I like to think that I’m immune to indulging in the whims of beauty trends, and that I’m perceptive enough to reject the rampant consumerism that the beauty industry can often encourage. But sometimes, my feminist leaning ethos of the beauty bare minimum is shaken to its slightly pretentious core, and lately, it’s been in the form of Hermès beauty products.
What is it about the luxury brand’s beauty offering that turns me into a giddy fan girl? The packaging and quiet luxury of it all is pure marketing spin, and it’s worked its magic on me: please Hermès, take my $115 for a colour blocked Pierre Hardy designed lipstick compact. (I don’t even wear much lipstick!) The latest to catch my eye is the brand’s new Plein Air collection, focusing on complexion and offering chic powder compacts and a blotting paper. Do I need either? No, I barely wear makeup. But I desperately want them.
Dries van Noten’s recent foray into lipsticks was another such example of indulgent beauty, and Gucci’s beautifully packaged fragrance and makeup (hey maybe I’m just a clout chasing label basher). No one needs these items, they’re simply about desire. The opposite of practical. They’re the type of indulgence that you might buy as a gift for someone else, but not consider for yourself as the sensible side of you deems them too frivolous. They’re the beauty products that make you scoff a little at first - who’d pay for that?! - but then you can’t stop thinking about it.
What other slightly ridiculous beauty products are out there, besides my beloved Hermès? There are plenty of very expensive items, but the cost is not what makes these meet the pure indulgence criteria. Being ‘designer’ is also not a prerequisite, though it clearly helps. Think of it as entry level, stealth wealth. Or just a bit of indulgent fun.
I have two clear memories of using blotting papers. As an oily teenager I was obsessed with the blue Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets; like the blackhead pore strips I also adored, I’d be equally disgusted and fascinated by what appeared. Years later, on my wedding day, my makeup artist gave me a pack of much chicer MAC x Charlotte Olympia blotting papers to have in my handbag; a smart move on what was the hottest day of summer.
I don’t have much use for blotting papers now, in my day-to-day life, but the new Hermès version may convince me otherwise. The mattifying papers feature a watermarked H, and come in a little Hermès orange cardboard box. Just like their colour blocked lipstick compacts, it is outrageously chic.
This fancy ‘face gloss’ artificially adds what the Hermès papers blot away: shine, but to the areas that you want to shine. It’s literally a clear gel, and its usage is up for interpretation: as a highlighter on your cheekbones, over eyeshadow to make them glossy or as a classic lip balm. It’s very much playing into the Glossier-driven dewy skin trend that may never die: skin that looks fresh, clean, wet and glowy. If I sound sceptical it’s because I am, but this is a list of unnecessary but decadent beauty products.
A box of Beehive safety matches kept in a top drawer is my go-to for any lighting needs, but these fancy scented matches, with notes of cumin, patchouli and leather, are clearly designed for use in the bathroom after you do a poo. You know those people who make every single aspect of their life design driven or ‘aesthetic’? These are made for them. This brand also offers scented soap sheets and stones, and of course I want one.
Logo adorned eye masks are the ultimate in performative beauty, essentially made for taking selfies and sharing on social media. That entire sentence makes me physically cringe, but even with my deep cynicism, I’m drawn to these luxury ‘revitalising patches’ covered in the Chanel logo. So joke’s on me! The hydrogel patches come in a pack of 10 with a roll-on serum, designed to be used simultaneously.
See also: the logo-printed and largely sold out Dior Eye Reviver Patches.
Everything in the Loewe Home Scents range feels quietly extravagant, angled more as home objects than beauty items - from the candles in chic terracotta pots and in the shapes of wax candlesticks to the minimally packaged room scents and diffusers. The scents are also unexpected and delightful: tomato leaves, liquorice, beetroot, coriander, ivy, and more. Something about this soap on a rope with the scent of the Sativa plant and branded with the Loewe logo feels outlandish and completely logical.
Not every frivolous indulgence has to be expensive! Or designer. Sometimes it can be simply whimsical, like the cute hand creams from the Korean beauty brand in the shape of an apple, pumpkin, peach or banana.