Once in a while, there comes along a beauty product that actually does change your life. Most of them don't, of course, but some of them do.
This has been on my mind for a while...because once such a product becomes part of your life, you tend to forget what your life was like before.
Here is my personal list of breakthrough products, starting with:
Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash. This has been my facial cleanser for years, literally. It seems to me it was already a "board lemming" (something everyone on the beauty board has to own!) when I joined The Lipstick Page forum in 1998, and I tried it at that time.
Why is this revolutionary? It is the perfect cleanser for my oily/combo, acne prone skin. It cleans without stripping (though I doubt it would work for dry skin; too astringent), removes makeup (at least the level of makeup I wear...I don't wear mascara, so I don't know if it works for that), does not irritate eyes--being baby wash--making it ideal for removing eye shadow and liner...has a light pleasant scent, is overall pleasant to use, no breakouts...and best of all, it is cheap. It comes in ginormous bottles at Costco...yes, the price has risen, but it's still a mere $10 for two huge bottles.
And--if there needed to be an "and"--it's terrific for washing makeup brushes and puffs, hair brushes, I use it to wash out my haircolor bottles; any time you need a mild, yet effective, cleanser, there it is.
A daily multi-vitamin. This has made a tremendous difference in my (acne prone) skin and overall well-being. Do some research...and, especially if you are of child-bearing age, consult your doctor before starting on a vitamin regimen.
For acne: consider switching your birth control pill. Some are better than others. Some are horrible in fact. I've gotten the best results from Ortho Tricyclen and Yasmin.
For acne: analyze your diet and check for allergies. My own acne is triggered by particular foods. If I eat a lot of beef that was raised with growth hormone, I'm sure to get blemishes and extra-oily skin. I've heard of people getting acne from allergies to foods such as tomatoes, citrus, or milk. I've heard of someone who got acne because she was allergic to parabens. Give it some thought, see what you're eating and what's in your environment.
Jojoba butter/jojoba oil. The butter form is superior to the oil if you're going to use it as a night cream or moisturizer. The oil is better if you're going to mix it into something else, such as a tinted moisturizer or shampoo.
This is my ideal moisturizer, and--like the J & J Head to Toe above--it is way cheap (I'm still working my way through my original jar), and the perfect thing for oily/combo, acne prone skin. I use it only at night (I don't use a moisturizer during the day)...it gets rid of flakes, makes my face feel nice and soft--not greasy...it sinks in--and, it helps keep pores clear.
For thin hair: a biotin supplement. Disclaimer: I am an ordinary person, not a medical professional. I've had thin hair the greater part of my life, I wrote it off as hereditary...but this stuff really does work. Here are some links for your perusal: Vitamins (BBC site) Treating Hair Loss Naturally (Webmd.com)
L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner. How did I ever live without this? I started out coloring my hair with Preference and used the Preference deep conditioner before, but I like the Feria one better...and you don't need to use the Feria kits to use the conditioner. Just buy it at Sallys Beauty Supply.
This is "the cure for colored hair"...just use it after coloring, for the next few days. Your hair will feel as if it had never been colored, and ladies, I bleach. No crispy, crunchy hair here.
Nars the Multiple in Malibu. Not necessarily ideal as a multi-purpose product...as a lip color it's gorgeous, but imo too dry. As an eyeshadow it'll do, but I have better shadows. But oh, as a blush, it is perfect.
I say this because I have been, by and large, far too lazy to put on blush. This cool stick form means I can grab it after I put on my tinted sunscreen, dab it once or twice on each cheek, blend with my fingers, voila! Done! Painless!
Moreover, this somewhat bronzy, neutral rose color (if anything, it is ever so slightly warm) is perfect year round, because of the bronze. As my skin gets paler, this stuff looks more bronze...it morphs into something of a bronzer. In summer the bronze fades into my tan and I'm left with a lovely rose blush.
Nars Babylon duo eyeshadow. I still love this duo; it's foolproof. Okay, you have to be able to wear orange eyeshadow. If your coloring is cool, I don't think it would work. But for neutral-to-warm coloring, and green eyes...it would work for any eye color, but it's stupendous with green or blue...you've gotta have it.
I am of the opinion that there is a Nars eyeshadow duo for everyone. Babylon is mine but there are many more to choose from.
Christian Dior Beige Massaï eyeshadow quint. This is the "subtle" version of Babylon; again it is ideal for green or blue eyes and neutral to warmer coloring. Instead of the shimmery tangerine of Babylon, you get a soft cantaloupe shade, along with a surprisingly useful creamy light shade (makes a divine wash), a neat shimmery terracotta shade (looks great with the creamy shade) and a couple of browns (look great with the cantaloupe shade).
Likewise, I feel there is a Dior eyeshadow quint for everyone. These are $ so pick carefully, but you will get a lot of mileage out of it.
MAC Permaplum Powerpoint eyepencil. By far my favorite eyeliner, both the color...it's a deep, slightly blue-toned purple, with a smidge of (largely invisible) pink shimmer...and the formula, which neither smears nor fades (in fact it's a bit difficult to remove, be forewarned), holds a point perfectly, sharpens without crumbling (at least not yet, and I've owned mine for about two years), it hasn't turned hard yet, still goes on silky smooth... The color is quite versatile.
MAC Lustre formula lipsticks. These are great, especially if you've been avoiding lipstick because most lipsticks look unnatural on you. The Lustres are sheer (the sheerness varies from shade to shade) and come in a range of wearable shades. Plus, MAC lipsticks taste faintly and pleasantly of vanilla, and you can do a Back to MAC (see Back to MAC and Back to MAC expanded for MAC freestanding stores). Plus, these wear quite well for being sheer and shiny.
Note: some people hate the scent of this lipstick. I happen to love it, but, well, it's likely to be either love or hate, so you might want to try it before buying it.
This has a rather strong, candied rose fragrance, which only makes it more addictive to me. The coverage is interestingly "medium" rather than "full" or "sheer." It really is medium. You get quite a bit of color, yet it's more forgiving than a full coverage lipstick.
Moiré is many colors in one. It goes with everything and always looks right, from business/office/meeting to casual to festive. It's almost YLBB (Your Lips But Better) but it's more color than that...it's got brick red, plum, rose, a neat little twist of fuchsia shimmer (as the shade name implies)...it's on the warm side. If lipsticks easily turn orange on you, it may not do.
It's nice and moisturizing, lasts well on...no smearing or bleeding...feels light as a feather.
Oh I'm sure I'll think of something else right after I publish this.