Beauty Arsenal

The Basics

Everyone – whether they know it or not – has a group of favorite, staple, or go-to products. These things don’t necessarily apply to beauty, it could be anything – technology, of which I am also a fan, cleaning, etc. These don’t necessarily have to be products you use every day, but they will be ones you find yourself reaching for over and over again…and repurchasing when they’re out – these items comprise my Beauty Arsenal.

Here’s what I’m currently using that I have re-purchased or plan to – after the jump.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – This cleanser is good for all skin types for daily use. If you’re struggling with your skin, I recommend getting a smaller bottle of this stuff to give your skin a break and see if it works for you. Previously, I had been bouncing around between cleansers that contained Salicylic Acid (topical acne treatment, common in facial cleansers) when I really didn’t need it and it turns out that using it when you don’t need it can cause issues. Readily available online, in drugstores, and at mass merchants, it is one of the mid-priced options on the shelf but it lasts a long time. A 16oz bottle lasts me at least four months, and that is a conservative estimate. Bonus: Cetaphil is not marketed with outlandish claims!

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – I used to be that chick that thought I didn’t need moisturizer because my skin wasn’t dry (see above) – wrong. Moisturizing helps even out skin tone and texture, but not all of them are created equal. Often lauded as a, “holy grail,” product, this product is a workhorse. It is fragrance free, dye-free, and claims to be noncomedogenic (I’ll get to that). A tub is a little pricey for being a drugstore product, but a little goes a very long way – for example, a pea-sized amount may be too much for some people. As far as noncomedogenic, some people have experienced breakouts after beginning use of this product (with no other changes). It does not seem to be common, but it is something to be aware of. You can read their other claims here, but that is a different post. I use this each night before bed, occasionally in the morning.

Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Lotion 10% – This is a chemical exfoliant (alpha hydroxy acid) in lotion-form that I use about three times weekly, at night, before I apply CeraVe. It can be used each day, I choose not to because it doesn’t change the world for me. Glycolic AHA is commonly used in anti-aging products, and this lotion indicates that it should help reduce and slow the appearance of wrinkles. It does not have added fragrance, but it does have a detectable smell that fades after a few minutes. You need to wear sunscreen when you use products of this nature. Bonus: No over-the-top claims. Also helps treat mild keratosis pilaris.

Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System – If you wear makeup, know what a Clarisonic is, and don’t want one, you’re in denial. That said, $125-$200 simply isn’t in the budget for many people for a face brush – and for others, even if it is in the budget, it is hard to swallow. A few years ago, Olay released their Pro-X Cleansing device priced at (depending where you buy) $20-35. Powered by AA batters, this dual-speed, water-resistant brush can be toted into the shower with you so you don’t have to be that girl at the sink splashing water everywhere to rinse. It DOES remove makeup and other ilk better than using your hands alone, but I don’t buy their claim of it being good as an unnamed, “system sold by skin professionals for nearly $200.” More on that in another post.



Tigi Bed Head Moisture Maniac Shampoo & Conditioner – Sadly discontinued, this pair is awesome. I have very long (longest layers approaching waist length) hair, medium thickness and texture. Though I do not heat style daily, I have concerns about split ends. I used to adore Pantene’s Ice Shine, but when they revived the line they changed the formula and it weighed my hair down and made my scalp greasy. I can wash and condition every other day with this stuff without any issues. It is more manageable, has more body, shine, etc. than when I was using Pantene Ice Shine, Tresemme’s Anti-Breakage shampoo, and Garnier’s Sleek and Shine. I have experienced fewer new split ends since using it, but that could be partially due to another product I use. Though discontinued, Tigi indicates that their Urban Antidotes Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner. I have not tried the replacements yet.

Aussie 3-minute Miracle Moist Deeeeep Conditioner – Silly name, awesome product. Readily available in drugstores, grocery stores, mass merchants, and online for between $2.50 and $6, use this once or twice a week – more if you heat style or have had chemical treatments (color, relaxing, etc) done. It is thick, rich, smells good, and does your hair a world of good. I leave it in for about five minutes, and if you’re crazy and/or have time to kill, you can leave it longer.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum – A stylist used this on my hair after a cut before she blowdried it and I liked it. This blow-dry serum is by no means inexpensive (but if you keep an eye out, Target does BOGO salon hair product deals – that’s how I got mine!) but you need so very little of this product to get the desired results. Most people will only need one pump, I use 1.5-2x for my 35 miles of hair. I have had my bottle(s) for a little over a year now and I am not even a quarter of the way through the first bottle (but I do not blow dry my hair each time I wash it). I found that it lives up to the claim of expediting the drying process and that it gives a shine boost.

This concludes my beauty arsenal basics and have been added to The Arsenal page.

Disclosure: None of these products are sponsored. I bought them all before I launched Beauty Skeptic. That said, some of the links in this post are affiliate links – this means I may get a very small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy something. I only give recommendations on things I can personally vouch for.

3 thoughts on “Beauty Arsenal”

  1. I did an ombre on my hair months ago and fried my tips after a second process. To counteract this I went out and overloaded with conditioner after conditioner to cover up the damage. At first I used a trinity of Ion’s moisturizing shampoo and conditioner as well as their leave-in conditioner plus a few-times-weekly use of Aussie’s 3-minute miracle.

    I had high hopes. The state of my hair was a sad one, but I figured anything with “miracle” in it’s name should fit the bill.

    It definitely made a difference when I used it, but I personally didn’t see any miracles. I used the bottle to empty and decided to look elsewhere to fix my toasted locks. I ended up with Nexxus Pro-mend Conditioner.

    This stuff really made a difference for me! Since then I’ve picked up Nexxus Hydra-light shampoo to use with it and I love the combination. I definitely avoid my scalp with the conditioner though because it does make my scalp oily faster (by the end of the second day post-wash that is).

    I also want to say that I’ve been using Paul Mitchell’s Shine Serum for years and I swear by it! I straighten my hair daily so I use my heat shield first, then shine serum post-straightening and it shine’s it up like crazy and keeps down the frizz. DEFINITELY only need a tiny pump of this stuff! Less is more in this case :)


    • That’s a good point – I do not color or otherwise chemical-treat my hair, so that wasn’t a factor for me to, “test,” against. I can see why you’d need something more robust. A double-process would be pretty harsh!

      I know Nexxus can be a little spendy, so if you find yourself wanting to try other things, Sally’s carries,default,pd.html – I’m told it is the same that is included as a packet in the Feria kits and that it is quite the beast! I’d try it but it would be pointless for me right now.

      IT IS SO GOOD. I was a little torn about spending on it (until I found that deal) but it lasts forever. For science, I might see how much I use in the space of a week.

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