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My Best Beauty Purchases: What I Buy Again and Again

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my best beauty purchases over the years by wardrobe oxygenInspired by my friend Kat at Corporette, I thought it would be fun to share my best beauty purchases, items I buy again and again. These are skincare, makeup, and hair products I purchase over and over, and dread when I go a day without it. I’d love to know what our your favorite beauty products too. In the comments let me know what products you love so much you “hit pan” or empty and repurchase, and check out the comments on Corporette for some more amazing beauty must-haves!

My Best Beauty Purchases (and Re-purchases)

Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel – I use it to cleanse my face each morning and have off and on since… well before Karl and I were married and we celebrated 13 years this June. When I try something else I regret it. I love the smell, I love how gentle it is, I even love the style of the bottle. Oh, and I love that I can find it at my local market or drug store. I wrote about before it in this post.

Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm – I’ve been using this for over a year and freak out when I get to the bottom of a jar and don’t have one at the ready. I’ve tried some other cream cleansers but none in my opinion compare or make my skin as happy. Read my first review of the cleanser and my whole nighttime skincare routine including it.

Carmex – I’m kind of like the woman in this viral video with my Carmex. I have one by my bed, one in my purse, one in the medicine cabinet, and you can usually find one in the kitchen junk drawer and next to the washing machine since I always find them in my pockets when sorting laundry.

Neutrogena Body Oil – I don’t like a lot of scents, but gosh I adore the smell of Neutrogena Body Oil. When I was pregnant most scents made me ill but the scent of this oil actually made me feel less nauseous. I slather it from neck to toes after every bath and wrap up in a bathrobe to let it all soak in. When I take a bath, I add it to the water. I’ve written about my Neutrogena Body Oil love before.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – I’ve used this off and on for years. Now that I have my skincare routine down pat, I use this less often. It’s my in-shower facial cleanser because of the convenient pump bottle and that it will cleanse deeply without stripping my skin. Karl uses it and I also use it on Emerson. I’ve written about CeraVe before on the blog.

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil – I bought this after Fran of Franish raved about it and now I too am obsessed. I’m on my third jar. I put it on between my treatment and night cream every evening and it makes my skin so happy, so hydrated, so glowy. I had my 2/3 empty bottle open up in my toiletries bag during a trip and was crushed and tried to make do with random serums I had received as gifts or as samples with beauty purchases. I noticed the difference, my skin wasn’t as luminous and I got dry faster during the day. When I went to NYC I went into Ricky’s looking for a brush and saw they carried the Ordinary and grabbed a bottle of this oil and slathered it all over that evening. Gamechanger, even without much sleep my skin looked more vibrant, plump, and happy than it did after 10 hours of sleep at home. You can read my initial review of The Ordinary products in this post.

Aveda Hand Relief – I have this on my bedside table and apply it every night to my hands and elbows and anything leftover goes on my knees. I have another in my work tote; it absorbs well enough that I can put it on, rub it in, and be able to go back to typing. I adore the smell as I do with most Aveda products. This is a really great gift idea too.

Reusable Cotton Rounds and Wipes – I get mine from Little Green Nest on Etsy.  I first bought cloth wipes from this Etsy store (we cloth diapered Emerson).  I then saw the cotton rounds and bought them to use with makeup remover and witch hazel.  You can read my review of them here. After several years my cotton rounds were ready to hit the compost so I just ordered another set a couple weeks ago and with it some more cloth wipes to use as gentle washcloths for my face.  The more you wash them the more absorbent they are, in the long run it's cheaper than buying cotton pads and disposable products, and it's way better for the environment.

Hair Products I Swear By

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray – I loved it so much I dedicated a Friday Favorite to it. If I could only have one hair product the rest of my life it would be this. It’s like a dry shampoo, hairspray, and styling product all in one. It’s never ashy on my brown hair, it never looks sticky or greasy or weird. I can brush it without losing all its power, and I have Day 2 hair even if I used a lot of it the night before. I apply it to dry hair to create volume and to hold curls or waves. There’s always a travel sized can in my toiletries bag because I’d cry if I went somewhere without it!

Living Proof Dry Shampoo – I’ve tried a lot of dry shampoos and this one is my absolute favorite. It doesn’t make my hair gummy or ashy, it truly cleans it, making it feel silky and normal while taking away grease. I’ve even used it on Emerson. She loves having sideswept bangs but after a day at school running around and tucking them behind her ear they can be a scraggly greasy mess. If we have to head somewhere after school and don’t have time to shower, I’ll spray them with Living Proof Dry Shampoo, rub it in a bit and brush out and her hair looks like it did before a day of cray. This is also one I have a travel sized can of at the ready in my toiletries bag.

HERB Ghost Oil – Most oils and shine serums weigh down my hair and just make me look greasy. This stuff will smooth, add shine, keeping hair bouncy and soft. I’ve written about my love for HERB haircare in this post.

Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush – Karl has one and I have one and sometimes he steals mine so I've gotten to hiding it in my bedside drawer.  I don't brush my hair often because it kills curls, but when I go straight, I use this to brush and also use it when drying my hair to get it straighter but not stick straight.

Coconut Oil – I swear by this more than any fancy product for a deep conditioning. Karl uses it as a styling product. While you’re at it, rub it on your knees and elbows, use it to clean your face, and swish with it for 15 minutes for strong white teeth.

My Makeup Must Haves

NARS Blush in ‘Sex Appeal’ – I used to wear NARS Orgasm and bought it over and over and over. And then with age I found Orgasm too sparkly. I can’t remember which blogger said she wore Sex Appeal but I tried it and fell in love. I’m on my third compact.

Maybelline Line Stiletto in Brownish Black – Most people say liquid liner is too tough, I’m the exact opposite. I always make a mess from pencil liners, but can get a nice clean line with liquid and this by far is my very favorite. I don’t want a glossy black cat eye, it’s not my style and I find it can make my eyes look older. This liner isn’t shiny, and the brownish-black color looks more natural. I usually wear a very thin line just to make my lashes look thicker, but it works well to thicken up and amp up the look. There’s one in my purse, one in my dressing table, and always one still in its packaging for backup.  I worry this is being discontinued, I can't find it anywhere and ended up ordering 4 tubes on target.com at the end of the summer because it's out of stock in every store near me and now it's out of stock in this color on target.com. No Maybelline noooooo don't say its true!

Rodan + Fields LashBoost – This stuff really works.  I've been using it almost all year and my lashes are long, strong, they're not down to get the friction on but they gave me lashes better than I had in my 20s.  Read my full review of  LashBoost.

Lancome LAbsolu Rouge Définition Demi-Matte Lipstick in Le Carmin – This is the perfect classic cool toned red. I put it on and I feel like a young Elizabeth Taylor. It feels good, it smells good, it wears well, and I have three tubes in case they ever discontinue it.

L’Oreal Riche Matte Lipcolor in Eva’s Red – This is my daily lipstick and has been since around June. Reds often make me feel like I’m wearing a costume, this one feels like I am supposed to wear it. Since I found it I’ve felt less a need to wear other makeup and often just go with brows, mascara, and lipstick. It’s like my Carmex, there’s tubes of this lipstick in every bag and all over the house.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse – One jar lasts for EVER, seriously over a year when you use it daily. I’m on my third jar, which shows how much I adore this stuff. However, I don’t use the enclosed brush I prefer this one from Trish McEvoy which is shorter and stiffer and fills in my brows more than drawing them on. And yes, it is waterproof, you’ll still have brows after a dip in the pool.  FYI I use Rich Brown.

OPI Nail Color in Big Apple Red – For years I chewed my nails and cuticles and would do anything to hide my hands. Then I started getting acrylic tips, and then powder dips to strengthen my nails and prevent chewing. I started with nude colors but then branched out and one day tried Big Apple Red and next thing I knew I was one of those red nail people and now have been for about two years. 90% of the time my nails are Big Apple Red, fingers and toes.

Trish McEvoy Shadow Brushes – Long-time readers know my love for these brushes.  The #45 Sheer Application Brush is the perfect size, softness, and volume to give a wash of color over the lid and blend so nicely.  The #29 Tapered Blending Brush will make anyone look like a makeup pro; use a darker color and go in a wiper blade movement in the crease and you'll get beautiful contouring.

While there’s plenty of other beauty products I love, these are the ones that have stood the test of time and continue to impress. And now it’s your turn, share in the comments your favorite products and best beauty purchases!

best beauty products - items I buy over and over and swear by

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  1. I use cotton rounds to remove eye makeup, and they are my top guilt inducer. Reading that you use cloth rounds was a total ‘DOH!’ moment. I sew and have a serger; can’t believe I hadn’t thought to make some.

  2. I’ve been meaning to thank you for turning me on to reusable cotton rounds! I use them with my eye makeup remover and/or micellar water. I’ve been focusing much more on my skin lately, and my rounds have been getting a workout. Thanks for the excellent tip!

  3. *Thayer’s Rosewater Witch Hazel
    *Jason’s Smoothing Coconut Oil (brown and white jar) – moisturizer, deep conditioner for hair, makeup remover, and best thing to shave your legs or delicate areas with.
    *L’Oréal Voluminous Superstar Mascara (gamechanger…2 steps, but so worth it.)
    *NYX eyeliners (so cheap, easier to apply and they last!)
    *Hard Candy metallic lip glosses
    *Bare Minerals compact foundation
    *Milani eyeliners (cheap, highly pigmented, and stay on!)
    *Loreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-free Shampoos and Conditioners (best drugstore find!)
    *California Mango Mend (great as a cuticle cream or even to moisturize heels and rough spots)
    *Cinnabar by Estee Lauder (I have worn it for years and still get so many compliments on how I smell.)

  4. Nivea Milk & Honey lip care, Aura Cacia rose hip oil, Clinique Black Honey lipstick, L’Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes mascara, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, L’Occitaine shea butter hand cream, Living Proof No Frizz Leave In and Styling Creme. I hoard the Oribe texturizing spray. Currently, I have 3 in different sizes. With everything else, I just buy what’s on sale.

  5. Love these posts, Allie! I switched from Cerave Hydrating Cleanser to Sebamed Liquid Face and Body Cleanser to use in the shower. I found the Cerave didn’t clean well enough, while the Sebamed does so without drying my skin.

    On your advice I started using Thayer’s Witch Hazel, which I love, but I use the one with Aloe Vera as I am allergic to roses.

    I’ve used Johnson’s Baby Lotion with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E as a shaving cream for my legs for about 15 years. I apply a little on damp skin, and it helps the razor glide smoothly. Rinses easily off the razor, moutsturizes, and smells wonderful.

  6. Allison, I remembered your tip on the reusable facial pads before, but now that I’ve started incorporating Thayer’s witch hazel into my “routine” this was the nudge I needed to actually get them. While at the shop I pulled the trigger on the “un-paper towels” too! Thanks!

  7. Skin Care

    Ponds Cold Cream – I have been using this since I was old enough to wear makeup. Inexpensive, one jar last forever, and able to take off even the most stubborn waterproof mascara.

    Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes – I tried several brands that made me break out. These are safe for my sensitive skin.

    Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Day, Night, and Eye Cream – The day cream has SPF 30. The night cream is a serum in cream.

    Hair Care

    Redken Extreme Anti-Snap – My hairdresser recommended it, and it has finally allowed my fine hair to grow long.

    Bumble and Bumble Pret-A-Powder – Not quite a dry shampoo, but definitely a style extender and volume provider in one. Never sticky or too thick like some dry shampoos.


    Urban Decay Cannonball Waterproof Mascara – I have tried MANY waterproof mascaras, and this is the best. It does flake occasionally, but it is extremely waterproof, and gives you long feathery lashes.

    Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base – The best I have found. Good applicator and a little goes a long way. Use on your lids even when you are not wearing shadow to prevent transfer in really hot, humid weather.

    Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiance Perfecting Pen – Highlighter and concealer in one. The packaging is perfect to take on-the-go.

    Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel – The ONLY brow gel I have found that is light enough to be believable with my blonde hair.

    Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palettes – The color is highly pigmented. It lasts and lasts, especially over an eyeshadow base. Easily blendable. The shimmery colors do not transfer.

    Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick – I have several shades, and I wear this just about every day. Never smudges. Kiss proof. Food proof. I play a woodwind instrument, and I can even wear this lipstick while I’m playing. It is never sticky or goopy, and it just won’t come off until you take it off.

  8. I love posts like this! My frequent repurchases:

    L’oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black. – I try other mascaras, yet keep coming back to this one. Doesn’t clump, relatively cheap, does what it says. And I love the ultra black color.
    L’oreal True Match liquid foundation – This is the best drugstore foundation I’ve found. Good range of shades (W3 is a great match for my skin unless I’m sporting a tan), doesn’t go ashy or weird on me during the day, and can build to decent coverage. I used to use IT cosmetics BB cream, but just can’t get past the fact that the shades they offer are too neutral for me, I need more yellow in my foundation than it provides.
    Beautique lip pencil from Sally Beauty – this is a dirt cheap lip pencil in a neutral shade that actually looks correct on me. Not too brown, not too orange, not too pink. I use it as lipstick frequently and throw some chapstick or gloss on with it if I’m feeling really sassy, haha. Also is so cheap that when you inevitably lose it somewhere, it’s not big deal to repurchase for $3.
    Nivea In Shower Lotion – this is one of those rinse off lotions. I haven’t truthfully found much difference between the one for dry or extra dry skin, but I typically use the extra dry one. I’m on something like my 10th bottle of this stuff.
    Philosophy Purity Facial Wash – just like the voluminous mascara, I try other things and keep coming back to this. I love that I can get a vat of it at QVC with a pump for the shower, but I have some at the sink as well. Takes off my makeup, doesn’t strip my skin or make me breakout, and I love the scent.
    Listerine Toothpaste – yes, I know, gross…right? I got hooked on this stuff 20 years ago when I did temp work at the drug company that manufactures listerine products. Nothing makes my mouth feel as happy and clean as this toothpaste.
    Blistex DCT lip treatment – I probably have 15 of these rolling around my house, car, purse, work bag – I’ve never found a chapstick or lip treatment that I liked more than this.

    I probably have a few others but this is the hit parade that comes to immediate mind!

  9. I love these posts! I agree with you on Colleen Rothschild’s cleansing balm (which I bought because of your review!), Oribe dry texturizing spray and Living Proof dry shampoo. The other products I buy again and again include:

    -Pureology hydrating shampoo and conditioner (smells amazing, keeps my hair looking great and is the only thing I have found that doesn’t strip red hair dye – at least not as quickly)
    -Bobbi Brown pale pink blush (more vibrant than pale and gives just the right “in from the cold” flush on my pale skin)
    -IT Cosmetics superhero mascara (amazing and doesn’t clump. I get the travel size versions because I think they work better)
    -L’Occitane hand cream (have used it for years and love everything about it)
    -Dr. Dennis Gross alpha beta peel pads (I’m out of these currently, and my face is showing it. Been using them for years a couple times a week and I still like them more than anything else I’ve tried)
    -Dior lip sugar scrub (keeps my lips flake-free and it also acts as nice balm. Nothing but great things to say about it)

    My new favorite is Shisheido Sports BB cream spf 50. It’s the first BB cream I’ve ever found that actually works with my skin tone (most are too dark) and is just the right amount of light coverage. Plus spf 50!

    1. you are SPOT ON with the observation that the travel sized Superhero mascara works better than the full sized. I thought I was hallucinating but that was my exact experience!

      1. It’s SO different, isn’t it? I also thought I was crazy when I bought a special bonus pack that had both the full sized and travel in it. They acted like entirely different mascaras! And I never finish a full size tube before it starts to smell off – so it’s bonus to get “high end” mascara for the drug store (travel sized) price.

  10. Thanks – your hair and make-up always look great, so these are great tips! One question, because this has mystified me for 30+ years: how do you get lipstick to go on and stay on and not dry out your lips if you are someone who regularly drinks water all day and needs chapstick regularly? I start the day with great intentions but am always drinking tea or water and leaving it all on the cup. And the long lasting formulas dry out my lips. Thanks!!!

    1. It doesn’t stay on all day. I put it on in the car after my coffee before i head into the office. I keep it in my pocket along with Carmex. I put on Carmex as I walk to the bathroom, after using the bathroom I wipe my lips free of the Carmex and any lipstick and reapply my lipstick. This has become my routine, this keeps my lips from feeling awful and maintains my color (the more water you drink, the more hydrated your lips AND the more often you end up reapplying your lipcolor!). And yep I have red lipstick on every cup and straw!

    2. One thing to consider–Chapstick can be very drying!–any lip balm with “medication” or fragrance/flavor (except for a few like melon, coconut, vanilla, or cucumber) or mint is drying. Paula Begoun gives thumbs up to Yes to Coconuts (which is cheap and tastes like…coconut) and I love the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Masks, which come in clear and in a lovely Allie-like juicy red, but are sheer and easy to reapply without a mirror. Every night, sleep with the coconuts or the clear agave, and then apply a thin layer after you brush your teeth and before you apply any lip color. The Drunk Elephant Lippe is also amazing and less greasy, and though it is expensive to buy, lasts a long time.

  11. I can only think of two products that fit this category for me: R+F lip serum and mineral peptides. Obviously, I have many other products that I use and recommend, but those are the only ones that I am never without and get anxious when they get low. (I feel like I should add a disclaimer! I am an R+F consultant – hello, disqus profile pic from 5 yrs ago – but mainly in it for the wholesale prices.)

    Over the summer, I incorporated the R+F Hydrating Serum. It was an
    immediate game-changer for my skin, and now I’m curious how the Rose Hip
    oil compares. They sound very similar.

    Oh, and one more that is not really a product, but a supplement: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. It is supposed to be good for skin, hair, nails, joints and ligaments. I started adding this to my daily coffee over the summer, and the most noticeable change has been my nails. I have always had thin and brittle nails, easy to break, but now they grow super fast and stay strong. It’s been a weird adjustment to have to trim them more often, but I’ll take it! Love and highly recommend this company and its products.

    1. I think you’re the first one who told me about Vital Proteins. As Ive gotten older I find I get inflammation from eating red meat and have cut down drastically. I didn’t think about this with Vital Proteins and used it and felt like I had the flu. Sucks because you are not the only one who has raved about it. If anyone doens’t have a read meat/cow issue this stuff is pretty phenomenal!

      1. Ugh, sorry that you went through that. I hesitate to recommend other products from them, but I know that some of their products come from marine collagen, so maybe that is worth checking out?

      2. I just bought the marine collagen. I can’t really rant or rave yet because I just started to use it, but if it’s the bovine ingredients that bother you, there’s an alternative!

  12. Great post! I’m completely curious about The Ordinary products. Have you tried the Squalene or any products besides the Rosehip Oil & Retinol? My skin is super sensitive.

    1. Yes, I also use the squalene! I use it every morning before my moisturizer. I considered adding but I am still on my first bottle since a little goes a long way. But it’s really great. Those are the only Ordinary products I’ve used so far.

  13. I love this post! I am really making an effort to not consume as much (definitely a byproduct of listening to PopFashion tbh), so reading about things that stand the test of time for you is so awesome and I love that reusable make up pads are on here. I just bought some!

  14. I started using Rodan & Fields Lash Boost after your review. It’s expensive as hell but it works. I’ve gotten lots of compliments. I also use Micellar Water to cleanse my skin. Works great.

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