As I type, several thousand beauty consultants are at home, either furloughed or on basic pay. Beauty manufacturers have either ceased operations or switched focus to emergency supplies such as hand sanitiser to make a contribution to the Covid-19 effort. Hair and beauty salons are shut, leaving the (mostly freelance) stylists and therapists on the financial brink. Many will struggle to reopen. The beauty industry, in all corners, will struggle to recover from this crisis. And so, on the assumption that readers are mostly shopping online at the moment, I’ve decided to use this space over the next few weeks to draw your attention to some of the truly brilliant independent British beauty brands who need your custom, more desperately now than ever.
Let’s start this week with skin. One of my most used and loved brands is Merumaya. Do get past the dated packaging, because what’s inside is terrific. Its Youth Preservation Moisturiser SPF20 and Retinol Resurfacing Treatment (both £40 for 30ml) are respectively among the best day and night moisturisers around, and I’m never without the Melting Cleansing Balm (£20, 100ml), which shifts every scrap of dirt and makeup without taking moisture with it. Everything is vegan.
A newer (and cheaper) discovery for me is Norfolk-based Q+A. Like many modern brands, its focus is on single-ingredient products, but this little independent holds its own in a crowded field. Q+A Squalane Facial Oil (£10 for 30ml) is beautiful, giving fine-textured, unsticky moisture to all but the very oiliest skins. There’s a great little Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum (no home should be without one) for just £6.50 for 30ml, and the whole range looks stylish on the shelf – young people, in particular, love it.
Similar in vibe, and fast becoming a bathroom staple for me, is The Inkey List. There’s so much goodness here. One of my picks of the new releases is the Oat Cleansing Balm (£9.99), a whopping 150ml tube of skin-softening, makeup-melting cleanser. Another is the 15% Vitamin C and EGF serum (£14.99, 30ml), unusual in its higher dose of glow-giving, brightening vitamin C, without lashings of formula-spoiling silicone (it’s not toxic, just vexing when it peels away under enthusiastic makeup application). All are cruelty-free, extremely good and as British as the Beeb. Please do support them if you can. More coming up.