11 beauty products I use to the last drop

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I had a very sobering realization while packing up my old apartment—and, specifically, my beauty products—last month. And that is that there are an awful lot of them that I tried once or twice, was underwhelmed by, and never used again. Because my taste in skincare and makeup does not run cheap, this isn’t a good way to operate, so I’m attempting these days just to stick with the tried and true. And speaking of which, I have never, in the history of ever, used up an entire container of eye cream, because none of them seem to move the needle much—except for this stuff, which contains banana powder, which is an old makeup artist trick, and supposedly brightens up undereye circles. I think it actually does do this, and it’s nicely moisturizing too.

I don’t like washing my face, and who knows why, so I use this micellar water, which is gentle (this is the sensitive skin formulation) and really gets the job done. Your face feels clean after using it, but not all dried out the way some cleansing potions can do.

I treat my SKII sheet masks like gold—lord knows they probably cost as much, pound for pound—and only use them if I’ve got a promising date or important Zoom meeting or something like that. They’re deeply hydrating, and I swear they make me prettier. And after you use it, there’s still a bunch of mask goop (I guess the more accurate term would be serum) left over in the little envelope for you to get a couple of more uses out of it.

 

This C.O. Bigelow body wash smells ever-so-faintly of musk, and suds up like nobody’s business.

 

This pencil is applied to the lower rim of the eye and is great for those times when you’re tired or burnt out and your face needs a little waking up. I don’t use it every day, but when I’m feeling and looking a bit bedraggled, it really makes a difference.

I like Milk’s bronzer because, unlike most bronzers, it’s perfectly matte, so your face doesn’t resemble a disco ball.

I wear lipstick every day, even now, which might seem ridiculous to some of you, but I’ll bet that others of you get where I’m coming from: even if I’m the only person to see it, that’s enough. My shade of the moment is Royal, by Kosas: it’s a kind of pinkish, berryish shade that really flatters, and lasts reasonably a reasonably long time, if not forever.

My new favorite mascara is Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions, and the length it endows your lashes with is, indeed, almost as good as extensions.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil feels so much lighter than your average foundation, is nicely sheer, and leaves me feeling particularly glowy.

I work this Davines Oi All in One Milk through my hair before blow-drying, and it makes my hair behave so much more nicely than if I hadn’t used it. I’ve been relying on it for years, and will be seriously lost if it’s ever discontinued.

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42 Thoughts on 11 beauty products I use to the last drop
    Lynne
    25 Jan 2021
    3:28pm

    The Milk primer is the best I have ever used and I’ve tried a lot! It’s slightly tacky, not silicon feeling, and it keeps your foundation on and nice texture for hours. I think it is called Hydo Prime (bottle is not handy) but it is excellent.

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    mc
    25 Jan 2021
    5:15pm

    Why is face-washing before bed so unappealing? I never, ever, ever do it… which makes me think I should try that micellar water, even though I don’t usually wear makeup.

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      HickfromStyx
      25 Jan 2021
      8:45pm

      I use micellar water to remove sunblock. Believe me, that stuff will ruin pillowcases.

      Micellar water is something I thought was a fad. After trying a sampler, I became a convert. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think it helps calm skin that is prone to redness. Bonus!

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      Lisa
      25 Jan 2021
      5:22pm

      Because it feels great and it’s good for your skin even if you don’t wear makeup. Of course, you need to follow it up with a skin care routine or it will dry it out. If you don’t wear makeup maybe you aren’t into taking care of your skin either. No judgement, just might not be a priority for you.

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        LJIS
        26 Jan 2021
        6:19pm

        Wow dude, not wearing makeup = not taking care of your skin?

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      Lisa H
      26 Jan 2021
      1:17pm

      Face washing is a drag! I’m especially unmotivated at the end of the day.
      My solution is to put on a headband, then run a washcloth under warm water and put just a bit of Cetaphil face wash on it. I “suds” it up on the cloth before burying my face in the warm soothing dampness. I mostly blot my face all over, taking more time if I’m wearing eye makeup. After that, I rinse the cloth well, then blot with it again. I may end up with a little residue, but better than leaving everything on my face. I used to end up splashing water everywhere, as well as getting the ends of my hair wet.
      I finish up with Clarins Double Serum, and night cream.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    25 Jan 2021
    8:33pm

    The Kosas lip color is truly one of the best formulas I’ve ever used, but I wish they’d come out with a few more colors. My favorite shade is “Rosewater.” The older I get, the less makeup I feel like wearing, but when I do, it’s gotta count: Eye definition with Chanel Boy liner in brown, Chanel Le Volume mascara, good skin with my beloved (but sadly discontinued) Bobbi Brown EXTRA Tinted Moisturizing Balm, a dab of cream blush by Beauty Pie, and a great lip – color dependent upon my mood. My face care must is Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, with Prestidge Beauty Serum topped with Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream because I’m now in the phase of life known as “dry as a bone.”

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      Jessica
      29 Jan 2021
      1:02pm

      I love the skincare from Beauty Pie – need to try the blush!

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    AKM
    25 Jan 2021
    12:13pm

    I’m a fanatic for DHC Perfect Pro mascara – tiny wand, very black, comes off easily with water. Don’t know how many times I’ve repurchased. Also the Clinque version because they make a lovely dark brown. They both give natural lashes with enough oomph (and don’t dry out in 4 weeks, as has been my experience with Glossier’s mascara)

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    MaryAlice
    25 Jan 2021
    11:51am

    The BioDerma Micellar Water is flat out amazing. It cleans your skin without making it feel stripped or greasy, and also smells light & fresh. Also, ladies, it comes in different formulations for dry or oily skin. It’s a French drugstore brand and very reasonably priced.

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      Candy
      25 Jan 2021
      2:11pm

      I agree! I started using the BioDerma Micellar Water for sensitive skin to remove makeup and oil when my dermo said I had rosacea, and it made a huge difference. Vanicream gentle facial cleanser is also one of my use-to-the-last-drop products.

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    Jeanne
    25 Jan 2021
    12:00pm

    For those of you with frizzy, dry or curly hair, Loreal Elvive 8 Wonder Water is seriously ah-mazing. My daughter has fine, dry, damaged hair and it’s always been very problematic. We’ve tried every mask, oil and glaze on earth. I decided to try this new product based on the amazon reviews (11k w/4.5 stars) and wow, the results have been really great. It takes 8 seconds to work and you apply in between your shampoo and conditioner a few times a week. Best of all it costs $8.97! https://www.amazon.com/LOreal-Paris-Lamellar-Moisturizing-Treatment/dp/B07X6HCLK2/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=loreal+laminar+water&qid=1611593197&sr=8-1

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    Jenny
    25 Jan 2021
    11:59am

    Kim, would you consider doing a similar post about kitchen equipment, clothes, other home goods? What else did your move teach you about what you really rely on, as opposed to what you aspired to or imagined you relied on? I say this while thinking of the cookware I brought from my big house to my small apartment when I moved two years ago: I haven’t used half of it, but will probably take all of it with me when I move again, imagining that I will suddenly become the type of person who makes bundt cakes all the time.

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      Kim France
      25 Jan 2021
      12:01pm

      Good idea, Jenny. I’ll think on it.

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    Diana
    25 Jan 2021
    11:22am

    I wear lipstick every day, too, even though I rarely leave the house. I get it!

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      kimbersam
      25 Jan 2021
      11:55am

      Me too. It’s the punctuation mark 🙂

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    Margaret
    25 Jan 2021
    9:42am

    The Milk makeup line seems pretty underrated (maybe because they market it for 19 year olds?) and I am so happy to see it get a shout-out here. There is also sheer berry chunky stick (same roll-on as this bronzer) that is universally gorgeous and you should all buy. Looks very dark but is not. Actually I have found that “youth” brands like this and Glossier that skew to sheer, natural formulas and colors work really well on my 60 year old skin. Kids don’t want heavy makeup and neither do I!

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      Lynne
      25 Jan 2021
      3:27pm

      The Milk primer is the best I have ever used and I’ve tried a lot! It’s slightly tacky, not silicon feeling, and it keeps your foundation on and nice texture for hours. I think it is called Hydo Prime (bottle is not handy) but it is excellent.

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      kimbersam
      25 Jan 2021
      11:06am

      My 21 YO niece wears no makeup at all, however some of her chums’ contour like Kardasians.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        25 Jan 2021
        8:52pm

        Step away from the contouring!

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          Jennifer Sasser
          26 Jan 2021
          3:17pm

          Why,? I’m 47 w/ a round face and I just can’t seem to master it. It is beautifully done and the you tube influencers make it look so easy, I’ve been into makeup since 13 and in Beauty pageants and never in all that time had anybody mentioned contouring maybe concealer under the eyes but that was it so what’s the hype and doing it and not doing it

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      Mary
      25 Jan 2021
      12:22pm

      I adore the Milk blush – definitely will but it again!

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    y.k.
    25 Jan 2021
    9:50am

    i have been looking for exactly that kind of pencil, just ordered it.
    thank you!!

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    AnnieA
    26 Jan 2021
    9:39am

    When I’ve made a bad skin cream choice I use it up on my dry and non reactive legs. It seems strange and wasteful but less wasteful than being completely unused.

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      Kim France
      26 Jan 2021
      11:32am

      That is genius.

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    Missannethrope
    25 Jan 2021
    4:10pm

    I’ve thrown out all of my makeup since I haven’t used any of it in almost a year. When the day comes that I can show my face in public again, I will definitely try some of these.

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    Joannawnyc
    25 Jan 2021
    11:30am

    I haven’t worn lipstick in so long that I can’t even find the Kosas Royal lipstick that I bought a year ago! I’ve been dependent on the Tarte SEA Jelly Glaze lip masks and a tube of Clinique Almost Lipstick in the classic Black Honey (which is the only lipstick I’ve ever used up and replaced–usually I replace lipsticks because I lose them!)

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      kimbersam
      25 Jan 2021
      11:57am

      Black Honey is iconic and seriously looks good on everyone.

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      AKGB
      25 Jan 2021
      4:18pm

      I’ve been wearing Black Honey forever, but I also like the Milk Kush Lip Balm in Plushberry and, the Blackberry color of the newish Nivea lip care colors makes as good an argument as any for best drugstore dupe.

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    MeezStephanie
    25 Jan 2021
    11:44am

    YES to the Davine’s Oi Milk. I get nervous when I see it run low! It’s the only leave-in conditioner type product hat done’s weigh down my baby-fine 2C/wavy hair.

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    dkl
    25 Jan 2021
    11:24am

    My skin is next-level dry, but most hand creams and lotions (even supposedly hypoallergenic ones) cause a scaly, ichy reaction. Years of experimentation led me to Ahava’s hand cream (and the lighter body lotion). It doesn’t cause the patches of gross, it seriously softens and hydrates without being greasy, and it even smells nice (not perfumy). I prefer the “water” formula.

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      CC
      26 Jan 2021
      3:06pm

      omg YES to the Ahava line. Seriously good stuff.

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    D.Morgendorffer
    25 Jan 2021
    12:29pm

    I have lost my eyeliner pencil sharpener, which was a Nars. The previous one was a Pixi one from Target. Does anyone know of a sharpener that doesn’t have all those hard-to-reach-and-clean crevices? I know I should probably accept that there are design limitations to sharpeners that make them awkward to clean, but I have to ask just in case.

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      AmyM
      25 Jan 2021
      3:39pm

      The hands-down best sharpener I’ve ever used is the Grind House by Urban Decay. It’s pricey, as sharpeners go, but totally worth it. Doesn’t destroy your pencils and restores a nice fine point.

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      Viajera
      25 Jan 2021
      12:39pm

      I hope you will find it, D.! It must be *somewhere.* I wish I knew a good sharpener – I don’t. (It’s hard to find a good sharpener for regular pencils now … a lot of them don’t work well these days, which is odd. )

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      Kim France
      25 Jan 2021
      12:50pm

      I really like the Nars sharpener, D, but I can’t speak to how easy or hard it is to clean. https://rstyle.me/+KNV1y_jySvU_WS9uc3jnvw

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        Mamavalveeta03
        25 Jan 2021
        8:59pm

        That’s what we always used when I worked as a MUA at an independent cosmetics boutique because it worked well with all brands of pencil. None of them are easy to clean!

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      Seneca
      25 Jan 2021
      12:50pm

      I am partial to NARS, but a sharpener from an art supply store might do the trick.

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        D.Morgendorffer
        25 Jan 2021
        1:11pm

        Thank you all for the suggestions. I will definitely investigate the art supply store idea! Wish the Nars one worked for me, but my below-par fine motor skills no doubt cause me to do a less-than-satisfactory job cleaning it. My mother is an artist so I know from experience that even virtual visit to an art supply store is fun. Thank you, Seneca! (I like your name because it reminds me of my one, faded tattoo, a quote from the Stoic philosopher: “To be brave is to be free.”)

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    Eloise
    25 Jan 2021
    1:03pm

    The Kosas Tinted Face Oil sounds appealing but the thought of going to Sephora’s right now skeeves me out. Kim, what shade do you use and (am going to go ahead and be super annoying here) how close to it the picture on the Sephora website is it?

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      Mary
      25 Jan 2021
      1:28pm

      Sephora provides excellent online service.

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    Mae
    25 Jan 2021
    12:50pm

    I read this post right after reordering the three Tata Harper products I’ve been using to the last drop over the past couple of years: Regenerating Cleanser, Resurfacing Serum and Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer. It’s pricey stuff, but considering how many things I’ve tried and then thrown in a drawer to be discarded years later, I don’t mind spending the money. Plus, I never wear makeup, so all my beauty dollars go to skincare and haircuts.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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