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Photo via @sadswim

My great love aside from design is anything and everything beauty related. From a very young age I was makeup and product obsessed. Sneaking into my mom's cabinet to use her hair mousse, going through my grandmother's purse to "borrow" her bright red lipstick, painting my nails with a delicate white line to emulate the French manicure I so longed for, walking up and down the makeup counters at the mall collecting every single perfume sample available- the list goes on and on.

One of my sisters' most vivid memories is playing beauty parlor with our salon set. I would sit them in the chair, use every product in my limited repertoire and convince them through painful hairstyles and uncomfortable makeup application that "pain is beauty".

Though that mantra has thankfully changed, my love for aesthetics has not! I still love to experiment equally as much and I love to share my recommendations when I find something that delivers results.

I'm hardly an expert but through lots of reading, research and trial & error I have developed a pretty solid routine and have really zeroed in on some standout products this past year.

I'm sure I am not the only one who delved further into "self-care" in 2020 as quarantine dragged on, salons remained closed and we were largely left to our own devices creating at home beauty regimens out of desperation, boredom but many times just for pleasure and comfort.

During that 'lock-down' time I started focusing more on my skincare routine and using quality products over quantity, experimenting with different makeup application techniques and how to get more with less and researching new innovative results-driven brands.

After the R&D phase in 2020, 2021 has been about fine-tuning, editing the plethora of products in my medicine cabinet and focusing on fewer better items that just truly work.

With that, here are my 'Top 10 Best in Beauty' that I have used and loved this past year. From dry shampoo to lip gloss every single product below has been a repeat purchase many times over:

This lipgloss is officially my favorite find of 2021. The clean makeup line from the SUJA Juice founder Annie Lawless is really a standout in the world of clean beauty. It is clean makeup line for the actual makeup lover.

This natural lip plumping and smoothing gloss does just that. Creating a filter effect by removing lines, lips are left with with a plumped up juicy shine that lasts. Daisy Pink is my go to color.

After watching several video tutorials and reading rave review of these brushes, I got the Elite Oval 7, the most popular item in the line which is a medium sized oval brush perfect for foundation application.

Not only are the brushes ergonomically designed for a comfortable and flawless application but the actual fibers do not absorb product like typical brushes so your makeup really does last longer.

Artis constantly has sales or promo codes and several months ago I purchased a few smaller brushes for 40% off.

I have used Crest White Strips on and off since high-school and most recently I would use them as a quick beauty boost for a trip, event, evening out or just a refresh.

However, there was always the dreaded ache and tooth sensitivity that would set in a few hours later. Enter Lumineux: the all natural, no sensitivity whitening strips. They actually work just as well as the non-natural version and there is zero sensitivity. I also like their online subscription packages and bundles that ship directly to your home making the whole process seamless.

This is without a doubt my favorite face product. I was introduced to the Skinbetter Science line through my incredible dermatologist, Dr. Rhee of Liora Dermatology here in New York.

All of the products in the line are purposely developed and backed by a team with decades of experience in scientific clinical research.

LINES actually takes care of lines. A hyaluronic acid serum that improves the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles and is worth every single penny. Think magic eraser but for the face.

I was given this hand-cream as a gift and put it away until the weather turned colder and my hands started constantly cracking and nothing else was working. I previously thought all hand creams were created equal and couldn't imagine splurging for a small designer version but alas, I am now a repeat customer.

This cream just works. The texture is incredible and it feels like it goes to work immediately relieving and repairing dry hands.

I never gave purple shampoo much thought as I always assumed that it was really meant for those with bleach blonde hair. Since I have warm brown hair with blonde highlights I didn't think it was a necessary staple. I tried several different brands over the years and never really liked the way they made my hair feel.

Enter the Olaplex Purple Shampoo. Recommended by my amazing stylist Elle at Paul Labreque Salon in New York, she assured me not only is this shampoo perfect for my shade but that the formula focuses on repair like all of the other Olaplex products. A perfect '2 for 1' situation.

I use it consistently either once every other week or once a week if my hair is looking extra brassy My hair is significantly softer, healthier and my highlights look brand new with each use.

Beauty Bio, the brand known for science-backed proven formulas and product innovations (like the extremely popular Glo-Pro micro-needling tool) recently released a newly formulated dry-shampoo that I knew would be a home-run.

The first starch-free dry shampoo that is actually good for your hair; the clear formula is so lightweight that upon application it immediately adds volume, softness and shine. It completely resets roots with a quick spray and I love that I can go longer between washes and do a quick refresh without having to worry about the heavy white residue that comes with other dry shampoos.

I kept seeing the Arrae bloat capsules pop-up on different wellness websites and ads and was always intrigued but it wasn't until I listened to a pod-cast with the founders that I immediately purchased a bottle. The Bloat Alchemy Capsules are a blended herb and fruit digestive enzyme with a powerful relief formula that works in under an hour.

I equally love the company and the product. Founded upon the principle of helping women feel their best, so they can be their best, their 100% natural supplements deliver real results with accurate dosing. These are such a game-changer especially around the indulgent holiday season.

My official favorite drug store find this year. This cream is actually magic. I use it after I have styled my hair to tame fly-aways or to add a little shine boost to second day hair.

I have used every salon serum, smoothing lotion & spray out there and I think this product is actually superior.

This makeup setting spray, appropriately named 'Soft Focus Spray' creates a smoothing, soft filter-like effect on a full face of makeup it really keeps everything in place from the morning until the night.

I also really appreciate the spray applicator functionality- it releases a super fine mist that you can barely feel on your face for perfect even coverage or a mid-day refresh.


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