Monday, March 12, 2012


Admittedly, I am not much of a beauty maven. Although I could spend hours shopping and playing dress-up, my eyes kind of glaze over at the cosmetics counter. That's why it is so thrilling when I do fall in love with a product. It's not an exaggeration to say that in some small way, beauty products that are simple, fast, and, most importantly, free you from worrying about your skin can really change your life. (A longtime favorite product, L'Oreal's Sublime Mist self-tanner, has changed many of my friends' lives and made it onto my 10 Things I Can't Live Without post). Here are 5 life-changing products I am loving now:

The "Yes to" lines have wonderful products that are just real. Natural and free of parabens, fragrance, SLS, and petroleum, "Yes to" products get back to basics. The "Yes to Carrots" Daily Cream Facial Cleanser captures the goodness of carrots, nourishing the skin with Beta-Carotene, a natural form of Vitamin A that protects from external effects. The cleanser smells delicious and feels decadent on the skin, giving an instant glow and even tone.

Like its Carrots Cleanser counterpart, the "Yes to Tomatoes" Acne Daily Pore Scrub uses natural, basic ingredients free of additives. The acne scrub has ground mango seeds and bamboo to act as an exfoliant, ginger root to calm redness, and acne fighter salicylic acid. The main ingredient, tomatoes, contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with "anti-inflammatory properties [to] encourage a balanced and clearer complexion" and vitamins for control of sebum secretion. I swear by using both: Carrots Cleanser in the morning, and Tomatoes at night.

This hypoallergenic toner leaves skin refreshed and clear without harsh dryness. Free of fragrance and pH balanced, Boots No 7 toner evens skin tone, minimizes pores, and feels luxurious without the high cost of a luxury product.

B.B. Creams have been garnering tons of buzz lately, and for good reason. The creams first became popular in Asia for their lightweight consistency and balmy, concealing effect on the skin. It is said to be a hybrid "advanced skincare + immediate skin perfecting" formula that nourishes skin as well as corrects blemishes. It gives a gorgeous healthy glow and the illusion of perfect, naked skin while simultaneously working to heal imbalances. I've tried the Garnier and Clinique versions, and much prefer Garnier, as it is lighter and better matches my skin.

It's well known that NARS makes the best blush and bronzer, and their universally flattering shades of Orgasm and Laguna, respectively, have become iconic. A sweep of both over the face is an instant pick-me-up, concealing every ailment from tiredness to lack of Vitamin D. In an answer to every girl's prayer, both can now be found in one palette, along with NARS' amazing highlighter in Albatross. What's more, the compact is padded, protecting it from splintering all over the bathroom counter if dropped. (A boyfriend once walked in on me in the bathroom literally crying over spilled bronzer after shattering my original Laguna compact). Although a bit more pricey than other popular palettes ($55), there is no competition-- NARS' trio truly is a game changer.

What other products have been lifechangers?

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