I am constantly being asked for skincare and beauty recommendations. With hundreds of products on the market, the following are permanent fixtures on my bathroom shelves and in my home.
In the ideal world I would only slather purely natural products on my skin, but over many years of interviews with leading experts and trying numerous products, I have learnt that as I grow older some active ingredients are essential to help keep those lines and that aged, sunken look at bay. I have also learnt that while most products promise to deliver exceptional results, very few actually do and most others leave much to be desired. Price is a big factor, too. Do we really need to spend hundreds on our skin? My answer is a categorical NO. My picks include:
Alexandra Soveral is the go-to facialist for top beauty writers the world over and her multi-award winning oils are simply divine. As well as passing all the eco credentials, they are super nourishing and smell glorious too.
My favourites from the range include: Forever Young and Midnight Oils and the Super Hero rejuvenating and plumping potion which delivers just what it says on the pot! When in London, her signature facial (although not cheap) is a real treat for tired lack lustre skin and to me worth every penny.
I've been using this gorgeous essential-oil based range for many years, actually since I first met with the dynamic founder Geraldine Howard who has since passed away sadly. The products feel wonderful on my skin and I adore the smells - but most importantly I trust the brand and to me after 15 years or so using them, that counts for a lot.
So many to choose from so, put this way, the Rose Exfoliating Cleanser and one of the gloriously nourishing body oils are a constant feature in my bathroom.
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare is fab! And no - I'm not getting commission for writing this either! Dr. Gross is a New York City-based dermatologist who created the range based on his patients number one skin concern - tired, lacklustre skin.
I love them all - well almost - but the Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peels (packed with powerful rejuvenating acids) and the C+Collagen brightening serum (crammed with serious skin actives) top my list as they keep my middle years skin balanced, smooth and dare I say it - glowing.
The entire Kahina range is beautiful, but the Pure Argan Oil and Prickly Pear Seed oil are my go-to facial oils, especially when my skin needs a little more love and nourishment. I ADORE them.
This hip Irish-based brand is really making its name through the skincare world. Every good reason too as the products really do deliver, especially the Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum (with added Vitamin E) that soaks into the skin super quickly with no sticky residue. The Superstar Night Oil is another star from the range.
Tatcha was founded by Vicky Tsai, a Japanese American long-fascinated by the ways of the geisha. After discovering Miyakofuzokukewaiden (roughly translated as Capital Beauty & Style handbook), Vicky set about recreating the timeless beauty secrets for modern day women. She focused on a trio of antioxidant champions: ryokucha (green tea), Okinawa kaiso (red algae), and komenuka (rice bran) – and of course the enduring geisha favourite – Camellia oil. Japanese women know a thing or two about beauty and modern-day geisha are renowned for using Camellia oil to hydrate and protect their skin, hair, and even their fingernails.
All the Tatcha products are fabulous, but my go-to for lasting hydration and nourishment is the Deep Hydration Lifting Mask.
This eco-luxury, natural brand is the brain child of UK-based Sunita Passi, an Ayurvedic expert, journalist, healer and more. Fusing the best of indigenous Indian plant-derived ingredients with cutting edge scientific know how and a beautiful aroma (which is not a given with many Ayurvedic products) Tri Dosha feels great on my skin (most especially the face and body oils and face mask) as it sucks up every drop of nourishment and leaves my skin brighter and better. And most importantly, I trust Sunita and truly believe in her deep knowledge of Ayurveda and her commitment to the range and indeed the wider world.
I could go on and on about Maggie Mangan's alluring atelier in the heart of Galway city, but suffice to say that (in my humble opinion, anyway) Maggie's candles really are the best. Crafted the-old fashioned way just outside the city, they burn evenly and for hours (at least 60) and, most importantly, they smell divine.
I adore Modern Botany - its new, Irish, natural (genuinely!) organic and gorgeous. A real multipurpose treat that's perfect for moisturising and cleansing and also works wonders on dry cuticles and scars - think Flax Seed Oil (hugely nourishing) Calendula (anti-inflammatory), Arnica (damaged skin and bruising) and the ultra soothing Chamomile.
Bespoke comes to mind when describing London-based Rachel Vosper. From hand-crafted candles (at the back of the shop) to candle making courses, candle refills in your favourite pot (with plenty of laughs along the way) the attention to detail is quite unique - as is the finished product - pure quality from wax to wick.
There are plenty of roll-on oil blends around but in my opinion none come close to the colourful Tazeka range. They look great, smell heavenly and, most importantly, really do work.
The brain-child of clinical aromatherapist and guru-of-all-things-essential oil-based Zena Hallam, Tazeka ticks all the right boxes for the body, mind and the environment. I love them all but Non-Stop Thoughts and Concentrate are my (current) favourites.