Because It’s Worth It… Where to Spend a Little More Money

If you haven’t watched the adorable Marcel The Shell video that’s such a huge hit on YouTube – you have to check it out below (and click HERE to see it if you get this post delivered via email). The the couple who produces it has already written a book and is in talks to develop a series staring their lovable one-eyed shell after just 2 videos. I watch it religiously. It just makes me smile.

http://youtu.be/Ta9K22D0o5Q

My favorite line is at the end when he says he smiles because it’s worth it. Which caused a mental domino about what’s really ‘worth it’ in terms of popping the lock off the wallet and spending a little more for an investment in your skin looking great. I’m not someone who thinks you have to spend a ton to look great – I recommend drugstore finds as often as department store ones – but there are a few exceptions that are so great that I’ll spend the extra cash because I know they’re worth it.

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation:

I’m scraping the bottom of my jar of Chantecaille Future Skin that I got almost 2 years ago. I heard so much about their foundations that I purchased the jar at a counter not knowing it was $72 and then tried to play it off when she told me my total like it wasn’t twice as much as I’d ever spent on foundation. I quickly discovered that after I tried every type of foundation that passed my desk, I’d happily return to Future Skin. Its coverage is fantastic, staying power terrific, and the look of it is so natural – which might be because it’s made of 60% water and seaweed. The higher price tag could be attributed to its treatment benefits like reducing sebum and calming redness with chamomile and green tea – but who knows. All I know is that I’m mentally preparing for another $72 purchase very soon, but at least this time I know it’s worth it.

Liz Earle Cleanser:

Cleanse & Polish, the cleanser that I’ve referred to as ‘near perfect,’ is so worth an order from the UK based Liz Earle (or from Fred Segal Santa Monica- their only stateside location I know of.) It’s not a pricey buy at $25 for a 3.3oz pump (and around $7 to ship), it’s the ordering that makes it a little more of a challenge than grabbing a bottle at a store like we’re all so used to doing. I’m so addicted to this thick, creamy, lightly Eucalyptus scented gentle cleanser which removes all makeup so effortlessly, that when I try out a new cleanser to review it’s what I measure them all against. It’s a gold standard for a cleanser and one that’s so popular they have an automatic refill service and also a 3 pack available to make getting this perfect cleanser as easy as possible.

SkinCeuticals Serums:

SkinCeuticals is renowned for their high-potency, crazy effective serums designed to correct, fade, protect, and calm – whatever your skin happens to need. Their C E Ferulic is probably their best known do-it-all serum with vitamins C and E and Ferulic acid to protect the skin against environmental damage and skin aging. They use the purest, best forms of vitamins (like L-Ascorbic for their C) for maximum benefits and create combinations with other vitamins and acids for the very best skin absorption. Serums compliment any skincare routine and are so beneficial using only a few drops a day making them worth their $100- $150 cost.

Estée Lauder Eye Creams:

Eyes show age. It’s that simple. Getting that thin skin moisturized and protected is important, as is finding an eye cream that has some beneficial ingredients and proven science. So many eye creams are a complete waste – basically just plain moisturizers in a smaller jar without any true benefits. I trust and love Lauder’s eye creams – they have something for every skin type and concern, but their Re-Nutriv eye creams are their supreme offerings. With too much science in them to explain (or understand, really) I just know that when I use a Lauder eye cream, I can see the difference. I can waste money $35 at a time with something that isn’t working, or just fork out the $100 (ish) to see a difference and keep the Botox away a little bit longer.

Don’t worry, I’m also rounding up a ‘not worth it list’ (hello mascara!!) so you can save your pennies on things that are all pretty much the same.

Cheers to Your Skin With (Practically) Drinkable Skincare

Wine Hydrating Mask from Arcona’s natural line of almost edible formulations isn’t the typical hardened clay mask that you have to scrub like crazy to wash off. It’s a creamy treatment that plumps the skin using hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter, and the super antioxidant Resveratrol – the extract from red grape skin to brighten and soothe. I’ve been using it to chase away my skin’s winter tightness caused by cold air that I can’t seem to shake no matter how much I moisturize.

Pomegranate is the star antioxidant of Weleda’s Firming Eye Cream, a gentle way to smooth out wrinkles on even the most sensitive skin. In my kit, I’d combine it with a concealer to create a custom tinted moisturizer of sorts for dark circles. Its natural ingredients soak into the skin better than most so it’s versatile to use with mix-ins or of course on its own.

For $16 Made From Earth has one of the best deals you’ll find on its USDA certified organic Green Tea Toxin Cleanser, a typically pricey category of skincare. With Organic Green Tea Extract being its second ingredient (and Organic Aloe being its first), you can leave this creamy cleanser on for a few minutes before massaging it into the skin for a mini-mask to brighten and soothe as well as clean. Typically I prefer a foaming cleanser to a creamy one, but a thick formula like this one holds up well and makes a great partner to a Clarisonic.

Suki Transformative Clay Cleanser

Suki is one of the few brands where I like their philosophy, safe ingredients, and everything I’ve tried from them. I’m slightly obsessed with their Transformative Clay Cleanser which also acts as a mask and spot treatment. I lay down a thin layer and let it set for 5 or 10 minutes, then I use my Clarisonic to buff it into my skin as a cleanser which removes makeup so completely that I haven’t needed to use a toner after. It’s formulated for troubled or oily skin, but it’s so gentle and effective I think anyone who loves a deep cleaning cleanser would be thrilled with it as well.

Naturopathica Aloe Cleansing Gel

This unassuming cleanser from Naturopathica hits all the right notes; it’s safe (it scores a 3 from CosmeticsDatabase.com), effective, and thanks to ylang ylang, rose, and lavender oils – it smells like a day at the spa. It’s their best selling cleanser geared toward normal to oily skin, but because it’s weightless, colorless, certified organic (EcoCert) and replaces water – the typical first ingredient in skincare – with organic aloe, all skin types can benefit. I love a good cleanser with a balanced approach like this one that doesn’t strip or over-moisturize.

Natural Solutions for Dry Skin

If you want to improve dry skin using naturally formulated products, look for ones that contain essential oils, shea butters, and food-based ingredients to help restore the skin’s lipid barrier by providing a big (chemical free) drink of moisture. Here are a few I’ve tried that can really help to bring dry skin into a more quenched state.

Cleanser:

H2O Sea Pure Creamy Facial Cleanser

Those with dry skin should avoid gel and soap cleansers that can strip away needed moisture. Sea Pure’s Creamy Cleanser uses citrus oils to melt away dirt and makeup in a soft, cushiony formula that leaves skin feeling hydrated and refreshed. It’s one of their best sellers with good reason, it’s hard to find a cleanser that foams up without stripping the skin. It’s just a bonus that it’s without sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, pthalates, and synthetic chemicals.

Exfoliant:

Arcona Golden Grain Gommage

I first met the Arcona team backstage at Fashion Week a few years ago and I fell instantly in love with the small-batched line that’s been pioneering chic, holistic skincare since the 80′s. Arcona’s Golden Grain Gommage is perfect for dry skin, it’s full of essential fatty acids, lemon extract, and oatmeal to soothe and gently buff away dullness associated with dryness in an ultra gentle way.

Moisturizer:

Bioelements All things Pure Moisturizer

I love the All Things Pure Moisturizer, an organically formulated 12 ingredient cream that uses the best of nature to moisturize even the driest of skins. I gave mine to a friend with skin so dry, she stacked on 2 heavy moisturizers day and night just to get some relief. She’s now totally committed to the whole ATP line since the moisturizer successfully renewed her moisture levels and gave her skin a whole new look. (She also swears by their Eye Oil which she also uses on her driest spots pre-moisturizer.)

Balm:

Decleor Aroma Night Angélique Nourishing Night Balm

You haven’t felt pure moisture until you’ve tried one of Decleor’s balms. They’re known for their soft solid essential oil based balms that melt and glide into the skin. Angélique is a mix of 7 of the most hydrating oils blended together to nourish the skin overnight so you wake up with softer, hydrated, and ready for makeup skin.

Beauty Essentials You Don’t Already Have

You think you have beauty product known to (wo)man you’ll ever need. You’re the Macgyver of beauty, the one your friends go to when they need something to grow their brows, plump their lips, and make their skin glow. Would it surprise you to find out that you’re missing a few things? These uniquely cool offerings will add value to your beauty arsenal and sharpen your routine not to mention hold firm your reputation as your friends’ resident beauty know-it-all.

You Don’t Have: An Eyeliner This Color

Aside from the fact that the wear time of this liner is limitless, the color is nothing short of incredible. Every woman should own Estée Lauder’s Silver Zinc liner, a somewhat smokey grey with a touch of warmth. I’ve been using it to line under the eyes while still using black on top. It breaks up the look and adds a softness where black might be overpowering especially during the day. It’s a totally eye catching look that works on all ages and skin tones. FYI- it’s a limited edition color, grab one while they’re still available, I predict they’ll sell out soon.

You Don’t Have: A Shower in a Bottle

Admit it, there are days when laziness wins and the daily shower gets pushed aside. Instead of piling on a fragrance, you can spray on a shower-fresh scent like Lush’s Dirty Body Spray (nice name btw.) It’s meant to neutralize a not so fresh scent with their own yummy blend to successfully fake out the noses around you into smelling a much cleaner you.

You Don’t Have: Professional-Grade Vegan Brushes

Makeup Artist Samantha Champan knows what makes a good brush and her brush line reflects just that. They’re made with synthetic taklon brushes, so they’re vegan and 100% cruelty free. They’re ultra plush, high performing, and designed to take up minimal room- each one stands up on its end. Grab them at Ulta where you’ll find sets of 3 or 4 brushes being offered for less than you’d normally pay for just one in a department store.

You Don’t Have: A Waterproof Bronzer

Cargo is known for their legendary cheek colors and bronzers. This huge tin of perfectly balanced Water Resistant Bronzer is in my kit so I can bronze brides who have a good amount of dancing (and sweating) to do. It doesn’t move or change color even in the most humid conditions making it a go-to for the Makeup Artists on Dancing With the Stars.

You Don’t Have: Gluten Free Skincare

Brittanie’s Thyme is one of the better USDA certified organic lines out there with solid gluten-free options. This kit includes one of my favs from the line, their Organic Everyday Moisturizer that uses a base of Aloe and Coconut Oil to gently moisturize and nourish even the most delicate skin.

You Don’t Have: Razor Burn Relief

Res-Q from Satin Smooth delivers quick rescue for ingrown hairs, razor burn, bumps, and skin irritation after waxing, shaving, or threading. It’s one of those really useful things to have around in case of emergencies or to use daily if you’re prone to skin irritation from shaving.

You Don’t Have: A Cleanser That Smells This Good

My beloved Sanitas has this Lemon Cream Cleanser that I swear smells like a really decadent dessert. Sure it removes makeup and acts as a gentle, all-around great cleanser with hydrators and vitamins, but it’s the scent that makes using it an addiction.