For my first top picks post, I’m going to focus on cruelty free skincare. Last year I admitted to myself that I was being a hypocrite. I’d been a vegetarian for 10 years, I didn’t even eat Haribo for God’s sake yet I was continuing to purchase and use cosmetics that had been tested on animals. I started to go cruelty-free and through endless research was able to find what I could and couldn’t buy in Superdrug or Selfridges, that meant no more MAC lipsticks or L’Oreal True Match foundation.
Cruelty Free Kitty is a great website for finding out which cosmetic brands are cruelty-free and some will surprise you, like Urban Decay and Makeup Revolution. This is something I’ve done at my own pace, and something I’m not enforcing on other as we make our own choices. Cruelty-free or not, these skincare picks have transformed my skin and will be with me for a while.
Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser
I’ve done a full review of my first impressions of Liz Earle, you can read it here. It’s a great cleanser, it makes your skin feel clean (shock) and it’s my staple that I use to take my makeup off or just give my face a clean after a long day. Liz Earle is an amazing, customer focused brand and they always get it right. This is a staple for many, young and old and there’s a reason why. The standard 100ml bottle and cloths costs £15.50 and will last you a while, you can get a small try-me/travel version for £6.50.
My lovely boyfriend did the thing we don’t expect boys to do, listen. He actually listened to me rambling on about going cruelty-free and bought me my first pot of STEAMCREAM moisturiser for Christmas. Then when I mentioned in passing that I’d ran out, he bought me another tin (it’s definitely moments like that when you realise you have a keeper). And it’s moments like using a new product and realising it’s a keeper in your skincare collection.
I have combination skin, I can be oily, dry and break out whenever it suits me however recently I’ve been having a lot of dry skin on my T-Zone. It starts in winter and then it’s a bitch to get rid of, however, STEAMCREAM is so hard wearing and heavy duty that it makes my skin feel so moisturised and soft. I’d stay away if you have oily skin as it’ll be too heavy for you but for me it works great. My skin is still so soft way later into the day. You can get it from Amazon for £13.95 a tin and it lasts about 6 months when used daily.
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
Dark circles have never been a massive issue for me but I’ve always had a permanent eye bag in the morning regardless of how much sleep I’ve had. I saw the caffeine solution recommended on Alice’s blog (among many other The Ordinary finds) and had to have it. I’ve noticed I don’t look as tired, even if I do feel it, and I’ll continue to purchase this until my bags become all powerful. It’s not a miracle worker but it’s a nice little helper.
How to use: Before using other treatments, place one or two drops on your fingers and massage into the curves of your eye (your under eye bags) do so until there is no more product on your fingers, wait to dry before applying others.
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
Squalane, my one true bae. I have combination skin that can never make it’s goddamn mind up, is it dry? is it oily? It doesn’t know. Right now I’m going through a time where my skin needs added moisture especially in the run-up to Autumn so this gets right in there. You look quite soggy for a couple of hours after applying, even after rubbing it all in, but it’ll eventually soak into your skin throughout the day. Here are the benefits of Squalane oil. I love using this every day to make my skin feel hydrated and soft.
I also have the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA by The Ordinary, it’s a nice little moisturiser that goes a long way from a little blob. It’s not heavy duty enough for my skin however unlike the squalane or STEAMCREAM moisturiser. If you’re only looking for a light moisturiser then I’d recommend it, but if you need a lot of moisture putting back into your skin its squalane all the way.
How to use: Use daily or when needed. Place a couple of drops onto your fingers and massage into your whole face or onto your focus areas. Apply after water-based products (look for ‘aqua’ or water on the ingredients list of your other skincare, I usually add this after my caffeine and squalane).
The Ordinary is extremely affordable for the quality you receive, I still can’t believe it! Both these items were under £12!
7th Heaven Face Masks
Everyone and their mum knows of these face masks, I think they’ve been around since I was a pre-teen and they can’t be missed with their creepy cucumber eyed models. The best thing I learnt about these face masks this year is that they are vegetarian and cruelty-free! They shot to the top in my books. They are approved by the Vegetarian Society, they’re Leaping Bunny certified and they’re certified by Peta. You know when a brand is a little wishy-washy on its cruelty-free stance? Not these guys, they’re so transparent and so proud of their cruelty-free status.
The masks themselves are great for a little pick me up of your skin. The peel-off masks are great for really getting rid of any dead dry skin or getting right into your pores, but be warned, they hurt like a bitch when removing them… worth it right? I love the mud masks as they are perfect for soaking in and giving me a little moisture boost! At £1 a pop in Primark, why would you not?
Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater
I don’t feel refreshed and full of life in the morning unless I use this spray. Okay, that’s an overstatement, I definitely don’t want to carpe diem just because of a face spray however it makes my skin feel so much for refreshed than when I don’t use it. Moisturisers, especially oils can be quite heavy and this brings my skin back to life in the morning. It can also be used as a setting spray, however, I haven’t tried it in that way yet, I’m too scared as they never seem to work. The herby smell also helps give you and your skin a little pick me up!
Mario Badescu Flower & Tonic Mask
Want a face mask with actual results? You need this little guy. From the first time I used this mask, I could tell that my pores had tightened up straight away. It’s a great mask for reducing your pores and it’s become one of my staples and I can’t ramble on any more about it because it does exactly what it says it will, hallelujah!
How to use: Use once a week. Apply the mask to clean skin but avoid your eye area, as usual, leave for 15-20 minutes and wash off with warm water. Splash with cold water to close your pores afterwards.
I bought my Mario Badescu items as part of their 50th Anniversary kit which contained these two items as well as the Silver Powder, Drying Lotion and Gel Enzyme Face Wash all for £32. This was ridiculously cheap as the flower and tonic mask alone is £18.50. These are on the higher end of affordable however I would purchase them separately again and again. I haven’t used the Silver Powder or Drying Lotion yet so I cant review them but I’d definitely purchase this kit if you’re prone to blemishes!
Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Daily Cleansing Pads
I was intending on buying the raved about Pixi Glow Tonic to use after I take my makeup off, however, Emma posted on her Instagram that this was an exact dupe for it. HOWEVER, I haven’t yet been able to get a hold of it so I picked up the Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Cleansing Pads instead. They contain Glycolic Acid, this is perfect for dry skin or aged skin but everyone can use it. It helps to give you a smooth surface, reduce discolouration and improve dry skin. It’s a gentle exfoliator which can be used daily to make your skin feel new and refreshed.
Superdrug Naturally Radiant Cream
It’s important to use an SPF after using Glycolic Acid as it makes your skin more sensitive and susceptible to UV rays. Unfortunately, my beloved STEAMCREAM and even The Ordinary moisturiser do not contain SPF, so I was looking for something like STEAMCREAM but which would protect my skin. I could easily put sun cream on my face, but lord knows what that may end up doing to my skin (breakouts). This day cream had wonderful reviews online and so I bought it as all Superdrug Naturally Radiant products are half price right now!
Let me just say WOW. I love this moisturiser SO much! This smells heavenly, it’s a lovely whipped consistency and it just melts into your skin. I’d say it’s a medium to heavy coverage, just behind STEAMCREAM. I’ve only used it a couple of times and am loving it. Both retail at £5.99 each and are currently half price, I’m going back to Superdrug to buy the rest of the range.
What are your favourite skincare pieces?