Beauty products are becoming more intelligent. Lisa Haynes looks at the cleverest cosmetics on the market.
Every so often, a new beauty product comes along that makes you stop, stare, and wonder: 'Why didn't they think of that before?'
As you run to the till to pay, there's a genuine thrill about the results promised on the box.
You can thank the beauty boffins in science labs, who are constantly pushing forward with genius innovations that are shaping our skincare, cosmetic and hair routines.
Meet the cool new crop of products causing a stir in planet beauty.
Before you know it, your roots have come through and you don't have a gap in your schedule for a hair appointment. Guardian of colour Josh Wood has come up with a stopgap to camouflage re-growth with magic colour wands.
What: Josh Wood Blending Wand, £12.50 (www.marksandspencer.com).
The science bit: Instant, non-permanent colour available in four shades that hides grey hairs, blends re-growth and lasts for up to three shampoos.
Too dark? Too pale? Clarins puts an end to self tanning dramas with a made-to-measure application. Add two to three drops from the mini 15ml bottle to your regular moisturiser or serum for a golden glow that develops evenly and adapts to your skin tone.
What: Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, £18, available late March (www.clarins.co.uk).
The science bit: A higher concentration of self tanning active ingredients, which interact with the amino acids in the corneal layer of the skin to activate colouring.
Over-plucking might just be your biggest regret, now that bold eyebrows are back in vogue. Benefit has come up with a brow-boosting filler for the days when you want to work a fuller brow. It looks like a mascara wand but its tapered brush is designed for arches.
What: Benefit Gimme Brow, £17.50, available March (www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk).
The science bit: A brush-on fibre gel available in two shades that adheres to both skin and hair with a water-resistant formulation that can be built up.
If excess facial and body hair is the bane of your bathroom existence, try the next best thing to laser hair removal. Inhibitif started with an Advanced Hair-Free Body Serum and has now expanded with Deodorant, Face Serum and Intimate Care to target unwanted hair.
What: Inhibitif Hair-Free products, from £8.99 (Boots).
The science bit: Highly-concentrated products that help reduce the visible density of unwanted hair over time, so that the need for hair removal is minimised in less than eight weeks.
When half of your make-up ends up where it shouldn't, you can blame your tools. M.A.C's Masterclass Brush Collection is a stroke of genius for precision application. Available in three designs, the silky synthetic fibres are engineered to pick up and apply products seamlessly.
What: M.A.C Masterclass Brush Collection, from £22.50-33.50 (M.A.C stores nationwide).
The science bit: For absolute control, the brush heads and handles are ergonomically designed to run parallel to the face, instead of having to point the brush towards the face.
Scented nail polishes are nothing new, but the novelty factor has been lifted for nose connoisseurs. Once dried, Revlon's Parfumerie Nail Enamels smell like the sophisticated scents you might find on a perfume counter, with 20 shades divided into fragrance families.
What: Revlon Parfumerie Nail Enamel, £6.49 each, available March (www.boots.com).
The science bit: The polish includes fragrance and essential oils for a scent that's reminiscent of your daily perfume - Fruit & Floral, Sweet & Spice or Fresh.
Just as manual toothbrushes have been trumped by electric sensations, lip exfoliation has gone in the same direction. Bliss's Pout-o-Matic electronic device polishes dry, flaky lips ready for a seamless lip colour.
WHAT: Bliss Fabulips Pout-o-Matic Lip-Perfecting System, £34 (www.blissworld.co.uk).
The science bit: The pre-powered lip tool uses gentle rotation and a custom-designed head with massaging nubs to gently exfoliate.
Tried & tested
Go nude with a neutral wash of colour on eyelids. Our testers lift the lid on three solo shades:
:: Miss Sporty Studio Colour Mono Eye Shadow in 110 Sense, £1.99 (Superdrug)
This shadow is impressively packed with pigment for the price. It bathed my lids in a subtle pearlescent pale gold that made my eyes look brighter.
:: The Body Shop Colour Crush Eyeshadow in 105 Oh Honey, £7 (www.thebodyshop.co.uk)
A pearlescent, versatile shade that applies smoothly with a buttery texture. Rich in pigment, you don't need to layer on the colour unless you want a stronger look.
:: Cargo Cosmetics Single Eye Shadow in 02 Windsor, £12 (Debenhams)
In a handy tin pot, a little of this product goes a long way for a matte, go-with-everything shade that can be worn as a base or solo. This layered easily for extra intensity.
Buy it now
Achieve Pretty Powerful eyes with Bobbi Brown's new limited edition mascara. Every pound (minus VAT) from the sale of the Pretty Powerful pink tube goes towards the Pretty Powerful Campaign - a foundation started in 2012 by Bobbi to fund non-profit organisations that provide women and girls with the education and resources to be their best, £19 (www.bobbibrown.co.uk).
:: Brow arch march
Show your support for Benefit's first annual Brow Arch March with preened eyebrows. The brand has teamed up with cancer support charity Look Good Feel Better and Debenhams, to raise vital funds and awareness for women who are challenged by the visible side effects of cancer treatment. Throughout March, Benefit Brow Bars (located in 50 Debenhams stores nationwide) will be offering a complimentary Brow Arch service, worth £11.50, for a requested minimum donation of £5. All proceeds go directly to Look Good Feel Better. Visit www.browarchmarch.com
:: Recessionista alert
Palms up if you want to take part in Crabtree & Evelyn's Hand Cream Amnesty... Swap your old hand cream for a brand new one, free of charge, until March 12. Choose from La Source, Tarocco Orange, Rosewater, Pomegranate or Gardeners 25g hand therapy, worth £5. Find your nearest participating store at www.crabtree-evelyn.co.uk