Finding your perfect beauty products is the process similar to discovering your personal style - through trial and error, faux pas and victories, until one day you know this is it, the capsule collection - whether we are talking clothes and accessories, or lotions and potions - is created to suit our unique personality, believes, needs and daily demands.
As I was looking at my current favourites, I took a trip down the memory lane reminiscing of the times when I first became interested in natural skin care. The idea slowly blossomed in my head following a conversation with a fellow Russian who was convinced that some creams, including very expensive ones, had hormones... I became suspicious and, as a result, I turned to the good old DIY recipes - the masks and wraps - made from edible ingredients I could easily find in my kitchen. At the end, it turned out that the creams were hormone-free per se, but packed with hormone-disrupting substances, so skipping them was a good idea.
Unfortunately, as any woman, I still wanted a ritual and a few products in pretty jars and bottles, especially when it came to face creams. This was the tricky part that took years to master until both myself and my skin were satisfied with the presentation and results.
What I also realised, whilst putting this post together, is that I care about people behind each brand and prefer small companies run by those with knowledge, love and passion - not large corporations whose main focus will always be on the profit, not their customers' well-being.
So here we are... Some of the natural goodies without which I'd be just as lost as I am without my favourite LBD, beloved tote or shoes that work with everything. They are the ultimate must-haves, at least for me.
1. May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon is a face balm that doesn't simply make the skin super soft, but also reduces redness, inflammation and wrinkles. Even better, it smells so amazing that every time I put it on it feels as if I am pressing my face against an invisible wonderfully scented powdery cushion - perfect at the end of a stressful and busy day. The jar lasts forever - you need a pea-size amount per use and 50ml jar makes a lot of those "peas" At £125 it is expensive, but it's almost an annual supply. Besides, you can sign up for a news letter and grab your magic potion whenever there's an offer or lovely discount available.
2. I bought Intensae Polish (£15) after practically giving up on finding my perfect shade of a nude lacquer. I didn't know much about the brand, so followed by gut feeling and the 5-free formula. Now, half way through my first bottle of Ophelie, the warm'ish nude hue that looks wonderful against my skin, I know this is the one I will definitely repurchase. It's very easy to apply and often a single coat is enough for me. The mani lasts for about 3-4 days depending on the intensity of my household activities, and the pedi looks great for a couple of weeks.
3. Mauli Rituals Sacred Body Oil (£66) is one of my recent finds and is something I will be buying over and over again. The emotionally-charged love-powered essay is right here. Use a few drops every morning to moisturies the skin (you can also use it as a hair oil) - it absorbs quickly without residue. The amazing fragrances can easily replace a perfume - it's almost as if you were born with a wonderfully scented skin.
4. RMS Beauty is the only make-up I use these days and the RMS Lip2Cheek in Illusive (£28) is my ultimate shade. I dab it on my lips with a fingertip whenever I don't need anything dramatic or apply with a little brush to build up the intensity. It works as a blusher, too. Lasts for months - my first tin lasted for a year.
6. Oskia Perfect Cleanser (£32.50) is so wonderful that I reviewed it separately. Still use it, still love it. Would not swap for anything.
7. Oskia Nutri Active Day Cream (£52) is also irreplaceable and comes with a story. In case you are curious, in the evening I used my own blend of oils or Blue Cocoon.
8. Tabitha James Kraan Organic Hair Oil (£38) is a rose garden in a bottle - it has the same effect on me as a Blue Cocoon, so I often use it in the evening when taking Oscar for his walk down the quiet and deserted streets. As the evening breeze touches my hair I get an intoxicating whiff of Bulgarian rose, so warm, comforting and blissful. On a beauty note - the hair gets a nourishing dose of pure organic argan oil, neroli, sea buckthorn and goji berry.
9. When I wrote about my favourite natural self-tanners, I got questions about the ones I am using/loving the most, so I decided to include TanOrganic (£19.95) here because I adore it, talk about it on repeat, and would recommend to anyone.
10. RMS Beauty Tinted Un-Powder (£28) is a delicate veil that covers minor imperfections, makes the skin velvety, reduces oiliness and somehow also improves the texture when used frequently, at least, in my case. It won't provide a lot of coverage, so you still need to conceal the redness with a dab of RMS Beauty Un-Cover Up. From my previous experience with original Un-Powder I suspect that this jar will last me for at least a year.
Photo source: Vogue Italia September 2013 (photography: Solve Sundsbo, styling: Patti Wilson)