Most Valuable Products: April 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm sorry to be one of the people spamming you with monthly favorites, but that's just the way my blogging schedule worked out this week. I promise I'll post May's edition earlier to give you a bit of a break from overwhelming product overload.

April is that hideous month no one particularly likes but everyone tolerates as a necessary annoyance to get to sunny, bright May. As you'll see with these products, the running theme of nobody's favorite month was a serious case of humidity hair and (for the first time in my life) allergies. 

Pantene Aqua Light Conditioner: Humidity not only causes extreme frizz, but it also seems to pull some of the natural wave out of my hair. There's nothing I can do about the moisture in the air, but switching to a lighter conditioner has made a big difference. This particular one is well-known for delivering the necessary hydration without weighing hair down and I have to agree. My hair always feels delightfully bouncy once its dry, and still looks wavy, even with all the moisture in the air. 

Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll-On: I've never had allergies before, so this sensation of my eyes being held over an open flame while pepper is ground into them by Satan himself is new to me. I've been taking some medication, which has helped my runny nose, but my eyes still feel inflamed. I typically think these cooling metal ball rollers are gimmicky, but this baby actually really helps soothe the burn. I have to apply quite frequently, which obviously isn't possible if I'm at work and have makeup on, but it works small miracles in the morning to ease the itch and burn. I might keep this by my desk in the future, for use when I've been studying or reading on the computer for too long. All that being said, I really don't think you need to spend a lot of money for high-end rollerballs--a cooling metal ball is a cooling metal ball. Grab the cheapest one you can find.

HerCut The Ponytail Styling Lotion: This has been featured in a favorites post before, and it's making a reappearance because it's just that good. Humidity makes all my baby hairs stick up so any bun I make looks infinitely sloppier. But with just a tiny bit of this magic stuff, all the little bits of hair lie flat and smooth, polishing up my look through all sorts of humidity. It's the only frizz-tamer I've tried that I can comfortably apply at my roots, since unlike all the others, it never makes my hair look greasy. 

Illamasqua Speckled Nail Polish in Scarce: I switch up my nail polish so frequently that you never see any particular one in these monthly favorites, but I've been practically obsessed with Speckle. I would try a new color each week, only to remove it a few days later in favor of this baby. It's just so striking and unusual, and makes my nails feel a bit more dressed up with very minimal effort. Plus, all the glitter chunks and bits make it extra long-wearing, so it rarely requires touch-ups. See it in a NOTW post here

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover: How I've gone so long without trying this stuff is beyond me, but it's just as wonderful as everyone says it is. This dual-phase remover breaks down the ultra-hardy MUFE liquid liner so quickly and easily, with absolutely no tugging at my eyes. Lisa Eldridge has a great video on this, but the best removal method is to soak the cotton pad, and then hold it onto your makeup and just let the product do the work. Lift the cotton pad off, and all the makeup comes with it, with no tugging whatsoever. This is a bit on the greasy side, but nothing nearly as bad as Lancome Bi-Facil, and the price just can't be beat. 

Bumble and Bumble Styling Creme: I bought this travel-sized bottle on a whim, and have found that it's the perfect product to enhance and make the most of my natural wave without any unpleasant texture. So many wave or texture-inducing creams are heavy, sticky, or make hair crispy, but the only side effect to this lightweight stuff is slightly drier hair. If you're not as absurdly finicky with the "feel" of your hair as I am, you might not even notice, but I combat the mild dryness by mixing in a pump of the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Oil. Despite being an oil, it's light enough not to interfere with the job of the cream. I know a lot of people swear by mixing B&B products, and I think I'm starting to figure out why!

Rimmel ScandalEyes Kajal in Nude: If you apply this like a regular beige, waterline brightener, you will look like an alien. The coloring is just too light and the pigment is too strong for it to look normal. However, if you have red, inflamed eyes, this will be your new best friend. Tarte Emphaseyes is my more natural peachy eyeliner of choice, but it's not strong enough to whiten allergy eyes, and it doesn't stick around for more than a few hours. Plus, the packaging is crap and the pencil is hard to work with, so you might actually be better off with this Rimmel pencil. The waterproof formula is terrific, and it manages to cling to my waterline much better than most pencils I've tried. The color is problematic, but the best part about the formula is that the color intensity fades. Right when you apply it, it's about as subtle as a stark white waterline, but just a minute later it's much more subdued. About an hour later, it's the absolute perfect color, and it's that color that hangs around on your waterline. The intensity might fade some more, but there's still enough peachy-beigeness to counteract redness. It takes a bit of planning to use this (don't swipe it on before heading into a meeting) but it's definitely worth the results. 

CoverGirl + Olay Concealer Balm: I can't believe I haven't mentioned this before! I've been using this concealer for a few months now, and it's become a staple in my routine. I've been using Revlon's Nearly Naked foundation for its lovely, natural finish (also because I ran out of ColorStay!), but I still need some coverage for my monstrous cystic acne. This stick is fabulous in both the coverage and texture departments--so much so that I actually like it better than my once-beloved Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer palette (post). The stick form is so easy to apply, and the consistency is silky and creamy so blending is an absolute dream. Sometimes I still have to go over a few areas a couple of times, and it might start to look a touch heavy if I do, but it's nothing remotely near cakey. The concealer is fabulous on its own, but I especially like it paired with Nearly Naked--the concealer supplies the coverage where the foundation can't, without comprising the natural finish of the base. It's unquestionably my favorite drugstore concealer now, and even performs well under the eyes, though I still prefer my Estee Lauder Double Wear for that area. 

I was thinking about doing a Cheapie but Goodie post on that concealer, but I don't think I have to now!

Gloomy April is now behind us and we can all enjoy a wonderful May!

(Wonderful both because it's my birthday month, and also because it's the month every magazine runs their Best Beauty Buys/Products.)


I think not!

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