The BEST Sunscreen for Your Face

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

By now, we all know that wearing sunscreen every day is a must. And many of us (raises hand) wish we spent our younger years embracing SPF a little more.

While I was at the beach last week with my family, I saw my 13 years old attempting to sunbathe. She was convinced she needed a “base.” Don’t worry, we sprayed her down with SPF 70.

Bless her freckled-faced heart. I did the same thing when I was her age, like an idiot. I am just waiting for the day she discovers self-tanners.

But unlike her, I remember the days of sunscreen feeling like you were slathered with Elmers Glue. And back then, we only wore it in the summer, when we would be outside for long periods of time. 

Today, it’s should be an essential part of our daily beauty routine. 

The BEST Sunscreen for Your Face

Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

Sunscreen, $34 

As someone who burns looking at the sun, I’ve tried so many sunscreens specifically for my face. Sometimes they were part of my foundation or a tinted moisturizer, but I find having a separate one especially helpful this time of year.

I discovered the Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense by Drunk Elephant a few months ago, and I will never try another one. It goes on easily, like a light moisturizer, and absorbs into your skin instantly, leaving no sticky film or residue and makeup layers on wonderfully. 

I keep my morning skincare routine simple, considering how involved it is before bed. All I do is lightly wash my face with this Tachta face oil, follow up with my favorite face oil, wait a minute, then put on this sunscreen.

 
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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Post and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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How to Shape and Tint Your Eyebrows at Home

Eyebrows are the key to an easy, natural five-minute face.

When I was younger, I had great brows. Full, lush, dark, perfectly face-framing. But as I’ve aged, they’ve become thin and sparse, and they grow in with more and more gray. 

While I have no interest in going back to my twenties, I would very much like my eyebrows from then.

A balanced and shaped eyebrow will make you look youthful and modern. They highlight your bone structure and pull out your cheekbones.

So I thought it would be helpful to share what I’ve learned over the years working with beauty industry professionals (and lots of trial and error of my own), and share how I get perfect brows at home.

Follow the steps below or watch my IGTV video at the bottom of this post.

How to Shape and Tint Your Eyebrows at Home

How to Shape and Tint Your Eyebrows at Home

It’s so easy to get gorgeous eyebrows. All you need are a few affordable tools and a few extra minutes. 

I’ll walk you through each step below and share a video in real time below. 

 

ice roller and face massagerIce Roller, $18

First, if you don’t like the “pinch” from plucking, run this ice roller over your brows. This was a middle of the night impulse buy that ended up being one of my favorite things of 2019. I use it all the time to calm puffy skin, help with sinuses, and to get my brows ready.

You move much faster and remove more hair with the tweezer if it doesn’t hurteyebrow kitBrow Kit, $14

Next you need a spoolie, tweezers and, if your brows are extra long, a small pair of trimmers to help tame them. This brow kit from Target has everything you need. 

 

anastasia beverly hills eyebrow stencilsBrow Stencils, $22

Next, pick up this pack of eyebrow stencils. You’ll see in the video below: I use the “Full Arch” option. This helps you understand your brow’s natural shape and determine where you should pluck and how to fill them in.

eyebrow tint kitTint Kit, $20

Finally, to tint them, use this kit from TintKit. I use “medium brown” but there are lots of other options. It’s so easy to use.

Simply mix on capsule of the dye with a 1/4 teaspoon of the developer in a small dish. Then, paint it on your brows with the included brush. 

Let it sit for 1 – 2 minutes and wipe off. 

Important!

When you are finished tinting both brows, use a face wash that includes some kind of gentle exfoliator, this will help remove any shadow dye left on your skin. 

Then you’re done! Below is me with only mascara, a tinted moisturizer, a little lipgloss and some good old fashion lighting 😉 You can see the before in the video below. 

How to Video

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Post and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


Easy Steps for a Flawless At Home Self Tan

Loving Tan Self Tanner

Since it’s getting to be that time of year, I thought it would be fun to walk you through how I get a natural-looking, streak-free, self-tan at home.

My skin does not tan at all. If I look at the sun the wrong way, I burn and freckle instantly.

Ever since I was 14 and saw supermodel Niki Taylor on the cover of Seventeen Magazine, I’ve been chasing a healthy-looking tan. From drug store-brand formulas that left me the color of baseball dirt, to the modern formulas that actually work, I have tried every product ever on the market, which makes me a bit of an expert.

Over the last few years, in the spirit of saving time, I’ve gone to my neighborhood salon for a bi-weekly spray tan starting right before Memorial Day. This year, unfortunately, our area salons are closed (and may not reopen this summer – insert sobbing emoji), so it’s time to go back to doing it myself.

Luckily, I have loads of experience. 😉

I’m not trying to look like a bronzed goddess, nor am I saying that fair skin isn’t beautiful.

It’s just that I look radioactive on the beach. The tanner helps to tone it down, even out my skin, hide my veins and cellulite and help me feel more confident in shorts and swimsuits.

I mapped out my process below, and shared a step-by-step video over in my Instagram highlights

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☀️Anyone else craving sunshine and normalcy right about now? . 🤚🏼 . This time of year I usually start up my bi-weekly spray tans in anticipation for warmer weather and shorter hemlines. . But since my local salons are nowhere near opening 😭I have to go back to my roots and do it myself. . Luckily, I’ve been self-tanning since I was 14, which pretty much makes me an expert. . So today I’m breaking down my easy at home steps for a flawless at home tan. . Including how to get a natural, streak free application and my favorite products that make the process a breeze. . ☝🏼For the step-by-step guide follow the link in my profile and click “New on the Blog” or head to my highlights to watch the tutorial in full 💕

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Easy Steps to a Perfect Self Tan

Loving Tan Self TannerSelf Tanner, $40 In Medium | In Dark

Skin Prep

The night before you apply your self-tanner, shower, shave and exfoliate, paying extra attention to your elbow, knees, heels and hands and feet. Areas with dry or rough skin will absorb the tanner in a way that will leave it looking dirty. 

After you get out of the shower, dry off and slather your favorite moisturizer all over. 

Nails

Be sure you remove any nail polish and push back your cuticles. I also apply some cuticle oil so they do not dry out. Much like rough, dry skin, if your cuticles are dry or overgrown, and come in contact with your tanner, they will quickly turn yellow. 

Do not skip prepping your skin, it makes all the difference in how your tan comes out. 

Application

These days, there are a ton of effective products on the market. It just depends on the results you are looking for and how much time you have. 

The St. Tropez line is terrific, though it will give you a much darker tan. I use it if we are going on vacation, so I start darker than usual, but then it fades throughout the week, extending the life of the tan. 

NDK is another option, with a traditional application process. It goes on like a moisturizer and develops over 7 – 8 hours. 

Lately, I’ve been using Loving Tan’s 2-hour express. I use the medium, which is great for skin that doesn’t naturally tan. They also have dark – ideal if you tan easily.

Loving tan is currently my favorite if you want a subtle, low maintenance tan.

It doesn’t smell, streak, or stain fabrics at- so wins all around.

Because it goes on dark, you can see exactly where you are putting it to make sure it goes on evenly.

Important! Be sure to use an applicator mitt – this will save your hands from getting stained AND help you cover more surface quickly and easily.

Best Practice

I’ve been doing this process on Saturday mornings. Which means I start to prep on Friday night.

In the morning, remove your clothes and put your mitt on your left hand.

With the mitt on your left hand, work from your left leg up your body and apply on your right arm, chest, and neck.

Then switch hands and with the mitt on your right hand, start at the top of your right foot, and apply moving up your body, finishing on your left arm, chest, and neck.

You want to work with two-three pumps at a time.

As you work up your leg and arms, avoid your knee and elbow until there is very little product left on the mitt, then apply to those areas. This helps make sure they blend evenly. 

Finally, be careful applying to your face. You don’t need as much product as you may think. Start with one pump, and go from there, paying close attention to your hairline and ears. 

When you’re done, throw on a loose fitting dress – and skip a bra for a few hours. I keep an old tank dress from when I was pregnant on hand just for this.

With the Loving Tan formula, you let it sit for 2 hours (it drys almost right away) and then hop in the shower to rinse it off. The tan continues to build over the next few hours.

Products:

Loving Tan, Two Hour Express Tanning Mouse: In Medium | In Dark

Applicator Mittfor Body and Face

Video How-To: Instagram


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Post and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 

What to Buy at Sephora’s Spring Sale

What to Buy At Sephora's Spring Sale

If I could walk into one store right now, it would be Sephora. It’s the only retailer I prefer to shop in person. I am an online shopping connoisseur, but I love the in-store experience at Sephora.

I can spend hours getting lost walking up and down the aisles. And don’t get me started on the pure joy that is their checkout line, that snakes around, wrapping you in sample sizes of everything you never knew you needed.

When I leave, with my glossy black bag filled with goodies, I’m convinced for a brief moment that when I use these new products, I will emerge as a better, more beautiful version of myself. lol.

Right now is their Spring Savings Event. It’s marketed as a sale for “Insiders.” 

What does that mean? 

Nothing special, you just have to sign up for their rewards program. If you’re not an insider, sign up on their site before you start shopping. It’s easy, it’s free and they don’t bug you about anything. 

This sale is different in that the discounts vary based off  your Insider level, and your Insider level is determined by your annual spend. 

If you’re just getting started you’re called an Insider and get 10% off, if you’re VIP  you get 15% off, and if you’re what they call Rouge you get 20% off. The more you spend annually, the great the discount you’ll receive. 

Regardless of which level you are, use the code SPRINGSAVE at check out. 

My Favorites 

For today’s post, I literally stood in my bathroom and looked up all of my favorite products to see if you can grab them on sale. Most of these you’ve heard me talk about countless times, others I started using a few months ago and am happy to recommend. 

Please note, unlike all of my other posts, I am not including the price of these because the sale price will vary based on your discount and part of our regulation as bloggers is that if I post the price, it has to be as accurate as possible. 

Also, I hope this goes without saying, while I do spend on better beauty products, I don’t buy all of these at once. Some products I have to replenish every month, most require only once or twice a year.

Below, I broke this down into Skincare, and then Makeup, Fragrance and Tools.

Skincare

What to Buy At Sephora's Spring Sale

If you’ve been following for any amount of time, you know I spend a lot of time focusing on healthy skin. I’m 40 years old, with sensitive skin, and dealt with terrible cystic acne – as an adult – for many years.

Skin issues profoundly impacted my self-confidence. It wasn’t until I got my skin issues under control that I felt confident enough to put my face on the blog, so I am more than happy to spend here and save in other areas.

Now, my skin has never looked better. (Another reason why I’m so loyal to these products.)

Sephora’s Spring Savings: Skincare 

Drunk Elephant Jelly Cleanser  – I’ve been using this for two months, and it’s fantastic. You only use it at night as a way to deep clean your skin from daily pollutants and grim. Right now, I’m using it every few nights because we’re staying home. It’s also great after a sweaty workout. I imagine, as we get back to normal this summer, it will feel wonderful rinsing off sunscreen and grim from the day. 

Tatcha Oil Cleanser  – By far my favorite gentle cleanser. It quickly removes makeup, and cleanses skin without stripping it of moisture. For sensitive skin, it’s a dream. I’ve been using this for years. 

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask – I was looking for a new night cream when I discovered this  “Waterfacial Mask.” It’s not a mask at all, rather, it’s a thick (but not too thick) ultra hydrating cream you put on right before bed. It’s not sticky, it doesn’t clog pores, it just leaves my skin looking and feeling soft and smooth. Search is over. 

Drunk Elephant Night Serum – When I ordered the above cream, it came with a sample size of this “Night Serum.” Not one to ever let a product go untested, I followed the directions and applied it to my skin before bed, layered right under the “mask.” It has helped even out my skin tone and softens some acne scarring. My skin looked noticeably brighter the very first morning after I used it.

Drunk Elephant Sunscreen – A simple sunscreen for your face with SPF 30 that absorbs quickly and doesn’t mess with your makeup. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream – The upfront price of this is steep, BUT, it lasts almost a year which is just about when it would expire. This is another long time favorite of mine. After consistent use, the lines around my eyes are minimal, and what is there has softened. 

Goop Morning Skin Super Powder – I put two of these packets in my water every, single morning. It’s filled with vitamin C and E, CoQ10, and a bunch of other ingredients that are good for your skin and general health. I actually buy them from the Goop website and have them on auto delivery. I know, I feel you rolling your eyes, it’s okay, I know. 

Beautyblender -Beautyblenders are expensive (usually $20 for a little sponge), so if you use them, or are hanging onto one that you know you should replace, pick a few up now.

Caudalie Detox Mask – This is the one mask I go back to time and time again. It’s affordable, gentle and effective. I use it a few times a week because it only takes 5 minutes to do, so you feel like you indulged but you didn’t waste any time. 

Makeup, Fragrance and Brushes

What to Buy At Sephora's Spring Sale

One of the many benefits of focusing on skin health is you don’t require much in terms of make up. You’ll never see me “baking” or conturing to an inch of my life. I like to see my skin come through, freckles and all.

You have seen all of these on here before. These are my everyday, go-to, 5 minute face essentials. 

Sephora’s Spring Savings: Makeup, Fragrance and Tools 

Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick – I use this foundation stick every day. What’s great about it is that it isn’t heavy, or cakey. You can build for the kind of coverage you want (use a BeautyBlender for easy application). The best thing about Bobbi Brown is the array of skin tones. It’s truly inclusive. You can be pale as a ghost like me, or have deep and dark skin and get precisely what you need.

Sephora Collection Brush Set – They call this the “uncomplicated brush set.” How perfect is that? It’s under $50 and has everything you need to quickly get the most out of your application. 

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer – I have been using this bronzer since I was in my twenties. For my skin tone, it looks natural. If you just want a healthy glow you seriously don’t need any other product. And it lasts forever. 

RMS Beauty Signature Set – I have two of these compacts, one lives in my bag and one lives in my bathroom. It has everything you need for a quick, natural face, and is ideal for touch ups on the go. 

Jo Malone Peony and Suede Blush – This has been my signature scent for several years. It’s just lovely and I am forever complimented on it. 

Benefit ka-Brow – Brows are EVERYTHING. They shape your face, and make you look youthful, happy and healthy.  As I’ve aged, my eyebrows have disappeared. This product helps you quickly define them, in a very natural way. I use it every single day. 

Wander Beauty Mascara – Get super natural looking, long lashes that don’t smudge or look ridiculous. 

Bobbi Brown Face Primer Moisturizer – I don’t use a primer every day, especially right now, but when you need your makeup to go on and stay in place, a layer of primer first will help.

Kosas Lipstick – I adore this non toxic, hight pigment lipstick from Kosas. “Electra” is my go to red, and “Rosewater” is a feminine pink based neutral I like for everyday. 

Other posts you may like: I broke down my nighttime skincare routine a while ago, you’ll see many of these products featured. The point, however, was to discuss the best order to apply your products – so use whatever works best for you. 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You’ll Love

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

Right now, we all need a little self-care. Something simple, inexpensive, and uncomplicated to take our mind off things.  A small indulgence to make us feel good. For me, when I do a little pampering, I feel better.

I’m a big believer in maintaining as much normalcy as possible when things feel uncertain.  And for many of us, we’re focusing on maintaining that normalcy for our families. 

Now, more than ever, it’s going to be really easy to forget about yourself. 

Carving out some time, even if it’s just a minute, for self-care will help you feel centered and allow you to take better care of yourself and everyone around you.

So, I thought it would be helpful to roundup my favorite beauty tools and products. These are some of my all-time favorite finds, that I use regularly, and are all under $40. 

You can incorporate these into your day without a lot of fuss, and seriously, since none of us will be hitting up a salon in the coming weeks, we’re going to need all the help we can get! 😉 

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You’ll Love

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll LoveClay Mask, $39  |  Ice Roller, $15  |  Derma Roller, $23  |  Dry Brush, $20  |  Hand Cream, $29  |   Hydrating Mask, $38

Clay Mask, $39

 

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

This is my favorite face mask. It’s gentle, not drying, and effective. It’s a clay mask, so it gets tight on your skin. Keep on for ten minutes, and wipe off with a warm washcloth. Use once or twice a week to help remove dirt, oil, and pollutants from your face.

I like to use it as part of my nighttime skincare routine.

Ice Roller, $15

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

I bought this ice face roller in 2019 while I was up in the middle of the night and pregnant with Vivi, unable to sleep. By the time it showed up, I had forgotten about it. I eventually used it, and it is surprisingly fantastic.

I keep it in my freezer drawer and use it first thing in the morning, while the house is still quiet and I’m getting my coffee ready. This helps reduce redness and puffiness and also tightens pores. It also just feels so good and helps wake me up.

Derma Roller, $23

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

Of all the gizmo’s I use on my face, and there are many, it is by far the most impactful. A Microneedle, or Derma Roller is a small, handheld tool that rolls thousands of tiny needles across your face.

Doing so does a few things, first, it helps stimulate collagen – something we all need. Second, the small little holes the needle makes allows your products to absorb into your skin better, making them more effective. 

Does it hurt? No, but it might feel uncomfortable at first. You get use to it. 

Start once a week and work your way to two. When you use this, skip any other exfoliate you might use.  

 

 Dry Brush, $20

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

Dry brushing is an excellent technique used to reduce cellulite, improve circulation, smooths skin, and help with lymphatic drainage – which in turn helps strengthen our immune system. I started using it simply to exfoliate before learning about all the other good-for-you benefits. 

Use it once to twice a week, before you shower. Work in sweeping movements up your body from your toes to your chest, and then in a downward motion from your neck to your chest. It feels weird but good, and your skin will feel great right away and start to glow a few weeks from now with regular use. This is the brush I use, from goop.

Hand Cream, $29 

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll LoveWe’re washing our hands and wiping down every surface in our homes all day long. We need a good hand cream, and this one from L’Occitane is the best. I keep tubes of these all around the house: in drawers, in my bag, and the pocket of my robe. 

And as an extra little something, warm a wash cloth and wrap it around your hands – like when you get your nails done, and then apply this cream before bed. You’ll wake up with soft and supple skin, ready for the next round of cleaning. 

Note: this is not the family hand cream, this is just for me. 

Hydrating Mask, $38
6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll LoveEarlier this week, my hair stylist called me to confirm that my appointment for this week was canceled.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I am NOT a natural blonde, as you’ll soon see yourself.

Since we’re not using a lot of heavy chemicals and tools on our hair right now, spend a little time bringing it back to life. 

Because all those things do a number on our hair. This mask by Moroccan Oil will help infuse your strands with hydration and it takes only five minutes to use!

Simply wash your hair, towel dry it, work it through your hair in with a wide-tooth comb, wait for 5 minutes, and rinse it out. You’ll thank me later.


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Postand wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 


 

The Best Order to Apply Skincare Products at Night

The Best Order to Apply Your Skincare at Night

This post was originally published in February 2019. It was updated with expanded content on January 9th, 2020.

I’ve spent a ton of time researching the best order to apply skincare products at night, for purely selfish reasons. As my arsenal of products has grown, I started to wonder if I was using them correctly, and, as it turned out, I wasn’t.

There is more to skincare than just slapping on some cream. Each layer has a purpose. Some products work best on damp skin; others require skin to be dry. All should have a minute to absorb for maximum effectiveness.

I’m sharing what I found with you today. Because, the correct process will ensure you are getting the most out the investment you are making in your skin. You’ll see below, I use a combination of high end and inexpensive products. There is a $7 serum, and a $200 serum. 

A few things to keep in mind: I use the products below every single day. They work for my skin which is sensitive, dull, dry in areas and acne prone. I’ve dealt with cystic acne for years, and it killed my self-esteem.

One of the reasons I was so reluctant to put my picture on the blog was because of how terrible my skin looked. 

When I say I have tried every product under the sun, I mean it.  

Since landing on this specific regimen over the last three years, my skin looks fantastic, and I’ve had no breakouts, so I happily spend the money. One of the reasons why I don’t publish a lot of beauty specific content is because I’m so loyal to the products I use, there’s not much to talk about.

I cannot reinforce this enough: The point of this post is to share the order to apply your skincare and why. Everyone’s skin and budget are different.  Use the products that work best for you!

The Best Order to Apply Skincare Products at Night

The Best Order to Apply Your Skincare at Night

A good rule of thumb to follow is to layer your skincare according to weight, starting with the lightest and working your way to the thickest. 

My process seems like a lot but it only takes about 10 minutes at night, and after a long day of work and kids, it’s a lovely way to mentally prepare to sleep and transition to bedtime.

Best Order to Apply Skincare Products at Night

Wash your face

Oil Cleanser, $48

Start with a gentle cleanser. I love this oil cleanser from Tatcha. It’s light, odorless and it just melts off your makeup without being harsh or drying out your skin. I’ve been using it for over a year now and am completely in love. 

For years, I used Eve Lom’s melting cleanser, another excellent option that goes from a solid to an oil by rubbing the product in your hands. Both are wonderful; the Tatcha is a bit more affordable and lasts me three months. 

Whatever cleanser you use, be sure it is as gentle as possible on your skin. 

Exfoliate

Exfoliator, $125.

There are two products on this list that completely changed my skin. This is the first.  Goop’s exfoliating “mask” is incredible. They call it a mask, but it’s more like a scrub.

After you cleanse, apply a small amount all over your face.

Let it sit for about three minutes, until it feels a little tingly, and then wipe it off with a clean cloth and warm water. Your skin will glow and feel like a baby’s bottom.

It’s a splurge, for sure, but the other day, I changed Vivi’s diaper and had poop on my forehead for an indeterminate amount of time, so I don’t care.

With daily use this lasts about two months. I’ve been using it since it came out and will never go without it.

Face Mask – Optional

 Mask, $39.

I don’t do a mask every day, no one has time for that, but I will apply one a few times a week, before I do a photo shoot, or on a Sunday. I love to do one when my husband is traveling, and I can have a big glass of wine and watch trash TV by myself.

My favorite and most frequently used is this Claudalie Detox Mask, great for cleaning out your pores and brightening skin. 

Tone

 Toner, $11 

Use a toner after you cleanse and before you moisturize. It helps to remove any excess dirt, makeup or left over product from a mask.

It also helps with acne and restores your skin’s Ph. Thayers Witch Hazel in Rose Petal is my favorite. It’s affordable, effective and there is something nostalgic about the scent. Every time I smell it I feel happy. 

Then Use a Serum

Vintner’s Daughter, $198

Listen, the price of this serum is bananas, I know.  I’m also on my 7th or 8th bottle. It’s the single best product I’ve ever used on my skin.  You can read all about it’s complex goodness here

What I can tell you is since using it I don’t have any breakouts and my skin looks more youthful. I use it day and night. 

To apply gently push the serum into your skin.  I use my jade roller for an added bit of massage.

Serums, in general, are essential because they have a higher concentration of ingredients. They absorb into the skin better, so a little goes a long way.  It’s important to remember to let them absorb for a minute or two before you move to the next step. 

Related: The Beauty Tools I Can’t Live Without

Add a Moisture Boost

Hyaluronic Acid, $7.

The term “acid” turned me off for a long time, until I learned that it’s not an acid at all.  Rather, it’s a gel like water substance that helps plump your skin and lock in moisture. 

It’s important to put this on damp skin so the gel has something to hold on to and is activated. 

So I apply my serum, let it sit, and then spritz my skin with this hydrating mist by Juice Beauty, then layer on the hyaluronic acid and let that sit for a minute or two. Also, I don’t spend here, at all. I use The  Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid for $7

Don’t Forget Eye Cream

Eye Cream, $140

I use eye cream day and night because I am 40, I have three kids and I get little sleep.

To apply, gently dab it around your eye area and, again, let it sit for a minute. This eye cream by Dr. Barbara Strum is no joke. It not only helps minimize wrinkles, it helps with tired, puffy eyes, something I know a little bit about these days.

A small jar has lasted me just about a year. That breaks down to $11 a month. 

For a less expensive option, Olay makes on that gets great reviews

Retinoid for the Over 40 Crowd

Retinoid, $10

If you are approaching  or are over 40 you need a retinoid or retinol. Retinoid is a stronger version of retinol and helps turn over your cells faster. While hyaluronic acid is activated by damp skin, you want to apply your retinoid product on totally dry skin

Start by using a tiny amount, a few times a week as it can be drying and even burn your skin (happened to me) if you don’t use it correctly. Because my skin is so sensitive, I only apply it two times a week. I apply on problem areas like the wrinkles on my forehead and some age spots on my cheeks. Do not rub it all over your face. 

I also use The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid* 2% Emulsion. You could spend so much more, but after reading the reviews on Sephora I gave it a try and it does the trick!

Night Cream

Night Cream, $56 

Your skin does all of its regeneration while you sleep, so layer on a rich night cream to help it along. I’ve used so many over the years. La Mer makes an incredible (and incredibly expensive) one, I used Estee Lauder NightWear for a few months and was happy with that too

Currently, I’m trying Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Overnight Cream. It’s extra hydrating, perfect for East Coast winters. I’m on my second jar, and happy with how it’s working. 


 Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

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My Best Beauty Buys of 2019

The Best Beauty Buys of 2019

Looking presentable is part of my job, but having a professional hair and makeup team on hand is not part of my budget. Whether I’m getting ready for an event, a photo shoot, or simply getting ready for the day, it’s me, in my bathroom, begging my children to leave me alone for just five minutes.

I’m not a beauty expert (and have no interest in becoming one), but I do try a TON of products and tools during the year. I buy everything with my own money and have never done a review or made a recommendation in exchange for any kind of compensation.

That means when I say I like something, you can trust that I do.

And my requirements are high. First and foremost, it has to work. It has to save me time, or in some way, make my life easier. Much like yesterday’s Best Buys of 2019 post, I have to be delighted that I bought it every time I use it.

The Best Beauty Buys of 2019

Things you should know: 

My skin is normal, but sensitive. I burn just looking at the sun. I used to deal with pretty severe acne in my early to mid thirties, but have cleared it up amazingly with proper skincare and drinking a ton of water every day. 

When it comes to products, I am incredibly loyal. That’s one of the reasons I don’t write regular beauty content. There’s not a lot to talk about, since once I like something, it stays in rotation for a long time. 

Over the years, my skincare philosophy has gone from focusing on makeup and covering things up, to taking the best care possible of my skin. I put the time and money into that, and the benefit (aside from glowy natural skin) is needing less makeup and spending less time getting ready.

I take my nighttime skin care routine most seriously, as you can see in the post from earlier this year. Some people loved it, some thought I was nuts. It actually doesn’t take long to do, and it’s a lovely way to get ready for bed. Most important, since my skin has healed from the acne I feel a million times more confident, and I don’t think you can put a price on that. 

Favorite Products

Vintners Daughter is still my most favorite product of all time. It transformed my skin. The Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial is a close second and I wouldn’t be able to pick between the two since I think using them together is the holy grail of skincare. 

I am also still obsessed with my dermaroller and recently upgraded to this one. I use it several times a week, depending on what else I’m doing to my skin.

This year I found some real winners, so let’s jump in. 

My Best Beauty Buys of 2019

The Best Beauty Buys of 2019RMS Signature Palette, $44  |  Ice Roller, $15  |  Juice Beauty Overnight Cream, $75  |  Wander Beauty Mascara, $26  |  Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede, $60  |  Almond Oil, $50  |  Hanacure Facial Set, $29  |  T-3 Curling Iron, $136  |  Tyme Iron, $165 

RMS Signature Palette

This pocket size palette is ideal for an on-the-go, five minute face. It includes a bronzer, highlighter, two lip and cheek stains and a balm.  I love it so much I bought two, so I always have one in my makeup drawer and one to float around in my handbags. The colors give just enough pigment, that you can layer, in hues (I use the palette called “Pop”) which is a classic color, for warmer tones go with Mod (pictured above).

Shop: Pop / Mod

Ice Roller 

I’ve mentioned this ice roller a few times this year. It was a middle of the night purchase made in between feeding the baby and trying to sleep. I still can’t believe how much I use it. It’s perfect for the morning after a late night, maybe you overindulged or watched a sad movie and had a good cry. If you’re puffy or red, roll this over your entire face, and it will wake you up and depuff instantly. 

I’ll even use it after my morning routine, before I put on makeup. The cold tightness your skin, and makes your products glide on flawlessly. 

Shop: Assorted Colors 

Juice Beauty Overnight Cream

For a while, I was using Goop’s night cream, and it was just okay – not worth the price. Then I used Estee Lauder’s Night cream and liked that very much. But when I read about Juice Beauty’s Cell Renewal Night Cream, I decided to give it a try.
It’s loaded with good-for-you ingredients, like Hyaluronic Acid, and helps cell turnover and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In the winter, I prefer a thick night cream since it’s cold outside, but my house is dry and I notice how the change of temperature almost immediately affects my skin. I can see a difference in my skin’s moisture and texture in the morning after I slather this on at night.

Shop: One jar last approx. 2 – 3 months with daily use 

Wander Beauty Mascara

Early this fall, my social feed was flooded with ads for Wander Beauty, and after a while, I couldn’t resist. (I am clearly their target market.) Admittedly, I have a drawer full of mascaras, yet still always on the hunt for the next great one. This one by Wander Beauty hits it out of the park. It lengthens, it’s smooth, doesn’t clump, and doesn’t leave a dusty residue on your face.

Shop: Mile High Volume Mascara

Jo Malone Fragrance

For the longest time, my go-to fragrance was Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf, and it remains an all time favorite. But Jo Malone has always been one of those aspirational brands, with their chic packaging and exotic fragrance combinations. So while I was in NYC a few months back, I splurged on Peony and Blush Suede, and it’s stunning. It’s a similar scent to Flowerbomb, less sweet, and a little more sophisticated. I get nonstop compliments on it, with everyone saying it smells uniquely fresh and feminine.

Shop: Travel size, currently 15% off

Almond Body Oil

Body oil absorbs into your skin better than lotion, so I went on the hunt for an effective, daily oil that didn’t leave a slick residue. After trying a few, I discovered this Almond Body Oil by L’Occitane. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way. It dries quickly, doesn’t leave a mark on your clothes, and smells clean without being overpowering. The key is to put it on damp skin right after your shower, so you lock in as much moisture as possible.

Shop: Supple Skin Oil

Hanacure Facial Set

This all in one, at home facial, claims to fix everything with regular use – from dullness, and wrinkles, to fine lines and age spots. That’s such a tall order I almost didn’t buy it. But out of curiosity disguised as research, I bought the all-in-one set, which includes four treatments.

I used all of them, and I’m telling you, your skin does look amazing when you’re finished. Whether I see a long term, lasting difference is yet to be determined.

BUT! I used a treatment before a few parties and photoshoots, and my skin looked fantastic for those events, so I’m keeping a stock of them for that very reason, and if my skin improves over time, even better.

Shop: Starter Set (One Application) / Kit (Four Applications)

T3 Curling Iron

This is my second T3 Curling iron. I bought my first one several years ago and only replaced it because I left the first one in a hotel.

It’s fantastic. My hair is flat and straight, but I like to wear it with curl. This lets me get a gorgeous barrel curl, around my entire head, in less the five minutes. 

Be sure to use it on dry hair and spray on a heat protector, because this gets hot. To give the curl lasting hold, I let it cool completely in my hand once it comes off the barrel, and then I leave it. I don’t run a comb or brush through it. Eventually it falls and gives me the natural wave I’m looking for. 

Shop: T3 Curling Iron

Thyme Iron

Yes, I bought two rather expensive curling iron tools this year. I actually bought them within a few days of each other and I ended up loving them both equally. The Thyme Iron is different than the T3. You’ll get a lot more volume and a different kind of curl. I use the T3 to get my everyday style, parted to the side, with a soft curl.

The Thyme Iron can be used in several different ways, but I use it for a more dramatic look. It takes some time to get the hang of how to use it, but the company does a fantastic job creating how-to videos and tutorials. Once you get the hang of it, the process moves fast.

The real benefit is how long the curls last. If you do it the right way (and depending on how frequently you need to wash your hair), you can get a full day and then next out of one style.

Shop: The Thyme Iron (be sure to purchase from Thyme and not one of the knock offs.)