Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Best of Beauty 2014

I know, I know, I'm pretty sure every blogger on Earth has done their year end round up of favorite products by now. But honestly, reading about other bloggers' favorite bits of beauty from 2014 has made for some of my favorite posts of the year (and has also caused my beauty wishlist to grow exponentially). I decided that I might as well throw my own take into the mix so, without further ado, here are some of my top beauty discoveries from 2014.

This was a hard category to pick for because I have found so many wonderful skincare gems this past year. I decided to focus on three particularly standout products that have truly been game changers in my skincare routine, and all three will be definite repurchases. First up is my truly adored Natural Bisse the Cure Sheer Eye. This tinted eye cream not only hydrates the delicate skin underneath the eyes but also provides a sheer layer of concealment and brightening to your under eye. While it's certainly expensive, I have found that the results with this are so fantastic that I am more than willing to make the investment. That being said, I have been using the same bottle of this daily since I bought it in June and still am nowhere near running out. So it should be awhile before I need to think of repurchasing!

Next up is the REN Evercalm Day Cream, my absolute favorite winter skin primer. Finding a moisturizer during the cold weather is a difficult task for me as it not only needs to provide hydration for my dry skin, but also must sit well underneath makeup. This product from REN has truly been a lifesaver this season, providing all day moisture to my dehydrated skin while also acting as a fantastic base for underneath my makeup.

Lastly is one of my absolute favorite face masks, the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. I touched on this in my last post so I'll try not to be too repetitive, but this all-natural face mask works to decongest, exfoliate and give a bit of glow to your skin. I'm happy to say that it ticks off all those boxes and more, leaving my dull winter skin looking a hundred times healthier and clearer. I use it once a week and always manage to see immediate results (the best thing you can ask for with a skincare product!).

I have tried so hard to not make this a base-heavy section, but being the foundation lover that I am I have to stick a few in there. I've always been a lover of sheer-to-light coverage bases, and I've discovered a few real gems that fit perfectly in that category. Charlotte Tilbury's Light Wonder (I'm shade 4 Fair) and Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua (my winter shade is B10 and summer is B30) both have similarly liquid-y formulas that create the most natural looking, glowing base. Another lighter option is my dearly beloved Chantecaille Just Skin (winter shade is Bliss and summer is Glow), the most beautifully perfecting tinted moisturizer I've ever gotten my hands on. All that said, my big goal this year was finding a natural looking medium-coverage foundation for the colder months when my skin needs a little bit of help, and I'm happy to say I ended up finding two. First up is my By Terry Densiliss (I have shades 4 Natural Beige + 5 Medium Peach), a product I've written about extensively so I won't bore you with details of its perfect satin-y matte finish. The second is a new discovery, the stunning Cle de Peau Radiant Fluid Foundation (which I have in shade O10). The price tag is as eye-watering as By Terry, but the natural, radiant finish just cannot be beat. I'll be writing more about this guy in the near future, so keep your eyes out for a review.

For applying all of these bases I've found my own personal HG of brushes, something I didn't even know I needed. The Hourglass No. 7 Finishing Brush is truly a godsend. Until I started using this guy I thought my foundation looked just fine, thank you very much. But after applying it with this lovely and seeing the airbrushed, natural looking finish it left behind, I realized there was just no comparison. I can no longer be without it and, with Hourglass' seven year brush guarantee, I forsee a long love affair in our future.

It'll come as no surprise that my favorite primer of the year was my perfectly moisturizing By Terry Densiliss Primer, and my By Terry Densiliss Concealer (in shade 1 Fresh Fair) was certainly a favorite concealer. My other favorite concealer for some serious eye brightening is the amazing Clarins Instant Concealer (I wear shade 1), a medium-coverage liquid that packs a serious punch of natural looking brightness.

For the cheeks I have found two true loves in the Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic in First Love and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. In the colder months I've been using the shade Mood Exposure in the palette, but once I gain a little color to my vampire-like features I expect to be favoring the beautifully coral Incadescent Electra.

For eyes, it'll come as no shock that my Urban Decay Naked2 Palette is at the top of my list of favorites. It can do no wrong in my eyes, and it gets used on the daily. The other favorite for eyes is Charlotte Tilbury's Colour Chameleons, eye shadow sticks that provide some seriously long-lasting color. I use the shade Bronzed Garnet and find that smudging it on my lower lash line makes for a lovely everyday look.

Finally, my favorite lip products of the year. I've found some absolutely wonderful products this year, so when choosing the ones to write about here I decided to pick a lip gloss, a tinted balm and a lipstick. For the lip gloss I've gotta go with Chantecaille's Brilliant Gloss. I have several shades of this formula and find that it provides the most hydrating, long-lasting burst of color that I've ever gotten from a lipgloss. It's truly brilliant (see what I did there?). Tinted balms are probably my favorite form of lip products, so I'm a pretty tough judge. The one that has impressed me most this year was the tinted balm line from Fresh, specially the color Berry. It provides the perfect amount of color with a fantastic amount of hydration, truly making it the best of the best. For lipsticks, my favorite of the year having to be Charlotte Tilbury's K.I.S.S.I.N.G line. Even if it didn't have the beautifully pigmented, wonderfully hydrating formula that it does, I would choose the line alone based on how gorgeous the golden packaging is. Truly amazing.

Phew, that makeup section was a long one. This section is going to be quite a bit shorter, and very Diptyque heavy. My absolute favorite fragrance discovery of the year has to be Diptyque's Eau Duelle, a lovely amber/vanilla mix that makes for the coziest winter fragrance. Seriously, I cannot stop smelling myself when I spritz a bit of this on, it's just that good.

As for home fragrances, this year I upgraded my usual Bath and Body Works candles for some more luxurious options. My favorites have, unfortunately, been the more expensive choices, including some of the Diptyque candles. My top three scents have been Resine, Ambre and Feu de Bois, all cozy, musk-y scents that create the loveliest winter atmosphere. I try and burn them sparingly because of their price, but I'd be lying if I said they weren't some of my favorite fragrance discoveries this past year.

Up until this past year, my hair routine was genuinely pathetic. Other than blow drying my hair, and occasionally curling it, I did almost nothing to maintain my hair. While one of my resolutions for 2015 is to really step up my hair game, I did manage to pick up a few great products in the past 12 months. The most recent one is the wonderful Sachjuan Scalp Shampoo, the amazing product that has helped me deal with an increasingly irritated winter scalp. This was the first product I had tried from the Swedish brand, and it has led to many more purchases. Everything from Sachajuan is pure gold and I truly could not recommend it more. My other favorite hair product of the year has to be the best smelling, most effective dry shampoo on the market. I'm talking, of course, about Bumble and Bumble's Prêt-à-Powder. I had tried many dry shampoos before investing in this guy, but I have yet to find anything that leaves my hair feeling as clean, volumized and wonderful smelling as this product does. Combine that with the fact that the bottle seems to be neverending and I can safely say this has become a staple product in my growing haircare routine.


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