Desert Island Beauty

ruth crilly favourite beauty products

Here’s a list of my absolute all-time favourite beauty products. If I had to fit everything into a very small suitcase and go and live on a desert island, then this is what I’d take. This list is subject to change, but it has been exactly the same for over a year so you’re pretty safe for the moment!

1) Alpha-H Liquid Gold and/or Alpha-H Intensive Night Repair Serum. Both do amazing things to the skin’s radiance levels and help to keep it clear and plump. All round beauty wizardry! You can find them at Cult Beauty here – use code CULTAH for free worldwide delivery. (N.B. ironically, I wouldn’t actually use these on a desert island or even whilst on holiday. I tend to lay off them a little if I’m exposing my skin to lots of sunshine and I ALWAYS use an SPF in the daytime if I’ve Liquid Gold-ed the night before!)

2) StriVectin SD Eye Cream – my most-used treatment for dark circles and fine lines in the eye area. It seems expensive at £49, but you get double the amount (30ml) than you’d get in a standard eye cream, so it works out to be very affordable price-per-ml. Find it at Space NK

3) Pai’s Echium Eye Cream – my most-used eye treatment for when the skin is sensitive and easily irritated. I rate Pai incredibly highly for their impeccably-sourced ingredients and their transparency when it comes to what’s in (or more importantly, left out of) their products. The eye cream is here, also see below for a great cleanser…

4) Pai’s Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – a dream for sensitive or sensitised skin. A pure, calming cleansing cream that can be used to remove makeup, even on eyelids and lashes. It’s £25 here, or you can get samples of it here.

5) Emma Hardie’s Amazing Face Moringa Balm Cleanser: heaven in a pot. It’s quite sad, I suppose, that I look forward to washing my face so much, but this is a super-luxe cleansing ritual that lifts the spirits as well as sagging, tired faces. Follow the massage instructions and I promise that you’ll become quite addicted to this gorgeously scented balm. You can get it as a set with exfoliating “seeds” and muslin cloth at with free worldwide delivery.

6) Klorane’s Cornflower Eye Makeup Remover. This isn’t a super-strength dual-phase remover so it won’t take off waterproof mascara, but it does a pretty good job of just about everything else and it’s one of the most gentle formulas I’ve found. Get it at

7) La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo – an exfoliating treatment that helps to clear up breakouts in a matter of days. I’ve truly never seen anything work so fast on spots – forget “on the spot treatments” and blemish gels! Don’t mix up the European formula (get it here) with the one available in the US – the one Stateside is stronger and formulated as a more targeted treatment rather than an all-over cream. Find Effaclar Duo at or at

8) Omorovicza’s Deep Cleansing Mask – for blitzing clogged-up, dull and tired skin. This is such a little performer that I never use it the day before filming or anything important. It tends to bring “things” to the surface! You can find it at Omorovicza here. (For other masks that really pack a punch, take a look at this post.)

9) Sisley’s Extreme Nutritive Lip Balm. I’m sorry that this is so expensive but after extensive testing of a hell of a lot of lip balms, this one is still the best. It’s the only thing that stops my lips falling apart completely when I’m travelling a lot and so for me, it’s worth every penny. It’s £41 at House of Fraser. I’d would have liked to include Sisley’s Eye Mask in my top 10, too, but fear that I’d be hung, drawn and quartered. So I’ve sneakily put both into the same bullet point! One of the only products that actually makes an instant, visible difference to the eye area, it’s a whopping £75 – House of Fraser.

10) Clinique’s Super Antioxidant Moisturiser – comes in various formulations for different skin types and is, I think, an excellent “all rounder”. Sometimes you just want a product that you can fall back on time and time again without having to wonder whether or not it’ll break you out or react with the ingredients in your serum, or roll off when you put your foundation on. This is that product and I’ve been using it for years and years. It costs £35 from

Now, you may be thinking “hold on. She’s on a desert island without any SPF!” Don’t panic, I’ve packed some, I just didn’t want to use up one of my top ten spaces! You can browse all of my SPF posts here.

And in my fantasy makeup bag? FIVE items, you say? Oooh. Difficult.

1) By Terry’s Sheer Expert Foundation (or Cover Expert, both are amazing). Reassuringly/ridiculously expensive but I’ll re-purchase as long as they carry on making it. Though if they’d make the tube so that it doesn’t leak all over the place, I’d be eternally grateful. It’s £44 at SpaceNK, I wear shade 9.

2) Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer OR Smoothing Concealer, both are great, the smoothing is better on drier skin. £20 from House of Fraser, I wear shade “Light/Medium”.

3) L’Oreal False Lash Telescopic Mascara – buildable, affordable and an easy-to-use wand. Stays on when you want it to, comes off when you need it to, comes in at under a tenner.

4) Dior’s Diorskin Nude Tan Powder in “Sunlight” – though all of the shade variations are beautiful. Subtle, glowing tan powder that’s foolproof to use and housed in a chic, heavy compact. J’adore! £37 with free delivery at

5) I have one spot left and I need a lipstick, an eyeliner and eyeshadow. I’m going to throw caution to the wind and scrap the lipstick idea (I have my Sisley balm anyway!) and plump for some fine, long-lasting shadows from Urban Decay. The Naked 2 palette, I think, as some of the shades double as highlighters and eyeliners. Perfect. It’s £36 from 

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