Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Unneccessary Essentials

How New York City feels...
I’m pretty sure that January is the worst month of the calendar year for basically everyone. Not only are you exhausted and broke from the holidays, but you also freeze half to death on your way to and from work daily. The shopping assortment is also awful. Everything from fall that you didn’t want is on sale, while spring clothes have yet to arrive. Sure, you can purchase “resort”, but unless you are one of the lucky few that get to jet off to Palm Beach, those clothes will just sit on your shelves for a good two or three months. Plus there are no holidays to look forward to. On the whole, it’s just horrid.

So, to make January a bit better for you all, especially the unlucky few who may have January birthdays and are clueless on what to tell your friends and family you want, I’ve curated a list of “unnecessary essentials” – products you never knew you needed that will change your life once you start using them. Put those gift cards from X-Mas to good use (if you are one of the conservative few who have yet to spend them) and start shoppin’.

I’m the first to admit that I am a lip balm whore. From the cherry chapstick to the $50+ By Terry rose balm, I’ve got them all. The first thing I do when in a foreign country is check out their assortment of lip balms. Why? I’m not really sure. But I always feel like in some obscure corner of the world I’ll discover the miracle treatment.

As soon as a tinge of chill hits the air, my lips become cracking, peeling, bleeding disasters. Any lip product with color looks horrendous on top of dry skin. Sure, you can exfoliate your lips (I recommend tarte’s maracuja lip scrub), but sometimes, they are so dry that scrubbing is horribly painful. So its back to the balm stash.

My newest addition? Nuxe’s Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm. The French always get me. This lovely honey-chocolate-yum (I know, I’m so good at describing fragrance) treat melts onto lips leaving a matte finish and makes the perfect base for color. It’s ideal for men who are terrified of looking like they are wearing gloss for this reason as well as possibly getting girls to want to kiss you (that I can’t promise). Sure, it’s expensive ($19.00 for a pot) but you get a ton. I’ve been keeping the pot next to my bed and my lips are looking pretty pouty and well nourished right now.

Do you need expensive “Parisian pharmacy” lip balm? No. But once you’ve experienced it, I don’t think you’ll want to be without it.

Foundation Primer

Foundation primer is sort of a ridiculous product. You don’t really “need” one if you are already applying moisturizer before foundation or tinted moisturizer and properly powdering any areas that tend to get oily through the day. However, there is something about a primer that just seems so luxurious. And it does have its benefits – additional SPF, pore minimization, additional moisture, and even skincare benefits.

Right now, my love is alternating between two primers, two that do entirely different things. I'm kind of a playa. The first, Hourglass No. 28 PrimerSerum, a cocktail of essential oils, smells absolutely divine. I actually wish I could wear this lavender-y, herbal-y serum as a fragrance. But more importantly, it does beautiful things for those of you with dry skin. It makes an ideal base for a more matte foundation, as it will give it a dewy sheen, and provides an environment shield.

The second obsession of mine is tarte’s BB tinted treatment 12-hourprimer SPF 30. At this point, everyone and their mom wants a BB cream. The South Korean (by way of Germany) miracle tinted moisturizer/treatment/sunscreen/etc. has swept the makeup world by storm. Well tarte’s new BB is different, since it is a primer, not just a one color fits all cream. It comes in four shades, applies like a dream, and leaves skin feeling like silk with redness and imperfections diffused and sheerly covered. This works for all skin types, as it will help mattify oil but also keeps skin looking healthy and moisturized. If you tend to be drier, I would put a moisturizer, or even the Hourglass No.28 mentioned above, beneath it. I love buffing it in with their buffer airbrush finish bamboo foundation brush, putting a touch of maracuja creaseless concealer under my eyes, and being done with my skin for that “no makeup” look. When topped with my usual foundation (Nars Sheer Glow), I look like I’m walking around yielding special Instagram skin blur filter powers.

I’ve previously discussed my obsession with hair serums and oils – Kerastase Elixir Ultime and Moroccan Oil Light turn the parched bottle blonde sass growing out of my head into tamed, shiny locks. So you ask, “well Charlotte, if you already love those products, why try another one?” Because I’m a product addict, damnit!

My wonderful stepbrother gave me an gift card for Christmas (um, basically the best gift ever. You can find ANYTHING on Amazon) and I went buckwild purchasing products I probably would not have spent money on otherwise. Okay, that is totally a lie because I spend lots of money on products, but whatever, I think it’s a decent explanation.

So onto Rodin Olio Lusso. Started  by legendary stylist Linda Rodin, this pricy line has won rave reviews from the who’s who of the glitterati. Since I obviously want to be a part of the aforementioned exclusive clan, I have to try it too.

Turns out, this oil is a dream. After I shampoo and condition with Alterna’s Caviar Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner (new favorite), I brush out my hair (I know, I really should comb it) and apply the smallest dab of this stuff to the ends. Seriously, the smallest amount you can get out of the dropper, because there were several days when I applied far too much and I looked sort of expensively dirty. It smells essential-oily and awesome, and leaves frizz flattened, ends smoothed, and a gleam of health behind.