In my early twenties, I was something of a beauty product junkie. My two greatest weaknesses were eye-shadows [so many pretty colours!] and face creams [Oh, laboratory studies show 150% wrinkle reduction! Sciency!]. Reminders of those bygone days still lurk under my bathroom sink, incurable pack rat that I am. However, with age, my obsession has mellowed; I’ve finally figured out what (legitimately) works for me and what doesn’t. Nowadays, I can fast-forward through the back third of magazines and can safely walk by (and into) Sephora — although I’m still a sucker for brightly-coloured eye-shadows.
Here are some of my favourite things:
1) ROC cleansing milk and toner. An important turning point for me was realizing that one’s face-cleansing routine is more important than the cream one slaps on. Now, I splurge a bit on my cleansing products and save on my no-name brand cream. I’ve always washed my face before going to bed, but it wasn’t until I finally found a toner that worked for my dry/sensitive skin that my routine was complete. I used to be afraid of toner because I thought it would be too harsh for my skin, but I was pleasantly surprised when I finally tried it. The toner takes away the last bits of make-up that the regular cleanser leaves behind, and it really helps to keep the blemishes at bay. I was really sad when Shoppers Drugmart stopped stocking the ‘blue’ ROC skin toner (specifically for dry/sensitive skin), but I’ve found that the ‘pink’ version (regular skin) works relatively well too (and it is on permanent “sale” for under $10).
2) Mineral powder foundation. For years, I was a devoted liquid make-up fan. I never wore a lot, but even so, I started to notice that, as I got older, my face would break out more and more under my foundation. I had always stayed away from powder foundations because I was afraid that they would be too drying. However, I eventually decided to hitch a ride on the mineral powder bandwagon … and never looked back. I find it much easier to apply (and control the degree of coverage) and my skins feels a lot less gunky.
3) YSL Touche d’Eclat. Look, there is a reason why practically every model who is ever interviewed about her make-up bag mentions this little highlighting pen. It costs an arm and a leg, but it is amazing. Dab a little at the inner corners of your eyes, and you will look as dewy and well-rested as an 18-year-old Russian model. Or something pretty close. Another trick is to highlight the little dip in your cupid’s bow — makes the lips appear fuller. The more you know …
4) Rose oil. This is a godsend for cuticles in a place where the weather tends to alternate between ‘cold and dry’ and … ‘colder and drier’. I keep some at home and some at my office; it can do things no hand cream will ever do.
5) Essie nail polish. It is, hands down (pun intended), the best nail polish I’ve tried. It dries quickly to a glossy, shiny finish and it doesn’t leave a yellow tint on your nails afterward. Their top coat is also a thing of wonder — it delivers on its slogan as “the fastest drying top coat”. The colours are great; some of my favourites are Mod Squad (the perfect pink), Rose Bowl (a cool, non-tomato red), and Sole Mate (a vampy but not trampy plum).
6) L’Oreal lipglosses. I’m a lipgloss girl; lipstick is usually too intimidating. L’Oreal is owned by the same company as Lancome, which means that you can get practically the same product for half the price. So, if you don’t want to spend $20 on a Juicy Tube, consider some Colour Juice Sheer Juicy Lipgloss. My personal favourites are the Glam Shine (sparkly) and Colour Riche (non-sparkly, grown-up version) lines of lipglosses.
7) Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Miracle Cream. Basically, this is a luxe version of Vaseline. Except even goopier. It moisturizes like a mo-fo, although it’s way too thick to be used as a regular moisturizer. I’ve heard that frequent Trans-Atlantic flyers (i.e. those models again) use it to avoid the effects of prolonged exposure to dry cabin air, but I find it quite handy for Alberta winters. I use it mostly on my lips and forehead, but it also helps with “flu-nose”. You know, the dry, red, flaky skin around your nostrils after a week-long tango with the flu.
Stay tuned for part two … and feel free to share your tips in the comments!