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Beauty Products I’m Buying and Can’t Live Without

assortment of beauty products with eyeliner, serum, and more

Life as a beauty subscription box reviewer means that products are my life. I receive and test new products multiple times a week, so you can imagine I am swarming in them on any given day! Many of them go into my skincare routine right away, some I set aside to use later, while others get passed onto friends or family. Many people think that I just use the products that I get and never really have to buy too many of my own products since I get to test so many amazing brands. For me, once I find a product that truly works, I want to keep it in my rotation and support the brand! Luckily, through the discovery of some of the best beauty boxes on the market today, I’ve met many of my beauty soulmates. Beauty products are expensive, so I really have to love something to repurchase it. You can trust me when I say: I cannot live without these products.

used containers of skincare and makeup products

I set out a few months ago to get my skin into shape, finally! I wanted to be able to wear very little makeup, to look fresh and dewy, while getting my breakouts, dry patches, and redness under control. I was lucky to hit the jackpot in the winter with some life-changing products, many were travel sizes that lasted just long enough to make me realize that I could not live another day without them. Let’s take a peek at everything that has made its way into my skincare routine full-time!

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant


The Product: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

The Cost: $29.50

The Matchmaker: BeautyFIX

When I got this gel in January, my skin was at its worst. I was feeling really bad about how my skin was looking, and I just felt like nothing was working to improve the dryness and breakouts. I was scared to try this gel at first once I saw the word ‘exfoliant.’ I thought it was going to be too harsh on my skin and cause even more breakouts, so I did a lot of research before even testing this product. What I found is that this can be used up two twice a day every day because it is a non-abrasive exfoliant. It also had some incredible reviews from people that said it helped with their hormonal acne, dry skin, and more. This is a liquid gel made with glycolic acid to gently and naturally shed built-up layers of dead skin. It helps with uneven skin tone, smoothes the appearance of wrinkles, and will create smoother, firmer-looking skin over time. So after all of my research, I felt okay using it, and by the end of this travel-size bottle, I was completely hooked!

I had a few weeks between running out of my original bottle and receiving my new one, and I saw my skin quickly change back to breakouts and dry patches. Once I got this back into my routine, I knew that I could not live without it ever again! This works to fight breakouts, it smoothes my skin by removing buildup, and leaves me with a freshness that I haven’t seen from my skin in years. I will sometimes even notice a different smell when I apply it when my skin is particularly bad with breakouts or buildup, which can be common with products like this as my pH is balanced again. My makeup goes on smoother and doesn’t get cakey or flake. I just feel more confident in my skin, and I honestly know that this gel has been a big reason for it.

CCC Cream by CLE Cosmetics


The Product: CCC Cream by CLE Cosmetics

The Cost: $31.00

The Matchmaker: The Beauty Box by Bombay & Cedar

This was a product that I tried and hated. I am not sure why, but I did keep it, hoping to try it again one day when maybe my skin was in better shape, or when I had a tan. Once I finally had my dryness under control, I decided to give this cream a chance again. I thought I loved my foundation and then I tried this and fell in love again! This cream is made with 8.88% Titanium Dioxide, 7% Octinoxate, 3% Octisalate, and the CCC stands for color, control, and change. It is a primer, foundation, and sunscreen all in one little bottle. It comes out like a cream with these little beads throughout that release when you apply it to your skin to hydrate, and tints your skin to provide a smooth and even coverage.

I love that this gives me coverage without feeling super overdone. It leaves me with a shiny glow, without feeling like I have a ton of makeup on. Once I started using this CCC cream, I got so many compliments about how amazing my skin was, and even had people ask what foundation I use. That honestly hasn’t happened to me since high school, when my skin was young and fresh on its own. This now is my go-to foundation!

Bioderma Hydrabio Serum


The Product: Bioderma Hydrabio Serum

The Cost: $27.99

The Matchmaker: BeautyFIX

This is another product that I received in January when my skin was not doing well. Combined with the Paula’s Choice Gel, this serum has worked wonders for me. I’ve also really found over the past few months that Bioderma products are pretty incredible if you have sensitive skin so I highly recommend the brand! This product is meant for dry, dehydrated, and sensitive skin. The serum is made with nourishing niacinamide and Glycerin to gently alleviate dryness and dehydration while providing soothing comfort to the skin. It is so light on the skin with a cooling sensation and even works as a great makeup base.

I went about a month without this product, and I saw a change in the overall appearance of my skin, making it another must-have for me. When I use this serum consistently, I notice a smoothness and hydration that I just cannot get with just a moisturizer. It is the perfect product to use when I am doing more of a fresh face look or to prep my skin for makeup, no matter how I use it it just works! Can you be thankful for a product entering your life? If so, then I am forever thankful for this little boost of hydration that I get to give my skin every day!

Cailyn Makeup Wow Duo Eyeliner


The Product: Cailyn Makeup Wow Duo Eyeliner

The Cost: $19.00

The Matchmaker: The Box By Fashionsta

I know so many beauty box subscribers that always feel a bit blah when they get an eyeliner. If you love eyeliner, it can be sort of a personal choice that you want to purchase carefully on your own. If you don’t wear eyeliner, then I could totally see why getting an overload of liners in beauty boxes could feel boring. I am an eyeliner lover. I never go without it; my kids have probably seen me without it on a handful of times (usually if I’m sick), and I truly enjoy testing new brands since I go through liners frequently. My mom loves asking people if they were on a deserted island, what 3 beauty products would they take with them. Well, eyeliner is my number one! That being said, not all liners are the same; you can find one that is just so-so, or one that works perfectly for your signature look. I used to only do a cat eye for a solid 10 years, so a liquid liner was all I ever used. I stopped once I had my son, but I recently rediscovered how much I loved a good cat-eye and the look it gives me. It isn’t for every day though, so I really also need a soft tip liner as well.

This duo has it all, and the best part is that it is all in one. If I am going away for a weekend or on a long vacation, I can pack this one single liner and have the options of a cat eye or my everyday look. It is waterproof and hypoallergenic, so it didn’t smudge or irritate my eyes at all. I still have my original, but once I saw it in a store I bought two more to have on hand just in case and one to take with me on vacation this summer. Can you live without eyeliner? Is a duo liner a must for you as well? Let me know in the comments!

Caolion Aqua Fresh Gel Day Cream


The Product: Caolion Aqua Fresh Gel Day Cream

The Cost: $22.49

The Matchmaker: The Box By Fashionsta 

I was really into this gel day cream when I first got it. What surprised me though was just how much this became a ‘need it/want it’ product for me over time. I recently ran out of this gel, and saw such a difference in my skin and my makeup application that I just had to order more of it, making this a product that I don’t think I will live without for the time being. Just looking at this day cream is enough to intrigue you. It is filled with oxygen bubbles that reduce the skin’s temperature to soothe and cool. Some of the top ingredients include 90% marine collagen, vitamin capsules, water, propanediol, glycerin, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, arginine, and butylene glycol. This gel also works to restore rough and dull skin and supply hydration to your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

A little of this product really goes a long way, but it leaves my skin feeling like I just drank a big glass of water. I am so dewy and refreshed, I just imagine my skin saying “ahhhhhh” after I apply it. It has also been wonderful to use now that we are in the summer, because it is so cooling on my skin and has been fantastic if I get a tad bit too much sun. I honestly never thought I would get to the point where I had a morning cream and a night cream, but once I started using this, I really noticed the difference in my skin from the AM to PM and how it needs different products at those times. I am so happy that I found this product, and that I was able to have it for so long before repurchasing so I could really determine that this is something that my skin absolutely needs.

The Dirty Lamb Ultra Night Serum

The Product: The Dirty Lamb Ultra Night Serum

The Cost: $52.00

The Matchmaker: The Box By Fashionsta

I love facial oils, but I didn’t realize how badly I needed a night serum. This is made with a high antioxidant blend of fatty acid oils and vitamin E to liven up your skin through the night. The scent is light and fresh with lavender, ylang-ylang, and orange. The scent is bold yet calming, which is perfect before bed. The serum is a bit thicker, so a little bit goes a long way, but the hydration really lasts! I use no more than two drops every night, and I always wake up still feeling hydrated. It really has improved the overall texture of my skin, which is really all I can ask for in a product. I just ran out of my original bottle and made the plunge to buy more because it really does work! I love using this at night knowing that it is working overtime while I sleep to help improve my skin.

Has your skincare routine changed since becoming a beauty box subscriber? What products from a subscription made their way into your routine that isn’t going anywhere? Let me know in the comments and if any of my favorites are on your list!

Ready to meet your beauty box matchmakers? Check out some of our readers’ favorites that hit all the marks.

Written by Taryn Lowman

Taryn Lowman

Taryn’s passion for subscription boxes started when she was gifted a monthly Birchbox. She is excited to discover more Mom and baby boxes to share with her family!

Comments (14)

  1. This is a fun topic! (Hopefully the few folks who seem to get riled up about any post that isn’t strictly a box spoiler or review will give us a pass on this one, or maybe even share their past sub box finds?)

    I fell in love with the Algenist Liquid Collagen (the translucent liquid in the tall, sciency-looking dropper bottle, with suspended micro beads in it?), I received the tiniest of samples from an old Sephora Play box and man was I hooked. Probably towards the bottom of my third full-sized bottle now?

    And more recently, from Clean Beauty Box (RIP my friend, it was real), Earthwise Black Locust Intense (not sure of exact name), but it is a super-concentrated moisturizing substance unlike anything else I’ve ever used, and perfect for my very dry, kinda old (47 yrs) skin.

    • Earthwise has some interesting products for sure!

  2. Osmia spot treatment is always in my drawer. I rarely have a blemish and any little imperfection in my skin commands my immediate notice. Osmia spot treatment always works. I try to put it on before any of my moisturizing treatment but it doesn’t seem to matter. It just works.

  3. Ha! I’m reading this post about products that make us look our best while profusely sweating my bootie off and feeling very gross (no AC.)

    Love posts like these, thanks Taryn!

  4. Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Cream is a staple in my moisturizing closet and like you, I just had to buy one while I’m almost out of the other one. It’s only 2 ounces, but a little lasts a long way. I also received just yesterday in the mail something called CosRx Centella Blemish Cream. In just one use this morning, I have noticed the redness, a little bit of hyperpigmentation and my pimples seem less noticeable or flared up! I’m just going to assume right now this will be a staple for breakouts, redness and hyperpigmentation. And I adore Facetory’s sheet masks and the other ones they sell, so I recently bought 40 of them (on Mondays, they have a huge sale on select ones) and am awaiting them. All of these products are K-Beauty, but I also love Graydon Skincare (from Canada) products, like Super Sensitive Skin Stuff the most for a facial moisturizer. I’m abstaining from using this during the Summer, but my skin loves it the other three months. Thanks for reviewing your much loved products.

  5. These were fun to learn about so thank you Taryn! I subscribe to FFF (summer was my last box), Allure and Beauty Heroes. But I’ll absolutely be referencing this list if I’m in need of these categories.
    My favorite beauty product is the Haracure masks. They are PRICEY but I do one before a special event or guests coming and it makes a huge difference in my 41 year old skin. I glow like nothing else afterwards. 🥰

    • Thanks for mentioning that Mellissa! I have really been wanting to try one of those Hanacure masks but they are so pricy I wanted to be sure it was worth it. I have a special event coming up in a few weeks so I think you have convinced me to go for it! How far in advance do you recommend? The day before? Thank you! 🙂

      • They are seriously great. I would use one a few days before. Maybe 3 days. I turn slightly red for about an hour afterwards and then it disappears and my skin gleams! It’s craziness. 😂

      • Thank you for the time frame! 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I need to give one of those masks a try soon!

  6. A shout out to Kinder Beauty – they introduced me to the Dirty Lamb serum as part of their Faves box. Great product.

    • It really is so good!

  7. I have oilier skin. I cannot live without the Glow Recipe Watermelon moisturizer. I have repurchased it a few times already. I also love the Sunday Riley A+ serum.

    • I have heard really good things about both of those products!

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