My favorite thing to spend money on is makeup. Well, right behind skiing and concerts. I was frugal for the first half of the year, but after the launch of a beauty blog, I decided to indulge myself in a few (ok, much more than a few) packages in the mail. Here’s the best of my haul (not in any order, because how can you choose between children?).
1) Tarina Tarantino’s Dollskin Cheek Palette ($47) I’ve read a million articles about the glories of Nars Orgasm, but it’s got a pretty significant fault: lots of shimmer. I like shimmery blushes for a night out, but I prefer a matte or satin finish for daytime, especially if I’m already wearing a shimmery eyeshadow. Tarantino’s palette is great because the four shades resemble elements of Orgasm – Feather (light shimmer peach), Parasol (medium shimmer coral), Carved Rose (matte rose pink), Candy Cameo (super shimmery candy pink). They’re very highly pigmented with a long lasting power, and you can match based on your makeup look. Unfortunately, like many great products, it’s been discontinued, and Tarantino has left Sephora (I was lucky to snag it at $25 sale price). There are still some palettes on Amazon, and the makeup will be available starting in late January at Tarina Tarantino’s homepage – keep your eyes peeled for this palette.
2) OCC Lip Tars ($16)
This liquid lipstick is unlike any I’ve ever seen – a pinhead amount will cover your lips, and stay on for 6+ hours (even while you eat and drink). Right now I have Grandma, Queen, and Clear (for priming or sheering the product). The best thing about them is that you can easily mix colors, and create a custom product. You can even make your own tinted lip balm, by melting down Chapstick (out of its container!) in the microwave, adding lip tar, and pouring it back in the tube to cool. That way you can touch up and moisturize at the same time! I’ve got Psycho, a warm red, in the mail for me, and I’m excited to create some new shades.
3) Tom Ford Black Orchard ($70, or free if you can snag a sample)
This was a more than pleasant surprise – a perfume sample that might be my favorite ever for eveningwear (That makes it sound like I wear tuxedos often. I mean events after 5pm when I’m not wearing sweats, a rare and magical event). This perfume makes you feel like Vivian Sternwood, the Raymond Chandler femme fatale who drinks whiskey for lunch on her chaise lounge. It’s sexy, dark, elegant, and full of secrets. Her younger, pretend-innocent sister Carmen might wear Violet Blonde. It’s vulgar in the right way and just a little twisted. Both are fragrances not to be trifled with.
4) Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezer ($9)
When I lost my pair of tweezers, I decided to grow out my eyebrows to their full glory. After a month I got annoyed and decided to shape them, so I decided to spring for a Tweezerman, winner of many tweezer awards (didn’t you know about tweezer awards?). The full-size version are at Sephora for $22, but as long as you don’t have bison fingers like Sweet Dee, you’re in business with the mini tweezers. These are some precise tweezers that successfully helped me shape my eyebrows back from the wilderness.
5) YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation ($55, free sample pictured)
After a disastrous experience getting matched with Dior foundation that turned orange in the sunlight, I went to Sephora during their slow hours and buddied up to a makeup artist who happily tried out a dozen foundations for me. The best by far was this new light-to-medium coverage foundation from YSL, with an illuminating finish that looks natural, not shimmery. I haven’t pulled the trigger on a full-sized bottle yet because I still want to try out the much-lauded Armani Maestro Foundation. It has an oil-pigment suspension made without water or powder, and the finish looks just like skin. Or so I’ve read – foundation is a personal issue, so I’ll need to try it in person first. Luckily this generous sample of YSL has lasted me two months, and I can confirm its greatness.
6) Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant ($10)
Spending $10 on a deodorant may seem strange, but it smells so good! I’m not a fan of the Cashmere Mist perfume, but this deodorant is amazing. It’s long lasting, refreshing, and doesn’t leave any white marks. Fragrance is as subjective as they come, but give it a sniff the next time you’re at Sephora or a department store.
7) Clarisonic Mia ($103)
This face cleansing brush has made my skin more even, less red, and with fewer breakouts. It also helps serums and moisturizers absorb into your skin. It’s definitely not cheap, but if you buy it from Sephora, you can always try it out for a few months and return it if you don’t notice a difference. I’ve been working on the Clarisonic Challenge – taking pictures every week of my naked face. After an initial week with more breakouts, my skin has been steadily improving. Stay posted – I’m excited to build a slideshow with week by week picks.
8) Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil ($9)
Yes, everybody and their mom has been raving about this oil (hi Mom!), but it’s for a reason. It’s an amazing moisturizer, makeup remover, cuticle oil, baking ingredient, tax accountant, etc. Make sure you get the unrefined version – it’s noncomedogenic, though I’m still not bold enough to use it on my face. If you have dry or coarse hair, it also makes a great hair mask. And it’s delicious enough to eat out of the jar!
9) Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50)
You might be familiar with this set from the Sephora birthday giveaways (if you’re not a VIB already, sign up! You get birthday presents, no purchase necessary). I bought the holiday set with mini sizes of Berry, Passion, and Honey, and they’re all lovely shades. They’re very hydrating, and the light tint of color brightens up your face, no mirror necessary. Important tip – the metal cases are very heat sensitive, so don’t leave it in your pocket or a hot car.
10) Salux Bath Cloth ($7.50)
This Japanese exfoliating washcloth is not for the faint of heart, but if you want smooth skin, it’s your best friend. It’s also more sanitary than loofahs, because the always-wet inside of a loofah can grow mildew. The Salux towel is long enough to sling over your back and slough off any dead skin, and it increases your blood circulation. Follow this up with coconut oil and you’ll be flake-free all winter.