Now that holiday season is in full swing, the search for great gifts is on. Since I am always on the lookout for beauty products that really work, I thought a list of my top beauty discoveries this year might give you some good present ideas. These are all products I’ve used, and when they run out, I restock.
EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm. You’ve probably seen the TV commercial for this funny-shaped lip balm, in a brightly colored egg-shaped case. I”m addicted to lip balm – my lips are always dry. I bought one EOS in strawberry sorbet. EOS, which stands for “evolution of smooth,” is the softest, moistest balm I’ve ever used. I love the dome shaped sphere that glides easily on both lips. EOS balms are chuck-full of good stuff like antioxidants, shea butter and vitamin E. And they don’t have the bad things like petrolatum or parabens. I immediately threw out all my other lip balm sticks and bought more EOS. I have one at my desk, in my handbag, in my car and on my bedside table. Makes a great stocking stuffer for about $4. EOS also has hand and body lotions that I haven’t tried yet, but based on my experience with the balm, I will seek these out.
Karuna Face Treatment Masks. I’ve been traveling a lot this year and it’s been brutal on my skin. I was looking for something to help it recover and came across Karuna masks. The mask is a natural fiber cloth that you put over your entire face (looks a little scary). The mask is soaked in a serum that does great things for your skin once you put the mask on. After 20 minutes you peel the cloth off and massage any remaining serum into your skin. The results, at least for me, are a more glowing complexion, moist and dewy. I use both the hydrating sheet mask (best for travels) and the age-defying sheet mask. You get four sheets per box for $28, which is a much better price than other sheet masks on the market. Karuna also makes eye masks worth checking out.
Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Correcting Hand Cream. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time driving (life in the San Francisco Bay Area), and I just know my hands and arms are getting more sun exposure than any other part of my body. I am very surprised that it’s almost impossible to find a hand cream with SPF. Any SPF. While Clinique’s Even Better hand cream is a little spendy at about $30, I tried it because it has an SPF of 15. I love it. I keep it with me at all times, especially in the car, because I ususally run out of the house without sunscreen except on my face. Even Better is not greasy and most importantly since I work in the wine world, it doesn’t have any strong odor.
Bite Beauty Lipsticks. This is a beautiful line of lipsticks, and best of all they’re good enough to eat. Bite Beauty uses food grade ingredients in its lip colors, many of which are named after wine varietals — like Barolo, Grenache, Cava, Vouvray. This makes sense because each lip product is wine-based, with the antioxidant resveratrol, which is found in the skins of red grapes. The colors are deeply pigmented and long lasting, and make your lips super soft ($18-$28).
Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil. I’d heard about Josie Maran and her line of argan oil skin care, but had never tried it. She was in the Bay Area recently doing a public appearance at Sephora so I went to check it out. I couldn’t believe how soft my skin was thanks to the argan oil. I tried out a bunch of the products in Josie’s skin care line, and really loved the Argan Cleansing Treatment which left my skin super soft!
The 100% Pure Argan Oil ($48) is the workhorse of the brand. It absorbs quickly and leaves you with a healthy glow. This is a good place to start with her line; don’t be surprised if you go back for more.
Josie Maran Argan Creamy Concealer Crayon. My other must have from Josie’s line is the Argan Creamy Concealer Crayon. If you’re like me, you’re always searching for the perfect concealer. Some are too dry, others so creamy they slip off right away. Josie’s concealer crayons ($20) are a life saver. The crayon has argan oil in it so it goes on smooth and blends really well. I keep it with me at all times because it’s great for on-the-go touch ups.
M•A•C Brow Set. After trying countless eyebrow pencils and powders, the one I’d want to have with me on a desert island would be M•A•C’s Brow Set. It looks like mascara – with a tube and a wand. It’s a gel that you brush on and it gives you very natural looking fuller brows ($16).
Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel. This Murad peel works like a mask and is a quick fix for your skin when you’ve been not so nice to it — staying out late, too much stress. The glycolic acid in it does the trick along with Vitamin C to get your skin glowing and healthy looking. I have very sensitive skin but the Murad peel ($49.50) does not irritate it at all.
EYES By ToGoSpa Gel Pads. Another great beauty weapon to have in your arsenal especially if you travel a lot. These ToGoSpa portable eye masks just slip in your bag for whenever you need them. There are three different treatments – one to firm, one to soothe, one to lift. I love the Ice Water pads that soothe. It really does feel like you put ice cubes over your eyes. Another thing to love about the EYES pads is that they aren’t at all messy (some other eye mask pads can be dripping with product). You get six sets of pads for $25. (Sample provided by company)
Living Proof Satin Hair Serum. My hair frizzes at one drop of humidity. You name the anti-frizz serum and I’ve tried it. Most do nothing. I’ve been using Living Proof frizz weightless styling spray and always got good results. But this summer when I was traveling in Atlanta, a very humid place, I discovered two new Living Proof products that now I cannot live without. One is the Satin Hair Serum ($29). It’s lightweight, not greasy at all, and it works! Even on dry hair it works like a charm. My hair actually behaved and stayed straight. It also takes less time to dry my hair now.
Living Proof Prime Style Extender. The other Living Proof product that’s a must is the Prime Style Extender (20). This is billed as “life changing” and it really is. Alone, and especially together with the Satin Hair Serum, my hair stays sleek and straight for several days (unless I go to the gym and sweat). Even the morning after I don’t have to do much to my hair. These products are the best alternative to a keratin hair treatment.
Fragrance Republic membership. This is for the perfume lover in your life. Fragrance Republic is a perfume club that gives you exclusive access to creations developed by artisan master perfumers. Ever wanted to be a muse? At the “Senators” level membership you have the opportunity to influence the work of one of these fragrance artists. Other levels of membership let you be one of the first people in the world to sniff these one-of-a-kind exclusive scents. A new perfume debuts every month. Memberships range from free to $29 per month to $1500 per year.