2014 Beauty Favorites

As much as I love to purchase makeup, even budget-friendly trips to the drugstore can result in me overthinking and agonizing over what purchases to make and what new items to try.  And while I had a few misses this year, I also discovered some true ride or die items that won’t be rotating out of my makeup kit anytime soon.

IMG_7383Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
It was late 2013 or early 2014 when I began to hear rumblings that the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer was a dupe for Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer.  While I own a few Nars products, I haven’t tried the Radiant Creamy Concealer.  I know there are some fantastic luxury concealers out there (YSL Touche Eclat, anyone?), but I just haven’t yet been able to splurge on a concealer.  So I gave the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer a try, and honestly, I love it.  I alternate between Fair and Light and use them as a highlighting concealer.  They’re affordable, they last forever, and as long as I set them immediately after blending, I have minimal creasing.

IMG_7331

Lorac Pro Palette
I was late to the party on this one.  I bought the Lorac Pro Palette mid-way through the year, around the same time that Lorac released the Pro 2 Palette.  I waffled for a couple of days over which one to buy, but I decided to go with the first one because I’d already heard so many fantastic reviews.  You can see from the photos that this palette is loved.  There are 16 shades with warm neutral tones — a great mix of matte, satin and shimmer.  This palette is everything you need.  The pigmentation is amazing.  You can blend and build color and it just keeps going.

IMG_7361Anastasia Beverly Hills Tamanna Palette
I wasn’t able to get my hands on the Amrezy Palette.  I learned about its existence way too late.  When the Tamanna Palette was released, I wasn’t really dying to get my hands on it.  My reaction to the photos I saw were, “Meh,” and I continued to kick myself for allowing the Amrezy Palette to pass me by.  As I do whenever I’m at my local mall, I wandered into Sephora to see if anything caught my eye.  I was really surprised when the Tamanna Palette stopped me in my tracks.  Sidebar:  Anastasia Beverly Hills never gets it wrong.  If I had the funds, I would easily purchase everything the woman is selling because she is always on point.  The photos of this palette don’t do it justice.  There are colors here that I turn to time and time again.  While Bengal and Sangria are my go-to shades, this palette covers all the bases by providing some great neutrals as well as pops of color that can create bold looks.

IMG_7301Kat Von D Shade + Light Palette
Sometime in 2013 I watched a YouTube tutorial on highlighting and contouring (HAC) and I think it changed my life.  Fast forward to present day and HAC has blown up.  I think this may be the year of the contour kits.  The exciting part is that just a year ago, most of us were attempting to HAC with a bronzer and light colored powder or shimmery highlighter.  Now both luxury and drugstore brands are releasing products that are actually meant to mimic true shadow and highlight.  And it’s amazing.  The Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette can be seen on nearly every well known beauty blogger’s YouTube channel.  I’m not sure what stopped me from jumping to the front of the line on her kit, but I hesitated.  I hesitated just long enough to notice that Kat Von D had also released a contour palette.  I had a real Sophie’s Choice moment.  I ended up going with Kat Von D and I don’t regret it for a second.  Kat Von D is an amazing artist and her makeup line is pure artistry as well.  So far every one of her products has delivered for me.  I’m loving this palette.  It’s nearly effortless.  The colors are so blendable and pigmented and they really do all the work for you.

e.l.f. Studio Angled Blush Brush and Real Techniques Contour Brushe.l.f. Studio Angled Blush Brush and Real Techniques Contour Brush
Immediately after purchasing my Shade + Light Palette, I started thinking about my brush collection and whether or not I had the right brushes to complement such a fabulous palette.  The Real Techniques line of brushes are high quality and so affordable.  Plus I think Sam and Nic Chapman are incredibly talented makeup artists.  If you don’t subscribe to Pixiwoo then you’re missing out.  The Contour Brush is actually part of their Core Collection kit, and I’m loving it for applying my highlight.

The e.l.f. Studio Angled Blush Brush was a total impulse buy.  It’s $3 at my local Target and I thought, “What the heck?”  Maybe my expectations were low, but this brush is exactly what I was looking for to apply my contour shades.  It picks up the product well and the brush fits perfectly in the hollows of my cheeks.

IMG_7346Maracuja Oil
I will freely admit that I haven’t taken care of my skin as well as I should.  I’m closing in on 35 and I’m starting to have some serious regrets regarding my skincare regime.  I’ve had oily and acne-prone skin all my life.  During my 20s my skin had calmed down with the exception of the occasional blemish.  Since having my son, my skin has all but revolted against me.  The skin on my face is often inflamed.  Over the holidays I had a bizarre break-out that consisted of tiny baby acne all over my face.  I’ve managed to get it under control by drinking tons of water, cleansing with a very gentle face wash and massaging in a few drops of maracuja oil each night.  As much as I wanted to splurge on the Tarte brand, I just can’t do it.  After some research, I realized I could buy regular old maracuja oil online from Amazon, and it’s done wonders for my skin.

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