I thought it might be a good idea to just jump right in with a list of some products that I've used and loved pretty extensively within the past month of August.
First up is an amazing nail polish remover by Karma Organics. This is an organic soy remover with a lavender scent, and it works like a charm. It comes in a cute brown glass bottle, and you don't need to use a lot at once so it will probably last a really long time. It removes polish faster and cleaner than any non-acetone remover I've ever tried. And the the most important part (in my opinion) is that it doesn't strip your actual nail! I have suffered from dry, peeling, flaky nails for a long time due to using pure acetone and even non-acetone removers. But Karma Organics has kind of an oily formula that doesn't strip my nail, and I feel like it's actually nourishing them. I've been using this stuff like crazy and my nails have really improved. And it really does a great job removing polish. I was able to use just one cotton pad to obliterate 2 coats of dark red polish (plus base coat and top coat) on one hand and it still had enough juice to move on to a couple fingers on my other hand! It doesn't "carry" the polish around to stain your fingertips either, which is a pet peeve I always had with non-acetone removers. I think it's some properties in the oil that trap the color in (yes, that's my scientific opinion). The only downside I can think of with this one is the price. You can find it on Amazon for $11.99, which is where I purchased it. You're not limited to the lavender scent; it's also available in unscented and Tea Tree. But even at nearly $12 for a 4oz bottle, I think it's completely worth it for how powerful it is and how well it treats your nails.
Keep reading for more goodies!
Next on the list is a BB Cream that I've been wearing pretty much every day for the past month and a half. If you're not familiar with what a BB Cream is, then here is a short explanation compliments of Wikipedia. In short, it's an all-in-one tinted moisturizer, SPF, wrinkle cream, and complexion evener. The one I've been using and loving is the M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++ by Missha in shade #23 Natural Beige. The texture is lovely, it blends effortlessly, it smells nice, and it wears beautifully throughout the day (I just top it off with a light dusting of powder). And the best part for me is that it doesn't break me out. I've combo-to-oily acne prone skin, so it's always a concern when I try out a new foundation. The thing about BB Creams, though, is that they first apply with a grayish tint to them and then oxidize after a few minutes to blend better with your skin tone. Although I don't find the Missha creams to be TOO grey, it does take some getting used to. And you don't need much for medium coverage (which is what I prefer). It is build-able for fuller coverage, but for every day at the office I try not to look like someone frosted me with an offset spatula. The smaller 20ml size shown in the photo is one that I bought from a Korean seller on Amazon for only $5.99! Like I said, I've been using it for over a month and I still have tons left. So, if you are curious about trying a BB Cream but not sure if you want to spend $30 on a 50ml tube, I recommend testing the smaller one.
Third item in my recent favorites is Stila's Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner. Holy crap this stuff really has staying power. It's pricey at $20 but you get your money's worth. I purchased the black one for practicality's sake, but it comes in 7 other colors as well. I've been a loyal Urban Decay 24/7 pencil user for ages, but this liner gives UD a run for its money in terms of waterlining and tightlining. The real test of a good waterproof liner is whether or not it stays on your waterline. It does.
I did have to touch up the waterline after a few hours, but I have pretty watery eyes anyway. Still, it was the best job of waterlining that I'd ever experienced. I've used it quite a bit and still haven't had to twist up the self-sharpening pencil to get more. So, really $20 is a pretty good bargain. It's very pigmented and you get a nice dark black line. It is smudgeable, but there's a short window of time before it sets in, so work quickly. I will still use Urban Decay's 24/7 pencils for more blended or smokier looks, though. I have several colors of the UD pencils, and I've been a loyal customer for a while now. Plus, you have more time for smudging (and it's $2 cheaper). But all in all, you can definitely count on this Stila pencil to give you a good waterproof liner.
Lastly, I want to quickly mention an item that might not be terribly exciting to some folks, but as a soon-to-be-31-year-old, I've really been enjoying it. It's Bobbi Brown's Hydrating Eye Cream. Okay, I know what you're thinking: "holy crap, Alpha, $46?!?!". Yeah, I know. But this stuff is awesome. In the past I've tried lots of eye creams that didn't impress me. They either made my eyes water and sting, dried out my skin instead of hydrated it, made me itchy, gave me milia, or just didn't do anything for me. This eye cream does everything I want an eye cream to do. It's gentle, it sinks in nicely, it doesn't clog my pores, and I can tell the next morning after putting it on at night that it's left my skin plumped and hydrated. Eye creams can vary person to person, but as someone with sensitive eyes, combination, acne prone, and sensitive (generally a pain in the butt) skin, this does the trick for me. And you only need a teeny bit, so for $46 you get your money's worth out of half an ounce.
That completes my favorites list for the month of August. I hope this was useful to some folks!