A few readers contacted me regarding what products I use/recommend. It hit me that I never talk about that stuff here, so thought it might be fun to mix it up. I am by no means an expert, but as a copywriter for beauty brands, I've tried many products over the years and gleaned some useful (and usually cheap!) tips from makeup artists. When it comes to beauty products, I'm a monogamist. I don't know if it's because I'm a pathological minimalist by nature, or because I've learned that most beauty products are just "same stuff, different bottle." I've used the same products, or slight variations of those products for years, and I though I sometimes flirt with a perky eyeshadow or bat my lashes at some over-promising treatment, I don't think you'll find me chatting up the spiky-haired makeup artist at MAC any time soon. Here's my top five list: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer I can't count the times I rolled my eyes when I saw this particular product featured. I pegged it as lazy editing, because it literally popped up in every issue of every magazine. It wasn't until I had a particularly horrid skin day (the kind where you go to the mall, catch a glimpse of yourself in florescent dressing room lighting and run), that a shameful skulk to the Laura Mercier counter proved I was wrong and everyone else was right. I couldn't look the sales woman in the eye for fear she somehow knew about the aforementioned eye rolling. But wham. Bam. Thank you for the fabulous foundation ma'am. I loved it from that day forward, and will never let myself run out. Benetint I'm a bit embarrassed that I like this product, because like Laura Mercier, Benetint had a cult following. But unlike Laura, Benetint hasn't maintained its following, and being obsessed with Benetint is akin to being obsessed with Benetton - a bit dated. But I'll take my chances with giggles and glances, because dammit, I really like it! I am fair-skinned (as in pale, not porcelain) and I need color to look alive. Benetint does the trick. Speaking of tricks, there's one you need to know regarding application: Be quick! Apply and blend, or you'll suffer in the manner of streaks. Long-lasting, scrub-until-you-are-raw streaks. Amala Rejuvenating Treatment Oil The requisite disclaimer here is that I currently write for Amala. That said, you also need to know that I abandoned a few other cushy gigs to work exclusively with Amala. Why? No one can touch their product quality. I wrote for their parent company, Primavera, for years, and became instantly addicted to their organic treatment oils. I can honestly say I have not used any other moisturizer on my face in years. I now use Amala treatment oils, and without them I look ten years older. Effectiveness is always subjective when it comes to hydration, but at least for me, they are way more effective than any other pricey moisturizer or treatment. To boot, they really (honestly! truly!) make your skin "glow." I wrote that word thousands of times and never meant it. I can now sleep at night because there is no spin involved. If Amala is out of your budget, use jojoba or evening primrose oils. You can get them at any health food store. You'll seriously rethink moisturizer. Fresh Sugar Lip Balm I am hopelessly devoted to Sugar. The lemony scent is luscious, and my trick is to keep it in my pocket so it's soft-on-the-verge-of-gooey when I apply. Sweet bliss. Nars Eros Lip Gloss On the rare occasions I wear lip color of any kind, this is it. It's the prettiest, rosiest, most flattering shade ever. It was tied for years with Mark's Glow Baby Glow Lip Gloss in Pink Crush, but I no longer write for mark, and don't have easy access to the product closet. I recommended Eros to my friend Rachel, and it looks fab on her even though we have completely different hair colors and skin types (she actually has perfect skin, so everything looks great on her). Give this one a whirl the next time you're wasting time in Sephora. That's it. The only other thing I use is mascara, and any garden-variety drugstore brand serves its purpose. I've used Maybelline's Full and Soft for ever and like it a lot. What about you? Any makeup favorites? Tips? PS. Forgot to mention. One of the BEST tips I ever received was to toss every single body balm, butter, moisturizer, lotion, etc, and replace it with a single bottle of olive oil. I did, and I never looked back. Straight up olive oil. And you surprisingly don't smell like pasta. Go figure.