Favorites of 2016


This year was a bit of a weird one for me product-wise. I tried a lot. Like a lot. I haven’t posted as much as I should have, so that’ll be a resolution! Anyway, There were a few items that got repurchased because they worked (and because I enjoyed using them). Then there were things that worked, but I just didn’t enjoy them and of course things that didn’t click with me at all (see some here and I’ll post some others). Here are items that have been repurchased once or more this year:


I have gone through so many First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum bottles that I’ve lost count. I tried to cheat with other HA serums, but nah. I really enjoy this one. It has the plumping and light moisture of an HA and aloe infused gel plus the calming of oatmeal. Speaking of oatmeal, I also went through several travel sized pots of Tatcha’s Triple Recovery Soothing Cream. Then I came to my senses, sucked it up, and sprang for the full size. Read about both of these in my Ode to Oatmeal post.

My number one oil find of the year, and only facial oil repurchased this year is Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Repair Facial Serum. It is a gorgeous blend of oils that does what it says on the label. It’s a pleasure to use–warmly scented, moisturizing, gentle yet effective. I accidentally lost half of my second bottle to a spill, so I decanted it into a roller bottle. I am not going to waste a single drop. Never again! Read my review here.

I spent much of the year being a cleanser floozy–especially with balms and cream cleansers. And you know what? I don’t like cleansing balms in tubs all that much. They feel too heavy. So I used up a bunch of stuff and and stuck with a trio made up of two long time faves and one new comer. My long-time first cleanse love, Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. In writing this, I realized I never reviewed it. How is that possible? This iconic cleansing oil feels lovely and as you massage it in, it breaks down all of your makeup–including mascara. You can splash it off, but I converted to the washcloth method this year so I wipe it away with a muslin cloth. The newbie that stuck this year is Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. I alternate it with the Tatcha. I also haven’t done a proper review, but the hype on this one is real. The gel melts into an oil, but somehow retains a bit of the heft of the gel without the waxy heaviness that I hate about balms. It has a delicate rose smell. It’s infused with vitamins and enzymes. I look forward to using it–it’s just pleasurable as skincare should be. For second cleanse: Yuli Halcyon. This powerful but delicate gel cleanser is the truth. I haven’t come across anything like it. Reviewed here.

I don’t have a favorite spray toner this year. I have tried quite a few and nothing has stolen my heart. However, I do want to give an honorable mention to Serozinc. I don’t use this every day, but when my skin is acting up, this puts it in check post haste. Totally deserving of its cult status.

I have quite a collection of masks at the moment. I only finished and/or repurchased two: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. These both do what their names suggest. I would say the PTR mask is more powerful, but both live up to their reputations. I reviewed the TH mask here. I have been doing post mask special soothing with Skinceuticals Photo Corrective Gel. It’s anti-inflammatory, soothing, and cooling. I hate the thyme scent, but it works wonderfully.

Having never believed in facial scrubs, this year I felt maybe I needed one. It was going through a rough patch–literally, like my whole face was looking rough. I decided to splurge on the Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm. It’s pretty freakin’ gorgeous. It is a balm that transforms into a scrubby milk and it leaves your skin soft and refined AF. It has ingredients you expect in a leave-on cream (vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D & E; and minerals: MSM & zinc glycine, prebiotics, omegas 3, 6 & 9, rosehip, kukui nut, and sweet almond oil) but you scrub it in and wash it right down the drain because you’re fancy like that. But you use the least amount possible each time because you’re not that damn fancy.

Haircare and Bodycare

I am going to start with another cult product, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. It costs a ton, but this cross between dry shampoo and voluminizing hairspray is worth it. Sorry, it just is. If you know of an affordable dupe, let me know!

So to take the sting out of that wildly expensive fave, I am going to tell you that Say Yes to Carrots Shampoo and Conditioner are great. They are cheap, free of many nasties (but not organic) and work well on my normal to oily hair. Body oils are an easy category to spend a lot of money on–there are so many gorgeous options, especially in green beauty. My fave is Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil. It has a lovely citrus scent, is very moisturizing and I think it has a firming effect. Best of all, it’s pretty affordable.

I am loving reading and watching everyone’s faves. I may do a makeup post…we shall see!

Empties: Spring ’16


Time to take out (recycle) the trash, lovelies. But before I do, here’s what’s up:

Andalou Naturals Lavender and Biotin Shampoo: I’ve said it before, Andalou Naturals is underrated. I’ve used the orange argan version of their shampoo before–it’s the moisturizing one. The lavender one is for building volume and it does that. It’s under $10 a bottle too! One thing to keep in mind–this might be drying for some. My hair is on the oiler side and I tend to focus on the roots when applying. If you do have dry hair, I suggest checking out the orange argan formula. (Repurchased.)

Yarok Feed Your Ends: This leave-in conditioner smells all kinds of amazing. I love it for days when I want to skip conditioning my hair in the shower. Yarok hair products are pricey but really nice. (See my Yarok product reviews here.)

Avene Thermal Spring Water: I cannot stop spraying myself with this soothing mist–especially now that it’s warm out. It’s perfect for spraying in between layers of skincare, for cooling off your face and neck, and for soothing irritated skin (sprayed it on my little one’s prickly heat for relief). Sometime, you don’t need fancy toners and this one is a good pick! (On my third bottle.)

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser: I recently reviewed this affordable cleanser. I am currently switching between this and Blissoma Mild Rice Cleanser for my morning cleanse. Reviewed here. (Repurchased.)

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm: I purchased the mini of this cult cleansing balm because I wanted to experience a luxury cleansing balm. There’s such a fuss about this one, I figured it would be the one to try. It’s wildly expensive and so I am relieved that I didn’t fall in love with it. I didn’t like the texture. I warmed to an oil one your work it in, but with a really a waxy feeling that lingered. I recently got the Sunday Riley New Moon cleansing balm and like it much better–and while expensive, it’s not Omorovicza-level expensive. Review coming soon! (Not repurchasing.)

Drunken Elephant Lippe: I love this from it’s texture–not too shiny or thick–to it’s gorgeous clean ingredients. The packaging is adorable, but when I got to the end, I was scraping product out of the well at the bottom with my hands for a couple of weeks–so much was in there! I am hoping they revisit the packaging. See my review here. (Will repurchase this eventually–waiting for a sale.)

Tatcha Silken Sunscreen: I love that Tatcha has such a large selection of minis. I really liked this sunscreen. It is matte and velvety. It performed well as a day to day sunscreen and works well with makeup. I purchased it after trying the Coola Matte, which was so silicone-y it made my makeup slide off. That being said, I still have my ride or die, Pratima Neem Rose sunscreen on hand. (Not repurchasing at this time.)

Atelier Cologne in Orange Sanguine: I got this with Sephora VIB points. I am a sucker for citrus scents even though they have not lasting power. I love this because it smells of orange and white flowers so it’s not too sweet. Since this isn’t a green product, I spray it on my clothes. My birthday last month brought citrus sampler box of these. I am currently trying the grapefruit one, which I don’t like as much. (Not repurchasing at this time.)

Real Techniques Makeup Sponge: These are really good and affordable compared to Beauty Blenders. I don’t think they are as durable though (overall these are really, really good whereas BBs are great). This sponge has little cuts in it from my nails and has gotten a little too floppy with time. (Not repurchasing at this time–I have 2 others already.)

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Recovery Cream: Another mini from Tatcha. I bought this because of BeautyIdealist. I adore her blog and her picks are spot on. When she said this product had the highest concentration of colloidal oatmeal of any product, I was sold. I got this when I had an uncomfortable windburn on my cheeks and this was very soothing. I do find it to be a bit thick, so I will repurchase in the winter.

Amala Rejuvenating Collagen Mask: This was a nice mask for moisture and soothing dry skin. It is a rich lotion that can also be used as a leave on mask and smells amazing–cocoa/citrus/rose/vanilla/ylang ylang. If you think the scent is complex, the ingredients list is huge–a blend of oils and extracts that are clean, It lasted me a really long time. I recommend for dry skin or winter skin. However, I am not repurchasing due to wanderlust.

Embryolisse Lait Creme: This french pharmacy cream is also a cult favorite. I had purchased it and left it on a shelf in favor of greener, cleaner products. When I started expanding from oil to cream and balm cleansers, I decided to use this up as a cleanser so I could recycle the tube. It works great as a first cleanse with a washcloth, but I don’t recommend it. If you’re going to cleanse with a “cold cream” and you don’t care what’s in it, there are cheaper things to try that will likely work just as well. Hell, there are cheaper green brands to do cream cleansing with. (Not repurchasing.)

Onomie A.C.E. Illuminating Eye Treatment: I bought this with the Onomie concealer. This is a vitamin a, c and e infused treatment that is a pearly pink. It is a brightening layer that is also addressing fine lines. I liked it, but found myself skipping this step a lot since I use Drunken Elephant C-Firma every morning anyway. (Not repurchasing.)

Ilia Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady: I love this lip conditioner–the formula, color, effect, ingredients–all of it!  Reviewed here. (Repurchased.)






Favorite Skincare of 2015


It’s that time–2015 skincare faves. This isn’t all my skincare, but these are the stand-out/most repurchased items. Here we go!

First Cleanse: I’ve gone back to Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. It was the first oil cleanser that I used when I started using oil as step one in double cleansing. I had switched to One Love Organics (OLO) Vitamin B Cleansing Oil because it was organic and, like Tatcha, it emulsifies when you add water and splashes off (meaning you don’t need to towel it off). I went through many bottles of it. Then OLO hit a little blip this year when they reformulated the cleansing oil (and raised their prices) so that it didn’t emulsify–oh hell no. You can’t just become a towel-required cleanser without warning! OLO listened to customers and went back to the old formula. However, during the blip, I turned to  Tatcha because emulsifying/rinsing clean are musts for me. I realized that Tatcha works a bit better–you really could just use it as do one step, thought I don’t. It’s not organic, but that doesn’t bother me because I am using it to remove makeup and cleansing again after.

Second Cleanse: This won’t be a surprise for the handful of you following along. Yuli Panacea Cleanser. I have gone on and one about this one. It is perfection for a second cleanse or morning cleanse. Read my review here.

Spray Toner: Another Yuli fave (also not news since I have loved this one for awhile): Yuli Panacea Elixir is glorious. Read my post on it here. I also started using Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray. This spray has trace mineral elements and is soothing and refreshing. I think it’s a great inexpensive way to set makeup or just add a little slip to skin when applying skincare. It is a good option to have on hand so you don’t use up your Yuli too fast!

Sun Protection/Correction: The first product I apply after cleansing in the morning is Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I think this is a dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic at a much better price AND it’s organic. This is one of my best finds in green beauty. Oh, and it’s available at Sephora. Read my review here. My sunscreen fave isn’t news: Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen. Reviewed here.

Acid Toner: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads–again. Reviewed here.

Eyes: Skin Owl Eye+. A fresh, cooling, cucumber-infused jelly that I adore. I sometimes put a thin layer all over my face for a plumping boost. Just love this stuff. Read my first impressions post here.

Retinols: There are two that I alternate between: Sunday Riley Luna Oil and Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum. Read my retinol roundup here for the skinny on these two very good options–with higher/lower price points.

Hair: This isn’t really skincare, but it was a favorite hair addition this year. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is a cult fave. I wanted to experience what the internet was raving about, so I got the travel size and was thoroughly impressed. This hairspray dry shampoo hybrid adds fab volume and and slight hold while keeping oiliness at bay.  Totally worth the hype. I also had to add the Sephora Ribbon Hair Ties. I love these for throwing my hair up in a messy bun. Since I am not picky about the color, I stock up when they’re on sale.