what’s in her bag

for those who don’t already know, i am a total beauty junkie and am constantly trying new products. one of my favorite things to do on trips or when visiting my friends is to raid their cosmetics bags and medicine cabinets. i know, i sound like such a great house guest!

luckily, they are usually more than happy to share, showing off their favorites and having me play guinea pig — hence the inspiration for this new type of post. meet “what’s in her bag,” borrowed from what used to be the title of my favorite page in US weekly. in lieu of a celebrity’s purse contents, i’m going to highlight new beauty & makeup picks according to some of my besties. today i’m kicking it off fresh from a trip to beantown, where KSR shared with me her love of all things Goop, plus a few other primo choices from Oribe, GlamGlow, and Marc Jacobs beauty…

ahhhh the money shot…. honey i’m home! 

1body butter  2rose mist  3loose powder  4concealer

5face oil  6moisturizer  7jelly cleanser  8instant facial

9cosmetic bag  10concealer brush  11bronzer  12bronzer brush

my unfiltered reviews & product superlatives…

Goop– best all around. for the entire length of my stay (thanks very generous friend!) I used the full Goop skincare line– including the instant facial, day and night moisturizers, eye cream and face oil. i had heard so much hype about all of Gwennie’s products, but i can honestly say they lived up to it and then some. my skin’s texture was visibly improved in just three days– more even, supple, brighter, and moisturized. i know these products are pricey, but to me there was a noticeable difference in quality versus even other high end brands like la mer and jo malone. it also doesn’t hurt that the packaging is gorgissimo– all of the jars are nice and weighty ceramic– and the products are minimally scented with a light citrus scent.

if i can pick a top item from the set that i won’t be able to live without, it would either be the instant facial or the night cream. the instant facial is potent, so use sparingly to start. it’s a two minute mask you put on 2-3x a week, and contains exfoliating enzymes and natural acids; it sloughed away some of the blemishes and most of the dead skin on my face, leaving me feeling a little raw at first, but after following it with the face oil and intensive night cream, the next day i woke up feeling soft as a baby, and the remaining spots on my face cleared up within a day or two. the night cream is also a winner. with sensitive skin like mine, i will do just about anything for deep moisture. this one is heavy without feeling greasy and soaks in quickly.

there wasn’t a “loser” of the group, but if i have any complaints it’s that the day moisturizer, which looks like a pump, has to be pulled out on a stick. i think is mostly just annoying design because it’s hard to get the right amount of product out. for those interested in dipping a toe into the Goop world, the discovery set is a great way to get travel sized minis of everything (except the eye cream) before you commit. all in, i am a complete goop beauty convert, and can’t wait to try the melting cleanser, lip balm and GP’s favorite natural deodorant next.

Marc Jacobs bronzer & brush— cutest couple. i don’t know why I’ve never considered buying marc jacobs makeup (maybe because it launched in the past couple of years, so i assumed it was sort of a fad?) thank god my friend was more of a risk taker, because i could not be more obsessed. this bronzer is so natural looking, it gives the perfect flush. the palette is slightly giant in size, so not the most purse/travel friendly, but you know it will give bang for your buck. plus the brush is possibly the softest, fluffiest creation ever. put together, the two feel incredibly luxe and celebrity worthy.

Glamglow jelly cleanser— most reliable. don’t be freaked out that this gentle facewash comes out black as night, like something in an episode of stranger things. it’s just another odd yet effective miracle worker by glamglow (the brand that also makes my favorite under eye masks). i don’t know how this company comes up with its products or convinces people to use them– the eye mask i love is bright yellow with floating seaweed chunks in it and i still voluntarily put it all over my face– but whatever ingredients they use really, really work. this one turns into a milky white lather and took off every stitch of makeup without leaving my skin feeling stripped.

Nars concealer— most likely to succeed. as i mentioned above, the weekend i rolled into town my skin was acting up with some serious breakouts. i had an important work interview and a date, so i needed full coverage concealer and fast. this creamy formula, which i put on per recommendation with the bobbi brown brush, saved the day on the zits while also erasing all evidence of under eye bags and tiredness; win/win in my book.

Supergoop body butter most popular. shame on me since one of my dear friends in NY runs marketing for them (sorry IDC!) but i was under the impression that super goop was sunscreen only. that is in fact #fakenews, and their body butter is pretty incredible. it’s the perfect fresh-out-of-the-shower lotion, and not too precious for every day use. i will definitely be stocking up on a bottle this winter when dry skin sets in.

Oribe purple shampoo— biggest flirt. given that i’m not a blonde (natural or otherwise), the purple shampoo trend hasn’t really been on my radar, but a recent keratin left my highlights looking a little brassy so i decided to give this a whirl. I found it toned this down slightly after just one use, and would probably have been more effective after a couple of continuous uses. even if the purple tint does absolutely nothing for you, this shampoo left my hair smelling amazing for days.

Nars finishing powder and rose spray— hardest working. i’ve always been a big believer in setting your makeup with translucent powder to make it last for the whole day, but lately my cheap drug store option has failed me and been showing up white. this is clearly problematic since i am ghostly enough as is. i’m glad i got to take this nars alternative out for a lengthy test drive because it worked like a champ. just a light dusting over your face, followed by a refreshing spritz of the rose spray, and my makeup was still in tact when i got home (post margs) 16 hours later.

beauty bloggers or booze enthusiasts? both.

thank you to my dear friend for letting me go ham with an amazing assortment of beauty products, and to my other friends, just wait, your vanity is next! want more before then? check out some of my other beauty product reviews here and here.

the shape of water

YALL. has everyone seen the shape of water? i watched it on a plane home from SF last night and cannot get over it– the depth of character development, the unusual story line, the gorgeous cinematography, the attention to each and every tiny detail weaving in and out throughout the film…. talk about a work of art.

while obviously this film was very hyped at the oscars, i had put off seeing it because a) pan’s labyrinth scared the ever living s&*t out of me, which was the last big film by this director, and b) i have an extremely hard time sitting still for an entire movie, so i figured i needed to watch it at a time when i was feeling ready to focus, in order give it a fair chance. maybe it was being trapped on an airplane, but i was completely captivated. and don’t get me started on the ending– i won’t give away any spoilers, but text or email me to please discuss, because i am OVERWHELMED (can you ever just be “whelmed”?) and need someone to talk to about it. so there’s that.

the second mind blowing discovery of the day? lychee ice cream. THANK YOU JET BLUE. i have found a new non-sartorial obsession in this stuff. it’s light, creamy, not too sweet and completely worth the lactose-induced belly ache. do any readers know where i can procure such a delicacy at sea level?

in homage to my new favorite feature film, and in the effort of keeping this a fashion blog, a few items worthy of a modern day mermaid…

 

listed from top to bottom:

headwrap,  slip dresscrochet top,  sheer skirt,  capri perfumeruffled top,

  sunglassestrousersclutch,  fish earrings,  surf sprayslides (if mermaids had feet),

one piece swimsuit, pearl bracelet,  striped skirtcolor block dress,

  mixed stone earrings,  raffia tote bag, wrap sandalsbikinilight blue fragrance,

  mother of pearl ringbone earrings

 

 

going au natural

today, ladies, let’s talk about the stinky stuff…

about two and a half years ago I embarked on a commitment to stop wearing aluminum-based deodorant. while it’s a highly debated topic (and I am not trying to tell anyone what to do, nor do i claim to be a medical/scientific expert), there is plenty of credible research suggesting a link between aluminum-based compounds and an elevated risk factor for the development of breast cancer. given that several amazing women in my family have all been subject to this terrible disease, i decided it was better to be proactive and eliminate these products as soon as possible. now that i get older, it’s becoming more and more obvious I should watch the chemicals in my beauty regimen more closely, given how much time and effort i spend knowing the ingredients in my food and trying to eat organically.

however, the road towards all natural beauty products can be a rocky one, especially for a product that plays as critical a role to everyday hygiene as deodorant. Until recently, it was hard to find any sort of substitute that was effective. thankfully the growing buzz around natural beauty has driven the creation of several new brands, with new products coming out almost weekly. I first struck out with Tom’s for men at Whole Foods, the only aluminum free option I could find, but today there are so many more choices! (for comparison, there was one natural option available at sephora just a year ago and now there are 20+). Despite the expanded selection, you still have to be careful since some are great while others have been flat out useless.

For this reason, I decided to review ten types I’ve guinea pigged over the years, for those of you who are new to the idea of going all natural, or for anyone not loving their current deodorant. trust me, it took a lot of trial and error and I am still tweaking, with no five star option to be found (also full disclaimer, occasionally i cheat with Secret before a big event or meeting because stress sweat is. not. cute.) also since this process is an extremely personal one and what works for one person might not for another, there is also a very extensive review by the nyt here with additional options. If you’ve tried any of these, feel free to leave your ratings in the comments below!

and a plea to my dear readers– if there are any good ones i’ve missed, pass along your recommendations! please and thank youuuu.

  • the everyday all star (4 stars)- while putting my top pick at the beginning of the list may prevent you from scrolling further, this schmidt’s natural ($8.99) is my current favorite and it comes in enough scents to appease even the pickiest of noses. versus some of the others, it does feel gritty gliding on, but i’ve never noticed this during the day. and most importantly, compared to others, it really works.

  • the necessary evil (3 stars)- while i do not love this one as an everyday option, hence why it only gets three stars (goes on a little too slick feeling so you never feel completely dry), the takesumi detox ($22) is a great option for beginners to jumpstart the process, because the active charcoal pulls old toxins out.

  • the friend favorite (3 1/2 stars)- one of my dear friends and lovely yogi teacher JJ recommended primal pit paste ($10.95) to me at a bachelorette last year. if it weren’t for my recent discovery of schmidt’s i would have reordered this bad boy because it worked well enough. but the other reason it got dinged? as you can sort of see in the photo, the twist up container arrives only 1/2 full, so i found myself burning through it quickly and needing another (this was the only natural deodorant i’ve ever actually managed to get to the bottom of).

  • the bargain basement (2 stars)- after reading on the man repeller this crystal clear ($2.99) was amazing bang for your buck, i was left disappointed and thought it wore off after a few hours. also i just couldn’t get over this early 90’s packaging ugliness hanging out in my cosmetic bag (potentially a marketing firm’s dream job RN??)

  • the old faithful (2 1/2 stars)- while at one point in time i would have given Tom’s of maine ($5.79) 3 stars because in a pinch it will do, the arrival of better products means this one has fallen by the wayside. i’ve been really disappointed with Tom’s ever since Colgate purchased them; the lack of innovation sort of demonstrates how Colgate is using it as a cash cow rather than really trying to improve their product offerings. bonus points to this one for coming in a rare ‘unscented’ option though.

  • the designer deodorant (3 stars)- while Sephora has many other more expensive (Tarte, Milk, etc.) upscale branded deodorants, other than the Taksumi detox, I haven’t really toyed around with a $20-30 option. however, lavanila ($14) is a new product with cute packaging and a plethora of sweet scents. i still think other options might work better, but given the cute packaging and value size it definitely deserves a solid score.

  • the base spray (2 stars)– while i do not think this eo deodorant spray ($6.99) is effective on its own, which is one reason why i gave it a low score, JJ also recommended this as a “primer” of sorts before putting on the primal pit paste or another natural stick deodorant. it’s sort of annoying to have to use two different deodorants, especially if you can’t get them to have matching scents (the OCD in me required using the lavender smell in both since it was the only one I was sure would coordinate, but i hate the smell of lavender), and i found that you have to wait 1-2 minutes of dry time in between applying. overall, while it probably did help a little, i found it to be too much work and sort of gave up. that said, i do keep it in my gym bag now for a quick pick me up if i have errands to run or grab dinner directly after i work out.

  • the new kids to try (rating pending)i have heard rave reviews about both native deodorant ($12) and soapwalla deodorant cream ($19) so these are my next two purchases and i will report back!

shop talk

call us vain, or maybe just suffering from an overabundance of Bravo TV, but when my girlfriends and I get together, cosmetics are typically a major topic of conversation. “what’s the latest/greatest addition to your cosmetics bag,” “have you tried potion xyz, it does wonders,” “smell this magical scent,” etc, etc.

that said, a recent reunion in DC was no exception, and i came back with all sorts of new loot to share (btw- don’t worry about us too much, other more brain powered topics included things to know when purchasing your first home, #timesup, the current state of the stock market, and the relevance of an american MBA abroad).

below are recent discoveries I/my crew are loving…

  • for cleansing….i’ve never really been one to focus on face wash– my mom was a stickler on simple skin care growing up and i got pretty used to a bar of plain dove or a bottle of cerave. however, ive been having troubles with dry skin and heard wonders about this tata harper nourishing wash. it smells amazing, is all natural, and washes off with a silky feel.

  • for sniffing…while i am a complete perfume loyalist, and usually rotate only between my two long time go-to’s (chloe and chance chanel), the smell of this bond no.9 won me over immediately. maybe i’m the last one to this perfume party, but i highly recommend taking a test drive, pretty much everywhere i go someone comments how good it smells.

  • for moisturizing….as i mentioned above, new york’s arctic tundra has been wearing on me and my skin is in constant need of lotion. while I try to add in a face oil at this time of year for extra moisture, i’ve also gotten myself in the very dangerous (ie expensive) habit of loading up on my favorite la mer. what once was a dab here and there of the original cream has now turned to a healthy slather of the lighter day cream, followed by the heavier on my t-zone and at night. however, a girlfriend recommended this tatcha water cream, which has a similar consistency to the soft cream and rings in at a more justifiable price. i’ve also heard good things about this one, by philosophy. 
  • for smoothing…one of the best gifts i received from christmas was the new dyson hair dryer. while it’s not something I was going to buy for myself (trust me, i debated), after receiving it i can honestly admit how epic it really is. it cuts my blow try time in half and is so much quieter than normal. i’ve never been one to pack a hair dryer to travel, i always just use the hotel’s or air dry, but i’ve started lugging this one around just because i love it so much. since thus far it seems to be fixing my damaged ends, it also motivated me to upgrade my straightener game; i recently ordered this sleek white t3 micro with a coupon offer on gilt after hearing good things, and i can’t wait to try.

  • for lining…for those theta cats out there who were forced to share a bathroom with me, you know a friday night staple of mine is liquid liner. i know I will be in the 1%, but i think it’s so much easier to apply than normal eye liner. however, given its slight sheen i typically reserve it for night time only. however, another wahoo Jen recommended this smashbox version, which promises to dry matte. can’t wait to try and hopefully be able to wear around the clock.

  • For rinsing… my friend RJB is a devoted lush fan, which is a line of all natural small batch products in eco-friendly packaging. while i had never tried any of their products before, i “borrowed” this amazing in-shower body conditioner in one of their most popular scents. it smells like a fruity vanilla jam and leaves your skin silky soft. i feel like it could also multitask as a luxe shaving cream. sold!

  • for prepping…as a working girl who normally does her makeup at 7am and wears it until 10 or 11pm, ive tried my share of makeup primers to make it last. my favorite of them all? this drug store hack, which costs a brilliant $12. it’s thick and creamy, not sticky like the silicone-based ones. you will need a good makeup remover to get it off later though– i use this.

  • for popping…on the rare occasion i wear lip color, i usually spend all night worrying about it getting all over my face/glass/date. enter black honey— the almost lipstick. CHG introduced me to this deep berry-colored clinique wonder. half chapstick, half lipcolor it glides right on and doesn’t require a mirror to apply. best of all, three of us wore it and, among blondes and brunettes, it was universally flattering. #blackhoneysisters