My Holy Grail Beauty Items

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As I mentioned in my previous posts, I have struggled with my skin for much of this year.  I’ve tried both going to see estheticians and dermatologist. Then, after 6 long months, I finally found a skin regime that worked for me.

These are my “holy grail” items that I always have come to love and have a permanent home in my washroom vanity.

Spectro Jel

This gentle (and very inexpensive) cleanser has stuck with me through thick and thin.  It’s nothing fancy; it doesn’t have a perfume scent and it doesn’t foam, but it cleans my skin gently without stripping it.

I bought a 900mL bottle from Costco for $16.99

DIY Make-up Remover

I always double cleanse.  That means I remove my makeup first, and then cleanse my face with a cleanser.  I’ve tried other store brand make-up removers and I  prefer making my own.  It’s inexpensive and super gentle.

In a 100mL bottle, I mix one squirt of baby oil with 2 squirts of baby shampoo, then fill the rest of the bottle up with water.  Shake.  A bottle usually lasts me a month.

Martina Gerbert Black Mud Lotion

I use this lotion as a night cream and I LOVE it.  It’s light scent makes me feel like I just came back from a spa, and my face is always so supple and moisterized the next morning.  Plus, it’s meant for more oily and acne prone skin (like mine!).

It’s a bit pricer at $65 for a 100mL bottle.  I usually try to get in on sale from Pure and Simple for 15 – 20% off specials.

Pure & Simple Algea Serum

I use the serum at night for an extra boost of moisture to my skin.  Keeping my skin moisturized is key to keeping it healthy.  I put this on my face after cleansing while it’s still a little damp. It’s super light and is absorbed so easily by my skin. Then I layer on the Differin Gel (acne medication) and black mud lotion.  This is the most inexpensive serum in the Pure and Simple line, and it works great for me.

This serum is fairly reasonable at approximately $43 for 100mL.

Neo Strata 8% Glycolic Acid Toner with 2% Clindamycin Phosphate & Differin XP Gel

These are both prescription medication prescribed by my dermatologist.  I use the Differin Gel at night over my serum, and under neath my black mud lotion.  It treats my acne and prevents new ones from forming.  I use the glyolic acid toner in the morning, and it helps with exfoiliating my skin.

My health benefits cover 80% of the cost so this is more affordable to me.  Approx. full cost is $80 for the Differin Gel and $45 for the Neo Strata.

Cover FX Matte Primer

My face can get really oily, so this primer really helps my make-up last longer.  I usually apply a small amount in my t-zone only.  This primer is pretty pricey for ~$40 for 30mL, and I never see this brand on sale.

Cover FX Natural Foundation

This foundation is medium coverage and I use it as a spot concealer instead of an all-over foundation.  It doesn’t irritate my skin and gives me great coverage, which can be layered on.

There is also a great shade selection to match your skin colour.  Also a bit on the pricey side for ~$40 for 30mL, but since I use it as a concealer, it’s fairly reasonable.

MAC Blotting Powder

I have been using this since forever and I always go back to this.  It’s a translucent powder that does a great job absorbing oil.  I like to keep it in my purse for touch ups during the day.  It doesn’t clog my pores and does a great job setting my concealer.  It’s a bit pricey at $30 for a compact that lasts me 3 – 4 months.

Sour Cream and Honey mask

I don’t make this mask enough, but I LOVE it.  My skin is always so radiant after using this mask.  It’s inexpensive, as a tub of sour cream will last me close to a month and I use it to cook with, as well.

The sour cream contains lactic acid and the honey fights bacteria and soothes my skin.

Kiss my Face Shampoo

I am trying to use products that are better for my body, and one of the things I’ve done is cut out sulfates and parabens from the things I use everyday.  Kiss my face is a paraben and sulfate free shampoo.

I love it because it is gentle and cleanses my hair without stripping it.  It’s also got a lovely light scent that is not overwhelming.  It’s more expensive than most drugstore brand shampoos, but well worth it. I buy the 1L tub for $16 from my local health food store.

Baking Soda deep clean rinse

I’ve been training my hair for a while now to be washed every other day.  But sometimes, the oil builds up in my hair, so I use this rinse to clean out build up and residue.

Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with 50mL of water and just work it into your scalp after your shampoo, then rinse away.  Works every time.  Just make sure you condition afterwards.


I find that when I get enough sleep, and consistently go to bed at the same time every night, my skin always looks healthier and feels better.  I like to get at least 8 hours a night and I usually retire to bed around 10:00 – 10:30 and wake up at 7:00am.  I like to sleep a lot 😉

What are some of your holy grail items that keep you feeling and looking your best?


PS.  Enter my Grown-up Christmas wish Giveaway for a chance to win Gail’s book and support a charity!!


Filed under Personal

14 responses to “My Holy Grail Beauty Items

  1. Oo thanks for the Kiss my face note. I’ve tried every other natural shampoo — Hugo Naturals and Dr. Bronners included, and they ALL strip my hair.

    I can concur with loving CoverFX’s primer, having tried Tarte and not only hating the packaging but it was too thick to spread nicely the way CoverFX does (it’s a bit liquid-y)

    Other things I say are my holy grails:

    1) Pure and Simple Lactic Acid — I have the low version and the high version. I prefer the high thick version because my skin can take a lot of peeling and isn’t that sensitive, but I use the low one when I travel (I have 2 bottles of it to use up thanks to a certain someone *wink*)

    2) Argan Oil for moisturizing — I put on a heavy layer the day after I use the Lactic Acid from Pure & Simple

    3) Urban Decay eyeliners, although I also like Annabelle’s (I’ve been obsessed with using up my Annabelle brown one lately, it goes on really dark and silkily, almost black and is just as good as UD, FYI)

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I think I’d like to consider buying a Clarisonic Face Brush system. It’s just that the one I want (Mia or Mia 2), retails at $120 – $150. The only difference w/ the Mia 2 is that it has 2 speeds — low and high, which I like, because my forehead can take high speed, but perhaps not my cheeks….

    At any rate, I’m trying to find a deal or something to make me NOT pay that $150 price tag, especially since I’d like to buy an extra brush head or two (spares) and to use it on my body to exfoliate my skin (ick.. ashy legs).

    *sigh* On the hunt, but I REALLY WANT IT 🙂

  2. I should “up” my facecare regime, but as of right now I need a exfoliator, a facewash (sensitive skin), a lotion (a really good one) and then my foundation and bronzer.

    I haven’t found a facial cleanser that I absolutely love yet, so I bounce around

  3. how do you make the sour cream & honey mask? is it just equal parts of each?

    I sometimes use brown sugar & honey for a facial scrub. It is AMAZING! My skin is so smooth after.

  4. I don’t have much. I used to but I’ve paired down a lot now. I like Neutrogena Healthy Shine facial cream but that’s about it.

  5. Ooh your DIY makeup remover formula sounds good! I’ll have to try it – thank you !

  6. Sleep is huge for me too. When I don’t have enough sleep, the first thing that suffers is my skin. I actually start to breakout.

    I LOVE that you make your own makeup remover!

    • I couldn’t what I was looking for in a make-up remover – I hated all those super oily ones or the ones that really dried out my skin (and I have oily skin!). A few Google searches and blogs later, I decided to make my own. It’s super easy, cheap and it works great! 🙂

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