Friday, December 9, 2016

Our Favorite Beauty Buys

Because so many of you responded that you loved our "favorite things" post from last month, we decided to do another one focused on hair & beauty.  I know, for myself, that a lot of trial & error goes into finding products that I love and that work well for me, so I always appreciate reading helpful reviews and discovering new brands to try. Abbey & I are sharing our top 8 picks that we use frequently & can't live without - because I have different hair & skin than she does (being that I'm 15 years older), I thought it would be great to have both perspectives represented here.  Have a product that you're addicted to?  Please share in the comments below so we can all benefit!


I know I've talked at length about this product before, but it really has been a game-changer for my skin.  Right after I switched to this CC Cream, my husband even asked if I had done something different because my skin looked so luminous.  I actually tried the Illumination version (which Abbey mentions below), but felt like it was a little too "sparkly" for my skin & found that it drew attention to the fine lines around my eyes.  So, if you're slightly older, I'd recommend trying the regular formula to avoid the same problem.

As much as I love my Naked Palette, some mornings I only have time to quickly swipe one color on my lids and move on.  I have been wearing this shade for almost two years and it's great for everyday - not too dark, but it provides just enough color to give my eyes some added dimension.  I like that you can buy these shadows individually so you're getting exactly what you want...and I've never had it settle into creases, so it still looks flawless at the end of the day.

My blogger friend Merritt (who has seriously enviable lashes) swore by this mascara so I decided I needed to give it a try.  For how well this works, you would never know it's a drugstore brand.  Typically, when I first open a new tube of mascara, they tend to be really "wet", but this one has a different consistency so it doesn't weigh my lashes down...but it doesn't dry out quickly either.  I typically apply one layer for day and add another layer for evening - no matter how much you use, it won't clump!

OPI Over The Taupe
As much as I love wearing bright polishes, I always come back to this chic neutral shade.  It goes with everything & always looks sophisticated on both short & longer nails.  Even though I tend to prefer Essie for their color options, I actually feel like I get a longer-lasting manicure with OPI polishes (with this base coat & this dry-fast top coat).

I kept hearing about this long-wearing lipstick from other bloggers, but didn't actually pull the trigger until one of my best friends from high school started selling it.  I will admit that I was a bit skeptical at first, especially considering how expensive it was.  I ordered two colors (Napa & Brick), along with the clear gloss - I drank coffee, ate salad with an oil-based dressing & kissed my kids and there was absolutely no color transfer.  I love that it's gluten, wax, lead & cruelty-free (their formulas are also vegan & have a 2-year shelf life!).  My friend, Kristel, is graciously offering an exclusive 10% discount - just request to join her Facebook page here to learn more & see all the colors, then use code PPF10 in the comment section of this order form.  

My hair always needs more TLC in the cold-weather months & I've noticed that it's become a little bit drier in texture since I started having it colored again.  After styling my hair in the morning, I just use one drop of this & run it through the bottom half of my hair, focusing on the ends.  Then, I use whatever is left on my hands to tame flyaways.  It works like a charm to add shine & calm frizz without weighing my hair down + it smells incredible!

When I received my Nordstrom Note last month, there wasn't any clothing that I was dying to use it on - so I went browsing through their beauty shop and came across this brand.  I've been looking for a new makeup remover and was intrigued by this one because of the botanical extract ingredients & great reviews.  Even on a day when I wore waterproof mascara, I didn't have to rub hard to get it all to come off + my skin felt amazing afterwards.  It's even safe to use on eyelash extensions + it's free of artificial colors, sulfates, fragrances, dyes & mineral oil.

I developed a bad habit of abusing hair spray in high school & college (anyone remember AquaNet?).  Now that I have a pretty low-maintenance hairstyle, I don't need to use a lot of it on a daily basis.  This one is my favorite because it has a flexible hold - read: it keeps hair in place without giving you that dreaded "helmet head" or leaving it feeling sticky.  I originally bought this in the travel size to test it out, but then went back & purchased the full-size version.


This product has quickly become something that I can’t live without. Unlike most people, I tend to be extremely dry in my T-zone. Because of this, many foundations don’t work with my skin and, after a bit of wear, become flaky in that area. But, this CC Cream goes on like a dream & the illumination that it has gives my skin a dewy & refreshed look - no highlighter necessary!

I feel like I have tried every mascara there is, from drugstore brands to luxury products, and nothing even comes close to this. It volumizes, lengthens & darkens my lashes in one easy swipe & I've never had it flake on me. I love that it comes in a travel size too (great for testing it out!)

I don’t know where I would be without this eye shadow palette - it's so versatile because all of the colors allow for a casual day look or a sultry smokey eye. My absolute favorite shade to use is dark purple (because it brings out my eye color), and this palette gives me three different variations to choose from. Every hue is richly pigmented, goes on smoothly & stays put all day long.

For the longest time, I was using disposable make-up wipes because they were so convenient & easy.  But, I was noticing that they weren't actually doing an effective job of getting rid of everything.  So, after trying this product, I vowed to never go back.  Not only does it work well to remove every trace of makeup, but it provides deep hydration, which my skin craves in the winter + it smells amazing!

This is my signature lip color & it might just be my #1 "deserted island pick" - so much so that I buy them in bulk so I'll never run out. I often don’t have enough time to do a full face of makeup in the morning before class. So, on those days, I'll just swipe on this color, grab some sunglasses and I’m good to go. I've found this to be a very versatile shade that I can wear during the day or evening + it looks good on many different skin tones.

Essie polishes are my weakness & I have amassed an embarrassingly large collection of colors.  But, my all-time favorite for this time of year is Bordeaux.  It's a deep oxblood hue that's equal parts classic & edgy.  I have shorter nails so I like to wear darker colors on them so they always look nice. 

My hair is not only color-treated, but it's also naturally curly, which means the texture is somewhat coarse & dry, unless I properly protect it. And, unfortunately, it can become even more damaged when I use heat or styling tools, so I spray this on my hair every time I get out of the shower. It provides moisture, works as an excellent detangler, and protects my hair from the blow dryer & curling iron, which I use almost daily.

This dry shampoo is a bit on the pricey side, but after using it for months, I believe it's well worth every penny. It refreshes my hair & adds volume without stickiness. The smell is absolutely incredible and it really makes me feel like I just shampooed my hair.  Instead of using it in the traditional way, I like to spray it on before I go to bed at night, so I wake up with fresh strands & can quickly get out the door.


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