The best pens, long lasting matte lipstick and acne treatment gel

From CB: I haven’t yet mentioned my favorite pens, these Pilot G-2 refillable pens. They’re not the cheapest but they’re affordable and they’re the best! They slide right over the paper. I make to-do lists and still take written notes and I don’t like using any other brand. I hate going to Walmart, the only store in my area that carries them, so I ordered them on Amazon. I have been getting a lot of staple products there, sometimes much cheaper than in the store. I’ve ordered trash bags and coffee filters from amazon too! Both were very competitively priced. Here are some more things Hecate and I are looking at or own.

Probiotics may help stem food cravings
From CB: It could be entirely psychological, but I’ve been trying to take one of these probiotics every morning and I notice that I’m not getting as hungry. Plus my skin seems to be looking better. I should take one at night when I snack too. We’ve featured these probiotics before, they have over 21,000 ratings and 4.3 stars on ReviewMeta. People say they work well and that you will want to start slow with them, just one at first, as they can upset your flora at first. One reviewer makes yogurt with these and another says they cured her eczema. “This has cleared up the eczema on my legs and face in just a month of taking 2-3 pills a day. I just purchased my second bottle and will definitely continue with this brand.” “I was having bad stomach problems and it vanished after two days of taking these regularly.” “While it will never be a cure for IBS-D, it has certainly helped me by reducing bloating and diarrhea.”

A breathable, microbial cloth mask that won’t make your glasses fog
From CB: My son and I still double mask, but the KN95 masks plus a cloth mask can make your face sweaty and they’re harder to breathe in. Now that we’re vaccinated and my son is back at school I think a cloth mask would work better for him. These masks fit close to your face with the popular flap design. They come in a two pack for $18 to $20. They have over 1,000 ratings, 4.4 stars and a B on Fakespot. Reviewers like how protected they feel and say they’re the only mask that does make their glasses fog up. “I’ve purchased 5 different mask styles. This has been the only one that doesn’t fog my glasses.” “The coRevival mask fits me well and is soft and comfortable. It doesn’t move when I’m talking.” Some people say the masks can be warm so you might want to keep that in mind.

A mini fridge that doubles as a warmer too
From CB: I have wanted a mini fridge for skincare for some time. This fridge from Crownful is just $40 for the pink version or $43 for black or green. It can be set to cool or warming modes and would be great for keeping food hot or cold for picnics and travel. It’s small but reviewers say it works well for their needs. It has over 3,200 ratings, 4.6 stars and a B on Fakespot. People say that it’s quiet and that it works well for skincare, drinks and food. “This is the perfect size for a small office or other small space. It is the cutest little fridge and the perfect size for a few drinks or a meal.” “Inside I can easily fit 4 large monster cans and a lunchables.” “It’s been 4 months since I purchased this little skincare fridge and it has really been put to use! I use it every single day.”

A skincare starter kit for just $15-$19
From CB: I love skincare sample kits because you can try a whole product line and they’re great for travel too. This kit by Andalou Naturals comes in several varieties, including sensitive, age defying and brightening. The sensitive is under $15 and the other varieties are all under $19. They have over 1,000 ratings, 4.4 stars and an A on Fakespot. Women say this is a great starter kit, that the products made their skin feel great and that there’s enough product to last at least a couple of weeks. “The sample sizes last a while, I’ve been using them daily for nearly a month and just ran out of the cream and moisturizer. These products aren’t greasy and don’t feel heavy on the face.” “I followed the regime in the starter kit and am very satisfied in overall skin texture, softening lines and evening skin tone.:

A popular acne treatment gel that really works
From Hecate: A friend recommended this acne gel to me, which was a ‘huh?’ moment because I had not been complaining about acne. It’s very popular on Amazon and it’s also pretty well priced for a face treatment. It’s made by Differin, with whom I am not familiar, but they are well reviewed. This gel comes in a .5 ounce bottle for $15 ($13 for Prime members this week) but you can save more if you want to sign up for their subscribe feature. It received 4.5 stars from almost 28,000 reviews and a B on Fakespot. People who bought it said it doesn’t work overnight, but the results last. And because of the concentration of this product, do not apply directly after washing your face. Wait 20 minutes. Most reviews say if you are patient, it will pay off, “Don’t be discouraged and stick it out to at least 12 weeks! My skin is the best I’ve seen it in a long time!!” One (very funny) reviewer says she’ll need a tan now that her skin is so clear, “My skin is clear, spotless, and still completely see through due to a lack of sunlight. I’m back to being drop dead hilarious and have all of 0 guys knocking at my door. Thanks Differin.” A few of the reviews also warn your skin will purge prior to cleaning up but push through it – that means the product is working.

Long lasting matte lipstick in fun colors for spring
From Hecate: If you haven’t noticed by now, I collect lip colors. It’s weird, given how rarely I actually wear lipstick. But there is something about buying a new lipstick or finding the perfect shade that fills some deep seated need. I love these lip gloss like applicators so I was attracted to this Maybelline matte lipstick that comes in a bunch of fun colors. Plus it’s their Super Stay formula hat really does last almost a full day. They are under $8 a tube and fit so well in your purse! Not only are they a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, these have over 44,000 reviews, with 4.4 stars and a B on Fakespot. All the reviewers compliment its staying power, “I put it on on the morning and if I don’t take it off before I go to bed, which I always do, it will still be there in the morning.” A couple suggest adding a little chapstick to keep it from streaking or getting gummy, “It feels moisturizing on my lips, I can add chapstick and it doesn’t get all streaky and gummy and it lasts forever.” Many went back and ordered several more colors.

A solar light to jazz up your outdoor space
From Hecate: Because I spent so much time looking at my yard in the past year, I keep thinking of things to add to it. My focus has been “things,” like wind sculptures or solar charms. The problem is I can’t find anything I know won’t bore me quickly. But then I saw these solar lanterns and I love them. We have a couple Moroccan lamps on our pergola and I think they will fit in with them. But I love the pattern they project once lit at night. It’s like a celestial mandala. We’ve had a lot of success with solar powered yard lights in the past so I have high hopes for these. A few customers have submitted personal photos in the reviews and they look really good! The brass lanterns come 1 for $28 or 2 for $46. They earned 4.3 stars out of 2,283 reviews and a B on Fakespot. One customer said hers were already charged when she unpacked them, “I loved that upon unboxing they were already charged so you can immediately test and experience the glow. I’ve already purchased two more.” Another said it lasted a long time, “If placed in the full sun, the light will last all night. If you hang this light close to the ground (less than one foot from the ground) it will make a beautiful pattern… Because the lantern is egg shaped, it creates a more beautiful light pattern on the ground.”




Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

30 Responses to “The best pens, long lasting matte lipstick and acne treatment gel”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. LadyMTL says:

    Back when I still had a dermatologist I was given a prescription for Differin gel, and I loved it. (I think it was in a stronger concentration, but still.) Alas for those of us in Canada it’s not available OTC so it can be hard to find…unless you have friends or family in the US who are able to send it to you. I don’t, or else I’d have a cabinet full of the stuff hahaha.

    • Margot says:

      Was just coming to say this. Oh, to be able to just order Differin online! Anyone know what the “risk” of this product is and why it would be OTC here?

      • DeadNotSleeping says:

        One of my besties recommended this when we were talking about skincare for our boys. Her dermatologist recommended it for her kid. He told her that it used to be prescription only, but is now OTC and to try start with using CeraVe face wash and then differin gel. My kiddo has started using it, but he just started and I also don’t think he’s great about doing it every night yet. But he’ll learn!

    • tatannelise says:

      It’s a retinoid, so I would guess not good to use while pregnant or breastfeeding? But it’s also anti-aging for that reason.

  2. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I highly recommend Differin Gel! I’m one of the lucky people who is 40 and still has acne here and there. I used to be a devotee of Proactiv, but it stopped working years ago. Also, I believe that Differin has some sort of anti-aging properties too but I can’t remember what exactly.

    Ever since y’all recommended the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink lipstick, I’ve used it instead of the Kylie liquid matte lipsticks. I truly believe Maybelline has the best liquid matte lipstick on the market. They have so many colors and great prices!

    • tealily says:

      I could never use Proactiv. I had a bad reaction and it made my face bright red and irritated. Differin is the best thing I’ve used on my sensitive skin, back when it was prescription only, and I tried everything!!

  3. ThEHufflepuffLizLemon says:

    I use the Maybelline 24 Hour. The Matte Ink is good, and I have a few of them, but I have about 15 shades of the 24 Hour-if you put it on and let it dry before you put the balm on, it will last ALL day and will not budge on your mask. They did a recent limited edition run of colors that are different shades of warm reds and browns and I bought every single one, shamelessly.
    Amazon Prime has them for around $7 and they’ll be on your doorstep in 48 hours, and you can return. :)

  4. Ahully1 says:

    Those *are* the best pens & I’ve been looking for acne gel (to peel melasma spots). Whoo hoo I’m going shopping today!!

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      They truly are the best pens! I’m a pen connoisseur, and these are the best I’ve ever come across.

  5. Chicken Tetrazzini! says:

    Just a heads up, according to the CDC, no need to double mask if you’re wearing a true KN95 mask. Paper surgical mask and cloth masks double the fun, but do not double up on an actual KN95. And yes, I triple checked this by googling before typing.

    “Do not combine a KN95 mask with any other masks. You should only use one KN95 mask at a time, and you should not use any type of second mask on top of or underneath a KN95 mask.” – per

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      True- I think because adding another on top may affect the seal it makes on skin.

  6. Emm says:

    I had no idea they made those pens refillable! I’ve been using the g-2 since I think at least the early aughts in college and they are the best pens.

  7. Bendy Windy says:

    Here to vouch for differin gel. It cleared my acne, faded dark spots, had me looking amazing. I need to start my routine again!

    • LarkspurLMM says:

      Differin is great!!! I started using it as a “retinol alternative” for aging skin!! I’m over 50 and use it like Retin-A. It think it has made a difference! I read somewhere that it has less icky side effects than Retin-A, but the same benefits and over the counter! CVS often has coupons :)

  8. Kelsey says:

    I definitely attest to the differin. I use it every other night for maintenance. I was going through a bout of hormonal acne (my skin rarely ever breaks out, even in my teen years, so it was very jarring to me) and differin shut it down with a quickness. It’s a product I definitely keep stocked, and I’m not one who has an in depth skin care routine (cleanser, toner, SFP moisturizer during the day is how basic I am). I use it as my Retin-A night product since I hit 30 and I’m trying to be a bit more proactive in anti-aging products.

    • RG says:

      I use Differin as my spot treatment for acne (lucky me that I still get breakouts in my 40’s!). Do you use it for your whole face though?

  9. CathyH says:

    I will definitely try the lipstick. I miss wearing it due to mask wearing and have been looking for one that won’t smudge under a mask.

    Also due to the pandemic, I never need to buy another pen. Anytime you sign in somewhere they let you keep the pen. I have so many it it ridiculous.

  10. tealily says:

    Tell me more about the fridge for skincare. What are you using it for?

    I personally haven’t had much luck with the Matte Ink lipstick. I really like the shades and coverage, but I found it peels off my lips in a weird, patchy way as the day wears on. Does anyone have any tips for preventing this?

    • Maxime duCamp says:

      I do not have a minifridge for skincare but my friend’s wealthy sister-in-law moved into a UWS NYC apartment that had a built-in small fridge in her master bathroom and I was envious.

      Some skincare items that would benefit from being in the fridge:
      Anything that degrades with heat and light such as Vit. C products
      Anything used to de-puff such as a jade roller, eye packs, eye masks, eye serums or oils with a rollerball applicator like Maya Chia eye achiever)
      Spray mists, gel masks, and/or aloe vera gel in the warm weather (I put my hydrosols, hyaluronic beauty mist, toners etc in the fridge in the late spring through early autumn for a nice cooling wakeup)

      I don’t have the counter space for a minifridge in my bathroom or the $$$ for an under-counter version so I have a dedicated skincare products shelf in my kitchen fridge, Pluis, I live in a studio apartment so it’s not very far from my kitchen to my bathroom.

  11. MaplePlains says:

    Seems like I’m the only one to have trouble with Differin… Was using a LaRoche Posay version that I got OTC while on vacay in the U.S. with good results, then switched to prescription Differin here in Canada and had major side effects: crazy acne, cracking and oozing skin, cysts that wouldn’t heal. Kept hoping it was part of the purge phase, but used it for the full 3 months and it didn’t improve. Still have areas of redness and scarring after being off it for 6 months. Of course this was happening during covid, so wasn’t able to see a derm or even my doctor about it due to restrictions at the time. It was a weird experience.

    • tealily says:

      Yikes! Sorry that happened to you. Just goes to show that skincare is SO individual. Differin is just about the only thing I haven’t had a reaction to. :(

    • hp says:

      I also had a horrible reaction to differin. I used it in college on my back and it was okay, but when I was using it on my face, I ended up in pain all the time. I decided to try it again this year for mask-ne and same result. I just can’t do it–I can’t get through the purge to the end because I end up with giant cysts.

      • MaplePlains says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience, @HP! I haven’t run into anyone else who had similar issues re: the cysts and reaction, and it’s kind of comforting to know it’s not just me.

  12. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    What’s a pen? 😋 Someone asked me recently to borrow a pen, and I’m pretty sure I looked like a deer in headlights. Did I still have pens in the normal place in my purse? I had no idea. Couldn’t remember the last time I used one which is kinda weird.

    I’ve been looking at some smallish coolers for my space to keep skincare, and whatever else handy. Thanks!

    I’m a lipstick hoarder myself. I’m always buying new formulas and relishing in old favorites. Plus I’ve always mixed and matched colors, textures and top coats whether gloss or shimmers. I have a few of these super stay matte colors, and the only way I can wear them is to add balms or something else to make it comfortable on my lips. I have found if you give it time to completely set, you might find that texture okay, but not for my super dry lips.

  13. TaraBest says:

    I’ve been using the probiotics for almost a year now and really like them. I feel like they help with my digestion and can keep bloating down. I haven’t used the Andalou kit, but have used a mask by them (that I got at Whole Foods) and really liked! Think I’ll have to give the kit a try too.

  14. Soupie says:

    Watching Kelly Clarkson show right now. Pilot pens are being featured. it’s the sponsor of the first segment.

  15. Watcher says:

    Thanks for the tip on the pens – I bought ‘em, always looking for good pens.

    Count me as another who has used Differin with good results. On my second bottle, just love that it’s OTC in the US now.

  16. Savu says:

    Just here to say that the Uniball Vision Elite pens are the greatest still being made today. (There was an older version of the same one I loved even more, I still have one working one that I’ve saved for special occasions.)