Beauty Favorites 2014

I’m not a huge beauty guru. I try to keep things as simple as possible! Most of my daily products are long-time favorites. I only trial new products twice per year during Sephora sales. Sephora just held their friends and family sale a few weeks ago, and now they’re currently running their VIB sale with 20% off (and has 12% cashback, too).

sephora favorites

There are a few products that I bought about a month ago now that have made a permanent home in my daily regimen. They’re amazing… I really don’t say that often!

New Favorite #1: Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads. I’d been curious about these AHA/BHA pads for quite some time.  I’ve been a retin-a user for years and have tried to find substitutes countless times to no avail (retin-a is not pregnancy-safe, which will be an issue in the not-too-distant future). This is a great product and is the first product that seems to be a potential permanent retin-a substitute! After I wash my face at night I use (half of) one of these pads and exfoliate my face and chest area (it also takes off excess makeup so I don’t have to use a separate toner). I allow my skin a few minutes to dry and then apply a thick moisturizer (currently using La Mer’s overpriced cream). Every morning I wake up to clear, smooth, hydrated skin. I haven’t once broken out, which is pretty amazing considering my schedule right now.

New Favorite #2: ALTERNA Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist. This hair oil mist is just what I’ve been looking for for my dry, color treated hair. There are so many hair oils out there, but I love this one for a few reasons. First, I love that this is a mist. I had been using a basic argan oil for years. The product worked great, but the application process wasn’t my favorite (oily hands, uneven application, etc). The mist solves that problem. I just spray this stuff all over my hair after showering (after I spray on my root lifter… I’m a fan of sprays!), and that’s it. Blowdry. Done. It doesn’t weigh my hair down at all, even after a few days. And it smells amazing!

New Favorite #3: Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush. This was a surprise love! I’ve tried  countless blushes over the years and I always end up going back to NARS (and apparently so do others… 4.7/5 stars and nearly 15k reviews on Sephora, wow!). NARS ‘deep throat’ blush is the most natural looking color I’ve found… until now. I’m not sure why I added the Dior blush to my F&F order… it looks obnoxiously bright online! In reality it looks just the same, but I tested it out anyway (I’m working nights, nobody cares how I look).  Whoa, talk about looking different on the skin than in the container! This blush gives the most natural flushed look! So pretty. And it lasts all day (or all night in my case).

Old Favorite #1: ALTERNA Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo. Finding a dry shampoo that works for brown hair is not easy. I’ve tried a fair number of dry shampoos and this Alterna version is the only one that’s worked for me. I use it on day old hair or occasionally two day old hair. It gives me a good amount of volume and freshens up my roots. No white or gray residue (as long as you shake well!!). And no yucky smell (it actually smells quite nice).

Old Favorite #2: Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment. I felt so guilty splurging on this lip treatment in medical school. Seriously, $25 for what is essentially a fancy lip balm seems kinda crazy. But I keep coming back to this stuff. It works great. Its so hydrating and protects my lips in the winter. It looks beautiful, too. Just a little shiny but not like a gloss. Perfect for work. And it doesn’t taste funny. Sigh. At least the price is fairly reasonable during sales.

Old Favorite #3: Shiseido Eyelash Curler. I’ve essentially stopped using mascara. It takes too long to apply before work, and it melts off into my eyes during my daily hot yoga (you should see the number of girls that have racoon eyes after yoga). Instead, I’ve gone back to just curing my lashes. There are many curlers out there. I like this one for its broad curve shape. I get all of my lashes at once and haven’t had any pinching or pulling problems. Pretty basic, but can’t really ask for more.

Other items worth mentioning?

  • Dior’s brow pencil is wonderful. Easy to apply and looks totally natural (and no worries about picking the right color). There are likely other cheaper alternatives, but I don’t go through this product fast enough to mind.
  • Lancôme’s effacernes concealer has been my go-to undereye concealer for years now. It has decent coverage, doesn’t smudge, doesn’t change colors, and doesn’t crease. It doesn’t 100% cover my circles, but its the best I’ve found (and I’ve tried many).
  • YSL’s touche eclat is another great product. I used this product more when I had more red spots and imperfections on my skin. It covers small blemishes flawlessly, it can’t be beat. I don’t use it too often anymore, but I’ll occasionally reach for it if I have some redness around my nose or if I’m ambitious enough to highlight.

Have you tried any new products recently? Share any recommendations 🙂