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December Favorites 2015 – T3, Charlotte Tilbury, Josie Maran, Ardency Inn & More

It has been a weird December. A bunch of contradictions rolled into one crazy, dull and perhaps even rather ordinary December. J With that, you should be guessing it’s time for my December Favorites! I must say I haven’t really worn much makeup this month, nor have I really been switching things up much. But I still have a few favorites that I want to mention, so we’re gonna dive right in!

December Favorites 2014 – Nails Inc, Out of Africa, Dr. Dennis Gross, Paula’s Choice, Josie Maran, Living Proof & Alterna

Since I didn’t manage to get my November Favorites posted, I thought I’d do my best to do a December Favorites instead. To be completely honest, I haven’t been wearing much makeup at all in December, but I still managed to come up with quite a few other favorite products to share with you. A few may be rather controversial, but I have seriously been in love with them so they’re included. With that said, let’s start this final round of Favorites for 2014!!! (PS: I’m trying to get together my 2014 Favorites as well, so hopefully that will be up shortly.)

I’m going to start with the potentially controversial items. The first two are from Alterna. That’s where the potential problem lies. I’m not certain that Alterna is cruelty free, though their packaging states that, “Alterna never tests on animals.” I have tried to contact them a few times, but have yet to receive a response and can’t get much of any definitive answer online…not that I would assume one to be true anyway. But these are products that I have absolutely fallen in love with and really hope are still cruelty free. The first is a hair conditioner…well I use it in place of a conditioner whenever I wash my hair. It is the Alterna Rehab Deep Hydration Masque from their Bamboo Color Hold + line. It is absolutely the most incredible hair mask I have ever used! I tend to avoid hair masks because my hair is rather limp and lifeless to begin with and masks just make the whole problem worse. Not with this mask! After shampooing, I slather this on focusing on the ends, twist my hair into a bun, and throw a shower cap over it for whatever time it takes to shave my legs. Then I rinse it out as usual and my hair is so much softer, more manageable, strangely cleaner feeling and just all around looks in better condition. It smells amazing too! Kind of melon-y, but not quite as fruity. Makes sense because it includes Kalahari melon (whatever that it!). I love that it not only strengthens and conditions my hair, but it also helps seal in the color and protects from UVA/UVB rays! It’s rare that I notice much of a positive difference in my hair from a conditioner, but the Alterna Rehab Deep Hydration Masque has quickly reached potential holy grail status for me! J

My next hair product from Alterna is also from their Bamboo line. It is their Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampooin the Mango Coconut scent. Need I say more? J I am very picky about dry shampoo and usually hate them all. Until this one, I hadn’t found one that I actually liked the smell of. Not only does this dry shampoo actually smell freakin’ fantastic, it also works incredibly well. I can use this on three-day hair and still get away with another 1-3 days without washing orhaving to apply more dry shampoo! No nasty white cast or powdery residue either! It is truly incredible. My only complaint is the price, but at least this can seems to be lasting quite a while. Absolutely love the Alterna Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo!!!

Finally on the hair front, we have a styling product from Living Proof…yet another brand that is kind of in a grey area for animal testing. Their response to my questions makes me believe that they don’t test, but their suppliers might (and yes, I do ask if their suppliers test, but they don’t really answer that question). So, potential problem there, but for now I have yet another holy grail caliber favorite. It is the Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment. This is one of those styling creams that claims to do everything. I have actually been using this as a general make-my-hair-look-better type of product, but also in place of a detangler. It works really well for helping the knots just brush right out and it seems to help my curls last longer…on the days I manage to actually style it! J I can go at least 2-3 days without much change in my curls. It’s fantastic when you’re lazy like me. J Definitely can’t live without the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment lately!

Moving on from hair, let’s get to some skin care! I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but a few months ago I stopped using all of my prescription creams for acne. My face looked much better without them and the crazy oiliness that I never used to have has disappeared as well. Because of all the changes, I’ve been doing whatever I think will help keep acne at bay, while better hydrating my skin. I went back to using the Josie Maran Argan Oil as my evening moisturizer and I really love it! It is hydrating and soothing without being heavy or greasy. My skin is by no means perfect and this past week I did add one of the creams back to help unblock some congestion on my cheeks, but in terms of keeping my skin relatively clear, moisturized and just comfortable in this weird winter weather, the Josie Maran Argan Oilhas been doing a wonderful job!

Also on the skincare front, I have been using Paula’s Choice Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment as a spot treatment for pimples. It has 5% Benzoyl Peroxide so it is quite strong, but not so strong that it zaps all the moisture out of your skin. I find that it treats pimples quickly…maybe not overnight, but definitely seems to lessen the length of time a spot hangs around. But best of all, it treats the pimples without turning my skin into a cracking, flaky mess like many other zit creams. If you suffer from dryness with most pimple creams, definitely give the Paula’s Choice Treatment a go!

For my eyes, I’ve been using a new eye cream from Dr. Dennis Gross at night. It is the Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream, which claims to hydrate, firm and strengthen. It is a nice rich cream that is really thick and kind of cushiony. The texture is quite interesting because it is almost gel-like, but in the form of a cream. I was worried that it might aggravate the little white bumps under my eyes (aka millia), but if anything, it has helped eliminate them! I feel like the fine lines starting to show under my eyes have lessened a bit and my eye area feels and looks a bit plumper in the morning – in a good way! J I figure it’s about time I start using a Retinol eye cream and the Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream is working wonderfully for me! J

Moving away from the face, I have a favorite hand cream this month. My hands have been so dry lately. I turned to the Out of Africa Shea Butter Hand Cream in Verbena. I have actually lost the cap to this tube and completely finished it, so I have another one waiting (I’ve been using a mini tube in Vanilla the last few days and strangely I don’t like it as much). Anyway, this stuff is quite thick and on the heavy side, but once it is rubbed in, I don’t find it to be greasy. It smells nice – kind of fresh and a bit zesty – but the scent doesn’t last very long, which I prefer with a hand cream. It has kept my hands soft, smooth and comfortable despite the frequent hand washing I’ve been doing the past few months. If you need a dry, cracked hand fixer, I would recommend trying the Out of Africa Shea Butter Hand Cream. It’s been a lifesaver in December! J

Finally, I have a nail polish favorite. Granted, I’ve only worn it once so far, but I absolutely adoreit! It is from Nails Inc. and it is one of their limited edition Snowflake polishes in Whitechapel. Aside from the gorgeous new packaging and the perfectly sized and shaped brush, this it just a stunning topper! It is full of tiny iridescent glitter with larger white glitter and some smallish white bar glitter. I think there is probably some gold in there somewhere too. It is so pretty! I wore it over Zoya’s Kristen and they are quite possibly the most perfect combination ever! J It looks like a beautiful snowfall on your nails. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it before I removed it, but trust me it was stunning. I absolutely love the newly packaged Nails Inc. polishes and Whitechapel is no exception! J

That’s going to do it for December Favorites. As though that was a short one, right? I need to work on not rambling so much in every post. I hope you enjoyed my final Monthly Favorites post for 2014 because these are always some of my favorites to write! JAs I said, I’m working on my favorites for 2014 as well so I hope you look forward to that one too! I hope you’ve had a fantastic year and I look forward to seeing you again for whatever 2015 has in store!!!

October Favorites – Acure, Hourglass, Milani, Butter London, Sibu Beauty, Josie Maran, Urban Decay & EcoTools

Seriously can’t believe it’s already November. I can’t say that October flew past, but seriously, November? That’s nearly Christmas!!! How?! Anyway, since another month has passed, it’s time for yet another Favorites post. I’ve had an interesting month skin-wise, which I may go into more in a separate post depending on how it progresses. Basically, I decided to ditch all of the prescription products I’ve been using for years because I thought they might actually be making things worse. Still kind of on the fence about whether that smart or not. Anyway, because of that I have a good amount of skin care favorites, but fear not! There’s still some makeup as well! Let’s dive right in, shall we? J

Since I mentioned skin care, I’ll start there. For washing my face, I have gotten back into using a Konjac Sponge. It’s basically just a reusable vegetable fiber sponge that softens with water. Using your cleanser, you massage it over your face for gentle exfoliation. It leaves my skin softer and less flaky without irritating it. Fantastic stuff! JRight now I’m using the EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge – Deep Cleansing. I had tried a Dew Puff version before and liked it, but I hung it on my sink faucet, as you’re supposed to, but it crept toward the nasty sink bowl where water would splash onto it every time I washed my hands. I like the string idea, but I need to get a hook or something to keep it away from the actual sink bowl. Anyway, the EcoTools version doesn’t have a string so you have to rest in on something. I’m not a huge fan of that either, but the sponge is so thick and shaped in a way that I really only find myself using one side. I just rest the unused side in a little dish near the sink and, though it doessit in a small bit of standing water – gross! – I don’t feel like bacteria collects too quickly on the side I use. I have yet to find my ideal setup for storing the wet sponge, but I have definitely enjoyed using a Konjac Sponge this month.

The past few months I have been trying out using toners. I never used to use toners because it just seemed like an extra and ineffective step. Then I discovered that some come in spray bottles and I was sold! JI’m still not sure they do much, but I really do like the Acure Balancing Rose + Red Tea Facial Toner. It has a really nice, even, fine mist and the bottle not only looks pretty, but is rather satisfying to hold. The ingredients are wonderful, organic and simple too – Organic Rooibos, Organic Calendula, Organic Chamomile, Organic Witch Hazel, Organic Bulgarian Rose Water & Organic Glycerin. It’s soothing and the Witch Hazel makes it good for acne-prone skin. I can’t say I’ve really noticed any difference – good or bad – that I can directly attribute to the Acure Facial Toner, but I just love the bottle and the mist so much that it’s a real pleasure to use!
Sticking with toners (sort of), I have something that’s more of a technique than something specific. I believe I first heard this mentioned in a video from makeupTIA on YouTube – check out her videos here because she’s just so soothing and relaxing. I feel like I’m watching Opera while in a spa. J She also has been switching to a lot of “green” products lately and many of them are cruelty free! Anyway, she recommended adding a toner to facial oil and then applying the combination to your face for better absorption. I’ve been trying that with the Sibu Beauty Clarifying Toner and the Josie Maran Agran Oiland it really does work! Usually the regular Argan Oil from Josie Maran leaves me a little bit greasy, but when mixed with the toner, it absorbs like a charm – no grease whatsoever! Not even by the time I wake up in the morning! It’s also a nice way to add a toner to your routine without really adding any time. I chose the Sibu Toner because the mister bottle was horrible, but I like the supposed benefits and the Argan Oil because I have a bottle that I just never reach for, but don’t want to waste it. Together they instantly soak into my skin and leave my face hydrated without the grease! J If you like using a facial oil – or are scared to – but feel like it either leaves you greasy or takes too long to absorb, definitely trying mixing it with a toner. Life changing I tell you. J

Moving on to makeup favorites, I’ve rediscovered my Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation. I reviewed it shortly after it was released hereif you’re looking for a more detailed review. Not sure why I stopped using it for a while, but I did. This month as my skin has looked a bit better, I found myself reaching for it frequently. The coverage is good – buildable light to medium – and it doesn’t turn me into a grease-ball by the end of the day. It also stays put! I don’t really have a whole lot more to say about it. It’s just a nice foundation!

For blush, I’ve been absolutely addicted to the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette! It is so gorgeous! I recently reviewed it here if you’d like more information and swatches. Every color is incredibly wearable – at least for my skin tone – and I really love the formula. Initially I gravitated towards “Mood Exposure,” which is a gorgeous neutral plum – not a shade I’d typically seek out, but definitely try it because it’s stunning! Soon I started using “Luminous Flush,” which is a nice kind of neutral rose. Also stunning and so wearable! And though I’ve worn “Incandescent Electra” the least, it also a beautiful, very wearable everyday kind of blush. The palette is pricey, but for three great and really wearable blushes, it’s actually a great value.

My eye shadow staple has definitely been “Cappuccino” from Milani’s new Bella Eyes Collection. There’s nothing terribly exciting about it, but it’s a fantastic transition/blending shade. I’m no master blender, but I just love this shade for deepening up the crease a tiny bit with minimal shadows, blending out darker shades and for the lower lash line. It’s really nice and affordable as well!

Now for the most exciting makeup – to me anyway! J My favorite lipsticks this month have been hands down the new Butter London Moisture Matte Lipsticks – again! I absolutely love them! I have two shades and I really don’t know which would be my favorite. There’s “Ruby Murray” which is a deep berry shade and then “Loved Up” which is more of a deep raspberry shade. They sound similar and they actually are pretty close, but Loved Up looks more pink, where Ruby Murray is more of a classic deep berry. The finish of these ismatte, but it doesn’t look sickly, patchy or pasty as some mattes do. There’s still some life to them somehow. The formula of these is also fantastic! I typically hate matte lipstick, but these are socomfortable. They’re not as creamy as most cream formulas, but they aren’t at all drying. They last for ages and stay where you put them! Butter London has nailed the formula with their Moisture Matte Lipsticks!

Finally, I feel like I need to add just one non-beauty related favorite. For the past few weeks, I have finally become addicted to Instagram! I know. Late on the bandwagon. I’ve had an account for ages, but rarely post anything. For some reason I’ve just been obsessed with it this month! I’ve been challenging myself to post at least one picture a day, which has been fun and often harder than I expected! Don’t know how long my obsession will last, but for now I’ve been glued to it. J If you’re on Instagram and would like to follow me, I’m @makeupguineapig.
I think that’s going to do it for my October Favorites! I could add a few more items, but this is already quite long – thanks if you’re still reading! I guess it’s been a good month for favorites. And now I think we’re officially entering the Holiday Season!!! Agh! Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close!!! Let me know what you’ve been loving this month, or if you have any Holiday themed requests. No promises, but I will see what I can do if there’s something specific you’d like to see. As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll come back for more! J

April Favorites – Full of Makeup! – Too Faced, NARS, Jouer, Tarte, Buxom & Josie Maran

Another month, another Favorites post! It’s been a crazy month…again…but I managed to wear a bit more makeup this time around. My skin has been so red and blotchy that I couldn’t not! JI actually don’t think I have anyskin care, hair care or body care this month, which is rare for me! J It’s not that I don’t have favorites, just nothing new that stands out. So, without further ado, I bring you my April Favorites! J

For starters, I would have been totally lost without the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint. I’ve mentioned this before, but I hadn’t been using it recently…until April rolled around! I’m not sure that there’s been a day that I’ve been out where I haven’t worn this wonder product. This has such amazing coverage for a tinted moisturizer – even if it were a light-medium foundation – and it has such a natural finish. It’s not too matte, but it doesn’t look at all greasy on my combo skin like most tinted moisturizers tend to. It also helps keep me from getting super shiny all day and is such an easy throw-on-and-rush-out-the-door kinda product. The Jouer Matte Moisture Tint is truly wonderful!

I picked up a new blush during the Sephora VIB sale in April and instantly fell in love with it! I’ve been using it pretty much every day since! It’s the NARS Blush in “Torrid.” I can’t really explain why I love it so much; it just looks sopretty! It’s described as a coral with shimmer, which seems pretty accurate to me. The shimmer is very subtle and on the cheeks it creates more of a beautiful glow than a shimmer. I have a few other NARS blushes, and I don’t find myself reaching for them all that often, but “Torrid” is gorgeous!

Another item from NARS that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by is the Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in “Via Veneto.” It’s just a standard black eyeliner, but it is seriously the best black eyeliner I have ever tried! I won’t say much more since I just reviewed it here. Definitely couldn’t live without the NARS Larger Than Life Eyelinerin April!

An oldie, but a goodie that I’ve been using is also from NARS. It’s their Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base. This is definitely the best eye shadow primer I’ve used in terms of preventing creasing. I usually don’t have much trouble on one eye, but the other eye creases like crazy no matter what I use. Strange, I know! JFortunately there’s the NARS Base because it definitely keeps my shadows looking fresher longer. I may get an occasional crease on the one eye, but it’s a dramatic improvement from every other shadow primer I’ve used. Yea for the NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base! J

I also fell back in love with my Tarte Brow Architect Pencil in April. It makes filling in your brows so quick and easy! I find that the Light/Medium shade is just about right for my skin tone as well as my hair color. I reviewed this quite a while ago, so if you’d like to learn more, check out that post here. It has seriously made getting out the door with the appearanceof actual eyebrows on my face so easy that I don’t feel compelled to skip it! And the Tarte Brow Architect is finally available by itself as well! J

For eye shadow in April, I could not stop reaching for the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette. I really tried to resist this bad boy, but it’s just so beautiful! It’s yet another thing I need like a hole in the head, but it’s an incredible neutral palette with a bit of punch thrown in. I feel like everyone and her brother has been talking about this palette, so I won’t get into too much detail. It’s just an amazing all around palette with ridiculously adorable packaging, and yes, it does smell like chocolate. That’s actually one aspect I could live without, but don’t mind it either. The shadows seem to last better than most on my eyes too, so make more palettes like the Chocolate Bar Palette, Too Faced! It’s absolutely superb! J

Not wanting to abandon the lip products, I’ve been totally addicted to the Buxom Full On Lip Cream in “Mai Tai.” It’s what I would call the perfect lip gloss – and I don’t even like lip gloss much! It’s a beautiful deep peachy shade. It actually kinda reminds me of the NARS Blush in “Torrid” if it were a lip gloss. If you’d like to know more about the Buxom Full On Lip Creams, check out my recent review here.

And finally, I lied. There’s one body product I’ve been addicted to in April. It’s the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream. I have it in the Warm Vanilla Fig scent, which I believe is only available in a set from QVC – plus it’s massive! JIt’s a great hand cream because it really seems to penetrate my skin. I found my other hand creams were just sitting on top of my skin, leaving my hands still thirsting for moisture. The Josie Maran seemed to fix the dehydrated feeling right away, although if I don’t use it somewhat regularly it sometimes returns. It’s not at all heavy, but if you use a huge quantity, it can feel a bit greasy. I haven’t had any trouble with it, but I know when I first tested it at Sephora, a ton came out and I thought it was quite greasy. After testing it a second time and not squeezing too hard, I found that it’s been just perfect! The warm vanilla fig scent is quite nice as well. It’s warm and comforting, yet still quite light and not at all overpowering. You don’t smell your hand cream all day, so I think the Josie Maran Hand Cream has the perfect balance of a pleasant, but subtle scent (the vanilla apricot is a beautiful scent too). Again I must say well done Josie Maran! J

I feel like this was quite an unusual Favorites for me since it was predominately makeup items. I hope it was still enjoyable! JI should add that I’ve still been obsessedwith the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara too, but I know I’ve mentioned it recently, but it’s so good, that it needed another brief mention (see my review here)! That pretty much fills out my go-to face in April. Let me know what you’ve been loving in the comments because a girl can never have too many suggestions! J If you’re looking for any of these products, I will have them all listed in my April Favorites Luvocracy Collection, which you can find here. I hope you’ve all had a fantastic month and I will see you for another favorites next month!!!

WORST of 2013 – The Fun Stuff! ;)

I don’t tend to bash products too much, but I sometimes find negative reviews more useful than positive ones, so I thought I would share some of the worst things from 2013. Obviously these are just my opinions and experiences with these things. Since everyone is different, something that didn’t work for me might be the greatest thing you’ve ever tried. Blah, blah, blah. I feel like all negative product reviews start with this disclaimer, but it really is true. So let’s talk about some things I absolutely did notlove in 2013!

Probably my least favorite thing would be that even more companies chose to lose their cruelty-free status by entering markets that require animal testing. Laura Mercier’s Silk Crème Foundation was the closest to a holy grail foundation I have found. Sadly, Laura Mercier is no longer cruelty-free and my hunt for my best foundation starts all over again.

Another heart-breaking loss in the cruelty-free department really took me by surprise. I have been a huge fan of Stila and totally fell in love with their Color Balm Lipsticks this year (check out my review here if you’re interested), as well as their After Glow Lip Colors(reviewed here). Unfortunately, Stila has added the dreaded “unless required by law” clause to their testing policy, so they are most likely no longer cruelty-free.
There are plenty of others and plenty of controversy over some…yes, I’m talking about Urban Decaywhich is technically still cruelty-free, but not without alienating a lot of their customers. I currently still consider Urban Decay cruelty-free (they are now owned by L’Oreal who is definitely notcruelty-free), but I know many have had it with their recent antics. Despite the sadness of companies being lost mainly so that they can enter new markets which require testing, there is some hope because São Paulo and China are beginning to change some of their laws regarding animal testing…not enough, but it’s a start!
As for specific products that I did not get along with this year, most of them seemed to cause horrible breakouts that I’m still trying to remedy! Grrr! That’s what I get for trying something new. J The first thing that I had terrible luck with is from Alba Botanica and it’s their Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser. I ended up with some pretty bad cystic acne after a few days of using this wash. Fortunately, it cleared up pretty quickly once I stopped use.
Another troublemaker for my acne was the Michael Todd True Organics Citrus Cream Moisturizer. It also caused me to break out after only a few days. Sadly, I ‘ve been having difficulty getting my skin back under control since I tried this moisturizer. I should say that I am prone to breakouts, so I cannot guarantee that these products were 100% the culprit, but I did notice distinct differences before and after using them. Such a shame too, because this smells delicious and has some wonderful ingredients in it!
Another dud came from Trader Joe’s, though I don’t think it is made by the retailer. It looks like it’s from Comodynes Urban Cosmetics and they are makeup towelettes that are simply called Make-Up Remover. I tried them once or twice and didn’t notice any real problems, but the reason these make my Worst list is because they did absolutely nothing! They did not remove makeup and they didn’t really even make my skin feel all that clean. I suppose they might be nice to kind of refresh your face mid-day (makeup-free of course), but they really do not seem to do much.
I have another bummer from Alba Botanica…I actually really like the brand, so don’t take this to mean it’s a bad brand. It’s definitely not. This particular product was just not great…not terrible, they just make a better version of a similar product. The dud is the Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen, which I find kind of weird because their Natural Hawaiian Sunscreen is wonderful! It’s probably one of my favorite sunscreens for the body, but the Mineral Sunscreen is kind of thick and difficult to rub in. It has that undesirable sunscreen white cast that takes some real effort to rub away. If you’re looking for a great sunscreen, skip the Very Emollient version and grab the Hawaiian version! J

From Hard Candy, I have two eye products that both have the same problem. They’re rather dry and look a bit patchy when applied…unless you really rub the hell out of your eyes! The first is the Shadowaholic 12 Hour Waterproof Eye Crayon, which is a chubby pencil that is rather firm. It takes so much pressure to apply this that it feels like you’re poking your eyes out! The other bummer is a cream eye shadow called All Lid Up. I have two of these and they’re both quite dry, which makes it difficult to even get any product out of the pot! If you do manage to transfer anything to your eyes, it goes on unevenly and requires a lot of work to make it look nice. Blending is a nightmare! It’s a shame because these do not budge and seem to be completely crease proof. They may have added a stopper to prevent these from drying, but I’m not sure of that and I don’t know if it would even make a difference. Regardless, these eye products from Hard Candy are pretty worthless – check out the crack in the teal shadow!

I have tried my fair share of crummy mascaras this year, but I think the NYX Propel My Eyes Mascaratakes the cake. I’ve tried a couple of NYX mascaras and they’ve all been stinkers. My biggest complaint is that they are just far too wet of a formula for my liking. My lashes stuck together something awful and I seem to remember they never really felt completely dry. Plus, they felt heavy. NYX has some interesting brush shapes, but the super wet formula is not for me.

My final dud is actually a product I really love. Confused? Well, I believe it’s been discontinued so I’m really disappointed! JIt is the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer. I really, really love this stuff and I can’t find it anymore! If you’d like to hear why I found it so wonderful, you can see my full review here.

I think that’s it for my stinkers of the year! Like I said, some of these things might work great for other people, but they’re not for me. I hope you enjoyed this delayed look back through the best and worst of 2013. I must say, I actually think I had pretty good luck in 2013 with the new products I tried. Most were wonderful, some were just ok and only a rare few were not so hot. I hope you all had just as good, if not better luck than I did this past year! J

Best of 2013 – Makeup!!! – BECCA, Jouer, NARS, IT Cosmetics, Josie Maran, Urban Decay, NYX, Inglot, Flower & Too Faced

Ah, makeup. There have been a lot of wonderful finds in 2013, and a fair number of sad goodbyes. Stop selling in China formerly cruelty-free companies! Anyway, on to the point of this post – the best makeup of 2013. As I’ve said before, I haven’t chosen an item to fit into a certain category, just made a list of what I truly went back to over and over again. I don’t have a favorite foundation, for instance (thanks Laura Mercier for changing your status!). I didn’t want to pick something just to fill a spot, so I haven’t! So, on to the main event…my favorite Makeup Products of 2013!!! J

Let’s start with face primer, shall we? J I was skeptical about the BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector when I first tested it on my hand, but then I actually used it and the stars aligned! Ok, it’s not that great, but it’s a wonderful primer for anyone struggling with unwanted shine. I find it’s also a fantastic eye primer (and yes, the package says it is safe for such use)! It keeps me relatively shine-free almost all day and it keeps my shades in place! If you’d like to learn even more about this wonder primer, check out my post here.

I suppose this next item is kind of like a foundation, but it’s technically a tinted moisturizer. It is the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint and it is another deservedly hyped product. If you have skin that tends to get a bit greasy, you probably aren’t a huge fan of most tinted moisturizers. They’re all a bit too shiny. The Matte Moisture Tint actually seems to keep oil at bay without drying out the skin and, something important to me, it provides pretty decent coverage! I would say it has the coverage of a light-medium coverage foundation, while still being very easy to apply and blend like a tinted moisturizer. It’s a seriously wonderful face product and you can read eve more about it here!

In the concealer realm, I was skeptical about the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I held off on trying it for quite some time and finally caved after seeing nothing but great reviews. The reviews were correct…it’s fantastic! It’s very creamy and so easy to blend, but it has amazing coverage that stays put pretty much all day. I find it best for covering dark spots, acne scarring and blemishes, but it works great under the eyes as well. It doesn’t seem to crease on me, but then that’s not something I typically have a huge problem with anyway. If you’re willing to buy NARS products (their parent company is not cruelty-free, but NARS is), definitely check out the Radiant Creamy Concealer. Believe the hype!

Such an amazing blush line that I discovered in 2013 are the IT Cosmetics Vitality Cheek Stains. So amazing! They are incredibly pigmented so you only need a tiny bit, they blend like a dream and they always look natural. These blushes also last well all day…just like they claim! JThere are not a huge variety of shades available, but they cover the general bases and they are all gorgeous! Check QVC for a set that includes a blush in the shade of your choice plus the amazingFrench Boutique Blush Brush for only a few dollars more than the blush alone – definitely worth it! J

Another blush product that deserves a mention is the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée. If nothing more, this blush deserves a mention for it’s innovativeness. That aside, it is such a gorgeous blush and lip tint! It has the most unusual texture and creates the most natural, staining flush of healthy color. It’s such an unexpectedly wonderful product! I love it! You can read my full review here.

For eyeliners, I have three pencil formulas. I’m not going to go into much detail because they are somewhat similar, and it’s really difficult to talk too much about pencil eyeliners! JI always have, and probably always will, love the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. They’re just wonderfully creamy, yet they don’t budge…and they come in a billion shades. A more budget-friendly option of essentially the same thing is the NYX Slide On Eye Pencils. Not quite as many shades, but every bit as amazing for a fraction of the price! And finally, there are the Flower Easy On The Eyes Long Lasting Eye Pencils that are similar, but have twist-up packaging. If you’d like to learn more about the Flower Eye Pencils, check out my in-depth review here.

I much prefer gel liner to liquid and I am totally impressed by Inglot’s AMC Eyeliner Gel! It is so creamy and insanely pigmented, plus it doesn’t budge…in fact, it can be difficult to remove! It comes in a ton of colors with a variety of finishes. My favorite is just the standard matte black, which is number 77. Perhaps most impressive, I’ve had the jar open for probably about 9 months, and it’s still almost the same as when I first opened it! It definitely has not dried out at all! This is by far the best gel liner I’ve ever used! J

The eye shadow that has stood out the most to me this year is the Color Play Crème Eyeshadowfrom Flower Beauty. I really like these shadows. They have kind of a whipped mousse texture that, though perhaps a bit drier than when I bought them a year ago, are still wonderfully creamy and easy to blend. They can be sheered out, or built into a more opaque shade, and they can easily be worn alone or as a base for powder shadows. I don’t find that they crease either! Quite a feat with my eyes, but they wear very well (I do use a primer underneath). There’s a weird removable stopper on top of the shadow, but I have a feeling it may be there to help keep the shadow from drying it out. Flower really did an excellent job with their Color Play Crème Eyeshadows!

My favorite mascara just barely made it into 2013. It is ridiculously expensive in my opinion (I still only have a sample size), but probably totally worth it! It is the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara! I’m not entirely sure what it is that makes it so wonderful, but it makes your lashes look incredible! It has an hourglass shaped bristle brush. The formula is neither too wet, nor too dry and it doesn’t clump. It adds volume and length with ease, without making your lashes feel crunchy. You can read my full review here. I am so in love with the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara!

I could keep going, but these were the products that made a huge impression on me this year. Most are new, but there are at least one or two old favorites in there. I don’t really have a lip favorite, although there have been tons of wonderful lip products released over the past year. I’m not a huge lip gloss person, or I would have included the Flower Shine On Lip Gloss. It is definitely my favorite gloss of the year. It has a wonderful formula and comes in pretty shades that range from sheer to quite pigmented! But since I don’t wear anygloss much, I didn’t think it was right to include it. So, there you have the true stars of 2013 in my eyes! Stay tuned for my last installment – the Worst Products of 2013! J


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