Wednesday, August 8, 2012

At the Vanity - ABCs of great beauty products, part one

I like making lists. My mind seems to take a sigh of relief when things are written out and composed in an orderly fashion. Therefore, I have listed out 26 beauty items that I am currently coveting or that I own and that have made me a believer. These products, as the title may suggest, correspond to letters of the alphabet.

Now that is some Sesame Street-style fun. Or OCD fun...whichever.

A stands for Alterna Bamboo Volume Uplifting Root Blast. I'm a fan of mousse and dry shampoos, both of which give pretty decent volume to the hair without weighing it down. But while mousse is only good for damp hair and dry shampoo creates a "not flat" look, I've found from playing around in Sephora with this Root Blast that it delivers a seriously heady dose of vavoom to the tresses. I need one in my life.

B stands for Smashbox Brow Tech To Go. Brows can be confusing buggers. Many people want "their own brows, but a little better", as in they'd like to look more put together without their peers being able to pinpoint that brow tweaking is the culprit. For the person that doesn't want to deal with eyebrow paint, wax, or matching brow powder colors to the hair, enter Smashbox's Brow Tech To Go. This pencil is one of the most foolproof brow fillers on the market and it comes in two universal shades, a light and a dark. Basically, this is a triangle-shaped pencil with a thin point for marking in individual brow hairs and a thicker edge for shaping and coloring in broad strokes. Plus, on the end is a clear mascara for shaping unruly brows. Yet another item on my wish list.

C stands for Clarisonic Mia 2. This product comes from the inventor of the Sonicare toothbrush, and uses the same type of massage technology. The pulsating spinning brush head of the Mia 2 promises to clean skin six times better than the traditional washcloth method - in under one minute flat. There is a timer on the Mia 2 that signifies when the user should move from one part of the face to the other when cleaning, and it allows 20 seconds for the forehead, 20 seconds for the nose and chin, and 10 seconds for each cheek. Everyone that owns a Clarisonic product loves it. Simply look up reviews at Sephora and Amazon to see for yourself. People claim that their skin has cleared up in weeks when over-the-counter products and prescriptions alike were doing no such thing.

D stands for DuWop Venom Lipgloss. Truth be told, I've never been a huge fan of lipgloss. Generally speaking, I find most glosses to be sticky, taste nasty (admit've licked your lips unintentionally and suffered the backlash of a glossy tang), not provide much color, and constantly need to be reapplied. I actually tried this lipgloss after seeing it on my mom. Lady wore it well. So I stole the bottle and tried the same color - Coral Tree, in case you were wondering - on myself. And lo and behold, it looked...really pretty. Subtle shimmer, a dash of color and understated shine. A+

E stands for Shisheido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion SPF 38 PA+++. Asian and European countries are ahead of America in the realm of sunscreen, as far as I'm concerned. Most American-made sunscreens have a zinc-y smell that, once applied to the skin, creeps up the nose of anyone standing within a 10-foot parameter of said sunscreen wearer. It's like an invisible wall that screams, "I have no melanin! I need this liquid armor!" Not so with brands such as La Roche-Posay, Kose and Shiseido, the latter of which has one of the most extensive offerings of sunscreen that I've seen from a brand. Taking over a single shelf at Sephora, Shiseido has more than 15 products designed for the specific and various needs of both the face and body. The Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion SPF 38 PA+++ protects not only the epidermis, but the dermis as well, and the thin liquid makes in perfect for applying to the face. The lack of tangible scent only adds to its list of desirable characteristics. My skin needs this!

F stands for Fresh Sugar Face Polish. It's expensive, but the granules in this are perfectly shaped so as to turn the exfoliation process into a decadent affair where the byproduct is luxuriously smooth skin. Smooth as a baby's butt. Plus the scent is heavenly. Fresh is the one brand that has nailed the scent of sugar, and with the added strawberry note, this product gets kicked up a notch on the grading scale. And Julia, the Fresh brand representative for my Sephora, said that the strawberry scent in the Fresh line is supposed to give off the delicate scent of a strawberry garden rather than the sickly sweet artificial smell that many other manufacturer's use in their products.

G stands for OPI's German Fall Collection in "German-icure". I haven't been this excited about a nail collection launch in years due to the monsoon of neons and pastels one after another that kind of desensitized me. But these shades are bold and shimmery without being over-the-top. And the Scrangie blog has lovely full scale swatches of every color in the new collection.

H stands for Hanae Mori "Butterfly" perfume. The softest, prettiest scent ever. Ever.

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