1. Pantene Pro-V curl defining mousse: For those of you who have wavy hair, please tell me you’ve tried this product. For almost 10 years I had the simplest hair routine: shower, mousse, then air dry. I tried almost everything on the market, from salon to drugstore brands, and no matter what, I’d always go back to Pantene. Why? Because when applying the right amount (start with a small palms worth) you hair will dry soft, bouncy and super touchable, like there is absolutely nothing in it (note: if your hair dries hard, you put too much in). This mousse grabs every curl and defines it, without leaving a sticky residue behind like other mousses or gels. The best part? Its still less than $5 (and there’s a large variety of other curl defining products by Pantene.)
2. Clinique clarifying lotion: Another product I’ve used for 10+ years. This is (no longer) my secret weapon to clear skin. A cotton ball’s worth of this stuff in the morning and before you go to bed will shrink your pores and dry up oily areas. I use #2 for combination skin, but there are also formulas for oily to very dry skin. If you know me personally you know, I NEVER wash my face. Instead, I use this. Available in #1-4 as well as a mild formula. $12.50-21.00. Available at department stores.
3. MAC Studiofix: I’ll never forget the day Studiofix was introduced and had since changed my life. I was a junior in college and borrowed the powder (C3 – still to this day) from my roommate Kelly. It was a typical college night of bars, afterparties and tons of picture taking. The next day while looking through the pics I noticed something crazy going on with my face. No uneven, red-patchy cheeks? EVEN, healthy-looking skin without wearing a heavy foundation (which I’ve never been a fan of)? It was true. It was Studiofix. It really was life changing! Add blush for some color and poof! a much clearer, even skin tone that’s still lightweight and discreet. You can even get the sponge wet for more coverage. I know, magic! 33 shades to choose from. $26.50. Available at MAC stores and Nordstrom.
4. Kraft Parmesan cheese: Not a lot to say here. You already know, there’s just NO substitute when it comes to parmesan. (And doesn’t parm make everything better? -Yep.) Another life changing condiment, spicy mustard. Up to $5 at any legit grocery store.
5. Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liner: One of the newer products that have been brought into my life. I went into Sephora one day looking for MAC (being a naive makeup shopper, unaware that MAC is the one brand Sephora doesn’t carry) and the sales girl directed me to MUFE. Originally coming in for Studiofix, I decided to give MUFE’s powder a try. After grabbing the powder, my eyes became fixated on all the pretty colors these liners came in. So I grabbed two: copper for everyday and teal for night. While unimpressed with the powder (Studiofix wins, everytime) I was mindblown by this eyeliner. Not only does it glide on extremely smooth, almost like its been heated up for you knowing you’re about to use it, but its staying power is magnificent. Let’s just say, at my last job I was known for partying hard on a Friday night, getting a few hours of sleep, and going to work the next morning with PERFECT eyeliner. (Still looking for the perfect concealer to hide the bags under my eyes.) My current everyday color: black purple (6L). Available at Sephora. $17.
6. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion: This is one of those classic products I feel like everyone’s mom uses. With a 40+ year history, this lotion has obviously been around for a reason. Growing up with it in my house, I never saw a use for it since my skin had never been dry. It wasn’t until I was 23 when I realized maybe it took moving to LA, or the fact that I’m getting older, that my skin wasn’t looking so hot (one of the saddest realizations EVER). So I thought back to what my mom always used. My mom is a classic example of a woman who takes care of her skin: never smoked (or partied – we’re so different), and uses sunscreen. She’s almost 60 years old and has never looked so good. Her skin is still flawless. I called her for advice and of course she responds, “Honey, I’ve been using Clinique’s Dramatically Different moisturizing lotion for over 30 years.” Sold. I started using it and she’s right: my skin is softer but tighter (if that makes sense) and glowing. I use it before bed along with Clinique’s All About Eyes. Available at department stores. $13-24.50.
7. American Apparel bras: I remember the day when I decided to stop being an absolute hippie and break down and buy a couple bras. Because it had been since my freshman year of college (I was so used to wearing tank tops with bras built-in), I decided to go for the next closest thing to wearing barely anything, cotton bras from American Apparel. I have since bought a couple underwire bras (big step! my parents are proud) but I still wear the AA bras most of the time. Not only are they SUPER comfortable but they make great layering pieces. Especially now that exposed bras are seen everywherrre. Available at American Apparel and americanapparel.net $10-30.
8. L’Oreal EverStrong Sulfate Free shampoo + conditioner: If there’s one thing to invest in, its shampoo and conditioner. Since testing out new ones is a favorite pastime of mine, I was quick to jump on this product (the shiny packaging and it being on sale at CVS helped as well). Accidentally buying the formula for limp hair was a good thing too; my hair was full of body, super shiny and my curls were defined (note: I know longer use mousse in my hair – instead I rely on good shampoo and cond. to do the work for me – and this product did the job.) I tried to challenge this set with a Pantene look-alike, Restore Beautiful Lengths (since I’m such a Pantene fan) and it didn’t do it justice. L’Oreal wins! Available at drugstores. $6.99 each.
9. Keebler Fudge Shoppe Fudge Sticks: If you know my father, you know where I get my sweet tooth from. Somehow everyone in my family has stayed around a normal weight, which is crazy considering how we eat. I grew up on normal delicious dinners, but always had unhealthy desserts around, like ice cream, Oreo’s, E.L. Fudges, and Chips Ahoy (which come in a close 2nd), but I have to say the Best Cookie Award goes to the Keebler Elve’s and their Fudge Sticks. Try them frozen. My roommates all have, and they love me. Exciting news: they now come in JUMBO form!!!
10. Comme des Garcons for H&M blue polka dotted sweater: When deciding on my last life-enhancing item I own, I asked my roommate what product came to mind when she thinks of me. She said my polka dotted sweater, which is understandable (see below.) The sweater was found at my local Out of the Closet store in brand new condition. Its a sample that says “not for resale” on the label, making it even cooler. Not only do I wear this item to work with basically any print underneath, I’ll wear it out with a dress or to the laundromat with a t-shirt. Find great basics like these at your local thrift store, that way you know your item is less common. However, some chic did call out the brand, Comme des Garcons, last weekend when I was out. Let’s just say, I was beyond impressed.