Come See My New York City Beauty Buys!

What I bought on my latest whirlwind trip.
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Michelle Villett
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What I bought on my latest whirlwind trip.

Every time I'm in NYC—which is maybe three or four times a year—I shop.

Not that shopping is the sole purpose of these trips; it's not. I'm pretty much always there on a media trip to learn about (and then later write a magazine article on) a brand's latest launch. I feel just slightly guilty, though, that I've never done anything cultural, like visit the MoMA, or the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building. Instead, I'm VERY familiar with SoHo, Fifth Avenue, Union Square, Columbus Circle... and I know just what sites to check to find out if there's a sample sale going on.

But I think I'm getting better, because this time I at least cut back and only shopped for BEAUTY stuff. Which we all know I don't really need... but: a) certain rare finds could be classified as "market research," and b) it's a heck of a lot cheaper to buy beauty products instead of clothes. (My credit card was so much happier this time compared to the blow I dealt it at a legendary Loeffler Randall sample sale in May.)

So let's look at my haul, shall we?

RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up

RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up

Okay, so I already have this. But it was so good that I'm almost done my pot—and if you understand just how many concealers I have at my fingertips, you'll appreciate just how special that makes this one, because I rarely find a product that I like enough to actually purchase on my own.

It's basically a concealer that can double as a sheer foundation if you blend it out with a foundation brush. And the ingredients list is ridiculously short and completely natural. (Even though my latest foundation love is the Armani Maestro pigmented oil, I like to alternate that with stuff like this, which is better for your skin.) For me, the #11 shade is a perfect match, and I love that it melts right in and leaves your face moisturized, dewy and flawless. It's just as good for you as a mineral powder, and I'd MUCH rather wear this, since powders can leave you quite cakey.

I got it at cute little boutique called Wonderland in the Meatpacking district. The price is slightly cheaper in the U.S., but you can find RMS Beauty online in Canada at eBeauty.ca.

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Smile

Since I loved my one RMS Beauty product (the cover-up) SO much, I just had to dive into the rest of the line. I don't know of any retail store that sells them here (just online), so being able to sample the colours at Wonderland was a huge help. This particular product works as a blush and lip colour, and again it's highly moisturizing, all-natural and uses mineral pigments.

I chose a sheer coral called Smile, and after my test-drive at dinner the other night I was pleasantly surprised at how long it lasted on my cheeks—since the staying power of other natural colour prodz has been hit and miss for me in the past. I also can't believe I went this long without having a proper natural blush in my arsenal. People get so obsessed about having mineral foundations, but they forget about the cheeks, which cover a huge surface area!

Needless to say, I'm now addicted to this line. Next on my list (I may have to order online): the 'Un' Powder (which could replace my MUFE HD!), the Living Luminizer (apparently a Miranda Kerr fave) and the Raw Coconut Cream (an all-purpose makeup-remover, moisturizer, hair-tamer... etc.).

The Organic Pharmacy Rose Hip Oil

The Organic Pharmacy Virgin Cold Pressed Rose Hip Oil

I've been reading up on rose hip oil as a Mother Nature miracle for reversing pigmentation issues from sun damage and acne (called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Those are pretty much my twin beauty concerns right now, since my freckles are an ongoing battle... and I broke out a bit a month or so back from a liver cleanse my naturopath had me on. (Yep, despite the CLO routine my skin is super-sensitive to supplements.) I'm also giving my skin a break from all things chemical at the moment—retinoids, glycolics, hydroquinone—since I'm suspecting that they only make my skin more sensitive, red and prone to flakiness. Gosh, pigmentation is such a bitch to get rid of!

Anyway, enter rose hip oil. It sounds amazing and healing, and I just love this brand, The Organic Pharmacy, which sadly doesn't sell its wares in Canada. I found them at a place in Chelsea called New London Pharmacy—and OMG, what an incredible store that is for niche beauty finds! You have to go. They also have two cats that walk around the store amongst the customers, which makes me love them even more.

I'm slightly afraid that rose hip might make me break out, but I'm going to venture forth. Apparently you just add a couple of drops to your regular moisturizer, but it takes a good eight weeks or so to see a difference.

Nature's Way DIM-plus

DIM-plus

I'm going to classify this as a beauty product because I bought it for beauty purposes—even though it sounds like it's good for your health, too. I came across it during a bout of insomnia where I was reading some online skincare forum, and apparently it's been something of a miracle cure for women with acne. What it does is increase the level of "good" estrogens in your body while removing the "bad" ones, and it does so with a plant ingredient called diindolymethane—which is found in broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. So you're not taking some weird unnatural hormone or anything.

If you do a web search, you can find testimonials from loads of peeps who say it's the only thing that helped with cystic acne and oily skin. I'm giving it a go just to see if makes any difference to those inevitable monthly PMS breakouts... plus it apparently helps other PMS symptoms too. Oh, and it's not just a NYC thing: you can definitely get this one at health food stores in Canada, too.

Ilary perfume

Ilary perfume

The story behind this fragrance is so cute, I can't even stand it. Creator Hillary Schneider had just moved to NYC, and started wearing her own personal mix of scented oil and body mist. People would stop her all the time to ask about it—and one night, an attractive stranger told her: “I could fall in love with a woman who smells as beautiful as you."

Reader, she married him. If that isn't the ultimate fragrance testimonial, I don't know what is!

And you know what else? Even before I smelled this (at Wonderland), I knew I was going to like it just from the notes alone: jasmine, orange flower, ebony wood, sandalwood and musk. In fact, I like those notes so much I already have a fragrance with them: Child! Honestly, the similarity between Ilary and Child is uncanny. Plus, if you recall, I get stopped all the time when I wear Child.

In the interest of being economical and not buying something I already basically have, I decided to "think" about this purchase. It's a rollerball oil, so I oiled myself up before dinner, and then let it sit with me. The dry-down seemed a little different to Child (a little more like Monyette Paris, another great niche floral that I own), and so I went back the next day to buy it. But... tragedy! The store was closed, and my flight was waiting. I'll have to track this one down online.

Organic Avenue Green LOVE Juice

Organic Avenue green juice

Juice is beauty food. I swear. And one of the best things about Manhattan is how they have these incredible fresh juice places all around town, the same way we have Tim Hortons. I've just started back on a juicing kick lately, and so I was super-excited to drop into Organic Avenue in Chelsea, which is the company famous for the LOVE cleanse. (Live. Organic. Vegan. Experience.) I'm not really down for going three days on juice alone, but I AM into grabbing a green juice or two on the go in lieu of the typical fried, greasy hotel breakfast. So that's what I did, and my goodness they were yummy.

Afterward, I felt (and think I looked) much more bright-eyed, glowy and energetic. Imagine how great your skin would look if you did this every morning instead of coffee! Seriously, put a juicer on your wish list for Santa NOW.

Tell me:

Have you tried any of these NYC beauty finds?
Would you go au naturel with your makeup, skincare... or breakfast?
Do you have a fragrance that stops men in their tracks?