In a time when things are still uncertain and weird, there is nothing better than the everlasting pursuit of a product we believe will make us more beautiful, more youthful and that perhaps, is an undiscovered treasure.
Recently, this has been the Avene product line for me. It’s funny to note that I had just discussed succombing to Botox for the very distinct forehead lines and “11s” between my eyebrows with my friends when I came across an article on Instyle.com about Avene products. “Cures canyon-wide wrinkles” the article said. Women in their 70s and 80s claimed they didn’t even need to wear makeup anymore because the Avene products diminished their wrinkles to such an extent, the article said.
I have since been completely hooked. I read all about the mineral-rich thermal waters from which Avene creates its products, using a sacred spring in France that legend says, cured a horse of alopecia in the 18th century and has since been thoroughly researched for its healing properties for the last 300 years. In fact, the water was sent to help soothe victims of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. You can read more about it here.
So far, I haven’t seen super-incredible improvement in my own canyon-sized wrinkles, but I’m completely willing to believe the narrative. At the very least, the products feel incredibly luxurious to use.
It’s not a mysterious monolith in the desert, but it is a shade of amazing lipstick by Nude Envie, a new favorite find from social media. Founded by Isabel Madison in quest of the perfect nude lip, these lipsticks are infused with jojoba and Vitamin E and glide on beautifully. The shade pictured is Naked, and has a bit of a golden peachy hue, but still wears very natural. There are also many other shades that try to mimic your lips but better and provide a little glisten, as well. Priced at $30, Nude Envie lipsticks can be found at Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue or on her website, www.nudeenvie.com. A nice little stocking stuffer!
Winky Lux, the campy cosmetics brand founded in 2015 by two friends, is a nice little surprise at Target stores these days! The fun brand known for its flower petal-infused lip balms used to be purchased only at Nordstrom and other high-end boutiques, but now is widely available to our T-town masses. According to the brand’s website: “Winky Lux was born with the idea that since every beauty product is technically a little gift, from you to you, it should always look and feel as special as the person receiving it (who is also you).” Genius!
Pacifica Beauty is among the myriad vegan beauty brands that adorn the shelves of Ulta, Sprouts and other retailers, but now seems more popular than ever. I have found more than a few Pacifica products that function just as well as more expensive versions. Launched in the late 1990s by Brook Harvey-Taylor, who grew up on a Montana cattle ranch, the brand is popular with our Gen Zers—which is how Pacifica first crossed my radar. A birthday present last year included a Rose Flower face mist that actually felt gentle and hydrating, as opposed to other sprays that can be drying. (I will never forget sitting in a doctor’s office with my kids as they kept staring at my face. Finally, they asked why my skin was peeling off. Yep, it was from another rose facial spray!) I have since bought the eyeshadow palettes for friends and recently tried the Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream. All good – no skin peeling. Pandemic got you down? LIKE, UNDERSTATEMENT! Pacifica might be a fun brand to try right now.
Challenging Covid-19 quarantines call for a luxe candle. And this one is it! Les Ruches, a Los Angeles candle company, makes luxurious, pure organic beeswax candles that are as beautiful to look at as they are to smell. The candles have lead-free wicks and are infused with essential oils. But the reason I even found out about them is because I follow Shayna Taylor, an organic chef on Instagram, and she did a collaboration with Les Ruches – the Noir Amethyste line. Now, it’s impossible to pick a candle scent online but I trusted her because her entire mission is organic healthy living and I thought she would surely create a beautiful scent. And SHE DID. The Noir Amethyste is a must buy. The candles range in price from $52 to $550 and they arrive in elegant black and gold packaging with long-stemmed matches to boot. Due to the coronavirus crisis, be patient on the shipping right now. Stay well!
Sephora, Ulta and Bluemercury have all added coveted new brands to their stores that bring a bit of luxury to T-town. Before the luxe new additions, the product-obsessed had to travel to Phoenix, California, or any other state or city that actually had a Nordstrom, etc. But NOW, you can find Charlotte Tilbury, Patrick Ta and Huda Beauty at Sephora. Bluemercury has added Chantecaille to its high-end offerings and Ulta has stocked the millennial fave Loving Tan that my teens used to have to order from Australia. This is progress people!
One of the few highlights of shopping at Tucson Mall during the back-to-school rush was finding this today! Jo MaloneLondon has a huge new display at Dillard’s, right at the top of the escalators. No more having to order her elegant perfumes and candles online! But, Jo Malone is only at the Tucson Mall Dillard’s, not Park Place. (I called that location and when the operator said “Who?” Yeah, I confirmed it’s not there…)
I consider myself product-obsessed to be sure, so seeing a glistening silver tube by a brand I had never seen before on a recent trip, you can bet I tried it.
Goe Oil, by Jao Brand, is a semi-solid oil, made from 28 plant-derived oils and butters. It melts as you rub it in your hands, which I didn’t realize, and took too much and got it all over me. So, long story short, I left the boutique, but found myself enveloped with the most amazing scent all day long. I literally smelled like Hawaiian flowers and my skin felt amazing.
The creator of Jao Brand, Gale Mayron, developed her skin care line with her chemist father. “I formulated this with my father saying, ‘Dad I want a semi-solid oil I can travel with that will melt when I rub it together,’ she writes on her website, jaobrand.com. “My father always said this was one of the most difficult projects he’d ever worked on. Intricate formulation indeed. Nobody would be crazy enough to combine 28 different oils, waxes, and butters!”
I ordered it from Amazon when I got home and use it on the days when lotion just doesn’t cut it.
With all the Sephoras and Ultas of the world, there is still something special about shopping at a boutique makeup store. In Tucson, Bluemercury remains that special place. Not only did the Macy’s-owned chain outlast Beauty Brands, but the La Encantada store has many exclusive lines, such as Chantecaille and Lune + Aster. A little bonus for the amazing Tucson moms right now–when you spend $100 or more, you get a free bag of luxury samples, until supplies last!
Sometimes, you need only visit your corner CVS store to find a satisfying beauty haul.
“Haul” is a word that comes from YouTube and is when young influencers are sent hundreds of products to try, earn millions of dollars in endorsements and enjoy over-the-top Coachella accommodations while not earning a college degree.
So, when I’m killing time and musing over why my journalism degree doesn’t garner such luxuries, I find myself wandering the aisles of this drugstore, searching for happiness in a cheap beauty product. Some recent finds:
Differin Gel – my dermatologist recently told me about this retinoid acne gel, which used to only be available by prescription. It’s pretty awesome and works! ($15/$30)
Violet Flower Hand Mask – not sure about the “intense moisture” it provides but the gloves are cool and the violet scent is so luxurious, totally worth the $4.99 price tag. Korean beauty products – they know their stuff.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay – my youngest teen and her product-knowledgeable best friend love this stuff! ($9)
ARDEN Magnetic Lashes – can’t WAIT to try these! ($13.99)
Beauty 360 Rose & Pearl Brightening Mask Pods – I really hope these work well. They are really pink and pretty. They also come in a pack of 2 and include a cover so you can re-use them! I like a product that leaves me prepared. ($4.39)