I have freakishly sensitive skin. Seriously, it's a small miracle if a product doesn't make me break-out, turn red, viciously peel, or burst into flames. I shudder to think of the small island I could have purchased with the money I've wasted on failed attempts to keep my pale acne-prone fast-scarring skin happy. It has been a maddening search for miracle products that will transform my complexion into the likes of Kate Bosworth or Charlize Theron.
As for my hair? It's long, blonde, and incredibly fine. My daily goals are to keep it breakage-free, grease-free, and tangle-free, all while bringing out my natural highlights. You know, something like this, or maybe this—is that so much to ask?
While my curiosity keeps my quest for the Holy Grail of formulas alive, I have 10 products in my arsenal that are total lifesavers. The coolest part? My most expensive item is $23 and the rest are around $10. Despite trying super-pricey promise-to-solve-all-of-your-life-problems concoctions, it's these affordable basics I always come back to.
Tanya's Can't Live Without Products for Skin
1. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($6.95): The perfect body moisturizer for oily skin, it's scent-free, dries quickly, and totally non-greasy. It's very basic with a minimal number of ingredients—the fewer, the safer, in my opinion.
2. Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser ($5.99): This is the only face wash that effectively removes all of my makeup and doesn't irritate my skin. Plus, there's a small amount of salicylic acid that helps prevent pimples.
3. Simple Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer ($9.74): I use this lotion on my face day and night on freshly-washed damp skin. It has just enough moisture to keep my skin quenched, but steers me clear of the dreaded 2 p.m. forehead oil-slick. The minimal ingredients help me avoid the breakouts and stinging that a gajillion other products have caused.
4. Origins Out of Trouble Mask ($23): Sulfur has an unfortunate stinky smell, but it makes my skin oh-so-pretty! Whenever my face looks like it's about to explode into a catastrophic mess, I let this mask work its magic during a hot shower. I'm not going to lie, most "natural" skin products I try fail me miserably—but this one is potent, for better and for worse.
5. Aquaphor Lip Repair ($4.29): During my six month stint on Accutane, my dermatologist introduced me to Aquaphor for my painfully dry lips. To this day, nothing compares to its healing and moisturizing effects. It gives a healthy sheen but is totally boy-friendly, I even hooked my brother on the stuff!
6. Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar ($12.25/8ct): I can't pretend there's anything exciting about this soap bar. The only exciting thing is its lack of excitement—does its job without causing any skin drama.
Tanya's Can't Live Without Products for Hair
7. Organix Cherry Blossom Ginseng Shampoo ($6.99): Like I mentioned, when it comes to face products I've learned that my alien skin prefers lab-concocted chemical creations. With my hair, I have more leeway, so I try to use sulfate-free paraben-free goodies when I can. Organix has an awesome line of deliciously smelling shampoos that—gasp!—actually lather.
8. Neotrogena Triple Renewal Weightless Conditioner ($5.49): Girls with fine hair, listen up! This is hands-down the best conditioner you will ever, well, get your hands on. It de-tangles better than my heavyweight gunky conditioners, yet is incredibly lightweight and makes my hair light and bouncy. Be-all and end-all.
9. 100% Pure Jojoba Oil ($13.99): After a week of over-washing and curling my hair, I like to spoil it with some rich oil. I'll soak my roots and dry ends then put my hair in a bun (that makes me look like I haven't showered in ages) and sleep on it. My hair thanks me later.
10. Batiste Hint of Color Dry Shampoo ($8.99): Skipping shampoos was once solely the luxury of those with dry skin or dark hair. But this year, I went on a dry shampoo-bender in an attempt to give my hair a break without looking like something the cat dragged in. After many failed finds that either left me chalky or even shinier, I found Batiste's dry shampoo. It gives volume, a little color, and banishes oil instantly. Addicted!
Tanya's Makeup Bag
Finding the right foundation has been the hardest beauty battle of all. Lately, I've been hooked on Laura Mercier's Mineral Pressed Powder, it gives me SPF protection, stays on all day, and doesn't make me break out. Oh, and no concealer needed! For keeping shiny skin at bay, still, nothing beats Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets.
I don't wear loads of makeup on the daily, but after a camouflaging powder, Mascara is my only other must. Maybelline's Volum' Express Mascara makes my sparse un-curlable lashes look dark, full, and thick while not irritating my sensitive eyes.
I can accredit Brigitte Bardot for my love of the cat eye, and when it came back in full force last year I was determined to find the perfect eyeliner for the job. Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 was just that, and though I see no difference in my lashes, it lets me paint on the perfect wing and sets smudge-free the moment it touches my skin. Another of Physician's Formula products I love is their Talc-Free Mineral Blush. As a hater of all things with acnegenic talc, I was immediately drawn to this product. It gives me the perfect rosy glow!
Never underestimate the power of a strong eyebrow. To shape mine, I use Maybelline's Great Lash Clear Mascara. And while I'm not big on eyeshadow (it tends to make my eyes blood-shot), I love to use a pearlescent one under the arch of my brows. Almay's Intense i-Color sets offer some practical shades and Clinique has definitely perfected the art of the shimmering eye.
For my lips I usually rely on Neutrogena's SPF 20 MoistureShine Lip Soother for gloss, but for strong color I highly recommend Revlon's Matte Lipstick in Really Red—it's the perfect vintage hue and has serious sticking power.
That sums up my beauty regimen! Did any of your favorite products make my list? Any new ones you're tempted to try? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned all week for StyleBistro editors to reveal each of their own Can't-Live-Without products!