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Favorite Beauty Products of 2011

Favorite Beauty Products of 2011

I’m taking this idea from a few beauty blogs I like, and doing my own version.  I am kind of a product junkie, though as I get older I think I’m getting better…instead of experimenting so much and partially using a new thing I may not end up liking, I’m sticking to some things I know work for me and that I love.  But there are a few newbies that made my list of faves this past year.  So, if you’re interested, here you go!  I may add to this as I go through the daily motions and see what I take for granted as a daily (or at least regular) item in my repertoire!


I used John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray from roughly March 2010-August 2011 (at which time I decided to join the dark side for a bit and dyed my hair brown).  I tell the whole truth when I say I have not had professional highlights since before my first son was born (he’s three years and change now).  Once I achieved the lightness I desired, I used the spray about once a week to maintain my root color.  It smells nice, was about $10 per bottle, which lasted me many months in comparison to the expense of professional highlights every 6-8 weeks.  It gets an A+ from me and I would (and probably will) definitely use it again when I am done with my brunette phase.

Here’s a comparison for you of my before and after ~ the first one is from December 2009 (a few months before I started using Sheer Blonde)

This next one is from May 2011, at the peak of blonde perfection (I’m on the right!)

I am also quite in love with Paul Mitchell’s Lavender Mint shampoo & conditioner.  It’s on the pricier side of the shampoo spectrum, so it’s not an every day ‘poo for me.  But I mix it in a couple times a week because it just smells so lovely and my hair is extremely shiny and gorgeous after use.

And my final item on the hair list is new for me: Oscar Blandi dry shampoo.  I’ve had this product for a little while, it was a small bottle I bought at Sephora just to test it out.  I haven’t done so until recently.  I have found this one to be a must-have in my life as a mommy.  Those preschool mornings I just can’t drag myself out of bed to shower an hour before I wake the boys up, the mornings after being up with a stuffy tot and (again) don’t have the time or energy to shower, or those days you want to fit in a later-in-the-day shower, but don’t want to look oily before then – it is great!  Once I figured out how to do it properly, it allowed me to make it through the day without having dreaded greasy roots!  It absorbs that extra oil, adds a little bit of texture and volume to my hair and keeps me from feeling self-conscious about not washing it that day.  Some reviews say the smell is too much, but its’ lemon-esque scent doesn’t bug me too bad, it kind of adds to my re-freshed hair feeling.  I would probably not recommend it to folks with very dark hair, as the nature of the powder might make your roots look grey and powder-y, but when I’m blonde you can’t even tell and my current brown has faded enough that it’s not too noticeable especially when rubbed in and brushed out well.


I’ve fallen hard for my Urban Decay “Naked” palette and the eye pencil that came with it…so in love that I bought a gift set of the eye pencils and another palette with a vivid color selection to play with as well.  I’ve always loved intense, smooth colors like the MAC line but have never really been capable with eyeliner of any kind – pencil or liquid.  I can sometimes pull off a dark shadow as a liner with my small angled brush, but usually don’t take the time to do this.  The UD 24/7 eye pencil changed my mind about it all!  It is so gorgeously colored and creamy (but not too soft).  I can get it on very easily and blend it into my lashline without hassle…I love the Naked palette & this brand for a few reasons.  A) The eye colors are so richly pigmented, the color you see in the package is the color that shows up on your lids B) The texture is so smooth during application, it makes it a breeze to sweep on with your brush or your finger and it blends beautifully  C) Regarding the Naked palette in particular, the combination of colors and finishes (matte, shimmer, velvet) gives you massive amounts of easy creativity and versatility for every day casual/work wear or stunning, dramatic evening looks.  Here are images of the palettes and pencil set I bought and have a major crush on:


Hanae Mori Butterfly

This one is also fairly new for me.  I originally tried it because I received a sample of it in a Sephora product shipment.  I shared the sample with my sister, who also loved it, and to my grand surprise she gave me a gift set of the perfume and body cream.  It is light and lovely, not too floral, not too musky.  Directly from Hanae Mori’s website is the official description:  Butterfly is the legendary centerpiece of the Hanae Mori Parfums line. A treasure of fragrance that grows in popularity each year, sought by loyal clients and new generations of fans, Butterfly combines luscious berries, fine blooms and rich woods in a fragrance of pure Parisian sophistication. Pretty and charming, Butterfly alights on the skin and lifts the heart like the exquisite creature that is its namesake. Fragrance connoisseurs will recognize Butterfly is a linear fragrance with a single, complete note as perfect as a garden breeze. Butterfly arrives in a jubilant flutter of wild strawberries, sweet blackberries, blackcurrant for contrast and bilberries for charm. Her heart opens in a melange of lush Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, lilting jasmine and French peony. Butterfly’s lasting impression is the deep warmth of rosewood, gentle almondwood, richest sandalwood and French cedar.

Love it!


St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  This has seriously been in my lineup since the mid-90’s.  The packaging has changed, the texture is a bit more refined now, but since high school I have ALWAYS had this stuff in the shower!  Most of you ladies out there have probably used it or at the very least heard of it, and I don’t know what to say besides “it’s great!”  A few times a week in the shower, just gently rub it into your skin in a circular motion, and it just gets all of that gritty, old goo off!  It smells nice, there are several variations now for sensitive skin, dry skin and blackhead control.  It’s nice for body exfoliation  also – before a self tanner perhaps, or to just help scrub off dead skin before some extra thick winter moisturizer.

A Christmas present from my mom, my face now enjoys the thorough cleansing benefits of the Clarisonic Mia 2. It’s pink, it’s portable and it is fabulous!  My skin feels like I just had a facial after I use this in my nightly face-wash ritual.  I use my same foaming face wash as before, but let this little lady do all the hard work.  I feel smoother skin, and I don’t think it’s in my head – I truly think my lotions and stuff absorb better after use.  I looked on Amazon for an idea of customer reviews and the little pink  Clarisonic Mia currently has 263 reviews, of which 190 are 5-star, 40 4-star, 13 3-star, 11 2-star and just 9 1-star.  It’s only been 2 weeks (got it on Christmas day) and I’m not sure I’ll ever wash my face any other way again!


I love me some good lotions!  My two favorites for the last 3-4 years have been Johnson’s Body Care 24-Hour Lotion & Oil of Olay Quench.  They both smell divine and have the perfect consistency for me (creamy, but not so thick they doesn’t absorb, and definitely not runny).  I haven’t bought any other lotion but these since before my first pregnancy and I have both of them in my bathroom right now.  They are luscious.

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  • http://gilderandgrace.com/ Elizabeth

    I am so glad you are my sister, and that we share all the secret beauty insider stuff with one another! I love you! I am dreaming of that minty shampoo now! I only get to use it when I’m visiting you!

  • http://gilderandgrace.com/ Elizabeth

    OOH, also: I tagged you for a bloggity post. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, but I at least wanted to let you know you were “tagged!”

  • Dorothea


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