I did my Best Beauty Products of 2012 post last year and it was so much fun to put together. Compiling these yearly “best of” posts is not an easy task at all. Do you realize how many makeup items it’s possible to try in a year? A lot. The way I go about it is by picking my absolute favorites, which is why you’ll see there is more than one product per type (e.g. multiple foundations) and there are missing categories (no favorite eyeliner, bronzer, etc.) The reason being that I don’t want to choose an item just for the sake of filling a category. This ensures that the products mentioned here are truly, what I consider to be, the best of the best from my stash.
THE CREAM SHADOW
Milani ShadowEyez 12 Hr Wear Eyeshadow Pencils ($6.99): I couldn’t stop talking about these for the first half of 2013. They are still my favorite cream eyeshadow pencils ever (even after trying Jordana‘s version). They’re creamy, pigmented, don’t crease, and last for ages. These aren’t any of those “good for the price” budget products, these are true gems. Read first and second review.
THE LIP PRODUCTS
p.s. Even though I had a list, I forgot to photograph the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream and Paul & Joe Lipstick. D’oh.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Istanbul ($5.99):
If I owned any more colors I’d just say “the entire Soft Matte Lip Cream line” but sadly, I don’t. The formula applies just as wonderfully as the Stila All Day Liquid Lipsticks and the Guerlain Rouge G L’Extraits. It doesn’t go cakey or powdery like the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick. I wish NYX was more widely available in my country so I could pick up more of these. Read review.
MAC Creme Cup Lipstick ($15):
I had wanted this lipstick for ages. I don’t know why it took me so long to get it. Maybe I thought it would be too light for me. It’s the perfect shade of baby pink, I adore it. Might be too girly for some people’s taste but I can’t get enough of it.
Paul & Joe Potpourri Lipstick ($20):
This is my go-to everyday nude, specially for work. It’s a little sheer and the formula is soft and balm-y. It fades very flatteringly and re-application can be done without a mirror. Read review
NARS Matte Velvet Lip Pencils ($25):
These are the best matte lipsticks in the market (in my opinion). They are retro mattes, so I know they might be too matte for some people. They’re creamy, long-lasting, and don’t dry out my lips. The shade selection is beautiful too. I own Train Bleu (a vampy aubergine), Bolero (a peachy nude), Dragon Girl (a blue based red), and Walkyrie (a terra-cotta brown). Read review.
Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Unapologetic ($8.99): This one came in last during the month of December and barely made it into the list. I had to include it. For one, the formula is really nice. I find that most matte lipsticks at the drugstore are uber drying or not matte at all. And while this is more of a cream-matte, it’s matte enough and non- drying. Also… the color. It’s gorgeous! I don’t own MAC’s Limited Edition Party Parrot Lipstick (I tried to get it but I wasn’t quick enough) but this looks like a close enough dupe to me.
Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Exposed ($24): Can you tell I like matte lip pencils? This is the third one in a row. It was unintentional, I swear. There are a lot of traditional matte lipsticks I love, but for some odd reason all my favorites happen to be in jumbo pencil form. Anyhow, Exposed is the perfect my-lips-but-better shade for me. It’s more matte than the Revlon Matte Balm Stains but less matte than the NARS Velvet Mattes (Say matte one more time!!) Read review.
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Natural Mint & Shea Butter ($7.50): I bought this on a whim because I was looking for a lip balm that didn’t come in a jar or pot packaging. I also wanted to try something different besides the typical Chapstick (which I find mediocre), Burt’s Bees (which I quite like), EOS balms or Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments (which are great but pricey). So far, I’m loving it. It actually improves the condition of my lips as opposed to just moisturizing them while it’s on. I already bought a second one (to keep in my bag).
LUSH Popcorn Lip Scrub ($9.95): I’m a strong advocate of DIY lip scrubs because sugar from your cupboard will do just as good a job at exfoliating dead skin than a store-bought scrub. However, LUSH’s Lip Popcorn Lip Scrub has a lot of good things going for it that ultimately lead me to include it in this list. In a nutshell, it’s convenient, moisturizing (because of the Jojoba and Coconut Oil in it), and a hard-to-achieve tight packed consistency. Plus it tastes amazing! Just like caramel popcorn.
THE FACE POWDERS
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($35):
This has been my holy grail setting powder for years. I’ve had the deluxe sample size that comes in the Undercover Pot for over 2 years but recently made the splurge of getting the full size for $35. This powder will last you ages as you need very little. It’s one of the finest milled powders I’ve used. It makes your skin soft, diminishes the look of pores, keeps oil at bay, and extends the wear of your foundation.
Paul & Joe Pressed Face Powder in Medium ($33):
This is the closest I’ve come to finding a pressed version of Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder. There are two main differences though, it has sheer coverage (as opposed to completely disappearing on the skin) and it doesn’t have that blurring effect that the Laura Mercier powder does. Still, an excellent face powder that pairs up great with medium and full coverage foundations. Read review.
MAC Studio Fix Powder+ in C4 ($27):
I featured this powder last year as well. I’m positive I will keep featuring it in yearly favorites for as long as I repurchase it. It’s quite a different powder from the two mentioned above. This powder is finely milled and has one of the best coverages I’ve tried. It’s regarded as a powder foundation, but I wear it both on its own and over liquid foundation. It never looks cakey.
MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul ($25):
I think this is 2013’s unexpected breakout star. I didn’t use to gravitate towards nude, tan blush colors because I was unsure they would show up on my skin. With little layering, Warm Soul does. It also has a little shimmer which gives my skin the prettiest glow. It goes well with literally any makeup look. Read review.
BECCA Mineral Blush in Wild Honey ($32):
I adored this blush formula so much that I went out and bought a new color recently. Correction, I loved this formula so much but it costs $30 freaking dollars so I got my boyfriend to get me a new color for my birthday. 😀 Still, worth a look if it’s in your budget (or if you’re lucky to find it at a discount). Wild Honey is the epitome of summer orange shades. Read review.
Illamasqua Cream Blush in Rude ($26):
I got this back in 2012 but rekindled my love for it during several months of 2013. Illamasqua’s cream blush formula is pretty flawless. Rude is the type of coral/peach color that will look different on everyone depending on their undertones. That makes it universally flattering. Read review.
LUSH Let The Good Times Roll Cleanser ($12.95):
Queue the irony. I previously said I disliked this product and wouldn’t repurchase it. The reason being that it left a slightly oily residue on the skin. I take it back. I would repurchase it and I’m sad it’s a limited edition holiday product. I stand by what I said, it does leave a residue and I don’t use it on days I plan to wear foundation. However, on makeup-free days I like to use it because the residue (which originates from the cornmeal in this cleanser) eventually sinks in, making this a cleanser that is both exfoliating and a bit moisturizing. Plus the scent! It’s irresistible. That’s the main reason I’m so attached to this.
REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask ($55, full size):
I know I only have a deluxe sample of this, but it’s quite a generous one. The tiniest pea-sized blob of this will make your skin incredibly soft overnight. And a little bit glowy as well. One day I will save up enough money for a full size of this. I’ve been using it regularly and have noticed it helps fade dark spots.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard ($28):
Another product that came late in the year but impressed me enough to make the list. This is a thick liquid concealer that works great on blemishes and under eye circles. It has a nice medium coverage. Sometimes I put too much on (when I have sleepless nights) and think it will look cakey, but amazingly it doesn’t. Read review.
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation ($44):
I do get bored of saying this is my favorite foundation but I haven’t found anything that can top it yet. It’s the perfect finish for my skin type. Its satin finish and medium coverage make it extremely versatile. Good skin day? Use a light layer. Breaking out? Use two layers. Very dry skin in the winter? Try a hydrating primer or thicker moisturizer. I just love it. It lasts really well on me without a primer. I wear the shade Punjab
when I’m palest and Stromboli
when I’m tan. I also mix the two when I feel the need. Read review.
Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation (£10.99): I was using this foundation almost daily a few months back. Sadly, the weather got really hot here and I started opting for face products with a more matte finish. Still, it’s an excellent foundation with a satin/luminous finish and light/medium coverage. Great for dry, combination, and normal skin types. Read review.
Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation Primer ($19.50):
I have very little left of this primer and will definitely be repurchasing it. I might even get the larger size. It makes my foundation go on very nicely and last for ages. It’s my favorite face primer for work since I can count on it to make my face makeup look good for over 8 hours.
NARS Pro Prime SmudgeProof Eyeshadow Base ($24):
For the longest time, the Too Faced Shadow Insurance had been my favorite eye primer. I still love it, but I find that the NARS Pro Prime performs just as well if not better. The good? I prefer NARS’s doe foot applicator packaging. The bad? It’s more expensive. Would I repurchase? No, because you get less product and have to pay more.
Make Up For Ever 108 Large Foundation Brush ($36):
Make Up For Ever finally released a line of brushes in late 2013. You must go have a look at them in person at Sephora, if you can. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they’re extremely well made. I will do a full review in the future. In a nutshell, I adore the 108
for applying liquid foundation.
MAC 217 Blending Brush ($24):
This is by far my most used eye brush. I think everyone needs
to own this brush (or an equivalent, of course, it doesn’t have to be from MAC). The shape is perfect for blending or applying light washes of color.
Sedona Lace 217 Synthetic Small Round Dome Brush ($12.95):
Ironically, this has the same numbering as the MAC brush but it’s totally different. The Sedona Lace 217 is bigger, denser, and made of synthetic fibers. I use this brush to blend concealer under my eyes and it does the job spectacularly.
MAC 210 Precise Eyeliner Brush ($20): The discovery of this brush was a blessing during 2013. Yeah, it’s that serious. I’ve tried fine-tip eyeliner brushes from a variety of brands– Real Techniques, Sephora, Sedona Lace, generic drugstore brands– and while they’re good quality, they are just too damn big. I have small hooded eyes (when I look straight forward most of my eye makeup gets hidden in the fold) so I have to be careful not to make my liner too thick or else it will touch the fold and accentuate my uneven eyes. The 210 is tiny, it’s perfect for me. So precise!
NARS And God Created The Woman Set ($59):
This is my favorite palette from 2013 (and that’s saying a lot!) The eyeshadows are phenomenal quality. The color selection and compact size make it the best travel-friendy neutral palette I own. I almost
like it better than my Urban Decay Naked 1
. If only it had a light, matte warm-toned shade like Naked
. And although the Naked
1 does offer more shades, I rarely use the last two (Creep and Gunmetal). Read review.
Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($52):
I apologize for contributing to the overexposure of the Naked 3 palette, but the Nakeds have earned their hype. Naked 3 is a breath of fresh air. Ever since Urban Decay released the Naked 1, we’ve seen an
increasing amount of neutral palettes being released by other brands. Some are even downright obvious knock-offs of the original Naked. It all started to look a bit same-y. Luckily, the entire Naked 3
has predominant rose-gold/mauve hues that I haven’t seen in other palettes yet.
Phew! And there they are. I still stand by the products I chose last year for my Best of 2012 post. So if you want even more suggestions, you should give that a look. I didn’t want to constantly repeat products. For example, my favorite eyeliners are still the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencils which I mentioned last year but it seemed redundant to include them again. Last time I named the entire Real Techniques range as my favorite brushes. I still use them daily, but this year I wanted be more specific and mention individual brushes.
Let me know if you also did a Best Products of 2013 post so I can have a look at it! Did any of these items make your list? Have a nice weekend!