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Our pick: Beauty power players

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1. Clinique Custom Repair Serum, 50ml, $168 
If you want to target lines and wrinkles, firm and lift the skin, reduce dark spots and improve texture then this product is for you. But that’s not what makes Clinique Custom Repair Serum so remarkable. What really sets it apart from the other serums on the market is the fact it’s for all ages and ethnicities. That’s right; the smart molecules packed into this powerhouse product home in on whatever it is your skin needs, and delivers a solution. One product fits all? Perhaps. Just think of it as the future of skincare as we know it.

2. Lancôme’s Grandiose Mascara, $60
Makeup artists have been bending mascara wands for years to get the perfect angle for application, and this was clearly where the inspiration for Grandiose Mascara came from. Tilted at a 25 degree angle, it has a swan-shaped neck which allows the user to reach the innermost corners of their lashes. Plus the shape of the brush helps mix the mascara with each turn when opening, allowing the product to stay fresher for longer. Such a simple idea, but it makes such an extraordinary difference.

3. Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation, $97
With the tagline ‘feels like a feather, wears like ink’ you can be sure this foundation isn’t going anywhere for around 24-hours. But instead of thick, heavy makeup which can get a tad uncomfortable on the skin, this scientifically advanced foundation feels ultra-light. Its secret? NASA-inspired technology called lipophilic actives that were first used to capture stellar dust particles in outer space (yes, really!). It’s these actives that absorb up to four times their weight in sebum – the oily substance secreted by our sebaceous glands – without drying out skin. Perfect for those with an oily complexion; but get in line. When it launched a few months ago in the UK, there were about 12,000 people on the waiting list.

4. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, $62
Hydration and a primer in one? Yes, please. Smashbox has always had great primers but its latest offering is something we’ve never seen before – particularly because it’s in a spray bottle. The water, enriched with electrolytes, is instantly absorbed into the skin for lasting hydration while leaving the skin soft enough to lock in makeup.

5. Yves Saint Laurent Lip Oil, $59
We’re used to oils for skin and hair, sure, but with a lip tint? Revolutionary. YSL’s latest lip offering suspends colour in a deep conditioning oil. Using four essential oils: apricot kernel oil, coriander fruit seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and passiflora edulis seed oil, this product is deeply nourishing. But it also gives you a great hue that lasts even after the oil has evaporated.

6. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, $13
Last year most of us didn’t have a clue what micellar water was, let alone how to pronounce it (it’s ‘mi-sell-ah’ by the way). This year most companies have their own offering. First gaining momentum in Paris to counteract the effects of the city’s hard water on skin, micellar water soon gained traction with models and makeup artists. It’s been a well-kept beauty secret for a while, and has only just made it into the mainstream. What makes it so good? The tiny micelle particles draw makeup, sebum and impurities from the skin. A great alternative to face wipes or cleanser.

7. Estée Lauder Little Black Primer, $50
A primer for lashes might sound over-the-top, but this could be just the product you never knew you needed. Use it as a black tint for subtle length and curl. Unlike most primers that are worn underneath products, this one can also be applied on top of any mascara for an instant waterproofing effect.

8. Garnier Miracle Skin Cream, $20
When we first sampled this cream, we were in awe. One shade to suit everyone? It seemed too good to be true. But after we tried it on varying skin tones, it really did blend to our own personal base colour. The secret is the pioneering self-adjusting formula which  transforms on contact with skin to give you a luminous complexion every time.

9. Redken Extreme Length Sealer, $33
Using a powerful vitamin called biotin, which is key in promoting hair growth, this product will protect damaged hair at the tips. You paint on the formula with the built-in brush to seal and safeguard the hair, preventing further damage while encouraging growth at a rate of up to 15cm a year.

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10. St Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil, $60
This dry oil will hydrate your body better than any moisturiser, but on top of that it will give you a glowing tan that lasts up to
10 days. It’s the perfect two-in-one, so let’s hope all other faux tans follow their lead.

11. MAC Timecheck Lotion, $104
Using innovative polymer technology, this product helps to shrink pores and blur lines and wrinkles. On top of that it’s also infused with all the minerals and ingredients you need in the fight against ageing. You’ll have to wait a bit; it’s not out until June.

12. Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, 30ml, $118
Building on 20 years of research, this serum boosts skin’s immunity, which is weakened by wrinkle-causing free radicals like UV rays and pollution. In short, it will rejuvenate your complexion. And it has the added bonus of being user-friendly, as you can apply it under-neath all the other products you’re using.

13. Rimmel Wonder’full Mascara with Argan Oil, $20
We’ve heard Moroccan argan oil is great for your hair and skin… but what about your lashes? Rimmel has incorporated this powerhouse ingredient into this mascara, which leaves lashes feeling conditioned,
soft and flexible. The unique formula is lightweight so won’t weigh those lashes down, and because it dries quickly you’ll also avoid lashes clumping together.

14. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $17
Before the arrival of this product last year, the only way to get gel nails was to visit your manicurist and seal the nails under UV lights. But all that changed with Miracle Gel (which has already been emulated by a few other brands). The two-step manicure, which includes a colour and a top coat, mimics the effect of a light and hardens the gel for longer. And you can use any polish remover to take it off, so there are no trips to back to the manicurist – saving you time and money.

15. Clinique Acne Clearing Head, $31
Some dermatologists think using a brush with acne-prone skin is asking for trouble. Why? Because face brushes can spread the bacteria around your face, resulting in more pimples. Not so with the Clinique Acne Clearing Head which uses specially designed anti-microbial bristles, a first of its kind, to alleviate this problem. The brush itself will work to lift makeup, dirt and oil, gently cleansing to unclog pores.

16. GHD Aura Hairdryer, $300
With its new Laminair technology, what sets the ghd Aura apart is the fact it delivers a far more concentrated air stream. This means you can style one section of hair without worrying the rest of it will be dried in the wrong position. On top of that, innovative technology keeps the dryer cool to touch so you can get closer to the root without burning your scalp. It’s quicker, quieter and lighter than its predecessor (the ghd air) and has a handy 4m power cord so you can move around freely.

17. Cloud 9 Touch hair straighteners, $279
You probably think you’ve seen it all when it comes to straighteners but the Cloud 9 Touch is in a league of its own. For starters there’s no on/off switch; instead the smart straightener starts working as soon as you pick it up. There’s no need to wait for it to heat up, and with two settings, one for thick hair and one for fine, you can always tailor it to the temperature to suit you. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about burning the house down as it automatically turns off after 30 seconds of inactivity.

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18 Olaplex, available at salons, POA 
We all know colouring our hair isn’t the best for our luscious locks yet we keep on going back. That’s why we’re excited scientists have found a new set of molecules that create a buffer between your hair and what harms it with permanent colour. The key to this ingredient, called Olaplex, is it’s able to link broken bonds in the hair during and after application of chemicals, making them stronger than they were before. This in turn should prevent breakages. Sold!

19. L’Oréal Paris Makeup Genius
This free app takes the guesswork out of assessing whether a particular shade of lippy or eye shadow is right for you. We were lucky enough to try out a preview of it recently on iPad and were surprised at how a thick winged liner would move with our face as if it were really drawn on. Genius! Now if they could only come up with a way to magically apply our makeup every morning.

20. Cushion bases for foundation
Okay, this one might still be a way off in New Zealand – but as it’s been heralded as the biggest thing since the creation of the BB we think you need to know about it. In fact the cushion compact is all the craze in South Korea, where they’re practically flying off the shelves. It looks similar to a regular press powder but has a fluid foundation inside, on what looks like a foundation-soaked cushion, which you apply with a sponge. It’s said to give flawless coverage – but what makes it so good is the fact it’s portable. This means you can carry it around for touch-ups throughout the day – something that’s often difficult with a bottle of liquid foundation. Word on the street is Lancôme will have a version here this year – be sure to keep an eye out.

From the editors of NEXT

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