I Spent $200 at Sephora: The 6 Products I Bought, Reviewed

January has brought with it many pleasures: permission to live in cozy sweaters, daily hot chocolates, snowball fights, and the chance to finally put my Sephora holiday gift cards to good use. (Note: I’ve discovered that saving gift cards for a rainy day in mid-January is a surefire way to banish any sign of winter blues.) With $200 at my fingertips, (thanks, Mom), I scoured Sephora for products that would help me adopt the beauty goals I have set for myself this year. From weekly nourishing hair masks and long Sunday evening baths to sleeping more and finally using eye cream, these are the six products I have added to my beauty arsenal for the New Year ahead.

Face Mask

This year I’m adamantly giving my skin some extra TLC with a twice-weekly face mask. I had been extra keen to try Tatcha’s radiance mask since it’s been highly touted among the editors here at Byrdie HQ. It didn’t disappoint. Packed with two types of Vitamin C–one that instantly brightens the skin and promotes natural collagen and one that continually brightens skin over time while protecting it from UV rays. Admittedly, my skin looked instantly brighter after the first use and garnered glowing compliments for the rest of the day. Moreover, the mask contains Tatcha’s signature trio of Japanese antiaging superfoods—green tea, rice, and algae—which helps restore a more youthful appearance. One more bonus: It has a pleasant, iridescent pale purple hue, which makes it subtle enough to help you avoid any awkward delivery encounters.

Dry Brush

I have finally acknowledged how beneficial regular dry brushing can be. Not only does it sweep away dead skin cells–making skin look brighter and smoother–but it also supports digestion and helps stimulate the body’s circulation and lymphatic systems. Oh, and you feel ridiculously revitalized after doing it. Which is why this year, I’m going to stick to this exfoliation method at least three times a week before my morning shower. Sephora’s Dry Revive Body Brush is firm but flexible enough to contour the body and is made with natural boar hair bristles, which are a much better option than synthetic bristles (they can be too harsh on the skin). Using it feels invigorating, and I already see a much smoother appearance of my skin, especially on the back thigh area where I have struggled with cellulite.

Deep Conditioner

No more lackluster split ends this year. I vouch to give my hair as much attention as I do my face, which means a deep conditioning hair mask is a must. I’m absolutely head over heels with Brigeo’s repair mask. Once a week, I massage the mask into my hair after shampooing and leave for five to 10 minutes. (For deeper hydration, cover your hair with a plastic shower cap and apply direct heat with your dryer for 20 minutes then rinse.) My hair undeniably looks and feels healthier, shinier, and more hydrated. Packed with natural ingredients, including B vitamins, rosehip oil, argan oil, collagen, and silk, I say this is a must-try for anyone looking to restore moisture and shine.

Bath Oil

On Sunday nights, one hour of my time is now reserved for a long and luxurious bath. Not only does it inspire a deep level of relaxation, but soaking also allows ample time for me to indulge my skin with soothing body scrubs and hydrating bath oils such as Ren Skincare bath oil. The sweet rose scent of this oil is exquisite and transports me to a calming place. After using just a small amount in the tub, my skin feels soft, supple, and hydrated, proving that bath oils are perfect for remedying dry skin while you bathe. (If you don’t have a bathtub, read on how to get the beauty benefits of a bath without actually taking one.)

Eye Cream

You have 100% permission to call me lazy because up until now, I have used an eye cream so infrequently that it’s embarrassing. (Especially for someone who has recently hit her 30s and knows a thing or two about vexing dark circles.) Welcome to my beauty cabinet, eye cream. I seriously don’t know how I ever lived without this. The lightweight formula is brightening, hydrating, and makes me look more awake in as little as five seconds. However, in terms of visibly improving my dark circles and targeting lines and wrinkles, it didn’t quite hit the mark. Incorporating a more concentrated eye cream into my daily routine would be a much wiser investment for my panda eyes. (I tried La Mer Eye Concentrate over the holidays and it’s pretty incredible. Okay, its price tag is a little hard to stomach, but in the long run, it will serve as a more valuable daily treatment.) I'll keep Clinique's more affordable option in my back pocket when I need an instant pick-me-up.

Beauty Sleep

I technically went $3 over my $200 credit, but it was worth it for supplements from HUM Nutrition. On certain weeks where I can’t seem to get in enough z’s, I take this melatonin supplement, which helps promote a more restful night’s sleep. Because we all know how beneficial seven to nine hours can be to our body and minds. It must be said that on nights when my mind is in overdrive I'm still unable to drift off straight away even after taking the supplement, but my sleep is definitely longer and more restful on calmer nights.