Best Beauty Finds in 2023

sreda, januar 03, 2024

A foundation I wore most this year, in fact it's become my go-to formula, particularly when my skin is dry. The shade matches me perfectly, so that's a big plus on its own. It's a foundation for those that like low coverage and it's a light-feeling formula with a glowy-dewy finish. It's one of the more hydrating formulas I own and it has an SPF 35+.
This is a big improvement upon the previous formula and it's one of the nicest looking foundations I've tried, especially on pictures. It looks flawless and fresh on the skin - however, it's not ideal for dry skin, so I need to make sure it's properly hydrated before I apply it. Coverage is about medium, finish is matte on my dry skin and despite the thick, creamy texture it blends seamlessly, especially with the help of the Real Techniques sponge. C40 Light Ivory surprisingly fits me.

Currently my favourite blush, especially because of the shade. Pinks tend to look too warm on me, so they end up looking peachy, but this one is a true pink, which makes it a rarity in my collection. It creates a proper baby doll flush. Though it is in stick form, which means you can just swipe it on the cheeks if you wish, I find it's better to use to brush, as formula is more on the hard side and it can shift the foundation. It smells like watermelon.

A lip balm/lipstick-blush hybrids. I often use lipsticks as blushes when I'm on the way or in a hurry and usually they aren't easy to blend - these Melem formulas work well on lips and cheeks. They blend easily and don't feel greasy, despite being nourishing lips balms. On the lips the colour payoff is like from a classic moisturising lipstick. Though both have a great pigmentation, Fresh Magnolia is more intense and while I need two big swipes on the cheeks of Dreamy Rose, I need to be careful with Fresh Magnolia not to overdo it because it can look too much quickly. These are great for keeping in the bag or a pocket.

Both powders are great quality in this palette. The bronzer side is matte, has a great smooth formula that blends out easily and is a good shade that's not orange, so it suits me as a contour (although it's not cool or ashy like popular shades for contouring pale skin). The highlighter is a classic champagne shade with fine shimmer that looks natural. I've been mostly using the highlighter, as it has such a nice healthy-looking effect. 

One of the best drugstore blushes I've tried, very similar to the discontinued L.O.V. blushes and better than Milani's Baked Blushes. Pigmentation is intense, so on my pale skin I need a light layer of it. Formula blends smoothly. Shade, which is currently the only one that exists, is a type of peachy-pink that's a lot more pink than peach. It has tiny shimmer in it that adds a glow, but since it's so pigmented and I need to apply little of it, the shimmer/highlighter effect isn't that intense on me - it should be nicely glowy on deeper skin tones (I apply Catrice's fantastic Glow Lover Oil-Infused Highlighter over it for more glow). 

I've never liked Bourjois blushes, but this shade changed my mind. It's not very pigmented and I need to apply a lot of it with a dense brush, but the effect is lovely. It's a pink shade with that shimmery glow that makes the skin look so fresh. It's one of the most long lasting formulas on the cheeks. When it was new it had a gorgeous floral powdery fragrance, but it's gone now. 

A high quality formula. It's very smooth on the cheeks, has good pigmentation and it lasts well on the skin. The shade is a pretty basic peachy pink, but these types of shades are universal and suit so many skin tones. It has a slight glow to it with tiny shimmer. The packaging is gorgeous, a high-end looking rose gold and it comes with a velvet pouch and a brush.  

This didn't impress me when it was freshly opened, but with time it became a top performer. Waterproof mascaras often have dry formulas that don't create much volume, but this one rivals regular formulas. It adds plenty of volume, even more length and defines the lashes, though when it was new it was definition where it performed poorly. It holds my lashes curled well. It's actually very similar to my favourite Essence's I <3 Extreme formula, but the brush is smaller.   

I thought Maybelline's Tattoo eyeliner is unbeatable, but this is even better. It's the blackest, most intense pencil eyeliner I've tried so far. It's such a deep black and it manages to stay in the waterline even at the end of the day and it's only somewhat faded. It's not as creamy as Maybelline's, so it doesn't glide quite as smoothly on the top lash line, but the line it creates is intense and it stays put.

A liquid glittery eyeliner with about medium density shimmer. Colour is kind of holographic with shimmer that reflects different colours, though base colour is silver. It looks so pretty in the inner corners and it adds something extra to the look. I don't need to build it up much, as you get plenty of shimmer with one swipe and it tends to last long, though I'm not very careful about rubbing my eyes and I manage to remove it. The applicator is a thin brush that's precise.

My favourite lipsticks. Oriflame's The One Unlimited Ultra Fix Lipstick formula, my previous faves, are very similar, but Revlon's lipsticks are more opaque and available in prettier shades. They are a one-swipe lip colour and once they set on the lips, they don't wipe off or smudge, they just stay in their place like a liquid matte lipstick. Formula is thin and matte, so don't expect any nourishment from these. I can handle them fine and don't find them drying, but some may want to use a lip balm under or over them. I'm a big fan of 001 Gut Instinct, which is a colour similar to my natural lips. It looks more peachy in the tube, but on the lips it's more neutral. I also really like 002 No Rules, which is a deeper nude and 008 That Girl, a light pink shade. 005 Hot Girl is also a nice shade, despite looking so warm in the tube.

I have all five shades that are sold here, but 03 In Mauve Again is a big favourite of mine. It's the perfect neutral pink. These are one-swipe lip colours, so well pigmented, also very creamy and don't drag on the lips. They are matte, but not dry/fully matte, so they feel comfortable, however, they aren't nourishing/moisturising. I wouldn't say they are transfer-proof, like Revlon's, but they last on the lips well.

Now these are glosses in a proper sense of the word. They are very thick and rich, not sticky, they feel nourishing, they stay on for a long time, have a great level of glossy shine and feel like an oily gloss. The shine lasts better than at many glosses. There are several shades, on the pic is 010 Keep it Juicy, a midly pH reacting shade.

I'm more of a fan of the 040 shade (left), but the formula of both is lovely. They are a bit richer and thicker than glosses usually are, but they are not sticky. The shine level is intense and these manage to hold on for a while, by that I mean longer than an average lip gloss (not like Glossin's Glow, but good). It's a Catrice formula that tingles, like many do, but it's not strong and it doesn't last - it's more cooling than tingling. 040 is a beautiful my-lips-but-better colour that is quite opaque. 

REAL TECHNIQUES Miracle Complexion Sponge
This really is a good as everyone says. I've used cheaper sponges for years and this is better. It's very soft and I find the large flat area especially useful for blending foundation. It doesn't absorb too much foundation, even when used dry and it makes the foundation look so flawless, by that I mean looking natural. It's a little bit better when used wet, but it works dry as well. 

A'PIEU Madecassoside Fluid 2x
This replaced Geek & Gorgeous Stress Less Serum in my routine, which was my skin barrier repairing product and I still love it. Just like the latter it contains Madecassoside and Beta-Glucan, but also 30% of centella asiatica leaf water, ceramides, panthenol, aloe vera and several extracts. The packaging has a generous 300 ml, so that's a big plus compared to the G&G serum. Formula feels similar to the Cosrx Propolis toner in a sense that it's richer than a watery toner, so it instantly alleviates the tight feeling when my skin feels thirsty. 

COSRX Full Fit Toner Propolis Synergy
This is just a mini because I didn't want to commit to a full size, but 50 ml has lasted me a long time. It's a toner that contains 72.6% of Black bee Propolis extract and 10% Honey extract. The texture is nice - thicker than toner, but not as thick as a serum. My skin likes propolis products, as they keep it looking good and add a healthy glow. 

A'PIEU Honey & Milk Lip Oil
A thick lip gloss that isn't sticky and it just lasts on the lips for ages - it can survive overnight and it nourishes the lips. It's nicely glossy, though like all glosses the shine eventually fades, but there's plenty of product left to care for the lips. It has no scent and the applicator is a big doe foot. Overall this is similar to the Catrice Glossin' Glow, but less glossy. 

REDKEN Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo
This has such a lovely rich and thick formula. It produces a dense foam and doesn't feel like a sulphate-free formula - it's a joy to use. Redken says that it reinforces weakened bonds, but it's not a miraculous product, at least on my hair. I just like that it doesn't leave my hair stripped or tangled - I don't think I can expect much more on my thick hair from a shampoo that's washed off quickly, but I enjoy using this formula and it probably does help prevent some breakage (since the hair isn't tangled after use), adjusts pH and leaves the hair somewhat conditioned. 

I've spend a bit part of the year colouring my bleached blonde hair with temporary colours to match my dark roots and to give my hair a break from proper colours. Most masks I've tried are made for hair that isn't that demanding in terms of nourishing, so they left my hair stiff and it became dry quickly. This finally made my hair feel normal and it was so worth splurging on. It leaves my hair feeling soft and silky, it's shinier than with other colour masks and manageable. Colour is quite deep and looks warm, but it washes off towards purple and grey, so it's not the nicest and I prefer colour results I got from other brands, but I add some warm orange or red colour as the colour is washing off. Colour lasts about 6 washes, but due to grey tones, I was itching to dye it again after a third wash - it's not ideal for covering for example blonde bayalage, but it will hide red tones that appear as brown shades are washing off. 

MOROCCANOIL Smoothing Lotion
Moroccanoil has the best products for frizzy hair. Before I tried this, I was already a fan of the Smoothing Mask, Conditioner and Concentrate. It's a cream product that doesn't feel heavy and it makes my hair feel so silky. Together with the Smoothing Conditioner my hair dries frizz free and softer. This is a travel size, while the full size comes in a 300 ml bottle with a pump. 

MOROCCANOIL Frizz Shield Spray
Another great anti-frizz product by Moroccanoil. This one need to be activated by heat and it helps me achieve a smoother blowout. It's like as water, yet it hydrates my very dry hair well and it leaves it softer. The best thing about this spray is that it helps protect against humidity (up to 90%). I've been caught in a rain several times by now and my hair didn't go all puffy, nor did my curls drop. 

NIVEA Care & Hold Soft Touch Caring Mousse
A game changer. This literary feels like nothing is on the hair. I don't know how they managed to do that, but it holds volume all day - actually days. Curls made with a blow dryer last as long too and without a mousse they are gone within minutes that's why I always preferred using curling wands that use more heat. In the next days, the hair feels normal, it's not any dryer, more stiff or anything, it's like it's easily brushed out of the hair. I'm genuinely impressed. Plus it has heat protection. I use this at every hair wash now. My overnight curls now actually last and I can "redo them" over the week without having to wash my hair. 

CERAVE Reparative Hand Cream
Best hand cream I've tried so far.  It's got lovely simple ingredients the skin needs - ceramides, cholesterol and hyaluronic acid - while the formula is nicely thick and rich, yet it absorbs fast, so there's no greasy residue on the skin.

CERAVE SA Renewing Foot Cream
This is meant for extremely dry, rough and bumpy skin. It claims to exfoliate too, not just moisturise and it contains 3 essential ceramides, salicylic acid and ammonium lactate (AHA). Formula is very similar to their hand cream - it's thick and rich, yet it absorbs quite fast. It's so far the best foot cream I've tried, however, I don't notice the exfoliating effect, just that it moisturises really well and my skin feels smoother after application. 

LA RIVE Solare
This is summer in a bottle to me. It smells just like (European) sunscreens, so along the lines of Nivea and Sun Dance. This is 10 €, so a cheap fragrance that loses much of its strength quickly, but I can smell the developed sweeter fainter version of the scent hours after application. 

Limited editions:
MAKEUP OBSESSION Tiffany Illumin_arty Kaleidoscopic Dream s Palette - excellent quality payoff with bright colours. 
CATRICE My Little Pony Highlighter - it's got a similar effect as the Glow Lover highlighter, meaning with very fine, small shimmer, except this one is stronger. I use it under blushes. 

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