i’m back this week with a beauty post. due to some scheduling issues and unforeseen circumstances with family, i haven’t been able to shoot. but i shot a few weekends ago, so new outfits will be coming soon! wanted to share with y’all some of my current favorite skincare and makeup products. it feels timely as we transition to fall because a lot of you might be looking for increased hydration with the cooler weather. y’all know i love my hydration, so hopefully you find some new products to try.
my skin type
just a reminder, i have dry, sensitive skin. my biggest sensitivity trigger seems to be added fragrances, but all the products reviewed here i have used extensively with minimal to no sensitivity. some things i look for in skincare is lack of animal testing, lack of fragrance, suitability for sensitive skin, and minimal use of parabens/silicones/sulfates. not all the products here check all the boxes, but i’ll do my best to address this in each mini-review.
bobbi brown foundation stick
this is actually something of an old new favorite. i used this foundation many years ago while i was working at nordstrom as my winter foundation but for whatever reason never repurchased it. i recently revisited it after i stumbled on a video recommending it for highlight/contour. i like using a foundation with a bit more coverage in fall and winter, so i ordered three shades – the main shade that matched my skin (beige – #3), one two shades lighter for a highlight (warm ivory – #1), and one two shades darker for contour (honey – #5). i was nervous but knew i could always return them if they didn’t work. i have never done much with contour because i had a lot of trouble finding the right shade and formula…powder seemed too heavy and drying and most colors were way too ashy. this foundation is wildly blendable and i find the contour is subtle and natural. it’s pretty easy to do both for everyday or for more “done up” occasions. even if you don’t want to buy three shades (i get it) it’s still a great foundation for everyday if you like moderate coverage in a very natural, blendable finish. i apply this directly to my skin and then blend with my beautyblender (see below) and love the ease of a stick formula. note: this product does not contain spf, which is not an issue for me because i apply sunscreen everyday after i moisturize.
cost per ounce: $148
total price: $46 for .31 oz
huxley secret of sahara oil essence
i really, really love this oil essence. this is a korean beauty product that i purchased through glow recipe, which is one of my favorite korean beauty sites. i actually am pretty crazy about this brand and have also used their secret of sahara light and more facial oil (and it’s quickly become one of my favorite oils). this is an oil essence which means it’s meant to be used as a treatment after cleansing and toning, but before your serums and moisturizer. it has the consistency of a thick serum so i use it after other essences. it’s very hydrating and soothing and has a very faint clean scent. it has never caused my skin to react and i’m already on my second bottle of it. it’s really pricey, and i went through it pretty quickly (i was using it a lot because i loved it so much!) so there’s that, but it has some great natural ingredients and i plan to continue using it because it provides an extra layer of hydration that my skin personally loves. i think if you skew more oily, you’d probably really like this as an alternative to an actual facial oil.
cost per ounce: $51
total price: $51.25 for 1 oz
smashbox photo finish primer water
so many of you who know me personally probably know that i’ve been a longtime user of chanel’s loose powder as a final step to set my makeup. well, this summer i decided i should try a setting spray instead of powder just to see if i like the effects better. as someone with dry skin, i noticed that sometimes a powder will settle into lines and make my skin look older and drier than it really is. so i snagged this primer water when nordstrom had it on sale and i actually really like it! while it’s called a primer water, you can use it also as a setting spray or throughout the day to refresh your skin. anyway, i really like using this instead of a powder, especially in the summer, as it gives my skin a more glowy, fresh finish. since my skin isn’t oily, powder doesn’t seem necessary and i find my makeup stays put well enough with this. while i may try a few other sprays to compare since this one is pretty expensive at full price, i at least know i like this one to come back to! also, a little goes a long way — there is still about a quarter of the bottle remaining.
cost per ounce: $8
total price: $32.00 for 3.9 oz
colourpop super shock highlighter in lunch money
y’all, if you haven’t tried any of colourpop’s products you need to get on it. the entire line is extremely affordable, and the eyeshadows (and this highlighter) have literally the most amazing texture. this highlighter is pigmented but blendable and i get compliments every time i wear it. i apply this using my fingers and then blend with my beautyblender. easy!
cost per ounce: $53
total price: $8 for .15 oz
so if you pay any attention to makeup and beauty, you’ve likely heard of the beautyblender. it’s basically a glorified makeup sponge, but y’all, it really is worth the hype. all you do is dampen the blender with water (it will expand — this step is very important) and use it to apply your foundation and concealer or blend products into your skin. you can actually use it to apply powders as well (i use mine when i set my concealer with powder)! it’s shaped like an egg for a reason – the broad end is great for blending out your foundation or primer, whereas the tapered end is for concealer or any place on your face that requires more precision. it gives your makeup a distinct soft, almost airbrushed finish that still is very natural. ever noticed streaks where the bristles of your foundation brush are? not an issue with the beautyblender. anyway, it’s super easy to use and lasts a long time if you keep it clean so get one.
total price: $20.00
ysl touche eclat radiant touch
so you may or may not have heard of this concealer/highlighter pen, but it’s a holy grail product for many for good reason. the texture of the product is really good for my skin as it doesn’t settle into lines and actually is hydrating compared to many concealers that just sit on top of your skin. it’s a pretty light coverage, so i actually layer it it two shades or with the bobbi brown foundation stick. i wear this in shades 1 and 2.5. 1 is considered their “universal shade” (not sure how it would fair for darker skin tones, so i’m not sure that’s the case) and is a safe choice. it’s a peachy tone so it’s great for neutralizing undereye circles but also brightens when used in the inner corner and brown bone of the eye. 2.5 is more like a shade or two lighter than my skin and is more brightening than shade 1.
cost per ounce: $420
total price: $42.00 for .1 oz
bobbi brown extreme party mascara
i’ve used a lot of mascaras in my day and am somewhat of a mascara connoisseur. i really prefer mascaras with a thick, bristley brush and am particular about formulas. this is a mascara i’ve used for years off-and-on but always seem to come back to. it’s got my preferred large brush and the formula is buildable without getting clumpy. i like to layer mascaras, so i’ll often use it in conjunction with something formulated for length.
cost per ounce: $143
total price: $30 for .21 oz
kiehl’s ultra facial deep moisture balm
this is a truly excellent moisturizer for the coming cool months. it is very soothing and was tested by motorcyclists in alaska for its hydration and healing. i use this when my skin is very dry, sensitive, or when i simply want some calming hydration. a little goes a long way and you absolutely must warm the product up in your hands before you apply it to your face, but it’s a great staple product to keep on hand.
cost per ounce: $11
total price: $56 for 5.1 oz
laura mercier illuminating powder quad in mocha spice quad
this is my go-to, favorite blush for fall and winter. i like it because it’s not too pink and goes well with a variety of lipstick or eyeshadow colors — especially the darker lipsticks we tend to wear in the cooler months. i simply blend all four shades onto a blush brush and apply, then layer the colourpop highlighter over the top. blend them with the beautyblender and you’re ready to go. if you like peachy, neutral blushes then this is a great option.
cost per ounce: $114
total price: $40 for .35 oz