Two weeks ago, I had the honor of attending Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards. As a total beauty junkie, getting to attend was a complete and total pinch yourself moment. Allure (and that iconic red seal!) is the authority when it comes to all things beauty. I was feeling inspired afterward so I sat down and thought about what my holy grail beauty products would be. The products I use up to the last drop because they are just. so. good. I’m no beauty editor, but I’m really passionate about beauty. I am constantly trying new products to review here, but I also have my trusted favorites. Some of them have been new discoveries this year, others are more recent discoveries. Today, I’m sharing them all here!
We’ll start with skincare. I am super into skincare over makeup and take really good care of my skin. When it comes to cleansers, on a perfect day I’ll do the double cleanse (starting with Tata Harper’s Oil Cleanser, and then using her Purifying Cleanser.) Both are fab. The oil cleanser gets off surface dirt + oil, so that the purifying cleanser can do a deeper cleanse. If I’m traveling, I live for One Love Organics’ Cleansing Balm as it packs so easily- no spills! It’s super hydrating and gets off all of your makeup. I’ll do a little facial massage and then towel it all off with a hot cloth. In a pinch, it doubles as a moisturizer, too.
I probably don’t exfoliate as much as I should, but Biore’s charcoal scrub is amazing (so good for the larger pores on my nose) and I bought this pineapple/pepermint scrub after getting a facial. It smells incredible and you can leave it on like a mask to let the pineapple enzymes naturally exfoliate. I really, really love both.
After cleansing, I’ll either do my SK-II or a mist of this toner, and then moisturize. La Mer is reserved for emergencies (hangovers and/or really bad colds) as it fixes whatever you’ve got going on (redness, dry patches, etc). I love Tata Harper’s Elixir Vitae (it’s been hailed as Botox in a bottle) and for everyday use I use this moisturizer with sunscreen from Burts Bees. That’s been a big thing for me this year – sunscreen, always. Though I look young for my age, I’ve noticed fine lines creeping up this year, so I never leave the house without SPF.
As far as special treatments go, I do a lot of masks. I buy a lot of random sheet masks at The Face Shop (in Chinatown) but am so incredibly obsessed with Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask. And SK-II’s treatment essence masks too, which are all out amazing. This might sound sort of gross, but there is so much essence in the packets that I fold the sheet mask up when I’m done and put it back in the packet (closing it back up with a paper clip)… that way I can get two uses out of the mask. The SK-II is worth the money, but at $15 a pop, I feel better when I can use it twice.
Two more things I live for. Neulash (read the full post here) every night, religiously… and Biore’s Pore Strips. The pores on my nose can get pretty congested, and these are just the best for getting out the gunk.
Also: My skin does not usually break out, but sometimes it will if I’m in the sun too much. After Hawaii, my chin was a hot mess but Pixi’s Glow Tonic cleared things right up. And I left off Kiehls Midnight Recovery, which I talk about more in this post. It’s my bedtime secret!
As far as makeup goes, to be honest, there are days where I won’t wear any – with the exception of brows and lashes. I am completely obsessed with Benefit’s Speed Brow. It tames, fills in, and tints my brows all in one step. (If I want a more natural look I’ll just tame them with clear mascara.) For lashes, I swear by this L’Oreal mascara. It gives me the drag queen lashes I crave. (That + Neulash = better than lash extensions, I swear.)
On my face, I really love Complexion Rescue (and the awesome brush that goes with it.) My favorite bronzer right now is this one from Buxom. It has the faintest shimmer and also smells like sunscreen, which is kind of cool. But my favorite beauty discovery from this entire year has been Becca’s highlighter, in “Moonstone.” My friend Lia introduced it to a group of us at my friend Jackie’s bachelorette party and we (literally) all bought it the second we got home. It’s insane. I use it with the Complexion Rescue brush and it provides the prettiest, dewy glow. If you buy one thing from this post, this should be it!
Last but not least… lips! I almost always do a bright lip. My two favorite reds right now are Bite’s Fraise Pencil and NARS Heat Wave. The former is a jewel tone red, and the latter is an orange-y red. I’ve been using them both for years now!
Next is hair. I am so obsessed with this mango shampoo. It leaves my hair really soft + smelling amazing. My hair is naturally pretty dry, so I love that this gets it clean without stripping away natural oils. To condition, I use either Rahua’s conditoner, or this mask.
For days that I wear my hair wavy, I live for Finesse Mousse. Live for it. My sister and I both swear by it, but it is so, so hard to find. Occasionally it will be on the bottom of the shelf at the drugstore, but otherwise, we order it from Amazon. I’ll also apply a little of this hair oil. The hair oil + mousse combination works well together as the mousse gives your hair a nice hold, and the oil prevents it from getting crispy or too defined. This spray protects my hair from the humidity, and my go-to hairspray is this one from Shu Uemura. It smells like soap, but better. Sometimes I’ll spray it on my hair anyway just because I love the smell so much.
In between washes, I’ll put this treatment on my ends to keep it sleek + shiny (this stuff is magical in humidity – it’s meant to be used before bedtime but I use it during the day) and Klorane’s Dry Shampoo is the best I’ve ever tried.
Last up is body products. Are you getting tired yet? I am! 😉
We’ll start with in the shower. My favorite shower gel is this one from Rahua. It’s all natural and smells amazing. Like mint + the rainforest. I shave my legs with this razor and L’Occitane’s Shower Oil — the combination leaves my legs super smooth. I’ve said it before but the Venus Swirl is the best razor I’ve ever used. It gets such a close shave + leaves my legs really silky!
My favorite body scrub (hands down) is this one, from One Love Organics. It smells like pineapple, and foams up to get skin super clean and smooth. But I also really love this one from Frank, especially during bikini season as the caffeine helps to tighten + firm skin. I wrote a longer post about Frank here, but it’s known to also reduce cellulite and stretch marks. I hate how dirty it makes my shower, but it’s worth it. For bonus points, turn the water off and leave it on for five minutes. Although the benefits are short term, it will leave your skin super firm.
Since my skin errs on the dry side, I love a good body oil. My two favorites are this one from Indie Lee (the lavender chamomile scent is so soothing), and this one from The Coqui Coqui. I bought mine on vacation in Tulum, and I’m so happy that Net-a-Porter carries the line now as it’s my absolute favorite and I don’t know when I’m going to get back there next!
I have keratosis pilaris (those pesky bumps) on my arms, so I use this cream, which is really inexpensive + the best treatment I’ve tried for it (and I’ve tried all the pricy ones, too). Another body product I really love is this body serum from One Love Organics. It smells so good (white tea + gardenia) and is great before body lotion when my skin needs extra hydration.
Last but not least: my sister got me addicted to Aesop’s hand washes. This one smells so good and actually has exfoliating beads. It is the most luxurious hand soap you’ll ever try.
Whew! So there you have it… my holy grail products! What are some of yours?