Most Valuable Products: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hey there. Remember me? I really hate seeming like such a flake (on my own blog, no less!), but this month has been rocky with a lot of changes. (Boy, did I go from overexcited college grad to wow, adulthood sucks really quickly). I like to think I'm starting to get it together, or at least hope to God I am, and part of being together is trying to get back to my 3 posts a week blogging schedule. I've been offline for a whole month now and have a ton of products to update you on, so stay tuned! 

1. Laneige Multi Cleanser: Yes, this company's BB cushion compact has been receiving tons of attention (and I love it and am even wearing it today--it's worth the hype), but this cleanser really deserves some love. Laneige is owned by Amore Pacific, and I love this type of spin-off brand that uses technology associated with more expensive skincare lines, but maintains more affordable (though not cheap) price points. You can use this as a makeup remover, but I like it best as possibly the most refreshing summer cleanser I've tried. It's slightly grainy and scrubby from that papaya enzyme, and you need a hilariously small amount of product to get enough lather for face and neck. There's a tiny bit of a not-quite-squeaky but maybe slightly rubbery feel once you rinse (in a way that Caroline Hirons might not approve of), but after a full day of SPF, makeup and sweat, I actually like that feeling after a wash. It's such a fantastically thorough cleanser, and I like it best in the shower to go with that ultra-clean sensation.

2. Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream: The Asian skincare trend continues, with what you can probably tell is a ridiculously loved moisturizer. My skin has managed to out-b*tch itself recently, being both dry, sensitive and, of course, acne-prone and this moisturizer is exactly what my annoying face has been needing. It's soothing, incredibly hydrating, and leaves my skin dewy but not greasy--this is what I wanted Embryollise Lait Creme-Concentre to be, though Dr. Jart is the heavier moisturizer and doesn't set as well. This stuff is fantastic on top of whatever serum I use, and something about it just feels so richly, thoroughly moisturizing, and like it could really do the trick for any skin type. It's definitely been a key player in getting my skin back in check--highly recommend!

3. Bare Escentuals Frame and Define Brow Styler: I've been dissatisfied with all my usual eyebrow routines lately. Hourglass Arch Sculpt feels too heavy, Benefit Gimme Brow doesn't add enough color, and I've just been too grumpy in the mornings to work with powder on a slanted brush. Obviously I needed to buy another eyebrow pencil, and instead of the much-glorified Anastasia pencil, I went with this incredibly skinny Bare Escentuals one. It's the perfect shade for my almost pitch-black hair without veering into Disney villain territory, and is great for filling in small gaps or general coloring. Some of this stuff penciled in, brushed through and then topped with clear mascara (I use an ultra cheap Wet n' Wild one) is absolutely perfect. The result is cleanly defined brows that don't look too obviously "done" --perfect for summer.

4. Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette: I first reviewed this palette way back when, and no matter how many other concealers I have, I always manage to come back to this one. Between the creaminess of the product, the versatility of different shades and a powder, and how compact it all is, it's difficult not to use this product every morning. Again, I love the concealer shades, but will remind you that the green-toned corrector is also outstanding and goes a long way towards disguising acne, as the green cancels the red. If I really have to, I could probably do an acceptable base with just this palette--covering both my undereye circles and bulbous cystic acne.

5. Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush: I first got this brush specifically for clutch duty for my cousin's wedding in April, and this month it resurfaced and has been my latest purse staple. These days I always need some sort of touch-up, whether it's mineral powder sunscreen or just more blotting powder and this baby takes care of it all. I can't stand having loose brushes rolling around my bag (no idea how some people do it!), so obviously the casing is perfect. I'm wary of washing retractable brushes, but really need to give this one a shampoo, so fingers crossed it goes well!

6. NARS Blush in Day Dream: I've been working on a Cult Favorite Products That ARE Worth the Hype post, (read my post on the products that AREN'T here), and of course, needed to evaluate a NARS blush. But (shocker!) I didn't have one. Luckily, my fellow makeup hoarder friend did and was happy to loan one out--though we may end up making a permanent trade. NARS blushes fell out of my rotation a few years ago when my Orgasm shattered, so using this totally took me back. I'd totally forgotten how pigmented, smooth and dreamy these are to apply, and Day Dream (limited edition, apparently--sorry!) is gorgeous. It's another warm pinky-coral variety that every brand has, with a touch of gold shimmer but nothing as near-sparkly like Orgasm. It's definitely nothing new color-wise, but beautiful nontheless. Jury's still out on whether these blushes are worth the hype or not, but this particular shade is a gorgeous, natural but face-brightening hue with a beautiful finish that really wakes my face up.

7. Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner: I won't lie, I tend to let myself go in the summer (God help us, it's only June). The heat/humidity is too much, I can't walk anywhere (crippling to this New Yorker), and overall just can't deal. I'm not usually one for cutting down on in-shower steps, but this cleansing conditioner two-in-one is so much quicker, and much easier on my hair when I want to wash it everyday (hello, sweaty scalp). These aren't exactly meant for my hair type as using this makes it harder to get volume, but it does make my hair extra soft. I know Wen dominates the cleansing conditioner club, but I say there's no sense in doling out all that money for a product you need to use so much of.

8. Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stain: Check out my full review post on these babies here, but basically these are ultra-comfortable, non-drying lip stains that wear incredibly well. The only thing stopping me from buying more colors is that I'm out of space in my lip product drawer. 

And some continued favorites from Last Month's MVP post...

Shiseido White Lucent Eye Cream: Still using morning and night, still loving.

Urban Decay Ink for Eyes: Still the only eyeliner I've used this month--applies and stays on incredibly well, despite this muggy weather. I called it the best eyeliner I've ever used last month, and I'm sticking by that. 

I'm headed out to San Francisco (my first time in California!) in a few days, but I've got some posts already lined up. You'll be getting my Cult Faves that ARE Worth the Hype, as well as maybe a makeup packing post (if I can actually do the dreaded task), and an updated post on my in-flight beauty products (see the original post here). 

I'm so happy to be back to the old blog--missed you all terribly!

Hope you all had a wonderful month!

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