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One of the things I love about being a woman is that it’s normal, even expected, that I sample as many beauty products as possible.

And beauty products, for me, are anything that make me feel pretty, or womanly.

This can include new makeup, or hair products. But it could also include treating myself to my favorite bottle of perfume (Michael, by Michael Kors), a new scented candle, or a pair of 400 thread-count bed linens.

Any of these things can make me feel beautiful. And what woman doesn't enjoy feeling beautiful?

What I've learned as I've aged (I’m now officially in my 30s) is that magazines and department stores are fabulous at introducing consumers to new products.

But they also have an agenda. They want to push a product. They want it to sell -- whether or not it’s economic, looks (smells) good, or even works. How annoying is that?

What I've also learned is that sometimes designer brands work better than generic brands. Sometimes they work the same, and sometimes they barely measure up. More expensive doesn't always equal better.

So I hope you’ll join me on this beauty adventure, as I sample and review a few products I think you’ll enjoy.

I have no agenda, no products to push. I'm just talking to you as one friend to another. So, let's talk beauty, ladies (and gents).

  1. SPA ORIGINAL DEAD SEA NIGHT CREAM:

I know what you’re thinking: night cream is for aging women. But I disagree. I've been using night cream since I was 21 years old, so for about ten years. A wise woman told me years ago, be proactive, not reactive with your skin as you age. Wear sunscreen, stay moisturized and if you must tan, spray it on. I employ all of these tips in my daily beauty regime. And so far, no wrinkles – thank the Lord. So I feel like an “old” pro with my night creams. What I like about this night cream is that its thick and evenly soaks into the skin. I wake up with dewy and moisturized skin that really feels like its been through a process of restructuring and toning while I was sleeping. It’s also not too expensive. I purchased this cream on clearance at the Victoria Mall TJ Maxx for $4.99, marked down from $14. I love it. I keep it on my nightstand and it’s the last thing I do before falling asleep.

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  1. MARIO BADESCU STRAWBERRY TONIC MASK

A girlfriend from Atlanta sent this to me a few months ago in a care package, but I only recently started using the mask. The directions say to use it about two to three times per week, but I use it once or twice a week since my skin tends to be more sensitive than other women. It smells wonderful, like a hint of fresh strawberries, but it’s not overwhelming. I was skeptical using this product at first because the consistency of the mask is a bit runny. But it dries within a few moments on the face (leave for about 20 minutes) and it washes off with ease. It also doesn't overly dry on your skin, which I enjoy and appreciate. My skin feels fresh and firm when I wash and pat dry my face. And most importantly, it feels clean and soft.

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What are your favorite beauty products this week?