I’ve been on a major beauty kick lately and worked with a few amazing brands like Diptyque, Christian Louboutin Beaute, Lancôme, Antonym, AmorePacific, Iope, and Clarins to sample their products, and I am HOOKED! I know it can be so difficult to decide whether or not to splurge on beauty products, especially when they’re pricey, but let me tell you, after trying high-end beauty products like my new favorite perfume and my new favorite shade of fiery red lipstick, I’m never going back to buying drugstore makeup. While this means I can buy a bit less makeup, it also means that I’m investing in beauty products that are better for me, better for the environment, and are much higher quality, which means I can use less, the products last longer, and are more effective. In the end, I’m saving money!
Here are some of my favorite beauty products I love and reach for time and time again:
Christian Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs Lash Amplifying Lacquer (Comes in red and black): I love this mascara because it doesn’t flake, it doesn’t fade, and I only need to use one coat for super long-lasting wear. The brush also ensures a really even application and is tapered to get close to the roots of my shorter inner eyelashes, and it’s wider at the base to quickly coat my longer outer lashes. The color is also really beautiful. I own the red and black colors, and I was surprised at how much I liked the red mascara for a subtle pop of color with a strong winged liner and glossy red shadow when going out. If you’re budget only allows for one mascara, this should be the one to buy, in black, because it will last you forever! The elegant gold tube looks gorgeous on my vanity too!
Lola Lash Too Mascara: At $26, this entirely organic mascara by Antonym Cosmetics is a great alternative to the one above if your budget is smaller. This mascara also never flakes, is completely sweatproof, and is free of harmful chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and is cruelty-free. The brush gives me great length and volume, evenly coats each lash, and gives every lash a rich, deep color.
My favorite eyeliner is this super pigmented, long-lasting liquid liner with a felt tip that won’t smear, melt, or budge. I’ve worn this for more than 24 hours while traveling, and it looked as sharp and clean as the moment I first applied it. I love that the tapered tip gives me precise control over where it goes. I was nervous about switching from a pencil liner to liquid eyeliner because I thought I couldn’t master it, but it quickly became my favorite beauty staple. On days where I don’t have much time to get ready, sometimes all I’ll use is eyeliner! There’s also no pulling with liquid liners, like with pencil liners, which means I’m preventing wrinkles and crow’s feet by using this! Did I mention it’s only $20?
I love this massive eyeshadow palette by Too Faced, and if you’re a fan of dreamy pinks, creams, browns, and golds, you’ll love it too! It has 30 different colors and is the perfect starter palette for anyone who is just getting into makeup, wants to get back to the basics, or loves natural looks.
When I’m on the go, I try to travel light, bringing this all-natural, organic quad shadow compact. It’s perfect for emphasizing my lash line, adding a bit of light to my inner corners, and for a quick pop of color. It’s the perfect palette for those with blue eyes but also works well if you have green eyes, as I do. If your eyes are another color, try this palette, also by Antonym Cosmetics!
Believe it or not, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I tried wearing lipstick for the first time. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve tried over the years and keep reaching for.
Chanel Deep Red: This red is as fiery as it gets, and is moisturizing, doesn’t dry out my lips, and stays put. I never need to reapply this bad boy, and I always get complimented on the colors! This shade is universally flattering and is perfect for a romantic night out or special occasion when you’re feeling extra bold.
Lancôme’s perfect pink lipstick: If you want a beautiful, flattering, muted pink lipstick, this shade is my favorite! Lancôme makes beautiful lipsticks that last all day, and this is one of my many favorites!
This red lipstick by Clarins smells like cherries, hydrates like a chapstick, has a shine like a gloss, and deep pigment like a luxury lipstick, for less than $30. This is one of my favorite lip colors, and I love it so much that I have 3, so I’ll never run out! When you find a shade you like with Clarins, you can order the same color in different finishes like velvet, matte, and some shades even come in a gradient form for two-tone looks.
If you like to travel light like me but still value having options, this 5-in-one lipstick palette by Chanel is a perfect choice! It’s compact enough to fit in a clutch or carry-on bag but does 5 times the work of a traditional tube of lipstick, all in a sleek compact.
Technically a “lip oil,” this ultra-hydrating lip gloss by Christian Louboutin Beauty is a great all-in-one lip treatment for dry lips when you want rich pigmentation and a subtle gloss.
If you want a clear, no-fuss lip gloss to add some shine to your lips or to use over a lip color, I love this YSL Clear Gloss. It smells heavenly, applies smoothly and easily with its patented loop brush, and hydrates lips without compromising the shine factor.
To keep my lipstick in place, I use a lip liner. This shade works with almost any lipstick I use (I regularly use it with the above lipstick shades I recommended). This one is all-natural, stays in place, and makes lips look fuller!
Face & Eye Creams
If you live somewhere cold or dry, you know the importance of finding the right moisturizers. I can’t even tell you how many moisturizers I tried that didn’t work. They either smelled terrible, or they sat on my skin and made me feel greasy, or even worse, made me break out. This face cream by Iope, a division of Amorepacific, has been my go-to cream for months, and I love everything about it! It’s not greasy, it smells lovely but not overpowering, and the scent quickly fades so it won’t compete with your perfume, and most importantly, it works wonders on my sensitive skin. It’s lessened the slight redness in my cheeks, firms, and tones my skin, and helps my skin feel soft and supple.
Much of my job entails looking at a computer screen, being jet-lagged, and forgoing a regular sleep schedule. This means I’m highly susceptible to under-eye puffiness and eye fatigue. No matter what I did, I couldn’t find a way to get rid of the puffiness under my eyes until I tried this amazing under-eye cream. It cools and calms inflammation, de-puffs eye bags, and tightens the eye area to reduce lines and wrinkles. This cream seriously works SO well that if I had to give up all of my other makeup and keep only my moisturizer and this eye cream, I’d be okay with that.
I use sheet masks 1-3 times a week, and they work wonders to lock in moisture, even out my complexion, calm any inflammation, and they’re a great way to relax! My favorite is these Hydrolock masks, which are also available in 3 other treatments, Tea Tree for acne-prone skin, Vitamin C masks for brightening, and Collagen for aging skin (do not use these collagen masks if you are allergic to gluten).
Every few weeks, I like to use these customizable silver sheet masks by Dr. Babor because I can custom blend my treatment to suit whatever needs I’ve noticed in my skin. I discovered these at a spa in Baden-Baden, Germany, and instantly fell in love! This helps keep my complexion bright and clear!
I am so pale that I’ve literally had strangers come up to me and offer me food and ask me to sit down because they think I’m about to pass out, so you know I use this bronzer to prevent myself from looking like Death. This bronzer is great for sensitive skin, and the coverage is buildable for a very natural look.
To add insult to injury, my skin is so pale that I have a very difficult time finding a foundation that’s pale enough for me, isn’t full of harmful chemicals and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. One time when I was at Sephora in high school, I asked the makeup specialist there to help me find the right shade, and she started laughing and asked, “Have you tried using white-out?” -not helpful. Like the moisturizer, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying to find the right foundation over the years, and I finally found one available in a range of shades suitable for my skin. This is my favorite foundation, and I use the lightest shade, “Beige Light” (which is still a bit dark for me, but it’s blendable, so I can make it look natural). I feel for my people who struggle to find makeup that’s pale enough or dark enough for our skin tones because most brands don’t go very dark either. Makeup companies need to make more options for both ends of the spectrum!
When it comes to perfume, I like to match my scent to my mood without worrying that the perfume will be overpowering. A good rule of thumb is that it should only be noticeable when someone is standing right next to you, as a lovely surprise, rather than an aggressive olfactory attack on everyone around you. My absolute favorite brand of scents comes from the Parisian perfume house Diptyque. I love that they use pure ingredients that don’t irritate the skin and are long-lasting but not overpowering. Some of my favorite scents are:
Rose (Rose Damascena, Litchi, & Abroxan)
Florabellio ( Apple Blossom, Coffee, Lemon & Marine Accord)
Philosykos (Figleaves, tree sap & wood, & Black Pepper)
L’Eau Néroli (Néroli,Bergamot, Orange Blossom, & Bees Wax)
Eau Mohéli (Ylang-Ylang, Pink Peppercorn, Ginger, & Vetiver)
Vetyverio (Vetiver, Grapefruit, & Rose)
If you can’t decide which scent you like online, try one of Diptyque’s Discovery Sets!
I’ve always loved painting my nails as an expression of my mood, the holidays, or my outfit. One of my favorite colors is this deep red by Christian Louboutin and this gold glitter limited edition color that is so fun and festive. The long, spiked top provides a painting experience unlike any other and allows for precision control.
What are your favorite beauty products? Let me know in the comments below!