HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
I was inspired by Paris’ 12 Best Things of 2012 post, so I decided to do my own in honor of the new year. My list is mostly beauty-related, but there is one oddball in there. Take a look and see!
Whenever someone asks for skincare recommendations, this is always the first suggestion on my lips. It’s a truly amazing, light-yet-moisturizing oil-free serum that has done absolute wonders for my skin. Growing up, I did struggle a bit with acne but when I finally had it under control (for the most part), I then had to deal with the aftermath of scarring and a generally uneven skin tone. I started using this serum almost 2 years ago and now, I can’t ever be without it! I was skeptical at first but this serum truly does give your skin a noticeable radiance and glow. Love love love!
I’ve always loved Essie polishes, but in 2012, I just about tripled my Essie collection. I find that the formula is (generally) really nice and easy to work with, there are so many fun shades to choose from and most importantly, it’s affordable. I love playing with nail polish and change my nail color quite often, so having many options is important to me. But that can really start to add up and who can afford to buy several new polishes a week at $15-25 a pop?! Not me. Essie is the happy medium. It’s a salon-quality brand that is offered at drugstore prices–I love it.
Also, they do blue polish really well–blue being my preferred mani shade for the last few months. A few favorites are (clockwise from left): She’s Picture Perfect (a pale blue-lavender), Lapiz of Luxury, Beyond Cozy (not blue but it’s my favorite glitter), Where’s My Chauffeur, Boxer Shorts, Turquoise & Caicos, and Bikini So Teeny.
Jack Black’s lip balm heals my cracked, chapped lips and stays on for hours (the first balm I’ve found that could do that!), feels amazing on the lips, is nice and thick but in a really comfortable, non-sticky way, and comes in a delicious variety of scents. My two favorites are Blackberry & Black Tea and Grapefruit & Ginger (I have never tried a lip balm that smelled so bright and fresh before! My boyfriend loves to kiss me when I’m wearing it because it smells so good). All in all, perfection in a tube.
4. Jasmine Dragon Soy Latte
Tired of hearing me rave about this drink yet? I know it is really out of place in this list, but I am so obsessed with this drink that I just couldn’t leave it out! It’s sweet but not overly sweet (like most Starbucks drinks can be) and is warm and creamy and light but rich–amazing! If you have a CBTL (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) near you, you must try this drink!
This was a skincare brand that I discovered in 2012 and fell in love with. I can’t say it enough good things–this brand is awesome! It’s natural, gentle, and immensely effective. Everything I’ve tried has immediately become a staple in my routine, but some standouts were the Lactic Acid Original 5%, Collagen Elastin Plus serum, Collagen Elastin Eye+Lip Concentrate, Purifying French Clay Mask (not pictured), and the Eye Brightening Cream.
If you’re curious to try this brand, enter my Pure+Simple giveaway by tomorrow night at 11:59 PST. It’s really an awesome set and I think it will be perfect for all skin types and all seasons!
6. Sonia Kashuk Blending Brush
I love this brush and use it every single day (I really need to buy more). I don’t know what the actual name of the brush is because I find that Sonia Kashuk tends to change her brushes/the look of her brushes often, but it may be comparable to the Large Crease Brush on the Target site (can’t confirm that though). It’s the perfect size for my rather small crease and blends out my shadow like a pro. I’ve had it for several years and it’s held its shape really well. It rivals similar brushes out there but at half the cost–it’s really great!
I should have included a picture of the Smudge Brush as well (I have the older version) because I love that thing and use it daily, as well. It’s absolutely teeny-tiny and nice and soft, so you can use it to set your eyeliner/line your eyes with ease. It’d be great for anyone but as someone with very small eyes that has trouble finding brushes that aren’t too large, it’s an especially good find. I’ve had this one longer than the blending brush and it’s like brand new.
Would you believe that prior to 2012, I only owned ONE highlighter? Seriously–one. And that one was a Physician’s Formula one–their Mineral Glow Pearls in Translucent. I know it’s hard to believe, especially for someone who is a beauty blogger and self-professed beauty addict, but it’s true. I’m sure if I had realized the importance of highlighter sooner, I would be up to my neck in them by now but such is life.
A few of my favorite highlighters of the year (clockwise from left): LORAC Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing Powder in Spotlight (review to come soon), Chanel’s new Poudre Signée de Chanel Illuminating Powder (review to come soon), Jouer’s Tiare and Camellia Highlighters, Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearls in Beige (yes, I still use these and they are awesome!), and Giorgio Armani’s Fluid Sheer #2 (review to come….sometime in the future :P).
My favorite bronzer of the year was definitely Guerlain’s Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in Brunettes. I used it year-round as a blusher/bronzer and it was just perfect that way! It’s very subtle to the point where no one knows that you’re wearing it, but your face just looks a million times better. This will continue to be a staple for me in 2013 and I also plan to pick up a few other bronzers from the Terracotta line.
****UPDATE: okay so I just wanted to warn you guys that RapidLash made almost every single one of my eyelashes fall out. Beware!! I loved the effects at first but when I got to the end of the first tube, I kept forgetting to repurchase and went a couple of weeks without it. I then started noticing my eyelashes on my right eye were starting to fall out. I panicked and went out and bought another tube immediately and started using it again, only this time I didn’t get any results. My eyelashes continued to fall out on my right eye til I was left with literally about 5 lashes and a little bit of sparse, downy growth. Meanwhile, the lashes on my left eye started to thin out. They were getting longer but there was no fullness at all. After a few weeks, the lashes on my right eye were somewhat recovered (though still much, much sparser than before) when the eyelashes on my left eye started to fall out! Needless to say, I stopped using RapidLash immediately. I know some people who say they love it and have had no problems but I just wanted to tell you guys about my own personal experience. It was awful waiting for my lashes to grow back in–I felt so naked and unfeminine without lashes to flutter! So use at your own risk!****
I was very, very skeptical of this product but it seems to get good reviews online, so when I saw it on sale at CVS, I decided to purchase a tube. I was still so skeptical that I didn’t even take a “before” shot! After about 2 weeks of use, I began to notice a hint of length and fullness in my lashes. After a month, my lashes were noticeably longer and fuller. These days, I am much happier with my lashes. I have the typical short, sparse lashes of many Asian women but this stuff made me feel like I had long, wispy, flirty lashes for the first time. After my lashes are curled and I apply mascara now, my eyes are like boom!!!
Burberry’s Lip Mist is another product that I’m constantly harping about. I adore a balmy, sheer lipstick formula and Burberry’s is tops. It’s lightly moisturizing, perfectly balanced between pigmented and sheer, and has a nice, slightly shiny finish–in other words, perfect. You’d be surprised to learn that despite loving it so much, I still only own one (Field Rose) but I have tried several samples of other shades and have a mini tube of Copper as well, so I can attest to the fact that they are all really great. I definitely plan on growing my collection in 2013 because, if you’ll recall from my Field Rose review, my goal is to collect them all. No, seriously.
This cream shadow/liner is an absolute godsend. Before I found this stuff, I was resigned to the fact that any liner, no matter how smudgeproof/waterproof/bullet-proof it was for other people, would always-no-matter-what smudge on my eyes. But then I tried this stuff on a whim and was absolutely floored. Honestly you can cry, rub, scuba dive, whatever–this stuff is NOT moving for anything! I use it to tightline but you can also use it to line the upper or lower lashline or as an eyeshadow or a base. The product is smudgeable for about a minute before it sets, so you are able to create a really nice, smoked-out eye with this. It’s fabulous! So don’t give up hope; if you’ve tried everything under the sun and have yet to find something that works for you, try this! You won’t be sorry!
12. Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Waterproof Eye Pencil #2
This eyeliner was a very recent discovery for me–one that I got it as a GWP during a Neiman Marcus Beauty Event. This has got to be the most creamy, buttery, silky-smooth pencil that has EVER grazed my eye–it’s sooo soft. Almost too soft…I find that the tip breaks/smooshes easily, so you have to be really careful when using it/sharpening it. But still, it feels incredible gliding across the lids and sensitive waterline.
I thought there was no way something this soft would stay put but I was proved wrong. I find that this wears even better than my beloved Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes liners do–an amazing feat, seeing as how it’s the only pencil liner I’ve found that lasts more than an hour on my small, oily lids. It does start to fade after 6-7 hours, but it fades evenly and never smudges. I’ll take fading over smudging any day of the week! It’s amazing stuff and I will definitely be repurchasing in both black and brown!
…and that’s it! Now I want to hear your picks for 2012, too! You don’t have to do 12 and it doesn’t have to be beauty-related, but do share!