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Beauty: gels rebooted

My relationship with gels has, on the whole, been pretty unsatisfying. I find eye and cleansing gels drying, hair gel outmoded, gel moisturisers insufficient and gel makeup extremely difficult to work with on all but the oiliest skins. A traditional gel blusher, for example, will give no more than about two seconds of blending time on a drier cheek, or else it will stain wherever it first landed, outline and all. So when several brands introduced “improved” gel formulations this year, I was intrigued to see if they’d really become more amenable.

Paul Joe Beaute have gone huge on gels for summer. I’m ambivalent about their new gel foundation, but daft for their gel-consistency Eye Gloss wands, £16, which are extremely pretty and foolproof to apply. I’m wearing one here in Creme Brulee, stroked all over the lids and topped with Stila’s Smudge Pot in Bronze, £13, a gel liner that gives you plenty of time to apply with a brush, then smudge and soften before setting. The effect is casual, brightening and long-lasting – perfect for summer.

Even more impressive is Illamasqua’s new gel bronzer and blush, named Gel Sculpt and Gel Colour, respectively (£22 each). Both – worn here in Silhouette and Fluster – come in a chubby Pritt Stick-type applicator, and blend better than any gel cheek colour I’ve tried. Their transparency means the finish is dewier, more natural and less flat-looking than many opaque creme formulations.

There are new gel lipsticks, too (Cargo’s are lovely), but I liked how Topshop’s Cheek Jelly, £7, looked on the mouth, so I just dabbed it straight over some balm.

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