MILANI Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer
I've had this formula for a couple of years now in a different shade (their original lightest) which unfortunately I couldn't use because it was so dark and yellow, but luckily Milani released additional shades. 00A is one of the lightest (they've released some extra shades after this one called 00AA and 00BB) and it's my perfect match. It's pale and close to neutral so it ticks all the boxes for me. The formula is so far my absolute favourite "high" coverage foundation, by that I mean it's high for my taste, but it's a standard medium coverage formula. It looks great on the skin, it doesn't get all cakey towards the end of the day like Nars Sheer Glow or Revlon Colorstay do on me (I've really started to dislike both of those), it doesn't slip into pores and blends in seamlessly. I really have no minuses for this one.
LOOK by BIPA Matte Camouflage Concealer
I have to credit the discovery of this one to Petra from Adjusting Beauty. It doesn't differ much from other high coverage formulas like Collection Lasting Perfection, but the shade of this one is perfect for me. It's so far the most neutral such shade I've found, though still leaning to pink, but it suits me better than Collection's cool undertone or Catrice Liquid Camouflage's very yellow tone. Coverage is high, but it's not super matte, so I can use it under eyes and not just on spots. Staying power is also equally impressive as at other similar formulas. I also need to mention The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer which I discovered this year that has formula with the most coverage I've found, though unfortunately lightest shade is a bit too dark for me.
BOURJOIS Rouge Velvet The Lipstick
02 Flaming Rose
I got this in a wearable shade for me this year after receiving several shades last year and falling in love with the formula. This is the best matte classic lipstick formula by far in our drugstores and it's very similar to Colourpop's Matte X, though not quite as richly pigmented. It's so far away from that typical dry matte formula, instead it's smooth like butter and once it sets it has one of the best matte finishes that is close to the matte liquid lipstick look. Shade 02 Flaming Rose is a light pink shade which on me looks cooler than the packaging and the colour in the tube indicate.
MAX FACTOR Honey Lacquer
I've worn this probably most out of all lip product here (though it might have been Revlon's Embrace). It's the first gloss that I've bought in several years and I just love how comfortable the formula is. This is a pigmented lip gloss that has a semi-opaque coverage and a nice level of creamy shine. The packaging is of course gorgeous and another big plus at this gloss. Honey Nude is a pinky-brown shade - very simple and easy to wear.
REVLON Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor
The formula of these is fantastic and it's one of my most worn lip products as I just reach for it naturally in the morning. It's a fully opaque liquid lipstick with a creamy finish that very, very slowly sets/wears off to a matte finish. It's so comfortable on the lips and this shade is such a pretty muted peachy nude that's leaning to pink. It was expensive for drugstore, but it was so worth grabbing this shade.
ESSENCE Colour Boost Mad About Matte Liquid Lipstick
05 Dangerously Yours
This is pleasant surprise from Essence. It's a great-looking perfectly matte finish formula that's fully opaque and the only thing that I can say isn't quite as good as at its competition is the staying power, which is still a lot better than it's usual for Essence. But I'm especially loving the shade, which is one of the prettiest medium rosy shades that is neither too cool nor too warm on my neutral skin tone. So far this is my favourite lip product from Essence aside from their lip liners, but knowing Essence I know they probably won't be in their offering for a long time.
DEBORAH Fluid Velvet Mat Effect Liquid Lipstick
This is definitely one of the best, if not the best, matte liquid lipstick formula in our drugstores. Rimmel's is similarly good, but this one wins because of the larger shade selection here (in Slovenia). It's fully opaque, smooth, applies nicely with no patchiness, dries completely matte in a minute and is transfer proof. I have this formula in a wearable warm natural pink.
LANCÔME Matte Shaker liquid lipstick
More than the design that sets it apart from other liquid lipsticks, I'm loving the shade and also the formula of this. This is very similar to one of my favourite shades ever Bourjois Nude-ist, it's in fact the only such similar shade I found and it's a muted peachy-pink shade that I think would suit so many. Formula is fantastic - so light, yet so pigmented and for me not drying. The whole concept is entertaining - you need to shake the bottle a lot, so the colour collects in the place where the applicator sits and then apply it with a big sponge applicator, which is a lot less clumsy than it looks. This is definitely not just some pretty product in a gimmicky packaging as the formula is truly impressive.
THEBALM Meet Matt(e) Hughes
Though this is hardly a new formula for me and I've mentioned it as my favourite so many times, I'm including it here because I've found a new favourite shade this year. Sincere was added to the range after original launch and it's similar to Committed. It's a less pinky-peachy version of the latter and it's an even more muted a pink/rosy-brown combination, thought there is little of true pink in it. Formula is the same as that of Committed and Charming, meaning it dries perfectly matte in about 5 minutes, it lasts really well on the lips and it has the same After Eight scent.
HONOURABLE MENTIONSORIFLAME Giordani Gold MasterCreation Foundation SPF 18 Rose Porcelain Cool - this could be a proper favourite, but in warmer months it's very shiny on me. Right now it's the best foundation I have for my dry skin and I'm wearing it every day.
ESSENCE Camouflage+ Healthy Glow Concealer - another very good drugstore high coverage concealer. Only minus is that it can be too matte on me.
THEBALM Instain Blush Houndstooth - a great mauve blush with good lasting power.
WET N WILD Megaglo Highlighting Powder Blossom Glow - a great metallic highlighter with very fine shimmer.
COLOURPOP Super Shock Cheek Highlighter Flexiterian - this would be a definite favourite because it looks so glowy with very fine shimmer, but it only works when my skin isn't dry, meaning I need a moisturising base and it also fell apart, so I had to "smoosh" it back in the pan.
MILANI Gilded Desires Eye & Face Palette - the best set of eyeshadows I've tried so far. Intense pigmentation and buttery formula.
RIMMEL Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick 500 Fire Starter - a great drugstore matte liquid lipstick formula.
CATRICE Dewy-ful Lips Conditioning Lip Butter - very similar to Max Factor's Honey Lacquers. Unfortunately only available in four shades.
ECOTOOLS Precision Blush Brush - soft, but firm enough brush for applying blush.
AVON Mark. Gel Shine Nail Enamel
The prettiest light blue nail polish that leans to grey which makes it less baby blue like. The formula is a gel one, but it's still somewhat of a classic pastel, so it needs two, sometimes three coats for full opacity.
SALLY HANSEN Color Therapy Nail Polish
180 Chai on Life
My most worn nail polish this year, well at least on my toes. It's a warm tones beige nude that is just perfect for a natural looking manicure. The formula is a bit too liquid, similar to Essie Fiji, so when I try to apply a thick coat, it spills around the nail. It's better to do thin coats with this, though it's pigmented enough and it's a standard two coater.
CATRICE #peeloff Glam Easy to Remove Effect Nail Polish
03 When in Doubt, just add Glitter
Wearing glitter became so much easier for me when I discovered this. It just peels off the nail and most times in one piece. The base is somewhat rubbery, like a glue, so it can easily be taken off the nail. One coat of this acts more as a sparse topper, but it's best to apply more coats anyway because it's then easier to peel off and usually three coats make a decent glitter coat. Shade 03 is a proper gold that's not too yellow, instead it leans a lot to bronze.
CEZANNE Skin Conditioner High Moist
This has become one of my most treasured skin care products. It's hardly an exciting product that would make great changes quickly, but it's a fantastic hydrating product that contains ceramides, Job's Tears extract, 3 types of hyaluronic acid, collagen and amino acids. It comes in a massive 500 ml bottle, sadly unlike Kikumasamune it doesn't have a pump, but just a regular flip cap, but at least it's easy to control and you're not pouring too much of the stuff. My skin likes this a lot more than Kikumasamune (my skin is much clearer with it) and it's not scented, so it's also better for those with sensitive skin. I also use it to moisturise my hands because it absorbs so fast and as a body moisturiser when I don't want to wait for a moisturiser to sink in.
COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence
Another one of my staples. It's the product that I noticed the biggest visible difference when I started using it, though by now it's just maintaining its good condition. Before my skin was just so blah and I was never happy with it, but this just improved it in general. There's a bit of brightening/evening the skin tone and the skin texture looks more refined, meaning the pores don't look as severe as they did before, so this really suits my skin so well. This year I barely had any spots and was rarely problematic. It probably wasn't just this, but it's definitely contributing.
ETUDE HOUSE 0.2 Therapy Air Mask
This is a great formula that promotes healing, so it's a part of my emergency stash when I have an inflamed spot or a sun burn. It's also very hydrating, smoothing and so comforting because of the lovely lotion-like formula.
This one and The Face Shop version are pretty much identical in terms of results. Madecassoside is derived from Centella asiatica and research links it to promoting skin's healing, reduction of inflammation and it supposedly works anti-ageing as it stimulates the synthesis of collagen. It has a soothing effect and evens my skin (without a brightening effect, it just takes down any redness), so it makes my skin look better and looking healthy.
THE FACE SHOP The Solution Mask Sheets
Like I said this is very similar to EH version, in fact I find them being the same thing, just that this one is more expensive. The sheet is a bit better because EH has quite small eye cut outs, while TFS are my perfect fit. Aside from Madecassoside I also loved versions Ceramide, Pearl (brilliant brightening formula), Propolis and Vitamin C (nicely brightening, but it's very sticky).
SKINFOOD Black Sugar Honey Mask Wash Off - a less harsh version of the original Black Sugar and with a fantastic proper honey scent.
THE BODY SHOP Body Butter
Fall for Pumpkin/Vanilla Pumpkin and Shea Butter
This has been my favourite body butter formula for years and this year I got Shea Butter version which is the most neutral scent in their selection. It's a bit bitter, nutty scent that develops a more creamy once on the skin and though it's not as nice as L'Occitane's Shea Butter scent, but it's still a good one. The Vanilla Pumpkin version is sadly a LE, but it so deserves a mention because it's such a delightful yummy scent. There's no pumpkin and also no spices like cinnamon, instead it's similar to their old almond scent which is mixed with a heavy dose of cookie vanilla, hazelnuts and maple syrup. If you can still get it, I highly recommend it for colder months. Formula is this thick, so these take longer to absorb than regular creams or lotions, which works for me, since always apply them before going to bed.
BATH & BODY WORKS Ultra Shea Body Cream
These are a new discovery this year and I fell in love with the formula instantly. It combines two of the most important things for me when it comes to body moisturisers - a rich texture and a heavenly fragrance. It's like a body butter in a tube, as the texture is thick and so nourishing, so just the way I like it. These come in a ton of scents and I will explore them further, but for now I have Twilight Woods (a fantastic warm, cosy woody scent ) and Country Apple (a musky apple scent).
CREATURES DE MONOI Shine Spray
This was love at first spray and it became my saviour for when my hair feels very dry. It's very similar to Orofluido Sahara that I loved and it was discontinued a while ago and I was looking for a replacement ever since. It's a shine spray without alcohol, which is very rare and instead it's more like a light silicone-oil in a spray. This makes it not only a regular shine spray, but it also tames my hair and nourishes it a bit so I'm really liking this a lot. It's got the typical Creatures de Monoi scent of Monoi oil, which is tiare flower soaked in coconut oil.
L'OREAL Excellence Creme
9.1 Natural Light Ash Blonde
Several weeks ago I dyed my hair which is the first major change I've done in a decade. It was my second attempt at home hair colours to go just a bit lighter and this is colour I've found after extensive research online that it works. It's not a big change, but I'm about two shades lighter, but if I continue to use this colour, I will go lighter each time. However, its effectiveness even on dark hair is not the only reason why it's my favourite - this formula made my hair feel amazing. It's never this soft and silky, unless I use my best hair mask (Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask). It didn't damage my hair at all, it was shiny and it just felt so great. Inside the box is also a protective serum which you apply on the ends before colouring and it clearly worked a treat. The conditioner is also really good, waaay better than Olia's and it's actually similar to Moroccanoil mask. This really is such a great box dye. I've tried a few box dyes and they always made my hair feel like straw, but this is great for my dry hair.
MOROCCANOIL Intense Hydrating Mask
I've found my new holy grail hair mask this year. Before I tried this my hair has been impossibly dry for months and nothing could fix it, not even my best hair care. This just did a total reset of my hair. It finally felt silky and even somewhat soft despite the thick texture of individual hairs. And it's not even heavy like Joico Balm which can make my hair feel heavy, while this makes my hair so light, but moisturised. I don't know what magic this is, but I'm on board with it. I just couldn't stop running my fingers through the hair, it hasn't been this silky in forever. Bad side - the price which makes my eyes water, but there's 50 ml more in the pot than in Kerastase. Also probably the Mending Fusion and the silicone oil from this brand contributed to how well my hair feels right now, but the mask is the biggest contributor. This just wins for me.
MOROCCANOIL Ceramic Round Hair Brush 55 mm
I've been very loyal to my Ebelin ceramic brush which is just fine, but this Moroccanoil beats it in several ways. For one it makes the hair smoother and tames the frizz better. The other is that it also dries my hair much faster, but that got a lot to do with the larger size than Ebelin's. If only I'd known how good these brushes can be if you invest a bit more, I'd gotten it ages ago.
BATH & BODY WORKS Body Mist
I've raved about this extensively this year and it's become my favourite scent. The most distinguishable note is wood, but not that harsh fragrance that's in men's colognes, instead it's this unique warm and cosy fragrance that envelops you like a cosy, warm, fluffy cardigan. Aside from wood, it's also musky (but not in that harsh, clean way), a bit coconutty and vanillary fragrance. It's definitely not sweet or sugary, instead it's a more smooth and creamy mix of notes. It's a fragrance that's difficult to describe to me because I've never smelled anything like it, though I have found a similar fragrance later in our drugstores from Body Fantasies called Twilight Mist, but that one centres more on tonka bean.
Top notes: juicy berry, sparkling mandarin, coconut
Middle notes: creamy frangipani, soft mimosa, wet honeysuckle, wild freesia, apricot nectar
Base notes: oud wood, musk, orris, vanilla milk, warm woods
Brown Sugar & Fig
I just fell in love with this scent, which like all BBW mists, I got as a blind buy. It's starts with a brown sugar burst which is quickly followed by a very comforting milky, creamy scent that creates this sweet, but very comforting combination, like a warm glass of milk with sugar but mixed with a clean skin scent. It's such a delightfully fragrance and I'm very glad I picked it. I detect no fig in this or maybe just in some minor sweet traces at the start, but definitely not in leaves form as some mentioned that it smells sharpish green to them (it's very likely it's more noticeable in the moisturiser versions because I notice a difference in Twilight Woods mist and cream too in terms of fresh & fruity notes). It's just a well-rounded creamy, milky and clean scent. Great stuff, but unfortunately staying power is quite weak.
Top notes: passion fruit, california fig, white flowers, white peach and bergamot
Heart notes: vanilla orchid, jasmine, yellow freesia, lily-of-the-valley and coconut milk
Base notes: vanilla pod, amber, fig leaf, musk, maple and caramel.
Champagne Apple Honey
This is by far the best apple scent I've smelled. It smells like proper apples and it's a great mix of tart and sweet notes, though I can't say I detect proper honey, but there's definitely some nice sweetness in it. It's also strong enough to be notices and doesn't fade in minutes, though I can't say it's a very long-lasting fragrance. Unfortunately it's a LE, but it tends to return every autumn and you can still get it in some places online.
Notes: pink lady apple, sparkling champagne, jasmine honey & autumn woods.
Crisp Orchard Leaves
This is a similar scent than Champagne Apple Honey and another one I love. It's less sweet and fresher pear and apple scent with some musk, and it really reminds me of an orchard in autumn. It lasts surprisingly well for something fruity, though it's not exceptionally long-lasting. Again this is a LE.
Notes: autumn pear slices, cool air, fresh-picked apple & oak leaves
AVON Luck La Vie eau de parfum
Admittedly I got this in part for the gorgeous bottle that you've seen many times in my pictures, but I fell in love with the scent as well. It's a fresh floral fruity fragrance with a cedar base that reminds me of Marc Jacobs Daisy and its flankers. First burst is sweet strawberry with the florals starting to make their appearance. Then the fresh, green florals take centre stage with lily-of-the-valley being the most apparent note. It's the latter than reminds me of the Daisy fragrance since they are both so green and fresh. The base reveals the cedar note, but it's still got that a fresh fruity-floral and green character. It definitely smells more like a designer fragrance that celebrity scents which tend to me more sugary vanilla. It's youthful, but still serious enough that you'd be comfortable wearing it to the office. It's about medium strong and lasts a few hours.
Top: strawberry, mirabelle, mandarin orange
Heart: lilies-of-the-valley, Lime (linden) Blossom, mandarin orange
Base: marshmallow, peach, white cedar extract
You can find last year's best buys here and a tag that leads you to all best buys. My all-time favourites are on a special page that's regularly updated here.
Have a great day!
You can find last year's best buys here and a tag that leads you to all best buys. My all-time favourites are on a special page that's regularly updated here.
Have a great day!