I love lists. Especially ones to do with cosmetics. Even more if they’re about best products. I therefore declare a new, yearly tradition on the blog – one followed by most women’s magazines: Genuine Beauty Awards – the best cosmetics of the year.
The selection of natural cosmetics available right now is staggeringly good. There is a non-stop influx of new brands in Finland, and even foreign web stores have become easy, quick, and inspiring to shop at. This has made compiling the best products of the year less easy, as you can imagine.
Here they are, however – the best cosmetics of 2014:
Exfoliation: Juice Beauty, Green Apple Peel (Full Stregth)
Eye cream: Supermood, Egoboost Eyes Wide Open
Moisturizer: Suki, Balancing Day Lotion
Makeup Base: Kjaer Weis, Foundation
Eye Makeup: Kjaer Weis, Mascara
Hand Cream: Neal’s Yard Remedies, Bee Lovely
Lip Balm: Absolution, Le Baume
Best Skin Care Brand: Neal’s Yard Remedies
Patyka’s 3-step is still more or less unbeatable, at least if you want your cleansing to be purifying, effective, and gentle. The honeyed cleansing silk by May Lindstrom, however, has introduced me to, and made me fall in love with, a whole new concept of cleansing: cleansing the skin as little as possible. In other words, cleansers without surfactants that damage the hydrolipidic film. May’s pampering cleansing silk is removed with a towel dipped in hot water, and is followed by a toner.
This product, which uses raw honey as its base, smells incredible and cleans off even the worst raccoon eyes, without damaging the skin’s protective layer. It provides far more than just a simple wash; the cleansing silk would be more aptly described as a heavenly experience – which is how it feels on the skin. Heavenly.
There was no contest for the best toner. First of all, I love mists. Secondly, toner is a vital skin care product in my opinion – it would be more accurate to call it a conditioning fluid.
May Lindstrom’s Jasmine Garden smells, I suspect, like the Garden of Eden. Colloidal silver fights impurities and soothes infections, while witch hazel minimizes pores and helps to balance sebum production. The non-alcoholic formula is suitable for all skin types.
I’m convinced heaven smells like a jasmine garden.
There’s no going back to mechanical exfoliates after trying fruit acids. For a comprehensive introduction to fruit acids, please see here.
My favorite exfoliate is Juice Beauty’s highly potent full strength Green Apple Peel, which is completely unsuited for sensitive skins. In addition to lactic and glycolic acids, the peel contains vitamin C and retinyl palmitate, which help to repair UV-damage and support collagen and elastin synthesis.
Juice Beauty’s peel can cause redness and burning, but this is a normal reaction to potent fruit acids. After peeling, apply a generous amount of toner, an antioxidant rich serum, and a nourishing and repairing oil to finish off. A few hours later, your skin should be glowing like you’ve just stepped out of a professional salon.
France’s top cosmetics brand Absolution makes the best purifying mask, hands down. The product combines all the qualities of a great face mask, and gives your home-spa a slightly more professional feel. The consistency is perfect as it doesn’t dry on the skin, and contains kaolin to remove impurities. The salicylic acid in the willow bark extract helps to prevent impurities and minimize pores, while mint leaves the skin feeling fresh. This minty mask is the perfect way to round off a potent fruit acid treatment.
It’s amazing how fast you can fall head over heels in love with a product. I’ve gone through two bottles of Supermood’s Eyes Wide Open serum this fall, and I’m light years away from getting bored. Not something I would smear around the eyes at night, but in the morning, it’s the only way I can get my eyes to open.
Choosing the best serum was very difficult as I’ve fallen for several wonderful serums in the past year. In the end, I went for Suki’s purifying serum, for two reasons: 1) the significant part it has played in diminishing outbreaks in my skin, and 2) its brilliant ingredients. Willow bark extract on its own is a great ingredient for products for blemished skin; Suki has taken things a step further by adding moth bean extract, which contains retinyl palmitate. The benefits of vitamin A (especially retinyl palmitate) in skin care are numerous. Besides getting rid of bumps and scars, the serum also helps to firm the skin.
Face oils are another weakness of mine. However, choosing my top oil was far easier than choosing my top serum. Together with fruit acids and serums, the Wild Rose Beauty Balm from Neal’s Yard Remedies has been wonderful for my skin. The balm smooths out wrinkles and brightens the complexion. I use it generously on my face, neck, and décolletage in the evenings, and when I wake up, my complexion is bright and the balm fully absorbed. Applying the balm on the sun damaged skin on my décolletage every night has made it disappear over the fall.
I’m very particular about the consistency of my moisturizer. I like thin fluids that provide ample hydration and are quickly absorbed; they should not leave the skin feeling tacky and matte, but also not greasy. Suki’s Balancing Day Lotion has filled these requirements better than most. The consistency of the lotion is astonishingly good, and the scent is citrusy and fresh. It’s the thinnest and fastest absorbing lotion I’ve come across, leaving the skin feeling soft and just a touch oily – a hard combination of qualities to produce in a fluid, which is why most moisturizers provide insufficient nourishment for dry skin.
Never mind choosing a serum – picking the best makeup base was almost impossible. I’ve been crazy about three face products this year, and each has been the best face product in the world for me, at one point or another. My favorite also changes with the season, and my summer bases and winter bases are wildly different from each other. I ended up choosing a product that would withstand all aspects of the Finnish climate: Kjaer Weis’ foundation. I find myself grabbing it more than the others. The foundation gives good coverage while still looking velvety and natural. It is highly buildable, and a just a touch of powder will set it for the day. And the packaging. It’s the prettiest thing in the world.
This is hardly a surprise. Kjaer Weis’ mascara is a wonderful product – take a look at the picture below, and see for yourself. The mascara I’m wearing is brand new, and the product is at its best after a couple of weeks’ usage. Besides giving you perfect lashes, the mascara also comes in an ecological package that is durable, elegant, and refillable.
The lip crayon from American brand Ilia swept me off my feet this past summer. The consistency is lovely and soft, the pigment is long-wearing and fades nicely, and the colors are gorgeous. Plus, the pen-like packaging is super handy. This is a go-to product, and I always keep one with me – in my wallet.
Shampoo & Conditioner
It’s no coincidence John Masters is regarded as the top natural haircare brand. After testing the brand’s range of shampoos, I have found that The Evening Primrose shampoo and the Citrus & Neroli Detangler is the perfect duo for my somewhat challenging mane. These two products keep the oiliness at bay, keep my scalp from getting itchy, and make my hair thick and smooth. They also smell lovely.
These two together are the best body combo, and I simply can’t choose between them. The light consistency of Absolution’s body lotion is hydrating, fast absorbing, and smells divine. Adding a bit of Patyka’s Precious Woods body oil into the lotion gives it more nourishment, and makes the skin silky smooth. The scent is grounding, warming, and sensual.
Every third spoonful of food that we consume is thanks to the toilsome work of bees. These little creatures, so vital for us, are at great risk of becoming extinct. Neal’s Yard Remedies from Britain is working hard to protect the bees – through their Bee Lovely products, for example. The knowledge of this, combined with an orange scented hand cream which softens rough hands and cuticles, makes the Bee Lovely hand cream the best hand cream of the year.
This dark little balm from Absolution is a multi-purpose product that can also be used to protect your cheeks in freezing temperatures. It tames chapped lips like nothing else, and the genuinely nourishing and moisture-binding beeswax in the product is excellent for breaking lip balm addictions.
As a bonus, I’ve also picked the best cosmetics brand of the year. It was an easy choice to make: the holistic, therapeutic, ethical, ecological, and transparent character of Neal’s Yard Remedies, together with its amazing selection of products, makes it an absolutely incredible company. Please click here to read my comprehensive introduction to the brand.
Did you see any of your favorites featured on the list? How many new favorites have you found through my blog?
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Photos Katja Kokko
Translation Katja Nikula