Most Valuable Products: May 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Two weeks since I've last posted--I know, I know, shame on me. But in my defense, I've got some pretty good reasons for the blog silence. Between my very last college papers and exams, turning 22, graduating from college, and transitioning into my full-time job, I have been one busy and stressed out beaver. It's all been terribly exciting, but I'm still adjusting to going to work everyday and having to go to bed at a normal time, so I'm working on that up late writing a blog post! I didn't think I'd have that many products this month given how busy I was, but apparently I'm never too busy to mess around with all different kinds of beauty products (like I didn't know that).

1. Urban Decay Ink for Eyes Liquid Liner: This is absolutely the best liquid liner I have ever used. I hauled it last month, and it's been the only liner I've worn throughout May. It glides on just beautifully, is ultra-black and shiny, dries quickly, I lose next to nothing on my eyelash curler, and it stays put. I do see some smudging around the 14 hour mark on particularly humid days, but that still beats the longevity of all my other liners, gel and pencil included. Did I mention it's incredibly fine and super easy to apply, so even if you have shaky hands, no way to rest your elbow and uneven eyelids, (ahem, not saying that I am/have been in the situation), you'll get at least decently lined eyes?

2. Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream: I've wanted this eye cream for an embarrassingly long time, and finally treated myself to it as an early birthday present (in April, six weeks before my actual birthday). I liked it the first few weeks, but have been really into it this month as I feel like I'm kind of starting to see the effects. I don't think anything anti-dark circle really treats those nasty shadows, but in the chaos of finishing school, I did feel like this helped keep extra darkness at bay after a few all-nighters. I almost think of this as a preventative treatment--slather on before going to bed for a few hours (or not going to bed at all), and wake up to your normal circles, but without the extra shadows you would normally have after such a night. I'm not quite sure how that works--maybe something to do with how I put on more than needed?

3. Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Dry Shampoo: What's this, a dry shampoo that's not Batiste being featured on my blog?! I ran out of my seemingly never-ending stock of Batiste this month, and when I dashed to my Duane Reade to re-purchase, they.were.out. I grabbed this Garnier one, even though I didn't like it that much when I reviewed it in the updated version of my massive drugstore dry shampoo post, and wow, have I had a change of heart. Maybe it was the bottle I tried last year, but this dry shampoo gives me the most volume out of any that I've ever tried (because Oribe Dry Texturizing is not a dry shampoo!). It's all very gentle, fluffy, not at all stiff volume that I love, but I do think my original complaint about this product stands: it doesn't get my hair looking very clean. Whereas Batiste totally tricks people into thinking I've just washed my hair, you can still see a bit of the greasiness buried underneath the Garnier. For that reason, it's probably not the best for second-day hair if your scalp is as oily as mine, but if you just want some soft volume, this is the can to reach for.

4. Alterna Caviar Omega + Nourishing Hair Oil: Whoever designed this packaging either failed out of engineering school or has no common sense (or both). The pipette is kind of a cool idea, but it's really just messy and cumbersome to deal with, and there is absolutely no way of getting it back into the tube without getting oil all over the bottle. That being said, this oil delivers the softest hair imaginable. Sure, it makes my hair smoother and shinier too, but as I may have mentioned a time or ten, I am obsessed with having soft hair and this stuff gets me there. It's a nice and lightweight consistency, so if something like Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Oil is too heavy for you (which would surprise me), give this a try. I love them both, but I think Alterna does come out on top where soft hair is concerned--just fix your packaging, please!

5. Julep Ta Da Quick Dry Drops: Where has this been my whole life? Polish-drying products are nothing new, but I've never been into the idea of a spray, as the majority of them are. This oil came along, and has totally changed my manicure game. I probably use way too many drops per nail (thus the almost empty bottle), but it totally helps all the layers of polish dry and not just the top one you can feel. I have a problem with painting my nails too close to bedtime, and normally wake up with the imprint of bedsheets in my polish, but with a few drops of this bad boy, those days are long behind me. It even smells a bit herby, so it totally cancels out that nail polish-y scent.

6. Random Sonia Kashuk Brush: Last month, I was all about the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder. I've been all about it this month too, but recently found the best brush to apply it with--only it has no name or number so I can't really help you find it. I think it was part of a Sonia Kashuk travel collection, if that helps, but in any case, it's a small, dense brush that works perfectly for sweeping on the powder and then buffing it in. The denseness of the bristles are clutch for patting the powder onto my more problematic areas and then really getting in there to buff it out, since sometimes loose powder can be a tricky beast.

7. Marc Jacobs The Conceal Brush: Aha, a brush you can easily find and buy if you want to! People have been raving about this brush, and when I bought it last month, I wasn't sure I would be keeping it (as a strictly budget makeup brush girl). But almost through my first use, I threw away the receipt (which I should really stop doing for tax reasons). I can't even explain how it works so well, but something about the shape and density of the bristles really allows me to get the smoothest, and thinnest amount of concealer on. I thought my Real Techniques Deluxe Crease brush was best for concealer (and it still is a good one for that), but this Marc Jacobs one is the newer, better-designed option. It's a big deal for me to add a brush into my routine where I would normally use fingers, as I hate washing brushes, but I'll still make the effort to shampoo this regularly just so I can use it every morning.

8. Creaseless Hair Ties: I finally got on the bandwagon with these when my hair was ultra-long and tangly and I didn't want to risk further damage with my usual black hair ties. I've been wearing these for so long that technically they should have been in last month's MVP post, but of course, I totally forgot even though there were like 4 looped around my wrist as I was typing it. Now that I've chopped some length off my hair, I still love how gentle these little guys are, but are firm enough to hold my hair all day (unless I'm exercising, which is almost guaranteed to not happen). I don't like how flimsy the Conair ones, so I prefer the Sephora and overpriced Anthropologie ones--though they also have the best prints.

9. Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Waterproof Mascara: Hello, lower lashes! I love Clinique Bottom Lash as much as the next girl, but I find that it builds a bit too quickly on me. I have really long lower lashes (and upper as well--they're a matching set!), and with Bottom Lash, I go from feathery to drag queen a little too quickly. I don't like Flawless Definition for my upper lashes, but love how ultra-soft and feathery it makes my lower set, and with only very mild smudging through the day. Of course, I don't love having to buy two separate full-sized mascaras for my set of eyelashes, but given how high-maintenance I am, I really shouldn't be surprised.

10. Boots Botanics Mattifying Day Cream with SPF 15: Yes, I know, I owe you a Budget Skincare Review on the Boots Botanics line, and while it's coming very soon, I'm throwing you a sneak peek right now. This is my favorite product out of everything I've tried, and has been my daily moisturizer for just about the entire month. I don't love the tub packaging, and the consistency is thicker than you might expect a mattifying cream to be, but that's actually what I like about it. It's not as powdery-to-the-touch as more standard mattifying moisturizers, but still feels like it's giving your skin enough hydration. It's more than I'll need in August, but for the incredibly erratic weather we had this month, this was perfect. More on this when I do my review post!

I've got a Cult Favorites Products that ARE Worth the Hype Post coming your way, along with another round of Products I've Used Up and almost a ka-jillion Nail of the Week posts to catch you up on.

Watch this space!


  1. Love it! So happy you are back!

    1. Yes, indeed! Welcome back. I can't wait to see that little counter click up one on her site!