I honestly do not know what happened to December. I feel like I just wrote my November Favorites post, but another whole month has passed! Between the Holiday festivities and baking my ass off, time has really flown past. But alas, here we are and I’m writing about yet another month of favorite beauty products. 🙂 I hope you’ve all had a wonderful month, a great Christmas, Hannukah, or whatever you may celebrate (if anything), and are having a fantastic start to the New Year. Whew! So crazy. But today’s topic at hand is the (mostly) beauty items I have loved the most throughout December. As always, let’s just get into it, shall we?

I don’t have a lot of makeup items this month, so let’s just start with the Kat von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in “Underage Red.” I’m not sure that there’s anything all that unique about this particular lipstick shade, but it’s just the perfect bright festive red. I find that it really brightens up my face without making me look washed out or screaming, “Hey, look at me! I’m a red lipstick.” Obviously it is a red lipstick, but it’s not my typical in-your-face type of red. As if that were not enough, it lasts wonderfully! It does transfer a bit in the beginning, but it stays on my lips pretty much undisturbed all day! It may fade a bit, but it fades so evenly that it isn’t really noticeable. It is a matte formula that is a touch drying, but it’s comfortable enough that I can wear it all day without issue. I feel I should reiterate that I’m talking about the “Studded Kiss Lipstick” here because there is also an Everlasting liquid lipstick in the same shade. I haven’t tried that one and judging from the other Kat von D liquid lipsticks that I have, I find the Studded Kiss formula a bit more comfortable and more flattering for my liney lips, though the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are still pretty good. Much love for the Kat von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in “Underage Red” because of the color and staying power. It’s just so perfect for the festive time of year! ?

Another cruelty free makeup favorite making the list this December is the Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner. Unlike most months when I have mentioned this insanely good eye pencil, I made the switch to the shade “Coffee” for December and it’s been my absolute must-have (and is currently in need of a good sharpen)! Just like the black, this eye liner is incredibly pigmented and just so soft and creamy without being a smeary mess. It stays put on the inner rim, though there is a bit of minimal transfer from the top waterline to the bottom. I really can’t think of a pencil that does much better at not transferring when put in the waterlines though so I don’t fault it for that. It also smudges out beautifully on the lash lines without losing its color integrity, and it lasts impressively. “Coffee” is (shockingly) a nice deep, dark brown. Definitely a bit softer than black, but still so rich in pigment. I really need more of these eye pencils! ? If I think long and hard about it, I think I would have to admit that the Ardency Inn Modster Eye Pencils are my all-time favorites! They just get everything right!

Finally on the makeup front I’m going to include a blush that I seem to be reaching for constantly. It’s a bit surprising because when you look at the color in the pan, it seems crazy! It is the NARS Blush in the shade “Exhibit A.” Yup. An incredibly bold, loud, bright, deep orange! ? I don’t know why, but I often seem drawn to what appears to be ridiculously intense blush shades. Since I am quite pale, you would think I must want to be a clown, but I feel like they are actually quite flattering! Obviously I need to use a light hand and I often will start out by brushing a bit of the powder onto my arm before applying it to my cheeks. When used sparingly, intense blushes like “Exhibit A” usually look quite beautiful against my pale skin. I have always been intrigued by “Exhibit A” and when NARS released their new NARSISSIST Unfiltered Cheek Palettes and I saw that the “Unfiltered I” included it, I bit the bullet and bought my first NARS cheek palette. I will admit that I haven’t ventured into the other shades much yet, but “Exhibit A” is every bit as pigmented and blendable as the single NARS blushes that I own. NARS really does do blush well! ?

Let’s move on to some incredible cruelty free skincare, shall we? There are two amazing products that I started using in December and, though I cannot tell you precisely which one is making the biggest difference in my skin, I can guess. My best guess? The Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. I ordered this during the Sephora VIB Sale and I am so glad that I did! It is pretty damn expensive, but I feel like it has made my skin look so much healthier. The effect is a hard thing to explain. I wouldn’t exactly say that my skin is “glowing,” though that’s kind of it. There’s just something that looks really fresh, youthful, healthy and happy. I had a sample of the mask before buying it and initially wasn’t terribly shocked by any results. However, after using it somewhat regularly, I have noticed the aforementioned healthiness as well as softness plus a reduction in the size of my pores! That may be due to the next product I have to mention, but then maybe not. Suddenly the congestion in my skin seems to be lessening as well, and I think the reason is probably this mask (the other option is the Foreo Mini or an act of God ?). The Resurfacing Mask is essentially a natural fruit acid exfoliator. I use a pretty small amount (good thing because the pot is pretty tiny, especially for $58!) and spread it over my entire face. I then just hang out with it on for about 30 minutes as recommended. When I wash it off, my skin feels nice and clean, soft and just looks and feels revived. Perhaps best of all, the results from the mask seem to last! I find a lot of masks will make a difference in my skin, but then by morning or the next evening, the results have disappeared. Not so with the Tata Harper! To be fair, I have been using it pretty much every other night (sometimes every 4th night with the Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask in between), but I just love the way my skin has been looking! Though my skin is still far from clear perfection, the general condition of my entire face looks drastically improved!

The other newcomer to my skin is another pricey addition, but it’s a great one! It is the Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner. I usually hate toners, but yet again I had a sample of this one. It’s not a watery liquid as I am accustomed to, but rather an almost thin gel-like consistency (and yes, it’s pale green). It is targeted at oilier skins and claims to actually reduce oiliness throughout the day. I can’t really think of anything that reduces the oiliniess of my skin throughout the day (it doesn’t start out oily, but it certainly ends up there when I’m wearing makeup in particular). Somehow this “toner” works miracles and manages to keep my oils at bay all day! It’s not at all drying, nor is it greasy. It’s very lightweight and it blends into the skin with complete and total ease and comfort. I typically just use one to one-and-a-half pumps (of the sample size) and apply to my face with my fingers. This is partly what sold me on the concept because I absolutely hate putting toners onto cotton pads before applying them to my face. And then of course I rarely feel that there’s much benefit. Sunday Riley’s Martian has changed all of that…and for the better! Like I mentioned when discussing the Tata Harper Mask, my pores are looking smaller and my skin is absolutely less oily from morning to night whether wearing makeup or braving it bare faced. I was a bit concerned that I would go through the toner quickly, but I’m actually still using the initial sample and have been through the whole of December! It’s a tiny little bottle, but it seems jam packed with this pore-minimizing, oil-busting miracle! ? If you’re battling oiliness and/or enlarged pores, I would definitely recommend giving the Sunday Riley Martian Toner a go…even if you hate or don’t use toners. It is well worth it!!!

Finally on the new skincare product front is an eye cream. I have a lot of issues with eye creams as they always claim the world, but really don’t appear to do a lot outside of moisturize…and often create a lot of horrid little bumps (millia) under my eyes. Well, enter the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream. Yet again I have a bunch of samples of this – I haven’t actually needed to buy the full size yet ? – and was very skeptical, but decided to give it a go because it claims to smooth, brighten and depuff. Basically everything I would want in an eye cream…assuming it doesn’t accentuate my under eye millia. Initially I found it to be a really nice, hydrating cream that didn’t feel too heavy. I kept using it because I know all eye creams require at least a few days to truly do much of anything. Much to my surprise, not only did the little bumps not get worse (I thought they would since the cream felt so hydrating), but I found the bumps getting a bit smaller and less noticeable! My concealer also applies better and my eyes just feel all-around well-hydrated and comfortable! I’m not sure it’s improved the darkness of my undereye circles or minimized the fine lines that have started, but I really don’t know that anything can help those issues. As I hinted at, it’s a fantastic moisturizer which I usually associate with thick and greasy. It is thick, but it’s almost a thick gel-like consistency that seems to hydrate without leaving any kind of uncomfortable residue behind. I tend to think of eye creams as kind of a necessary evil for keeping things hydrated under the eyes, but I actually really enjoy the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream! No matter your age or skin type, I think you might really appreciate this stuff!

Last on the list of December favorites is not a beauty product, but rather a political podcast. It’s nothing terribly new, but it’s somewhat new to me (honestly podcasts in general are a bit new to me as I just recently opened the app on my phone ?). It is “Keepin’ It 1600” and I’ve really been enjoying it! I suppose I should share my political beliefs a bit as it’s relevant here…perhaps obvious as well. ? I would call myself a liberal-leaning Independent who has really loved having President Obama in office. If you’re with me on that last bit, you will probably love this podcast because the main players are all Obama-era alum – former aides to be precise. I think John Favreau seems to be the main staple. He was one of Obama’s best known early speech writers and is witty, intelligent and not too shabby in the looks department. ? Each week they talk about what’s been going on in the world of American politics with a bit of humor, a bit of despair, and a sprinkle of hope. I’m a tad concerned about their Twitter addictions, but can also sort of understand them. ? I’ve gone back through the episodes to before the Presidential election and my how their attitudes have changed. If you’re interested in American politics, label yourself a Democrat or a bit further left and appreciate a sense of humor with it all, you should definitely check out “Keepin’ It 1600.” Good stuff and I love it!

That’s it! You have made it through my marathon of December Favorites! I am hoping to get back to more regular blogging soon. I just burned out I think. I’m starting to feel inspired again, so hopefully I’ll be posting more than monthly favorites in the near future. ? Thank you so much for sticking with me in the meantime. ? I hope everyone has had a great Holiday season and that the New Year brings even better things to you all! Hugs and kisses ?


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