The Budget/Baller Series: Face Favorites (Notes on How I Keep My Face from Sliding Off after Years of Bad Behavior) & GIVEAWAY

ejlsansmakeup(no makeup via flourishinprogress on Instagram)

Like everything I touch, this series has devolved very quickly. I wanted to keep it classy and share my favorite products and ladylike tips, but then in my first post about Hood+Good Lips, I admitted that when my Tom Ford lipstick broke off and fell to the floor, I just mashed the stick back into the tube and continued to use it. In the Thugnificent Coif edition, I changed the name of the series from Dope Shit for (T)hugs to Budget/Baller because the original name reminded me of a dope dealer I recently met. One day, I want to live a life where no one I know is on parole, evading arrest, or incarcerated, and they will all be employed in fields that are unlikely to lead to the aforementioned possibilities. Maybe my dreams are too big. 

In this Face Favorites edition, I’m going to share exactly why I’m now so meticulous about skincare and none of the reasons are classy or ladylike.

A lot of people think I get some kind of “Asian genes boost.” These people have obviously never met my parents. Both sides of my family are riddled with poor genes and everything that goes along with it. I smoked on and off for 18 years (mostly on). I abused drugs for 9 years. I hate wearing sunscreen. I frequented tanning salons until my early 20’s. My diet is mostly hydrogenated fats and artificial coloring. I lost my Fitbit, so fuck exercise. And I certainly can’t depend on inner calm and peace for a healthy glow. I’m not even sure what those feel like.

I heavily depend on products in hopes of counteracting or reducing the visible effects of the damage I’ve caused. And since I rarely take pictures without any makeup, I decided to take one this morning. So you could see what I really look like.  I felt very self-conscious about it which is weird because my selfie habit on Instagram is pretty strong. Why all this sudden shyness? I don’t try to figure myself out anymore. It’s exhausting.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I forrealz use this shit and I forrealz like em.

bbffave1Original/Plain Organic Instant Oatmeal ($5ish for a box-I prefer boxes of individual packets over a large canister): I believe in exfoliation. And Jesus. The two aren’t related, but I’m not afraid to rep good skin AND the Lord. For the past 7 years, I’ve been using my Clarisonic brush as my staple and mixing in new products here and there. Last year, when my skin was too sensitive even for the Clarisonic, I started exfoliating with oatmeal. It seemed like a bullshit tip at first, but after using it 3x a week for a month, my face was noticeably calmer and less red.

Pour 1/4 of a packet into your hand and close your fist under a gentle flow of warm water in the sink for about 15 seconds. Take your fist out of the flow and mash the oatmeal in your hands, creating a paste. Add a little more water if it seems too thick to spread easily on your face. Wet your face and gently rub the oatmeal around the entire face (avoid the eye area), adding more water if needed. Rinse thoroughly and check to see if that shit got in your hair.

Note 1: Place a paper towel over the drain to catch the oatmeal. Note 2: I’m not recommending any particular brand. I just used the above picture because it was the clearest non-angled image I could find on Google. Most were fuzzy. I guess people don’t give a fuck about making oatmeal look good.

ReVive Les Yeux Presse ($185.00/0.5 oz.): I have fallen prey to katrillions of gimmicky face potions and wasted a shitload of money. I guess everyone has their own rules about how they will and will not spend their money. For me, my budget for a phone case is $3. I saw a pretty fly case at Target a while back. It was on sale for $18, and I walked around the store with it, but I eventually put it back. That ain’t me. I ain’t about that life.

I will, however, spend $185 on a 0.5 oz. eye cream. Every time I go to the ReVive counter to buy another Les Yeux Presse, the sales associates try to push a second eye cream, one that has “lasting reparative benefits.” LYP is a quick pick-me-up, and the bulk of its effects only last a few hours. But the effects are MAGICAL. Within a few minutes of applying it under my eye, fines lines are gone, darkness fades, and puffiness disappears.


KYPRIS Antioxidant Dew ($55/2 oz.) and
KYPRIS Beauty Elixir III- Prismatic Array ($150/2 oz.): Since my late teens, my skin has gradually become more sensitive, and for years, I had varying degrees of redness or peeling, coupled with bumps and rashes and breakouts. While I’m still excited about trying new products, I’m also cautious because I know that once my skin becomes irritated, it can sometimes takes weeks or even months to calm down. I heard about KYPRIS Beauty through my homie, Bennett, and because I’ve become somewhat adept at sorting through all the bullshit flowery language and checking ingredient lists for potential irritants, I spent time on their site before trying two of their products.

This shit is off the chain.

Travel is always the biggest test for my skin. Recirculated air on airplanes, time zone changes, restless sleep in strange beds…my skin looks horrible when I get home. The biggest benefit to the Dew coupled with Elixir III is the consistent glow/lack of irritation. I’ve had almost no peeling (my chin is always super dry) which makes makeup application so much easier.

Just before I started using these two KYPRIS products last year, I stocked up on 6 bottles of my favorite moisturizer during a rare promotion. Each 1 oz. bottle would last me, on average, a month, so I took advantage of the sale. I just gifted all 6 bottles to my mom. And in the time it would have taken me to go through 4 of those bottles, I’ve barely used half a bottle of the Antioxidant Dew.

I think it’s pretty baller that the entire line currently consists of only 3 serums and 3 elixirs. You know that shit is serious business.

Giveaway: KYPRIS Antioxidant Dew


I eventually connected with KYPRIS founder, Chase Polan, after becoming a huge fan of her products. Initially, I just wanted to give her a fist bump and rave about her line, but I found myself asking if she would be open to giving away a bottle of Antioxidant Dew ($55). Some people might hesitate before asking for things from people they’ve never met, but luckily, I’m not bogged down with nonsense like manners. Chase didn’t even hesitate before saying yes. She seems real gracious. If I hang out with her, will some of that rub off on me?

I was drawn to the Antioxidant Dew because it’s suitable for most skin types and meant to calm environmentally stressed and imbalanced skin. I just pat in four or five drops before I apply any of my other face products, and it’s really helped with hydration.

To enter: Leave a comment below with your best or most uncommon/unexpected beauty tip. Only comments left on this post will qualify. Giveaway entry period ends Monday, April 7, at 11:59 p.m. PT. I’ll pick a winner and announce it in next week’s post.

Holler at me: Flourish in Progress on Facebook, @flourishinprogress on Instagram, @ElizabethJLiu on Twitter
So much not-seen-on-this-blog stuff. An excellent way to waste time for absolutely free.

Commenting Guidelines:

Leave your thoughts below and I'll holler back at you with a response. PLEASE DO NOT POST LINKS TO PRODUCTS OR SITES within the body of your comments. I edit/delete them. If you'd like to link your comment back to your site, just sign up for a Disqus account. It's quick and easy. I promise.

  • MHarvi MHarvi

    I swear by coconut oil for my skin:)

  • Erica Orr

    I use A&D (yep the butt ointment!) as lip balm. I swear that shit works like magic – no chapped lips EVER and wrinkles from years of bad habits GONE. Disclaimer: it take a few days to get past the taste/smell, especially if you’ve had a kid!

    • CourtneyDawg

      Warnings: For External Use Only When Using This Product Do Not Get Into Eyes Stop Use and Ask A Doctor If Condition Worsens Symptoms Clear Up and Occur Again Within A Few Days. Do Not Use On Deep Or Puncture Wounds, Animal Bites, Serious Burns. Keep Out of Reach of Children. If Swallowed, Get Medical Help Or Contact A Poison Control Center Right Away

      • Erica Orr

        Thanks CourtneyDawg. I appreciate your concern however, I think perhaps they are referring to people who tend to eat the entire tube of stuff. Or maybe trying discourage moms from letting their kids use the tube as entertainment while changing dirty diapers. I think common sense needs to prevail here.

  • Jen d

    I use coconut oil in my hair. I mix it with dried rosemary and lavender, goop it on and massage it in, then put a plastic shower cap on and wrap a towel over it. After about an hour, or as long as I can stand it, I wash it out….with a boatload of shampoo… Leaves my hair soft and conditioned.

  • Tequila and cupcakes

    Best tip: always always wash your face. And the best mascara ever is glam noir colossal volume by maybelline. Do not buy water proof. It doesn’t smudge and that crap never comes off. Original. Glam. Black. You’ll have lashes for days. Do it now.

  • Candace

    My fave body scrub is brown sugar, raw sugar (if you like your exfoliaters a little grittier) and olive and/or almond oil. This stuff is the best. Start by putting sugar in a smaller plastic container. Add oil until you like the consistency. Snap the lid on and keep in the shower. (Without the lid it gets hard.). Your skin will be smooth, silky, and smell faintly delicious!

  • Rachel

    I can’t say I have any super unique beauty tips (I get 90% of my make-up tips from pinterest) but I always moisturize moisturize moisturize and prime before putting on foundation which results in a beautiful smooth finish. I too am cursed with super dry and peeling patches of skin on my face.

  • Karen

    When my skin in irritated, dry, or red, I cut some aloe from the aloe plant in my yard and put pieces of the fleshy part on my face. It totally soothes.

  • Heidi

    I randomly will use the inside of an orange peel to rub on my face to exfoliate. Smells great and really works!

  • Sasha Atrevida

    Combo the following for a smooth, radiant face:
    1. exfoliating cloth (the 80-grit sand paper-like ones from the asian market) once a week with your favorite face wash/scrub.
    2. vitamin C serum
    3. hair, skin, & nails supplement on the daily

    Rockin’ a 20-something face in my 30’s :)

  • Natasha B

    I do a honey-brown sugar-cinnamon face mask once a week. Mix up a lil bit of each, schmear it on your face, neck, chest, wherever, let it sit for like 15 min, shower off. Glowy smooth skin. And you smell like a delicious desert. Can’t beat it.
    I’ve had to lay off my Clarisonicpro this winter too, pregnancy hormones and ridiculous arctic winter are killing my skin. I basically drench myself in oil daily.

  • Caroline Alexander

    I have super oily skin, like can produce enough to fry chicken oily. One thing that helps to keep my makeup in place is Milk of Magnesia. Seriously, that stuff is better than anything I’ve tried — Urban Decay, Mac, etc etc.

  • Maya

    I use vaseline on my face before bed in the winter when my skin gets chapped from cold wind.

  • Bully B

    I stopped shampooing my hair years ago. Cleansing conditioner only. My short damaged hair went from a dry brittle mess, to long and gorgeous. Shampoo is evil, stop using it.

  • Lauryn H

    I use Vaseline on my dry, callused heels: a big glob of it on the the TLC-needed heels, seal with bandaids and socks on for a few hours or overnight. ;)

  • withinthatland

    Spending the money on a really good foundation/concealer has worked for my skin type, supermarket brands did me no favours re: acne. I love Bobbi Brown foundations.

  • Lisa La

    I use utter cream for my hands, feet, and dry spots on my face. Yes, utter cream… Utters as in cow utter cream. It’s actually marketed for really dry skinned people now. I have notoriously dry skin since moving to CA from the east coast. My body hates it here. I get really bad dry patches that flake and become really dis colored, it’s great. The utter cream helps, not meant for faces, but hey, desperate times… And if cows can use it on their sensitive parts, I think my face will manage. Utterly smooth, check it out.

  • Christie Scuka Lawrence

    Coconut oil for my face, hair and teeth. I look pretty good for my age, skin wise. Ass wise is another story.

  • MelissaL

    I don’t have a favorite….still searching. And I’m 46. Better find one soon before my shit turns to dust and falls off.

  • Brocka

    Ive done the oatmeal thing but usually put it in the bullet blender first to make it more of a powder, then it seems easier to spread around. BUT what works as the best at-home mocroderm is adding 1/2 tsp of baking soda to your cleanser in your palm. Exfoliate w/ this & youll have silk feeling skin, unbelievable. My skin is super sensitive too, easily reddened & broken out. I love Renee Rouleau products & a handful of other natural ones from Whole Foods. Love your candor, thanks

  • Misty

    Well, damn. I can’t think of anything different, but I’m reading all of these comments and might try a few of those. I’m pretty basic. The only thing that is a little different is that I use a cheap toothbrush on my eyelashes after applying mascara. It removes the excess and seperates any clumps.

  • Sarah

    Avacado in my hair… it calms down my frizz and smells good even after I wash it.

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    I have no beauty tips – my routine is washing my face in the shower and putting on some moisturizer with spf. :(

  • charisadee

    I dip a Q-Tip in a greasy lotion, like Aquaphor, and rub it around my nail beds before painting because I’m horrible at painting nails. The paint that winds up all around my nails can be easily scraped off with a cuticle pusher then. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Karen Urias

    I remove my makeup at night with coconut oil…..I also use it in my bath for soft skin!

  • cynthia

    cow brand baking soda as a face mask. don’t wash with soap. first wet face with water and just put a little in my palm with enough warm water (or cold if sunburnt – works fantastic to take out the burn quick) make a watery paste and smooth it over my face and neck (shoulders too sometimes). let dry for 20 mins and then rinse off and pat dry. redness gone, pores tightened, skin luminous. I am a redhead with super sensitive skin that often red and blotchy like. this is my standby at least 3 times a week.

  • theblahblahblahger

    The fact that you lost your Fitbit seriously cracked me up.
    Also, the oatmeal thing is super interesting…may have to try it, even though it does gross me out a little. ;)

  • Johi Kokjohn-Wagner

    I’m stressed AND unbalanced! Clearly I need the dew!
    My most unexpected beauty tip? Hmmmm…. lip gloss on my cuticles when they are really dry.
    It’s Colorado. They are always dry and I always have lip gloss in my purse.

  • Susan

    Bag balm — originally used for cows’ udders — Is the best hand moisturizer I have.

  • Stephanie T

    I wash my hair with only conditioner. I use the Suave Naturals Coconut or Ocean Breeze lines (less chemicals), coat my hair with conditioner from scalp to tips, put it under a shower cap for the rest of my shower, then rinse it out. It still removes grease and cleanses the hair but is much less harsh. It was the only “no shampoo” path that has worked for my scalp and I really love it.

  • Katie

    Fill sink with steaming hot water.
    Hover face over sink (do NOT dunk face in hot water).
    Put towel over your head to keep all steam under the towel and directly working on opening your pores.
    Hold hover stance for about 3 minutes.
    Pores should be open and ready for cleaning.
    Wash with your favorite cleanser.
    SPF 35 minimum on your face to avoid sun damage.

  • Nemismama

    Vaseline as an eye makeup remover. Wipes off with a tissue. Or hand lotion. Not scented! Any sort of liquid make up remover always irritated my eyes. Vaseline is the only thing I found that can work and it has seriously helped with the fine lines under my eyes. Not so much with the darkness for puffiness though. Lol

  • Me

    using instant oatmeal to exfoliate face, that is some shit!

  • Emily Trout

    Seriously, you hit the nail on the head with saying that you rely on these products. to counteract the effects of self-induced damage. I do the same. Every time I try something new I say a little prayer that it will turn “eh” into “fucking fabulous.” I’ll let you know if that shows up.
    In the mean time, my best beauty tip lies in the makeup department- every woman should own an eyebrow pencil. Period. Also, Bag Balm is great, but someone already mentioned that.

  • Marllette Owen

    coconut oil for everything! it’s a sister joke now that we recommend it for just about any lady complaint. and jokes aside, it probably will cure just about anything.
    side note, I have kypris midnight catalyst and LOVE IT. have wanted to try the antioxidant dew! :)

  • Kathy Kyzer

    Footlogic has a foot mousse that is fantastic on rough dry feeties!

  • Robyn Chilcoat

    I use baby wipes as make up remover towels and they work like a charm!

  • shuggilippo

    I used to get down on all of the stuffs and creams and lotions and whatever the fuck, then realized that one baby wipe over my super oily face/neck a few times a day (on no makeup days, natch) kept my complexion cleaner and normal status face oily.

  • Steph@DontChewGlass

    Uh…I use Carmex sometimes, if that counts? I am a lazy, cheap, dry-skinned hussy. So I guess it’s pretty clear who should win. (I’m talking about me, fyi.)

  • Heather

    Coconut oil! It is great for skin, lips, hair, and baking.

  • Melissa Lopez

    I like argan oil, or coconut oil on my face after I do a deep exfoliation. I also like Michael Todd black charcoal scrub. My face feels like a baby butt afterwards.

  • Lisa Burchell

    Coconut oil. Organic sugar. Lime juice and zest.
    Best shower body scrub ever

  • chelsie

    Ok well I know how I’m spending my weekend. I’m gonna have a whole mess of shit on my face and hair. Lots of interesting tips. My best one I think is olive oil in my hair before a shower. Good shit like extra virgin. My hair is dry and frizzy and the oil helps. Anyone got a good tip for dark circles?

  • Danielle Torno

    I’m not a big beauty product pro, i’m just too damn lazy…but I do like the Loreal Youth Code Pore Vanisher. It has a little tint to it, and it does make pores seem smaller..for a while at least. Plus it makes skin super soft.

  • Heather Smith-Mateo

    My two favorite products are It Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Anti-Aging Foundation Primer. Makes your skin feel baby soft and I swear when I go home at the end of the day my makeup looks as fresh as it did when i put it on. The other product I swear by is theEstée Lauder Lucidity Light-Diffusing Makeup Foundation. Silky, just the right amount of coverage and has just a hint of shimmer that reflects light and makes my skin look truly amazing. I have the MOST sensitive skin and neither of these products bothers me at all.

  • mommyonthespot

    I exfoliate with baking soda and sugar. Add a little water to make a paste. Rub. Rinse. Boom. Glowy skin.

  • Weanie

    I love coconut oil for just about any type of moisturizing: hair, face, and skin. I am also a fan of using a combination of jojoba, rosemary, and tea tree oil to stave off itchy, dry scalp. For unique…I use a lip balm stick to calm the dry areas around my nose…straight from the tube.

  • Elizabeth Bair

    Raw apple cider vinegar as a toner for the face. And I get dry, flaky eye lids so I put a little Vaseline on them at night to help.

  • Lori and Rebecca

    My best tip is to use collagen eye pads in the morning. (I’d rather use magical $185 eye cream, though.)

  • chris o

    Already hearing such great ideas here. My friend got me hooked on Neem powder. Mix it with a bit of water to turn to a paste and use as a gentle exfoliator/mask. Great bacteria killer and so many other uses!
    Ps-thanks for giving away these kick ass products because I sure as hell
    Couldn’t afford to buy em!!!

  • stacenator70

    I use coconut oil to which I’ve added frankincense oil, niaouli oil, ravensara oil, tamanu oil, lavender oil, and oregano oil. I make a jar up in advance so I’m not mixing all that everyday. I use it to remove my make up and as a moisturizer.

  • snowwhite 150

    Miracle Whip! It is amazing stuff! Just rub gently over your face and let it dry as long as you can handle it! You can start rubbing it in a circular motion and the dead skin that ROLLS OFF will shock the crap right out of you!! Gives you a smooth glowing complexion on a budget! Also, for those dark circles and bags under your eyes…Hemorrhoid cream!! Yessiree…works like a dream!!! :)

  • j-net

    So, I work at a place called Bio Elements (no, I’m not looking for a free plug for the place. That’s just part of the story). They make skin care products and give their employees free crap all the time. Told my boss that the only thing i used was rubbing alchol for my face (she about shit when she heard that) and she hooked me up big time. One of my favorite products (and they are all great [okay, maybe that was a small plug for the company]) is Flash Foam. I use it every morning to exfoliate and it’s great! My skin feels tighter and more firm (well, until gravity starts to win again and my face starts to sag like an old elephant after a weekend of shows at the circus). Anyway, you might look them up cuz they are always looking for celebratee (oh, fuck it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to spell that word for five minutes but you know what I mean) endosements and they might hook you up for free (my favorite word, by the way ;) )

  • Tressana Alouane

    I LOVE Ole Henriksen products (their spa massage is amazing). I adore their Black Current Complexion Oil which of course they’ve just discontinued!! I bought 4 online the day I heard the sad news. I also love their Apricot Cleanser which they discontinued but brought back. Hoping they do the same with my beloved oil. I have the most ridiculously sensitive skin so I need to love the ones I’m with!:)

  • Jen

    TIP: if your face starts to get irritated make sure you’re using a clean towel!

  • megan

    I also use baking soda as an exfoliator and it works super well except for that one time I overzealously scrubbed a little too hard. It’s super cheap and effective and my face feels baby soft as a 30 year old can possibly feel afterwards. Also, I loooove the amore pacific facial spray. The product itself feels nice but the money is the sprayer device! Most facial sprays just squirts and you find yourself flinching or clamping your eyes shut but this sprayer literally mists your face all over and I am lost in that moment and time.

  • Nadia

    I have developed really sensitive skin too over the years. So much so that even the expensive night creams from Lancôme and Shiseido would give me a painful burning sensation when I applied them on my face.
    But I’ve found 2 wonderful, natural and soothing alternatives in Argan oil and Marula oil. Both will leave your skin smooth and supple and won’t give you zits either.
    Another tip I have is: always always always moisturize your neck and your hands.

  • Chris R

    I use olive oil with a bit of table salt to exfoliate twice a week, and chap-stick (or other beeswax-based lip balm) as a fixative for brows after filling in, just swipe an old toothbrush or brow brush on the tube and my brows are set all day.

  • Carla

    I swear by organic face washes. That’s the ONLY organic stuff I use, but I’ve been on this trend for a few months and my face has never looked better. Pick me for the giveaway- I’m always in need of some help! :)

  • PKSquared

    Skip the expensive Smashbox Photo Finish primer and opt for Monistat’s Anti-Chafing Gel instead. The main ingredient is the same used in most of the high-end gel primers and it works like a charm. Seriously – save your chedda monies for something way more awesome than primers (boooorrrinnng!!). <3

  • Jennifer Folmar

    Skincaaare!!! :D

    I cleanse with Philosophy’s purity made simple, and moisturize with Embryolisse lait-creme. Good stuff. It took me a long time to convince myself that good skincare habits were worth it.

  • J-dubs

    For healthier hair and nails, I like to throw back a couple of prenatal Vitafusion gummy vitamins while the 16 year old at the register is judging me. No, that’s just a Winter belly bulge you see there, my friend.

  • Kim M.

    I load up on moisturizer – Cetaphil twice a day. It even goes on underneath my “regular” moisturizer before I put on my makeup.

  • mychell

    Sleep is the best thing for my skin

  • HappinessWherever

    You’re hilarious!!

    I’ve been eyeing the Clarisonic Opal lately- between that and the ReVive, my undereyes should look like a baby’s :)

  • Agnes

    I tried oatmeal a few times and liked the skin result, but cleaning up the sink was more work than I wanted to do, even with the pre-placed paper towel you recommended. Then it occurred to me that I could wash my face at the kitchen sink and rinse the oatmeal right down the garbage disposal! Thanks for the tip, and I hope that my tip is helpful in return.

  • Suzanne Roupas

    I suck at finding ANYTHING that removes eye makeup (really only mascara) without making me rub around my eyes and deal with racoon stripes. Tried it all. :( Anyhow, the skin around my eyes is SO fragile and as I approach 60, I want to tell all of you to take better care of your skin than you think you have to!!!!

  • Heather Tucker

    Coconut oil is my go-to for hair and skin care! I also use it when I bake.