Most Valuable Products: February 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

My last Product MVPs post was actually back in November, (December always tends to get lost in the year-end shuffle, and January was a slow month) so we've got a lot of catching up to do! I'll try to keep it quick, but you know me.

Let's start with the skincare!

1. Asian Heated Eye Masks: My cousin recently came from Taiwan and gave me a whole wondrous box of these--possibly my favorite thing ever, after sheet masks of course. I know eye masks are typically meant to be cooling, but these brilliant little things are the most soothing, sleep-inducing level of heat. The genius part is that they don't activate until you unwrap the straps, and hook them over your ears (when the eye mask is actually on your eyes). The mask gently starts warming to a soothing, not at all itchy or uncomfortable heat that basically guarantees a good night of sleep. They even come lavender-scented, so I dare any insomniac to try and stay awake with one of these babies on. Sadly, they're single usage, so I'm trying to use mine sparingly.

2. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15: I don't know how I've gone so long without mentioning my favorite fall/winter daytime moisturizer. I like their Clear Complexion one for warmer months, but when my crazy oily skin needs a bit more hydration, this stuff is fantastic. Light, but packing plentiful moisture, there's a bit of a greasy feeling as you first apply (likely due to the SPF) but in seconds it turns to a smooth, almost powdery finish. I'm almost a third of the way through it and have no intention of using anything else in the near future.

3. CeraVe Body Cream: You know I love the lotion, but this thick, easily spreadable cream is perfect for the dead of winter when my skin turns scaly. What keeps me so devoted to this brand's body moisturizers is the unbelievably hydrating and smoothing formula that takes two minutes at most to sink in and allow me to put my clothes on straightaway. There's a feeling of a silicone-y primer mixed into the cream as when the product has been absorbed you can run your hands over your legs and it feels almost like there's a barrier over the moisture--nothing remotely greasy. Best of all, it only takes a bit of product to smooth the roughest, driest skin and I feel hydrated until my next shower. Between the body cream and lotion, I don't think I'll use any other body moisturizer.

4. Avene Cicalfate: My friend who works in the European pharmacy section of Duane Reade gave me a few tubes of the Avene Cicalfate moisturizer, and I've used them up one after another. My skin's been acting up a little lately, what with the introduction of a Clarisonic(!!!!) and a new acne prescription from my dermatologist. It's been feeling a little dry and irritated, which is where this lovely cream swoops in. Cicalfate is meant to restore the barrier of sensitive skin and it really feels like it does. Super thick, it doesn't take much, and my skin always feels like it's just had its problems taken care of post-application.  It would probably be too heavy for my oily skin in the summer, but it's fine during these cold months. Definitely recommended to those with dry, sensitive skin!

5. Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash: A recent re-discovery. I never know if Skyn's claims to help stressed skin are true, but I always enjoy treating myself to this foamy, creamy, incredibly luxurious cleanser. It feels a bit more hydrating than my typical oil-free gel cleansers, without being too much for my skin type. The tiniest dot of product works up an outrageously lush lather, so this small tube is still going strong even though I acquired it over a year ago. (Admittedly, it's not part of my regular skincare routine). I've said it once, I'll say it again folks: Skyn is a bit of an underrated brand, so give their products a good look.

6. Dermalogica Hand and Nail Treatment: I mentioned this in my Favorite Hand Creams post, and am really upset that it's almost empty. While this is a good hand cream, I tend to use it more for its nail strengthening purposes, as growing out my nails can be a brittle, splitting process. It's nothing too terrible, especially considering a few applications of this stuff really lessens the issue. I don't think it could work its magic on really terribly weak nails (may be dietary), but it's an especially good treat for your nails after they've been through hell with polish remover.


1. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo: I used to use a clarifying shampoo fairly regularly, but fell out of the habit about ten months ago and never went back. In January, I started thinking about all the dry shampoo I use and how much buildup there must be on my scalp, and out this bottle came. I use it once a week religiously now, and am always amazed by how much lighter my hair feels afterwards. It never makes my scalp feel that uncomfortable, squeaky "too clean", but I'm not wild about the scent.

2. Lisa Rachel Conditioner & Cleanser: A Wen knockoff I hauled ages ago. Apparently, when I bought this, I wasn't thinking about how cleansing conditioners are typically for people with normal-dry scalps, and not folks with insanely oily hair like myself. After half a year of ignoring it, I've started using it, but only out of necessity. I'm working out daily now (it's really not as intense as it sounds. really.), and I can't stand not washing my hair after exercising. As any hair stylist will tell you, daily shampooing is awful for your hair, so I've turned to this. It's a bit too creamy for me to really love it, and it takes too much product to do the job, but it's a nice change for my hair which seems to be enjoying it.

3. Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Scrunching Gel: School and work have picked up lately, which means my hair styling routine lately has been: squeeze a dollop of fabulous not-at-all-sticky-or-stiff-hair-gel into wet hair, rough up with fingers, twist it into a bun, and run out the door and worry about head-colds later. I shake it out later in the day (after about an hour, or whenever I remember) for (usually) pretty, tousled waves. This method can be hit or miss, but the ease of it is worth the gamble.


1. Mixing my Favorite Revlon Foundations: You know Revlon ColorStay is a Holy Grail item for me, and Nearly Naked is a recent favorite, so naturally the combination of the two is just fabulous. I get all the staying power of the ColorStay, with the natural, satiny finish of the Naked, with a medium-full coverage. What's not to love? This mix is actually great for transitional periods, as Nearly Naked is my winter foundation, and ColorStay my summer, so of course the combination makes spring. I've actually come to tailoring proportions of the mix to the weather: colder days mean more Naked, warmer days mean more ColorStay. Always good fun to cocktail your products.

2. Neutrogena Shine Control Powder: This is my all-time favorite mattifying powder (post), and it's also the compact that keeps on giving (it's looked like this for several months now). With most other face powders, I have to blot and re-powder towards the end of my workday to prevent shine, but I never have that problem with this one. Depending on how late I stay, I might need a blot, but I've never had to reapply. It's more valuable than you might think to not have to worry about your T-zone at work--already repurchased my backup!

3. NARS Pure Sheer Lip Treatment in Angelique: I first showed this in my Perfect Lip Products post a while back, and lately I just can't get enough of it. Like I mentioned in that post, this shade is a perfect "my lips but better" (I know, I'm trying to come up with a new phrase!) color, and like the name suggests, it's incredibly easy to just slick on--no mirror required. It's a great change from the more heavy lipstick + gloss combination I wear sometimes, not to mention how hydrating it feels. Saying that it could replace lip balm would be pushing it, but it definitely provides some welcome moisture.


What can I say, it's been a long time.

Hopefully you've come away with some product inspiration!

Have a lovely week!

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