Today we’re left with all of the miscellaneous stuff I loved in 2017 that didn’t really require their own categories. These are still cruelty free “beauty” products in some way, with one entirely unrelated exception. I’m not going to ramble on because, as you know by now, these can get pretty long. And now…I bring you The Other Stuff!
I’m going to start with a couple of stand-out beauty tools. The first is nothing new. In fact, I’ve probably been using it since before I even started this blog, but it deserves a mention. Plus I’ve been using it in a few new ways as well. It is the Real Techniques Setting Brush. The Real Techniques brushes as a whole are just fantastic, but the setting brush is great for so much! I have pretty much always used this brush to apply setting powder under my eyes, 2017 being no exception. However, it’s been more recently that I started using this brush to apply contour powder to the hollows of my cheeks. It works really well because it can softly diffuse the powder while applying as well as blend it out further if necessary. So quick, so easy, and probably the only reason I’ve been contouring more lately. 😜 I also occasionally use this brush for applying powder highlighters as well. Again, it gives a more diffused application and sort of blends as it goes. I know that some people also apply liquid concealer with these brushes, but I have not tried it because I don’t want to clean the concealer off of it. 😄 It’s just such a fantastic brush that can be used in so many ways. Love Real Techniques and the Setting Brush is an absolute must-have!
Another oldie-but-goodie that I’ve had forever, but only occasionally used before 2017 is the Beauty Blender. I used to prefer applying my foundation with my fingers in part because I didn’t want to dirty any tools, in part because it’s easier, and I think also because I find controlling the coverage a bit easier. As my skin has cleared up over the past year, I haven’t needed as much coverage so the slight sheering out that occurs when using a damp beauty sponge has not resulted in more work to disguise the redness happening underneath. Also, with suddenly dry skin, I find that using a Beauty Blender works a lot better because I’m not lifting up potential flakiness, and the foundation applies almost over the dryness instead of buffing it into it if that makes any sense. Anyway, I find that beauty sponges are just less messy than my fingers, less likely to streak than brushes, and really do produce a more skin-like effect from makeup. To make sure I’m using the cleanest sponge possible, I always wash my sponges either right after using or right before using and highly recommend doing so if you also use one. Nothing like stuff growing in something you’re then placing it on your face, right? I want to add that the Flower Beauty Sponge is also fantastic and actually even softer than the Beauty Blender (not to mention half the price!), I just prefer the teardrop shape of the Beauty Blender.
The last tool is a late-comer to 2017 and one that I’m pretty sure is cruelty free, but not entirely confident because my main confirmation – so far – is from Twitter…not the best source. Alas, I bought it anyway and I’m talking about it here because it is absolutely perfect for my eyes. It is the Surratt Beauty Relevee Lash Curler. I always curl my lashes before applying mascara because they don’t have much curl on their own…and I swear they’re losing more and more of their natural curl each day. Curling them makes such a difference, really opening up the eyes and making you look more awake. Over the years, I’ve tried quite a few brands of eyelash curlers and most have been ok – unless they’re the type that “crimp” lashes with the horrible 90˚ angle – but I always have trouble getting really close to the root of the lashes, as well as getting the full length of my lashes inside the curler’s jaws. The Surratt curler is my answer! What makes it different, you ask? It just works with the shape of my eyes. That really is what makes one eyelash curler better than another, and it’s going to vary from person to person since we all have different eye shapes. I would say my eyes are a relatively “average” size with a semi-hooded almond shape – not round, not flat, not downturned or highly arched. Just kind of “basic” I guess. I wish I could say that the Surratt Eyelash Curler would work for everyone, but honestly it probably won’t. If you’re eyes are a pretty middle-of-the-road subtle almond shape, then I would definitely give it a go because it curls well, the curl holds, it creates a gentle curl instead of the dreaded angular bend, it’s easy to get your fingers in and out of the holes, and it’s good and sturdy.
Next up are a few favorite perfumes. This is a semi-strange one to me not so much because I don’t like the scent of perfumes (it obviously depends and I don’t tend to love the more traditional perfume-type scents), but because I usually don’t remember to wear the perfume. So color me impressed that I actually have managed to find not one, but two that I enjoy and actually remember! The first was more from I think Summertime as it was a new addition to the brand’s line. It is Pinrose’s Lil’ Dipper. Looking at the notes of this perfume – listed as Peony, Mandarin Petal and Creamy Sandalwood – I wouldn’t think it would be my kind of scent because I usually hate florals. However, I’ve been surprised by Pinrose’s floral scents before so I thought I’d give it a try anyway. Thank goodness I did because I think it’s absolutely beautiful! Yes, it is a soft, light floral but in kind of a soft, warm breeze kind of way. I think the creamy sandalwood is the secret to it not going overboard on the floral. Lil’ Dipper is just a beautiful, gentle, feminine scent without going too far or causing me headaches – another issue that I can have with some perfumes, though never those from Pinrose! ! It wouldn’t be an Annual Favorites Post if I didn’t have a link for an earlier post – more on Pinrose here. 😄 If you’re looking for a great new scent, whatever you’re into, I highly recommend checking out anything from Pinrose!
Later into the year, you’ll know that I got a Sephora sample of the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Amethyst perfume if you’ve seen a few of my more recent Monthly Favorites, and I absolutely fell in love! Again, looking at the notes of this scent I wouldn’t think I would want to go anywhere near it. It says it has notes of Tobacco, Honeysuckle and Cedar. Yuck! But think again my fellow skeptics because it smells divine! This actually reminds me a bit of the Lil’ Dipper. It’s definitely not floral, but has that similar gentle warmth to it. I would say it’s a bit sweet with a bit of “earthy” and “grounded” notes if that makes sense. I feel like the Nirvana Amethyst is a great year-round scent and, thus, could make a good “signature scent.” How does one describe scents? Ugh! I’m struggling here! 😄 It’s just a beautiful comfy scent that’s not too heavy or deep, nor too light or fresh. It’s a great balance that is soothing and comforting to me. I love, love, love it!
This next favorite is actually a body care favorite, but could nearly be a fragrance fave as well! It is the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. This cream better be good, because it’s not cheap, but wow! So hydrating! It also has the strong scent of a tropical vacation. 😍 I think there’s a theme – warm, cozy scents of all varieties are my thing. 😂 That’s not why I’m mentioning this body cream though. The Bum Bum Cream deserves a mention because it is such a nice, rich, hydrating cream that rubs into the skin like a dream. A little bit goes a long way, so each tub will last a while, but it’s still damn expensive! The one thing that I’m slightly torn about is that the cream contains a pretty decent dose of shimmer. In some light I don’t really notice it much, in other lighting I catch glints of a pretty glow, and I recently realized that in yet another type of light I feel like I look reminiscent of a disco ball. It’s that last look that I could do without! 😄 And the scent, though I love it, is definitely strong with some lasting power so it can compete with perfumes if that’s an issue for you. If the scent and shimmer are deal-breakers for you, I would try the Prtty Peaushun in the “Plain” version. The two formulas are quite similar, enough so that I compared them here, but I definitely prefer the Bum Bum Cream. It is just a fantastic moisturizer for the body that really isn’t quite like any other. The price tag does make me cringe a lot though, so I’m semi-hesitant including it. Then again, it really is a spectacular moisturizer!
One last “beauty” favorite and it is a toothpaste. Toothpaste is actually something that took me a long time to really try anything cruelty free because my first experience with it was horrible. I don’t remember exactly what or when it was, though I believe it was from the brand I’m about to mention, and it just tasted horrible. Since then, I’ve tread lightly past the cruelty free / natural toothpastes. I had a brief stint with some from the brand Hello that were good, but it was strangely the Accutane that finally got me to switch to the Tom’s of Maine Botanically Bright Toothpaste. Why? Well, I decided that to help avoid dryness in my mouth and lips as much as possible, I should look for an alcohol and SLS-free toothpaste. I have no evidence that those ingredients do anything to add to the dryness, but I thought, “Why risk it?” Enter Tom’s of Maine! Being one concerned with keeping my teeth white and drinking an ever growing quantity of coffee, tea, and otherwise staining beverages each day, I wanted something whitening. Scanning the cruelty free toothpastes, I didn’t feel too hopeful that I’d find much, but behold! The Botanically Bright is free of the things I was trying to avoid and is meant to brighten the teeth! And yes, it tastes like a good mint toothpaste should! I cannot really comment on how well it cares for my teeth or if it really does whiten them, but my teeth feel clean and aren’t dull and dingy yet, so no complaints from this peanut gallery. I’m patting myself on the back for finally fully switching to a cruelty free toothpaste that I actually love!
Last but not least, we have an oddball Podcast. Well, it’s actually more like a family of semi-political podcasts…and some overtly political. 😄 We’ll call them “current event” podcasts. 😉 I have basically been addicted to anything and everything from Crooked Media in 2017. Fitting since it all started back in January of 2017 – check out my January 2017 Favorites for more on that if you’re interested. 😉 The company started with some “Obama bros” – Jon Favreau, former speech writer for President Barack Obama; Jon Lovett, former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; and Tommy Vietor, former National Security Spokesman for Barack Obama. The gang has since gone on to add a myriad of other political folk and journalists. I believe they’re about to add their 8th different “type” of podcast, all focusing on a variety of political and social issues, most with a biting wit, intelligent discussion, and a liberal-leaning viewpoint, but not without the occasional “reasonable” conservative voice and some laughs here and there. I look forward to seeing any of them pop up in my feed, but my heart will always first look to “Pod Save America” for discussion about political developments and cultural events that have cropped up since their last episode. It’s always a great way to better understand what’s happening in this crazy politics-saturated land in which we currently live, manage to chuckle at even the worst of it, and learn what you can do to help make a difference. If you’re not a Liberal, a Progressive, a Democrat, or at least leaning left politically, you will probably hate everything I’ve just mentioned…unless you really enjoy screaming at your phone or car stereo while listening to words you despise. I hope we can all still be friends! 😘 Also, some like “Pod Save America” are probably not the easiest to follow if you don’t already follow the news relatively closely. But, back to my fellow news-devouring liberals…. Another absolute love is “Lovett or Leave It,” which is a live show (well, it’s taped live in front of an audience) hosted by Jon Lovett that’s kind of like sketch politics. If you’ve heard it, that’ll probably make sense. It’s definitely a great start to my weekends because it goes through the events of the week with a good dose of humor and it will bring a smile to your face…again assuming you’re on the left in the political realm, though you can probably follow news a bit more leisurely here. “Pod Save the World” is fantastic for learning more about global issues, but not as good on the laughs. The rest in the roster all have their merits too, but I’m more of a pick-and-choose kinda listener with them right now. There’s only so much time in a day guys! 🤣 The other pods are: “Pod Save the People,” “With Friends Like These,” “Majority 54 with Jason Kander,” “Crooked Conversations,” and the just released pop culture-centric “Keep It!.” Definitely check out anything from the guys (and gals) at Crooked Media for some great political-tinged podcasting…plus some fun. And who knows what they may branch into next!
Ok. Take a breath. We made it. We’ve run this marathon and we have completed the epic Annual Cruelty Free Favorites for 2017! You all deserve a medal. Or perhaps a nice vacation? All I’ve got is a hope that you enjoyed this look back at some of the best from 2017. Oh, and of course the best of wishes for all of you and your 2018! 💖 May it bring you happiness and joy, and hopefully I will see you around again soon. I understand if you need to recuperate after this marathon. I certainly do! 😄 Thank you so, so much for sticking with me, and here’s to a great 2018!!! 🥂
The Rest of the Best of 2017: