Ask Avery: Playing favorites
blog by Avery Hartmans • January 04, 2013 @ 9:01am
I’m curious to know: what are some of your favorite inexpensive beauty products? What do you use for your hair, skin, make-up, etc.? I could use a few tips.
My, how flattering. I practically feel like Oprah, rolling out a list of my favorite things. Unfortunately for you, however, this list is not accompanied by loads of free products and possibly a car. Not this year, anyway.
My beauty routine is actually fairly simple, but over the past few years I’ve gotten to know and love a few inexpensive beauty products that help me look my best. Will my favorite shampoo give you super-luscious hair? Probably not. Does my favorite mascara guarantee boys will be falling at your feet? I’m guessing no. But hey, we girls will take all the help we can get.
I’m not quite sure I should be considered an expert on skincare. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrolled through Pinterest to find every combination of household items to create my own blackhead-removing peel-off face mask, only to be left with totally unaltered skin and a white, sticky mess to clean up. Yes, that’s exactly as gross as you’re envisioning.
Nonetheless, I have found a few products that work for me, at least some of the time. For those days when a typical cleanser just isn’t going to cut it or you slept in a pound of make-up and feel, for lack of a better word, icky, St. Ives Apricot Scrub is hands-down your best bet. It’s sort of like rubbing your face with gravel, but you once you dry off, you’ll look like a newborn. This should be used sparingly, however, since it opens up your pores and makes them extra sensitive, which in turn causes pimples — which I’m guessing is exactly what you’re trying to prevent.
For everyday use, my favorite is Olay Pore Minimizing cleanser. It has just a little bit of texture and comes out of the bottle a pretty mint green color — clearly I’m not hard to please. But I have noticed that since I began using it, my pores have shrunk infinitesimally, at least I think so, and my skin has been clearer.
But what’s most important when it comes to skincare is moisturizer. My top pick is Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizing lotion: it’s light, doesn’t clog your pores and a tube always comes free with the Clinique gift at Lord & Taylor. You can’t beat that.
Sometimes I feel as though my hair has become such an important part of my life that it deserves to become a proper noun. The Hair can be high-maintenance, demanding and untamable one day, then manage perfect beach waves or a perky ponytail the next. Hopefully for you, you have lowercase-H hair without a mind of its own, or you’re blessed with Blake Lively-caliber locks. Regardless of your hair type, however, it doesn’t hurt to test out a few new products once in a while.
To be completely honest, my hair routine is not fancy. Wash with Herbal Essences Body Envy shampoo to get a little volume, condition-rinse-repeat with Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly conditioner just to switch things up, then I call it a day. Does my shampoo and conditioner cost roughly $4 combined? Yes. Do I sort of have fabulous hair? You betcha. As a wise woman once said, get on my level.
But on days when I’m feeling fancy and want to actually “do” my hair rather than letting it air dry then head out the door, the Conair 1.5-inch curling iron is my best friend. Starting at the root, I wrap a section of hair all the way around the barrel, hold for 10 seconds and voila: loose, natural waves with minimal effort. Even if your hair doesn’t hold a curl well, this will at least add a little texture and volume. After all, aren’t we all hoping to achieve that artfully tousled, I-just-woke-up-yet-miraculously-have-perfect-hair look? I know I am. Blake, watch your back.
Though I can’t pretend to be a make-up guru — that title is reserved for my older sister — I have figured out what works for me after years of trial and error. I am finally willing to concede that teal eyeliner was not a good look for me and that it was, in fact, very noticeable when my concealer was two shades too tan for my skin tone. Ah, the dark days of middle school.
But the best thing about make-up is that while the fancy stuff is a fun treat when you have the funds to actually buy things at Sephora, you don’t need to spend a fortune to look your best. Rather than spending $30 on the Bare Minerals starter kit, hit up your local drug store and spend $8 on Maybelline Mineral Power powder foundation. And in case you were wondering, yes, I do have to purchase “classic ivory” and yes, it is sometimes too dark for me.
In terms of my mascara, my first and only love, I’m very finicky. It takes about two weeks for me to get sick of a mascara and move on to the next one. My current love, however, is Maybelline Volume Express The Falsies Flared mascara in blackest black. Though I usually double dip with mascara and apply two at once, this one makes my lashes long, thick and dark all at once. And for only $5.94, you can’t beat the price.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.