2014 Has been a blast for beauty aficionados such as myself. I’ll be the first to say we’ve been spoilt to death with great products practically every month for the past year. A lot of those products have found their way into my beauty cabinet and today I’ll be showing you a selection of products I think are absolutely worth the extra mention. Small note: not all products were released in 2014, some of them I just discovered in 2014 or used them a lot in 2014. Also, because I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d loved to in 2014 (due to work, life, illness..), a lot of my favourites won’t be featured in this post. Instead, I’d like to give them a proper post they deserve in 2015, so keep your eyes peeled for them.
Let’s kick things off with skincare first. Most items I discovered during my travels abroad, since those times mostly make me want to try new things (without worrying too much about the budget). The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser with accompanying cloths was one of those gems I picked up in London. Luckily I picked up two of these right away, because this turned out to be my favourite cleansing product of the year. Removing makeup and cleansing goes incredibly fast and smooth, while being gentle to the skin. Another cleansing product that pleasantly surprised me was the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, which also came to be known as thé drugstore version of Bioderma. And indeed, this is a great product to incorporate into your cleansing routine. I got a second bottle of this right away.
As for hydrating the skin during the day, nothing really stood out for me this year. But, in terms of mattifying, I’ve found a product that beats all the rest: the La Roche-Posay Effacer Mat Moisturizer. If you have oily skin that needs some settling down, I definitely recommend you try this. LRP is also my main brand when it comes to battling acne, which is why the Effaclar Duo Corrective and Unclogging Anti-Imperfection Care definitely deserves a spot in this ‘hall of fame’. Whenever my skin is having some trouble, I just pop this on before I go to bed and after 2 days, the inflammation is gone. With really big inflammations, I turn to the Origins Spot Remover, which is a lot more aggressive and drying. I only use it on the spot itself at night and it’s very effective. To hydrate my skin at night without making it oily, the Avène Ysthéal Anti-wrinkle emulsion* has been my go-to for the past year.
One of my favourite skin care products are masks, which is why you’ll find two of them in this faves post. The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is one I love to put on before bedtime to pamper my skin. It smells great, it feels great and my skin loves it. I’ll use this once or twice a week, depending on my skin’s needs. I’m bummed Origins still isn’t sold in Belgium yet, so just to be safe, I have another one as a backup. The other one is a Japanese Cherry Blossom sheet mask from My Beauty Diary, a Taiwanese brand which I’ll tell you more about later on this year.
Not really skin care, but a tool that definitely helps is the Tweezerman. A little expensive, but hands down the best tweezers I’ve ever tried. Can’t live without it. Lastly, there’s my fav lip balm. It’s actually a tie between the Nuxe Rêve de Miel balm and the Smith’s Rosebud Salve, but since the latter one is more handbag friendly, I used this one the most. It’s rather expensive over here (€ 11), so I made sure I picked one up when I was in the States.
Next up is body care & fragrances. Okay, so I got to mention this combo one more time because it is bliss. The L’Occitane Amande Shower Oil* paired with the Braun Silk Epil 7 with brush head*. If I don’t forget to charge it, I know I’m in for a pretty relaxing bath time. The Braun Silk Epil 7 will effortlessly get rid of dead skin cells while the L’Occitane Amande Shower Oil instantly nourishes the skin. Did I mention it also smells amazing? The Amande Milk Concentrate body cream* has the same amazing scent and its light-weight formula helps to moisturize the skin afterwards. It penetrates the skin rather quickly so no waiting around before hopping into your skinny jeans.
My favourite deodorant and one I would recommend to anyone having trouble to keep sweaty armpits at bay, is the Louis Widmer Deo Creme. You just pop this on in the morning and you’re good all day. If you are expecting any hot flashes (you know like before giving a presentation, or practicing sports) I’d recommend the Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant. I keep this mini version in my bag all the time and it has helped me overcome the moments where the Louis Widmer wasn’t going to do, even though that rarely happens.
Fragrance-wise, I’d love to introduce you to my new-found love, the Elizabeth & James Nirvana White perfume. For now, only available at Sephora in the States *sob* but if you can get your hands on it, go for it because it smells like nothing I’ve had before. I’ll do a proper review on it soon. Also worth another mention are the Body Mists from &OtherStories. I’m trying to collect them all because they smell so incredibly good and last you a long time.
Another product range that have great scents are the Bath & Body Works PocketBac hand sanitizers. I managed to bring a truckload back home from my trip to NY and Rotterdam last year and I simply can’t get enough of these. I blame my new obsession on the (NY) girls. They come in so many scents, are easy to carry along and are too adorable. B&BW, just get your ass over here will you? Pliz?
As far as hair stuff goes, I haven’t tried that many new things in 2014, and most things didn’t really blow my mind, so the pile of hair faves is rather modest. One that’s definitely no surprise is the Batiste Dry Shampoos. I used over 5 cans this year alone, with the cherry scent en the one for brunettes (medium) being my top favourites. And both not available in Belgium unfortunately (but you can get other versions at Kruidvat).
L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil* has been a favourite since I first got it 2 or 3 years ago. I’ve used a couple of other hair oils since, but I’m still going strong with my first hair oil love and although it will last you a really long time, I’ve gone through 2 bottles already. 2015 is the year I’ll try some more kinds and I feel like the Moroccan Oil I got in the US is a good way to start exploring the concept of hair oils further.
Oh the Tangle Teezer, who hasn’t heard about this little pink wonder? I wouldn’t have looked at this cheap plastic brush twice if it wasn’t for my fellow bloggers and youtubers, but I gave into the hype and it was totally worth it. The handy format, plastic and the way the bristles are placed somehow make brushing your (wet) hair feel like a dream. No more tugging, breaking hairs or knots for only € 10- € 12. However, the bristles are quite delicate, so make sure you keep it with the bristles upwards and don’t place anything on top of it. They now also have mini versions that have a protective case, which make the perfect handbag accessory. You can get this at Boots, Superdrug or your local hair dresser.
Just like I love a good face mask, my hair loves some pampering too. One I liked last year was the Redken Diamond Oil Deep Facets mask*. I wasn’t too keen on the shampoo and conditioner of the same range, but the mask was something different. My hair felt perfectly nourished and soft after using this hair mask.
The drugstore has brought us many good things during the past year, which is why you’ll mostly find drugstore items in this year’s favourites. Towards the end of the year I also purchased more higher-end stuff, so you can expect reviews of those products shortly.
My old Hema brushes are pretty much ready to retire as some of them have started to shed hairs, so I invested in a couple of the Real Techniques brushes, brush sets and Miracle Sponge during my stay in London. Life-changing purchases people! These are one of the best budget-friendly brushes on the market which will come as no surprise as they were designed by the makeup artists behind Pixiwoo. You can get these in Belgium at Di, but they’re cheaper on iHerb or Boots (3 for 2 deals).
As for nail polish I just had to pick the polishes I used the most this year, and those are definitely from the Maybelline Color Show Bleached Neons range. Such a pretty bright muted range and so incredibly affordable. My favourite is Coral Heat (shown above). These were limited edition, but they’re still pretty easy to find at the drugstore in case you’re looking for some fun summer shades. Can’t wait to pull them out again this year.
L’Oréal blew my mind last year when they released the Color Riche l’Extraordinaire lip lacquers. They’re not quite lipsticks and not quite lip glosses. They’re moisturizing oils with great pigmentation and come in an amazing range of colours. I’ve collected so many during my trips and I’m still not tired of them. My most worn shades are Nude Vibrato and Rose Symphony (both available in Belgium). Another treasure from L’Oréal comes in the shape of a foundation. Dior’s Star Foundation became a close second, but because of the exact colour match for my fair skin, L’Oréal’s True Match Foundation won the grand prize in my book. Great coverage, slightly dewy, long-lasting, a wide selection of colours… everything you’d ever want from a foundation. I’ll do a full post on it soon. I’ll mostly pair this with the Maybelline Fit Me concealer in case I want to mask any blemishes or spots. This covers incredibly well and won’t budge.
Fact: I’m not a gloss girl, or at least not anymore, but the NYX Butter Glosses made me love gloss again. A good & wide selection of colours with amazing pigmentation. They’re not sticky and nourish the lips well. You’ll always find one of these in my handbag. These are my favourite glosses ever and I can’t wait to get my hands on more colours. So when are you coming to Belgium NYX? Huh? Givenchy Le Rouge in Pourpre Inoui* is my favourite lipstick of the year. I was already madly in love with the formula and the look of Givenchy’s Le Rouge lipsticks, but this time the colour is what made me pick this as a favourite. I normally always go for pinky nudes, pinks and some corals here & there. But berries & dark plums? Aww hells-to-the-no. Love them, but way too daring for me. But when I tried Pourpre Inoui it felt like I was made for this colour, and this colour was made for me. Everything just fell into place. So cheers to the lipstick that dragged me out of my comfort zone!
Dior 5 Couleurs in Cuir Cannage is my favourite new eyeshadow quad. The chocolate burgundy colours give a certain depth to the eyes. A touch of mystery. Honestly Dior did a great job with their new 5 Couleurs palettes in general. Great colour combos, great packaging and great pigmentation. But Cuir Cannage is my absolute fave from the permanent range. A must-have for Fall/Winter. As for favourite mascara pick, I -again- go for a Max Factor product. Even though it’s not cheap, it’s my favourite drugstore mascara brand and the Max Factor’s Clump Defy waterproof mascara doesn’t disappoint. It separates the lashes perfectly, lengthens them and stays in place all day.
The brow game didn’t change much in 2014, but I realized I haven’t shown you what I’ve been using all this time. For contouring & coloring my brows, I love to use the powders from Catrice Eyebrow Set. The tweezers are rubbish and the brush that come in the bottom drawer is too tiny, but the powders are matte and very pigmented. To finish off, I add a transparent brow gel from Hema. This keeps my bushy brows at bay for the rest of the day, while still maintaining that natural look.
The Balm turned out to be a pretty amazing brand, with 2 products that have made their way into my 2014 faves; the The Balm FratBoy blush* and The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter*. The peachy pink blush looks very simple, yet it’s a very natural looking colour that will look good on anyone. It’s very pigmented, so you can build it up as much as you want and depending on your skin tone. I don’t have that much colour in my complexion, so this surely helps giving me a natural looking flush. The Mary-Lou Manizer on the other hand is the product that really got me into highlighters last year. It has a champaign yellow sheen that instantly gives the face a nice glow. It’s incredibly pigmented too, so make sure not to pick up too much at once. I use this on my cheeks, nose, cupids bow and under my eyebrows.
Lastly, the blush/bronzer duo I fell in love with last year: the Maybelline Terre Indienne bronzer* (or Dream Sun, depending on where you live). It doesn’t have a lot of pigment and is not too orange toned, making it a great option for fair girls such as myself who can’t get away with using heavy bronzers. The blush is really pretty too, although I wish they would’ve made it 50/50, so it was easier to pick it up with a brush. I’ve already picked up some more bronzer options I can’t wait to play with in 2015.
Phew that’s it. My loves of 2014. What do you think?