Most Valuable Products: April 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

For once, I'm not moaning how yet another month has passed, and how is it already the end of April, wow, doesn't time just fly? With the weather finally warming up (coats became optional in New York as of yesterday), I've got a delicious case of spring fever which makes May all the more exciting. It tends to be a fabulous month anyway, with my birthday on the 22nd, but this May has the extra twist of being the month I graduate from college and  am forced into step into the adult world. Frightening, but potentially very exciting, I'm anxiously waiting to see what the next month brings...but first, a look back into April!

1. Illamasqua Speckled Nail Polish in Scarce: I don't care how "last season" this is, or that it was limited edition so I (or you) can't get it anymore, this nail polish is absolutely gorgeous, unique, and will always be associated with spring in my mind. The creamy pastel pink color is fresh, but the dinosaur eggs/gray sequin bits mixed in are what make this a nail art-like cool manicure, while still being soft enough for everyday. I've worn it almost the entire month (unless I've worn something different from that week's NOTW post), and have gotten loads of compliments from fellow subway pole-sharers. Kind of kicking myself for not buying two bottles when I had the chance, so if you also got a Speckled polish when they first launched, dig it out now and show it some love! (If you want more information on the formula and pigmenation situation, check out my original review post here). 

2. Laura Mercier Mineral Powder: I've flirted with the idea of a mineral powder foundation for a while now, but was so convinced that my BB creams looked more natural and were more comfortable to wear. I was wrong. This loose powder gets absolutely everywhere, but once it's on your face, sheer-to-medium coverage is easy to achieve, and it looks and feels more natural than any other base I've ever tried. Buff as you first apply the product for a sheer look, or if you've got some rough patches on your mug like I do, load up the brush, tap it onto where you need extra coverage, and then blend away. I still wear liquid foundation to work, but day to day, and especially for class, this has been my go-to base. 

3. Neutrogena Shine Control Primer: We're getting to slick T-zone time of year, but before I need to break out my heavy-duty mattifying powders, this month's humid climate was weathered perfectly by this stuff. My favorite primer, I've talked about this here and here, and still love it as much as when I first discovered it. Perfect for giving extra longevity to any oil-controlling and longwearing abilities my foundation has, this is equally great for mattifying a greasy sunscreen. Add a touch on top of whatever unpleasantly slick moisturizer or SPF you're working with, and presto--powdery-smooth, matte finish.   

4. Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil: I've been wanting darker brows than the Benefit Gimme Brow gives me, and some of this sloppily drawn all over and brushed through does just the trick. I love the slightly chunky shape of the pencil, as super-fine tips (like Anastasia Brow Wiz) are better for filling in gaps than for all-over color. The pencil is waxy, so you could just color in your brows, brush through and be done with it, but the formula isn't enough to tame my bushman hairs, so I top it with some Gimme Brow anyway. 

5. Olay Daily Facials Cleansing Cloths: I've been using these for years since EmilyNoel83 was first recommending them, and they phase in and out of my life. Some months I'm all about the cleansing oils, but this month I really appreciated how quick, easy and travel-friendly these wipes are. All you have to do is get one wet, and then wipe off all your makeup, just like you would with a pre-moistened wipe, only a helluva lot more effective (because these wipes actually will take it all off!). These do irritate my eyes so I use a separate eye makeup remover, but one cloth is always enough for however much makeup I've slapped onto my face. 

6. NYX Invincible Foundation: I wrote a whole review post (here) on this a few weeks ago, and it's been the only liquid foundation I've worn this month. Full coverage, looks reasonably natural on the skin, and holds up beautifully, this had my skin looking fresh and smooth through my cousin's 15 + hour wedding day/night. I may go back to Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse (review here) for warmer May days, but NYX definitely won my stash's foundation game this month. 

7. MAC Pro Longwear Bronzer in Sun Dipped: This was limited edition from a few years ago, but when Amarixe showed it in a recent video, I skipped right over to Ebay to buy it (for a totally overpriced figure). I don't know why, but it looked like a really special bronzer in her video, and as I only have a few bronzers myself, felt the need for Sun Dipped in my stash. Literally every day since it arrived, I've been swiping this stuff over my face. There's just something about the color and finish that gets everything right: not too orange, not too muddy, and most importantly, not at all flat. I've never really been into bronzer, but suddenly this stuff is an integral part of my daily face. I don't use much, but a few sweeps creates pockets of warmth that add color and satiny dimension to my skin. It's a bit too overpriced for me to recommend that you buy it, but I would definitely do some dupe research if you're looking for a good bronzer!

8. NUXE Men 24 Hour Protection Deodorant: Ah, yes. The men's (aluminum free!) deodorant that changed my life. I wrote all about this, and my love for Mindy Kaling in a post here, and using it constantly this month has really proven its worth. It beats the tar out of all my former favorite aluminum-free sticks (Dermalogica, LaVanila, Malin + Goetz), and I will definitely be stocking up for many months of future use. 

9. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent: Damnit. Everyone was raving about this, and I was determined not to give in, but the Bloomingdale's associate almost shoved the perfume sample in my face, and I was a goner. It's unlike anything I've ever smelled before, and the very best description is the one Into the Gloss gave: "Summer, bottled." A mix of sunscreen, something salty, and coconuts, you can't not think of happy summer days when wearing this stuff. Weirdly enough, I have days when I love it and then days when I hate it. I almost returned it on a "hate" day, but just a few hours later, it was back to love! My bipolar reaction comes from how untraditional of a fragrance it is, and how used I am to floral, sweet perfumes, but what makes it worthwhile is that on the days that I love it, I really love it. I mean, shove my neck towards my friends and coworkers and ask them to smell it, love it. It might not be as hyped up if it wasn't limited edition, but if you're curious, definitely give it a sample spray and let it dry down on your skin first--it's easily not for everyone!


Three blog posts in as many days (that was way more impressive in my head), aren't you lucky! 

Taking a break tomorrow, but I'll be back Wednesday with a post on my favorite acne cleansers (for all budgets and kinds of acne), or a Let's Discuss on the online beauty community--if I can get my thoughts organized.

Guess you'll just have to check back and see!

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