This is a query from the week of requests that I didn’t quite get to, but that a lot of you wanted me to answer. Let’s start out with a splurge: this lip balm from Laneige goes for $24, which is a lot for a lip balm, but not one that works as quickly and effectively as this does. I have been suffering from badly chapped lips lately—like I do every winter—and was using various balms I had lying around the house, most of which didn’t move the needle on the problem, or maybe even made it worse. Then I remembered I had this stuff, and it worked literally overnight to restore my lips to their former, warm-weather glory. FYI, it’s called a night mask, but you can obviously use it whenever.
A number of department store beauty brands have started making micellar water, but I stick with the well-priced classic: Bioderma (specifically this kind, for sensitive skin). It removes makeup and dirt nicely, and does so while not only not drying your skin, but actually hydrating it.
Back when I was still dating, I’d use one of these splurgy SKII sheet Masks if I had plans with somebody promising, because it has seemingly magical powers to brighten and hydrate skin. These days, I use it for special occasions, and always pop one in my suitcase when I travel, because my skin gets so dull after being on a plane.
A confession: until quite recently, I had no bedtime skincare regimen. I went to sleep every night with makeup on, and woke to find that makeup all over my pillowcase and face, which is not exactly a stellar look. Not even to mention that it’s not at all good for your skin not to remove your makeup. So I’ve been wiping off said makeup with the above Bioderma, and then applying Weleda’s Skin Food, which is beloved by more beauty editors than any moisturizer I can think of. It’s impressive—considering that beauty editors never have to pay for their products—that they all chose such an inexpensive item. I use the light version, but here’s the original if that intrigues you.
Because of the presence of a cluster of scar tissue—a souvenir of breast cancer surgery almost 20 years ago—my boobs are lopsided: the one with the scar tissue is permanently pert, while the other has begun to lose its fight with gravity. So I don’t mind spending on quality bras that can even things out, like this pretty one from Else, a lingerie brand I like a lot.
In my experience, expensive socks wear out at the same exact rate as cheaper ones, so this is a category where I never spend a lot. These knee socks are getting me through the winter nicely, and you get three pair for just under $20.
Bags are such an expensive category, and I used to spend a fortune on them in the Lucky days. I no longer do that, but I still don’t mind spending a much smaller fortune, because I’m super picky about bags, and like them quite minimal, with no hardware. So I go for a lot from Claire V, like their Gosee Clutch, which fits so much more than it looks like it would and is blessedly spare.
As with socks, I find that expensive cashmere gets crappy at the same rate as the cheaper stuff, so I never splurge there anymore. When a favorite navy cashmere beanie of mine became a victim of my recent moth apocalypse, I replaced it with this one that I found on Amazon for a quite reasonable $49.
I’ll splurge on pants if the cut is a unique one I’m unlikely to find elsewhere, like Nili Lotan’s Paris pant, which I know some of you think looks diaper-ish, but which I absolutely love for its slouchy cool.
If I just want a straightforward pair of chinos I’ll spend a lot less, like on this pair from J. Crew.
Such a great, relatable post! Sad fact about cashmere. Did anyone else start following the menswear blogger Derek Guy (@dieworkwear) on Twitter when their algorithm started pushing him on everyone?? He still advocates for highest quality cashmere, artisanal Scottish brands like William Lockie, and recommends buying second hand. This thread on why a cashmere sweater can cost anywhere from $50 to $5,000 is informative:
This is hugely helpful, thank you! I have a Johnsons of Elgin cashmere scarf that I’ve had for years and it still looks good. OTOH, TJ Maxx cashmere developed pills and holes after a few wearings – now I know why!
Yes, to following Derek Guy and reading learning about cashmere production and pricing from him. I am female but have learned so much from him about men’s fashion and fit. I wish I could persuade my husband to take some of that knowledge to heart.
Laniege is also good for under eye and upper lip, if you ask me.
Love this post! I use Weleda Skin Food at night along with a bit of Egyptian Magic if my skin is super duper dry. The value of effective drug store perennials is satisfying. I love La Roche Posay’s mineral sunscreen spf 50. Not screwing around with chemical sunscreen anymore. The ingredients are like whack a mole: find one that’s deemed ok and it’s a matter of time before it’s not and you’re hunting for another. I’ll try the Bioderma. And I dig the diaper. ;-D I’ve figured out that Edgy Pants is a state of mind that helps me feel more me. I purchased the Horseshoe by CoH this summer and love them, and have these weird ass black wool drop crotch numbers from Album di Famiglia that I’ll never part with. Thanks also for your vulnerability here; I’ll check out the bra.
Oooh, the horseshoe pants are fun! I will keep an eye out for a pair IRL. Thanks.
You know, I’m not sure I tried the LaR mineral sunscreen. If you don’t mind saying, which one do you use and does it blend in okay? I agree with you about the chemical frustration.
Hi! This is the one I use. Yes, I find that it blends well. Doesn’t leave a white cast. Not heavy.
respectfully going to disagree with you on socks. if I’m spending a lot on footwear (which i do) i want a sock that is going to fit, and I’ve only found that with spendy socks. Right now my go to brand is Darn Tough, and i have yet to have a pair wear out (and FYI they have a warranty)
Wool socks are totally worth spending money on. Smartwool lasts for years, even with weird talons that go through the heels of absolutely everything else
I recently bought some wool socks on Etsy after spending over $100 trying other brands, many of which I donated if unable to return. They are so soft and comfortable. At about $11 a pair, well worth it.
Yep! I find wool socks totally worth spending money on. Smartwools will last for years, even with weird talons that go through the heels of everything almost instanteously
Not sure why that comment disappeared and then reappeared! But I do love my Smartwool socks!
I agree with Karen on this. Darn Tough is my go-to sock brand, primarily because they offer sized socks, including a women’s L and a men’s XL. Only once in 10 years have I had to take advantage of their lifetime guarantee when a sock proved defective, and it was a hassle-free experience.
I have about four pairs of the Hope News Trouser, which imho offers a similar vibe to Paris but isn’t quite as diaper-ish. I keep trying different brands, but this is the only pant I’ve found that actually looks slouchy (versus fitted or baggy) on my hippy frame. And fwiw, they are often cheaper on the brand’s site than online boutiques.
Was coming here to say the same about Hope Stockholm and their trousers. Mine don’t have any stretch in them, I have a pair in linen and one in cotton twill.
A comment on products with fragrance — the point is, fragrance is irritating to sensitive skin, whether that fragrance is considered light, barely noticeable, a fast-fader, plant-based, etc. The chemical composition and presence of perfumes and fragrances are either there or not there. As someone with increasingly sensitive skin (and that includes lips), I’ve learned the hard way that probably 99% of products are a no-go.
I picked up some of the Weleda Skin Food in Paris last summer, and it was lovely! But they don’t seem to make anything with SPF for daytime. Still searching for a replacement for my favorite cheapie Neutrogena anti-wrinkle cream, which was mysteriously discontinued last year. I managed to snag a bunch of the night version on the Website That Shall Not Be Named, which should get me through the year, but the sunscreen version is all gone.
This was a very satisfying list to read and so informative! Thanks for putting it together. I absolutely agree on the Weleda. I will spend a bit on skin care with actives, such as my Retinol, but there are so many effective inexpensive moisturizers. I love the Weleda line for Sensitive skin as well – calming and fragrance free.
I am in a similar situation in terms of nighttime skincare. By the time I am going to bed, I’m too tired to bother. This is a very handy post, as I do think I might moisturize more. There’s no reason I can’t put something on a little earlier. … … … Kim, good job on beating cancer!!!! I am glad you are still in this world. This is such a nice place to be able to visit. It’s so civilized! I hope it’s okay to say this.
I go through lip balm like a demon, and I love this stuff:
I buy a ton at Christmas and give it to everyone in my family. It is in my car and in the pocket of every coat. The unscented is good, and the others are lightly scented and the scent fades almost immediately after I use it.
So, just out of curiosity … how do I know if something is “slouchy” but not baggy? Does slouchy mean it is only baggy in the fanny area? Does it fit in some areas and not in others? What’s the dealio?
Love this post and the comments…so informative as well as interesting.Can anyone comment on where Vitamin C for my face falls…save or splurge and which specific one?
Nancy, I have questions about Vit C products too. I have one now that I think is probably good quality, but I don’t care for the smell or the sticky-yet-gritty feel. Otoh, I think I’ll keep using it and see if I see a difference. At least, that’s what I *should* do. (I am a big baby about putting on lotions that feel heavy.) … … … I do think that Vit C as a category is pretty important. But, I don’t have any recs right now. Anybody??
I can recommend the Drunk Elephant vitamin c serum (a splurge)! It lasts a while, as I mix a small half-pump with a hyaluronic serum daily. It has a little bit of a scent, but it’s never bothered me. I put it on before my sunscreen and makeup, and it’s not sticky or greasy. I am also a fan of the (splurgy) Sunday Riley vitamin C oil, but I’d only use it at night because of the(oily) texture. I do NOT recommend the Ordinary Vit C suspension – the cream pilled up something awful, and I wasn’t able to put anything else on my face. As for results, I think they’re helping? My skin tone is miraculously even these days.
Not sure how to edit my comment…(why the “falls” is there???? ) haha who knows…not me and its my post
I love Vichy vitamin c serum (one version has hyraulic acid).
And I love Laroche Posay for moisturizer with spf.
Ooooo Fara I’m late to this party, but I’ll have to check out the Vichy vit c serum with hyaluronic acid!! (I mix these two serums on my own anyway.) Thank you for the recommendation!
LaNeige is not cruelty-free, if anyone cares about that:
Crap, because I love the Sleeping Mask. Burt’s Bees does have a version that I didn’t like as much but will get used to!
Have you tried the Burt’s Bees unflavored version? I like it better than the Laniege:https://www.burtsbees.com/product/overnight-intensive-lip-treatment/
Love love love the Weleda Skin Food (Light) if only for its smell. Perfect for dry spots, too. I splurge and hair and skin care and try not to spend much on clothing–I’ll always go for vintage if I can.
Breast cancer surgeon here – just an FYI in case no one told you – symmetry procedures such as lifts on the noncancer side are often covered by insurance! So, if it bugs you, there may be a solution.
I love the laneige lip balm but I’ve found one I like EVEN MORE. Avene Cold Cream lip balm. TDF.
I use the full strength Wellda skin food on my feet and the lighter version on my face. It’s a win-win. Highly recommend both. I plan to try your rec on the Laneige as my lips are about to fall off my face they are so dry/chapped. That Else bra is so dang gorgeous!
I second Laneige. Once my lips were closing in on themselves so that it looked like I had none. I got this stuff and overnight my lips were back and plump again. Also second the Paris pants that I now own 3 pairs of (Shons are great, too).
First, I don’t think I’ve ever commented, but as a 30-something reader who still misses Lucky and reads your blog daily, thank you for continuing to share your writing, style, and general awesomeness.
I keep almost buying the Laneige for my winter lips, but as scented lip products tend to make my lips peel, I was wondering how strong the Laneige scent is/if it’s at all irritating? For a reference point, I typically use unscented Dr. Bronner’s, which I love, but it’s not enough for this time of year. Thanks for any insights!
The Laniege smells really watermelon-ish to me, which I don’t really like, but the product works so well I get over it. I am sensitive to most fragrance (like face on fire type burning), and I don’t find it irritating or drying at all.
They have other scents, I got a sampler once for a friend!
Hi! I don’t think the Laniege lip mask has much scent, or at least not one I can smell once I put it on. I have the Berry scent/flavor and get a quick (and very faint) whiff when I’m applying it but then I don’t notice it again. It really is a miracle worker for dry lips!
I love this post!! I agree about the Bioderma. I have a bottle that I found at TJ Maxx for something like $7; I’ve had it more than a year and there’s still half left. I can’t imagine a product would work better, for any price. Plus it’s cruelty-free and unscented. What more could you want?
Although the Laneige sleeping mask is somewhat pricey, I’ll attest to the fact that it lasts a very long time, and I use it for both day and night. Alternatively, they have a squeeze tube that’s less pricey (maybe 19.00), to carry in your bag and not dip your fingers into when you are out and about.
I, too, am a breast cancer survivor (8 years on 2/26) and I had the same issue – one lifted and perky but imperfect with scar tissue on the bottom, and the other just big, heavy and dragging. I recently had reconstruction (lift on one side, which was a 34DDDD, and reconstruction of nipple on the radiated side) and it has been life changing, although I will admit it took consults with 4 different doctors to find one who was comfortable working on a radiated breast!). I went from having to accommodate the non-radiated side to a 34C for both. I still can’t wear underwire bras and don’t know if I will ever go back, but if you come across any wireless bras that have wide cups and are still sexy, I’m all ears. Went to Victoria’s Secret yesterday just to check out their wireless selection and their cups are so narrow, I’m still spilling out the sides of the cups.
May I ask if you live in NYC? I also need to find a Dr. who works on radiated breasts. Are you willing to share names, and are you happy with results? Please and thank you!!!
Yes! I do live in NY. I am 4 months post op and am happy so far. I wanted lipo under the arms for the excess breast tissue but we r going to wait on that until the 1 year mark to see where things land and if I can exercise some of it to tighten up. I had my surgery at NYU, Dr. Levine.
Nice post! My tangential question is: where can I find the sandals in the J C
Crew pic? Sincerely, Your pal with tailor’s bunions, perpetually in search of wide adjustable straps