I’ve been really slacking with favorites posts lately, haven’t I? Truth is, for the first half of 2018 I’ve been totally unenthusiastic about everything after a family tragedy. And for the second part of the year I was busy with my own health issues, which took most of my summer and a big chunk of fall so far [not fully done with that business yet]. You probably know that weird feeling of coming back from vacation, when you find yourself a little lost and confused on how to get back into the swing of things. That’s kind of where I was mentally. I know I don’t have it totally together just yet, but we’re getting there!
These past few weeks I thoroughly tested a whole bunch of new products for you guys and I’m finally ready to tell you about my absolute favorites that I discovered in November, starting with skincare.
- NOW Solutions Charcoal Detox Cleanser ($9.99) – I raved about this cleanser in two of my recent blog posts – in this overview of NOW Solutions Charcoal Detox collection and another one where I shared my science-based skincare routine for 30+ skin. If you ever tried to find a budget-friendly drugstore foaming cleanser that has low pH and no added synthetic fragrances or dyes, then you know how very few options there are. Bonus points to this one for also being cruelty-free and vegan. Although the collection is aimed toward people with oily and combination skin, this cleanser is gentle enough that really anyone can use it without worrying that it will dry out the skin. Now Solutions Charcoal Detox Cleanser cleanses just enough to remove surface impurities, excess oil, and dead skin cells, without disturbing the skin’s protective acid mantle, so my face never once felt dried out afterward.
- Here’s another product from my current skincare routine that I previously featured – Erno Laszlo Firmarine Moisturizer SPF 30 ($100) . The reason I am loving this moisturizer is because it’s pretty much perfect for my combination skin’s needs right now. This part is YMMV so don’t take it as a recommendation, but rather as a testimony. Anyhow, aside from the fact that it contains SPF30 which is what I like to use indoors, the formula also includes a whole range of peptides, Vitamins A, C, E, mineral-rich seawater, spirulina extract, jojoba oil, and three chemical sunscreen agents for broad spectrum protection. The main problem with moisturizers that contain SPF is that we never quite use enough to get the full benefits. However, the formula of this one has just the right consistency so I can use an appropriate amount for adequate sun protection and not look like a grease ball at the same time. I just wish it was more affordable.
- Löwengrip Blonde Perfection Silver Shampoo ($25) – Not sure if you remember, but I finally got balyage a few months ago, which means I now have to commit to a purple or blue shampoo to keep the brassiness off. Right now I am using Löwengrip Silver Shampoo and I absolutely love it! I got lazy and didn’t use a purple shampoo for several weeks, so my hair started getting that undesirable yellow tone, but after using twice [I wash my hair every other day], the orange hue was as good as gone. You don’t need to be a blonde to use it, just apply it to the highlighted/bleached areas and it’ll do the trick. As far as I know this Swedish brand is still new to the US market, but if you come across their products I definitely recommend giving it a try.
It’s hard to narrow down my makeup favorites because I’ve been much better at shopping my stash lately so I tend to rotate various products all the time. However, I haven’t been able to put down the following two:
- Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Illuminating Bare Radiance ($45) – Tinted moisturizers can be a hit or a miss because they provide very minimal coverage, if any. The whole point of wearing a foundation is to make the skin look better and more even, so for a long time I didn’t appreciate them at all. Now that I have all of my skin issues kinda-sorta under control [again, here’s the link to my current routine if you want to check it out], I started exploring tinted moisturizers again and boy am I glad I gave this one a try! It has the most beautiful, most flattering luminous finish that really makes the skin glow from within. It lacks coverage but it fully compensates for it with light-reflecting particles that make my look smooth and even-toned, even though it’s just an optical effect. This foundation looks fantastic in photos, and in real life it looks like I’m not wearing any. I am absolutely smitten with the luxurious creamy texture too, it feels like silk on my face.
- bareMinerals Aurora Lights Gen Nude Eyeshadow Palette ($45) is a new release for Holiday 2018, and I’ve been using it heavily every time I did my makeup this month. I just love this palette! The variety of colors and finishes is perfect for my needs. Even though there are some fun colors included, like emerald green and sapphire blue, they don’t stray too far from my neutral comfort zone, allowing me to experiment while still looking like myself. The quality is fantastic, I kid you not – all 18 pans are super creamy, silky, pigmented, easy to blend, and apply on the lid very smoothly with fingers and brushes. Even if bareMinerals is not normally on your radar, this palette definitely should be. By the way, if you decide to buy your bareMinerals at Ulta (in-store or online) between 11/4/18 and 11/21/18, the company will donate $1 from your purchase to the Ulta Beauty Charitable Foundation to enhance the education and well-being of women and girls throughout our communities, up to a maximum of $100,000.
Last but not least, I had to add one perfume to my list of November favorites. It was kind of a no-brainer, actually, because I’ve been spritzing myself with this beautiful indie fragrance nearly every day for the past several weeks.
- I previously reviewed Phlur Hanami ($88) in a separate blog post here. It’s one of my favorite all-season fragrances, and now I’m back to it again after taking a little break. No matter how much I love a fragrance, if I wear it too often my nose gets used to it so the scent loses its magic [even though everyone else loves it on me]. The best thing about Hanami is the prominent hazelnut note, which is a very unique and sophisticated choice. How many perfumes can you think of that have hazelnuts as one of the key players in the bouquet? I personally don’t know any, but if you do, please let me know in the comments below because I’m totally interested in trying other options just so I have some more variety.
I hope you enjoyed my list of November favorites! Obviously, there are a lot more products that I love and use often, but these six stood out the most when I sat down to write this post. If you tried any of these, let me know in the comments below what you thought of them!