Shopping for Beauty on NET-A-PORTER is honestly really exciting!

In this day and age of the Internet and contagious viruses, who doesn’t love browsing and shopping for beauty products online in the comfort of their beds… I particularly love checking out the “What’s New” section on NET-A-PORTER; it’s therapeutic just browsing through their catalogue, and even more so, their exclusive beauty offerings. These are my favourites of the month:

ARTIS BRUSH 10 Brush Set
US$472.60 (Next Generation Elite Mirror) / US$535.70 (Elite Smoke)


Why and how can makeup brushes be so expensive? Matthew Waitesmith, the co-founder of Artis, says in an interview with Forbes, you’re getting “luxury design, superior performance and enhanced ergonomics”. No doubt every tool from Artis is gorgeous and feels wonderful in the hand, it’s really the way it performs that blows the industry away; the “toothbrush” handle design is similar to the angle and motion we would apply makeup using our fingers. It feels more natural and ends up being more comfortable and effective. The synthetic fibres are high-tech as well, tapering at the ends to give precise, smooth and even makeup application, unlike brushes made with animal hair.

above: Oval 4 eyeshadow brush

The bristles on each brush are what the brand calls “engineered CosmeFibre”, which is a material that retains its shape, keeping these brushes as good as new and effective each time you use them. So they may be quite an initial investment, but will last a lifetime if properly taken care of. Speaking of which, there’s a Cleaning Pad by Artis that is really easy and convenient to use daily; just swipe the brush head over the surface of the pad and it’ll lift away makeup, dirt and grime on the bristles.

VIRTUE The Perfect Ending Split End Serum
US$40.40 (50ml)

This was the first item I wanted to try from Virtue. I’ve heard so many good things about the brand — no parabens, sulphates, phthalates, colour and dyes — the main thing being no sulphates. This serum for repairing split ends just sounds so good; imagine a miracle hair cream that repairs and seals crispy split ends, and protects against future fraying. Reviews online for this product are mixed though; and I suppose that’s how it is with hair. Everyone’s hair is different, so this serum may be magical for one person but have no effect on another.

I like the fresh coconut/yuzu scent (it’s more coconut than yuzu), and a small dollop of this cream made my hair immediately soft. A second round smoothed down some frizziness and made the lower part of my hair look healthier. Considering my generally thick and dry hair, this product was a success and despite the steep price, I will likely repurchase (and use sparingly).

VIRTUE Full Shampoo and Conditioner
US$37.80 (Shampoo, 240ml) / US$40.40 (Conditioner, 200ml)

About a month ago before the opening night of my photo exhibition, I did a keratin hair treatment and needed a sulphate-free shampoo to maintain it. I mentioned this to makeup artist Dewi Mahoney, who told me about this brand, Virtue. NET-A-PORTER has an extensive range of Virtue products, and after a week of trying the “Full” shampoo and conditioner, my hair has never looked and felt healthier! Virtue is magical… my hair feels super soft while using the product in the shower, and immediately after when I blow dry it. There’s no product build-up (in fact it claims to reduce product build-up!), and it contains none of the debatable ingredients that most shampoos have (no parabens, sulphates, phthalates, colour and dyes). I don’t think I can use any other brand of shampoo after this.

REN CLEAN SKINCARE & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray
US$24.40 (75ml)

Pillow sprays are pretty common now even with accessory brands like SLIP PILLOW making their own version of it. My all-time favourite is the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray from THIS WORKS, but REN’s naturally-scented spray now ties with it. This one has Frankincense that calms, the ubiquitous Lavender that soothes, and Hops, which the brand says help with restful sleep. I think this smells amazing and is a must-have on the nightstand.

GROWN ALCHEMIST Age-Repair Lip Treatment
US$27.70 (3.8g)

Grown Alchemist has a lip balm, which is not to be confused with this lip treatment. This solid stick has a potent formula of Tri-peptides to stimulate collagen, violet leaf extract that is soothing and anti-inflammatory, salicylate and flavonoid Antioxidants that have antiseptic and healing properties, and shea butter to lock in moisture. I particularly like that it’s colourless and fragrance-free, and comes in pretty slick packaging. The box could have been smaller though.

C.O. BIGELOW Cold and Flu Soak
US$18.60 (295ml)

I recently wrote about this in my roundup of beauty products that kill germs. It’s one of those useful things to have in the bathroom, and especially during this season of unwanted viruses. It’s a therapeutic herbal formula blend of Cajeput Oil, Echinacea and Eucalyptus to soothe respiratory distress, reduce inflammation and open the nasal passages; and Ginger and Tea Tree Oils and Willow Bark Extract to relieve muscle soreness, fatigue, congestion and fevers. It sounds good and it is; just add to hot water and soak or bathe in it.