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 


  1. Odelia
    January 4, 2015 / 9:19 am

    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. Eva
    January 14, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    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

    • January 14, 2015 / 10:56 pm

      I got scouted by Models1 in London! x

      • Eva
        January 18, 2015 / 9:07 am

        Thanks a lot :)

  3. Jodie
    February 3, 2015 / 3:42 pm

    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

    • February 3, 2015 / 6:23 pm

      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. Lynn
    February 12, 2015 / 3:31 pm

    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. Angela
    March 5, 2015 / 3:26 am

    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!

    • March 5, 2015 / 10:07 am

      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

      • Angela
        March 5, 2015 / 6:20 pm


  6. Annabelle Terzic
    March 13, 2015 / 1:16 pm

    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

    • Julia
      May 20, 2015 / 9:54 pm

      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.

  7. Sarah Fitzgerald
    March 31, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    I just love your blog/vlogs etc

    I’m just wondering is your Top 10 ‘still’ your Top 10? Given the ever increasing supply of new products and brands, would you make any changes to your list of favourites?

    Thanks a million,

  8. Ivona Kazmierczak
    June 22, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    Enjoyed your posts! Lots of your favorite products are my favs as well! I used to work for Laura Mercier and now I work for SpaceNK… What do you think about the Korean skin care/makeup craze…? Do you have favorite products from this huge market…?

  9. Berkeley
    August 21, 2015 / 7:24 pm

    I have just discovered your videos and post and they are amazing! I am so happy you are doing this and everything you post is extremely helpful. I live in the U.S. and I don’t know if you’ve already tried this product but I would recommend benefit “It’s Potent!” eye cream. It is very effective in brightening dark circles and has done wonders for me! It can be a dense formula depending on how much you apply so I mainly use it at night, plus it’s pretty affordable. Love your content and hope you find this useful!

  10. March 2, 2016 / 10:30 am

    I am totally addicted to Emma Hardy’s skin care range. there is nothing like it in the whole world. I’ve been using stuff for my face for ever and ever. I’ve tried the lot even ‘creme de mer’ £150 a jar but even this does not compare to my EMMA HARDY range. I found it by accident when I was looking for something else, she doesn’t advertise in the media which is why her products are in the medium price range.

  11. Katherine Coleman
    March 4, 2016 / 5:28 pm

    Hi Ruth! Do you know if it’s safe to alternate Liquid Gold with a retinol? I’m currently using a retinol most nights, but want to use Liquid Gold. So i’m thinking I would use both a few times a week, on different nights.

  12. March 29, 2016 / 8:05 am

    There’s quite a few products there that I would like to try! It’s always interesting to see what other people’s favourite products are :)

  13. June 27, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Hmmm, not sure if your top tens are still the same since they are a lot of new products coming every time. But, great collection though. Would love to try some and see how it goes.

  14. Claire
    July 12, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    Hi Ruth I’m a new mum and have worked as a police dog handler for 10 years, I’m mid 30s and have neglected my skin care since doing shifts, could you please recommend a basic face care routine that will fit around shifts and baby and not cost the earth, my current routine consists of a baby wipe and Aldi moisturiser at 5am or on days off when I spoil myself it’s Aldi face wash and a quick squib of simple toner….. Please help! Ps I love your blog and it’s really really helped my get back into makeup, Iv bought many of the products that you have reviews (make up wise) and am so pleased with them, thank you.

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