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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!
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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!
On my eyes, other than mascara + brows, I don’t do a lot, but if I do… I wear Stila eyeshadow in “kitten,” and the bronze Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner.
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!
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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.
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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?
This is amazing! I spot a lot of my current favorites, although I had to give up Neulash because it made my eyes itch like crazy 🙁
Hi Grace, I’m more into skin care than makeup too! Too much makeup just makes one look older. Plus, I like to feel confident that I can leave the house feeling like I look good, with little or no makeup on. I’m blessed with good skin, but alas, I do have large pores. I’ve been using the Biore’ charcoal scrub on your recommendation and I love it. Also, the Tata Harper mask and the roll on nourishing oil. I’m 54 and honestly, people always think I’m in my 30’s. I would say the most important thing you can do is wear sunscreen. I wear it every , single day. I use the La Roche Posay(Zitomer pharmacy) imported from France. 50SPF. Unfortunately, our US sunscreens are full of chemicals, but that’s another story. Thanks for all the tips!
Totally agree! The laroche posay is best sunscreen!! I use their anthelios 50 mineral tinted sunscreen every day. It glides on, offers great protection and a nice glow.
I am SO overwhelmed by the awesomeness of this post! definitely pinning it for reference when I “need” something new 🙂
Environ C Quence serum life changing. I also use the SKII Essence and Rhonda Allison pumpkin enzyme cleanser with my clarisonic.
I am so obsessed with Biore pore cleanser, it is the best one that I have ever used!!
Styling Happiness xoxo
The Bioré pore strips are a MUST!
Check out my spanish review here: http://lilasirena.blogspot.mx/2015/07/beauty-skin-care-x-biore.html
Greetings from MX =)
I’m a regular reader, and this is by far one of my favorite posts! Will definitely be trying some of these products out soon!
Hi Grace–love your blog and have been a long time reader. Great round up of products. I’m a huge fan and use One Love Organics and have completely revamped my routine to include organic products. I live in Boston (Cambridge) and shop frequently at Follain, which I know you’ve featured on your site.
I too have keratosis pillaris. Just wondering if you’ve ever tried KP duty by DERMAdoctor for your bumpy arms. How does it compare to Gold Bond?
Looking forward to what you’ll share next!
Hi Jen! Yes, I have! To be honest, I thought KP duty was just meh, and a little overpriced. (I really loved the scrub but the lotion I wasn’t crazy about.) I never thought I’d say it because I typically love those fancier products, but I like the Gold Bond so much better!
Thanks! Keep the recommendations coming!!
I’ve been waiting for this!! Thank you so much for writing all of this out. Your skin always looks flawless and mine….seems to need a lot of extra TLC as of late.
I just tested out Living Proof’s dry shampoo and it’s my new favorite. I also can’t live without Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray 🙂
Love these posts! I’m always so curious to see what others are using and loving!
Wow what a great post, I’m pinning this to reference when Sephora has their sale in November so I can get some of this goodness! I love love love Aveda products, they’ve just worked for me for years. But I’m also loving Hairdresser’s Oil by Bumble and Bumble for my shampoo and conditioner. I really have been meaning to use Tata Harper after you keep mentioning her stuff!
Hi Grace! I have been a follower of your blog for a few years now and just love your content so much! Question for you- do you have a favorite eye cream? I am in my mid-late 20’s and just haven’t seen to find an eye cream I have fallen in love with and that is also budget friendly ( Under $80). Any recommendations? Also check out Sunday Riley products… I used to be a die hard midnight oil fan but Sunday Riley “Juno” has won me over!
I do and I should have included it here! I wrote about my five favorites in this post: http://thestripe.com/2015/03/the-top-five-best-eye-creams/
Right now I’m loving the One Love Organics balm because it’s so hydrating… but the Verso is up there too!
Also I really love Juno, too! xx
Love this post, Grace! Thank you for including your OLO faves, we are so honored.
Love this post so much! The Tata Harper is amazing especially the resurfacing mask. I’ve also gotten into May Lindstrom recently. I really appreciate your mixture of more organic/ natural lines in here, although I’m super bummed that the Becca highlighter has parabens because it looks amazing on you!
ugh I know. I try to stick to a natural beauty routine, but I subscribe to the 80/20 rule… as long as the majority of what I’m wearing is all natural, I don’t sweat it. (this may be terrible advice, but it’s what I do!)
THANK YOU so much for putting this list together!! Every link I clicked, I thought “ooh, I want to try this too!”
I started using Tata Harper skincare products earlier this year and love them. I have dark spots on my face and the concentrated brightening serum has really helped. I’ve tried her eye cream and also love it, although I’m trying to use up 3 others I have before I let myself buy another one. 🙂
Seriously, this post is so comprehensive, it’s the best!!
I have had my ‘beauty favourites’ post saved in drafts for over a year (I really must get around to posting that!) but I’m always obsessed with reading everyone else’s holy grail lists. Mine are: Aesop mandarin face cream (basically every Aesop face and body product to be honest), Jurlique rose water mist, Trilogy rosehip oil or Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery as my night oil, St Tropez mousse or Palmer’s gradual tanner as I’m naturally SO pale, Estee Lauder Double Wear (because it lasts an entire long day), Nars Laguna bronzer and Orgasm blush, Stila Stay All Day liner and Kiehl’s olive hair mask (the only thing that can sort my hair out when it’s at its most tortured).
This is great, I love seeing people’s routines, I use a lot of Asian beauty stuff as well, particularly skincare. If you ever want to try a different SPF I have used the Biore watery essence sunscreen for years and it’s lovely, very liquid and with no white cast.
Just a tip on the sheet mask – I decant that extra essence or slip in a clean dry sheet mask to soak up the rest of the essence. You can get them from Daiso. Also a silicone sheet mask cover is great so you can do other things while you mask and it holds in more moisture! 😀
oh my gosh – what awesome tips!! Thank you!!!
I ordered so many of your recs for Xmas gifts and a few for myself! Thanks!
yay! so happy to hear that.
Thanks for sharing beautiful information ..