I don't normally go around telling people how much I love beauty products, but in the rare occasion that I might, what I really mean is that I love good skincare, because I believe that you should look after yourself, not to look great, but to be as healthy as possible. After all, isn't skin our largest organ? Why should it be vain to want to take good care of it?
Overall, I normally prefer natural skincare. During my time as a cosmetics buyer I learned a lot about ingredients and about the goodness of essential oils and natural ingredients. I feel that their strong fragrances are part of what makes it enjoyable for me to use them, and the knowledge that they are doing me good. I am by no means an all natural preacher, and there are more conventional products that I have used and loved, which are staples of my bathroom drawers. Below are five of my absolute favourites, in no particular order.
1. Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream
This balm is often described as a miracle product and a multi-tasker, and it is no lie. After seeing it recommended by absolutely everyone over the years in magazines and blogs, I finally bought a little set on a flight some years ago. I have never looked back. The original 8 Hour Cream can be used in so many ways. I once burned my hand badly with a curling iron while I was away on a break and didn't have anything else at hand, so I slathered it on and I didn't even get a blister. You can use it on very dry patches, on the top of your cheekbones as a very natural highlighter, as lip balm.... Talking of which, I always carry a tin of the lipbalm with me wherever I go. It really is the best lip balm I have ever used in my life and if I didn't use any others for the rest of it I would be quite ok with it.
2. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
This is, hands down, the best serum I have ever come across, and another cult product that lives up to its reputation. Your skin will repair itself at night and by using this you are just giving it that extra push. I started using it at night and finding my skin felt like a baby's in the morning. After a while I continued to use it in the morning too. I know it is expensive, but if you are savvy and buy it at duty frees or find a good offer online, it doesn't have to hurt your pocket that much. And if you are going to splurge on something, it may as well be something that makes such a difference to your skin.
3. REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask
You will have heard a million times that exfoliating is crucial to have good skin, but you may not like facial scrubs. I hate them. I don't think anything that scratches your face as harshly as some of them do can do you any good, so I always prefer a cream exfoliant. REN's Glycolactic acid mask is packed full of fruit enzimes that eat away your dead skin without you having to scratch it or damage it. The consistency is a little bit odd and sticky, but it leaves your skin visibly smoother and brighter. It is perfect for the winter months when our skin is a bit duller.
REN is in fact one of my favourite brands. I love natural skincare, but sometimes the products by cheaper brands can feel a bit basic. REN feels luxurious and what you pay for is really good quality ingrendients, which is ultimately the key to products working.
4. Dr Hauschka Revitalising Mask
I actually haven't used this mask for a good couple of years, but I still think it is wonderful. A few years ago I went through a patch of awful skin. I was really struggling with terrible painful breakouts, and it was then that I discovered this mask. Overall it is a great mask for dehydrated skin, but the chamomile extract made my skin calm down to such extent that I started using it as a spot treatment. What was so great was that it didn't dry the spots at all, it just soothed the skin and it didn't look so angry, calming down the redness and ultimately making the spots disappear.
5. Soap & Glory Ultimelt Cleanser
This is probably one of my most recent finds, but I have still been using it on and off for 2 years. In recent months I have waved goodbye to my gel and foaming cleansers in favour of a cream cleanser, which really suits all skin types. I have tried cleansing balms and I do love them, but for me a cream cleanser does the same job and I can use it morning and night, not having to have a gel for the morning and a balm for the evening.
Soap & Glory's is packed full of essential oils, lavender being the most prominent when it comes down to scent. I think it delivers very similar results to LIz Earle's Cleanse & Polish, for a fraction of the price, so I plan to stick to it for a very long time.
What are the products you buy time and time again?