all time favorite beauty products

I love all things beauty. When I first got into it in 2006 I swore this was the industry I would stay in forever. Working in the brand and new product development departments for hair, body, skin care and even make-up gave me the inside scoop on ingredients, trends, formulation and fragrances. I was able to take a concept and give it a name, story, formula, package and fragrance. How cool is that?

My role has thus changed in the beauty industry to one who writes about them. The fun part is that I still get to explore, experiment and fall in love with beauty products that are launching every day! The added bonus is that I know the ingredients and formulation process, which gives a unique insight and a slightly picky selection process.

I’ve been watching a LOT of vlogs lately (video blogs) that highlight monthly favorites. Some are just clothes, make-up, skin care and others are everything from snack foods to bronzers. I figured if they could do it, why can’t I?

So, here are my all time beauty favorites of hair, face and make-up. My goal is to do one of these every month that highlight both new and existing products, all without costing an arm and a leg (because that’s just not right). Here we go!!


1. Orofluido Hair Elixir, $24.99, online (amazon, birchbox)

This argon enriched hair product was one of the first items in my very first Birchbox. The little sample lasted me forever and I used it almost every day. I used this as a finishing product after blowdrying and flat ironing and it really made my hair super soft, shiny (without feeling greasy) and tamed my little fly-aways on top of my head. It dries quickly and I didn’t need to wash my hands after use. Even better is that it has a wonderful amber vanilla scent. For a girl that’s all about fragrance, this one hit the mark. My sister loved the Aussie Smoothing Serum but I have to say I like this one more.

2. L’Oreal Ever Pure Shampoo and Conditioner, $6 each, drugstores (CVS, Walgreens, Target)

With my recent Brazilian Blowouts, I’ve banned non-sulfate free shampoos. Now with working in the beauty industry, I’ve come to not believe a lot of the hype about formaldehyde, parabens, etc. Sure that stuff isn’t the best for you, but with monthly visits to my colorists, it’s just as bad. Sulfates, on the other hand, I’m believing, especially since I’m paying a pretty penny to change the composition of my hair to make it straight. I’m really loving L’Oreal’s EverPure shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo doesn’t have sulfates, which are harsh surfactants to clean the hair and it’s at an affordable price. I’m not a huge fan of the Juniper/Rosemary fragrance (even though I love rosemary) combination, but it does a good job of cleaning my hair. I did try the L’Oreal EverPure Smooth duo because it had a shea scent, but it doesn’t seem to have the same effect. For those looking for a sulfate free color system, this one is for you.


1. Philosophy Hope in a Jar Moisturizer, $15-$110 depending on size),,, amazon)

I LOOOOOVE this moisturizer, and I’ve tried my fair share of moisturizers. I love this one so much because not only does it last a good amount of time, but it doesn’t make me break out, gives me just the right amount of moisture and the consistency is thin enough that I can layer on makeup without weighing it down. A little goes a long way, and I usually get the 0.5 oz for $15 since I can travel with it and it really does last for a couple of months. I recently splurged and got the 2 oz and it still looks like I bought it months ago. The formula is fragrance-free which is a downer for me, but if you are prone to fragrance allergies this is a good option. It doesn’t matter if your skin is dry, oily or a little of both, this moisturizer has you covered. Check out my blog post about it here.

2. Cosmedicine Medi-Morphosis Self Adjusting Exfoliator, $24.99,,

It’s hard to find a good exfoliator. One that doesn’t cause break-outs, is affordable and does the job of buffing your skin. I came across this one a while back at Sephora in their travel mini section and picked it up. I have loved it ever since and was really bummed when they stopped carrying the line at Sephora. This gentle exfoliator has mini, non abrasive crystals that actually disappear when it’s buffed all it can (given the name, self-adjusting). It has no true fragrance and truly leaves my face feeling baby soft. I can tell an immediate difference after using it when applying moisturizer and makeup because everything just glides so much smoother. I also have sensitive skin prone to redness and this one is gentle enough. Tip when using exfoliator: don’t rush it, really massage it into your skin for a minimum of 1-2 minutes to get the best results. Do it in the shower where your pores are open.


1. Elf Make-up Remover Wipes, $3, Target

I love brands that come out with quality products at a ridiculously affordable price. Enter e.l.f cosmetics (Eyes, Lips, Face). I knew about this brand a long time ago because I had run into people who had worked on the line or were on the executive board for the line but never really tried it. So when I went to Target to get some beauty finds, I stumbled upon e.l.f and decided to give it a shot. This line really has some good products from their brushes to cosmetics. I’ve bought a couple and still testing, but I will say that the Eye Makeup Remover Wipes are great. Perfect for travel, these wipes are really good at removing makeup and aren’t harsh on your skin. I have used the Estee Lauder Makeup Remover for some time and never got the results I needed (meaning there was always mascara left over). This product really does the job. For $3, why not??

2. Maybelline Eye Studio 24 Hour Tattoo Eyeshadow, $7, drugstores

These shadows just came out, and when I heard about them through a couple of blogs, I wanted to check them out. 24 hour shadows, really? With my oily skin? Well, yes actually. I bought the Bad to the Bronze which is a really pretty bronzy/brown/gold color and started out using it as a base for my powder shadows. It really does stay on all day and is great just by itself. I dab a little on my finger and just swipe it across the lid and a little on the crease. It can serve as a base for more vibrant colors on top, or just as an everyday color to match with everything. There are a multitude of colors to choose from- from a turquoise and purple or silver and orange. This one is a good one!

3. Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara, $7, drugstores

It’s tough to find a good mascara. First it needs to be hypoallergenic in order to be safe to wear with contacts. Then it needs to not be waterproof (I find it hard to take off and I don’t like the fact that it’s made with tar, that can’t be good for my eyelashes). Finally, it needs to be able to give my eyelashes SOMETHING since my little babies are small and stick straight (even my husband has better eyelashes than me). I’ve tried a lot of mascaras and found that this one really hits the mark. It separates my lashes, gives me a good coat with one application, comes off easily and doesn’t hurt my contacts. It’s also cool to hear people say “hey, are your lashes bigger?” instead of “are you wearing mascara?”.

So that’s it folks, my favorites in the world of beauty. Let me know what you think and if you have a product I should check out. Have a beautiful day!!