+ BPGP, + Makeup

A Beauty Product, Guinea Pig Follow-up Roundup

I started the Beauty Product Guinea Pig posts because I’m a bit of a product junkie, and I wanted to write honest reviews about the products I use.  Because when you read a beauty magazine, it’s tough to gauge whether they truly love a product or whether their just cozying up to their advertisers. So I thought today, I would follow-up on some of my BPGP posts to let you know which products I’m still using and whether a product I loved after a few weeks is still holding a place of honor in my medicine cabinet.

Nearly two years ago, I reviewed Aztec Secret Healing Clay ($8), a Bentonite clay mask that purifies and exfoliates skin.  While I still think this is a great product, I replaced it with the Origins Active Charcoal Mask ($17) and never looked back.  But if you’re looking for an inexpensive product that does the job, go with Aztec Secret.

Rembrandt Deeply White Toothpaste ($7) is a great product.  But since my review last July, I’ve developed some sensitivity in my teeth and had to switch to Sensodyne’s whitening formula.  I don’t like it nearly as well, and I’ve had to go back to whitening with Crest Professional Effects White Strips to keep my teeth from looking dingy.

If you suffer from ingrown hairs, you need TendSkin Roll-On ($17).  The liquid helps prevent ingrowns and heal the ones you already have.  It’s the best ingrown prevention product that I’ve ever used, and since you can refill the roller from a larger, less-expensive bottle of TendSkin, the no mess applicator is a good value.

Maybelline Age Defying Treatment Dark Circle Concealer ($9) is the best under-eye concealer I’ve ever tried.  My only complaint is that finding your correct shade can be difficult.  My winter skin falls between light and medium, so I have to mix the two products on my hand and apply them with a brush.  On the upside, however, the lighter concealer is a great under-eye highlighter.

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Set ($45) is the perfect product for women who paint their nails at home.  The base and top coat keep my polish in like-new condition for at least a week, with minimal chipping for two weeks.  Proper application takes some practice, but if you like painted nails and hate chips, this is the product for you.

Every woman has that one thing they obsess about.  Maybe it’s your shoes or your lipstick, but for me, it’s my hair.  Pureology Hydrate Light

Shampoo and Conditioner ($22 each) gives me that bouncy, Charlie’s Angels hair that I’ve always wanted.  The problem?  It also gives me acne on my shoulders and chest.  During the winter months, when I’m all covered up, this isn’t a problem.  But as things start to warm up, I’ll be doing a revival of Sophie’s Choice in my bathroom each morning.

As my struggle with adult acne continues, I will try almost anything to stop the occasional breakouts that plague me.  I bought Illumask’s Anti-Acne Light Therapy Mask ($29 for 30 treatments) last month.  I used it as directed for one month and did notice a difference in my skin.  It was clearer, firmer, etc.  But once the treatments ran out, I didn’t replace it.  If I get serious about lighter therapy, I’ll buy a device that doesn’t have a shelf life that’s a better buy in the long run.

There are lots of products that purport to give your skin that airbrushed, dewy look.  Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder ($45) is the only one that actually delivers.  I use this powder as an under-eye setting powder and a highlight.  The light-diffusing particles smooth out imperfections and give even tired, dehydrated skin a healthy glow.

I hope to do a few more of these roundup posts in the coming weeks, but for now, if you want to know about a specific product that you’ve seen her on Capitol Hill Style, leave your question in the comments.



  1. Mia says:

    If you have sensitive teeth I use Essential Oxygen’s Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash, which I love! Great for those with a sensitive mouth, removes plaque and whiten your teeth on a daily basis.

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  2. Blair says:

    Here’s a tip for hair products that cause chest/shoulders/back to break out: After shampooing and conditioning your hair, put your hair up in a top bun. Then use your body wash and rinse off thoroughly to get any shampoo/conditioner residue off your skin.

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  3. DontBlameTheKids says:

    Hi Belle…Creme de Corps…Do you still use it? I just started using it this winter, and loooove it, but now that Spring is around the corner, I am wondering if something lighter is in order. Do you switch moisturizers with the season, or stick with just one?

    March 20, 2014/Reply
    • Rachel C says:

      I swear by Creme de Corps year round. Someone would have to pull it out of my cold, dead hands for me to stop using it. I have very dry skin, even during warmer months, but I hate the feeling of most lotions. I find the Creme de Corps is the perfect mix of moisture but without the nasty slick feeling so many lotions have. Even in the hottest, most humid days of the TN summer, I still use it all over my body.

      March 20, 2014/Reply
      • Belle says:


        March 20, 2014/Reply
  4. L says:

    Could you do a makeup round up as well? Thanks!

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  5. Saramel says:

    Have you tried retin-a? I’ve been battling acne since my early twenties and ever since I started using it my skin is blemish free. I also love the anti-aging effect. I’m 39 but people still guess that I’m in my late twenties. Gotta love that! Of course sunscreen daily helps but retin-a is key.

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  6. Anne says:

    I saw the price for a mini size Deborah Lippman gel lab set on QVC’s website for $25. Might make a good gift. A friend told me to try ORLY’s Bonder (base) with INM’s Out the Door (top coat) for my at-home manicures. My nails usually chip within the first hour of being painted. I can get at least five solid days from my polish with this combo. My friend gets 7+ days out of hers. The cost for both was about $14 at Sally’s.

    March 20, 2014/Reply
    • Anna says:

      I use Bonder but notice a big difference when I do two coats rather than just one (they’re pretty thin coats).

      March 20, 2014/Reply
  7. K says:

    I saw in the comments to the post about Pureology that people recommend the L’Oreal Everpure and Everstrong line so I tried these, and they’ve made a huge difference for my fine hair! I finally feel like I actually like my hair and that it’s not super flat. The Everpure scent isn’t great, so I’d recommend Everstrong volumizing shampoo and conditioner the most. I also love the alcohol free mousse.

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  8. KRF says:

    Over the years you have shared products that you use to deep condition and restore/repair color, shine, and split ends. I was wondering what products (i.e. Living Proof, Nexuus, Aussie, Phyto, etc.) remain in your cabinet during the winter months for deep conditioning and for restoration and what products remain in your cabinet during the summer months (or post-summer).

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  9. save. spend. splurge. says:

    I really really want to try that Hourglass powder now. Waiting for a Sephora sale..

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  10. Kara says:

    Love the Deborah Lippmann lab gel set too!!

    March 20, 2014/Reply
  11. Laura says:

    I agree about the Radiance powders – i need no others ever again!!!

    March 21, 2014/Reply
  12. Anna says:

    Re: adult acne. I am in my mid-twenties and tried desperately to battle it last year with diet and natural skincare. What ultimately worked for me was epiduo and antibiotics (minocycline), plus switching to a totally non-comedogenic skincare regime (Cerave face wash and moisturizer). Perhaps you have experimented with these but if not, it is worth a try!

    March 21, 2014/Reply
    • Anne says:

      I love CeraVe face wash and moisturizer. My dermatologist suggested the brand, and it’s been heavenly.

      March 24, 2014/Reply