Wow! Did 2018 disappear in the blink of an eye! Anyone else with me? I know it’s cliched to say, but it is so true. It was a crazy year with a lot of major changes – mostly from mid-year and will be continuing on into the beginning of 2019. Nothing bad (I hope! 😉), but it’s been super hectic…thus the total lack of blog posts the past 6 months. I really tried (at least initially) to keep posting – in fact, I have an August Favorites post still sitting on my computer that was never posted. Good intentions couldn’t win out over the craziness. If you’d still like to see that post, let me know and I’d be more than happy to post it…or maybe transform it into a “Recent Favorites” type of thing. Anyway, back to the point. Since I love Favorites posts so much, I wanted to make a real effort to post my Annual Beauty Favorites. So here we are! I’m gonna do my best to keep it as short as I can, but we all know that I run on…and on…and on. 😄 To help with that a bit, I’m going to break the faves into a few categories. It should also help organize my thoughts a bit. I have yet to tackle my Makeup Favorites, so who knows if or when they’ll make an appearance, but I’m trying! All of these items were not necessarily new in 2018, nor were they all new to me, but they were definitely the things I reached for over and over again. So, let’s see how we do here and start with some of my Favorite Skin Care Products from 2018!

As a very quick starting point so you know where I’m coming from, let’s talk about my skin type. I finished taking Accutane for acne in maybe February of 2018. After the medication, the skin I deal with now is pretty much normal to slightly dry, but can get just a touch shiny in spots (not the T-zone) by day’s end. It is still prone to congestion, but not sensitive, reactive, or what I would consider acne-prone. My concerns are mostly congestion (predominately blackheads and whiteheads), anti-aging, uneven skin tone, and occasional dryness. I do still get pimples, but they tend to be small and don’t last long, so I don’t fret about them. I think they’re typically hormonal as well so there’s not much that can be done. I also have some scarring either from the previous acne, or from the so-called treatments one of my dermatologists tried, but I really don’t think there’s anything topical that can fix that at this point. So, my thoughts are coming from a place of normal to slightly dry skin that’s prone to congestion. Nothing special…and I’m fine with that! 😂

I’m going to start with cleanser simply because that’s where my skin care begins! 😋 The first thing I’ll mention quickly because I’ve talked about it a fair amount before, and I probably included it last year. To remove makeup (so I only use it at night), I absolutely swear by the Farmacy Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm. This stuff just removes makeup like a dream…and with very little product needed to do so! I apply it to dry skin, rub it into the makeup, add a bit of water to emulsify the balm, smear the cleanser and dissolving makeup around some more, and then rinse it all away. It’s incredibly effective at getting even stubborn makeup off without much effort. Absolutely love this! I do tend to follow the Cleansing Balm with another face wash just for good measure. It’s definitely not necessary because the Farmacy Balm leaves no residue or unpleasant film behind, I just like to make certain everything is gone…and it’s habit. I also have been using the same cleanser to wash my face in the morning. It is the Derma E Hydrating Cleanser* and it is fantastic! It’s very gentle, doesn’t strip the skin or leave it feeling tight or dry, but it’s also not greasy or heavy. It has a subtle and pleasant fruity scent too that, when I notice it, is enjoyable. The Hydrating Cleanser comes in a convenient pump bottle (thank you Derma E!) and suds up just slightly when mixed with water on the skin. It rinses away clean and, as mentioned, leaving skin feeling soft, supple, and just comfortable. It’s absolutely perfect! So, to keep my skin clean, it’s been mostly thanks to Farmacy’s Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm and the Derma E Hydrating Cleanser. Both great for all skin types as well!

*Press Sample

One of my favorite steps in my skincare routine both morning and night is adding a few spritzes of the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator. I use this between applying treatments and hydrating products. For example, things like a Vitamin C serum or a Retinol I would use after cleansing, thenmist the skin with the Hydrating Accelerator, and finally finish with a moisturizer. By adding the super fine spritz of the Hydrating Accelerator before hydrating products, there’s a nice damp canvas to really get moisture to sink into the skin with my moisturizer. It’s also just a really enjoyable experience because the mist is among the finest I’ve ever sprayed! What isthis miracle mist? It’s basically vitamin enriched aloe water that helps nutrients and hydration really penetrate into the skin. The Josh Rosebrook website really describes it better than I can, so feel free to check it out if you’re interested. It claims to be a combination hydrator, toner and light moisturizer. My skin tends to be a bit too dry to use this solely as my moisturizer, but I definitely feel like it acts as a booster to my regular moisturizers. I’m probably mostly in love with the experience of using it, but I definitely feel it’s beneficial when used in combination with a more traditional moisturizer. I highly recommend giving Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator a go no matter what your skin type!

Since we’re on the topic of hydration, I have a new standout hydration booster…yes, in addition to the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator. 😄 I used to use Hyaluronic Acid to really deeply penetrate the skin and plump it up with sweet, wonderful hydration…and I still love it, but it’s no longer my go-to. This year seemed to be a bit of the year of the mushroom and I substituted the new(ish) Volition Beauty Snow Mushroom Water Serum and I absolutely love it! It’s a very watery serum – much like hyaluronic acid – and it can be difficult to get just the right amount of product out of the dropper bottle, but just a gentle tap yields maybe a pea-sized amount that is plenty for my entire face and neck. That tiny little dot is chocked full of super absorbent snow mushroom, meaning it draws hydration deep into the skin and also helps pull moisture in throughout the day. It’s absolutely wonderful and every bit as good…if not better…than the hyaluronic acid I had used prior. Plus, the Snow Mushroom Water Serum includes Lentil Extract to smooth the skin, Watermelon and Apple Extracts to plump and brighten, and Marine Sea Water to minimize the appearance of pores. It also claims to help boost collagen. Whether it does all of that or not, I can’t be certain, but it certainly makes my skin feel deeply hydrated, always comfortable, and probably even a bit more supple. It’s a step I hate to miss. Only downside? Every part of the packaging is glass meaning if you drop it, it will break. In my case, I managed to break the dropper off of a nearly new bottle by bumping it while doing other parts of my skincare routine and watching in horror as it hit the floor. That didn’t make me happy, but it also didn’t stop me from immediately ordering a replacement bottle. 😳 This new Snow Mushroom Water Serum from Volition has definitely become a staple in 2018!

Next is a tried and true lip “treatment” that I discovered while on Accutane. For me, nothing can beat Lucas’ PawPaw Ointment as an overnight lip “mask.” To be fair, I will put this thick ointment on my lips any time of day, but I feel like my lips feel terrible if I pass out before applying this miracle balm at bedtime. It is petroleum based which I do not like, but it seems to work wonders for my lips! There is apparently papaya (aka pawpaw) extract in it to gently exfoliate the lips (or wherever it’s applied as it can be used anywhere on the body!) with the natural fruit acids. This is a very thick ointment and the tiniest amount goes a long way. Though I have gone through many tubes of the stuff, the 25g tube lasts a long time. It also comes in a tub, as well as a tube with an applicator that I like to keep in my purse for more hygienic on-the-go use. It may seem like the Lucas’ PawPaw Ointment is a bit pricey for a lip balm / ointment / treatment, but it lasts so long – and works so well – that I definitely feel it’s worth it. Give it a try! You can thank me later. 😜

In the world of masks, 2018 brought the Kora Organics Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask. This mask is a fantastic dual-purpose exfoliating mask. It uses natural fruit enzymes to chemically exfoliate the skin, but also has gentle scrubby bits to manually scrub away that nasty old skin. I find it to be an enjoyable experience. It has a slightly minty scent that feels subtly cooling and kind of tingly on the skin as well. It does feel a little tight as it dries, but it doesn’t seem to dry out the skin in any way. After using the Turmeric Mask, my skin is definitely glowing. It also looks clearer, brighter, and feels super smooth. This mask almost immediately became my new favorite exfoliating mask…though there are others I still love, but the dual-action of this one just makes me happy. 😆 Plus, the tube seems like it will last a good while as I use maybe a quarter-sized amount for my entire face and slightly down my neck. If you like a good physical scrub, but also enjoy masking, the Kora Organics is for you!

Last, but certainly not least, we have my new favorite body moisturizer – the Kopari Coconut Melt. Yes, this is essentially just good old fashioned coconut oil in a fancy container, but it truly isbetter! I believe I have a full post about the Coconut Melt and how and why it’s different if you want to check it out. Basically, different qualities of coconut oil will have a different effect on the skin. Kopari has harvested the absolute perfect coconuts for their products because the Coconut Melt is so intensely hydrating without being overly greasy or slimy. Yes, it isa bit heavy because it isstill coconut oil, but it doesn’t leave the skin slippery or sticky like a grocery store jar of coconut oil usually does. It just sinks into the skin beautifully and I never feel tight, itchy or dry after applying the Coconut Melt. I feel like there isa trick to moisturizing with coconut oil and that is to use it right after showering or bathing on skin that has just barely had the water dabbed off. I basically turn off the shower water, wrap a towel gently around my body for a second or two, and then apply the coconut oil while still standing in the shower. I lovedoing this because not only is the coconut oil the besthydrator, but I also don’t have to stand in the cold of the bathroom to apply my moisturizer. Anyway, I highly recommend paying a bit more for the Kopari Coconut Melt if you can because, surprisingly, not all coconut oil is created equal! I should also quickly add that there are 1000s of uses for the Coconut Melt just like any other coconut oil, but I reserve mine solely for a body moisturizer.

I think that’s going to do it for my Favorite Skincare Items from 2018. I’ve probably forgotten something truly mind blowing, but I surely don’t know what it could be! 😄 Let us know what some of your favorites have been this year because I love learning about skincare! I’m excited to see what comes our way in 2019, but I’m also really happy with the skincare products I already use. I still look forward to doing my routines most days! That’s a very nice place to be. I hope you’re all having a wonderful day and had a great 2018! Thank you so much for stopping by, and hopefully I’ll have my next Favorites installment posted next week!!!

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