Welcome to the first post in my monthly QUICKIE series, where I talk about products I’ve been loving for the past month and products I want recommendations for! Some of my favorite products this month include a Japanese cleansing oil (I have seen the light!), a Glossier product I finally made work for me, and a drugstore mascara everyone has been talking about for months.
Products I loved
Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil
Price: $9.09 on Amazon
How long I’ve been using this: About 5 days
Although I’ve had one foot in the Asian beauty world for a few years, I’ve never tried oil cleansing before. Then my friend explained the whole “like dissolves like” concept to me, and I realized a cleansing oil might really help with my oily skin. It’s also supposed to be really good at removing dirt, makeup, and sunscreen from your face, which helps your skin better absorb any other products you use after cleansing
When I first used the Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil, I thought I was experiencing some placebo effect because there was no way it could be that amazing after the first use. After I double cleansed with the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel ($20), my skin felt so smooth, especially my cheeks but even my forehead, where I have more texture. I swear, even my facial oils and serums went on more smoothly and absorbed more quickly. Hyaluronic acid usually takes more time to sink in for me because I have oily skin, but after using a cleansing oil, it absorbed much more quickly, and I didn’t have to wait to put on moisturizer. In short: holy shit!
I’ve only been using this for the few days of February, but it’s so good that it has to go on the list. I oil cleanse in parts so I can make sure I remove all my makeup and sunscreen. First I use a quarter-size amount of oil to cleanse my cheeks, nose, and chin, making sure to massage my face in small circles. Then I use a similar amount of oil to cleanse everywhere else. After I’ve massaged my entire face for about a minute (and gotten out all the satisfying grits I could), I use lukewarm water to emulsify the remaining cleansing oil and rinse my face. I also found that double cleansing with a foaming cleanser like the Avène Cleanance gel helped to remove any remaining oil because it’s a water-based formula.
Trader Joe’s Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s but also available on Amazon for $12.07
How long I’ve been using this: 2 months
I firmly believe that things don’t need to be expensive to be good. Hand cream especially. The Trader Joe’s Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream is super affordable and super effective. It’s a little bit sticky when you first apply it, like every other hand cream, but it absorbs quickly. There is also a slight fragrance because of the shea butter, but it doesn’t bother me too much.
I use this every night and I’ve found that it keeps my hands super soft and prevents the backs of my hands from becoming too dry because I’m a bit of a compulsive hand washer. It also comes in an aluminum tube that makes squeezing out even a little bit of hand cream extremely satisfying. And it’s only five dollars! Need I say more?
Glossier Stretch Concealer
How long I’ve been using this: About 1 year, but I explain this a little more
I’ve been using the Glossier Stretch Concealer (in medium) on and off for about a year, but I’ve never really loved it until recently. Maybe it’s because I have oily skin, but I felt like even the minimal coverage it offered would disappear while I was applying it with my fingers.
What really changed things for me was how I applied the concealer. Although this product is marketed as a concealer you apply with your fingers, it’s actually much more effective when applied with a brush — specifically a small powder brush. I use the Morphe G40 detail powder brush ($6), but any round-top brush with densely packed bristles would be perfect. I dip the brush into the pot, get a little bit of product on the bristles, and apply it on my face almost as a very sheer foundation, but only in certain areas. This method really helps with covering any redness, although I do still use my finger to add a little extra coverage on any blemishes I might have.
Now I feel a lot better about having two pots of this concealer, and this has become my go-to concealer for my everyday makeup look, where I focus on healthy skin, face-framing eyebrows, and a little eyelash definition.
L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara
Price: $7.37 on Amazon but also available at any drugstore in the U.S.
How long I’ve been using this: 2 months
I’m actually not really that much of a mascara person. Not because I don’t need it — my eyelashes are decently long, but they’re not naturally curly or voluminous — but because I really hate taking off mascara, especially when I feel like it doesn’t add that much to my everyday makeup look. So mascara was usually something I reserved for when I did a little extra with my makeup.
This is definitely the best drugstore mascara I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot because they’re so cheap). This mascara actually does something to my eyelashes, and it’s more affordable than the other effective mascaras I’ve tried that are much more expensive. It adds volume, holds a curl, and doesn’t clump. It’s also actually waterproof! It’s not resistant to the power of my face oils, so I get a tiny bit of smudging under my eyes or on my eyelids halfway through the day. But I haven’t found any waterproof mascara that can won’t transfer at least a little bit onto my oily eyelids, so that’s just my problem.
I need recommendations for …
I’ve been living off samples of Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($29) for a couple weeks, and I really like the texture. But I want something that brightens my undereye area because I have this weird combo of some darkness near my inner corners and sallowness around my orbital bone.
I’ve always told myself that I need to start building an anti-aging skincare routine when I’m in my 20s, and I’m already almost two years past that deadline, so I need to get on this, stat. I’ve used similar vitamin A derivatives, like tretinoin and isotretinoin (a.k.a. Accutane), in the past to treat acne, but never a retinol specifically as an anti-aging treatment.
If you have any recommendations for either of these types of products, please tell me in the comments!