*Just a note- I am in no way sponsored by, or affiliated with, any of the brands mentioned in this post. This is just a genuine goss about the products that I swear by!*
When I started working at Holland & Barrett, I developed an interest in natural beauty. This led to an adventure consisting of much experimentation and progressively cutting out, where possible, products which contain SLS or artificial components that are harmful/generally unnecessary. It’s been a year since my employment for the franchise ended but the knowledge and ethical awareness, as to how products are sourced and marketed, has stayed with me.
In terms of my beauty buys, I’m pretty simple in that I don’t constantly rotate/increase the products I use- generally, I find what works and stick to exactly that until something changes (e.g. winter drops and decides to suck all moisture out of my skin). I’m a fan of practical make-up on a daily basis and genuinely love my morning routine of applying my face-shield whilst watching Mad Men or House. I couldn’t have comprehended this as a kid, well, even just a few years ago (when I was still completely disinterested in the notion of dressing up or putting make-up on). Yet over the last couple of years, investing in make-up and trying out new styles has become a pastime for me. Not only that, but the time devoted to myself in taking care of my skin and applying make-up (shoddily, but we can’t all be experts) has become an imperative part of my self-care regime, as well as a massive confidence booster. So, that is how a bookworm/tomboy has found herself deviating from her standard writing topics and delving into chit-chat about cosmetics instead.
I’m a massive fan of affordable, vegan and premium quality products! Its easier than its ever been before, to make the transition over to natural/vegan beauty. There’s widespread accessibility across the UK, as there are now numerous competitive brands available across commercial drug-stores and big chains. Big names such as Fenty Beauty, Lime Crime, Jeffree Star and e.l.f have made an active effort to present themselves as inclusive brands by appealing to a wider, diversified audience. This is indicative of a massive commercial change: the fashion and beauty industries have begun to listen to the growing demographic of environmentally-friendly and vegan consumers, taking a more ethical approach to their products. It’s nice to be able to peruse in a beauty store, knowing that you have options (just the same as anyone else)!
These are my hero products a.k.a the staples of my daily routine:
Salt of the Earth deodorant / Dr Organics collection
I am a sweaty Betty and always have been, assumedly because my dad sweats profusely and somebody had to inherit the bad gene. I’ve tried numerous brands, roll-ons, sprays, antiperspirants and otherwise (for fear of blocking pores) yet essentially, apart from the possibility of Botox (at some point in the future), there’s no way to stop sweating altogether.
I was cynical when I first tried Salt of the Earth primarily because of its texture (basically saltwater) and the fact it was odourless, unlike every other deodorant I’d tried before it. However, I was swayed by the claims that the deodorant provided these perks (conveniently copied from the product’s website):
- Long Lasting Protection
- No White Marks
- Vegetarian and Vegan Society Approved
- Not Tested on Animals
- Contains Organic Skin Soothing Aloe Vera
I gave it a go and was surprised to find that I generally noticed less moisture/sweat patches and minimised odour! The really convenient aspect of this brand is their extensive range online, featuring massive refill bottles that last for ages. Sustainability is clearly a major aspect of Salt of the Earth’s ethos and I’m down for that, 100%. Its saved me substantial money (using the refill bottle) and I’m still working off the dregs of the bottle that I purchased last August. I’ve recently ordered another product from this brand, one which incorporates natural scents (lavendar being one of the dominant ingredients), just to see whether the brand is consistent with scents too.
I recently tried the Dr Organics deodorant as an alternative to Salt of the Earth, mainly out of curiosity (plus, they were on offer at the time). The packaging is much smaller and you get far less for your money, I would also say that the formula is less reliable and far more sticky (the residue takes quite a while to dry so it’s best to account for this time when getting ready on a morning).
Generally, I would say that my skin quality changes with the seasons and that I can fluctuate between severe dryness and quite oily skin. I don’t rotate products heavily, nor do I suffocate my face with heavy formula products, so to that extent, I would consider my skin relatively healthy. I moisturise my face, without fail, twice-a-day and EVERY DAY. It is so ingrained in my routine that I genuinely apply by second nature- I may not have a 20-step skin regime but I’m perfectly content with the few products I have, as they seem to be working wonders.
One thing that majorly surprised me at H&B was the revelation that so many commercial facial products include the ingredient alcohol. It’s usually a few lines down the ingredients list and shouldn’t really be there at all due its properties as a drying substance, which often exacerbates issues such as acne and spot-prone skin instead of alleviating it.
At one point, I used a very greasy cold cream (my mum swears by it) and then I progressed into buying my own creams, venturing into the B. range from Superdrug, Body Shop Vitamin E cream and Nivea. However, my time at H&B also introduced me to Dr Organics and I haven’t looked back, since. I’ve used various moisturisers from this range and have found that there’s little to no discrepancies across the board. I have recommended it to basically everyone as a slightly pricier (by my standards, anyway) skin essential. With anti-inflammatory core ingredients, no alcohol or SLS and also the guarantee of natural ingredients, I feel that Dr Organics should be a go-to for anybody who is looking for a natural alternative to pore-blocking creams. My personal favourites are Vitamin E, Cocoa Butter, Rose Otto and Dead Sea Minerals. I use this every time I wash my face (every morning and evening) and tend to also mix with a few droplets of Kiehls SPF 50.
This product is ideal for my skin condition ( Pityriasis Alba ), which is basically when patches of my face lose pigmentation as a result of harmful sun rays. I was advised by my GP that the main way to address this condition was with SPF 50 creams administered daily, as the rays are particularly harmful in the UK (even when it seems as though there is no sunlight). Being clueless, as I was at the time, I initially purchased this Kiehls product on the recommendation of my cousin Ruby. The formula is lightweight and not very tacky, additionally it’s slightly pigmented (it contains a BB tint) but I have found, on occasion that I have streaky marks (common with SPF products). You don’t need much because small amounts go a long way, however the coverage is substantial and buildable if you’re that way inclined.
I would like to try more of Kiehls’ products in the future as I’ve read amazing reviews about their restoring overnight oil. It’s definitely on the wish-list.
Revolution CBD oil / Dr Organics Vitamin E oil
On a night, I love applying a face oil. Natural oils are nourishing concoctions for the skin and usually very rich, contributing to benefits such as anti-inflammation and anti-ageing. I like to use these at night because I can give the oil a chance to truly absorb into my skin. Additionally, I’m not sure how wearable oils would be as a base underneath make-up so I tend to avoid applying during the day, or else my face would probably slip clean off…
The daily commute to work, including long periods of waiting at train platforms in the cold, has really affected the condition of my skin. I’ve started to accumulate those winter dry spots on sensitive areas like my nose and my temples. With that in mind, I decided to try a new oil. Despite the fact that pure vitamin E oil has been my stable go-to over the last few years, and pretty damned effective at that, I saw adverts for CBD oil on Superdrug and decided on a spontaneous change.
The Revolution CBD oil is pretty much odourless and colourless, with a few droplets easily covering face and decolletage. I have been using this for about three weeks consistently and have found that despite a slightly tacky residue on my hands, the oil absorbs really nicely into my skin and has managed to tamper with the angry red surfaces of hormonal spots, reducing them overnight. My skin is often smooth and radiant in the mornings with no trace of greasiness to be seen but I always do a simple face wash (just cold water!) to bring my face to life before moisturising and applying make-up.
I use this for whole body application following every shower and bath. I exfoliate every single time I have a wash and religiously moisturise, as I have been encouraged to do so since I was a kid. My grandma used olive oil on us babies from the moment we sprung out of the womb and made sure to instil us with this built-in as an essential part of our routines. Her skin glowed till the end, so I don’t dispute her methods and have only ever (to my memory) missed two occasions with no moisturiser (which I overcompensated for as soon as I had access again).
B. Cosmetics (exclusively available at Superdrug)
I’m pretty new to the whole make-up world: I didn’t own a foundation, brow product or concealer until 2018-2019 and literally have just started to experiment with looks way out of my confidence bubble. It’s been a fun affair (though on occasion, it reaaaally doesn’t work out). Being a novice, it doesn’t make sense to purchase ridiculously priced products. I’m not worthy of them! My favourites from the B range include:
- B. Pro Contour Kit Medium/Dark 9g
- B. Cassie Lomas Glitter Pigment #ItsThem
- B. Cassie Lomas Glitter Pigment Olive La Vida Loca
Another stunning range is by the ever amazing e.l.f make-up who have basically stolen my heart over the last 6 months. These are some of my favourites:
- e.l.f. Intense Ink Liquid Eyeliner Blackest Black
- e.l.f. Makeup Fixing Mist & Setting Spray
- e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer with Tea Tree
- e.l.f. Volumizing Defining Mascara Jet Black
I’ve never really done a post like this before but I thought it could provide an interesting forum for discussions about natural beauty. Have you tried any of these products before? If so, what did you think of them and are there any other similar items you could suggest? I’m open to recommendations on brands that I may not have come across before, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Thanks for reading! 🙂