Thursday, June 5, 2014

Into The Gloss Top Shelfie - the extended, up close and personal version

Many of you may have landed here from my feature on Into The Gloss... which I was honored to write. It was a such a thrill to have my words right up there with the likes of Cindy Crawford, Pharrell and tons of talented beauty editors and fashion people.

I mentioned only my very favorite products in an effort to condense my Top Shelf and not make it unbearably long. For those who are curious, and perhaps share my same skin tone, skin type or hair type; here are some tips and random details I omitted, plus an extended list of all the products I own skincare wise and beauty wise. [As an aside, I'd like to do a huge stash clean out, so all items with a star next to them are yours for the cost of shipping, USA only – aren't I ever the entrepreneur?!]

Details about me:
  • It was my birthday on Sunday :) so this whole thing is like a super awesome, belated, virtual gift. Who knew my obsession with skincare and finding effective products would bring me here?
  • I'm a writer which means this here blog, scattered contributions all over the web, a poetry book/teenage memoir, a novel about ambition and a screenplay about breaking and being unable to save yourself – the last three being works in progress.
  • I'm an entrepreneur, which means: I'm a life coach, champion ebay seller, and a gracious airbnb host... for now.
  • ITG edited out a lot of my snark [and curses!]... it was probably for the best.
  • I have tried products from practically every line on the market, the ones I mentioned are truly the best of the best.
  • Due to the inability to find a moisturizer that is JUST RIGHT, I am developing my own. Be on the lookout for that!
  • I am working on producing some new photoshoots and videos/video blogs – starring myself, and would love any help. Photographers, videographers and other creative types, give me a shout!
  • You can find me on facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, vimeo, right on this blog [all under 'KnownasBlue'] and all the links to those things and more on my main site:
Tips & Tricks:
  • I use Makeup Artists Choice Mandelic Acid Cleanser as a body wash on my neck, chest, back and shoulders. It keeps things clear and smooth and bright.
  • Mad Hippie products are highly effective and a great bang for your buck.
  • Etsy has some great sellers who really know their stuff, I like Fig + Yarrow and JJLabs.
  • I cut and file my nails one day, paint them the next day and hop in the shower right after painting. Any polish on my skin ends up rubbing off.
  • Yuli Skincare's best product [in my opinion] Cell Perfecto PM broke me out [due to the jojoba], but I really believe it's amazing and worth the money. You should definitely check it out if you have scarring or a bumpy skin texture.
  • Sunday and Thursday nights are my spa nights, in other words, treat yoself time. Sunday is right before the week begins, and Thursday is right before the weekend. I take this time to deep condition my hair, clean up my eyebrows, polish my nails, trim and shave, gaze at myself longingly in the mirror, and do a full body scrub. After I'm all done, I slather myself in oil and take a nap.
  • Deep conditioning your hair... apparently it helps to put a shower cap on and wrap a hot towel around your head on top of that. I can't say I've noticed any spectacular difference, but it sure does feel comforting.
  • For hyper pigmentation I can't recommend Makeup Artists Choice Peels enough – I like the Mandelic and Lactic Peels... the former for my face and the latter for my body. MSM and Turmeric also help, internally or externally.
  • Rolling scars, box scars, pitted scars can all benefit from MSM or Vitamin C applied topically. I saw improvement in my own skin in just a few days. JJLabs has a great 'high efficiency' serum that combines both ingredients as well as a host of other effective things. I ordered the 25% version because I'm intense, and it was only $18! Total lifesaver.
  • I steam my face sometimes before doing a mask. Nothing crazy, I just turn the coffee pot on with no coffee, pour the hot water into a bowl and hover over it with a towel over my head all the while inhaling the scent of java. Mmm. Five minutes is enough, or else I start getting claustrophobic and sweaty.
  • I put all of my toners in spray bottles to mist on my face when I'm hot, parched or in need of luxury.
  • Matter of fact, get yourself some nice bottles to put all your oils and toners in. It'll make you feel dangerously fancy.
  • Don't spend a ton of money on things that literally go down the drain, like cleansers. Spend the most money on things that stay on your skin, like treatments or moisturizers. 
  • Spend the most money in general on things that you want to look their best. For example I have super finicky skin so I don't mind dropping serious money on skincare as well as a gorgeous foundation. I'm typically running around the city for long stretches of time so I spend money on fragrances that last. Eyeshadow and lip stuff on the other hand? Who cares.
  • I LOVE hydration and exfoliation and masks. If you really want to keep it simple, do these three things and you will be A-OK.
  • Sometimes I take a break... I'll get of the shower, towel off, throw on a loose shirt and just let my skin and vagina breathe. It's important to have fresh air.
  • I don't sleep with jewelry on, hair ties, underwear or a bra - and you probably shouldn't either.
  • Figuring out I was allergic to so many products was BIG for me. Not only was I suffering from hormonal acne but then all the products I was using were exacerbating my skin condition!!! I was pissed! Whiteheads and tiny red spots, as well as large swathes of red or flaky skin are generally indicators of irritation. Pay attention to this, and compare and contrast ingredients to pinpoint your triggers.
  • I enjoy being brunette and would never dye my hair red, black or blonde, but I have found that Revlon's Colorsilk Luminista "vibrant color for dark hair" takes my hair to a light chocolate-y color, that's as accurate as the shade on the box.
  • Baby wipes. If you don't think you need them, you're wrong! I use them for everything, and that's not a lie.
  • This isn't a beauty tip, but I really adore these clear toothbrushes from Muji [as well as their plain bottles and organizational containers]. These toothbrushes are the only ones I use, and I buy them in bulk.
  • And lastly, I don't exercise at all [unless you count dancing in high heels for three hours at a nightclub, or walking around the city endlessly], but apparently health and fitness are important, so get into it or something. I may just be bored enough to try this aqua-cycle thing one day.

AND NOW FOR THE PRODUCT LIST! [This monster sized stash came from my relentless effort to find the best of the best... Products that worked and did what they promised... The search never ends, but I'm positive I have found a few contenders. Enjoy!]

JJ Labs High Efficiency 25% Vitamin C Serum - Immediately noticeable results
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum - similar to above but less potent
Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum - similar to below but less potent
Arcona Gentle Solution - clears out pores and smooths the skin
Arcona Night Breeze - calms down inflammation in hours
*Andalou Naturals Turmeric C Serum
*Andalou Naturals Willow Bark Serum
*Mychelle Vitamin A Serum

*Mychelle Clear Skin Serum


Argan Oil
Derma E Vitamin E Cream – this was a lifesaver this past winter
Derma E Hyaluronic Serum – to layer over products that don't mix well with oils
100% Pure Argan SPF - just perfect
Derma E hyaluronic spray – I like to use this to 'set' my makeup.
Mad Hippie Antioxidant Oil – this blend is impressive with argan and sea buckthorn
Evian Face Mist – because, summer
Yuli Skincare Modern Alchemist Oil – golden, earthy smelling, makes me feel rich
Egyptian Magic – for when I want the magic of honey
Tamanu/Argan Oil Blend – acne fighting yet hydrating


Derma E Vitalizing Cleanser
Derma E Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub
May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt


Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil
*Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover
Simple Eye Makeup Remover – which I use all over my face
*Ponds Cold Cream [mint cap]


Makeup Artists Choice Mandelic Toner – CRACK! But strong, I dilute.
Thayers Alcohol Free Unscented Witch Hazel toner - gentle
Fig + Yarrow Cleansing Nectar – fabulous ingredients, all natural, can't go wrong
Yuli Skincare Panacea Elixir – Refreshing and smells sweet
*Mario Badescu Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion – I spray this on my body


Makeup Artists Choice Micropolish
Cafe Bustelo Coffee grinds – THE BEST FOR FACE AND BODY!
Tatcha Polished Deep Enzyme Powder


May Lindstrom The Honey Mud – delectable is the only way to describe it
Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Glycolic – you can feel this gentle mask working
Andalou Naturals Fruit Enzyme – smells amazing and hydrates nicely
Eminence Eight Greens Phyto Mask – the best for quick bouncy skin
C Booth Oxygen Peel Kit – this always leaves my skin refreshed, and it has a built in scrub
Derma E Fruit Enzyme Mask – great clay mask for when my skin is broken out
*NOW Foods Moroccan Red Clay Powder Mask
*REN Glycolic Mask
May Lindstrom The Problem Solver – INTENSE. I use this when I'm feeling brave.
Mario Badescu Whitening Mask
Mario Badescu Healing & Soothing Mask
Alba Botanica Papaya Enzyme Mask

Weleda Skin Food
Korres Guava Lotion
Nivea Hand Creme
Eucerin Calming Creme – my #1, just can't touch my face after!


Korres Jasmine lip butter – perfect overnight lip balm
Eos Vanilla stick – love the hydrating properties and subtle flavor
Mario Badescu lip balm – great for prepping your lips for color!
Dermstore Lip Quench Balm – great for winter
Hello Mello Uplight Avocado Mango lip butter – smells remarkable
Bodyceuticals Calendula Lip Balm
Eos Summer Fruit ball
Yuli Skincare lip conditioner – I use this in the mornings


Trader Joes Tea tree shampoo
Trader Joes Nourish Conditioner
Yes to Carrots pampering conditioner – light, great for fine hair
Andalou Mandarin vanilla wash – smells like a creamsicle!
Giovanni D:tox Body Wash – doesn't irritate my skin
Aveeno Shave Cream with navy cap
Suave Clarifying Shampoo
Cetaphil Antibacterial Soap
Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Mask
Makeup Artists Choice Mandelic Acid Cleanser
Ecotools Body Brush – great for dry brushing


Skinmilk Body Cream – light and smells faintly of sweet cream
Now Foods Almond Oil – a medium weight oil

Now Foods Grapeseed Oil – a light oil
Derma E Vitamin E Body Lotion
Derma E Vitamin A & E Oil - great to apply over scars
Farmhouse Fresh Agave Nectar Oil - smells like cotton candy, I use it on my legs
Tree Hut Shea Brazil Nut Body Butter – smells like chocolate milk
Farmhouse Fresh Whoopie Cream Body Butter – smells like an ice cream sandwich
Kiehls Argan Body Lotion
The Body Shop Strawberry Body Butter


Makeup Artists Choice Mandelic acid cleanser
C booth glycolic toner
Arcona The solution pads
Makeup Artists Choice Mandelic serum
Arcona Brightening drops
C Booth AHA lotion
Mario Badescu Special Cleaning Lotion O


Cafe Bustelo Coffee Grinds
Trader Joes Trio
Giovanni Hot Chocolate Body Scrub


Toms of Maine Aluminum Free Deodorant
Fig + Yarrow Underarm Lotion


Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In
Curlz Creme Brulee
Bumble & Bumble Leave In Conditioner
Bumble & Bumble Grooming Creme
Bumble & Bumble Straight
Now Foods Grapeseed Oil
Infusium 23 Moisturologie – this is fantastic for taming hair sans product
Nexxus Gel
Nexxus Hairspray
Garnier Leave In Conditioning Cream
*Ouidad Climate Control Gel
*Garnier Straightening Balm
*Carols Daughter Black Vanilla Leave In Spray


Derma E Tea Tree Oil
Makeup Artists Choice 25% Mandelic Acid Peel
Makeup Artists Choice 65% Lactic Acid Peel
MD Skincare Alpha Beta Peels
Colloidal Silver Spray
Elta MD Spf 50
Duane Reade Spf 50
Burts Bees Baby Powder
Clarisonic Mia
*Johnsons Baby Oil Gel
*Osmosis Blemish Clarify
*Osmosis Catalyst Regenerate
*Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze


Tom Ford Noir De Noir – it smells like pure poison
Banana Republic Rosewood – sweet, evokes vanilla and champagne
Lady Gaga Fame – it smells like alcoholic poison
*Mark Jewel
Lolita Lempicka - licorice
Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess – this smells CLEAN but with incredible depth
Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Extreme - amazing

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Peche - amazinger
GAP The Artist – violet, clean, beautiful in an understated way

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black – a three note version of the above
Diesel Zero Plus Masculine – good. Period.
Jo Malone Rosewater & Vanilla – Turkish Delight in a bottle. I mix this with Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger.
Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber – smells like seltzer and a Thursday evening in London [I imagine]. I mix this with Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia.
Jo Malone Nectarine & Honey – self explanatory. I mix this with Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay.
Love & Toast Paper Flower – pretty, light, sweet, a very easy day fragrance
Pacsun Lilu – my bottle went sour, but in High School this was my signature clean and pretty scent.
*Kenzo Amour – smells like play-doh to me. This is kind of good. Sometimes.
Bath and Body Works Twilight Woods – a cheap version of BR's Rosewood.
Mark Berry Cranberry

*Nanette Lepore rollerball


Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation #8
Covergirl Natureluxe in 355 Suede – Discontinued :(
Becca Radiant Finish in Cafe
Tom Ford Stick in Caramel
Sonia Kashuk Tinted Moisturizer In Tan
Iman BB Cream in Sand Medium
Iman Stick In Sand Medium – this is thick so I use it as a spot concealer

Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer In Medium – use this for blemishes
Sonia Kashuk All Covered Up in Wheat 04 – this has a luminous look to it, I love using it around my eyes.


Mark Cameo Glow - Matte Flat Pink
Mark Good Glowing Chica - Peachy Glow
Mark Good Glowing Love Rush - Cherry
Tarte Exposed - Matte Nude
Tarte Blissful - Matte Grapefruit
Nars Seduction - Matte Wine
Nars Amour - Matte Peach
Nars Oasis - Clam Pink Sparkle
Nars Lovejoy - Pinky Brown Glow
Nars Outlaw - Rosy Gold Sheen
*Becca Guava Tint - Sheer Guava
Josie Maran - Bubblegum Pink


Various but mostly Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Pencils in a matte brown, a metallic gold and a metallic brown. I also have Origins eyeliner in Mulberry, great for hazel eyes.


Anything, but Korres Cherry Oil Lip Gloss and Fresh Lip Glosses are smooth not sticky, and they last.
And of course the YSL Glossy Lip Stains are worth the investment.


For some reason I can't respond to the comments :-/ so please e-mail me with any questions or requests. Or leave your email. Thank you!


  1. I'm interested in the REN mask, Mychelle Vit A serum and the Becca beach tint if you're serious about only wanting shipping fees covered! You're one of the few ITG top-shelfers that has oily skin (or did I interpret your interview incorrectly?) so I'm super excited to try some of your recommendations. Have you tried anything else from JJLabs or Fig + Yarrow? I'm so curious yet kind of wary of trying something that's marketed through etsy.

  2. I also sent you a message on the 5th of June that I am interested in the heel glaze also I noticed the Nanette L. rollerball. Thanks

  3. Hi Blue,
    Great Top Shelf - it was a joy to read. I love your product list and approach to beauty. If your a fan of acids, then I highly recommend Dr. Dennis Gross Extra Strength Pads. This product saved my skin and well-being. They are like Oxy Pads, but better and do not dry my skin out.
    My technique - get out of the shower, dry my face with a towel and use a little pressure for exfoliation and then rub the pad all over, using every drop of liquid on the pad. Also run it over my arms and chest. You wake up with nice clean skin. They are 86 dollars for a box of 30. For oily, acne-prone skin, that acts up as temperature and humidity kicks in - these are my life-saver - because your right, who has time to worry about calming the skin down. Have a great day! @Catseye0505

    1. "if you're a fan of acids..." (

  4. This is such great information, thanks for sharing! I use some of the products you recommend and am excited about trying other, like Makeup Artists Choice peels/acids and JJ Labs Vit C.

  5. I ordered thru MUA Choice the Rosehip Scar Cream for a small scar I have on my face. I have tried even scar cream from a plastic surgeon to no avail. This cream is a miracle product. My scar is almost gone. I also ordered a peel for dark spots on the body. That is working too. Thanks so much. I am glad I found your blog thru the Into The Gloss article.

  6. love your blog! know i'm late to the party but i found your article after researching how to balance my hormones and acne. me being as well a fellow accutane "unsuccessful" graduate. love your attitude on life! you are so positive and out going. just a quick question-how are the supplements still holding up with balancing your hormones?

  7. Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other
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  8. I love YÜLI Skincare and definitely can attest to their effectiveness. I'd also love to try Mad Hippie, Fig + Yarrow, Ecotools, and more from May Lindstrom.


Be succinct and keep it classy :)