skin and made me like what I see when I look in the mirror, which isn't always easy for me.
So no, these products won't change your life, but they've certainly enriched mine.
The 5 Products That Have Come Close To Changing My Life:
‘No Make-Up Product Will Change Your Life But These 5 Have Come Close’: Beauty Editor Laura Capon - Grazia 2022
Doing my eyebrows used to be the worst part of my make-up routine. I would always start with a pencil and inevitably end up with two blocky, uneven rectangles that made me a) look like Jim from American Pie's Dad and b) made me late as I tried to rectify the situation. Since discovering Glossier's Boy Brow however, that's all changed. My eyebrows are now the quickest part of my routine, in fact I can do them with ease on a moving train or bus. I no longer need a pencil because the tint in the brunette version is enough to fill and groom my brows and I think having a more natural, less defined look makes me look fresher.
Lip liner always seemed like an unnecessary step to me, but in the last year I found that I cannot be without one. I've never felt self-conscious about my lip size but adding a liner just gives them definition and makes me, dare I say it, feel a little bit sexy. I first discovered Make Up For Ever's Artist Colour Pencils because of make-up artist Katie Jane Hughes who swears by the shade 'Endless Cacao'. Then, on a recent trip to LA I felt so compelled by a waitresses lip combination that I had to ask her what it was. Turns out it was one of these in the shade 'Wherever Walnut', which I obviously ran to Sephora to buy. Most recently, Hailey Bieber revealed that her go-to liner was this as well in the shade 'Anywhere Caffeine', which of course I bought as well.
I realise having a freckle tint on this list might seem a bit ridiculous, but genuinely, adding Lottie London's Freckle Tint to my make-up bag changed my entire face. I started by adding a few fake freckles to make my base seem more natural, to cheat the effect I wasn't wearing foundation. Now, in the summer, despite my redness, applying a scattering of fake freckles across my nose and cheeks gives me the confidence to go completely foundation-free. It genuinely is the one product which I now don't feel myself without. I've since tried other formulas and am currently loving the original Frek XL Faux Freckle Tint, but Lottie London will always have my heart as the brand that introduced me to the concept.
Before I began my career, I had a slightly unfocused start in which I trained to be a make-up artist. MAC's Studio Radiance Face and Body was the first foundation that was introduced to me back then and it has remained one of my all-time favourites ever since. This made me realise the beauty of sheer foundations and how having a lighter base is the key to not looking heavy, even when you've really gone to town on your eyeshadow. Water-based and buildable, the feel of this on your skin makes you wonder how you ever coped with a heavy, silicone-packed formula.
I always remember my beauty director, Ingeborg van Lotringen being emphatic about cream blush. I didn't get it in my mid 20s but now I'm in my mid 30s, I have officially turned into her. It truly is a power house for lifting your face, creating warmth and just giving you a healthy fresh glow. Despite only launching in the UK this year, Rare Beauty has become one of my favourite brands and their Soft Pinch Liquid Blushes are just *chef's kiss*. The shade range is really unique in the sense that there is a lot of 'inbetween-y' shades rather than just a nude, a red and a coral like most brands. You need the tiniest amount (which I can't stress enough) and they blend so beautifully without disrupting your foundation. Love is my favourite for a little sunburnt flush and Joy is my current peachy summer go-to.