Beauty Product Picks and Pans

I always enjoy reading beauty product reviews so I thought I’d share some of my latest hits and misses with you. I’ve never been much of a beauty junkie. I generally have a few tried and true products that I use for years, but recently I’ve been experimenting with more new products, and it’s been fun! As is to be expected, I like some better than others. Most I’ve purchased because I see another blogger recommending them, but we are all different, so it stands to reason that I don’t always love everything as much as they do.

The other day, I took my phone to my bathroom and snapped a bunch of pictures of just about every new product I’ve tried in the past few months so I can remember them all and look up the exact links. There are way more than I realized! I should probably divide this post up into hair and makeup and skincare, but since we’re doing the 22 Days of Summer Fashion, I don’t have a lot of open days right now, so I’m going to put it all together and just divide them up by category within this post. (Grab a cup of coffee. This could take a while.)

Jo-Lynne’s Latest Beauty Product Reviews

I've been experimenting with some new beauty products recently, and I always enjoy beauty product reviews so I thought I'd my hits and misses with you!


My hair is very fine and thin, and I blow-dry it in sections with a big round brush every time I wash it. I try to skip a day between washes, and on those days I pull the top and sides back with bobby pins or just do a ponytail. I tend to have dry hair, so I don’t usually need a dry shampoo or anything on Day 2. Sometimes I curl it after I blow it dry, but I find that process laborious so those days are rare. These are the latest products I’ve tried, and I included one tried and true product that I want you to know about!

hair product review

Tecni.Art True Grip: I bought this at my hairdresser’s recommendation. I have very fine hair, so when I want to pull it back, it can be very flat on top. I sprinkle this powder in the root of my head around the crown, and then when I pull the top and sides back with bobby pins, or even if I want to do a pony tail that doesn’t look like I’m going to the gym, it helps give some texture and height to my hair. This stuff is really great for up-dos, if you ever have such an occasion.

Rusk W8less Strong Hold Shaping and Control Hairspray: I also bought this from my hairdresser. It says it’s strong hold, but I would say it’s a light hold. I’m not one to use hairspray at all, but I do like this when I’m curling my hair. It helps it hold the curl. I spray it on the sections before I curl them and then I spray it over all my head afterwards as well. I like it because it doesn’t leave my hair sticky or stiff, but it helps it hold its shape.

RUSK Texture Dry Finishing Spray Medium Hold: This stuff is a favorite that I’ve used for YEARS. I got a free sample once, and now I buy a new bottle about every 6 months. I spray this into my hair when I’m done styling my hair straight. Again, my hair is very fine, so this helps give it some volume and texture and I feel like it helps it hold the shape. I don’t use hairspray if I use this.

Redken SATINWEAR 02 Blow Dry Lotion: I bought this from my hairdresser as well. I was looking for something to replace my favorite Bumble & Bumble Styling Balm (it was discontinued) to protect my hair from heat and color fading. Unfortunately, I am NOT a fan of the Redken. It makes my hair too soft and fine, and in the winter, it leaves it staticky as well. I need to find something to replace this with because my Bumble & Bumble is almost gone.

Redken GUTS 10 Volume Spray Foam: LOVE this stuff. This is another hairdresser recommendation. I spray this in the roots of my hair when it’s wet, before I blow it dry. I really notice when I forget to use it. It gives my hair volume while maintaining the natural feel and texture, plus it helps controls frizz.

In case you’re wondering, I use this shampoo and conditioner religiously.


I’m a huge fan of self-tanning. I feel much more confident with a tan, and I have a lot of moles and other imperfections in my skin so a tan helps them not be quite so noticeable. I do spray tan at my salon on occasion — like if I’m going on vacation or taking a trip to a warm weather location. Otherwise, I use at-home self-tanning products.

self tanning product review

Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel: This is my tried and true, so I am including it in here because it is the only one I have tried that I can recommend it without reservation. I LOVE my Clarins self tanning instant gel. I have been using it for years. I always try others, and I always come back to this. It’s easy to apply and dries quickly without streaking. The results are not immediate, so you can’t put it on and leave for the pool and expect to look tan right away, but within a few hours, you have a nice glow. If you like a fairly dark tan, you’ll need 2 or 3 applications before you really feel like a bronze goddess, so when I’m just starting to use it at the beginning of the season, I’ll apply morning and night for the first 2 days. After that, it’s just upkeep. I put it on probably every other day — usually immediately after my shower.

St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse: I tried this on the recommendation of another blogger. What I like about this is that it immediately gives you a glow, and then the color deepens over the next few hours. So if you are going to the pool and realize you haven’t done your self tanning for a day or two, this will give you an instant boost. However, I noticed that it looked streaky on my legs when I was sitting at the pool earlier this week. I’m not sure what happened because it is the only time I’ve noticed it, and I’ve used this stuff a few times. I also need a mit when applying this product because it immediately stains your hands. (With the Clarins, I just wipe the palms of my hands off really good on a wet washcloth — usually the one left over from washing my face. It’s damp but not soaking wet, so I don’t wipe off the self tanner I applied to the tops of my hands.) I know… it’s a lot to think about! Haha!

This is a nice starter kit. It includes the mit as well as an exfoliator and a moisturizer. I also love that they’re trial sizes — perfect for travel!

St. Tropez Self Tan Starter Kit

Rodan+Fields ESSENTIALS Foaming Sunless Tan: This is another product that I’ve only used a few times so the jury is still out on this one. This is a colorless foam so it doesn’t stain your hands the way the St. Tropez does. It goes on smoothly. I think I need to put this one leg and the St. Tropez on the other and compare. I’ll keep you posted! (Full disclosure: I’m a R+F distributor.)

First Botany Cosmeceuticals Coconut Milk Body Polish with Dead Sea Salt and Vitamin E: I just ordered this on Amazon because I need something to exfoliate with before I tan. I LOVE THIS STUFF. It’s made with coconut milk and vitamin E, so it leaves my skin feeling moisturized as well as exfoliated. I keep it in my shower, and I’ve been trying to be sure to use it the days I’m going to apply self tanner.


I am a rep for Rodan + Fields, and I wanted to try a few of their stand-alone products that aren’t part of the two skincare regimens I’ve tried, so I’m including those in here as well as two other products I’ve recently discovered.

skincare product review

Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF 33: I bought this at my spa on the recommendation of the esthetician who does my facials. She swears by it for a daytime moisturizer. Even though I sell Rodan + Fields, I still find myself using this every morning. I put it all the way down my neck and onto my chest so I don’t get more sun in these delicate areas. I tend to burn my chest unintentionally if I’m outside for very long, and I have some permanent sun damage, so I use this stuff every morning now. I love the scent — it is light and citrusy.

Rodan + Fields ESSENTIALS Body Moisturizer: I love this stuff. It is thick and creamy and rubs in easily. Funny story: I’ve been using this on my body, including my feet, and when I had my biweekly pedicure this week, she remarked at how my feet didn’t need any buffing at all. The only thing I can think of that I have changed is that I started using this moisturizer. I can’t wait to see how it works for my super dry skin this winter.

Rodan + Fields ENHANCEMENTS Micro-Dermabrasion Paste: I recently started using this on my face a couple times a week. It is amazing stuff. My skin has never felt so soft.

Rodan + Fields REDEFINE Night Renewing Serum: I recently started using this after I wash my face with the Soothe Gentle Cream Wash, and I really like how it feels on my skin. As far as results, it’s too soon to tell much difference, but it definitely has a nice, rich texture. It contains a proprietary blend of powerful peptides and retinol designed to improve skin texture and visibly brighten skin. I follow it up with the Rodan + Fields REDEFINE Overnight Restorative Cream.

Rodan + Fields REDEFINE Overnight Restorative Cream: This is the 2nd product I’ve added to my nightly routine. It has a moisture recycling complex of hyaluronic acid and glycerin to prevent moisture loss while antioxidants A, C and E replenish vital skin nutrients. Basically, I’m trying to fight the visible signs of aging with every tool in my arsenal! LOL!!! We’ll see how it goes.

Supergooop Sun-Defy Sunscreen Oil: I was given a sample of this at the rewardStyle Conference, and now I keep the 1 oz. size in my purse. It’s an antioxidant-rich, broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen oil with meadowfoam and argan oils. It comes with a pump so you can pump some out and rub it into your arms or shoulders or whatever is visible when you’re on the go. It moisturizes as well as providing sun protection.


Okay, this list is a loooong one! I don’t usually experiment much with makeup, but lately I’ve been ordering things that I see recommended on other blogs. It’s been hit or miss. Here’s the lowdown.

makeup reviews: lips

M·A·C Lip Pencil (Spice): LOVE this lip pencil. It is so pigmented and goes on smoothly. I am buying MAC lip pencils from now on. The end.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss (Undressed) (also at Ulta): I ordered the Spice lip pencil (above) and this Undressed lip gloss and the NARS Rosecliff lipstick (below) to wear together for a nude lip. As it turns out, these colors are too brown for me, but I do wear the lip liner a lot under other colors, and I also like the NARS lipstick for a nude lip. This gloss, unfortunately, doesn’t get used much.

NARS Lipstick: Rosecliff (also at Sephora): This is nice for a nude lip, but it does have some warm undertones so probably not the best for me. I think I might like it more in the fall. It’s pretty dark for a nude. When I wear it, I usually put a pink gloss on top.

Bobbi Brown Lip Liner: Pale Mauve: I bought this at the Nordstrom beauty counter along with the Pink Mauve lipstick (below) and I don’t love it. It makes my lips almost blue. Plus, it doesn’t have as much pigment as the MAC one that I have, and it is harder, if that makes sense. It doesn’t go on as smoothly and easily as the MAC. Basically, the point is, for lip liner, I’m MAC all the way.

Bobbi Brown Lip Color: Pink Mauve (also at Sephora): This is pretty. It’s fairly dark but not too much so. I always put a pink gloss on top to lighten it up. It’s a great everyday lipstick for someone with my coloring.

M·A·C VIVA GLAM Ariana Grande Lipglass: This I love. It is the pink gloss that I put over almost every lip color I wear. It brightens up the darker colors and keeps my lips moist.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick (Gin Fizz and Cotton Candy): I ordered both of these pinks, and they are much more similar in real life than they appear to be online. Both are pretty chalky and bold — almost neon pink. I can’t wear them alone, but sometimes I mix with a nude lipstick and I always top with gloss.

makeup reviews

I HATE my eyebrows. HATE. They are verrry thin, and parts are non-existant. I have to use eyebrow pencil or some sort of eyebrow filler. I’m still trying to find the perfect one.

Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade: Dark Brown (also at Ulta): I bought this on the recommendation of a blog reader, I believe. I think I’d be more happy with the Medium Brown. The Dark Brown is pretty harsh, even though I have very dark hair. But I also find it difficult to apply. I like the idea of the pomade to keep my wayward eyebrows in place, but I am always getting it on too heavy or not heavy enough. I did buy the angle brush to apply it with, and I do like that brush, but the pomade gets dry and it’s hard to get the right amount on the brush. When it looks good, it looks great, but it is time consuming to apply and frustrating when it doesn’t look right, and I’m about to bag it altogether. Maybe I need some application tips. If you have any, let me know. I still use this one when I’m in a hurry, but it’s dry and it seems to pull out my eyebrows. I think it looks more natural than the pomade, though. I have this in my shopping cart right now, but I’m waiting to find a few more things I want so I get free shipping. Ha!

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner: Black Ink (also at Sephora): I’ve had this for ages, but I’m including it here because I love it so much, and I’m comparing it to the other eyeliners I’ve tried recently. This does start to get dry, and I was using the Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush they recommend to use with it, but I found that brush wouldn’t always grab the eyeliner. One day I grabbed my Laura Mercier Smudge Brush to apply it with, and it worked beautifully. Now that’s all I use for it. I can really control the amount of eyeliner that goes on. Sometimes I keep it light and subtle, and sometimes I make it dark and dramatic. I LOVE this brush. I’ve been using it for years. I use it to smudge my regular pencil eye liner sometimes, or to apply dark eye shadow as eye liner either alone or on top of my pencil eye liner for a more dramatic look.

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner: Black Ivy (also at Sephora): This goes on smoothly, but it’s almost too light for me. It’s okay for a casual daytime look, but it doesn’t give me a bold eye for nighttime. Maybe the Pitch Black would do that, but for now, I’m sticking to the Gel Eyeliner in the little tub. I find it easier to control my eye liner application with the smudge brush than with an eye liner pencil.

M·A·C Studio Sculpt SPF 15 Foundation: Nw25: This isn’t new to me. I’ve been wearing the Nw25 in the summertime for the past couple of years. I went into the MAC store and had them match my skintone a few years ago. I love this for a full coverage foundation. When we’re going to be taking pictures for the blog, I wear this.

Jane Iredale PurePressed Base: I wear Latte in summer and Warm Sienna in winter. This has lighter coverage than the liquid foundation, but it does a pretty good job, and it’s quick and easy to apply. I like it for summer especially, as it’s nice and light and doesn’t feel like a heavy foundation. I use the Hydration Spray to set it.

Urban Decay Beached Bronzer: Sun-Kissed (also available at Sephora): I just ordered this and I like it a lot. I apply it around the edges of my face and down onto my nose for a sun-kissed look (ha! That IS the name of it, after all!) The Sun-Kissed is on the lighter side for a bronzer, but I ordered the lighter shade because I’m pale. Now that I’m tanning and using a darker foundation, I almost wish I’d bought Bronzed, but maybe it would be too much. It’s hard to know without trying them both. I do like it tho!


Okay, it’s the home stretch!

beauty tools

Tweezerman Eyelash Curler: This is another tried and true product, and I’m not sure why I threw it in here except to say, I really like this eyelash curler. It’s sturdy and it grips my lashes well.

M·A·C 266 Small Angle Brush (to be used with Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade): I kind of covered this above. I like this brush a lot, but I am not thrilled with the pomade. Hopefully I’ll find other uses for this brush because $$$.

Laura Mercier Smudge Brush (to be used with Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner): LOVE, love, love this brush. I’ve had it for years. It is awesome for applying and blending eye liner.

Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush (to be used with Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner): I HATE this brush, lol. It doesn’t pick up the eye liner very well when it’s starting to dry out. (It works okay with it’s fresh.) Overall I prefer the smudge brush above.

Original Beauty Blender: I bought this recently after a few people told me it is worth the $$. I had a cheap knock-off from CVS, and I was curious enough to order this. Oh. My. Word. Night and day, y’all. NIGHT AND DAY. This is awesome. I love this thing. I will never be without it again, long as I live, amen. I use it mainly to apply and blend my under-eye concealer, but I also use it to blot and blend concealer into other areas of my face where I have redness and minor imperfections that foundation alone doesn’t cover.

PHEW! I know this is long, but people ask me all the time about the products I use so I thought some of you would find this helpful. I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments.

Join The Conversation

41 Responses

  1. I am a makeup junkie!
    I’ve been using the Anastasia dip brow pomade for a couple of years. I LOVE it. I’ve tried to go back to pencils to see if I miss them… I don’t.

    I would suggest using the inside of the lid to smudge off excess. Then just ‘build’ from there. Also, start applying where you “need ” it the most

    Love reading your blog every day!

    Casey ????

  2. As far as “setting” the brows my favorite is Elizabeth Mott “queen of the fill.

    I have the urban decay one now. It is “ok” , easy to mess up though. I don’t care for the Anastasia setting product

  3. Thank you for taking the time to do this for us. It is very helpful.
    Hope you have a great weekend.

  4. I love this post! I don’t have the time or money to check out different beauty products so this was really helpful. I’m like you and used a CVS beauty blender so now I’m thinking I’m going to go for the real thing. Also the MAC lip liner, the smudge brush, etc, etc!!! Can’t wait to give all these a try!

  5. Hi Jolynne! Thanks for all the wonderful info. I was wondering if you had any advice or any experience with melasma? I am Italian and olive toned. The sun calls my name… I love being out, at the beach, anywhere that is warm. Recently, I noticed a brown spot on my upper lip. It looks like a mustache, but it’s my skin that has darkened. I am so upset because everyone says that I have to stay out of the sun. That is impossible for me. It’s like saying you can’t eat sweets ever again. Anyway, I’ve tried over the counter stuff to try to lighten the area but nothing works. Please let me know if you know of any great product that can help me. Not even a 60 sunscreen helps me. The more I’m outside, the worse it gets. Please let me know! Thanks

  6. Hi there,

    My brows are very light and getting thinner as well. Just thought I would share….I’m scheduled to get the micro blading tattooing in late August. The gal in my area does an amazing job and I can’t believe how the micro blading looks so real. I’m nervous but have seen her work and I think I’m going to be happy with the result. In the meantime I use the Anastasia brow wiz pencil (it’s very thin so it’s precise) to outline my brow shape and then I fill in with their powder (it comes with two colors) and I use an angled brush for that. I’ve used lots of brow products and this is by far my favorite combo. Then I just use a bit of hairspray on my finger to set.

    Thanks for your post today! ????

  7. I love posts like this! I’m sure they are a ton of work for you but, really, SO HELPFUL.
    Thanks a ton 🙂

  8. Very informative, thanks so much! I’ve never been one to put much time, effort, or $$ into beauty products, but I’m gradually gaining more interest, ha!
    Could you elaborate on the difference you noticed with the beauty blender? I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. I seriously struggle with concealer, and a miracle tool would be awesome…But $$! How is it so much better?

  9. Jo Lynne,

    Does the Supergoop oil have a scent to it? Lip products are hard to find that are true love. I’m always on the hunt, and my 12 yr. old daughter gets all my high end lip stuff, and doesn’t even know its worth!! (Or care!). Some things I can’t live without: Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Nars creamy concealer for under eye, Glossier balm.com for my lips. I’m in love with the coconut flavor. I also can’t live without Moroccanoil for my hair. Revamping your makeup is a fun little $$$ luxury, but once you get it down, it makes your morning routine of getting ready a little more enjoyable!

    1. The Supergoop Oil has a light citrusy scent. It’s very nice. 🙂 I also pass down some of the stuff I don’t like to my daughters. They have no concept of the value. LOL! I am curious about that Nars concealer.

  10. Great post!!! You are so fortunate to buy all these midline higher priced items…some I believe are great but I’m still a drugstore junkie, especially even more so since I read Andrea Robinson’s toss the gloss She was such a magnum force in the beauty industry and swears that the trickle down effect from companies like Lancome to L’Oréal is great bc the hard working women were spending their $ at the drug stores so the companies switched their launching path. I will say I bought Revlon Demure lipstick and I LOVE the color but have to reapply more often…but I can afford to and buy other things. Thanks for all you do to keep us in tip top shape!!!

    1. I’ll have to check out that Revlon lipstick! I also like Sonia Kashuk products. I actually met her at an event once. I think her products are great for a drugstore brand, but I hardly ever make it to Target anymore so I haven’t replenished lately.

  11. Thank you for this wonderful blog! I have been curious about self-tanners so I’m going to try the ClarIns brand this weekend! As for brows, my estethician tints both my brows and lashes with some type of vegetable dye once a month (give or take) and it makes a huge difference! If I’ve gone too long between appointments, I swear by the Laura Mercier brow pencil in Blonde…..even though my hair is light brown. I’ve tried many other brands and this one works the best for me. Give it a try!

    1. Thanks for the tip! My brows – what I have of them – are super dark, so I don’t think tinting would help. They’re just very thin and have some “bald spots” so I have to work with a pencil to make them look naturally fuller. Sigh… Thanks for the tip of the Laura Mercier brow pencil.

  12. I am a (barely contained) beauty junkie. 🙂 I try to restrain myself but I’m sure I have 3X as much beauty stuff as anyone I know.

    I struggle with my brows, too, and I’ve never been able to make a pencil work quite right…they always look obvious to me. My current favorite brow product is Glossier’s Boy Brow. LOVE this stuff so much that I even have a backup! It is a terrific combination of color and a light wax which (at least for me) replaces a couple of brow products. As far as a pomade, I prefer the one from Tarte to the Anastasia one. Brow powder is another good option and, in my opinion, the most fool-proof. Tarte makes a good one but many other companies do as well.

  13. Hi Jo-Lynne!
    Thank you for this awesome post. I’m sure it was a ton of work. Regarding sunless tanners, FWIW, I actually have two tips–number one, I tend to put my self-tanner on mixed with my moisturizer, right after my shower, and I find that it streaks less that way. It takes me a slightly longer time to build a tan, but I like that it looks more even. My next tip is, I buy a bunch of inexpensive make up wipes from Costco, and I use a fresh one of those after application, on my palms, in between my fingers, and I’ve been doing a quick swipe at my wrists, my elbows, knees, and around my ankle bones. A super quick swipe on the bony parts, but enough so that I don’t get build up.

  14. What a great post! I love how you wrote about each product with some detail. I, too, was hesitant to spend so much on the Beauty Blender but I’m so glad that I did. A total game changer for me! I’ve been using MAC lipliners for over 20 years–nothing compares! I think I’m going to try a few items you recommended–Laura Mercier brush, MAC lip gloss & Clarins self tanner. Thanks for a great post.

  15. I really enjoyed your blog today as your descriptions gave me a few chuckles. Also appreciate the change up….. I know a lot of thought, work and time went into it. I am going to try a few of your products. ????

  16. Try the mac eye brow pencils in spike. I work with a bridal makeup artist. We use it on everyone it comes in fat n a skinny pencils then put brow on top to keep the strays in place. This is a good list a lot of the Mac products you listed we use. But you listed a few things we may need to try.

  17. Love this post! I’m going to try a few of the things you mentioned. I just hate the double whammy of being disappointed in a product AND wasting money, but there’s nothing like trying something and finding out you love it. Having the reviews is great – thank you!
    PS: The sponge IS a game changer!!

  18. Hi Jolynne. I just viewed your snap chat about negative comments being published on your blog. I would not want negative comments published. You provide fun, light-hearted and extremely helpful information on your blog. We, the readers, take what we can use and many times learn from you. Negative comments do not have a place in your blog. They are just hurtful and mean! I wanted to share my thoughts. You are beautiful and amazingly good at what you do. I have learned so much from you in the six months I have been following you. I have 4 daughters and I am finally starting to take care of myself again! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. No negative Nelly’s please! With a grateful heart, Michelle from Kansas

  19. Hi Jo Lynn, Thank you for this post, it is very helpful. I have very similar hair as you, this one works well for me – AG Hair Care, Bigwigg Root volumizer “Volume” is with green lettering. Also the thinning, disappearing brows. So far the best one for me is Origins Fillin the Blanks in Blonde. Who would have thought blonde ? I also use It brow power and It brow power waterproof perfector, again in Blonde. My skin is very dry and even tho I’ve started using an oil cleanser and serums, I find I need to put the eyebrow pencil on after cleaning but before serums, etc. or the eyebrow makeup does not stay put. Ideas ?

    1. Thank you! This is super helpful. My eyebrow makeup does stay put when I put it on after foundation and powder. I’m not sure why yours isn’t staying put. That’s frustrating.

  20. Have you tried Rodan Fields sunless tanner? Just wondering how it compares to Clarins. Trying to pick a sunless tanner for the first time.

  21. Jo-Lynn,
    Just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog, Instagram, etc. You are just absolutely precious, so enjoyable! I’m finally getting caught up on my emails, that is why this is a delay reply on a post from a month ago!
    I wanted to share with you some info about your eyebrows!!! I use the Anastasia pomade, as well. BUT not for long!! I’m so fortunate that my daughter just finished school as a Clinical Esthetician! She not only is certified in eyelash extensions, BUT… in September, she will be taking her class and will be certified in Microblading! I cannot wait!! I will definitely be one of her first customers!! You mentioined you have heard of it. She will use ink and basically be tattooing your eyebrows on and it looks like hair strokes! It lasts about 8-10 months and then needs to be touched up. It can be expensive tho..New York area $800 plus, our area $350-500. It’s amazing and will save so much time getting ready for work, etc. Too bad you don’t live in the Houston area!! Keep up the good work!

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