Perhaps the question I am asked the most is "what are your favorite products?" That's like asking someone who works at Willy Wonka what is his favorite candy - next to impossible to answer. As a beauty writer, I am constantly testing new products so I have a new favorite every few days. For example, my love for mascara is a constant, but the mascara I use is ever-changing. I go from high-end to drugstore back to high-end -- and I've found many that are must-haves!
But, alas, here it is. Not necessarily my favorites, but my beauty staples. The products that will forever remain in my beauty arsenal, despite the other favorites that come and go... So, have a peak --
What are your top 5, can't-live-without products?
1 - Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 in Sand- I write about this product often, and I use it even more frequently. It is, by far, the best tinted moisturizer I have found on the market. It evens out my skin tone and doesn't make it look like I'm wearing a face full of makeup. Plus, oil-free is a major bonus.
2 - Tarte Hotel Heiress Mineral Bronzer - I like the look of a sun-kissed face, but learned in my 20's that sun on my face is the enemy. That's when I fell in love with bronzer. I use many bronzers but always return to Hotel Heiress. I think it gives the perfect golden hue; the closest color to actual sun.
3 - MAC Brow Set in Mynx - I received this in a PR mailing. At the time, I was using Anastasia's tinted Brow Gel. That changed the moment I tried Brow Set. The brush gets into my hairs, covering the sparse areas with the tinted, brownish hue. The result: fuller arches that stay in place. I believe good eyebrows really frame the face. Brow Fix is the one product I use every day, without fail, even if I'm going totally bare-faced.
4 - Bioderma Crealine H20 - This is a relatively new product on my radar (about 3 years old), but I cannot live without it. It's a French find, used in France as a waterless face wash because the Parisian women believe the water is too harsh for their delicate faces. I use it as a makeup remover. It takes off everything from waterproof mascara to HD Foundation. And it's so gentle, you don't feel it or smell it. It leaves no residue and I've never had a break-out from it, ever. I JUST discovered that you can purchase it on amazon.com (click on the link above to redirect to the product), but, of course, it is more expensive than in Paris.
5 - Make Up For Ever Star Powder in Bronze Brown #930 - I've been using star powder since I was a teenager and, while I've tried other products that are similar, nothing compares to the pigment of star powder. Bronze Brown is my favorite and a staple in my beauty bag as I am a sucker for a gilded eye (always have been) and this color is the perfect gold to cover the entire lid. If I just want a hint of drama, I use my pinky finger, dab it into the powder and apply only into the inner corners of my eyes. You can never go wrong with gold.
What is your all-time favorite product?
I definitely don't have an all-time favorite product. There are just too many fabulous products to choose from and too many more being made. But I'd say good brushes are crucial. And one tool that every beauty lover needs to own is the Beauty Blender. It will change the way you apply makeup. At the very least, the way you apply foundation and cover-up. It leaves your skin with an air-brushed effect while still giving you full coverage. It's a genius product!
What product do you buy in bulk?
Nivea Cherry Tinted Lip Care. I have been using it since it was Labello (Nivea acquired them a few years back) and you could only buy the balm in Europe. It's my ultimate lip balm - moisturizing - never sticky -, with a hint of natural redish hue (my lips are quite pale, so I need a pop of color to make them stand out).
Favorite hair product?
Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist. I used to live for John Frieda's Ocean Waves and when the product was discontinued, my hair - and I - had a mini-meltdown. Then we found Reactivating Mist. It does the trick - gives my wavy hair a kick so that I can have just-stepped-out-of-the-ocean-and-off-the-beach hair all day, everyday if I choose.
You moisturize your face with...
AMOREPACIFIC Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel Oil-Free in the summer. Has a very light, gel-like consistency and is so refreshing yet hydrates without leaving the slightest bit of shine or grease. In winter I use AMOREPACIFIC Moisture Bound Vitalizing Creme which is a bit thicker but just as amazing. And for those brutally cold and dry days, I slather on a tiny amount of Weleda Skin Foods. It's like medicine for the face - it'll fix any cracking problem!
Favorite body product?
My obsession with body products is out of control. I love a good exfoliator, body wash, body lotion, bath soak - you name it. But a staple is Jurlique's Rose Shower Gel and Body Care Lotion. Rose is one of my favorite body scents and Jurlique nails it! Not too perfumey, not too mild - it's just the right amount of rose garden. The shower gel seriously lathers and the body lotion is light and fluid yet moisturizes and keeps my skin feeling incredibly soft.
Favorite beauty secret you've picked up along the way?
Aquaphor fixes any beauty problem you have - from zits (yep, put it on your pimple!), to cracked cuticles, to eye makeup remover, to unruly eyebrows. It's also great as a quick fix to use as a highlighter on cheekbones, mix it in with your favorite shadow to create a cream consistency (fab for the "gilded" look), add some foundation - a shade darker than your natural skin tone - and apply to legs and arms as your very own, DIY tinted body oil (models use Aquaphor and the likes on their limbs on photo shoots because the sheen adds a thinning effect). But my favorite use for Aquaphor has to be as a faux mascara... that you can sleep in! It'll add sheen and length (although not color) to your lashes. So, if you have a boy spending the night, apply some Aquaphor to your lashes, cheekbones, lips and brows and you'll look fresh and naturally made-up - without makeup!
Beauty icon you admire?
I'm really into Jane Birkin these days. There was such an ease to her beauty and she was quite comfortable in the nude, which I always find beautiful - when it's tasteful. She's my summer beauty muse! For all of my beauty inspirations, click here!