The amount of beauty products out there is overwhelming — like, really overwhelming. I know I’m not the only one who has trouble sticking to one product. Rotating out one I ‘kind of like’ for one I may possibly ‘love’ is a regular thing for me (rarely works out that way). After trying so many products, I’ve cut it down to a few of my faves to for the start of 2017.
Venus Swirl ($11)
On a recent trip to the Procter & Gamble HQ, I learned the ins and outs of this gem. I find one of the most annoying things about shaving (besides shaving itself) is shaving my knees only to look down and see all the hair I thought I shaved off. This razor solves that problem — seriously. It has a ball between the handle and blade cartridge that helps get all those little nooks and crannies that every other razor misses. I also love the fact that it has a serum built into the cartridge, so really, if you happen to run out of shave gel or are just plain lazy (*raises hand*), you can just use the razor.
Pros: comfortable handle, five blades, gets all the hard to reach places, built-in serum, glides effortlessly
Cons: refills are pricey
Archipelago Botanicals: Blue Sea Kale Marine Lotion ($25)
Breaking news: kale is good for more than just eating. This Blue Sea Kale Marine Lotion is full of blue algae and kale, jojoba esters and other marine and plant-based ingredients. It’s also paraben and sulfate-free. My favorite part is the smell — very beachy. My second favorite part is the fact that it works. My skin was still moisturized the following day (in the dead of winter). This lotion also doesn’t leave that greasy feeling, which I cannot stand.
Pros: long-lasting moisture, smells awesome, quality, natural
Cons: price (Okay, so it’s a little pricey, but I will say you get what you pay for. I think it’s worth it.)
Art Naturals Anti-Fungal Body & Foot Wash ($12)
I was little skeptical about using this product at first as the word “anti-fungal” threw me off a bit. With that being said, this body wash is great for anybody and I’m obsessed with it. I can’t speak to its claims to relieve or treat pain and irritation associated with fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, psoriasis and ringworm — but I can tell you every time I use this wash, I feel so clean. The smell is incredible. It’s a combination of tea tree, eucalyptus, oregano, peppermint, jojoba and other natural botanical extracts. I also used it when I had a really bad cold, and it helped relieve my congestion due to the strong smell. It lathers up great and really helps with dry, itchy skin.
Pros: natural ingredients, smells great, relieves dry itchy skin, deodorizes, paraben-free, cruelty-free
COVERGIRL Simply Ageless 3-in-1 Liquid Foundation ($12)
I am super picky about my foundation. I suffered from acne as a kid, so I’m always looking for something that’s not too heavy but will still give me enough coverage to cover my scars. Simply Ageless did just that for me. It’s not too heavy but yet covers really well. I also use the Simply Ageless primer with it, which works really well, too.
Pros: price, goes on smoothly, lightweight, long-lasting, blends well
Cons: color choices only go to “Natural Tan”
Hair Food Shampoo & Conditioner ($10)
As someone with thick, wavy, color-treated hair, I always look at the ingredients when purchasing hair products. I tried Clairol’s Hair Food for color-treated hair — scented with white nectarine and pear. My first thought? Holy crap — this stuff smells incredible. After that, I got down to what really matters. My hair wasn’t left feeling too heavy or greasy; it was shiny and the smell stayed on my hair throughout the day.
Pros: paraben-, mineral oil-, dye- and gluten-free; scent; price
Cons: didn’t see a huge improvement in hair health
MDSUN Toner ($48)
As an avid user of Witch Hazel for toner, it’s really hard for me to justify spending $48 on a toner. On the other hand, I know how important skin care is, so I’m open minded. MDSUN’s toner is for morning and evening use after washing your face. It’s intended for oily, dry or combination skin and includes some key ingredients: collagen, provitamin B5, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. The smell isn’t the most amazing smell in the world, but it definitely doesn’t smell bad. This toner wiped away residue my regular face wash didn’t and left my skin feeling refreshed and still moisturized. The only downside is it comes in spray form, which is great for convenience, but it takes several sprays to wet the cotton pad enough.
Pros: alcohol-free, moisturizing, refreshing
Cons: price, spray-form
MDSUN Super-Brightening Mask ($39)
Finding a mask that actually leads you to see a difference in your skin can be struggle. There are a ton out there that make a lot of empty promises. MDSUN’s Super-Brightening Masks claims to penetrate “skin to 0.3mm skin depth, transforming skin for a radiant, bright and glowing effect.” And it did just that. You do have to leave the face mask on for 20 to 30 minutes, but it’s totally worth it.
Pros: brightens skin, smells great, lightweight, non-greasy, soothes skin
Cons: price, has to sit for 20 to 30 minutes
EVOLVh SmartStart Leave-In Conditioner ($15)
EVOLVh SmartStart Leave-in Conditioner’s main purpose is to protect color and prevent dryness and breakage. First thing I did when I received this was check out the ingredient list, and I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the first few ingredients (after water) included rice bran extract, black cumin seed oil, palm kernel oil, lecithin and pumpkin seed oil. (It doesn’t stop there either.)
I really loved how this product made my hair feel — and the smell is to die for. It didn’t leave my hair greasy (despite going a little overboard because it smelled so good) and somewhat helped with detangling. It wasn’t the best detangler, but it helped a little bit.
Pros: sulfate- and paraben-free, vegan, smells great
Cons: price ($15 for 2.5 fl oz), doesn’t detangle very well
Eau Good Filter Water Bottle ($20)
The idea of drinking water with a charcoal stick in it isn’t exactly appealing, right? But the claims are fascinating — and it’s not what you’d think. Box Appetit’s Eau Good was created in an effort to stop people from purchasing bottled water. The black stick is called Binchotan charcoal and without getting too technical, the point of it is to eliminate all the nasty crap that resides in tap water. I expected to be able to taste the charcoal, but I couldn’t taste it all. I love what Box Appetit is trying to do and am all for doing anything to help the environment.
Pros: environmentally friendly, eliminates toxins in tap water, portable, easy to clean
Cons: price, fragile — it’s made of glass
Have you discovered any new products this year that you absolutely adore? Do share! —Erika