Bring out the confetti because it’s time for the fun stuff – Cruelty Free Makeup! I’m gonna keep this to a minimum because there’s a lot that goes into making up one’s face…and it takes a while. 😄 We’re only going to start with complexion products to prevent this from taking days to read. This was perhaps the strangest part of makeup for me in 2017 because, as some of you will know, I started on Accutane mid-year. That means that I started the year with combo-to-oily skin and ended it with super dry, sensitive and dehydrated skin. Not surprisingly, a lot of what worked at one point was awful during the other half of the year. And if I’m being 100% honest here, I’m still hunting for a foundation that looks ok on my dry skin. Actually if I’m fair, I have never found the perfect foundation ever. It either doesn’t exist or I just hate the look of my skin! 😄 Alright. I’ve already gone on a tangent. Let’s just get into some of the Best Cruelty Free Makeup Products for Complexion from 2017!
First, and probably most often mentioned in other annual favorites for 2017, we have the legendary Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer. Yes, I drank the Kool Aid, joined the cool kids, jumped off the bridge because everyone else did and am void of original thought! But believe it kids, the Shape Tape does as promised – it’s full coverage, it blends well, it doesn’t seem to cling to dryness, it stays put, I have no issues with creasing, it looks like skin, blah, blah, blah. You need just the tiniest of tiny amounts. Seriously, a dot or two under each eye and you’re probably good to go. I cannot figure out what on Earth those YouTube tutorials where people actually put a swipe under the eyes end up looking like in person. I imagine it’s horrifying! Seriously, less is more here. It works under my eyes as well as around the face for covering blemishes. Can it hide everything? Nope, but close. The reddest of red blemishes aren’t quite erased like magic, but Shape Tape will certainly improve the situation. I always set this concealer with powder and honestly don’t think I’ve ever tried not doing so, but I haven’t had issues with creasing. To be fair, I usually don’t with most concealers for some reason. I think part of the secret is not using a crap ton of product. Anyway, we’ve gotten the obligatory favorite concealer out of the way so let’s keep going….
I did find a foundation that I really liked a lot before my skin dried out and it is the NYX Total Control Drop Foundation. I’m not going to go into it much because I have a full review here, but this is a really great liquid-y adjustable-coverage foundation with a demi-matte finish that actually kept me much less shiny than most! Though I haven’t tried it since living the dry skin life (I actually forgot about it after starting Accutane), I think I can say that I don’t think I would like it. I believe I thought it might work for anyone in my review, but it’s a foundation that really doesn’t feel like there’s any hydration in it. It’s almost too lightweight if that’s possible. That said, at the beginning of the year, I absolutely loved the NYX Total Control Drop Foundation.
For setting powder, I believe I started the year loving the RCMA No Color Powder (not sure really) so it gets an honorable mention, but the real stand-out for 2017 was the Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder – the loose version. Is there much to say about a powder? I guess for me, a good powder is one that you don’t see on the skin. It doesn’t accentuate pores, settle into lines, accentuate dryness or emphasize imperfections. It just kind of glues the makeup to your face and keeps it there all day. This does that. It’s perfectly undetectable and that makes it just great in my book! It’s not colorless, though it is a translucent powder. There are two tones to choose from so deeper skins don’t look ashy and fair skins don’t look muddy. Plus, the packaging is so much better than most loose powder jars – not perfect, but good. It has the typical screw off jar lid, but then it’s got a plastic “guard” to prevent powder from just oozing through the sifter every time the jar is jostled about, leaving the unsuspecting user in a cloud of powder every time the cap is unscrewed. Those worries are almost a thing of the past thanks to the little plastic flap. It is kind of a pain to unscrew the cap, flip open the plastic bit and dump a bit of powder into the cap. You can still spill some powder in the process too, but it’s minimized. That’s not so much the point here though! The Perfect Setting Powder has been the one I almost always reach for since finding it earlier this year.
Moving along in the process, we have contouring products – two powders and one cream. I rarely use bronzer, but almost always seem to contour my cheek bones instead. Not sure why, just do. Probably my most used contour powder – and product in general – is the Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in “Medium.” The shade of this powder is just spot on for me. It’s oh so slightly cool toned so that it creates a nice shadow without moving into living dead territory. The powder is soft, smooth and creamy so it doesn’t skip or drag across the skin, and it blends out seamlessly keeping it from being an obvious stripe across the cheek. I don’t use much and a light dab into the pan is plenty for me so this tiny little compact is still going strong quite some time after initially discovering it (it wasn’t something new to me in 2017, but definitely something I used a lot). If you can get past the price tag…and the shade works for your skin tone (there are three to choose from now)…highly recommend checking out The Sculpting Powder.
This next powder contour is one that I’m not sure I have ever mentioned, but it’s another that I really love. It is from the Sculpt & Glow Contour Duo from Lily Lolo. I could take or leave the highlighter with it, but I really like the contouring shade. It’s a lot warmer than the Kevyn Aucoin, but it still works great to create a bit more depth to the skin. It actually would probably be a good bronzer instead, but I find it works well for carving out my cheeks. Go figure! 😄 The powder is similar to that from Kevyn Aucoin – blendable, pigmented without being too much, smooth and just good. It feels maybe a bit less creamy than the Kevyn Aucoin, but I feel like it preforms every bit as well…plus you get a decent natural-looking highlighter in a nice little compact!
At the beginning of 2017, I found myself really loving cream contouring. Why? Because the Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation in the shade “Fawn” is stinkin’ amazing! The contouring shades were included among the Foundation Sticks, which I wasn’t interested in enough to try for foundation, but the contouring version is wonderful! It’s so easy just to swipe on and blend out with a small stippling brush – I prefer the Real Techniques Stippling Brush. It always sounds more complicated to me to use a cream, but when in a stick, it really is so much faster! Anyway, the formula glides across the skin with very little pressure and without skipping or tugging. It blends quickly and easily and the tone is great. Just the perfect shadowy neutral tone for my skin. One thing I really loved doing with this that I rarely bother with otherwise was contouring my nose. I feel like my nose is really difficult to contour…I think most people probably relate. 😄 Somehow with this chubby stick, it’s really easy to just take the edge down the sides and tip of my nose (hence the almost pointed tip – it starts flat!), blend it out and it looks just that tiny bit “better.” If you’re looking for a great cream contour, or just want something quick and easy, definitely look into the ABH Foundation Stick Contour Shades.
Ah, blush. This first choice is a relatively new blush to me, but it may just be my favorite blush of all time! Absolutely love it! It is the Antonym Certified Organic Baked Blush, particularly in the shade “Rose.” Everything about it makes me happy – the eco-friendly bamboo packaging, the beautiful marbled powder, the creamy texture and it’s just so natural and beautiful on the skin! I’m not entirely sure how to describe the finish of these blushes. They’re not quite matte, but I wouldn’t call them shimmery either. I guess maybe they have a satin finish? Even that seems a bit too reflective. I just tend to think of these as being skin-like. As far as “Rose,” it’s just that subtle hint of natural flush for my skin tone. A slightly reddish-brown berry…would that actually be rose? 🤪 The pigment is pretty intense and buildable – in other words, a little goes a long way! I typically gently swirl a brush into the powder, swipe a bit on my wrist, and then apply to my cheeks. I’ll do that a few times if it seems necessary, often adding a bit more after completing my makeup because my face either eats blush in the mornings, or I get used to having color back in my cheeks and feel less frightened. 😄
Another great blush that I’ve loved for a good while now are the Too Faced Love Flush Blushes. Again, a specific shade stole the year – “Baby Love.” I feel like I used this a lot in 2016 as well, but since I didn’t manage to get my annual favorites posts together, only *I* knew about it. 😜 Aside from the super adorable packaging, the Love Flush Blushes are good, pigmented, blendable powders. “Baby Love” is much like the Antonym “Rose” Blush in color, though it is in fact matte. This line does have some shimmery shades, but I kept reaching for “Baby Love” in 2017. This is definitely the kind of blush that gets real intense real fast, so a gentle tap into the pan, brush a bit off and then apply. Trust me. Building up is always easier than blending away.
Another beautiful-in-the-pan blush Favorite that’s also stunning on the cheeks is the Flower Beauty Flower Pots Powder Blush in the shade “Sweet Pea.” This is the only shade I’ve tried of these blushes and, again, it is quite pigmented. Recommend the gentle tap, brush off, then apply method here as well. To be fair, I almost always do that with blush because I’m mildly terrified of it. 😄 This blush is another matte powder product with a beautiful floral pattern pressed into it. It’s maybe a smidge on the drier side, but not overly so and not at all powdery or chalky. It blends well and looks gorgeous on the cheeks…well, for my skin tone. It’s also a buildable shade that I find to look very natural. This is the peachier-rose sister to the above shades, as well as a bit brighter. It just gives the cheeks that nice healthy flush. Really pretty and by far the most affordable of the three blushes mentioned here ($10 on Flower’s site…and, breaking news – coming soon to Ulta!).
Three seems to be a lucky number here because I have three highlighter favorites from 2017, starting with the ColourPop Pressed Powder Highlighter in “Here Kitty Kitty.” I believe it was 2017 that brought the goodness of all of the ColourPop Pressed Powder products and they are spectacular! I have really only tried out the shade “Here Kitty Kitty” from the Pressed Highlighters and it is definitely not for the faint of heart! It is one of those blinding highlighters and I swear at times I see a few of just the tiniest little baby flecks of glitter, but in a “tasteful” way…if an in-your-face highlighter with the occasional subtle glitter can be tasteful! 😄 If my eyes aren’t tricking me and there is a touch of glitter in there, it really is just a touch. I’m guessing most people would never notice. Besides, your cheeks are beaming to the heavens! 😝 Anyway, the shade is a very light champagne – perfect on my skin – and highly reflective. It’s a highlighter that I will catch throughout the day and think, “Wow! Now that’s a highlight!” It’s a good thing. 😁 The powder is a bit firm and takes a little effort to pick up on a fluffier brush, but it applies nicely to the skin without being chalky, powdery or patchy on the skin. I should say that most of the ColourPop Highlighter shades don’t appeal to me, but this one is top notch!
Next we have another item I’m almost certain I’ve never mentioned before. It’s the Pixi + Aspyn Ovard Glow-y Powder in the shade “Santorini Sunset.” This is a gorgeous champagne-y peach glow-getter that I feel lies somewhere between blinding and subtle. The color is actually pretty similar to the ColourPop – a bit more peach perhaps – and not far off from my next mention. I clearly have a type here! I guess that subtly warm champagne works well for my skin tone. 😄 Anyway, the Pixi powder is really soft and creamy, blends easily, and sits nicely on the skin without drawing attention to imperfections (as much as is possible when emphasizing an area). The packaging can be kind of annoying – it’s a twist off lid that you then have to put somewhere – but I kind of like it. You get a huge quantity of product too (10.21g / 0.36oz), which may be good since I believe it is still a limited edition release (still available though). It’s a great highlighter and I’m always tempted to try other shades, but I have so many highlighters that I actually manage to stop myself. 🤣
Last, but certainly not least, in the highlighter category is the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter in “Be My Highlight.” This is the least expensive of all these options – actually, they’re all on the affordable side – and by far the most natural everyday kind of highlighter. It is one that can be difficult to see without really looking, but be wary of applying over and over again as it will build up. I tend to go for the Essence highlighter on days where I’m wearing a lighter coverage foundation or just don’t want to look too over-the-top. It’s so soft and creamy that I think most people would mistake it for a much more expensive product. Actually, that’s true of all of these highlights. The color is still in that peachy-champagne family, but probably the most “nude” of the three. It’s basically my skin tone with a subtle sheen. Absolutely perfect for day to day, office, or school looks.
In an effort to keep things more manageable…if that’s possible…we’re going to break here. I’m hoping to continue on tomorrow with the rest of the Cruelty Free Makeup – so Lips & Eyes are coming! I hope you’ve enjoyed this and I’m hoping to see you again tomorrow!!! Thanks for stopping by for an atypical Monday post.
The Rest of the Best of 2017: