Written by Annie Whitfield

Are we actually making A* choices with our beauty? What makes a smart skincare or makeup decision? Is it achieved through musing over ingredients for hours, contemplating the pros and cons for your skin type? Or is it splurging on the so-called ‘very best’ products, even if it causes momentary bankruptcy? The truth is, there’s not one solid answer, a smart beauty decision can mean owning a multitude of different chattels both premium, highstreet and somewhere in the middle. 

Here at LiB we’ve managed to nail down one thing for sure, smart beauty delivers results. The proof is in the pudding, not in the packaging. Despite what Legally Blonde taught us (apologies Gen Z, a millennial reference), smart doesn’t always have to be sexy, sometimes the very best results lay within the most minimal packaging. 

Introducing a collection of what we deem as the very best smart beauty choices, with brands that Sonia Haria, Beauty Director for the Telegraph’s Stella Magazine, has backed with her years of beauty experience and wealth of knowledge. Here’s what results to expect from every single item…

FIRST AID BEAUTYUltra Repair Cream Intense Hydration


RESULTS: Deep moisturisation that penetrates even the most thirsty skin. A thick luxurious texture that will leave your complexion nourished and satisfied.

LAURA MERCIER – Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in shade Dominate


RESULTS: An intense, low maintenance red that will suit all skin tones. Expect a comfortable matte finish that doesn’t budge, but looks soft and moisturised throughout the day.

PRAI BEAUTY – Ageless Throat & Decolletage Creme 


RESULTS: Use every morning and night to reap the full benefits of uplifting hyaluronic acid and moisturising shea butter. A product that will dramatically reduce signs of aging on a delicate area of skin.

SAM McKNIGHTEasy Up-Do Texture Spray 


RESULTS: A hair styling saviour. Expect a lightweight spray that packs a serious punch without damaging the shine of your natural hair. Spray pre-styling for ultimate volume and manageable locks. 

ISHGA – Organic Seaweed Shampoo and Body Bar


RESULTS: A rejuvenated body, hair and soul from just one wash. This multi-use bar will save time in the bathroom whilst being kind to the environment. Seriously uplifting and moisture retaining.

NARS – Taj Mahal Blush


RESULTS: A buildable, on trend blush shade that leaves a sun-kissed finish. To seriously execute, more is more – take the blush over your cheeks, forehead, nose and temples. 

SONIA SAYS: As for where you apply blusher, NARS thinks “cheek colour shouldn’t be limited to the apples of the cheeks, as when you naturally blush, it’s never just on the cheeks. Always blend a bit into the hairline, along the jawbone, and on the tip of the nose to create a more natural-looking, all-over hint of colour.” 

MZ Skin – Lift and Lustre Golden Elixir Antioxidant Serum


RESULTS: SERIOUS. MOISTURE. This elixir can help boost skin cell turnover, so be prepared for a serious increase in your skin’s hydration. Use once a day before moisturiser for best results.

OSKIA – Super C Smart Nutrient Beauty Capsules


RESULTS: After one week of usage, this serum that is packed full of antioxidants will increase your skin’s overall brightness and natural radiance. Always use SPF afterwards to prevent sun damage. 

Manucurist – GREEN Natural Nail Lacquer – Poppy Red


RESULTS: A true staple red. Expect a pillar-box-red pigment with a formula that only needs one coat to create the illusion of a precise professional manicure with minimal chipping.

Grown Alchemist – Anti-Pollution Primer


RESULTS: Smooth in seconds. This oh-so-smooth formula will glide onto the skin with ease and instantly create a blurred effect. Wait around 5 minutes after application before adding makeup, or use as a finisher as part of your skincare routine.

KLORIS – CBD Superboost Facial Oil


RESULTS: Glowing goddess. Thanks to a formula packed with antioxidants, after a week of continuous usage, expect your skin’s tone and texture to appear brighter and healthier.

SONIA SAYS: The main reason for using CBD as an ingredient in skincare is that it’s a powerful antioxidant. I’ve been using Kloris face oil in the evenings if my skin is feeling a bit dry or sensitive, and it has really helped.’

This Works – Morning Expert Hyaluronic Serum


RESULTS: A fast acting morning facial. Hyaluronic acid paired with vitamin C means only one thing, plump, awake looking skin. A perfect morning pick-me-up for those hard-to-get-going mornings.

Biossance – Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

RESULTS: The answer to awakening tired or distressed skin. A cream that will not only enhance your skin’s natural moisture, but it will pump it full of skin-cell loving ingredients to encourage reproduction and overall complexion health.
SONIA SAYS: One brand I’m a fan of is the San Francisco-based Biossance. The scientists in the labs there have managed to create a superior vegan squalane – the gold-standard moisturising compound – from renewable sugar cane”