The last time I did a yearly favorites was for 2012. I skipped 2013 because I felt my list would have been mostly a repeat of the previous year. This year I tried some new things and luckily found some new gems to add to my collection.
Brushes and Tools
This year, I tried Mac Brush Cleanser because I was frustrated with the cheaper alternatives not cleaning my brushes well enough. This stuff cleans really well and leaves the bristles just perfectly conditioned. I was using some other brush cleansers from e.l.f. and Sephora and they were super drying and left my brushes looking frayed.
Some of my most loved eye brushes include a Mac 217 for applying color to my lids, a Sigma Tapered Blending E35 Brush for blending in and above my crease, and a Mac 239 for slightly more precision blending. When applying foundation I use a Sigma Round Kabuki F82 for blending out my foundation and then a Japonesque Stippling Brush for using with setting spray to smooth out my foundation even more. I like the small size and soft bristles of the e.l.f. Small Tapered Brush for applying powders and highlighters. For blush, I use a Mac 168, and for contouring I use a Sigma Small Contour F05 brush.
I also started using Tweezerman tweezers this year because I had some no-name brand ones that didn’t really work well so I decided to fork out the $20 and get a good pair finally. Other great tools I use frequently include a Tweezerman cuticle pusher, a glass nail file, and a cuticle trimmer I got from Sally’s Beauty Supply.
Trader Joe’s Spa Face Wash, The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion, and Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are some old favorites. I discovered Trader Joe’s Spa Facial Cleansing Pads this year because I had some really stubborn breakouts over the summer. The usual acne products with salicylic acid usually don’t clear acne up for me and they make my skin dry and flakey. This stuff cleared my face up and kept new breakouts from forming without irritating my skin.
I had been on the lookout for a new moisturizer for quite a while but nothing I bought for myself made me happy. I got this little sample of Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream one month from my Glossybox subscription and it was love at first application. Looking at the ingredients, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular but when I put it on, my skin felt so comforted and quenched. The last 2 winters here in Oregon have been exceedingly dry and my skin has gotten so dehydrated. This stuff gets me through that most days. On some of the worst days I will also use Josie Maran Argan Oil on top of the moisturizer as well.
(Side Note: Apparently I didn’t have enough coffee before I started taking photos this morning because I included one of the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments with my face products 😐 Please kindly ignore that!)
One product category I have a tendency to try new things in is face stuff. I love trying to find the best face products. I think because I have combination skin, I am constantly having to switch products to see what works best at the moment. When putting this part of the list together, I had sooo many things I wanted to add but ultimately I chose the ones I think I got the most use out of.
Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation and Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder work for me most of the year. They are pretty good at being forgiving as my combination skin changes through the seasons. The only time they don’t work for me is in the dead of winter when my skin gets super dry. Guerlain Meteorites Perles and my Hourglass Ambient Light Palette are some other favorites when I want something more illuminating.
For under eye concealer I haven’t found anything better than It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer. It never looks cakey and doesn’t make the skin around my eyes look dry. The coverage isn’t super full in my opinion but for me it works well. For concealing and correcting other parts of my face and blemishes, I mostly use Graftobian Hi-Def Glamour Creme Neutral Palette #1 and the Corrector Palette.
I am a blush fiend. I have a bad habit of buying similar shades in different formulas because it’s a lot like face products – I’m always trying to find the next best thing. These are the ones I most often reach for and that work as everyday colors and go with lots of different looks. As you can see, I gravitate towards peachy corals and rosy pinks. My top picks include the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette, Benefit Rockateur, and Butter London Honey Pie Cheeky Cream Blush.
When I first starting gathering my favorites, I completely left out lip products because I kind of have a love-hate relationship with them. For every 20 I try, I may only love 1. I guess I’m just really picky about the formula and color. After I started writing this post, though, it felt like it was missing something so I went ahead and decided to look through my lippie drawer and choose some things I tend to reach for. What I realized is that I have quite a few that I really enjoy:
- Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (the clear one)
- Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Coral
- Maybelline Color Sensational High Shine Glosses in Captivating Coral, Gleaming Grenadine, and Raspberry Ablaze
- Maybelline Color Elixir in Blush Essence
- Urban Decay Lip Junkie in Naked
- Too Faced Glamour Gloss in Sex Pot
- Revlon Colorstay Lacquer Balm in Provocateur
- Revlon Lip Butter in Cherry Tart
- NYX Butter Lipstick in Fireball
- Benefit Lipstick in Jing-a-Ling
- Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Lovelight
- YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in #8
Out of all of these, YSL Rouge Volute Shine in #8 is by far the one I wear most often. It’s one of those my-lips-but-better shades that adds a little bit of shine and color and is nearly maintenance free as it fades gracefully though the day. It’s super comfortable to wear too.
Everything on this list was a sure pick except the Lorac Pro Palette. I love this palette for sure, but I love so many palettes. This is the one that got the most mileage over the course of a year though so I felt it fit best. The most surprising thing was the NYX HD Eye Shadow Base. I never expected that it would work so well and be so cheap compared to other primers. Perhaps the most boring thing I included was the Covergirl LashBlast Length Mascara. I mention this one in almost every look I do but I haven’t found another one that is as reliable for me. There are some mascaras I’m okay with once I use up some of it and it dries out a little but this one works for me from the second I buy it to the second I throw it out. Lorac’s Front of the Line Pro Liquid Liner has also been very reliable – the applicator is so precise and the formula offers good color intensity.
These are also things I’ve mentioned before on this blog. Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe and Palladio Taupe Eyeliner are my go-to brow products mainly because the color matches me so well. Sometimes I’ll just use one or the other and sometimes I use them both together. I love the recent repackaging of the brow powder – so pretty.
So that’s all for my yearly favorites. One of my resolutions this year is to get out of my beauty rut and try more new products. I don’t want to get to the end of the year and realize that all my favorites are exactly the same! If you’ve got a yearly favorites, I’d love to see it. Sometimes, the best way to find new favorites is to get recommendations from others. Leave a comment with your list or a link below so I can check it out.