Favorite 13 Beauty Products of 2013

Well folks, another year has gone by!  For the year-end survey of favorite beauty products, I decided to force myself to pick my 13 favorite products of 2013.  The question I posed to myself to get the edit was this: if I didn’t use these products this year, would I miss them?  And for all 13 products below, the answer was a resounding YES.

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Cosmetics & Tools

1. Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 in Natural Beige, $38 – I’ve had this for a couple of years now, and for whatever reason, I pulled this out one day earlier this year and have been unable to choose another powder to use.  It imparts a healthy glow and is just BEAUTIFUL. More importantly, it’s easy and fast – I slap this on over a tinted moisturizer or BB/CC Cream with a brush I mention below and I’m good to go.

2. Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer in Shade 1, $95 - Another product I’ve had for a couple of years and finally discovered its full potential – it just DELIVERS.  Under eye concealer?  Check.  Covers redness and discoloration on my face?  YES. It’s emollient yet still stays put on my combo/oily skin.  I like this much better than the cult-fave Cle de Peau Concealer (mine is in the color Beige), but I guess at $20 MORE than the Cle de Peau, it should be better.

3. CHANEL Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour SPF 15 in 40, $57.50 – Who doesn’t want some of that bonne mine glow that French women have perfected?  Love this for a subtle bronzing effect.  Applied with brush mentioned below.

4. Burberry Eyeshadow in Almond, $29 - The most perfect blending color EVER.  Get this – it will make any of your eye looks better.

5. Laura Mercier Artist Palette #2, $48 - I just discussed this in my Perfect Palette post, so I’ll keep it short.  Great palette; really happy I got it.

6. Giorgio Armani Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in #2 brown, $28 - SO glad I tried this – it’s creamy yet stays put once you set it with an eyeshadow.  The brown is perfect for everyday AND dramatic looks.

7. Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick in 100 Androgino, $34 - I think this lipstick has replaced my previous favorite nude, Tom Ford Lip Color in  Blush Nude.  Formula is creamy and comfortable, and unlike Tom Ford Blush Nude, I don’t have to top it off with a gloss – it imparts a shine on its own.

8. Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush, $52 - I just want it to be clearly documented that I know spending $52 on a brush is ridiculous.  That said, this brush is definitely worth getting – just wait for a Sephora VIB sale or on the Bobbi Brown website when there’s a discount code going around. It is PERFECT for easy application of face powders as well as bronzers – I use it with items #1 and 3.  I use this brush almost everyday.

Skincare

9. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, $22.50 - I picked up my 4th tube to take on my expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania earlier this year.  I like that it is moisturizing, the tube has a nice weight to it, and it has SPF.  I like the clear one better than the tinted ones I’ve tried.  Can’t be without it ever.

10. Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer in Dry Combination, $45 – I talked about this in my 3 items to add to your skincare routine post.  Best night-time moisturizer for my combo skin ever.  I like the Dry Combination version even better than the Oily one, despite having very oily skin.  Won’t ever be without this either.

11. SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5, $55 – Retinol is a must for anti-aging.  Another product I talked about in the 3 items to add to your skincare routine post.

Hair

12. Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo, $6-$8 – I get asked quite frequently how I keep my hair so healthy since it’s pretty long (it was down to my waist before I chopped 6 inches off).  It’s probably because I don’t color treat it or use heat on it very often.  I can ALSO tell you it is NOT due to the shampoo I use.  I’ve used very expensive shampoos (e.g., Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo, $57 and Shu Uemura Muroto Volume Pure Lightness Shampoo, $47), and my hair looks exactly the same as if I had used inexpensive shampoos.  So now I just use whatever inexpensive shampoo I like, as long as it is more natural (no sulfates or parabens) and has peppermint in it.  This Giovanni one is my fave, and I also like the Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo.  My husband also likes to use these shampoos, so it’s a win-win.

13. Wet Brush, $8.99 – My hair is prone to getting massive tangles, and this brush is AMAZING at getting the tangles out without tugging on my hair.  I like it even better than the Tangle Teezer (I have 2) for getting knots out.

What were your favorite beauty products of 2013??

The Perfect Palette Tag

Perfect Palette

There’s a great tag floating around Youtube called The Perfect Palette Tag, and it is a topic around makeup palettes – your favorites (or non-favorite) why.  I’ve really been enjoying seeing what palettes people chose – here’s mine:

1. Best packaging – Laura Mercier Artist Palette 2 ($48)

LM Artist Palette

There are so many factors that can make up “best” packaging – aesthetics, function, practicality, or something else entirely??  I chose to focus on function and practicality (as I tend to do).  What I like about this palette (besides the colors, which are really great):

  • Padded – I don’t need to worry about it breaking if I pack it in my makeup bag for traveling
  • Made of shiny faux leather – easy to wipe and clean
  • Magnetic closure that overlaps to the side of the palette – secure clasp won’t let the palette open accidentally
  • Large mirror on the inside

This palette is sold out online at Sephora.com, BUT I’ve seen it in stock at various Sephora stores, so check out your local store.

2. Best color payoff – Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow Palette ($49)

UD Smoked

This palette is amazing, and if you don’t have it, you should seriously consider owning it if you like smokey eye looks.  It does a smokey or smokier neutral eye so easily.  The only shadow you need to supplement this is a lighter blending shade (my favorites are Burberry Sheer Shadow in Almond, MAC Quarry, Soft Brown, or Kid).  Pigmentation is fantastic, and I have yet to experience any fallout.

3. Most versatile – Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette ($52)

UD Naked 2

No surprise, one of the Urban Decay Naked palettes had to come up in this tag.  My favorite is Naked 2, because you can do anything from an extremely natural, no-makeup makeup look to an intense smokey eye – without the glitter from Naked 1.  I haven’t purchased Naked 3 yet – I know I’ll cave and get it at some point, but the rosy nude look isn’t my thing.. have you tried Naked 3?

4. Best for traveling – Maybelline Stylish Smokes Quad in Natural Smokes (~$6) or Urban Decay Naked 2  ($52)

Maybelline UD Naked2

I think the BEST palette from the drugstore is Maybelline Stylish Smokes Quad in Natural Smokes (which has a different layout now) – you can go super natural or smokey – all in a lightweight compact.  Thus, it’s my favorite for traveling light (very light), but if I were traveling and I wanted more options yet still have the same versatility, gotta go back to my answer for Question 3, which is Naked 2.

5. Biggest regret(s) – Laura Mercier Eye and Cheek Palette and limited edition color holiday quads 

LM Eye & Cheek

I routinely purge my makeup collection of items I don’t like, but for reasons unknown to myself I have yet to get rid of the Laura Mercier Eye and Cheek Palette.  I got this with the intention of having it be my go-to travel palette, but it just doesn’t do anything for me.  Did I get a dud?  The eyeshadows aren’t super pigmented, and the blushes are meh.  I think I’ll finally get rid of this one.

High end

Other regrets are color limited edition holiday quads, namely Tom Ford Emerald Lust, YSL Boreal Palette in Arctic Night, Guerlain Ombre Eclat 4 Couleurs in Velours D’Or.  These colors just totally suck me in, but I NEVER use them, and they end up gathering dust.  Maybe I’ll bust them out for holiday parties… but most likely not.

6. Least used – Make Up For Ever, theBalm Nude ‘tude ($36), Stila In the Light ($39)

Least Used

These are all great palettes (I mean, I made the MUFE palette myself!), but I just never use them.

7. Most Used / Most Loved / Which palette would you want with you if you were on a deserted island?

base

I think the original purpose of this question was to tease out your one Holy Grail palette, but I decided to focus on the deserted island part.  The sequence I would choose to focus on would be firstly flawless skin, then blush/bronzer, then eyes, then lips.  If I were trapped on a deserted island and I needed some makeup products to survive, I would  firstly want some sort of base, like the Make Up For Ever Concealer Palette ($38) or various colors of the Shiseido Sun Protection Compact Foundation SPF 34 PA+++ ($27) in pan form in a Z Palette, because 1) I still want flawless looking skin even on a deserted island, and 2) I’d want  SPF with coverage because I don’t want suns spots.  And because why not.

NARS Danmari

But if I needed to choose color products, I’d choose  the NARS Danmari Blush Palette, complete with a bronzer, highlight, and various blush shades.  Since that was limited edition, I’d go with something like NARS Blush and Bronzer Duo in Deep Throat and Laguna ($41).

NARS

If I HAD to choose an eye palette, I’d pick NARS And God Created The Woman ($59), since it’s smaller than the size of my hand and has staple NARS shades: Alhambra, Bellisima, Kalahari, Galapagos, Coconut Grove, and Night Clubbing.  It’s decently versatile and would go AMAZINGLY well with the tan I’ll get on that deserted island!

Check out my favorite videos on Youtube for this tag so far:

What are your favorite/least favorite palettes??