Hey y’all and happy Wednesday! Can you believe we’re already over halfway done with February?! This month is flyyy-inggg. Not that I’m complaining! I can already feel the shift toward spring, especially in the length of the days. While our temps are still seasonably frigid, it is noticeably lighter longer, and all I can say is ya girl is here for it!
Anyway, it’s been a minute since I’ve done a “Current Favorites” post, and I’ve generated quite a few recommendations since my last one back in November. Just as a reminder, these products aren’t necessarily new to their respective markets, but they are new to me, and now that I’ve finally gotten around to checking them out, I’m in luuurve. Tis the season, right? As always, if you end up giving these a try yourself, please be sure to let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% and B5 Serum ($6.80, here)
This was actually a recommendation I took from Sam Ravndahl, a Canadian YouTuber with makeup skills and dry humor for days. Back in December, I went in for my monthly dermaplaning appointment, at which time my aesthetician gently noted that my skin was, erm, quite dry. Now look, this wasn’t necessarily news to me, but there’s really nothing that will light a fire under your ass like having a third party who actually knows what they’re talking about (i.e., it’s their profession) comment on something. The point is, it got me thinking that I really should throw my epidermis a bone and help the crusty bitch out. I mean, it certainly wasn’t going to hurt an already bleak situation. Hyaluronic acid (HA) has been a buzzed-about skincare ingredient in the beauty industry for a while now. In extremely simplified terms, its main function is to retain water, which in turn keeps your skin hydrated and plump, so I decided looking into a concentrated serum was probably the play to make. Lo and behold, a few days later, I’m watching Sam’s “Current Favorites” and she mentioned this serum, which also happens to be both cruelty free and completely reasonably priced. Could we say fate perhaps? Literally labeled as a “hydration support formula,” this little guy has noticeably improved my skin’s moisture level. I smooth a few drops over my entire face in the AM before my moisturizer, and the lightweight gel-liquid absorbs quickly into my skin. Here’s the thing, I know this is working not based on what I see, but what I don’t see. I didn’t apply this and instantly feel moisturized like you would expect from a typical cream or lotion. Instead, I noticed that overtime my skin just felt less and less tight. I also saw a dramatic reduction in the actual dry, flaky patches I had been experiencing, especially on my chin, right below the corners of my mouth. This product isn’t meant to make you look instantly radiant or dewy upon application. Instead, it is meant to combat your dry skin at the source so that you don’t experience the symptoms. Cool right? And at under $10 a bottle, this has become a staple in my morning routine that I plan to continue all year round.
Killing Eve (BBC America, streaming on Hulu)
Honestly, this one was a super random find. I had just finished binging the latest season of How To Get Away With Murder and needed my next television fix. I had heard rumblings that Killing Eve was a good show, even being nominated for some awards if I’m not mistaken, but it definitely didn’t have the same “word-on-the-street” reputation as say a Big Little Lies or The Handmaid’s Tale—which, BTW, are both brilliant and come highly recommended from me as well. I happened upon this promo photo on Hulu and was intrigued. It’s produced by BBC America (notable track record of producing good shows), it has “killing” in the title (I’m a sucker for crime dramas), and it stars Sandra Oh (enough said). Let me tell you, one episode in and I was hooked. The two female leads are strong, intelligent, and independent, but also flawed in very real, relatable ways. On top of that, I found the general premise to be innovative, the plot engaging and forward-moving, and the dialogue witty. It’s just a smart, sexy, well done show from start to finish. Seasons one and two are available now, with two others in the pipeline.
Morphe M439 Delux Buffer Foundation Brush ($15.00, here)
I have used a makeup sponge to apply my foundation since the day I started wearing it. Aw shucks, that takes me back…quick shout out to a 13-year-old Em desperately trying to cover her acne with Neutrogena’s Skin Clearing Acne Makeup and a synthetic foam wedge from CVS. It gets better girl, I promise. But even as I got older, that flimsy little triangle sponge turned into an actual BeautyBlender as I continued to maintain my ride-or-die team sponge status for years and years. Until now. I actually bought this Morphe brush a few years back based off, you guessed it, another YouTube beauty guru suggestion. This one came from Jaclyn Hill, who has advocated for Morphe brushes since forever. I used it a few times, but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t part with my beloved sponge. However, maybe it’s old(er) age or the fact that I wear makeup less often, but I’m finding I prefer a little lighter coverage these days, which I can achieve easier using a brush. What I love about this one in particular is it’s dome-shaped, densely packed bristles. Their tapered shape distributes the product evenly, giving me a beautiful, smooth, uniform application while using less product. Not to mention, it’s super soft, meaning I can really blend and buff the product into my skin to achieve that soft, natural finish I’m looking for.
Milani Conceal+Perfect 2-In-1 Foundation and Concealer ($9.99, here)
I’m fairly certain this foundation launched years ago at this point, though the fact that the original is still on the market is a testament in itself to its quality since makeup companies drop new products constantly these days. Anyway, this generated some pretty solid hype when it first came out. I remember Nicole Guerriero (yes, another YouTube fave of mine) in particular RAVED about this foundation, naming it one of her drugstore “holy grails.” I was ecstatic…until I marched down to my local CVS, selected the lightest shade offered, and promptly put it back because I already knew it would be too dark. Well, Milani must have received some serious feedback from my equally disappointed, equally pale-skinned sisters because it released two new lighter shades. Thank you, ladies! What I love so much about this formula is that it’s the perfect midpoint between a liquid and a mouse, making it ideal for my combination skin. I find that foundations that are too thin or runny tend to sink into my pores and quickly look greasy, while thicker ones just sit on top of my skin and cling to drier patches, giving me the “cakey” look we all dread. This guy applies beautifully but then also wears really well throughout the day. It doesn’t break up or settle into my textured areas. Plus, I find I only need a light powder application to set this and it still keeps my natural oils at bay, which, coming from a girl with a T-Zone reminiscent of a Deepwater Horizon disaster, is saying a lot.
Health-Ade Kombucha “Bubbly Rose” Flavor
Are you someone who knows kombucha is good for you but just can’t seem to find one that tickles your fancy? I get it…the “booch” can be a bit of an acquired taste, but trust me when I say this flavor is exactly what you need to kickstart your kombucha love affair. It has a light, crisp berry taste and just the right amount of fizz to keep things fun and refreshing. Not to mention…all the tummy-loving goodness kombucha is hailed for. The probiotics in ‘bucha naturally support gut health and digestion, which in turn boosts your immune system, keeps your skin glowing, and helps fight fatigue. So put down that nasty Odwalla “Super Green” Smoothie that’s marketed as healthy but actually has as much sugar as a candy bar and try one of these instead. Do I sound shady? Good, I can’t stand those companies. And yes, in case you’re wondering, you absolutely can mix this into your actual rose for a healthy boost to your vino. I fully support it. I’ve been able to find this flavor at my local Stop and Shop and Whole Foods, and I’m fairly certain it is at Target too. Now what are you waiting for?? Go get yourself a bottle for Wine Not Wednesday!
Halsey, Manic (Streaming on Spotify)
Back in the summer, I couldn’t stop talking about Lizzo’s industry debut, and now I have another fierce female who has dropped an entire album that I have been listening to on repeat for weeks. Now, unlike before, I have been a Halsey fan since she emerged onto the music scene back in 2015 with her debut album Badlands. You know those artists who seem to literally see into your soul when they write lyrics? Yeah, that’s Halsey for me. There’s something about her and her music that just touches me on an insanely deep level, and this album—her self-proclaimed most personal to date—is absolutely no exception. In listening to this batch of songs in particular, I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into who Ashley (Halsey’s real name) actually is and the very real, relatable things she struggles with as a young woman just trying to find herself and be happy. She documents it all on this album, from her anxiety and lonliness, to her family drama, to her shitty relationship experiences, to her issues with fertility and miscarriage. Sometimes she’s angry and empowered, and at other times she reads fragile, vulnerable, and at the end of her rope, which I think is a duality we all face when forced to deal with the shit life throws at us. While there’s honestly not a song I’d skip, highlights include Ashley, Clementine, You Should Be Sad, Graveyard, Killing Boys, 929, Still Learning, and More (which left me in tears the first time I really listened to the lyrics and figured out who she was singing to #thatsallillsay).