With New Year’s eve now behind us, it’s officially the time of year when “Best of 2013” beauty lists are inundating your blog feeds. It’s also the time of year when you accidentally put 2013 instead of 2014 every time you write the date and have to awkwardly macguyver a four out of a three. Fun times.
I decided against publishing monthly favorites for the last few months to build up excitement for the big finale. And by that I mean stepping up my blogging game is a major resolution for 2014. I hope you’ve all had an amazing holiday season filled with food, family, friends, and all the other nice things that start with F. Without further ado, here’s my roundup of the all-star products from 2013 – read on!
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup (Shade 1.0) – I really owe this product its own review. It is hands down the best foundation I have ever used and I would shed actual tears of sadness if it were ever discontinued. The formula is super lightweight with a buildable medium to full coverage and a demi-matte finish. The demi-matte finish is great for those of us with oily skin who run in fear from any foundation with the words “radiant” or “luminizing” but still want to look natural. The formula contains light-diffusing spheres that blur imperfections for a flawless finish, even without concealer. I like to apply this with a buffing brush for that little extra coverage. The foundation is available in 18 shades that are numbered according to undertone – which makes the painstaking process of choosing a foundation color that much easier.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends Translucent Oil Control Powder – If I had to pinpoint my longest running, most committed relationship to date, it would be with this powder. I found this gem during the dark and spot-filled years of puberty and have stayed loyal ever since. While I use Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder to actually set my makeup, I use Neutrogena to keep my face matte throughout the day. It’s not cakey, adds no additional coverage, and is the best shine-fighting powder I’ve ever used. Bonus – you can find it at any drugstore with a Neutrogena section.
Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée (Poppy Paradise) – 2013 was truly the year of the cream blush. Or in this case, gel blush. I picked this up a few months ago and am still head over heels. The blush’s texture is unlike any other makeup I’ve tried, it feels like smoothing cool water over your skin. It’s super pigmented and creates the most beautiful, natural flush that lasts all day. The packaging is also as streamlined as it gets, the little pot is super small and fits easily into a purse or travel makeup bag. If you’re into cream blush – you need to give this a try.
Benefit Fine One One – Another superstar of the year of cream blush. I had a rather intense love affair with Fine One One this summer and still whip it out when I need some help looking awake/alive – the consequence of being naturally pale during a polar vortex. Full review here.
Physicians Formula Solar Powder Bronzer (Light Bronzer) – I rediscovered this gem in my makeup stash this year. I consider this the unicorn of the bronzer world: matte, light, affordable, and with SPF. Do you know how challenging it is to find a bronzer when you are naturally “fair” and live in fear of all-over shimmer? Well the hunt is over – this is it. This is a particularly great bronzer during winter when the all-over bronzed look is harder to explain.
Too Faced eye shadow palettes (Matte Eye, Natural Eye, Boudoir Eyes) – I think of Too Faced eye palettes as the Cinderellas of the beauty world. You always hear about Urban Decay, MAC, STILA, and LORAC but rarely will Too Faced come up in a conversation about the best eye palettes. Well I have three of these babies – three! And I couldn’t be happier, the shadows are smooth, pigmented, and gorgeous. The packaging, while occasionally a wee bit tacky, isn’t bulky or fiddly. Too Faced has also taken much of the guess work out of creating an eye look, each palette comes with three pre-arranged looks: day, classic, and fashion. There’s even a little instruction manual tucked inside that details precisely where on your eye each shade should go. Easy peasy. The warm brown combination in the Matte Eye palette is my all-time favorite combo for a quick, easy smokey eye that works both day and night. The Boudoir palette is packed with gorgeous, subtly sexy shades and the Natural Eye collection offers beautiful, wearable neutrals in both light and dark shades. Great quality, great value, and a great option for anyone new to makeup.
Urban Decay Basics Palette – Confession time. This is the only Urban Decay palette I own. Shock, horror! I realize this is akin to a cardinal sin in the beauty world but I am a matte, neutral eye girl at heart and $50 seemed a lot to spend on a palette I wasn’t sure I’d use. But before you click away from my blog in outrage, I’ll let you know that I’ve decided to give in and pick up the original Naked palette. I am slowly but surely embracing all things shimmery and sparkly and, to be honest, I feel like a bit of a fraud without one. Anyway, I picked up the basics palette earlier this year (matte AND neutral – be still my heart!) and now couldn’t imagine life without it. From natural everyday to polished professional to bold but classic, this palette has it covered.
Clinique Almost Lipstick (Black Honey) – Don’t be alarmed, but I’m prepared to declare this my favorite lip product of all time. ALL TIME. Black honey looks downright intimidating in the tube but is the most gorgeous, sheer cranberry on the lips and, as far as I can tell, suits everyone. It glides on like lip balm, it’s not sticky or smudgy and can build from a sheer stain to an eye-catching lipstick. As someone who’s always shied away from bold lip color, this is the perfect way to work red lipstick into my makeup routine and I have LIVED in this over the holidays. Do yourself a favor and just get it. Go now, I’ll wait.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush – If by some chance you’ve yet to hear about Real Techniques makeup brushes, do yourself a favor and check them out. They’re not only incredible and super affordable but they’re also cruelty free. They also happen to be created by one of my all-time favorite YouTubers, Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo. The Expert Face Brush is my reigning favorite foundation brush, it buffs product into the skin to create a flawless, full coverage finish. Pair this with the Urban Decay foundation mentioned above and you are SET.
Joe Malone English Pear and Freesia Cologne – Oh, Jo Malone, so nice to my nose and so cruel to my wallet. Le sigh. This scent was my daily go-to this past spring and summer, it’s the most delicious, fruity, summery fragrance. Sometimes I would just stand in my room and smell it…and drool a little. One downside, other than the steep price tag, would be lack of staying power. I would need to touch this up throughout the day but this is still going to be a permanent fixture in my perfume line up.
Chloé Eau de Parfum – This little number was my most used perfume of fall and winter. The scent is feminine, sophisticated, and a little sexy with staying power that is out of this world. Since accurately describing fragrances is so tricky, I’ll let Sephora give you the low down:
“This fresh, smooth floral fragrance evokes sublime powdery rose. The effect is chic, comfortable, and entirely addictive.”
^ What they said.
Seche Vite – this top coat is super thick, super shiny, and super fast drying. What more could you possibly want?
Gatsby (Marc Jacobs) – A totally unique silvery pink chrome polish that’s crazy pigmented and will have strangers asking after your nail color.
In the Cab-Ana (Essie) – A gorgeous, eye-catching turquoise with warmer undertones than your typical blue shades. My most worn shade of the summer.
Read my Palm (Sephora by OPI) – This muted sage color somehow manages to be both sophisticated and, well, green. The formula is also a total winner too, lasted days on my nails with nary a chip. I can’t find it online but I still see it in stores if you’re interested!
Chinchilly (Essie) – The ultimate trendy neutral. My favorite toe nail shade of the year.
Gold Roses (Sally Hansen) – The perfect, perfect rose gold polish. Again, I can’t find a link but I tracked one down recently at a CVS!
Macadamia Hair Mask – This has to be my favorite hair mask. The thick, creamy formula leaves my hair feeling soft, smooth, hydrated and smelling ridiculous – all without weighing it down. I’ve never hear a bad word about this baby, apart from maybe the price tag, though I promise you it’s worth every penny.
Bumble & Bumble Dryspun Finish – 2013 was truly the year of texturizing sprays. Salt sprays are just so 2012, people. With naturally fine, straight hair, salt sprays never really worked for me so I embraced the new trend with open arms. The Dryspun Finish appears to be Bumble & Bumble’s answer to the wildly popular Oribe Texturizing Spray – same idea but with a lighter finish. I love this stuff. It’s super easy to use and gives my hair that little bit extra body without being heavy or crispy – the perfect way to wake up a tired ‘do after a long day.
Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial – This moisturizer is super gorgeous and never fails to make my face feel plumped and pampered. A luxury item that somehow became a staple. Full review here.
Soap & Glory The Righteous Body Butter – Good lord does this stuff smell good. I personally find the other Soap & Glory scents a little too sweet and intense (blasphemy!) but The Righteous Body Butter is in a class of its own. I generally don’t enjoy smelling like a fruit or any type of baked good which seems to be the theme with most body butters so this sophisticated, sexy fragrance was calling my name. The formula is moisturizing but lightweight and works into the skin quickly so you can dress immediately after application without that awful feeling of having your clothes sticking to your skin. This also layers beautifully with the Chloé Eau de Parfum mentioned above.
Body Shop Body Butter (Vitamin E) – I might be the last person to jump on the band wagon with these. I’ve been foaming at the mouth to try their Honey Body Butter but it’s been sold out everywhere. I finally gave in and picked up a different scent, Vitamin E (which isn’t technically a scent but let’s all just go with it). This stuff is phenomenal. The formula is creamy and smooth and sinks quickly into the skin yet leaves your skin feeling plumped and moisturized for hours. This has been an absolute lifesaver for me this winter (radiators – the most drying heat source in the world).
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm – 2013 was a big year for Emma Hardie. This balm seemingly ended up on the favorites lists of every blogger/vlogger/beauty guru I follow – and for good reason. The formula is absolutely gorgeous, smooth and luxurious, it takes off every trace of oil and makeup without being drying. An oil-based cleansing balm seems a counterintuitive choice for someone with naturally oily skin but just TRUST ME this baby is a gem. It’s revolutionized my skincare routine and I have a backup stashed away at all times.
Well that’s all, folks, all my best bits and bobs from the past year. Let me know some of your favorite products from 2013 – Santa oh so kindly left me a Sephora gift card in my stocking so recommendations are welcome! And for US readers living anywhere other than Florida or southern California, stay warm, friends!