Friday, January 12, 2018
Best of 2017
It's finally here, you guys: 2018! I think most of us are hoping this year will be less of a raging dumpster fire than 2017. I'm cautiously optimistic. I know I've got big plans for 2018, including some new ideas and small changes to the blog. Hilariously, I'd planned on updating how I do my favorites (there will be 3 or 4 posts this year with both beauty products and lifestyle-ish stuff), but I hadn't planned on writing this post. Unfortunately, traveling gave me a UTI so vicious that standing still in a favorites video just wasn't feasible. Note to self: stop trying to hold it in on the plane, even if you don't wanna force the sweet, feeble old man with a cane to move.
Before we get in to the actual products, I want to mention two beauty-adjacent things I loved in 2017. The first is the treatment I received for chronic hives: vitamin D and a daily allergy pill. While I still get the occasional welt or two (I actually had one this morning), they're far less common and not as itchy, and I've only had a couple of serious breakouts this past year. Yes, I'm still carrying my Benadryl cream in my bag, but I no longer fear going to the movies or on a city outing--it's manageable. A huge thank you to my doctor for listening to me, ordering blood tests, and helping me find the best treatment.
And Ebates! I've actually had an Ebates account for years, but I never really used it because I kept forgetting about it. Then somebody mentioned that Ebates actually has a little toolbar button you can install; it'll flash when you can get cash back, and all you have to do is click the button. I still forget to click the button sometimes because I'm a dip, but "sometimes" is better than "never." I'm all about getting money back on stuff I was going to purchase, anyway.
Though $1.50 back on a $600 plane ticket was probably not even worth the click. #salty
Enough of this nonsense. Product time!
Glossier Cloud Paints, $18 at Glossier -- Cloud Paints have quickly become Glossier's most-raved-about makeup product, and it's no surprise. They're easy to blend, look gorgeous on the skin, and come in some truly lovely colors. (Also, the paint tube packaging is extremely cute.) I find that they look great on bare skin and over foundation. You can also mix colors to get your perfect shade; I only use Dusk to turn Puff and Beam in to a more muted pink or peach, respectively. The biggest problem? The shade range isn't very inclusive. Only Haze, the bright berry color, will work on deeper skintones. I've whined about wanting a bold red or deep orange in this formula (imagine a liquid NARS Exhibit A!), but Glossier hasn't produced it yet.
Makeup Eraser, $20 at Sephora -- If you'd told me I'd love a microfiber makeup remover that you just soak with a bit of water, I would have...well, I wouldn't have laughed in your face because that's just rude. But I definitely wouldn't have believed you. Then I received a mini Makeup Eraser in an on-clearance Sephora Favorites kit, and I ended up being so enamored, I bought a second kit. I wish they sold these mini sizes separately, because they're perfect for gently but effectively removing my work makeup (brows, mascara, concealer, powder, lipstick). Perhaps the best thing about the Makeup Eraser is that it can be washed up to a thousand times, making it a great alternative to makeup wipes if you're trying to cut down on waste. I also take these with me when I travel.
Shu Uemura Lash Curlers, $21 at ShuUemura.com -- I actually used the Shu Uemura lash curlers all throughout college. Back then, I lived decently close to a Shu Uemura counter, and I could sweet talk a new lash curler pad out of the sales associates every few months. Then Shu Uemura left the US, and new lash curler pads became a thing of the past: Shu insists you need to repurchase the curler every year and therefore won't sell the pads separately. So I switched to a few other curlers, namely the Shiseido offering, and they were great...but man, this really does give me the best curl. It's more curved than most other curlers I've tried, which fits my eye shape, and it never gives me those awful right-angle lashes, no matter how hard I squeeze.
Besame Classic Color Lipsticks, $22 at Besame.com -- This might seem like a cheat to some of you, since I started using these lipsticks at the end of 2016. However, I have a "cut off" point: anything that I start using around the end of October is too new for me to put in the yearly favorites post. I'm glad I waited, since I tested, bought, and actually received over half of Besame's lipstick range in 2017. (Still not over it, never gonna be over it.) With a rich satin finish, opaque coverage in one stroke, solid staying power, and a slew of reds in the range, it's my ideal formula. Also, there's an Agent Carter collection coming out this year!
Butter London Glazen Eye Glosses, $24 at Ulta -- I wouldn't have tried these if it weren't for this post from Lynn and my weird desire to try stuff that isn't getting YouTube hype. I'm damn glad I grabbed Oil Slick and Unicorn during an Ulta half-off sale, though, because they are my new favorite cream eyeshadows. I normally tell my family to skip on beauty gifts with the obvious exception of gift cards because I'm so picky, but when I was offered the Majesty's Metals set (that is currently on sale for $19.20!), I was like, "AWE YEAH, GIMME DAT GLITTERY GOODNESS." You just smear them on with your finger and get high impact color like that. Dare I say it...they may even replace the Josie Maran liquid eyeshadows I've mourned so frequently. My one bitch is that this is an extremely pigmented cream product that will likely dry out quickly, so $24 for a huge pot is silly. Butter London should definitely switch to the mini sizes sold in kits and drop the price.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, $15 at Sephora -- I've heard wonderful things about these pads for years, but the low acid percentage (< 2% each of glycolic and lactic acid) and the inclusion of a citrus ingredient made me avoid them. That, and I was relatively happy with my Paula's Choice 10% AHA. Then a friend of mine gave me a jar of these pads, and yep, they're my new favorite AHA product. While the Paula's Choice exfoliant gave me amazing results, it was so potent and reeked so horribly of burning tires that I could only use it once a week, and I had to rinse it off after 15 minutes. By contrast, I can use these gentle pads 2 or 3 times a week without issue. The liquid is weightless on the skin and dries down within 5 minutes. Definitely cut these in half if you buy them!
Catrice Long Lasting Brow Definer, $2.50 at Ulta -- I bought this brow pen because Catrice was BOGO at Ulta and I'd wanted to try the range for a while. I never expected to fall madly in love with this brow pen. It's deceptive: the liquid is translucent, so you can't draw on super-defined hairs, and the color doesn't look very dark. Within 30 seconds, though, I can build up the color to get fuller but still relatively natural-looking brows. The one bummer? They only have three shades: a medium brown, a dark brown, and a gray.
Rohto Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50 PA++++, ~$10 on eBay -- It's been a real struggle finding a face sunscreen that won't break me out, cause irritation, or suck the life out of my skin. When I hit maximum desperation, I turned to Ratzilla's list of alcohol-free Japanese sunscreens and grabbed the four best-looking options. This offering from Rohto was the clear winner. It has a thin, slippery texture and goes on completely clear. It's totally weightless and, amazingly, it doesn't make my eyes water. I've noticed that this sunscreen gets rave reviews on numerous skincare boards, and I'm not surprised; it's a total winner for normal to dry skin.