A+ in August: 9 beauty favorites and a big ol’ flop

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It’s time to say goodbye to the summer but not to the heat in the southern United States. It’s hard to think about fall when the thermometer is hovering near 95 and the humidity makes the air feel like a thick, steamy wool blanket. Still, this is my favorite time of year because it means football season has finally arrived. I can’t wait to be in the stands Thursday night when my University of South Carolina Gamecocks kick off against the University of North Carolina (known around these parts as the “other” Carolina).

I tried quite a few beauty products this month and for the most part my luck was good. Let’s get down to business and talk about what I liked best and what luxury product just didn’t cut it for me. First, the good:

  • Josie Maran Nirvana Hydrating Treatment Mist — Did I mention that it’s hot outside? This Josie Maran spritz features both Argan oil and coconut water, two products that nourish and brighten the skin. I use it multiple ways: after toning and before applying my serum to help my skin better absorb the product, at the end of my makeup routine to keep my skin from looking too powdery, and throughout the day to renew my complexion. It’s cooling and refreshing and the pump is perfect for spraying a fine mist.
  • Sephora Show Curl Eyelash Curler for Deep-Set Eyes — My eyes are steeply curved and I’d never found a curler that was able to capture the lashes around the bend (at the outer corner of my eye). What’s more, the shape of most curlers didn’t track my eyelids, resulting in lots of pinching. This curler is just perfect: It captures all of my lashes and gives them the perfect curl with no pain.
  • Dr Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiller Primer — This is a rediscovery for me. I’d moved on to other primers, thinking that newer was better. But after revisiting the Dr. Brandt version, I remembered why I thought it was so great. I alternate this with the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer. The Dr. Brandt contains silicone, so it hides pores and makes foundation glide on smoothly. The Too Faced product is more nourishing; I use it when my skin feels dry and dull.
  • Lorac Pro Metal Palette — Tiny but mighty! I love discreet lid glimmer and this palette does the trick. From bright gold to copper to rose gold, green and navy, it gives a bit of sheen to every eye look.
  • Dior Addict Fluid Shadow — This mirror-shine liquid can be used as a shadow or as an eyeliner. It’s super long-lasting and luxurious. For maximum shine, simply paint it on your lids and let it dry. For a less glossy look, blend it into your lids with a firm brush.
  • Glam Glow Thirsty Cleanse Daily Treatment Cleanser — This product goes onto the face like mud, then turns into a lightly foaming cleanser when water is added. It’s great for dry skin; it leaves it clean but not stripped. Ingredients include yellow clay and coconut water. (Again with the coconut water!) It has a pleasant smell that I can’t quite identify. Honey buns? Cinnamon toast? Something yummy from the bakery, for sure.
  • Sephora Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color — Liquid lipsticks are all the rage and I have quite the collection. I like them because they’re long-wearing, color-drenched and don’t require a lip liner. Some of them, though, can be quite drying. This product from Sephora is long-lasting and color-saturated, but there’s moisture there too. It’s great for those days when you want matte but not too matte.
  • Tom Ford Cream Cheek Color in Pink Sand — This blush is rich, long-wearing and the perfect shade of pink with peachy undertones. It provides a healthy, hydrated glow that looks like it comes from within. It’s from Ford’s limited-edition summer collection, so if you’re interested you should buy before it’s gone.
  • Quay Australia Fleur sunglasses — Quite a few of the top beauty bloggers have been sporting Quay (pronounced “key”) sunglasses, so I assume Quay’s PR department is working overtime. Nevertheless, I saw this model on the adorable YouTuber Kathleen Lights and had to have them. They’re affordable, well-crafted and unique. I really like them!

And now for the big flop: I want my skin to look brightened and slightly dewy on occasion. I sometimes have problems reaching that ideal without crossing over into greasy. I heard great things about Le Blanc De Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base (that’s a mouthful). However, this is simply one of those products that doesn’t work for me. Instead of illuminating, it leaves me looking dry and more wrinkly than I actually am. Darn it.

Bonus favorite: Summer is a slow time for television, so I often use it to catch up on shows I missed. Right now I’m completely hooked on “Hell on Wheels.” It’s about westward expansion in the U.S. shortly after the Civil War and centers around the lives of the men and women building the cross-country railroad. From Indian Wars to illness to debauchery and skullduggery (plus a hot, conflicted hero in Anson Mount), it’s got it all. I’m binge-watching on Netflix.

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