February 7, 2016

Luxury Products Worth Shelling Out For

I absolutely love finding a good deal. I also love sharing those deals with you guys. I think there are so many incredible products out there that work so well that don't cost an arm and a leg. Drugstore skincare and cosmetics have come a long way over the past decade. That being said, every so often I like to treat myself and splurge on products that I absolutely know I love and that work 100% of the time for me. Even more fun is when a brand introduces me to a luxe product that I may not have purchased for myself due to price alone, or not being able to justify the cost due to not knowing enough about the product.

I thought it might be a fun follow up to my last post about budget finds, to show you guys a few of my favorite "luxury" items and why I love them. I'll be sure to let you know whether or not I purchased them myself, or if they were provided to me from the brand, just for transparency's sake.

Without further ado...

Let's start with YSL Touche Eclat. Look. There are many many other "concealer pens" out there that mimic the Touche Eclat, but that's where there's no comparison. This isn't a concealer pen so much as it is a radiance pen. Yes, it helps conceal under eye circles and even out skin tone, but it provides a finish so beautiful, smooth, and creamy that I just have not been able to find elsewhere. That goes for drugstore AND department store products. Are there good options out there that are more affordable? Yes, of course. But a true dupe just does not exist. I was introduced to this product when I worked as a YSL Counter Manager, and have repurchased many replacements since then. They have an impressive shade range (I'm no. 2 Ivory and sometimes no. 1 Radiance if I want more of a porcelain doll look to my skin). Anytime you see a ".5" after the number, it has a bit more of a yellow or warm tone to it. So if you hate pinkiness to your complexion products, make sure you choose one with a ".5" after it. Also available at Sephora, YSL, Barney's and Sak's.

Okay this one. THISSSS ONE. I've had some really incredible skincare sent to me since the blog has gained momentum (thank you to everyone who reads this lil thing!) and for the most part, I've been really happy with what I've received. However, this bad boy was sent to me about a month ago, and I really wanted to use it for at least a couple weeks to see how my skin responded. I feel I should preface by saying I don't have many fine lines or wrinkles (thanks, Mom!) but don't write me off just yet. What I'm lacking in wrinkles, I make up for in gigantic pores and uneven texture. We can't win 'em all. Enter StriVectin Multi-Action Restorative Cream. When I first received this, I have to admit, I thought to myself "hmm, another anti-aging skin cream...we'll see how you do...." Well, I stand before you humbled. This cream, I'm convinced, has completely changed the texture, tone, and brightness of my complexion. The consistency is almost a whipped, airy feel, which is a welcomed texture to us oily-skinned gals. It doesn't feel heavy at all on the skin, making it an ideal daily and nightly moisturizer for me. The first morning I woke up after using this, I had NO greasiness to my face (which usually happens on my nose, forehead and chin) but my face also didn't feel tight or dry. After a few days of using this, I decided to incorporate the other skincare product provided to me from StriVectin (the Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner) a while back that I was liking on it's own just fine. Let me tell you something: when used in conjunction with this face cream, the results are amplified tenfold. It's as if they were made for each other. Kind of like the Beyonce and Jay-Z of skincare products. Here's where things get kind of backwards and took me a bit to get used to. You use the Restorative Cream first, and then you apply the Pore Refiner as the last step to your regimen. This seemed strange to me as it seemed like the thicker cream should go on top, but questioning StriVectin on skincare advice is kind of like questioning Donald Trump on how to get the best comb-over. You just trust the experts. It's almost like the Pore Refiner seals in the Restorative Cream. I can't tell you the difference this has made in the size and texture of my pores, especially on my forehead. I feel like my forehead is so smooth I could challenge my 7-month old to a skin-off (those exist right??) I scooched myself over to the StriVectin website and saw that (GASP!) they are offering a FREE deluxe sample of the Multi-Action Restorative Cream (7ml) with any $50 purchase with code: FREEMA. I would be remiss not to mention their Auto Replenishment program also, as it saves you 20% with each order. So do yourself a favor, head over to their site, sign up as an Inner Circle member (it's free), pick something out for $50, then pop FREEMA in at checkout to get a sample of this stuff! You can thank me later.

Moving on to hair care! I feel like there are SO many incredible high-end shampoos and conditioners I could recommend, so for the sake of simplicity, I chose an item that is a game-changer for me. Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Repair Rescue Sealed Ends. This product is an absolute must have for people who are trying to grow out their hair, and anyone with dry, brittle or split ends. Let me just clarify first, that nothing replaces a good old fashioned trim from a professional when your ends are truly splitting (you can't mistake split ends, if you have 'em, you know). However, if you're like me and your ends are dry and parched from heat styling and trying to stretch my trims as long as possible to get some growth on my hair, then you need this stuff. It comes in a small squeeze bottle because it will last you forevvvvver and the tiniest bit goes a long way. Really. Don't overdo it on this stuff or it will weigh your hair down. And don't think "oh I'll just apply it as a mask to my whole head of hair!" Nah, fam. It's only for your ends. Apply to literally just your ends...as in...no further up than half an inch...when your hair is damp. You can either proceed to blow drying, or you can twist hair up into a loose bun and secure with an ouchless elastic or scrunchy (please though, don't wear the scrunchy out in public. I don't care how many magazines say they're making a comeback #JustNo).

Here's another skincare item that I discovered on my own. Always purchased with my own scrill (le sigh). Clarins Face Treatment Oils are sooooo luxurious. The really neat thing about them, other than the fact that they seriously treat the actual skin instead of just making it soft temporarily, is that there is a formula for each skin type. I typically use the "Lotus" formula, but I'm also a fan of Blue Orchid. These are truly incredible and so lush in the dryer weather. I can't even begin to tell you how lovely the scents are either. Coming from an Aveda background, I fell in love with these at first sniff. Here's a little tip: head over to your local Nordstrom and have one of the Clarins counter gals give you a free sample. It's super easy to "drop" into their little glass sample jars. A little bit goes a long way.

I realllllly geeked out over this next one. Again, not given to me, purchased with my own money. Similar to the hair care topic, there are quite a few luxury or department store foundations that I'm gaga over, but this little miracle in a bottle is my newest obsession. Cover FX Custom Cover Drops. This entire line, if you're not familiar, has complexion products totally nailed. They are killing it in almost every foundation, concealer, and powder they crank out. However, the Custom Cover Drops are truly revolutionary because they can take any old foundation, drugstore or department store, and totally customize it to your needs. These are straight pigment. Ultimate coverage with little to no weight whatsoever. The size of the bottle is really small because you really are going drop by drop as needed. These are NOT designed to be used on their own. You're supposed to use them with other beauty products. They way I like to use mine (I'm color N10) is I first apply my foundation or CC cream to the palm of my hand, then I drop the desired number of drops directly on top of it, then I mix it with my finger until it's totally blended. I then apply with either my BeautyBlender, or my Morphe M439 brush. Another reason these drops are so cool, is not only can you totally adjust your coverage, but if you have multiple foundations that you love that are too light come Spring and Summer when you have a tan, you can buy a deeper color and use it to darken your foundation to match your tanned skin without going out and buying new foundations. Paradoxically you can do the same if you have foundations that are too dark and you need to lighten up with a lighter drop shade. You get the idea. They basically turn us into mad cosmetics scientists! Head over to Sephora to play around with these, figure out your shade, and then you can always order on the Cover FX website and receive 15% off when you sign up for emails!

I'll keep it at these 5 superstars (for now) so as to not overwhelm your wallets! What are some of your favorite higher-end products? Have you tried any of these?

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