Welcome to a brand new year! Before we dive into 2018 and explore all the new stuff coming our way, I’d like to take a look back at 2017 and go over what were the standouts from last year. This post is all about beauty (and haircare and skincare), which will be followed by two more Best of 2017 posts/videos, so be sure you’re subscribed to the blog and my YouTube channel so you don’t miss a thing! All right, let’s break these down into categories, starting with makeup in the order in which I apply it, then hair care and skincare.
While a tried out quite a few new foundations this year, three really stood out as favorites this last year, and one has been an ongoing favorite for some time now. I should start off by saying that I have dry skin, a bit sensitive, and I prefer foundations that add a “glow from within”, not exactly dewy or glittery. The first favorite is the Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Foundation. I love that they have a shade range that includes three different undertones-golden, rose, or neutral. I wear it in the shade N1 in the winter and N2 in the summer. It has a medium coverage, satiny finish, and it lasts a good 10 hours on my face. My next foundation pick is from the drugstore. It’s the Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation and I wear it in the shade 10 in winter and 15 or 20 in summer. Even though it’s a cushion foundation, I use a brush to apply it. I just dip my brush directly onto the cushion and then stipple/blend onto my face. The Maybelline Dream Cushion doesn’t have the best longevity for me-maybe 6-8 hours of wear time-but it does have the most beautiful satin/radiant finish. I look well-rested and almost radiant, but not shiny. If you find that you’re running out of product, just reach into the compact and flip the sponge over. It’s almost like a brand new package after that! My last pick is not new to 2017, but it’s my most-worn foundation of the year. It’s the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream, and I could write a whole blog post just about this foundation. First of all, it’s not really a CC cream. It really wears like a medium to full coverage foundation. I wear it in the shade Fair in winter and Light in summer, it is so moisturizing and leaves my skin looking absolutely perfect. The coverage is so great that I almost don’t need to wear concealer! And the added SPF 50 makes this a winner all year round. Finally, I love mixing it with other foundation that I find are lacking in one way or another-it makes other foundations behave so well! I need to also mention my two favorite tools I use to apply foundation, and they’re both from It Cosmetics. The first is the It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Flat Top Buffing Foundation Brush. The only negative thing I have to say about it is that the name is too long! It gives a beautiful, smooth application to any liquid foundation. The other is exclusive to Ulta and it’s the Airbrush Complexion Perfection Brush. It’s a little bit softer than the first one, has an angled head and is half the price, so if you can only get one I’d recommend this one.
I use concealer for two different purposes-one to brighten my undereye area and one to cover blemishes. For undereyes, the standout is the Urban Decay All Nighter Concealer. I wear it in the shade Fair Neutral. If you want something that has the coverage of the Tarte Shape Tape but is a little lighter in how it goes on, you’ll like this. For the record-I ALWAYS apply Mac Prep+Prime Highlighter Pen in Radiant Rose under ALL my undereye concealers to cancel out any darkness I have under my eyes. For blemishes, I have two that I like for 2017. My all-time favorite since December of 2016 is the Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer in the shade Ivory. It’s a stick concealer that covers so beautifully, blends so well, AND stays put, especially in humidity. If I’m wanting a more traditional liquid concealer that is a bit heavier, I reach for the Lancome Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer. Don’t let the name fool you-it works GREAT on blemishes too!!
This is a bit of a cheater category because I threw a few random picks in here. The only powder I’m recommending for 2017 is the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Pressed Powder. It is the most finely milled powder, so much so that it feels like nothing yet makes my skin look airbrushed (hence the name). It also doesn’t hurt that the packaging is just gorgeous!! The next 2017 Favorite just really didn’t fit anywhere, so I stuck it here. It’s the NYX 3 Steps to Sculpt in the shade Fair. This multi-use product can be used on the face and as eyeshadow. It’s a great all-in-one product that has been very much used this year. And finally, this next one sort of functions as a finishing step, so I put it in the “powder” category. It’s the Makeup Forever Mist & Fix Setting Spray. I find that this really does a great job of setting my makeup and the delivery system is excellent-it squirts out a very fine mist that doesn’t leave me sticky. I’ve gone through two of the travel sizes so far, so now I just need to suck it up and buy the full-sized option!
For me, there’s only one. Everything else pales (ha, ha) in comparison. My favorite bronzer for 2017 is the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer. It’s not really a matte finish, but it’s not shiny at all-it’s actually the only satin bronzer I’ve ever seen. It applies evenly, and even though I’m heavy handed, I’ve never overdone it. On top of al that, it smells lovely. Just don’t grab it in the “light” shade unless you want to look like an Oompa Loompa.
I have two favorite highlighters, one from the drugstore and one from the department store, but they’re both very budget friendly. From the drugstore (ok, Walmart), it’s the Flower Beauty Shimmer & Strobe Highlighting Palette. This palette contains three of the most buttery soft, pigmented, in your face highlighters. This is not for those that are looking for subtle. It has a golden shade, a pink shade and a champagne shade. If you don’t already have this, you NEED to try it! The second pick for this category is any Jouer Powder Highlighter, although I’m partial to the shade Skinny Dip. If you like the Becca highlighters you’ll love these, and the price point is a LOT more budget friendly! Plus they have a bunch of color options.
The drugstore products carried this category. Again, Flower Beauty is putting out some great products, and their Flower Pot Blushes, primarily in Warm Hibiscus and Sweet Pea, are some of the best. Aside from the elegant packaging, the creaminess, pigmentation, wearability and blendability (that’s now a word) are better than most high-end blushes. If you’re looking for a drugstore dupe for Nars Orgasm, give Warm Hibiscus a try. If you’d prefer a matte pink, then Sweet Pea is for you. Another great brand that puts out dependable, fabulous products is Physicians Formula. I’m a huge fan of the Butter products, especially their blushes. I only have two out of the four, but I’d like to round out my collection soon. I currently have Natural Glow and Plum Rose, both of which are very subtle yet glowy. Neither of these shades are too pigmented, and you can’t go overboard with them. I can’t recommend the Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Blushes enough. Finally, even though it’s relatively new to me, I know I’m going to continue to use and love the Milani Color Harmony Blush Palettes. I have one in Berry Rays, but I’d really like to get them all! Again, these are soft, glowy, pastel type blushes. I definitely have a particular kind of blush that I like and I tend to stick with it!
EYE PRIMER & BROWS
I’m squeezing all three of my recommendations for these two categories into one for the sake of space. My all-time favorite eyeshadow primer is not fancy, it’s about $2 and it blows away the competitors. It’s the Wet n Wild Photofocus Eyeshadow Primer and it does everything I need it to do. It provides a smooth canvas for my eyeshadows while also covering up the veins and uneven skin tone on my lids. For brows, it’s a two-step process. First, I fill in my brows with the Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil in the shade 02. I have blonde hair but dark brows and this shade marries the two perfectly. Then I groom them into place (and lighten them a bit) with the NYX Brow Mascara in Blonde. It doesn’t leave my brows crunchy, washes out easily and yet it holds them in place all day.
I have three palettes to recommend, all drugstore, and then two stand alone products that are well worth the splurge. First is another pick from Flower Beauty, and it’s the Golden Natural Palette. This palette contains 10 warm, neutral/natural shades in a mix of shimmers and mattes. The shadows are buttery soft, pigmented, and blend nicely. If you’re more of a cool-toned shadow person, they have one of those, too! Then there’s the collaboration palette from BH Cosmetics-the BH x BubzBeauty palette. Again it’s a mix of shimmer and mattes, warm toned, neutral colors, with a few outliers thrown in. All of them are wearable shades and the palette is my go-to for traveling. The last palette is all matte-it will serve as a great companion piece to anything else you want to throw on your lids. It’s the Makeup Revolution Ultra Eye Contour palette and it’s a great dupe for both the Tarte Clay Shaping Palette and the Kat Von D Shade and Light palette, but at a much lower price point and more wearable (in my opinion) than the Tarte offering. From the department store, my most reached for eye product was the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre Longwear Cream Eyeshadow, specifically in the shade Convoitise. It adds the most beautiful pale gold sheen to the lids, and can be worn alone or on top of any eyeshadow primer (or under it for that matter). I can’t live without it and plan on picking up more shades in 2018. Finally, if you’ve always wanted to wear glitter eyeshadow but were afraid of the application process and the fall out, then give the Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadows a try. They are truly a grown-up’s version of glitter eyeshadow and are stunningly beautiful, yet SO easy to slap on!
I love brown eyeliner. That’s pretty much the only color I wear. So here are my three picks for best eyeliners of 2017. For the traditional, must be sharpened, true pencil, I have the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Eyeliner in Burgundy Suede, and the CoverGirl Queen Vivid Impact Eyeliner in Truffle. Besides having a ridiculously long name in common, they’re both creamy, glide on effortlessly, and are very long-wearing. My third pick is also in pencil form and also has a very long name, but it’s self-sharpening, meaning you just twist it up to get more product out. It’s a relative newcomer to my makeup game since I just started using it in December, but it’s quite an impressive little eyeliner and I can’t wait to explore other colors from this range. It’s the Marc Jacobs Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in Earth(quake). This eyeliner is essentially a gel eyeliner compressed into a pencil form, and truly different from any other formula I’ve tried. I have to include my favorite makeup pencil sharpener in this category-it’s also great for lipliners or any kind of makeup pencil. It’s the Urban Decay Grindhouse Sharpener, and at $10 with two different sized openings, you must have it. I’ve had mine for years and nothing else is as effective-plus it holds the shavings in place so there’s no mess!
The Givenchy Base Mascara Perfecto is really just a complicated way of saying Lash Primer, and this pale pink mascara primer is fantastic! It separates my lashes, thickens and defines my non-existent bottom lashes, and gives my favorite mascara something to cling to. Plus the packaging is adorable! The mascara that rose to the top for 2017 is the Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara. I want a mascara to give me longer, fuller, black lashes, and this one does all that without flaking, clumping, smudging, from the moment I open a new tube to 3 months later. I love it
Two brands stood out for me last year. One is an old fave and one I just started exploring this year. The first two offerings are from Estee Lauder. First is the Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Impulsive. It’s the most perfect, wearable everyday warm pink, and I’d say it’s a satin finish. I love the magnetic top-it will never pop off in your handbag! The next one is the Estee Lauder Pure Color Love Lipstick in the shade Crazy Beautiful. The name describes it perfectly-it’s another great everyday pink in a more muted, your lips but better shade, and the finish has a bit of gloss to it. The next two are both new to me this year and from Charlotte Tilbury. The first is the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Bitch Perfect, which is a warm, pinky-nude. The other is the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in Secret Salma, which I’d describe as a demi-matte muted everyday raspberry shade. I have it on in the picture above and in the video.
The main focus of my skincare in 2017 was to minimize occasional spots and to even out my complexion/skin tone. There were three new products that I added to my routine in 2017 that really helped with that. The first was the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream. I first started using it in January for a sponsored video and then it soon became a favorite. I immediately noticed an improvement in my skin tone, brightness, and less acne breakouts. I’m guessing that’s because of the retinol in it. I then added their Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment to my anti-acne arsenal. It’s like a little light wand that emits two different color lights to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria on a specific blemish. It really is a game changer! Toward the end of the year I added the SK-II Facial Essence. It’s not inexpensive (major understatement) but the changes to my skin are even easily apparent to my husband, who has now thought numerous times that I’m wearing foundation and concealer when I’m not! If you want to save some money, you can order it online from Costco if you’re a member. You’ll save $100!
This was the year I chopped off quite a bit of my hair and changed up the way I style it. There are two styling tools I can’t live without and I picked them both up in the last half of the year. The first was the T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand. It’s a wand base that comes with three interchangeable styling wands, plus you can buy more in different sizes, with or without a traditional clamp. I’m definitely going to buy more wands in 2018 so that when I travel, all I need to do is take the base and a few wands instead of two or three separate tools. The other tool is the Paul Mitchell Neuro Styling Iron, which was highly recommended by my hair stylist. It’s a flat iron that straightens my hair in one pass and leaves it so shiny and smooth. You HAVE to try it! The last product I absolutely loved in 2016, 2017, and will carry on into 2018 is the Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo. There will never be another dry shampoo for me. It gives volume to clean hair and actually soaks up the oil on dirty hair. And it smells amazing!
If you’d like to hear (and see) even more about everything I’ve mentioned in this Best of Beauty post, please have a look at the video, too!