Ok. We’ve survived the Best Cruelty Free Complexion Makeup of 2017, so now for what I usually find slightly more exciting – Eyes and Lips! I’m not going to dilly dally as we still have a lot of great makeup to cover, so without further ado, I bring you the 2017’s Best Cruelty Free Makeup for Eyes and Lips!
For eyes, I honestly don’t have a lot of favorites here because I’ve tried out so many different eye shadow palettes in 2017, so I didn’t have much on repeat. That said, I do have at least one formula favorite and two palettes that I used an awful lot that I’ll mention. SO that favorite shadow formula? Natasha Denona! I have three of the little Eyeshadow Palette 5 (aka the gateway drug 😄) and they are truly amazing. I have the shades 2, 4 and 13 and I love them all! I don’t feel like any of them are truly complete palettes in that they don’t have everything I typically use for an eye look, but the shadows are just like butter and they literally blend themselves. I don’t experience too much powder kick-up or fallout either. I feel like they’re one of those things you need to try to truly appreciate. They are absurdly expensive, but the little 5 pan palettes aren’t horrible unless you look at the price per shade. It is pretty steep. I still highly recommend them. You won’t regret it…but your wallet might! 😉
The first palette in heavy rotation I think actually came out in 2016, but was re-released in 2017. Regardless, it’s the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette. I’m not entirely sure what it is about these shadows that I love so much (I tried reviewing it here). There are just so many shades that just scream “me!” Lots of bronzes surprisingly. I feel like this metal-tinned palette just gets me. I do wish there weren’t glitter bits in some of the shadows because they basically just end up all over your face, rarely staying on the eyes. Maybe with a glitter primer, but this is kind of an “everyday” palette for me. I’m not messing with more than necessary here! As for formula, they have decent pigment – nothing too intense, but they show up evenly on the eyes. It’s a good, basic day-to-day palette and probably my favorite of this type from Too Faced.
Last in the eye shadow category we have the perhaps over-hyped Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette. The shadows are gorgeous…well, if you like warm shadows. Again, I did a review you can check out for more info here. I absolutely love everything about the packaging of this palette and the shadows are well pigmented, blend well, and there’s a great mix of mattes and shimmers. Like the Too Faced, there are a few annoying glitter bombs too. My biggest issue with this palette – and I think a lot of people ended up finding this as a problem – some of the shades are quite similar and after a while, all the eye looks start looking quite similar…if not the same. It’s a great palette with wonderful shadows in a good combination of finishes that’s strangely inspirational, but if you like to veer from the same look every day, it’s not the greatest choice. That said, I do think it’s a great palette and I did reach for it a lot in 2017 so it deserves a mention.
We’re on to eye liners. I never use liquid liner so these are all eye pencils. Yet again we have three. There’s still a real theme here! 😄 Probably my most used more towards the beginning of 2017 was the NYX Tres Jolie Gel Pencil Eye Liner in the shade “Brown.” I have the “Black” as well, which is fantastic, I’ve just been predominately reaching for deep brown pencils this year. I use this twist-up pencil solely on my waterlines – particularly under my upper lashes to help define my eyes and create the illusion of thicker eye lashes without it really being perceptible. The pencils are so soft, creamy, pigmented, smudge well before setting, and last all day. They’re just brilliant! I wish there were more shades, but at least NYX nailed the basics.
Another twist-up pencil I’ve loved for similar reasons to the NYX as well as the awesome shade range is the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Pencil. The comparable shade to the above-mentioned pencil would be “(Earth)quake.” It’s perhaps the slightest touch cooler making it more neutral, but the two shades are basically identical in color and pretty close in formula. I use it exactly the same way – in the waterlines. Again, it’s soft, creamy, incredibly pigmented, budge-proof and also nicely smudgeable until it sets. I actually think the NYX might be just a touch softer actually, but some of the shades from Marc Jacobs are just too good to pass up! I was loving the shade “Out of the Blue” in the Summer on my lower waterline. It’s a bright cobalt blue, which sounds terrifying, but it’s kind of a subtle pop that looks really cool just on the inner rim of the eye. Love, love, love these Marc Jacobs eye pencils!
The last eye pencil of note from 2017 is the ColourPop Creme Gel Eye Pencil, specifically in the shade “Nude Dude.” On more natural eye shadow days, days where I’m looking particularly tired, or just don’t want to have a darker lash line, I will put this nude shade in my lower waterline. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s the perfect nude shade for my skin tone – not too light, not too dark, not too pink. Perfect! These twist-up pencils are good, though they can dry out a bit and may fall out of the packaging, but I find they kind of smush back into the pencil pretty easily. They still feel pretty gentle on the waterline and take very little effort to get decent coverage over the skin. Probably the best nude eye pencil I’ve found!
I found a fantastic mascara in 2017, but I almost hate to mention it because it’s impossible to find now. It’s the Fiona Stiles Ultimate Lash Icon Volumizing Mascara. I initially heard that this brand was simply repackaging and now months and months have passed with still no signs of it returning, so I have no idea what happened. Like all of my mascara favorites, it has a slightly drier formula, but it doesn’t seem to flake on me. It adds fantastic volume and length, it’s a nice deep black (there was an oxblood-type shade as well, but I haven’t tried it), it keeps a curl and just creates a fantastic nearly-false lash appearance. It’s so, so good that I really hope it’s returning somewhere (it was an Ulta exclusive brand). I’ll quickly mention a fantastic new find that may be almost as good, but I feel I need to see how it wears over time too – it’s the Wander Beauty Unlashed Mascara. Pretty much everything I said about the Fiona Stiles is true of the Wander Beauty too. If both of those are gone, I may have to go back to my formerly trustly Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (ancient review here), though it’s been so long since I’ve used it that I have no idea if I still like it! Whatever is going on, please someone bring the Fiona Stiles Mascaras back!
My brow favorite is one that I’ve taken a while to warm up to. The Glossier Boy Brow is hands down the best brow gel for holding brow hairs in place without feeling stiff, crunchy, or weird on the skin. My battle has always been with getting the product distributed properly on my brows. My brow hairs are so far apart and my brows themselves are so thin that it’s really difficult to ever get them looking decent. The Boy Brow has an amazing teeny tiny wand, but still I can struggle brushing any brow product through my brows properly. All that said, I’m getting there and it really is a fantastic brow gel, plus it comes in three tinted shades as well as clear. Definitely a Glossier product worth the hype!
Finally we are at my last makeup category for the year and it’s lip colors! It’s been a strange year for my lips and any formula of lip color because after starting Accutane, I tended to stick predominately to my trusty lip balm (check out the Skin Care installment for what it is…if you can’t guess yet!). There are very few lipsticks that not only look ok, but are comfortable enough without drying my lips further. Despite that, I have found a few traditional bullet lipsticks that work both pre and post-Accutane. Plus they’re just bangin’ lip products! The first is one that I found in the Spring and, not gonna lie, it’s the gorgeous marbled blue packaging that made me lust after them. They are the Tarte Color Splash Lipsticks (reviewed & swatched here). These deserve so much more attention and, knowing Tarte, they’ll be discontinued in a few weeks. They are incredibly pigmented and so creamy, yet don’t cause one to worry that they’ll end up all over the face for no apparent reason. I would say that they have kind of a demi-matte finish that gets a bit more matte as time passes, yet they aren’t drying. I might even go so far as to say that they’re slightly hydrating. The formula is just perfection! It lasts pretty well too! Not all-day wear, but they hold their own even through a non-greasy meal and slightly careful eating. The shade range is incredibly wearable, though I find it difficult to look at the bullet and envision what it will actually look like on my lips. Tarte is not a brand that I typically look to for lip colors, but these are absolute winners!
Next for lips we have the Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème Lipsticks. I only have a few shades of these because they are definitely up there in price, but they’re absolutely worth it. Again, they’re creamy, almost hydrating but with a relatively matte finish. These have an absolutely spectacular wear time as well without being drying. That’s practically unheard of! Of the shades I have, I find the deeper shades wear just as well as the more neutral ones – I have mainly worn the bright coral “Core Cora” and the nude mauve “Slow Burn.” Both seem to wear equally well. I’m not completely in love with the shade range – probably a good thing given the $30 price tag! There is a good range of nudes, neutrals, reds and deeper shades, as well as a black, but I feel like many shades are quite similar and/or just aren’t shades I would wear. That said, the shades I love are perfection! I think the Marc Jacobs lipsticks are by far the best, longest wearing, most comfortable bullet formula lipsticks I have probably ever tried!
And last but not least, we have the Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks! Urban Decay re-released and reformulated their lipsticks maybe early in 2017 and came out with a whopping 100 shades…give or take a few as some were exclusive to Ulta and some were Sephora exclusive shades. Plus they’ve had capsule collections with more shades, though recently they appear to be discontinuing some shades. Regardless, the formulas – there are about four to choose from – are all impressive! I think my favorite finish, at least pre-Accutane, is the “Mega Matte.” Some people seem to think these are drying and yes, they are dry and tug a bit upon application, but I don’t find them to actually feel dry on my lips. More like nothing at all. The classic bright red “714” (originally from the Gwen Stefani Collection – post here, but still available) is probably my favorite of the entire Vice range! Once my lips stopped retaining any moisture, I have really enjoyed the “Comfort Matte” formula which is kind of a matte-cream hybrid, so it’s a creamy consistency with a matte finish. This one does fade a bit faster than the “Mega Mattes,” but it’s still pretty long lasting, as well as highly pigmented and really comfortable. Next in terms of pigment load are the standard “Cream” finishes. These are just good basic satin finish cream lipsticks with decent, but not stellar lasting power. Nothing better or worse than most cream finish lipsticks. They have a similar comfort to the “Comfort Mattes,” but are slightly less pigmented, less matte and not quite as long lasting. Finally, there is the “Sheer” formula which is as it sounds – sheer! I would say semi-sheer actually because these do add a decent amount of color to the lips. I have a review and a swatch post for the former version of this formula, which was my favorite and the updated version is still probably my favorite “every day” formula. They’re really great grab-and-go lipsticks with a slight gloss finish and a decent wear time similar to that of the “Creams.” Within all of these formulas they also have “Shimmer” finishes that have subtle glitter flecks for a more metallic look too. There really is something for everyone within the range and I believe some shades are vegan, but don’t quote me on that. These are also pretty affordable for a mid/high end brand at $17 each. Definitely look into the Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks if you’re in need of a great new lipstick – you’ll find something you love!
Wow! That was a workout! 😄 I did my best to keep these makeup posts as short as possible, but alas, they’re like their own novel. But we’ve done it! We gotten through all of my 2017 Makeup Favorites…even if it is a week later. 😄 If you’re looking for more punishment…I mean recommendations 😉…fear not, plenty more Cruelty Free Favorites are coming to a screen near you all week! Thank you so much for sticking through this…and sticking with this little baby blog. It means a lot! I hope you’ve found a recommendation or two (hopefully more!) to check out and I’ll see you in the next one for some Hair Care Favorites!
The Rest of the Best of 2017: