Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Beauty Favorites

Makeup has been such a fun distraction for me this year.  I never planned to talk about it so much on this little blog o' mine, but I absolutely love writing those posts.  I learned about so many new products by watching YouTube videos and trying out a zillion beauty subscription services.  The following list includes all of my best beauty discoveries of 2012, as promised here.  

MAC Studio Fix powder ($27) and foundation ($27); MAC Pro Longwear concealer ($18).  My quest for the perfect face makeup to cover my rosacea has ended.  This year, I tried out Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW!, Revlon ColorStay, Missha BB Cream, and Tarte Maracuja Miracle Foundation in addition to my old standby, Clinique's Even Better Makeup.  The MAC blew them all away.  The NW 20 works well with my skin tone (which Clinique NEVER did) and has better staying power than every other foundation I tried.  The only one that even came close to lasting all day Revlon's ColorStay, and I simply prefer MAC's formula.  I also found that I could get away with wearing a lot less makeup using the good stuff, which makes it more cost effective in the long run and has the added benefit of making me look like a normal human being instead of someone with crap caked all over their face.  I HIGHLY recommend trying out a ton of foundations if you haven't found your holy grail product yet.  This was an expensive journey, but SO WORTH IT.  

I'm out of foundation and concealer.  Sad panda.
benefit brightening face powder in dandelion ($28).  This is the year in which I tentatively embraced blush.  I have mentioned before that I struggle with the whole concept because I have to work so hard to get the red out of my face.  It seems counterintuitive to then go add color back in.  However, I have finally come to terms with the fact that it looks just as silly to have no color whatsoever, and that the purpose of the blush is to put the color where it's supposed to be.  The benefit box powders are all outstanding (I have 5 or 6 of them), but dandelion is my favorite.  It is soft and pretty and would be flattering to pretty much any skin tone.  Plus it smells AMAZING and comes in sturdy and cute packaging.  Love.  

No, YOU have a dirty box.  Heh.
Urban Decay Naked ($50) and Naked 2 ($50) Palettes.   There is no way I could pick just one.  The original Naked is great for warmer looks, the Naked 2 is perfect for cool toned days.  I honestly think I could own these two palettes and nothing else and be perfectly happy for the rest of my life (but I would dream about the new Naked Basics ($27) for matte neutral looks).  I feel like the possibilities are endless with these palettes.  The colors are highly pigmented and have great staying power, especially when paired with the primer of your choice.  There is some fallout with the sparkly ones, but whatever.  Worth it.  

From the original, I am partial to sin, sidecar (sparkly fallout!), half baked, toasted, and hustle.
From 2, I love half baked, bootycall, tease, snakebite, ydk, and busted.  And the brush is better than the original.  

Naked on top, Naked 2 on bottom

Julep Pedi Creme and Pedi Prep ($42 for the set, or $33.60 if you are a Maven).   While I would never pay full price for these products, it's easy enough to stalk the Julep website for deals.  These really are the best pedicure products I have ever found outside of a salon.  I hate filing my feet with the foot file, but it is so, so, so worth it when I am done - all dry skin is completely gone and my feet are baby soft.  

butter London Spring/Summer 2012 Collection ($15 each x 5).   You would think with all of the Julep talk that those would be my favorite polishes, but I just think Julep's formula is so-so (the products and the fact that it's such a well done program are the main reason I give them such high praise).  Butter London polishes have a great formula and super cute names, and this collection just made me so happy every time I wore it.  Slapper and Trout Pout were definitely my two favorite polishes of the year, but this collection as a whole was just amazing.  I got them for half off because I used my $25 off a $50 Dermstore purchase from BeautyFix, which is a great way to make insanely priced polishes more affordable.  

[No picture because my spring polishes are boxed up right now, but these are great swatches]

Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle ($11).  This was the first year where I used any sort of anti-aging product.  This was a BeautyFix discovery, and I am SO, SO, SO happy with it.  I honestly feel like I saw a difference in the fine lines under my eyes within 24 hours.  It's pretty strong since it has 12% glycolic AHA, but not so strong that it causes my rosacea to flare up (but proceed with caution - everyone's skin is different).  I have way less rosacea bumpies and no dry patches whatsoever when I use this regularly.  I also think it helps get rid of discoloration from past breakouts a lot sooner.  And it's so cheap!  I will definitely be getting more when this jar runs out.  

Oscar Blandi Texture and Volume Spray ($25).  I reviewed this product after receiving a travel size in my November Birchbox, and then quickly realized that I had a full size hanging around from the Allure Fall Beauty Box.  WOOHOO!  And god DAMN is the Allure Box a great deal.  Do yourselves a favor and stalk this page until the Spring Box is on sale - I promise you won't regret it.  Anyway, the Oscar Blandi is everything you can ask for in a texture and volume spray.  It's only been in my life for a couple of months, but I love it to death.  

Sonia Kashuk brushes (price varies).  I wanted to get tons of brushes and I didn't want to have to wait for them to come from Sigma (three cheers for immediate gratification).  The Sonia Kashuk brushes available at target are relatively cheap, nicely made, and totally get the job done.  I like the white ones because there is a ton of variety and having mismatched brushes was going to drive me nuts.  

[I'm not going to show you my dirty ass brushes].

benefit BADgal lash mascara ($19) and Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara ($19).  I couldn't pick just one.  I love the BADgal for every day use - it thickens and lengthens like nobody's business and has an awesome fat brush.  I love the Gifted for when I'm getting dolled up.  It lengthens and makes my lashes look really glossy.  I feel like every single time I wear the Gifted someone comments on my lashes.  The BADgal is a bit easier to remove, which is why I reach for it more often.  Love them both though.  

[Gifted isn't pictured because I only have one unopened tube right now and I don't want to contaminate it.  I should also mention that I get mine from this set that comes on a quarterly basis from QVC along with a bunch of other Tarte stuff for like $50 - it's a GREAT deal, I only wish the foundation worked for me].

LORAC Lips With Benefits ($18).  I had to think long and hard about my favorite lip product of the year.  YouTube introduced me to the amazing Revlon Lip Butters and Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains.  I actually brought those to photograph, but then I remembered the amazing Lips With Benefits from one of my favorite makeup brands, LORAC, so I switched my answer last minute.  I was first introduced to this amazing product from Unzipped - The Nude Collection, which I bought super cheap from Hautelook (hands down the best set I bought all year - the plum blush is to die for).  Andy is a pretty nude that tastes like creme brulee.  I loved it so much that I snagged a set of 4 more Lips With Benefits glosses the next time LORAC was on Hautelook.  I forget the colors but they are all really pretty, super nourishing, tasty in a non-disgusting way, and have great staying power.  They are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, and look really cool in the tube - check it out!

Kate Spade Twirl ($18-$80).  I suppose this was technically a 2011 discovery, since I received the Kate Spade Twirl sample in my December 2011 Birchbox.  I used up my sample long ago, and steal a squirt every time I go to my mom's house.  It's divine.  

[Not pictured because I don't own it (yet).  It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.]

Yes to Cucumbers Natural Glow Facial Towelettes ($7).  Okay, this isn't exactly earth shattering as I'm sure everyone in the universe has already discovered these bad boys, but they really are awesome.  99% of the time I am so freaking lazy at night that I don't wash my face.  Gross but true.  I keep a pack of these on my nightstand and at least I can pretend I'm a non-dirty human being.  Plus they are great for travel - I wipe my whole body after getting off a plane and I feel instantly refreshed (is there an equally amusing but more PC term than "ghetto shower"?).  

Now I feel all self conscious asking what products YOU love - damn you, Elizabeth!  

But I really want to know!  What makes your list in 2012?  Anything I need to add to my wish list?  


Erin said...

I LOVE the Julep Pedi Cream, but I don't want to buy more now that I've cancelled my Maven membership (I just don't have time to paint my nails often enough to make it worth the cost). So if you ever notice that it's on sale, let me know!

I'm also obsessed with Benefit Total Moisture. Best moisturizer ever. I have oily-combination skin, and even in the dead of summer heat and humidity, this stuff doesn't make my face into an oil slick, even though it's a pretty hardcore cream. And in the winter, it actually MOISTURIZES the dry parts of my face like moisturizer is SUPPOSED to. IMAGINE THAT.

I really want to like Revlon's balm stain lip crayon, because it does do a great job of not wearing off during the day, but there really aren't any colors I love. I like Honey okay, but it's a little too pink, and the next nudest color is too pale and sort of counterproductive.

OH! L'Oreal's BB Cream is amazing as well. I really love it and I'm shocked that little tube has lasted as long as it has.

Stephanie said...

Even LESS family has been known to call that sort of thing as a "whore's bath". *cough*

Ginger said...

I am in LOVE with the Naked palette. I got the first one for Christmas, and now I want the other two.

I also fell in love with thebalm Stainiac. And I didn't find it this year, but my favorite lipstick continues to be MAC Pro Longwear Lipcolor. That stuff really does stay on all day long.

I also, unfortunately, fell in love with two ridiculously priced skin care items. One I got through Birchbox, and one I got for FREE through some random quirk of a promotion that the website did. I actually think that whoever set that promotion up probably got fired, because everyone I know got $80-$90 products just for spending $9. INSANE. Anyway, if you want to spend $90 on moisturizers, these are AHMAZING. I'm so sad mine are gone: Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer & Yves Rocher Nocturnal Regenerating Lotion. If only I weren't cheap.

Lacey said...

Thank you so much for doing this for me! (You did do it for just me, right?) I just made one hell of an Amazon wish list. I struggle with makeup and really only use drugstore brands, but I have wanted to replace products with higher quality things, but where do you even start, you know? I think I'm going to start with the foundation, and maybe the anti-aging stuff because I've noticed this week I could really start to use something. Hmph. So yes, I owe you one million internet dollars for doing all of this research for me!

Susan said...

I have been contemplating the MAC foundation and powder, I might go check them out and have them do a test...

I LOVEEEE that naked eyeshadow. LOVE. The bottom one. I need in my life.

I also have BADgal lash and really like it. I think I got it from birchbox, and ignored it. Then I got it in a blogger sample swap and tried it. LOVED it.

PinkieBling said...

This was so much fun, I think I'll do a favorites post of my own!

I went on a Foundation Quest a few years ago, but I bought them all at Sephora and returned the ones that didn't work. Much less pricey! I landed on Make Up For Ever's HD Foundation. LOVE that stuff.

Oh, and did you end up getting the LORAC shadow palette? I really like it, but I want to buy Naked Basics anyway. (I shouldn't.)