June 17, 2014

Current Beauty Favorites, Edition #1

Welcome to the very first edition of a segment I am calling Current Beauty Favorites!  I can't say I'll post one of these each month, because I tend to find things I like and stick with them for a while; so, I'm not doing the traditional "monthly faves" thing.  I also can't promise to always keep it 100% to beauty-related products, because there are so many other awesome things in the world (Like music, TV, food?! I don't even know! What do you think?) !

But, for this first edition, I've selected just some recent beauty favorites that I've come to rely on! I hope you enjoy!

1. NARS Contour Blush in Olympia
This is one of three new contour blushes from NARS! NARS is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I don't own much, but I love this so much.  It's completely replaced NYX's blush in 'Taupe' for contouring at the moment.  Previously, that was the only product I'd found that worked with my cool-toned, fair skin.  Somehow the color in Olympia is even better than Nyx Taupe! I don't think it's quite as cool-toned, and probably looks less like dirt on your face if you mess up the blending, for that reason.

It's sheerer than the other NARS blushes I own, which for contouring I prefer.  It's easy to apply it super subtly or build it up for that Maleficent/ Kim K. look! The highlight shade is growing on me too.  It's completely matte, but can give such a subtle glow to the high points of the cheekbones and face, which is great for day.  For me, this whole set is just much easier to work with than previous contour products I've tried in the past, and completely justifies the price!

2. Paula's Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Phew- what a name! This is a combo moisturizer/ sunscreen that I've been using for about two months.  I would say it's more of a sunscreen than a moisturizer- I don't get too many moisturizing benefits from it, but it certainly goes over the skin easily and doesn't dry things out or anything.

What's great is that it's ever-so-subtly tinted. Almost like a tinted moisturizer, but very, very sheer.  I get very little coverage from it at all, but if you're just going to be wearing sunscreen and nothing else, it's very nice to have a bit! It's so sheer that I think the color will be almost universally flattering for probably all but the darkest skin tones. I like that it sinks into the skin, and doesn't cause me to be too greasy later in the day.  This is a sunscreen that I've been able to fit into my skincare routine and not think about again.  It just works.

3. INM- Out The Door Super Fast Drying Top Coat
I've definitely mentioned Out The Door before, but I took a bit of a hiatus from it while searching for other quick-drying alternatives.  Long story short, I haven't found anything I like better in the long run! I'm sure body chemistry plays into it, but this is almost as fast as Seche Vite for me, and doesn't cause shrinking.  It also doesn't go gloopy too quickly, and can be revived relatively well with thinner when it gets to the very, very end.

My manicures also last fairly well when I use it. One downside is that it's not super shiny or glossy after a day or two.  But, all of OTD's other great qualities outweigh this for me, since I change my nails so frequently anyway.

4. Tree Hut Shea Body Butter in Coconut Lime
This is really all about the scent for me! It's tropical and refreshing, but in a natural way, as if you really were chopping limes and coconuts. I've mostly been using it as a hand cream (shocking, I know), but it absorbs quickly so you can continue on with your day. The main moisturizing ingredients in this are shea butter, of course, along with cocoa butter and safflower seed oil, as well as lanolin.

I do have the matching sugar scrub, and also love it for the scent, but I feel the sugar particles in it might be slightly too rough for hands- great for the rest of the body, though! If you're not into coconut/ lime, Tree Hut makes a bunch of other scents, too!

5. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Lemon & Chamomile SPF 25
Jack Black lip products have a great reputation online, and there is a reason.  This is my first time using one, and it's as amazing as everything I've read! After using this, I now understand why some people think the EOS lip spheres are waxy.  This is not waxy at all- it's very, very rich. It almost has the consistency of pure Vaseline or something.

I mostly apply this in the evening for overnight healing, but it does have SPF, so I've begun using it for outdoor activities in the Summer too.  The scent is nice, and light, but not lingering. I'm down to about 1/3 of the tube after ~6 months, and I'll definitely repurchase this!

6. Batiste Dry Shampoo in 'a hint of color- dark & deep brown'
Just my favorite dry shampoo that I've tried, hands down. This doesn't absorb oil quite as well as some others I've tried, but it does the job just shy of completely stripping my scalp and hair which is wonderful. It's great for volume too.  I love that it's tinted, because white cast is not pretty, let me tell you.  This one doesn't match my hair color exactly, but it's much better than a white powder, and after some brushing/ styling, you can't tell I've used it at all. The downside is that, because it's dark, it can show up on skin/ ears/ clothing, so you have to be careful when applying.  Usually I just use the Batiste before putting on any makeup.

7. Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream
This is a weird one! Yes, it is made from snail slime. Mizon is a Korean skincare brand, and snail secretion filtrate is actually very popular for skincare in the East, although its use dates back to ancient Greece, apparently.  It is thought to reduce inflammation, and stimulate skin cell regeneration. Here's a decent article. The fluid that snails secrete helps protect and heal their vulnerable bodies, since they are constantly sliding? gliding? against any number of rough abrasive surfaces.  It makes sense!

This Mizon product is probably the most popular snail product that's made it to the West. The company makes other snail filtrate products, but I think this one is widely regarded as the most versatile. Some people use it as a moisturizer to help with all-over skin issues, but I find that it's great for spot-treating (and actually, this tends to slightly dry my skin, so I always use a moisturizer on top).  If my skin begins acting up, which is rare these days, I use this the night before, and there are dramatic improvements. It just speeds the healing....of anything! I've used it on bug bites, abrasions, acne, contact dermatitis, ect.  It's just a nice thing to have in your skincare kit! It's also supposed to help with wrinkles in some way, but I'm not really sure about that, since the differences would probably take a long time to see..

Since, I don't use this all over the face regularly, this 45ml tube has lasted me well over a year, and I think it's still over half full. I know it seems pretty gross, but I'm a big fan of snail goo now, and I'd recommend anyone try it!

8. Everyday Minerals Long-Handled Kabuki
I like using kabuki-style brushed to apply mineral bases, since they really tend to help buff the products into your skin.  Everyday Minerals brushes aren't super popular among beauty bloggers, but some of my favorite eye and face brushes come from them! (I also use Sigma, Real Techniques, Ecotools...)

This one is on the smaller side for an all-over face brush, but that means I spend more time/ attention to buffing, which results in a better application.  It can also get into tight areas of the face better.  The brush is not the densest kabuki-style brush I've ever used, so there could be improvement there, although I don't know if I'd know the difference in the end. It doesn't shed, and seems very sturdy.  The synthetic bristles are super, super soft.  Honestly, just wonderfully soft, and that's probably why I like this so much. All of Everyday Minerals' brushes are completely cruelty-free, and the handles are made of bamboo, which is very sustainable.

That's it!  What do you think?


  1. Erin-Paint Those PiggiesJune 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    I really like this type of post! I think I need to give Out the Door at try. I've tried so many topcoats but I seem to have a different problem with each of them haha!

  2. I like this post!! It's a little of everything..stuff I've heard of but haven't tried (NARS, Paula's Choice, Jack Black), or stuff I've tried but in a diff scent (Tree Hut - love the almond body wash and lotion, but I find the butter kind of sticky), or stuff I've used and am so so about (Out the Door, neither love nor hate it). And then...snail slime!!! LOL I was like what the heck when I looked at the picture...
    Also I am trying to find good brushes I like, especially for face/contour....will have to check it out...
    Like I said, you covered it all :D

  3. I love posts like these, I've been meaning to do something like this too because there are products that I use OVER and OVER that are like my daily routine pieces. Definitely want to do something like this, thanks for sharing such a great post!

  4. Nice beauty favorites! They all sound really good :)

  5. You should- this was actually really a fun post to put together, because it's fun to share stuff you love!

  6. Yes- I love OtD! It's so true that there is a problem with each topcoat, haha!

  7. Well, thanks! For the record Batiste makes a blonder/ light brown version...and a red version now too, which I should try! Also, get on the snail train, haha! Snail goo for everyone! :D