Products I’ve Repurchased


I always find it interesting to know what products people have repurchased time and again. It truly says something when even beauty addicts, who are consistently trying new things, return to old favorites. So why not return to blogging with some tried and true faves of my own? I’m breaking them down into categories.


I definitely have the most repurchased items in the skincare category, so let’s start there.

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner ($8.49, Ulta)
I couldn’t even tell you how many bottles I’ve gone through of this stuff, but it’s several. I love that this product is so good, even though it’s really inexpensive. The price is really great considering you get a huge 8 oz bottle. The active ingredient is 2% salicylic acid, which helps keep breakouts and clogged pores at bay, but since it is in a formula with camellia and cucumber, it isn’t irritating or stingy on my face. If you have very sensitive skin this may cause a little irritation because it does contain alcohol, but it has worked out fine for me.

Pixi Glow Tonic ($15, Target)
Another fantastic, inexpensive skincare find that I have purchased more than once. This is another acid toner (generally I would use this in the daytime and the Neutrogena toner at night). Pixi Glow Tonic contains 5% glycolic acid in a very gentle alcohol-free formula with aloe and ginseng. I experience no stinging, no redness, and no irritation, and I’m about 2/3 of the way through my second bottle. This toner is designed to keep your skin looking even and radiant. I definitely notice a difference!

Murad Acne Spot Treatment ($18, Sephora)
Murad has two acne spot treatment products. This one is not to be confused with their “fast fix” product, which is a benzoyl peroxide-based product. The one I’m in love with is simply called acne spot treatment and it is a 3% sulphur active ingredient treatment. There are only a few different actives that treat acne, and for me I prefer sulphur treatments to benzoyl peroxide. It’s way less drying and irritating. I only see a teeny bit of drying with this product, whereas benzoyl peroxide has more than once given me itchy dry patches. Not cute. Anyway, I am on my third tube of this handy stuff, which is great at helping to reduce the inflammation of breakouts, which is ultimately what causes them to be so painful (and noticeable!) and also what causes scarring. A little bit goes a long way, so in order to get through multiple tubes I have been using this product for years.

MAC Cleanse-Off Oil ($32 & free shipping, Nordstrom)
When I’m wearing makeup and/or sunscreen, I prefer to double cleanse. I use MAC Cleanse-Off Oil as my first cleanse. It’s great at removing even the heaviest makeup (even waterproof mascara or bits of lash glue). This cleanser emulsifies with water, so you don’t even really need to do a second cleanse if you don’t want to. If you have dry skin, you may not feel the need. The oil is formulated with no mineral oil, and contains soothing oils like olive, evening primrose, and jojoba. If you’re at all acne or clog prone, you may want to follow up with a second cleanser. I do just because I like to be extra squeaky clean, and because my skin has been more normal-to-oily than dry lately. As an added bonus for this product, you can recycle the packaging with Back 2 MAC.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel ($14, Ulta)
For a cleanser with chemically exfoliating actives in it, this cleanser is so very gentle. I think it would work well for just about any skin type. This cleanser exfoliates with hydroxy acids from papaya and grapefruit extracts. It’s gentle enough that I have even used it with cleansing devices like the Foreo Luna or Clarisonic and had no irritation. If you have dry skin that is prone to clogged pores, this will help to keep them clear without irritating your skin. I love that the packaging is no-nonsense and without any frills that would drive up the price, too. I’m on my second bottle, and still loving it!

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin ($8.99, Ulta)
Do you think this moisturizer has a long enough name? Because I’m not sure. This moisturizer is sold in a dry skin formula and a normal skin formula and I have tried both. Though Garnier says the dry skin version has 2x more moisturizing agents, I don’t notice a huge difference. This moisturizer is better for people who have normal to slightly dry skin rather than those who have very dry skin. I think it actually works great for skin that is dehydrated and producing too much oil to compensate, because it is so very light weight. The name says gel-cream, but it is very much a gel texture. It’s not going to give you a heavy night cream feeling at all. I think it wears very well under makeup, and on days when I need even more hydration I just use a serum first.

Hair Products

Hair products are another area where I am pretty settled into a routine and I know what I like.

Psssst! Dry Shampoo ($6.99, Ulta)
I wait ’til this stuff goes on sale and buy them a couple at a time. This is a very basic, yet well-performing dry shampoo. I have bangs–dry shampoo is a necessity. I flip my head over and spray it at the roots, or spray it into my bangs and then comb through and sort of “fluff” them out for refreshed hair.

Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner ($32 each, Sephora online)
Once upon a time several years ago, the good folks at Alterna sent me a PR package with these two products in it, and thus began my love affair with really pricey haircare. I used both bottles up and then totally willingly forked over the cashola for my own more than once because this stuff is amazing. I have fine, color-treated hair. It tends to be on the dry side vs. oily, and I also heat style with a blow dryer and flat iron very regularly. I try to take very good care of my hair because if you’re going to pay $100+ to color it, you want to preserve that color or it’s throwing money away. These products are luxurious and sulfate-free, and make my hair feel oh so silky. Even the ends of my hair are in great shape and I believe I owe it to Alterna! It’s tough to swallow paying $64 for your hair care, so I do sometimes stray with L’Oreal’s sulfate free products, and I stock up on Alterna during events like Sephora’s annual VIB 20% off sale.


Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($40, Sephora)
I’ve purchased this bad boy twice, even though it is far from cheap. The shade range is pretty extensive, and shade 0.5 matches me very well. It is described as a radiant finish, and looks very skin-like. The coverage is medium, and somewhat buildable. If you are looking for something to even out your skintone and wear well without looking like a mask, you’ll probably like this. If you have extremely oily skin or a lot to cover up, probably not as much. I loved this the most when my skin was normal to dry.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation ($12.99, Ulta)
As my skin became more normal to oily, I wanted a more matte foundation. The hype was huge surrounding this foundation’s launch, and for good reason. I love this foundation, possibly even more than the Urban Decay. It has easy, hygienic packaging that is travel friendly, a decent shade range (I wear 101 Classic Ivory), and wears very well throughout the day. The coverage is medium to high medium and buildable. Though it says matte, it’s not a dry or flat looking matte. It’s like your skin but better. At the end of the day I can feel oil on my t-zone, but the foundation doesn’t break up or smear, etc. It may require a bit of touching up around hour 12-13, so I raise my eyebrow at the 24HR claim, but you should never really wear foundation for 24 solid hours anyway. For less than half the price of Urban Decay, I am sold!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($28, Sephora)
While the Urban Decay foundation has been replaced in my go-to lineup for the moment, the accompanying concealer remains a favorite. This concealer does wonders for brightening up my under eye area and inner corners of my eyes. It blends out nicely and the fact that it is light enough to brighten even on my pale complexion is impressive. I wear shade Fair Neutral.

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Mascara ($6.99, Ulta)
I’ve repurchased this mascara easily 3 to 4 times. I love that it not only volumizes, but also lengthens. Most recently, I’ve been trying out the waterproof version of this (picked it up when I went on a cruise), and it is VERY waterproof.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Round Top Brush (480) ($18.95, Sedona Lace)
Simply put, my favorite foundation brush. It’s so dense, so soft, and blends foundation out like a dream. It also washes very well, and looks freaking adorable with the pink and black ombre bristles. They do not bleed or shed. Awesome all-around brush. I love it so much I needed a second one in my arsenal so I never have to be without it, even when one of them is drying from being washed.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Small Round Dome Brush (217) ($16.95, Sedona Lace)
My favorite concealer blending brush ever. It’s pretty much a smaller, less dense version of the 480. It’s a small, compact fluffy brush that blends concealer out even better than my fingers. Worth every penny, and I just had to get another one.


What are some beauty products you love so much that you’ve purchased them more than once?

October Favorites

So what it’s a week into November already…I’m doing my October favorites and you’re gonna LIKE IT. :) As usual I don’t know what to use as a picture for my ‘favorites’ post so in keeping with tradition, here’s a random fun picture. This time it’s Barack Obama holding a book. :D My favorites for October are pretty simple, because I was SICK during October. That means my favorites all kind of go along with that…read on to find out more!

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Beauty Prep For Events

This is a post I have been meaning to do for a little while– beauty prepping for big events. Whether it’s the red carpet, your wedding day, or just a party you know is going to have lots of hotties in attendance, you want to look your best for an event. There are a few things I always do before a big event and I wanted to share those with you!
Skin Prep

  • Exfoliation – I make sure my skin is well-exfoliated for a good week beforehand, whatever that means for my skin. (Mr. Boyfriend and I are both using Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub. I like it! Exfoliates w/o drying me out!)
  • Breathing Room – I wear makeup as little as possible for a few days before the event to give my skin a chance to breathe and lessen the possibility of last minute breakouts.
  • Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse – Sometimes we’re lazy. I know that. We ALL are. But if you’re in “event prep mode”, be diligent about your regular skin care routine and for goodness’ sake WASH OFF YOUR MAKEUP.
  • Soothe – I use as many skin-soothing things as I can get my paws on before an event. Redness and breakouts are much harder to cover and make look good with makeup than clear skin, so I use gentle moisturizers, 100% pure aloe vera, and the occasional honey mask. (Product-wise I’ve been really liking Yes To Cucumbers cleanser.)
  • Spot Healing – If you have any open acne sores (…you pickers know who you are!), try neosporin or a similar product to help them heal faster and be less inflamed. 
Hair Prep

  • Clarify – Clarifying shampoos aren’t that great for colored hair but are still good to use every once and a while to really deep clean and get rid of any build-up from products & the environment. I always clarify my hair before an event to “detox” a bit. (I use Suave Daily Clarifying for this because it’s cheap and works fine for this purpose.)
  • Condition – This one is pretty obvious. I use deep conditioning treatments (especially on my ends if it’s been a while since my last trim!). (I really like Alterna’s Overnight Hair Rescue and Shu Uemura’s hair oil lately).
Okay so those are the things I do. Here are the things you should avoid– 

  • Don’t get a facial the day before your event. Often, the intense treatments of facials, and things like extractions etc. will make my face a little blotchy and red. Plan a facial for a few days ahead of time just in case. Same goes for any facial waxing you’re going to get. God forbid you get a burn or some other unfortunate incident.
  • Don’t blow dry and flat iron the shit out of your hair for a few days (I try for a week but it doesn’t always happen) before your event. Give your hair a break. You know heat isn’t good for it. ;)
  • Don’t panic-treat any issues that come up. If you break out before an event, resist the urge to throw everything in your acne-fighting arsenal on it and fry your face, and don’t pick at it! It’s easier to cover up a little red spot than it is to cover up an inflamed, pissed off dried out scab where your little pimple used to be!
  • Don’t try a brand new product the day of or a few days before an event. If you have an allergic reaction, find out it oxidizes like crazy/melts off your face/looks orange/is otherwise terrible the DAY OF an event, you’re kinda screwed! Save the testing for down time, not your big day (or night).
…and remember to get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated! ;)

Once upon a time I received samples of the Alterna & Shu Uemura products for editorial consideration.

February Favorites

Hello hello everyone! It’s MARCH, so that means it’s time to talk about FEBRUARY. Err, in other words, my favorites from February. Woot!

Favorite Hair Products

Um realistically my favorite hair product in February was my beloved Stephanie, aka Awesome Colorist, but since calling her a product is kind of rude, I’ll go with the kind that are in bottles!

Ahh the precious. I have talked about the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Overnight Hair Rescue (long enough name for ya?) before, but it is basically like an intensive night cream for your hair. You put it in at night and then wash it out in the morning. I love it! My hair has been dry (because really I’m overdue for a trim) and this doesn’t make it go away completely (needing a trim is cured by, -gasp- getting a trim) but it really helps. Now, no lies this stuff is expensive, so it’s definitely a splurge item. ($35 at Sephora or Ulta)
Another favorite of mine recently has been the Wen Cleansing Conditioner in Winter Vanilla Mint. This scent was limited edition around holiday, so I’m sorry for talking about it now, but I just now have really been using it the past month, give or take. I already used up a bottle of the Sweet Almond Mint last fall, and reviewed it for Stylebell. I love Wen Cleansing Conditioners! They don’t weigh my fine hair down and they really make it feel bouncy and healthy. The Winter Vanilla Mint smells like candies, and if I had to point out any flaws it’s just that it makes me hungry. (Available at QVC – $29)

Favorite Skin Products

I haven’t really been doing a whole lot differently with my skin. Still using either Caudalie’s foaming cleanser or my Neaclear. I’m also still using The Body Shop’s Vitamin E moisturizers (love love love love love!). But as I’m wearing more makeup lately, I’m adding a few things that help makeup “play nice” with my skin.

I’m still learning how to deal with my dry skin. For years I had oily skin, and I’ve really only had dry skin for the past year or so. It’s a whole new experience! I took for granted that I never had the problem of my skin looking too matte. Now, even on days where I’m not wearing any makeup, I like to go over my whole face with MAC Strobe Liquid. It’s just a thin, slightly hydrating lotion that has a very pretty pearly pink luminescent quality. It gives my face that natural glow that has since left me along with my overactive oil producing skin, lol. I’ve also been using my MAC Fix+ more, as it takes down the powderiness of face powders. (Strobe Liquid and Fix+ are available from MAC for $30 and $20 respectively.)

Favorite Color Products

Wee! The fun part! Like I said, I’ve been wearing more makeup lately. I made you a collage!
These are all the things I’ve been feeling much love for over the past month. I’ve been wearing very little in the way of foundation or concealer, but I do sometimes wear a little MAC Mineralized SkinFinish Natural just to even out my complexion. Sometimes you just wake up looking a little blotchy, yanno? Yeah.  And NARS Laguna is a staple product that I’m obsessed with because it adds warmth/glow without looking orange or dirty. (MSFN is $29 at MAC; NARS Laguna is $34 at Sephora)
The drugstore lip products are killing it right now, and I’ve been wearing my Rimmel Stay Glossy Lipglosses and Revlon Lip Butters pretty much exclusively day to day. Revlon Lip Butters are another one of those products that have been getting a ton of hype lately, and they’re TOTALLY worth it. I have three (Creamsicle, Candy Apple, and Sweet Tart) and I LOVE THEM. I was just saying on Twitter that I want more. :) (Price varies on these from drugstore to drugstore.)
I’ve been on a bit of a NARS Eye Shadow kick, using the heck out of my Doceurs de Paris palette and my Best of NARS palette, particularly a couple shades from the Kalahari and All About Eve duos. But as usual, I’m using drugstore mascara. Rimmel ScandalEyes is my lash of choice lately. It’s really dramatic. It’s not my absolute favorite mascara, but I like it. I will be reviewing it more in-depth soon. If you liked MaxFactor 2000 Calorie mascara but are living in the states and can’t get it anymore, try Rimmel ScandalEyes. I think you’d like it. For my brows, I still love my Billion Dollar Brows brow powder (holy grail!) but I have been really liking the new Senna Cosmetics Sketch-a-Brow pencil too. The effect is very natural-looking and it’s so simple to use. (NARS eye shadows vary in price at NARS; Rimmel ScandalEyes will vary depending on the drugstore, and Sketch-a-Brow is $18 from Senna Cosmetics)
I just realized I completely forgot another product when I was making my collage!
The Magic Hair Pad is one of those genius inventions that makes you think “why didn’t I think of that?!”. The concept is super simple– it’s a square of velcro. Really. That’s all it is. But you press it into your hair to hold it out of place while doing makeup, washing your face, doing a facial mask, etc. GENIUS. The picture shows black, but they come in pink too. I like them so much sometimes I will sport one just to hold my bangs out of place while I’m hanging out around the house. Not the most fashionable statement, but the rest of my outfit usually consists of flannel pajama bottoms and a tank top when I’m doing this, so I have thrown fashion to the wind at that point. ;) But pretty much any girl with hair needs to own these. I think that’s most of you. (Available in a pack of 2 for $7 at

Samples of some products mentioned here were sent by PR for consideration.
All opinions are my own, and not sponsored by any brand/company.
No compensation was received for including these products as favorites.
Disclaimers are fun to type because they are super tiny and stuff. xoxo <3

Updated: What’s In My Shower?

I don’t know if it’s the voyeur in me or if I’m just super nosy but I love “what’s in my…” type posts, like what’s in my bag, etc. I did a what’s in my shower post previously, but the contents have changed! So let’s take a look at what we’ve got, mkay?
The Storage Itself – 
The corner suction basket/bucket thing and the mirror next to it are from Target. I love the bucket thing because it looks attractive, holds a surprisingly large amount of things, and also seems to be able to hold a lot of weight. It gets crap reviews on Target’s website, but whatever. I like it. I actually have another similar container that recently fell off the wall (see the lone suction cup stuck to the tile?) so I’m figuring out a solution for that…might have to get another one of these! I love that it has a hook on the corner, perfect for hanging a bath pouf or in my case, comb. There’s also a little tiny side pocket on the other side that I keep a razor blade refill in. I don’t know about you, but I never remember to change my razor blade until I’m actually in the shower. D’oh.
I really like having a mirror in my shower. I find it’s helpful to make sure I’ve removed all my eye makeup, and also helps me decide if there’s any specific areas I ought to target w/ my Clarisonic when I’m using it in there.
Hanging on the Mirror – 
My razor of choice is the Venus Embrace. Not to say I haven’t tried other razors and liked them (the Schick Intuition is also pretty good, especially if you have dry skin), but I always go back to the Venus Embrace. It has 5 blades and gets such a close shave. I don’t like to mess around when it comes to shaving. I don’t wanna have to go over the same place a million times. This gets the job done!
In The Basket – 
One product has remained constant this entire time– Kiss My Face Moisture Shave. I prefer the Peaches & Creme scent (SO yummy!) but I am not sure if they still make that as I can’t find it on their site. If it’s discontinued I’ll be kinda devastated (even though let’s be honest you KNOW I have like 6 bottles of it under my sink – I bought it in bulk from Amazon). However, I’ll use what I have and (in 20 years) switch to a different scent. If you have sensitive or dry skin you NEED to try this product. Not optional. NEED.
Other body-related yummies in my shower are the Bath & Body Works Supercharged Body Scrub in Coconut Lime Breeze that I reviewed previously and B&BW shower gel in Winter Candy Apple (one of my fav B&BW scents of all time – so glad momsy got me some for xmas!).
I change up what facial cleansers live in my shower (because I have lots, and also because I change depending on how my skin is acting). Right now I’m back to loving on Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser. I’ve been using it more than my Neaclear because I’ve been wearing a lot more makeup and Caudalie’s cleanser is better at removing makeup. 
Peeking out in the back of the basket you can see my shampoo & conditioner of choice – Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner. Ever since I first tried Alterna in 2010 I have loved these guys. Others I have tried and enjoy very much are Redken (Color Extend) and WEN.
A couple products mentioned in this post were originally given as samples by PR, but I have since repurchased (or plan to) on my own.

Top Splurge Purchase Picks

This is kind of a different “top picks” post. Yesterday I wrote about Renee Rouleau’s Anti-Cyst treatment, which at $38.50 for .5 oz is pretty expensive. However, for skincare that works, I feel it’s worth spending the money if you have it. This post is all about the expensive stuff that is completely worth it. I’m not saying that all cheaper options suck, I’m just saying that these products are awesome, worth the money, and if you have the means to try them out you might enjoy them just as much as I do.

Alterna Moisture Caviar hair care products – Geez have I raved about Alterna enough yet? I love the shampoo, conditioner, and overnight hair rescue treatment. I’m playing with the working hair spray too and it’s not bad at all (I’m not a huge hair spray person). The rapid repair spray is also in occasional rotation as needed, too. Sephora has a little set that has travel sizes of my favorites from Alterna for $30.

LeAine Dehmer skin care – everything I’ve tried is phenomenal! I love the Maximum Daily Requirement moisturizer, Skin Breather exfoliating peel, and the basic gentle cleanser. I’ve also reviewed the completely awesome eye makeup remover. The downside? The price! That’s it! But if I could afford it I’d use this stuff like crazy. Instead I hoard what I have. ;) Available at LeAine Dehmer.

Clarisonic skin care brush – This is hotly debated in the beauty community. Worth it or not? Yes. There are less expensive “similar” products, but they aren’t sonic like the Clarisonic. It’s like comparing a budget electric toothbrush to a Sonicare electric toothbrush. Or comparing a VW to an Audi. I have no regrets about my Clarisonic. If you have an issue with keeping your pores clear, you won’t either. Note: I use the delicate brush heads and always use it with a gentle cleanser. Available from a variety of retailers – Sephora, Ulta,

T3 Pro Hair Dryer. Yes, there are many cheaper hair dryers that work, but I still have no regrets about splurging for the T3 pro. I’ve had it for several years and it has never done me wrong. My hair dries faster and with less frizz, the dryer is very lightweight, and quieter than others. And it’s pink. So, come on.

GHD Flat Iron – When I started flat ironing my hair, I started out with a very cheap Revlon flat iron. It didn’t matter too much to me because I flat ironed my hair maybe once every other month, and used heat protector. But when that one died an untimely death I decided to upgrade to a Sedu. When my Sedu went missing mysteriously in a move, I was heartbroken. The difference between an extremely cheap flat iron and a higher end iron was already cemented in my habits. I didn’t spend full price on my GHD as mine was a salon demo model (it had only been used on a doll head), but it was still $100 so it was a significant purchase. I freaking love this flat iron. It heats up so fast and it takes me about 15 minutes to flat iron my hair. I don’t have that horrible tearing sensation as it glides over my hair, and my hair stays straight for a long time. GHD irons are available from Sephora. Please do not buy them on ebay as there are many fakes out there and they are DANGEROUS. Also try for a lot of really nice straighteners (including Sedu!).

Makeup Forever Foundation – $40 is a lot to spend on a foundation for most people, but if you’ve got the money it just can’t be beat. I really adore HD foundation as well as Face & Body. It doesn’t hurt that both have perfect matches for my skin, either. ;)

Beauty Blender Sponges – This is another one I see discussed all the time. I admit, when I saw this I had the reaction that most of you do: “$20 for a sponge? WTF?” but, alas (for your wallet) it’s worth it. I first tried the cheaper alternative by Sonia Kashuk (available at Target), but then when I had a gift certificate I splurged on the set of 2 Beauty Blenders. They are so much sturdier than the SK version. If you wear makeup often, or do makeup on others, it’s worth having a tool that is of a higher quality that will last. My SK sponge already had a couple of chunks missing that tore out from washing/use. Beauty Blenders are going strong! Note: While I love the sponges, I don’t think the Beauty Blender Cleanser is worth it. Just use your regular brush cleanser or what you use to break down foundation on your brushes. Dawn soap works great too.

Alright. Capitalismfest is over. Going back to saving money posts after this. But if you get that bonus you’re hoping for, I hope you’ll refer to this list of splurges. ;)

2010 Favorite Beauty Products

I know a lot of bloggers are doing posts like this, but um…oh well! Deal with it! lol. Since we’re all different, we all have our own opinions and experiences of products. So maybe you’ll learn something new. :)

Best in Hair

Win – Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo/Conditioner
Um, have I ever shut up about this product the last few months? No. I have tried a lot of shampoos & conditioners. Some I like, some I hate, some I even loved. But none of them compare to this. None. I started using it in October and immediately started singing the praises. Then it made my November favorites post, and it’s still love. To give you an idea of just how much I love this, I had 1.7 oz travel tubes. When I couldn’t get any more product out, I took scissors and cut the tubes at the top so I could scrape every last bit of product out. Then when I discovered I couldn’t reach the very very bottom of the tubes, I cut them again so I didn’t leave any bits out. Um, that’s love. That’s rabid obsessive love.
Alterna is available at Apothica.

What? Another Alterna product? Oh yes. Alterna’s magic is not limited to shampoo & conditioner. Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Overnight Hair Rescue is just what the doctor ordered if you need a little extra care. For example, color treated hair, extra dry hair, etc. I just put some of this in my hair and go to bed. I wash out in the morning (with Alterna shampoo & conditioner of course!!) and boom! hair of a goddess. I was kind of skeptical about leaving something in my hair overnight, but they claim it leaves no residue. And honestly? It doesn’t leave a thing on my pillow. I can feel it soak into my hair long before my head after hits the pillow case. My hair just drinks it up! It doesn’t feel like it’s sitting on top of it as a gooey mess at all. How do they do that? No idea.

Show – Biolage Thermal Active Repair Cream 
It’s been a few months since I reviewed this gem of a styling product. This is a sleek-ifying gel-like cream that activates when you heat style to help keep your hair strong and fend off damage from the heat styling. It has ceramide to strengthen your hair and mango seed oil for moisture. The light hold it provides also helps keep your hair sleek and shiny, too!

Best in Skin Care

Win – LeAine Dehmer Daily Cleanser Formula II
Okay before you ask me “Alyson, how can a product you haven’t even reviewed yet be the best cleanser of the year?”. Simple: it’s awesome. It’s not this cleanser’s fault that I didn’t try it until near the end of the year. It’s also not this cleanser’s fault that I haven’t made time to review it yet. But this cleanser is fantastic. LeAine Dehmer designed her cleanser so that it a.) doesn’t change your skin’s pH, b.) is completely water soluble. What’s special about that last one? That means no residue. None. No toner necessary. It dissolves makeup like a champ, too. My breakouts have been significantly reduced, my clogged pores are seeing improvement, and I have less redness in my cheeks. At first I just thought it was like any other simple cleanser. But when I started seeing results I was convinced. And then when I got lazy and skipped a few days and saw my skin start to go back to its old habits, I was even more convinced. LeAine Dehmer skin care products are available at

Place – Bioré Dual Fusion Moisturizer SPF 30
For the very first time, I found a moisturizer that combined everything I was looking for with a decent SPF. It is not too heavy, wears well under makeup, doesn’t break me out, and protects my pallor. What more could a girl want in a moisturizer? Oh yeah, it doesn’t break the bank either at only about $15. Available at drugstores.

Show – Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub
Even though my skin is no longer experiencing breakouts, I’ve sworn by this product for so long that I couldn’t not recommend it as one of the best of 2010. I’m well into my third tube of the stuff. Why I like it is it has salicylic acid (chemically exfoliates your skin) as well as some very gentle little scrubby beads. It also contains cucumber extract which keeps it soothing and non-irritating. It’s an absolutely brilliant product, works great and helps dry up breakouts in a flash. Available at drugstores.

Best in Body Care

Win – Kiss My Face Moisture Shave
I know Gianna of Nouveau Cheap will agree with this one! Kiss My Face Moisture Shave is a product I have never strayed from because I just see no reason to ever try another shave product again. This one is perfect. It’s literally life changing. Shaving used to be something evil for me. I suffered from the most horrible, irritated legs ever. There’s no point in shaving your legs if you can’t show them off afterward, and red itchy bumps after shaving aren’t cute to show off! This product is the single-most life improving beauty product I’ve ever added to my routine. If you decide to try just one product from this post, try this one. Available natural food retailers such as Whole Foods, and some drugstores.

Place – Bath & Body Works Classics Rice Flower & Shea Body Lotion

Sometimes certain parts of your body (for me it’s my feet, fingers near the cuticles, elbows, and sometimes my shoulders, which were severely damaged by sunburn many years ago and often quite dry) require a little extra TLC. It’s no secret that I’m a Bath & Body Works junkie, but this is my favorite B&BW product. The shea butter is so nurturing and soothing on cracked feet, ravaged cuticles, anywhere! I also love the soft scent of the rice flower. I have several bottles of this in my house at all times. In fact, I even keep one in the car. Available exclusively at Bath & Body Works’ website.

Show – Mitchum for Women Clear Power Gel
Raise your hand if you were expecting me to rave about deodorant. If you hate smelling, you use deodorant. But what if you hate smelling like deodorant? Then you use Mitchum for Women Clear Power Gel, that’s what. Even unscented deodorant often has this awful powdery smell. You will not find it with this one, and it does the job. It’s alcohol free, so it doesn’t sting or irritate if you apply it on freshly shaved pitties. It’s cheap, and it doesn’t leave deodorant marks on your clothes. What more do you need?

Best in Makeup – Eyes

Win – Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara
Mascara is another product I have tried just a ton of. Revlon Grow Luscious offers that perfect combination of lengthening, volumizing, and definition without clumping up, flaking, or smudging. I have tried a lot of mascaras that I like, but what gives Revlon the extra edge is that it’s a drugstore mascara. Other mascaras that have impressed me this much are all quite expensive.

PHOTO FINISH … it was so close…
Place – Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes & Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Liners
My two favorite liners. This year was the year of the pencil liner for me. After messing with cake, liquid, gel, and pencil I have decided pencil liner really is my favorite formula. And with such great pencils at my disposal, why not? Both of these formulas are amazing, and the color choices are incredible. MUFE and UD are available at Sephora.

Show – Billion Dollar Brows Brow Powder & Brow Brush
This is hardly new to my makeup arsenal. I’ve been using it for well over a year already. I use the brow powder in Taupe and their Brow Brush, which is an angled brush with a spoolie on the other end. To pick up both will set you back $31 plus shipping, but it’s 100% worth it and a tremendous value. Like I said, I’ve been using my powder since Summer 2009. I haven’t even hit pan on it yet, and I use it in the same spot every time. It’s so pigmented that you only need a little for brow perfection. The brush is the perfect application tool, too. The bristles are the perfect length. Also, a kind of random thing I like is that the brush itself is red-brown. It stands out in my makeup brush cup so I can find it easily. Doing my brows takes only seconds, and even if I skip brow gel it lasts all day without smudging or fading. BDB products are available at Billion Dollar Brows.

Best in Makeup – Lips

Win – Vasanti Cosmetics Tinted Lip Balm
Never before have I enjoyed a tinted balm so much! I love that these seem to be more lipstick than balm at first glance. They have the bullet packaging of a lipstick, which makes them so much easier to apply than balms in squeeze tubes or pots, which seem to be the favorite packaging of many other tinted balms. I also love how very tinted it really is. You can get real color payoff with these without losing any of the benefits of good-for-your-skin lip balm. If you want a bit of shine and color but hate the feel of gloss, you should definitely try these. They’re so good. Vasanti really nailed it with these! Available at Vasanti Cosmetics.

Place – MAC Lipglass in Perennial High Style
This gorgeous coral lipgloss came out with the Give Me Liberty of London collection this past spring. I completely wasn’t expecting to buy it when I saw the collection online, and it looks kind of scary in the tube. But when I swatched it in the store, I was just kind of taken with it. Since then I have also purchased an additional tube, because this has been my signature lip of 2010. It’s the perfect coral pink. It brightens my whole face and goes with everything. Wearing it with cool looks brings out the pink undertones. Wearing it with warm looks brings out the coral. This one practically has permanent residence in my purse. Since of course it was limited edition, you’ll have to try CCOs, Ebay (carefully!), or other communities where MAC lovers sometimes sell their stashes, such as Specktra.

Show – SoftLips Pure Lip Balm in Chai 
I previously reviewed SoftLips Pure in Honey Dew, and loved everything except for the melon scent. When I found a Chai flavor in Rite Aid, I flipped. This has everything I love about SoftLips Pure and the scent of delicious spicy chai tea. It’s 100% natural, and 95% certified organic by the USDA. But mostly, it smells so freaking good. I’ve finished one and am half way through another, and I gave these out as gifts! I’ve seen it at Rite Aid, but you can also get it from Softlips‘ new online store, which has 99 cent shipping right now.

Best in Makeup – Face

Win – Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer
Want flawless skin? Yeah, me too. I’m getting there, but nobody’s perfect. But you wouldn’t know it with this concealer in my arsenal. It’s very pigmented so only a tiny bit is needed to cover even the most stubborn, heinous, red spots. Admittedly it’s a bit pricey up front at $32, but my tube has lasted well over a year. Make Up For Ever is available at Sephora.

Place – Purely Cosmetics Diamond Perfect Finish Powder
Now, I love me some Make Up For Ever. But their HD powder? Forget it. Diamond Perfect Finish blows it out of the water. Endorsed by makeup artists such as Kevin James Bennet (who used to work for MUFE!) and Koren Zander, this is the most perfect finishing powder I’ve ever used. Diamond Perfect Finish will give you that airbrushed, flawless look everyone is striving for. There’s almost a full karat of diamond in every jar! Diamonds really are a girl’s best friend. Diamond Perfect Finish is available at Purely Cosmetics.

Show – Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation
At the MUFE boutique opening, MUFE MUA Cat told me I just had to try Face & Body. She was right. What took me so long? F&B offers sheer (but buildable to about medium) coverage that looks like your skin, and feels completely weightless. It’s a very easy to work with gel formula, and comes in a gazillion colors. Last year I discovered MUFE HD foundation. This year it’s F&B. I love them both so much! If I could afford it, I’d replace every foundation in my kit with just shades of those two foundations.

Best in Makeup – Cheeks

Win – Rock & Republic Pressed Powder Blush
These guys are supposed to retail at $40 a pop, which puts them right up there with Chanel. But unlike Chanel I actually like them. ;) They’ve been on sale for $20 all year, so I picked up a few. They are so finely milled and so pigmented. They apply and blend so beautifully, and are very long lasting even when my skin has a tendency to get a little oily. The color Tease is possibly the prettiest pink in my collection. The sold-out color Call Me sold for well over $100 at the Charity Auction. I think that means it’s pretty good. Rock & Republic is available at their website but also pops up on sale sites like Hautelook.

Place – NARS Bronzer in Laguna
As a pale girl, I have to be careful with bronzer. I’m always leery when people say “oh X bronzer flatters everyone”. Well, I don’t know about everyone, but Laguna sure flatters me! It’s a delicate golden shade with shimmer that isn’t too over the top. The result is a soft glow that does not resemble dirt at all, like many other bronzers do. It doesn’t make me look tan, it just adds some warmth and life to my complexion. NARS is available at Sephora.

Show – Hard Candy Blush Crush in Living Doll
The return of Hard Candy brought us many bargain beauty gems, but among them my favorite is definitely the blush in Living Doll. It’s such a delicate and flattering shade of pink, and the mineralized formula is a breeze to work with and apply. At $9, this is an attainable piece to add to any makeup lover’s collection, and you should add it to yours! Hard Candy is available at WalMart.

Some of the products in this post were provided by PR for editorial purposes, but that did not influence my decision or opinion in any way.

November Favorites

Blah blah blah, cliché phrase about how it feels like I just wrote my October Favorites blah blah etc. :) -ahem- Hi! It’s time for another installment of my monthly favorites! Here’s what I was loving on during the month of November.

Old Navy Fuzzy Slippers
See, this is why I don’t do fashion posts very much. Because when I do, I mention things like my new chenille slippers from Old Navy. I normally wear a size 8 shoe so I got medium, and they fit me great. They’re super warm and cozy, and of course very soft. Most of our house is tile or wood laminate floor, and I almost always have cold footies anyway, so I have been much happier now that I have these. They do not have a sole that would make them suitable for wearing outside, but they’re great house slippers. They’re $10 right now, marked down from $12.50. I’ve been living in them this past month.

Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation
I reviewed this foundation earlier this month, but it’s worth mentioning again. I have been wearing this a lot! It’s so skin-like once it’s on. People will compliment you on your beautiful skin, not your makeup. It’s a water-based gel formula that looks so natural and won’t accentuate dry patches (hooray!). I still love my HD foundation but this is great stuff too. Yet another awesome product from MUFE. It’s a bit expensive at $38, but foundation is one area I think a splurge is worth it. If you are wondering, I wear shade 38 which is for porcelain skin with pink undertones. Available only at Sephora. I have been using it in conjunction with my next favorite.

A $20 sponge? Really? I had a gift card to DermStore, I swear. Anyway, I decided to give the little pink egg sponge a try to see what everyone’s been on about for all this time. I have the similar sponge made by Sonia Kashuk for $10, and I wanted to see if there was really a difference. Well, yes and no. I think both are absolutely wonderful tools, but the pointed end of the beautyblender gives it that extra edge. It’s also a little softer to the touch than the SK sponge. This gives such a flawless finish to my foundation! I’m glad I got the 2-pack, because I have another to keep in my freelance kit.

NARS Laguna Bronzer
I got an itty bitty mini Laguna bronzer as part of my Sephora Friends & Family haul, and I was anxious to try it. I have heard so many people say that Laguna is universally flattering. But I’m so pale. So many bronzers look awful on me! Much to my surprise, I really like Laguna. It has shimmer in it, which makes it different from my other favorite bronzer (TooFaced Chocolate Soleil). However, applied with a big fluffy brush it looks very nice and pretty on. It imparts a really pretty glow, and I am loving it. Even though the mini is small, it will last a while since the bronzer itself is so pigmented. But when I do run out, I could see myself purchasing a full size. It’s $32 though, and since bronzer isn’t a necessity in my beauty routine, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Skincare-wise my favorites lately are things I’ve mentioned– the Best Bath Store Acne Facial Bar and the ELF Zit Zapper. Nothing really new to report there. Love ’em both still. My acne is reduced to just a couple really insignificant little spots on my chin that are healing nicely.

I’ve been badly neglecting my nails this month. They’re chipped to hell right now, uneven, and yellowed. BUT! I have been really enjoying my first experience with butter LONDON polish– All Hail The Queen. This is a taupe polish with silvery holo glitter. It’s beautiful. When it’s not chipped off and ragged. It’s limited edition I believe, but in stock on the last time I checked.

And finally, hair. I have been sticking with my new holy grail shampoo and conditioner – Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner. It’s still love with these guys. My hair has truly never felt better. Despite needing a cut badly (I’m months overdue), my hair isn’t dry looking or raggedy. I’ve also added Alterna Caviar Rapid Repair Spray to my arsenal, which is an extra conditioning boost that adds shine, too. Alterna is available (online only) from Sephora, and at least some of it is at Ulta. The prices aren’t for the faint of heart, but the results are amazing. This would be a great thing to splurge on with those xmas gift cards! Yes, I do still use the It’s a 10 Miracle Product I raved about previously. It just depends on what the weather’s like, how I can expect my hair to behave, etc. Sometimes I use the It’s a 10, and other times I use the Rapid Repair. It’s a 10 is a bit heavier. I got a great tip that you can cut it up to half and half with water and it still works just as great, so I will try that out.

October Favorites

It’s seriously November already? Insane. I feel like the month of October flew by so fast!

Favorite Things for October

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation
This isn’t new to me, in fact I’m just about finished with the bottle and my second bottle arrives tomorrow. I hadn’t been wearing foundation much lately but then started reaching for this more and more often. I love how it wears, and shade 110 is the perfect match on me.

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner
Oh. Em. Gee. Probably the priciest shampoo & conditioner I’ve ever used but this stuff is amazing. My hair is left so soft and smooth and hydrated. Over the last few months I’ve really noticed my hair being more dry. Not sure why that is as nothing changed for me, but this shampoo & conditioner are really helping me get my hair to look great. It’s definitely not cheap though and I’m going to reluctantly have to shell out the money for full sizes when my little minis run out.

Rock & Republic blush in Spank
Spank is the perfect shade of pale pink! However, this blush is very pigmented. Some pale blushes can be chalky and sheer. Not this one! The quality of these blushes is soooo nice. They’re so soft and finely milled. They look great on the skin, too.

OPI Sparkle-licious nail polish
If you love glitter, you need this polish. It’s gold glitter with some pink and blue glitter mixed in. It looks ADORABLE as a blinged-out pedicure, which is how I’ve been wearing it for a couple weeks, and will look really cute as a holiday manicure too. This is one color that I would consider matching my toes and tips in the same polish, which I hardly ever do.