Thursday, June 7, 2018


The first thing I have to say as I start this post is that I am a lucky woman. I have a bunch of friends who work in the skincare and beauty world. One of my freelance clients is Bobbie Thomas—a woman who has access to the newest, latest and greatest of everything in those industries, too. And as a blogger, I get brand swag from PR gifting from time to time. This is a rarified space to exist in, and it has given me access to products I never would have dreamed of spending money on, say, five years ago.

As a culture, we are pretty obsessed with beauty and skincare right now, and thanks to these personal and professional connections, I have taken a big, drunken gulp of the Kool-Aid. I am on a mission to have "perfect skin" just like Allure and Into The Gloss tell me I should be. It's a bullshit idea and I know that, but being someone with problematic skin, I don't see my desire to improve it's overall condition as a bad thing, as long as my efforts are safe, reasonable and not likely to bankrupt me.

I've had the good fortune to be able to try out tons of high-end beauty and makeup products in recent months, and some of them really have improved the look and feel of my skin (and how my makeup looks on it). So I thought I'd take some time to share the winners with you guys. The ones I've actually loved. The ones that, once they run out, I will be purchasing with an allocation of my own disposable income. The ones that I would tell you it's okay to spend your disposable income on if you want. Because listen, some products are pricey for a good reason—they're made from sustainable ingredients, they're all-natural, or they're just really, really effective—and some are expensive because they've got a huge brand name that says they can be. 

Ahead are the beauty, skin and hair products I've been using lately that are somewhat expensive but in my opinion, truly worth the spend.


So I don't know about you, but I tend to find the process of applying, managing and nailing a fake tan to be extremely difficult. While I'm still trying out a variety of body faux glow products, for the face, you can't beat the easy and subtle results of Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops. Just add a couple drops to your dollop of moisturizer, mix 'em up and apply to your face and neck as usual. Go on with your routine and when you wash your face that night, you'll see a nice, golden glow. (Also, I add a few drops to my body lotion and apply to my chest and shoulders for continuity.) You guys, I love this stuff.

If you've become an amateur skin care connoisseur like me of late, you're likely aware that everyone says you've got to be using a serum with retinol in it. And they're right. Retinoids combat both aging and acne by promoting the production of new skin cells. I have found that with regular use (at night, after first serum, before moisturizer), a retinol really does help manage my hormonal acne (cute!) and is maybe keeping fine lines and wrinkles from getting... Worse? Anyway, it feels essential to me, and for the most part, retinoids are much more expensive than this. (But you can always go for The Ordinary, which is just $10!)

Okay, I feel like a lot of you are reading this like—bitch, makeup remover does not cost $34. I know that. And I do stan for Vita Coco coconut oil as a moisturizer, makeup remover and cooking substitute, I was hooked the instant I tried this Farmacy balm. It feels so good on your skin, it removes even the most stubborn foundation and mascara, and intro'd me to a new thing I like, called "double cleansing." While this does remove makeup and leave your skin soft, the key is to follow up with a gentle cleanser to seal the deal. It's indulgent but dang, I love this stuff, too.

Does Clinique kind of remind you of being in high school? Me too. But I've been using this mask once a week or so for a few months, and I have found it to be singularly effective in undoing the dumb stuff I do to my skin. What I mean is, I pick at my blackheads, I squeeze, I do all the things dermatologists definitely tell you not to do. My only way to repent—to beg the skin gods for forgiveness—is to wash my face and then apply this charcoal mask for about 30 minutes. It tames the redness and relaxes those stressed spots I irritated. After rinsing it off, I follow up with my serums and a night moisturizer, and get to live another day working to be kinder to my skin.

When I don't have any active problems on the surface of my skin, this is the mask I use to kick things up a notch. This wildly Insta-popular mask (it turns silver as it dries) makes my skin feel amazing to the touch (Plump!? Soft!? Smooth AF!?) and the results last for a couple days. A lot of haters will say that masks don't really do anything. However, I have found that with regular use as part of a routine you stick with, a mask like this really can give you that extra oomph. (Also, I recommend applying it with a silicone "brush" because it feels fancy, it's less messy and helps prevent wasted product.)


So, my Diorshow just ran out. I've been using if faithfully since December (!!) and feel really good about ponying up my own money to get a new tube. $30 for six months of almost daily use is worth it to me. (That's about 16 cents per use, if you're a cost-per-wear kind of gal.) Friends, this mascara is so excellent if you're someone who loves a bit of drama—aka major volume, deep dark black, and good length, too. I know some women like perfectly defined, individual lashes. This isn't really that. I like that it is thick, a little clumpy and totally dramatic. I get so many compliments when I wear it, especially sans eyeliner with the below lipstick...

Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while knows that I've been on a personal campaign for NARS "heat wave" for a long time. This highly pigmented matte lipstick is just the best. It's definitely more of a summer red, one that has slightly orange undertones, but flatters every skin tone. Personally I love how it looks with my faux tan and a nice mattifying bronzer and tons of Diorshow. I've had my stick of this for years, so it's for sure worth every penny. (I don't wear it all the time, clearly.)

I'm fairly new to the world of blush, but this tiny little "treat" is great. It's got SPF 40 for when you wear it on your lips, and just a dab on each of your pointer fingers is enough to warm up and apply to the apples of your cheeks for a subtle pink, well, perk up! Also, you need so little of this time you use it, that it'll last for months (and months).

Eyebrows! I am a woman obsessed! This dumb thing has started happening over the past few years where very key hairs in the front of my brows have started... Falling out? Going missing? Anyway, I am doing my best to mitigate the damage by filling in the void with all manner of product. The best, easiest and most natural-looking product is from It Cosmetics, with a soft crayon on one end and a wand for grooming on the other. 

Oh guys, don't hate me. One of my best friends works for Armani so she hooks me up. I do have a regular drug-store brand foundation that I also like (it's Rimmel London but I can't find the exact one online), and that's fine and good. But... Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the silky application, buildable coverage and overall killer results of Armani's (slightly outrageously) pricey foundation. I get so many compliments on my skin when I wear it, but spoiler alert, this makeup is doing most of the heavy lifting. It looks smooth and matte, nicely covered but also still like me.

I will also give a bonus shout-out to Clinique's Superbalanced Makeup ($26) which is a bit more affordable and still garnered me compliment-worthy skin. 


My fellow realtively-short-haired ladies will understand the fanaticism with which I speak about sea salt spray. I'm specifically loving this one from Verb right now—but in general they're absolutely critical to my summer hair game. I like to avoid using hot tools whenever possible, and if I comb in some volumizing mousse (this one, specifically for air drying) and then spray my whole head with this sea spray, I can achieve textured, cool, undone waves with almost no effort. Once it's almost completely dry, I do a middle part, divide each side in two, twist the sections back and secure them with an elastic for an hour or so while I'm working at my desk. The result is varied but always good enough to really look like I tried. Curls, waves, texture—that can be easily revived for a second day with some dry shampoo.

I know! Another gift from my girl at Armani—but I am deeply, deeply into this scent, which is actually a men's cologne. It's got a truly unisex appeal, in that it's a little musky, but also bright, citrusy and just right for summer. At the bar the other night, a guy told me I smelled like a bar of soap he had used one time on a trip to Italy. Works for me!


Image credits: Tumblr, Isle of Paradise, Supergoop!


  1. Thanks for the article. If you have dry lips, it can be tempting to want to lick them in an attempt to find some relief.

    1. رضا بهرام
      Najlepszy na świecie czas luksusu jest tani i ekstrawagancki! Jeśli tego chcesz, czy chciałbyś toTanie damskie zegarki? Czy to się stało, ale się zatrzymało? tani audemars piguet zegarki,sprzedaż bell ross zegarki,idealny breitling zegarkiPonieważ ich kosztowna cena zatrzyma Twoje tempo, jest to odpowiednie miejsce dla Ciebie. Przede wszystkim powinniśmy potwierdzić
      شهاب مظفری

  2. Najlepszy na świecie czas luksusu jest tani i ekstrawagancki! Jeśli tego chcesz, czy chciałbyś toTanie damskie zegarki? Czy to się stało, ale się zatrzymało? tani audemars piguet zegarkisprzedaż bell ross zegarkiidealny breitling zegarkiPonieważ ich kosztowna cena zatrzyma Twoje tempo, jest to odpowiednie miejsce dla Ciebie. Przede wszystkim powinniśmy potwierdzić


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