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The (Halfway Through) 2007 Smackdown Hot List!

By Amalah

Yet another break in format!

A few people have emailed requesting the complete lineup of products I use, or a best-of list, or something along those lines. So…in honor of the somewhat randomly selected date of June 1st, I present: the complete best-of list of things I use, covet and maybe also a thing or two that I hate.

(By the way, before your head completely explodes over some of the prices on this list, let me assure you that I’ve spent a loooooooong time building up my skincare and makeup collection, and many of these items were purchased over a year [or two, or more!] ago and are still going strong. There’s also some freebies and AlphaMom stipend items, but hey, you asked me for my most favorite favorites, and that’s what these are.)

Best Daily Essential Not-To-Be-Deviated-From Skincare Routine: No surprises here. Still truckin’ on with Philosophy’s Purity wash, Hope in a Jar and Hope in a Tube eye & lip firming cream twice a day.

Best Skincare Routine Super-Extra Funtime Bonuses: Philosophy’s Turbo Booster Vitamin C powder mixed into my sunscreen or moisturizer in the morning, On a Clear Day Blemish Serum as needed and the Microdelivery Peel once a week.

Best Sunscreen for Face & Body: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock

Best Free Product Samples I Received that Came Closest to Tempting Me to Ditch the Above Line-up and Spend a Million More Dollars on Them, for Lo, They Are Awesome: Yves Saint Laurent Instant Pur Natural Action Exfoliator and Toning & Cleaning Water, Chanel Precision Line Correcting Moisturizer with SPF.

Best Makeup Primers: Smashbox Photo Finish & Benefit F.Y.Eye (Although! I just purchased the Clarins primer to test out this week, so stay tuned. So far I’m not loving it, honestly, but I’m going to give it some more time.)

Best Foundation: Sue Devitt, now and forevah. I use the Triple C-Weed Whipped version in the winter when my skin gets dry patches, then switch to the lighter, more oily-skin friendly 70% Triple Seaweed Gel in the summer.

Best Blush: A tie between Tarte Cheek Stain and Nars Blush in Orgasm (aka the color that looks good on EVERYBODY)

Worst Blush: Nars Creme Blush. Starts out fantastic, but dries up and becomes unusable long before you’ve used it all, or half of it.

Best Eyeshadow: Shade by Hourglass in Petal (no longer available). I’ve spent a small fortune looking for the perfect all-over base color. I have about a dozen varying shades of nudes and earthtones and creams. I never would have guessed a PINK would be what I needed, but this pink has a lovely golden shimmer to it that sets off my eyes perfectly. Lasts longer than any other shadow I’ve used too.

Best Mascara: Bourjois Coup de Theatre False Lash Illusion, although mascara has been rendered moot for me whenever I’m wearing the…

Best Beauty Discovery of Mah Whole Life: False eyelashes! Whee!

Best Lip Gloss: Plain old Rosebud Salve for everyday sheer shine; Sue Devitt’s Mini Stars in Mandi for color. (I know! Yellow lip gloss? ORANGE? Trust me, they look good on. They’re more about enhancing the natural color of your lips than adding tons of fake color. Love.)

Best Make-Up Brushes: Sonia Kashuk for Target. Get the most out of your makeup with these totally great and totally inexpensive brushes.

Most Overrated Purchase:
Tweezerman tweezers. I mean, yeah. They work great, but…the Revlon tweezers really do the same job for about half the price.

Most Overrated Product Line: Bumble & Bumble. Yes, I know I’ve recommended B&B stuff before, and tons of hairstylists SWEAR by it…but I’ve come to the conclusion that (with the notable exception of the Sea Spray) this stuff is not worth the really high price. Too many products require multiple “layering” purchases (i.e. Tonic + Prep + Thickening) to really work, and I’ve been repeatedly disappointed in their shampoos. Oh, and why are all their bottles so damn SMALL? When you have hair as long as mine, I need to not blow through an entire bottle of conditioner in less than a month.

Other Various Regrettable Purchases: Kiehl’s Amino Acid shampoo, Philosophy’s Pigment of Your Imagination SPF, that L’Oreal lengthening mascara

Current Favorite Haircare Line: Pureology. I’ve got a long on-again, off-again history with Pureology, usually because I get bored and like trying new things. But whenever I return to the root booster and volumizing shampoo and conditioner, I fall in love all over again.

Best Everything For Baby: Noah’s been eczema-free for many months now, thanks to Curel and Burt’s Baby Bees Buttermilk Bath. I also use Burt’s Baby Shampoo on his hair, followed by a dollop of ultra-inexpensive Suave conditioner on the back of his head to keep his curls relatively frizz-free.

Best Vegetable Delivery System for Baby: Trader Joe’s Green Plant Juice (often with a carton of Gerber veggies mixed in) and Trader Joe’s Vegetable Marsala Burgers.

Best Brand-New Bag for Baby, But Mostly Mama: So it was officially time for a new diaper bag. My Petunia Picklebottom is just too big and black-hole-like these days, the strap completely broke on my used-to-death Skip Hop and while the Coach bag still looks and works great, it’s just too nice to drag to the park and doesn’t fit on the stroller handles very well. So after resisting the plastic-coated bags for ages, I broke down and bought a Fleurville Sling Tote (in blue chocolate). Oh my GOD, this bag! Is perfect! The padded shoulder strap! The stroller handles! The fleece-lined pockets for sunglasses and phones! And the bazillion other pockets for things! It’s a great bag for when you still need to haul diapers and sippy cups and snacks, but no longer need the mammoth bag of the newborn days. (Although I’m now trying to convince Jason to let me buy a Mothership for trips, like when I take Noah to Blogher this summer ALL BY MYSELF AAAHHH NOOOO.) (I would like one in Chocolate Ogo, in case anyone feels $150 worth of sorry for me.)

NEXT WEEK: Bronzer Price Tag Cage Match, complete with a special secret celebrity guest participant! And also: the $100 Complete Skincare & Beauty Line-Up Challenge, Oh My Lands, It Cannot Be Done! Or Can It? DUN DUN DUN.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Jezer

    June 1, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Dude. Am totally bookmarking this for present and future reference. Fabuloso.

  • rhi

    June 1, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Also – I have found the holy grail of mascara. And it costs…..$5.99! Maybelline Unstoppable. (If anyone is interested in a very large, incredibly expensive semi-used collection of mascara tubes, drop me an email.)

  • mdvelazquez

    June 1, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing your best list.

  • Tone

    June 1, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Best entry ever. Bookmarking immediately!
    Maybe I missed it…but what about eye liner?

  • Robbi

    June 1, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    The makeup overview is good info, but seriously? $150 for a DIAPER BAG? Nothing but the *best* for you eh Amalah?

  • Mindy

    June 1, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Amy – do you use face powder at all? That’s pretty much the only thing you didn’t mention. Although I don’t know if my Sephora shopping basket can handle it – thanks to you it’s already at $300 and climbing (some repeat purchases and some things to try off your list). To anyone out there who still hasn’t been convinced to try the Purity face wash, I still can’t believe my skin and I’ve only been using it for about 8 weeks. The results are subtle at first, but now I can really see and feel a change. Thanks Amy!
    Also, think of it not only as a diaper bag, but a purse that can also hold diapers. Plus, $150 for a nice bag is a pretty good price. Plus, if you’re the one having to carry the diapers, shouldn’t you look good doing it?

  • Erin

    June 1, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    Have you tried DiorShow mascara? It truly is the most amazing mascara I’ve ever used. And the sephora girls talk about it like it is crack.
    I’ve converted all my friends.

  • leahkay

    June 1, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Noah at BlogHer? I shall bring my own powdered sugar to sprinkle on his delicious toddler head.

  • cagey

    June 1, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    re: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch…… Consumer Reports just gave them the highest marks for sunscreens in the “water-resistance claim” category. Definitely worth the $$$s and Costco sells it at a very reasonable price (6 oz for less than $14)
    re: Suave…… I’ve been using Suave Kids 2-1 Smoothers shampoo and WOW, that stuff rocks. My kid’s rug is so shiny and soft after using that stuff. It’s a good thing he likes his head rubbed because after I wash his hair, I can’t keep my fingers out of it.
    re: Tweezerman….. Amen! I’ll go as far as to say, they are a bit of a sham. As an “experienced tweezer” (aka Hairy Beasted She Monster), I wholeheartedly agree that Revlon is the way to go (Diamond Grips are my personal favorite).
    re: Curel…. That shit STILL creeps me out because my skin actually feels like SKIN after I use it. Who knew one’s elbows could actually be SOFT?

  • Lara

    June 2, 2007 at 7:31 am

    Run Run!
    The Chocolate Ogo is showing up as on sale for $97.50

  • emily

    June 2, 2007 at 11:18 am

    It sounds like someone has been watching a lot of Backyardigans – DUN DUN DUN.


    June 2, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I really want to try the Microdelivery Peel; I L-O-V-E the Oxygen Peel. It actually seems to have healing power. If my skin is struggling and broken out (usually about once a month, yeah) I can just do the peel and it gets so much better.
    Separate note on a drugstore brand – has anyone tried Physician’s Formula Eye Definer Felt-Tip Eye Marker? I’ve been using it a few weeks and I like it quite a bit. Easy to use, gives a clean line, never smears because it’s not as watery as normal liquid liner.
    But enough of that – thanks for another excellent list of tips – I think it’s gonna cost me a good 80 bucks, minimum. I already have so many of the same products as you thanks to your good advice…

  • Heather Barmore

    June 3, 2007 at 10:25 am

    My Makeup Optional kit came with samples of microdelivery peel. And ooh boy, my face loves me.
    Oh good, you’re bringing Noah to BlogHer. Good thing your babysitter will be there again.

  • Amy Corbett Storch

    Amy Corbett Storch

    June 3, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    Seriously, I haven’t carried an actual purse in freaking ages…it’s all about the diaper bag. So I have no problem spending over $100 on a bag that will get daily use until it falls apart.
    Even Jason (the engineer and the cheapskate) was commenting today about how extremely well-designed the Fleurville is. So yeah. Nothing but the best. And why the hell not?

  • jomama

    June 4, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I wish I had read this before I finally broke down and purchase tweezerman tweezers. They are on their way to my house right now. I really hope you’re wrong and I didn’t just waste $20 on tweezers.

  • jomama

    June 4, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I wish I had read this before I finally broke down and purchased tweezerman tweezers. They are on their way to my house right now. I really hope you’re wrong and I didn’t just waste $20 on tweezers.

  • jodifur

    June 4, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    How did you get Noah to try the green plant juice? I gave some to Michael (2 years old) and he just looked at the sippy cup and said I don’t like it. I told him it was Milk, he wasn’t buying it. Any tips?
    And what posessed you to buy it in the first place?

  • Amy Corbett Storch

    Amy Corbett Storch

    June 5, 2007 at 10:03 am

    jodifur: my MIL is a raw-food vegan-type who is big into the vegetable juices and I bought it on her suggestion (it was either that or she would probably have bought me a juicer and I DO NOT WANT A JUICER). Noah’s been drinking it for ages now and never had a problem. He’s picky about food but has never met a juice he wouldn’t at least try.
    Maybe buy non-see-though sippy cup and tell him it’s apple juice? That’s pretty much what it tastes like.

  • jodifur

    June 5, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Amy-yeah. That my problem. Michael doesn’t like juice. He’s a milk and water drinker only.
    Thanks for answering my question.

  • Julianna

    July 27, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Hey! I know this is like, really, really late. I was contemplating bangs and hair and Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray and searching for your review on it and I saw this entry. I have the Chocolate Ogo Mothership from Fleurville (even though I have yet to have a baby to go with it. I know, irrational.) Anyway, I got it from and it was $100 even, and like $3 for shipping. Point being, way cheaper than regular retail.
    (Shit! I just looked and it’s not there anymore. This was May.)
    So… I found mine via Google products search. I’d sort of look from time to time if I were you.
    And it’s everything you could hope it to be, by the way. I also got a Fleurville Escape Pod by the same search. I wanted a more expensive pattern, but decided since I lack an actual child, I should go with one I found on clearance– solid blue corduroy with silver lining/pad– which was $29.99. That thing is freaking awesome and I was considering just using it now (minus the pad and wipes.) It really is about the size of a small purse and has really good pockets, a mirror, etc. I can see it would be great for what it’s designed for– an older diaper-bound child going on short trips.