Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Top Non-Makeup Discoveries of 2012

Helloooo, belated post! I just found this marked as a draft, last edited a month ago. Thought I'd posted it already. WHOOPS. Well, better late than never, right? Now that we're finally far enough into 2013 that I've stopped dating work documents 2012...

Back on January 5, I did a Top Makeup Discoveries of 2012 post. Just for fun, I thought I'd also include my Top Non-Makeup Discoveries of 2012 - some are still beauty products, some not, but I wanted to share, regardless.

1. Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray: I suck at using volumizing products in my hair because I always either use too much and make it feel sticky and/or crunchy, or I use too little and it does nothing.  I also dislike using most hair mousses because I find it difficult to squish out anything less than a GINORMOUS portion, after the pile of mousse in my hand finishes "growing." Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray is the first volumizing product I've found to be foolproof.

I just finger-comb my hair with one hand, lifting it away from my head, and put a spritz of this right on the roots. I then repeat this for various sections of my head - I probably use a total of about 10-12 sprays each use, but you could definitely use more or less. (My hair is already quite thick, so there's a lot of area to cover, it's just fine as well so it tends to hang limply if I don't do something with it.) I'm sure I don't coat nearly every hair or my whole head evenly, but it still works. So then I blow-dry it, and I have volume without any stickiness or crunchiness. I have only used this on my hair when damp, but I've read in reviews you can also use it paired with a quick blow dry to the roots to boost already-dry hair. Available for purchase here.

2. Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum: My other favorite hair styling product. This is what I put on in between putting the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray at my roots and blow-drying. I put about 4 pumps in my hand (edit: I did use that much when my hair was longer, but now that I've cut it to shoulder skimming-length, I only use two pumps), rub my hands together, flip my head upside-down and scrunch it into my ends and most of the way up my hair. Then I flip my head right-side-up again and run what's left on my hands through the top layers of my hair, finger-combing-style. Through all of this I do my best to avoid the roots, or my hair gets oily faster than I'd like. Then I blow dry, and my hair is super shiny and smooth. Available for purchase here.

3. LUSH Ro's Argan Body Conditioner: An excellent in-shower body lotion that comes in a screw-top pot and has an amazing, unique rose scent (not pure rose... rose and other yummy things I can't identify). I usually use this on my legs after shaving. After I've washed my body off, I turn off the shower water, scoop out a small dab, and rub it into my legs. It feels very slippery and like it's not absorbing, but after a minute or two, I turn the water back on and rinse it off, and my legs are definitely more moisturized. After the shower, I pat the areas I applied it to dry with my towel, not rub them. This product is very soothing and does an excellent job of preventing razor burn for me, which many products are not able to do. The moisture from it also lasts over a full day for me. It's expensive - to those on a tight budget I'd recommend Olay's In Shower Body Lotion instead, which I also like - but for me this is worth it! Available for purchase here.

4. Sephora Brand #56 Foundation Brush: Favorite tool I've found thus far for applying liquid and cream foundation. It's super soft, applies product evenly, leaves no streaking behind, and is small enough to get in crevices but big enough that it doesn't take long to do your whole face. The only issue I have with it is that I find it somewhat difficult to get 100% clean - there is usually still a small amount of foundation residue afterward in the very middle of the brush toward the base of the hairs at the ferrule.  I am sure this could be prevented if I dipped the brush lightly in foundation before applying, but because I'm lazy, I just squirt the foundation right onto the brush. I think some of it seeps into the center when I do that. Regardless of that small issue, I am thrilled with mine. Available for purchase here.

5. Boscia Restorative Night Moisture Cream: I've never been one for night creams because most are too rich for my combination/oily, acne-prone skin, but this is the first one I've EVER found that I truly loved and plan to repurchase when I run out. It smells good, doesn't irritate or break out my skin, and makes my face plump, smooth, and glowy. The packaging is a double-edged sword: it comes in a jar with a pump top, which is awesomely hygienic (love!) but there's also absolutely no way to tell when you're about to run out until you actually do (not so awesome). Crisis can be easily averted by keeping a backup handy. Available for purchase here.

6. Source Naturals Skin Eternal Hyaluronic Acid Supplement: reviewed here and sold here. Still loving it. My lips are less dry and my skin is more balanced now. Even now, in the dead of winter, I get no dry/flaky areas, but I'm not oilier either.

7. Benjabelle Brush Tree: reviewed here and sold here. Still loving this too. Since writing the review, have realized that I can squeeze multiple brushes into each hole, so I can wash my entire face and eye brush collection and have them all hanging in it at once with some room to spare. I just have to make sure I distribute the weight relatively evenly - one time I did all my big, heavy brushes on one side and just a few tiny eye brushes on the other, and it toppled over sideways when I wasn't looking! No troubles with it falling since then, though, now that I pay attention to where I place the brushes.

8. Verilux HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp: A Christmas present from my mom that I adore. Not only does it help me feel more alert and happy (yes, it actually works), the light it emits works well as an aid for taking good swatch pictures! This is the model I own.

9. Kinder Bueno bars: my new favorite candy. Sadly, I'm on a strict diet now so I'm not allowing myself any until I make more progress and re-train my body with regard to cravings, but this thing is 100% Nutella, wafer, and milk chocolate goodness and I LOVE IT. A bit hard to come by in the States but easy to order online (here on Amazon.com), and my Cost Plus World Market carries a bunch of other Kinder products, so maybe some of the stores in that chain sell the Bueno bars too.

10. SodaStream kit: Another Christmas present, this time from Boyfriend's parents. It's a kit that you use to make your own soda; it carbonates the water for you, and then you mix in syrup. I am also trying to drink less soda on the new diet so I haven't used it too much in the past couple of weeks, but let me tell you, January was SodaStream month around here. We used it daily and even brought it with us to parties. I'm not a big fan of their Cola mixes - I still prefer the flavor of my regular Diet Coke in a can - but I love the orange soda, Fountain Mist (a.k.a. Mountain Dew), ginger ale, and the "Natural" ones like the Apple Mango sparkling juice. The Energy syrup is also pretty much a dead ringer for Red Bull, as far as I can tell. We also like making regular Italian soda with Torani syrups and carbonated juice using thawed frozen juice concentrate. Boyfriend likes even more of the flavors than I do, too. They sell sampler kits so you can try each of their bestselling flavors and figure out what you like. All in all, it's a fun novelty/toy and one I like having around at home. The model we own is sold on Amazon.com here.

So, readers, have you tried any of these products before? Are there any you're curious about now?

Disclaimer: this post was not sponsored in any way but does contain some (not all) affiliate links.


  1. OMG I love everything Kinder! Those Bueno bars are amazing. I had totally forgotten about them. They are so good.

    1. I know, right?! Freaking AMAZEBALLS. We bought a case of them on Amazon in December planning to put one in everyone's Christmas present. Yeah, that didn't happen. We ate about half the case and the rest of it is still in our kitchen. XD

  2. Hi Kristina,
    I also love the Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray. I use their Prep on damp hair, followed by Thickening Spray, then blow dry. Never tacky & fabulous!


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