Cult Beauty Favorites That Are Actually Worth It

I sometimes treat myself like to think of myself as the Tim Ferris of Beauty Bloggers. I want to try things out, put them through their paces. My thought process is always, -"OK, this product is amazing for you poreless, adequately hydrated, genetically blessed beauty babes... but what can you do for my chemo-ravaged, chemically and hormonally tortured skin?"

It's hard to resist the lure of products that claim to take you to the moon  and back (and return you with alien-like skin) but these products have actually delivered on their claim, and more. It's been a long time since I got compliments on my skin and make-up like this (think mid-20s, when I didn't know how good I had it.)

Some things are just worth the price tag...



If you consume lots of media you may have seen this obscure little product pop up all over the place.  (For example, in Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's Teen Vogue List of their  beauty must-haves...) Do a little more research and you'll discover that there is an obsessive cult of women who subscribe to this product and say things like "a miracle in a bottle" (Vogue) or "It leaves my skin glowing" (Emily Weiss, Into the Gloss to Elle Magazine)  Skeptical, but also intrigued, I decided to try this toner on my face. Trust me, the last thing I felt like I needed was another step in my skincare regimen. But I decided to go for it, and I am so glad I did.  Nothing I have tried has made my pores shrink like this. At first the smokey, campfire smell and tingling was scary. I went through a "purge", similar to what happened when I started using a retinol, where my skin peeled off in sheets and deep cystic acne popped up. I stuck through it and two month later my skin is glowing. I'm addicted to the "stingle", which started out a little intense but has mellowed to something almost crave-worthy (supposedly the product only really stings when your skin is out of balance, and with regular use your skin "balances" out.)


RMS Living Luminizer ($38)

Hard to resist a product that Refinery 29 calls "The Highlighter That SuperModels Swear By" or that contains such vignettes as:

When I tell this to Rose-Marie Swift, the makeup artist and founder of RMS Beauty, she seems unfazed. "It's hands down my best seller," she says. "When I do makeup on shoots now, models ask me to use it. Gisele [B√ľndchen], Miranda [Kerr], and Karlie [Kloss] all love it."

Since dullness was something I too felt embattled against I gave it a shot. And I had an experience that was very similar to the one described in the article. "You look so dewy and glowing!" said one friend, "what are you using?!?" 

The secret seems to lie in the magical way that it makes your skin glow, not shimmer. The formula feels weird at first (a little grainy, definitely very subtle) but no matter the lighting, or what I wear it with (blush, foundation, no make-up, some combination of all of the above) my skin just looks fresh and pretty and plump and healthy.  I look less tired. The light catches my skin in just the right way. 

BEAUTYBLENDER ($15)

In a head to head comparison with a cheaper knockoff, the seemingly overpriced sponge was shown to be more effective. My own personal experiments have proven this out. There is something magical about this little sponge, that makes my foundation look dewy and natural, my concealer conceal more effectively, and in the end I swear it saves me money because I can use less of my foundation or tinted moisturizer. 


Always on the hunt for new things to try - are there any cult favorites you swear by? Let me know!