Problems with SPF. We’re wading through a few common issues with sunscreen, while the sun is out and people feel its relevant and topical. The thing is, sunscreen should be topical all year round, if you’re at all worried about the effects of the sun on your skin, but I still think that the majority of people only apply SPF when it’s hot outside. Maybe it needs a rebrand. Lightscreen, instead of sunscreen?
For me, this is where “moisturisers with SPF” play their hand so well; you don’t think twice about putting them on, they’re pitched as more of a daily staple than a fair-weather friend and, if you apply as liberally as you would your dedicated sunscreen you’re getting the same protection. Anyway, maybe that’s a whole other post…
Back to problems, and the previous one with sunscreen was SPF stinging eyes – you can find that post here with a few recommendations on how to avoid irritation. Here’s the next skin issue in the line-up:
Problem: Sunscreen Breaks Me Out
Sunscreen causing spots, another annoying quirk. Many sunscreens break my skin out, too, and it feels like a sod’s law sort of punishment. You try to do the best thing for the health and look of your skin and it goes and kicks you in the teeth with a load of pustulating under-surface bumps or white-headed pimples. If you find that your SPF is breaking you out because it’s making you oily and clogging your pores then take a look at some of the oil-free options that work really well for me – they’re also worth a look if you’re after sunscreen for acne-prone skin.
Paula’s Choice Resist SPF50* is actually hurtling its way to my number one favourite sunscreen spot. It’s high protection but feels just like water going on and leaves absolutely no residue on the skin. It just ticks absolutely every box and also happens to be oil-free so it’s excellent for all skin types. It’s a joy to apply. Find it online here* – it’s £35 and can easily be used as your daily moisturiser unless you have very dry skin.
If you’re after light and fresh then take a look at my five favourite sunscreens on the link above. It wasn’t a post on SPF for spot-prone skin, specifically, but there are some nice oil-free products. Another I find myself using quite a lot is the Kiehl’s Aqua Gel (online here*) with a lightweight feel that doesn’t melt or slide even when it’s very humid. A good one if you need a facial SPF for working out or going running. Chance would be a fine thing.
Both of those suggestions are for chemical sunscreens but if you struggle to find a chemical SPF that you get on with then it’s well worth giving mineral sunscreen a go. Some people are sensitive to specific chemical filters. (Equally, some people get on horribly with mineral sunscreens, finding them very chalky and thick, the residue too white, but there are some beautiful, lightweight, silky mineral products these days.)
Here are some mineral recommendations, I love all of the below:
Ultra Violette’s Lean Screen SPF50 at Space NK here*
Hawaiian Tropic’s SPF30 Skin Milk mineral sunscreen here*
Skingredients Skin Shield SPF50 here*
Coola Mineral Matte Cucumber SPF30 here*
If you have oily skin, you may also really like the matte finish that many mineral sunscreens have – it makes a good priming makeup base with that little bit of grip to hold foundation in place. And I find that I need less foundation on top, for some reason – the mineral sunscreen seems to create a lovely canvas.
As important as finding the right sunscreen formula to help reduce spot breakouts? Making sure you clean it off again effectively at the end of the day. SPF products are designed to stick around for as long as possible, for obvious reasons, so you really need to get in there with a cleanser that will break it down along with the grime of the day and any makeup you have on over the top.
I like to use a balm cleanser first (Beauty Pie’s Hot Oil Double Cleansing Balm* is one of my favourite balms, regardless of brand or price) and really massage it in for a minute or so. I use a flannel to remove – it works on eye makeup too, so you can work it in all over your face. Then if I’m feeling any sort of threat of a breakout (that lumpiness below the skin, or tenderness) then I go in with an exfoliating wash afterwards. I really like CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser* because it can be used on face and body so it’s great for keeping in the shower.
CeraVe’s cleanser contains salicylic acid to help keep pores clear but if you’d rather swipe something over your skin and leave then I think that Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant (buy online here*) is unbeatable. I use it every PMT week, too, just to keep any hormonal spots at bay. Just pour a little onto cotton wool and wipe all over your face – I concentrate on the t-zone and around my nose – and then follow with your usual skincare routine, though I’d keep textures nice and light if I was on breakout watch!
Long-term readers could, I am sure, rattle off a list of my favourite Beauty Pie skincare products by heart. Over the years they’ve become staples in my beauty routines – the brilliant balm cleansers, the potent retinol range, the moisturisers that seem to inject near-impossible amounts of hydration into your skin so that it feels swelled with it, almost wobbly, like one of those waterbeds from the eighties. (Here’s looking at you, Japanfusion Power Elixir Moisturiser.)
And I’m never sure which I’m more a fan of: Beauty Pie’s perfectly-pitched formulas, with their potent active ingredients and crowd-pleasing textures, or Beauty Pie’s unique business model, which sees luxury beauty products made at the world’s most premium beauty labs sold direct to the customer, without the usual gigantic mark-up.
The lab-direct pricing alone would be enough of a pull for most (it’s usually up to 75% off a typical retail price) but when the products are so good they instantly become repeat purchases it’s kind of an unbeatable combination. And Beauty Pie are ever-expanding, with haircare and bodycare and home fragrance and now supplements, too.
For me, Beauty Pie as a brand have become synonymous with quality, high-performance and amazing value for money. It’s luxury beauty, made in the “luxury” labs, but because you’re cutting out the retail middleman you’re not paying for insanely expensive packaging and store fit-outs and all the other markups that creep in. You’re getting the contents of the luxury bottle, pot or tube but in a very simple (but I must say incredibly classy!) bottle, pot or tube.
To give you an example (I like doing these – I can’t mention specific brands when I do comparisons so you can just shout them out silently inside your head):
Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm, which is genuinely one of the most gorgeous balms on the planet, has a retail price of £50. This sits it alongside a number of cleansing balms from very well-known premium brands. The Beauty Pie price to members is £19.18, online here.
The aforementioned Japanfusion M3 Power Elixir Moisturiser, which seems to do just miraculous things on dehydrated skin, glossing it and sealing in moisture without any greasiness whatsoever, has a retail value (equivalent luxury face creams) of £70. I would very truly pay full price for this moisturiser if I had to – but Beauty Pie thankfully sell it to members for £15.70, online here. One of the very best moisturisers you can buy, hands down, and it’s just over fifteen quid.
So: the members part, before I get onto a very exciting new launch! You sign up here (use the code RUTHSENTME for £10 off the £59 membership) and this gives you access to the huge range of Beauty Pie products at Beauty Pie prices. If you want to try before you commit, there’s also a 60 day free trial running – here – that can be cancelled at any time before the trial ends.
Potent, effective products without the markups.
Now talking of potent and effective products (behold my smooth segue into the new launch): Beauty Pie have just released their most advanced skincare formula to date – fifteen active ingredients at very concentrated levels, each selected to help tighten and brighten and firm the skin to make it appear more youthful. It’s a veritable cocktail of potency and it’s called:
Not The Cocktail of Youth, which I also quite like as a product name, mainly for its Death Becomes Her vibes!
Designed to firm and tighten and to visibly soften lines it’s formulated for all skin types and is simple to slip into any skincare routine. Beauty Pie say that every ingredient in Youthbomb has been selected for its ability to support the skin in how it reflects light – so we’re talking about ingredients that smooth, brighten and hydrate.
It features the exclusive Biolog-Elastic (TM) Complex, which is one of my favourite beauty industry trade marked formula names to date, it’s like a double-barrelled Klingon surname! There’s also a powerful blend of proteins and peptides, all in a serum that has a weightless, non-sticky feel.
I have to say that the first time I used it I actually felt the tightening effect. Then because I thought I might be imagining things (or perhaps willing them to happen) I decided to test it around the eye area and can absolutely confirm that there’s an immediate sense of de-slackening. It’s a nice touch, because although it’s the long-term effects you want from the ingredients, the instant tightening feel is very optimistic and energising.
It’s easy to fit Youthbomb into a routine, too. It’s not going to react with any of your other actives, so you don’t have to worry that if you apply it before X or after Y you’re going to self-combust as you’re walking to the bus stop. Apply it after cleansing and before your moisturiser – here’s a good morning routine:
Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser (£8.58 here, retail £25)
Super Retinol Eye Cream (£12 here, retail £60)
Youthbomb 360 Radiance Concentrate (£44 here, retail £185)
Super Healthy Skin Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream (£15.90 here – equivalent retail price £100)
Featherlight SPF50 (£12.34 here, retail £35)
The Featherlight SPF50 is excellent, by the way – non-drying, non-greasy, just barely-there sunscreen that sits well beneath makeup. It’s here online. And the Super Healthy Skin Cream is a new discovery for me and might be one to rival the Japanfusion – I’m currently doing a week-long test using Super Healthy on one half of my face and the Japanfusion Power Elixir on the other. I’ll update you.
In summary, I think that the Youthbomb Serum is a very exciting new product. It’s an all-in-one powerhouse that helps to boost everything from radiance to firmness yet it’s foolproof and suits pretty much everyone.
You can slide it into any existing routine and it’s not going to pick fights with your other products – you can even use it alongside retinol (I’d use it afterwards, waiting a bit before applying).
Find more info on the new launch here – the sign-up page for Beauty Pie membership is here and there’s the option of the free 60 day trial or, for the keen, jumping straight in with both feet and becoming an instant bona fide member. (Use RUTHSENTME for the tenner off!)
Are you already a Beauty Pie member? What’s on your repeat buy list?
Christmas Gift Ideas For Her is here. Wow, that’s a mouthful of a sentence! I hope that the following bits and pieces spark your imagination
Top left GUCCI Bloom Nettare Di Fiori For Her – Eau de Parfum 100ml. Is this not just the coolest bottle? Instagram heaven. Buy for £114.00 from Feel Unique*.
Top middle PRINTWORKS ‘Snoozing’ Eye Mask. I feel as though this has popped up in a Movie recently, this sleep mask – if it hasn’t then it should. It’s very stylish and a change from the usual silky ones with your star sign on or ones monogrammed in a curly font. Buy for £32 from Amara*.
Top right PEARL LOWE – The Ava Gown. Well this is all sorts of glamorous and sexy – it’s almost too good to keep it for indoors. And a nice, substantial fabric that will actually keep you warm. No flimsy silk robes on this page! It’s winter for crying out loud! Buy for £395 from Pearl Lowe.
Bottom right CANOPY PLANTS – Cherry Aglaonema plant with ceramic pot. Chosen, admittedly, because it looks good with the other products in the guide, but canopy plants have loads of options and they are all potted and ready to go. Waiting for people like me to kill them. Buy for £38.00 from Selfridges & Co*.
Bottom middle ANGLEPOISE 90 Mini, Anodised brushed Aluminium finish, Berry Red. The classic – you can’t beat an anglepoise for timeless style. You can spend upwards of £500 for a desk lamp that’s a true design classic but this one is a small slice of cool for a palatable price. Buy for £87.20 from Amazon.
Bottom left BEAUTY PIE – Luxury Silk Hair Scrunchie, pack of six. I can’t be without my silk scrunchies now; yes they send me back to the nineties a little, but they are smooth and snag-free and the easiest way of securing my default twist-into-a-bun hairstyle. Buy for £35 (BECOME A MEMBER AND PAY £16.76) from Beauty Pie.
CHARBONNEL Et WALKER – Pink Champagne Truffles. I know that these divide people; Mr AMR thinks that they taste of soap. Other versions are available but I’m always drawn to the pretty box, year after year. Buy for £15 from Amazon.
SIMPLEHUMAN – Sensor Mirror Compact, Rose Gold Stainless Steel. The best makeup mirrors come from Simple Human – their wall- and desk-mounted ones are pricier but once you have one you’ll never look back. Because you’ll always be looking in the mirror, ha! This is a portable compact and no less handy – brilliant for hotel stays where the lighting is dire and for doing your makeup in the back of a cab. Buy for £89.95 from Amazon.
Top left LIBERTY Bubble Candle. So many candles, most of them in glass containers: I love this sculptural bubble candle for its simplicity and sense of fun. Buy for £13.60 from Liberty.
Top middle ASSOULINE Ibiza Bohemia Book. The coolest coffee table books in town – warning: flick through this and you will have the uncontrollable urge to travel. Buy for £70 from Amara*.
Top right JUICY COUTURE Gillian scoop-neck stretch-velour bralette. We did the tracksuits (come on, we all did, didn’t we?) and now there’s the bralette. Nostalgic, yes – but more importantly, comfy. Buy for £30.00 from Selfridges & Co.
Bottom right OH FLUFFITA SLIDE UGGs in pink. Another nostalgia-propelled choice: we did the boots (oh, how we did the boots) and now we will do the slides. If we want to look like something that’s crawled in from an all-night bender down Sesame Street. Buy for £100 from UGG*.
Bottom middle NATIVE UNION Drop Wireless Charger Pad – Rose. The practical present, but infinitely useful for bedside charging and it’s the best-looking charger pad around. No more searching for the cable that’s dropped down the back of the drawers. Buy for £40 from Amara.
Bottom left LIGNE BLANCHE Andy Warhol Scented Candle – Campbell’s Soup. Candles don’t get cooler than this. It’s a mini work of art and once you’ve finished burning the candle you can store your makeup brushes in the pot. Buy for £45 from Amara.
MULBERRY – Small Darley in Quilted Light Salmon. The classic shoulder bag with gold hardware and enough room for wallet, phone and keys. Oh so luxurious and beautifully made, it’s utterly timeless and the perfect special gift. Buy for £695.
ADIDAS – PRIMEBLUE TRACK TOP. I’m really into my Adidas again, perhaps inspired by Squid Game but maybe because I have been trying to up my leisurewear game and stop looking like someone who has been living in the woods with only cats for company. I like this soft pink version for lazy days and for when I start running, which will be never. Buy for £35.
Top left LIBERTY Twist and Twine Tana Lawn Cotton Short Pyjama Set. Liberty print again, I’m not going to apologise. It just makes excellent giftlist fodder because it feels inordinately special and looks the absolute business. I can’t get enough! Buy for £225.00.
Top middle SWAN Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine, Green. I don’t drink coffee but have been researching coffee machines for my holiday cottage business venture. (Don’t even ask how that’s going.) I thought that this one was very pleasing and not outrageously expensive if you didn’t want to go OTT. Buy for £79 from Amazon.
Top right NEWGATE – Charlie Bell Echo Alarm. You have to be a certain type of person to want to be awakened by two clanging metal cymbals going off right next to your head, but if you’re that person then this is your clock. Buy for £25 from Amazon.
Bottom right SELETTI Toiletpaper Mirror – Sea Girl. I love these Seletti mirrors – they do a few different versions and they are all like small pieces of art. Brilliant for spicing up the downstairs loo. Buy for £260 from Amara*.
Bottom middle DORA LARSEN – Dolly stretch-tulle underwired bra. When sexy lingerie gets colourful. I’ve never seen such a fun lingerie brand and there are plenty of different cuts and versions depending on whether you prefer soft bras or more structured items. Buy for £52 from Net-a-porter.
THE BRITISH LIBRARY: A Book of Nonsense Journal. If ever a book was up my street. Buy for £10.95 from Liberty*.
ELIZABETH SCARLETT – Jungle Leaf Travel Pouch. I’ve bought loads of Elizabeth Scarlett toiletries bags as gifts, they are so pretty. Just add a small bag of bath salts* inside if you want to give the gift some literal weight. Buy for £20 from Amara*.
BERGS POTTER – Copenhagen Glazed Plant Pot and Saucer. When plant pots go posh. I have two of these in different colours and they are supremely photogenic. Not that that’s the main requirement for a plant pot, but it helps… Buy for £65 from Amara.
Top left BODEN Cashmere Chunky Bed Socks. Always a treat and the Boden socks are amazing quality. I still have some from five years ago (the only ones the dog hasn’t chewed) and they’re surviving admirably. Think of them as slippers rather than socks, otherwise the cost is almost too hard to swallow. Buy for £50*.
Top middle LIBERTY Elderberry Large Weekly Diary 2022. Nothing can replace the feeling of writing actual lists with an actual pen – the annual diary-purchasing event is not dead, I tell you. Buy for £30*.
Right BURLEIGH Blue Calico Medium Tankard Jug 1pt. For those with a penchant for cottagecore, I give you Burleigh pottery. Their calico tankards are up there with my favourite household items. Buy for £37.00 .
Bottom middle APPLE AirPods Pro with MagSafe charging case (2021). It took me a while to get on board with these, as I like silence and don’t really listen to music when I’m on my own, but man are they helpful for blocking out unwanted noise! I use mine to edit video when I’m on the train to London and I now take most of my calls through them rather than holding the phone to my ear, which now seems so 1998. Buy for £189 from Amazon.
Bottom left DEXAM Wooden Magnetic Toast Tongs, Beech Wood. I know; what a weird thing to include in a gift guide. But if you haven’t yet experienced the joy of the toaster tong then you will thank me: it took me thirty-eight years not to burn my fingers every morning and for the past three I’ve been living in a state of domestic bliss. Buy for £5.97 from Amazon.
VIVARAISE – Fara Cushion – 45x45cm – Amber. Cushions with frills, tassels and trims are all the rage (and I’m on board with this trend – never dismiss the power of added interest and texture!) but many of the high-end versions are over a hundred pounds. This is a cheaper route to interiors nirvana and the quality is great. Buy for £31 from Amara*.
DERWENT II Muck Boots. I know they don’t look showstoppingly gorgeous but believe me when I tell you that Muck Boots are unrivalled in terms of comfort, durability and general practicality. They’re like the Nike Airs of the welly world – and come up true to size, in my experience. Buy for £68 from Amazon*.
SOHO HOUSE – Eat, Drink, Nap: Bringing the House Home – hardcover. Buy for 20.99 from Amazon. I’m going to be back shortly with my “books and chocolate” post so if you’re after easy, relatively cheap presents that will look stunning and seem incredibly thoughtful then hold your horses!
I hope that these Christmas Gift Ideas for Her has given you some useful ideas – let me know in the comments if you’ve had any good gifting brainwaves this year!
My “current skincare routine” feature is back! In typical Crilly fashion, I stopped doing my seasonal skincare videos and posts because I had bored myself with the same format. My skincare routine, four times a year, documenting any notable product discoveries or weird quirks with my skin – I felt as though I could still be turning out the same quarterly update in twenty years’ time. But it turns out that people like a familiar, regular video format and who am I to argue?
So after a brief hiatus (I missed out spring and summer this year) here’s the autumn skincare routine for 2021, focussing on the fact that my face had a brief meltdown and needed some gentle care and attention. This is why the theme of this feature is really; skincare SOS and creams that aid repair and recovery. I go into this more in my previous post – 3 Best Beauty Buys: SOS Skin Creams – so do take glance at that here for more details, but to summarise: I had a weird stomach bug, woke up afterwards and my skin had gone all strange and bumpy underneath. It was then dry and itchy. It felt rather like I’d overdone it with my retinol but I hadn’t done anything new or extreme.
As I mention in the post SOS Skin Cream post, the best thing to do whenever the proverbial shit hits the fan, face-wise, is to just pare everything right back. Gently cleanse and then moisturise with something that will help strengthen the skin barrier as well as deeply hydrate. Let’s do a deeper dive into the complete routine – it’s quite different to my default one:
My normal default skincare routine –
My SOS skincare routine –
My skin sorted itself out over the course of about a week and a half and now I’m pretty much back to the default routine, having cautiously reintroduced the retinoids every few days. Here are the products I pared back to – all of them great at any time, but especially if you’ve overdone it with your peels or intensive masks or retinol product or all of them at the same time (yikes):
I’ve been using a lot of the Kate Somerville DeliK8 Cleanser, £34 here*. It’s a beautifully soothing cream cleanser that’s great for angsty skin. The whole range is gorgeous but this is a particular treat.
You know that I love Emma Hardie’s Moringa Gel – I did a whole raving love post about it here. It gets my vote as best luxury cleanser because it’s so suited to both dry and oilier skin. Those who don’t get on with essential oils, avoid, but for anyone who wants a sense-tickling cleanse with something light then this is it!
Beauty Pie Hot Oil Cleanser – here* – is sumptuous and luxurious but (if you’re a Beauty Pie member) doesn’t come with the steep price tag. This is an unscented balm that removes every trace of makeup and dirt and I have nothing bad to say about it! You can find out more on Beauty Pie in this video I made recently.
Please refer back to this post for more details on these, but as a quick reference list:
No7 Hydrating Skin Paste (at Boots here*)
I love this “paste” – it’s actually a creamy, lightweight serum. More towards a light moisturiser than a runny, watery kind of serum but great to layer up under other creams and/or your sunscreen for an extra boost of hydration. If you don’t get on with sticky, tacky hyaluronic products then this is a nice change. Comfortable texture, housed in a metal tube like an oil paint (annoying lid), is fresh and cool on application.
Skinceuticals B5 Mask, online here*
I don’t tend to go in for a lot of moisturising masks – most of them just feel like a good, rich night cream except you then inexplicably flannel them off and rinse them down the sink. This one from SkinCeuticals, however, is one of the weirdest (yet effective) I’ve ever tried. It’s feels like what I can only imagine having a melted jellyfish stuck to your face would be like. It’s melted jellyfish in a tube. (It’s not made from jellyfish, calm down.) It almost seems to repel water so when you try to rinse it off it doesn’t just rinse away, you really have to use a washcloth or flannel. Marvellous stuff and the effects are noticeable.
SkinGenerics SPF30 – at Superdrug here
This sunscreen requires its very own post because it’s so groundbreakingly lightweight, but I want to do some comparison tests first with other weightless SPFs. Quite honestly, though, I doubt any will come out topping the Niacinamide + Osmo’city Moisturising Cream SPF30*. It feels like a water gel (nothing like a cream) on application and then simply disappears. No residue, no tackiness, and – equally as important – no feeling of tightness or dryness. It’s as if you haven’t applied anything at all, yet you have. Admittedly if it was SPF50 then it would be absolute perfection, but for those who want something for incidental exposure or who just hate the feel of other sunscreens so much they are willing to drop down to a 30, I can’t imagine you can beat this for invisible look and undetectable feel.
Just as a by-the-by, the retinol products I’ve been using since returning to the default routine are the Skin + Me (ultra powerful!) daily dose Tretinoin (find Skin + Me here) and the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream (find the range here*). Not together, I hasten to add!
Skin + Me Tretinoin
This one is specifically for me – Skin + Me make creams specifically for you once they know your skin type and skin goal. Which is ascertained via online questionnaire, filterless photos and any additional questions from the team. I’ve been doing some AD work with Skin + Me and so have tried them quite extensively – it’s a great idea and they make it very easy to form a simple, massively effective skincare routine. (Use code RUTH2 to get your first month for £3.50 instead of £19.99.)
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream
An old favourite, this is pokey as you like in terms of effectiveness and is hydrating enough that you don’t need to use any separate moisturiser over the top. There’s also a serum and eye cream in this range but I like the cream for its all-in-oneness for lazy nights! Find the whole range here* – at time of writing there are some good discounts going on!
I’ll be back in a couple of months with my winter skincare routine – until then, if you’d like to browse the historic back-catalogue of skincare routines then they are all here.
Please excuse the filming conditions in this month’s favourites video: firstly a wasp came in to the bedroom (probably trying to escape the building dust in the rest of the house) and then I didn’t have anywhere to put all the crap that was on the bed, because there was so much other crap all over the floor. So I look as though I’m filming mid-house-move, or after I’ve just unpacked from a very long holiday.
I’m neither mid-house-move or recently back from a long holiday. To be quite honest I’d take either of those options over the reality because it would mean that respite was on its way or that I had just missed eight weeks of drilling and sawing. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s all completely self-inflicted so I’m not complaining – just accounting for the low-budget filming location!
This month’s favourites include sporty trousers, a toilet wipe that’s not an actual wipe and a really, really brilliant idea for a wedding gift list. Or birthday gift list. Or any sort of gift list. Keep on reading – or watch the video further on down the page if you’d prefer to hear my dulcet tones punctuated by loud hammering.
Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer £19.00 at Cult Beauty here*. This has become my most-used mascara and I will be purchasing another when it runs out, which can’t be too long now because I use it all the time. It has a little primer on one end and that fills out the lashes and makes them look longer and then a black mascara to go over the top. It just works so well on my fine, straight lashes and I can forgive the extra bit of faff for such a polished final look. I actually enjoy the extra faff, weirdly…
I’m very pleased with my new side-strip joggers from Me+Em (online here*). They’re flattering and go with pretty much anything, from a casual t-shirt to a smart silk shirt. The mantra always used to be, with sport-luxe, “dress them up with heels”, but sod that. I’m trainers all the way. My ankle bones seem to be made of chalk, now, and cannot cope with the stress of very high heels. It’s something I need to work on. Because I do love the lift of a good, sexy heel…but at the same time quite like not having to worry about breaking my neck getting out of a taxi.
Anyway: the trousers. The side-stripe is elongating, the fabric is just on the smart side of “smart casual” and the tailoring is clever, making the joggers look cool and sporty but pulled-together all at the same time.
The Wipe-Free Wipe
This is clever: a toilet wipe alternative that involves no actual wipe. Wype is a gel that you apply to your normal toilet paper for a freshen-up, rather than using those wet wipe toilet tissues that come in the little sealed packets. (With the seals that only actually seal for about a week and then the wipes all dry up.)
We’ve never really been a wipe-using household, apart from when the kids were babies, but I have always wanted a bidet and so this is the next best thing! Ha. A hell of a lot cheaper and easier than having a bidet installed. (I did want one of those shower toilets but got bored of researching them and also worried that the kids would have far too much fun with it.)
You can find Wype on Amazon here* – it’s £9.99 for a bottle, which equates to about 200 wipes. Non-scented, nothing extra to dispose of and the aluminium bottle is infinitely recyclable.
The Hot Oil Cleanser
Beauty Pie Double Hot Oil Cleansing Balm (Beauty Pie here* – £12.10 with membership, £50 without. You can get an extra £50 spending allowance with the code RUTHSENTME)
Oh this is just glorious. A really luxurious, slippery oil-balm that you can massage over the skin for minutes and minutes with it getting warmer and oilier every second… I love it. It reminds me a lot of Darphin’s Aromatic Cleansing Balm (see review here) except that it isn’t fragranced with essential oils or otherwise. Same dry-skin-pleasing slip, without the fragrant frills. So often these unctuous balm cleansers come heavily fragranced (which personally I love, because I’m a sucker for anything that makes me feel as though I’m in an exotic hotel spa, somewhere hot) and this is a great option for those who want the function but not the smell.
The Gift List Tip
I read a brilliant thing in an interview recently – it’s actually quite an old interview, with Laura Jackson for House & Garden magazine here. In it, Laura talks about how she got her wedding guests to each bring a copy of their favourite book. So they now have a bookshelf filled with the favourite books of their closest friends and family. Brilliant for the recipients and relatively straightforward and inexpensive for the guests. I love this idea.
I have been raving about Beauty Pie products since they launched onto the beauty scene. Hi-tech, luxury formulas developed at some of the world’s best labs, but sold direct to the consumer so that the middleman (the retailer) is completely removed from the equation.
I have to say that it took me a while to get my head around the membership concept (more on that in a second, stay with me!) but the more skincare and makeup products I tried and loved the more this particular way of shopping for beauty began to make sense.
I’m going to tell you about my top five favourite Beauty Pie products, the ones I would buy time and time again without a moment’s hesitation, and demonstrate how the membership works along the way. I’d insert a joke here about listening carefully for the science bit and the need for a flip chart, etc etc, but it really isn’t that complicated!
I’m going to use my first (and absolute all-time favourite) Beauty Pie product as a sort of glamorous assistant.
Step forward the Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm (online here). If there was ever a contest or tournament for luxury cleansers (I would genuinely watch that on the telly) then this balm would very easily hold its own. With its silky texture and glorious scent, it’s perfect for massaging over the face to break up makeup and sunscreen and removes everything from mascara to long-wear lip-stain. For a balm so rich and sumptuous, it rinses off beautifully clean and doesn’t leave even a trace of residue.
The Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm won me over from very first use and I always expected it to have a suitably high price tag. The reality? With Beauty Pie membership it’s £13.93. There are different types of memberships – for more information in the UK click here and US click here – and you choose the one that gives you the spending allowance you think you’ll need. (You can always upgrade if you need more, or roll the allowance over to the next month if it’s more than you need.)
Now: here’s the maths bit. Beauty Pie show you two prices – the equivalent retail price for the product and the members’ price. For the cleansing balm, the retail price would be around £50 for an equivalent product. (I’d say this is about right – it’s absolutely on a level playing field with another of my favourite balms and that one is £50 for the same amount of product. I like to cross-check all of my favourites like this and the “typical” values they cite are always very considered and fair.)
So the idea is that as a member you’re getting loads more for your money – you’re getting the luxury product minus the retail markup, which can be up to 80% when it comes to luxury makeup, for example. The only consideration on top is the cost of the membership and also the postage, which tends to be a few pounds for standard royal mail delivery.
How much is the membership? You can opt for £5, £10 or £20 per month. £5 membership gives you a spending allowance of £50, £10 lets you spend up to £100 and £20 per month gives you the biggest allowance at £200. (You can use the code RUTHSENTME to get an extra £50 spending allowance!)
It’s worth noting that the spend is for the typical value, not the members’ price, so if you had the £5 monthly membership then this month that would allow you to buy the cleansing balm. I suppose you could say, in simplistic terms, that the balm is costing you £13.93 + £5 membership fee + postage. A huge saving – well over 50% – if you adore your luxury skincare but tend to balk at the prices.
Let’s do another example with another favourite, and we’ll stick to the £5 per month membership to keep things easy. (I do have a tendency to overcomplicate things, so I hope I’m deconstructing this in a helpful way and not making you want to slowly eat your own fists.) The Futurelipstick Luxe Shine in Master Suite and Nude Blush. Two lipsticks. Why not?
I actually contest Beauty Pie’s valuation of this lipstick, which they say is £25. I’d say it was upwards of this, because it is incredibly similar to the ones that a certain star brought out recently and they are a hell of a lot more expensive. The Futurelipstick is sort of like a gloss in a stick. It has the most voluptuous, heavy sheen that feels as though it is plumping your lips from their very core. It feels decadent and glamorous yet it’s easy to apply and wear and is comfortable and hydrating.
The members’ price? £6.52 for one and £7.54 for the other. (Find them here. I have no idea why they are different prices – intriguing! Something to do with the cost of different pigments? I shall endeavour to find out!) Both lipsticks, bought together, would take you up to your spending limit for the month, but you would have had well over fifty quids’ worth of luxury lipstick for a grand total of £19.06 plus postage.
Things obviously get more exciting (and amounts saved more momentous) as you move up the tiers. For example, if you were in the £20 a month tier because there were loads of things you bought from Beauty Pie regularly (which is not hard to do!) then you could buy something from the Super Retinol range (here – it’s brilliantly formulated) as well as your cleanser and a moisturiser, maybe a little lipstick treat…
Talking of moisturisers: let’s discuss the Japanfusion Power Elixir Moisturiser – typical price £70, members’ price £12.65. This buoyant, bouncy face gel-cream wowed me a couple of years ago and I’ve still not found something to rival it in terms of texture (fresh yet somehow supremely rich) and effect (it makes your face feel as squidgy as a waterbed). It used to be called the Supreme Cream and now it’s the Power Elixir, but it’s the same antioxidant-rich deeply-moisturising formula. It’s just outstanding.
And actually this is one of my favourite pricing examples, for showing how great the Beauty Pie pricing structure can be. If you had a £10 membership, you could pick up this moisturiser, a glossy spring-hued lipstick and still have a bit of allowance to rollover. Your basket would be worth £95 yet you would have spent just £19.17 plus your membership fee. (There are also “piedays” that let you buy certain products without using any of your allowance, so set notifications for those!)
I’m really shooting off all over the place here, rather than listing my top five favourite products, which was the aim of the post. I expect that reading this post is a bit like being in a pinball machine. I suppose if my enthusiasm shines through then that can only be a good thing!
Let’s recap. So far we’ve had:
Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Cleansing Balm – typical price £50, members’ price £13.93 here
Beauty Pie Japanfusion Power Elixir Moisturiser – typical price £70, members’ price £12.65 here
Beauty Pie Futurelipstick Luxe Shine in Master Sweet – typical price £25, members’ price £6.52 here
Anything from the Super Retinol range, which is just…super, various prices but all huge savings, here
Oh! My Beauty Pie favourites wouldn’t be complete without the Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial mask, which has a value of £60 but to members is £10.80 here. This AHA mask works quickly and non-aggressively to slough of dead skin cells and give an instant glow. It’s a great fast-acting pick-me-up if you ever want a powerful pre-makeup mask, just five minutes leaves your skin feeling softer and looking fresher. You can leave it on for up to ten but I find that five does the trick and I like that it’s very easy to rinse off – a light gel texture, not a heavy clay or cream, so good for those in a hurry.
Pinballing session over. (Just read in Urban Dictionary that pinballing is when you hit lots of walls on the way to your destination, usually because you’re inebriated and just about to “call dinosaurs”, which is apparently the act of vomiting when you’ve drunk too much. You learn a new thing every day kids!) You’ll see many more brilliant things from Beauty Pie in posts and videos coming up but leave me a comment if you’d like me to review anything in particular that’s caught your eye!
Here’s the skincare routine I’ve been following for most of the season and I have to say that it has kept my face looking quite spectacularly fresh and bouncy, considering the stress levels and overarching sense of fatigue that has dominated the past few months. (And the fact that I’ve been gorging on Mint Magnums with ever-increasing frequency.)
So the tweaks I’ve made seem to have seen me through spring without any significant dramas – though I think it’s also pertinent to note that I’ve been taking my Vitamin D every day, which always makes a huge difference to my skin, hair and nails. (To be more accurate, I took Vitamin D tablets for the first few weeks of lockdown, but when the weather turned glorious and stayed that way, I ended up spending most of my time outdoors and so I haven’t been quite so diligent at taking the supplement. Regardless, I always find the difference remarkable. My default state, in terms of vitamin D levels, seems to be “chronically deficient”.)
Anyway, no more blathering on: here’s my current routine. There’s a product list as long as my arm for this particular update (below the video pane), but not because it’s complex; I just wanted to give a few options for each step – something spendy, something sensible. Favourites old and favourites new.
My Current Skincare Routine: Spring 2020
In a nutshell:
Morning: Cleanse + Antioxidant + Moisturiser/SPF
Evening Night 1: Cleanse + Retinol
Evening Night 2: Cleanse + Hydrating Serum + Rich Moisturiser
My morning routine remains relatively unchanged. In fact I never really do anything funky or different in the morning, mainly because I don’t have the time to spare. Or even the time to think things through properly. As such, it’s usually a cleanser-serum-moisturise situation, although I’ve been outdoors a lot and so you can tag “sunscreen” onto the end of that list.
The cleanser tends to be light and splash-off and I love the Curel Foaming Wash* at the moment. The antioxidant du jour is Paula’s Choice Triple Algae Pollution Shield* and you can find out about my current most-used sunscreens here.
My evening routine alternates between two versions, neither of them very difficult or lengthy. After a thorough cleanse with a balm, usually twice, I’ll either apply my retinol product (see list beneath the video pane) or I’ll go in for the hydration marathon. Well, not really a marathon – just two steps. More of a hydration sprint. In the Dads’ race at school sports day.
The sprint consists of a hydrating serum and then a rich moisturiser, just to get things juicy and plumptious.
That’s it. The odd glycolic peel pad, but not so much at the moment because I’m outside for most of the day, and now and then a face mask, mainly because I’ve started drinking a herbal sleepy tea in the bath before bed and a face mask just feels right.
There’s a lot more in the way of explanation for everything in the video, so you should absolutely watch that. I don’t even waffle, which is nothing short of a miracle, especially as being locked in with two small children has completely melted my mind. Locked in? Locked down!
You can find all my cleanser reviews here
Sunscreen reviews are here
Link to Vitamin C Products featured here
Ah, there’s nothing that marks the passing of the seasons quite like one of my makeup bag videos. You could set your clock by them. (I’m being facetious, obviously; I never get these seasonal makeup videos out at the right time.)
This (un)timely makeup offering is for autumn, and I present it to you on a day that began with a thick carpet of frost all over the lawn. AKA, winter. When is winter, actually? I always thought that November, December and January were winter, but that would make February a spring month which would be absurd. So November is surely still in autumn. Surely?
I could have researched all of this before starting to write, but it will have given some of you something to rant about and others something to think about, so it’s all good. Let me just…type…into…Google… I can tell you that winter officially begins on: Sunday 22nd December.
I’m sorry, but surely that cannot be right. Wait. More Googling is obviously required here.
OK, so there are numerous dates and I seem to have gone down a mind-boggling rabbit hole of solstices, meteorological things and hemispheres. The astrological start date for winter is the 22nd of December, but the meteorological date is December 1st. I know which one I’m going with – I can’t bloody well keep saying that it’s autumn until a few days before Christmas! That goes against everything I know! Have these astrologers never heard of the Christmas carol In The Bleak Midwinter?
Anyway, here’s what’s in my makeup bag this autumn. If you’re after all-new autumn beauty launches and russety-toned eyeshadows then prepare to be disappointed; as usual this video has a mix of old favourites and new discoveries, but there’s no real theme. It’s just what I’ve genuinely been using – hence the “what’s in my makeup bag” title.
Products are listed below the video pane, but please do take the time to watch. And if you want to flick back through previous seasons, you can find all of the makeup bag videos here.
Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter 04*: https://bit.ly/2O3AM2V
Pro Glow shade 204*: https://amzn.to/328YvUt
BareMineralsUK Invisible Bronze in Tan*: http://bit.ly/2pUQ0zf
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette*: https://bit.ly/32EPPFA
Charlotte Tilbury Darling Palette*: http://bit.ly/2QdzqFw
Marc Jacobs HiLiner in RoCocoa*: http://bit.ly/2H4FklS
L’Oreal Unlimited Mascara*: https://amzn.to/34eEzAE
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Fresh Melon*: http://bit.ly/2N6jO4K
BenefitCosmeticsUK Gimme Brow in shade 1*: http://bit.ly/31e9c8z
Lanolips 101 Ointment*: http://bit.ly/34VWQTI
Beauty Pie Lip Liner Wondergel in Vanilla Nude*: http://bit.ly/31hmvVu
Zoeva Foundation Brush
Zoeva Shadow Brush
Real Techniques XS Point Brush – no longer available in the UK! BOOOOOOO!