January 10, 2012

Beauty Essentials

I’ve always been a huge beauty junkie, constantly searching websites like MakeupAlley to see what people were loving and raving about. In the past few years, my beauty/product obsession has slightly decreased as I’ve found certain products that I’m completely happy with. Here are what I call my “holy grails” in the beauty department.

For links and product details, continue reading after the jump.

Urban Decay Naked Palette: since buying this palette, I have not used any other eyeshadows (seriously).  Texture and color choice is incredible and in my opinion, a must for anyone who wears eyeshadow. Urban Decay recently came out with the Naked Palette 2, which I’m itching to get.

Nars Bronzer in Laguna: I’ve tried many other bronzers, but always come back to this shade. Perfect for fair skinned gals, like myself.  A few of my olive-skinned friends love the darker shade, Casino.

Chanel Double Perfection Powder Foundation: most other products make me greasy an hour after applying, while this never does. Plus this never goes on heavy, but is buildable if you want a bit more coverage.
*if your skin is very dry, I don’t recommend this.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer – apply before your eyeshadow and have crease free color all day.

YSL Touche Eclat – an under eye highlighter that makes me look like I got a full 8 hours of sleep.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler – in my opinion, the best eyelash curler out there, hands down.

Benefit Posietint – a little swipe of this gives me pretty rosy cheeks that lasts way longer than any powder blush.

Polish Up
Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover – my nail guru friend recommended this to me a few year ago and it’s the best at removing and pushing back cuticles in less than 5 minutes.

Seche Vite Top Coat – nothing else gives me such a high-shine polish that lasts for days.

 Essie Lacquered Up – favorite red.

Essie Borrowed & Blue – favorite pastel (worn here).

Deborah Lippmann Shake Your Groove Thing – favorite party polish.

Hair Care
GHD Flat Iron – a flat iron that truly lives up to it’s hype (was using the Chi before and I like this way better). My favorite part is that it has universal voltage, which is ideal for someone who travels internationally.

Nexxus Emergencee Protein Treatment – I should have probably made a separate post on this, but I’ll try to give a summarized version on the importance of a protein treatment. As a person who uses heat products quite often, colors her hair on occasion (I do my own roots, but get highlights 2x a year), this product is a life saver. I highly recommend reading the reviews/instructions here. Cannot live without this stuff and I buy in bulk from eBay since it’s a bit hard to find in stores.

Feria Conditioner – favorite everyday conditioner, which might be too heavy for some, but I adore it.

Serge Normant Shampoo & Conditioner – recently discovered this stuff thanks to a friend of mine and it’s become my favorite shampoo & conditioner. Plus,  it smells delicious.

Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar – as someone who has suffered from acne-prone skin, I need to keep it relatively simple. I’ve been using this since High School, and anytime I stray, I always come back to it. Plus, it helps that my Derm recommends this to a lot of her patients.

Olay Complete, Sensitive Skin – another product I’ve been using since HS and always come back to.

Dermalogica Microfoliant – my favorite exfoliator that is extremely gentle, even for everyday use.

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion – the best product for cystic acne. A few drops of this and my blemish heals 10x quicker.

Dior Facial Self Tanner – I’ve tried every self tanner out there and this one is my favorite. It always looks natural and never streaks.

If you guys have any questions, ask away! I’ll try to answer everything.



  • melovebutterflies

    is the buffering lotion very different to the drying lotion? does one need both?

  • BrooklynBlonde

    @ meovebutterflies, The drying lotion is used more for whiteheads or for already existing blemishes, while the buffering lotion is ideal cystic acne or blemishes that have not completely surfaced yet. If I feel one creeping up, I'll use the buffering lotion and it will help it go away MUCH quicker.

  • Alicia

    Great post!! I'm obsessed with YSL Touche eclat..

    Mundo de Alicia ❤

  • jillian nicole

    I cannot live without my YSL Touche Eclat! Great picks, Helena!:)

  • Mollie Ruiz-Hopper

    Great post! I love all of Deborah Lippmann's nail polishes. Right now I've got on Glitter in the Air. Thanks for sharing your favorites!

  • fshnonmymind

    Have you tried the Naked 2 palette? I have the original Naked palette as well and use it all the time. It definitely reduces the need for me to buy a lot of eyeshadow these days.

  • Erica

    We use a lot of the same products – UD Naked palette, Nars bronzer, Olay moisturizer, Shu Uemura curler, Seche top coat. Love them all!


  • PartyMixTape

    I just added my "Top 10" products this morning, via http://partymixtape.blogspot.com/ Check it out!

  • shushu

    I'm itching to buy the Naked2 palette… so many good things are being said about it.


  • BrooklynBlonde

    @fshnonmymind – I haven't tried it yet, but dying to!!

  • Olivia xo

    I have been wanting to try out the Touché Eclait for ages now, and I swear by Dermologica! Great post xx

  • Nicole

    I am soooooo excited to try the Nexxus Emergencee Protein Treatment. I am making the purchase on my way home from work. Thanks so much for the tip! xoxo

  • WearAbouts

    deborah lippman nail polishs are all the rage these days! I haven't ssnatched one up yet, but i sure am planning on it! and for me? BOBBI BROWN is the best makeup their is! 🙂


  • Victoria

    I am obsessed with makeup so naturally I love it when my favorite bloggers post about their makeup 🙂 I always love your makeup and especially all the bright lipsticks!

  • Styleclouds

    I love reading what cosmetics others use and getting tips! I actually have a few of the products myself so it's very reassuring to see you like them as well! Love the post! xo, Christina


  • Bettina

    Naked palette is the best! They're coming out with a Naked 2 this spring. Love when bloggers post beauty favorites!

    Seche Vite single handedly changed my relationship with nail polish!

  • Xoxo ☺

    Fabulous products , I love the naked & cetaphil! Xo

  • Neris / Fashion Fractions

    LOVE the Dior self tanner as well 🙂 great minds think alike 🙂


    Fashion Fractions

  • Sarah

    the YSL touche éclat looks great, I want to buy since a long time but I'm still in hesitation.
    love your blog!!!!


  • madhouse

    Great post!!!!! Ill bookmark this for next years stocking stuffers 😉

  • Maggie ☮

    I really like these posts because I can find new products to try!!

  • melovebutterflies

    thanks for answering! now I know what to get :))

  • PinkGlitter

    We have a lot of the same makeup favorites. I've been thinking of getting the GHD sometime in the near future. Glad to know you have tried CHI and GHD and prefer the latter.

  • Bravoe Runway

    I definitely want to try YSL Touche Eclat this year. Similarly to you, I also love urban decay's eye shadow primer!

  • Annie

    loving this post. such great tips!

    X, Annie

  • Kimiya Crayton

    I love the naked palette!

  • Girlie Blogger

    Good one, girl. I totally agree with your products, especially straighter, lash curler and foundation.

  • Angsthase

    Loved this post! Thanks for sharing these. I'll definitely be trying out the Seche Vite topcoat + the Sally Hansen cuticle remover.

  • Rachel

    I literally just bought the Urban Decay Naked palette this weekend and I have been using it ever since! LOVE it!!!! Thanks for sharing… I think I might have to try that shampoo and conditioner, I've been looking for new hair care products!


  • Tanika

    Love Seche Vit top coat! it really lets the nails dry fast. Im contemplating buying the Naked 2 palette this weekend myself.


  • brenda.pulgarin

    i agree with a sally hansen cuticle. i love it!!!


  • Sarah

    Great products, thanks for sharing!


  • misssmalls

    Great product select! I will totally be trying the Nexxus Protein treatment, I've been trying everything to protect my fine hair from breakage etc…

    Miss Smalls

  • Hannah

    I love the tiffany blue essie polish!


  • erika

    sounds like we have pretty similar skin. Oily and acne prone. I get at least two to three big cystic breakouts around a week after my 'cycle'. I also use cetaphill (love) and I have the MB buffering lotion…but I haven't noticed it work for me. I'm wondering if I use it wrong.
    when do you apply it (morning/night/all throughout the day) and do you cover the whole area with it or just spot treat when you feel one? does it keep the breakout from surfacing?

    btw, love your blog!

  • Christina Borders

    Love the beauty product suggestions – I am always so curious as to what products girls love and what makes them pretty. 🙂 I own a few of these myself but am definitely going to look into the Nexxus Protein Treatment!

    ~ Christina

  • Marita

    I will definitely be purchasing the Naked palette after seeing this! Question: any tips on doing your own roots? My hair is similar in color to yours, and getting roots touched up every 6 weeks is getting expensive.

    Love your blog!

  • Nicole @ Giraffelegs

    Adore NARS bronzer, Oil of Olay face lotion and all things Essie.
    Great picks!

  • Kelly

    such great choices. You use some really great stuff!!


  • cait

    Love it! I did a similar post this week as well: http://www.prettyandfun.com

  • Sophie Loloi

    thank you so much for this review! definitely going to try some of these products



  • Night at Vogue

    Very nice post!

  • Esther

    Love that you've shared your fave beauty products, if I see a product mentioned enough it will encourage me to buy it and on this occasion it will be the Dermologica exfoliant that I will be investing in. Thank you.

    Esther xx


  • Fictitious Fashion

    wow.. such a nice list of products u use 🙂
    Can u also tell me abt a heat protectant I can use ?? And wedr it wud be available in india?
    Thanks 🙂
    Maybe u have time to read my new post

    Have a nice day 🙂

  • M-J Obsessions

    Thank you for sharing your favorites!!! I am definitely going to try many of the items on the list!!


  • Lisa Griffin

    these are some great tips! i have very sensitive skin so i may try a few of your skincare tips and see how they go!
    in dramatic fashion

  • Leigh

    There's a Naked paletted 2??? I am checking it out immediately! Love the original version.

    I also can't live without the Urban Decay eye primer.

    Another one of my must haves is my Stila waterproof liquid liner. It's the easiest product I've found for goobers like me who don't have a steady hand but love the cat eye look.


  • BrooklynBlonde

    @erika, I'm sorry to hear it doesn't work for you! If I'm hanging around the house and have the time, I"ll apply it several times a day. Once after washing my face and before moisturizing (I'll let it soak in for a few minutes) and then once more after I moisturize.. I do feel it keeps a breakout from surfacing, or at least surfacing in a much smaller way. I usually spot treat and then apply around the area where I'm prone to breakouts (jawline). Hope this helps!

    @Marita, I've been doing my own roots for so many years that I've become sort of a pro – once you have pick out your appropriate root color (whether it's a mix you get at a beauty supply store or a box) I use a thin comb, a few clips and do each section at a time. The back is the trickiest, but I've found using holding a mirror and using clips to separate the sections (so you don't have hair falling all over the place) help a lot. Truthfully, it takes practice… but now I've become sort of a pro. Been using the same color for many years and every once in awhile I go to the salon to get highlights and to tone by hair so it doesn't get brassy.

  • BrooklynBlonde

    @Akanksha – right now I'm using Garnier heat protectant which I happen to like a lot!

  • Olga

    Which brand and color do you use on your roots?

  • Ebeth

    One of those posts I read, don't comment on, and think about for 24 hours 🙂 Thanks for the tip on Emergencee, I'm definitely giving it a shot. Also interesting to know you have acne too – I know that sounds terrible but I NEVER would have known from your photos, so I guess that means I should give some of this stuff a shot! Thanks for the tips, H.


  • Chelsea Becker

    What product do you use to tame fly-aways when pulling your hair back/up?

  • Andrea

    great post dear! i like ysl and chanel too!
    i wish i could buy the mario badescu here in germany!heard so many good things about it!

  • BrooklynBlonde

    @Chelsea, I really use what I have on hand, which is a combo of Fekkai glossing cream and lots of hair spray to push back fly aways and hold my bun in place. Sometimes I even use a bit of gel on my baby hairs.

    @Olga, I use Garnier 100 Extra Light Blonde – I know, it's just a box! But I've tried mixing my own and I prefer this color over others. But only will use on my roots – never on my entire head. I also keep it it for about 45 min.

  • meghan

    I like this post a lot! I got the Naked palette for Christmas and am so excited by it! I need to start working makeup into my daily routine, but I haven't figured out how to balance a full face with a work face…

  • Anonymous

    This has been so helpful – I'm def adding a few of these items to my shopping list when we visit the States soon.

    I read all the comments and your replies. I just wanted too add I think you are very kind and sensitive taking the time to do that and it's so helpful. I have hormonal acne and I had tried the Mario drying lotion which did nothing for me. Now I know why thanks to your explanation and I'll try the buffering lotion.

  • Christina

    Instant Cuticle remover is awesome!!!!!! I've been using that stuff for years. I will never buy anything else. ever!!

  • Sia

    I totally want that naked pallet! x

  • Tea Joeli

    Great blog and pics:)
    kisses from NY.

  • mariaraquelmacps

    http://chummyberry.blogspot.com/ ACEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSE!!

  • StyleFrost

    Love this post, my fav is naked palette, really want to try nars laguna! x

  • Erin

    Thank you so much for posting this! I bought the Face cleansing bar and loved it! Great reviews! xoxo E


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  • Leo

    is the buffering lotion very different to the drying lotion? does one need both?

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