Have you ever peaked in someone’s medicine cabinet?
Ever wanted to?
As I was growing up and becoming interested in beauty my mother and Aunt were my teachers and their medicine cabinets (and drawers, and cupboards, and anyplace else I could reach…) were my classroom. I remember sitting on the edge of the bathtub in my parents bathroom countless times, watching my mom go through her morning routine. Eye creams and lotions, cleansers, toners… The tubes and jars and boxes were magical and unknown.
And I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them!
And while I may have ignored some of my mother’s best advice growing up (sunscreen anyone?) these “girls only” sessions in her bathroom became a foundation for the beauty routine and the products that I use today. A girl just doesn’t forget the smell of her mother’s Lancome face powder or the not on your face look she shoots you when you pick up the bar of soap.
The other great contributor to my love of beauty products and the one responsible for my adoration for all things French is my Aunt. With a gorgeous, luxurious bathroom and drawers upon drawers of French beauty products, half of them unopened, I think my mother was almost as excited as I was for our visits to Auntie’s house! She introduced me to Chanel (a love affaire that will last a life time I’m sure – much to my wallet’s detriment), brought me makeup brushes and boxes back from her trips to Paris, and gave me free rein in my own personal Disneyland when most women would have locked the bathroom door the instant I ran (literally, ran) in the front door.
These days my beauty routine is a little bit Mom, a little bit Auntie, and a little bit me. My tastes, interests, and goals for my products have changed in the years since I left Berkeley, joined the workforce, and made my first self-sponsored trip to the Bloomingdale and Nordstrom make up counters. I went through a phase where everything in my bathroom was Chanel or Laura Mercier and I was on a first name basis with the women behind the counter at Barney’s, but in the last few years my interests have turned towards natural, organic, eco-conscious products. The result being that I tried a ton of products and kept the ones I loved, so my cabinets are filled with a hodgepodge of brands and items. Which I’m here to share with you today.
I live to exfoliate, so I’ve done quite a bit of research on the best facial exfoliating products. I’ve tried creams, masks, applicator brushes… And the winners are – drum roll please – Yu-Be Foaming Skin Polish and Sugar Face Polish. Also, the St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub is a fabulous drugstore pick if you want to stay close to home. All of these scrubs are on the granular side, rather than being super creamy, which is my personal preference.
A facial cleanser is a must since soap can be harsh and drying for the delicate skin on your face, especially around your eyes. When I travel I carry Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes in my toiletry kit, they’re effective, don’t require cotton balls, and wont get swooped up by airport security which is a huge plus. When I’m at home I use Boscia’s Detoxifying Black Cleanser or Origins Antioxidant Cleanser.
I love, love, love masks. I’ve tried moisurizing, exfoliating, mud, peels… I’ve even experimented on my boyfriend. Shhhhh. My top picks when it comes to masks are the juice Beauty Green Apple Hydration Mask which goes on clear and smells heavenly and the Yes to Cucumbers Calm Care Soothing Facial Mask which is thick and really hydrating.
Eye Cream is something that I’ve only started wearing in the past few years and my focus is on moisture and wrinkle prevention. I tried Icelandic Relief Eye Cream with Biospheric Complex from Sephora and really liked it - it has a great, clean feeling. I’m not a fan of the greasy residue that thick creams can sometimes leave behind and found this was quite refreshing (I keep it in the fridge for instant de-puffing). The other eye cream that I frequently go back to was actually purchased initially when I read Rachel Zoe’s recommendation here. As a chronic dark circle-victim I was really excited about the brightening aspect of this and while it wasn’t the cure-all that I was hoping it would be (is anything ever?) it is a really great product.
Moisturizing, especially if you sit in an office with recycled air every day, is very important. If you like oils, I suggest trying out Josie Maran’s Organic Argan Oil. I was hesitant to try it, for fear of a massive breakout, but was pleased with the results. However, I have to say that my all time favorite lotion is the Chanel Hydra line, specifically Hydramax. It’s light, silky, smells great and moisturizes like a dream. Unfortunately, it is also painfully expensive so I tend to alternate it with other lotions.
Stepping outside without sunscreen on your face is a big no-no, but finding one that doesn’t clog pores, leave you shiny, or make your makeup slide off your face can be a challenge. I initially tried wearing sunscreen over my lotion but since I don’t wear base or powder the end result was too oily. What I ultimately settled on was a tinted lotion with an SPF for during the week and full sunscreen on weekends when I’m actually in direct sunlight. My favorites are Dior’s ‘Hydra Life’ Pro-Youth Skin Tint SPF 20 and Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20. All three of these are light and don’t leave your face greasy, and have an added benefit of making your skin appear smooth and even.
Hand lotion is another product near to my heart because despite the amount of water I consume, my hands are always dry! You want something thick enough to be effective, but not so enduring that you leave finger prints on everything you touch for hours after application. My two favorites are L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream and Bag Balm. Bag Balm was recommended to me by a doctor that I sat next to on a flight nearly 5 years ago, and you know that people who spend ALL DAY washing their hands know their hand creams. That being said, I should tell you that Bag Balm originally was intended for animals, rather than people, but it’s completely safe - promise. It’s my go-to for foot repair too, I’ll slather it on and throw on some socks overnight. Fabulous!
What are you favorite skin care lines and products? What do you always keep in your medicine cabinet?