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In-depth, informed beauty reviews and advice from a professional makeup artist & lover of all things natural and organic

  • Writer's pictureShelley Scott


To start off the new year, here's a little round up of the skin care brands I loved in 2017 and would recommend trying if you're looking for something new in 2018. Before introducing them, I'll just say a little about what I look for before I try a new brand...

In an ideal world, all the makeup and skincare I use would be certified organic and perform to the same standards as the products I'm used to using as a makeup artist (one can dream!). Although there have been massive improvements in the green beauty industry over the last few years, this isn't always possible, so if a brand isn't certified organic, then I'm looking for something that's all natural or 'clean'. 'Clean' beauty isn't necessarily about all natural products, although many of them contain a lot of natural ingredients, instead it's more about products that are cruelty-free and free from ingredients that have any research showing them to be potentially harmful like parabens, SLS, SLES, fragrance, synthetic colours etc (the list goes on).

Once I've found a brand that meets those requirements, I check ingredients lists to see if they are proven to be either effective in treating particular skin concerns (depending on the product) or just beneficial to skin in general. Then I try to read reviews from a few different sources and check the usual databases for any ingredients that are unfamiliar to me (see my post 'Know your Ingredients (Part 1)' .

If I'm satisfied with all of the above, then I'm usually pretty happy to try it, however, I've even more inclined to hit 'buy now' if the brand comes in environmentally-friendly packaging and ingredient-friendly packaging - by this I mean that the product is packaged in a way that helps keep all of the ingredients inside it stable, potent and hygienic. For instance, jars that you have to dip your fingers in to get the product out aren't the most hygienic or ingredients like Vitamin C which become less stable when exposed to light would ideally be in opaque packaging or dark glass.

Lastly, value for money is always a priority but if a product is going to last me a long time and is going to be effective, then I'm up for paying a little more and I'm always a sucker for good design and branding, so something that looks nice on my bathroom shelf certainly doesn't hurt either.

After all that, here's the brands I'm loving for 2018 because they tick so many boxes for me (in no particular order)!

Let me know if you've tried any xx

I first came across this brand when I was looking for an organic/natural sunscreen that contained no nano-particles, silicone or fragrance. I also wanted something that didn't leave a white cast, was lightweight and not greasy so that it could be worn under makeup and that's exactly what I got when I bought Odylique's sunscreen. Bonus, it is a British brand, made in Suffolk, cruelty free and is also 'the first ever sun screen that is both approved by the Fairtrade Foundation and organically certified'

I cannot speak more highly about this brand. I love the ethos, their choice of ingredients and more than all that, the results the products have delivered for my dry/sensitive skin, my rosacea and my pigmentation. I particularly like that some of their specific skin-concern serums don't contain any essential oils, which although may be beneficial for some aren't great for those of us with very sensitive skin. The only down-side for me is that this magic stuff is not cheap and doesn't seem to be sold directly anywhere in the UK. However the company does ship straight to the UK, it just means there are import duties/taxes to pay. Despite all that, in my opinion, it is still definitely worth the investment, especially if you have particular skin issues you've been struggling with for a while and want to try and address them using clean, green products. Here's a little bit more about the brand...

" Marie is a chemist and inventor who suffered from teenage acne and was moved to create her own products when she could find nothing on the market that was clean and effective to address her rosacea. From there, she went on to develop a line for acne and was one of the first to formulate a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen. She holds degrees in Math and Science, trained as an esthetician, and is a former high school chemistry teacher. She collaborates with her daughter, Jay Nadeau, physicist and bio-medical engineer, to carefully choose each ingredient in her products to solve real skin issues and address the causes of aging at the source."

When I first read about this brand I thought it was a match made in product heaven. The products are suitable for all skin types but especially 'stressed, sensitive and reactive (allergy-prone) skin' (welcome to my face!). Named after 12 ingredients that feature in the products, the brand contains only eco-certified ingredients and is free from a very long list of the usual suspects like parabens, sulphates etc.

The founder, Pedro Catalá has a CV fit for a skin-care God: a degree in pharmacy, a post-graduate diploma in botany, a Master's degree in The Science & Technology of Cosmetics and now he's a working Pharmacist at a private hospital on Harley Street and lectures at the University of Siena...this guy really should stop being so lazy! In his own words:

"Twelve is the result of my life-long search to find the very best botanicals in the world! Proven to trasnform even the most sensitive skin. My 12 cherry-picked and exhaustively tested wonder ingredients are 100% natural, ethically-sourced and ever gentle"

I have only tried the night cream but I loved it so much. It felt incredible on my dry, dehydrated skin and after applying it at night, I woke in the morning to find my skin soft, supple and not greasy. Again, this brand isn't cheap but the night cream has converted me and now I'm desperate to try the rest of their products (definitely one for the Christmas list!)

If you haven't heard of this brand yet I'd be surprised, some of their products have over 60,000 likes on Sephora and for good reason. This brand is not all natural or organic. Their philosophy is that they don't take into account whether an ingredient is natural or synthetic, but instead choose them based on their safety and bio-compatibility. In their words 'they use clean ingredients that either directly benefit the skin's health or support the integrity or effectiveness of their products'. Their products are free from parabens, SLS, silicones and further still, are free from alcohols, essential oils and sensitizing colourants/perfumes. All of which, have caused my sensitive skin to break out in the past no matter how organic a product was. So those factors were a big plus in my book.

They were unbelievably helpful when I contacted them with a few questions I had about some of their ingredients and not only did they send me a friendly and detailed written response, but their knowledge of ingredient safety really impressed me. I've used a few products from this line now and I can honestly say the results have been quite dramatic. Their C-Firma Day Serum has really helped with my pigmentation and I love their Lala Retro Whipped cream was brilliant for my dry skin. I can't wait to try the rest.

Last, but certainly not least, is Evolve, another British brand and hands-down has some of the most delicious-smelling products I have ever tried. On a night where I have a bit more time or have been wearing a full face of makeup, I sit with their cleansing melt and just massage it into my face for 20 minutes, there's not a trace of makeup left and my skin smells and feels beautiful afterwards. All of their body products are now my go-to. Everything is made in small batches in their artisan studio in Hertfordshire, England. Not only are their products organic and natural, cruelty-free and vegan but their packaging is made up of recyclable glass and card packaging. I love their design too, it's really simple and looks great in your bathroom.

*Any images that are not my own have been used with the company's permission. I am not affialiated with any of these brands and the opinions here are entirely my own.

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