Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Best of 2014: beauty

I'm terribly late with my selection of the most amazing products I had the opportunity to use in 2014. Not all of these products were released or bought in 2014, but there definitely were the most loved ones throughout the year.

My choice of my go to foundation mainly depended on the number of hours I was to spend at work. Two foundations I could rely on were Guerlain Tenue de Perfection and Estee Lauder Double Wear. However, their coverage is way too heavy for my needs, so on good skin days I used my favourite super lightweight foundations like Armani Maestro and YSL Fusion Ink.
My favourite concealers were Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. They may be drying but they're so pigmented that I can get away with blending a droplet of the product so tiny that it doesn't manage to dry my undereye area much. The good thing is that I don't need to set these with powder.
I used a number of excellent powders throughout the year, but the award goes to this unsung hero I got in one of my Memeboxes. In spite of its numerous flaws, Dewytree Mineral Healthy Sun Cut Loose Powder SPF36++, impressed me with its velvet finish, superlightweight feel and incredible oil control. 

In 2013 I discovered bronzers and highlighters and now I reach for them on daily basis, mostly to contour my chubby face.
My favourite contour/ overall bronzer was Soap & Glory Solar Powder which consists of a lighter slightly shimmery bronzer which goea all over my face and a darker powder which makes a perfect contour shade. Neither of these leans orange, I would describe them as neutral tan to slightly cool, red undertoned. The bronzers aren't too powdery, they never look chalky or muddy on my face.
Nars Olympia contour palette contains a contour powder I reached for almost every single day since I got it during the holiday. It matches my fair, cool-toned complexion perfectly and offers a soft contour which is perfect for everyday occassions. 
I grabbed my Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow on those days when I chose not to set my foundation with powder. Blended well,  it casts a seemingly natural shadow and gives me those chiselled hollows in my cheeks. 

The photo above represents the blushes of the year but the shade selection is random. Le Blush Creme de Chanel (top right) and Benefit Majorette are lovely examples of the cream-to-powder trend which was so in last year and which finally made it possible for my oily skin to indulge in cream blush. 
Hourglass Ambient and Clinique Cheek Pop blushes had the greatest formula I've ever seen in a blush. They are powders, but applied creamy, they are glowy but not shimmery, pigmented but not clownish.

The story goes that drugstore highlighters are hard to find. And that was true until last year or perhaps my expectations are different from most people's. My oily skin needs more subtle highlighters than, say, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks which only accentuate my pores and make my face look as if I was sweating.
Those I reached for on a day-to-day basis were Flormar Terracota Blush-on, Dax Cosmetics Cashmere Powder Pearls (in spite of the superclumsy packaging and the fact that the pearls barely cover the bottom of their container) and Maybelline Master Highlight. All three of them are rose tinted and offer very subtle illumination which may not be appreciated by extreme shine lovers, hence their lack of popularity among make-up reviewers.
But I must say I also fell in love with one highlighter which gives this metal plate sheen to your cheeks. The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer is gorgeous top to bottom. Starting from the cutest packaging ever, through the creamy texture of this powder product and its suit-all shade to the mirror-like finish which doesn't look like sweat or sebum, everything is perfect about this little beauty. I use this sparingly on special occassions, combined with a rather matte foundation and blush.


I have oily lids and I can't live without a good make-up base. So far my love has gone to Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance, but throughout almost all last year I used a deluxe sample of Lorac Behind the Scenes eye primer (1) which was attached to one of my Lorac Pro palettes. Can you believe that this little tube lasted for almost the whole year? It did what it was supposed to do, prevented my eyeshadows from creasing and fading and it did so exceptionally well. I haven't repurchased because Lorac is unavailable in Poland and since our Seprora introduced Urban Decay into their range, getting Primer Potions is definitely less fussy and expensive than ordering Lorac from e-bay.

Throughout the whole year I also keps using MAC Paint Pots (2), especially the one in Painterly, to even out my skin tone or to boost or tone down my eyeshadow colours. Maybelline Color Tattoos may be close dupes, but they're less creamy and much more drying on the lids and they also dry out faster in the jars.

As for single eyeshadows, I absolutely loved a number of cream to powder eyeshadows, but today I'd like to mention two greatest examples of that formula which are Clarins Cream to Powder Matte Eyeshadow  and Dior Fusion Mono Eyeshadow (3). They're incredible in terms of pigmentation, colours, blendability, finishes, packaging and everything else. These just scream perfection to me! I'd love to have every single shade from their ranges, but I can't have it all, can I? 

2014 was certainly a year of great palettes for me. I hardly bought and used any small palettes, but the full-size ones were a really big thing for me (4). The winners this year were both the Lorac Pro palettes for their equaly proportion of matte and shimmery finishes, the shade selection and the incredible formula, especially as regards matte eyeshadows which are creamy instead of being chalky. 
Too Faced Chocolate Bar is not only a beautiful selection of supreme quality shades but it also smells like chocolate! It's such a pleasure to use! It's just as addictive as real chocolate!
Urban Decay Naked 3 palette is something I underestimated at first, but I returned to this palette in autumn and fell in love with how well these shades suited my complexion and how easy it was for me to conjure those smoky sultry looks I love so much.  

To accentuate my eyes I used different kinds of eyeliners (5). Just like last year my favourite cream eyeliners were NARS Eye Paints and Kryolan Gel Eyeliner which are super pigmented, creamy, smooth and last all day.
I absolutely loved Zoeva Graphic Eyes eyeliners for how soft and smooth they are and how intense results they deliver. 
The greatest discovery of the year was a tiny, unknown product I got in one of my Memeboxes. Cat Girl Waterproof Eyeliner is an alternative for felt tip liners which dry out within a month or two and can be a pain to apply. This one has a tiny brush instead of a felt tip which delivers a super thin line without any effort. It's just beautiful! I've never had anything like this before!
The eyeliner which offered the most beautiful pop of colour was Lancome Art Liner in Sapphire

The queen of all mascaras, and I used quite a few last year, was definitely L'Oreal False Lash Wings mascara (6). In spite of its suspicious weird wand this mascara, waterproof or not, delivered unheard of volume to my lashes and volume is all I'm after. Haven't repurchased it yet as I've got too many mascaras going on, but it's on top of my 'to buy' list for 2015.  

2014 was the year when I found many fantastic brow products (8). I really loved Benefit Gimme Brow for its small brush and light taupey shade and for how quick and easy it is to use. When I started running low on that I experimented with a number of other products and found L'Oreal Brow Artist which is a hard pencil on one end and a brow wax on the other and there's also a brush to comb through the lashes which is always handy, though I personally prefer spoolies. I really love how this works, fast and easy. And of course Anastasia Brow Wiz was a irreplaceable tool to create natural-looking well-groomed brows non-drawn brows.  

Throughout most part of the year I used long-wearing lipsticks that would last at least six hours of speaking. In this case matte or semi-matte lipsticks stood guard. Nars Audacious lipsticks and Rimmel Provocalips made a late surge and I used Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets all year long.
When I fancied a more glossy look I went for Tanya Burr lip glosses (especially during the holiday) or Dior Addict Fluid Sticks or Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains for a much more prolonged wear time.
I also discovered the power of lip pencils and I loved how incredibly they prolonged the wear time of all kinds of lipsticks. Again, I'm not going to list my favourite shades but brands which delivered creamy and soft, yet budgeproof foundation for my lipsticks. I absolutely loved my (bottom to top in my picture) Gosh Velvet Touch , Urban Decay 24/7 and MAC Pro-Longwear lipliners. And very late, towards the end of the year I discovered my absolute favourite Topshop clear liner which goes well with any shade you want, but makes all lipsticks budgeproof.


In 2014 I was obsessing about nail polish. I delved into the realm of bright colours and pastels, but the picture above represents my favourite nail polish ranges. I really loved gel formulas of Maybelline Super Stay 7 days and Bourjois 1 Seconde. Revlon scented polishes appealed to me with their scents, shades and amazing packaging and Sephora glitter top coat over some dark polish turned out to be my favourite festive nail combo. 


My unquestionable make-up tools were Zoeva brushes. I've got MAC brushes and Sigma brushes and I wouldnt't be able to tell the difference in blind testing exept for the crucial fact that Zoeva brushes are infinitely cheaper. The two crease brushes in the picture are amazing, but their image stands for every single brush for eyes or face, no matter if they are made of natural bristles or synthetic. They are all perfect!


I searched high and low for hair products which would tame my frizz without weighing my hair down and takind away the volume. I found perfevtion in L'Oreal Ever Sleek Smoothing & Moisture Range. Have just used the shampoo up and I'm definitely going to repurchase, but I'm tempted to explore the range a bit further, so I probably won't be purchasing the exact same set of products.

Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo was my life saver last year. I get terrible dry, peeling scalp from using dry shampoos and hair powders to revive my second-day my hair and I've tried a wide variety of different scalp treatments and shampoos and nothing did a better job than Nizoral. I buy 2 sachets (about $1 each) from any pharmacy, use them during two subsequent washes and it does away with dandruff for weeks. I suppose it would do away with peeling scalp completely if I was able to give up using dry shampoos. 


Just like last year my favourite self -tanner for the body was my beloved St. Tropez mousse, but this year I discovered something that I could use on my face without the risk of turning myself into an Oooompa -loompa. Clarins Radiance Booster comes in a form of essence which you add to your daily moisturiser, you can control the amount of the product you use, thanks to which the chances of overapplying are low. It generally made my skin look very naturally tanned, without going over the top.


In 2014 I became obsessed with false lashes, lip pencils and Memeboxes. While my love for Memebox is waning, I can visualise myself stashing a couple of new lip liners and perhaps some lashes in 2015!

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