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Sophie Elkus

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February Beauty Picks

I’ve recently discovered several beauty products that have changed my routine – so I thought it was about time for another roundup. Let’s get right into it!

Stila Huge Extreme Lash MascaraStay All Day Liquid Lipstick

When it comes to mascara, the bigger the better. I’m always skeptical of tiny little thin brushes – give me the fat brush please! This formula is super black, super inky and glossy and the bigger brush delivers lots of volume. Unrelated to performance, I’m a sucker for packaging and I love a pretty gold tube. 10/10 all around.

I’ve seen this creamy lipstick everywhere lately – in magazines and on Something Navy’s snapchat – so I thought I’d give it a go. I love the “Perla” shade for day to night wear. It’s the first matte formula I’ve used that I really like (I usually go for shine) and it surprisingly does not dry out my lips at all. I just make sure to exfoliate with a scrub before swiping it on to.

UMA Ultimate Brightening Oil

This oil is magic. Let me begin by saying I’m the pickiest person when it comes to skincare. With makeup, I’ll try just about anything (save for some foundation formulas) and my skin can hold up. But with skincare, it can be a gamble, and I’m usually nervous to mess with something new when my routine is working. I have good skin, but it’s taken years to get it to a consistently happy place. I also have to credit my amazing facialist Shani Darden who I see every couple months. I use most of her recommended products (I can do another post on this if you’d like) which are from a more clinical/dermatology type line (I buy from off Amazon). I always see new skin care lines in magazines in pretty packaging and think “that looks beautiful but I’ll stick to what I know already works.”

This time, I couldn’t pass up trying the UMA line. Sivan had recommended this oil to me, but I also read stellar reviews on it. Like everyone else, I assumed oils were only for those with super dry skin, and not for anyone acne-prone. Wrong! Don’t worry about your skin type being dry, oily or combination – if you have skin on your face, this will work for you. I also love that you can mix this oil into whatever regimen you’re already on – use it under makeup as a base (it will keep your foundation dewy), use it at night as a serum, use it anytime really. The ingredients are rooted in Ayurvedic tradition, which I really believe in. It smells lovely and I can read and pronounce all the ingredients, which are all essential oils – no weird chemicals, parabens, preservatives or anything nasty you want on your face.

I always thought my skin was “combination” because in the winter it feels tight and dry and in the summer I’m constantly reaching for blotting papers and powder. This is the first time I’m having second thoughts –  with consistent use of this oil I feel like my skin is now… dare I say.. normal?! (Will have to consult Shani on this next time I see her). My skin tone looks more even, it’s silky soft to the touch, and I can’t remember the last time I broke out. I just went on a ski trip and used it under sunscreen before hitting the slopes, and it’s the first time my nose wasn’t dry and flaky after six hours of wind and snow hitting my face.

I know I’m talking a big game here, but trust me on this one! (And I’m not being paid to say this). The bottle comes at a bit of a steep price tag ($150) but for me, knowing that’s it’s 100% organic and pure is worth the price; also you only need a few drops per application so the bottle will last you forever. I want to try the Anti-Aging oil next!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass products always look almost too beautiful to use, but the performance of this palette is even better than the packaging. I admit when I first opened it I thought “aren’t these all highlighters? Which goes where?” When I figured out where to pop each shade, it was a game changer. The far left powder I use lightly under the eyes, across the forehead, down the nose and on the chin. I can’t rightly explain what this does – it makes skin look candlelit, diffuses light and just puts a pretty and soft focus “light” on your face. The middle shade I use as a traditional highlighter on cheekbones and brow bone. The far right bronze shade I use as a bronzer where sun naturally hits the face. I use this before photo shoots, before a night out or even over tinted moisturizer on lazy days. The effect is a glowy, more rested appearance. The palette is definitely more of an investment purchase (or a gift request) than an impulse buy given the price tag, but I must vouch for it as a luxurious staple.

Caudalie Micellar Cleansing WaterGlycolic Peel Mask

This cleansing water has become a permanent staple in my routine. I used to use makeup wipes to remove face makeup, and I still keep them on hand, but I’ve now switched to using a splash of this water on a cotton pad to gently remove face makeup. It’s so gentle and mild, it feels like actual water on your face. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean, and it dissolves makeup fast. You can also use it as a toner.

I’ve been using this mask for 10 minutes while I wait for my hair to dry after showering, and it gives me a noticeable glow and softens my skin. You only need a little bit. I also love that when it dries into mask form, it doesn’t feel as hard and abrasive as most masks (you know, the clay ones that dry into such a stiff layer that you can’t move your mouth until rinsed off). I love how gentle Caudalie products are, and for being an upscale French line, they’re not crazy expensive either. This mask is a quick and luxurious addition my routine.

Vita Liberata Body Blur

I’ve mentioned Body Blur before and wanted to give it a full review here. This is basically a super light, glowy “foundation” for your body – but before you stop reading assuming that it’s only for Sports Illustrated models or the overly picky who even have time to think about body makeup on the reg, consider the benefits. Just like it’s name, it really “blurs” any imperfections. Wearing a white dress to a bridal shower or birthday party and have a little razor burn on your legs or a bruise? A little bit of this smooths out skin to look photoshopped. Want a glowy décolletage before a date night? Pop it on your collarbone area. Or if you’re just going on a beach vacation and want that perfect IG shot by the water – that’s still good reason right? I took this to Cabo to use while shooting for a swim brand and it gave my legs an even tone and subtle sheen.

It rinses off very easily with water – no soap and scrubbing required. It also doesn’t transfer onto clothing.  I’ve read this is what makeup artists use on Victoria’s Secret models for the runway show and I can see why. Perhaps not an every day product, but it’s earned a space on my shelf.

NARS Illuminator in “Copacabana”

This is not a new discovery – I’ve been mixing a drop of this illuminator into my foundation for years, so I almost forgot to include it in a beauty roundup among new finds! It deserves a place here though; it adds a beautiful glow to my makeup that isn’t shiny, sparkly or “too much.” It simply transforms regular liquid foundation into a glowier, dewier finish. You can also put it right onto your face as a highlighter – cheekbones, browbones, the works. I also have this in solid stick form.

Shop all these products below!

Photography by Valorie Darling

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