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? 

Product Review: Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF15

I’ve written about Koh Gen Do’s Aqua Foundation on this blog before, but I wanted to dedicate a post to it as this has been my go-to summer foundation. I was first turned onto this through Emily Weiss of Intothegloss (watch the beautifully shot video here). I loved how buttery the texture looked and I loved even more how it blended in with the skin. I am not crazy about foundations that are too obvious or cakey, and I usually don’t take advice from beauty representatives who apply so much makeup you can’t really see their true skin- I feel like they have something to hide.

When I went to my local Barneys to try this product, I noticed these gorgeous girls stop by to pick up this foundation. They all had bright, even toned skin that looked natural and it was only after chatting with them that I learned they had Koh Gen Do on. The seemless, translucent, but improved skin effect is definitely what I want in my foundation. You know that Dolly Parton saying, “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap?”- I feel like with beauty, “it takes a lot of money to look this natural”. 


Koh Gen Do is a Japanese cosmetics line that does both beauty and skincare. This foundation is said to have the perfect ratio (water, emollients, powder) to impart a glow that only healthy, moisturized skin can give off. In addition to this skin technology, they also use pure mineral water that balances ions on skin, and also delivers nutrients. Although many foundations claim to feature skin benefits, I feel like this actually kind of does what it says.

When I applied 2 pumps of this product to my face (the Rep advised using KGD’s own rubberized sponges) using just my hands, I noticed how quick it blended in without drying. It felt so light, almost like a light tinted moisturizer. Even at $62 a bottle, I knew I had to get it.

In my regular use, I’ve noticed that although it is a very light, near sheer foundation, it greatly improves the subtle look of skin to give you a glow that only comes from being well rested. My skin just looks healthier while maintaining a very natural appearance. In the summer heat, I’ve noticed the light texture is especially favorable as it doesn’t melt off or get messy over my face. It also did not dry or make my skin oily which some foundations do (Lancome Teint Idole dries me out so much). Although this isn’t a full coverage foundation, it does last for a substantial amount of time, if you aren’t too active, you can easily get 6-7 hours out of it which is perfect for dinner and a night out.

Additional tip: The women at Barneys recommended using KGD’s Oriental Plants Skin Lotion Spray to help set the foundation and impart dewiness. I agree that using a mist takes the foundation to another level but the Oriental Plants Skin Lotion Spray had too many not-clean ingredients for me as well as lots of alcohol derivatives. I substituted that for YULI’s Panacea Elixir which uses organic and wild grown botanicals and flower hydrosols. Not only did it do the job of imparting dewiness, but it also literally makes my skin better with its fresh, bioactives. And at $36 for 3oz versus $22 for 1.7oz, I was getting a better deal for a better, cleaner formulated product. 

Current Favorite Products

Starting my 1st post off with my current favorites (which, as you will get to know me, changes every week)


Current Foundation: Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF15/PA++

A deliciously smooth foundation from Koh Gen Do ($62, that is perfect for spring/summer. This light foundation goes on with medium coverage to add that ‘perfection’ without the caked on makeup look. I love that hydration is delivered through seawater minerals and botanicals. Putting it on makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my skin and not just covering it up. It stays throughout the day, but I would definitely remove and start with a clean face for re-application between day & night.


Current Primer: Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF50 PA+++

Love the Chantecaille line, which boasts botanicals and naturals. This primer not only delivers a smooth base for your foundation, but also protects skin with SPF50. It also reverses damage and aging caused by sugar-metabolism, which is very interesting. I’m not sure if I noticed any anti-aging but I was thrilled to use this as a primer. It went on very very light, and absorbed easily without giving my skin any trouble. Also love the metal tube, great to put into my bag for flights

Current lipstick: Guerlain Shine Automatique ($35,

Guerlain is one of my favorite brands. I first fell in love with their foundations, but as they are a little heavy for me, I’ve started playing with other products in their line. The Shine Automatique is beautiful. It is creamy, decadent, and hydrating. It adds shine to lips through pearl infused particles so it is rather discreet. I found this to be the perfect level for me where it was enough to stand out from a being a flat color, but wasn’t distracting at the gym (yes I put lipstick on even when I walk to the gym). The tube is gorgeous and I love digging it out of my bag.

That’s it for now, next post- the cleansers I have on rotation!