2016 Favorites

I’m sticking to last year’s annual favorites format because it worked well.

2016 Favorites - Garnier & Simple Micellar Water

Garnier Micellar Water, $7; Simple Micellar Water, $8

If I had to pick a single type of product to name as a favorite in 2016, I’d have to say micellar water is it. I like both of these and purchase whichever is a better value at the time. I’ve totally given up makeup wipes in favor of using this with cotton pads or a reusable makeup removing cloth.

Pantene Pro-V Stylers Mousse, $6

This mousse is my, “daily driver.” Out of the (average) 135 days per year I blow-dry my hair, this product is in my hair at least 95 of them. (The remaining ~40 is either hyper-lazy, product-free, or calls for the big guns.) It is accessible, inexpensive, and reliable – and it works well on my hair.

Gimme Brow

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But Don’t You Want a Little More Color?

Fairest-ones-of-them-all:

If you had a dime for every time some well-meaning friend, family member, or beauty-counter employee told you they were going to help, “give you a little more color,” (likely with a mismatched foundation shade), would you have enough money to buy an Urban Decay Vault?

I’m not surprised.

The US, for a while, had an obsession with warm, medium, bronze-y skin. It’s why the self-tanner industry, to which I contribute, is comically massive. It’s why tanning beds, which are horrifically bad for your long-term health, are so damn popular in spite of the well documented and shared risks. I’ve said before that I think I am flattered more by my skin in its tan-ish state – but I don’t know if that’s a sincerely held thought or if it’s influenced by the society in which I live. Perhaps a bit of both, but I can’t truly ever know.

We all know what ultra-fair skintones accepting being, ‘given a little more color’ can end up as – a complexion that looks orange, dirty, or just flat-out too tan. None of those looks do favors for anyone! I’m not discouraging you, if you do want a little more color, from seeking it – but there’s a way to do it. and buying NC35 when you’re NW10 is not it. And if you don’t speak MAC, this photo of swatches that Soundly Sensible Beauty shared will clear it up for you:

MAC Studio Fix Foundation Swatches from Soundly Sensible Beauty - 'But don't you ~want~ a little more color?'photo from & credit to Soundly Sensible Beauty

Friends

I find that this sort of thing comes from friends who have been influenced by, “gurus.” While YouTube beauty gurus can often produce makeup that suits them, many of them are not makeup artists. Many of them are not familiar with color theory, or working on face shapes or features dissimilar to their own.

It isn’t uncommon to see the selection of a shade too dark or tan for them. Just say no.

Salespeople

If you’re a beauty salesperson, you should assume your customer wants something matches them unless they say express a desire for a little more color.

Shopping for foundation is, in itself, is an agonizing process. If your salesperson is trying to push you into an obviously too dark shade because, “but don’t you want a little more color to warm you up?” you do not have to accept.

In most cases (not all, of course) I’ve witnessed, they mean well – they assume everyone endeavors to fit into that popular aesthetic. This is either because a) that aesthetic appeals to them or 2) a ton of their clientele requests it. If they make this assumption, politely decline and tell them something like, “This one isn’t for me. I am looking to match my skin tone and don’t want to modify it.”

DON’T:

  • Apologize for your skintone. (Folks of color, this overall topic may not mean as much for you – but this single point does. Your skin is not an inconvenience for which you should apologize!)
  • Apologize for declining a sale of a clearly wrong product – even if your salesperson is sweet as can be and seems to have the best of intentions.
  • Accept continuous suggestions of ‘warm you up’ shades after you have clarified your purpose.
  • Buy something that looks wrong!

It isn’t your responsibility to make a salesperson happy or feel validated. You are a customer, you are paying for products and services. Full stop.

The Bottom Line

Instagram isn’t real life. If you prefer foundation that doesn’t match your skin, more power to you. I’m not arguing with your personal choices, but I am saying that not everyone needs to mimic them. Let our fair-skinned friends embrace their skin.

How to CRUSH Your No Buy or Low Buy

Ready to do more with less for a while? Time for a spending fast? Did you go overboard during the holidays? It doesn’t have to be on beauty purchases – it could be anything.

  • Shopping for family and friends?
  • temporarily blacking out on a, “TREAT YOSELF,” spree?
  • Maybe you’re just ready to shop your stash rather than adding to it for a while.
  • …The reason doesn’t matter.

The result is that you’ve committed to or are considering a No Buy to help you reign it in.  Whatever the reason… If that no buy involves something you really enjoy (as they usually do), you will find your willpower tested.

My top tip for how to crush your no buy (or low buy)?

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MISSHA Perfect Cover BB Cream

MISSHA Perfect Cover

MISSHA Perfect Cover BB Cream

I was obsessed with a now-discontinued, American BB (or, you know, a tinted moisturizer being a poser). You may have seen one of my twelve thousand references to it. I’m now out of my backup stash. Although Naked Skin Foundation in 3.25 worked for me in summer, it doesn’t now – and I’ve decided to approach sunless tanning in a more casual fashion anyway. What came to mind was MISSHA Perfect Cover BB Cream – from Korea, it’s legit, and highly rated for a reason. You can get it stateside from Target ($22) or MISSHA’s site (same price usually, on sale at the moment), but I decided to take a chance on saving money and buy mine from Amazon Marketplace seller BeautyBest LLC.

The Packaging

The Box

…is a shiny, metallic gold and brown with normal things you’d expect on a product box. There’s a mix of Korean and English, and certainly enough of the latter for an English-speaking consumer to make sense of. Drug facts and ingredients are listed in English, too. I find it frustrating to buy foreign products and lose that easy reference to see if there are ingredients that disagree with you; I’m glad to have missed that with this. Some of the translated sections are a little shaky, but by no means incoherent (looking at you, Elma & Sana).

On the front, beneath the branding, it reads:

MISSHA M Perfect Cover BB Cream offers a novel skincare concept with BB cream which lightens skin tone by healing visible wrinkles and blemishes with excellent skin-cover ability and prevents skin aging through effective whitening and anti-wrinkle properties.

Ingredients are to the left of the front of the packaging, and can be found for each shade here. Other info, including product shade and directions are to the right of the front. The back is nearly 100% Korean. This guide on spotting fakes from SumWearCo is a good reference as well.

The Tube

…is an airless pump. This is exciting! Airless pumps have a few cool advantages:

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Mountain Rose Herbs Argan Oil

For a few years now, I’ve been shelling out for Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil from Sephora. I’ve only ever purchased the 0.5 fl oz bottles – and that amount does last a decent period of time. That said, I can’t pretend I’m happy with the cost-per-ounce…and the rationing I require of myself as a result of that cost.

I started researching sources of reliable argan oil. After the Elma&Sana incident, I had no intention of buying some seedy, third-party Amazon seller special. Two sources of repute came up – Garden of Wisdom and Mountain Rose Herbs. Reviews skewed in favor of the latter, so that’s who I went with.

Dotcom

The Mountain Rose Herbs site is relatively low-frills, but comparatively far more modern than GoW’s. That much doesn’t matter to me; the important thing is that it is secure and easily navigable. Regrettably, they do not accept payment via PayPal, but they do accept all major cards and, interestingly enough, checks. I’m not sure who would be ordering things on the internet via check in 2017, but…hey.

In addition to what I came to find, Mountain Rose Herbs has a smorgasbord of herbs, spices, teas, aromatherapy items, and natural ingredients for your own natural DIY beauty adventures. I’m not in the market for those items at this time, so I didn’t do much exploring.

The Goods

Mountain Rose Herbs’ Argan Oil comes in four sizes; the smallest of which (4oz) is the most expensive at Sephora.

 

Mountain Rose Herbs Argan OilMountain Rose Herbs Argan Oil

4oz – $26.50
8oz – $46
16oz – $80
1 gal (128oz) – $544.00

This puts the smallest bottle at roughly $6.60 per ounce – which is quite easy to swallow in contrast with Josie Maran’s $24 per ounce for the same size bottle (or $34 per ounce for their 0.5 oz bottles).

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