My Hits & Misses

Top Ten: Summer Favorites

It’s that time of year again when the sun starts setting a little earlier and those back to school lists start cropping up, but I’m not quite ready to let go of those long, warm days yet (or to go back to school next week for my last semester of grad school). Instead of jumping the gun for fall, here are my top ten favorite products that I turned to all summer long.

ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Brow Wiz ($21.00/0.003oz) – Believe the hype. I avoided this little thing for ages because I couldn’t believe it was really any better than the other brow pencils I’d been using (MAC, ColourPop). Oh how wrong I was! This brow pencil is so fine, it’s nearly effortless to shape and fill in your brows with precision. The formula is fantastic as well, not too soft to make a mess and not so hard that it’s difficult to use either. I’m not sure there’s anything better on the market. I use the shade Medium Brown.

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photo from anastasiabeverlyhills.com

LUSH Let The Good Times Roll ($12.95/3.5oz) – An old favorite, I recently restocked on this polenta-based exfoliating cleanser and can’t remember why I ever stopped using it. It leaves my skin feeling so smooth, and it’s gentle enough to slough away dry patches without making any new ones. After cleansing to remove my makeup, I use a nickel-sized amount to gently scrub my face and neck. My makeup sits so much better on my skin after using it!

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Powder ($20.00/0.14oz) – It took me ages to even test out the little samples I had of this loose powdered sorcery, it seemed so intimidating, but I will never look back. This microfinish powder is so finely milled and looks absolutely flawless on the skin. I use it to set my under eye concealer and around my nose where I’m prone to creasing to keep those areas looking perfected (and poreless). It’s super lightweight so it’ll never get cakey, which makes it an excellent choice for special occasions and photos. I like to apply with my RealTechniques setting brush.

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MUFE HD Powder

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My Hits & Misses

2015: The Shitlist

I realize I’m a bit late on the “posts about 2015” thing, but I really wanted to take some time to think about the products before publicly berating them. I made a post not too long about my hits and shits of the summer, but I’ve had a few flops since then and figured I’d share my thoughts.

If you’re on the fence about a product or trying to talk yourself out of buying it, here are my top disappointing products for 2015. Conversely, if one of your all-time holy grail products has made this list, please do not be offended. Everyone has a different skin tone and type, as well as varying personal preferences! Just because a product didn’t work for me does not automatically make it a bad product overall and it’s not meant to be a personal insult to you if you do enjoy or even love any of the products mentioned below.

 

Tarte PAP bronzerTarte Park Avenue Princess Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer ($30.00) – Okay so there isn’t actually anything wrong with this product, the issue is really with how people use it and advertise it. This is a nice, slightly more neutral-toned, lighter brown matte bronzer from a brand that makes my absolute favorite blush formula. My problem with this product is not with the product itself, but with what people are saying about it and the reasoning behind my purchase. This is NOT the best bronzer for cool toned pale skin, and it is absolutely 100% not the best contour for cool toned pale skin. Bronzer and contour are not the same thing, should not be promoted as such, and this is not a product meant for contouring. I currently run at about NW13 in MAC, so anybody still on the fair side but darker than me will likely find success with this product as a bronzer. However, if you try to contour with this, you’re gonna have a bad time – it left me looking rather dirty and muddy as opposed to warm and sun-kissed. Return!

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My Routine

Stripped Down Skincare Routine

I have written and rewritten this post so many times while testing out new products for my skincare regimen. The truth of the matter is, the simplest solution is usually the right one, and after several breakouts and skincare mishaps, I’ve decided to strip it down to the bare essentials that were working for me all along. Every time I try to mess with the program or add something new to my routine, all hell breaks loose, so here’s the full breakdown of my skincare basics, supplemental products, and weekly treatments.

First you should know that, in addition to some hormonal/cystic acne, I have normal-to-dry skin, but also very  dehydrated skin – which means my skin can actually overproduce oil to compensate so even my dry spots look oily at times. I have yet to figure out if this means I have dehydrated, dry skin everywhere all the time or if something else is at play, but treating it that way seems to be working so that’s what I’m going to keep doing for now. (Please note that it is possible to have dehydrated skin regardless of your skin type).

After testing dozens of products, those listed below are what seem to work best for me. These may not be the best options for you, some may not work for you at all, but if any of the skincare issues I deal with sound familiar to you then these products may be worth trying.

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My 101

Product Highlight: Facial Oils

Facial oils! No not like the kind you battle with mattifying powders or blotting papers, but the kind you put on your face on purpose! Oil as a part of my skincare routine may have been my best discovery of 2015, and I just can’t get enough. Argan, passion fruit, marula, almond… you name it – they all serve a purpose (and feel so nice).

I use oils for my face, my hair, even my nails to help hydrate, smooth, and repair. If this all sounds like a complete mystery to you, just keep reading for a full breakdown on oils as skincare and a few of my favorite products.

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My Hits & Misses

Favorite Affordable Products (under $15)

So I finally got my the-seasons-are-changing cold and wasn’t planning to post for a few days, but I didn’t want to keep putting it off. You can expect to see my updated skincare routine and fall haul soon, but for now – here are my favorite affordable products, for $15 or less.

budget beauty

ColourPop is a fantastic choice if you are interested in trying some new things or experimenting with color as everything is $8 or less, plus it’s all cruelty-free and made in the USA. I am a huge fan of most of their products, especially the Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks ($6), Creme Gel eyeliners ($5), and highlighters ($8). Since I talk about the brand so much already, I’m not going to go too in-depth here, but I will recommend my favorite shade for each of the products mentioned: 1st Base, Best O, and Hippo (respectively).

sephoralipstickremover Sephora Collection Ultimate Oil-in-Gel Lipstick Remover ($9.50, on sale for $5) – This was a product recommendation from someone on Reddit and I am absolutely not disappointed. As someone who is a loyal user of oil-based cleansers, I wasn’t expecting anything overly special from this but for $5 (and 20% off of that), I had to try. Damn does this stuff cut through some liquid lipstick! It beats out both Lush‘s Ultrabland and the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser for removing my beloved liquid lipsticks. Seeing as how that is my preferred lipstick formula, I may be buying more of these soon.

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