Lists Recaps Reviews Interviews Explainers

Our best beauty finds for August 2018: The top skincare, hair and makeup products

We are ready to scrub off the summer dead skin and get into fall
We are ready to scrub off the summer dead skin and get into fall

Full disclosure: Monsters & Critics received free samples of the products mentioned in this article for review. However, the opinions expressed are independent and our own.

Not even going to mince words: Summer can suck it. This is that point before Labor Day when everyone around you is MIA and on vacation and you are stuck at work.

We are so ready for fall to come and cool everything down, that pumpkin spice flavored anything is already being eyeballed at the market.

July was a lost cause of intense heat in so many places. From all over Europe to the middle of Iowa, this was the first time I had to grapple with an actual heat rash in between the girls and that’s not pretty.

Luckily for me the Zincuta cream I told you about in June actually works. Amazingly well I might add.

Fear not, we have tried out some stellar new organic skin items and found some fun items to try out in your health, beauty and wellness regimens.  Plus some hot new colors to transition you from summer to fall.

The items we sampled boast organically sourced and safe ingredient decks, many of which are made with essential oils.

And then there was…

The product of the month


Our product of the month award goes to an unlikely winner: TUSHY. Yes, really. Because a clean booty is a foundation for feeling fresh, clean and beautiful. Don’t even.

Plus it was the funniest email I received all summer. I laughed, scoffed… then became a believer.

More than just a booty washer, this easy-to-install bidet makes your average American toilet a proper Euro booty spa.

We Americans are way behind – pun intended – the rest of the civilized world in that “where the sun doesn’t shine” bidet department. TUSHY also sells bamboo toilet paper and other interesting sustainable hygiene items.

Installation is easy. Just take off the toilet seat, connect hoses that come with bidet arm to water supply, reinstall toilet seat and hook on TUSHY to the seat and voila, use the knob to control the spritz from a gentle mist to the full-on power washer.  You can have the cleanest behind on your block for under $70.

Skin Care


All three types of DewPuff cleansing sponges
DewPuff will have your skin feel soft and exfoliated without abrasiveness

DewPuff is ultra inexpensive and a wonderful new way to scrub your face without scratching or stressing out your skin, while really feel like you exfoliated thoroughly. The feel of it is trippy.

Made from an Asian root vegetable fiber called ‘Konjac’, and water, the puff softens and has an almost gelatinous feel as you wet it to wash your face. Once it is fully softened you can use it over your eyes.

Those with dry skin or Rosacea will love it but its meant for all skin types, even acne prone skin.  There are three kinds of Dewpuff, the white (normal skin), black and Asian Clay puff.

The black puff has natural bamboo charcoal powder ingredient which provides extra bacteria-fighting power for problem skin. The clay puff has Asian yellow soil powder for extra cleaning too. Depuff works beautifully and even has a nifty loop to hang it dry. SRP is around $8.

Nassif MD Pure Hydration Gentle Cleanser

Dr. Nassif's Pure Hydration face cleanser
Clean your skin without drying it out with NassifMD Pure Hydration Gentle Cleanser

My first introduction to Botched! plastic surgeon Paul Nassif (read my interview with the Botched! doctors) was at a few Television Critics Association press tours. Dr. Nassif gifted the entire TCA body a jar of his amazing Nassif MD Detox Pads, which obliterate the top 20 layers of dead skin.

This augured well for trying the cleanser, packaged using my favorite hygienic pump delivery.  It has a fresh botanical scent that dissipates quickly, and has the right amount of foaming and gets all makeup off.

I used Nassif MD Pure Hydration Gentle Cleanser with my DewPuff (see above) for an extra scrubbing exfoliation. Followed by the Detox Pads. My skin feels like a smooth ice skating rink after the Zamboni hit it.  SRP $32.

The Good Chemist Serums: Radiance Repair, Clarity, Youth Boost, Renew Balm

All four of The Good Chemist serums arranged in a bowl of pink flowers
The Good Chemist has serums and balms for any skin situation

Serums are targeted lighter weight (normally) more potent doses of skin-saving ingredients than a standard cream or lotion. They also get in a bit deeper and can really transform skin with the right ingredient deck. They are usually ultra expensive too.  Not The Good Chemist scientifically targeted serums which all run $65 SRP and under.   Th workhorse skin changer is the renew serum ($55) which is a 1% retinol cream that resurfaces and helps thicken the skin layer, as it minimizes sun damage and fine lines.

Clarity is for more problem skin and has glycolic and salicylic acids mixed with Vitamins C & E plus Green tea leaf extract, cucumber, dog rose and seaweed to soothe with a Kaolin clay addition to absorb oil. That can be used day and night. Radiance Repair is for hyperpigmentation issues and is loaded with Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to keep skin moist and firm.

Youth Boost is for everyone – even oily skins – and is full of antioxidants, potent peptides, acai, goji, noni and mangosteen antioxidant fruits in a hyaluronic acid blend for a dewy glow and can be used anytime, especially when you feel dehydrated.

No nonsense serums that do specific jobs, created by M.I.T. scientist Linda Frueh whose personal interest in skincare netted these incredible products so you can keep your face in good stead. They are fantastic and a great value for what they offer in skin-saving benefits.

FACE atelier MELT

Faceatellier allows makeup junkies to customize the color and finish of their foundation
Faceatelier makes it possible to change foundation colors and finishes without buying a new bottle

Created by a woman, this line has dominated the makeup trailers and pro palettes for good reason. FACE atelier was designed to customize foundation finishes and colors on the fly, letting you lighten or darken any of their face makeups with the Zero Minus or Zero Plus Plus or any of the colored pigments.

The Pro line is available to regular clients and they supply many TV series in production. So for serious TV makeup and foundation that is designed to stay put for over 12 hours-you need a serious face cleanser to dissolve it.

Newbie skincare item MELT is a face cleaning oil that cuts through the heaviest makeup – even waterproof mascara – with a blend of five natural oils that come to work. Singer Kelly Clarkson raves about this stuff and trying a sample, I can see why. This is an excellent makeup remover. SRP $38.

Baylis & Harding England Ltd Ed Jojoba, Silk & Almond Oil Cream Hand Wash

Baylis & Harding handwash
Keep your hands silky with Baylis & Harding

You know what the English do very well? Make pretty to look at and wonderfully smelling soaps and body products. Baylis & Harding may not be as familiar to Americans as Crabtree & Evelyn, but it’s growing by leaps and bounds.

The assorted affordable hand washes and creams, especially the Jojoba, Silk & Almond Oil line are making devotees across the pond. it’s quite simply a very good quality handwash with a very nice scent, not overpowering and at under $3 for a large container, a total bargain.

Hydrating Manuka Mask – Airelle Skincare

Hydrating Manuka Mask in a jar
Mask your way to soft, hydrated skin

Airelle Hydrating Manuka Mask is a thick, creamy mask for dry skins, not combo or oily. I can see why people love it.

This product is easy to use. After your face is clean, apply a layer on areas you want to be covered for about 15 minutes then rinse off.

The sample used made my skin feel incredibly hydrated and supple, which is a huge plus if you live in a dry Western state as I do. In humid places like Florida, only the driest of skins would eat this up. The product has a distinct penetrating mask feel without any tightness and it is not for blemish prone skins.

The ingredient deck is loaded with botanicals like lavender and blueberry seed oil along with vitamins B5, C, and E, all important skin antioxidants that help with keeping skin looking smooth. This is a lovely and effective skincare item.

This super hydrating mask is specifically formulated for drier skins, rosacea, and eczema afflicted skin and those concerned with fine lines and wrinkles. It’s a bit costly at the SRP of $90/2 ounces. but if you use it once a week for a spa day, it will last awhile.


Mixed Chicks Slick Styling Tamer

Castor and coconut oils are whipped into a light pomade that breaks down fast and has an almost wet feel before drying. Mixed Chicks Slick Styling Tamer holds hair, all kinds, from faux hawks to curly wurlie and more coiled hair that needs flexible firm hold.

Gentle, clean smelling and packed in a convenient tub, it’s a smarter way to seal that bun, fine tune those edges or lift and edge that raised hawk. SRP $6. There are fun tutorials on YouTube to watch how to use this item too.


Palladio Press Rice Powder

Palladio pressed rice powder
Say goodbye to shine with Palladio pressed rice powder

A translucent and light as a feather way to be shine free, this cruelty-free line of cosmetics has always been a favorite for the fair and reasonable price point and the on-point colors and trend items that they make.

This item is a staple. A small but generous portion of pressed rice powder in a sturdy cardboard container (no plastic, yay!) Palladio Pressed Rice Powder is made with refined starch from rice, known as Oryza Sativa. It has two shades-translucent and natural- and is an excellent oil-absorber that feels weightless. SRP $8.

Palladio Rice Primer

This was made for the shiners. The oil producers whose natural oils sort of bust up their foundation prematurely. It happens more frequently in the hotter months too, but sometimes you need that extra bit of mattifying to keep things in place.

The key to Rice Primer is a sparing application. A light smear over a clean face is all that is needed, and allow to dry before any makeup is applied. It is loaded with botanicals too.

You can use the Rice Primer in spot areas like the t-zone or nose only. Less is more, but this does keep shine down.

Palladio Lip colors-Golden Orange, Petal Pink, Juniper

These $6.50 Herbal aloe-infused creamy Palladio colors are dramatic and as current as can be in the transition from summer to fall. Juniper is a deep red plum that is classic and bold, perfect for evening or statement lip looks.

Golden Orange is a hot red coral that veers more coral, the swatch photo isn’t corally enough in my opinion. A total retro nana shade that is hot right now:

Petal Pink is the classic daytime demure look. A soft Barbie sorority sister pink that is light bright and definitely is a dramatic pop of color even for the day:

For under $7 a tube-this lipstick is a steal and has many shades you can choose from in the Herbal line.

OPI Infinite Shine 3-step system in Bubble Bath, If You Persist, Cajun Shrimp, Princesses Rule and Turn On The Northern Lights

Okay, the job I really wanted to have was naming nail polishes and lipsticks, especially for OPI. These Infinite Shine 3-step system (up to 11 days of wear and gel-like shine) newbies are hot to cool, light to dark, demure to sexy and back again. The image above is If You Persist and it’s a cool mauve.

My favorite (as I have autumn on the brain) is the deep Turn On The Northern Lights, a sultry plummy brown purple with a faint gold metal underscore which you cannot make out in this photo but trust, it’s there:

The colors holding up the rear are Cajun Shrimp, an insanely nana bright coral, that is perfect if you are heading to the Bahamas:
Princesses Rule, a Barbie pink frosted number and Bubble Bath for those who like tepid barely there pinks with no frost. Meh.

Bubble Bath OPI Infinite Shine 2 nail enamel
This new powder pink shade is easy on the eyes but maybe too easy


Leave a Comment

Comments - Have Your Say

Leave a Reply