Thursday, January 1, 2015

14 Favorites of 2014


Happy 2015 everyone! I'm starting off this blogging year with a positive post, a brief look back at all the amazing beauty finds of 2014. These might not be recent releases but they were new to me and I wanted to share my favorite makeup, skincare, haircare and bodycare finds.

Leaders Insolution Sheet Masks - I bought these Korean mask sheets way back in January when I visited South Korea and fell in love. These are only about $2 per mask sheet but the cotton is luxuriously thick and soft, soaked in a gel serum that does what it says it will. The AC-Dressing mask is particularly great for wind burned skin and evenings when my face feels particularly sensitive.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive - I've used quite a few exfoliants but this is by far my favorite of the year because of the effective glycolic acid formula which smoothes skin without scratching. I haven't tried most of Juice Beauty's line but I can vouch for this particular product.

Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate* - I attended the launch for this product and wasn't expecting it to change my skin the way it did. It isn't described as a serum but you can use it like one. Just add it to your skincare routine between your toner and moisturizer and see more supple skin in a few weeks.

IOPE Bio Essence (not pictured because I finished the bottle and forgot to salvage it for this post) - For those familiar with the SKII Facial Treatment Essence, also known as Miracle Water, this is a less expensive alternative. This literally looks, feels and smells like water but it tones the skin and helps my skin heal faster after battling with a bout of hormonal acne.

TEMPTU Airbrush Makeup System - I finally had a chance to try out the TEMPTU and now know why the term "airbrushed" carries so much weight when it comes to flawless foundation. While I don't use this everyday, I tend to gravitate towards it for special occasions and parties because it looks phenomenal in person and in photographs.

Shiseido Sheer Eye Zone Corrector* - On the opposite end of the spectrum is a fuss-free everyday base product that I can apply with my eyes closed. This concealer gives me just enough coverage under my eyes to hide darkness without ever looking cakey or dry. The applicator is very convenient and this product has inspired me to look into other under eye concealers in pen formats.

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks - I've had these on my wishlist ever since they were released but always found them a bit too pricey. But if you're needing a one-stop eyeshadow that will stay on all day, I'd recommend investing in one of these. The shimmer on these is beautiful, refined and never gritty. My favorite shades are Moonlight, Rose Gold and Amethyst.

L'oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara - I've always vouched for Maybelline waterproof mascaras but this L'oreal one really surprised me. I've had flaking issues with some Maybelline waterproof formulas and the Voluminous gives me curl, separation, length and a bit of volume without the flakes.

Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting and Candlelight - If you read my review of this, you'll know that I adore the sculpting bit of this duo and am lukewarm to the candlelight side. The cream contour shade is perfect for carving out cheekbones out of cheek chub while looking completely natural. The highlighter is fine but just not as special. I wish they sold the sculpting shade alone in a cream formula. I have my eye on the Becca cream contour after I finish this up.

Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten in Pink Buttercream - I don't think I can choose one blush that was my favorite this year just because I have so many. This was the first year I got my hands on some Laura Geller bits and was so blown away by her mineralized products. This blush in particular is a gorgeous pink that looks shimmery in the pan but applies smooth and non-glittery on the cheek.

Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray - I tried both the De-Slick and All-Nighter sprays from Urban Decay this year and liked both. I like the De-Slick a bit more because I think it controls oil better but bought two big bottles of All-Nighter so I have to use them up first. These sprays really do help my makeup stay on and look more melded to my face... if that makes sense.

Japanese Made Brushes (Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Wayne Goss) - I invested in a few japanese brushes this year and couldn't have been happier with them. The softness of the natural fibers, the attention to detail in design and the general way they apply product is unparalleled. I plan on investing more on brushes in the near future.

Number 4 Haircare - I first tried Number 4's Reconstructing Masque in 2013 but it was in 2014 that I really got to understand the line and try out most of the line. In particular, I'm a big fan of all their shampoos (clarifying, volumizing and moisturizing) as well as their Super Comb Prep and Protect. The line is on the higher end of the spectrum but it is also sulfate free, paraben free, gluten free and vegan. A little goes a long way with all their formulas and I think it's worth the money.

Malin + Goetz Deodorant - This is kind of a weird favorite but if you wear deodorant to cover up any body odors, I'd highly recommend this one. I don't sweat all that much unless I'm obviously broiling in the summer sun (which is rare) so I never wore deodorant until 2013 when I was sent one from Secret in an Influenster box. The Secret deodorant smelled pleasantly of fruit but sometimes it was a bit strong. I also noticed that it left a residue that was difficult to wash off in the shower. I read about deodorants and how many contained aluminum which may be linked to hormonal imbalances. So, I stopped using the deodorant but I began to notice that I wasn't smelling as fresh as I used to pre-deodorant. I was introduced to the Malin + Goetz Deodorant, which is aluminum free, and think it's a great odor neutralizer that does not leave any residue. It looks clear in the swivel packaging and you can't even feel that it's on. The tube is huge and will last at least a year with daily use I think.

Those are my 14 favorites of 2014. Kind of funny how I dedicated the most wordage to a deodorant. For 2015, I really hope to use up a lot of the makeup and skincare I already own and have in my back up stash. Even though I was supposed to be on a no-buy for most of this year, that completely failed after the summer. Although I will say I was given quite a lot of product as gratis from my job but still.... I splurged hard especially after I secured a job post graduation. That being said, I do have a lot of brands I want to experience soon and I made a short list of ones I need to tap into in the next few months. Yes, I think my taste is veering into the dangerous luxury end but hey, quality over quantity, right?

Brands I want to explore (more) in 2015 (in alphabetical order):
Burberry Beauty
Chanel Beauty
Charlotte Tillbury
ColourPop Cosmetics
Hakuhodo
Hourglass
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Makeup Geek
Mineral Makeup (Hello Waffle, Shiro, Meow Cosmetics, GlamourDoll Eyes)
Tatcha
Tom Ford Beauty
Zoeva

What were your favorites of 2014? Any beauty, or personal, resolutions for 2015?

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