Happy New Year everyone! I’ve enjoyed a mini break from blogging, work et al, but am very happy to be back. This has been the most chilled out Christmas/New Year break I’ve had in a long time and I’ve loved every minute with family and friends, going for long walks on the beach and trying to balance the chocolate intake with huge pots of home made soup!
I’ve rounded up my 14 Most Used (rather than Best of) beauty products in 2014 as I thought these would be the most useful - and hopefully interesting - to read about. I forced myself to choose just one product from each category - among others which I cherish equally - and in some cases, rate more. This may sound mad, but at the end of the day, the ones I reach for most often are the true winners, right? For example, Anastasia Brow Wiz and Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara give more wow end results than the two options that I’ve chosen, but for speed and ease of use, Eyeko and Miss Manga are the ones I wear most day to day. Shock horror, sometimes beauty is more about practicality! The majority of products in this line-up are winners in terms of both practicality and performance - I’ll mention any exceptional alternatives as I go along.
I didn’t dwell on any of the choices too much, but went on gut /heart instinct… so here are my 14 most used products of 2014.
FOUNDATION: Clarins True Radiance (shade 103) - medium coverage, glowy finish, great for dry or dehydrated skin. Probably a bit too dewy for oily skin as I do sometimes need to set my T-zone with powder when I wear this… totally worth it for the glow factor. The bottle has a pump, the liquid formula is very quick and easy to use and a little goes a long way. I know some of you have already fallen for this since my original review here, (best feeling ever when this happens!).
CONCEALER: Clarins Instant Concealer (01) - natural looking coverage that works best under the eyes but will cover redness/ minor blemishes if set with powder. It doesn’t sit in lines, cake or dry out - and actually adds radiance to the eye area (without sparkle or shimmer). For severe dark shadows, I like to use a base of Bobbi Brown Corrector under this. A good alternative is Amazing Concealer (Light Golden), a creamy, highly pigmented, great all rounder and one of the few that works equally well both around the eyes and on blemishes.
POWDER: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette - 3 finishing powders which even out skin tone for a soft focus effect, warm pale skin and add subtle highlight. Review here and multiple raves if you use my search system (top right).
BRONZER: Michael Kors Bronze Powder in Glow - the best bronzer I’ve tried for pale skin and great value as it’s barely dented despite almost daily use all year round. Almost impossible to overdo and leaves a radiant glow (not shimmer) on the skin. My review.
BLUSHER: Clinique Cheek Pops in Plum Pop - a unique ‘bouncy’ powder, this subtle, long lasting blush is one of the best formulas I’ve tried (& there have been a lot). Plum Pop is a light, cool toned pink and works well on both pale and tanned skin. Review. Also a big fan of Clinique Chubby Stick for Cheeks, especially with a more matte make-up look for a lovely natural finish. Chubby review here.
LIPSTICK: Bourjois Rouge Velvet in Hot Pepper - I’ve probably raved about these more than any other product this past year and with good reason. Amazing pigmentation, lasting power, velvety finish - all at a great price - and they don’t dry out my lips. Seriously no need to pay more! Full review.
EYE SHADOW: Bobbi Brown Smokey Nudes - my go-to palette for a natural everyday look or smoky eye. Great mix of very blendable matte and shimmer finishes in lovely cool tones, my personal favourite. All beautifully packaged in a smokey, tortoise shell effect compact.
MASCARA: L’Oreal Miss Manga - I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on here before but it’s one that I keep coming back to as it gives great results in one sweep. The wand is tapered into a fine point which means even the tiniest corner lashes get coated. I’d say this gives more length than volume, but it definitely does give some. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is ah-mazing for mega full on false lash effect, takes a little bit more time and effort but well worth it and brilliant for dramatic evening looks.
EYELINER: Anastasia Covet Waterproof Liner in Astral - I love the long wearing formula of these liners but it’s the colour of this one I fell for. The perfect shade for my blue/grey eyes and very forgiving on tired eyes, it’s a greyish green that sometimes leans teal, with a slight metallic finish. The twist up mechanism is a big bonus and the formula is smooth and creamy. Review & swatches here
BROWS: Eyeko Brow Gel - as I said above, Anastasia Brow Wiz is best for a very precise finish as it’s fine enough to draw individual hairs, but Eyeko Brow Gel is so quick and easy to sweep on that I reach for it about 70% of the time (my ultimate is a combination of the two). It’s slightly tinted gel to suit all brow colours (sounds mad but it works) and gives subtle colour enhancement and definition while holding brows in place.
PERFUME: Diptyque Philosykos - I have a major weakness for perfume and own far too many, but have truly fallen for this beauty since treating myself around this time last year. It’s fresh and green, yet has an underlying softness that both invigorates and calms me at the same time. A serious mood booster, I literally swoon every time I spritz this.
BODY: L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil - not sure I can add to my recent odes to this luxuriously comforting product. Let’s just say it’s every bit as amazing as people say and totally worth the hype. If mornings aren’t your thing, this will help.
SKINCARE: Sarah Chapman Skinesis Ultimate Cleanse - Choosing just one skincare item was my biggest challenge as I could have devoted an entire category to it. Shame on me as I’ve yet to feature this on my blog, though rave about it to just about anyone who will listen. This rich cleansing balm feels like a skin treatment and makes cleansing feel more like pampering than a chore. Massage in, add a little water and it turns to a milk, which rinses off easily with a flannel leaving skin feeling soft, glowing and comfortable. (NB packaging has changed to a pump bottle since I bought this one.) REN Rose Centifolia Cleansing Balm is a fantastic alternative, which I also adore, at almost half the price.
HAIR: Color Wow Speed Dry Blow Dry Spray - I’m all for time saving products and spritzing this into my hair pre-styling products literally cuts blow drying time in half. No idea how… it doesn’t contain alcohol like some similar options do, but it works - and protects hair with keratin proteins at the same time. I’ve been blown away by everything I’ve tried by this brand, also loving the Colour Security Shampoo and Conditioner.
I think I need a wee lie down after that, though for the first time in 2 weeks I have packed lunches to make as my kids go back to school tomorrow. I may also be sneaking a few items into my Hush basket in anticipation of tomorrow’s sale - I fancy this star print top!
I hope you found this useful and discovered some products you might like too. What was your 2014 beauty favourite - go on, enable me right back!