Quarterly Retrospective the Second!

HOLY GEEZ has it really been six whole months? It’s really been six whole months! So that means it’s also time for our SECOND Quarterly Retrospective, wherein we look back over the past 90 days and make note of our super ultra extra favorite products and suchlike. These’ll be things we loved when we first tried them, and still love and are still happily using weeks or months later. Huzzah!


I spent so many unhappy years thinking I couldn’t use eyeshadow primer, because the few I had tried irritated my sensitive eye area skin, made my eyes water, and ruined my makeup. But what happens when you embark on an epic project to catalog the ingredients of damn near every eye primer on the market, and then try a couple of them? A) You learn a lot about what might be irritating your skin and B) you find e.l.f. Shadow Lock which is terrific AND cheap AND non-irritating!

You know a lipstick is great when you put it up in a literal half-n-half face-off with a nigh-unbudgeable ColourPop Ultra Matte and it comes out on top, AND when you repeatedly reach for it when you’re going out on the weekends. NARS PowerMatte Lip Pigment ($26 at Sephora) is a wonder and a glory, y’all. It’s not a flat chalky matte, and it doesn’t dry down like paint on your lips — yeah, that means there’s a little transfer, but it also means you can easily reapply it without removing the old first. I love this so much I don’t even mind that it smells like vanilla. Okay, I mind a little. Still tho, A++.

ColourPop Pressed Powder Shadows ($4 each at ColourPop, free palette with purchase of four) are surprisingly excellent. I don’t love that the free palette is absurdly overlarge, and I don’t love that so many of the currently available shades are in the “I Can’t Wear Maroons and Warm Neutrals” color ranges, but the four I’ve tried so far are ACES, and the matte beige and taupe immediately became staples for me. Will definitely, definitely acquire more.


The Exfoli-rater series has (so far) covered eight different exfoliants, from chunky gritty scrubs to fine-grained buffers to pilling gels, and my absolute favorite so far is Vasanti’s BrightenUp! ($34/4.2oz or $14/1.4oz at Amazon). It’s chock-full of tiny aluminum crystals that buff away dull surface skin like WHAAAAAT, and yet it feels crazy moisturizing, so your skin is left looking (and feeling) ultra smooth and with no dryness or lingering flaky bits. Runner up, or best polymerizing/pilling type : It’s Skin Citron Peeling Gel (usually around $10/4oz if you order from eBay or a K-beauty site).

Just last week I tried out Acure’s lemongrass-scented Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner, and they’re already favorites. Brisk scent, the shampoo cleanses well without feeling drying or stripping (and didn’t pull and inordinate amount of blue dye from my hair), and the conditioner left my sad dry raggedy mane smoooooth and yet clean-feeling. Considering that the shampoo is $6.59 and the conditioner is $7.99 at Amazon? Will 100000% repurchase.


The Chalice of Gore, no question. I’m a convert, y’all. (The Blossom Cup is about $15.95 at Amazon.)


Bite Beauty Liquified Lipstick : I have a lot of lipstick, so a lip product needs to be somethin’ special in order to delight me. This delighted me! I love that the formula is definitely more “melted lipstick” than “long-lasting moisture sucker,” that it can handle a lot of transfer (while still looking perfect!), that its precise doefoot gives a crisp line and juuuust the right amount of product, that its glossy cling has such a pretty effect on my chronically-dry, smear-prone lips. Is this the first non-matte liquid lipstick in existence? I mean … no. But they did an outstanding job with the formula, and the color I chose (Supreme) is TO DIE FOR if you’re a fuchsia fan. ($24 at Sephora.)

Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum : This hasn’t accomplished miracles, but what it HAS accomplished more than justifies its $20 ($16 on Amazon) price tag, in my opinion. Does it erase wrinkles? Not remotely. Does it give me ~luminous~ undereyes? Nope, I’ve still got a lot of undereye darkness thanks to a combination of factors beyond my control. But it DOES hydrate my extra-dry undereye area (naturally dry area of the face + naturally dry skin x Accutane = REALLY DRY UNDEREYES, Y’ALL), does a little bit of plumping out fine lines due to the whole ‘hydrating’ thing, and soothes my tired, haggard, rapidly-aging undereye skin. I’m all for that. It also plays nicely with makeup (absorbs quickly, no slippery residue) and one tube goes a long way, since I’m using it on such a tiny area of my face — I’ve used it daily for at least a couple of months now (?), and the tube is still going strong.

John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Conditioner : Me, pre-JMO conditioner: “Expensive hair products are all hype and no substance.” Me, post-JMO conditioner: ANGEL KITTEN SILK HAIR. JMO — I’m never gonna give you up; never gonna let you down; never gonna run around and desert you. ($22 at Ulta.)

Tried any of these yet? Agree with our HOT TAKES or nah? Got any other faves from the last few months? Tell us!