It’s that time again to do a round-up of some of the best beauty products I have recently tried and liked. This is the time of year when I start cleaning out as I mentioned in this post about the laundry room and this one about linens. I like to purge my makeup drawer and medicine cabinet at least a few times a year. I start by gathering everything out of my two drawers and the cabinet with a garbage bag and recycle can and another bag to put things aside.
Lately I’ve realized I didn’t want to open the drawer and see a jumble of products. I wanted to simplify and see a pretty drawer and tidy medicine cabinet. I tossed a huge amount, including those free samples I was never going to use, and anything expired, old, things sitting dormant, and anything old- like past a year.
They rest had to be something I used daily or at the very least, weekly. If there were other things I had bought recently and maybe wasn’t crazy about they went in another bag. That bag I put in a holding station in the garage. If I didn’t miss any of these things in the next month they were gone! I did this also with skincare items, hair products and body lotions, etc. Guess what? It’s been more than a month and I haven’t missed a one.
It was very freeing as it left just a few things to use each day. I threw out old brushes, trays and freshened up the drawers with new liner paper. I used wrapping paper I liked and double sided tape. I have a few long clear plastic containers and also a couple of cute trays that I like to hold hair ties and little things. It looks nice and I can now get ready in under five minutes as everything I use is within my sight.
That said I’ve been rethinking the whole wearing makeup thing. I’ve decided I want to wear less and I care more about protecting my skin than masking it and making it look ‘flawless.’ The good thing is the world is changing and we want to see people as they are, women especially. We haven’t got time for a lot of this shit anymore. Yay!
So here’s what I have left and use and below that a few more thoughts on makeup and beauty…
Foundation- I use a tinted moisturizer most of the time as I prefer the natural look as I find the more foundation and powder I use, the older I look. I would rather have some of my spots and imperfections show than a mask of makeup. Currently I love my Juice Beauty Stem CC Cream in desert glow for everyday and Beauty Counter’s Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer. Both products help improve your skin and come from companies dedicated to making more healthful products. Beauty Counter also makes a great Mattifying Powder and the Jane Iredale loose powder has been a go to for me to finish as I never break out and it has some coverage without being cakey.
For when I go out at night and have more time for makeup, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation has fantastic coverage and the finest texture of any makeup out there. I find a tiny amount of that can cover anything and when used sparingly is beautiful. I use it on my rosacea spots when I have to look a little more polished. This foundation also has vitamen C and tumeric.
I don’t use eye shadow, eye liner, or any of that anymore. I will brush a little bronzer on occasionally.
I buy many of my products at Bluemercury now, which is on some of these links. I like that they carry many of the newest brands and have a well curated small space so you never get overwhelmed. There is a small one in downtown Los Gatos where I live, but they also have a great online site with more products. They give samples too and that is how I’ve found several of the products I love.
Right now I am in love with Trish McEvoy High Volume Mascara and it makes my life easy. It doesn’t come off or smudge and with a little warm water it’s off in a second. Because it forms little tubes on your lashes, there is no trace of any darkness or makeup left after washing and in a second as the little tubes fall off. It’s been great as I play tennis, have sometimes runny eyes.I also love it for the beach and holidays as you’re guaranteed not to have black eyes after swimming or snorkeling, but don’t have to contend with the harsh waterproof kind of mascaras! It’s pretty and looks natural. I use the volumizing and there is also a lash curling version. Because my lashes are so straight I use a Japonesque curler and also a baby toothbrush to separate lashes bought a Whole Foods for $3.
For some color, I am using Bobbie Brown Crushed Lip Color in two shades, Telluride and Bare. These feel like a lip balm, but are a light stain that looks natural and pretty. I have only those two in my drawer now and they are really all I need. I also found Burt’s Bees has recently made a colored version of their lip balm and I have that in my pocket or purse in the rose color. I rarely use a lipliner anymore. If I need a little more definition I’ll use one of my Laura Mercier lip pencils in natural or hazelnut tea, but I usually don’t have time. The rest of the day I just use a balm with no color like Burts. Boybrow by Glossier is something I will use occasionally to fill in my brows.
My go-to skincare products have changed a little in the past year. I still am crazy about Sanitas Milk and Honey Cleanser which has an almost balm feel to it. I love rubbing this all over my face and do a light massage. It smells amazing and then I take a warm wet nubby washcloth and place it over my whole face for a second, then slowly remove the all my makeup. I buy this at Pharmaca and it’s on sale there right now. Their Lemon Creme Scrub is also excellent. If I’m tired I use the Blue Mercury M-61 wipes which all filled with good things for the skin and if I’m really motivated I’ll do one of the wipes after the regular cleaning routine. I follow with Arcona spot treatment on dark spots and then Darphin Jasmine Oil or Beauty Counter’s Recovery Sleeping Creme and Clarins Extra Firming Eye-Lift Serum, which I use day and night. I am not using Retin A right now, but I know you should have vitamin A derivative of some sort in your skincare for anti-aging and spots. I recently started trying this Roc Retinal Night Creme as it was so highly recommended by a lot of dermatologists. The sensitive version has hyaluronic acid which is good for the skin and I see a difference from it. I also just bought –Derma -E Hydrating Mist with green tea and hyaluronic acid. I love it to spray all day long on my face as I really get so dehydrated from the cold and heaters this time of year.
In the morning I just splash my face with cold water and use Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum which is important in California to help with free radicals and sun damage ( use it at night too if you have been in the sun a lot that day.) I follow with Elta SPF 46 face sunscreen. I am so glad I can get it online now. My dermo recommended it and it’s also good for people with acne, rosacea or who are sensitive. I sometimes use Beauty Counter’s Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion which is nice as I’m both dry and oily. Because I am so white, I often will use a small bit of self tanner on my cheeks in the winter, but I just ordered this Clarins Glow Booster which gives you color and is also a gradual self-tanner for the face. It mixes with your regular moisturizer. I have a pallor in the winter that looks better with a little boost if I go easy with it on my cheeks, forehead, neck and chest.
Nails I try to do myself mostly. I like them short and clean and with some color if I have time. Nothing looks more dated than fake nail!! Women have to stop. It’s really ugly. Some people don’t even take care of their hands, yet have these big gaudy nails.
I like short and bare or short with a color like this ones from Smith & Cult. I find these usually at Blue Mercury.
Take care of your hands with sunscreen every day and if you are extremely dry like me, Weleda’s Skinfood, which has transformed my hands. Their Baby Calendula Face Lotion is also amazing for people with sensitive skin and acne. Both products can be found at Pharmaca, Whole Foods and here.
You can read more about these two great products and why they call it the $12 La Mer on Into the Gloss.
One thing about beauty that I have been thinking lately is that we need less makeup, more skincare and self-care. With the movement for more equality this year, we need to think how we present ourselves to the world. Many of us grew up thinking we need a face full of makeup to look good. Some people won’t even set foot out the door without it. Men however, go as is, and have confidence and we accept them as they are. I’m not saying we need to look like guys, but I think it would all do us good to step back and take a look at what we do to ourselves daily.
For women the messages are out there- perfect airbrushed faces are all we see. I love that CVS recently banned airbrushed images from it’s stores. YES! People even airbrush themselves now on their social media like Snapchat with filters. They learn to use Facetune to make themselves flawless and then other kids think they are. That is another bad trend. The message is you look prettier when perfect.
We have to change that with our own choices. We want the next generation not to feel they need a face full of makeup to look pretty or filters. Girls already get that message so early-that they are not okay natural, that they need to add makeup. They also learn that they will be judged on their looks, not their accomplishments. Are we perpetuating that?
By wearing less makeup ourselves and feeling free to go barefaced we empower all women to embrace ourselves as we are…that we are perfect as we are! Let’s do this more, especially if we have young daughters and kids. If kids want to start self-care with skincare at an early age that is a good thing, but wearing makeup should be an occasional thing and not because we ‘need’ it. More like something fun. I am always amazed at the young girls in Italy and France who wear NO makeup and are so lovely. Skincare is emphasized. Taking care of oneself is what they strive for.
Hair too. How many people are bleached, blow-dried, curled and sprayed? I’m seeing more and more young women embracing their natural color and texture and refusing to spend hours a week making their hair look like a beauty pageant contestant. Why would you want to? We have better things to do with our time and we want to look like it too. No one wants to look like they spent hours with a curling iron. That is so out. Same with too much bleach or color. Grey blended into ones’s color looks more chic than a head full of dyed hair, especially all one color.
The most modern aesthetic right now is bare-faced, low maintenance hair (naturally dried) and short nails. Maybe a pop of color on your mouth if you want or a colorful nail, but fresh is the goal. Do yourself a favor a remove one beauty product from your routine if you wear a full face of makeup daily. Then remove another a few days later. See how your perspective changes over a week or so with less. You may actually look better than you think. There are so many people who I would love to see with less. The Duchess of Cambridge is one of them. She’s a beautiful young woman and feels the need to wear almost Joan Collins level dark eye makeup. She could go with almost none and look better. It’s crazy when we feel we cannot go as we are and are less without it.
Some recent great examples are Frances McDormand who says she want to be authentic and also Alicia Keys, who stopped wearing makeup while working on the voice. She refused to sit in the makeup chair anymore as it was taking hours away from her life. She said she doesn’t want to cover-up anymore and I so admire her for this. Here she is at the 2018 Grammys with no makeup:
I admire both of these women and think should all be trying a little more to be our authentic selves. There is beauty in so many forms and we need to change the old idea that beauty is perfection, because it is not. Let’s do this for all the women in the next generations!!
More us, less filters, less fake!