Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Beauty Junkie's Recommendations

I have gone through an addiction to online shopping in the last couple years (I'm doing a lot better now), but specifically I cannot get enough of beauty products. Makeup, perfume, body butters, hair products, and skincare! There's been times I read a random thread on a board about people's favorite products, and suddenly feel a compulsion to buy many of the things posted about. I once spent $200 on in one sitting late at night... it was bad. I am a poor college student - and this sort of shopping is not within my means.

Things are not nearly as extreme as that anymore, but I still love reading about and trying products. I try now to not be such a snob about it, and give drugstore products a chance too, as they are much easier on my wallet. A lot are really just as good--I've had $90 face creams, and $4 face creams, and higher price does not = higher quality necessarily, atleast in my experience.

Anyway, I feel like my "addiction" has given me a lot of exposure to a lot of different products of all kinds - organic, name brands, drugstore, etc. , and I just wanted to share a couple of products that I think are actually very much worth buying, and are indispensable to me.

Possibly my favorite skincare product ever is Zia's Papaya Enzyme Mask. It's organic, which I like, and has a really fresh and unique smell to it. It's a green pasty sort of stuff that you mix with a little water and spread on your face. You leave it on for about 15 minutes, keeping it moist ( I use a little spritzer with water). As long as it stays moist, the enzymes work and will dissolve dead skin cells to exfoliate. After I rinse it off, I feel like my skin is super smooth, my pores are cleaned out, and the surface is so soft to the touch! My makeup goes on smoother, and there is a general glow to my complexion. I try to use it atleast once every week or two weeks, especially now in the winter since my skin dries out and flakes more easily. Such great stuff!!!

EO's Organic Lip Treatment in Grapefruit & Honey is my favorite chapstick! For one, it smells and tastes really good. I love anything citrus, especially grapefruit, and the flavor and scent of honey is delicious, also. This is also a certified organic product. I feel like a lot of chapsticks, lip salves, glosses, etc. just dry out quickly and my lips are dry and flaky not long after, and I have to keep applying and applying it. This stuff really makes my lips soft, and goes a long way. It stays moist on my lips for a really long time after applying it, and even when it does dry a little (no chapstick could stay moist forever), my lips won't flake and dry out, they are soft at the surface and healthy looking and feeling. I am actually out of this right now, but its on my list of products to purchase!

My favorite perfume is Moschino's Cheap & Chic I Love Love. I realize perfume is a lot more subjective, and everybody has their own preferences. But to me this is the most beautiful scent. I've tried a great many different perfumes, but this is hands down my signature scent. I first smelled it when I was dating Bill and I met a couple friends of his, we were in the car and I was like "oh my goodness, somebody smells really great!" It was his friend Sarah, and she told me the name of what she was wearing. I quickly looked it up online, and purchased my own bottle. When I got it, the scent was even better than I remembered. According to, it has notes of Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Red Currant, Lily-of-the-Valley, Bulrushes, Tea Rose, Cinnamon Leaves, Tanaka Wood, Musk, Cedar. My friend Simone told me once I smelled like the woods. I mostly notice a fresh citrus-y smell in the beginning (mostly orange), and then a lovely sweet musk when I've been wearing it for a few hours, that just wafts up to my nose. I've had quite a few random people stop me to tell me I smelled really great, and ask the name of what I was wearing. I also had a random (and creepy) guy in a pub tell me repeatedly that I smelled "sooooo goooooodd" and stand a little too close to sniff me continuously while his girlfriend was right there. So, I get lots of compliments on it, but mostly I just love the smell of it myself- it makes me feel sexy, stylish, and sophisticated when I wear it -- love it!

I think the best multi-purpose product I use is plain old Vitamin E Oil! The kind I like is Home Health's Natural Vitamin E Skin Beauty Oil. It comes in what looks like a nail polish bottle. It's great as a lip moisturizer. I sometimes dab it lightly around my eyes before bed as a night eye treatment and wake up with really dewy fresh glowing skin around my eyes. I rub some on scrapes and hangnails to make them heal faster and without scarring. And its a great all-around moisturizer for anywhere. I like that its the pure form of a primary ingredient in so many skincare products. And not to mention, another organic product!

There are two facial moisturizers that I like the best of all I've tried. I think one is better for winter (with dryer skin), and one is better for summer (when my face gets oilier). For wintertime, I love Dr. Hauschka's Normalizing Day Oil. Who would think a straight-up oil would be such a great moisturizer on skin that already tends to be overly oily? It has an herbal, almost medicinal smell, that I like, and very little is needed. I rub it into my skin, especially into the areas that tend to dry out. What's great is that it absorbs in really well. It actually makes the oily areas stay matte for the most part, and the dry areas are soft and smooth. It tends to be a little heavy for summertime, but this time of year it has been so great for my skin! It's a little pricy, also, but I found a bottle on ebay for about half price. It was actually from Germany, and the label is in German, which is fun.
For hotter, humid weather, I like Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Daily Regenerating Moisture Lotion. This is available at drug stores which I like. It's pretty inexpensive, too. It absorbs really quickly, it isn't heavy at all, and leaves my skin feeling just really smooth and healthy and even. My pores even seem a little bit smaller when I use it. It has a really fresh delicious smell (like a lot of Garnier products). I like that it has a lot of anti-aging, "regenerating" type ingredients in it, too. As said, I tried to use it going into this winter, but it was too light. But it was perfect all summer for me.

I use cocoa butter cream every day after the shower on my whole body and I absolutely adore it. It's the only body cream I will use anymore. I first found this yellow tub by Cococare at a Walgreen's and became addicted! They actually don't carry it anymore, but I get it online easily and at a good price (like five bucks!). Specifically the Cococare brand just has a really delicious chocolate smell. It's not so intense that you walk around smelling like a hershey's bar, but its a light and fresh cocoa smell that I just can't get enough of. The moisturizer is a thick cream which I like, and its not greasy at all. It keeps my skin super smooth, and everyone knows cocoa butter is supposed to help stretch marks. I also think its a good base for putting my Moschino perfume on over, they mix well and the perfume lasts longer on my skin when its moisturized with this stuff.

There are a few others that I love as well that don't quite deserve their own paragraph...
I discovered True Blue Spa's Miraculous Monoi Oil when Claire worked at Bath and Body Works @ the Galleria last Christmas and Ciaran and I visited her there. I sniffed some of the stuff and adored the scent of it! Ciaran was sweet enough then (THEN being the operative word) to buy me a bottle. It's a great summery tropical smell - and not a stereotypical coconut or overly fruity smell. Like the Vitamin E Oil - it is pretty multi-purpose, which is great. According to the bottle label it can be used on the body or hair, and in the bath. I've used it in my hair before as a sort of wave or curl serum, as a pre-shower moisture treatment, and once just on dry hair (before I realized its supposed to be washed out -- but it looked ok.) Mostly though, I just like it on my skin. I like to use a little over whatever regular lotion I'm using for a little extra moisture, sheen, and the great scent. Not to mention, it was a great massage oil too.

I also like Clinique's Turnaround Concentrate. I received a sample tube a few months ago when I bought some other products at the Clinique counter during bonus time, and I use it everyday now. It has lasted this long, and works well. It's a serum you put on after your toner, before moisturizer, that is supposed to help speed up cell turnaround. A few drops covers the whole face. I really like it and feel like it has improved my skin overall, but am debating on whether or not to buy it when the sample runs out, since it's a bit expensive.

Last but not least, I am loving Joico's K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor for hair. A friend at work, who is also a hairdresser got some for me after I asked her for a recommendation on a really good deep moisturizer hair mask or conditioner. It smells like a pina colada, and really does work wonders. Its not thick or heavy at all, so I feel a tendency to use more than I probably need to, but my hair is sooo soft and smooth and shiny afterwards -- I really love it!

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