That’s right just 5 hard-working products for your face, body and hair, including makeup. Does this sound feasible? When the idea for this post popped into my head, I felt confident I’d easily be able to pick my 5 essentials. With all the multi-purpose products I have access to, surely this’ll be child’s play. Well. Maybe too much choice turns your head giddy with indecision. I lost count of the number of times I changed my mind on these 5 essentials. Just when I thought I’d nailed the line-up, another can’t-do-without item would crop up. After all it was only last year I wrote about my 7-step night time skincare routine. And those 7 products were for my face alone. But I love a beauty challenge, so after much deliberation here are my final five multi-purpose products to cover what I would consider my basic beauty needs. I will caveat that I cheated a little on the final item – read on to find out how!
1. The all over wash
Let’s start with the very basics: a cleanser. A product that can wash as many parts of the body as possible. This was a no-brainer for me – I’ve been re-discovering soap bars recently and with options that promise to cleanse your hair, face and body with just one product, this ticks a big box. I was gifted Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap which I’d already heard about as a great all-rounder. Not only does it claim to wash you from top to toe, it also has fantastic eco-credentials: certified fair trade, cruelty-free and vegan, it contains only natural and organic ingredients. And the soap is wrapped in 100% recycled paper and printed with water-based ink (generally less toxic than oil-based). The almond bar smells of marzipan, much sweeter than I’d anticipated, however once it generously lathers in the shower the scent is so subtle, I have to shove my nose against my skin to smell it. My skin feels soft with no post-shower tightness. Does it deliver on its multi-purpose use? Well, for the face and body the Pure Castile Bar Soap is great, but unfortunately my hair was coated in residue even after a good rinse. I resorted to diluted cider vinegar to get it out. The religion-inspired oddball proclamations peppered all over the soap wrapping weird me out a bit: ‘Small minds decay! Average minds delay! Great minds teach All-One today!’ sounds like a mantra one of those loners on Oxford Street would shout to passers-by. Overall I love the scent and the generous lathering, this works for face and body but didn’t agree with my hair. 140g RRP £5.35
2. The protector
Once out of the shower the next beauty item I reach for is my moisturiser. There are dozens of fantastic ones I could name here but if I need to cover off a few bases then Caudalie’s Anti-Wrinkle Face Suncare SPF50 would be my top candidate. In order to keep my beauty routine down to 5 products I’d need to use this all over my body too, but with a 50ml tube that won’t last long. So for a top to toe approach I’m going with Caudalie’s Milky Sun Spray. As with the face cream, this light texture moisturises and offers UVA and UVB protection with a high SPF50, but comes in a 150ml bottle for face and body. 150ml RRP £21.00
3. The new kid on the block
My next step after cleanse and moisturise would be a swipe of antiperspirant. I debated whether this item truly formed part of a beauty routine, but then I found a multi-use product that helped me tick off a couple of other functions so here goes: Botanical’s Sanitising Spritz. Definitely a product of its time, this 60% organic alcohol pocket spray has become a handbag staple. It dries quickly without stickiness and is also recommended as a good deodorant thanks to the anti-bacterial lavender essential oil – just don’t spray it on post-shave as I did. And if you’re looking for a foot spray this will also do the trick thanks to anti-fungal tea tree essential oil. 50ml RRP £5.95
4. The hint of colour
I’m not a heavy makeup user but even for me choosing only one cosmetic item was near impossible. I have a thing for eyebrows so should it be a tinted gel? Lipbalm I consider to be my desert island beauty product so in the end I plumped for Caudalie French Kiss to combine care and colour. This 97% natural tinted balm offers a light wash of colour for an ultra-natural look on lips, which can be extended to cheeks by buffing into the apples of cheeks for a flushed result. The cheeks feel slightly tacky, but at least with nourishing beeswax and squalane my lips stay flake-free. 7.5g RRP £10.00
5. The wild card
The final product: this is where I may have cheated a little. Rather than propose one set-in-stone item, this is the rotating one that can change according to your needs, the season or skin type. Anything goes: it could be Natura Siberica’s brightening serum to lift a dull winter complexion. Or Alexa Sky Botanicals’ The One Balm to remove light makeup, exfoliate or moisturise extra dry areas such as elbows. Or maybe some anti-inflammatory rosehip oil to deal with a flare up. I have become increasingly reliant on Clinique’s Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator SPF25 as a complexion base that not only provides hydration and sun protection but also light coverage that softly evens out skin tone. I thought I wouldn’t be able to fit fragrance in the line-up, but with essential oils you can smell good and reap the benefits of whichever oil you choose. I’m a fan of Aromatherapy Associates Support Breathe Roller Ball for its aromatic scent which I apply liberally on pulse points.
This exercise was much harder than I thought it would be: what is a beauty product? Should it include something as essential as soap? And if deodorant is covered then why not shaving products or toothpaste? And what about utensils like a nail file? Where do you draw the line? In the end each individual has varying needs so this serves as a guide only to stripping your beauty routine down to basics, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what’s stashed in your bathroom. What multi-purpose product would you recommend? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
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