Want to Save Money On Skincare? Hit Up the Men’s Aisle at Sephora.

A Huffington Post piece last week highlighted how women pay $1300 more a year for the same personal care products like razors and deodorant just because they’re marketed to women which got me thinking about the men’s lines that do skincare really well. Next time you’re in the market to de-puff, hydrate, and cleanse, compare labels with your favorite find with something from a men’s skincare line like Anthony and Jack Black. You’ll probably pay less for that black jar versus a pink one with the same thing inside. Here are a few to try.

Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester vs. Anthony Vitamin Facial Serum

Daily antioxidants like a c serum are essential in keeping skin looking great. It’s one of the few things I recommend we all use (along with sunscreen, hydration, and an exfoliant!) but some c serums cost a fortune. Anthony’s serum includes licorice to fade discolorations as well as peptides and AHA’s for clearer and fresher looking skin.

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Josie Maran Argan Oil vs. Jack Black Epic Moisture MP10 Nourishing Oil

So Jack Black’s version isn’t 100% argan oil like Maran’s now iconic formula, but it does blend jojoba, grapeseed, and olive oils with argan to create a light oil that softens both skin and hair alike.

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Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Gel vs. Anthony Wake Up Call

I’m such a believer in using caffeine-based gel for around the eyes in the morning to calm puffiness to make you look more awake. Eye gels like Bliss’ are pricey, but treatments specifically for the eye area usually are because they deem themselves as ‘specialty treatments.’ Anthony’s gel is meant for the whole face (which is why it’s a generous 3oz size) but its ingredients of caffeine, green tea, and vitamins are just what your sleepy eyes need to bring down that morning swelling. .

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Stuff I Buy: Fighting Discoloration Naturally

When will this damn melasma go away? It’s such an uphill battle fighting skin discoloration in the summer, even with an SPF 50 on every day. I’m outside so much that I know I’ll have to wait a few months before another round of lasers to get deeper than any skincare can, but until then I’m hoping a few things I grabbed this week will help get my skin to get back to a more radiant state.

Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum

I’ve never heard of this line before and I’m not even sure where it’s sold other than online, but it’s an Amazon.com bestseller with 1,400+ glowing reviews. Oh, and it’s only $23. It’s an organic vitamin c, amino acid blend, and hyaluronic acid serum that people swear gives them more a radiant skin texture. Could it be a big marketing campaign from people within the company leaving false feedback? Sure, it happens on amazon all the time. But there are a ton of verified customers who left great feedback, enough to get my money and see for myself.

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Skin Obsession 40% Gycolic Peel

Yet another amazon.com best seller for skin peels, a huge sort of underground category on there for skin. They’re basically professional caliber peels available to the public from companies I’ve never heard of before. Totally legit right? Again, the reviews got me- 400+ singing the praises of how well this peel worked. Basically, I’m using it for my melasma, fine lines, and overall texture which is still not back to normal since my pregnancies. There’s just a dullness and blah to my skin that makes me look tired and probably old which really sucks. The great thing about peels is that the acid (whether it be glycolic, lactic, or whatever) dissolves the waxy layer of oil and dead skin that builds up on your face over time (why consistent exfoliation is key!) and gives that dull, dry, wrinkly look. Once that’s removed you’re left with a fresh layer of new skin that looks more radiant and less lined. Do a ton of research (I’ve looked for over a year) and google around. I was going to go with a peel from THIS line, but after reading several times how they plant positive reviews from within their company I decided it was best to skip it. Just follow their directions to a T which includes knowing how to neutralize the peel once it’s on otherwise you could end up with permanent burns and even scarring.

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Éminence Eight Greens Whip Moisturizer

My girl Alexa, an aesthetician to Denver’s who’s who over at the swanky Spa Vital in Cherry Creek has been an Éminence fan for as long as I’ve known her. After my facial today she sold me on their Eight Greens moisturizer which has a thick, almost balm-like texture that dissolved into my skin so completely and left it looking really fresh and hydrated and I didn’t even get that typical afternoon shine. It addresses tone and aging using natural ingredients like yucca, stone crop, and flaxseed. It’s a really cool line with a big upscale spa presence that you can check out HERE if you’ve never heard of it before.

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Éminence Lemon Cleanser

Alexa turned me onto this cleanser like 8 years ago. It’s a cream that doesn’t foam up (which is why I think I quit using it) but now that I’m older, I can finally appreciate a cleanser that cleans without stripping and drying. This one does that and also happens to have the best slightly sweet and tangy lemon scent that I just adore.

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Next up; more laser research on CO2 vs Fraxel. I think I’ll wait until October so I have a little time. Tweet me your thoughts if you’ve tried either before and had a great result.

Josie Maran Argan Summer Hydrating Skin Savers

I get a ton of stuff from companies to try out almost every day so it’s understandable that something rarely blows me away, but this Josie Maran kit is one of the more impressive things I’ve tried in a while. I can see why she has built her entire line around her iconic Argan Oil, it’s really that good.  It softens my skin and makes it so glowy and healthy looking. I’m using the light argan oil with her Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 over it during the day. It’s the weirdest thing how the oil affects your skin, but it  has been nothing short of a miracle as far as I’m concerned. I’m normal/combo in the summer and the light oil is the right amount of hydration- anything more would be too heavy. I was half expecting to break out for some reason, but all of it has been so well received by my skin. I don’t know how and I can’t really articulate why, but my skin just looks a lot better when I use it.

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Argan Oil Light

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SPF 47

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Argan Color Stick

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They also sent me her Argan Self Tanning Cream which I was hoarding for over a year when I couldn’t find it any longer in stores. It’s one of the very best self tanners I’ve ever used hands down. I just slap it on like using a regular lotion giving no thought to rubbing it in evenly and it comes out perfect every time. It doesn’t give a super dark tan which I like because the color is more believable that way. I’m still not seeing it online so I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in Sephora, I’m hoping it’s just sold out.

tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum

This serum is flat out amazing. Revolutionary. A must-have gradual self tanner to achieve the most convincing  tanned look for your face. Below is me before and after just one application. I used a few drops before bed in place of my usual skincare and I woke up with subtle but noticeable color. Maracuja Bronzing Serum is a light oil that absorbs right away and leaves no scent behind,  it’s also streak-free (and has been every time I’ve used it since) and didn’t leave any color behind on my white pillowcase. It’s a self-tanning serum disguised as skincare that’s so gentle you can use it nightly. It didn’t break out my sensitive skin and the color becomes more rich with each application but not overly bronzed or unnatural. It really is amazing stuff.

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I will of course review other self-tanning products for the face in the future, but this is the one I will continue to buy and tell all my friends to do the same.

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Before & After: Just the Basics

Liz, a  bride with an upcoming wedding I got to work with last week has pretty much the ideal face; big eyes, full cheeks, and pouty lips.  I can see why she isn’t a fan of the overly made-up look since she really doesn’t need to wear much day-to-day, so I created a timeless look that she (thankfully) loved using the basics that I reach for over and again in my kit.

What I used:

Face:

Primer: Hourglass no 28
Foundation: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
Concealer: Smashbox High Definition
Setting Spray: Caudalîe Beauty Elixir
Powder: Koh gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder

Eyes:

Primer: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base Lavender Pink
Eye Shadow: Urban Decay Naked 2
Liner: NYX Super Skinny Eye Maker
Mascara: NYX Doll Eye
Lashes: Ardell #110
Brows: Anastasia Brow Duo

Cheeks:

Smashbox Blush Rush

Lips:

Liner: Philosophy The Supernaural (discontinued)
Gloss: NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss 104 Sweet Heart

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A few things:

I’m finding that my go-to concealer these days is Smashbox High Definition. It’s creamy and covers everything so well but also blends into the skin with minimal creasing.

I start with the face first, once you get the skin right the color is easy. I spray the Caudalîe Beauty Elixir on the skin as I blend the foundation which helps it to melt into the face leaving the foundation looking invisible.

Koh Gen Do has pretty much the best everything when it comes to primers, foundations, and powder. I buy it, I use it on myself and in my kit, I love it. Seriously, this line is hard to beat. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s worth it because of how it conceals while leaving the skin so natural and almost dewey looking. Their products do what’s promised.

Everyone in the world should own that NYX gloss. It’s the prettiest shimmery nude ever.

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Oil

You must check out Sebu Beauty and their skincare made with the nutrient rich sea buckthorn berry. I just bought my second bottle of Sea Buckthorn oil from Sprouts today along with their cleanser. I bought my first bottle of the oil a few months back along with the cleansing bar (which is almost gone) and I use them both daily. The oil regulates my skin’s moisture levels and leaves it really glowy- a huge help since the cold weather is sucking the life out of my skin and I don’t always have time to slap on foundation.

Next I’ll order their supplements (I couldn’t find them at Sprouts) which I read are good for hair growth. Mine is still falling out in clumps thanks to my thyroid so anything right now is worth a shot.

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