Kind of random, but all of my absolute favorite estheticians have been Eastern European. There's just something super special about how gentle they are with me, regardless of how rough they're being with my skin. That's one of the reasons why I love this skincare brand that's the spawn of esthetician Mario Badescu.
Whenever I'm in New York, I make my way over to his Upper East Side spa to get a facial. All of his facialists have been trained in the Romanian way, which in short essentially is this: by any means necessary. (But in a not super painful way, obviously.)
Next time you're in New York, do yourself a huge favor and schedule yourself an appointment so your skin can experience a little tough love. But until you can get there, be sure to purchase these five fabulous worth-every-single-penny products to tide you over.
[If you're not in New York, my lovely UK readers, you can get Mario Badescu products from Harvey Nichols in London and Edinburgh, PLUS THE WEBSITE SHIPS INTERNATIONALLY! YAY! ]
What: Walnut Body Lotion, $10
Why: Aside from the fact that this lotion is thick and creamy and banishes ash quick, fast and in a motherfucking hurry, I really just love it because it smells like sweet dessert food and boys like sweet dessert food so I wanna smell like the types of sweet delicious dessert food that boys like. Does that make sense?
Wait -- that may have come out wrong. Even though it smells good, it doesn't smell too good. You wouldn't get nauseous standing next to me. It smells just good enough.
What: Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater, $7
Why: I've been a fan of facial sprays for years, and this one is my current favorite -- it's infused with a bunch of good stuff (like the name suggests), so it's incredibly hydrating and nourishing. I use it to quickly refresh my curls when I don't have time to wash my hair, all over my face when it's ridiculously hot outside, or after work when I need to freshen up my face and reactivate my foundation. She's all kinds of multipurpose and I am so into that.
What: A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap, $8
Why: Not only does this body wash smell like every bit of delicious fruity heaven (it's infused with papaya, ginseng and grapefruit), it's a liquid exfoliator that helps fight the good fight against bacne and chestne and bumps-on-the-assne. (You know, all that shit you really just don't need in your life.) It may cost double what you usually spend for shower gel, but it lasts twice as long, as you really don't need that much to cleanse your entire body. Therefore, it's actually more cost-effective, yes?
What: Special Cucumber Lotion, $15
Why: I've put sulfur on my face a few times before -- once at a spa in Iceland, and again at a retreat in Colombia -- but I never really thought it would be an ingredient that I'd willingly use on a daily basis. But I do. And I love it. Why? This is one of the best toners I've ever tried. I know what you're thinking -- no, it doesn't smell like stinky sulfur because it's also formulated with cucumber. Most importantly, it's an astringent-disinfectant for your face. (Say that three times fast!) Think of it as a little extra clear skin insurance -- any dirt that your Clarisonic and cleanser didn't pick up, rest assured this baby will catch it, meaning your skin will be that much cleaner, and cleaner skin means fewer pimples. Fewer pimples means fewer blemishes, and fewer blemishes means clear skin.
What: Buffering Lotion, $17
Why: Even though it's strong enough to fight cystic acne (zinc oxide is the key ingredient), this little miracle potion in a bottle is my secret weapon against my minor stress and/or period pimples. It literally is a buffer between your pimples and the world -- it fights existing acne while helping keep external aggravators like dirt, oil and makeup grime from penetrating and reinfecting your pores.
Here's how it works: After washing and toning (but before moisturizing), dab this milky-but-still-translucent concoction on your developed pimples (and anywhere you're prone to breakouts) and watch them deflate in two-to-three days. Like I said before, it's translucent, so wear it for a full 24 hours, even under your foundation, and, of course, while you're sleeping. It stings a little bit, but I like that; to me it means that it's working. And if you catch them fast enough, your pimples won't even have time to flare up and fully form.
Grand total? $57. Having a bunch of cheap ass, awesome ass products in your medicine cabinet that actually work, and that you'll actually use? Say it with me -- PRICELESS.
[Side note: I know these recommendations aren't as cheap as the e.l.f. products I recommended a couple of months ago, but they're still pretty inexpensive considering what they do for you. Isn't that what's important? Splashing your cash on products that'll actually yield the results you're yearning for?]
India-Jewel is probably babbling about a bunch of beauty-related shit over on Twitter at @IndiaJewelJax.