First things first- don’t panic! If you happened to miss the first part of my Favorite Things, you can still check it out at ReDeemed, where I was a guest blogger recently!
My ReDeemed blog covered must-haves regarding makeup and hair care. Although those are two very important pieces of the glamour puzzle, they can’t do much for you when you are rolling out of bed at 6am. Luckily there are products out there that can reduce the horrifying effects of looking in the mirror at the crack of dawn. For instance, a clear complexion, white teeth and a tanned body are aspects of beauty that do not disappear when the makeup comes off and the hair is brushed out. If you wake up late for work and do not have time to do the 2 hour beauty routine, at least you still have good skin and a great smile. For this reason, I am actually dubbing skin care as more important than makeup. Yes, I said it! Now, don’t get me wrong, buying a new eye cream is certainly not as exhilarating as picking out a new eye shadow, but it is certainly more beneficial.
At the ripe old age of 27, I cannot say that my expertise in this area is as great as it will be someday, but I am definitely starting to see the effects of all my tanning-bed years and I have tried enough products to know what works!
So, let’s get to it!
- Face wash – Philosophy Purity
I love a face wash that takes it all off! Purity removes mascara without burning your eyes or harshly drying your skin.
- Eye cream – Bliss The Youth As We Know It
Let me start off by saying that I am not one to spend $75 on an eye cream, but I managed to get my hands on this one as a “deluxe sample” through Sephora (they throw one of those your way every once in a while as a “Thanks for spending ½ your paychecks in our store.”) and let me tell you, it’s fabulous! Everyone has their own eye issues, be it dark circles, lines or puffiness. Unfortunately I’ve been cursed with the Santa Claus bags. Not many products reduce my puffiness, but this one does the job better than anything else I’ve tried.
- Night cream – Olay Regenerist
I have always had problems finding a night cream that was moisturizing enough to ward off wrinkles, but also wouldn’t break me out. I have relatively oily skin and most night creams tend to do more damage than good to my skin, but this one is a nice balance for me.
- Day moisturizer – Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
The key word here is gel! I am not a fan of the original Clinique moisturizer, but the gel is perfect for my aforementioned oily skin! It gives just enough moisture to my slightly dry cheeks but doesn’t leave a greasy residue.
- Toner – Clinique Clarifying Lotion
Not really sure why exactly Clinique calls this product a lotion. It’s a toner in my book. Regardless, it really smoothes out skin and gets off any leftover makeup. My face is just not the same when I am out of this stuff (which is rarely)!
- Exfoliant – Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Cream
This is another product that I came across via Sephora’s deluxe sample offers. Luckily I have been able to make it last a very long time and have not had to shell out the $75 myself…yet! It takes a very tiny amount to leave your skin feeling incredibly soft and renewed! Yes, it can be uncomfortable to grind all those tiny little particles into your skin, but no pain, no gain!
- Mask – BeautiControl Fango Seaweed Mask
It’s green, it’s grainy, it’s silkening, and it’s fabulous. I alternate the seaweed mask and the microderm cream (above) every week and they last forever!
- Teeth whitener – Crest White Strips Premium
I have used Crest White Strips for about 8 years now and they amaze me every time! I much prefer the premium over the classic. At about $15 more, the premium work much faster and only have to be worn for one week instead of two. I have purchased the classic a couple of times and I always call it quits before I make it through the whole box. The strips make your teeth very sensitive and they just aren’t very fun, so I would much rather spend a little more and only endure the inconvenience for a week. Use every 6 months for a blinding smile!
- Self tanner – Sun Laboratories Self Tanning Lotion
I honestly do not even remember how I came across this obscure brand of self tanner, all I know is that I have been loyal to it for 5 years! It is more expensive than popular drugstore brands, but I will pay extra to avoid looking like an oompa loompa. This is going to sound weird, but the lotion has a bit of a greenish tint which counteracts the typical orange glow and leaves skin a beautiful bronze. The lotion itself is extremely dark so you can see where it has been applied and helps you blend it in perfectly to avoid streaks. I personally like the Very Dark shade, but they also offer Dark and Medium.
- Lash enhancer – Peter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For
Let me start off by saying that I have not yet tried Latisse, the popular new prescription lash grower. I am going to assume that it is really the best, but at about $120 for a one month supply (not counting the charge for the dermatologist appointment to obtain the prescription), I don’t think I’ll be giving it a go anytime soon. But, I have tried a couple other lash enhancers and so far my favorite is definitely Lashes To Die For. It is $125 for a three month supply and it really works! I didn’t notice an incredible thickening, but it did make my lashes considerably longer!
- Dry shampoo – Oscar Blandi Pronto
Have you ever overslept a little bit and ended up going to work with yucky hair? You needed Pronto. I cannot rave enough about this stuff! It is incredible! I wash my hair every other day, otherwise it dries out. Unfortunately it’s not looking all that great at the end of day two. That’s when Pronto comes in. It certainly should not take the place of regular hair washing (gag!), but it is perfect for a quick fix! Just sprinkle a little on your scalp and rub in or brush through. Just don’t put too much or you’ll look like you dumped baby powder on your head. The right amount absorbs oil and gives your roots awesome volume! (And yes, this should have gone in my last blog about hair care favs. I am ashamed to say that it somehow slipped my mind!)
- Nail polish top coat – N.Y.C. Super Shiny
Several years ago when I was in cosmetology school, the girls in my class somehow discovered that this $.99 cheapola top coat is amazing! I’ve compared it to OPI, China Glaze and others and nothing that I’ve tried keeps nail polish from chipping like N.Y.C.
- Hair removal – uuuummmm…
I am actually still on the hunt for the best hair removal product or procedure. Right now I stick to shaving with a regular razor and regular soap. Riveting info, I know. So since I don’t have any breaking news in hair removal, let me go ahead and clue you in on what doesn’t work.
The NoNo – This is a device that Sephora sells for $99 ($250 when I bought it last year). I returned it after about three months of use with zero results.
Nair – Smells horrible, burns and doesn’t even get skin near as smooth as shaving.
Waxing – At home waxing is not a good idea if you are a Chewbacca like me. It just doesn’t work and it’s painful. Professional waxing definitely works, but it is expensive, painful and the grow-back time is very inconvenient. Who wants to wear hair pants for 3-4 weeks until you can go get waxed again? Personally, 1-2 weeks of hairlessness is not worth 3-4 weeks of nastiness.
Professional Laser Hair Removal – A few years ago I managed a spa that offered this service, so I was fortunate enough to receive the treatments (worth thousands) for free. I had about 5 separate sessions on my lower legs, bikini line and underarms. At the time I thought it was a godsend. It was a little painful, but the hair would “fry” and fall out within a couple days, not to return until the next cycle of hair grew in a couple weeks later, when I would get another treatment! Well, long story short, the results had completely dissipated about a year after the treatments stopped. I now shave every single day, once again. Oh, and it can be dangerous. I ended up in the ER with second degree burns after my last treatment, but that is another story for another day.
I hope my trial and error help you find which beauty products/services are right for you! In the mean time, fake it ‘til you make it! A confident smile is always a great beautifier!