Something very odd happened to my skin the other week; I haven’t managed to get to the bottom of the cause because it could have been one of so many reasons (we’re on the “school germs carousel of illness” round here) but I have managed to do some pretty extreme SOS face cream testing. Which obviously makes for a great “best beauty buys” post, so… every cloud, etc.
A brief word on what happened to my skin before I dive into the three best SOS face creams I tried: it was suddenly bumpy, one morning – the sort of texture you’d have if you were suffering from breakouts that hadn’t come to a head yet, but all over my face from the cheeks down. Not small raised bumps or spots, but the sort that almost feel like crocodile scales. There was some visible redness. All of this manageable, but then the dryness and itching started.
The dryness and itching felt very much like a reaction to a strong retinoid, but I hadn’t tried or done anything new and so that was unlikely. Anyway, I wasn’t going to spend my week being all Poirot about it – I would obviously take more notice if it happened again or on a regular basis – I just wanted to get my skin back on an even keel.
And so I implemented my SOS Skincare routine, which is just a very pared back version of my usual one, minus the “actives” (no acids, no retinoids, no super-strength antioxidants) and with a gentler approach to cleansing. I tend to use creamier textures, soft washcloths and moisturisers that intensely hydrate as well as aiding skin barrier function.
(If you keep hearing the phrase “skin barrier” and wondering what an earth everyone is banging on about then let me briefly enlighten you with an explanation cobbled together from bits of information from own mind and some basic facts from Wikipedia. The skin barrier is sort of like the brick wall between the outside world and the inside of you. It’s the very outermost layer of the skin, it’s watertight and it protects your skin from – buzz phrase incoming! – external aggressors. “Raaaaah!”
For some reason I’ve always imagined these external aggressors as angry people trying to get into a pub that closed half an hour early with no explanation. They’re all carrying rounders bats and trying to smash the windows. In reality the phrase refers to things like pollution and cigarette smoke and UV rays – anything on the outside that your skin is not so keen on having on the inside.
Anyway, it’s massively important to keep the skin barrier healthy and functioning – if it isn’t, problems can mount up because it all goes a bit haywire. Redness, itchiness, tightness, dehydration, breakouts: an absolute circus of skin concern delights to deal with.)
I’m going to go more into my whole routine in the upcoming Current Skincare Routine: Autumn 2021, because for this post I wanted to focus on the SOS face cream saviours. Great for skin that’s suddenly very sensitive and needs some serious care and attention, they all moisturise deeply and give a helping hand to the skin barrier so that faces that feel as though they’re falling off can piece themselves back together.
The three best beauty buys I’ve picked are all amazing for skin that’s been through the mill – perhaps you’ve overdone it with your retinol products, or you’ve used a glycolic peel too often – and equally effective for bringing life back to dry, flakey skin that is rebelling against the changes in weather. You can watch the video version or scroll on down to keep reading…
1. DR. JART+ Cicapair Cream, at Amazon*
This is the most affordable – and user-friendly – of the three. It’s the lightest in texture and sinks in quickly with no greasy residue. Great beneath makeup, it is instantly soothing on itchy, tight skin and the perfect choice if you want a powerful rescue remedy without the rich texture.
2. Medik8 Ultimate Recovery Intense, at Amazon*
This is far richer and more intense in feel but I think it’s my favourite of the three favourites! The tube is user-friendly with a hinged lid, the cream is easy to apply and not stodgy but gives an instant, satisfying feeling that you’ve been basted with something miraculous. It has been formulated for post-treatment skin so it’s a no-brainer option for those who have overdone it with their peels or have started on a new strength of retinoid.
3. Murad Intense Recovery Cream, at Amazon*
This beauty of a skin repair cream has the firmest, most buttery texture and those with the driest skin (think Jacob’s Cream Cracker dry) will love it. It has the reassuring colour of some sort of 1950s hospital ointment but I do find it slightly annoying scooping it from the jar as it’s so firm, it goes straight under my nails. A non-idiot would find and use one of those plastic spatulas to make life easier but I’m too lazy to rootle through my weird-things-I’ll-never-use-drawer.
Eucerin Aquaphor, at Feel Unique*
If your skin feels rough and dry and vulnerable and you just want to shroud it in the equivalent of a suit of armour then Aquaphor is your friend. It’s slightly less refined than the above options, because it does leave a residue, but quite often that top layer of slick is very comforting, especially if your skin is so tight it feels as though it might crack. (We’re talking quite extreme skin situations today, aren’t we?) You get a 45ml tube of this for £9 – they also do a huge tube – which makes it a great all-rounder rescue cream to keep in the bathroom cabinet.
Welcome back to the If I Could Only Buy One series, in which I give myself a week-long headache trying to decide on my absolute favourite beauty product from a given category. Please do read the disclaimer on the first post if you’re in any doubt as to how this incredibly important and (potentially) historically significant beauty challenge works.
The given category this time is “tinted moisturisers”: a tricky one to navigate in some ways, because it’s such a broadly-used term. Where do you draw the line? When it a tinted moisturiser no longer a tinted moisturiser? When the coverage becomes so opaque that it’s basically a foundation? (IT Cosmetics CC Cream comes to mind.) Or when the pigment level is so low that it just gives the tiniest hint of warmth and glow to the skin? (I bung these into the “complexion enhancer” category.)
For me, a tinted moisturiser is just that: a product that you can apply as you would a face cream, reasonably haphazardly, with no real need for a brush or applicator sponge and that gives enough coverage and colour to make you look less like an old parsnip. I like a tinted moisturiser to be a moisturiser – it should feel as plumptious and look as dewy as my face cream – and I like it to give a real-skin-but-better sort of radiance. Coverage needs to be relatively comprehensive – enough to even out skin tone and knock back dark circles and redness slightly. I’m not expecting coverage miracles from a tinted moisturiser – it’s more about the fresh, glowing finish – but I am expecting to look much, much better than I did before I put it on.
So which one would I buy if I could only buy one for the rest of my life? When I think of the cult favourites over the years – the Laura Mercier and the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue, to name a couple – there’s one product that most definitely stands out from the crowd and that is the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser*.
This glossy, hydrating face base is the gold standard of tinted moisturisers; it is glowy, fresh-faced base perfection. Supremely hydrating, my skin feels as moisturised at the end of the day as it did when I first put the tint on – there’s a tangible springiness and dewiness to the finish that simply doesn’t fade as the hours pass by.
In terms of coverage, I’d say it equates to a light-to-medium coverage foundation, somewhere in the realms of Clinique’s Even Better Glow. But with even more glow. It does well over redness at the sides of the nose, it makes a brave start on dark circles and it gives an overall evenness to the skin. It doesn’t mask, not quite, but the coverage is enough to distract. And you can always go over the danger zones with a lightweight concealer. (I find that a very heavy, opaque concealer looks odd over a sheer face base.)
There’s a broad spectrum sunscreen in this formula, SPF30, which is a bonus on days when I’m just nipping out on the school run but not being particularly outdoorsy. (I wouldn’t ever solely rely on the SPF in makeup for being in the sun, mainly because I rarely apply enough product to reach the stated protection level but also because it’s a pain to reapply.)
Sixteen shades, the most beautiful scent (not that scent should matter in a face base, but oddly it adds significantly to the whole application experience for me!) and with added Vitamin C for helping with longer-term brightness, it’s basically faultless. If I had to scrape the fault barrel to find something wrong with it, I’d probably say that people with oily skin might want to steer away slightly. Not because of the rich texture – the formula’s actually oil-free, which flabbergasts me because it has all the plumpy effect of a luxury oil! – but because the finish is so glossy and shiny. It just never feels that comfortable, having shine on top of shine and in my PMT week I tend to avoid tinted moisturisers for this very reason.
But that’s it – a minuscule caveat. Everyone else, knock yourselves out. You can find NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer for £33 at Space NK here* and also at Cult Beauty*, LookFantastic* and Selfridges*.
I use the shade “Groenland”, which I think is a new shade, but previously used “Alaska”. If you need help finding your shade without going in-store then the website Findation.com is pretty accurate and brilliant at working out your shade in pretty much any face base currently in production.
The Cheater’s List
Because I couldn’t do this “one thing” decision without namedropping some others:
For those who want similar coverage but less on the outré glow front and plumpy residue, try Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer – one of, if not the, original product in this category. It dries down to a more manageable finish if you don’t like too much dew – find it at SpaceNK here*, £36.
For less coverage but a fresher, lighter feel, Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Gel Cream is unbeatable. The ultimate “slap it on” sort of base, this comes in 20 shades and has a subtle, healthy glow. Find it at Cult Beauty here* – it’s £30.
For similar coverage, slightly less dew but an ethereal, lit-from-within sort of radiance then try Trinny De-Stress Serum, I use the shade “Claire” but I think I could get away with a shade darker for summer. It’s £39 here*.
Disclaimer: Ooph, this “If I Could Only Buy One” series is a risk, isn’t it? Firstly, it’s almost impossible to choose a singular favourite from a given category, even if it’s a category with very little competition. My decision-making process feels marred by the thought of all of my other favourites being left out in the cold – if I don’t mention them then do they even exist? And what if I like three things equally? How does one ever choose?
The second big problem with this series is time: favourites change. Do I keep on coming back to update? Or do I leave the original post and then make a new one with the successor? It’s all very complicated and I feel as though I could be updating and adding to it until I’m seventy, when nobody is even still reading blogs and instead experiencing life through their VR headsets. Who’ll need beauty then? Nobody will leave the house! Food will be in a supplement shake that you drink through a tube connected to the VR headset and sex will be with robots.
But it’s supposed to be fun, so let’s keep it light. There are thousands of products I love and that I’d buy over and over again so if something’s not mentioned it doesn’t mean I’ve changed my mind about it, it just wouldn’t be in the spirit of the game if I then included a load of caveats. (I have actually added a “cheater’s list” to the bottom of the page with a few alternative options. I mean it is, quite literally, cheating at my own game, but I found it impossible to pick without knowing I could leave it there!)
We kick off this series with the one luxury cleanser I’d buy if I could only buy one luxury cleanser for the rest of my life. Many of you will have guessed at the brand for this one, but perhaps not the specific product, so prepare to be mildly surprised.
A winning luxury cleanser, in my opinion, needs to be silky and wonderful to massage in, but easy to remove with no waxy or greasy residue. I want it to have the most glorious smell – a smell that transports me to far-flung and exotic places, and this smell should be heady and “of nature” rather than something that smells a bit like posh aftershave. The texture should be a joy – a rich balm would be the obvious choice here – but I’d also like it to be a cleanser that’s not too faffy to use.
The obvious choice would be Emma Hardie’s Moringa Balm*, written about extensively here and here over the years, but I’m going to turn the tables and blow your minds and actually go for the Moringa Light Cleansing Gel*, fully reviewed here.
And I’ll tell you why. (This was a tough call.) Firstly, the pump-action packing is more convenient than a pot. Secondly I feel as though this is the sort of cleanser you’d use for a quick cleanse as well as a more lengthy, sit-in-a-warm-bath sort of cleanse and thirdly, I actually think that the gel texture is utterly beautiful and – weirdly – slightly more hydrating than the balm. It’s also suitable for all skin types – whereas I think oilier people might balk at the idea of the richer balm – and slightly more cost effective, because I find I pump out less product from the bottle than I’d scoop from the pot.
So same unbelievably lovely scent, same cleansing prowess, but a little more convenient to use.
If you want more of a detailed run-down then read my review post – you can find the supremely luxurious Moringa Light Cleansing Gel here* or in all of the places detailed below, it’s £34, which isn’t horrendously expensive as far as luxury cleansers go! I feel I’ve been distinctly restrained…
Tune in next time for If I Could Only Buy One…Tinted Moisturiser.
The Cheater’s List
Because I couldn’t do this “one thing” decision without namedropping some others:
For a silky balm cleanse with utterly gorgeous Rose scent, the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, £44 for 100ml here*.
The best-smelling balm cleanser in the world, don’t @ me, but it’s incredibly pricey and so more of a treat, Darphin’s Aromatic Cleansing Balm, £35 for 40ml at SpaceNK here*.
The second best-smelling cleanser in the world and absolutely magical before bedtime – also great for oily/combination skin if you fret about using rich balms – Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Cleanser, £21 here*.
The quarterly, seasonal peep into my makeup bag with all of its wondrous contents. And what a makeup bag it is! How had I not heard of the Flat Lay Co? Or seen this type of makeup bag before? It’s utterly genius! If you, like me, don’t have a permanent, dedicated place to do your makeup then you probably have a large toiletries bag that you tip out onto the bed or rug or car seat or bathroom unit every morning and then pack it all up again once you’ve finished.
What a frustrating waste of time.
And you have to tip it all out because otherwise you can’t ever find that once tiny, elusive thing that you always need, whether it’s a Q-Tip or a hair grip or a pair of needle-sharp tweezers for getting rid of your chin hairs. Well begone, frustration, for the Flat Lay bag simply spreads out all of your wares quickly and easily and, with the pull of the cord, gathers them all back up again once you’re done.
I discovered this absolute game-changer through Emily Johnston on Instagram – I’d clicked and ordered a leopard print version within around twenty seconds! You can find loads of versions of it on ASOS here* and FeelUnique here*. Oh my God, I’ve just seen the tiger one*! Why didn’t I buy the tiger one?
Sorry, lots of exclamation marks already in this post and I like to limit my displays of enthusiasm – I’ll move to deadpan mode now. Do take a look at the nifty makeup/toiletries bags from Flat Lay though, I’m so pleased with mine. And may just be about to order the one with the tigers…
So what’s in the bag? A couple of usual suspects, including the Code8 Radiate Balm* and Chanel’s excellent Les Beiges foundation*, but then a brand new bronzer discovery (I test it for the first time in the video) and another appearance from my latest mascara love. Two absolutely brilliant cream makeup products too: Trinny London’s eye2eye shadow* and Beauty Pie’s cream blush*. I cannot recommend these enough; both are soft and forgiving in texture, don’t crease or sit in lines, feel comfortable on the skin and last all day.
The Trinny shadow I show in the video is in “Fortune”, but there are so many flattering shades that it’s hard to really pick one. I like the versions with a little sheen and sparkle rather than the matte, because in one swipe they illuminate and sort of sculpt the lids and application skill needed is really very minimal. You can find the cream shadows online here* – they’re £18 and a makeup bag staple.
The cream blush in Freshfaced could be one of my all time favourite blushers; a soft, cloudy cream it works just as well applied sparingly with a small brush as it does smoothed on with fingertips. Both give a beautiful wash of bright but light coral-pink blush and it’s the most amazing antidote to tired-looking skin. There are a few shades if this one wouldn’t be right for you – you can find them all online here*. Remember to use the code RUTHSENTME for an extra £50 spending allowance* if you’re thinking of signing up to Beauty Pie – the code (and my relationship) is ongoing. The members’ price for the cream blushers is £7.32.
Watch the video to see the rest of the products in action – there’s also a spoiler list of what I’ve used further down the page. Enjoy, especially the bonus red lip at the end…
Flatlay Bags at ASOS*: https://bit.ly/3o1UwWh
Code Eight Radiate Balm (this was in W20)*: https://bit.ly/3o39fQA
Chanel Les Beiges Foundation in B30*: https://bit.ly/3i9DjqN
Hourglass Vanish Concealer*: https://bit.ly/3xZ37xs
Chantecaille Face Powder Brush*: https://bit.ly/2SF8hfq
Marc Jacobs Bronzer in 104 Tan-Tastic*: https://bit.ly/2QZnwlv
Trinny Shadow in Fortune*: https://bit.ly/33wuLUw
Kevyn Aucoin Mascara*: https://bit.ly/3xuA30D
Benefit Gimme Brow in 01*: https://bit.ly/3nN0WYY
Beauty Pie Cream Blush in Freshfaced* – get an extra £50 spending allowance at Beauty Pie with the code RUTHSENTME: https://bit.ly/3ezNTan
Clinique Lipliner Intense shade 01 Sassafrass*: https://bit.ly/3eyNk0L
Bloom and Blossom Lip Balm*: https://bit.ly/33hSHuI
Tom Ford Lipstick in Neotropic*: https://bit.ly/2RE85yT
Three beauty heroes, an excellent cookbook and one of the best presents I’ve ever been given: how much better could a monthly favourites video be?
Here’s a quick rundown of the first four items on the list but you’ll have to watch the video to see the fifth. It’s so cute. I do have a tearful moment at one point…
My first beauty love this month is Le Labo’s cult fragrance Santal 33. It’s spicy, warm, woody, leathery (but a hint of expensive leather, not a male stripper’s oud-soaked leather thong type leather) and just so incredibly sexy. I’ll never do it justice with words, so give it a try next time you pass a stockist. Or if you ever see a gift with purchase that has it in then nab one – the little 15ml sample I have was either from a gift or the Liberty calendar and its RRP is £58! You can find it at Liberty or Cult Beauty here*.
Next on the list, Murad’s incredible Intense Recovery Cream, online here*. It’s almost medicinal in its colour and texture, it feels like the sort of thing you’d use in extreme situations, but it’s absolutely gorgeous on very dry or overcooked skin. And by overcooked I mean too many acids, too much retinol, too much piling on of everything willy-nilly. This is instant relief and you notice a difference overnight. Standalone post coming up, I’m sure.
La Roche-Posay have launched a really lovely facial sunscreen. They are champions when it comes to good sunscreens but this one is a departure from the light and milky Anthelios: the Hyalu B5 Aquagel SPF30 is part of the intensely hydrating Hyalu range and it really, really leaves skin properly quenched. Or drenched. Whatever the term would be. It’s unbelievably lightweight, fresh in feel and I can imagine it’ll be a huge hit, especially for those with oily/combination skin who want a light touch but still require a load of moisture. Find it here at Boots*.
Last mention before you watch the end of the video (I know you’ll skip to it, it’s fine): Table Manners by Jessie and Lennie Ware. It’s such a good recipe book – I’ve cooked two things already and have a dozen or so more bookmarked. The photos are a delight, I love the little anecdotes on every page and you can really tell that the two of them (mother and daughter) love to cook and love to eat. Find it online here*.
My skincare routine for what shall forevermore be known as The Winter of Discontent. Obviously, in true Crilly style, I am posting this just as we pip over into springtime, but as I’ve said before, this is more of a journal post recording my skincare routine rather than anything that’s responding to seasonal changes or trends. I like to look back on them. And, in the future, when everyone is Googling stuff from their Google glasses as they lounge about on floating hoverboards in their Martian villas, they will be able to access these posts and use them as historical documents.
“Look what shit they were chatting back in 2021, Brian! Arguing about scotch eggs and the EU when all that time the planet was about to implode! Ha ha ha!”
This skincare routine could really be subtitled The Retinol/Moisturiser See-Saw. I’ve been working my way up to some stronger retinoids (I really want to try the Crystal Retinal 10 and 20 from Medik8!) but every time I get too overly confident my skin revolts and starts going all itchy and tight on me. And yes I know there’s often a period of discomfort before you get to all the good stuff, like a smooth and shiny-glowy face that can be seen from the moon, I just can’t be doing with it. I’m the sort of person who feels cross all day if a gusset is too seamy, so having an itchy face is just not tenable.
What I do, therefore, is absolutely lard my face in between retinoid applications. (Hence the retinol moisturiser see-saw.) I find the strongest, most emollient balms and creams I can and slather them on and massage them in as though I’m one of those outrageously expensive turkeys you can get from the farm shop. I massage and pummel and when it has all soaked in I massage over another layer.
And “layer” is another key word this season; I’m usually one for keeping things very simple, with a cleanse, a serum and a moisturiser (the retinoid or whatever active I’m using would slot into one of those categories, whether it was an antioxidant serum in the morning or an all-in-one retinol+whatever moisturiser at night); this winter I’ve been adding in the odd extra coating of something just to try and banish the tight feeling.
One very good discovery (and I’m not usually one for mists or spritzes, unless it’s Emma Hardie’s one* or the LRP Toleriane 8 here*) is the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator (here*) which is brilliant for boosting the effects of whatever is piled on over the top.
Then it’s a serum (antioxidant in the morning, something hydrating at night, unless it’s a retinol night in which case straight on with that after cleansing) and a moisturiser to seal it all in. I’ve even been known to add a drop or two of oil into my moisturiser, though I forgot to mention that in the video!
The easiest way for me to show you the current skincare routine is to put it below in a list form. So here it is – beneath that you have a video with full explanation and whole joyous minutes of waffle.
I use a quick micellar water sweep-over! Naughty but all I can be arsed with – currently using this*: https://bit.ly/2MkViiy
Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum*: https://bit.ly/2MgaIos
SkinGredients Skin Protein: https://skingredients.co.uk/products/skin-protein-vitamin-a-serum
Arden Great 8 (discontinued?!): https://www.amodelrecommends.com/the-fresh-summer-sunscreen-that-feels-barely-there/
Some other favourite sunscreens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4pzGoALxlU&t=161s
Dermalogica Active Clay Cleanser*: https://bit.ly/3r0uQcS
Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser*: https://bit.ly/2ZM9UKV
BeautyPie Cleansing Balm*: https://bit.ly/2NXoRY5
Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator*: https://bit.ly/2ZOqZnI
Emma Hardie Pump and Glow Spritz*: https://bit.ly/3qV225G
LRP Toleriane 8 Spray*: https://bit.ly/3aPTNT6
Murad Retinol Eye Cream*: https://bit.ly/2ZLWlLt
Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream*: https://bit.ly/2ZYeCak
Kiehl’s Powerful Line Reducing Eye Serum*: https://bit.ly/3gwo9dg
Retinol (once every two or three days)
Murad Night Cream*: https://bit.ly/3khXnZj
Kate Somerville Retinol VitaC Serum*: https://bit.ly/3klOluf
Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3 and 6*: https://bit.ly/2ZK5btl
Rich Night Moisturiser
Weleda Skin Food Light*: https://bit.ly/3aQ0lRG
Lumene Night Balm here
REN Evercalm Overnight Balm*: https://bit.ly/2ZKgOQL
Darphin 8 Flower Necar Oil-Cream*: https://bit.ly/3klfYU9
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!
I still have a few posts to catch up on from the end of last year – drafted but not quite finished – but this one on blemish busters is, I feel, very relevant. Mask-induced spots, or “maskne” as the marketing world coined it, seems to be an ongoing issue for some people, especially those who have to wear proper protective face gear for long periods of time.
I can’t imagine it’s the sort of widespread problem that some brands would like us to think it is – “OH MY GOD MASKNE IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD, BEWARE MASKNE!” – but I suppose that facial skin that is kept covered, possibly slightly hot and sweaty, for any lengthy part of the day is likely to rise up and revolt in the end. Even for those who just occasionally need to don a cloth mask, there’s a feeling of clammy clogginess to the mouth, nose and chin area once the fabric comes off. This might not result in breakouts – there might equally be some dryness or flakiness or, indeed, no apparent change at all – but if you do feel clammy and cloggy then the below may help.
So, three best beauty buys for helping with breakouts, all at different price-points. I actually have a few more bits and pieces to add to this post since I first drafted it (and filmed the accompanying video) last Autumn; you can see those at the bottom of the post. In general, salicylic acid is a good ingredient to look out for if you feel as though you need a good cleaning-out of the pores, just go steady if you find that your skin is on the dry side and follow up with a decent moisturiser. If you’re scared of adding oil to the problem then I really rate the oil-free Toleriane Fluid (here*), it has been a staple in my beauty line-up for many years.
Right, here are the first three of my best buys:
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, from £10 online here*: I’ve done a more in-depth review of this here but in a nutshell, this is a wipe-on-and-leave exfoliant that is brilliant at keeping pores clear without feeling harsh or aggressive. I use it once a day (in the morning, usually) during my PMT week to help curb any breakouts and I never feel that it dries my skin, but there are different versions and formats here* if you’re worried and want to check out alternatives from the same range.
The Ordinary Salicylic 2% Masque, £9 here* (stock coming shortly, it’s always selling out!): this is a brilliant deep-treatment mask that works quickly and effectively to cleanse and purify but isn’t eye-wateringly tingly. You know the masks that make you feel as though your face is on fire? It’s not one of those. You may feel a bit of a warm tickle but it’s nothing like some of those power-player “active” clay masks I’ve tested over the last few years. You need a fan pointed at your face to get through the whole ten minutes!
Not with this one, no fan/cold compress required. I use it as an occasional PMT-week treat when things seem to be getting a bit angsty (salicylic can be quite soothing, despite its spot-busting status) but you could use it once or twice a week if you are oily or spot-prone.
Here’s one for more a more targeted, on-the-spot solution: Kate Somerville EradiKate, £52 online here*. I’ve tried a lot of spot treatments but this works for me quickly and without any major side effects – no flaking or peeling where I’ve been applying and reapplying. Probably because this has actually been formulated as an all-over lotion and not a targeted treatment, so it’s far more forgiving, but it’s so pokey that I can’t bring myself to use it all over!
At any rate, I tend to get very localised breakouts and not very often so it would be utter madness to cover my whole face in this. Anyway, it’s salicylic plus retinol in a lightweight cream – if you’ve previously tried the proper Kate Somerville EradiKate, with the pink lotion you dip into, this is nothing like that.
If you do want something for all over the face but not so spendy then I still think that the Effaclar Duo+ from La Roche-Posay is excellent (it’s here* online, £17) and they’ve recently introduced a new serum (here*) that promises a more concentrated formula combining salicylic with LHA and glycolic acid. I haven’t had the opportunity to test this out properly yet so please let me know in the comments if you have tried it and what you thought!
I’m going to also add the Active Clay Cleanser from Dermalogica (£35 here*) onto my blemish-busting list because it’s a low-key version of the Salicylic Masque mentioned above. I used this every day for about a month and my skin didn’t ever feel tight or dried out, just really very clean. I’d leave it on for a minute or two, because it just felt as though I should, and it’s now most definitely a cleanser I like to have lined up along the side of my bath for my nightly ablutions.
There’s a video to go alongside this post, it’s in the IGTV section of my Instagram page and you can reach it via this link. Enjoy!
I think that this may be my most pared-back What’s In My Makeup Bag video ever: really just the very bare minimum, with the few products I did use tested to the absolute nth degree. I filmed it quite a few weeks ago now and I still hadn’t really unpacked (catch up on house news here) and so I had been using the same makeup bits over and over again. I can’t actually believe that any of them are still going, but there’s loads left in my Chanel foundation and I barely made a dent in the Trinny cream shadows!
Anyway, this is one to watch rather than read about so that you can see the products in action. I’ve done a full review on both the Chanel Les Beiges foundation (here) and Trinny London’s cream shadows (here) if you fancy a more in-depth read on those. The Victoria Beckham lipstick is a new discovery in just the right shade of bright peachy-neutral for me and I’ll be back with a post on that when I’ve done a bit more playing around. The texture is superb!
Chanel Les Beiges Foundation in B30*: https://bit.ly/3i9DjqN
L’Oreal Back to Bronze, shade 2*: https://amzn.to/3p9Q9bk
Beauty Pie One Powder Wonder*: https://bit.ly/397PuBC
Jillian Dempsey Cream Blush in Bloom: http://www.jilliandempsey.com/shop/cheek-tints
Trinny Cream Shadows in Virtue and Fortune*: https://bit.ly/2XO41we
Chanel Mascara in Ecorces*: https://bit.ly/2KDfGdU
Victoria Beckham Lipstick in Pout: https://www.victoriabeckhambeauty.com/products/posh-lipstick
Vieve Lipliner in Brat*: https://bit.ly/3pObxn2
Gimme Brow Shade 2*: https://bit.ly/355fXxQ
This isn’t my first time at the rodeo when it comes to writing about Murad’s brilliant Retinol Youth Renewal range. I covered the relaunch at around this time last year (you can read that post here if you fancy) and it’s one of the ranges I refer to by default when people ask me for retinol recommendations. The main reason being that it’s powerful stuff, offering up proper, visible results, yet it seems to be tolerated by all but the most sensitive skin.
I mean you still have to go slow and steady with the range – it tingles, it goes straight to work, it’s not messing around – but if you’re sensible and don’t try to go from Total Retinol Virgin to Nightly Retinol Fiend in the space of a fortnight you’ll be A-OK. My preference, if I haven’t used retinol products for a while, is to start off with every four nights for a couple of weeks, move to every three nights for another couple and then stick to every other night for the duration of however long I manage to keep it up for. (I tend to back off a little during the warmer months.) This tends to keep any dryness or itchiness at bay – if I go straight in with all beauty guns a-blazing then you can guarantee that my face will be falling off by week two!
I digress. I’m supposed to be talking about Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum here and the fact that it’s a total game-changer when it comes to using retinol around the eyes. If the rest of the range (a face serum, a sumptuous, buttery night cream) has been sensitively formulated then this eye serum takes things one step further. Not only can it be taken all around the eyes, including the lids, it includes non-greasy moisturisers to provide lightweight hydration for up to twenty-four hours. I love the fact that it’s safe to be used on the lids – every year my eyelids are more and more wrinkly and it would be nice to nip that in the bud for a while, before they start to resemble little testicles.
My eyes are notorious when it comes to overreacting to strong ingredients yet they have no problem with the Murad eye serum even when used nightly. Now you might not be an eye cream sort of person, preferring to use your usual face cream or treatment all over instead. What I will say about strong retinol products is that I find they are sometimes a bit…enthusiastic…to take up to the eye area. Many a time have I woken up to see my little red “burn” patch has reappeared beneath my right eye – a relic from my modelling years when someone changed my eye makeup fourteen times in eight hours and basically took the top eight thousand layers of skin off – and so I try to be careful and relatively discerning when it comes to treating the eye area.
And so, in conclusion, if you are looking to invest in a results-driven eye treatment that has been specifically formulated for the eye area then Youth Renewal Eye Serum is a fine place to start. It is an investment – the eye serum is £72, night cream is £70 – but the firming and plumping benefits are noticeable.
Murad use a three-pronged approach to delivering the retinol, with an “instant”, fast-acting retinoid, a slower release retinol and an ingredient to sort of “prep” the skin for the retinol so it’s a pretty sophisticated formula with a gentle, non-aggressive touch. Powerful enough for tackling the established lines and wrinkles and loss of firmness but also great for preventative measures too.
You can find the whole Youth Renewal range online here – if you use the code RUTH25 then you get 25% off*!
*excludes winter sale items, kits and new product launches.
The post Murad Retinol Youth Renewal: The Game-Changing Eye Serum appeared first on A Model Recommends.