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Some of My Favorite Health and Beauty Products

Note: a bunch of links in this post are not affiliate links; just things I love. Also, I don’t know how to make the font any smaller in WordPress, so I’m not really yelling at you.

I long to be one of those people who wakes up looking great, but my reality is closer to a “hot mess”. I have fine hair, so it’s super flat and likely greasy upon waking. Thanks to suffering from adult acne for years, my skin is covered in dark scars that just won’t fade, despite my best efforts. Please note, my best efforts involve looking in the mirror, sighing, and saying “why won’t you fade”.  I have terrible eyesight, so my vision is fuzzy, and I am bleary-eyed until after my shower when I put in my contacts or put my glasses on. Basically, it is a perfect storm of “meh” when I take that first glance in the mirror.

One of the weirdest parts of post-pregnancy is the amount of hair that falls off your damn head. I lost a ton of hair around my hairline about six months after Bennett was born. It is starting to grow back, but it is still so short. That means, every morning, I wake up with little devil horns above my brows. It’s charming.


Due to cost savings, hatred of clutter, and a desire to not shop, my product routine is fairly light for the most part. Below, I’ll take you through my list of favorite products that allow me to look presentable enough to not make small children scream.

I worked at a salon as a receptionist for two years while in high school. I had access to as many products as I wanted to try – for free – and people who never tired of trying to play with my hair. After years of experimenting, I have realized that my hair is going to look like my hair is going to look, regardless of what I do to it. Volumnizing shampoos and conditioners, not using conditioner, using mousse, root spray, or teasing are all wasted on these locks. So, I have embraced it and just found a really clean rinsing shampoo and conditioner that I love and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Maple Holistics Winter Blend shampoo and conditioner is my go to, and has been for a few years now. They sent me a sample a few years ago, and I loved it so much that I keep buying it. The bottles may look small, but a little goes a loooooong way, regardless of what type of hair you have.

Years ago, I stopped washing my face with soap, and started using the oil cleansing method. My skin has never been perfect as an adult, but it is a hell of a lot better now. I still get breakouts from time to time on my chin, especially just prior to Shark Week, but overall I am so pleased with my skin. I exclusively use a $10 bottle of sweet almond oil now (no more messing with castor oil or other mixes), and a bottle lasts over a year.

In the morning, I use Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream. There is no direct link option on their website, but click on this link and it is the first one listed, and it rules my heart. The littlest bit is all you need; I have had the same tiny $18 tub for 15 months. You can buy it online, at Nordstroms, and I’m sure other fancy places. If you purchase it through Kiehls directly, you get 4% back via ebates.

Did you ever use a facial scrub as a teenager? I’m trying not to disparage any company out there, but it’s made from apricots and was famously made fun of on a TV show as “Stives”. Every girl I knew in high school used this stuff. We swore by it. We used it daily, and waited for our glorious shiny skin to show up. And it never did. It went and got worse. And worse. And we thought it must be something else going on; our make up, hormones, or something. Never did we look to the apricot torture paste we were slathering on our faces day in and day out.

I haven’t used the apricot scrub since Napster was legal, but from time to time I need a little skin “freshening”. I found Acure Brightening Facial Scrub (Target also carries it), and have never looked back. I use it every other day, and when the directions say use a pea sized amount, use a pea sized amount. You don’t need more for the magical unicorns to lick your face and make your skin insane. Pair it with the Kiehls afterwards, and shut up right now because your skin feels like butter on the counter in summer.

I stopped buying deodorant probably two(ish) years ago, and I make my own. It works awesome, and is dirt cheap. I’m never sticky, or stinky, and my white shirts don’t get dingy. Troy has even used it, and felt fresh all day. Ain’t nobody likes that “not so fresh feeling”.

The lotion we buy really depends on when we run out, and what Costco has on their monthly rebate. We usually go with Aveeno or Cetaphil for the most part. I prefer my homemade lotion bars for my hands, but they take too long for legs and arms.

Make up
I’m not someone who likes make up. I never purchase items with the idea that it would be fun to play with. I don’t own a single shade of lipstick. I would never sit and watch a youtube episode on how to apply make up. I am always impressed with people who like make up, because they tend to look gorgeous. It’s just not my jam. I wear make up daily, simply to cover up my old acne scars. I don’t want to feel like I have make up on, and half the time, I forget I am wearing it.

I use a liquid cream foundation from Bare Minerals called Complexion Rescue. The color I use is probably “butt white” or “Casper” or something. I don’t know. I just go to Macy’s, find the product, and look to the far left where they have the pale ass shades, and grab the lightest one. Bare Minerals is available at most department stores, and online. If you purchase from them directly, you get 4% back via ebates.

Over the Complexion Rescue, I use their original foundation. I’m sure the shade is like “ground chalk” or something like that.

When you get up at 4:50 am every single day, and are already pale, a nice perky blush really helps punch things up a bit. I use Nars blush in the shade called Orgasm, because the name is stellar. And it’s a great color. The same container of blush has been in my make up bag for probably three years and is only halfway gone. Is that gross? Should I have thrown it out years ago? Don’t say yes; let me live in my bubble. Nars is available at most department stores, and online (5% back via ebates).

I have blonde eyelashes, so I always need to wear mascara unless I want to look like a mole rat baby. I’ve used Maybelline Falsies Mascara in Blackest Black for years. It’s fine. I like it. Do I love it? Meh. Do I have any desire to find something I like better? Meh. Not my wheelhouse. Plus, I can find it at Target, it is usually on sale, and there are always $1 off coupons in the Sunday paper.

I went through my early twenties with the tip of my tongue either tingling or being numb. My doctor didn’t know what it was, my dentist couldn’t figure it out, and it is something I just learned to deal with. After running out of the toothpaste I had always used, I grabbed a tube of Toms of Maine at Target one day. Within two brushings, my tongue wasn’t numb anymore. Apparently, I have a sensitivity to “conventional” toothpastes. Also, if you have ever used a natural toothpaste and then gone back to the conventional stuff, you realize how freaking sweet Crest and Colgate are. It is like brushing your teeth with buttercream.

Now, I generally use Toms of Maine Sensitive toothpaste. My bitch ass teeth and I need to brush with a mouthful of bunnies, because I’m a grinder ya’ll. These pearly whites need some gentle toothpaste snuggling.

And that is it. I should note, from the start of the shower, until I am ready for the day, only 20 minutes have passed. Anything longer than that, and it is kicked out of the morning routine. To some, it may seem like I use a shit ton of products. To others, I’m a minimalist.  At the end of the day, my goal is to look presentable and not scare the crap out of the general public. Mission accomplished?

I don’t know what to do with my hands in photos. This does not seem right. Quick, look away.

I took one more photo, because I like the cool collar on this sweater. You’re welcome. I received it for free, when my mother-in-law’s friend cleaned out her closet last fall. Love free sweaters with rad necklines.

Here, let me try something different with my hand. Nope, that’s not any better. Um, I’m just going to end the post right here.

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21 comments on “Some of My Favorite Health and Beauty Products”

  1. You need to give yourself more credit, you are a beautiful woman.

  2. Please share your homemade deodorant recipe. Nearly every member in my family is allergic to deodorantsee on the market. We are tired of livin’ the stinky life.

  3. You just crack me up. I’m always happy to see a post in my emails even if it’s not a funny post because it’s like hearing from a long lost friend from the other side of the country. You inspire me to get my crap together.
    Thanks for sharing your go to look – looks fab. Still don’t know how you get up that early. What time do you go to bed?

    • I don’t really have an option to not get up that early, so “force” is a powerful motivation. I try to be in bed by 9:30/10, but I am a terrible sleeper with or without a baby in the house. I envy anyone who can sleep all night and sleep in; my body just wasn’t made for it.

  4. I have the same kind of hair and it’s why I’ve had a pixie cut since high school. Every once in a while I forget and try to grow it out and it’s immediately limp and sad, so short it is.

  5. Hands in pics are the worst…almost as bad as when you are trying to talk to an audience live in person. But yours looked normal in both and I love the collar on your sweater I wish I had a free sweater like that too. I may just have to go shopping cause my sweater connections are way weaker than yours:)

  6. Love this post, and really want your deodorant recipe.

    One thing I do that makes my skin look better is, I mix about a tablespoon of distilled water with the contents of a vitamin C capsule. I keep it in an eye drops bottle, and rub a dropper full on my face every night. I don’t know if it will help to fade your scars, but it seems to really “brighten” my skin. Let’s put it this way, I notice a difference when I don’t use it. And, I have been using the same $15 bottle of vitamin C for a couple of years.

    Love your blog. Hope your Mom, and the rest of your family is doing well.

  7. Hi Sarah, my hair is just as you described only it is so oily when I wake up that it stands up all over my head, not just the baby hair (devil horns).

    I am desperate to make the switch to a more “natural” shampoo/conditioner but it seems that the ones I’ve tried have left my hair extremely dry and frizzy (for the day only…I still wake up with it all oily the next morning). I’ve tried Organix, Honest Company, Alba Botanica, and Neutrogena.

    I want a clean-rinsing, lightweight shampoo that doesn’t totally dry my hair out.

    Does Maple Holisitic dry out your hair at all?

    Thank you,


    • Hi Paula, I won’t use a shampoo that dries out my hair, because I’m crazy vain about how soft my hair is. I know it’s stupid to be vain about it, but since I can’t have the volume, I can at least have soft hair. So no, it doesn’t dry it out. 🙂

      Maple Holistic has free samples on their website, and it is totally worth a shot!

  8. Thanks for the tip about the shampoo. I just went over to the maple holistics site, and they’ll send a free sample in exchange for an honest review. So, I can’t wait to try it! Also, somebody else asked for your deodorant recipe, and I’d like to see that as well. Thanks!

  9. I’d like that deodorant recipe too! And while not a makeup junkie, I do try a fair amount of skin care products and I agree that the ACURE scrub is amazing!

  10. So, I’ve been using the oil cleansing method for about 4 years now. I use castor oil and olive oil with a shot of tea tree oil. Do you use strictly almond oil? That’s a thing?! That sounds glorious! Tell me more!

    • Yes, just strictly almond oil. And I no longer wet my face before applying everything; oil on dry face and then blot it off.

      I can’t use tea tree because my skin finds it drying, and I used to use a little drop of it in the water after I cleaned our toilets. When I was so sick while pregnant with Jack, I smelled a lot of tea tree oil and the scent of it now makes me gag.

      • Oh my goodness! Scents are so memory loaded! I totally get it! I may have to try the almond oil! Would you say you tend to have oily or dry skin naturally? Mine is combination. I couldn’t imagine using soap at this point! Craziest thing ever!

      • Combo skin all the way. Oily t zone, and normal to dry everywhere else. When I travel and use soap to wash my face, my skin is immediately angry and pissed.

  11. I noticed the collar before you mentioned it. I’m jealous!

  12. Hi! This is my firs time reading your blog 🙂 I came across it when researching frugal living idea. I just wanted to stop by and plug It’s an independent reviewer of most popular cosmetics in the market today. I strongly suggest reading reviews on products you already use, as well as searching for others by concern/skin type.

    The cosmetics industry isn’t nearly as regulated as it should be and it is common place for companies to make outrageous claims about their products. Beautypedia and it’s published version, “Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me” have taught me so much about skincare, and how to choose quality, well-priced, well-packaged products backed by real science, and not hype or brand appeal.

    Just to be clear I am in no way affiliated with this website, I honestly just found it incredibly helpful, both for my skin and my pocketbook!