Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Middle-Aged Non-Influencer's Favorite Beauty Products


I'm not one of those females who publishes exquisitely staged videos of myself standing in my perfectly-decorated bathroom artfully dabbing skincare and makeup products on my face. I'll leave that to the 10-year olds posting TikTok's with their Drunk Elephant products...

My morning beauty routine is more along the lines of throwing stuff on five minutes before a Zoom call when I need to hide the undereye circles, tame the bedhead, and look moderately presentable.

But I do have a longstanding love of makeup products going back to that first tube of bubble-flavored Maybelline Kissing Potion. I'm especially a sucker for eyeshadow palettes. It's like a new set of colorful markers tempting me with all the colors, and I probably need an intervention...

I'm turning 54 today, and I like to think I look younger than my age. So I sat down and came up with a list of my "best of" products - the things I buy on repeat that have a permanent home on my badly-in-need-of-renovation bathroom counter. I won't say they are for everyone, but for a pale-faced chick in her 50s who likes a natural look and has zero patience for 20 layers of contouring and drawing in each individual eyebrow hair, here's what works for me.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum - I really hate heavy hair products, but this one is lightweight and doesn't weigh down my fine hair and make it look greasy. Just the right amount of shine and smoothing. 

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner - they are pricey, but worth it. You really do only need to use a little bit, so they last a long time, and the conditioner has a great minty scent and tingle that wakes me up and leaved me feeling energized. 

M.A.C. Glow Play Sheer Lip Gloss - I spent over a year looking for something to take the place of my dearly beloved, discontinued Laura Mercier Stick Gloss, and these sheer soft colors are the best I've found.  They leave my lips soft but not sticky, with just a hint of color. I've got three or four colors in regular rotation, but my favorite is That Tickles - which looks dark in the tube but is really just a sheer wash of perfect pinky-brown color that works with everything.

Yes2Grapefruit Face Wipes - These remove makeup nicely and leave my skin feeling great. They are less irritating than the Burt's Bees version, and smell better than the Neutrogena ones.

Physician's Formula Butter Blush - The Vintage Rouge shade is perfect for me - blends nicely and I can use it without needing a bronzer too. it also smells yummy - like a day at the beach. 

Revlon Styling Brush - Seriously the best styling tool ever! I completely suck at blowing out my hair with a round brush, and this tool is amazing! I don't usually dry my hair all the way from wet with it. I let my hair air dry or hit it with a blowdryer until it's almost dry, and use this to smooth things out, curl the ends a bit and give me a little volume. It's perfect for the non-shampoo days when you want to smooth out the bedhead and get out the door quickly.

Aqua Allegoria Perfumes - My bestie says I'm all about "kitchen scents."  I like citrusy and herbal fragrances, mostly because heavy florals give me brain-shaking, eye-popping headaches. Guerlain's AA line switches up every year, but I've come across some great ones. Mandarine Basilic and Herba Fresca are old favorites, and I'm currently obsessed with Granada Salvia, which is pomegranate with hints of blackcurrant, cypress, lemon, and bergamot. 

Doctor Bronner's Peppermint Lip Balm - That meme about how when your chapsticks are not in their expected locations and your whole day is screwed up? That's me. DocB's has replaced Burt's Bees as my go-to, and there are tubes in both cars, in my bag, at my desk, in my nightstand drawer, and in a basket downstairs at all times. 

Clear Revive Nasal Spray - I used Afrin far too frequently for years for the quick hit of clarity. I discovered this a few years ago, and it's been an absolute life-changer for my sinuses. It's all-natural and non-medicated and clears away the stuffiness instantly. 

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara - Best mascara ever? Quite possibly. The tubing formula goes on without clumping, looks natural, stays on pretty well all day, and makes my skimpy pale lashes look amazing with just one coat.

UrbanDecay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils - I'm not great with eyeliners. I can't draw a decent wing to save my life, and I make a mess with liquid and markers. I want something that goes on softly and easily and holds up reasonably well.  Ulta's gel eyeliner pencils and the NYX Epic pencils are pretty good, but the Urban Decay ones are definitely worth the splurge and come in some really fun colors to play with. Stash, Mildew, and LSD are my favorites. 

Clinique Exfoliating Scrub - when it comes to my basic cleaning and moisturizing routine, I may stray every couple of years and try something new, but I always end up coming back to Clinique -- my mainstay for more than 30 years now. All About Clean Mild soap, Clarifying Lotion 2, and the classic yellow Dramatically Different Moisturizer in the morning, then All About Eyes and Moisture Surge at night. People always think I'm at least 10 years younger than my actual age, so I suppose it's working. Once a week, the Exfoliating Scrub is my go-to for a deep clean that leaves my face feeling fresh and soft. 


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