I must admit this is rather an expensive skincare routine when you add it all up, so I’ve called it luxe with good reason. I’ve accumulated these products over time and most were bought when there were discount offers running or came as part of box subscriptions or gifts with purchase. Some products have also gone up in price significantly since I bought them (e.g. May Lindstrom).
As mentioned in my previous post, over time choosing good quality natural skincare products has become more of a priority for me and something I’m willing to spend more money on (within reason!). I share these products as I enjoy using them and find they agree with my skin, and perhaps you will too.
- Twelve Beauty Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream – this cleanser is formulated to be gentle, with plant extracts and squalene to support the skin barrier. It’s not heavily scent but has a slight herby smell (admittedly not my favourite), but I find it really hydrating and it doesn’t leave my combination skin feeling like its shrivelling if I don’t put anything else on my skin straightaway.
- Amly Silver Rich Facial Mist – this mist is made in Sussex from local mineral-rich spring water, essential oils and hyaluronic acid. The scent is primarily orange blossom, and it’s very refreshing as a morning spritz.
- Twelve Beauty Ideal Moisture Level Serum – this serum arrived as part of a Boxwalla beauty box (highly recommended), having crossed the Atlantic and back to get to me. I
- A’kin Rose de Mai Antioxidant Facial Day Creme – this is the product that made me fall in love with the scent of Rose de Mai. It’s lighter and fresher than other types of rose, and the product itself is really hydrating with high levels of ingredients such as panthenol (vitamin B5), glycerin and some hyaluronic acid. The only downside for me is that is contains sodium hydroxymethylglycinate and phenoxyethanol as part of the preservative system, and I’m now wanting to experimenting with avoiding these as some people report they can be irritating to sensitive skin. However before reading about these ingredients I have used this product for a long time and loved it.
- de Mamiel Pure Calm Cleansing Dew – this thoughtful range is formulated by Annee de Mamiel, a London-based acupuncturist and aromatherapist with a somewhat legendary reputation in some circles. This is a light oil with a beautifully scented and skin-calming essential oil blend. It emulsifies nicely although you do really need to use more pumps than the two stated on the label.
- May Lindstrom The Jasmine Garden – this mist has a strong jasmine scent with a slight vanilla undertone, enriched with colloidal silver for its purported anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory action. It may be a bit overwhelming if you’re very sensitive to scents, but if you love jasmine it’s definitely for you.
- May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon – a very considered purchased, although this 50ml pot is actually quite a bit bigger than the standard for face balms and lasts many months. It is naturally a vibrant blue colour thanks to blue tansy oil, which has skin soothing properties. I have found this beautiful to use, but especially if my skin has been sore, red or inflamed.
What are your favourite skincare products to indulge in?
Over the past ten years I have become increasingly conscious what I put on my sensitive combination skin, and now wince slightly at the memory of my skincare routine at university (full of drying foaming ingredients, alcohol, synthetic fragrances and most likely parabens).
As I got more interested in nutrition and complementary therapies, I read more about some of the ingredients commonly used in skincare. Even now it can still be a bit of a minefield knowing what ingredients may be best to avoid if your skin is prone to irritation, or even for health reasons.
Obviously products for sale in the shops must have been through extensive testing and be widely considered as ‘safe’, but there are grey areas that now exist, with some researchers and groups questioning the use of certain ingredients like paraben preservatives and phthalates found in synthetic fragrances. On the other hand there has been an explosion in the ‘green beauty’ market, with many products promoting themselves as ‘natural’. Yet it can vary how natural these products really are, and for some individuals natural essential oils can be a source of skin irritation.
Whether you’re just starting to dip your toe in the water or have been interested in natural skincare for a while but are still confused, there is a really helpful guide here from the sensitive skin care brand Pai that gives a simple and clear explanation of some key ingredients you may want to look out for on labels.
If you’re going through cancer treatment like me, there is a fantastic article here by Judy Johnson on choosing products at a time when skin can become (even more) sensitive. It seems to me the key thing is to look for gentle, hydrating products that don’t strip the skin. The Johnson article introduced me to the brand Twelve Beauty, which is a small but fantastic range of skin care products formulated by the eminently qualified pharmacist and cosmetologist Pedro Català.
My 5 favourite places to buy natural skincare online are:
- Naturisimo – a really wide range of ‘natural’ brands stocked, although I still read the ingredients list carefully as some include alcohol and glycols. It’s worth signing up to their mailing list as they have discount offers fairly regularly.
- Content – offer a curated collection of brands, and very conscious about ingredients. They also have a lovely bricks-and-mortar in Marylebone if you happen to be visiting London. Great brands include de Mamiel, Idil Botanicals and Twelve Beauty. Again worth subscribing to their mailing list for discounts and free gift offers.
- MyPure – probably the first ‘natural beauty’ website I discovered. Their range isn’t as comprehensive as some other stores, but they have a great ethos and some good deals.
- LoveLula – a good mixture of classics like Trilogy and smaller brands like OOH! They also have a relatively low order threshold of £15 to get free shipping.
- Alyaka – offers some brands that aren’t commonly stocked in the UK, such as Mahalo, In Fiore and Siam Seas. They also offer sample kits for some brands including Mahalo and de Mamiel – you pay about £20-30 pounds for samples of 4-5 products (enough for one use only), then get a voucher for the value of the sample set to use on a full size product above a specified price. Personally I think you have to be pretty sure you want to buy something to make it worth spending the money on the sample set, but if you know you definitely want to buy one of the products from the range it’s a nice way to see what a few different products are like.
How important is it to you to choose ‘natural’ beauty products? What are your favourites?
Today I’m sharing some of my favourite things I’ve been enjoying this month.
- Face Theory organic bamboo face cloths – a few weeks ago my skin became super sensitive, I think in reaction to a new cleanser I tried. I quickly swapped to some really gentle products, but found my usual flannels and muslin cloths were just a bit too much for my skin. I spent a few days splashing off my cleansers with water until finding these bamboo face cloths from Face Theory on Amazon. They are so soft and gentle, my skin is now a lot happier.
- Pea shoots – I love the delicate flavour of pea shoots, even though I’d never seen them until a few years ago. They are lovely as part of a salad, but I’ve also been enjoying them alongside eggs at breakfast. I sometimes find other greens like spinach are a bit much for my digestion in the morning, but these seem easier on my system and a good way to include some more veg at breakfast.
- Madeleine Shaw on YouTube – I’ve been catching up with health coach Madeleine Shaw’s videos on YouTube this month. I find them so relaxing to watch, and I really appreciate how positive she is in her outlook.
- Yogi Rose Tea – my absolute favourite herbal tea at the moment. It has a lovely delicate floral taste from the rose, with some subtle warm spices.
- Decleor Aromessence Neroli Hydrating Night Balm – this is such a beautiful calming face balm, and a little goes a long way. Neroli is just one of the essential oils included in this delicious blend, alongside chamomile and basil. I find it really good when my skin is out of sorts, whether a bit dehydrated or threatening a breakout.
What products are you loving at the moment?
A couple of weeks ago I attended a Look Good, Feel Better workshop held at the hospital where I go for treatment. Look Good, Feel Better is an international cancer support charity that offers free workshops throughout the UK and in countries around the world. They aim to support peoples’ confidence and offer tips and advice on coping with issues such as skin changes, eyebrow and eyelash loss. You also get a bag of free products to use during the workshop and take home, donated by various companies in the beauty industry.
The workshop I went to was run by a fantastic make-up artist called Brian, along with a team of local make-up artists and beauty therapists who volunteered their time to help run the session. It was such a relaxed and positive atmosphere, so if you’re thinking about going to one yourself I would say go for it.
Some of the most useful tips for me were:
- Be generous with skincare products to avoid dragging the skin when it’s sensitive.
- Hydration, hydration, hydration – your skin can get really dehydrated during treatment, so use products that will hydrate the skin. (Beauty journalist Sali Hughes has a great video explaining skin dehydration here. Although personally I prefer to use more ‘natural’ products than some she recommends, I find her tip to look for products containing the hydrating ingredients hyaluronic acid and/or glycerin really useful).
- Avoid using products too near the eyes, especially if you’ve lost your eyelashes (they help keep things out of your eyes!). Eye cream goes on the orbital bone, not right under the eyes – it will naturally move up a bit to where it’s needed once you apply it. Tap in gently using the ring fingers, then press your fingers either side of the nose and gentle swipe outwards to help encourage fluid drainage and reduce puffiness.
- Eyeliner can help define the eyes if you’ve lost your eyelashes, but don’t put eyeliner in the water line during treatment to minimise infection risk.
- Eyebrows – they guide you through drawing them on in the session, using three points on the brow bone. One of the other attendees also mentioned you can get templates from Amazon and Boots to help guide you with shape. I received a Lancome Sourcils Tint eyebrow pen in my goodie bag which has been great as once it sets it doesn’t rub off, but unfortunately it seems they don’t make them any more.
And one more bonus tip: although I’ve not experienced ‘peach fuzz’ on the face due to treatment, Brian advised using a sponge to dab powder on the face rather than a brush to avoid highlighting the hairs. Good to know!
To find out more about Look Good, Feel Better, watch make-up tutorials, and see if there’s a workshop near you check out their website here.