My Beauty Essentials

My Beauty Essentials |


I’ve been “into” beauty products ever since I mixed together oatmeal and yoghurt on the recommendation of Victoria Principal in a magazine article sometime in the 80s. I PORED over that article and tried all her tips (there were probably cucumber slices on my eyelids at some point). Cleanse, tone and moisturise was my mantra, and I guess it’s served me well as my skin is in pretty good nick, all things considered.

I got burned so often in my teenage I’ve spent the rest of my life covered in sunblock, something that has definitely contributed to my lack of wrinkles. However, my 40s have brought dryer skin and eye bags with them, and gone are the days when I wake up fresh faced. It bothers me occasionally, but mostly I am just grateful to be on this side of my healing work. I’ll take 40s wisdom and eye bags over my 20s youthful cluelessness any day!

I love it when bloggers do posts like this, so here, for your information and entertainment, is mine.


These days I am loyal to a handful of products that suit my combination skin. In the morning I wash my face with One Love’s Brand New Day, a powder you mix with water to make an exfoliating paste that’s gentle enough to use every day. Game changing shiz, this stuff. I then moisturise with either Origins VitaZing moisturiser (SPF15 with a slight tint) or Origins Plantscription moisturiser (SPF25). I also use a dab of Origins GinZing eye cream. If I’m out shooting photos all day I wear Clinique’s sun cream on all exposed bits.

In the evening I remove my eye make up with Simple’s Eye Makeup Remover. I then wash my face with Origins Checks & Balances face wash (doesn’t leave any residue) and moisturise with either Origins Make a Difference Night cream or One Love’s Love Springs Eternal serum.

I keep a lipbalm with me in every bag and pocket (Pitta balm is the best), and when I’m at my desk I spritz my face with John Masters Organics Lavender Hydrating Mist. I’m also obsessed with my new humidifier — it’s making such a difference to my eyes now the central heating is on all day. Staring at my laptop all day doesn’t help.

And it’s true what they say — nothing beats a good nights’ sleep and lots of water. Meditation helps, too.


I get through a bottle of Diptyque’s Lait Frais every two months, with frequent guest appearances from Ren’s Moroccan Rose Otto body lotion and Kiehl’s Creme de Corps. These days I only wash with Dr Bronner’s Lavender liquid soap (using unscented for new tattoos of which there seem to be many lately). Ren’s Guerande Salt body balm exfoliates my legs before shaving (I use a bit of hair conditioner as shaving cream – works a treat).


I have quick-to-tangle fine hair and spent most of teenage sporting one dreadful perm after another. At some point in my 30s I decided to accept the fact that I will never have thick voluminous locks, so I make the best of it with occasional highlights, a decent cut and lots of volumising spray — my hair particularly likes Aveda’s Pure Abundance Style Prep. I use Aveda’s Invati exfoliating shampoo and L’Occitane’s Repairing conditioner. Huge fan of John Masters Organics Sea Mist spray. L’Oreal Elnett Satin hairspray all the way, obviously. My Body Shop hair brush has lasted years, though I only brush my hair before getting in the shower. Their comb is great for detangling.


My make-up routine is very simple as I’m not really interested in make-up as such, though obviously I appreciate its benefits. I don’t wear foundation but use a few dabs of Estee Lauder’s Double Wear concealer under my eyes. I LOVE Origins Pinch Your Cheeks blusher — instantly makes you look healthier. Clinique’s Glossy black mascara has been my friend for years, as has the Body Shop’s liquid eyeliner in black or brown. I buy their lip liner in beech by the handful, and finish off with Clinique’s Chubby Stick in Graped-up or Chantecaille’s Hydra Chic Lipstick. Done and done and takes less than five minutes.

I can’t stand the sensation of nail varnish on my fingernails but like to wear it on my toenails — Essie and Kure Bazaar are favourite brands. Oh, and I swear by my Tweezerman tweezers.


Ahhh, one of my favourite topics. I am completely and certifiably addicted to scent and “use” it to enhance my mood and boost my creativity. I dab and spray and spritz all day, as friends can testify, and always have a little bottle or two of something with me. At the last count I own 150+ fragrances and perfume oils — some are big name brands but the majority are from small perfumers and indie labels I’ve discovered over the years. I love spicy woodsy scents, with the occasional burst of big white flowers like tuberose and gardenia. I love fragrances that aren’t too sweet, but then I’ll find something so sweet I get obsessed with it. And I can’t resist dirty sexy scents that smell like hot skin, mmm. There’s no real rhyme or reason to the scents I like — I just know when they feel right to me. Usually that means layering different oils together to create the right blend. It truly is my passion and my pleasure. #HSPbenefits


My Beauty Essentials |


Some favourites for you to explore:

Sweet Anthem (I adore Meredith and interviewed her for the Exploring the Senses ebook) – current faves are Poppy, Fox, Lolita and Ulalume
Diptyque – Tam Dao, Vetyverio and Volutes
Pacifica –  have lots but Tibetan Mountain Temple is my fave
Miller Harris – Feuilles de Tabac and Fleurs de Sel
Lotus Wei – Pure Energy and Infinite Love
Malin + Goetz for their sublime rum perfume oil (I made a special trip to their store while in NYC so it will always have happy associations)
Terry du Gunzberg – Flagrant Delice
Nasomatto – Hindu Grass
Jo Malone – Nutmeg & Ginger, always, Wood Sage & Sea Salt, and French Lime Blossom smells EXACTLY like linden blossom in the spring *sigh*
Etat Libre d’Orange – Noel au Balcon
Parfumerie Generale – Coze
Honore des Pres – Chaman’s Party
West Third Brand – Sandalo Tuberosa
L’Orientaliste – Santal and Orange Blossom (bought in Marrakech so especially cherished :)
CO Bigelow – Patchouli and Vanilla oils
DoTERRA essential oils – Elevation and Serenity are favourites

So there you have it. Which products do you swear by?

23 responses
  1. Avni Trivedi

    What a great post- so many things on my wish list now! I love Aesop for natural products that smell amazing – esp the body balm with Sandalwood and Orange. Or John Master’s Organics Vanilla and blood orange body milk. Mermaid hair is a new favourite as it smells coconutty and I am a new fan of the Aurelia range – esp the cleanser.

  2. susannah

    oh yes, Aesop! And I love that JMO body milk, too. Need to investigate Mermaid hair! ;-)

  3. Raquel

    how serendipitous, i just did a post very similar to this!

    after seeing your beautiful collection, i have to recommend my favorite botanical perfumery – phoenix botanicals on etsy. my favorite of hers are lavendar noir, triple vanilla, and meadow & fir, but truthfully they’re all delicious! <3

    thanks for sharing your essentials! this is a great reference.

  4. Kirsten

    Fun post!

    Suntegrity Moisturizer/SPF is my absolute favorite! Great feel on the skin, chemical free, and lovely scent.

    And I’m a big fan of Tokyo Milk scents. Poe’s Tobacco, in particular:

  5. Simran

    Finally the perfume post is here! Have you checked out Byredo? They stock it in Liberty, it’s a Swedish brand that isn’t quite like anything else at the moment. I’m obsessed with Black Saffron. Also love Kiehl’s Original Musk Oil (I discovered this when staying at a male friend’s place – I like it better on me than on him, even though I’m pretty sure it’s meant for men!) and Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanilla. Tom Ford Noir de Noir is what I’d wear if I were ten years older slash ten times more glamorous than I actually am.

  6. Katie

    For scent it’s essential oils or Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Which, beware, is totally a cult ;) but the best smelling one there is!!! I no longer buy new but love my favorites, culled my collection down to my favorite 75 or so.

  7. Bex Barrow

    delighted to read this, not least because I thought I was the only person on the planet who couldn’t stand the feeling on nail polish on my hands, but liked it on my toenails. Horrid! Anyway, I’ve always admired your ‘look’ so its lovely to know how you manage it. May be about to have a spending spree now. Thanks, B

  8. Clare

    I love these posts, I made a few notes! My hair is grey now, so I am still on the look out for a lovely shampoo for grey hair when you are fortysomething. I am totally addicted to lip balms and all things Jo Malone, her new Clary sage scent is the best

  9. rebecca

    I love that you can’t stand nail polish either! I had to get some on for a wedding a couple of weeks ago, and though it was the good stuff with no chips at all, I HAD to peel it offer after a week cause the sensation was killing me. I do still have some on my toes tho. ;) Thanks for sharing your gear, I always like a good rec before I add to my stash. Cheers!

  10. Lauren BURKITT

    Susannah! What an amazing collection. I absolutely love that photo with all the different shapes and sizes of perfume bottles, gorgeous! They are your cherished potions. Great post :)

  11. Meredith

    Wow, Suzannah! I thought *I* had perfume coming out the wazoo ;) So pretty, I love seeing all your smellies! (Also a big fan of Liberte, and Michael just relocated the brand to Seattle!)

  12. susannah

    Did you notice how many were made by *you*? :) x

  13. susannah

    *heads straight to etsy* :D

  14. susannah

    oh, that sounds lovely!!

  15. susannah

    Tom Ford’s stuff is lovely (but why so crazy expensive?!) and Liberty’s perfume room is one of my favourite places to hang out ;-) x

  16. susannah

    I love that the word phoenix has been mentioned in the comments twice – it’s a sign! ;-) xx

  17. susannah

    seriously, my nails feel like they are being suffocated – urgh!

  18. susannah

    ooh, i haven’t smelt that yet *adds to list*

  19. susannah

    word, sista ;-)

  20. Julia

    I write a beauty blog so I’m very happy to see this post. I too have over 150+ fragrances and I decide every morning and night who I’m going to be that day through scent.

    I’ve been a big fan of LURK natural perfumes for a while. My favorites from LURK are RSW005 and BS003.

    MCMC is amazing. My favorites are Phoenix, Kept, Maui, and Noble.

    OLO Fragrances in Dark Wave, Lightening Paw, and Victory Wolf.

    Enjoy and smell pretty! Julia

  21. Julia

    I forgot to add the OLO link:

  22. Valerie Martin

    Thanks so much for this post, Susannah! I am so envious of your perfume collection and would like to build my own (I have like 5, haha) so I will maybe put a couple names from your post on my Christmas list. I also am a huge fan of Origins.

  23. La plume et la page

    I discover Miller Harris’ fragrances last year in Brighton and I like “Green tangerine”. I got a sample and I use it rarely. I’ll buy a big bottle when I get more money…

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