7 Sensational Beauty and Skin Care Products I Can’t Live Without…

You know how you have your “go-to” beauty and skin care products that you MUST have in your life? Products that if they were to be discontinued bloodshed and gnashing of teeth would follow?

I’ve decided to finally update my list of true beauty “must-haves”. These items are in no particular order. I’ve just tried it all and hopefully my beauty winners can bring joy to you as well. You’ll see some old favorites, along with some new products that may inspire you to try something new.

1. PCA Skin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45

Finally…I really mean finally, a mineral based physical sunscreen that actually feels weightless on the skin and doesn’t clog pores, cause acne, or feel oily. Many believe that the SPF that is found in your foundation or moisturizer is enough, but that is not the case. Check to see that your sunscreen contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These are physical sunscreens that completely block the suns rays. If your product does not have either of these two ingredients in it, it is only absorbing the rays and letting some of the bad rays through.

2. Malibu C Hard Water Hair Treatment and Shampoo

This 100% vegan, preservative-free treatment helps to remove hard water and other mineral deposits on your hair with ease. This product has changed my life! It changed my brittle, dry hair back into the soft and shiny hair I had back in my twenties. Nothing else that I’ve found compares to this miracle product. I like the actual treatment in the bronze packet the best, but I also use the shampoo and conditioner to keep my hair in great shape. Malibu C Hard Water Hair Treatment can be found both online and in most beauty supply stores. malibu-c-hard-water-hair-treatment-1

3. Clinique Men’s Bronzing Gel – Face Bronzer

I have to admit, I’ve probably been using this bronzing gel for at least twenty years. Clinique, PLEASE never change the shade or formulation! This bronzing gel is so realistic looking, people will think you just got back from the Caribbean. Since it is a gel, you can see your skin through it, therefore eliminating the cakey, fake orange look of most bronzers. I apply it over sunscreen for a sun-kissed glow or mixed with body lotion for application on arms and legs. It’s nice because it washes off (unlike self-tanner), is odor-free, and doesn’t make you look like an oompa loompa.

4. SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

If I were able to own only one skin care product for the rest of my life, TNS Essential Serum would be it, hands down. Yes, this product is pricey, but is worth every penny and more! This is the first skin care product that after about seven nights of use, I noticed a MAJOR improvement in my skin. The lines on my face has been noticeably smoother and my complexion has evened out, looks plump and firm, and my brown spots have been greatly reduced. There is such a long list of great ingredients in this potion, that if purchased separately would cost way more than this “all-in-one” skin transformer. Hyaluronic acid, peptides, green tea extract, shelf stable Vitamin C and E, Coenzyme Q10, antioxidants, and Alpha-Arbutin, along with Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media growth factors that helps the skin to act like it did in our early twenties.


5. Graftobian Hi-Def Glamour Creme Foundation 

This may be one of the most important items in my makeup bag. Originally created for actors on high-definition television, Graftobian Hi-Def Glamour Creme Foundation is my go-to “secret weapon” for when I know I’ll be photographed. It’s highly pigmented formula gives the appearance of flawless, airbrushed skin, all for under $25. Great for normal to dry skin. Never caused me to break out. Easy to find online. Plus – Graftobian offers inexpensive palettes so you can try several shades and find your best shade before you buy. My favorite shade is Glamour Girl – a nice warm undertone shade for light skin.


6. Eminence Hibiscus Ultra Lift Eye Cream

I love that Eminence products are organic and preservative-free. When I tried their Hibiscus Ultra Lift Eye Cream, I was blown away – not expecting such great results in a “natural” product! I’ve found that it does what it promises to do – reduces puffiness, tightens and lifts skin and diminishes wrinkles, all in about five minutes. This is my “must have” eye cream for events. I love the cool roller ball applicator too.


7. Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm for Lips

If you have constantly chapped lips and you haven’t tried this yet, you’re missing out. This all-natural lip balm contains 1% hydrocortisone cream and beeswax in its formulation. This has been the only lip balm that cured my perennially chapped lips. Hard to find in stores, I order mine online from Amazon.


From my 20+ years working in the skin care industry, I’ve just about “tried it all” when it comes to skin care and beauty products. It’s never too late to improve your skin. Everyone at any age can benefit from:

1. Using a physical sunscreen (like titanium dioxide or zin oxide) every day.

2. Using a retinoid like Retin-A or a retinol product to help build collagen.

3. Exfoliate on a regular basis, whether it be monthly microdermabrasion treatments or home exfoliation products. Removing the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin allows deeper product penetration for a greater benefit from your skin care products.

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite beauty products or skin care products that have changed your life for the better. 

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“It’s all Smoke and Mirrors” is my medium for expression through fashion, style, random thoughts, and whatever else inspires me at the time. As a Photo Stylist, Esthetician and Make-up Artist, I will share my personal insights on beauty, style and my fear of my favorite products being discontinued. I will also share some honest product reviews, informative tidbits and tutorials. Please note that I am not paid to do these reviews of products, all items were purchased by me for personal use. As a former Los Angeleno, I will share musings of my life living in the Valley as a struggling actress/model. As a former New York city dweller, I will share rants about my former life in NYC and the way I viewed the world from my tiny apartment on East 77th. As a business owner, I will share my struggles, travels, achievements, and how I got to where I am today. As a girl who’s “not in her 20′s” anymore, I will share laughs, fashion and style tricks, and other personal insight that has helped me along the way to becoming the woman and mother that I am today.

5 thoughts on “7 Sensational Beauty and Skin Care Products I Can’t Live Without…

  1. I admit I’ve never heard of most of these products but thanks to your post I will check them out. I love Clinique all of their products are so good.

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