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The (Minutes Into) 2008 Smackdown Hot List

By Amalah

(Previously: The Hot List of Six Months Or So Ago)
I was hoping to mix the Hot List up a little more this go-round, but alas, I appear to be in a rut. But it’s such a pretty rut! Oh, rut, your skin is so pretty. La la la.
Anyway, there are a few new favorites and few new save-your-monies. Onward!
Best Daily Essential Not-To-Be-Deviated-From Skincare Routine: OMG! Philosophy! Surprise! Purity wash, Hope in a Jar moisturizer, Hope in a Tube firming eye cream. I did switch moisturizers, however, now that it’s winter and I’ve added the Dr. Brandt Pores No More primer stuff, so I don’t need the extra blackhead-fighting layer of Philosophy’s exfoliating moisturizer.
Best Skincare Routine Super-Extra Funtime Bonuses: As I have done with every mask or deep treatment ever, I started getting way lazy about remembering to do my weekly MIcrodelivery Peel (which is still awesome). Luckily, Philosophy now offers a cheaper alternative in the Microdelivery Wash for $25. And while I’m usually tubthumbing AGAINST scrubby washes, using this one about three times a week (no more) seems to strike the right balance of exfoliating and resurfacing.
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: Not so much temptation here, other than a zit spot treatment by MD Skincare. Pretty good, although I did have a couple zits that would only really go away until I treated them with the Philosophy On a Clear Day blemish serum.
Worst Skincare Experiment That Sent Me Screaming Back to Philosophy: Dr. Brandt Poreless Kit. Useless. Skin stripping. Smelly. Eeeeeeeek.
Best Makeup Primers: I believe I’ve covered this topic to death. Even I’m sick of hearing about them.
Best Foundation: Still Sue Devitt. I did try a few others this year, with varying degrees of unimpressed-ness. Sue Devitt has some of the best color shades AND is incredibly gentle on skin. The 70% Seaweed Gel version is simply the best oil-free foundation evah. (The 70% actually refers to the water content, making it a good bet for dry skin as well)
Worst Foundation that Made My Skin Itchy and Angry and OH YEAH, Made the Skin on My HANDS Crack and Flake and COME OFF IN CHUNKS: Bare Escentuals. I’ve been meaning to write a long, detailed review (since I suppose I could find a FEW nice things to say about it), but maaaan, y’all. Be CAREFUL with this stuff, and please don’t listen to the marketing about how “pure” and “gentle” it is. BARE ESCENTUALS IS NOT HYPO-ALLERGENIC. I was straight-up allergic to the Mineral Veil (which = please, it’s freaking translucent powder). I used the regular foundation (over primer, for lo, the SHINE) for about a month and actually started to really like it…until I realized that my previously-under-control nickel allergy (which manifests in a weird blister-y sort of eczema on my fingers) had flared up to new and horrible heights. I lost chunks of skin and could no longer wear any jewelry. It itched, it bled, it swelled. And seriously Chunks. Of. Skin. Falling. Off. I switched back to Sue Devitt and no lie, my hands healed and stopped cracking in about two weeks.
Best Eyeshadow: And now you may laugh. Bare Escentuals. HA! The eyeshadow doesn’t bother my skin at all, and is actually really nice and easy to apply (provided you prime first). In particular: I love using it (in Fashionista) as eyeliner. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a pencil. It would make sense that they’d be a little more careful with the ingredients in the eye makeup, but…I’d still recommend caution if you’re prone to eye sensitivities. (My own skin allergy quirks are a bit backwards, apparently.)
Best Mascara: Tarte Lights Camera Lashes
Best Lipgloss: Nars Lip Lacquer in Eros
Best Blush: Tarte Cheek Stain. It recently occurred to me that I bought my one and only tube of cheek stain over FIVE YEARS AGO. I don’t wear blush every day (for the past year it’s strictly a dressing-up thing), but still. Five years. Going strong. Still plenty left, still working as well as ever.
Best Concealer: I’m actually still using a discontinued Tony & Tina concealer from ages and ages ago (I luckily bought it somewhat compulsively before the line went kaput), but I recently forgot to pack it for a trip and in a pinch, bought Almay’s concealer at a drugstore. And hot damn, people, if it isn’t awesome. I LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS.
Best Makeup Brushes: Still love the Sonia Kashuk line from Target, but I’ve noticed that they’re starting to suck in the selection department online and at some stores. (Discontinuation on the horizon? I hope not!) I also really love Sephora’s store-brand brushes, since they make every type of brush in the universe and are actually reasonably priced, compared to similar high-end brushes.
Worst Makeup Brushes: Every brush that came with the Bare Escentuals starter kits I bought. They constantly lose bristles and are really scratchy. Bleh.
Best Body Lotions: Fragrance-free original Curel and Aveeno Continuous Radiance.
Best Purchase of the Year That Made Me Irrationally Happy: Bonne Bell Lip Smacker in Dr. Pepper.
Wish List for 2008: To find the perfect lipstick (NOT gloss) in the perfect color for man, I am out of practice when it comes to matte lips. For a drugstore brand to come out with an awesome foundation primer. To find something that gets rid of that one sun/age spot on my right cheek. To finally upgrade to a salon-quality blow-dryer. To use fewer paper towels and try more homemade skin and hair treatments. To add to my existing expanse of stretch marks with a second pregnancy.

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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