Well worn: Six women share the stories behind their most beloved beauty products

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The Stylist web team
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We all have one: the lipstick, eyeshadow or moisturiser that’s crumbled, stained, scraped to the end or worn down to the nub. Stylist asks six women to share the story behind their most loved and trusted beauty product

Photography: Alastair Strong
As told to: Giselle La Pompe-Moore

“It’s my personality in rose gold packaging”

Model and writer Laura Bailey has been wearing Charlotte Tilbury’s Hot Lips in Tell Laura for two years

“When my dear friend Charlotte Tilbury said she wanted to design a lipstick for me to celebrate our friendship, I was so honoured. Red is my favourite colour, so we both instinctively knew where it should sit in the colour family, but we wanted a shade that would suit everyone. In the end, we chose a warm geranium colour that looks super glamorous on all skintones. It quickly became my signature look – I don’t feel complete without it and I don’t look like me when I’m not wearing it. Naturally, it’s now wrapped up in some of my favourite memories; I paired it with my dream hot pink Emilia Wickstead gown at the British Fashion Awards in 2014 and it made me feel incredibly powerful walking down the red carpet. On days when I feel more casual, I like to apply it with my finger for a more diffused look. I still have the lab samples and there’s a few half-used ones rolling around in the bottom of my handbags and coat pockets. I have to keep a few on me as my friends always steal them, such is its power to suit all. Over the years of use, the angled tip gets softer and more rounded. Lipstick definitely has the power to transform my mood, but this is more than a lipstick; it’s my personality wrapped up in rose gold packaging.”

Hot Lips Lipstick in Tell Laura, £24, Charlotte Tilbury (

“I keep one on standby for when I’m running low”

Poppy King, founder of beauty brand Lipstick Queen, can’t get enough of Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Melissa Hand Cream

“Aesthetically, I don’t love my hands as they’re far from perfect, but I love writing and I see my hands as the conduit between my thoughts and paper, so I take good care of them. I’ve also been knitting for as long as I can remember – it’s a calming and meditative activity – so I like to keep my hands supple. With this hand cream, it was love at first glance. I was instantly drawn to the colour of the tube and the smell, but once I tried it, well, wow. It absorbs into my skin so quickly, leaving my hands hydrated but without any residue – I hate having a greasy film on my hands. I apply it at least three times a day and when it’s near finishing, I roll the tube down so I can extract every last bit. I had to do this mid-transatlantic flight once, so I now carry a second tube on standby. I really like Neal’s Yard products in general; they’ve managed to be consistent in a world of fads and you can always rely on them. Plus, organic where possible is my motto.”

Melissa Hand Cream £13.50, Neal’s Yard Remedies (

“My Prada lip balm is a collectors’ item”

Anna-Marie Solowij, co-founder of BeautyMART, was given this Prada Lip Balm 15 years ago

“I’ve had this discontinued Prada lip balm for at least 15 years. Legendary make-up artist Pat McGrath always does the make-up at the Prada catwalk show and in 2002, she persuaded them to make a candy pink lip balm. She slipped it to me after the show and I’ve kept it ever since. It’s still got lip balm in there. I’m definitely a hoarder, this looks like a tramp has owned it for too many years, but it’s important to hold on to the good stuff, especially as miraculous beauty products like this deeply pigmented balm get discontinued all the time, just like this one did. I have a frighteningly enormous archive filled with things like this, I call it the Cabinet of Curiosities. There’s a discontinued pink Chanel lipstick in Flamme Rose that I’ve been holding on to for 30 years. Because I have pink undertones in my skin, I find myself wearing pink products more than any other; the colour always freshens my complexion. I’d be horrified to use the products now as they’re so ancient, but I just can’t part with them – I feel like my entire career is wrapped up in those little tubes.”

“I always buy two at a time”

Alexia Inge, co-founder of Cult Beauty, has been using Becca Cosmetics’ Backlight Priming Filter since 2014

“When you find a product that you love, it becomes your staple – you scrape down the sides and eek out every last drop. I first discovered this primer three years ago when Becca’s founder Rebecca Morrice Williams presented the products to my company. Rebecca is a real visionary as her products focus on beauty being about enhancement rather than fakery, a stance I wholly support. This really does what it says on the tin. The ‘backlight’ effect is like someone’s held a torch up to my face, casting a lit-within glow across my skin that looks like I’ve just been on an expensive holiday. It’s quite a fine formula, so it doesn’t suffocate the skin and absorbs very quickly. I’m always looking to the next new product, it’s the nature of my job, but I’m so in love with this that I can’t bear not to have it in my make-up bag. I always buy two at a time, just so that I never run out.”

Backlight Priming Filter, £32, Becca (

“It makes me feel like I can face the world”

Nicola Clarke, creative colour director at John Frieda Salons and Color Wow, first discovered Bobbi Brown’s Lip Pencil in Ballet Pink in 2005

“I don’t buy make-up that often as so many of my friends are beauty editors and make-up artists who very kindly bring me their wares, but I always re-purchase this, simply because I cannot live without it. I’ve tried so many lip colours over the years, desperate to find that ‘my lips but better’ shade, but they’d always be a bit too brown or have an odd purple tinge. That was until 12 years ago when I was perusing the Bobbi Brown counter in Selfridges and discovered this. I’ve worn it every single day since. I’m not being dramatic when I say it changed my life. At last count, I’ve got seven of them around the house that have been worn right down to the nib. It’s the perfect natural nude without that flat Sixties look, and it looks great when it’s a bit worn. When you go to the hairdressers, you want your stylist to be up-to-date and well-presented, so I always have it on me. It makes me feel like I can face the world and it gives me confidence. That’s why I would never be without it.”

Lip Pencil in Ballet Pink, £17.50, Bobbi Brown (

“It makes me feel ‘me’ in a few brush strokes”

Roxie Nafousi, writer and ambassador for the Mental Health Foundation, loves Tom Ford’s Illuminating Powder

“This compact is one of the most important things that I own. I never leave the house without it. I’ve bought so many of them since I first discovered it in Harvey Nichols five years ago that I’ve lost count. My current one is now smashed after I dropped it, but I’m so attached to it that I can’t throw it out – I just soldier on, using the broken shards to brighten my face. I’m always touching up my make-up in public (and I don’t care who’s watching) and because this has a mirror and brush within the compact, it saves on space. It’s amazing how in just two seconds, it makes me feel so much better. I can go from feeling a bit crap and hungover to being myself again. Whether applied over make-up or on top of bare skin, the finely milled powder removes any shininess and replaces it with an amazing luminosity – I swipe it down the sides of my nose, over my lips, under my cheekbones and eyes; all the places that you want light to hit. I truly love the power that make-up has; the confidence- boosting ability it holds means that it can completely change my mood in just a few moments. I don’t know what I’d do without it.”

Illuminating Powder, £58, Tom Ford (