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Shit I Bought and Liked: A New Skincare Obsession (Plus Sephora Sale Picks!)
Hello my sweet Shitters! Happy Halloween!!! This newsletter is full of treats that are far better than anything you’ll pilfer off a child or get for half off tomorrow at CVS, and one big trick too (try to get to end without several dollars disappearing from your bank account!). What can I say—I’m nothing if not on theme!
Scroll on for makeup recs now that the Sephora sale is open for us VIB’s, but before we get into that, I wanted to share a recent skincare discovery that I am fully obsessed with.
Those of you who have been around here for a while know that I try to be VERY judicious when it comes to making skincare recommendations. There’s the usual “what works for me won’t necessarily work for you,” “my skincare concerns might not be your concerns,” etc. But it’s also because I know what it’s like to be really unhappy with your skin, willing to do or try practically anything, and wasting so much money on things other people claim worked miracles for them. It’s not a fun place to be, and I don’t want to contribute to that unnecessarily, so if that is you, please know that my biggest recommendation is to put down the credit card and find a dermatologist (or a knowledgeable esthetician who does not push products—Sofie Pavitt is my rec forever) who will spend time evaluating your skin and give you a step-by-step routine. It will most likely be really simple, but as I’ve learned over the past few years, low and slow is the name of the game when it comes to seeing lasting changes to your skin.
One of the staples in my simple routine has been a Vitamin C serum. It has so many benefits (increased brightness and evenness in skin tone, reduced hyperpigmentation and redness, minimized fine lines, and more), and given my primary skin concerns (acne scars and hyperpigmentation), it’s a daily essential for me. Now that my skin has been more stable, I’ve been experimenting with different products and formulations to see which ones I like best, and one that’s been on my eye forever has been UBeauty’s Resurfacing Compound, which combines Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and a gentle version of retinol. I finally got around to grabbing it a couple months ago, and to put it simply, this shit goes crazy.
UBeauty has been a buzzy line for a minute now. It was founded by the longtime blogger/MAJOR skincare enthusiast Tina Chen Craig (aka BagSnob), and if you’ve ever seen her face, you’d probably be tempted to buy everything she recommends—her skin is unreal. The line’s whole premise is products that pair powerful ingredients to help you maximize your results while reducing the number of products you need (this one, for example, is supposed to eliminate any other Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and hyaluronic serums). Now despite needing fewer serums, you might not save all that much money—they’re definitely still luxury products—but after a month and a half of use, this is a splurge I will happily make again.
Within a few days of starting, I saw a slight but noticeable difference in my skin (and again—I’ve used other Vitamin C products for years leading up to this). I felt like my face was brighter and more even every morning, and I was just liking the way it looked more and more each day.
I can use this daily with no issues, but you might have to start more slowly if you’ve never used a product with retinol before (you also cannot forget an SPF—this one is my very affordable go-to). I started with the small bottle, which has lasted me around a month and a half, but we’re going for the big guy the minute I run out. I’ve been using it with the brand’s Super Hydrator (they actually sell them as a Duo), and I’ve liked them together, but if I had to stick to one, the Resurfacing Compound does the heavy lifting. This would’ve been a great place for a before and after pic, but I didn’t think to take one before starting…
But enough about the serious stuff (skincare)—let’s get to the fun, aka makeup!
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Sephora Sale Picks
First let’s start with some things I have/love/adore/rebuy:
Westman Atelier Foundation Stick: This is my everyday, running errands, taking a Zoom call, meeting a friend for coffee makeup, and I’ve never loved anything more. You can use it all over if you want, but I use my finger to apply and blend it directly onto the spots that need a little coverage or evening out. The result is super natural, beautiful skin—to me, this is one of those things that’s actually worth the hype.
Summer Fridays Lip Balm Brown Sugar: I’m always telling my friends that we could be the sisterhood of the traveling lip gloss with this balm because the shade is so flattering on so many different skin tones. I always bring it to weddings because it’s the perfect color for nighttime and keeps my lips hydrated and glossy all night long.
Charlotte Tilbury Eye Shadow Quad: Everyone hypes up eyeshadow palettes, but as a person with very minimal makeup skills, they can be SO overwhelming, plus they take up a ton of room. I love Charlotte Tilbury’s little eye quads because of how easy they make it to get the look you’re going for. Pick whichever combo you like best based on the colors/model photos, and rest assured that the directions on the back of the package will tell you exactly where to put what to make it happen. I went with the OG Pillow Talk edition.
Youth to the People Cleanser: Ok, this is still skincare (and it’s a repeat rec—I’ve had a lot of questions about cleansers lately!), but it has the best texture and leaves my face feeling so clean and hydrated. It also has a really light, refreshing scent that I’ve come to look forward to every morning. The mini size is perfect for travel, and I use this XL bottle to refill both whenever I’m running low.
Merit Mascara: If you’re looking for an everyday mascara, look no further. A coat or two of this always makes me feel more put together. If you need a little more drama, I love Rare Beauty’s for an event or night out.
Charlotte Tilbury Setting Spray: A must for whenever you need to wear a full face of makeup. I never learned how to bake and generally eschew primer, so this is what keeps my face in place (especially if there’s a dance floor involved). I’ve had the mini size for at least a year and we’re still going strong.
Other favorites from past newsletters: Crown Affair Leave-In Conditioner for the softest hair, Makeup Forever Lip Liner (Anywhere Caffeine forever), Ami Cole Lip Oil in Excellence, It Cosmetics CC+ Nude Glow (my go-to for events), and Ceremonia’s Aceite de Moska Hair Oil.
Now for the new-to-me products I’ll be adding to cart this time around…
Pat McGrath Foundation: This foundation needs to be seen to be believed. It is SO lightweight and feels amazing on the skin, but gives such a beautiful, natural finish. I’m probably also influenced by the fact that Ms. Pat created a PERFECT match for my skin tone, but I’m so excited about this stuff (and at this price, beyond happy to grab it on sale!). (Ed Note: If it sounds like I’m already familiar with this product, it’s because I am! I’m a bit of a neurotic shopper when it comes to sales, so I tend to scope out the things I’m interested in in-person ahead of time, so I know exactly what I like. In general, it’s a practice I highly recommend!)
Westman Atelier Liquid Super Loaded: This is SUCH a beautiful product (and will play nicely with the rest of my Westman Atelier
addictioncollection). I plan on using it under foundation to give me a little glow, especially during the winter months.
Hourglass Volumizing Glossy Balm: I have these plumping glosses in a few shades already, but now that they’ve come out with Rise, I must add another to my collection. It’s the perfect dusty, mauve-y nude and is everything I’m always searching for.
Saie Buffing Brush: I’m rapidly approaching year 30 of not knowing how to contour… here’s hoping this helps.
As always, best of luck out there. We could all use a little treat or two right about now, so if yours are a few Sephora impulse buys, who’s to say there’s anything wrong with that!