I will be the first to admit that up until a couple of years ago, I wasn't what you'd call a "product girl." I've always been much more fanatical about fashion than beauty, but—and I know this is not an original thought—as I've gotten a smidgen older (and finally won my adulthood-long battle with hormonal acne), I've slowly started to give my 30-year-old skin some proper, non-acne-related care. And in order to do that, I've had to come to terms with forking over a portion of my hard-earned disposable income for beauty products instead of new clothes. Spoiler alert: It's worth it.
I've found that (unsurprisingly) I approach my beauty purchases the same way I do fashion: it's all about a high-low mix. There are some things that are worth "investing" in, and some things that are just simple, good products that don't cost a ton because they're basically just one ingredient.
The best and most recent example of this in my routine has been the addition of Vita Coco coconut oil. I'm sure you've read about the benefits of coconut oil somewhere (perhaps here, here or here), because people can't seem to stop talking about how amazing, good-smelling and multi-purpose it is. I'm often skeptical of beauty and skincare trends, which is why I'm a little late to the game with this one and subsequently full of regret. A nice big tub of VC coconut oil will run you about $14, and you can use it about as many ways as dollars you'll spend.
At our apartment we keep it in the bathroom where it goes back and forth from the shower to the counter—I use it as an all-over moisturizer a few times a week, and have found that it is especially effective on those bumpy red patches of dry skin on the back of my upper arms. (TMI?) I use it every single night to take off my makeup; a small dab will remove even the most stubborn waterproof mascara and is super-gentle on the tender skin around your eyes. A few nights a week I also use it as a nighttime facial moisturizer since my skin is a little too naturally oily to use it daily. My roommates and I use it on our nails to soften cuticles, and next on my at-home spa to-do list is to try coconut oil in a homemade scrub and as a leave-in conditioner.
On the spendier end of the spectrum are things like my Clarisonic, which I use three times a week or so to exfoliate—and I've found the results to be much more soothing and sustainable than using a harsh facial scrub. I've also come to rely on Filorga's Time-Filler Mat ($89) as my daytime moisturizer together with Body Merry's Hyaluronic Dew Serum ($14). The combo works well to hydrate my skin and give it a nice smooth base for makeup. I'm also somewhat of a mask addict, and alternate between a few favorites including First Aid Beauty's Purifying Mask, Dr. Jart's Pore Penetrator (for T-zone blackheads, ugh) and Sublime Beauty's Pure Luxury Mask.
*If I want to wake up feeling like I have the face of a newborn infant, I use a gentle face wash with my Clarisonic followed by a mask followed by coconut oil right before bed.
// SHOP MY FAVORITE SKIN PRODUCTS BELOW //
Another hot tip? Several years ago my former roommate, a self-confessed beauty junkie whose mother is an esthetician, told me that to get super-soft lips she scrubbed hers gently with her toothbrush in the morning before applying balm. I can tell you this trick totally works—and I find that applying drugstore standby Vaseline rosy lips ($2) right after gives them that perfect just-a-little-shiny pink.
Truth be told, I think beauty advice from other people really only gets you so far. Everyone's skin is different, especially on their face, so you have to find a product combination and a routine that works for you. However, I'm fairly confident that taking your makeup off every night is good for everyone, and you'll probably enjoy using coconut oil at least one of the ways I mentioned above. And if not? You can just eat it. (No really, you can pull it, cook with it or simply ingest a spoonful a day.)
I seem to have found a routine and a rotation of products that works for me, helping to keep my skin healthy and clear (aside from the still occasional blemishes that I eradicate with Mario Badescu's miracle drying lotion ($17)). But what about you?
What beauty products and rituals do you swear by? Gwyneth Paltrow and my friend Kiley are really into "dry brushing," and I've heard almost too many good things about Glossier without ever trying it. Please, enlighten me!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vita Coco Coconut Oil. Thank you for supporting the posts that keep SHUT UP I LOVE THAT going!