The Essentials

by Farra

It’s been a while since my last beauty post, so I figured it was about time for the blogger’s obligatory my-favorite-products list.  I’m kinda obsessed with beauty products… in fact, if I don’t have any other errands to run during my lunch break, you can pretty much bet that I’ll be at Rite Aid or ULTA just browsing the aisles for the latest and greatest.  While I’m always experimenting with new potions for my hair and skin, I definitely stick to my tried and true for the most part.  The below products are what I always keep on hand in my beauty cabinet; they’re what I consider “the essentials.”


I am pretty fortunate to have skin that doesn’t break out easily, so face wash is one thing that I am always switching up.  More sensitive skin types can’t handle them, but I personally love cleansing scrubs – they kill two birds with one stone.  My current favorite is Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub; I use it to wash my face twice a day, morning and night.  If you are someone who happens to have more sensitive skin, I’m also a huge fan of foaming face washes; I’ve tried and really like Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser.  In fact, Aveeno is my favorite facial care brand that can be bought at a drugstore.

I always apply some type of moisturizer to my face after washing.  In the mornings, I use Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, and at night I use RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream (because us twenty-somethings can’t start fighting wrinkles early enough, right?).  After moisturizing both morning and night, I apply RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream to the skin around my eyes.  Again, I’m trying to get a head start at preventing fine lines.

My awesome coworker (hi Annie!) who uses La Mer brought me back some samples from her last trip to Taiwan where apparently it’s cheaper.  I wish I had known how addicting the stuff is.  I’m trying to make my samples last so I don’t use them every day, but I am pretty much obsessed with how soft and supple the Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream and The Eye Balm Intense make my skin feel and look.  Heavenly.


I’ve been having different versions of the Brazilian and Keratin treatments done to my naturally-unruly hair for years now, so I have to use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to ensure that my expensive treatments last as long as possible.  Like face wash, I like to switch up my shampoos and conditioners pretty much every time I’m due for a new set.  Some of my favorite sulfate-free formulas are Organix Cherry Blossom Ginger, L’Orèal EverPure, and Pureology Essential Repair.

I rarely just let my hair air-dry naturally after shampooing, but when I do I work a good amount of Bumble and Bumble Leave In (Rinse Out) Conditioner into towel-dried hair (and I leave it in).  If I’m going to blowdry and straighten (which is 95% of the time), I first apply both I.C.O.N. Cure Replenishing Spray and Moroccanoil Treatment Light to towel-dried hair.  After blowdrying but before using my flatiron, I apply less than a dime-sized amount of Frizz-Ease Hair Serum – Thermal Protection Formula to my ends.

I don’t wash my hair everyday because of the drying affect it can have on strands, so on nights that I know I’m washing my hair the next morning, I like to use L’Orèal EverStrong Overnight Hair Repair Treatment.  It makes my hair so soft and silky.  And every so often I also like to deep condition to combat the dryness from all of the heat I put my hair through.  I like L’Orèal EverPure Moisture Deep Restorative Masque, although most of the time I just use mayonnaise (there will be post a on this eventually).

And finally, when I want to give my hair that relaxed, boho beach waves look, I spray a generous amount of Frederick Fekkai Coiff Ocèanique Tousled Wave Spray into day-old washed and blown-dry hair.  The only negative to note about this product is that it makes hair incredibly tangled, however the pretty loose waves it creates definitely make it worth it.


My everyday body lotion is Aveeno Positively Nourishing Calming Body Lotion, however when I want a little bit of sparkle I use Borba Firming Fiber Knit Diamond Shimmer Body Contour.  It’s perfect for your décolletage or your legs in a short dress or skirt.  It’s pricey but I love it because it provides the perfect amount of subtle shimmer ala J.Lo without looking like you just doused yourself in glitter.

I am pretty fair when it comes to skin tone, so unless it’s the middle of summer and I have an awesome tan, I always use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (in Medium Glow) when going bare-legged.  It’s like makeup for your legs; it not only gives you a subtle glow but it hides veins, bumps, shaving nicks, and any other random oddities you may have on your legs that you wish would always be hidden.

I used to try out different self tanners but never found one that was as great as it promised, so instead I now splurge on a custom airbrush tan at my local tanning salon before a big event.  I also used to frequent the skin-damaging tanning beds (bad, I know), so the custom airbrush is a huge step up.  And it always looks flawless.  I love it.  For all of you Angelenos reading, No Sand Tan in Pasadena does a great job.


As I’ve mentioned, my all time favorite nail polish brand is Essie.  I also love OPI, Deborah Lippman, and ZoyaOrly is a great drugstore brand, and I actually prefer their black polish to any other; it’s a true black-black whereas OPI’s, for example, is on the sheer side.  My current polish obsessions are Essie’s Blanc (a white-out white), Essie’s Cute as a Button (a pinkish coral), and OPI’s Ski Teal We Drop (a gorgeous teal blue).

I will write a post about my complete makeup routine eventually, but for now, I’ll leave you with just the basics.  Nivea A Kiss of Strawberry Lip Care with SPF 10 is the best everyday lip balm, leaving lips smooth (but not sticky) with a hint of pinkish red coloring.  When I go out, I rotate between Senna Cosmetics Cream Lipstick in Valentina (red), NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Funny Face (pink), and Revlon Moon Drops Creme Lipstick in Orange Flip (orangey-red).  In my opinion, the best mascara of all time is Maybelline XXL Volume Washable Mascara.  And I never, ever leave the house without swiping Senna Brow Fix X across my brows to keep them tidy and in line.

Those are the essentials.  Stay tuned; mayo hair mask (gross yet amazing) and makeup posts to come!  Have a beautiful day…