Christmas time… is here.

In November, historically, Sephora has its annual “Friends & Family” event. In recent years that’s meant a very few physical coupons for use in-store (“golden tickets”) and a widely published, infinitely reusable 20% off code online — the shot heard ’round the world. Hey, we’re all friends of Sephora.

That makes that week or two in November a great time to buy pricey skincare, treat yourself to some cosmetics, and, if you’re on the ball, secure a few gifts, too.

In preparation for the big event, I thought I’d share with you my wishlist — the stuff I really recommend — starting with the skin- and hair-care, the necessary but largely invisible backdrop to my makeup escapades.

1. Kinerase Cream (2.8 oz., $117)
Kinerase is pretty outrageously expensive, but it actually did erase the fine lines around my eyes and mouth, and I want to keep drinking the Kool-aid. (Read my original post about it.) If you’re weighing the face cream against one of the eye creams, consider this: the eye creams are cheaper in absolute terms ($59 for the Intensive Eye Cream, $75 for the Under Eye Rescue), but about twice as expensive per ounce. And you really don’t need a special eye cream for your under eye area — they contain the same active ingredient. Under Eye Rescue is supposed to have additional undereye-circle lightening properties. I found it no more effective than the Cream, but it did make my eyes water every time I used it.

2. Dior Hydraction Sorbet Creme (1 oz., $35)
Bar none, this is the most effective facial moisturizer I have ever used (that’s really saying something). I have “normal” (or normal/combo) skin, with a bit of dryness in my cheeks — Hydraction produces overnight results. The cream itself is light, cooling, and non-greasy, and it makes my skin feel awesome.

The scent of a product can be a deal-breaker, but I really like this one. The product is light blue… and if light blue were a smell, this would be it. This moisturizer comes in other versions: there’s a Sorbet Gel (which is lighter), there’s one with an SPF — I don’t like any of the others. The SPF in particular is greasy and heavy.

I feel like the price of this one is “not that bad,” particularly given that it comes from Dior. But I use it at night, and I would also use the Kinerase at night… does this mean I have to choose between them?

3. GHD Sea Spray for Matte Waves (5.1 oz., $24)
I discovered this stuff a few months ago on a stroll through Sephora. (Read the original review.) I’m still totally loving it. As I might have mentioned, I have fine, curly hair and I live in a really humid climate. This is the best product I’ve found for promoting curl and controlling frizz. I definitely need another bottle.

My application method has changed slightly, so I thought I’d share that with you: now I wash my hair, let it air dry most of the way, then flip upside down, spritz the underside 2-3 times, flip back up and spritz the top 2-3 times.

4. GHD Uplift Spray for Root Volume (5.1 oz., $24)
I love the Sea Spray so much, I also want to try the Root Lift. I think between these two products, all my hair woes will be solved. Then I will be “discovered” walking down the street, and will become the world’s shortest supermodel.

5. Laura Mercier Purifying Oil (6.7 oz., $40)
Okay, I smear a lot of makeup on myself. As a result, I’ve tried pretty much every makeup remover you can find in a department store (Lancome, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Shu Uemura, MAC… you name it). This one is the best.

Other people make cleanse-off oils (most famously MAC and Shu), but in a head-to-head comparison, Laura’s just performs better. It takes off everything (YSL Rouge Volupte, Armani Lip Wax, indelible liquid eyeliner) and is totally gentle. Whatever I’ve got on my arm, I make my way over the LM counter, apply one pump of Purifying Oil, rub it in, spritz it with water (this step seems the most important), and then a wipe with a tissue leaving my arm completely clean.

Oil cleansers are supposedly good even for oily skin, and won’t clog pores.

So… what’s on your list?

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9 Responses to “Christmas time… is here.”

  • Cunnington the Third. says:


    I love your blog and I just thought i’d comment since I check it everyday! As a fellow makeup addict (I’m on MUA as well) I really like how straight and concise your blog is.

    A lot of blogs have too much fluff and formatting which makes me avoid them, but I love how you’re just reviewing the products and keeping it simple. I’m going back to Texas this weekend, (I’m in school out of state) and i definitely want to pick up that GHD surf spray as I have similar hair type.

    Have a great weekend and keep up the good work!!

  • KarlaSugar says:

    >Thank you so much! :) I really hope you like the Sea Spray! *hugs*

    Stay safe during Texas-OU weekend!

  • Joey says:

    >I'm too embarrassed to post my F&F list. It's approaching $600. I'm limiting myself to $200 =) it's going to be mostly YSL, LM, and UD.

    I never buy staples during F&F, only lemmings – I don't mind paying full price for staples.

  • Elvira says:

    >I refuse to share my F&F list with anyone. That being said I hope not to go overboard this year as last year I spent $300! I jopin to keep it to an even $75 or $50! Yipes!

  • Valerie says:

    >So far just Shu cleansing oil and TF shadow insurance, but now I’m considering the LM oil instead…hmmmm.

  • Jackie says:

    >Question for you- do you use both the kinerase and dior as moisturizers, or is the kinerase only a treatment? Looking for a new moisturizer/treatment, and am considering both….

    Love your blog! Thanks!

  • KarlaSugar says:

    >Kinerase is supposed to do it all. When I ran out of my sample of Kinerase, I moved on to a sample of the Dior Hydraction and was amazed. So I am definitely tempted to get both, use the Dior on cheeks and use the Kinerase on undereyes, smile lines, etc.

  • MariahGem says:

    >So does anyone know when this F&F thing happens? O.O

  • KarlaSugar says:

    >Nobody knows ’til it happens!

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