It's gonna get sappy up in here.
Long, long ago (late 2011, to be exact) in a galaxy far, far, away (a.k.a. Los Angeles), I was once a bored young lady who couldn't fall asleep — and so it happened that I was absentmindedly surfing the Web, where I eventually clicked on a link that really piqued my interest:
EXCLUSIVE: COURTNEY LOVE TAKES YOU ON A TOUR OF HER NYC TOWNHOUSE
And with that one link, you have the entire story of how it came to be that I landed at xoJane.com, where I immediately started following the exploits of noted beauty nut Cat Marnell.
Her constant string of product recommendations did not ever disappoint — because even when she herself is 'bad', her beauty game is always pretty darn great.
Most of my personal holy-grail beauty products came courtesy of Cat — and now I'm going to share my favorite ones with you, just in case you came late to the xoJane party. But even if you were here at the time, who doesn't love a little walk down memory lane? (And did you know that xoJane is coming up on its fourth anniversary in May? I've been here a little over three years myself.)
ANYWAY, what follows is a list of the five best beauty products Cat ever turned me onto — and while she may be continuously drowning in free beauty swag, these are ones that I've kept buying religiously with my own cold cash money since I first tried them.
ISLAND COMPANY'S DARK TANNING OIL, $20/8 OZ.
I knew that Marnell was the one for me the minute she let slip that she applies Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil to her entire body, day and night, no matter what the weather, just because she always wants to smell like the beach. So when she suggested we try this tiny Palm Beach–based company's product line (specifically its Dark Tanning Oil), I couldn't break out my credit card fast enough.
She wasn't wrong — because even in the dead of winter, slathering this "Coco Love" fragranced oil on my body before dressing every day is all the mood boost I could possibly need. It's a great moisturizer, and has the added benefit of making your arms and legs all gleamy and glowy, like a preteen bodybuilder with nothing but time on her hands. It's also helped the dry skin on my feet something fierce.
I just had a five-second freak out that they'd discontinued it, but they've merely updated the purchasing link in Cat's original post. CRISIS AVERTED.
BIOTÈNE DRY MOUTH ORAL RINSE, $6.99/16 OZ.
Here's something Cat innately knew I needed before I even did. I'm a sad, slack-jawed mouth breather when I sleep, so much so that I'm sure it's just a matter of time until I swallow a spider (if I haven't unknowingly done so already). Nothing I ever tried to solve this problem worked, including this gem:
Despite sleeping in this ridiculous head vice (which I would just wind up ripping off in the middle of the night) and guzzling water at 3 a.m. like a dog that had been locked in a hot car, I used to constantly wake up panting, having to exert a not-small amount of effort to unstick my bone-dry tongue from the roof of my Sahara Desert–like mouth. But that's all changed, as this Biotene oral rinse is a literal life (and mouth?) saver. I absolutely never feel parched and hungover in the mornings anymore — even when I've had more than a few drops to drink.
KATE MOSS FOR RIMMEL 'LASTING FINISH' LIPSTICK, $3.94
Cat was ride-or-die for Rimmel's Kate Moss lippy in #01, a true, classic red, but I'm all about the way-easy-to-wear #08, a pinky mauve that works for all occasions without calling too much attention to itself.
I could never, ever manage to find these lipsticks in my local store when Cat first wrote about them — but luckily, I had a British pal who was popping over the pond quite regularly in those days and who was happy to grab a few at Boots before she came to visit. As a result, I now own all 15 colors they've ever released — but #08 is the one I buy time and time again. (In multiples, no less, as I'm swear I'll burn it all down to the ground if they ever discontinue it.)
PHYSICIAN'S FORMULA MINERAL GLOW PEARLS IN TRANSLUCENT, $13.99
I am not someone who should have ever had access to any sort of shimmer or bronzer, no matter how light Cat originally claimed it to be. I knew better, but still dutifully bought this powder palette on her recommendation during one of my 3 a.m. drugstore runs.
I think we can all agree that my first attempt at using it (shown below) was . . . not so great. I just absentmindedly smeared it over the entirety of my face and hoped for the best. As a result, I was transformed into what can only be called every little girl's dream — a shimmering, sparkly, somewhat humanoid disco ball.
I wised up after that initial application, and it's my now very favorite thing to slap across the bridge of my nose and onto my shoulders whenever I need to add a little life to my skin.
Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength, $45/2 OZ.
I read no less than 100 reviews of this Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel after Cat recommended it and before I finally bought a tub of it. The verdict on whether or not it works was split pretty evenly in half, but I bought it anyway.
The "science" behind a natural fruit acid peel being better than a proper chemical one is tenuous at best, but the fact of the matter is that this product cleared up a years-long breakout/rash on my chest that literally nothing else — not oral antibiotics, not topical creams, and not even chest facials from a fancy esthetician could solve. I apply a thin layer about 10 minutes before I'm going to shower every three days or so, and my sensitive chest skin is now clear and flawless.
Got any great beauty products you're still using because Cat hipped you to 'em back in the day? Let me know, as I've still got one or two empty spots in my bulging medicine cabinet.
I wrote a book: "How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing," available now for pre-order.