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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 FeelUnique.com 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 Escentual.com

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 Escentual.com or at Boots.com

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 Boots.com

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. FeelUnique.com

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 FeelUnique.com

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 LookFantastic.com 

© 2016 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be very clearly marked. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers will usually be affiliate links. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer.  A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.


  1. dear Ruth, what is your favorite ever mascara? what would you recommand for volume and separation, for a cat-eye sort of effect? thank you so much!!!!

  2. Hi. Can you tell me how you got into modelling in Birmingham? I live here and would like to consider starting modelling. Thanks in advance for replying

  3. was just wondering what products from the body shop you would personally recommend as i am placing an order and want to try out some new skincare and makeup x

    • I love the bronzer, it’s really subtle and matte-ish, and I really like the aloe serum, the camomile cleansing oil and the camomile cleansing balm and waterproof eye makeup remover! x

  4. Hi, I’m 17 weeks pregnant and having a bad breakout on my face and my chest, would you recommend to use
    La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo for the skin treatment? For my face, I have some angry red spots and my chest just clogged pores….
    thanks in advance.

  5. Hi Ruth! I’ve been enjoying your blog posts and videos. I was wondering if you think the Clinique Super Antioxidant Moisturizer would be a good choice to use following the Alpha H Intensive Night Repair Serum. Just for reference, I have oily skin, so I’m looking for a moisturizer that will work well with my skin type and won’t interact/interfere with the serum. Thanks!

    • Yes, that could be good, but to be honest the serum is packed with everything you need so you could spend a lot less and just have a very basic moisturising cream. Boots Botanics or what have you! After the serum, I consider anything else more of a gesture to seal it all in… x

  6. Annabelle Terzic

    Hi Ruth! I have used the Efficlar duo before as a spot treatment, but then I decided to start taking care of my skin properly, which consisted of using Origins checks and balance, followed by the efficlar duo all over my face, then the ginzing moisturiser by origins, morning and night. On the 5th morning of doing this, after I applied the efficlar my skin started to burn, I washed it off immediately, but it has left my cheek red and flaky. Is it just overuse? Or could I be reacting to something in the product? For reference Im 18 with combination congested/blemish prone skin. Thank you for any help you can offer me!! xx

    • Hi Annabelle,
      maybe you want to check which Effaclar-product you have, depending on your country.
      I have read in several beauty blogs that the American version is a spot treatment, while our European version is like a moisturizer which can be used all over the face. So if you do have the European version there could be an allergic reaction, but if you have the American product you should use it as it says on the container.

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