My Ride or Die Beauty and Body Care Products

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The older I get, the more I see how skincare and beauty products can be a true gamechanger. With the right products, my skin is happier, I feel better, look better, my hair is more manageable, and I can even get away with less or no makeup. This has been a year that has really tested my beauty and body care products and has made me even more picky about what I use and re-purchase.

With it being the holiday season and many of us looking for ways to give gifts with more value that maybe cost less, I felt it a good time to provide an updated list. Whether it's self-care or to care for a loved one, a gift of body and skincare can be a truly wonderful present.

I published a list last year of my favorite body care products but republished this year with a whole new list, though many were on here before. These are my tried and true, my ride or die products for hair, skin, and body:

You may also like: A self-care gift guide of over 20 products to pamper

I'd love to hear from you in the comments what you find to be your ride or die beauty and body care products. I must admit, some of these products are now my favorites but I only heard of them from you. Your recommendations may educate me as well as others on our next must-have ride or die beauty product!

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  1. Have you identified ride or die skin care for tweens? My daughter is the same age as yours, and she’s starting to express interest in wanting to take care of her skin (and also play dress up with makeup, which means cleansing).All I did back in middle school was Noxzema 🙂

    1. Not ride or die yet… but my daughter uses Neutrogena Oil Free Acne moisturizer and Aveeno calming face wash on the regular. She started with CeraVe but was getting breakouts and I think because it takes more… care to rinse completely. The Aveeno is foaming so it’s not as creamy and easier for a non-skincare aware person to rinse off with a washcloth. We also have Pacifica makeup wipes, though Neutrogena is also great. Those are fab for when you do play with makeup. For breakouts, we like the CORSX acne patches.

  2. I’m a Colleen Rothschild cleansing balm devotee thanks to your site. Thank you! A word about Cicapair Tiger Balm – my skin is fairly light but with olive undertones. I tried the Cicapair Tiger Balm a while ago and it was not a good match at all; it made me look downright sickly. I would definitely avoid this product if you have any of that natural “green” in your skin.

    1. Thank you for this PSA! Based on reviews below I am going to try Trinny London and when doing their virtual match test after choosing the tone (fair to dark) then you have three choices and one is olive. I’ll be sure to review after trying it!

  3. I love these lists – one thing i’ve been doing during Covid is shopping a LOT of makeup and skincare products. I love the Aveda hand cream, I might have to pick some up. After you review of Equilibria, I got some for my husband who suffers with joint pain – he’s such a big fan that I got on a monthly subscription for it! Thank you for that rec. I also love the Thrive mascara, I need to get more of that too! Yikes! 🙂

  4. Hi Alison, love this post and I have several of these products already( on yr recommendation). I have just bought the hair trio Lus and it’s proving really good, thank you! I’ve been looking fir a good treatment for my very wavy ( not as curly as you) hair and this seems to be it. Just wanted to ask whether you still use the same routine as you did when you had the Ouidad stuff, misting and wetting etc. And washing once a week. Would be interested to hear!

  5. I will add in an outlier alternative to Cicapair. I discovered Trinny London.

    They aren’t cheap, but they have a fantastic BFF cream. You do a quick Match to Me test, get a tube for your skin tone and use two pumps all over your face. It has natural ingredients, SPF30 and the tube lasts a long time. Since COVID I have used it as my makeup. It comes from the tube white, but will match to you as you rub it in. They ship all over the world. And I get my orders in Atlanta only about 3 days after ordering! Their newest BFF has ingredients to help with the effects of stress on skin, but I haven’t tried it yet.
    I was lucky enough to have a makeover in March there just before it all shut down, but the Match to Me can give you a starter line of products and I am very happy with them.

    1. the new BFF serum foundation is really good, but I wish the color was a better match for me. I end up mixing two shades – and it’s not cheap!

    2. I like the Trinny BFF also, and have been using it almost exclusively, sometime just adding a little concealer if needed. And yes, a little goes a long way!

  6. I love how Cicapair looks and feels, but I think it breaks me out. I have super-sensitive skin and any ingredient that’s directly sourced from a plant (essential oils, olive oil, beeswax, rice water, and in Cicapair’s case, tiger grass) tends to break me out, but it’s such a bummer! I really loved it. I’m using Everyday Minerals now instead. The mineral powder isn’t my favorite type of product, but it’s great for a bunch of other reasons.

    1, lots of color options, including the best match I’ve ever found for my very pale, very cool skintone. 2, short ingredient list that doesn’t break me out. 3, it lasts a really long time, especially now that I’m home all the time and hardly wearing any makeup. 4, it’s a woman-owned business that’s local to me. 5, you can get free samples with every order, which is a great way to try new cheek or eye colors.

    I apply it with a wet beauty blender for more overall coverage, then use an eyeshadow brush for more concentrated concealer-level coverage. I still wish Cicapair could be my ride or die, but Everyday Minerals is a close second!

  7. I love these lists of ride or die products. I use several including the Kiehls Serum, Bioderma body wash and Pixi Glow. I am also using the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate which I love. I don’t use it on my face every night but I do use it on my neck and chest every night. My ride or die product that I would recommend giving a try would be the Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Oil – instead of the Neutrogena. Sorry Alison! I agree the smell of Neutrogena is amazing but I think the ingredients might be worth it on the Alba Botanica. The scent is very neutral and I never notice it. Also – Olay Ultimate Eye Cream is amazing. I have tried a bunch of high end brands and I always come back to this. Now I don’t buy anything else.

  8. I love the Aveda hand cream, but as mentioned in the comments, the smell is just way too intense for me to have on my hands. Still, I buy it every year during Aveda’s holiday sale since my family loves it. My ultimate hand cream is either Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream, which is wonderful and nearly scent-free, or Trader Joe’s “A Midsummer Night’s Cream.” It’s amazing and such a bargain.

    Great suggestions — the Japanese washcloths have become a staple for me since your previous post, and I’m putting the Apothekari in my cart right now. Since I have been working on dark spots on my face, I will definitely try the Kiehl’s product too. Sooo much makes my oily/combo skin break out…

  9. Alison, thank you so much for this post. I ordered the Bioderma Atoderm and am in heaven. I probably can’t live without it now! I never realized how soap sensitive I’ve gotten. Also ordered some Bioderma Micellar cleanser and make up remover. Those French really know their skin care! My ride or die mascara is, and always will be good old Maybelline washable. They should pay me to use it by now, bc going on 45 yrs of use!

  10. I love Cicapair!! Bought it a year or 2 ago and it’s amazing! I will have to try the Atoderm body wash- we recently moved and I am in the yard constantly, then one morning I noticed my upper chest is covered in wrinkles!! It was jarring. I am 46, but feel like they popped up overnight.

  11. I too have had bad experiences with natural deodorants, 8 brands, all fails. I get uber-stinky when I’m stressed (so, daily) and kept falling back on Secret Clinical. Then I got a free sample of Primally Pure in a paleo subscription box and it’s awesome! Not itchy, greasy, stinky, or difficult to apply, and it works well! With only 1 application per day! Hallelujah! This is the first natural deodorant I have tried that I will actually buy a second tube/bottle/jar of.

    FWIW, Primal Life Organics deodorant worked really well too, with no irritation, but it left a thick greasy white residue that was not compatible with my black wardrobe 🙁

    PS – Love your reviews and real-life perspective. Keep it comin’!

    1. I have to say, I have tried soooo many natural deodorants. I am not even all that stinkybut they all seem to fail during late afternoon.

      My favorite is mitchum roll on. i always have a backup bottle of this, BUT i do also love Fatco’s Stank Stop. i can find it sometimes at target, but most often at amazon. it is the only natural deodorant that actually works for me.

  12. Welp, I just bought the body oil and the shower oil. I’m a sucker for skin pampering. 🙂
    Great post!

  13. Thank you for this post! I think of myself as low maintenance until I start packing for a trip. I’m in Europe now but am going to check out a few of your musts when I get back!

  14. Yu Be hand cream is great–I actually like the medicinal smell and it works pretty well.
    Costco has a Tweezermans set for $10, total deal for a regular size and a mini.
    Dermalogica’s Skinperfect Primer – I just tried a sample and will probably buy.

  15. I LOVE Atoderm, I think I probably originally heard about it on your blog and I love it so very much. Beautiful smell, so elegant to use and just feels delicious on my skin. I love that it emulsifies so well and is able to wash away sunscreen grease with no problems! It also never breaks me out and keeps my skin from getting parched. Everytime I use something else, even the fancy soaps my boyfriend buys, I either break out or have ashy skin! I will love Atoderm forever.

      1. worth trying as well – Biore AV Aqua Rich. only available in Asia sadly, but I have had fast shipping through amazon. AMAZING sunscreen. i have started using on my arms and decollate as well as my face.

  16. If you like Toppix, I highly recommend XFusion. Same parent company, but I have tried a bunch of hair powders, and XFusion doesn’t clump like Toppix, even with the puffer applicator thing. Crown is terrible, btw–coverage is poor.
    Just a thought–been using these hair powders for years and am so grateful for the product!!

  17. I just ordered the Thrive mascara. I love tubing mascara. For the longest time I used Clinique’s version but it looks like they’ve discontinued it. They (Clinique) offered it in Brown, which I prefer to Black but oh well. I’ve used the tubing mascara in Key West in August several years ago and it didn’t budge through all the walking, sweating and humidity (I should preface by saying as long as you don’t rub your eyes then you will have a mess). I’m hoping Thrive works out well. Thanks for all your recommendations. I enjoy reading about them.

  18. I love Dermologica moisturizers and use different ones in different seasons. My face is easily irritated and super dry in winter. In summer I use Intense Moisture Balance, and in winter I alternate with Super Repair. Yes, it’s thick as Crisco, what can I say? 🙂 And I swear by the Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer. It has soy protein in it, and it smooths out my skin for days when I want to add more makeup – but many days I wear it alone.

    Have tried many others, but always come back to Aveda Foot Lotion. Used daily, it keeps my feet in great shape all year, even in sandal season.

    Finally, the comments reminded me of the reusable cotton pads and I finally ordered them. If I can wash them with my makeup cloths, why keep buying giant tubes of the throw away version? 🙂

  19. Rosehip oil for my face in the winter. Weleda skin food in the winter (it is heavier but nothing else works so well on my heels, which are prone to cracking; I use it around my eyes in the winter too). I use a 3% beta hydroxy from Makeup Artists Choice one a week as a sort of deep cleanser. In the summer, I LOVE the Biore watery gel sunscreen. No white cast, blends in well.

  20. I use several of these myself including the Colleen Rothschild (tried after reading about on this site), Japanese skin towels, Cicapair, and more. I’d just like to add that I’ve tried the Aveda hand repair and found the scent to be overwhelming. If you are someone who does not like a heavily perfumed product, this hand cream is not for you.

    Looking forward to trying more of these! Thanks for the post!

    1. Scent is totally subjective. I can only tolerate Chanel Coco Mademoiselle eau de toilette, Bliss lemon and sage anything, and Aveda Hand Repair. I have no idea why, but if I try anything out my usual comfort zone, I get horrible headaches. Point is that it may be as simple as one ingredient that causes sensitivity. If a friend likes the scent or feel of something I use, I offer a small sample in a reusable plastic container or piece of plastic wrap and encourage then to try it before committing to a whole bottle/jar.

  21. I love Dr. Jart Cicapair! I wear it every day on my entire face, then I use a little foundation or concealer just for dark circles and/or areas with extra redness if I need it. I use a light mineral powder over it and NYX matte setting spray. That corrects my mild rosacea yet leaves me with a natural look. Occasionally for a night out, I’ll do a full face foundation application and I find it shows fine lines and I think makes me look older.
    Another product I love is the Mary Kay Foundation Primer with SPF 15. I don’t feel the need to apply it to my entire face since I started using Cicapair, but I still like to use it around my eyes, for line smoothing and because of the SPF.

  22. Love this post! I’m excited to try that self-tanner. I have some serious farmer tans on my arms after July 4th weekend.

  23. I find I use the tried and true products with more consistency then when I try new ones. As I get older, I use fewer items but really depend on what I do use. I have a complete duplicate set of everything in my travel bag so I don’t go without. Great post!

  24. Thanks for this great roundup!

    Sorry, but probing a little on the IUD/cup thing… I switched to a cup about a year and a half ago and I LOVE it but I’ve also had the worst cramps of my life in the last few months. It never occurred to me they could be related. It still might be worth it because I love the cup so much (and the cramps, while awful, usually only last a few hours while my period is about 7-8 days), but that’s interesting.

  25. I love the cleansing balm, as well as the retinol oil. You mentioned a while back about something (vit c maybe) that got rid of a sunspot and I can’t seem to find what it was. Those are my biggest complaint right now so any advice or recommendations would be great!

  26. On lips, I love Jane Iredale cheek and lip stain in Red (they offer only red, pink, and peach). It really does leave a stain behind as it wears and I only need a lip balm as a follow up. I can also apply without a mirror. It’s very no fuss and a great color. I don’t want anything else! You can find on Amazon.

  27. Can you please re-share the link for the reusable cotton pads? I was just thinking as I threw one away this morning that there has to be a better way…

  28. I’m bucking the cultural mandate that says minty breath is required. Crest Regular toothpaste is still the best for me. I’d i could find the original Colgate powder flavor, I’d get that too. 🙂
    Dermalogica microexfoliant is probably my other choice. Anything else and I’m a fickle queen.

  29. I’ve been following you for what seems like a BAZILLION years and how did I not know about the body wash/oil?? I actually looked for something like this when I transitioned to balm/oil cleansers for my face as it made sense but never found anything!!

  30. I am definitely going to try Atoderm–that sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for.

    My ride-or-die products are stupid expensive Marvis toothpaste, super cheap Palmer’s Cocoa Butter lotion, and Tweezerman tweezers and eyelash curlers. I run pretty low maintenance, but if I am wearing makeup, I also really love Per-fekt Skin Perfection Gel.

  31. Love these product roundups, and I can’t wait to read your hair update – your curls are looking FABULOUS! 🙂

  32. Can you wear foundation or a CC/BB cream over the Dr. Jart treatment, or does it only work as a stand-alone product?

  33. We share a love for some of the same products. Neutrogena Sesame Oil…YES! My go-to cheap lip color is Revlon’s Cherries in The Snow. It’s been around since the 40’s or 50’s. Stays on and looks especially good when I have my pale, winter skin. I’m pretty lazy about make-up and seldom wear blush or foundation so this color perks me up. Also love Moroccan Hair Oil for a quick smooth on my wavy hair.

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