Cult Beauty Brands Worth Buying Into
Cult, niche, independent. However you want to describe them, there are no-end of those slightly in-the-know beauty brands all satisfyingly understated and yet touted by the press and us bloggers as genuine miracle-workers. But which brands are actually worth spending your hard-earned pennies on? Annoyingly, all of us are different. Different skin, different hair, different bodies. Saying that, I base near to 100% of all my beauty purchases on others recommendations from beauty bloggers, to Into The Gloss top-shelfers, to friends and colleagues with great skin whom I often, unashamedly ask what they use. So hopefully my recommendations after all that can also be useful to some of you guys too!
So, these are the products from those cult brands that really work for me and are worth the hype and money… There are so many others I could mention that you’ve likely seen me using before, but these are what are currently floating my boat.
First up, Mario Badescu. I love this brand. It’s affordable, accessible (Urban Outfitters and Liberty to name a couple) and it really, really works. I’ve mentioned the drying lotion before, which is great for zapping spots overnight, but the Vitamin C serum and facial spray are worth a mention too. Vitamin C often gets overlooked for skin topically but after doing lots of research and a good few facials, Vitamin C is vital for keeping skin young and plump. It’s key for anti-ageing (I hate that expression but none of us exactly want to look older than we are do we) and protecting against pollution, free radicals and pigmentation. But you need to go for a container that is opaque as light affects the potency of Vitamin C so this green container gets a big tick for that. The facial spray is so great too. I love a good mist and this goes on really lightly and smells like the iconic Santa Maria Novella rosewater with half the fuss and weight.
Next up, Sunday Riley, a brand beloved by Youtubers and beauty editors but one I’ve only recently got into. I started with the Luna night oil which is great and is a source or retinol so great for anti-ageing and breakouts (although I don’t use every day – I alternate with a more gentle, lighter night oil or rich cream). I really like the Ceramic Slip cleanser too; it’s amazing for oily skin so if you’re a large pore/blackhead person this is a winner. It’s a little too drying for me everyday but great for balancing my skin out when it’s breaking out or more shiny than usual.
My two favourites are actually the ones I came to the most recently. Martian is an amazing toner that’s really helped get my spotty skin under control of late. It goes on like a gel toner but finishes like water and makes your skin feel really clarified and pure before your night cream or makeup. And I love Good Genes for going over my night oil/cream and making my skin feel like porcelain in a really, really good way.
Haircare has always been a massive weakness of mine and I love trying out great shampoos, conditioners and oils. It’s a bit of guilty please of mine to be honest. I’m drawn to anything ‘reparative’ and this Ouai range is really lovely at keeping my hair feeling nourished without weighing it down and making it greasy or flyway. It keep the textures while also stopping it from breaking too much. I love the packaging and the add-on products like the Wave Spray and the Hair Oil. The oil is quite fine and slippery so you only need a little so it lasts for ages and the waves spray is so nice at adding texture, again without any stickiness or straw-like finishes.
Another thing you’ve probably seen everywhere but might not have tried yet but I’m now a beauty blender convert and here to convince you! I love makeup brushes (Zoeva are my fave) but I picked this beauty blender up at & Other Stories recently and I’m hooked. Its so great and blending foundation and concealer and is great if your skin feels super sensitive to some brushes. You can be really precise with the little ones which is great for covering spots, while the big one is a great all-rounder for your base. Just remember to keep ’em clean people!
Oskia is such a lovely brand and one that doesn’t get enough airtime in my mind. I first got into this brand after a trip to The Pig on the beach (they use this in their spa) and fell in love with the Micro Exfoliating Balm. It’s the finest, most gentle exfoliator I’ve ever come across so you feel glowy and fresh after using, but not like you’ve just scraped off a whole layer of skin. Oskia’s whole range is based on the inclusion of MSM, a natural, organic, sulphuric ‘beauty’ mineral that promotes all good things like radiance, anti-ageing, and reduces redness and inflammation. I’ve used and loved the restoration oil too but right now I’m into the Bedtime Beauty Boost too. A thick, creamy night cream, this stuff feels amazing at the end of the day and I feel like I can already notice a difference.
Another cult beauty tool, I’m obsessed with these small and mighty clay Konjac sponges. If my skin is feeling extra congested, I use this with my usual cleansers for a while or just use by itself with warm water after taking my makeup off to get every last ounce of grime off my skin. The sponges are infused with different minerals for different benefits; I like the pink and green clays and the black charcoal. Konjac have been a massive part of skincare for the Japanese for centuries (and we all know where they lead, we follow) and these are great at buffing away dead skin and helping to keep your skin looking alive, radiant and fresh. All good things when it comes to your face I’m sure you’ll agree!
I love a good cult brand that is really specialised and becomes a bit of a one-stop shop for certain items. Case in point, Eyeko, the all-round eye makeup brand that has become one of my favourites when it comes to lashes, brows and lids. I love their long-wearing liquid brow liner and their liquid liner is the only one I can use to get a good feline flick these days. I’m a real ‘toucher’ when it comes to my face (not as weird and creepy as it sounds) and find most mascaras end up crumbling under my eye by the end of the day but Eyeko’s is one of the few I’ve found that stays put all day long. They have waterproof ones, sporty ons and one of my favourites is injected with caffeine which is good for stimulating growth in your lashes too. All-in-all, a great go-to brand if you’re in need of a new mascara or still haven’t quite found your cat-eye soul mate.
Last but not least, another great haircare brand. Swedish-brand Sachujuan will immediately appeal to minimalist packaging fans but they’re not all style no substance. I recently got this colour protecting duo and am really impressed. It feels really clarifying and leaves my hair really bouncy and textured which I love. All the products are based around ‘ocean silk technology’ which essentially translates as using sea algae to promote healthy shine and strength. They also do a mean salt spray if you like those for adding a bit of been-on-the-beach texture. I also love the look of their body washes and hair oils but haven’t got my hands on those yet, but it really is the kind of brand that feels like a real personal treat when you buy it for yourself and have it on your shelf. Just so clean and streamlined looking while still being feminine and soft. Hmmm, think I might love this stuff even more than I first thought!
What are favourite under-the-radar beauty essentials? Share the wisdom below so we can all end up glowier and glossier than before…