While my skin and hair care didn't contain many items, you're now in for a lengthy post summarising my make-up fascinations and discoveries.
Year 2012 was a year of red lipstick for me, last year, on the other hand, was all about foundations and concealers. I struggled to find non-drying, lightweight undereye concealers that wouldn't accentuate my wrinkles and mattifying foundations that would last all day. Here go my absolute favourites.
1. DIOR HYDRA LIFE BB EYE CREAM is incredibly lightweight and skin-like and also contanins SPF20. My must have for the summer.
2. BENEFIT FAKE UP offers surprisingly good coverage and is incredibly moisturising, doesn't crease on me and lasts all day.
3. MAYBELLINE AGE REWIND is sooo lightweight, sooo brightening and doesn't need to be set with powder at all. Unfortunalely, in winter it gets dry towards the end of the day, but I love it nonetheless.
4. NARS RADIANT CREAMY CONCEALER offers super high, yet natural, coverage. It's creamy and applies like a dream, lasts all day, but again, may be a bit drying under the eyes.
FOUNDATIONS, TINTED MOISTURISERS, BB AND CC CREAMS
1. JOUER TINTED MOISTURISER MATTE was one of my favourites in the summer. Provided decent coverage and kept my oilies at bay in hot summer weather.
2. COVERGIRL OUTLAST FOUNDATION is one of the best mattifying foundations I've got. I used it on and off and each time I returned to it I felt surprised at how good it was.
3. ESTEE LAUDER DOUBLE WEAR is a kind of dark horse in this competition. I tested this foundation countless times before I finally managed to find the right shade got it in early December. This foundation definitely deserves all the hype it gets. It makes my skin look amazing, it lasts all day long and doesn't let my skin get overly oily. The inly thing I don't like is that it doesn't come with a pump.
4. GUERLAIN LINGERIE DE PEAU BB BEAUTY BOOSTER is my favourite 'western' BB cream. This product is not mattifying at all, but the glowing finish it gives looks so natural and skin-like. It evens out my skin beautifully and although it doesn't last all day it looks nice for a decent amount of time. It's my pick for days when I don't go to work.
5. ETUDE HOUSE PRECIOUS MINERAL BB CREAM COTTON FIT turned out to be my favourite Korean BB cream this year. It's neither heavy nor greasy yet it offers excellent coverage and colour correction.
6. DR BRANDT CC CREAM MAT was my favourite face product/sunscreen on hot summer days. It barely offers any coverage, but mattifies my skin beautifully. It looked most appropriate on the beach and didn't melt off my face at all. Excellent product, but pricey.
Apart from concealers and foundations I also loved:
1. NARS LIGHT REFLECTING LOOSE POWDER and SKINFOOF PEACH SAKE SILKY FINISH POWDER are both finely milled translucent white powders, which offer beautiful satiny matte finish. Nars is more on the glowy side, while Skinfood keeps my face matte for longer and smells way nicer. I've had the Peach Sake Powder for about two years now and I'm strongly determined to use it up, but I can't. A little goes a long way and try as I might, I haven't been able to use up the tiny amount of product that's left on the bottom, even thouth I've been using the powder daily for the last couple of months.
2. CHANEL LES BEIGES HEALTHY GLOW SHEER POWDER offers such a gorgeous, natural finish! It's not terribly mattifying and the shade I got persuaded to get by a MUA at Sephora is a tad too dark (never trust any consultants, colourmatch yourself!), but it's a lovely finishing powder that adds the final oooomph to your complexion.
3. HOURGLASS AMBIENT LIGHTING POWDER in DIFFUSED LIGHT is probably the least shimmery and radiant powder in the entire collection. I use it all over, to set foundations that have very matte finish like Estee Lauder Double Wear or Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation. Used this way the powder adds natural glow to my face and offsets the flat matte finish of the foundations.
BRONZERS AND BLUSHES
2013 was the year I started using bronzers on regular basis, at first to add some colour and glow to my face and then I discovered the art of contouring.
1. BOURJOIS BRONZING PRIMER is the product I used daily in the summer season. It's perfect under foundation as a mattifying primer, works exceptionally well as a regular bronzer and you can also use it to contour. The product has a lightweight gel-like consistency and smels like chocolate!
2. NYX BLUSH in TAUPE is a lovely contour shade. This iconic product featured in almost every make-up blog fully deserves its fame.
3. CATRICE SUN GLOW is a beautiful matte bronzer that serves as an all-over product for me. I've got it in the darker shade to it added natural tan to my face in the summer. Now that I'm much paler, I feel I need to get it in a lighter shade. And above all, like all Catrice products, this bronzer is ridiculously affordable.
4. ILLAMASQUA CREAM PIGMENT in HOLLOW is such a unique contouring product. It comes in a quite hard cream form, which blends in perfectly in the hollows of my cheeks. It sets and stays in place all day. The shade is a kind of browny taupe, which doesn't look muddy or orange. This pigment also makes a beautiful eyeshadow base.
5. THE BALM INSTAIN BLUSH in LACE is a phenomenal blush in terms of packaging, shade, pigmentation, blendability and staying power. Does it need any more recommendadion?
6. CHANEL JOUER CONTRASTE in ACCENT and 8. BENEFIT ROCKATEUR are my new discoveries in terms of blush shade. If it weren't for the hype and the demos and tutorials, I would never have picked such beige, brownish, rosy, mauve shades. They always seemed sort of boring and not refreshing enough for my taste and complexion. Nothing more misleading. Both blushes proved such beautiful, natural cheek shades, especially for autumn looks.
7. ESTEE LAUDER PURE COLOR CHEEK BLUSH in PINK PATENT was my favourite blush in the summer. It's got a watery gel consistency, it sinks into the skin, stains the cheeks for all day long and doesn't melt or transfer in the blazing sun.
Next three products represent a new development in cream blush formula, which is cream to powder one. This is a perfect invention for people with oily skin, like me, or for those who are looking for comfortable velvet finish. In the past I found cream blushes difficult to blend in, I always ended up with bold patches on my cheeks, but 9. DIORBLUSH CHEEK CREME, 10. LE BLUSH CREME DE CHANEL and 11. BOURJOIS CREAM BLUSH changed my perception of cream blushes entirely.
TOO FACED SHADOW INSURANCE was hands down my favourite primer this year. I have oily lids and without primers eyeshadows crease on me within 2-3 hours. With this primer they remain untouched for 12 hours plus. What's more the primer is virtually invisible on my skin and doesn't dry the sensitive skin on my lids out.
Last year I discovered cool toned neutrals and taupes.
NYX BUTT 'NAKED' EYES palette accompanied me on all my journeys last year. It contains a set of 15 cool-toned browns, taupes, grays, silvers, charcoals and blacks and also blushes, a bronzer and a highlight colour all packed in a sturdy box with a full-size good quality mirror.
URBAN DECAY SHATTERED FACE palette is like a mini version of theNYX one. It contains 5 silver, taupe and purple-toned eyeshadows and 2 blushes and 1 higlight plus a lip crayon. All packed in a small and pretty compact.
MAKE UP ATELIER PARIS eyeshadow palette #24 is a kind of underdog product in this classification. In spite of the fact that these eyeshadows received enthusiastic reviews from a number of YouTube gurus they don't seem to have gained the popularity they deserve. I was completely unable to find swatches of the palette I picked anywhere on the net, so I sort of ordered a pig in a poke And I'm glad I did. The shades are AMAZING and qualitywise these are PROBABLY THE BEST EYESHADOWS IN THE WORLD.
THE BALM BALM VOYAGE palette arrived under my roof very late in the year, but I can't stop playing with it ever since. The quality of every single eyeshadow is amazing. The eyeshadows are beautifully pigmented and they don't turn into muddy mess when blending. The palette contains both lovely neutrals and bold bright shades, which allows for an infinite variety of combinations. What's more, The Balm seem to know how to handle the bright shades rightm, somehow succeed at making even the craziest ones wearable. Apart from the eyeshadows, the palette contains three lip/cheek colours.
I generally tend to stay away from single eyeshadows as I think palettes offer better value for money, but there are a coouple of them that deserve a honourable mention.
1. MAC PAINT POTS are absolutely fabulous as eyeshadow bases. In the picture above you can see two of my favourites, Painterly and Constructivist, but towards the end of the year I got a couple of their new matte releases and they're all fantastic.
2. CATRICE C'MON CAMELEON is supposed to be a dupe of MAC Club, which I don't have. It's a gorgeous duochrome with a reddish brown base and teal or emerald green sheen. Doesn't need to be paired with anything. Looks striking on its own.
3. DIOR FUSION MONO EYESHADOW in COSMOS is the best hybrid eyeshadow in my collection. It's perfect as far as formula, shade, application, blendability, wear time are concerned. I hear that Dior is coming up with matte fusion eyeshadows this spring, which means I'll definitely be grabbing one of them soon.
4. BURBERRY SHEER EYESHADOW in TAUPE BROWN is the best matte taupe eyeshadow in my collection. It's so hard to get matte eyeshadow right, without making it too dry, too powdery or too chalky. Taupe Brown by Burberry is almost as creamy an many shimmery eyeshadows are, and the shade is soooo beautiful.
5. NYX single eyeshadow in TRUE TAUPE rested all the time on my bathroom shelf and I reached for it every day, until I dropped it and it shattered. True Taupe was a perfect crease shade to blend out the edges.
NARS EYE PAINTS in ISKANDAR and TRANSVAAL are superb quality eyeliners, which can double as cream eyeshadows or eyeshadow bases. They are soft and lightweight, yet opaque. Very creamy and easy to apply, once they set they do not budge. The shimmery gold and matte gray shades I picked are very unique as for eyeliners.
PHYSICIALS FORMULA SHIMMER STRIPS eyeliner for blue and brown eyes are high quality, saturated colour, budget friendly cream liners. Although I've had them for about one and a half year, time did not affect their performance or quality in any way. They're just as good as the day they arrived.
KRYOLAN CREAM LINER in EBONY is another underdog product in this rating. I got thanks to my Glossybox subscription, I must admit I would have never bought it myself as somehow I don't feel drawn to the brand. Their cream liner, however, turns out to be the blackest most saturated and opaque black I've seen. Handy for conjuring the most beautiful pin-up looks in history. Lasts all day (or night), doesn't budge or smudge. Even though mine cracked in half and looks dry, it remains just as creamy and soft as before.
Long gone are the days when only high-end brands offered the greatest eyeliner pencils on the market. Drugstore brands surpassed high-end ones in terms of pigmentation, smoothness, colour range, wear time.
This year I really loved:
1. JUMBO LINERS by SEPHORA. All of them are perfect, but my most used shades turned out to be Dark Taupe Shimmer and Marine. They can be used as long-lasting eyeshadows, eyeshadow bases or liners. They are soft and smooth, glide on like a dream and once they set they don't go anywhere. They are like much cheaper dupes of Make Up For Ever pencils. My advice is, don't waste your money, don't buy MUFE, get Sephora instead, unless you are dead on some particular shade from their selection.
2. SEPHORA CONTOUR EYE PENCIL 12H WEAR in Surfer Babe is an incredible liner. It's intense emerald green leaning teal. All pencils within the line are phenomenal as far as quality is concerned, I just picked the one that didn't seem to have a dupe in my collection, but I'm planning to explore the line in great detail.
3. RIMMEL SCANDALEYES KOHL KAJALS received so many positive reviews that I barely need to say a word. Every single one is stunning, but my greatest love turned out to be BRIGHT BLUE, which I combined with taupe neutrals to add a pop of colour.
4. MAYBELLINE MASTER DRAMA CHROMATICS KHOL LINER in PURPLE LIGHT is very similar to the Rimmel or even more so to Sephora ones mentioned above. Apart from the quality I really love the electric purple shade.
And now on to two more expensive picks:
5. TOO FACED PERFECT EYES WATERPROOF EYELINER in PERFECT NAVY, which was a bit of disappointment at first as it is more black than navy to my eye, but it makes a nice alternative for pitch black.
6. URBAN DECAY 24/7 EYE PENCIL in PERVERSION is, on the other hand, the blackest black you can get in a pencil form. I also do appreciate the matte black packaging and the black cap.
1. CLINIQUE HIGH IMPACT EXTREME VOLUME is definitely the best mascara of the year. It volumises a lot, doesn't smudge, flake, melt or run. Performs well on bottom lashes as well.
2. COVERGIRL CLUMP CRUSHER didn't satisfy me as far as volume is concerned, but it replaced my bottom lash mascara, even though the brush is huge. I just love the formula on my bottom lashes. Not too dramatic, quite lightweight and never smudges.
3. MAYBELLINE THE ROCKET VOLUM' is not perfect at all. It smudges, transfers, is hard to remove. But each time I return to it after a longer break I can't believe the length, volume and curl it gives to my lashes. My hubby even once thought I was wearing false lashes, but it was just the Rocket Volum'
1. BENEFIT GIMME BROW is the first brow 'mascara' that I really like and it's all thanks to the tiny little spoolie, which is exactly the same as Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara's. It picks just enough product and allows for controlled application on the brows. Good job, Benefit, good job!
2. ELF EYEBROW KIT is a product I have repurchased a couple of times and I always go back to. It makes it so easy to fill in and shape my brows in a very natural way. I love everything about it, the wax, the powder and the applicator. Nice and compact, travel friendly and good for everyday use.
3. ANASTASIA BROW WIZZ is another wonderful brow product. It's a twist-up pencil with the tiniest tip imaginable. It makes styling my thin and sparse brows with precision easy. There's also a spoolie to comb the brows and even everything out.
2013 was a year of my love for red lips, but I also ventured into the realm of darker and berry lip area.
1. REVLON LIP BUTTER in RED VELVET is a gorgeous long-wearing dark red with glossy finish and moisturising feel on the lips. What I liked about it a lot is that it fades evenly, which is rarely the case with dark lip colours.
2. MAYBELLINE COLOR WHISPER LIPSTICK in WHO WORE IT RED-ER was my favourite summer lip colour. On my lips it looked more fuchsia than red, but it reflected my playful mood a lot.
3. CHANEL ROUGE ALLURE VELVET in LA FASCINANTE is a dark, cool-toned matte red. I wore it a lot in autumn.
4. MAC lipstick in PREPARE FOR PLEASURE was a lipstick of the year for me. Beautiful shade, gorgeous finish, lasts for ever and fades evenly.
5. CLINIQUE CHOBBY STICK INTENSE in GRANDEST GRAPE is the fruit of my fascination with burgundy and berry shades. Another autumn favourite of mine.
6. REVLON KISABLE BALM STAIN in ADORE was all the time with me in my handbag. I used it for touch ups on the go, even without a mirror. Lovely shade, very comfortable on the lips too.
LIP GLOSSES & LIP LINERS
I'm cheating here cause some products I selected for the category aren't really lip glosses, but the ones that are liquid and apply like glosses.
1. RIMMEL APOCALYPS in BIG BANG is an absolutely stunning bang on red. Fully opaque and long-lasting.
2. CHANEL GLOSSIMER in SAVAGE GRACE was the result of my obsession with wine shades. Stellar shade with tons of glitter.
3. NYX MEGA SHINE LIP GLOSS in AFRICAN QUEEN is a lovely fuchsia and purple duochrome. I generally believe NYX Mega Shine Glosses have one of the best gloss formulas on the gloss market, I'm just not a dead on fan of glosses.
4. YSL VERNIS A LEVRES constitutes for me the most amazing liquid lipstick formula. Imitated by many, it remained unsurpassable. This formula offers opaque, shiny colour that fades after 5-6 hours, and even when it does, it leaves a beautiful stain. The brighter the shade, the longer wearing the lipstick is.
As far as lip liners are concerned I always believed that there are MAKE UP FOR EVER AQUA LIP liners and everything else, but this autumn I discovered URBAN DECAY 24/7 lip pencils, which are similarly long-wearing and budgeproof, seem lighter and less drying and the colour range is wider. My favourite lip pencils this year were Aqua Lip #8C, which goes well with most of my red lipsticks and glosses, and looks very pretty on iots own and 24/7 in Venom, which was a perfect match for all berry and burgundy lip colours.
My favourite nail products were:
NAILTIQUES cuticle cream is a lovely balm which fights dry, cracking cuticles. A lifesaver in winter.
SECHE VITE top coat has always been my favourite, but the one I returned to after about one year's break is even more amazing. It stopped shrinking polish!
FLORMAR #392 is a gorgeous holographic micro glitter.
FLORMAR DC02 is a gold and green duochrome, almost foil finish.
NAILS INC. GEL EFFECT POLISH in KENSINGTON HIGH STREET is the kind of vampy, burgundy red that went well with my mood for wine.
CHINA GLAZE RED-Y & WILLING is another striking wine shade, this time with shimmer. I got countless compliments wearing this polish.
CATRICE ULTIMATE NAIL LACQUER in PINKY AND THE BRAIN had a horrible packaging, which broke almost instantly, but I somehow fell in love with this milky coral-toned pink. It just screamed summer to me!
WET'N'WILD FAST DRY NAILPOLISH in BUFFY THE VIOLET SLAYER is another wild nail polish. The colour is electric purple which looks so fun on the nails!
Hands down, Zoeva brushes were my Holy Grail this year. Before they arrived I thought Real Techniques was the brand of the year for me, but I was mistaken.
I've tried a number of their face and eye brushes, which I'm going to review later, and I must say there wasn't a single brush that I didn't like. Many of them have unique shapes and sizes that cannot be found elsewhere and some are dupes of brushes by other, more well-known brands.
I compared their 227 blending brush to MAC 217 and Sigma E25 and I'm absolutely certain that while all of them are almost the same, Zoeva 227 is the best of the three and costs only a fraction of the price.