I love switching it up with my beauty routine, trying new products based on claims, smell, curiosity or even just eye catching packaging. But I find that there's a hardcore of elite picks I always return to and here they are, on this weekend's Hero Product shopping lists for hair followed below by skincare. If you have any suggestions for other products that really live up to the hype, do let me know - you can leave a comment below or get me on Facebook or Twitter @FightForYrWrite.
A few years ago I was given my first Ojon shampoo and conditioner set by my mum, an avid QVC viewer, to sort out my chemically nuked locks. The sophisticated scent instantly won me over before I'd even discovered how the rich, conditioning liquids would transform my shamefully dehydrated mane, giving it the kind of swish usually reserved for cheesy TV ads. I just wish they'd bring out a perfume. 1 & 2 Damage Reverse shampoo (£20-£36) & Restorative conditioner (£21.50-£38) - 4 & 5 Dry Recovery shampoo (£6-£18) & Hydrating conditioner (£6-£19.50) - all available from www.ojon.co.uk
3. Goody Spin Pins (£5.50 for two). You'll have seen these in Boots' hair accessory sections. They're the wire spirals in various hair coloured tones that look like instruments of torture and, on first glance, give no indication whatsoever as to how on earth you'd wear them. And that's the beauty of the Spin Pin - it's all substance with hidden style. What you do is twizzle your hair up into a bun or top knot, then - rather than spoil your look by wrapping it in a hairband or loads of bobby pins, just corkscrew the Spin Pins (or new Mini Spin Pins) in and they hold your updo in place invisibly! How genius is that? A real hero product that I wish I'd discovered earlier. See www.goody.com for styling guides.
4. Aromatherapy Associates' Nourishing Face Oil (£37). I know I've mentioned this before but this tiny bottle of liquid lifesaver is such a gem, I had to include it again here. My already dry skin is prone to severe dryness and flaking at times - mainly if I'm ill as a side effect of prescription medication. Using one of the products above followed by this intense face oil under my night cream is the quickest way I've found to kick my skin back to health again, sharpish. Available from www.aromatherapyassociates.com
6 - Tangle Teezer Compact Styler 'Feline Groovy', £13.99, & 8. Original Tangle Teezer in Bubblegum Pink Gloss, £10.20. I've always despised the arm-aching chore of brushing my long, thick, over-processed hair. After a run in with a faulty hair accessory left me with two serious brush-resistent dreadlocks, I decided to try this Tangle Teezer brush everyone was raving about and OH MY, what a revelation! The original ergonomic Tangle Teezer, with its specially designed teeth, removed the thrice washed, matted clumps within 2-3 easy strokes. I swear to God, it's miraculous. I have brushed my hair with it every day since and, as with the Spin Pins, can't believe I've managed without one so long. I even carry a cute leopard print travel version now too for any knot-emergencies. Available in a range of colours from www.tangleteezer.com
7. Batiste - what can I say that you don't already know about this outstanding dry shampoo, other than it now comes in a fruity little cherry scented version too. Squirt on freshly washed hair for added volume (Karl Lagerfeld has someone apply his dry shampoo every day to add height to his signature pony tail do), or get another day out of dirty hair when you just can't face getting up early to do a pre-work blow-dry. Available from most chemists or chuck some in with your next ASOS order. www.batistehair.co.uk
1. & 3. Origins Facial Moisturisers - I go through phases of loving various day creams but always come back to Origins' A Perfect World Age Defence moisturiser (1. Now thankfully also available with SPF 25, pictured, £32) and when it comes to night creams, I never stray far from their High Potency Night-A-Mins Cream (3. Above, £32) because if I do, you can see it in the texture and appearance of my skin. As well as doing an amazing job of making my skin appear soft, smooth and healthily plump these creams also smell deliciously fresh and clean. Speaking as someone who no longer feels the need to carry it but still regularly gets asked for ID when trying to buy alcohol, I credit my youthful skin to good genes (thanks Granny) and my early adoption of good quality moisturisers - Night-A-Mins in particular. Get yours from www.origins.co.uk
Philosophy do some fantastic products for when your skin is looking a little tired or dull and needs a quick pick me up, something to get rid of those dead cells and brighten you up a bit. My two favourites are The Microdelivery Peel (2.), a simple two-step at home treatment which, for me, gives such fantastic immediate results, it more than justifies the £59 price tag. The fine-grained feel of the vitamin C peptide crystals is instantly gratifying too - you can feel it working. The other is a great 'one minute facial' product called The Great Mystery (6. £22) which gives a salon-style deep cleanse and exfoliation in 60 seconds, although I must admit I never keep to the that and just stick it on before cleaning my teeth then wash it off afterwards. Available from www.philosophyskincare.co.uk (UK) or www.philosophy.com (US).
4. Aromatherapy Associates' Nourishing Face Oil (£37). I know I've included this before but this tiny bottle of liquid lifesaver is such a gem, I had to include it again here. My already dry skin is prone to severe dryness and flaking at times - mainly if I'm ill as a side effect of prescription medication. Using one of the products above followed by this intense face oil under my night cream is the quickest way I've found to kick my skin back to health again, sharpish. Available from www.aromatherapyassociates.com
5. Nanoblur Optical Cream, £19.99 from Boots. As soon as I tried this, I was hooked. A few years ago Philosophy did a silicone filler in a brush pen which dispensed a creamy gel that you applied over your make up then carefully dabbed across any lines, enlarged pores, spot craters, etc. and, as if by magic, they seemingly blended away to nothing. Sadly it was discontinued but thanks to the clever folks at Nanoblur we now have a new product which produces the same amazing results and you get a great big tube of it for under twenty quid. If Derren Brown did skincare, he'd have come up with Nanoblur.
7. Philosophy 3-in-1 Shower Gel, Bubble Bath & Shampoo (Cinnamon Buns, pictured, £14). This is not only my go-to shower gel but also makes the perfect travelling companion (or stand by for when I didn't restock my shampoo in time) because, whilst I'm never usually a fan of washing your hair with anything other than a type-specific cleanser, this really does work. I've only used it as a shampoo on occasion but find it doesn't dry my hair at all - or my already dry skin - and the scents are divine - from the perfumed Grace ranges to a selection of cocktail scents and, my favourites, the mouth-watering foodie smells like Cinnamon Buns, Sugar Cookie and The Gingerbread Girl. Philosophy's 3-in-1 is a gorgeous multi-tasker. The UK range is available from www.philosophyskincare.co.uk and www.philosophy.com for our lucky American friends who have a much bigger range.
8. Kiehl's Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub (Coriander pictured, £22.50). The name says it all really - gentle enough for every day use, effective enough to feel worthwhile, beautiful selection of scents - I love the Coriander and the Grapefruit versions but am also dying to try out the Pear one - and in a handy squeezy tube so great for in the shower, rather than faffing about trying to get the lid off a slippery tub. Love this. Available from www.kiehls.co.uk
9. Clarins' Beauty Flash Balm, £27.50. I have no idea if it's the original but to my mind this is certainly the best make up primer out there. There's a reason Clarins are able to claim that this instant radiance booster which tightens, brightens and keeps your foundation in place, sells at a rate of one every twenty minutes across the world and it's simple - because it works. I once cheated on it with a supposedly professional base primer only to have my foundation slide down my face onto my dress in the middle of my friend's wedding. I haven't strayed since. Get yours from www.clarins.co.uk