Being proven right when you have high expectations of a product is the best thing. Being proven wrong? Not so much.
Both of those situations happened to me recently, since I’ve been trying out a couple of new cruelty-free skincare bits from two of my favourite brands, Antipodes and LUSH. My experiences with these brands have always been incredibly positive so I was especially excited to get my hands on something new (new to me).
But how did the products fare? Let’s find out.
Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser, £24.99 for 200ml (suitable for vegetarians)
A bit of a splurge but Naturisimo had an offer on and I was picking up some other bits and pieces, so why the hell not? I’ve read glowing review after glowing review of the Juliet Cleanser and curiosity got the better of me. I consider it a morning cleanser (or a second cleanse in the evening).
First, the good points: it smells incredible, like fresh apples. This is exactly the kind of scent you want when you’re bleary-eyed and half asleep, particularly if you have to get up early (as I have to now, yay real world). The gel feels nice and light on the skin — almost frothy — and you don’t need to use a lot to cover the face.
It contains kiwi and hibiscus to exfoliate, Vinanza grapes to combat dryness, and manuka honey, which is antibacterial and also one of the main ingredients in my favourite Antipodes product ever, the Aura mask. I figured the Juliet Cleanser would keep blemishes at bay and, as expected, my acne hasn’t flared up. It also makes the skin look bright and fresh, so I guess the kiwi and hibiscus have been working their magic too.
What about the not-so-good points? Well, my skin tends to feel tighter than normal after I use it. At first I brushed this off — I have (mostly oily) combination skin and some areas of my face do feel tight after cleansing regardless of what I use — but it got to the point where it was so noticeable that I actually stopped using it. I really wanted to like the Juliet Cleanser but I just think it would be better suited to someone whose skin is oily all over.
Repurchase? No. I love Antipodes as a brand but this particular product isn’t working for my skin.
LUSH Grease Lightning (v), £6.50 for 45g
A predominantly natural spot treatment packed with the kind of ingredients that dry those buggers right out: tea tree, sea water, and witch hazel, to name but a few. (There’s also aloe vera to soothe.) A lightweight gel, I use it in the mornings if I know I won’t be wearing make-up that day, or if I have time for it to sink in before I apply make-up (otherwise it pills).
The best thing about Grease Lightning is that it has all of undiluted tea tree oil’s benefits with none of the stinging. True, it can make skin feel a little tight where it’s drying up spots but as long as you apply it directly to the blemish and avoid the surrounding skin, you shouldn’t have any problems. I always see a noticeable difference after using Grease Lightning — my spots look smaller and less red — and it works well in conjunction with my prescription acne cream. Another winner from LUSH.
LUSH Rosy Cheeks (v), £6.95 for 75g
A relatively new addition to the Fresh Face Mask range, Rosy Cheeks has overtaken Catastrophe Cosmetic as my favourite LUSH mask. It still calms my skin but has none of the flaky shedding that you get from Catastrophe Cosmetic, which makes it much more practical to use, and it’s so gentle.
Rosy Cheeks contains kaolin clay, calamine and rose petals, all very soothing to stressed out skin, plus the rose scent is very pretty and delicate. I can see quite a dramatic difference to my skin the morning after using Rosy Cheeks and if I’m having a bad skin day (or week…) then it will often speed up the healing process. True love.
Repurchase? I already have.
What are you testing out at the moment? Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments!
(v) = vegan
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!