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. These are my tried and true, my beauty ride or die products for hair, skin, and body. These products I buy over and over and they never disappoint:
Favorite Body Wash: Bioderma Atoderm Cleansing Oil
This body wash is for dry and sensitive skin, so sensitive it can be used on babies. However, our whole family uses it. While it's called an oil, it lathers up like a traditional shower gel, doesn’t have a strong scent, a little goes a long way, and I get the big bottles with a pump so it’s good for portion control with family members who are prone to dumping a whole bottle on their bath poof. I didn’t take this on my recent two-week trip, relying on hotel shower gels and a couple of travel-sized bottles I brought with me. My skin was much drier and it made me realize what a difference Atoderm makes!
Favorite Body Moisturizer: Neutrogena Body Oil
This is my ride or die moisturizer. I adore the scent. When I was pregnant, I couldn’t stand most scents and even after my daughter was born I could no longer wear a lot of the perfumes and products I used to wear because the scent bothered me. But Neutrogena Body Oil, the smell makes me so happy, it calms me, stopped my first trimester nausea, doesn’t get all cloying when it’s hot out, doesn’t compete with my perfume, and leaves my skin gleaming. In the summer I wear it alone, in the winter I wear it over a heavyweight fragrance-free lotion or cream.
Favorite Deodorant: Degree
Gosh, I hate to admit this after trying to find the best natural deodorant. I’ve tried, oh how I’ve tried, but every single darn one has failed me. And each time they fail, I go back to Degree. Right now, I’m using the Motion Sense in Pure Clean, but I have a travel size of the original formula in my toiletries bag and it works just as well. No rash, no gross flowers over B.O. smell, it doesn’t show on my clothes, and can last all day.
Favorite Wet Body Exfoliator: Japanese Skin Towels
I first experienced a skin towel when working for The Body shop two decades ago. From the same threads as a body pouf, it’s woven tightly to create a highly exfoliating washcloth that still brings plenty of lather. It’s long enough that you can scrub your back or you can ball it up and use it as a traditional pouf. It dries quickly, doesn’t get musty, and you can even throw it in the dishwasher for the occasional sanitization. I find these bigger, stronger, and more scrubby than the ones from The Body Shop (and they're also cheaper).
Favorite Dry Body Exfoliator: Dry Brushing Body Brush
I’ve written about the benefits of dry brushing many times before. The brush is less than $20 (oftentimes found for closer to $10) and lasts for years. When you wake, do light swipes all over the body aiming towards the heart. It boosts circulation, gets rid of dry skin, wakes you up, and helps your moisturizer absorb better. This and a skin towel and you won’t recognize your elbows and knees!
Favorite Self-Tanner: Jergens Natural Glow
I review this self-tanner in this blog post, it’s the only self-tanner I’ve ever used that didn’t leave streaks.
Favorite Hand Cream: Aveda Hand Relief
I don’t like hand cream, it’s greasy and heavy and I always seem to need to open a door or a jar after applying it. But Aveda isn’t super greasy, and it smells like a spa and it truly works. I keep a tube next to my bed. It’s not cheap so I ask for it as a gift at the holidays and one tube lasts for months and months.
Favorite All-Over Moisturizer: Sweet Almond Oil
I've written about my love for sweet almond oil before. I keep a bottle on my nightstand and before bed I apply it to my arms, shoulders, decollete, neck, and anything leftover goes on my knees. I add a bit under my eyes (supposedly helps with dark circles), and then “wipe” my hands off on the ends of my hair. I add almond oil to my bath, I use it as a cuticle oil, this may be TMI but it can be used as lube (don't use with latex), and it makes a great deep conditioning treatment for your tresses. It's not the best choice for anyone with a nut allergy, but it's an all-over amazing moisturizer. I know some will ask – yes I do get the occasional oily spot on my bedlinens from this. However, I find almond oil washes out easily even from white sheets not leaving oil spots like other oils.
Favorite Tampons: LOLA
For years I used a menstrual cup and loved it. Low waste, reliable, comfortable, cost-effective. Then I got an IUD, and cups stopped being reliable or comfortable. I tried several different ones, but I’d get horrible cramps and they’d often leak. I had to go back to tampons, but I wanted to choose ones that were the best for the environment and my health. LOLA is a subscription service, but one of the easiest ones to customize, change, pause, and cancel that I’ve experienced. I recommend you try their quiz, where you let them know what kinds of period products you prefer (they have a variety of pads and tampons as well as wipes and other products), how often you get your period and your flow, and other questions. I get the non-applicator tampons and receive a box every month a day or two after my period ends with a variety of absorption selected by me. LOLA notifies me by email a couple of days before the delivery to see if I want to change the selection or even pause it for a month. Each box is $9, shipping free, and it’s free of superfluous packaging and shipped in a discreet brown box. They use 100% certified organic cotton that is free of toxins, dyes, and synthetic fibers; they have donated over two million products to the charity I Support the Girls, and joined forces with Period Equity to end the tampon tax. If you need period products, please know there are amazing options now available beyond what you find in your local drugstore that is better for the environment, your health, fellow women, as well as your wallet.
Favorite Facial Cleanser: Colleen Rothschild Cleansing Balm
I have been using this and raving about it for years. Apply the cream to dry skin and gently massage in. It will break up and dissolve long-wear foundation, waterproof mascara, and everything else without stripping your skin. You can wipe off with a wet washcloth but I love covering my face with a hot washcloth, hold it there until it cools, and then wipe off so I get a bit of a spa moment and it helps get everything off my face. My skin ends up clean but not tight, even in the dead of winter. Even if I’m not wearing makeup I use this every night; the nights when I skip it for a traditional cleanser or a cleansing wipe I regret it because my skin wakes up tight and dry. Please note I have a relationship with Colleen Rothschild Beauty and receive this for free, however, I share it because I seriously love it so much and it has transformed my skin.
Favorite Skincare Product: Pixi Glow Tonic
I wipe my face with it most mornings, I sometimes also use it at night. I wipe it on my pits after a shower; it seems to help with B.O. Use it like a toner after cleansing and before moisturizing, apply with a cotton pad (I love these reusable ones), no need to rinse. It gently exfoliates and brightens and even people with sensitive skin can usually use it. It can supposedly help with collagen production and since it exfoliates, can even skintone and fight signs of aging. Please note I have a relationship with Pixi and occasionally receive bottles of this product for free. However, I love it so much I also have purchased it when I am out and share it because it's fab.
Favorite Facial Hair Grooming Tool: Tinkle Razors
Yes, I love this one from Noxzema, but Tinkles are so freaking cheap and you can slip one in your makeup bag, your gym bag, your toiletries kit, your work tote and have it at the ready for a random hair or a quick shaping of your brows. Read my original face shaving review.
Favorite Toothpaste: Colgate Sensitive Whitening
I grew up on Colgate and married a guy from a Crest family. I tried, but Colgate is my jam. I did a partnership with Colgate last year and had the chance to try a bunch of their products and fell in love with their sensitive toothpaste with whitening. I want both – white teeth, but also teeth that don’t scream when I eat ice cream or drink hot coffee. And this accomplishes both. No, it’s not going to make your teeth look bleached but it’s more effective than any other sensitive toothpaste I’ve tried in keeping your pearly whites white and just as effective as other brands in keeping my teeth feeling happy.
Favorite Thinning Hair Product: TOPPIK
Toppik is a colored powder fiber. Applied to the scalp, it doesn't dye it but creates an effect of thicker hair at the roots. It's not sticky or greasy or tacky and stays in place if you sweat or get caught in the rain. It also doesn't make my head itch. I got the 12g size bottle maybe two years ago and still haven't used all of it. I got the optional nozzle, I think it makes it easier to get the back of your head. Not only does it make your hair thicker, it also hides if you have roots growing out! Travel tip: If you buy this, there is a tiny cap for the nozzle that can easily pop off or get lost. Unscrew the cap, slip a piece of plastic from a bag or dry cleaning in between and screw it closed. You'll be safe even for the bumpiest of flights!
This category is slim because I've recently switched my entire haircare routine. I got a cut in the spring that was a bit shorter than before and my hair sprung up in curls. I decided to embrace the curls and have been trying new products to make the curls happy, shiny, frizz-free, and last all day. None I have tried long enough to re-purchase or give a proper review but I will share a hair update soon. However items I ADORED prior to changing my hair:
- Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray – the best for volume without looking like a helmet head or feeling stiff. My previous review.
- Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro Hair Dryer – Relatively quiet, quite powerful, can take a beating, doesn't fry your hair, and is a pretty green color. I'm cheap with a lot of beauty products, but I've found spending on a hairdryer is worth it for my style and actually long term for my wallet. My old T3 hairdryer is older than Emerson and still works, it's just louder and compared to new appliances, very heavy and noisy. I do need to share I got the Harry Josh hairdryer as a gift from Dermstore a few years ago; otherwise, I would still be using my now-retired T3.
- Aveda Paddle Brush – My husband and I used to fight over it, now he can enjoy it all to himself!
- Evo Fabulouso Color Intensifying Conditioner – If you color your hair and it starts to look dull a couple of weeks before your touch-up, try this. It really does revive your hair!
- Hot Tools Curling Iron – I love it more than the fancy expensive one I used to have, and it lasts longer. I got one free thanks to a sponsored post and left it by accident in my hotel room. Before I got home from my flight I had ordered a replacement on Amazon. I used the 1″ size for my shoulder- to shoulder blade-length hair.
Favorite Nail Color: OPI Big Apple Red
I have been wearing this red for almost a decade, it’s so chic, so classic, so perfect. It’s great in the summer or the winter, it’s great on toes and fingers. Not too blue, not too orange, but doesn’t scream like a fire engine. Looks great on short nails or long talons, and I love that it comes in gel as well as powder dip acrylic.
Favorite Red Lipstick: L’Oreal in Matte-Traction Red
I bought this red for the first time several years ago in CVS on my lunch break. I had a horrible call with a client and needed some retail therapy. At the time, L’Oreal had a series of reds named after actresses, this was the red for Eva Longoria. After that campaign, they kept this color in their collection, changing the name to Matte-Traction Red. It’s a bit warmer than my favorite nailcolor but close enough that I look coordinated. It’s not a heavy formula; I can put it on without a mirror and not look like a clown. It fades nicely, no red left in lip wrinkles, no ring around the mouth. It’s matte, but not drying. It looks great with a tan or with pale skin. I must have a half dozen tubes in purses, my dressing table, the junk drawer in the kitchen, on my nightstand and I haven’t found another red that looks so… comfortable on me.
Favorite Mascara: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions
I only tried this mascara after the raving of several of you. Cruelty-free, vegan, gives back, and it’s a fantastic product. This is a “tubing” mascara which means instead of painting your lashes, it coats the lashes with tubes that stay in place when you cry and sweat, but remove easily with warm water. It really amps up my lashes while looking natural and even though I regularly rub my allergy-prone eyes, it stays in place. This is my Thrive Causemetics review.
Favorite Brow Product: NYX Micro Brow Pencil
I use Espresso, but they have several colors to choose from. Very fine point so you can draw “hairs” even if you’re not careful or creative. Not too hard but not soft like an eyeliner. A spooly brush on the other end to groom. No need for a pencil sharpener. Oh, and it’s less than $10 and lasts for months!
Favorite Perfume: Tom Ford Black Orchid
As I shared in a recent blog post, I have been on the hunt for a new fragrance. For over a decade I wore Burberry London for Her and I adored it. It smelled like an elegant stronger version of Neutrogena Body Oil. Then I had my daughter and I could no longer stand the smell. I’ve ben searching for a decade for a new signature scent. I’ve worn Replica and Beach Walk, together and separately. This winter I went on an Opium kick. I tried custom perfumes, everything from Le Labo, and a lot from Jo Malone and nothing was right. I placed a Sephora order and one of the VIB perks was a mini rollerball of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid. It has the drama of Opium, the sexiness of Le Labo Santal 33, the floral scent of Burberry London. It smells great even when I get hot and sweaty, it wears well, and unlike Sandal 33 and Glossier You, it doesn’t make my family cough. In fact, each time I put it on my family comments on how pretty I smell.
Favorite Blush: NARS Sex Appeal
For my 30s I used Orgasm, a peachy pink with a subtle shimmer. When I hit my 40s it seemed too glittery and strong. Sex Appeal is the same peachy pink, but dialed down from 11 to maybe 6 and no shimmer or glitter or shine. It gives a natural flush, and if I decide I want rosy cheeks, it layers well to concentrate the color. It's not cheap, but one compact lasts me almost a year and it rarely crumbles.
Favorite Foundation Alternative: Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment
This is a light green thick mud-like cream. When you apply it to your skin and rub it in, it seems to airbrush your skin, hiding redness, evening skintone. It's best on fair complexions and some experience irritation when first using it, but I find it not only airbrushes skin but also improves skin. I'm a point where every foundation I use seems to make my skin look older, but Cicapair makes my skin look better not worse and doesn't melt, bead up, or get weird throughout the day.
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Now I want to hear from you! What are your absolute favorite beauty products that you buy over and over, and never let you down? Your favorite may be just what another WO2 reader has been looking for in her life!