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GEMs of Beauty: You Never Know What You Need…Till You Need It

Want, need and must have conceptional drawing on the chalkboard

GEMs of Beauty:
You Never Know What You Need…
Till You Need It

Beauty writers and editors are given so many products to sample (and yes, I do test everything I write about) that sometimes the old maxim of less is more comes to mind. Not that I am complaining in the slightest about the fabulous things I get to try, but sometimes, the relentless hype and the packaging can get a little too distracting from the purpose and the ingredients, and I start to long for something truly unique and innovative.

Fortunately, when some new knock-my-beauty/fashion-socks-off items came winging my way recently, I decided the cure for this dreadful winter’s blahs and attendant dry skin, hair, and lips—are you slathering on the creams at night like you know you should, hmm?—was sitting on my desk. In fact, my mood that had been as grey as the slush outside instantly brightened, because these items are all things you wouldn’t think you need, till you try them. Take a look: 

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One of the drawbacks of living in NYC is the hardness of the water. Yes, it tastes great—so please stop buying bottled water that’s not only a rip-off but terrible for the environment—but the mineral content can leave your hair dull and blah and your skin the same. Enter this genius new product from T-3—it’s a showerhead you screw on over your existing one, and it uses copper, zinc, and calcium to filter out chlorine as well as tourmaline to create negative ions to balance the water’s pH. (Ask your kids what this means; chemistry is not exactly my strong suit—ha).  I was skeptical at first, but am now a convert—my naturally dry hair is shinier and my skin is softer. And my son loves it, too.

Buy it for $130 at

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To MAKE Your Own Luck



Speaking of hair, one of my favorite new items comes from Giovanni. They’ve invented the ideal product for those days when your hair is just flat and driving you crazy. Simply tear open one of the little packets, and smooth the towelettes–loaded with nutritious oils without being greasy in the slightest–over your hair. Bye-bye frizz, hello shine and smoothness. Even better, you can rub the leftover towelettes over your skin for instant hydration. These packets are so small you can throw them in your purse or desk drawer and still have all the room you need for the rest of your necessities. Available in Ultra-Sleek or Ultra-Moist.

Buy them for $6.99 at

Read more: A Journey Of Self-Discovery.. Happy Anniversary Natural Hair! (VIDEO)



Moms know all about circles. Circle time. Circle dances. Polka-dot circles. Dot-to-dot circles. Sugar cookie circles. Round circles where your perky butt used to be before you ate all your toddler’s sugar cookie circles. And, oh yes, those pesky under-eye circles that never seem to go away.

There are a gazillion under-eye products out there, and it’s hard to choose one that fits your budget—and actually works. You’re in luck with this great Repair Gel from Cleure, which not only helps to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, but does wonders to get rid of circles, age spots, and puffiness. It’s a lot more effective than the cucumber you tried last time.

Buy it for $25 at

Read more: Moms Must Read: 5 Books To Beat The Winter Blahs



One of the biggest beauty faux-pas you can make is to have your foundation color be lighter than the rest of your skin. Another is not to blend in your foundation or BB cream or CC cream so it ends up looking blotchy or fake. (This is also very aging—not what you need, right?)

Enter this nifty little sponge, made from a hypoallergenic non-latex polymer and available in pink or green, which fits perfectly in your hand. All you need to do is wet it with lukewarm water, squeeze out the excess water till it’s barely damp, the put a dab of your makeup on it. Use the wider end for most of your face, and the pointy end for the most tender and tough-to-reach places like the corners of your nose and mouth and under your eyes. Then rinse it out when you’re done and leave it to air-dry.

I love this tool, as it turns makeup time into playtime. Your skin will look polished and flawless (especially if you use one of the primers I wrote about last month first!). Buy a few for your kids to play with when they’re keeping you company in the bathroom, too.

Buy it for $5.99 at earth

Read more: Beauty From The Inside Out: Nourish Your Dry Winter Skin



Okay, okay, so these shoes aren’t exactly beauty items, but I like to think of them as the footwear equivalent of a great sunscreen. In other words, you need to take care of and protect your feet the way you protect your skin (I’ll be doing a column about fab foot products for the summer, soon). And when I saw these shoes—which come in all sorts of crazy and funky and fab prints while feeling like butter on your feet—I just had to get them. They’re so out there, they’re in. I mean, doesn’t it drive you crazy when you see a mom tottering down the street, babe in arms and sky-high heels a sprained ankle about to happen? So swear off the heels, ladies, and try these—specifically designed for women like teachers or nurses or wait-staff who tend to be on their feet all day–instead.

I asked Megan Gold, Alegria’s design director—and who’s on a mission to give women, especially moms, the option of wearing truly supportive and comfy shoes with a little bit of fashion zing—about them. “We’re introducing styles that have all the features and benefits of our Classic construction, but can be worn in all types of work environments, from the boardroom to the car pool,” she told me. “In fact, we recently got a letter retelling this incredible story of a mom falling out of the front seat of her SUV, catching her son who had escaped his car seat. She had the car in neutral instead of park, and the car rolled backwards. She was wearing our Palomas, and the outsole of her shoe wedged under the tire and stopped it! She unstrapped her shoe and escaped with only minor injuries! Incredible!”

Totally—because you don’t know how much you need comfy shoes till you really, really need them.

Buy them for $119.95 at

Read more: Monday Morning Motivation: Never Discount The Power Of Passion (VIDEO)



Since I just mentioned shoes, indulge me while I write about my favorite new article of clothing. If the Alegria shoes are the footwear equivalent of sunscreen, this onesie by ZOOOP is the clothing equivalent of the most luscious skin cream you’ve ever slathered on parched skin. It’s also a grownup version of your little one’s jammies—designed, as the company says, “for those who recognize the world is their playpen.”

This line is unisex (available in sizes XXXS-XXXXL—they run very large!), with 42 styles so you can coordinate yourself to your daughter’s sleepwear. I wear mine around the house, and it’s also handy for walking the dog when I’m too lazy to put on more clothes. The bold among you can style it up and channel those bad old days of 1970s jumpsuit fashions.

Buy it from $149-$249 at

Read more: Tales From A Twin Mom: 5 Tips To Help Potty Train Your Twins


Wouldn’t these products make your life and your beauty regimen so much easier? Would you use any of these products? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

karen moline

Karen Moline is the author of two novels, the recently reissued Lunch and Belladonna; coauthor of the bestseller, Sh*tty Mom; coauthor/ghostwriter of over two dozen nonfiction books, including the ever-fabulous Good Enough Mother; and a journalist whose work has appeared in publications around the world. See more at She lives with her son in NYC.

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