If you feel euphoria after finishing a beauty product, you’re in good company. As someone who tests new products every week, my turnover is significantly higher than the average human being. Partly because of my occupation, partly because of my inability to walk through Sephora without throwing down on the sample-size product displays.
For the most part, I put on my game face when it comes to finishing what I started. That’s the only way to give true testimony, especially when it comes to skincare, which often takes longer to see results.
Consider this post your reference guide to the Empties – skin, hair, and makeup finds I tried, loved, and will add to my shopping cart again and again.
This drugstore staple is a true jack of all trades, an all-over protectant and moisturizer uniquely formulated to restore smooth, healthy skin. It seals in other products, creating an ideal healing environment by acting as a protective barrier while allowing continued flow of excess fluid and oxygen. We use Aquaphor as an ointment to soothe dry skin, chapped lips, cracked hands and feet, minor cuts and burns (it helps prevent scars!), and other irritations.
My favorite eye masks have three inventive layers that prevent the masks from slipping, allow serum to deeply penetrate the skin and deliver key ingredients. Calendula extract reduces puffiness, camu camu extract brightens dark circles, hyaluronic acid diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, and aloe leaf extract provides cooling effects. Apply to clean, dry under eyes for 10-15 minutes and then gently pat the remaining serum into skin.
Caudalie’s Instant Detox Mask went viral for all the right reasons. It clears congested pores, gets rid of dry flakes and boosts your natural glow. Pink clay and coffee absorb dirt and excess oil, while fruit enzymes brighten dark spots. This is a great choice if you want a skin detox without the potential of any irritating acids.
I can personally attest to the staying power of this drugstore cleanser. It’s fragrance-free, non-drying, non-irritating and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores).
Through the years I’ve become increasingly obsessed with finding a sunscreen that doesn’t trigger my breakouts or my daughter’s eczema. This is a golden find that I use on the entire family. Bonus, it doesn’t smell like sunscreen.
Elemis products feature regularly in my skincare lineup, but this anti-aging moisturizer is my absolute favorite. It’s clinically proven to reduce wrinkles and improve skin firmness, tone and hydration after 15 days of use. That’s thanks to a Mediterranean algae called Padina Pavonica, as well as antioxidant-rich Ginkgo Biloba and hydrating Chlorella. The texture feels amazing, plus it absorbs quickly, has a mild rose scent, and layers smoothly under makeup.
You should reach for sunscreen daily, even in the winter. This gets applied every morning right after my Vitamin C serum. Tip: Use as a sunscreen, moisturizer and primer all in one. And if you have sensitive skin, it can help calm and protect issues related to acne, rosacea and discoloration.
Leaving spots alone is sometimes impossible, but these patches help prevent picking. Treats pimples without over-drying and prevents the spread of further bacteria.
This is my favorite makeup remover! It’s so gentle and a little bit goes a long way. A three-in-one cleanser, purifying makeup remover, and anti-aging serum for renewed skin.
The Coconut Cleansing Oil by Kopari Beauty smells amazing and leaves your skin feeling clean, soft and hydrated. It’s also cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free and vegan.
This is the self-tanner I use year-round for my face and body. It blends summer tan lines so well and is most effective on fair or medium skin.
Even a minimalist skincare routine can make time for a one-minute, one-step exfoliating glow peel. Use morning or night and follow up with Vitamin C serum and a moisturizer. It’s an easy, at-home treatment to improve your skin’s tone, texture and clarity.
We spend most of our time and money on our faces, but let’s not neglect everywhere else. This body wash is incredible for sensitive skin and smells like being at the spa (there’s also a non-fragrance option). Perfect choice for a favorite things party.
Hands-down, this is our favorite drugstore body wash. The scent is incredible, and the creamy lather is perfect for shaving.
Obagi’s Hydrate Facial Moisturizer is light enough for the summer months and great for preventing breakouts. Retinoids tend to make me dry, and this product supports my skin’s natural moisture.
Layer these treatment dots over a bit of Retin A and you’re good to go. The blemish doesn’t instantly disappear, but I always see a difference in size and redness. Patches also help to keep the product in place instead of rubbing off on your pillow.
Originally developed by a cosmetic dentist, Rembrandt Toothpaste uses a unique blend of micro-polishers to fight stains like coffee, red wine and tobacco. It not only whitens teeth, but actively restores and strengthens enamel.
This product is one of my top detoxing masks and often featured in my holiday gift guides. Yes, you can purchase from Amazon and trust that it’s legitimate. An intensive mask that deeply cleans the skin, ridding it of impurities and excess sebum.
I’m obsessed with how this face wash improves my skin’s tone and texture without stripping away any moisture. A recommendation from my friend Jordan Harper that’s a star player both morning and night.
In the evening I like to use a toner to make sure my face is extra clean. This version is expensive, but it works like no other. It’s crafted with a mix of AHA and pitera – a bio-ingredient rich in vitamins, organic acids, minerals, and amino acids – that works together to support natural skin cell renewal. The alcohol-free formula gently exfoliates while both hydrating and closing pores.
In ten minutes, these easy-to-apply cooling gel pads will firm, de-puff and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. I love to throw these in my travel bag for a refresher after a flight.
If you’ve ever tried anything from Sol de Janeiro, you know the scent is iconic and addictive. This body cream helps smooth and tighten the look of skin and makes a great stocking stuffer.
This pencil has earned a permanent spot in my makeup arsenal. It makes shaping and filling in your brows a breeze, and honestly such a difference in how your makeup looks overall. I wear shade “taupe.”
Becca sells my favorite setting powder for everyday use. It’s translucent and magically makes your pores disappear.
I’ll keep saying it until (God forbid) this product is discontinued: You need the Hollywood Beauty Light Wand in your beauty arsenal. It’s essential to my daily routine. I apply to my cheekbones, cupid’s bow, down the bridge of my nose and on my inner eye.
It took serious consideration, but this foundation belongs at the top of my list. Vitamin C gives anti-aging benefits and protects against free radicals. Then there’s hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and plump skin, and mushroom extract to tighten pores. I wear a shade 5 and absolutely love the full coverage, how weightless it feels, and how long it lasts.
This quick drying, rinse-free formula leaves your brushes squeaky clean and dry within the hour. Forever repurchasing.
CND Vinylux Weekly Polish includes a self-adhering color coat that eliminates the need for a base coat. Durable and dries quickly.
This color-correcting, full-coverage foundation is insanely popular because it’s simply the best. Packed full of antioxidants and SPF 50+, are you kidding me? Super lightweight and buildable, perfect for everyday use. I apply with my fingers.
My apologies to Kat Von D, because I was slightly skeptical to buy this. Now I’m a loyal fan. A product that doesn’t cake and illuminates the under eye like a dream.
An extreme-volume, vegan mascara that’s smudge-resistant, long-wearing, and powered by plant-based fats. The Fluff Brush has wavy-fiber bristles that coat each lash. I use the shade “Trooper Black.”
The best lip gloss for the best price, period. If you’ve followed along for any length of time, you know it’s my ride or die. I restock on Amazon and my favorite hues are Crème Brulee, Vanilla Cream Pie, Angel Food Cake and Tiramisu.
If you like Shape Tape concealer and are looking for a full-coverage foundation that won’t crease, cake or fade, this is the one. It’s oil-free and ultra-hydrating with collagen and hyaluronic acid. I wear shade “light-medium-beige.”
This is my favorite concealer for a full coverage look. I wear shade “light-medium-beige.”
No matter what mascara you use, it will look ten times better if you apply L’Oréal primer first. It conditions and gives lashes volume, enhances mascara wear and never ceases to amaze.
Let me introduce you to the conditioner that adds silvery brightness to grey hair and neutralizes brassy tones in all hair colors.
Cool Blonde Conditioner weightlessly conditions and uses specially formulated violet pigments to neutralize unwanted yellow and brassy tones, leaving blonde hair color looking fresh between salon visits.
So impressed by this budget-friendly, three-in-one formula from DryBar. Spray on dry, styled hair for just the right amount of texture, hold and curl separation.
We use this in the summer on our girls to keep their blonde hair from turning green after hours in the pool. Good for mom, too – it’s safe on color. Removes sea salt, chlorine green and daily build-up with gentle fruit extracts.
I swear by these gummies to help promote hair growth and health. Ingredients include biotin, zinc, B12, PAPA to boost hair color, folic acid and Fo-Ti. It also helps support hair pigmentation for healthy hair color.
A sulfate-free color care shampoo that gently cleanses, nourishes, and protects against UV, hard water, and damage (which can cause color fading).
I’ve been using this conditioner for years. Blondes know purple shampoo is a must to counteract any brassiness in your color. One wash a week will keep your strands looking natural, light and bright.
Olaplex is the best hair system on the market, and I haven’t looked back since buying their shampoo. It works for all hair types improving texture, restoring strength and moisture and adding shine.
This is my go-to dry shampoo. It leaves no residue and is super affordable.