Winter Beauty MVPs

Beauty Idealist

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the most maddening time of year. Years spent as a student has given me near anxiety of wanting to experience and enjoy the seasonal merriment while also buckling down for the finals that loom in the ever approaching distance. While I’ve usually focused on skincare, this post is about those most valuable products that I’ve found myself relying on lately to look and feel my best whether it’s meeting a professor, stopping into a store for a gift buying session or catching up with busy friends over holiday cheer.

Byredo Gypsy Water

To me Byredo will always represent the first niche line I ever tried. What an exciting time that was to venture out of my comfort zone of Tom Ford, Armani and Chanel fragrances to try this then little heard of company with growing cult status. Now Byredo is game changer, managing to retain it’s cult-favorite status while expanding their doors in a major way.

In a line of simple and sometimes alarmingly stark selections, Gypsy Water is the signature in my opinion. It goes on citrus and dries toward incense. Surprising and captivating, making me feel somewhat powerful yet understated enough throughout the day.

Celine Bicolor Clutch

I’ve not discovered anything more versatile and understated as these now iconic two tone clutches from Celine that go with everything. They’re just the right size to fit the necessities: phone, cards, keys and the extras.

Kjaer Weis Lip Tint

I have to be honest that I didn’t like this at first. As the first green lip product I tried, I found the color to be a little basic and the texture to be dry/rough compared to the silky lip products I had been using. Yet I persisted, for two main reasons: 1. The Kjaer Weis packaging is just so damn glamorous. It literally turns heads as I reapply after meals. 2. Complaints aside, the sacrifice is worth it for safer ingredients since we eat the majority of what we put on our lips.

Over time this grew on me and Dream State is that perfect nude that doesn’t give the impression that you “dressed up” for any occasion but just that you look “together”. It also keeps lips moist (thanks to jojoba oil, shea butter and beeswax) and although you will need to reapply throughout the day, it’s not like that’s a bad thing, especially when it’s another opportunity to whip out the metal slider!

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation

The Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation collection might be limited in color range but it makes up for it in perfect coverage and wearability. You’ll frequently hear beauty editors talking about how the HG foundation should give that perfect “your skin but better” appearance and this is as close as it comes to that in real life. This foundation is so light and layerable for deeper coverage yet the result is always a near nude never cakey appearance. You can go an entire day without feeling like you’re wearing any foundation. I’ve sang its praises time and again on Twitter but a good product deserves accolades.

Yuli Metamorphic Elixir

Yuli’s line is just genius and their elixirs have been on quite an editorial role lately. This elixir in particular seems to be making waves right now among the beauty heavy hitters, between make-up artists and celebrities. It’s my latest purchase from them and although I was initially hesitant since this is for dry/mature skin, I took the plunge after reading through the ingredients: a rose complex of 5 types of roses, hyaluronic acid that they make themselves from organic botanicals, Vitamin C, and the list goes on. And I’m glad I took the chance because this is perfect for winter and so so necessary. Where I usually get dry, flaky skin around my lips and cheeks this has helped keep my skin plump and hydrated. Since this is a hydro-based product (rather than oil based), it also addresses the water aspect of moisture (managing dehydrated skin rather than just dry skin) that balms, oils and butters will not address which is probably why my skin has never looked better.

Oh and the smell, the roses are light and luxurious. It makes me think of what a wealthy Upper East Side lady with a light, sophisticated touch would have in her beauty vanity. Each spray makes me feel wrapped in luxury. A knockout.

Look for in-depth reviews of these in the future, but in the meantime are there are products on my MVPs list that are also yours? 

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My July Must Have Products

(Starting Top-Clockwise: Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal, Byredo Parfums Le Tulipe, Weleda Skin Food, YULI Liquid Courage, Vapour Organics Lipstick, Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30, Kahina Cleanser, Guerlain Terracota Bronzer, Sunday Riley Effortless Tinted Primer, Tom Ford Foundation Brush, YULI Panacea Elixir)

Instead of a one-product review, I thought I’d also do a post on what my favorite products have been for the past month. During the summer, my primary focus is taking care of my skin in the hot, sunny weather. These are the products I’ve been using:

1. Aesop Tuberose Lip Heal ($31, Aesop.com) – a gorgeous lip roller that uses a blend of plant and nut oils to deliver gentle hydration. It doubles as a scent which really smells good and kept me from licking it off! 

2. Byredo Le Tulipe ($145, Byredo.com) – The spring/summer scent from Byredo, a very pure, simple fragrance that has a beautiful tulip scent between vetiver and rhubarb notes. This is that perfect scent that once worn a little is the perfect subtle blend whether you’re at the beach or walking to lunch in Manhattan. The price might be a little high, but I love myself a lux-niche product, if you couldn’t tell.

3. Weleda Skin Food ($18.50, Weleda) – A staple for any season, Skin Food is always in my bag for those ‘touch ups’. This is my clean version of the 8-hour cream. It moisturizes rough spots on the hands and arms and leaves skin soft and healthy. Although it is for dry skin, I feel like using a the right amount on any type of skin will provide lots of benefits.

4. YULI Liquid Courage ($125, YULI) – Sun damage and summer go hand in hand. I really wanted a clean, antioxidant serum to protect my skin from the sun and found it with Liquid Courage. It is such a light serum that really sinks into skin and absorbs fast under any SPF and smells fantastic. It uses a blend of antioxidant rich plant seeds and biofermented actives to deliver a potent natural antioxidant kick. My skin is absolutely glowing and radiant from this, while it protects my skin, I have to say, it also gives me the appearance of ‘rest in a bottle’. The price might scare some, but it lasts a long time, and I know that they just launched the option to buy deluxe samples of the products on their website.

5. Vapour Organics Siren Lipstick ($22, Vapour Organics) – Created by some of the brains behind the late, great Kevyn Aucion, Vapour Organics uses clean formulations that provide comparable results to leading cosmetics brands. The Siren Lipstick is the first product I bought from them, after reading about the dangers of lead, carcinogens, and other chemical junk found in most lipsticks on the market. The pigments are very rich and I noticed that unlike a lot of pigmented lipsticks, this also moisturized my lips. I think the blend of castor seed oil and beeswax gives it a lip balm effect, but the high pigmentation makes it a very successful lip stick. A wonderfully made product that will be a staple in my beauty closet.

6. Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30 ($125, Sunday Riley) – This isn’t the cleanest SPF on the market, but it might be the most expensive. To be honest, I’m disappointed with the options for sun protection on the market, the luxury brands think for some reason everyone wants a bronzer and spf in one or they stock it with chemicals, while the natural brands tend to go for clunky physical blocks. Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30 is kind of that right balance between clean enough and high end. The white fluid sinks into skin very fast and leaves no scent. It didn’t make my skin shiny or oily, nor did it make my skin dry. I think the consistency is perfect, not watery but not clunky.

7. Kahina Cleanser ($56, Kahina) – I’ve mentioned this cleanser on my blog a few times already but I really like it. It’s fortified with nourishing oils for skin but at the same time balances your complexion so skin is not dry or oily. I think the Vitamin E is especially needed to cancel out any sun damage sustained during the day. 

8. Guerlain Terracota Bronzer ($50, Sephora) – The epitome of a natural bronzer. Does not go on orange, or muddy. Just the right shade and density for most skin types, stays on all day. Gives that perfect healthy glow. 

9. Sunday Riley Effortless Tinted Primer ($48, Barneys) – A lot has been said about this primer. I don’t know if the ‘oxygen hole’ technology is marketing hype or if there is a real benefit to it, but I just enjoy this primer for the simple fact that it is like a primer + tinted moisturizer in one. It smooths the skin while adding a little color. I find on my low key days, this is all I need.

10. Tom Ford Foundation Brush ($70, Neiman Marcus) – My favorite brush by a wide margin. Very soft, densely packed brushes with little shed over time. I also love the high-quality ‘heavy’ feel of the brushes. I know that these brushes are made in Japan, which has a reputation for their brush quality. I know it is a white colored brush, but it really does retain this color after many applications and washes. The brushes themselves pick up just the right amount of foundation and are not streaky at all. Makeup goes on seemless and flawless.

11. YULI Panacea Elixir ($36, YULI) – There was my skincare before this product and there is my skincare after this product. Panacea means ‘cure-all’ and this product is exactly that. Some people don’t believe in toning their skin, but after you’ve tried this and see the results, you will be converted! This made my pores so tiny and really firmed up my skin. It’s like a bootcamp in a mist for the face. There is also no alcohol in here, everything is natural and clean. Also, this sets make up really well, and the skincare benefits are delivered throughout the day with this under the makeup so your skin is actually improving as you set your makeup using this product.