1. Glossier Boy Brow in Clear
Fucking Glossier. They're like the mid-range version of Colourpop for me: I want to dislike them. I really, really do. But they did manage to hook me with a genuinely great product. I've been a devotee of cheap clear mascara as brow gel. I also have tried the pricier versions, like ABH Brow Gel. But gel, no matter the price bracket, has a habit of making my brows a little clumpy and weird. The answer, it seems, is a clear pomade. My brows look more natural and are still held in place. Boy Brow is exactly what I want from a brow product. So fine, Glossier. You win this one. That's twice now I've praised this here. Don't get used to it.
2. Besame Lipstick in Dusty Rose
The Besame lipstick formula is one of my favourite, but until I picked up the mini lipstick set they have out right now, I only had Tango Red. Tango Red is beautiful but not exactly a colour that suits many occasions. It's also very summery to me, which means I don't really wear it year round. Enter the lipstick set and the standout for me, Dusty Rose. Dusty Rose reads more like a mauve berry on me, and I love how it looks: suitable for work, but bold enough to be interesting. Plus that perfect long-lasting Besame formula.
Trying out @besamecosmetics Dusty Rose lipstick and @narsissist Liquid Blush in Dolce Vita. They pair really well together and that wasn’t even intentional. I already loved the Besame lipstick Formula, and I’m pleased that Dusty Rose is of the same feeling and quality as Tango Red, so far. Dolce Vita has a very similar feel to the @glossier Cloud Paints, but much more pigmented - I had to be very careful this morning.
3. The Ordinary Foundations: Serum and Coverage
I decided I wanted to try both of The Ordinary foundations this summer: I've been using Makeup Forever Water Blend, which I do really like, but it's $54 for a 50ml bottle and that's a lot. The Ordinary foundations are $6.70 for a 30ml bottle, and even though I tried two formulas and three different shades, I'm still way ahead. And I've switched to the Serum foundation for my everyday base, since it has many of the same qualities I like about Water Blend: lightweight, light coverage, and easy to blend with fingers. I'm almost done my bottle of 1.0NS (neutral with silver highlight) in the Serum, which doesn't quite match, but is close enough. 1.0P (pink undertones), the bottle of the Serum I have in reserve, is a much better match. The Serum foundation does tend to break down by the end of my workday, but so far has not broken down in a weird patchy way, so I'm okay with the tradeoff for the coverage I desire.
I also have 1.0N in the Coverage foundation. This is another great foundation, and perfect for when I want a longer wearing, higher coverage foundation. This stays put on me (note: I usually wear it over sunscreen and a mattifying moisturizer) all day, and when set with powder, oil doesn't even break through on my nose, a typical trouble spot for me. 1.0N (neutral undertones) is also a touch too warm for me, but it's close enough. Once I work through this bottle, I will switch to 1.0P in this too. And enjoy my new life where I have two foundations for different needs.
4. Maybelline Inti-Matte Lipstick in Naked Coral
Hands down, the best lipstick purchase I made this year. Naked Coral is a comfortable demi-matte lipstick that's a beautiful, natural-looking dirty peach. It's neutral but not boring, the formula is comfortable and stays put, with even fading, and it's overall a really great lipstick. It took me until this year to take a fresh look at Maybelline's offerings, and this has exceeded expectations.
5. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Apoline
LOOK AT THE USE ON THIS THING. I've had it since January. I wear it pretty regularly and always praise it to high heavens when I do. Man, this is a great lipstick. It's easily one of my favourites. It's a muted pink, very flattering on me, and it's in the very comfortable Audacious formula. Plus that magnetic lipstick case. It's sleek and pretty and a lipstick that I can always count on to look good and not be fussy to apply.
6. Solstice Scents Cliffside Bonfire
This has been the perfume standout for me this year. While I've dialled my perfume shopping way way way back, I still think this would be on top of the heap if I'd acquired a ton of scents. I've been raving about this here on the blog and every time I wear it and post about it on Instagram, but I really can't say it enough: I adore this perfume. If there's any scent in the world that is more me in this world, I challenge someone to find it. Cliffside Bonfire is two of my very favourite things: the ocean and woodsmoke, and I feel most like myself when I wear it. I have a 5ml rollerball right now, but I plan to get the 60ml eau de parfum at some point because I want to bathe in this stuff.
7. Formula 10.0.6 Seriously Shine Free Mattifying Oil-Free Moisturizer
My very favourite skincare find this year! I'm much less oily than I used to be, but I still have breakthrough shine midway through the work day, and I like to reduce any primping time I have to do over lunch. I was wandering Walmart on my first journey there in my very own car (which I still hate owning, thanks for asking) and had heard some great things about Formula 10.0.6 from my friends. I was floored to see it in rural NB, and after some careful studying of the row of products, I decided on this mattifying moisturizer and the Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask, which also made this list. This moisturizer both hydrates my skin and keeps oil at bay. It doesn't fully combat shine by the end of the day, but there is a significant difference when I don't wear it. It's $10 here and a tube is 75ml, which lasts me 3-4 months, which is all good and budget-friendly.
8. Colourpop Blotted Lips in Drip
Everyone knows I have a fistful of the Blotted Lips, but after careful consideration, I've decided that drip is my favourite one. I like the formula and the price and the packaging, though I could do without the bullets snapping off. But Drip is the best. It's a rosy brown, can be made opaque easily, isn't drying, fades evenly and is generally really flattering. It's really flattering and easy to wear. Colourpop does tend to release too many things and see what sticks, but the Blotted Lips were one of their hits this year, and I'm glad I bought in, at least this time.
9. Biore Bright Milk
I've been pretty terrible about wearing daily sunscreen for most of my life. I do it in the summer, but I don't tend to see daylight for a good chunk of the year (I arrive at work before the sun's up and leave after it goes down; I don't have windows in my library) and it's easy to drop the habit and not pick it back up. This spring, I decided I was going to find a sunscreen that I like, treat it as part of my makeup routine (like a good mattifying primer), and hopefully it would stick. After trying a few of the Biore milk sunscreens, I've settled on Bright Milk as my sunscreen and will be buying a few backup bottles in the new year, since it's officially part of my routine now. Bright Milk is probably best suited for lighter skin tones, much like most sunscreens (grrr), since it leaves a slight cast. It's got a very subtle pink tint, evens out my skin, and provides a thin, demi-matte layer for my other products to go over. The best sunscreen is the sunscreen you use, and I've finally found mine.
10. Arcana This Is Not the Carnival
While I have barely purchased perfume this year, what little I have picked up, I've generally really enjoyed (is that the secret? Be more choosy? Probably). This Is Not the Carnival was a gift with purchase scent, and when I hopped on a friend's order, we decided to split this scent since we were both interested. This is bright and bubbly and candy-ish and it makes me happy. Mini review here. If you can track down some of this, I recommend it.
11. Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack
I can't believe that I have two Glossier products on this list. Who am I. Apparently a person that is okay with paying $27 for a tub of a clay mask. I think the weird orange peel bits are pointless, but my skin adores this mask. It's the least drying clay mask I've tried. My skin feels and looks smooth, and feels supple and refreshed after using it. I'm pretty liberal in my application of this mask, have been doing it 2-3 times a week lately, and have yet to make a significant dent in it, so I don't feel like my money went to nothing. "Juice cleanse for your skin" nonsense aside, this is a good mask.
12. Marcelle Comforting Cleansing Milk
I used this as my morning cleanser for the majority of this year, and while I'm taking a break from it right now because I have a need for variety, I will be repurchasing in the future. It's a very gentle milk cleanser that I use to remove any residue from my routine the night before and prep my skin for the day. It's my understanding that Marcelle isn't widely sold in the US, which explains why I never hear about any of their products. Such a shame!
13. Formula 10.0.6 Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask
This is made with strawberry and yarrow, so right off the bat, it smells really good and has a slight pink tint. Plus it's less than $10. This is more of a traditional clay mask than the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack - my skin definitely gets that tightish feeling that it normally does after using clay masks, but it's really soothing and helps calm down my skin if it's aggravated and needs a little pushing back in line. Also it smells really good and to be honest, if it didn't, I wouldn't use it. Half of the fun of beauty is the little things like that.
Saturday evening mask time! Also featuring a slightly worn @sephora Cream Lip Stain in Marvelous Mauve. I’m using @formula1006uk Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask. This is one of the best skincare finds I’ve had this year. It’s got strawberry and yarrow, so smells amazing, and leaves my skin smooth and helps battle some peskier inflammation. My skin has been behaving so much more this past few months, but will occasionally need to be knocked back in line. This always helps. It also tingles a little as it dries down and being part of the camp that subscribed to the “hurts so good” form of skincare, I appreciate that.
14. Hello Waffle/Shiro liquid highlighter in Sparklecat
Ever since Hello Waffle released their liquid highlighters, I have loved them. They're a light moussey texture, blendable and buildable. The highlighters I like best from Hello Waffle's line are more on the shimmer side than the glitter, but I do like more intensity form my highlighters now and again. Sparklecat was the Colour of the Month at Shiro in September, to celebrate their acquisition and reopening of Hello Waffle. Sparklecat is a champagne shimmer with silver sparks and I like how it can be worn subtly or built up. Plus the liquid highlighter formula is incredibly easy to use. I've used this almost every day since I got it. A+.
15. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
The internet beautysphere was going nuts over this mascara this fall. It's $4.99! It gives you ridiculously long lashes and volume! The before and after pictures with accompanying raves were everywhere. While I try to avoid hype, I feel like mascara hype is no big deal, especially for drugstore. It's cheap and I'm going to toss it in three months anyway, you know? While I don't get the crazy drama some people do, since I already have long lashes, it does make it easier to highlight that feature. Plus it's cheaper than most drugstore mascaras. I'm in.
16. Wet 'n' Wild Liquid Catsuit Liquid Lipstick in all the colours
Now that I have admitted that I am willing to wear liquid lipsticks, I can squarely point the blame at this newfound entrance into liquid lipsticks at the gateway drug, Wet 'n' Wild Liquid Catsuits. They hit the point of good quality and low price that I think is really important for liquid lipsticks, since they have a shorter shelf life. I wrote about them very recently, so I won't rehash it here, but suffice it to say that I'm a fan, and that their long-wearing ways have a place in my life after all.
17. NARS Liquid Blush in Dolce Vita
But the top is made of that impossible to clean NARS plastic.
If I hadn't tried this blush, Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam would be on here instead. I really like my Cloud Paint, but this liquid blush takes that texture, puts it in a more convenient packaging, gives it some extra pigment so that it's suitable for a wider range of skin tones, and made this gorgeous plummy rose. I love it. I also don't need to use much at all - a quarter pump is good enough for me, so I'll have it forever, but it's beautiful and neutral enough to go with lots of things. Plus liquid blush blends more naturally and sinks into my skin to meld really well, and I much prefer the finish to powder blushes, it turns out. (Jump back up to the picture of me wearing Besame Dusty Rose, because I'm also wearing Dolce Vita there too.)
This was the year of finding a skincare routine that actually works for me. And is happily cheaper than what I was using previously. This was also the year that I backed off of perfume, and fell in love with liquid and cream products. I've been really refining what I want from my beauty collection this year, as I continue to step out of being a student and into being a professional, as well as defining my style. 2018, however, is going to be less exploration and more maintenance: being choosier and hopefully panning a few things!