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I’d love to be able to say I’m one of those natural beauties that feel gorgeous and 100% in nothing but a little lip gloss and mascara. That I don’t spend literally an hour and a half dominating the bathroom mirror every morning (I think my roommate would like it if I could say this too!). But when Cindy Crawford said “even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford,” that shit resonated with me because I see beauty as what we make of our canvas. And my canvas, which I love, has a few rough edges. My five essentials, therefore, are those tried and true products that (literally) smooth my “imperfections” and leave me feeling (physically) beautiful.
I’d been starting to notice that all the women my age suddenly were developing radiant and porcelain skin. Meanwhile, despite getting through my adolescence without any major acne flairs (I know. Thanks be to Jesus), I now get routine break-outs leaving me with a slow procural of discoloration and scarring (seriously, how do women not pick?). Coupled with blotchiness and initial signs of sun damage from many summers of sun bathing with the gals, I really couldn’t understand how everyone else’s complexions around me were actually improving. This led me to the discovery of this unbelievable night cream. Retinol ladies. It might be old hat, but it still freakin works. It minimizes my pore size, reduces my break-outs, actually has faded some of my blotchiness and sun spots, and leaves my face feeling smooth and looking dewy every morning. I’m not even giving this an upsell, this shit really works! At around $20 a pop it’s pretty reasonable considering the active ingredients. Smells pretty darn good too.
Okay, I know this one’s been around the block a time or two, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Between my aversion to using skin cleansers around my eye area and the, let’s face it, sheer ineffectiveness of eye make-up remover, cold cream just gets the job done better. I love the feel of washing my face with the cream because, well, it’s cold and creamy by design, right? Plus, it really does what it’s intended to do—remove makeup and build-up from my pores. And, it actually works on my Friday night smoky eye. Not to mention the amazing feel of your skin post scrub. Mmmm.
Okay, this is my god send. The fluid makeup completely evens and brightens my skin. It’s comfortable to wear, is completely lightweight, never cracks or becomes noticeable, and lasts all day. People will not know you’re wearing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been complimented for my “great skin” and told how lucky I am to not “have to wear foundation.” Yeah right. I never leave the house without this on, even when going sans all other makeup. For $55 a bottle it’s a little pricey for my grad student budget, but I mean, come on, it’s Chanel.
This highlighter is amazing for adding contrast to lift cheekbones and increase overall luminosity. I put a little under my eyes to reduce dark spots after all night work benders, dab a few spots in the inner corners of my eyes to help them pop, add some to under my eyebrow arch to increase contrast, I even run some along the tops of my cheekbones for dimension. You really can’t go wrong. It’s a light almost peachy color and bounces light perfectly to accent the natural angles of your face. It also blends with your base color, or bare skin, so that it doesn’t look like you’re covered in white powder like some highlighters can in photos. Obsessed.
My mother is nearly 60 and has the most incredible skin I’ve ever seen. I can count on my hand how many times I’ve seen the woman in make-up, she let her hair go completely white a few years ago, reports she used BABY OIL when she would sunbathe in her teens, and people are still shocked when they hear her age. She claims the secret, other than great genes, which I somehow did not inherit (thank you dad)—is fish oil. Mom overdoses on five fish oil pills a day, and she’s been taking them for years. Mom’s now got me on the regimen and, while I don’t actually know if I see the benefit yet, I’m banking on this little gamble. I’m now a devout fish oil abuser. They’re chock-full of omega-3s so I say what’s the risk in continuing to give ‘em a go?