Monday, December 30, 2013

My Favorite Products of 2013: Hair & Skincare

Hey, friends! Today I'd like to share part one of my favorite products of the year with you. These aren't necessarily products that were released into the market in 2013 (who has the money to buy a whole new makeup wardrobe every year?). Instead, these are products that I discovered, rediscovered, or found myself reaching for the most this year. I've talked about almost all of these at least once before on the blog, so I'll give a brief description of each product mentioned, and then link to the previous post(s) if you'd like to read more.

Shampoo: Ecru Luxe Treatment Shampoo

(Sample value [2 oz]: $7.50) (Full size [8 oz]: $20) 

I got into the world of sulfate-free hair products this year. I love how they don't dry out my hair and cause fly-aways like sulfate shampoos. Sometimes I feel like sulfate-free shampoos don't clean my hair enough, and I think this one provides a good balance of getting rid of excess oil and not turning my hair into straw. I happily used up the bottle I received in my Sample Society box, and then got myself some more!

(Runner-up: Healthy Sexy Hair Color Safe Soy Moisturizing Shampoo)

Conditioner: WEN Cleansing Conditioner ($29 + S&H for 16oz)

I love Wen. I've said it a million times on this blog but I'll say it again. After realizing that trying other conditioners won't hurt anybody, I think one of my beauty resolutions of 2013 will be to try something new.

Treatment/Detangler: WEN Treatment Mist ($33 for 6oz)

I love this stuff! I use it in my hair when I get out of the shower to comb out the tangles. I use it on my second-day hair to give it back some shine. It's really just excellent, and a bottle will last you at least a year, probably more. And it smells so good

Dry Shampoo:

Save: Johnson's Baby Powder ($4 for 22oz)

This is my no-nonsense dry shampoo. If I wake up and my hair looks like an oily mess (if I'm trying a new shampoo, or if I hit the snooze button one too many times), I use this. Baby powder doesn't mess around. It will take the oil out of your hair like nobody's business. If you're a blonde, I absolutely recommend this. If you have darker hair, this will give you a white-cast, and make you look prematurely grey. This has to be used sparingly, otherwise your hair will look drier than a desert, but it gets the job done. 

(Sample-Size [1oz]: $8) (Full-Size [5.3oz]: $21)

I received this sample at the HerCampus Conference over the summer. This delivers results, without the powdery mess. I love the spray application, and it's very quick. I don't think it does as good of a job as the baby shampoo, but it doesn't leave a white cast, or make my hair look too dry. I tend to alternate, depending on how much help my hair needs that day. 

Tool: WEN Shower Comb ($15)

I love this comb. It has a wide side and a narrow side, both of which I use. I like to use the wide size in the shower, and when I'm first getting out tangles. Then, to make my hair look a little neater, I use the narrow-tooth side. I don't like to blow-dry my hair since heat is typically not so great for your hair (and I'm a lazy bum, I'll admit it), so I like it to look not like a messy, wet disaster. Really, I recommend any comb with two sizes, but this is the one I have.

AccessoryConair Blonde Bobby Bins ($3.50 for 90)

I use these constantly. I have layers, so I like to put at least two of these in the back of my head to keep my layers back if I'm doing a side ponytail or a braid. They take two seconds to put in and keep your hairstyle from looking like a total mess by the end of the day. I'm not too picky with my bobby pins, but it's important for me to have blonde ones so they don't stand out so much.

Read more: July 2013 Favorites


I'm pretty frugal, but one product I don't mess around with is my cleansers. My skin is dry-combination, so anything too harsh will send my skin into a frenzy. I love this cleanser because not only does it not dry out my skin, but it's an amazing makeup remover (there are not many cleansers that I've tried that can remove mascara well, despite their claims). Plus, it smells like an orange creamsicle. I just wish it weren't so expensive...

Read more: April 2013 Empties

I bought this at Target over the summer after reading some great reviews. This has a mild, pleasant fragrance. I use it every morning (I don't use a cleanser--washing twice a day dries out my skin), and sometimes in the middle of the day as a refresher. It feels so nice!

I received this from Lucky magazine to test out. I'll admit, this was my first-ever serum, but I love it so much that I may never branch out. The ingredients list is so simple and pure that I can't help but think that all ingredients lists should be that way. It's moisturizing, soothing, and seems to have calmed down the redness on my face a little. It smells sort of like mint and other herbs, and I just think it's wonderful. 

Moisturizer (AM):

This moisturizer is simple and easy, just the way I like it. The combined SPF + Moisturizer makes it quicker for me to get out the door, since it eliminates a step from my morning routine. I found that this delivered enough moisture and didn't have any problems with it. It's affordable. If you take a lot of flash photography, I might avoid this, due to the fact that SPF 30+ tends to cause a white-cast in photos.

(Runner-up: Olay Complete SPF 15 Moisturizer)

Splurge: Elysee YouthSpan Telo-Genesis Day Cream* ($60 for 1oz)

This day cream feels like silk in the jar, and makes my face so soft. The price makes me want to gag. I won this as a sort of sweepstakes from HSN, and it makes me want to cry that I probably won't be able to afford to repurchase it. I think the anti-aging (or, currently-aging) aspect is what jacks up the price. If only I could find a moisturizer with the same texture without the other properties...

Moisturizer (PM): 

Save: Olay Night of Olay Firming Cream ($6 for 2oz)

This is a good, no-nonsense night cream. It's inexpensive and it works well. I don't really find that it firms (but as a 20-something, I don't need too much of that). It leaves my face a little tacky, but I don't mind, since I'm asleep for the most part after I apply this. 

I love this moisturizer! It feels very light, but still moisturizes well. At first I found it a little too light for my cheeks (where I get the most dry), but in combination with my Seventh Generation Serum, this stuff worked like a dream. I'm serious about my moisturizers (and serious about skin care--ha-ha?), so these are the types of products I splurge on. 

Makeup Remover:

Save: CVS Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover (Compared to Neutrogena) ($6 for 6.4 fl oz)

During my quest to find the perfect makeup remover that didn't cost more than my makeup collection, I found this little guy. I don't know why it's called "Oil-Free," because there is clearly some sort of oil-and-water separation going on, but I don't care. It gets my makeup off well enough. It's not as great as my Lancome, but it's pretty darn nice. CVS often has Buy 1-Get 1 50% Off deals, so I can almost always snug two of these for $9 total, which is pretty sweet. 

(Sample-Size [1.7 fl oz]: $11) (Full-Size [4.2 fl oz]: $28)

This makeup remover takes off makeup like a dream. If I'm tired, I at least know that I won't have to futz with a half-assed makeup remover, since this always gets the job done. It can handle anything. I hate the idea of spending more on my makeup remover than I do on most of my makeup, so that's why I switched to the CVS brand. But if you don't mess around, check this out. 

Skincare ToolClarisonic Mia 2 ($149)

It would have been redundant for me to include this in every Monthly Favorites post--otherwise, I would have done it. My Clarisonic has changed the life of my skin. I used to get so many more breakouts, but now my face is almost always clear, and it's due to this little contraption. It really gets down in there and cleans out your pores, but it's not harsh on my sensitive skin. I didn't realize my skin wasn't getting clean until I used this! 


Shower Gel: Caress Body Wash ($4 for 18oz)

I love Caress body washes, and they're so cheap! My favorites are their Silkening Body Wash in Endless Kiss and their Fine Fragrance Body Wash in Scarlet Blossom. They smell so good; they fill up my shower stall with yummy scents that make me forget I'm in a cramped college bathroom. One bottle lasts a long time, but this could be bad if you get bored quickly with body washes. I like it, since it saves me a trip to CVS. I think these have a luxurious smell without a luxurious price tag, so that's why they're a 2013 favorite. 

($5 for 21oz)

I like to use an unscented body lotion if I'm not going anywhere right after my shower, or if my skin is feeling particularly dry. Plus, I like them because they won't conflict with any scent I'm going to wear that day. This is my no-nonsense, business-only (I don't know where I'm going with this) body lotion. It's nice and thick (but not too thick), and it's inexpensive. It comes in a huge container that will last me forever, so I don't have to feel guilty about slathering it on this winter. 

Read more: July 2013 Favorites

($11 for 8 fl oz)

When I use scented body lotions, it's usually because I'm layering my scents (with a shower gel and/or body mist). I love doing this with products from Bath & Body Works. County Chic is more of a springtime scent of me, but I used it all autumn, too. It smells really fresh and girly, without being overpowering. This is thinner than the St. Ives, so I find it better suited for the warmer months. 

Hand Cream: Balance Me Hand Cream With Shea ($19 for 3.3 fl oz)

My friend brought this back for me from England, and I wish she would go back so I could get more! This has a thick texture that I love in hand creams. I found that it worked very well to keep my hands moisturized, but some may not like the greasy feeling it leaves behind until it soaks into your skin. My hands feel dry quite often, esepcially after washing them, so I like to have a reliable hand cream on hand (ha-ha, get it?)

Read more: July 2013 Empties

Wow, that was a lot! Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: my favorite makeup and nail products of the year! 

What were your favorite hair and skincare products this year? 

 Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. Sometimes my mother buys me makeup if she's in a good mood.  If I received it from another source other than gifts from family/friends, it will have an * next to it, and I'll say where I received it from. That's really it. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I wasn't paid to make this post. So, there. 

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