Throughout my life, I’ve used A LOT of beauty products….A LOT! Even as a young girl, I was always the person to try a new shampoo/conditioner, a new powder or a new foundation every time I ran out of old one. Ultimately, this game continued until I found products so good that I refused to live my life without them, and for some products this game continues even now.
While I’m not exactly a certified beauty expert, the sheer volume of sampling and testing of various products gives me enough credibility to write today’s blog post. So without further ado, these are the six products I could not – and WOULD not – live without.
If you are interested in beauty in the slightest, then you’ve heard of this product. It has a cult following of people who all swear it’s the Holy Grail, so I knew it was something I needed to try. As far as I know, there is only one place to order this online (if you’re located in the US), and that’s Rescue Spa. I’m not usually someone who likes to fall in love with a product that is exceptionally difficult to get, but on a whim I caved and ordered it.
The first day I tried it, I wanted to die. Not literally, but I’m not going to sugar coat this – the product smells like sweaty feet and salt and vinegar chips. And spoiler alert – it’s not lotion. It’s more of a toner, as it’s meant to be used by saturating a cotton round and sweeping over the face. So it’s safe to say that I was not impressed on day one of using.
But as any good beauty guru will tell you, give a new product time – and that’s exactly what I did. I had to incorporate this product slowly into my routine because I have extremely dry skin, but once my face (and nose in this case!) got acclimated, it was the game changer everyone had claimed it to be. Since using, my skin is less irritated, my breakouts are far and few between, my skin tone is even and my complexion is bright.
As I said, I have extremely dry skin and so exfoliation is an absolute must for me. Truthfully, exfoliation should be a must for everyone regardless of skin type, but it is crucial that I exfoliate my face or my makeup settles into the dry patches on my face and the dry flakes will start to make my skin breakout. I’ve tried so many manual and chemical exfoliates over the years, and while many of them were fine, I was looking for something more…borderline magical.
After bouncing around the idea of a serious chemical peel at a dermatologist office and chickening out, I googled some of the strongest “peels” you can do in the comfort of your own home. That’s how I stumbled on The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2%, and the $7 price tag made it a no brainer for at least testing.
One use and I was completely sold! Even my husband commented after that one use that my skin looked great and my face was really soft. I will say, it’s a rather odd product to apply, as it comes with a dropper for application, and the product itself is thin but kind of sticky making it a little difficult to apply but it’s totally worth it. Do not apply this product if you have any open wounds (like a zit you popped) or a sunburn, as it will hurt like hell. Even on the best of days with this product, it tingles – not enough that I’m super uncomfortable but for 10 minutes I definitely want to itch my face. I use this once a week, and it has helped tremendously with getting rid of my dry, flaky skin.
Changing gears a bit to hair care products, let’s talk about this thickening tonic. What is a thickening tonic? Thickening products claim to expand strands of hair, making them – thicker. Though I do have fine hair, I have a lot of it, so thickening products are super beneficial to help me achieve fuller, bouncy hair. And I’ve used a boat load of products that claim to make hair thicker, most of which didn’t work, and those that did almost always irritated my super sensitive scalp or made my forehead break out.
When I tried the Aveda Thickening Tonic, my expectations were low, but boy was I surprised! I use on damp hair, spray throughout from roots to ends and then brush and blow dry. It leaves no weird texture on the hair (no crunch, no grease, nothing) and makes hair noticeably thicker. I’ve used this product for almost 3 years now, and have recommended to so many people – all who agree that this is one of the best haircare products on the market. You can expect to pay $30 for 3.4 oz, though I will say I’ve occasionally found this product at Nordstrom Rack for a discount. You can also order a travel size to test it out for $19.
If you know me, then you know I tend to be a little dramatic and over exaggerate just about everything, so you might think I’m exaggerating when I say that I have tested every lip balm/chapstick/lip mask on the planet. But that is not an exaggeration because I have seriously tried everything on my perpetually dry lips!
As an avid mouth breather, my lips are ALWAYS dry. It’s something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember and nothing – and I do mean nothing – has been a game changer. I’ve tried every chapstick, every balm, every mask, nose strips to help me breathe through my nose instead – literally everything. Then I tried the Lucas Papaw Lip Ointment and holy shit, it’s legit.
I will preface this by saying that, as a mouth breather, there is only so much a lip ointment can do. The constant moisture on the lips from inhaling and exhaling will dry out lips, and putting an ointment on them is only a temporary Band-Aid. That said, this lip balm is the best of the best and really helps combat the dryness. It has some serious staying power which means I don’t have to apply it as often, and when I combine this with drinking enough water for the day, and a huge focus on breathing through my nose – my lips are night and day different.
Warning: this stuff is expensive. Additional warning: But it’s so good!
I know I’ve said it like 8,000 times in this blog post, but I have really dry skin and most of the lotions I’ve tried over the years aren’t enough to restore moisture into my face. This stuff is no joke. I don’t use it as part of my AM routine unless my skin is really dry because I find it makes my makeup a little more greasy than I like, but as a PM moisturizer – it’s the bees knees! It’s thick, but thin which I know makes zero sense, but you will wake with hydrated and happy skin after just a couple uses.
Pulled straight from BeautyBio’s website, this moisturizer contains 4 key lipids (good skin fats) responsible for skin’s protective barrier, bounce, hydration and radiance. It’ll set you back $125 for 1.7 oz. but if you’re suffering from dry skin, or live in a dry atmosphere, then it’s worth it.
If you’re looking for an “I woke up like this/skin that glows from within” kind of product, this is your dream come true. This product is extremely versatile, as it can be worn as foundation, highlighter or even as primer. The best part is that it truly gives the dreamiest complexion that looks like you stepped straight from a facial, drank 100 oz of water and have a skincare regimen of 40+ products.
This is a product I use every day, but there is one caveat. In my experience, it doesn’t travel well. Every time I’ve put this in my makeup bag, it’s leaked everywhere – which is typically a deal breaker – but for this product, I’m willing to make special accommodations and exceptions for given how great it makes my makeup look.
Well there you have it – the six beauty products I could not live without! Have questions about any of the products, or want to share your own ride or die products? Put them in the comments below!