Cosmetics and beauty is a $170 billion a year global industry which sometimes seems more preoccupied with creating a need than with creating products we need. Or at least, that’s how some skeptics see it. Spoiler: I am a skeptic.
I find shopping for beauty and cosmetics overwhelming, pricy and disappointing. Most of the time, I come home feeling like a chump for spending upwards of $15 per item on scented chemicals that’ll make me look no different than how I usually look, except covered in chemicals. (I wasn’t kidding when I said I was a skeptic.) But this isn’t a lecture on how you should stop buying cosmetics, this is a shopping roundup (haha!) for beauty items that come with a Product Grinch Supremo stamp of approval. (I am the Product Grinch Supremo.)
Believe it or not, there are some products which live up to their promise, which are worth their price tag. The six below are all in my regular rotation. It’s a highly personal selection — this is the Love List, not the Mass Appeal List — so I can’t predict how well you’ll respond to them.
We can call this a classic, right?
Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray ($25) broke out on the so-called scene in 2001 and STOLE AMERICA'S HEART (hairt).
If you wish your home city offered summertime year round or you wish you lived in the Blue Lagoon (hairwise), Surf Spray figured out how to get you beachy, windswept hair all.the.time.
Sound the alarm: This product actually works as advertised.
Hardly a new kid on the block (not really a kid at all, but a hair product, actually), Frederic Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream ($16.50) is another one of those beauty products that actually works.
Made with olive oil in a literal, non chemical compound-y way, Fekkai's Glossing Cream creates straight-out-of-a-commercial hair. You only need to use a teeny-tiny bit on dry or damp hair (use more and risk becoming a grease monster) and err...be amazed.
(I like to use this together with Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray on damp hair and let air dry.)
Don't Eat It
If you really like cucumber salad, imagine rubbing it all over your face. That's what it feels like to use Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream ($42). The moisturizer claims to have something called "Super 7 Complex" but that's just a fancy way of saying Fresh mixed seven plant extracts together and you should be impressed.
At 25, I'm not yet actively concerned about buying anti-aging formulas, but I always appreciate products that may be doing nice things for my future wrinklies.
This is all to say, I'm not sure I use this moisturizer for the right reasons (I use it because it smells like salad, I like the way it feels on my skin and I trust Fresh to source quality ingredients), but ... I think I'd cry if airport security took it away from me.
OMG this has terrified me every single time I've applied it — which is, three times a week, every week. For the past year and a half. I eat fear for
Someone on the Internet called Hydroxatone Revitalizing Microdermabrasion ($30) a "facial in a bottle" but I've never gotten a facial so I can't confirm.
Here's what I can confirm: this makes my face feel soft and perfectly smooth, like it's been real-life Photoshopped. And it never causes my skin to break out (err, I guess something else is causing my breakouts?) or like, peel off.
There are more faddish options, but I prefer M Perfect Cover BB Cream ($30) for all my natural-looking foundation needs.
Produced by Missha, a South Korean-based cosmetics company, this is one of the original BB creams, one of the first that got people excited about the category.
Also worth noting: the cream is formulated with SPF and it's summer, so this can help protect you against those deathly sun rays outside.
Dark Horse of My Heart
I would just like to take this opportunity to give a "shout-out," as the kids say, to Ulta Red Carpet Red Lipstick ($8), which is one of the most impressive drugstore lipsticks I've tried in a long time. It smells fantastic, goes on smooth and clean, costs $8 ($8!). It makes me feel like I have candy lips.