Every summer I do some beauty housekeeping, aka going through my drawers and culling all of the expired items and products that I haven’t used in over a year. What’s interesting is that this year the process was a whole lot faster and I have to credit Birchbox for that pleasant surprise. I’ve really noticed a savings of money, time, and storage space, primarily because I’ve been able to sample so many great beauty products before committing to a full-sized purchase.
Now when I purchase a full-sized, full-priced item I can be certain that it will look good with my skin tone/texture, and won’t cause an allergic reaction, etc. It’s been incredibly convenient and efficient compared to my old process of buying something after swiping it on once under the perfect lighting of Sephora or a department store beauty counter and hoping for the best.
Detailed dscriptions of my Top 20 Beauty Buys are listed below the Rafflecopter giveaway, and I have also specified the product shades that I use. As a reminder, I am olive skin toned, and my skin tends toward sensitive and combination of oily AND dry.
1. A bar of this Shea Terra African Black Soap is always in my shower. I looooooove it. According to Shea Terra in West Africa they make a traditional black soap by mixing the ash and barks of local plants with healing oils. Rich in vitamins A and E, charcoal soap like this has become prized by women around the world for its abilities to battle blemishes and the signs of skin aging.
2. For my face I take cleansing a step further with Shea Terra’s Rose Hips Black Soap Face Wash. It’s both a cleanser and a mask, so I use it for both while I’m in the shower, usually while I’ve got conditioner soaking for a few minutes on the ends of my hair. It’s gentle enough to use every day as well.
3. Derma e Hydrating Scrub is both gently exfoliating as well as restorative, due to its combination of walnut shell powder for exfoliation as well as vitamin A and hyaluronic acid for plumping moisture.
4. Peter Thomas Roth Beta Hydroxy Acid 2% Acne Wash is terrific for my sometimes problem skin. I find it particularly effective for spot treating areas like my back, chest, and even my booty, because I’m prone to breakouts from sweating/friction during my work outs. It’s effective without being drying, and is formulated without any additional dyes, fragrances, or oils.
5. Any cold-pressed, pure argan oil. I use it nightly to remove my makeup and it’s fantastic. It gently and easily removes even the most stubborn mascara, eyeliner, etc. and doesn’t clog pores.
6. Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum is a nighttime product I apply before bed, and it’s made a huge difference in my skin texture. It contains retinol so it encourages cell turnover and basically exfoliates your skin while you’re sleeping. It’s not cheap, but one bottle lasts me for 3-4 months or longer because a little goes such a long way and I only apply on alternate nights.
7. and 8. Paul Mitchell’s line of Tea Tree oil-based products is so yummy. I love the tingly feeling it leaves on my scalp, especially when it’s so hot during the summer months! It leaves hair smelling divine. I try not to wash my hair more than twice per week, and when I condition I apply it liberally to the last 4-5 inches of my hair only.
9. Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment. This stuff is magic in a tub! It heals chapped lips, dry skin, eczema, etc.
10. Body Drench is hands down one of my favorite self tanner products. It doesn’t transfer onto clothing once it’s dry, the results are not fluorescent orange on your skin, and it doesn’t oxidize and make you stinky.
11. The Spornette “Little Wonder” Teasing Comb is small but mighty, especially for hair teasing newbies. I tease (aka backcomb) my hair almost daily, and this bad boy makes it super easy.
12. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado is another staple in my beauty bag. I have been using it for years to keep wrinkles and dryness away, and I just pat it onto my undereye area every night before bed. So hydrating!
13. Covergirl Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation is super affordable, glides right on for light-weight non-greasy coverage, is long lasting and even contains SPF 20. Most of the time I wear their Creamy Beige (850) formula.
14. Do you have fine hair like me? Fake volume with this un.done Texture Spray from amika. Tip: a little goes a long way! Tease, spray, tease a bit more, shape and finish with a medium hold hairspray if needed.
15. For dark circles and shadows under the eyes I swear by Benefit’s Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer. I prefer the Peachy Beige, Light (01) shade for optimal lightening, and then I tap a bit of light-weight foundation over top to blend and blur the edges.
16. Benefit Dew the Hoola Liquid Matte Bronzer is an easy to use, buildable, semi-matte bronzing product that I use sometimes by itself by lightly applying all over my face, under my makeup on my nose and cheeks to give me a sun-kissed glow, or even for light contouring under the jaw. Great for building a glow without the disco ball glitter effect.
17. Benefit They’re Real Lengthening Mascara has been displacing L’Oreal and Rimmel in my beauty bag lately. The formula is defining while increasing lash density and goes on easily without clumps.
18. I use gel liner and liquid liner depending on the look I’m going for, and this Eyeko FAT Liquid Eyeliner Pen is my favorite for on-the-go, day to day looks. It applies a bit like a fat magic marker.
19. I’ve been using it for years and still can’t get over tarte’s Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse in Medium Brown. My personal advice for filling or shaping your eyebrows is to always go a shade lighter than your own brows unless your brows are blonde (then you’ll go just one shade darker)!
20. LOC One-and-done Shadow Stick Trio has been a life saver when I’m on the road because they are waterproof and creaseless eye shadow pencils. Their compact size makes them a perfect travel companion, and they blend together for various looks too. My favorite is the neutral, warm-toned “Rise & Shine” color combination.