Most Valuable Products: May 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May tends to be a good month for these favorites posts because it's the first significantly warm month, and the seasonal change is apparent in products. This month's edition of favorites is a hodge-podge of newfound loves and rediscovered favorites of lazy-makeup bits for hot days. I haven't turned into my completely lazy summer self yet (I just can't be productive in humidity), but I expect you'll be seeing more of that next month. 

Caudalie Lip Conditioner: A switch in my acne medication brought on a case of cracked, flaky lips so bad that my nighttime Nuxe Reve de Miel didn't seem to make much difference. I pulled out this stick (it was part of a little kit with the hand cream), and noticed that with consistent application, my lips were significantly better in just a few days. This stick is the perfect balance between a slippy lip balm, and a dense, rich, incredibly hydrating one, creating a beautiful texture. It's more heavy-duty than your average stick balm, but you don't feel it or even see it in action, other than a lovely healthy sheen to your pucker. This bad boy has taken the place of the Reve de Miel as my favorite stick lip balm, and it's certainly not going anywhere anytime soon.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer: I lost my Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer earlier this month (or one of my friends stole it), and just when I thought I couldn't use anything else under my eyes, I remembered this Bourjois tube. It doesn't quite have the longevity of the Double Wear, but the finish of the product is incredibly similar. It goes on easily, is incredibly pigmented (you only need the tiniest dab), and sets to a natural but powdery finish. I don't feel like I have to set with some sort of loose powder, as there's none of that tacky, "wet" sort of look, and my mascara smudges only very minimally under my eyes. I know it's not readily available in North America, but if you can get your hands on this, you'll never be happier with another drugstore concealer.

Skyn Iceland Anti-Oxidant Calming Serum: Between my 21st birthday last week, and celebrating the end of finals, I've been drinking a lot more than usual lately. I'm writing this off as a rite of passage, but I can't ignore that it's put my skin through some new struggles. It's not that alcohol leaves my skin dry, exactly, but I notice that my face doesn't look as perky the morning after (even if I wasn't very drunk). This Skyn serum has been in my stash for a few years, and I've been whipping it out again lately, for those  kinds of nights. Right when I put it on, my skin instantly feels soothed, relaxed and like it suddenly has something it didn't know it was missing. My face doesn't quite glow in the morning, but it looks plumped up and significantly more fresh. I've said it before and I'll say it again, folks, Skyn is a highly underrated brand. 

This picture is not doing it justice

CoverGirl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in 350: I did a whole Cheapie but Goodie post on these, but I'm referring to this shade specifically, and I've actually been using it more than the one I showed in the review. Instead of 350, let's call this Oyster Pink because that's exactly what it is. This shade is a stunning, pearlescent pale pink that delivers the most beautiful glow. It doesn't show up as obviously pink on the eyes, but there's definitely a pinkiness to it that saves the color from being a cool-toned frosted highlighter. Blending this all over the lid creates a beautifully fresh, summery glow with an added kick because of the cooler tones. The look is just so fabulously, effortlessly goddessy that I've become quite addicted to it, and feel like I looked tired when I haven't used it. I've been ignoring all other eyeshadow products since I picked up this shade, and I expect it'll be the cornerstone of my makeup bag come summer.

AmLactin Body Lotion: I've already devoted a whole post to this glorious stuff, but as my feet become more exposed, let me reiterate that there is nothing else like it for dry, cracked skin. I have perpetually flaky and cracked heels, and every single time, a good slathering of AmLactin and a pair of socks have them looking like new the next morning. I don't do this regularly out of sheer laziness, but it still manages to work wonders as an occasional treatment. I imagine if you applied some every night before bed, you'd have baby-soft feet.

Maybelline SuperStay Concealer: I bought this for my trip to New Orleans last summer, and as the weather turned warmer, pulled it out again. I refer to this as the "Revlon ColorStay" of concealers--not to be confused with the actual Revlon ColorStay concealer, which sucks. This Maybelline tube has very similar properties to that of my beloved ColorStay foundation--high coverage, mattifying, and a thick consistency. Like the foundation, it can look cakey if you apply too much and don't blend enough, but once it's on, it'll be on all day. I like this for lazy makeup days, as I can just spot-conceal and be done--no powder necessary. It even works well under the eyes, though not on the same level as Double Wear and Healthy Mix.

Makeup Forever Aqua Liner in Diamond Burgundy: I hauled this a while back, and the color is just as pretty as I had hoped. You'll know all about the staying power of this liner by now, and while it absolutely does not budge, removing it is a little more labor-intensive so it's not something I reach for on lazy days. But when I need my makeup to stay glued to my lids in all sorts of humidity, this is the liner I reach for--and of course, its shimmering burgundy color doesn't hurt. 

Caudalie Cleansing Water: I got a little Caudalie kit as my 500-point gift from Sephora, and have delegated this product to be my morning cleanser. Given the amount of time I spend sleeping after applying nighttime moisturizer and waking up and washing my face, I don't usually feel like cleansing in the a.m. My dermatologist said it was fine, so lately I've been swiping this cleansing water all over my face with a cotton pad instead of the usual morning wash. It's enough of a cleanse to get rid of last night's cream and any other dried drool gunk on my face, and I almost feel like it functions as a toner as well. I'm contemplating getting the full-size bottle!

Sally Hansen Perfect Arch Brow Kit: Are you shocked? The world's biggest advocate for leaving your eyebrows to the professionals has been using an at-home eyebrow shaping kit. But here's the thing: I haven't been using it the way you might think. When it comes to shaping my brows, I strictly leave my arches in the good hands of Hibba Kapil at her salons (review here). But I don't see her that often, and in the meantime, my brows start to look a little messy. The stray hairs are easily tweezed away, but my eyebrow hairs are long, and when they grow out, the sloppiness kills the look of my otherwise fabulous arches. With these little slanted scissors, it's incredibly easy for me to just brush up my eyebrows and trim away the excess hair. I absolutely do not recommend this unless you have crazy Jack Nicholson in The Shining eyebrows like I do, and even then, proceed with serious caution. If you have even the slightest doubt, step away from the brow scissors and head straight to a threading salon. Leave your eyebrows to the professionals, people. That goes double if any 13-16 year old girls are reading this, no matter what your summer camp friends might say.

Hope you all had a lovely May!

NOTW will be up Saturday!


  1. do you know of any non-abrasive exfoliators?
    they're gel like material that make your skin slough off WITHOUT the scrubbing micro beads

    1. Yes, I definitely prefer chemical exfoliants over those grainy scrubs!

      I haven't really seen any drugstore options (though I'm testing out a new one now), but I like the Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask and the Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant.