Monday, December 30, 2013

My Top 10 Beauty Products of 2013

I don't just have an obsession with nail polish, you guys.  It's most beauty products in general.  I always like to try out new things to see what works for me, and during the course of this year I've found some gems (along with some duds, but those won't be included here).  This post will cover my top ten favorite products that I've been using this year (not necessarily 2013 releases, just things I've been loving).  So here we go, in no particular order:

First, my absolute favorite thing EVER from 2013:


Okay, for real this time:

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted

I remember when I got this perfume I texted Sam and said, "today I got a really embarrassing celebrity perfume," and she said, "you mean like, Taylor Swift?  Or like Justin Bieber?"  Luckily it was the former.  Wonderstruck Enchanted is the follow up to Wonderstruck, and is slightly sweeter and fruitier with an oriental flair (the notes are actually berries, passionfruit, poppy, peony, champaca petals, vanilla, white musk, white freesia, and blond woods; I get a lot of cashmere-scent on the dry-down for me, and that's why I like it). Normally I really don't like fruity fragrances, but all throughout the autumn months I just couldn't get enough of it.  Now that it's winter I'll probably be switching to Dior Addict, which I consider my signature scent and which I rely on heavily in the wintertime every year, but I had a great run with Wonderstruck Enchanted, and I'll definitely go back to it frequently (Ben loves it).  Also, how lovely is that bottle?  Even if it's a little tacky, I love the little charms and the holographic overlay.  I'm a sucker for packaging.

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

yeah, this is...loved.

I remember the day that I talked myself into buying this.  Ben and I were at Ulta in January, right before my grandmother died, and as I was turning this little palette over in my hands I said, "I think I would use this every day."  And oh, was I right.  I've used it so much that I've hit pan on Naked2 and I'm about to hit pan on W.O.S.  I've read some reviews that say the shadows in Naked Basics aren't pigmented enough, but I completely disagree.  I think they're lovely mattes with a great formula, and I think all of them are completely perfect.  I mean, you can just tell from the slightly gross picture that this is an extremely loved palette.  I reach for it literally every single day; if I don't do my entire eye look from here, then I at least use Naked2 as a transition shade.  Because it is perfect.  $27 very well spent.  I highly recommend this.

Skin79 Super+ BB Triple Function (Hot Pink)

BB creams were definitely a trend this past year, and I got in on it.  First I tried one from Maybelline and it was very unkind to my skin (all of February I had breakouts; finally I traced it to the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream).  I decided to abandon American BBs and go straight to an Asian one.  I got the Hot Pink Skin79 BB from Amazon for around $15 and I really like it.  I don't ask a lot of my foundations or tinted moisturizers; I've been blessed with pretty good skin, so all I really want them to do is provide sun protection, even out my skin tone, and cover the occasional blemish.  This BB cream does all of those things, has a lovely consistency, and matches my skin tone really well (it's supposed to adjust to match any skin tone, but I'm dubious about that; I'm already extremely pale so this one happens to work for me).  I smear it on, set it with some powder, and I'm good to go.  I recommend this for anyone who's currently in the market for a product like this.  It hasn't done me wrong yet.

Rimmel Match Perfection Skin Tone Adapting Concealer in Fair

My biggest skin problem is dark circles.  I have them no matter how much I sleep, no matter how much water I drink, etc etc.  I need something to cover them up, and trust me, I've tried a lot of things.  I found Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer at Duane Reade one rainy day in NYC and decided to try it.  I love this stuff.  It, quite simply, does the job.  A little bit under my eyes in a triangle shape and blended with my ring fingers makes the discoloration go away, and, bonus, it brightens the undereye area.  I'm on my fourth tube of this now, and I'm running pretty low on it.  One month I decided to try Benefit Erase Paste (which is quite expensive) and it didn't hold a candle to this cheapie drugstore concealer that you can pick up for about $6 depending where you live.  For Christmas my mom got me Benefit Fake-Up (upon request), so we'll see if I like it better than my Rimmel.  If you have a problem with dark circles or discoloration under your eyes, I'd check this stuff out.  It's readily available and, for me at least, it works.  

Maybelline Big Eyes Mascara

This is one case where I have to admit that advertising worked.  When I visited Ben over Memorial Day I watched some tv and kept seeing commercials for this mascara.  When I got back to NYC I picked myself up a tube.  Now, the formula itself is just okay.  It's nothing special.  It works.  But the reason that I like this product is because of the "microbrush," or small wand that you're supposed to use for your bottom lashes.  I actually use this tiny wand on my top lashes every. single. day for my first coat of mascara, no matter which mascara I intend to use for my second coat.  It catches every little eyelash and separates them really nicely.  Sometimes for a more natural look (which, let's be honest, I almost never really want) I'll just apply one coat of mascara on my top and bottom lashes using the tiny wand for both.  It really gives a nice effect.  And I'll repurchase this product just for that.

Revlon Matte Balms

wearing Striking

Some of you may remember when I sang the praises of the Revlon Kissable Balm Stains (my favorite is Smitten), so when I heard that Revlon had released a matte version, I was all over them.  I have three now and I love them all (my favorite is Striking).  If you liked the Kissable Balm Stains, then I highly recommend these.  There are some differences, though.  For example, the matte versions don't stain per se.  They might leave a little bit of color on the lips after hours of wear, but they don't stain like the Balm Stains do.  The mattes also don't apply quite as evenly and take two coats and a little bit of effort to look perfect.  But that's okay, because when they look perfect, they really do look perfect.  My favorite thing about them is that when you're wearing them you literally feel like you're not wearing anything.  I've forgotten that I'm wearing any lip product a couple times while using these and accidentally smeared all of it off onto a napkin.  Anyway, I love these and I want them all.

Coastal Scents 88 Warm Palette

I picked up this palette late last winter when Coastal Scents was having a major sale.  I paid something like $11 for it, and it was totally worth it.  When it got to me I was so excited, and I used this on my eyes all spring and summer (often with a base of NYX Milk to make the colors pop; full disclosure).  There are endless combinations you can do with this bad boy, and I still love it.  Each eyeshadow is about the size of a dime, and most of them are really great quality.  This is still my only Coastal Scents purchase, but I'd definitely be willing to give more of their products a try.

Jordana INCOLOR FabuLiner Liquid Eye Liner

This Jordana eyeliner pen is probably the most repurchased item in my makeup arsenal.  I'm on probably my fifth one of these, and I will keep going back for more.  First, they're dirt cheap.  Regular price they're something like $4.95; last time I bought a new one I got it on sale for $2.50.  This is just a no frills felt-tip eyeliner pen.  It works, it can draw a thick or thin line, and it lasts for a long time if stored properly (horizontally).  Almost every picture of me you've seen with a cat eye is courtesy of this little pen.  Right now I'm giving L'Oreal Super Slim liner a go, but honestly, I like this Jordana liner a lot better.

Texture Nail Trend:  Sally Hansen Sugar Coat Sour Apple

I.  Love.  The.  Texture.  Trend.  I still love the texture trend.  I think my favorite one was Sour Apple by Sally Hansen.  For some reason I found it so incredibly interesting, and I remember I couldn't stop looking at my nails and feeling them.  Also I just absolutely adored the minty green color.  I already did a whole post on that polish, so I'll just link you to it here. 

MAC Stereo Rose

blended out (left) and heavily swatched (right)

I never used to wear blush, but this year I got into it.  Sometimes I felt like a light coverage foundation or a BB cream just left my face looking totally flat, so I was in search a nice blush.  I actually had MAC Stereo Rose sitting around from its 2010 re-release, and I hadn't touched it.  So I got it out.  Turns out I absolutely LOVE IT.  It gives my face the loveliest rosy glow, and I still wear it at least once a week.  Since my discovery of Stereo Rose I've branched out to the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes (I'm particularly enamored of Blissful, and I'm lusting over Exposed), but this MAC MSF is still my favorite.  

So there you have it!  My ten favorite products of 2013.  I have a bunch of new ones to try out now from Christmas (thanks mom and aunties!), so it'll be interesting to see how the list changes.  Stay tuned for one more nail post for the year!  


  1. 1) thank you thank you thank you for a concealor rec. I'm using Maybelline Instant Age Rewind and I like it...but there's always room for improvement

    2) Ugh, Super Slim liner. I was so disappointed.

    1. After I used the Super Slim like three or four times I already felt like it was running out of pigment. Totally not worth the $10ish I paid for it at Walgreens. Meh.

  2. This was an awesome list. I really think youd like the Naked 3. Its lovely.

    1. Ben got it for me for Christmas and I used it for the first time today. So far I'm a big fan.


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