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!