Monsters and Critics’ best beauty finds for November 2016 officially ushers in the holiday season, and the drier and colder temperatures that wreak havoc on skin, hair and nails.
We found affordable to luxury items made for gifting to make someone feel special and also promote wellness and beauty from the inside out.
This month we found two new fragrances for men and women that are actually classics presented in new packaging, plus another brilliant supplement from Dr. Prudence Hall and affordable body care that’s paraben, sulfate and phthalate free to safely make skin look and feel its best.
Also we found some fantastic new makeup colors by Wander Beauty for fall.
The best new product of the month award goes to…Mad Hippie Advanced Skin Care, an assortment of serums and an eye cream that are incredibly effective while being 100 per cent vegan and safe with no animal testing.
The simple designs and graphics on the box may look artsy and fun, but inside are apothecary dropper bottles that have some top-notch serum skin-saving treatments.
We fell in love with the Vitamin C Serum, (SRP $33) loaded with [vitamin] B actives and Konjac Root, Ferulic and Hyaluronic Acid which traps hydration deep near the dermis level of the skin and helps discolored and aging skin look better almost overnight.
The amazing Vitamin A serum has exfoliating active ingredients that will turn over dull dry skin with new fresh cells for a clearer complexion and reduction in fine lines.
Coffee berry and alpha lipoic acid intensify skin-plumping retinyl retinoate which was shown in a 2010 study in the Journal of Dermatology to produce hyaluronic acid, naturally responsible for the skin’s youthful look, at a rate higher than that of prescription-based retinoic acid, the active form of vitamin A available via prescription.
This serum also has lipid barrier repair ingredient Phytoceramide, moisture repairing Sodium Hyaluronate, soothing and tightening Oat Beta Glucan, anti-inflammatory Alpha Lipoic Acid and soothing Coconut Oil in this ingredient deck. (SRP$32)
Lastly, we tried and loved the pump delivery Mad Hippie Eye Cream made with 15 active ingredients. Award winning formula with a hygienic dispersal of just the right amount, this is a terrific eye cream for all you eye cream junkies out there.
The ingredient deck is pure anti-aging hitlist of botanicals with Eyelis, a triple peptide formula that reduces the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Regu-age, a circulation aiding peptide complex that reduces dark circles and puffiness.
Matrixyl 3000 for collagen and elastin for a “lifting” effect. Firming peptide Haloxyl and soothing Chamomile Extract, antioxidant, collagen booster and skin tone evening Vitamin C and Pomegranate.
Wheat protein for firming and energizing skin tone evening. Vitamin B3 with healing Argan Oil, a natural healing agent. Plus puffiness fighter Buckwheat, antioxidant White Tea, lipid barrier repairing ceramides and Vitamin E for reduction of fine lines. Lightweight penetrates quickly and is a total steal at $24.99
Fragrance – Men and Women
Women: JOY Forever Set, Jean Patou Paris
Why we love it: This is a redone, lighter and more modern version of the classic Joy scent, one of the world’s most expensive perfumes. It is far less rose floral forward than classic JOY and yet still represents that House of Jean Patou‘s adoration for the high floral category of scents.
Classic and timeless, this is far more appealing to me than the original JOY which was the epitome of luxury perfume of another era.
JOY Forever is a decidedly modern floral representing a more updated, cleaner and lighter version.
The primary notes are “Patounade,” a Rose de May and Jasmine blend that is presented in a crisper, lighter way and is exclusive to these Parisian Jean Patou scents.
This exquisitely packaged set of JOY Forever duo contains a 2.5oz Eau de Parfum spray and 6.8oz Body Cream and it makes a lovely gift for someone special. I really fell in love with this scent. (SRP $190)
Men: Perry Ellis Aqua Extreme
All the things that make men’s quality scents so addictive are in this one. Perry Ellis Aqua Extreme is a clean, crisp modern blend of citrus, green and woodsy notes.
Clarifying top notes of bergamot and verbena yield to mid-notes of geranium absolute, blue lavender, and juniper.
The base notes are grounded in rich labdanum, tobacco leaf and milkwood for a clean but deeply masculine fresh scent. Fantastic newcomer! (SRP $60)
Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream – Pump delivery, 2.8 ounces
Why we love it: This Jojoba Company consistently turns out high-quality potent skin care that is designed for people with chemical sensitivities and who prefer a truly natural skincare ingredient deck that includes olive leaf extracts, Siberian ginseng and beta gluten for a long-acting protection.
Made in Australia with a family-run farm creating these organic base oils for their line, this is an effective and lightweight day cream, with the natural rose Marac oil scent that quickly dissipates.
Pump delivery, no harmful ingredients and made for men and women, this is an affordable and targeted everyday skin saver to try. Wonderful new item. (SRP $32.95)
Snowberry New Radiance Face Serum with CuPEP 1 ounce
Why we love it: The good stuff just keeps coming from down under, as this company Snowberry – based in New Zealand – uses the finest natural botanicals fortified with their proprietary blend called CuPEP, a copper and sodium hyaluronate blend that traps in moisture without weight on the skin.
This formula is so medically forward in the cosmeceuticals category that the 23rd World Congress of Dermatology in Canada had used this as the only serum presented as worthwhile to the convening doctors.
The feel of it is a gel, lightweight but deeply penetrating and for oily skins, may be all you need. The ingredient deck is pristine, free of all petrochemicals, volatile alcohols, sulfates, artificial coloring, parabens, silicones and glycols.
For what this does and how much quality is put into it, the price is very low. You must give it a try. Men will absolutely love this for a post-shave skin firmer and skin soother too. (SRP $36)
Epicuren Silk Radiance 3-in-1 Cleansing Oil 3 ounces
Why we love it: Epicuren Silk Radiance 3-in-1 is TSA approved size (3 ounces) and perfect for this time of year. Rich botanicals and oils that melt away makeup, and I prefer using this prior to washing my face to get everything off.
Caveat: Use sparingly, as a little really goes a long way. Made for normal to dry skins, oily skin will not appreciate this cleanser. Gentle and works beautifully with amazing ingredients, Epicuren is another high-quality skincare line that has fantastic items to try.
Pricier than the average cleanser but really a fabulous product if you want a skin-saving cleanser. (SRP $78)
Dermalogica PreCleanse 5.1 ounces
Why we love it: Dermalogica is a fragrance-free targeted and respected skincare line with a no-nonsense array of items that do the job.
This too is a cleansing oil that morphs into a milky cleanser with water that melts away layers of makeup and sebum (skin oils), made with botanicals like Borage oil, Kukui, and apricot oils. Loaded with even more skin-loving extracts, natural oils and herbal ingredients, this is meant to use before you wash your face and is for all skin types.
Bonus: it is a pump delivery, our favorite dispersal method that keeps your product from getting oxidized before it’s time. (SRP $40)
Van Der Hagen’s Shave Butter and Shave Soaps (3.5 ounces)
Why we love it: Van Der Hagen is a luxury shaving experience at WalMart pricing.
The ingredient deck for their tube of Shave Butter reads like a who’s who of butter and botanicals, plus glycerin to lock in moisture.
Van Der Hagen’s Shave Butter can be used by women too, but you guys who have never used a dense Cocoa, Shea and Mango butter cream to shave with simply need to get down on this item, and fast.
Residual cream can be rubbed in as a moisturizer! At an SRP of $6.99, and easily found in stores like Albertsons, HEB, WalMart, Publix and Walgreens, you need to stock up when they run sales on it.
Van Der Hagen Shave Soap is super cool and old school. You purists who use a beaver brush and who like your soap mug can select the bar soap version of this shave product.
These kettle made soaps are vegetable based and not tested on animals. 10% glycerin helps lock in moisture as this too has Cocoa, Shea and Mango butter in the formula. C
an be used as a super emollient bar soap in the tub or shower too. SRP is $4.99. Hello, stocking stuffers!
Tree Hut Shea Body Butters, Scrubs, and Shea Moisturizing Washes
Why we love it: This is in the “save” category: Tree Hut makes a superb and super affordable and found easily in drug stores like Target, CVS or in grocery stores like Albertsons or Safeway, this is a total stone cold steal for the money.
The fragrances are all made with botanical and natural ingredients and boast skin oils like Shea Butter, Almond oil, cocoa seed butter, plus honey, beeswax and Kukui nut oils.
From sugar scrubs to ultra luxurious body butters and silky skin washes, we love this stocking stuffer perfect skincare line and are addicted to the Brazilian Nut scented products especially. (SRP: Under $10 average)
HydroPeptide Firming Moisturizer Pump bottle, 6.76 ounces
Why we love it: This is in the “splurge” category: Hydropeptide has incredible facial serums so it is only fitting their moisturizers are top notch too.
This pump body lotion is perfect for using immediately after the shower and has a fresh grapefruit citrus scent that is natural and dissipates quickly.
It almost smells like Calyx, the Lauder Prescriptives grapefruit scent from the 1980s. This is a heady combo of peptides, Green Tea, Ceramide III, Hyaluronic Acid and loads of botanicals, and is quite pricey but well worth it in my opinion.
Your skin stays moist and firm feeling all day. One of the best body moisturizers I have ever tried. (SRP $96)
Wander Beauty new Wander Lust Powder Foundation, Carryon Lip and Cheek Gel and Eyes on the Fly Dual Cream Shadow and Eyeliner plus the new Wander Cushion sponge
Why we love it: Wander Beauty is an American success story. Lindsay Ellingson helped created these cruelty-free safe and versatile cosmetics out of a need to streamline and condense items for easier packing and daily usage.
Many of her items are two in one, such as the new eye and lip/cheek products.
Of note is their amazing new Eye on the Fly, (SRP $32) a dual neutral palette of colors item that lines and shadows eyes in a time-saving swivel up no sharpen delivery.
Their new Powder Foundation is silken to use and overall a fantastic new item too, with a great range of shades and a sheer to full coverage formula that is weightless and looks like your own skin when applied. (SRP $40)
Best new tool award goes to their latex free angled and brilliant little cushion applicator. Cleans up easily too.
I liked this one much better than the universally adored Beauty Blender sponge that is knocked off by so many inexpensive lines.
Much better shape in my opinion for application and blending. (SRP $12)
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Leave in Conditioning Mist in “drink it up” Coconut Milk, 8 ounces spray bottle
Why we love it: Alba Botanica is another easily found inexpensive line that is 100% cruelty-free and free from all the bad chemicals like phthalates, parabens, and sulfates.
This is intoxicating and delicious scented hair conditioner that weighs nothing and leaves hair shiny and soft.
With an SRP of $8.99, it can be found easily at many stores and is loaded with coconut milk, Argan oil, and fruit extracts that untangle hair and make it winter-proof so you don’t wind up with skier’s hair, which is sort of exactly like surfer’s hair, go figure.
Be hydrated and have luscious smelling hair. Love.
Bed Head Textrovert
Why we love it: This tool is a wild one. Want the “JBF” hair look? Texture and beachy waves without a contrived curl? Bingo. You can get it with the Textrovert (at Ulta) (SRP $29.99) minus the roll in the hay with this clever tool.
Caveat: You need to use the enclosed glove to keep from getting burned. And you really need to watch this video which helped me figure out how to use it properly, otherwise, you will be frustrated.
Bonus: Auto shut off if you space out and leave it on, plus multiple heat settings all the way to 400 degrees, so do wear that glove!
Revlon Pro Collection Love Your One Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer
Why we love it: This is an all in one oval hair dryer and styler that straightens, adds volume and smooths depending on how you use it.
Oval brush design does the magic as the curved side smoothes and the round edges add volume at the roots. Less time styling your hair means you have less damaged hair.
Comes with three heat settings and has a cool tip, plus ionic technology keeps hair from flying away. Lightweight, ceramic coating to protect, this baby has it all. (SRP $59.99)
HallCenter Body Software TeloMax dietary supplements (90 capsules)
Why we love it: HallCenter came on our radar last month when we fell in love with the Body Software Brilliant Brain. Dr. Prudence Hall, a practicing gynecologist is the founder of The Hall Center in Santa Monica, CA.
The good news is our brains are still firing on all pistons and we feel great. Now we have worked in their new TeloMax anti-aging supplement and really dig how alert and energetic we feel.
The ingredients are targeted to keep veins and arteries supple and slow down the aging process in the skin as well. TeloMax references telomeres, a cell structure that shortens and disintegrates as we age.
Using telomerase, an enzyme that prevents telomeres from shortening, Dr. Hall’s latest supplement (SRP $58) repairs cells and is designed to restore protein levels so you look and feel your best.