Hard Candy Sheer Envy Pore-Defense Primer Serum - Finding a primer (drugstore or highend) that doesn't contain any dimethicone is difficult. I have quite noticeable pores, and of course this primer doesn't just make them vanish, but it does provide a more smooth and even base for concealer.
Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia Hair & Body Mist - I've loved Pacifica's Tahitian Gardenia scent for around 4 years, so when I saw this hair and body mist, I knew I would like it. It's a good everyday scent that's not too sweet or too floral.
Nyx Twilight Tint Duochromatic Illuminating Powder - I have quite a cool skin tone, so I find these kind of blue toned highlights far more flattering than warmer gold shades. It is quite similar to Blue Ice in the infamous Anastasia Moonchild Glow Kit, and while I do have that palette, it's nice to have a similar shade in a singular format.
Essence I ♥ Colour Intensifying Eyeshadow Base - The other Essence eye primer (I ♥ Stage) has been my favorite for a long time and is what I use every day. Since I was running out, I decided to try this one as well. It's a bit more sheer and has a pink color instead of the warm peach. I don't think I prefer one over the other since they are different colors, but I really like this one. If anything, this one is more versatile since the shade actually works well anywhere on my face for some light coverage.
Models Own Sculpt & Glow Highlighting Powder - An Ulta just opened up right by me (that is a huge favorite as well) and it has a Models Own display, luckily with testers. Most of the products were "meh", but this highlight swatches so beautifully and intense. Even though the shade name is Golden Sands, it's definitely a pinky highlight, so it's flattering on my cool skintone (as mentioned for the Nyx one as well).
Schwarzkopf Gliss Hair Repair Color Guard Express Repair Conditioner - I've had colorful hair since November, so color protecting products are always something I'm trying. It's hard to really judge how it helps my color last since there are many other factors at play--but, this stuff is amazing for detangling my hair! I have crazy tangle-prone hair and I always have, and the only thing that has worked for me in the past is the detangler from Joico, and this one is about half the price.
Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer - As much time as I spend moisturizing my face, somehow I am super lazy with lotion. I am also super pale, but tanning lotion or sprays are way too much time and effort for me. This in-shower lotion makes me way more likely to actually use it and I have noticed a subtle tan when I use it after each shower.
Chroma Lights Metallic Teal Temporary Hair Color Spray -These kinds of sprays are typically for people looking to add some color for a day or two, but since I have blue hair it is great for spraying on my darker roots. It’s quick and easy, blends into the hair when you brush it and it lasts all day. I would recommend it for sure for this purpose and also for adding colored tips or something of that sort to switch things up. It works on dark hair, so there’s no issue there.
Elf Highlighting Brush - I don't think I've actually used this brush to highlight, but I've been using it to bake since my skin has been acting up lately and needs extra coverage. The brush is dense enough to apply a good amount of loose powder, but is still pretty fluffy.
Wet n Wild MegaSlim Skinny Mascara - This mascara needs a little bit of extra time to apply, but if you’re willing to give it that time, it is stunning. This mascara adds so much length thanks to the fibers. The brush is super small and it doesn’t add much thickness to the lashes, so you have to build it up, but it’s worth it!
Ulta Spray Lotion - I am super lazy when it comes to body lotion, so I am way more likely to use something quick and easy like a spray. I just step into the shower to avoid getting the lotion all over, spray it around and rub it in a bit, then I’m ready to go. It sinks in quickly and you don’t go around feeling the lotion for a while, the way you do with a body butter.
Kat Von D Pastel Goth Palette - Despite this palette being traditionally unwearable, I actually used it a ton in February. Using the orange or yellow shade is a gorgeous transition shade in the crease. Pastel shadows can be hard to formulate in a way that is not chalky, and once again Kat Von D has created another gorgeous, unique palette.
Sephora Cream Lip Stains - I’m not specifically shouting out one shade or another, but I just really love the formula of these liquid lipsticks. Once they dry down they still have the slightest bit of tackiness that keeps the lips from feeling so dry. I know saying a lip color is tacky isn’t typically a good thing, but if you try out this line in store, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. These liquid lipsticks are so opaque and easy to apply. While they aren’t as cheap as ColourPop, they aren’t as expensive as high end brands (Kat Von D for example), so I think the price is still pretty great at $13.
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge - I’ve never really jumped on the makeup sponge band wagon, and while I still prefer brushes over sponges, I have been using this sponge quite a bit this month. I’ve broken out a bit for some reason, so I’ve been using the pointed tip on this sponge to pat in my full coverage concealer, and it does a great job specifically with covering breakouts.
Urban Decay Moondust Palette - I had my eye on this palette for the longest time, but $50 for such a small amount of product really didn’t seem justifiable. When I had a 20% off prestige brands coupon at Ulta, I figured if I was ever going to get the palette, it should be with a discount. So while I still think it’s overpriced, I really love the palette. I’ve been a fan of the Moondust formula for a while, and I have been going to this palette constantly for a gorgeous pop of color on the lid.
L’Oreal Infallible Total Coverage Foundation - I heard one good review of this foundation on YouTube and decided to give it a try. I only apply my foundation on either side of my nose, on my chin and over any breakouts, never all over my skin. As the name suggests, this foundation has great coverage, but it doesn’t feel heavy at all on the skin. I have annoying dry skin, and somehow this foundation blends super easily on my skin without accentuating any dry patches.
Nyx Proof It! Brow Primer - Lately I’ve been having some troubles with my brow color wearing off through the day, particularly on the top of my arch. I always thought a brow primer was just kind of an extra and unnecessary step, this one has really been helping. In addition to extending the life of the brow color, it also makes the brow color apply super smoothly.
Elf Lip Exfoliator - Winter always gets the best of my lips, so in addition to applying lip balm religiously, I like to regularly exfoliate my lips. The scrub being in a lipstick form makes it very easy to use and can cut down a lot of the mess.
Hempz Lip Balm - Lip balm in a squeezy tube isn’t too common (although it does bring me back to my Carmex days) but I think it should be. This lip balm tends to come in Hempz sets with lotion, which is where mine is from. I've just been using this a ton this month, it feels great on the lips and I love how it smells.
Ponds Dry Skin Cream - This definitely is not a glamorous product but it has been working great on my skin. Since I discontinued using primers with dimethicone, my skin had really cleared up...but then I realized that my moisturizers also had dimethicone in them. It took a lot of searching to find a deep moisturizer without that ingredient, but this one is dimethicone free! Since replacing my morning and nighttime face lotion with this one, my skin has cleared up almost completely. It's super cheap and comes in a big tub--all the more reason to love it. I thought it would be way to thick and heavy for applying before makeup, but it has actually made my concealer apply way easier! If you can't tell, I just really love this product.
Buxom Shadow Bar Palettes - The Buxom shadows in the customizable shadow bar palettes are amazing, and deserve a lot more hype. I have three full palettes (one premade and two I made), and I will buy more when new shades are released. For a high end brand, it’s affordable, I like the freedom to select your own shades and each shadow is smooth and pigmented.
Rimmel Magnif’eyes Shadow + Liners - Unfortunately I never hear anyone talking about these duos, but they are so great. The cream shadow and kajal liner are incredibly creamy and pigmented and they last forever on the eyes. I bought all five shades in the line.
Inglot #318 - This has been my go-to white shadow forever, and it still is my favorite. It's not dry, but it's also not overly creamy which makes it prone to powder fallout. Whites are hard to formulate, and #318 just has great color payoff, which I need for my fair skin!
Essence Make Me Brow - I wanted Benefit’s Gimme Brow for a while, but couldn’t justify its pricetag. This super affordable brow gel does the same thing! It adds a bit of color--I like to use the blonde brow gel over my taupe brows to add a bit of definition--and it has decent hold.
Anastasia Taupe DipBrow Pomade - This is my go-to brow color, and I actually used up an entire pot this year. It is easy to work with and provides a nice even color, while slightly holding the hairs in place.
Essences All About Palettes - Another underrated product. Essence knows how to do affordable palettes and they do an amazing job. Each palette is under $6 and none of the palettes have any duds. The texture is super soft and the color payoff is great.
Nyx Control Freak Brow Gel (not in picture) - I used up a tube of this brow gel this year, and it is my go-to when I want a clear brow gel. The wand is a bit large, but the gel has a strong hold and it is of course an affordable product.
Kat Von D MetalMatte Palette - This palette is just so stunning. I impulse bought this the first time I saw it on the Sephora website and loved it ever since. The palette is huge and contains a ton of product, so it's a pretty good value for the price. Every single shade has amazing color payoff, from the matte blue to the metallic lavendar. Not to mention that they blend like a dream.
Sephora Colorproof Liquid Liner in Black - This is a discontinued product, but it continues to be my favorite. I prefer liquid liner over the other kinds, so this is my go-to.
Duo Clear Lash Glue - I don’t wear falsies very often, but I will for certain makeup looks that I post and on some special occasions. I’ve found that this lash glue works much better than the little ones that come with some drugstore lashes. I like how the applicator is like a liquid liner, versus just being a squeeze tube, it makes it easy to apply directly to the lids.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal in Light Blue - I used this liner a lot in my waterline in place of a white or ivory. It brightens up the eyes, but still adds the smallest bit of color.
Nyx Ultimate Brights Palette - I love the Nyx Ultimate palettes, and I don't know how they haven't gotten super popular. Bright shades aren't a must for everyone's collection, but it is for makeup lover like myself. The pigmentation is great for every shadow, from blue to yellow to pink.
L’oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner - This liner being so big makes it great for lining the tightline and waterline. Only the soft part of the liner ever touches your eye, no risk of a rogue pencil shaving scraping the you.
Essence I <3 Stage Eyeshadow Base - I usually used a concealer to prime my lids in order to cover the discoloration, but this primer does a good job covering it while also priming for longer lasting eye makeup.
ColourPop Ice Super Shock Shadow - This shade is so unique and so stunning on the lids. It's bright, intense and super metallic, but the neutral color keeps it wearable. ColourPop knows how to do metallics right, and I loved using Ice alone and as a base shade.
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara, L'Oreal Carbon Black Mascara (not in picture) & Jordana Best Lash Extreme Mascara (not in picture)- Mascara is just a super personal product. Everyone's lashes react differently to different formulas and wands, so it can be difficult to explain why one works for you. These were my three favorites of the year. I have pretty long lashes, so I look for thickness and volume with a mascara, and that's where these three deliver.
ColourPop Trap Ultra Matte Lip - 2016 was the year of ColourPop, and Trap was my most used shade from them this year. Although it looks rather pink in the photo, Trap is definitely a grey toned color, making it my kind of lip color.
Nyx Stone High Voltage Lipstick - Browns are definitely my favorite if I’m going for a nude lip. Stone is a gorgeous taupe and the High Voltage lipsticks have a lightweight, moisturizing feel on the lips.
Nyx Suede Matte Lip Liners - I've always been a fan of Nyx's Slim Lip Pencils for my lipliner needs, but Nyx released this new collection this year. The shades all match other Nyx lip products, which makes it all the more easier to find a perfect match. I also love the color selection within this line, it has a lot more of the untraditional shades that I prefer to wear.
I don't have a particular product to shoutout here, but more just a selection of colors. On a typical day I don't wear a lip color, but when I do, it is usually an untraditional shade of grey, purple, blue or even green. Some of my "weird" colors that I enjoy in the photo above are: ColourPop Jellies, ColourPop Marshmallow, the Nyx Cosmic Metals collection, Nyx Liquid Suede in Foul Mouth, Nyx Liquid Suede in Stone Fox, Maybelline Sapphire Siren, Nyx Matte Ultra Dare, Urban Decay UV-B & Too Faced Unicorn Tears.
IT Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette - This was my first contour palette and I still really enjoy it. The two middle shades are great for my fair skin; shades like this can sometimes be hard to come by. All the powders are very smooth and soft, making them effortless to apply and blend.
Tarte Showstopper Palette - I think I took this palette with me every time I travelled this year. When I have it, I don’t need to bring any other contour powders, blushes or highlights. I still usually bring some other eyeshadows to supplement the palette, but it has good colors for simple eye looks, which is usually what I go for when travelling.
BareMinerals Ready Foundation - To state it blunty, I do not have great skin. So, sometimes I just need that extra coverage on top of my concealer. It adds that extra coverage that I need, surprisingly without making the skin look cakey or heavy.
Nyx Matte Finish Setting Spray - I tried a setting spray from Wet n Wild and City Color this year, but this one remains my favorite. It is very affordable and prolongs the wear of my face makeup. Although I won’t say that it changes the finish of the skin.
City Colour Contour Effects Palette & Contour Palette On-The-Go - I think City Color is a great, underrated brand. Both of these contour palettes I bought from Five Below, so they are super affordable. Both palettes have amazing pigmentation and are very easy to blend out. I bring the larger one to travel with frequently, doubling it as an eyeshadow palette.
Palladio Rice Powder- While this powder can get kind of messy, I really like the look it gives on the skin, and it doesn’t change the color of my face at all, which is great since I’m so pale. Baking was a huge trend this year, and I used this powder frequently for that purpose as well.
Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer (not in picture) - Again, I’m not huge into full coverage, so I really like this concealer and actually completely used it up. The color is really nice for my fair skin, and it doesn’t leave my combo skin looking dry or cakey.
Maybelline Fit Me Stick Foundation - This continues to be my favorite for concealing on a daily basis. I really only cover my blemishes, as I prefer a much more natural look and I don’t have discoloration to cover. This shade is a good match for me and it is very easy to blend out.
IT Cosmetics Airbrush Foundation Brush- I use this brush everyday to blend in my concealer. The Real Techniques Expert Face brush used to be my go-to, but this one is so much softer on the skin.
Sigma F05 Small Contour Brush - When I contour, I rarely go for an intense chisled look, so I love this brush. It is soft and fluffy, making it super easy to softly apply product and blend it out.
IT Cosmetics Airbrush Blurring Powder Brush - I have combo skin, so in the winter it gets much drier, so I don’t want to emphasize this with a bunch of powder. This brush doesn’t pick up too much product, but still allows me to set my face.
Coastal Scents Angled Blush Brush - This is one of the first brushes I ever bought, and it is still holding up perfectly. I've tried countless other blush brushes, and this one still is the top dog. It applies the perfect amount of product, isn't too big or too small, and is great for blending.
Zoeva Face Focus Brush - 2016 was the year of the highlight, and this brush was my favorite for applying highlighter to the tops of my cheekbones. It’s fluffy enough to blend out the product, but stiff enough to pick up a good amount of powder.
Sephora Show Curl XL for Round Eyes - I’ve got pretty round eyes and I never realized how poorly traditional lash curlers work on my eye shape. This curler was more expensive than I would like ideally, but it work so well for my lashes.
Real Techniques Brow/Lash Comb - I comb through my lashes frequently to avoid a clumpy look. For some odd reason, a lot of lash combs are plastic, which doesn’t work at all. The metal teeth of this comb work well to effectively separate the lashes.
Zoeva Luxe Petit Crease Brush - This brush is my go-to for applying shadow along my lashline. It has the perfect density to apply enough color, while still keeping it soft and easy to blend.
Coastal Scents Angled Liner Brush - I’ve used this brush on my brows for years now and it’s still holding up. There’s not anything special about it, it was affordable and gets the job done. I use it every day.
Zoeva Luxe Defined Crease Brush - This brush is small, fluffy and not very dense, so it works great for applying a darker shade directly in the crease.
Nyx #16 Blending Brush - Nyx isn’t exactly known for their brushes, but I picked this one up at the Nyx store in the Mall of America. It is a much softer and slightly more dense version of the Sigma E40 and I love using it to apply a transition shade in the crease.
Zoeva Luxe Crease Brush - This brush is nice and fluffy like the Sigma E40, but I use this brush instead to apply a transition shade in the crease. It tapers slightly, allowing more product to be applied right in the crease, and less towards the browbone, which makes blending more foolproof.
Sigma E40 - It wouldn't be a yearly favorites without my Sigma E40. I use this brush anytime I do an eyeshadow look to soften it out and prevent any harsh lines.
Sigma E25 - This is another one of my long-time favorites and staple brushes. I use it all the time for applying a transition shadow in the crease, and I also use it for blending in combination to my E40.
Feria Smokey Pastels Hair Colour in Smokey Blue - Before venturing out to teal and green hair, I dyed my hair a blue-grey three times with this dye. On my natural darker blonde hair, it did not show up completely even, but it gave my hair dimension.
Arctic Fox Hair Color - My hair has gone through many colors this year, and I’ve tried many different brands to achieve my desired look (L’Oreal, Ion, Splay, Spark). Arctic Fox gave me a completely even color, even though my hair isn’t the super light blonde that is recommended for “fashion” colors. So although it is a little more expensive than the other brands I’ve used, the results are far better.
Joico Daily Care Leave-in Detangler - My hair is very, very tangle prone. So in addition to my beloved Tangle Teezer, this detangler came in handy throughout the year. Joico is not a drugstore brand, but I’ve probably tried every drugstore detangler, and none of them work like this one.
Matrix Biolage Fiberstrong Intra-Cylane Fortifying Cream - My hair is easily weighed down by product, but despite this being a cream, it just soaks right into the hair, leaving no residue. This is the only product I use in my hair after washing it, to help moisturize and strengthen the length of my hair.
Tangle Teezer - I’ve been loyal to the Tangle Teezer for years. I finally threw out my original black one and replaced it with this blue and pink one. I use it on my hair when it’s wet, damp or dry. I don’t think I will ever use a different hairbrush.
Nume Curling Wand - I don’t heat style my hair very often anymore (and my hair has reacted very well to this), but when I curl my hair, I have loved using this Nume wand throughout 2016. I didn’t fall for the YouTube hype and buy one of the expensive sets, I just found this single wand at TJ Maxx.
Aussie Mega Hairspray - I love how this hairspray smells. Many hairsprays have a gross or chemical scent, but this one is just so pleasant and I can smell it in my hair throughout the day.
Hask Argan Oil - Since I’ve been embracing a more product-free routine for my hair, this is typically all I use. I apply it to my dry ends everyday; it provides moisture without weighing the hair down or making it appear greasy. Since the ends of my hair are fried from my constant straightening and curling, they really need the TLC.
Julie G Jet Set Quick-Dry Top Coat - I am super impatient, especially with my nails, so I need them to dry as fast as possible. This is the fastest drying top coat I have tried, and it leaves the nails super glossy.
Nail Tek Intensive Therapy II - Not sure why this is called "intensive therapy" because it is just a glossy top coat. A lot of top coats have a thick formula (designed for that plump, gel effect) but this one is pretty thin, which is really nice when you're not looking for a thick heap of polish on the nails.
Jordana Nails Be Strong Strengthener (not in picture) - I have tried so many nail strengtheners to aid my thin, peel prone nails and this one has been the best of the bunch. It dries super quickly on the nails and just gives the nails an instant hard feel. While it doesn't actually strengthen the nails, it protects them from breaking or peeling.
Cuticle Oil - Since my natural nails are very weak, I use cuticle oil on them as often as I can. It softens and moisturizes the cuticle and nail, making it less prone to breakage.
Wet n Wild Power Outage 1 Step Wonder Gel - My toenails are painted black 95% of the time, so it’s safe to say that it is my most used polish of the year. I specifically like this Wet n Wild one since it applies opaquely and has a pretty glossy finish.
Skin & Body
Clear Micellar Cleansing Water - Micellar water is a must-have for me. I use it for removing swatches on my arm, taking off leftover eye makeup after washing my face and removing my eye makeup all together, among other purposes. As the brand prides itself for achieving, it is very "kind to skin".
Tony Moly Sheet Masks - Sheet masks became quite popular this year, following the South Korean trend. I tried many brands, but the Tony Moly masks are still my favorite, and they are actually very affordable.
Formula 10.0.6 PM Perfector & L'Oreal Hydra Renewal - Although I consider my skin combo, it gets very dry, especially after I wash it. I’ve found that it really helps the appearance and clarity of my skin to heavily moisturize before bed. I can’t quite choose between the Formula 10.0.6 or L’Oreal.
Formula 10.0.6 Picture Perfect Day Moisturizer - I moisturize my face constantly, and this face lotion by Formula 10.0.6 is my go-to in the mornings--alone or before makeup. It has a pleasant (but not overwhelming) scent, and has SPF, which is very important for me.
Bath & Body Works Mad About You Fragrance Mist - I am all for inexpensive fragrances, so the majority of my collection is body mists instead of technical perfumes. I got this for my birthday in April and used up half the bottle throughout the rest of the year, making it my most used of 2016.
Adidas Be Original Perfume - I picked this fragrance up from TJ Maxx because the box was copper and it was Adidas (which is one of my favorite brands). It ended up being a lucky pick because I love this perfume. My signature scent for a while has been Viva La Juicy or Coach Poppy, but I’ve worn this a ton and it’s much cheaper.
Arctic Fox Hair Color (Phantom Green & Neverland) - I have done a ton of experimenting with hair color this year, and this brand is definitely my favorite that I have come across. Despite my hair not being completely bleached, these two green shades actually give me a consistent, all over color that I have not been able to achieve with other brands of dye.
Nyx Soft Focus Primer - Finding a face primer without dimethicone has proved to be challenging, but this is one of the few that fit that. I’m typically not one to care about makeup ingredients, but I’ve recently figured out that dimethicone breaks me out. The Soft Focus gives my skin the same smooth finish as other pore filling primers, but without breaking me out!
Essence I ♥ Stage Eyeshadow Base - I've only used sheer eyeshadow bases in the past, so I have been using concealer to even out my lids instead of an eye primer. This Essence Eyeshadow Base has some pretty great coverage, covering the veins and discoloration on my lids. It is easier to blend in onto the lids than a concealer and naturally promotes longer eyeshadow wear.
Essence Forbidden Volume Mascara - I have been in a bit of a mascara rut, not liking anything new that I've tried. The Forbidden Volume mascara has a natural bristle wand, which I definitely prefer over the rubber ones. I find this mascara similar to two of my favorites: L'Oreal Carbon Black and Jordana Best Lash Extreme.
ColourPop Ice Super Shock Shadow - ColourPop sure does metallics right. This color really packs a punch and is just so unique. I describe the color as a warm toned silver, which alone is unique, but the intense metallic finish makes it even more special.
Kat Von D MetalMatte Palette - I bought this palette right when Sephora released it--sight unseen. It is just gorgeous. The pigmentation of every shade is so intense and it really just blew me away. I used this palette a ton this month, despite the interesting colors, it can be very wearable.
Creaseless Hair Ties - Wasn't sure quite what to call these, but you can find them anywhere. These ones in particular are from Sephora. I had lost all of mine and repurchased some again this month, and I sure missed them! I wear my hair in a braid or ponytail to bed every night, and these are comfortable and don't make the hair look awkward when taken out.
Adidas Born Original Perfume - I picked this up because it was Adidas and had a copper package. Despite buying it for looks, I loved how it smelled! I have used this perfume pretty much every day this month--I definitely got a good deal on it!
Matrix Biolage Fiberstrong Fortifying Cream - I use this product in my damp hair every time I wash my hair. It really adds moisture, but it doesn't have any buildup, nor does it make my hair feel heavy or greasy. I've been growing my hair out for years, so anything helps.
L'Oreal Feria Smokey Blue Shimmering Colour - On my grey hair journey, this has been the dye that performs the best. Although it is a blue dye, it turns a sort of blue grey in my hair. The dye is pretty easy to apply and I only need two boxes, versus four or five of the Ion dyes.
Anastasia Moonchild Palette - I knew I would love this palette before I even got my hands on it. The highlights are so pretty and unique and this palette has been my daily go-to for highlight since I got it. I have a cool skin tone, so I love using the more blue toned highlights!
Essence Sun Club Bronzer for Light Skin - Bronzer can look muddy and orange on lighter skin, so I rarely use it. But, this bronzer is designed for fair skin, so it has a more sheer pigmentation and a lighter color. It works really well and I would definitely recommend it to anyone with fair skin.
Jordana 2-in-1 Concealer Foundation - Since Jordana is a sister brand to Milani, I figured this foundation was their version of the popular Conceal + Correct 2-in-1 Foundation. That line does not have a shade that matches mine at all, so luckily this line matches me. The foundation is very easy to blend out and does not make my dry skin look cakey.
Best of 2016
Best of 2015
Best of 2014
Best of 2013
Here I have my Weekly Roundup of the posts I posted in any week (starting in the week of March 19th through March 24th 2013) as well as monthly favorites (starting in May 2013)!