Friday, January 31, 2014

Favorite Products of 2013

So we're a month into is everyone?  A new semester that was supposed to be more relaxed than the last has somehow ended up being even busier, but I'm remaining optimistic for the new challenges and adventures I'll be encountering!

It's taken me awhile to compile all of my 2013 favorites, but when it came down to it, I knew exactly what to reach for.

I definitely started trying new products this year and found new products that I couldn't live without.  I think the biggest change in my makeup routine has been adding bold lips into as many looks as I can.  I used to be so afraid of bold lips, and could have never imagined wearing a bright fuchsia lipstick out, let alone a dark vampy plum color!  I've learned to just rock it and wear what I want, whenever I want.  Do I get some weird looks for wearing bright red or a deep purple lip to the grocery store sometimes?  Yes.  Do I care? Not anymore!  Let them stare all they want.

I also had the chance to try out a bunch of new products this year, particularly because I was in Germany from January to April.  German beauty brands are not as well known, but they are just as fabulous as American brands.

Without getting into too much detail yet, here is the whole compilation of products:

To see more details, click to keep reading!

I'm pretty loyal to my Clinique skin care, especially the Acne Solutions line, but I wanted to try out a cleanser that did the same thing for less money.  I believe the Clinique foaming acne cleanser is about $18 for 4 oz of product, but I decided to try out the Murad Clarifying Cleanser after seeing such good reviews for it.  I believe it's $26, but it comes in a gigantic tube that has lasted me for 7 months, and I still have at least 1/3 left.  I've noticed a difference in how clear my skin stays, as well as how quick it takes it to heal if I do get a blemish.

Another new favorite is the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm, which works to take off all my makeup in one step. I'm not kidding - this will take off even my hardcore waterproof mascara without me needing to use a make up removing cloth before or an extra makeup remover after.  This has also lasted me the entire year with frequent use (about 3-4x a week), even though its on its last legs now.

The cold weather in Berlin (and now in DC!) left my skin nearly painfully dry, so I can't imagine how it is for people with already dry skin.  I always needed to heavily moisturize my skin in the morning and night, and I found a surprising favorite in a generic store brand in Germany.  It is the CD from Rossmans.  I picked this up because I heard about it somewhere here on the beauty blogging world, not expecting much out of it, but this stuff is seriously amazing!  It moisturizes my skin without breaking me out or making me too greasy, and I also used this as a body moisturizer whenever I traveled.  There's nothing like a double duty lotion for face and body!  I should also mention the German version of the Nivea Creme, which is thicker than the American version.  I used this often in the dead of winter to lock in hydration in my skin.  However, I gave the tub to my mom and don't have an extra one around, sadly.

Next, we have some perfume - I really found some signature scents this year, and I know I'll be buying these for awhile.  The first is the Bath and Body Works Orange Sapphire Eau de Toilette.  I'm not sure if this has been discontinued, but it was the perfect late summer/fall scent. 

The Chloe Chloe perfume is easily my favorite scent of all time.  I lusted after this for years until a very kind friend bought the rollerball for me.  It's so hard for me to describe this scent, but it's the perfect floral scent that's perfect for every situation.  I also love the lasting power on this - I can even smell faint traces the next morning after a shower.  This is definitely a staple wherever I go!

Finally, I love the DKNY Pure perfume for a lighter, more powdery scent.  It definitely has vanilla undertones, but it's lighter than the typical vanilla scent.  This is a versatile scent that I find I can wear in the summer and winter.  I actually went through an entire bottle of this and recently bought a new one!

Alright let's get on to the makeup...

Although I definitely tried out a lot of new foundations this year, I also found some amazing products that I now rely on.  From the top left corner: the MAC Refined Mineralized Skinfinish.  Although this is now long discontinued, I found myself reaching for this day after day for a warm glowy highlighter.  Although I love my shimmery light golden finishes, this is a more subtle highlighter that makes me look warm and glowy without making it look like I'm wearing highlighter.  I also consistently wore the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach.  I use it every single day to help cover up my dark circles, and sometimes I wear a concealer on top of it for extra coverage.  I'm close to running out of this and need to buy another one ASAP.

Hiding in the top right corner is a brush I've had in my collection for awhile, but only started using this year. It's the Sonia Kashuk Multipurpose Brush.  I can't seem to find it on the Target website anymore, but I have started using this as a blush and highlighter brush and couldn't be any happier with it.  The tapered tip gives me control to adjust how much blush I want to apply while the softness makes all my blushes blend effortlessly.  I also like to use the tapered tip of this to apply and blend out my highlighter effortlessly.  Basically, I can't live without this brush.

Next seems to be the most revolutionary foundation of the year.  Okay, not really, but I have seen SO much buzz about this foundation, and it's made its way to the top of my list, especially in the dead of summer when I can't escape the heat and humidity.  The Covergirl 3-in-1 Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation is the perfect medium-coverage, natural but long-wearing and matte foundation I have ever tried.  It mixes well with other foundations, blends effortlessly, and is a perfect match when I'm slightly tanner.  Now that it's winter, I prefer something a little more moisturizing, so I haven't been using this, but nothing I used this year was as long wearing as this foundation.  However, I also reached for the MAC Face and Body Foundation (not pictured).  It's the perfect sheer foundation that feels light and looks natural on my skin. I use this everyday either mixed in with other foundations or on its own and love the way it performs.

Lastly, I have tons of blushes that I rotate through, but I put this L'oreal Project Runway Blush in Watchful Owl in my favorites because of how natural and effortless it looks on my skin.  It's a neutral muted rose color with some peachy undertones that gives me a subtle sculpted look.  This is one of those blushes that I reach for when I have no idea what to wear, and it never fails me.  It also helps that this is a huuuge amount of blush that will take me YEARS to finish.

Although I had plenty of eye products that I used continually throughout the year (helloooo Naked Palette), these were the standout products that I discovered in 2013, especially the Catrice Eyeshadows in Oh, it's Toffeeful! and Mr Copper's Fields.  They are great dupes for MAC Patina (in the bottom left corner) and MAC Woodwinked, but slightly more sheer and subtle.  It's funny how I justify having dupes of the same color just because they have sliggghtly different finishes. Beauty addicts, you all understand, right?  Finally, in the corner is the Prestige Long Lasting Intense Eyeliner in Fierce Blue.  I've used a ton of different eyeliners, but I found that for some reason, I always reached for this when I didn't want to wear a black eyeliner.  It's dark enough to define my eyes, yet just slightly different to keep things interesting. 

As I've mentioned several times on here, I consider 2013 the year of bold lips for me.  I used to be so scared of wearing bright lips and I really learned to just rock it this year.  Starting from the bottom, the Tarte Matte LipSurgence in Lively was my top lip color for whenever I went out.  The staying power for this is absolutely unbelievable.  It will last through the entire night with minimal fading and will kick up any look that I wear.  For the daytime, I discovered the Revlon Lip Butter in Fig Jam for a subtle vampy look during the winter as it tends to look better when I'm paler.  Although it looks scarily brown in the tube, it's actually a subtle plum with neutral undertones that is just enough to make me look polished.

Although I consider the YSL Glossy Stains a favorite from 2012, the shade in #7 was a favorite for 2013.  When I wanted something more neutral to wear, either day or night, I knew I could count on this to last for hours while keeping my lips moisturized and glossy.  It's not quite nude and it's not quite a peach or coral, but it's somewhere in the middle of all of them.  On a slightly more coral note, I also used the MAC lipstick in Cut A Caper like crazy this year.  I bought it in 2012, but it is a perfect shade of coral.  It's very similar to the ever famous MAC Ever Hip, but it has a sheerer finish, meaning it's more forgiving when my lips are dry.  I'm kind of "over" my coral trend now (and hopping onto the plum/purple trend), but this one remains a favorite in my collection.

As I moved towards brighter lips in 2013, I moved away from lipgloss...slightly.  However, one gloss that has remained a staple is the Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Pop.  I could actually include ALL of the Revlon Super Lustrous lipglosses in here, as I use all of them the most out of all my glosses, but Pink Pop was the perfect pink lipgloss that was bright but never looked garish on me.  The formula of these also can't be beat, since they're pigmented and moisturizing, and last a fairly long time on my lips.

Another Catrice gem I found out about this year is the Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipstick in Maroon. This became my favorite MLBB lipstick this year because of how easy it is to wear.  It's in the same color family as all my other MLBB lipsticks (MAC Gem of Roses, Maybelline Nude Blush, WNW 912, Revlon Soft Rose, etc), but this one happened to be what I always wore!

Annnnd lastly - I really discovered nail polishes this year and moved away from my standard picks of burgundy, red, and greige, but my favorite nail polish of the year is the Sephora by OPI Only Gold for Me nail polish.  I think I incorporated this into at least half my manicures this year, either as an accent nail or on top of all my nail polish.  I think I can safely say that I am drawn to the sparkle factor of glitter nails.....

Up close on the glitter.  Yum.

It was extremely difficult to narrow all my products down to these few favorites, but I think it really shows the best of the best in my collection.  These are all products that I could reach for if I had no idea what to wear.  

I have no idea what 2014 will bring (especially now that I'm on a no-buy...), but stick with me for another year to find out?  Stay tuned for more, especially as I have a back log of posts and some new amazing products to show!


  1. Awesome faves hun...especially the lippies :) <3

    would love your visit to my blog ( :) <3

  2. Lovely blog, think I'll definitely give the Murad Cleanser a try!

    1. It's really a great cleanser! It's helped my skin so much. Let me know what you think of the cleanser if you try it!

  3. lovely products!♥ the nail polish from Sephora is gorgeous!:)