Luxury face creams for spring: my cruelty-free best buys

Sarah with luxury face creams

Spring has practically sprung and, quite frankly, I couldn’t be happier about it. After a seemingly endless winter, I can’t wait to make some new-season changes, to my home, my garden, my wardrobe – and my skincare. After all, you wouldn’t dream of wearing the same type of clothes all year round. I think it makes perfect sense to update your skincare routine, from face creams to cleansers, too when the seasons change. Of course, we’re all different. So, what you decide to tweak should be guided by your skin’s individual needs and concerns. But broadly speaking, most skin types react well to lighter layers in warmer weather.

I think using the right face cream is an absolute must and, with Mother’s Day literally around the corner, this would make the perfect gift for mums too! There are, however, so very many different types to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why I’m happy to share some of my tried-and-tested favourite formulas. So read on to discover my round-up of some of the best new face creams for spring.

my tried and tested favourite face creams

What is a face cream?

What exactly is a face cream, and why do you need one? The truth is, there’s no one all-encompassing answer to the first question. And why you need one depends on our skin type, any skin conditions, in addition to any personal skin concerns.

However, for the purposes of this blog, let’s define face creams as day creams. This is, as opposed to night creams, which often feature very different ingredients. The best face creams are multi-tasking formulations, which moisturise, hydrate, nourish and protect. Some might incorporate potent anti-ageing ingredients, such as antioxidants like Vitamins C and E. Others might include a sunscreen (SPF) to protect against UV damage. Whichever face cream you decide on, it won’t work properly unless it’s applied to clean skin. So make sure you cleanse properly (morning and night), before any subsequent skincare steps.

ishga Balancing Marine Cream

Full disclosure: I absolutely love the ishga brand, and already use its hand wash and body lotion. I regularly reach for its Anti-oxidant Marine Cream too. So, I was thrilled to add the new Balancing Marine Cream to my skincare portfolio. This new formulation is lighter than its fellow anti-oxidant formula. In my mind, this makes it perfect for spring, and maybe also be more suitable for sensitive/combination skin types.

Ishga products are renowned for their natural, organic ingredients and essentials oils. Importantly for me, they are vegan, sustainable and cruelty-free, too. Ishga’s Balancing Marine Cream features patchouli oil – a powerful detoxifying, anti-ageing ingredient – and nourishing sandalwood oil, which helps to improve skin elasticity and plumpness. It left my skin feeling smooth and moisturised, but not at all oily. And like all ishga products, it smells divine. A great all-rounder, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this as one of the best face creams for spring.

ishga face cream best buy for spring
Priced at £30 for 50ml, ishga’s new Balancing Marine Cream features a powerful blend of clean skincare ingredients. This includes the brand’s signature seaweed extract and legendary Scottish spring water

DOMA Longevyouth Cream

If anti-ageing is a key priority for you, the best face creams to look out for usually have some sort of expert affiliation. Created by Harley Street facialist Donna Maneva, DOMA Longevyouth Cream is a new, advanced daily treatment moisturiser. This face cream claims to support the mechanisms of skin cell rejuvenation and cellular repair. And I must say, it’s a bit of a find!

My skin looked and felt dry and dehydrated after so much harsh winter weather. But after a few weeks of using this face cream, I think my skin is definitely tighter, brighter and glowing. This formula features lots of luxurious natural and organic ingredients too. These help to strengthen the skin barrier function and stimulate collagen and elastin production (important to counter sagging).

Donna Maneva told me: “My curiosity took me to places with ancient wisdom and beliefs on how to stay energised and prolong life. I discovered youthfulness has three key elements – hydration, cellular repair and a young mindset! Ageing skin has reduced wound-healing capacity and increased water loss, as well as having to constantly defend itself against environmental aggressors. So I wanted to create a skincare formula that helped maintain optimum skin barrier function and protect against age-related dysregulation.”

I always try to support brands that give back. So, I was pleased to learn that DOMA donates 1% of its products to DIRT. This is an environmental charity founded by model, environmentalist and sustainability consultant Arizona Muse. She happens to be a big fan of the brand and looks absolutely amazing!

DOMA Longevyouth Cream
Priced at £119 for 50ml, DOMA’s Longevyouth Cream is a pricey but worthwhile skincare investment, especially if anti-ageing is a key priority

GAIA Crystal Nourishing Cream

If you haven’t already tried any GAIA products, you’re in for a real treat. Inspired by the eponymous Greek goddess known as mother nature, this brand offers skincare that’s hand-made in Britain. They use traditional production methods and natural ingredients, and are particularly well-known in the wellness/spa industry.

I’ve added the vegan Crystal Nourishing Cream to my list of best face creams. This is because I simply love how it makes my skin feel. This formula nourishes, calms and soothes, and despite being ideal for drier complexions, it’s easily absorbed. In terms of key ingredients, rose quartz crystal, anti-inflammatory blue tansy, and multiple essential oils really is a winning combination. This face cream also includes vitamin-rich Cacay oil and St John’s Wort, to promote healing.

GAIA founder Diane Nettleton was kind enough to share with me her recommendations regarding the best face creams to choose: “Use natural skincare products with soothing ingredients such as shea butter to soothe skin. Also, don’t over-complicate your skincare routine, but use a good serum and moisturiser every day.”

Gaia Crystal Nourishing face cream best buy
Perfect for dry skin – and suitable for use both day and night – GAIA’s Crystal Nourishing Cream is priced at £55 for 50g

RINGANA FRESH Cream Moisturiser

If your preference is for fresh, sustainable, small-batch skincare, one of the best face creams to try is RINGANA’s FRESH Cream Moisturiser. Free from chemical preservatives, this brand uses only natural active ingredients. In fact, they are so fresh all of the products have an expiry date. In addition, everything is vegan, ethical, and cruelty-free.

What really impressed me about RINGANA’s FRESH Cream Moisturiser is the fact that it’s available in three different variants. So you can choose between light, medium or rich to suit different skin types. Light was created for oily skin; medium for normal and combination; and rich for dry complexions. I found this formula ideal for everyday wear, nicely hydrating, and a great base for make-up.

Ringana luxury face cream
RINGANA’s FRESH cream moisturiser (£40.89 for 50ml) is cleverly available in three different variants, which have been customised to accommodate the needs of different skin types

SBTRCT Moisturising Facial Balm

My final best face creams contender is SBTRCT Moisturising Facial Balm. I’ve only recently discovered this brand, which offers a really innovative range of solid bars of cleansers, balms and serums. This collection is perfect for anyone who wants to reduce their environmental impact, without compromising on great skincare. I love the ‘less is more’ ethos. Everything is zero plastic, waterless, vegan, cruelty- and palm-oil free.

Have you ever tried a  solid moisturiser before? It sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but I’m a complete convert! This face cream balm is so soft and soothing, and my skin felt really moisturised afterwards. It contains squalane, glycerine, rosehip oil and shea butter, all known for their hydrating and emollient properties. For best results, warm a little balm in your hands first, then apply it to your face. To further reduce waste, there’s a starter kit (priced at £36), which includes a 50g bar and bamboo pot. If you pick a refill option (bar only), this costs £28. If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off on holiday soon, this balm is perfect for travel and indeed any on-the-go moisture touch-ups.

SBTRACT face balm
Innovative but oh-so-effective, it’s easy to see why SBTRCT Moisturising Facial Balm has won so many awards, including Best Zero Waste Skincare Brand (both Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2022, and Beauty Shortlist Awards 2022, 2021). The Sunday Times chose SBTRCT as one of the best beauty brands of 2022

Keen to keep your skin clean and clear this spring? Click here for my review of the best cleansers and eye make-up removers.

AD: Huge thanks to all the above brands who have kindly collaborated with me for me to produce this blog.