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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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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What I Bought During the 2016 VIB Sale

 

 

Although I am not buying holiday palettes, that doesn’t mean I’m not shopping. I hit the 20% off VIB Sale at Sephora on Friday. Today is the last day.

Tartelette In Bloom

Look! I’m a cliche! I bought another palette of neutrals, this time on recommendation of Stefanie Nicole of YouTube. I love her no-bullshit approach to … everything, and I trust her judgment. Here’s hoping it works out for me in a way that Naked2 just didn’t. Review to come once I’ve had time with it.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

After almost a year with the travel size, I decided to invest in the full size. I have yet to hit pan, which I think says a lot about its longevity. I love the finish it gives with and without foundation, and at this rate it will last me forever. The travel sized compact is available for $22.

Colorswitch by Vera Mona

To me, this is definitely a splurge item. I can imagine that there are more cost-effective ways to do accomplish what this does. I decided to pay for convenience – and I will definitely report back on whether or not this is worth it.

VIB Sale Recap

I didn’t go crazy this year. In fact, I wouldn’t have even gotten the ColorSwitch if I hadn’t been a couple dollars shy of locking in VIB for 2017. I was going to buy a larger bottle of Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil but decided against it in favor of trying another variety (gasp, I know – last time that didn’t go so well).

Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil

Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil

Ages ago and with much skepticism, I tried argan oil for the first time. I ultimately decided that I liked it. I tried a less expensive oil and it wasn’t even close. A few months ago, I decided to try some other oils. I tried a pure grapeseed that turned out to do alright as an OCM oil, but wasn’t so great for moisturizing.

On a trip to Target, I purchased a bottle of Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil ($8.99) to use as a moisturizer in place of the Josie Maran I’ve been using. At under $10 for 0.84 fl oz, it is a far more economical option than anything Sephora has for sale. Having enjoyed their Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, I approached it with optimism and curiosity.

Inside Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil

Rather than a single solitary oil, Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil is a blend of several. The first ingredient in the list is Sweet Almond (prunus amygdalus) oil, which explains some of my experiences (below). Thankfully, though this product does have a unique scent, there is no added fragrance. It claims to be rich in Omega-3s

Full ingredients are as follows:

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina Seed Oil, Limonene, Citronellol, Pelargonium Graveolens Leaf Oil, Geraniol, Citrus Aurantium Sinensis Peel Extract, Linalool, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citral, Citrus Lemon Peel Oil

Although I have an affinity for citrus, I’m not loving a handful of those ingredients that originate from citrus fruit. Compounds Limonene, Citronellol, Citral, and Linalool all occur naturally in the essential oils of plants and each has been shown to cause irritation in some individuals. In spite of my reservations and knowing that my skin is not sensitive, I did use the product for several months.

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Skincare Arsenal Update – June 2016

I needed to take my own advice and get back to basics. My skincare routine became too complicated and had too many moving parts. I was vacillating between Cetaphil Gentle, philosophy Purity, Noxzema Triple Clean, and random cleanser samples I had received from Sephora and Ulta (because that’s what you do when you’re a beauty blogger who reviews things). I was inconsistently using this toner, that moisturizer. Exfoliant roulette. Masque roulette. You get it. I was all over the place.

All that combined with a stressful eight months and my skin just wasn’t my biggest fan. It was making me crazy, and it was preventing me from having as much fun with my makeup. So I revamped my skincare arsenal and process to get back to consistency, and I’ll just need to go longer between trying new skin products for science. Tomorrow, I turn 25 – and I’m doing so with skin that is behaving.

Makeup Removal & Cleansing

Skincare Arsenal Update - Cleansing

Micellar Water – I am really impressed by how well the Garnier one I reviewed is treating me. As I don’t use waterproof mascara or go hardcore, full-face every day, I’m delighted with the way this stuff has been (oh-so-gently!) treating my skin. A lot of people have eschewed their other face products in favor of this minimalist product; I can see why. I’ve picked up the one by Simple (I liked their Micellar wipes, after all) to try, but I’m not remotely unhappy with the Garnier one. I still have Kirkland Makeup Wipes; they’re effective, inexpensive, and convenient – but I’m growing tired of the fragrance. They’re still a good product and a great value, but I am scaling back my usage in favor of micellar products. Personally, I’m also not in love with something so disposable for everyday use.

Cetaphil Gentle – Tried and true. Just as good without water as with. Plays nicely with both my Clarisonic and my Luna Mini.

philosophy Purity – For when I need a deeper clean. This is about as ‘hardcore’ of a clean as I want, these days. Also plays nicely with both aforementioned tools.

Keep reading for more on my Skincare Arsenal Update…

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