Best of Beauty 2016

These are just a few of my favorite products of 2016, which are not necessarily the ones that blew my mind, but more like, you-found-me-at-the-right-time type of products.
tmblush3
TONYMOLY Crystal Blusher in #3 Pleasure Peach (6 grams/ about $6 on eBay)
This find became my staple, good-for-any-look, peachy-pink blush (sorry about the horrible swatch – on my face over foundation, it is a lot more noticeable). I learned that for my face, it’s best to use light shades instead of super pigmented, deep, bright colors that can emphasize my long face that lacks cheek bones. This blush is actually slightly too sheer and light for me, but that’s what makes it so effortless and fool-proof.
 macpppowder3
As an oily girl in California, powder is a must. But starting last fall, my skin has been sensitive to dryness and weather changes (this will be an ongoing theme for this post). Slathering on layers of moisturizers and using occasional sheet masks relieved some environmental damage, but the mornings were a bit more tricky. I needed to set my makeup and prevent excessive oiliness for the day and using my Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder made my skin sting and feel tight. Then I rediscovered the MAC powder that I bought many, many years ago. Back then, I was not impressed because it didn’t keep me matte for too long. But that’s what makes this the perfect, dry Fall/ Winter powder. It sets your makeup without too much of the mattifying, sucking-out-moisture action.
 etudemascara3
Etude House Lash Perm Curl Fix Mascara (~$8 on eBay, $14 on etudehouse.com)
This has the staying powder that is somewhere in between Maybelline’s waterproof mascaras and the cult-favorite Kiss Me Heroine Mascaras. (On a scale of 1-10 on waterproof/ smudgeproof-ness (10 being I-will-cling-on-forever), Kiss Me would be 9, Maybelline 5.5 and Etude 7.5) It is very volumizing which makes it easy to clump up (I would pinch my lashes in those areas), but I love the super black, doll-like finish. Etude has a lengthening version of this mascara with a different brush head, I think I will give it a go after I use up this one.
 innisfreeessence3
Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Deep Essence (50ml, can find for about $21 on eBay, $35 on innisfreeworld.com)
This is a lotion type essence with tiny grains of  ceramides that melt away as you work it into your skin. The texture is light and it’s a nice layering product for a boost of gentle water-based hydration. (First four ingredients are: Sea water, Squalane, Butylene Glycol and Glycerin) There is a light version of this essence as well.
erborianmilk3
Erborian Ginseng Milk ($39/ 6.4 oz, sephora)
I bought this after watching Gothamista‘s review on it. It is a very gentle and hydrating emulsion, I would say 50-50 on water and oil balance. It feels light at first but it creates a very light oil barrier on the skin. I think the price is very reasonable too, but the only downside is the scent. It has a very old, floral scent that is not so pleasant for me, but I can get past that because of its superb formula. (Panax Ginseng Root Extract is on the top part of the ingredient list (6th))
pccleanser
The best find of 2016! This is my holy grail cleanser. I realized over the years that cleansing is the foundation of skincare, especially for my sensitive skin. Though cleansers stay on skin for only a few minutes at a time, choosing ones that are harsh or not suited for my skin would irritate it in the long run. And when that happens, my skincare would have to get more complicated to compensate for the damage. After using Morning Calm’s handmade soaps (review here) for several years, my skin became healthy and happy. But now that I’m in my late 20’s, I notice more and more that my skin is not able to cope with Fall/ Winter dryness/ weather changes as well as it used to, and I would have to slather on extra layers of serums and lotions to treat my stinging, tight skin. I loved Nude cleanser that I reviewed in my “5 Skincare Faves of 2015” because it was so gentle and would not strip my skin of its moisture, but it was too expensive (now restocked on sephora.com at $26 for 3.4 oz, but with a new packaging so I wonder if it’s reformulated as well?).
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing cleanser has a stronger cleansing force than Nude’s, but with an affordable price ($18 for 8oz, $26 for 16 oz. I recommend purchasing the 16 oz (when there is a 20% off code available on retailmenot.com, which I find comes up maybe every other month and filling it in an empty pump bottle). It feels like a mixture of cleansing foam and cleansing milk, the best of both. It doesn’t foam up a lot, but it has a creamy feel. It does not leave your skin squeaky clean like other cleansing foams (which doesn’t necessarily mean “clean”), but it washes off softly and leaves skin feeling fresh. After using this for months, my skin is resilient. I use it as a morning cleanser or a second cleanser after makeup remover. (You can use this alone to remove sunscreen or very light makeup, but this does not remove waterproof eye makeup)
There were definitely a lot more products that I enjoyed using last year, like the 5+ lip colors with a very similar color theme, or the new Missha’s tension pact (the new “cushions”), but these are just the best “underdogs” that I feel like I can recommend them to pretty much anyone.
What were your favorites last year? (Lip colors??)
Advertisements

Q&A: After the No-Buy Beauty Challenge

After the No-Buy Makeup Challenge… Jeanne asks Sharon

Jeanne: How long did your no-buy makeup last?

Sharon: 8 months. The no-buy challenge ended short because I went to Korea in March 2016. Yup.

Jeanne: What have you learned from the no-buy makeup challenge?

Sharon: Learned that I needed to stop buying hyped-up products and really think about making the purchase because I end up only using my favorites anyway.

Jeanne: How did you deal with the sudden change?

Sharon: We ended up doing a beauty swap a few months into the challenge and I found some good products like the Hada Labo lotion, which I ended up loving and finished! I also went on swapidu.com and found a great Too Faced Natural Matte palette, which I still enjoy using. These swaps helped soothe my desire for new beauty products.

Jeanne: How much money do you think you saved through the no-buy makeup challenge?

Sharon: Approximately $500!

Jeanne: What’s new in your beauty buying trends?

Sharon: Now I’m really into looking at what ingredients go into beauty products, especially with skincare. I will still purchase a product if I really want to but I’ve been trying to be more conscious about the quality of the products rather than getting distracted by the hype.

 

BBIA Last Auto Gel Eyeliner Review

Because of my super oily skin and puffy eyes, most pencil eyeliners tend to smudge on me after a few hours (like Urban Decay) and applying a potted gel eyeliner with a brush can be a hassle sometimes.. So I’m happy to have discovered gel pencil eyeliners recently which have the best of both worlds – quick and easy pencil with a long lasting waterproof/ smudgeproof formula.
The best I’ve tried so far are BBIA’s Last Auto Gel Eyeliners (~$8-10 from ebay). They are not the thinnest but they come with a built in sharpener. They are very creamy (but not too creamy like KissMe’s Heavy Rotation Gel Pencil Eyeliner or slightly waxy/ hard like The Face Shop’s FACE it Styling Auto Gel Eyeliner). They set very quickly and once they do, WILL NOT BUDGE. They have a range of wearable shades and I have three in Jazz, Retro Brown and Champagne.
BBIA's Jazz, Retro Brown & Champagne
BBIA’s Jazz, Retro Brown & Champagne

Jazz is a deep brown. Retro Brown is a deep warm red brown. Champagne is great for subtle highlighting the inner corners and the aegyosal area because it’s not too frosty, too pink or too gold. Highly recommend them all!