Every Beauty Product I Bought and Loved this Season

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

One of my favorite things about blogging and creating this incredible community of women is that I get to act as a guinea pig for you. Especially when it comes to categories like fashion and beauty, my goal is always to save you time and money by trying products and brands myself before I recommend them.

When I think about the products that I recommend to you whether on here or Instagram, my sisters’ and best friends’ faces always come to mind. Would I recommend this to them? If not, it’s a crystal clear “no” for me to share with you. Trust me when I say I get it; beauty products can be expensive. It can be overwhelming to read articles, watch beauty vlogs, and see our favorite celebrity sharing yet another beauty product we must buy on their Instagram stories.

Sometimes I feel so defeated by what I don’t have in my beauty arsenal that I just feel like throwing in the towel and hiding under a baseball cap. Needless to say, I never want you to feel that way after reading one of my posts. You don’t NEED these beauty products that I’m sharing today. I’m recommending them to you because I have personally tried and loved each and every one of them.

Many of these are repeat purchases that I restocked on this season, and the others are a result of time spent researching, reading reviews, and testing them out myself to make sure I love them time and time again.

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Earth Therapeutics Hydrogel Collagen Under Eye Patches

Under eye patches are one of those super inexpensive, yet strangely indulgent beauty products. Somehow, I can’t believe that I just stumbled across them a couple months ago. Of course, I had seen them on some of my favorite bloggers’ Instagram stories here and there, but I never thought they were for me.

Since I’ve been in my 20’s, I’ve had dark circles under my eyes no matter how much sleep I get (doesn’t everyone?). I thought that it was mutually understood that we all just covered them up with concealer and moved on with our lives. I didn’t think that any product would actually be useful in reducing the darkness or relieving puffiness.

The first week after we moved to Virginia, I found myself wandering into ULTA and while I was taking my sweet time walking through the aisles I came across these eye patches. They were under $10 for 5 pairs, so I figured I’d give them a try. I have since used the entire box plus another box of this brand’s green tea under eye patches which I also love.

When I think of self-care, the first product that comes to mind is under eye patches. They feel so refreshing and indulgent on their own, and you can put them in the refrigerator for an extra boost in reducing puffiness if you have the time. Plus, anything that’s going to add collagen to my skin or diet is a definite “yes” for me.

How to use: Cleanse and dry your face. Open packages and apply one patch under each eye. Carefully smooth the patch. Leave patch on for 30 minutes. Peel off and discard.

$9, ULTA

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Summer Fridays R&R Mask

Unless you’ve been living in a dark, tech-free cave for the past year, you have most likely heard of or seen the Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask. I’ll get to my review on that one below (spoiler: I refuse to live without it). But, first let’s chat about the new babe around town: the R&R mask.

This mask has conflicting reviews online, so I’ll be honest and tell you that I was skeptical to shell out $52 to test it out myself. However, I knew it would be making its rounds and I wanted to be a good resource on whether it was worth the price tag or not.

This two-in-one mask is much different than it’s famous sister, the Jet Lag Mask. I think that is why the bad reviews piled up; maybe people expected it to be the same? I’m not sure. Anyway, the R&R Mask was designed as an exfoliating mask to “buff skin brighter before hugging it in a plush mix of restorative, antioxidant-rich natural oils”.

It’s much less harsh and drying than any exfoliating mask I have tried before. The biggest difference between the R&R Mask and other exfoliating products is that this mask has deeply moisturizing oils in it. Therefore, when you wash it off after about 10 minutes of letting it soak in, you don’t need to add oils or a moisturizer.

Personally, I LOVE it. I have combination skin, so it’s not particularly dry or oily, which is why I think this mask works well for me. My favorite thing about this product is the smell, along with bits and pieces of delicately ground wild rose powder. It is a beautiful mask and definitely feels like a treat to have on my face once or twice a week. It leaves my skin feeling super soft and immediately glowy. It is also clean and cruelty free (which I can’t say for the exfoliating drugstore mask I was using before).

I would not recommend this product to anyone who has oily skin or acne. According to the description, the R&R Mask is ideal for healing dry spots, dryness, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

How to use: On dry cleansed skin, apply to face, neck, and chest. Gently massage, avoiding eye area. Leave for 10 minutes. Remove with damp wash cloth and pat remaining oils into skin for a nourishing glow.

$52, Sephora

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Drunk Elephant NightBright Resurfacing Duo

The biggest shift in my beauty routine over the past couple years has definitely been the introduction of oils. I was terrified to use oils on my skin for the fear that they would make me break out. I was under the impression that the drier your skin was, the better chance of reducing pimples and acne. When I finally learned about how to use facial oils and serums correctly (and which kinds to use), I felt like I was introduced to a whole new world of skincare.

Drunk Elephant (a clean beauty brand free of essential oils, silicones, and fragrance) came to me highly recommended by a close friend. I was skeptical of facial oils at the time, so I decided to order the travel size duo so I could test it out without investing a lot of money.

Since then, I have purchased this duo several times (it lasts about 1-2 months if you are using it consistently). I don’t feel the need to purchase the larger bottles because you’re actually getting a good deal with the smaller sizes, plus they are ideal for bringing along while traveling or to store in a beauty holder.

After cleansing, I add 1 pump of each into my palm and mix together to apply to my full face and neck (a little product goes a long way). Usually I massage the product in before adding a thin layer of my Jet Lag Mask on top.

The Glycolic Night Serum “refines and resurfaces skin by gently dissolving dead skin cells and supporting the skin’s natural collagen production”. The Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil “is an antioxidant-rich skin treatment that hydrates, preserves, and calms with no greasy residue”. All in all, the duo hydrates, nourishes, and helps with dullness and uneven texture, skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles.

How to use: At night, mix 1-2 drops of each product in the palm of your hand (make sure it’s clean). Apply to a clean, dry face, neck, chest, and backs of hands, avoiding the eye area. Let soak into your skin; no need to rinse or remove.

$28, Sephora

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

I am a firm believer that you should have a scent for every significant season of your life. Smell is such a powerful thing, and I think that it can be useful in sparking positive memories when used in the right way.

I have owned 3 different perfumes (Marc Jacobs Flower Bomb, Chanel No 5, and Miss Dior) in the past 8 years that Sam and I have been together and I feel like each one represents a totally different season of our life.

When we moved to Virginia, I was searching for a scent to celebrate this new and exciting chapter of our married life beginning. Originally, I had my heart set on the popular and Instagram-worthy, Gucci Bloom perfume that I knew would fit in with my pastel pink aesthetic. However, when I was sniffing my way through the perfume aisle in ULTA, I found that I loved the Miss Dior Eau de Parfum much more than the Gucci.

The scent is elegant, yet bold. It is floral and feminine, but it also works for cooler seasons like Fall and Winter. I feel like it adds the perfect amount of sweetness without being overwhelming. It is perfect for date nights, special occasions, and anytime that I simply want to put in a little extra effort to boost the romance.

I love spritzing a little bit on my wrists, and then rubbing it into my neck or chest area.

$130, ULTA

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Mario Badescu Witch Hazel & Rose Water Toner

Toner is another beauty product that I just recently started incorporating into my routine. I’ve never been a 10-step skincare kind of gal, so the thought of adding in a product that I couldn’t visibly see making a difference felt overwhelming and unnecessary.

Prior to picking up this product, I was getting into a bad habit of going to bed or piling on oils and moisturizer without properly cleansing, toning, or even washing my face. During the work week, I very rarely wear any makeup, therefore I don’t use a makeup removing wipe at the end of the day. What I failed to recognize is that dirt and oils were gathering on my skin throughout the day, regardless of if I was wearing makeup.

After a bit of research, I learned that toner truly is an important step in preserving your skin and having the best visible appearance possible. The purpose of using a toner is to close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing, reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin.

The Mario Badescu is a brand that I was already familiar with through the Drying Lotion (see below), so when I saw that they made a Rose and Witch Hazel Toner I decided to test it out myself.

“The Aloe Vera replenishes your skin with soothing hydration as a floral blend of Black Rose, Rosewater, and Rose Oil helps provide an antioxidant boost. Skin is cleansed and its moisture barrier is protected, revealing a fresh and more youthful-looking complexion.”

I have found that this Toner feels refreshing and light, smells good, and is an affordable option.

How to use: Twice daily after cleansing, apply to skin with a cotton ball or pad. Wipe in sweeping, outward motions until the cotton comes up clean. Avoid eye area.

$14, ULTA

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Honest Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes

Jessica Alba’s brand, Honest Beauty, is now available in stores like Target and CVS which makes me SO happy. I love that clean and cruelty free brands are becoming more widely available around the US.

I have been slowly replacing my beauty and home staples in favor of clean and cruelty free options over the past 12 months, and I have a feeling that I will be trying more and more products from this line in the future.

These makeup remover wipes are a blend of grape seed and olive oils which is a significant improvement from the brand I was using before with 100 ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce.

These wipes were designed to soften and nourish skin without burning while removing makeup. They smell fresh and they work extremely well (even on waterproof mascara) without being harsh.

$7, Target

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

This is the most recommended acne spot treatment on the market right now. This Drying Lotion is designed to be used on blemishes at the first sign to reduce and replace popping or picking.

I love this Drying Lotion because I just dab a tiny bit of it on any pimple I see or feel popping up on my face, neck, or chest and leave it on overnight. Depending on the size or type of blemish, sometimes it takes a few days to dry out completely. Other times, if it’s small enough, just one night with the spot treatment does the trick of erasing it without any picking or irritating the skin.

How to use: Do not shake the bottle. Before bed (after cleansing and toning), dip a cotton swab into the pink sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Dab directly on the blemish; do not rub in. Let dry and rinse off in the morning. Do not use on broken skin. Do not use before going out in the sun.

$17, ULTA

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

I have never seen a beauty product gain momentum like the Jet Lag Mask has. It is undoubtedly almost every blogger’s favorite and most talked about skincare product right now. In my opinion since trying it out (and buying yet another tube), this product is NOT overrated, and it’s worth every penny.

Each tube has a ton of product, and it is so thick and creamy that just a little bit goes a long way. I used my first tube of this for months and months every single day (morning and night). I basically use it in place of a moisturizer for my face and neck.

The Jet Lag Mask is a hydrating face mask and overnight moisturizer that helps with dryness, dullness and uneven texture. It is a rich combination of ceramides, vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory ingredients that help to combat puffy, inflamed, and over-worked skin.

How to use: On cleansed, dry skin apply a thin, even layer with fingertips. May be used under and over the eye area. Leave on for at least 10 minutes, or overnight for maximum hydration. If you are removing, wipe with a warm washcloth; otherwise, there is no need to rinse.

$48, Sephora

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth
Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

This is sitting on my computer desk next to my keyboard as I type this. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this container does not leave my side. I’m still on my first purchase because it holds SO much product. Although $20 seems expensive for a lip product, you truly get your money’s worth.

This lip sleeping mask is another product that has gained extreme popularity over the past year, and I must say that the hype is well-deserved. It is categorized as a “leave-on lip mask”, but in my own words, I’d call it a super chapstick. I use it 24/7 to soften and moisturize my lips. I even use it in place of clear lipgloss when I’m going for a natural makeup look.

It is the perfect cure for my dry and cracked lips in the Winter months, after wearing matte lipstick, or when I’m simply dehydrated.

“Enriched with vitamin C and antioxidants, its Berry Mix Complex offers a nutritiously sweet and fragrant blend of raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, and blueberry extracts to indulge the senses. Its exclusive Moisture Wrap technology boasts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film over the lips to lock in moisture and active ingredients. A generous layer of this soothing mask at bedtime helps reduce flakiness so you can wake up to lips that feel refreshed, supple, and soft to the touch.”

How to use: Using applicator, apply generously to the lips in the evening and leave on overnight. Gently wipe off or cleanse in the morning if necessary.

$20, Sephora

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Facial Treatment

I discovered this product through one of my favorite podcasts, The Skinny Confidential. Lauryn shared how she has used this simple and inexpensive clay mask for years. After seeing literally thousands of positive reviews online and the $8 price tag, I had to test it out myself.

It really is the simplest beauty product that I own; it is 100% natural and unscented calcium bentonite clay from Death Valley, California, where it is sun-dried for up to six months in temperatures that sometimes reach 134 degrees.

All you have to do is mix a little scoop of the powder with water (or you can use apple cider vinegar) to create a thick clay. Once you massage the clay into your face, you can feel the effects almost immediately. It tightens your skin while tingling and drying. It is perfect for using once a week or every other week to deep clean your pores, and prevent acne and blemishes.

I recommend using a thick moisturizer (like the Jet Lag Mask) and/or oil (like the NightBright Duo) afterwards to avoid dry skin.

How to use: Mix a small scoop of the clay powder in a bowl with water to create a thick clay. Massage the clay into your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for about 10 minutes or until dry. Remove gently with a soft washcloth soaked in warm water.

$8, Target

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

Dr Dennis Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel

This is my biggest repeat purchase on this list. I started using them before our wedding last year, and I usually order the box of 60 treatments (because Sam is just as obsessed). However, I recommend starting out with 30 to make sure that your skin reacts well to the wipes and that you find that the investment is worth it.

I have gotten Sam, my mom, grandma, and Aunt, and Sam’s mom all hooked on these wipes after trying just 1. During the holidays, I find that these gifts are usually the ones that get the best reaction.

“The patented two-step formula contains seven acids, is easy and safe to use at home, and does not require any recovery time. Step one is packed with rejuvenating, powerful, yet gentle exfoliating acids. Step two controls the alpha hydroxy acid activity, delivers anti-aging actives, nourishes, and keeps skin balanced, smooth, and radiant.”

I can immediately tell a difference in the appearance of my skin after using these wipes. I normally use in the morning if I’m shooting a campaign or wearing makeup for the day because I feel like my beauty products go on smoother, and my skin’s texture and color looks more even and brighter overall.

If I’m not shooting or leaving the house for the day, I’ll save my wipe for the evening so that it can soak into my skin overnight without any products on top.

If you find that you love these wipes but don’t want to spend $88 on them continuously, I recommend using a wipe every other day, or cutting them in half and using over 2 days to extend their magic.

How to use: Once a day, apply step one pad to clean, dry skin, using circular motions. Continue application until pad feels dry. Wait two minutes. Follow with pad in step two using the same technique as step one.

$88, Sephora

Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth

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Want more beauty inspiration? Read How to Know When It's Time for a Major Hair Change and The Lip Products I’m Obsessed With.

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xo Anna Elizabeth