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Bye Bye Birchbox: My Favorite Beauty Products Revealed

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Before I started working at Birchbox as a copywriter, I didn’t know what a serum was—let alone how to use one. Two years later, I’ve tested dozens of them, sniffed countless perfumes, and developed an addiction to bright lipstick in every hue. While my love of beauty will never waver, I’m moving on from my full-time job here to pursue an MFA in creative writing.

Though my budget in grad school will put me squarely in the Ramen bracket, I still plan to splurge on my favorite beauty products that I discovered through work. Here are the things I’m willing to go into credit card debt to buy:

FaceJuice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream

Alphabet creams are everywhere these days, and I cringe a little at all the loud, confusing hype around many of the products in this category. Juice Beauty’s organic CC cream, though, quietly fulfills its promises: evening out skin tone, moisturizing, and protecting skin with mineral SPF 30. I like its sheer finish and how it doesn’t cause my skin to break out.

Eyelinerblinc Eyeliner in Black

Most liquid liners misbehave by smudging or flaking off, but this waterproof version actually stays put. It takes time and patience to master the application technique—the brush is very thin and flexible, but I’m glad I put in the effort. Tip: I line my eyes with a pencil first to get the shape right, then add a layer of liquid liner.

SerumCaudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

I really like the way this serum smells (it’s a little fruity), and the silky consistency feels nice on my skin. Like all of Caudalie’s skincare products, it features a patented grape compound, but all you need to know is that it makes your face glowy.

MoisturizerAlgenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer

After an unfortunate run-in with Retin-A (it made my skin so dry and flaky I was afraid to go outside), I’m taking a break from retinoid products and seeking alternatives. I’ve always loved the concept behind Algenist—the company started off as a biotech firm looking for renewable energy sources—and their algae-derived active renews skin without any scary side effects. 

Shampoo and ConditionerFekkai Essential Shea Shampoo + Conditioner

I’m incredibly picky about my haircare products, so believe me when I say that this duo is one of the best out there. They’re formulated with shea butter to prevent frizz and fight brittleness. While I may never be able to afford a cut from Fekkai’s Fifth Avenue salon (unless I win the lottery, that is), using his products makes my hair feel and look extra luxe.

—Mai 

Intrigued by Mai’s product picks? Many of them have appeared in a Birchbox! Find out how to become a monthly subscriber here.

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