Oprah has her list of favorite things, so I thought it would be fun to do a list of mine! While Oprah’s list runs across an entire gamut of product categories, I can only speak for beauty and wellness products. But, hey, that’s enough for most women, right? I’ve included a lot of products that I don’t carry as well as a few that I do. In the case that I don’t carry the line, I’ve provided Internet links to sites from which you can purchase the goodies. So, without further ado…here are Alice’s favorite things!
1. Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15
I’ve been using this for almost a decade and it’s one of the few products that have stood the test of time for me. (If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve seen the picture of products lining my bathroom shelves, so you know how hard it is for me to stay faithful to one product.) Unlike most lip balms, this one is also hydrating, so it increases the actual water content in the skin on the lips rather than just sealing it in. The SPF 15 is a huge plus because people forget that the skin on the lips is the thinnest skin on the face, and we often slather it with glossy, shiny material that just produces an almost greenhouse-like effect on that delicate skin. Plus, they come in a variety of tints and colors in addition to the colorless original. My favorite? Rosé. It’s sheer with just enough of a pop of rosy tint that it looks like a natural flush. They also have other hues that are more nude, as well as brighter and more opaque shades — click here for more info.
2. Micellar Water
Micellar water, AKA cleansing water, is a French thing. French women don’t let regular old tap water touch their faces, so they remove makeup, cleanse, and rinse all with micellar water. Caudelie has a fantastic-smelling one that’s nice and refreshing, but I’m still partial to the cult classic: Bioderma’s Sensibio H20 (AKA Crealine H20, the original French name). It’s oil-free, fragrance-free, and high fashion runway shows have been using it on their models for years, because it’s one of the few cleansers that work well to remove makeup without destroying the models’ skin between the numerous wardrobe changes. It was a cult classic forever and only available in France, but word has gotten out about it and now Crealine H20 is available in the States. (I didn’t find out about that until after I carted two giant jugs of it back from Paris–haha!) I don’t use Micellar water as my only cleanser–I use it more as a makeup remover–but you’ll definitely be on trend if you know about it! Pro Tip: Since this is oil-free, it’s a great makeup remover for ladies with eyelash extensions.
3. Eyeshadow Primer
Eye makeup has a hard time staying on me. It tends to crease, drift south, and smudge. If this sounds familiar, you need eyeshadow primer. My two favorites are Too-Faced’s Shadow Insurance and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. The only difference is that Shadow Insurance will crease later in the day for me while Primer Potion stays on pretty strong. I hear from people with drier skin, however, that Primer Potion is more drying. Both will get your eyeshadow through the work day, however. Pro Tip: Ladies with lash extensions will benefit from the mattifying effects of Primer Potion! It’ll keep oil from transferring onto your extensions, so it’s an absolute must-have item when you’re going on vacation somewhere warm! (I’m loyal to the original, translucent Primer Potion. The others look clownish on me.)
4. Organic Mulberry Tea
I’m obsessed with this tea because it lowers blood pressure and helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol, is caffeine-free, and it tastes great! It’s light, refreshing, and if you’re a fan of green tea, you’ll like mulberry tea. Click here for more info.
5. Quality Makeup Brushes
Are makeup brushes worth the money? Yes. A good set of brushes will let you apply your makeup with more ease and you’ll be happier with the finished product. You need both synthetic and natural brushes: synthetic brushes for your liquids and creams, and natural bristles for your powders. There isn’t a single brand that I’m partial to–whatever works for you is good as long as they’re quality brushes–but I’ve been really enjoying my Jane Iredale brushes, and they’re a decent price without sacrificing quality (if you need a complete brush overhaul, Jane Iredale does have a great professional brush set.) We pay so much for our foundation and eye shadows, so invest in the tools that you use every day to put them on! Also, don’t forget to clean your brushes with brush shampoo. If you don’t have one already, I carry Jane Iredale brush shampoo that will also condition the bristles of your brushes! Pro Tip: Swap your smaller blush brush for a larger powder brush when applying blushes or bronzers. You’ll get a more natural look!
6. Red Flower’s Hammam Travel Set
Inspired by Turkish bathhouses (Hammams), this set comes with everything you need for the ultimate at-home spa day. Everything. Smells. AMAZING. Not even joking. From the Moroccan mint tea body wash to the lemon, olive oil, and coffee scrub and the tangerine fig body butter, it all smells divine. If you look at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas’ spa’s body treatments, you’ll find that they use these very products in their resort hammam, but instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a treatment, you can get the kit for $48 and it’ll last a few uses. Add in the fact that the company focuses on environmentally friendly organic ingredients and it’s a total winner. The Japanese Sento set from Red Flower is another scrumptious kit. Pro Tip: This isn’t a tip for the kits, but, rather, the Red Flower Petal-Topped Candles that I know a lot of you have purchased from me in the past. Dump the dried petals in little satchels (I can provide some if you don’t have any) and throw them in your chests or drawers to subtly scent your clothes.
7. Japanese Multilayer Cotton Pads
If you don’t like wasting money, get these multi-ply cotton pads. I peel off single layers for applying toner or makeup remover, and they are significantly less wasteful because each layer only soaks up as much product as you need. Instead of feeding all your precious toner and serums to a cotton ball, these guys result in less waste than even ordinary cotton pads because the layers are so thin. To buy the 5-ply pads that I use from Amazon, click here.
8. Hydrating Serums
Nothing smooths out those dehydrated, fine lines on the skin as quickly as a good hydrating serum. I’ve used a lot in my time and I know I’ve told a lot of you to look for hydrators with hyaluronic acid. I’ve finally found my favorite hydrating serum, though, and it comes from PCA. Not only does it contain hyaluronic acid, it also contains glycerin and Sodium PCA. Each of these hydrators work in different ways and interact differently with the skin and the environment, so it’s no wonder that it works so well by simply being a very comprehensive product. Hyaluronic acid and Sodium PCA snatch water molecules from the air and bind them to the skin, while glycerin up-cycles water up from the deeper layers of the skin towards the surface (thus, making glycerin a better choice when you’re in a low humidity situation). The best part is that, unlike some other hydrating serums, there’s no filmy residue left on the skin afterwards. Just plump and gorgeous goodness! Pro Tip: Apply serum first and give it a few minutes to absorb into the skin before applying your lotion or cream. The two have different target destinations, and the lotion will inhibit the serum’s ability to go where it wants to go if they get mixed together.
9. Microfiber Towels
When it comes to facials, I’m notoriously thin-skinned, meaning that I literally act like I have the thinnest skin in the world. I know that I don’t, but I’m just paranoid. I wince like a baby when my face gets wiped off with terry washcloths, because even regular terry towels feel too scratchy to me. That’s why I only use microfiber cloths when I do facials, because they feel fleecy and take off debris and makeup without any scratching. You can also machine wash them! (Just don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets because those two kill the absorptive capacity of any towel–even the regular ones!) Check them out here!
If you don’t want to buy a bunch of wash cloths, consider Jane Iredale’s Magic Mitt. It’s a microfiber mitt that takes off Jane Iredale mineral makeup with just warm water. I use mine all the time because I love the idea of just using warm water to remove my makeup.
10. Jane Iredale’s So Bronze 3 bronzer
While we’re on the Jane Iredale train, I have to give a shout out to my favorite blush/bronzer duo. There are two things that I’m obsessed with: good cleansers and good blushes. This one is a good blush. It has replaced even my precious Chantecaille powder blushes. The bronzer is a fantastic bronzer in the tradition of Guerlain’s terracotta bronzers–not muddy, not orange, and imparts the look of a real tan. I use it to contour the curve under my cheeks. The other side of this bronzer contains a great shimmery, pinky-peach blush that will look good on almost anybody. It remind’s me of NARS’ famous “orgasm” blush, but it’s just a tad rosier, which I actually think produces a more flattering hue. I’ve worn it every day since I bought it, and you probably will, too!