My first Beauty post! I can’t remember a time in my life when I was not obsessed with skincare and makeup. When I was a young child I loved my mom’s Oil of Olay Beauty Fluid. I still remember that mysterious pink liquid in the glass bottle with the original logo on the front. I used to give myself facials by washing my face and then applying mommy’s ‘beauty fluid’. My mother said that by the time I was 5 I could paint my own fingernails and apply makeup better than her. It’s safe to say that over the years I have fallen in and out with nearly every brand of makeup and skincare on the market. I became an expert with drugstore brands in my teenage years. I spent all my paychecks from my after school job buying makeup and face masks. When I became an adult I graduated to department store brands and home-based selling brands like Mary Kay and Avon. It was a given that I would work in the beauty industry. I started out working in a store that sold cosmetics and perfume. I was fresh out of high school and landed what I thought was my dream job! I learned the art and detail of perfume. I apprenticed to be a makeup artist. I was in heaven! But sadly, heaven was cut short when the company that owned the store went out of business. So I rolled up my sleeves and went to school to become a cosmetologist. My year in beauty school expanded my passion for skincare and makeup to include hair color and nail treatments. For 15 years I had a successful career servicing an amazing clientele of women and men. I gave haircuts. I specialized in hair color correction. And, I was damn good at creating a set of acrylic sculptured nails. My appointment book was rarely empty. I built a solid reputation for performing relaxing, therapeutic spa treatments. My clients sought me out when their faces broke out or they needed to brighten up before a big event.
I loved the beauty industry. I still do. But, after 15 years I needed a change so I pursued a college degree. But that’s a story for another time. What I want to share with you now are my top go-to beauty solutions. These are my tried and true recommendations. These are the products and hacks I always come back to no matter what. They are the magic potions that pick me up and make me feel pretty. I’m not being paid by any company to endorse these products. In fact, I’m hoping none of these brands sue me for mentioning their products without their permission. I hope one of these suggestions is useful to you. And, if you’re so obliged, please leave me your suggestions, tips, and favorite tricks in the comments section.
- Rosemary essential oil. I know lavender is supposed to be the recommended go-to essential oil to have in your medicine cabinet but I feel like rosemary is terribly underrated. Rosemary oil is usually less expensive than lavender and has just as many uses. It’s a potent stress reliever. Put a few drops in a diffuser and relax as rosemary reduces the level of stress hormone cortisol in your bloodstream. Rosemary also helps with anxiety and mental clarity when blended with lavender oil. Rosemary increases circulation and helps with muscle cramps and headaches. My favorite use for rosemary is as an anti dandruff treatment. You can add a few drops of rosemary oil to any shampoo to make it an anti dandruff shampoo, or if you have a very bad case then apply the oil directly to your scalp and massage it in. Rosemary oil feels wonderful on the scalp! It has a slight cool feeling. It encourages hair growth, treats dandruff, and the smell will calm your nerves and soothe you.
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. I’ve been washing my face with this for 27 years. I’ve tried other cleansers and face washes but always come back to this. It’s fragrance free. It melts makeup and removes waterproof mascara. It calms your skin and leaves it smooth. It clears up acne. It’s great for dry skin. And now, it comes in convenient face cloths.
- Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. Never leave home without it. I have 7 at any given time. One in my purse, one in my desk drawer, one on my bedside table, one in my makeup case, one on the sofa table, one in the car, and one in my coat pocket or beach bag depending on the season.
- Neutrogena Hand Cream. Heals the driest, roughest, most cracked and sore hands but is never greasy. Your skin and nails drink it in and you won’t streak your phone or tablet.
- The best exfoliator for your face are dollar store wash cloths. Yes, you read that right. I use the rough, cheap, scratchy wash cloths from the dollar store to exfoliate my face. This is another skincare hack I’ve been doing for 20 years. I buy a package of wash cloths from the dollar store. They’re usually sold in packs of 10 for a dollar. They’re rough and thin. I keep them rolled up in a basket next to my sink. At night, before bed, I wash my make up off with Cetaphil and then run one of these washcloths under really hot water and then press it to my skin and hold for a few moments before scrubbing. This removes all of the dead cells leaving my skin brighter and healthier. In the morning when I wake up I run the same washcloth under cold water and press it to my eyes and hold for a few moments. This reduces puffiness. Then, I scrub my face with the washcloth all over again. Mechanical exfoliation is the best anti-aging hack in the world.
- The secret to clearing up really bad pimples is Neosporin and Cortisone 10. This treatment is for really bad pimples. The angry red ones that are sore and won’t go away. The reason they hang around is that the pore is not only clogged but inflamed and infected. The Neosporin clears up the infection, and the Cortisone 10 clears up the inflammation. Apply both before bed and when you wake up the pimple should be well on its way to healing up and gone
- Always fill in your eyebrows with powder or gel but never a pencil. One of the secrets to great make up is having your eyebrows properly groomed. No matter how well you have them waxed or threaded you need to fill them in. Pencils always make your eyebrows look drawn on. Use an eyebrow powder or gel cream and try to match the color as close to your eyebrow color as possible
- When in doubt choose a French manicure. French manicures always look great. They work with jeans and a t-shirt, a little black dress, or a ballgown.
- Bag Balm cures almost anything. I cringed when I typed this but its true. Growing up my mom’s go-to first aid was Bag Balm. Scraped knees, cuts, burns her answer was Bag Balm. My siblings and I used to tease her that if we severed a limb she would grease the bloody stump up with Bag Balm convinced we would grow a new limb by morning. This disgusting goop in the green can used to be sold at farm stores. It was made for chapped cow’s udders. While it doesn’t grow new limbs it is a damn good wonder treatment to keep around. These days you don’t have to go to the farm store to buy it. It’s showing up in the beauty aisle of the drug store. Bag Balm works great on rough elbows and knees. Its wonderful for cracked heels. It is the best prevention for diaper rash in the world. Its an excellent cuticle cream. There’s so many uses for this goop I’ll probably have to write a page just for this!
- Fenty Stunna Lip Paint. This is a recent find for me. Fenty is Rhianna’s makeup line. Stunna Lip Paint is a liquid lipstick that comes in one color – the world’s most perfect shade of red lipstick ever. This red lipstick looks beautiful on anyone. Seriously, think you can’t wear red lipstick? Well, Rhinna has you covered with Fenty Stunna Lip Paint. This will be my go-to red lipstick until I’m too old to wear red lipstick anymore!