Top Eight Beauty Products

It's been awhile since we've talked beauty at this-here blog, so I thought I'd share a few of my current favorites. In the past I've spouted the praises of such brands as Mary Kay and Bare Minerals, but today I have new brands to introduce to you–some you may have heard of and some you may not. Either way, these brands have changed my life.

1. Once at Anthropologie and now no more, it seems I will have to try harder to find my favorite brand of toothpaste, Apothic & Co Winter Green. Unlike other fancy brands of Toothpaste like Toms of Maine (which is actually not organic) and Marvis (which the husband loves),Apothic and Co toothpaste takes some getting used to. It's more like an actual paste for your teeth rather than the more gel like Crest or Colgate. For me, the area of importance is that the product doesn't dry out my mouth or lips as much as other products. There's nothing worse than feeling parched after a toothbrushing session only to find that every drink you consume tastes like mint. Yes, I suppose you could use a different flavor of toothpaste, but that doesn't necessarily solve the problem. Whatever it is, Apothic & Co has solved it for me and, so long as I can find their products, I will continue using them from now until … I find something better. :)

2. The product I never meant to fall in love with but did is Golden Door Daily Exfoliating Serum. I received it as part of a package from the company to try–including face mask and face scrub. At over $100 in value, I found it a bit hilarious that the only product I actually fell in love with was the serum. But dear Lord, I don't want to be me when I run out of this stuff. At $88 a bottle, I imagine it will be quite the experience convincing my husband to let me purchase a replacement. "It's just soap!" he'll say. And I'll be all like, "No, it's moisturizing soap and my skin loves it!" Maybe I'll throw a "Don't you love me?" with a pitiful face in there for good measure. :)

Seriously though, I have always been in the it's just soap camp wherein you go to the store and buy whatever name brand (Suave, Lever2000, what-have-you) is on sale and use it until it runs out for … well, my whole life. Then I met Golden Door and my skin problems (what few there were, mostly dry skin) seemed to vanish into thin air. This was something even the best lotion wasn't handling! I love that this product is gentle on skin and perfect for everyday use. Even at it's high cost, you don't need more than a tiny bit for the whole of your face. I'll go back to the other not-as-good soaps if I have to, but Golden Door will always have my heart. <3.

3. Back before Christmas, as Justin and I prepped to visit Europe for the second time in our lives, my face decided to break out. And the pimples never went away. never. I still, months later, have red spots on my face, although, thank God, just a bit lighter than they were more than six months ago. And for someone who has rarely gotten pimples in the past (great skin ftw!), having pimples (or red scars) is/was slightly embarrassing. Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion hasn't solved all of my problems (specifically the ones that were already there–like pimples that never go away), but it has helped to minimize their appearance and conquer other pimples that have reared their ugly head.

ProTip: Stick a Q-tip directly into the Drying Lotion bottle without shaking it! (It actually says not to shake it on the bottle.) Then apply, the "lotion" to your spots.

This product can be rather strong on sensitive skin, so be aware of that and only use as little as you need. And always use a fresh Q-tip when applying the product. If you use your hands, you can transfer more bacteria to the area, which won't help at all.

4. If you know me at all, in real life that is, you know I am a "simpleton". My make-up drawer is rather limited and I'm entirely too picky about the make-up I will wear, even though I don't usually wear much (if any) make up to begin with. I mean–my skin is good but not great. I still deal with things like pimples (see above) and dark undereye circles that never seem to diminish no matter how much sleep I get the night before. As such, I've never been a mascara girl. I've always envied those girls with the long, beautiful lashes, but spending money to find a product that would give me them? Not as important as say traveling to Europe or getting a new book. Then I receive the Covergirl Super Sizer Fibers Mascara to try (not necessarily to review). I loved it. It was so easy to apply, and it looked super natural. I could definitely see myself fitting this into my beauty routine in the future. Even as minimalist as I am. There's nothing better than fast beauty, especially if it adds to your confidence as well. :)

5. To conquer those zits that add never-ending color to my face, Justin and I went on an Ulta run where I sampled as many products as necessary to solve my problems right before our third trip to Europe. First on the list, a color correcting crayon. I actually read about these on facebook, and being a photoshopper, it made complete sense to me. If someone has a red spot on their face in photoshop, you color over it with a green brush, as light in color as possible but strong enough to get rid of the red tint. I could hardly believe it though when I found myself using those same techniques on my own skin in real life. Like with the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, the Japonesque Green Crayon (also sold in yellow and purple) won't be a be-all-end-all type of product, but, paired with a good concealer, it can work wonders for your skin color and confidence.

To clarify how amazing this product is even more, the morning following the Bastille Day fireworks I awoke with a literal red nose, like Rudolph (the reindeer). Aside from freaking out, like I always do, I confidently used the pencil on a huge area of my nose going over it with concealer. Did my nose look incredibly pale and oddly not-nose-like? Probably. But the point was, every day until my red nose was gone (from allergies? We still don't know what caused it.), this product never failed me once. I did have to apply it more than once a day, but isn't that normal? Eh. Until I find something that will last all day, I'll take the product that works–the one I have right here and right now.

6. That good concealer I was talking about? For me it came in a small package from Philosophy called Hope For Everywhere. (What are they implying?) After trying multiple shades at Ulta, I found myself purchasing this expensive product in shade #4.5. At $26 a pop, I made sure that the concealer actually did it's job before buying. I tried it over my pimples and under my eyes… And, ultimately, I decided the price was worth it. Since I don't purchase many make up products, my husband agreed.

This concealer only offers 7ml of protection and with the brush tip, the product comes out fast. Be aware! It can be easy to use more concealer than you actually need. However, it's also worth mentioning that this concealer is not something I would recommend for people who need full face coverage. It's simply too expensive for that (imho). Furthermore, I did find myself reapplying the concealer as it wore off throughout the day. Usually only once or twice, and it was super easy to do on the run. I hardly felt the weight of the product in the purse that I don't usually carry. :) I will be purchasing this product again, but I will keep my eye out for something better.

7. Formula X: The System Xcel Gel-Like Manicure Set has been yet another surprise in my life. Received from Influenster with a bubblegum pink nail polish, I tried the set expecting just another nail polish. Nothing special right? Except that this uncoordinated and impatient blogger was able to apply it smoothly and quickly getting an almost professional look without much effort at all. And the polish is so smooth that I expect it to last for days… This product definitely came as a surprise and I'm so glad it did!

8. With gel-like nail polish, you need a good nail polish remover. Enter Delete All Formula X. Fast, easy. Then you can move on with your life. Or paint your nails a different shade. Totally up to you!

I'm so thankful for companies like Influenster and PinchMe that provide awesome products for me to try. When you are on a budget, skincare isn't always top priority so you buy the cheap stuff never knowing what you are missing out on. And your skin suffers for it. Furthermore, how in the world, without samples, are you suppose to know what works for you and what doesn't without actually trying it first? There are so many products available on the marketplace that it can get overwhelming! And expensive! Fast!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite skincare and nailcare products in this post. If you venture out to try them, be sure to let me know in the comments what you think! And if you've tried the products before, let me know if they work for your skin as well as they do mine. Maybe you know of better products on the market than I do? I'd love to hear!

Linking up with All the Beautiful Things and Run Jump Scrap.

* I received a few of the products on this page in exchange for providing a review. All opinions are my own.

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