Most Valuable Products: July 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

This month's round-up of favorite products is all over the place. I was in San Francisco for over half this month, where I was living out of a minuscule toiletry/makeup bag and experiencing unusually dry skin. Then I came home, dove into my embarrassing stash of products, played "pile it on" with my makeup everyday (I had to show my babies I missed them, obviously!) and the humid weather returned my skin to its oily state.

So we're a bit of a hot mess today. What else is new? Let's start with my favorites from a few weeks in SF!

1. Laneige BB Cushion Compact: I know, I know, people have been raving about this stuff. But it's so worth the hype, as it's been my go-to base for the past two months (I'm on the last dregs of the stuff!). Great coverage, sets to a comfortable smooth finish, SPF 50, and is so ultra-easy and travel-friendly. As someone with a serious phobia when it comes to touching my face, I love the sponge applicator, but am a bit worried about how hygienic that is. I probably only have another week's worth of uses left, and am debating between repurchasing or picking up Dr. Jart's new BB Bounce compact. Either way, I'll pick one up soon since I refuse to be without this stuff. 

2. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion: A potentially stupid purchase that I originally didn't think would fit into my skincare routine, this was a godsend in windy, dry SF. A layer underneath whatever sample of moisturizer I was using guaranteed no dry patches, and was a terrific base for the Laneige compact. The BB cushion wasn't quite enough moisture for me (and occasionally still isn't) if I put it straight onto cleansed skin, but a few squirts of this lotion first help the product glide right on. The finished makeup look comes out nearly seamless, and the lotion works as a lightweight alternative on summer nights if my skin's feeling something lighter. 

3. Pacifica Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes: I have a hard time washing my face in the morning under the best of circumstances, so if I'm away and sharing a bathroom, you know it's not going to happen. I refuse to use wipes to remove my makeup no matter what, but these were perfect for my "morning cleanse." A little bit tingly to let me know they're doing something and with a gorgeous coconut scent, these were an invaluable part of my toiletry kit. 

4. Alterna Bamboo Beach Dry Shampoo: I warned you in my Beauty Cravings post that I was going to buy this--obviously I did, and used it almost religiously this month. I don't think it's as good as Batiste (my favorite), but as a non-aerosol, it's far better value for money. The "shake on oily roots" method is incredibly messy, but still gets the job done. More to the point, this whole bottle's lasted well over a whole month, which a can of aerosol never would have been able to do. 

5. Jurlique Rose Hand Cream: Hate it, obviously(!). No, this stuff is the hand cream of the gods as far as I'm concerned--and that means something as a total hand cream junkie. Ultra-rich, dense, but not at all sticky or overwhelming, this is by far the best hand cream I've ever tried. None of that weird powdery finish L'Occitane has, not greasy like Weleda Skin Food and a helluva lot more moisturizing than Soap and Glory Skin Food--this baby deserves its own blog post. Stay tuned!

6. Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub: I love a deep exfoliation after a trip, and that was the first thing I did when I got back to New York. I don't see the point in buying expensive body scrubs, especially as this $8 number is as good as they come. Super gritty, but still moisturizing, this is the scrub that got full-body exfoliation back into my shower routine. The scent (Pomegranate Acai) is what my dad would call "vulgar", and it's definitely reminiscent of a Victoria's Secret body spray, but the fragrance doesn't linger for long. 

7. Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation: I didn't bring this with me because the powder doesn't have a plastic blocker/stopper and I was worried about spillage, but this is the perfect topping to the Laneige BB Cushion. It provides the extra coverage I typically need, sets the BB cream, and mattifies a touch but without eliminating the pretty glow from the cushion compact. I wear it on its own sometimes as well, but I definitely prefer it as a final dusting to the Laneige BB. 

8. Sonia Kashuk Fluffy Powder Brush: Sonia's killing it again with her new Target brush sets, and this ridiculously fluffy ball-brush (my own nickname) is my favorite of the "Make a Face" kit (though the flat-top buffing brush is stellar as well). This is the only brush I use to apply the Tarte powder foundation since the dense bristles make it so easy to blend and work the product in. That's absolutely clutch as Tarte's packaging makes it extremely easy to pick up too much powder. Even on days when I don't reach for a powder foundation, I'll still grab this brush to go over my finished makeup and make sure everything's blended. 

9. CoverGirl Outlast Shadow Pencil in 350: Ah, my favorite drugstore eyeshadow pencil, in the shade that creeps out of my drawer every summer. I first raved about it in last May's Favorites post here, and the glowy, pearlescent pinky shade still looks as goddess-y as ever. It's my favorite eye look for summer and couldn't be easier--draw the shadow on, blend with your fingers, and top with some eyeliner and illegal amounts of mascara. Did I mention the slightly metallic sheen works double to keep you from looking tired? Easily one of my favorite drugstore buys. 

10. Sperry Top-Siders for J. Crew ANCHOR SPERRYS, GUYS!: A fashion favorite--I'm branching out! These Sperrys were on sale for all of $25, and I've worn them non-stop since I purchased. Ultra comfortable, they make my canoe-feet look incredibly slim, and (bonus!) hide un-pedicured feet. I might be taking the nautical theme too far (I also have an anchor-patterned sweater and lifesaver-patterned shorts), but these adorable shoes always get noticed on the sidewalk. Potentially because people can't believe how basic I am, but let's just say they're staring in shoe envy.

Hope you've all had a terrific July!

A Cheapie but Goodie post on a kickass $3 eyeliner will be up next!

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