health and beauty game changers

23 January 2014

1/2/3/4/5

Linking up with Hallie and the gang!

I have a million favorite and a million not-so-favorite things about blogging but one of my favorite things about blogging (aside from my mini-blogging addiction beast that cannot be tamed by the name of Instagram) is that people are awesome about throwing recommendations my way. And not just beauty shop recs but maternity favorites, beloved books, baby names (I especially love these because generally Simon and I are on VERY different pages in that department), and MORE. But I have to admit that I especially love hearing about a favorite nail polish (lots of people sang OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark's praises and lo and behold ... I love it), shampoo for lifeless hair, or the latest and greatest in mascara because me and vapid are best friends forever. Here are a few of the lone soldiers that have made a lasting impression around these parts ....

1. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - I don't remember who first told me about this but Tatiana confirmed that she loved it when I mentioned it in an old post so I bit the bullet and now I love it too. Some people mentioned how much they loved Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm but it was a little too thick and heavy for me (I got a sample in a Birchbox - thanks to Kayla!) where this stuff is juuust right. It's just the right consistency and goes on like a slightly slightly heavier than regular face lotion and gives just the perfect amount of coverage without making me look like I slathered my face in something tinted. I'm sure that makes sense.

2. Blood Builder - and for the lone health segment of this post we have Blood Builder. I've trumpeted about this before in my post about pregnancy supplements and exercise but I'll press on until everyone is a believer. My mom insisted I take this when I was pregnant and anemic with Julia. I think anemia is pretty common during pregnancy and this stuff will pop those hemoglobin levels right back into the healthy range without the nasty side effects of taking straight iron. Obviously - consult your OB/midwife ... my OB is fine with it and it has extra folate ... which is great because my prenatal gummies don't exactly cut it in that arena. I've had several friends (pregnant and not) start taking this and report that their energy levels have greatly improved - but maybe they're all telling me bold faced lies. Who knows.

3. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid Exfoliant - if I had to play favorites out of the five this might be it. Elaine told me about this a few months ago after we swapped notes on acne products that have and have not worked for us. She said that the exfoliant had really done a number on her old scarring and I have a lot of old acne scarring and she was SO right. The key is to swipe it on with a cotton pad (it's a liquid which you'd think is drying but - it dries like a lotion - like magic) and wait for about 15 minutes before going about your morning/nightly routine. I only use it at night and have been using it for about a month and wish I'd taken photos because the difference is pretty incredible. I could go on and on about Paula's Choice products but .. I won't. You can read user reviews for all of their stuff on the website and they are awesome about returns and exchanges if your skin doesn't particularly enjoy any of their products. They discount their stuff often and if you use my referral link you'll get $10 off your first purchase but ... no pressure. Ever.
 
4. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks - one of my old college roommates (hi Shannon!!) was obsessed with Palmer's Cocoa Butter and got me hooked back in the day so I couldn't help but try the stretch mark version when I was pregnant with Julia. Are stretch marks the end of the world? No. Absolutely not. Babies wreak havoc on bodies and that's just the way it is but this has been an inexpensive way to keep them at bay throughout my 3.5 pregnancies thus far. This baby might do me in though ... and life will go on!

5. CND - VINYLUX TOP COAT - Meredith (commenter and now blogger extraordinaire!) told me about this top coat and now I will blindly follow her off any cliff because this stuff is impressive. It basically laminates your nails and I am on day five (!!) of nary a chip despite giving the kids multiple baths and battling the boys 24/7 mission to pick and peel the layer of black off of mom's nails. I've tried two other top coats from the almighty Essie and eh. This top coat kills them dead.

I'm hoping to do another mascara post sometimeish soon so let me know if you have any new favorites OR any health/beauty favorites at all.

Please? I'd love you for a day. At least. 

51 comments:

  1. For a big splurge: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/giorgio-armani-eyes-to-kill-mascara/3036953

    I got it as a gift and now wish I hadn't, because I love it so much!

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  2. I love the laura mercier tinted moisturizer! One of my faves and the tube lasts me forever!! One beauty must have for me is Egyptian Magic skin cream, I am morbidly obsessed with soft skin and this stuff really is some kind of wonderful.

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    1. Hi Kelsey! I've been intrigued by the Egyptian Magic cream for a while and since Costco carries it now I think I'm going to finally get some. Where do you use? All over? Face?

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    2. I get a little crazy with it...I use it from head to toe! A little goes a long way. I put on a little extra love to my dry spots that take a beating from the cold, and I use it on my kids.

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  3. I feel like I might have a problem. Before I even finished reading your post, I ordered the paula thing. I have pretty significant scarring and I've been considering a laser facial peel (?? is that a thing?) but I'm too scared of having my face melted off. So your ten bucks off is basically fifty percent (math is hard) AND they ship to APO!!! (I'm overseas in London) AND they don't charge a fortune to ship over here like some people do (which is awful because it's the SAME PRICE) so basically what I'm saying is thank you and I'm very excited for mail day. It should be here in six weeks. Ugh.

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  4. I love your beauty advice, Grace. Every time I've followed it, I've been very pleased. Keep 'em comin'! I really look forward to trying the Paula's Choice stuff. That's on my list to try next.

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  5. origins makes this energizing eye cream that depuffs and brightens under your eyes- a mom must have! I always wear Channel mascara. it's a splurge but worth it.

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  6. Thanks for the recommendation on the exfoliating cream. My skin is a mess thanks to old acne scars, wrinkles, and new acne. I used your $10 off referral and I also Googled and found a 15% off promo code (AMNEWYEAR15). That made the $23.00 product only $12.31 (including shipping)!

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    1. I did the same thing, plus you could get 3 free samples with a $5 order, so I got those as well--yay for deals!

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  7. Just ordered the nail polish top coat! Need this badly. Can't wait to try it!

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  8. Great recommendations!! I need that top coat--- I NEVER paint my nails because the polish is chipped within 5 seconds (perhaps not even an exaggeration...)

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  9. A little pricey, but such a great formula and hello, squeeze tube mascara??? This is my new go-to mascara: http://www.birchbox.com/shop/eyeko-black-magic-mascaras

    I might try that top coat. Seche vite was recommended but either I got a bum bottle or something, because I get major chips in just a day or two. :(

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  10. I love LM tinted moisturizer. I haven't used it for about a year, I should try again.

    Do you use the blood builder instead of iron supplements then? I keep thinking about trying floradix b/c I'm so tired all the time but I don't know that my iron levels are low or not.

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    1. hey Kelly! Exactly -- in place of any sort of iron supplement .... it is SO much easier on the stomach :)

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    2. I can vouch for the Blood Builder! Bought it per Grace's recommendation and it worked like a charm. Actually I'm about to go get more because I've got some postpartum anemia and I hate the RX Iron pills they gave me.

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  11. For stretch marks, I had better luck with Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter (I think that's the name, it's so freaking long). If you do another mascara post, I like Maybelline's Falsies Big Eyes right now (waterproof version).

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  12. i'm going to have to try that top coat! i recently (from a cyber monday deal) started using say yes to grapefruit CC cream...it's just like tinted moisturizer, except i swear it really does even up my skin tone. i'm kind of in love with it, plus it's supposed to be 95% natural...so it makes me feel like i'm being semi-healthy about my skin!

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  13. Just ordered the blood builder. :)

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  14. Aaaand... I had to go back and place a second order for the top coat. Ha! Thank goodness it had free shipping.

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  15. Wooohooooo!!!! The liquid exfoliater is on it's way to me (thanks for the discount code!) and the blood builder is in my Amazon shopping cart! I can't wait to try them, thanks for the recommendations.

    As far as my recs, I am having a love affair with my current skincare routine that I'll share. It's super easy and is making all the difference in my skin. I wash with African black soap (Shea Moisture brand sold at Target), my Clarisonic (stupid expensive but Husbo gave it for me for Christmas and now I don't know if I could live without it), and jojoba oil as a moisturizer. I know the oil part sounds disconcerting, but I can't sing it's praises enough. I wear it morning and night and it is amazing. I had oily skin before, now I just have normal skin. My dry skinned friends are even more in love with it than I am.

    I'm also reading your comments and I think Egyptian Magic is next on my "need" list!

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  16. I discovered Paula's Choice in the last year and it is FANTASTIC while I cannot use my preferred skin care - retinoids plus Botox - while pregnant/breastfeeding. The very best -- the very very best - foundation is Armani but it's hard to find and crazy expensive. However, it really makes your skin look better than ever, in person and in photos. Enjoying your blog! I left the Lou three years ago, miss it so!

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  17. Can't wait to try the top coat. I have a pretty involved OPI regimen, despite my loyalty to Essie colors, but still...chippy chippy after just a few days. (Right now, I am enjoying the spoils of a shellac manicure from last week's tagalong-residency-interview free day out of town sans kids. Oh shellac...i love thee.) Thanks! Keep these recs coming.

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  18. I'll be interested to see what you say about mascara bc I bought that last maybeline one that you reviewed and it definitely is an improvement on what I had been using since ... college??! I'm probably going to buy that top coat bc right now I love painting my nails but it's just. not. worth it. for an hour of non chipped nails.

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  19. Sometimes I go into different Sephoras and ask for samples of the Laura Mercier moisturizer because I am too cheap to buy the whole tube (they have those small ones in the dangerous bins that you end up buying one of everything from right before you check out), but I love the illuminating one. Anything that says "Radiant" I basically roll in.

    I am totally buying that exfoliant. If you love luscious cleansers, Josie Maran's oil cleanser is MOST delicious.

    Mascara: I HAVE TRIED THEM ALL. Everyone raves about Dior and Benefit's They're Real but I didn't like either of those. My favorite of all time is Fairydrops Scandal Queen. It's a Japanese brand that I got at Sephora and it had a wand made of magic. I basically love anything Japanese, mostly because of MUJI.

    Also, because you love big hair I would be remiss if I did not tell you that Kevin Murphy's Full Again and Body Builder are the only two products I needs for the rest of my life, amen.

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    1. Addendum: Though I sound like a cheap old nana, I ask for samples of moisturizer from Sephora, but I do not take handfuls of sugar packets from Starbucks or anything.

      Also, My fave drugstore brand of mascara is L'Oreal Voluminous. I will love it forever.

      Stop talking, Fran.

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    2. you are the big hair queen. I am all over dem. Right now.

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  20. I just found the holy grail of Mascara... Blinc Amplified. Bought it at Sephora and its not cheap, but its magic! Seriously the most full thick lashes ever and its like it curls your lashes for you too. It apparently coats each lash in a tube of mascara so it doesn't clump and makes your eyes look like Katy Perry! .

    http://www.sephora.com/mascara-amplified-P377750?skuId=1495183

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  21. My humble take on the mascara wars: I know you tried the Buxom Lash and said the wait time was a deterrent, but may I recommend a solution? I use the Buxom Lash first to prime and coat, and follow up with a swipe or two of the Maybelline Great Lash (which I bought on a whim and I must say, it is fantastic alone as well). One pricey option that I've always sworn by is the Le Volume de Chanel. I'm not sure if it's worth the cost BUT it's worth trying at the department store (let the salesfolk apply it, just for kicks)!

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  22. Totally convinced me on the liquid exfoliator. Not too expensive either, even without the code for the future! Thanks!

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  23. My newest love is called Everybody Lotion. I've been wanting to blog about it and could probably write 500 words on its greatness! I got a bottle in my stocking this year...coconut + lemon. I use it for my face, hands, body. Everywhere. I want to eat it. My hubby ordered it but I spied some at Whole Foods yesterday. Just try it, CP readers!! It's about 11 bucks but the bottle is so big, you don't feel like you have to ration each pump. I also have the body wash/shampoo which is also really awesome. I love natural scents and this product is all natural sooooo it's perfect. And it's gluten free. And no, I don't work for them, just an overly excited lady with soft, good smelling skin:)

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    1. I use their body wash and love it!

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  24. I have to say I think that the stretch mark thing is genetic. I used Palmer's every day with my first and got pleeeenty of marks. With my second I upgraded to Mustela and got more stretch marks. 3rd and 4th pregnancies I just went with coconut oil as it was cheaper and relieved the itchies, which was my only concern since I already had marks. I didn't get any new ones with either of those pregnancies. I think it was probably just because I didn't do any extra stretching. Anyway, though, I think you just get lucky.

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    1. I think you're right! I'm surprised I haven't gotten them yet because I have bad scars from minor paper cuts -- really bizarre skin.

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    2. ha! (this is Grace ..... obvi)

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  25. I just got my hands on L'Oreal Butterfly mascara and was surprised how full it made my lashes look! It's worth trying ;) Also if you are interested in longer looking lashes, I finally broke down and tried L'Oreal's lash serum, I used it nightly for a month and it definitely works! I put it on kinda heavy though, like two coats, I only stopped using it because I got lazy :)

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  26. My facial routine is straight from the products and guidelines of Acne.org, and my skin has never looked better. Starts with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser that I purchase by the gigantic pump bottle. Then, if you're acne-prone, use the 2.5% benzoyl peroxide lotion and leave it on. Finally, he makes an incredible moisturizer that goes on top - with or without the BP lotion. I have never used facial moisturizer ever, because it makes me break out, but this stuff is wonderful and light and has amazing skin-calming ingredients. You will not be sorry for checking out their products :)

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  27. I am going to sound so strange on here…but Grace, I had a shampoo and conditioner that I hated (hate still) and it won’t go away. I mean it, I’ve had the crappy things for over 6 months. Holy hell I’m stubborn because I won’t buy new ones until they’re gone..

    So instead, I researched making your own shampoo and unbeknownst to me, baking soda and water do a great job. Seriously. And it’s free fifty free. Oh, and a little apple cider vinegar and water for the “conditioner.” It’s not professional shine material, but it has far surpassed my crappy duo X100. I totally recommend it if you’re in a bind. Or if you’re cheap like me.

    If I haven’t said anything before, I also wanted to mention how happy I am for your #4! I am living vicariously through you ;) God bless!

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  28. My newest obsession is the tarte cheek stain. I NEED blush or something daily or people ask me if I'm sick, and with this I don't feel like a pageant queen or clownish. Best natural blush I've ever tried and it lasts all day-even with J grabbing my face with his toddler hands, haha. I love blogger beauty recs too-I'm always on the hunt for the good stuff :)

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    1. Hey Lauren, can I ask which color you use? I've been waffling about these forever but I think I'm going to bite the bullet soon and would love to hear which one you have/like! Thanks

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  29. I love L'oreal voluminous mascara with the curved brush. I think it is similar to full 'n soft, but I'm addicted to the curved brush, and makes application so much easier, especially on the lower lashes (much less accidental overage). I'm also a new fan of Sally Hansen complete salon manicure polish. I'm definitely not a big finger nail painter (though my toe nails are never bare), but I love the Earl Gray color and it lasts a week+ even without a top coat. It goes on much thicker than Essie, so the application is easier and more forgiving (great for me since I'm a definite novice in the manicure dept).

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  30. I just started using a Mary Kay mascara (just the regular one) and I love it! It doesn't flake (and in turn blind me) nor does it clump (and in turn make me feel like I've got mud on my eyelashes). It's easy to get off and fairly water resistant though it isn't actually labeled as waterproof. I'm really happy with it!

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  31. Best blush ever? Pixie Gel Blush. #3 Rosy. Looks like I'm happily love struck ;) and a sweet 16 again. Easy peasy application- Takes 30 sec. (Baby approved) and one tube lasts about 15 months. you'rewelcomeverymuch.

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  32. I'm with Francine on the Burt's Bees Mama Bee belly butter! No stretch marks yet but that probably doesn't count considering that this is our first baby and that I *think* I have good genetics (my mom had 8 kids with next to no stretch marks). And I might have already left a comment before about this mascara, but I swear by Urban Decay Supercurl curling mascara. It doesn't clump, which I hate, and works really well (I won't use anything else).

    I'm definitely going to try that Paula's Choice stuff - my skin has not done so well since I stopped using my Retin-A.

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  33. I'm going to have to try the Paula's Choice! I'm surprised they don't list it as being for acne scarring.

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  34. I bought the Blood Builder based on your rec, and a girl who usually has low low low iron and nothing will get it up (even straight up iron pills... which also wrecked havoc on the stomach) saw her iron go THROUGH THE ROOF after just a week of the blood builder. Amazing. Only negative is it tastes like rabbit poop mixed with grass. This girl also likes to refer to herself in the third person, apparently.

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  35. I love new skin recs! Just ordered the Paula magic with your link :)

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  36. totally getting that top coat. i am happy to get like two days chip free which... is not a lot.

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  37. Mike is making us stick to this thing called a "budget", so I have to wait until February until I can dive into these joys. And, you bet on Feb.1 I will be indulging in the goodery and confirming Mike's analysis that when I have money to blow, away it goes.

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  38. The blood builder seriously changed me with yours and Katrina's recos. My energy level sky rocketed, no joke.

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  39. I kind of hate you for posting these because I just want to go out and buy every single one. I will FO SHO buy that top coat when I run out of mine :)

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  40. I need to try that tinted moisturizer...I have heard countless bloggers rave about it!

    My newest go to beauty products are: the new 5 pan (browny) neutrals Wet n' Wild eye palette (cheap, cheap and super pigmented), Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Standout (the easiest matte red lip ever), and Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer (an old favorite I just repurchased). Love me some drugstore makeup ;)

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