Everyone has their own criteria when it comes to buying beauty stuff, and mine is to try and keep things as natural as possible on a reasonable budget. Natural skin and haircare can be expensive, but there are a few brands out there offering some great products featuring organic ingredients at a price that won’t make your heart sink every time you have to re-buy them. These are a few favourites that I use on a regular basis (as you may be able to tell from the not-so-perfect packaging). The only exception to the natural rule is the Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect eye cream which I got in a Christmas gift set.
The Neal’s Yard hair treatment is the best I’ve ever used. Seriously, buy it. Now. Aside from smelling lovely, it’s really intensive and so is ideal for those who have abused their hair with too much heat styling or dyeing (haven’t we all?). At first look it seems strange as it has a waxy consistency, but it melts into an oil when you rub it between your palms so it’s easy to apply (watch out in the summer, though, as it’ll turn into oily liquid in the heat and can be messy). You can leave it in for half an hour, or overnight for deep conditioning, then shampoo thoroughly and rinse with warm water to wash it out. The best bit for me is the price – it’s only £6.50 a pot and a little goes a long way.
For shampoo and conditioner, I always head to Holland & Barrett to pick up something from the Dr. Organic range. I mix and match depending on which one I fancy trying next – at the moment I’m using the cleansing Royal Jelly shampoo with the restoring Moroccan Argan Oil conditioner. Again, these are reasonably priced at just £5.99 a bottle and there’s often a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer on. I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in the condition of my hair since using them.
The Good Things skincare range was developed by beauty writer Alice Hart-Davis. It’s mainly designed for young skin, but I think any age group would benefit from using it as its products contain superfruits and other natural ingredients and are free from animal ingredients, parabens, mineral oils and sodium laureth sulphate.
I try to use the five-minute facial mask at least once a week and can really tell the difference when I do – my skin feels smoother and looks brighter. As you might guess from the name, you only need to leave it on for five minutes, but I sometimes leave it a little longer if my skin is in real need of a boost. The price is a rather purse-pleasing £5.99 too.
A departure from my usual natural-only skincare rule, the Protect & Perfect eye cream is probably not something I would have picked off the shelves myself, but I must admit to being intrigued to try something from this range for a while as it’s had so many good reviews.
It supposedly smooths deep lines and wrinkles and sorts out under-eye bags, but I’m lucky enough not to have any of the first two (as yet – I’ve got lots of grey hairs, though, but that’s another story) so it’s hard to tell whether it’s really working. I do, however, have dark circles from too many late nights in front of Netflix and I can’t say it’s made much difference to them so far.
On the plus side, it feels really rich yet is light enough to suit the delicate eye area and I’ve noticed an improvement in the overall feel of the skin there. At £16, it’s pricier than the other products on my list, but I think it’s worth investing in a good eye cream. The jury’s still out on whether I’d buy it again, though – I think I might go for one from the Boots Botanics collection next.
The Burt’s Bees lip balms are the only ones I’d ever use. They’re 100-per-cent natural and leave lips feeling ultra soft for a long time unlike many other lip balms I’ve tried – I find some seem to make my lips feel drier once the balm has worn off, so you have to keep reapplying every five minutes, but that’s not the case with Burt’s Bees. Cost-wise, £3.69 is a small price to pay for a product that works so well in my opinion.