The best skin and hair care products of 2019

Have you ever wondered what a year in beauty looks like here at Caffeine & Cashmere HQ? From pioneering new skincare to industry-shaking hair innovations, our in-tray has been overflowing with exciting new launches in 2019. Of the many beauty launches this year, these are the game-changers that have stood out to me. You’ll want to clear a shelf for these products because they’ll change (at least the beauty routine part of) your life!


Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate

Once you use Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, you’ll understand women around the worlds’ obsession with the product, often coined ‘the little black bottle’. Earlier this year, Lancôme launched the new and improved Advanced Génifique formulated with seven prebiotic and probiotic fractions, including sugars, amino acids and lipids that provide a vital source of nutrients for the good bacteria (prebiotics). It’s a cult product in the true sense of the word and has become a must-have beauty item for me. It’s suitable for all skin types and gets to work in no time. In seven days, to be exact, it starts repairing and activating those key signs of youth. What’s more, applying this product is an experience of its own – upon swiping your skin with the silk-like formulation, it will feel luxurious and plump. I would bath in it if I could, but all you need is one drop morning and night for the best results and to see how good your skin really can be. The self-loading dropper will make sure you always apply the right amount of serum.

R1,130 for 50ml or R1,410 for 75ml from Woolworths, Edgars, Foschini and Lancôme boutiques


Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance

When the temperature dropped and the last bottles of rosé disappeared, behold, the other telltale signs of winter in Joburg: Dull, tight skin with flaky patches (eek!). Fortunately, Dermalogica brought out Intensive Moisture Balance just in time to make my skincare transition seamless so I could focus on the all-important changeover from slip dresses to sweaters. Stabilised vitamin C along with antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, vitamins A and E, and ginkgo smooth away the appearance of dry lines and skin damage as well as help shield against damage caused by environmental assaults. On the other hand, echinacea and centella asiatica, combined with extracts of grape seed and wild yam, help reduce the signs of prematurely-ageing skin. Even though this lush barrier cream has the word ‘intensive’ in its name, it’s actually light and non-greasy. Because it’s formulated without artificial fragrances and colours, it won’t cause any irritation, redness or breakouts. Plus, the plastic tube packaging is very hygienic and convenient for travelling.

R1,315 from Dermalogica concept stores, Sorbet salons, select salons as well as online at


Avène DermAbsolu Youth Eye Cream

Let’s be honest … navigating skincare is hard enough when you have reaction-prone skin that’s easily triggered by the wrong ingredients. But finding an eye cream can often seem like an impossible task since the skin around the eyes is thinner and even more delicate than the rest of your face. Whether I’m looking for a bit of hydration or am trying to depuff and brighten after pulling an all-nighter, I always reach for is Avène DermAbsolu Youth Eye Cream. In addition to being fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, the eye cream is also free of parabens, soap, soy and gluten. Instead, it uses vanilla polyphenols, sytenol, glycoleol and Avène’s iconic Thermal Spring Water to soothe and protect the delicate skin underneath your eyes. I tried so many eye creams this year and saw no change, but when I started using this one, I looked less tired and my dark circles and puffiness calmed down. Better yet, symptoms like itchiness, redness and watering eyes – all signs that my previous eye cream didn’t agree with me – went away. PS: It’s gentle enough to use post chemical peel and microneedling too!

R385 from Clicks, Dis-Chem and select pharmacies


365 Skin Workout Hydrating Mask

It’s safe to say my obsession with face masks got a little out of hand this year. Why, you ask? Because they’re a dream! My mask obsession hit new heights when I got my hands on a tube of the 365 Skin Workout Hydrating Mask. As mentioned, I have very dry, sensitive skin and this mask is the only thing that calms the redness and flakiness that strikes in the winter. The wash-off mask, which contains active ingredients, reduces water loss and replenishes skin lipids. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever used for my skin. Leave it on for three minutes and wash it off or, if you crave the most moisture possible, treat it the way you would a sleeping mask and let it work its magic while you snooze … you’ll wake up to baby soft skin! The formula will stay creamy and won’t harden on your skin (hurray for that) and will even aid in reducing redness that can result from dry skin and blemishes. There’s nothing better than putting on a Netflix documentary, sipping on a glass of fizz and slathering my skin in this mask. I’m also fond of popping it on in place of a post-flight facial when I’m travelling and my itinerary doesn’t allow me to go straight from the airport to the spa.

R595 from Sorbet salons


Dr Sebagh Self-Tanning Drops

All of the products within Dr Sebagh’s offering are brilliant, but the Self-Tanning Drops offer a truly customisable tan. This product is a doddle to apply (streaks are officially a thing of the past!) and delivers a golden glow to even the palest of complexions. Most importantly, even the most inexperienced of users can apply it with confidence. Containing HEV melanin in a fractionated form, which provides a higher level of protection against HEV light, this breakthrough product helps protect your skin against the ageing effects of oxidative stress. It’s the perfect solution to my self-tanning woes: It’s gradual, subtle and can be added to your regular face or body moisturiser (or serum). That means you can use it on your face and body – typically, you need to buy separate self-tanners for both. The drops have a deliciously light and fruity scent and they’re colourless, so there’s no transfer to your clothes or bed sheets. This is key for me, since I apply before bed and have white linen. Another bonus? Your skin will feel super-smooth because you’ll be using moisturiser regularly.

R1,050 from Metropolitan Cosmetics or online at


Inoar Sensitine

If, like me, you have a sensitive or irritated scalp, it’s time to take the same meticulous approach you take to skincare, for your hair as well. Enter the Inoar Sensitine all-in-one scalp treatment, shampoo and conditioner. I’ll admit that when I was first introduced to this product, I was a bit skeptical about it claiming to be a three-in-one, but within three weeks of using it daily, it had literally saved my sensitive scalp. This calming product has a rich cream formula that you simply massage onto wet hair and scalp, comb through (I use a Tangle Teezer) and then rinse. It takes a few washes to get used to the bizarre texture, but you’ll instantly love how it softens your scalp while leaving it feeling fresh and your hair, shiny. The healing blend of AHA, allantoin scalp, vitamin B3 and ultra-purified Asian centella extract is made to soothe your scalp and maintain the moisture levels of your mane while giving it a light, fresh feel. If you really want to slough off flakes, make sure you massage it in and then rinse off properly. I’ll even go as far as to say that this was the best hair care launch of the year!

R610 from Sorbet Drybars and select salons as well as online at


Oway Smoothing Hair Bath and Conditioner

Okay, so crafting an organic shampoo and conditioner isn’t quite as, say, growing an organic cherry … but Oway, short for ‘Organic Way’, has tracked down the elusive organic certification. Not only are the Oway Smoothing Hair Bath and Conditioner both organic, eco-friendly and cruelty-free, they’re also packed with frizz-taming natural ingredients like biodynamic caraway seed extract, organic damask rose and ginger root essential oil. Babassu-derived surfactants are used in place of harsh sulphates, which means these products are safe to use on hair extensions too. This ingredient also provides extraordinarily gentle cleansing properties and is even ideal for sensitive skin types. These are definitely luxury products, but they’re worth the splurge – they gently cleanse and prep your hair for soft, frizz-free styling and have a soft, luxurious aroma of only pure, steam-distilled essential oils. Plus, the amber-coloured glass bottles can be reused when the products run out. I love using my bottles as vases or filling them with coloured bath salts and placing them in my bathroom.

R360 each from Sorbet Drybars

With January comes resolutions and new beginnings, and these are the skin and hair care products you need for the year ahead. Happy holidays!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s