Beauty Products I Cannot Live Without

Happy Last Saturday in August!

Today is sunny and hot but we aren’t at the beach.  I had MOHS on my leg.  I’ll tell you the baby oil and iodine tanning thing has come back to bit me not in the ass but on other parts of my body.\

And I used sunscreen.  My dermatologist said it was from years of damage from my youth. 

That said, hopefully I will be healed by next weekend—the wonderful Labor Day last-weekend-of-the-summer, and will be slathered in sunscreen and sitting under an umbrella reading a book for that last beach weekend of 2023.

Team Coco umbrella sunscreen sun protection beach ready GIF

Me getting ready to hit the beach for Labor Day Weekend!

Anyway, while I was getting ready this morning, I realized that there are products both beauty and skincare that I cannot live without and all I want to I will is share them.  Some are generic and some are specific so here we go!

Hocus Pocus Magic GIF

Let me begin my daily skincare and makeup routine!

Cleaning my face:  In a word:  Albolene makeup remover.  These days products like this are called “face balms.”  However, they are expensive dupes of this greatness that melts and removes even the toughest makeup.  Albolene is such a staple that when I open one jar, I go out and buy another.  The product is scooped out and placed into little plastic jars that I bring when traveling.

I am never without. In fact, Albolene has been mentioned in a good number of past blog posts! It is that good!

Recently, I purchased a cleansing balm just to compare.  Juno Skin that was purchased on Amazon.  The difference is this balm will lather after adding water. It’s good.  But I still swear by Albolene.

This is decent. I like it but it is nowhere near my loyalty to Albolene!

Sometimes I just use soap and water to clean my face.  If it is clean is all that matters. And you don’t need to spend a fortune.

Olive Oil Soap Original Nablusi 100% Natural | Handmade Palestine

The soap I use on my face is Al Jamal Olive Oil Soap. It doesn’t dry my skin and leaves it hydrated. I get it on Amazon.

Face Creams: I’m not going to go there with an extensive explanation. I have tried a million face creams.  Most are very good.  A few have been “meh” to “no.”  But for the most part, face cream is face cream.  As long as you are getting moisture—it’s all good.

Having run out of Cerave, I ran to Walmart recently but did not repurchase.  Instead, I spotted a very familiar pink package.  Do you remember Oil of Olay?  The pale pink lotion in the plastic bottle that everyone used back in the day?  Being of a sentimental nature, I picked up the now renamed “Olay Active Hydrating Hydration Active Beauty Fluid Lotion Original” which is quite a mouthful.  It should have kept the original name.

Yes. I returned to “Old School” Olay! And it’s more than Okay!

To be honest, I forgot how hydrating this inexpensive lotion was.  Other than the strong floral scent (that dissipates after a moment or two), I was shocked at how hydrating this remains.  It keeps the skin soft and for the price, I have, like the prodigal son, returned to the Olay home.  I do not need the new stuff.  Just gimme the old school pink lotion and I’m happy.

I’m not going to go into foundations, concealers, bronzer, blush, mascara—simply because there are just too many types of these products.  Different foundations are used for various purposes from every day to special events.  Concealers aren’t a regular part of my routine.  Bronzers—I have many and don’t use them daily.  Blush—depending on how I feel and the season, sometimes darker and sometimes lighter.  In summer rarely but mostly after the tan has left.  Mascara is another thing.  I’m not faithful to any one brand and I prefer drug store mascara.  So, onto more of my “can’t -live-withouts” ….

Sad Amy Schumer GIF

I’m leaving all the contour, blush, bronzers out of this post. Concentrating on the basics for now!

Q-Tips: I realize we should not be using these to clean our ears. Not to go off-topic but I’ll tell you a story about ear cleaning.  Back in my twenties when I worked at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, we had an in-office doctor.  He came in very handy.  I was getting ready for work one morning and decided to multi-task.  I cleaned my ear with a Q-tip then reached for makeup. While reaching for the makeup, my elbow, in error hit the Q-tip and jammed it into my ear.  It was more painful than labor.  When I tried to yank the tip out, half remained in my ear.  I had to get dressed, take the subway to work and run up to the doctor with this thing sticking out of my ear.

The tips of Q. Nobody should be without these. And don’t clean your ears with them!

The doctor was shocked and could not believe how …. “irresponsible” I was (his word for stupid).  He was ready to send me to the hospital with a possible ruptured eardrum.  Instead, he took a tweezer and removed the leftover Q-tip.  He was even more shocked that my eardrum was not ruptured.

I don’t clean my ears out anymore.  This might be why I now have selective hearing.

Danny Devito Lol GIF by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Do NOT stick objects into your ears to clean them out!

So just what do I use these little cotton-edged sticks for?  Removing mascara that smears from my bottom eyelids.  Removing nail polish from my toes when I decide to give myself a pedicure.  Applying ointments to my many wounds and skin surgeries.

Neutral Eye Shadow: The amount of eyeshadow palettes I have is ridiculous.  I’m not into color. I’m into neutrals.  This palette that I made myself is entirely composed of MAC shadows. I purchased an empty palette and purchased my favorite neutrals. I do have a couple of the same (far right in top and second row) shadow “Quarry” which is now discontinued. But overall, this is the one I reach for more than any other.  The shadows stay put.  There is no fallout and I’m a fan of the individual shadows.  Separately, they are not expensive so building a palette is a cost-effective move.

You can tell by the state of this palette that it is used a lot. Like every day a lot. TBH, the palettes you build yourself are the best ones!

Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter:  It’s not cheap, but I really love this during fall, winter, and spring.  Worn under face makeup, it gives the skin a nice glow.  It’s subtle but you know it’s there.  A little goes a long way and I do have a backup for when my present bottle is used. It’s that product that I will always have on hand.  I do not use it in the summer due to tanning but this is a great three-season product.

Because I heard such great things about L’Oreal True Match Lumi Glotion being a dupe for the Tilbury Flawless Filter, I purchased it. About 2/3 less expensive I found you get what you pay for.   Although it does give a glow, this dried out my skin to the point I felt like I had a mask on.  I could not believe it.  My face felt so taut and dry—it was a disappointment.   Being resourceful, I will probably use this as an under-brow highlighter.

There are times when the pricier product is better. This is definitely one of them.  Charlotte Tilbury by a mile!

NYX Butter Gloss in Merengue: This gloss in this shade has been a staple for me for years. YEARS!  I have one in every purse. I have two in my vanity and a couple in my stash.  When I see it in the store, I buy it. I hoard this gloss in fear it will be discontinued.  It is a bright pink but so incredibly flattering it’s ridiculous.  It is a universally flattering shade for all skin tones.  And at $5.00 it is a bargain.  Luxury brands that I’ve tried cannot compare to this butter gloss.

Hands down, the greatest lip gloss of all time!

In addition, my lips are constantly chapped. I put this on and my lips stay smooth. This is, hands down, the greatest gloss of all time.

NYX Butter Gloss in Merengue on my lips here!  It’s such a beautiful pink!

Trestique Line Sharpen & Smudge Eye Pencil in Santorini Black Sand: Every. Single. Day.  I use this to tightline my eyes.  Since my eyes are somewhat wonky due to them being crossed, they just look better when tight lined at the water line and inside top lid.  This does not fade. It stays all day.  All. Freaking. Day.   It’s another staple that I have multiples of.  No other brand has come close to staying in place as long as Trestique.

This eye pencil by Trestique is a cannot-live-without.  I have a few stashed away and the tight line never fades! 

e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil:  I’m on my fourth. At $3.00 this is an incredible brow product. Yes. I also have others but this is my most-used. It’s easy to apply, the formula is creamy but not too creamy that it fades.  The tip of the pencil is slanted which makes it even easier to apply.

I travel with this as well.  The formula is outstanding and the price even more so!

e.l.f. Eyeliner Pen: Another inexpensive item. This also runs around three bucks.  The formula is liquid but isn’t “wet.” The tip of the pen is very pointy and felt-tipped. Like a Sharpie for the eyes.  I use this on my top lid and it applies dark over even the glitteriest shadow.  In the past I’ve tried pricey eyeliner pens and this one is by far much better.

That tip draws a perfect line. And the color does not fade during the day.  I picked up another one yesterday!

Subtl Beauty Shine Control Pressed Powder:   Subtl Beauty is one of those brands that I have been using for years.  I love the concept of the makeup stacks and they come with me on every travel destination.  All the products are used regularly but the one that I’m most reliable on is the pressed powder.  Now, as an old and mature woman, face powders are not necessarily my friend.  However, this powder is so finely milled and undetectable that I rely on it daily. Especially underneath my eyes because my mascara won’t smudge.  If there is one powder that you are in the market for, head to Subtl Beauty and pick up this little powder. It’s epic.

The “old” version of the powder is on the left. It’s clear from the pic that this is a well-used and loved powder.  Subtl Beauty revamped their stacks adding a different look and larger stacks with more product. The photo on the right is the powder in a new stack. Same great product. THE best face powder I’ve ever used!

Scent: It might seem out-of-the-box, but I can’t live without scent. I wear it every day.  In summer it’s Fragonard’s Fleur d’Oranger with other seasonal aromas.   My preference is for French brands because they aren’t fizzy or overbearing the way some American brands are. I prefer a lighter more subtle scent.

Presently the Fleur d’Oranger is my summer scent. In a few weeks to welcome autumn, I’ll switch to the sandalwood scent of Fragonard’s Santal!

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen 30 Face Sheer Tint:  My friend AnnaMaria told me about this and I’m so happy she did.  After having skin cancer on my face, I’ve been obsessed with sunscreen for my face but the crappy thing is that my eyes are incredibly sensitive. Therefore, finding a good facial sunscreen is nearly impossible.

If you have sensitive skin or eyes that get bothered by sunscreen, this is the product for you!  My only complaint is the tube. See how dirty it is at the bottom? That’s because a lot of product comes out when you squeeze so you need to be light-handed. Something I am not!

Let me tell you something. This was made for sensitive eyes.  My googly eyes don’t become bothered at all when I wear this tinted sunscreen. And the tint works with cool complexions.  It doesn’t oxidize but will blend in with a tan. It’s a must-have for summer and I do use it off-season when I’m outdoors.  I hope CeraVe never discontinues this.

A New Eyeshadow:  As an aside, I have heard great things about RMS cosmetics. The founder is 68 years old so one would think she markets to the mature woman.  She does not.  Instagram posts showcase young people of diversity but there’s no old ladies.  Her website is clearly geared to a young consumer. It is too bad because the products look fantastic. I sent an Instagram message asking why there are no older mature women and I received a canned response.

Yeah. The founder is 68 years and she’s gorgeous. Look how great she looks in red lipstick. But the daunting thing is the products are geared to young people..

Diversity includes the male makeup fan but omits the old lady makeup fan. This is so phony.  If you are truly diverse EVERYONE of every age will be included.

The one product I was wanting to try is the Eyelights Cream Shadow because it looks like a decent “one-and-done” products for days when you do not want a ton of shadows on your eyes.  However, I was so put off by both the response and the fact the company is really marketed to young people rather than mature.  So, I didn’t order. RMS Beauty Eyelights Cream - Blaze Eye Shadow Women 0.28 oz : Beauty & Personal Care

TBH, I would have spent the $28 to try one of these shadows. I’m so disgusted by ageism that I won’t buy.

So, when I spotted this e.l.f. liquid shadow in the shade “Moon” I was intrigued. For the $6.00 spent, I tried it and liked it a lot. It is glittery but not too glittery. It doesn’t dry too quickly so you are able to blend it in with ease.

Creamy. Glides on. Blends beautifully.  Has a subtle color. And  cost me $6.00!

Here’s how the e.l.f. shadow looks on me. And they say older women shouldn’t wear glittery shades. I call BS!

That’s it for now!    What are your “can’t-live-without” products?  We can recommend to others and learn what we all love!

Here I am earlier today after applying all the products mentioned in this post. Notice the bandage on my upper arm?  I prepared for winter by getting a flu shot yesterday!!!!!  I’m leaving no stone or snowball unturned!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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4 Responses to Beauty Products I Cannot Live Without

  1. juliet says:

    Yay a skin care blog for real women with real skin and real budgets. I love the Fragonard fragrances – the orange one is my fave too, if you get the mint/basil room diffusers they are amazing – AHHHH-mazing. There is a lot to be said for old favourites and only bringing in new things gradually if they fit with your regime, there are a lot of good old products that are budget friendly and also dont have some “celebrity” draped all over them, and no I dont rate products with young people pouting and picked to fit in ethnicity/diversity boxes – that seems a tacky way of using people and it doesnt sell me any product (shame on them, Diversity).

  2. Juliet says:

    On a completely side note…. agnetha from abba has released a new single (at 73), it made me realise we aren’t just expected to be invisible, but where are all the older women in music as well?

  3. Susan D says:

    Here in the UK we have a company founded by an older woman producing cosmetics for older women and only older women are used in the advertising.mi don’t know if they are available in the US, but have a look. I’m sure you’d approve.
    Susan D

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