Over the last year, I employed a new method of purchasing beauty products & it’s ended up saving me so much money in the long run. I used to just wait until I ran out of something & then have to run over to Sephora or ULTA at the last minute in a frenzy to buy more. I knew there had to be a better way to plan ahead, so I decided to start buying the things I use regularly when they’re on sale (whether or not I currently need them).
In some cases, this means that I will have 3-4 of the same pencil in my drawer just waiting to be used (and I do have to take shelf life into consideration). But, this not only ensures that I have backups to use when I run out of my current products, but it also means that I never have to pay full price! Because a lot of the brands that I wear end up being excluded from usual promos & coupons, I’ve gotten pretty good at learning when the big sales are and stocking up.
Right now, one of those sales is happening that I will personally be taking advantage of, so I decided to do a round-up of my top picks so you can also shop & save! I’m only sharing the products that I use on a regular basis & love, so these all have been tested by me, purchased with my own money (read: not sponsored) & have my full endorsement! Everything is on sale now (15-20% off) with code VIP + you’ll get free shipping when you spend $49.
I recently discovered this enzyme peel & I fell in love with the way it made my skin feel! This is a gentle peel, which makes it perfect for my sensitive skin – I noticed a marked improvement in softness & radiance after using regularly once a week. I’m a big fan of the Elemis brand, but I don’t own a lot of their products because they are a little pricey – so this is a great time to grab some skincare from their line for less.
Before applying makeup, I always prep my skin with primer – I’ve used this one for years because it creates a smooth base & helps everything stay put. It’s worth noting that there are several different formulations of this primer & they also come in travel sizes, so you can test them out first & find your favorite – see them all here.
I’ve been wearing this CC Cream since it first hit the market & it’s still my favorite for everyday wear. I wear Light or Light Medium during most of the year, but switch to Medium in the summer months. I love that it gives me a natural look with buildable coverage & that it has the SPF50 built-in. This also comes in a travel size, which I took with me when I went to India. I apply mine with this beautyblender & finish it off with this setting spray – this is a game-changer for those hot summer days or events when I need my makeup to stay put (travel size here).
I’m one of those people who doesn’t go “all out” with my makeup every day, but I have started adding in a little contouring & it makes such a big difference! I have tested lots of products & this palette gives the most natural effect of all the ones I’ve tried. I use the Soft Contour color in the hollows of my cheeks and just under my jawline/chin & then I apply the Radiance Highlight on my cheekbones. You want to blend it really well so the definition is subtle and not too severe – I use this brush to smooth everything out & I use this one to apply the highlighter. Once I’m done, I’ll add a little blush to the apples of my cheeks (because otherwise I look too pale!) – this one is a cult favorite for a reason…the color looks good on every skin tone. Also highly recommend this brush cleaner if you don’t already have one – it’s great to use in between deep cleans & it dries really fast!
After a significant amount of trial & error, I’ve finally come up with a 3-step process for effectively covering my dark undereye circles without looking like I’ve caked a bunch of product on. I start with this magic wand (in Radiant Light), which has a creamy consistency & gives an illuminated look. After blending it in well, I warm up a small dab of this full coverage concealer (in Light Amber) between my fingertips and apply conservatively (a little goes a long way). Then I set it all with this brightening powder (in Shade 1). But, for what it’s worth, I also have some friends who found the It Cosmetics concealer wasn’t moisturizing enough – I’ve heard from makeup artists & beauty influencers that this one is a better option for those with dry or aging skin.
There’s nothing worse than spending a ton of money on an eyeshadow palette to only end up using a few of the colors. And while I do own both of the popular Urban Decay palettes (here & here), I actually found that this one has all the pretty neutral shades I want and it’s so much cheaper! These blend like a dream with very minimal fallout – this is a $61 value for only $20!
If you’ve never tried this volumizing mascara, this is the perfect time to order! I suggest getting the travel size first to test it out, but I know you’ll love it because everyone who I’ve recommended it to has converted for life! I’m ordering more while it’s on sale, because this brand is usually excluded from promos. And I’m also stocking up on my favorite brow pencil (I wear Soft Brown) – even though my brows are microbladed, I’m long overdue for a touch-up so they’ve faded quite a bit. This pencil has a super-fine tip that allows me to create tiny strokes that mimic the look of real hairs to fill in any sparse areas & give more definition.
You’ve heard me rave about this lip overnight treatment before & it really is magical – I actually prefer it over the Laneige lip mask that everyone swears by! I love the smell & appreciate that it’s 100% natural and uses fair trade coconut oil as one of the main ingredients. After falling in love with it, I decided to also order their tinted lip treatment to use during the day – this has SPF30 & keeps my lips baby soft all day long. I wore the Naturally Nude all summer long, so now I plan on ordering Touch of Berry, which looks like it will be the perfect hue for fall & winter.
This seems random, but a question I frequently get asked is what type of hairspray I use. Truth be told, on most days, I don’t use any at all – I think the overuse of AquaNet in my teen years has me a little gun-shy. But, there are times when I do need it like when we’re shooting photos for the blog & it’s windy out; when we’re headed to a special event or when I create an updo that I need to stay put. This one has been my go-to for years because it has great hold, but doesn’t leave a sticky residue or make my hair feel stiff. My husband actually uses this more than I do (ha!) and he loves it too.
I can’t remember where I first read about this hair treatment, but the before & after pictures were so amazing that I felt compelled to give it a try. Let’s just say, there’s a reason why it’s won so many beauty awards – I’ve only used it once & I couldn’t believe how it completely transformed my naturally curly hair to be so sleek & shiny. I applied it to my towel-dried hair, combed through & then blew-dry as usual – not only was my hair softer than ever before, but it didn’t get frizzy after walking my dog in the afternoon heat & humidity. This is definitely going to be a new staple product for me!
As most of you know, I’m pretty neurotic when it comes to my nails looking nice. Growing up, my mom had the most beautiful long almond-shaped nails – she always did her own manicures at home and taught me from a very young age how to care for & paint my nails like a pro. I like to change my color weekly, although I can get my polish to last for 10-14 days if I’m careful. Essie is usually my brand of choice because I prefer their brush, plus they have every color under the rainbow. This is a great time to scoop up a new polish (or two) for the coming season – my fall favorites are Angora Cardi, Merino Cool & Bordeaux. If you have a harder time making your manicures last, I recommend trying out their Gel Couture line – it doesn’t require a special light to cure, but you will need this top coat (colors I love: Spiked With Style, Bubbles Only & Caviar Bar).