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.


Buff ’em: The Micro-Nail by Emjoi


I recently had the opportunity to try out The Micro-Nail* by Emjoi. Background: I used to be a person who gave herself a mani every Sunday. It was a favorite ritual. Then I had a kid. I was constantly washing a bootie (the cutest butt in Brooklyn, I might add),  bottles, binkys, my hands.  I stopped bothering with polish because it didn’t stand a chance of staying on! The owner of the aforementioned bootie is out of diapers, but I haven’t gone back to the manis. Even though I miss having my nails looking “done.”

This cool little gadget is a great way make nails look neat without polish or fuss. It smooths and shines finger (and toe) nails in seconds. It comes with a smoothing roller and a shining roller that are easy to switch out. The rollers spin 30 times per second.  I don’t have many ridges on my nails, so I used a light touch with the smoothing roller so as not to weaken my nails. I spent a little more on the shining roller and I was amazed at the results! It looked like I had clear polish on. Seriously–my nails had a glass-like finish that is still there days later. I have never had that with a plain-old buffing block. The best part–it takes just a couple of minutes to complete both hands. I think I did it all within one commercial break while watching tv. It’s light-weight and battery-operated and just nifty. If you have ridges and/or like the natural, neat look of buffed nails, check this out.

* pr sample

Most Reached for Brushes


Something occurred to me this morning as I fished around the little clay pots I use to hold my brushes–I use the same 4-5 brushes most days. I really need to put them in  their own pot. The next thing that occurred to me is that my least expensive brushes see the most use (with my powder brush being the exception). I almost feel bad about collecting all those Wayne Goss brushes. Almost. I still reach for the fancy brushes when I have time to do more with makeup. So I’ll hold on to those beauties too. But for weekdays when time is of the essence? These are the go to brushes.

The Real Techniques Buffing Brush
This is part of the Real Techniques Core Collection. For about $10 you get this brush, the contour brush (more on that next), the pointed foundation brush (haven’t found a use for this one), and the detailer brush (this tiny baby is perfect for inner corner highlighting and smoothing concealer caught under the lower lashes). If you don’t have this set—wait, does anyone NOT have this set? Anyway if you don’t, you should get it for the buffing brush alone. This is perfect for the job: dense, but not too dense; soft, but not too soft; never sheds a hair; and is easy to wash. It buffs cream and liquid foundations perfectly and is also great for buffing in a little pressed or loose powder to blend together and soften bronzer, blush, and highlighter. It is a must have.

The Real Techniques Contour Brush
This brush is perfect for doing a quick, simple combination contouring/bronzing. The the tapered shape  and size are perfect for carving out cheek bones and shading along the jaw line. I use it with powder products, but being a synthetic brush this would probably be even better with cream products. When I got the set, I was so focused on the buffing brush that I didn’t give this much attention. Now I use it every day.

EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush
This brush costs $6.99 and is more than worth every penny. I love this thing. You can pat, pat, pat your way to perfectly blushed cheeks. When I went on a little fancy brush binge I bought a beautiful Japanese blush brush. Do I use it? Hardly ever. I have a whole post dedicated to this little lovely.

Sigma E25 Blending Brush
This brush is a well-known dupe for the famous MAC 217. It’s fluffy, has a rounded top, and synthetic hairs. It is made for blending the crease, but I like to use it for a quick swipe of sheer, matte color all over the lids, then I dip it into a shimmery shade for the inner corner. One and done. Another steal at $14.

Chikuhodo Passion Series PS1 Powder Brush
This brush was a Christmas present to myself last year. As my first Beautylish purchase, it was ten bucks off. It costs $64, and that is splurgey–though make no mistake, this series is entry-level for Chikuhodo brushes. It gets more expensive from here! Nothing about this brush feels low end. It is light-weight, beautifully crafted of soft goat hairs, and a complete pleasure to use. And damn, it’s pretty. It picks up and applies pressed powder perfectly. Invisibly. This is where I see the difference between synthetic and natural hairs. I don’t have an inexpensive brush to recommend. For me, it’s either this or setting powder with a flocked sponge.