Repurchases: stuff that was totally worth it

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RepurchasesOver the past couple years, I’ve tried out a lot of products. I don’t even know how many, and I’d be a little bit afraid to try to count them up. It’s not too often that I finish up color products because I just don’t have enough face real estate to use them up quickly, but skincare and everyday makeup staples are a whole other story. Even though I’m on a mission to try out as much stuff as humanly possible, there are some things I loved enough to keep running back to them again and again.

For starters, Hourglass primers. The No28 Primer Serum is fantastic for dehydrated skin in the winter (or when using industrial-strength acne meds), and it makes my skin look nice and smooth. On the flip side, the Veil Mineral Primer has the same skin-smoothing effect, but helps hold down shine during the humid seasons. I’m on my second travel size bottle of the No28 primer; you only need a teensy bit so it lasts a long time. The Veil primer? By my count I’ve used up an entire full size bottle, at least 3-4 of the deluxe samples, and I think I’m on my third travel size. Can you tell I like this stuff?

A year-round staple in my skincare routine is EltaMD UV Clear sunscreen. Yup, year-round – gotta keep those wrinkles away! I know, I know, it’s an extra step every morning but aside from the whole sun damage thing, it also helps me keep the same foundation color year-round. Even in the winter when I’m not likely to tan, the niacinamide in it bribes me to keep using it daily so it can stealthily even out my skin tone. I’ve lost count of how many of these I’ve used – I want to say this is number four or five.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream was the first ‘good’ moisturizer I ever used, on the recommendation of a friend who also happens to be a Sephora employee. It actually keeps my skin hydrated, and isn’t greasy. It’s actually the main thing (well, that and the folks over at Skincare Addiction) that spurred me into moisturizing twice a day instead of never – which in turn made my skin less oily. My skin in general is a little drier than it used to be, so this is mostly a summer product for me now. I still manage to go through it at a pretty good clip, though. As in two 6oz tubs and several of the 20z tubes over the past couple years.

You all know how much I love my Hourglass Immaculate foundation. Really, I might as well hire a blimp advertising it and have it fly around while Keeneland meets are happening (possibly a poor idea, since the track is so close to the airport). It’s still the only foundation I’ve found that keeps me matte all day in the summer. I actually threw out all the Starbucks napkins I had cut up to use as blotting sheets. I’m only on my second bottle, but to be fair, a bottle lasts a long time.

Back in the summer I received several products from the Nuance skincare line for review, and one of my favorites of the bunch was the Glycolic Cream Cleanser. I used up that sucker, and cut it open to make sure I didn’t miss a single drop. Then disaster struck when it was out of stock at every CVS in town and online. Ok, maybe not total disaster, but I was extremely disappointed. I finally found it again a few weeks ago and my skin is bright and happy again. I went through a bunch of cleanser samples in the meantime, and nothing beat this one. I’m on my second tube of this and predict I’ll be purchasing it again. Actually, I need to go ahead and get a backup just in case.

It’s entirely possible that I’m addicted to AHA’s because acid peels from Makeup Artist’s Choice are another one of my serial repurchases. I always get the .5oz sample size so I won’t risk them expiring before I use them up; even doing peels once a week the small bottle will last 2-3 months. I’ve used both the 40% glycolic acid and 40% lactic acid peels; I prefer the lactic acid, so that’s the one I repurchased. I give these credit for how fast my post-breakout hyperpigmentation faded. It’s been a little under a year since I finished up my course of Accutane, and already you probably wouldn’t realize how bad my breakouts were if you didn’t already know.

Even though my skin tone went back to normal much faster than I expected, there was a stretch of time there when I needed some pretty heavy-duty concealing. Amazing Cosmetics concealer has been my go-to ever since I started getting bad breakouts. In other words, I started using it even before I really got into makeup in general. It’s one of the fullest coverage concealers I’ve ever met (Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer is the other one). There are so many colors in the lineup that I can find a close enough match to wear it even without foundation. I’ve used up a couple of the travel size tubes, and I’m near the end of my second full-size. I highly recommend the smaller size – the amount you need is so small that it can be hard to get through the full size tube before it expires, unless you really just have a lot to conceal.

One last skincare thing – Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. I picked this up as an alternative to oil-based removers that migrated into my eyes and made them puffy (soooo hot). What do you know, it worked just as well. I’ve even used it on the rest of my face in a pinch, though I don’t like doing that because it smells sort of unpleasant. I can’t smell it when it’s on my eyes, but near my nose? Yeah. That didn’t stop me from getting a second bottle when I ran out of the first one!

I debated on whether I should include the Anastasia Brow Wiz, because even though I’ve been through several, I probably won’t repurchase it again. It’s a great pencil – good match for my hair, stays put, and the fine tip lets me get really precise lines. For all that, it’s a very small amount of product for a fairly hefty price tag and I just go through it too fast. I’ve found an excellent alternative though – as far as I can tell, there’s no significant difference between the Brow Wiz and the Sephora Retractable Eyebrow Pencil, other than the price.

The NARS Brow Perfector, on the other hand, lasts for ages. Even though I’ve been using over a year I’m only on my second one. It’s not quite as precise as the Brow Wiz, but that means I can draw my brows on faster and it stays on my skin just as well. And did I mention it lasts for a really long time?

NARS also wins a permanent spot in my eye primer collection with their Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base. Nothing I’ve used controls my oily lids like this stuff, though Smashbox 24/7 run a close second. It’s not perfect – I have a longstanding gripe with the doe foot applicator and the fact that you could miss at least a quarter of the product if you don’t cut the tube open. But it makes the difference between my eyeshadow lasting all day & evening, or being a greasy mess by 2pm, sooo…. I’ll deal with it.

Last but not least – the Hakuhodo J5523. I normally wouldn’t think of putting brushes in a ‘repurchase’ list since you can’t really use them up, but I did like my first one enough to get a second one. It’s the perfect gradient blending brush for me. It’s soft enough that it doesn’t irritate my skin at all (I’ve had blending brushes before that made my skin red & irritated, but for a long time didn’t realize there were better options) but it’s still firm enough to push product around. I use one for blending the outer edge of my crease color, and the other for applying/blending my inner corner and brow highlight shades.

Well, that ended up being waaaay longer than I expected it to be, but when you find a good thing you pretty much have to go with it!


  1. Jennifer

    January 19, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Oh, these sound wonderful! I’ve used the Nuance skin primer and the body moisturizer; I really like them. I’ve been wanting to try more Nuance but haven’t decided what yet. Putting the cream cleanser on the list now.

    I’ve only recently (about the last year or so) gotten into really taking good care of my skin, and am already finding products and a routine that is working for me. :)

    1. Nikki

      January 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

      The Nuance Age Affirm Day/Night moisturizer is really nice too! Not as huge a fan of the neck/chest balm because it can ball up sometimes.

  2. tirurit

    January 23, 2015 at 3:34 am

    Great list! There are definitely a few products that I don’t know and will have to check out!

  3. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    January 31, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    love the nars primer, which i think i’ve told you about a million times. I love the first aid beauty ultra repair cream on hands and body! :)

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