If there is one area of my life I splurge, it's beauty products. I don't buy much in the way of make-up because I don't wear much in the way of make-up, but I do buy and use heaps of skincare products. This is, in large part, because I have aging, dry skin, and one must slather on heaps of product to avoid feeling like the Mojave.
I also just like the ritual of caring for my skin. I have nighttime and morning routines, and I've stuck to them for the better part of 20 years.
For all of my effort and expense, one would think my skin might be far-and-away better than other women my age, but unfortunately that doesn't appear to be the case. I have the same fine lines, sun spots and other assorted issue most other women my age have. So, I'm not trying to put forth an idea that any of these products will stop the hands of time or erase years of sun damage. Mostly, I just want my skin to feel good and to walk out of the house without heaps of make-up and be good with that, which I am.
I've tried a lot of products that didn't live up to the hype, that cause my skin to break out or that left my skin red, dry or irritated. For these reasons, I only shop at Sephora and Nordstrom when it comes to beauty products because both stores have excellent return policies. I once used an entire skincare system (half of the jars) and returned it to Nordstrom because it made my skin breakout. I won't spend good money on products I can't return, even if I can get free shipping or discounts. And I never buy skincare products on Amazon. Ever.
After years of product testing, empty jars and thousands of dollars spent, these are my go-to beauty products, the ones I keep coming back to, my true loves.
I got this jar of Dior Hydra Life Jelly Sleeping Mask as a 'gift.' What I mean by those quotations is that I have a friend who has a friend who works at a beauty counter and just sometimes gives us bags full of products.
This was one of those products. I wouldn't purchased this on my own. First of all, I'm not a huge fan of make-up company skincare products, for which I have absolutely no basis. I just arbitrarily feel that way. Second, this stuff is $69 a jar, which somehow seems indulgent to me.
After using this mask (which I actually just use as night cream and leave on all night), my skin is noticeably more hydrated. Noticeably.
I'll be purchasing a jar of my own soon. I'm also tempted to try the Dior Hydra Life Glow Better Fresh Jelly Mask, which garnered the Allure 2017 Best of Beauty Award.
I loved it (haha) from the start, but like all of my go-to products, I didn't fully appreciate it until i used it up and then went to another product. I immediately noticed a difference in tangling and how soft my hair was; that is, my hair tangles more and is drier without the Davines.
This conditioner is heavily scented, which I love. I like floral scents as opposed to earthy scents, if that makes sense. I don't go for the more 'natural' smelling stuff, which is a disappointment to my Peace Corps self. Alas, we can only be what we are, even if that is heavy on the florals.
As soon as I use up all of my other conditioners (and since I'm on a no-spending diet), I'll be purchasing this conditioner again. I may also try a few of Davines other products. I typically find that if I like one product in a line, I'll do well with others. I'm intrigued by this Energizing Thickening Tonic (at 42, my hair is beginning to thin) and this SU Aftersun cream. I have seriously dry skin, so anything that promises to 'hydrate and restore moisture' is a win in my book.
Another of my go-to, all-time favorites is the Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturizer.
I tried this after hearing about it from Lisa Eldridge (make-up artist to the stars who also discusses skincare).
This moisturizer is a dream. It's lightweight, doesn't cause any redness or irritation, isn't cloying and hydrates. Also, it's only $40. That might sound like a lot, but for years I used Creme de la Mer, which is $170 for one ounce. This Liz Earle is $40 for 1.6 oz. So, to me, that's a bargain. I've tried a lot of drug store moisturizers. As I age, it is more difficult for me to find cheaper moisturizers that don't irritate my skin or simply don't hydrate. Also, I don't find the scents as pleasing.
I've tried several products from Liz Earle, and I've found all of them to be excellent. The Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is also wonderful. I just ran out of it the other day and will reorder soon.
By far, my all-time favorite product is the Vinoperfect Serum from Caudalie. I tried it on a fluke. I'm not even sure how I heard about Caudalie. It was probably Lisa Eldridge. Anyway, I tried it and liked it. It was pleasant smelling and felt lovely. But I didn't think much of it until I stopped using it. The bottle is $79, so I wasn't keeping it in regular rotation. A few weeks after my last drops, I noticed my skin wasn't quite so nice; the texture wasn't as even and not nearly as smooth.
I went back for more, and right away I noticed it working. Now, let me be clear - it's a subtle difference. I don't know that anyone else would notice. But when I use this serum, my skin just feels softer, smoother and more even. I've used other serums between bottles (Dior & a less expensive Caudalie). All serums work wonders, I've noticed. But I always come back to the Vinoperfect. As soon as I run out of my current Dior serum, I'll be back with Caudalie.
Another of my favorite products is Caudalie's Divine Oil. This stuff is amazing, especially at only $49 for a 3.4 oz. bottle. I've been using this now for almost three months, and it's wonderful. I use it on my face, hair and body. I have been putting it on my skin cancer scar, and the day after my first use, I noticed my scar looking better.
Again, this is heavily scented -big on the florals.
I put this on my wet hair at night, put my hair in a braid and then do nothing else - no other products - and my hair is soft the next day. Even my hair dresser noticed.
What I love about this product is that it's multi-use (hair, face, body), that it lasts and that it doesn't break the bank. I am sure I'll get six months of use out of it, which makes it roughly $8 a month. I can live with those numbers.
I met some friends one night for dinner in Phoenix. As the woman walked up to give me a hug, I was somewhat spellbound by her perfume. I immediately said, "You smell amazing."
She kind of smirked and said, "I know. Everyone says that."
Of course, I asked what she was wearing and then went and bought a sample-sized bottle of my own within the week.
I'm not sure if I'm the last person in on this perfume, but Juliette Has a Gun is a cult favorite. I'm not sure where this cult is, the one that is in-the-know about all of the best beauty products, but thank goodness they rally and let the rest of us know what to buy.
This perfume is crisp and clean smelling. According to the Sephora website, it's made of Cetalox, which is a 'synthetic ambergris.'
Readers, I have no clue what that means. I just wear it and can't stop smelling my wrists.
At $100/1.7 ounces, it's not cheap but worth it. If you don't want to plunk down a full Benjamin, you can do what I did and buy the Discover Kit for $18 on the official website. I like all of the scents, but Juliette remains my favorite.
I can't fail to include my favorite lipstick - Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It's another 'cult favorite.' It literally looks good on everyone. I've given it as a gift to several people, all of whom thanked me. It's cheap ($17.50) and isn't drying. That said, it doesn't last forever. But I'm good with that. It's a serious go-to.
That's it. I have a ton of other products, and I'm sure I'll find some other favorites as I go, but for now, these are my ol' faithfuls. I also want to say that I budget for and use sparingly all of these products. They're not cheap. The only cheap beauty product I love is Suave lotions, the ones for about $4 a bottle. I slather myself in them nightly after a bath.
Do you have any go-to beauty products? Do you splurge on face creams or spend your money elsewhere? I love hearing everyone's best buys.
It's sunny out there today after snowing yesterday. Ha. Mother Nature.