Here were my go-tos, my bossom buddies, my appearance assistants for the year that was 2014. Some are new discoveries, others, long-time pals. I hope you were able to find good beauty friends last year, as I did, but I also hope this helps you discover (or re-discover) products that might help you out! So in no particular order, here they are:
Best Red: a combination of Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella and Nars Matte Lipstick in Mascate. If you saw me wearing a red lip in 2014, it was most likely this combination.
Best Nude, or rather, favorite lipstick discovery of 2014: Nyx Black Label Lipstick in 167 Natural. The shade, the pigmentation, the price, the formulation, the scent (smells like grapes!); I love everything about this lipstick except maybe for the packaging. I'm sort of embarrassed about the state that it is in (zoom in on how well used/gory it looks like on the photo), but I suppose that shows you how much I love this!
The earlier bits of my pregnancy brought about hibernation, nausea and horrifyingly chapped lips! I couldn't do much about the first two, but I was able to find a solution for the latter. My lipsaver: Sally Hansen's Instant Lip Line Relaxer, a random purchase when I was in Hong Kong. I don't actually know if we have this here in Manila but just in case you're in dire need for any possible solutions to flaky, dry lips, this is the only one that was able to save mine.
The eyebrow essential: ELF's eyebrow kit. This is the only eyebrow product that assisted me in achieving the eyebrow shape I more or less like. (I have low eyebrow esteem issues, huhu. The goal: Rooney Mara's eyebrows! Sigh.)
Best Eyeliner: Milani's Liquid Eye Liquid-like Eye Liner Pencil in Brown. Incredibly pigmented, smudge-able, but stays incredibly put once it sets. Also, affordable.
Favorite Eye Products: Paint pots! I don't even know why I keep buying eyeshadow palettes anymore when all I really ever use are these paint pots. I love the Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pots more than the Maybelline Color Tattoos--these sort of dry out and turn crumbly--but still useable! It just needs more effort than the Mac ones later on. But honestly these are perfect for lazy folk like me, and I'd say even busy folk. It's the easiest thing! Dab on your lids, and you're good to go. It'll last the whole day, won't smudge and it will always look like you put more effort than you did, like a chic Parisian woman.
After purchasing and using this, I never really found a reason to try out another mascara: Maybelline's the Rocket Volum' Express. Let's set aside the fact that it is incredibly affordable and is easily found in most drugstores for a minute. This stuff adds just the right amount of volume on my lashes, and most importantly, it does not smudge. I finally tried using mascara on my lower lashes this year, and I love it so (why didn't I do this much earlier?), and I find no problems doing that with this mascara at all, given Philippine humidity and all.
Best blushers: a tie between Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Thankful and 3 Concept Eyes' duo color face blush in #Make Me Blush. Both are incredibly long-wearing!
Favorite concealer: Ben Nye's Media Pro HD SK-1 Cover All concealer wheel. Ben Nye did not lie when he said "Cover all"--this stuff has the capability to cover my tattoos, too. I find that it doesn't blend as easily in colder months (which is why I've been using 3CE's Full Cover Concealer more lately, which is a runner-up, by the way), but it is absolute perfection in warmer months!
I usually prefer applying makeup and concealer with my fingers but with this around, I don't find that I do anymore. Favorite tool: Real Technique's Expert Face Brush! Yes, I use it for both foundation and concealer.
Favorite Foundation: Koh Gen Do's Aqua Foundation in OC-2. This has lasted me a great deal, despite my almost daily use of it. This a beautiful medium coverage foundation; it looks radiantly natural and does not break me out. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.
The powder essential: Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Palette, which I have been using almost daily since I got it Christmas 2013, and I still haven't put a dent on. I use the leftmost one, Dim Light, to set my concealer. Incandescent Light, the one in the middle, as a highlighter, and Radiant Light, the rightmost one, as a subtle bronzer of sorts. Very pricey, but worth every penny, I think. When applied correctly (not profusely, as I might've had in the beginning), this palette gives the face a luxurious, subtle glow, if that makes any sense at all.
This one is admittedly a weird category to put in here, as I have put in favorites for the other eye and cheek categories, but I couldn't help it. I am fascinated and glad to have discovered this drugstore brand this year: Sonia Kashuk. Their Textured Cocoa Monochrome Eye Quad is a winner--a dupe for that Tom Ford eye quad, I've amassed. Creamy and highly pigmented despite the price. When I am not too lazy (or when I really have to put in effort, for important events like weddings and such), I reach for this quad instead of the paint pots and I always love how these shadows look. The Chic Luminosity Bronzer/Blush Duo in 52 Glisten is beautiful as well, especially in the summer. They, in fact, double as stunning eyeshadows as well. My least favorite is the Perfectly Natural Eye Palette (seen blurred, in the back) which I've use quite a lot despite not liking it as much as the other products I have from the brand. I am certainly looking forward to discovering more from this brand.
For taking the makeup off, I have been in love with The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter since day one. This is mild, takes everything off, and leaves my skin dewy and moisturized.
A new discovery, a skincare essential for 2014: Bio Oil. I bought it having read countless positive reviews on how it has helped prevent and remove stretchmarks, which I of course dread, being new to this pregnancy and all. I also discovered that it is a beautiful night skincare oil. It hydrates my skin without being too greasy. The bottle, you can see, is empty and I am on my way to the grocery, freaking out, because I can't be without this.
For the most part of 2014, I have been using only Bulgari's Jasmin Noir EDT because it was the only acceptable scent for my pregnant senses: light, airy, fresh-floral, powdery. The bottle is now empty, and I would like to thank it for being a good friend for 2014.
What products have you loved in 2014? I'd love to know.