Entrepreneur And Beauty Guru: We Chat To Ruth Crilly About All Things Beauty

With over 20 years experience in the beauty industry, entrepreneur and beauty guru Ruth Crilly shares her skincare, fashion and interiors advice across her Instagram, YouTube and blog ‘A Model Recommends’ – and we can’t get enough. Her honest reviews provide expert insights into day to day beauty looks, and how to get that enviable model glow.

We chatted with Ruth about her love of beauty and skincare, and even got her lowdown on the trials of revamping a Dorset cottage in the middle of lockdown. From her holy grail products to luxury skincare worth investing in, read on for all things Ruth…

What five beauty products could you not live without?

Oh, starting with a difficult one! I hate having to pick! OK….

1) Beauty Pie Plantastic Cleansing Balm, so luxurious and smells amazing but is really well-priced.

2) Skin + Me Bespoke Prescription Cream, my personalised one contains tretinoin and is really potent but doesn’t irritate my skin.

3) Elizabeth Arden Great 8 SPF35, the best SPF ever formulated because it’s light and fresh and you can’t feel it on your skin. Sadly discontinued but I’m hoping that if I berate them enough in public they will bring it back!

4) Le Labo Santal 33 perfume. It’s just amazing. So sexy and understated. A small part of me dies when I smell someone else in it because it’s so special and I want it all for myself. So actually mentioning it here is very counterintuitive.

5) Honest Beauty Mascara. It has this faffy primer you put on before the actual mascara and it just does miraculous things to my lashes. I hate the extra step but it’s worth it!

Best new beauty discovery?

Amanda Harrington Face Mist Tanner – you apply it with big kabuki brushes and blend it in and it just gives the most natural effect. Oh also, the Bronzing Stick from Rare Beauty – just draw it on like a crayon and buff it in and it’s so easy and creamy and gives a really “fresh” sunkissed look to the skin.

A metal lash comb for separating lashes when you've gone OTT with the mascara and there's no turning back.

What are your favourite beauty tools?

A flannel. You can’t clean your face properly without some sort of cloth, especially if you have a tonne of makeup/sunscreen on. Also a metal lash comb for separating lashes when you’ve gone OTT with the mascara and there’s no turning back. And a brow brush/spoolie. Spritz it lightly with hairspray (Elnett is my favoured spray) and comb brows upwards and outwards and there’s no need for an expensive brow gel.

What were the top tips and tricks you learnt from working as a model?

Using a touch of foundation mixed into body lotion on any exposed skin makes such a difference to overall appearance and gives a really polished look. Luckily we now have body finishing products that do a sort of “all in one” job – Vita Liberata Body Blur is incredible and had I been modelling full time when that was launched I imagine it would have been on every shoot!

What does beauty mean to you?

Honestly, I know I should say something profound about self-confidence and beauty from within etc etc but when I hear the word “beauty” all I can think about is the absolute delight of faffing about with all the products that the beauty world encompasses, from tiny boxes of fragranced soap to the smell of a brand new lipstick. I just love beauty as a thing, a category. Of course people have beauty and are beautiful, that goes without saying, but the word itself conjures up images of all the amazing unguents and potions I can mess about with!

Who do you follow on Instagram for beauty?

I love @katiejanehughes and @lisaeldridgemakeup for makeup tutorials and ideas and I like to keep abreast of skincare developments and opinions on ingredients and so on via aestheticians and dermatologists – @dremwedgeworth@dija_ayodele@drsambunting and also @labmuffinbeautyscience for debunking myths and explaining the science behind beauty trends and media scares.

Best luxury skincare brand that’s actually worth the £££?

The pricey brands I go for tend to be very science-led and probably aren’t even the most expensive, for example Kate Somerville, Medik8 and Murad are all incredible brands and worth every penny. But if it’s “luxury” as in wafty scents, posh packaging and high-end branding and you want to splash out then I am partial to a bit of Omorovicza. They also do one of the best facials I’ve ever had!

And best budget heroes?

Easy! All of these are easily as good as much more expensive versions. The Calm + Restore range from Aveeno if you have sensitive skin, Squalane Cleanser from The Ordinary, L’Oreal True Match foundation, Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix range if you fancy dabbling in some acid exfoliation, Superfacialist Cream Cleanser, a gorgeous rose-scented cleanser with a nourishing feel, Colab Dry Shampoo for root lift without any white residue, Garnier Micellar Water, and finally, bulk-bought Epsom Salts (I buy 10kg at a time!) from large online etailers. So much cheaper than scented bath salts so you can chuck in whole cupfuls at a time into the bath. Makes you sleep like a baby.


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A post shared by Ruth Crilly (@ruthcrilly)


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A post shared by Ruth Crilly (@ruthcrilly)

What is your all-time favourite fragrance?

Currently Santal 33. I don’t think I’ve ever loved another fragrance as much as this. Maybe Molecule 01 from Escentric Molecules…

Where do you go for treatments?

I very rarely do! Usually if I stay away at a nice hotel I’ll try a treatment. The best facials I’ve had have been more of the massage-y holistic ones than product-focussed. I get enough new-product-trying at home, I don’t need someone to apply six masks in a row! So I prefer to be massaged and prodded and coddled. Omorovicza and ILA Spa are the best I’ve had I think.

Best spa in London / elsewhere?

My top spas: The Newt in Somerset, Limewood Hotel in the New Forest, Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds. All incredibly relaxing with lovely surroundings – that makes a real difference to me. I find it harder to unwind in the city!

What’s your approach to the sun and SPF?

I used to be a total sun worshipper and liked to achieve a faultless, burnished tan for as much as the year as I could. Now I’m meticulous when it comes to sun protection, especially on my face. I hit forty and basically glued a sun hat to my head, I don’t spend much time outside in the garden or wherever unless my face is protected. Everywhere else it’s slathering with SPF50. I tan very easily, even with regular SPF application, but I don’t “sunbathe” now like I used to. I think there has been a really necessary increase in public education and awareness of the dangers of skin cancer over the past few years that was really lacking when I was growing up!

The Newt In Somerset Spa

Which hair brands and products do you really rate?

Living Proof Full Dry Volume Spray has to be one of the greatest hair products of all time. It blasts volume into the roots but has no weird stickiness. I like OI Oil from Davines for adding sheen and I use the Cloud 9 Hair Wand to add slight wave and texture to my hair if I’m styling it. I usually air dry and add a bit of the above oil! I like Aveda shampoos and conditioners – especially the Damage Control – but am a recent convert to New Wash which is a detergent free hair wash from Hairstory. I recently did an AD campaign for them and so tested it for ages and loved how manageable my hair was. You don’t use a separate conditioner, which is unthinkable on my bleached hair, but somehow it works! For brushing I use Wet Brush, which detangles without tearing or pulling. It’s so good.

Has being a mum changed your approach to beauty?

Yes. I actually make more of an effort now because it carves out a bit of time that’s just for myself. The baby years were weird as I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing or who I was, but I’m gradually getting back into looking after myself and trying to look good.

What’s your approach to fitness and working out?

I only do it if I want to and I’m going to enjoy it. I walk every day with the dog so my base level of fitness is fine, but I detest doing exercise that I feel I “should” do, so I don’t. I like the Peloton and that can be quite addictive, it gives me a little rush when I’m cycling fast! Mainly because I’m so uncoordinated that I would definitely die if I pedalled that fast in the real world, so it’s sort of like a fantasy cycle.


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Your latest project @thedorsetnook looks amazing, can you share any highs/lows from the renovation?

Well it was quite stressful as we kept having lockdowns and I couldn’t really be on site that much as the kids weren’t at school or nursery. So it took a LOT longer than planned. But I love transforming properties, I get a real buzz out of it and this was really satisfying to do. I wanted to create a really stylish, comfortable place for people to go on holiday – somewhere I’d want to live, basically! I’ve been to some shocking holiday cottages and I was determined to create something lovely. I hope I’ve done that!

I wanted to create a really stylish, comfortable place for people to go on holiday - somewhere I'd want to live, basically!

Where do you love to shop for interiors?

Soho Home, OKA, Vinterior for vintage and antique pieces, then I spend a lot of time scouring eBay and Facebook Marketplace for random vintage items. It’s very time-consuming but a nice hobby! I go to lots of antique fairs and flea markets too. I always mix some high-end, new pieces with a lot of vintage!

Easy beauty routine for the AM?

Quick cleanse – I like a splash-off sort of cleanser (but I still use a washcloth!) but I’m not above a swipe of micellar water instead!
Antioxidant serum (I love Paula’s Choice serums, SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic but there are so many excellent ones out there at all price points – Sali Hughes has just launched a skincare range with a Vit C serum and it’s lovely!)
Moisturiser + SPF or just SPF. The aforementioned Elizabeth Arden one is so gorgeous, but I have other options. They must be light and fresh and not feel like glue and it’s surprising how many just don’t make the cut.

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