Things I bought, things I want: Ulta edition


On Sunday, I found myself with my friend Loren and time to kill in suburban Connecticut, so we drove to the nearest Ulta, and browsed for so long I’m pretty sure a couple of employees thought we were shoplifters. I’m usually more of a Sephora type, but I do appreciate Ulta’s deep selection and mix of high and low. For starters, I purchased this brow pencil, which has a very fine point and imparts hair-like wisps quite precisely. I’ve been considering getting my poor thin brows microbladed, but this stuff is so good and natural-looking that I might be able to put that off for a while.

I stocked up on this IT Cosmetics mascara, which I discovered over the summer, and which promises to lengthen and volumize, and delivers (especially on the length front).

I also decided to spin the dice on this Mac mascara, which contains fibers that are meant to mimic the effect of lash extensions. That sounded both like a potentially great thing, as well as a potentially clumpy mess to me, and yet, in reality, it goes on very clean, and does indeed give you big, beautiful eyes—especially when combined with a topcoat of the IT mascara.

I love my Laura Mercier eyeshadow, so I thought I might try something slightly more dramatic, and this hue—called Cobblestone is just dark enough to make an impact, but light enough to do it subtly.

Not that I need a new blow dryer, but have any of you tried this Revlon one that the internet went crazy for a few years ago? It has inspired scores of imitators, so I’m thinking there might be something to it.

Meanwhile, I wish somebody would come up with a cheaper version of this Dyson styling kit, which has also earned raves and is supposed to be less damaging than traditional heat styling.

I neither observe nor especially enjoy Christmas, but I do love a good beauty advent calendar for a couple of reasons: 1) they’re cute, and 2) they allow you to try intriguing products in mini form, so you don’t have to spring for a full size until you know you like a product. This one, from Benefit, includes several of their excellent mascaras, that brow liner at the top of this post, and lots more fun stuff.

As soon as the weather turns cool, my lips get chapped, and they stay that way until spring. I think my (pretty matte and hence drying) lip color is at least partially to blame, so I’m looking for tinted lip balms like this one, which protect, moisturize, and impart a healthy wash of subtle color.

Squalane is a newish ingredient that apparently hydrates skin well, and is also very lightweight. I’m just intrigued enough to consider trying this $9 version from The Ordinary.

I’m almost out of my current blush, and am thinking of replacing it with a Benefit tint like I used to wear. They’re super-subtle and tough to screw up.



The makeup minis I always keep in my bag


I’ve never been a person who keeps much in the way of cosmetics in my purse. I’ve usually got a tinted lip balm on me, maybe, but that’s about it. But all that changed in July when I was out on tour, and often found that, by evening—after a long afternoon of riding on a bus and killing time at the venue while the kids loaded in and sound checked—my makeup had all slid off my face and I looked like a big marshmallow. To combat this effect, I start with this Ilia mascara, which doesn’t get all crunchy when I apply it over mascara that’s been on my lashes for hours. It also volumizes nicely, and can I also just say that it is SO MUCH easier to use mascara when it’s in a mini version? You can really get at all the angles in a way that you can’t with a regular-sized one.

I’m not a big eyeshadow person, but I do love this one from Laura Mercier: it’s a nice, natural shade, it’s so, so easy to apply, and it stays put even in the August heat. I also like this very slightly shimmery hue, called Strapless, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come in mini size.

Here’s my current favorite tinted lip balm: it’s super-emollient, and the right, berryish-sheer shade for summer. Also—and this is key—I can accurately apply it without requiring a mirror.

This Sephora brand eyeliner pencil is about the length of a golf pencil—so handy—and it’s such a nice, rich brown.

I found my new favorite hair product at the grocery store


I always forget something when I pack for a trip, and this time, it was a Davines product—which I spritz on damp hair to protect and glossify it—that got left behind. I was slightly bereft, as I couldn’t imagine another product doing the job quite as well. But I took a chance on this leave-in conditioner from Whole Foods, and I must say it’s kind of a miracle. It detangles brilliantly, and leaves my hair smooth and virtually frizz-free. And it doesn’t make your hair feel heavy and sticky, the way some leave-in conditioners can.



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.

Find Out More


[wdi_feed id=”1″]

Join my newsletter! The latest fashion, beauty and inspiration for all the girls of a certain age.