Complete honesty. Sometimes I love products because the packaging is absolutely stunning. Or unexpected. Or really cool. Sometimes I must own a shade even when I know it’s not the best for my skintone because it’s just so pretty to stare at. Sometimes I like the way things lay on my vanity — even when I never pick them up for use. I can’t help it. I am innately and unapologetically visual. BUT. And there’s a but. Sometimes you just need beauty solutions. You need something that is useful AF. And if the packaging is bare or basic or bizarre, who cares. Because this stuff WORKS.
Well if that sometime is now, I have 6 new things to share with you!
#1. For when you skin is looking dull… AF.
Marlena first covered these Montagne Jeunesse masks for the site and I was intrigued not only because she raved about them but also because they are all mostly like 2 bucks. Seriously. $2. So Paul and I got in on the action. He did the Red Hot Earth Sauna Masque which is for deep pore cleansing. And I did the Hot Spring Sauna Masque that deep cleans pores too – but also exfoliates (with chopped ginger!!) and polishes skin.
We loved the fun colors of these masks, obvi, and the self-heating element but afterwards we did literally glow. Even in the pits of the NYC subway system where we snapped the above selfie, Glow Game Strong.
Also, the light makeup that I did wear that afternoon glided on like a fairytale fantasy. My post-mask face was a smooth and soft canvas that I hardly wanted to cover. Rare for this cosmetics lover!!
These budget babe masks are definitely a score.
#2. For when your lips are dry or chapped… AF.
These $9 Le Couvent de Minimes Baume du Sourire (Smile Lip Balm) are THE BALM.
Their simple grey squeezy tubes contain almost a gel formula, with shea butter, marshallow extract and apricot seed oil, that instantly soothes and nourishes lips.
I absolutely love them and have given them as gifts too. They are a great way to keep lips supple, especially if you’re doing a lot of liquid lipstick, matte lipstick or lipstains. Which most of us are these days.
Love the way they look. Love the way they feel. Love the way they smell. A perfect lippie trifecta.
#3. For when your face is reactive or sensitive… AF.
So this little bottle here is $48. Here’s why it’s worth it.
Custom FX Custom Infusion Drops mix with creams, oils, serums and moisturizers (or makeup) to give added skincare benefits. There are four types: Hydration, Radiance, Anti-aging and Calming.
I got Calming with Vitamin E and Chamomile because I test a LOT of product for work. Some products have supercharged ingredients. Some are scrubs. Some have exfoliating agents. And sometimes my skin is left a little sensitive. A little irritated. A little pissed off.
Enter the drops.
I add them to more gentle skincare products to give my skin a break and to offer it a bit of rebalancing. It’s basically like a hug for my face. And my face welcomes it!
#4. For when your eyes look tired… AF.
Lordy lord. This is me. Errrrry day.
And I know, believe me I know, sleep and water are my best friends. But we don’t always get to have our best friends all the time, do we? [insert crying face emoji] Sometimes we’re just running around, working late, trying to not be a stranger to friends and family.
So until I personally have time to down a gallon and sleep 8 hours, best believe I’m faking it.
And this Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Eye Balm is my accomplice.
It comes in full or travel size and just brightens everything up. Blurs the lines and cheats a look of refreshed rested eyes. The skin around the eyes looks radiant and illuminated. And it plays nice with makeup, under or over. In fact, you can reapply it as needed.
I tap it on with my middle finger or ring finger, making sure to hit those crows feet.
#5. For when you feel like you’re aging fast… AF.
Ughhh. I know. It sucks to wake up to a new line or enlarged pore you swear wasn’t there yesterday. On a happy note, you woke up and are alive and well! Hooray!! AND there are tons of amazing skincare products based on science and rooted in innovation to fight those unwelcome guests on your face. YAY.
So here’s a little skin secret: coat your face in plant placenta. For real.
EMK Beverly Hills products are expensive. I can’t write about them and skip that point. But they are chock full of anti-aging ingredients that make a noticeable difference on my face. I use the Rescue Serum ($195), the Optima Face Cream ($90) and occasionally the 3-in-1 Mask ($45). You can read all about the brand and their technology but short and sweet bottom line: they work for me and I would replenish when my samples run out. And I think Claudia, who tested them first and is very cost-conscious, will too. With skincare, results are everything and create that value when the price point is high.
PS, they are also good enough, apparently, for celebs like Madonna and Victoria Beckham. Efficient enough to use post-surgery to minimize or eliminate scarring. And gentle enough to improve cysts and burns.
PPS, I also eat my beauty and take their Sea Buckthorn pills ($48) with my daily supplements.
#6. For when you’re broke… AF – but still need something designer in your life.
“Opulence. I has it.” Sometimes you just want something fancy. But designer bags and shoes are really not an option at the moment. Totally get it.
Why not partake in a designer beauty collaboration??
I was LOVING the 2015 Sally Hansen shades created in partnership with Prabal Gurung, Rodarte and Tracy Reese. From the Prabal Gurung line I tested Midnight Affair (a super rich blue in-between royal and navy), from the Rodarte line Beige Glass (literally like slimming, lengthening nude pantyhose for your nails) and from the Tracy Reese line Winter Sky (a cool concrete grey).
The wear and quality was top-notch, and it was fabulous when people asked about my nails to casually drop, “Oh this old Rodarte for Sally Hansen 2015 Beige Glass shade. Cute, right?” I mean, you gotta be that girl. With a wink, of course, so they’re in on it too.
Hope you guys also found these beauty solutions useful… AF ;)
Feel free to share your own with us too!
NOTE: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own. Samples were provided for editorial consideration and/or my use as a professional makeup artist. All photos are property of DIVAlicious.
Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker — with a former life at Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines.
Serving up style with a side of attitude, her site DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access. Topics range from beauty, fashion, culture, career, fitness, wellbeing, men’s and unisex offerings.