I’ve recently been having a bit of a purge – of beauty products. They’ve been accumulating for years, steadily building up as I tried more and more stuff, received (very generously) more and more gifts. If you’re a teenage girl, cosmetics tend to be the go-to birthday present, so it’s not surprising I ended up with drawers full of the stuff.
I realised it was getting a bit out of hand, though, when I realised I could go for months without opening some of those drawers. Half the time, I’d forget what was even in there. Fizzy foot sprays, glittery eyeliner, flavoured lip gloss: all hangovers from my formative years. There was no way I was ever going to get through it, so I didn’t. By various means, I whittled it down (mostly) to the useful stuff. However, I was left with a question: if I’m not using any of this stuff, what am I going to use to spruce myself up?
That’s how I came across these gems. These are products that do what they say. They do more than what they say, in some cases. They are multi-tasking beauty products, but not in that I’m-trying-and-failing-to-do-a-million-things-at-once kind of way. Just a genuinely-brilliant-and-you-need-them kind of way.
Note: all the products I feature on this blog are cruelty-free, and where possible, good to the environment. Because – who needs that BS anyway?
Cheek and Lip Stain
The dewy, healthy look is already quite low-maintenance, and the abundance of different lip-and-cheek products out there makes it even easier. A favourite from the cruelty-free world is Becca’s Beach Tint, a cream that blends into a natural looking tint. If you’re really strapped for cash, makeup artist Lisa Eldridge sometimes uses well-blended satin lipstick on the cheeks in her YouTube videos – that’s versatility.
There are plenty of these on the market, but my favourite multi-tasking balm is from Neal’s Yard Remedies in London, UK. Their Busy Bee Balm is 99% organic, compact, and you can use it for a multitude of things. It moisturises lips, tames flyaway hair, softens cuticles, soothes dry and chapped skin, and it smells nice. It’s like natural Vaseline, only orangey. And, because it’s part of their ‘Bee Lovely’ range, a bit of the money you pay is donated to projects that helps save bees from dying (which, despite sounding like a cute thing, is actually a pretty serious issue). Similar products I’m also a fan of include NYR’s award-winning (but expensive) Wild Rose Beauty Balm, and Burt’s Bees Hand Salve.
Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser
Pixi’s Glow range, especially its Glow Tonic, has rapidly become a sell-out in the UK. Having not tried Pixi products before, I got a sample of their Mud Cleanser to see whether the hype was warranted. I am now a convert. What makes the Glow range so good is that its products contains a small percentage of glycolic acid, a gentle AHA exfoliant that dissolves dead skin without rubbing or scratching. The word ‘acid’ can make it sound a bit scary, but actually it’s much better for people with dry, sensitive or red skin than face scrubs. While not designed to be a multi-purpose product, it cleanses and exfoliates in one go, reducing the need for multiple products.
Flower waters, or hydrosols, are like meadows in a bottle. Almost literally. They’re made by distilling the petals of gorgeous-smelling plants, like roses, orange blossom and lavender. They’re usually pretty cheap, and they can be used for a whole bunch of things: perfume, linen spray, facial toners, moisurisers, the list goes on. If making stuff yourself isn’t your thing, there are plenty of cult beauty favourites that are based on the magic that is the hydrosol; Thayer’s Rose Petal Toner contains (you guessed it) rose water, along with distilled witch hazel, aloe vera and humectants, which attract moisture to the skin without making it oily. It’s loved and revered by many a /r/skincareaddiction member, and I can see why – I’ve even found it’s helpful for a dry scalp thanks to being non-greasy. Decant into a little spray bottle you have a transportable perfume/moisture top-up.
As a person who can be prone to eczema, oils have become my best friend. I take them as supplements, and I use them on my skin at every opportunity – in the shower, in the bath, in hand creams, dry oil sprays, body lotions, hair treatments, face cleanser (and if I’m lucky, massages). Jojoba and almond are my favourites, but there are lots to choose from. Forget all the foamy, expensive stuff – you’ve probably got all you need to moisturise your skin in your kitchen cupboard. The Romans used straight olive oil on their skin, after all, and they really knew how to bathe. If that feels a bit basic though, there are great companies like Lola’s Apothecary that take it up a notch with beautiful fragrances.
The NARS Multiple
Like lip-and-cheek products only even more multi-talented, the NARS Multiple is beloved by many. I must admit, I do not own a NARS Multiple myself – I’ve tried them out, but in all honesty I find the sheer range of colours, finishes and ways you can use them a bit intimidating. But that’s why people, especially makeup artists, tend to rave about them. They can be used wet or dry to highlight, contour, and add colour for a multitude of looks and skin tones. It’s basically grown-up face paint.
Are there any products you would add to this list? If so, let me know in the comments!