In-the-Weeds Beauty Product Thoughts.

+For a long time, my impression of SuperGoop’s Glowscreen was that it was perfect for mornings I was working out — it gave me the tiniest bit of coverage and glow, but also carried SPF, which felt perfect given that I do not otherwise put on makeup before exercising, with the exception of mascara. (I literally never go anywhere without mascara.) Anyway, on non-exercise-mornings, I’d instead apply tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier or Chantecaille (love both, with a slight preference for Chantecaille, but it is so expensive and not *that* much better than LM so I rarely buy it unless on sale). Both of those products offer more coverage and have more staying power than the SuperGoop. But when I ran out of my tube of Chantecaille, I just switched to using Glowscreen every day and instead would supplement with my beloved Westman Atelier foundation stick (which I normally reserve for big evenings out / date nights / meetings) on my t-zone and any area that was irritated or breaking out. I shared this insight before, but a makeup artist taught me that you do not need to apply foundation entirely over your face. You can just apply it where you need it and then blend really well elsewhere. (I use and swear by this Artis brush; it’s tailor-made for blending Westman Atelier in particular.) The makeup artist’s point was that if the foundation is a good quality and matches tones well, it should look just like your skin, so why would you need it everywhere? So that’s what I started doing on a daily basis and I loved the effect. It made my skin look so natural but I had coverage where I needed it. When I finally ran out of my tube of Glowscreen, I immediately reordered it, and I feel like the math kind of works out in my favor, as Glowscreen is much less expensive than Laura Mercier and Chantecaille, and you end up using very little of Westman Atelier to supplement. Anyway, just a random and windy note to consider if you, like me, don’t wear a full face of foundation every day and are playing around with the tinted products instead.

+My mom gave me a bunch of these caviar sticks recently and they really are fantastic for buildable color, and LM always does such great colors to begin with. I swear they are fool-proof. You just slick it on and smudge with a finger or brush and it looks fantastic. I have been wearing these when I do my 5 p.m. glow up just before going down to dinner hour. I haven’t worn makeup like this in a long time and it just feels fun (but not over the top) to do up the eyes. For awhile in my early 30s, I played around with bold lips but I hated the way it made me self conscious about smears or lipstick on my teeth. I’m now firmly pro-bold-eyes and would much rather do up the eyes with mascara and shadow and leave the lips natural looking. (I still absolutely love Bobbi Brown’s Extra Lip Tint in the Bare Pink color for everyday — it affords the tiniest hint of rosiness — and Chantecaille’s Lip Chic in Bourbon Rose when I need a tiny bit more color that still reads totally natural and can be applied sans mirror, a strange but urgent requirement for me as sometimes I just want to slick it on without being too fussy. I love those two products so much, I have re-ordered them both multiple times, which says a lot because, like, when was the last time you actually killed a tube of lipstick?!)

+On the drugstore beauty front: another lip color that goes on natural with a tiny bit of oomph (for me, more of an afternoon/evening lipstick for that reason) is Maybelline’s Pink Me Up 245. I can’t find it anywhere anymore except on eBay (?!) so if anyone finds a source, please let me know! Otherwise, I’m inclined to try their 244 color, a pink that looks light it might be just a shade down from my 245. For $5, worth a shot?

+If you are looking for a good drugstore foundation, check out L’Oreal’s Infallible Pro Glow. I bought this after Courtney Grow mentioned that a makeup artist had sworn by it (and she’d posted a picture wearing it and looked incredible!). Now, full disclosure, this does not hold a candle to my beloved Westman Atelier. But! When I’d used my SuperGoop down to the last squeeze and was waiting for my new tube to arrive (it got stuck in transit during the snowstorm!), I reached for the L’Oreal to see if I could blend it with moisturizer to sort of create my own “tinted moisturizer” and I was pretty pleased with the results. It does not cover/coat blemishes very well (I found it left those areas looking cakey) but it does even out clear skin beautifully without looking like you’re wearing anything. I was pretty impressed and decided to hang onto it for similar occasions in the future, which is saying a lot since I generally try to pare down my cosmetics so that I have only one or maybe two items in each product category (this is excepting, of course, things like blush and eye shadow, where you want multiple colors). Owing to space constraints, living in NYC drilled into me a “one-in, one-out” mentality I’m loathe to abandon. I truly try to use things until they are completely done and then move onto a new brand, or give it away if I decide it’s not for me. I am finding this harder to maintain with more space but I do think it’s a good rule of thumb in general. It also forces me to think critically about what I like and do not like about products, which is always edifying.

+I wrote about this a lot in my last honest beauty review installment, but I am still so loving this dpHue leave-in therapy. I go back and forth on the actual rinse — I know many of you concoct your own apple cider vinegar rinses for a fraction of the price, and I also still am not sure if I’m doing it properly. Sometimes I feel I put too much and other times too little. However, the therapy?! I am OBSESSED. I have become evangelical about it. It changes the texture of my hair. It’s an all-in-one treatment — heat/UV protectant, sealant, pH balancer, moisturizer, shine-enhancer — but it really gives me the absolute smoothest blowout. I think there are a lot of great products in this category, though. I have used in the past (and loved) DryBar’s Prep Rally, Davines All-in-1-Milk (<<cannot get over how much I love the scent of this one), and Bumble and Bumble’s Invisible Oil Primer. All three are excellent. I’d put dpHue in that category but at the very top. It’s funny how some product categories have lots of worthy contenders and others — not so much. Why is it so hard to get a good eye cream? There are so many brands but I haven’t found one I’m electric about. (Also, there is no such thing as a great dry shampoo? Right? They all make me feel dirtier?) My beauty M.O. for the last few years has been trying to find the absolute best in each category. Sometimes I end up alternating between best and close-to-best depending on price/availability/importance to my overall routine, but I still have yet to find an eye cream that sends me. I’m wondering whether that’s because we’ve invented this imaginary idol where an eye cream can actually erase wrinkles and get rid of dark undereye circles but that’s impossible. Maybe I’m expecting too much! (Release the eye cream from impossibly high expectations, Jen!) Anyway, will continue searching and reporting back.

+Speaking of, I have received so many DMs asking what I think of this purported (!) Dyson hair dryer dupe. I have not yet had time to fully evaluate as every single time I wash my hair, I end up using the Revlon 1-Step because it is so throughly engrained in my routine at the moment and it’s how I like to wear my hair right now, with a sort of bend at the end I can’t usually get with a dryer myself. (If you are new here — HI! — and I am a total evangelist for the Revlon 1-Step. The secret is to air dry hair until it’s almost dry, like 7/8ths of the way there, and then finish with this and you get the best, smoothest blow out!). What this says to me is that I don’t really need a new hair dryer, honestly, but I will test it thoroughly and share thoughts!

+Have I talked to you about eyelash extensions? I get them exactly once a year and for the month or so they last, I feel like the world’s most beautiful human. Ha! I’m joking, of course, but they are truly fantastic. You have to find a really reputable spot and go with the most natural option they offer but then wow, wow, wow. You barely need to put on makeup. You look awake! You look “done!” It is effortless! They are such a great boost if you need it for any reason, especially in the dead of winter, when I always feel washed out, tired, pale. I only permit myself to get them once a year because they do destroy your lashes. I once talked to the owner of a beauty salon on the subject, and we both waxed poetic about them, and then she said: “But, yes, they will destroy your eyelashes. How can they not? They are literally supporting weight they shouldn’t.” For that reason, I strategically pick a month when I want to look fabulous. Last year, I had them for my birthday month and they did not disappoint. Just mentioning here randomly because I was beginning to think about when I might indulge this year…

+If I were on a desert island and could only have three cosmetics products, they would be Armani’s mascara, Westman Atelier’s Blush Stick (which I also wear on my lips), and Cle de Peau’s concealer. Total forever hero beauty products. I keep cheating on Armani and trying other mascaras because it’s my absolute favorite beauty product category. As mentioned before, it’s a must-have product for me. I could live without any other beauty product but I must have mascara and I love trying new ones. I keep coming back to Armani, though. It is glossy, thick, dark, lengthening — I love a dramatic lash.

+If on said desert island, I could also have three skincare products, they would be Tata Harper’s cleanser, Clarins’ Double Serum, and Elta MD’s facial sunscreen. All three are strong 10s. This was harder for me to pick because I am in a committed relationship with Vitamin C, and I absolutely love Biossance’s formula. However, I think I would still put Clarins a notch above in terms of importance to my overall routine. I also struggled with the cleanser — I have been using Tata every night for years now and cannot leave it without breaking out, but in the mornings, I love this oil-based cleanser. I read somewhere you don’t need to clean your face with a scrub in the morning because it’s not like you’ve been anywhere, collecting dirt/smog/impurities while sleeping! So I use this gentle face oil cleanser and it makes me feel like I’ve been at the spa at 6:49 a.m. I know so many of you have fallen hard for it, too. It is excellent. But I still think Tata is what keeps my skin in check.

Curious to hear your hero products! Always love these responses. See if you can limit yourself to three in cosmetics category and three in skincare category!

P.S. Beauty products I can’t quit.

P.P.S. European pharmacy favorites.

P.P.P.S. Healing doesn’t happen in a straight line.

32 Comments

  1. Just One more thing! NEVER ever be without Elizabeth Arden’s EIGHT HOUR CREAM! I have it in my desk, kitchen, purse, bedside table and car. I can’t tell you how many times I have recommended this to family and friends, who thank me. It soothes any skin irritation: chapped lips, burns, rashes, cuticles, and sunburns!!

    1. Ha — I responded to a separate comment along these lines before seeing this note but SO agree! The cream would actually be highly functional if you were in fact isolated on an island!

      xx

  2. I guess the “eyes” have it, with all of the recommendations!
    I love the Armani mascara, but just wanted to mention that the Laura Mercier Long Lash is the only mascara that I have ever used on my lower lashes that doesn’t make me look like a raccoon after about an hour.
    I recently received a sample of KIEHL’S Powerful Strength Line reducing & Dark circle- diminishing Vitamin C Eye serum, and am loving it and planning to order a full size.
    Follow that with CLE DE PEAU concealer, and then LAURA MERCIER Secret Brightening Powder to set.
    The LAURA MERCIER Eye basics in either Linen or Flax is a must.
    No matter what serum, and moisturizer you use, try LAUR MERCIER’s primer. It is sort of like spackle so that your foundation goes on so smoothly.
    As you can see I am a big fan of LM products!! As mentioned above her Caviar sticks colors are amazing, and last all day!

  3. Totally agree with your Elta MD recommendation, I wear the tinted version everyday while WFH. It’s the light coverage that I need so I skip the foundation but still have protection and the look of “make up”. Fun post and love the comments too, thank you❤

    1. Hi! Yay! I agree — the comments on this post are SO fun! The Elta MD is so excellent. The best facial sunscreen I’ve ever used. I’m intrigued by the tinted one. You might also like SuperGoop, which is a similar product but affords a gorgeous glow, too.

      xx

  4. i love this post- the stream of consciousness is a little nutty but also so on-point. we love what we love! my ride or dies are really skincare- honest beauty hydrogel cream (i have half a dozen between two houses), the ordinary retinol and aquaphor/EA 8 hour. makeup- all about the eyes, anastasia brow powder, lancome monsieur big and ive been doing a wash of pink/orange cream blush on the eyelids also, obsessed with your site. xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, Amelia! I love your picks. I actually gasped that I forgot to include 8 Hour Cream in my little roundup. It’s a cure all and it’s the only beauty product I have in like five places in my house plus every bag. My mother is the same way, and I learned it from her!

      Love the idea of packing brow powder for the desert island! Ha! We will be GLAM while marooned on this island!

      xx

  5. For eye creams, I would recommend trying the new (ish) one from Summer Fridays. It is Vitamin C + peptides and has some sort of light reflecting properties so it looks really nice in the morning! I don’t think it will eliminate dark circles, but it does make the area less dark.

    1. Oo interesting! Thank you! I know a lot of people trust this brand MAJORLY so this is great intel. May go in and see if I can get a sample at Sephora…thanks!

      xx

  6. I keep thinking that maybe makeup will get me out of a pretty long style rut/consolidation. But where to begin? Bold or dewey, one feature or the full face…ack, I’m like a twelve year old all over again. I do think I want a savage red lip, and, for fun, a thick black eyeliner (being Margot tennenbaum for Halloween a few years back really worked for me, ha). As far as hero products, I have only one: the “snake oil” from Saipan, a small soap and flower farm upstate.

    1. Ooooo love the zero-to-sixty you’re after here! Why not?! It’s fun to have fun with clothes and cosmetics. I do love eyeliner, too. I wear it most days, though just a tiny thin line to define/exaggerate the eye. It’s such a great, fast way to make me feel polished/done.

      xx

  7. Jones Road Miracle Balm is that glowy pick me up with a little color your face needs! I’m just not crazy about their Magic Hour color, too shimmery. I’m definitely obsessed with my Tawny shade Miracle Balm, but the Dusty Rose looks great, please try this! Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter is the best glowy skin finish there is. I think eye cream is a must, but especially great for helping concealer go on with out caking or getting in the creases. I have tried so many anti puff serums etc,, I think the Garnier roll on is the best and so inexpensive! Keep it in the refrigerator. Grace and Stella energy drink eye patches work better than any other ones I have tried.

    1. OO that miracle balm is right up my alley. I also love that Tillbury filter — I use it as a highlighter in the summer! Thanks for the tip on the Garnier roll on; haven’t tried that one yet, so maybe I’ll use that after I am done with my current one, which is Clarins, and it is hydrating but nothing to write home about. That’s my problem I think with the eye cream category — there are so many pricey ones and they seem to do the same thing that the drugstore variety ones do, though the more expensive ones tend (not always, but tend) to have a better consistency.

      Anyway, thanks for the tip!

      xx

  8. Loving my fellow magpie mascara ladies because… SAME. On my deathbed, I will be reaching for the lashes. Two recs – Stila’s Huge Extreme Lashes (NOT the Magnum because the brush is too thick?) and Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions. I wore fake lashes to a wedding, took them off that night to wash my face, applied the Thrive mascara in the a.m. and half of my friends thought I had just slept in the fakes!! It’s a miracle.

    1. HA!!! Same, girl, same. Dramatic lashes til I die. And — OK, Thrive has been upvoted about twenty times by Magpies in the last few weeks (along with other recs I want to test!) and will absolutely be my next adventure. Thank you!

      xx

  9. On most days, mascara is the only makeup I wear, period- so I swear by an eyelash curler. To your point about the extensions, it just makes you look so much more awake and alert. Also, I am very fair and my lashes are mostly blonde, so I go with a brown-black instead of a straight black mascara, which looks less harsh I think.

    1. I have a few very fair friends who totally agree on the brown v black!! Thanks for sharing that here! My lashes have a pretty dramatic curl to them to begin with but now I’m curious about what a curler would do…

      xx

    2. Anna, super curious what your favorite eyelash curler is! I have light, very straight eyelashes and have been using the same mediocre curler for 15 years. I’ve decided it’s time for an upgrade!

    3. No fabulous rec from me, alas- I just use a run of the mill Revlon one from the drugstore. But I think it’s more about the technique than anything else- getting as close as possible to the lash line so that you’re really bending the entire lash up and away from your eye.

  10. Oh this is so fun! I got a $200 gift card to MAC for my 14th birthday and have never looked back (btw – if you’re ever looking for a gift for teens, give them a gift card to a nice makeup place, bring them to get their “everyday” or “night out” makeup done and then take them to lunch. I still remember going with my Mom and it was such a fun outing!)

    My 3 beauty products would be: MAC waterproof mascara, Naked Lunch MAC eyeshadow (the perfect little shimmer), and technakohl liner in brown (apparently brown eyeliner can bring out green eyes??). I just feel DONE when my eyes are together.

    For skincare: Cerave moisturizing cleanser, Aquaphor for my lips (I’m assuming this island won’t have a winter season 😉 but if it does, a dab of Aquaphor on my dry cheeks works wonders) and Supergoop glow screen for a moisturizer/sunscreen/glowy-skin combo!

    I LOVE reading about people’s skincare routines and opinions so thank you for sharing yours in detail. Much appreciated! Going to try out that foundation tip for my makeup for a dinner tonight.

    1. OO I love these! I also love hearing about people’s skincare/beauty regimes. I immediately looked up the MAC eyeshadow — thank you!

      xx

    2. Love, love that birthday idea! Years ago my best friend did similar for me 8 weeks postpartum. She prearranged childcare, surprised me with a trip to Bloomingdales where she made an appointment at the MAC counter to have my makeup done, she surprised me once more by purchasing the products they used and then lunch following. To this day, I keep Twig lipstick and Spice liner in my rotation. It was so unexpected and special. I’ll never forget her thoughtfulness at a time when I needed it most.

    3. Oh my gosh, what an incredibly sweet gesture from your friend! I love this so much. Tucking away as an idea in the future…

      xx

  11. Do you have a recommendation for a spot to get lash extensions in the DMV? I’ve been thinking about it but want to go to a great place. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tara! I have not yet been in the DMV but the place I have at the top of my shortlist is called Lash Cosmo. I was planning to give them a try whenever I decide to go with it!

      Maybe other Magpies have intel?

      xx

    2. I worked with Karmen at Wink Wink DC for years. She is an artist and so lovely. Highly recommend, and I miss her so much.

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