We live in a world where information is fucking EV.ER.Y.WHERE… Which is amazing and also quite paralyzing. These days, most of us default to what we’re seeing coming through our social media feeds, because:

  1. It’s easy

  2. Influencer marketing


It’s incredibly convenient (maybe a little too convenient) for us to discover what we’re looking for, but the problem is… how do we know which brands are actually credible? I mean is SugarBear Hair actually that legit? Most of the time, I take the information I’ve collected and ask friends for their opinions. Sometimes they’ve heard of the product, and sometimes (due to having my own curated + personalized experience on social media) they have no clue what I’m talking about.

Then there’s influencer marketing… I think it’s crazy (+ kind of cool) that people have found a career out of being able to vouch for something they’d (hopefully) use IRL. However, this too is hard to fully trust, because it’s totally… #sponsored. Which again, is great for the companies + influencers, but what about the actual consumers? How do I know I have the best option?


The funny thing is, despite all of the success these brands have had in specifically targeting us (and not to discredit the fact that it’s nice being able to discover brands we otherwise would know nothing about), our numero uno way of validating a purchase is through personal referrals. I know this because I’m a business owner. Personal reference is hands down our biggest source of business. It’s the sure fire way to get me (and basically all of my friends) to actually invest in a product or service. My theory (that not everyone (brands included) might not be aware of) is the fact that THE PEOPLE… the actual CONSUMERS have the real power of influence.

My friend (one of the most creative party planning geniuses I’ve ever known) threw a little get together last December with our friends. The concept was absolutely fantastic, and while I’m sure there are people executing ideas like this all over, I couldn’t help but wonder WHY we aren’t continuously sharing information with one another more openly + more often.

The concept: “A Few of My Favorite Things” Party

  • What to Bring: 2 of your favorite [beauty + skincare: aka insert theme here] items (along with some beverages to share or a snack)

  • What You’ll Leave With: 2 new products and a whole list of new product recommendations

  • The premise: Everyone draws a number and the group proceeds with a snake draft style goodie grab

  • What I learned: I discovered over 20+ products that I was actually excited to use

  • Why it works: After the product grab was over, all 12 women sat around and literally loaded their Amazon carts with the products we weren’t able to get our hands on. I purchased almost every single item that was recommended RIGHT THERE.

  • Why it’s effective: After using these products, I’ve referred many friends… and they continue to refer their friends, and so on and so forth. #yourewelcome


I think it’s about time we made this concept a thing. Enter #CertifiedNEON aka a #NOTsponsored movement: Based on questions periodically asked on our social media channels, we’re more than happy share the information we collect with everyone. That way, people have the option to make purchases based on the credibility of our tight knit network. Our first edition on Beauty + Skincare is below. MOST of these items are cruelty free :) If you have any valuable information to share, please feel free to comment with reviews + recs!


1. PRODUCT: Kristin Ess Dry Finish working texture spray

  • USED FOR: Extra volume + texture

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: Gives hair and curls some separation and volume

2. PRODUCT: It's a 10! Miracle Leave In Product

  • USED FOR: Leave in conditioner spray

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: Gives hair volume and hair dries healthy, not greasy or weighed down

3. PRODUCT: Eco Tools Recycled Bath & Shower Gloves

  • USED FOR: Exfoliating skin

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: Helps prevent ingrown hairs and bikini bumps, keeps skin super soft

4. PRODUCT: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

  • USED FOR: Removing make up, including waterproof mascara

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: Non-greasy, works super fast (for all skin types)

5. PRODUCT: Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray

  • USED FOR: spray on after you finish your make up and before bed on a clean face

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: it smells so good and makes you feel fresh

6. PRODUCT: Lansinoh Lanolin

  • USED FOR: It’s nipple cream, but it’s great for your lips!

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: keeps lips super moisturized

7. PRODUCT: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

  • USED FOR: keeps skin looking good and feeling healthy (use AM/PM on a clean face)

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: it is water based and an all around good moisturizer

8. PRODUCT: Clinique Almost Lipstick in "Black Honey"

  • USED FOR: hiding wine stained lips

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: goes on sheer in a perfect purpley-red wine color

9. PRODUCT: Kocostar Lemon Sliced mask

  • USED FOR: rejuvenate face and make skin bright. Perfect to cleanse when your skin breaks out

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: it makes the skin feel brand new!

10. PRODUCT: Pacifica overnight mask "Wake up Beautiful"

  • USED FOR: overnight skin hydration. Put this on at night, leave on, and wake up with smooth skin

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: great for winter dryness and good for sensitive skin

11. Urban Organics Reusable facial rounds

  • USED FOR: make up remover pads

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: washable + good for the environment!

12. Dr. Bronner's Organic Lip Balm

  • USED FOR: moisturize lips

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: no harmful chemicals

13. Pauline Farace Flawless Face BB Cream and Sunscreen

  • USED FOR: Can be used as a primer or a light coverage cream

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: it is mattifying, adjusting tint and reduces redness. it absorbs oil and has SPF 50!

14. Pauline Farace Re-Joulevenate Cleanser

  • USED FOR: daily cleanser

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: great for all skin types, can also use as shower gel or to clean make up brushes. it has antioxidants, green tea and vitamin E. oh, and it’s paraben and cruelty free!

15. Native Deodorant

  • USED FOR: to not smell :)

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: smells great, natural & aluminum free


16. Jade Roller

  • USED FOR: de-puffing

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: can use with oil or serum, its very relaxing

17. Thayer's Witch Hazel "Rose Petal"

  • USED FOR: clean face, multiple times per day

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: smells awesome! great toner!

18. Insta Natural Vitamin C Serum

  • USED FOR: use after toner

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: it brightens the skin

19. Dr. Bronner's Organic Magic Balm in "Arnica-Menthol"

  • USED FOR: use on sore muscles (especially neck) or rub on chest when you are sick

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: instant relief, nice warm, tingly feeling

20. Acure cleansing gel & brightening scrub

  • USED FOR: use day and night

  • WHY WE LOVE IT: smells good, super gentle, love using the gel and scrub together

Allison SugaharaComment