Clark's Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Balm

I think that I may have just found the Holy Grail of lip balms: Clark's Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Balm ($19). It's not sticky, glossy or waxy. It has a gel-like consistency that glides on smoothly and enrobes your lips in a cushiony, healthy sheen. Jasmine extract in the formula emits the most beautiful smell.

Move over Chapstick, this is what I'd call an all-around classic lip balm. My lips go from feeling like raisins to plump juicy grapes after one swipe. And that packaging! Looks like a lucky charm, dontcha think?

RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up + Serge Lutens Cellophane Cils Mascara

I'm starting to adopt products that enhance what I have naturally rather than create artificial results, hence, I present to you my latest discoveries: RMS Beauty's Un Cover-up and Serge Lutens' Cellophane Cils Mascara. These are my two must-have products for looking like a fresher and more awake version of myself.

After doing some research on organic and natural beauty products, I've found that the ones by RMS Beauty are consistently given high ratings. Renowned makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift's beauty line uses raw, food grade ingredients in their natural state. This means that all of the enzymes, vitamins and healing properties stay intact which makes it even more appealing. I use the Un Cover-Up in #33 and dab it over my undereye circles. What I like about this product is that it also brightens up my eye area and the color seamlessly melts into my skin. It makes my skin look moisturized and slightly dewey–never cakey! I also love the little frosted glass pot container which fits perfectly into my bag.

As a forewarning, I must confess that Serge Lutens' Cellophane Cils Mascara is a bit of a splurge at $65 a pop, which explains why I've tried this mascara on numerous times at Violet Grey and Barneys but hadn't been able to bite the bullet and actually purchase it. When my boyfriend asked me what I wanted for Christmas this past year, I immediately answered: "This really, really amazing mascara by Serge Lutens!" He couldn't understand why I'd ask for a tube of mascara until he realized its price tag. How can I describe it? Well, it has a unique, sheer glossy black formula with tiny fibers that give your lashes length and definition, but not overtly so like all of the other dramatic mascaras on the market. Think about how your lashes look wet and pretty after you step out of the shower–that's the effect that this mascara gives you. I love that it doesn't look like you're wearing any mascara at all.

Here's a pic of me with both of them on:

If you ever come across either of these items, give them a try. They've definitely got the SGD stamp of approval!

The Road to Going Bare-Skinned

I've been trying to make an effort to be more au naturel in my daily beauty routine, especially since I now live in the mountains and our nearest neighbor is two miles away.  It's hard, though, because I'm not one of those girls who can roll out of bed and look gorgeous. I look horrible without makeup and I'll always be the first one to say it.

My complexion is your usual blah, uneven, combination skin situation. (I even started noticing freckles on my face, which might work on Pippi Longstocking but is not cute on me.) Foundation was my safety blanket and I used it every day in New York. I have made some progress, though. Since moving here, I've switched over to a tinted moisturizer, and, recently, I went full monty, so to speak. 

Amazingly, my skin has been under control lately and I think it's because I've found a skincare line that works with it: Joëlle Ciocco. I ordered the Secret Clear cleanser and Lacteal Lotion and noticed a difference immediately after using both products. My skin looks smoother and more even. It's adequately moisturized and doesn't get too oily. And there's this pearly glow that I've never had before! I was so amazed with these results that I didn't want to cover it up with tinted moisturizer. (Instead, I documented it with a selfie.)

This skincare line is pricey, I have to say. The Secret Clear is $105 and the Lacteal Lotion is $81. Maybe it's because I'm entering my thirties, but I'm willing to make a little investment to have fresh-looking skin. Maybe what it is with getting older is you have more confidence and knowledge on how to take care of your skin so you don't need to wear foundation all the time, which, incidentally, makes you feel... Younger.

Nars Belle de Jour Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

I've never liked the look of lip liner, but, ironically enough, Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Belle de Jour is my favorite one precisely because it gives the illusion of wearing no lip liner at all. It's a classic textbook "nude" color: beige with just a touch of a rosiness to it so that it doesn't look dead. After applying lip stain, I quickly outline my lips with this pencil and blend the edges with my fingertip for a softened and thoroughly modern effect. 

Men's Shampoo

I take my hair-washing very seriously. If I need to wash my hair, I will forgo plans. There are days where nothing beats a thick lather and that squeaky-clean feeling of clean hair. Living in the city, there's a lot of grit and grime and daily pollution that weighs down my hair, but I think I've found a good solution: men's shampoo. I currently have two in the rotation: (1) VitaMan's Volumising Shampoo, and (2) Redken for Men's Clean Brew, which features--guess what--beer as its secret ingredient. They both do an excellent job for deep cleanses, which I need once or twice a week. Yes, there's a slightly masculine fragrance, but not overly so. It's something that I don't mind it at all. Made for a man; strong enough for a woman, that's what I say!