February 7, 2019

My Favorite Purchases in Beauty

my favorite purchases in beautyToday, I’m bringing to you some of my all-time favorites in beauty. I try a lot of products and tools, but only certain things fall into one of two categories: absolutely feeling the need to rebuy and items I would enthusiastically recommend to my best friends, mom and of course, all of you.


SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier: Hyaluronic acids have been having a major moment and while there are a ton of great ones out there,  if I had to pick my absolute favorite (and I’ve tried dozens), it has to be this one. I wish it was cheaper and I wish I didn’t love it as much as I did. Whenever I use this one, my skin is happier, softer and plump. I alternate with some others that I really like. But when I’m feeling extra parched, this one is my holy grail.

Biologique Recherche P50: I won’t go into detail about this again, but if you missed the previous posts, you can find my detailed post. If you’re in NYC, you can purchase P50 at Rescue Spa, DAPHNE, and Peninsula Spa. 

Elemis Cleansing Balm: By now, you’ve probably heard me write and talk about double cleaning over a dozen times. If not, then here’s one my most informative posts. This balm from Elemis is one of my favorites that will last you for months. A little goes a long way and I appreciate that all the ingredients are clean.

Elemis Biotec Skin Cleanser: This is my go-to cleanser to use as my second cleanse. It’s not cheap, but the size is huge and it will last for months! I also use it most mornings. Some will say that a morning cleanser is not necessary, but I like to use one to freshen up my face and get rid of morning gunk.

Muslin Cleansing Cloths: Cannot live without my facial cloth and all details about them in the same post I just linked to. 

Drunk Elephant Babyfacial: One of my favorite products from the entire Drunk Elephant range. The combo of AHA & BHA leaves my skin looking brighter, clearer, and more vibrant. They call it an “at-home facial” and it really is that. I’ve had far more effective results with Babyfacial than I have with some in-office treatments & facials throughout my life. After this, I always follow with a facial oil (like Drunk Elephant Marula) and it just melts right into my skin.

Drunk Elephant Marula Oil: I’ve tried other Marula Oils and unfortunately (due to the price tag) this one is my favorite. I love how it melts right into the skin, leaving me with the most dewy complexion, even in the coldest of months.

Sunday Riley Good Genes: I’ve been using this for years and it’s still one of my favorite lactic acids, the gentlest acids of all. I use this several times a week and my skin is left looking brighter with my pores appearing reduced, as it’s loaded with a ton of anti-aging properties. Typically, I use acids several times a week, usually alternating between lactic (like Good Genes) and retinol. 

Vintner’s Daughter: Another beautiful product I’ve mentioned before. One thing I will say, if you cannot afford to spend $150+ on an oil, please don’t feel compelled to. I don’t want anyone to feel like they need to go broke over something. However, if you’re comfortable with spending this kind of money on a skincare product, I don’t think you’d regret it. This makes my skin glow in a way that’s hard to describe. It’s just such a beautiful product and truly a dose of vitamins for your face.

Tan-Luxe: Throughout my 20’s, I always used a self-tanning product on my face. Randomly, I stopped and I never realized how much my face missed it. While shopping at Sephora one afternoon, I picked up a bottle of Tan-Luxe (I use light/medium) and after one use, I could not believe how much prettier I felt. I put a few drops into my morning (you can also use at night) moisturizer and I am left with a subtle, sun-kissed glow.

I typically use this daily, as I tend to remove a lot of the color with my nightly exfoliating routine. Tip: any tanning product will settle on the neck and above your lip. To prevent this, make sure you apply a thick layer of moisturizer to those areas, before and after you apply. Also, for those who’ve mentioned that this left you orangey, maybe you’re using too much? Try with 1-2 drops and see how that works for you. I’ve never found this to leave me orangey. But I make sure I buy light/medium and I only use a few drops at a time.

PCA Sheer Tint & Elta MD Tinted: After trying over a dozen facial SPFs, PCA Sheer Tint and Elta MD remain my favorites. They never cause me to break out and provide the best protection from the sun. Plus, the subtle tint in both of these formulas help give a beautiful, natural glow.


Yves Durif Vented Hairbrush: I’ve tried many combs and brushes before, but this is the best tool I’ve used to comb out my wet hair. It glides through seamlessly and rarely ever snags a hair. It’s pricey but it’s something that I know I’ll use forever.

Mason Pearson Brush: I’m going on my 5th year of owning this beloved brush and from a superficial standpoint, I really can’t imagine my life without it. Again, it’s an investment but considering how many years I’ve had it and how many times I’ve used it, I would rather own a few top notch tools that protect and preserve my hair & scalp. I also have the pocket size one that I travel with, carry in my handbags and basically cannot leave the house without it.

Oribe Texturizing Spray: Hands down, one of my most used, can’t-live-without products. It adds the most perfect fullness and texture to my hair without ever weighting it down. It’s also my go-to when I want a wavy look, without too much fuss. Plus, the smell is amazing!

Olaplex: I’ve been taught that our hair needs two things: protein and moisture. I’m still on the hunt for a moisturizing mask that I absolutely adore and again, feel the need to rebuy (any recommendations?), but when it comes to protein, Olaplex has been my favorite. I leave it on for a couple of hours and after I wash and dry, my hair feels significantly healthier and softer. I try to use it at least once a week.

Nutrafol: If you follow me on instastories, you may have seen me mention these hair vitamins many times. I started taking these several months ago and have noticed a dramatic decrease in hair fallout (both in the shower and my brush) and a dramatic increase in new hair growth. It takes patience and time, but they really do work. The only thing I will call out, they’re expensive ($88 for a bottle, which lasts a month). And you’re supposed to take four (!) pills a day. I know! But there is zero doubt that they work. For those wondering if I had any side effects, I have not!

Makeup & Nails:

Nars Creamy Concealer:  The best concealer for actually concealing without caking. I use this under my eyes, on any red spots, and on blemishes. It’s an ultimate holy grail that I’ve purchased over 30x.

Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Gloss in Pastel: There is not a single makeup product I’ve re-purchased as much as this gloss. I love the texture, color, and how it’s shiny in an un-obnoxious way. I get a ton of compliments whenever I wear it and always tend to buy a few tubes at a time.

Essie Gel Nail Polish: Generally, regular nail polishes, even when I get my nails painted at the salon, chip within 1-2 days. This is the only polish that actually lasts for a couple of days.  Maybe not a full 14 days as advertised but if I get five days (which I normally) do, then I’m happy. This is not like the gel you get in salons but more like a regular polish. So it’s very easy to do at home!

Lancôme Art Liner:  Out of all of the liquid liners out there, this one stands above the rest. The felt brush makes it so easy to apply, the color never fades or smudges. And it always looks beautifully pigmented. I’ve tried over a dozen different liners, but ultimately always come back to this one.



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  • Janine

    Thanks for all these awesome recommendations! You are touching on using a face cleanser in the morning. I recently read that you are actually not supposed to use one in the morning (I do not actually know the real reason for this…) and I tried to not use it, but I do not like how my skin feels when just cleansing with pure water in the morning… I have oily skin as it is and I do apply oils and serums at night, so I think I will go back to using a cleanser morning and night! I am suuuper intrigued by these tan-luxe tanning drops, I’ve seen them a lot on other blogs as well and I really want to try the Oribe texturizing spray – I wish it wasn’t so pricey haha!
    xx Janine

    • Heather

      I think it was Helena who I first heard say you shouldn’t use a foaming cleanser in the morning (or maybe at all). I always had because I have oily skin, but when I switched to a balm in the morning I stopped breaking out! I used to have 1-2 pimples most of time and the spots would linger forever so this tip changed my life!

  • Jae

    I really need to try the Elemis cleansing balm! I’ve heard such good things about it. Have you tried Ouai texturizing spray? It’s a great one!

    • Helena

      Yes! It is a great one, but I do prefer the Oribe!

  • Ellie

    I know you are a beauty and skin guru and I can’t wait to try some of these!!

    Re: nail polish, I’ve been using the Dazzle Dry system for a couple years now and it’s AMAZING! If I use the system (prep, base coat, top coat) with my Essie or OPI colors, I usually get 4-6 days, but if I use a Dazzle Dry color, I get 10-14 days for real. I usually end up taking off the polish due to grow out more than chips or wear. And it comes off with regular polish. MiniLuxe has it if you want to try a manicure to see how it wears 🙂

    • Helena

      Oh! I must try. Thank you for the recommendation!

  • Catherine

    I love your skincare posts! I almost bought the PCA hydro facial spf today so I’m glad I read this! Do you still wear your regular foundation even with the tinted spf? I can’t decide which one to get


    • Helena

      Hi Catherine!

      On most days, I wear the tinted SPF with concealer. But on the days I want more coverage, I’ll definitely wear foundation! I just like to mix in a few drops of oil so the application is creamier and glides a bit better.

      Hope that helps!

  • A Woman Of A Certain Age

    Great recommendations!
    I have some of these products as well, like the MP hairbrush. I wanted it for years, finally bought it,, and love it!


  • Mireia

    I have to try out some of these!

    Mireia from TGL

  • Kamila

    Hi – I was wondering if you could recommend a day and night moisturizer? I love your skin recommendations! Thanks

  • Gabrielle Semerjian

    Love these, thank you!! Really need to buy Vitner’s Daughter Botanical serum! Def on my list! And learned Drunk Elephant from you and now I own 5 items that are on repeat!! 🙂

    I highly highly recommend Negin Mirsalehi’s hair mask. Its unbelievable. Pricey, but worth it, smells heavenly.. and supports a fellow blogger!

  • francine

    Hi Helena,

    I love your recommendation-style posts as it’s clear you don’t drop your name randomly! Of course, I confess to having tried several based upon your recommendations. (P50, Babyfacial are the two that have made the biggest impact for me.)

    I’ve been taking Nutrafol since July, but can’t say that I’ve seen any results. The company offers a hair analysis and consultation with a physician, so that’s the next step.

    I visited my local health/nutrition store which is owned by an elderly physician from India. He is called “The Colonel” (no idea why, frankly.) But for the handful of times that I’ve asked for help, his suggestions have worked and worked quickly. (liquid chlorophyll for sagging energy, baking soda soap for skin reactions and arjuna for collagen boost)

    I told him about hair thinning and he recommended two things: pre-natal vitamins and Alma Oil (applied to scalp once every 10 days). I’m on week 4….let’s see what happens!

    • Helena

      Hi Francine,
      Oh man! Bummer to hear that Nutrafol did not work for you. I’m so surprised. It really has worked so well for myself and a few of my close friends. Sorry you had to waste your $$!

      And you’re right, liquid chlorophyll is a game changer. I have to try the other methods. Thank you for sharing!

  • Nicole Sioui

    Hi Helena. Do you do any prepping to help the Bobbie Brown lip gloss adhere longer? I’ve used it in the past but didn’t repurchase because it kinda wore off fast.

    • Helena

      Hi Nicole!

      I think one of the reasons I love it so much is how the formula always feels natural and never too sticky or tacky. With that being said, that might be the reason it does not last that long. I do find myself reapplying it often, but I find that with most lip glosses unless they’re a thicker formula. So sorry it did not work for you!

  • Rin | Ramblings with Rin

    I’ve been debating trying this Drunk Elephant baby facial product. Loved all of your picks!

    xoxo Rin
    Ramblings with Rin

  • Tove

    I love your recommendations, particularly for skincare! I have bought the Elemis cleansing balm, P50, cleansing cloths, elta md and marula oil on your recommendation and love them all.

    • Helena

      That makes me happy! So glad you’re enjoying them as much as I am!

  • Maya

    I recommend the Shu uemura art of hair mask for soft perfect hair (the yellow mask is everything!)

    • Helena

      Oh, thank you!! Have to try!

  • Ewa Macherowska

    Great post! x


  • Fortune Dushey

    Love this post! Going to try the Olaplex and Bobbi Brown gloss. I’ve also never tried Drunk Elephant products before and always hear rave reviews. Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Young

    Thank you for sharing all these recommendations! I really want to try the Mason Pearson brush now.

    The Style Intermission

  • Rajkumar

    nice post…Thank you.


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  • Mette

    Hi Helena,
    Thank you for teaching me so much about skincare 🧖🏻‍♀️
    Just purchased the Good Genes and Luna Oil. Do you use Good Genes am or pm?

    • Helena

      Hi Mette,
      only at night! typically, I use anything with exfoliating agents (physical or chemical) at night!

  • Heather

    I’m curious what you think of the Dr. Bader cream. I have used it for theee nights and my skin looks so pretty and healthy in the morning. I’m hoping it will help with melasma and some scaring.

    • Helena

      Hi Heather,
      I recently started using it and love it! Definitely makes my skin feel super supple and hydrated.

  • Karolina

    Helena, great recommendations, I will try pca skin tint, taniny drops and pastel lipgloss fo śpi!
    Can you tell me Where did you get this jewelery holder? Marble I assume? Thank you do much. Karolina

    • Karolina

      Sorry for the stupid autocorrect

    • Helena

      Hi Karolina,
      It’s from CB2! Typically a soap tray!

  • Hanaa

    Your posts have inspired to create a beauty category on mine and has improved my work by so much in just one blog post.
    If you have some time, please read it. I would love to get some feedback from you and know what you think about it or even if you have any advice.
    Thanks in advance

  • Tempestt Sylvester

    First, I just want to say I love all of your posts – especially those relating to skincare.
    I was wondering if you could share a step-by-step daily skincare routine? I’d like to know in which order you use these products and how often throughout the week.


    xx T

  • Paver transport perth

    I hadn’t heard of Marula oil before, so thanks for the heads up

  • Ana

    Hi Helena! Long-time follower here and always appreciative of your skincare recs! I’ve been using the clear Elta MD sunscreen for a while and thinking of trying the tinted version as well – but saw that you also love PCA Skin’s version? Would you recommend one over the other? I’m sensitive and acne prone (never an issue with Elta tho) and would be using this as a daily tinted moisturizer/SPF rprobably by itself. Thanks so much!!

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