product: amorepacific treatment enzyme peel $60
uses: with ingredients such as papaya enzymes & green tea leaf extract, this exfoliator helps brighten & balance skin tone
verdict: i love this. i love the smell, the texture, & how fresh & renewed by face feels after use. it’s fun to use too! it comes in powder form, then lathers beautifully when water is added. the price may be steep for some–especially for a face wash–but if you ask the lovely sephora ladies for a free sample, they usually have a tiny bottle on hand. 5 out of 5
beauty tip: whenever i’m washing my face, i leave the product on for a few minutes (usually the time it takes me to brush my teeth). this helps your skin absorb the benefits of the product before you rinse it off.
product: multi-award-winning la roche-posay anthelios 60 ultralight sunscreen fluid $25
uses: put on face for sun protection provided by its “antioxidant complex”
verdict: why does everyone love this? this facial sunscreen has won so many beauty awards, & remains one of the top spf products money can buy–that’s why i tried it. not only did it dry out my skin, but it also made my forehead bumpy. i didn’t like the watery texture of the bright white cream, & it felt greasy when i applied it. 1 out of 5
beauty tip: don’t always trust american consumers. sometimes it really is just good pr. oh, & always wear sunscreen. always.
product: rodial dragon’s blood hyaluronic mask $42
uses: dragons, you ask? the ingredient called ‘dragon’s blood’ is the red sap derived from the ‘sangre de drago’ tree. it has ant-oxdiant properties to reduce redness, & also works to form a calming, protective shield on the face that smooths imperfections & firms skin. the other prominent ingredient in this mask, hyaluronic acid, plumps & hydrates skin to diminish wrinkles. you can wear it as a mask, or leave it on overnight.
verdict: i love the texture of this mask & i feel its quite soothing to apply it. i didn’t notice any real difference with my skin, however, but i trusted that the blood & acid were doing their job. 2 out of 5 stars
beauty tip: the majority of us have smart phones now, right? well, when you’re shopping for beauty products, you should google the ingredients advertised on the product you’re interested in. once you learn what they do for your skin, look at where they stand on the ingredient list—the closer to the top, the more of that ingredient the product contains. doing the research not only taught me which ingredients i should be using for the glowing skin i seek, but i also learned which brands to trust.
product: hada labo tokyo anti-aging hydrator $18
uses: a moisturizer with super hyaluronic acid–an ingredient that apparently firms skin & improves its texture. the women in asia go crazy for this japanese lightweight formula, & they believe it makes their skin glow.
verdict: i didn’t care for the texture & feel of the moisturizer–it feels more like a serum to me–& i wish it had sunscreen. i like that it is scentless, however, & after using the product for a month i was pleased with how my skin looked. i will probably not purchase this again myself, but i would recommend it because it is so popular across asia. 3 out of 5 stars
beauty tip: when putting on face cream, especially anti-aging ones, make sure you always apply to your neck, décolletage, & the back of your hands as well. Just like your face, all of these areas are sensitive to aging & are exposed to the sun–thus, they should also reap the benefits of the product.
product: diorshow blackout waterproof mascara $25
uses: this mascara promises to give what any woman would want: thick, long, & shiny black lashes.
verdict: the black is black. its like a shiny black lacquer coating that forms over your lashes. only one coat is necessary, and when it dries…the result is pretty fantastic. diorshow blackout is the original diorshow (my favorite mascara) on steroids. there are some cons, however: the application can be a bit clumpy sometimes–thankfully the skinny brush has well-spaced bristles to help you work out the kinks. it takes longer to apply than other mascaras because of this. also it may claim to be waterproof, but i noticed some smudging underneath my eyes throughout the day–however this only happened if i put face oil on my face. if i used a day cream instead, there wasn’t a smear to be found. because of the clumping & smudging this mascara unfortunately cannot be perfect. 4 out of 5 stars
beauty tip: always use an eyelash primer before mascara. here is why:some brands protect & nourish your lashes, while other brands elongate your lash for the mascara. primers also help mascara apply easier, & help your mascara stay in place throughout the day. i’m currently in the search for the perfect one, but my fave for now is diorshow maximizer.
best mascara: diorshow waterproof black 090 $25 best eyelash primer: diorshow maximizer lash plumping serum $28 best eyeshadow primer: too-faced shadow insurance $20 best eyelash curler: shu umera eyelash curler $21 best eyeliner: bobbie brown long wear gel eyeliner $23 best brows: also winner of “product i can’t leave the house without” anastasia tinted brow gel (espresso) $18 best highlighter: benefit watt’s up! mini $8 best eyeshadow brushes: eco tools brush set $9
they’re all mac–because i won’t settle for anything less: best gold: amber lights best for a little drama in your everyday: folie best brown: mulch best on the town: antiqued
best natural: sephora cocoa 21
also winner of “product i can’t leave the house without”
best powder blush: nars blush in orgasm $24 best cheek stain: tarte cheek stain in flush $30 best foundation: chanel perfection lumiere long-wear flawless fluid sunscreen make-up broad spectrum spf 15 $55 best loose powder: josie maran argan matchmaker powder foundation spf 20 $34
best cleanser: josie maran argan cleansing oil $32 best exfoliator: st. ives fresh skin apricot scrub $4 best anti-ager: skin ceuticals retinol 1.0 $60 best moisturizer & eye make-up remover: also winner of “the best multi-tasker” award: vitamin e oil $8
best healing: burt’s bees lip balm $4 best everyday lip gloss: also winner of “product i can’t leave the house without” award dior addict lip glow $31 best lip stain: (i don’t do lipsticks b/c they look too unnatural on my thin smackers) tarte lip surgence matte lip tint in fiery $24 best tinted lip moisturizer: fresh sugar rose tinted lip treatment spf 15 $23
best moisturizer: organic coconut oil $8 best sunscreen: the naked bee 70% organic vitamin c enriched moisturizing sunscreen spf 30 $12 best firming moisturizer: vichy laboratories destock stomach firming & refining treatment $38 best self-tanner: jergens natural glow (i like the one with sunscreen) $9
best conditioner: organix renewing moroccan argan oil conditioner $8 best dry shampoo: nexxus youth renewal dry shampoo $15 best shampoo: aveda smooth infusion shampoo $7-$63 best styling product: tresemme tres two hairspray $5
best color enhancer: aveda hair care enrich color pure plant shampoos & conditioners $18-$32 best hair mask:amika nourishing hair mask-sea buckthorn berry with argan oil $28 best for on the go: kms free shape quick blow dry $15 best hairdryer: t3 featherweight luxe 2i $250 (i don’t have one, but since its dry is more healthful than air drying…i’ll have to save up)
beauty product of the year:
lilash purified eyelash serum $80-$140
beauty tip of the year: use oils! you’re skin will love you. i personally favor: vitamin e, k, c, argan & coconut. they’re cheap too & can be a facial moisturizer, body lotion, eye make-up remover, & can even replace mascara for a more natural look. bring a bottle of one of these oils when traveling so your bag of toiletries is lighter!
product: clarins beauty flash balm has always been the favorite among celebrities, beauty magazines, the french, & basically every woman who cares about her skin. the product claims to eliminate signs of fatigue in a flash, reduce the sign of wrinkles, & give your skin a glow $30.
uses: massage into skin in the morning & immediately follow with face make-up, or use generously on face as a mask to wear to bed.
verdict: why all the hype? i honestly do not know. i did not notice any difference with my skin. good texture & fragrance tho…2 out of 5
beauty tip: you are what you eat. seriously!! your skin is a reflection of the nutrients you supply it with. the healthier your diet, the more your skin will glow…vitamins E, C, & K, omega 3-s, coconut oil & argan oil are the stars that makes your skin shine…
product: josie maran argan cleansing oil $32
uses: a facial cleanser that removes make-up & dirt while deep-cleaning pores. the argan oil repairs & nourishes skin.
verdict: this facial cleanser is different than any other i’ve used. it should be rubbed into dry skin first, then water should be added for a second facial massage to build a slight lather before washing off completely. lets just say i love this cleanser. it may be the best i’ve ever used. my skin glows afterwards & i have not seen one pimple appear since use. i also love that i can use this cleanser as an eye make-up remover while simultaneously washing my face. the all-natural & organic ingredients are a plus. 5 out of 5
beauty tip: after applying any cleanser to my face, i always let it sit for a few minutes so that the product can fully absorb into skin.
product: estee lauder advanced multi-protection anti-oxidant lotion broad spectrum spf 15 $48
uses: apply on face am, pm, or both to prevent premature aging & reduce the appearance of wrinkles–the “anti-oxidant” complex is supposed to protect & nourish skin by fighting free radicals. can be used under make-up.
verdict: i like the smell & the texture–& the fact that it has spf in it…only i wish the spf was higher. i don’t see any dramatic differences with my skin, but the anti-oxidant ingredients in this & the fact that it has sun protection too, makes this product very desirable. 3 out of 5
beauty tip: you know what i’ve noticed? whenever someone has spectacular skin & i comment on it, or if i am reading about an exquisite beauty in a magazine & they ask her about her skin regimen, do you know what these stunning women say? ‘i always wear sunscreen.’