For beauty lovers in-the-know, trying to find the latest off-the-radar gems from unconventional labels is what truly matters.

While many of the conventional beauty and cosmetics brands splurge on celebrity endorsements and lavish marketing campaigns, the lesser-known, niche labels have gained a cult following across the globe.

We had a chat with Newby Hands, beauty director at Net-a-Porter and PORTER, to find out her best-kept secrets for a perfect summer.

The industry veteran is known to be a game changer. Former beauty editor at Harper’s Bazaar UK, where she worked for over a decade, Hands joined online beauty retailer FeelUnique before landing her current role at Net-A-Porter.

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Q: Do you feel that the lesser known, more artisanal beauty products are gaining more popularity than the mainstream beauty brands?

Newby: I think that these smaller brands – like Vintner’s Daughter, for example – are very appealing as often they are a little different from the bigger mainstream brands.

They can also bring in new trends even faster than the bigger brands [can], plus they often have a lovely founder story behind them which again is really engaging for the target audience. However, I do think that after all it is just giving us a better choice in what we buy, as these smaller brands are definitely make the larger international brands look at what they are launching, so they are not left behind.

Q: Can you share with us your beauty ritual for the summer?

Newby: My summer beauty routine is fast. I tend to use a lighter textured face cream and use it over my own cocktail of serums – anything that hydrates and has antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. I use a light tinted moisturiser, or more often the Sarah Chapman all-in-one skincare and tint.

I always double cleanse as my skin gets so dirty with the pollution and heat – I love a good cleansing balm from Eve Lom. At night in the summer I don’t use retinols (I mainly keep those for wither) but use a peel twice a week – and no more.

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But I love sheet masks for the evening, those from 111Skin and Joanna Vargas are some of my favourites as they both do such a wide choice of masks for peels to firming to hydrating. I always use a body cream at night, and for the day I now always apply Legology Air-Lite – they also do the best salt and oil body scrub.

Q: What do you think is the most overlooked beauty product for the summer?

Newby: We are now really good with our SPF protection, but we need to think [more about] anti-pollution, as pollution is so damaging to the skin. Look for a product that has antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, plus an SPF and hydration; there is research that shows that wearing makeup provides protection, as the pigments act like a barrier to the skin to some degree – so never go outside with a bare face. The skin does not need to “breathe”, it needs to be protected!

Q: Which five cult beauty products would you consider to be perfect for the summer, and why?

Newby: My five cult beauty products would be:

- Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter as it makes bare skin look incredible. I use it on face and body. It’s pretty blended down the fronts of bare legs and along the tops of bare arms.

- Summer skin is always dehydrated and Dr Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum is amazing on skin that looks flat, dry and dull. I use it like a mask once or twice a week and layer it up by reapplying it to literally saturate my dry skin.

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- Summer skin also needs more protection and I love the Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance as it has a SPF30, antipollution ingredients and a light tint so skin is protected and looks pretty.

- I always use a powder in summer for that shine-free but still velvety skin finish. Hourglass Veil setting powder is very sheer so it takes away shine but doesn’t leave skin looking flat and matte.

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- Summer brights always look good, especially a pretty matte red like By Terry Twist on Lip – it’s been specially designed to go on perfectly without having to look in a mirror as it fits so well on the lips.

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