Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cold Weather Beauty Tops

It’s been a little while since I last did a favorites list or review, and as I’ve been trying out a fair amount of new health & beauty products it seems like a perfect excuse to share with you all! I think my recent experimentation has been caused primarily by the changing of seasons- as colder weather begins to creep in around the edges (it snowed in portions of Maine this weekend while I was home, crazy!), I am harshly reminded to boost up my skin and body care routines to ward off the onslaught of winter’s dry skin, brittle hair, and cracking nails. This crusade to protect my fragile, pale skin and fine hair has lead me to discover some new products, as well as re-acquainting myself with some old friends. In no particular order, my tops for beauty & skin care finds:

1) Biomega Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner: My wildly talented hair stylist, Megan, at Ki-Ra Salon recently switched me from Moroccan Oil to Biomega during my last salon trip, and I am never looking back. Although I loved the smell and hydration of the Moroccan Oil products, it just seemed to be too heavy for my fine textured hair. I’ve never had a problem with having oily hair, and it seemed if I didn’t wash it every day, I would be left with a lot of oil build-up, not cool. Moroccan Oil seemed to weigh my hair down significantly, causing it to have a lot less of its usual body, and as a result I would just end up throwing it up in a ponytail and ignoring it. After consulting with Megan, she recommended the Biomega products, as she had done for other clients with similar issues. The products smell incredibly fresh and light, moisturize perfectly without being weighty, and come in significantly under the price of Moroccan Oil. I knew it was a perfect match when after washing my hair at home for the first time and doing a thorough towel dry, my hair was already picking up a little volume. I actually did a little photo shoot with my good friend, the very talented Earl Brewer, the next day and even he commented on how fabulous the volume was, and the proof is in the pictures:

Another great selling point? I’ve always had pretty strong gripes with the hair care industry for selling shampoo & conditioner in the same size bottles. Unless you have very long hair, you’re more than likely using ½ the conditioner as compared to shampoo usage, which can be a pain when replenishing your supply. The smart cookies behind Biomega sell their shampoo in 10oz. bottles and conditioner in 5oz tubes. Love it! And if you need another reason to check them out, the parent company, Aquage, is a partner with Susan G. Komen for the cure in the fight against breast cancer and raising breast cancer awareness!

2) Bare Minerals Cosmetics: I think the last time that I wore a liquid foundation would be right around the era of 1999-2000, and for just reason- I could never find one that I like! I have very fair, sensitive skin (thank you, Irish roots), and I would continually feel like I had a layer of frosting on my face any time I attempted to wear it, so I gave up on foundation all together. Fast forward almost ten years later to when my mother discovered Bare Minerals just before my 2008 nuptials. She had been looking for lightweight coverage, and stopped by a great little boutique make-up shop in Boothbay, About Face for a consult. The owner was very helpful and gave my mother a wonderful custom consult with the Bare Minerals products, which she was so happy with she went ahead and purchased. After test driving her products a few times, I bit the bullet and purchased my own. The powder foundation is ridiculously light, you don’t even feel like you have anything on, and any unevenness or blemishes are evenly covered. The blush is very subtle, and their make-up brushes are incredibly soft (I’m a very tactile person!). I have since expanded out to their Buxom Lip Gloss line (all with cheeky stripper-esque names), fortified with lip plumpers, their Prime Time base (gives skin and crazy smooth surface and is super light), and their mascaras that are always feathery and light. I don’t worry about the blemishes that would undoubtedly pop up when using other bases and the coverage is light and flawless. They even recently re-designed their loose powder pots with sealable internal lids, which avoid the ever-popular powder explosion that used to happen upon opening up the pot for the first time after it had been shaken about in your travel bag. Bare Minerals has made me a proud convert to the “Swirl, Tap, Buff” mantra.

3) Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion: If you are a woman between the ages of 17 and 100 and you have yet to discover or try Clinique face lotion, do it now!!! Seriously. This is yet another product pass-down from my mother, and in the 15 or so years that I have been using it, this lotion has never done me wrong. It is totally hypoallergenic, fragrance free and gentle, but tough enough to stand up to winter’s bite. I would honestly guess that one of my first memories as a young girl would be the simple yellow bottle with its polished silver top standing on my mother’s bedside table- a residence it still upholds today. While trends and new revelations in skin care come and go, there is a reason why this little genius has stood the test of time for so many women for years, and for our family, generations.

4) Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear: I am an insult to woman-kind when it comes to my nail painting skills, and I openly admit it. I have always lusted after the girls who were capable of slapping on a perfectly painted manicure in minutes and would stare longingly at their perfect polish applications. I think my fault lies in one simple characteristic: extreme lack of patience. While I love the look of painted nails, I hate waiting around for them to dry, and 90% of the time I end up assuring myself that my nails are “dry enough” before deciding to re-pot all the house plants or clean the bathroom tile grout. This always results in my nails looking like they were done by a four year old wearing a blindfold, and I swear off polishing my nails until the next time I convince myself I can master the task. A few months ago, I discovered the Xtreme Wear line, and shockingly, we’re now BFFs. The colors are all very saturated, go on smoothly and dry quickly- score! Not only do I love the way my nails look just after a fresh coat, the color stand up to everything I put my hands through- cooking, cleaning, slamming around on keyboards and general mayhem- and still look pretty damn good. There is a huge selection of colors as well, and with minimal upkeep, this strengthening polish can look great for a full week, if not longer. Finally, I’m a true girl!

5) Burberry “Weekend” Cologne: Ok, so not really a beauty product per-se, but I felt it was worthwhile to pay homage to my favorite of scents. Technically, I believe this is a men’s fragrance, although I’ve taken to wearing men’s scents for years now. As I am not usually attracted to flowery smelling perfumes, this Burberry scent is the best thing I’ve ever found. It’s a little crisp laundry, a little shaving cream fresh and fully relaxed and subtle enough for everyday wear without overpowering (there is nothing that makes me crazier when you can smell a person’s- male or female- scent spray when you’re more than 5ft away). It evokes exactly what the name is all about: a casual, comfortable scent that’s just as good when worn with a LBD as it is with jeans and an old Hanes. Classic, a little preppy, and perfectly comfortable in any setting.

6) The Body Shop Body Butter: What can I say about The Body Shop’s Body Butter that hasn’t already been said??? This heavy duty moisturizer is like a gift from heaven for those of us that are stricken with dry, sensitive winter skin. I have been using their Brazil Nut Body Butter for at least ten years (I was devastated when they discontinued the Soy version- the Brazil nut was a great consolation), and it has never done me wrong. I keep a pot of this wonder product on my bedside table (right next to my YogaToes) and I love the feeling of the deep moisturization after a post work shower. It relieves cracked hands and feet, takes away the “alligator skin” that sneaks up on your limbs, and doesn’t clog pores in the process. While I don’t personally use this as my everyday moisturizer, I love treating myself to a little extra body hydration once or twice a week to keep my skin healthy and protected from the harsh New England winter weather.

So that’s my list of beauty go-tos for colder temps- what products do you rely on to get you through the frostier months?


  1. Hey!
    Have you tried the Clinique Moisture Surge Extra? It's my favorite dry-skin drink. Just saw you had dramatically different, and figured I'd add my two cents.

  2. I haven't tried it yet, but my mom has and she's a huge fan. Might be my next winter treatment purchase, thanks!