Best Beauty Buys at Trader Joe’s

When Trader Joe’s opened three (!) stores here in Colorado everyone was buzzing- even those who had never stepped foot into one were excited to see what all the hype was about. I knew what I was in for having lived in Arizona and California where I enjoyed all that TJ’s has to offer, but the things I was most excited about weren’t food (or wine..) related at all. It’s the cheap face washes, soaps, lotions, and oils in their concise beauty aisle. Here’s a rundown of a few along with their can’t-beat prices.

Top to bottom, left to right:

Spa Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil: This light castile-like soap cleanses skin and leaves a tingly fresh feeling behind from the tea tree. It’s a great basic cleanser for day and night and all skin types.

Moisturizing Shave Cream: This is one of my favorite shave creams. It’s so rich that a tiny amount goes a long way, this tube will last me several months.

Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50: You can’t do much better than $6 for a big can of SPF 50. You can spray down the whole family all summer long.

100% Pure Jojoba Oil: I LOVE this oil so much that I used to buy several of and bring them back to Colorado whenever we’d visit CA. I don’t know what it is about this body oil but it’s a perfect balance of hydration and slip. You can even rub it on your eyes to pre-cleanse to remove eye makeup or use it on your face. It’s that good.

All-In-One Facial Cleanser: I haven’t used this cleanser but at $6, another great deal.

Coconut Body Butter: I bought this and I’m obsessed. The smell of coconut is intoxicating to me and this has a balanced scent that’s sweet and tropical.  It’s the best bargain I saw, $5 for a body butter that’s normally sold for $20 at other stores. A must-have for sure.

Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Moisturizer: A good, lightweight all-purpose moisturizer for those who are looking for something basic and effective.

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Becca One Perfecting Brush

Watching this video on the One Perfecting Brush $49 from Becca Cosmetics makes me want to run out and get it. If it works this well to apply primer, foundation, blush, and eye color I’m seriously sold. The shape is interesting, as is the concept. I just wonder if another goat hair brush would do the same thing or if there’s something truly special about the hair density and brush shape. Either way I’m into anything that makes my routine that much easier.

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Post-Baby Skin Care: What I’ll Be Using to Get Rid of My Melasma (Round 2)

Well here we are, today is the day I’m giving birth to my daughter (Note: of course I’m not writing this in the delivery room, it’s actually the night before) and I’m once again planning my new skincare routine to banish the melasma that reared its ugly head from pretty much day 1 of this pregnancy. I actually think it never went away from the first pregnancy and just kept on building throughout this one. Either way, I’m ready to attack. I’ve done a ton of research and have come up with what I think is the best of the best as far as attacking pigment and restoring my skin without using hydroquinone or Botox.

Cleanser:

I was thinking about getting this Pigment Bar from PCA Skin, a medical line that I really like but I nixed the idea and will stick with my cleanser that I love. I’m just not sure how much help a cleanser is in fading dark spotting since it’s only on the skin for a few seconds and the ingredients are washed away. If you’re curious though, check it out- it’s a cool concept and people seem to really like it.

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Toner:

Hands down, one of the most effective things I’ve ever used on my skin has been Mandelic acid from Vivant, a line sold through skin pros and doctors that is really picking up steam in the industry for its skin-changing ways. Mandelic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid extracted from bitter almonds, so it’s a safe alternative to hydroquinone (a skin lightener that really works well, but has safety concerns.) This 9% solution will help to lighten while also making my skin soft enough to allow the serums and creams to penetrate and work that much better.

vivant toner

Serum:

I was a little on the fence about this one so I ordered two and then canceled one. I wanted to get Skinceuticals Phyto + which I ordered from Amazon (before canceling) because of its botanical formula and kojic acid, a known skin lightener. In the end the shaky reviews mixed with the fact that I know Mandelic will definitely work were what swayed my decision to stick with a more potent formula. So I ordered Vivant’s Mandelic 3-in-1 Serum 15% which combines Mandelic with Lactic Acid, a combination that will lighten and brighten my skin without question.

vivant mandelic serum

Retinol:

Can I use a retinol while nursing? My derm thought so and she recommended Afirm, a Retin-A alternitive (sidebar: Terntinoin and Retin-A both break me out because they put the vitamin a into a cheap cream that’s all greasy terrible so I can’t use it anyway) that’s easily absorbed into the skin and gives the same results as a prescription retinoid at a fraction of the cost. A good retinol will diminish wrinkles, fade discoloration, and give better clarity and tone to the skin. Another interesting fact: Retinoids are the only FDA approved treatments for wrinkles. I bought the 3X, formula which amounts to a 0.6% retinol which is their strongest treatment. Again, I’m getting the higher percentage treatments for all of the formulations just because my skin is used to really active stuff.. Start with the 1% just a few times a week if you’re just venturing into the world of retinol, but really if you have wrinkles or discoloration to get rid of this is a really good place to start.

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Antioxidant:

I always use an antioxidant serum during the day to combat further damage (and you should too), so I’ll use Vivant’s Spin Trap serum with vitamins C&E. I’ve used this one in the past and for some reason it seems to keep longer than others, it doesn’t turn that dull color vitamin serums turn after just a few months which means its potency is also in tact.

vivant spin trap

Moisturizer:

I went out on a limb for this one. I’ve never used Nia 24 but I see it everywhere and am fascinated by it since it’s the only niacin-based product I know of. There’s a bunch of research they have on their site (independent from them) showing how niacin heals sun damaged skin and can even play a role in skin cancer prevention. Their signature treatment cream is this Intensive Recovery Complex, pricey at $118 but something I’ve literally looked at buying for years. Because it’s meant specifically for hyperpigment issues, I thought it would fit in perfectly with my whole skin-lightening regimen.

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SPF:

Good SPF is key when you’re using an active bunch of products like this. Even in the winter when you don’t think you’re getting sun exposure, you are. I’ve been using Coola SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint as a daily primer and skin perfector. The look and feel is just like a slightly tinted primer that helps to even out skintone pre-foundation. I love Coola’s sunscreens, it’s an organic line that only does suncare so they do it really well. It’s basically a really good SPF disguised as a great makeup primer that will help even out my skin on days when I won’t be wearing foundation (which will be quite often in the coming weeks.)

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Oh- and I’ll be using my Dermaroller to get super maximum penetration and faster results. Read HERE and HERE to catch up on the magical wonders of Dermarolling (aka microneedling) if you missed my past posts on the subject, and keep an eye on Hautelook (get the app) because they often feature them for just $20 or $30.

Mally: The Perfect Bright Lip Kit

Girls who always wear lipstick: I salute you.

I’ve never been one to wear a lot of color on my lips even though I know it livens up your face, adds brightness, and just makes you look more polished especially when you aren’t wearing much makeup otherwise. I always look at women who are wearing lipstick during the day like they know something I don’t. They just look so put together like they have really important jobs and a perfect house and dinner already marinating in the fridge that they’ll cook promptly after their gym session which they never miss. *Sigh* Have you ever noticed? It’s hard to look sloppy when you’re wearing lipstick.

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I can’t say that I did anything amazing today while wearing Mally’s The Perfect Bright Lip Kit in Frisky Fuchsia, but I felt a lot more put together in my workout pants (I didn’t work out today) and maternity shirt at story time and the grocery store.

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Not sloppy from the neck up.

I’m loving this lip pencil. It’s creamy and light like a good lip balm so I forgot I was wearing it until I accidentally wiped half of it off with a napkin when I was eating so I looked like The Joker for probably several hours until I even noticed. Other than that- it didn’t bleed out and stayed bold and bright the whole time. It has the staying power of a long-wearing lipstick without the dryness and weird feel those formulas often have. The lip liner glides on so easily that I had to put it in my kit. It’s made to plump and not settle so it creates a good barrier that won’t allow the color to bleed out.

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Click to enlarge

My pink lips were a good reminder that bold colors should see daytime every now and again. It was nice to catch little glimpses of my fuchsia pout during an unglamorous day filled with diaper changes and errands. We all deserve to at least look like we might be doing something really fabulous later.

Still Loving: Jane Iredale PureLash Extender and Conditioner

There are so many products that come and go in my bathroom, but then there are the staples that are as regular to my routine as brushing my teeth. Jane Iredale’s PureLash Extender and Conditioner ranks up there as one of the few things I’ve used daily for 5 years now that I always buy more of when I’m out and never replace with something else. It’s how I plump my lashes everyday under mascara and then I use it again at night on clean lashes to moisturize and protect. It’s a natural formula with beeswax and algae instead of harsh chemicals so it’s gentle which is why I recommend it to women who are post-chemo to start building up lashes again.

I know I’ve reviewed and raved about PureLash before, but after trying dozens of primers over the years I can say that this is one the best one around.

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Beauty at Costco? You Betcha.

If you haven’t strolled down Costco’s cosmetic and skin care isle lately, you’re missing out. What once was a few lowly offerings has grown to an entire selection of all-star  beauty basics.

Stila at Costco? Hell yeah! I had to resist the urge not to get these ** $18 4 piece kits with shadow duos in my all time favorite Stila shades. Both have Kajal Liners in Onyx and  Major Lash mascara, but the kit on the left has Starlight and Storm shadows while the other has Sun and Twig.

These warm glow sets are another 4 piece Stila steal. $14 gets you a Major Lash Mascara, Lip Glaze, Kabuki Brush, Liquid Eye Liner (love), and Bronzer. There’s a set 1 and 2 for a variance in intensity.

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a Blockbuster set. Stila’s has 30 shadows, 15 lip colors, 3 cheek colors, a bronzer, eye liner, lip liner, 2 applicators, a lip brush, and blush brush. For $20 it’s the ultimate in makeup happiness explosion from a big quality brand.

There were a ton of favorites there, like Olay Microsculpting Cream, 2 for $38.

And Roc Gold Correction, this is the night cream but the day version was there too for the same price. $29 for 2.

Have you heard of SebaMed? Neither had I, but after reading what it’s all about online I’ll probably go back for this life-sized soap-free face and body wash that’s perfectly ph balanced to calm the skin. $20 for a quart. That should last a while.

Who doesn’t love Cetaphil? Their 20oz 2 pack of Gentle Skin Cleansers are just $17 a set.

Aveeno’s popular Daily Moisturizing Lotion was $14 for 2 18oz bottles. Unrelated – my fingers are really double jointed so that’s my crazy thumb making its best backwards  ’L’ shape.

A giant 33oz Eucerin and a less bendy look at my thumb.

You might not expect for Costco to be a hotbed for cosmetic activity, but look again, you might find some unexpected gems.

Most of the goodies are in store, but here is what they have listed online for cosmetics, and for Skincare.

** Prices vary from store to store