2014 was the year that I got really into “beauty”: developing a skincare routine, exploring new brands and types of products, wearing makeup much more often, and starting this blog. I put beauty in quotes, because as we all know beauty is so much more than skin-deep. Part of the inspiration for this was spending the spring in Paris — surrounded by people caring about skincare, fashion, and otherwise looking good.
Since I just recently entered the beauty blogging world, I have made so many discoveries this year — new types of products, new brands, and new ways to apply makeup. Every month on this blog I’ve also been doing a “monthly favorites” list, and I’ve been trying hard not to repeat any products. Now, here come the repeats in this compilation of what I loved most about beauty in 2014.
1. Yves Rocher
First up is the brand that started it all. I wandered into an Yves Rocher store on the Rue de Rivoli back in March, and I haven’t been able to look back. Among the products I first bought here were face masks, hair masks, and facial moisturizers. My two most-used products from Yves Rocher have been their 3-minute Cranberry Face Mask and their Moisturizing Cream Lipstick in Rose Damas.
2. Face masks
Speaking of face masks… I’ve developed a new love. So far I’ve tried Yves Rocher, Freeman, Royal Apothic, Origins, and Peter Thomas Roth masks, and some of them have really impressed me! Pictured above are my current favorites.
3. The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream
While we’re talking about skin, I have to include what has been my favorite moisturizer since June. This cream is so light and silky, while somehow still managing to moisturize my face. A little goes a long way, it sinks into my skin immediately, when on sale this product is pretty cheap, and…do I need any more reasons to love it?
4. Eye cream
I got my first eye cream though Birchbox this summer, and it was literally eye-opening. I’d never used an eye cream before, but I think it has made a huge difference to my dark undereye circles and majorly reduced dryness in that area. When I ran out of the Balance Me cream, I started looking for a cheaper alternative and went through Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Eye Cream on my way to discovering The Body Shop Nutriganics Smoothing Eye Cream, which I think may be my holy grail eye cream.
5. Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub
I don’t wash my face with cleanser as often in the mornings as I should, but this scrub’s amazing scent has helped me reach for the face wash on a more regular basis. It smells like pure cheerfulness and energy and has bright yellow bursting beads that physically feel like they’re rejuvenating my skin (even though they’re probably not actually).
6. Tocca Hand Cream in Florence
This is probably my favorite hand cream that I’ve ever used. It’s creamy yet sinks into my hands easily, and it has the most amazing smell. While the associated perfume smells more strongly of bergamot, this hand cream is dominated by gardenia. It’s the perfect scent to fall asleep to when I use this on my hands right before bed.
7. Boots Extracts Body Butter in Rosehip
This is a recent purchase, but it’s also the first body butter I’ve ever truly loved. Up until now, they have all been too thick. This one has a much lighter texture and therefore sinks in more quickly, so I don’t feel any heaviness sitting on my skin. It has a pretty strong smell, but it’s a lovely one and so I don’t mind.
This may seem so basic to many of you, but I didn’t own any makeup brushes before this year. Correction: I did own two or three, but they had been gifted to me as part of a makeup set eons ago and I had never used them before. I also occasionally used the brushes included with makeup I purchased without realizing how low quality they were. This year I acquired proper eyeshadow and blush brushes and actually started using them, and it has made a world of difference in how easy makeup is to apply (and how good it looks!)
9. Wet n Wild Single Eyeshadow in Nutty
This is my new favorite single eyeshadow shade. It plays well with others, but is also a great shadow to wear alone because it has dimension and is such a classic color. It’s the first taupe I’ve ever owned, and I’m loving it so much that I think I’ll need to find some new taupes in 2015.
10. e.l.f. Prism Palette in Naked
This palette is pretty basic, just a range of nutty golds and browns, but it is so beautiful and pigmented. I’m pretty sure this is the best palette I’ve ever bought for $5, and my success with ordering this from the e.l.f. website made me bolder about buying makeup online.
11. Coastal Scents Revealed 2 palette
This is the first big palette I’ve ever bought, and I have not regretted it for one instant. It’s full of matte and shimmery gold, rosy, and maroon shades that have been perfect for fall. I keep finding myself reaching for a shade in it to complete a look that I’m doing with another palette or single shadows.
12. e.l.f. Studio Blush in Candid Coral
I’ve always shied away from blush, because I thought that it looked way too obvious on my skin. I don’t like looking as if I’m trying too hard with my makeup, I prefer a more “barely there” look, and to me blush is extremely noticeable. Until I discovered coral. Coral is the perfect “MCBB” (my cheeks but better) shade for me. This particular coral is pretty pale and filled with gold shimmer, but still manages to come across as natural on me.
13. No. 7 Skin Illuminator in Pink
This is another fairly recent purchase, but it has been a game-changer. I dab it onto my cheekbones and then blend, and it delivers the most perfect radiant glow. I just learned that this also comes in a peach shade that I think I might prefer, but I also just found this on sale again for $2.50, and so I went ahead and bought a second tube of pink. Oops. But not really, because the pink is still pretty awesome.
14. Le Parfumeur Perfume in #26 Manhattan
While I don’t tend to stick with one perfume for long — with so many rollerballs and sample vials floating around, I jump around from day to day depending on my mood — since perfume is something I wear quite often, I felt the need to include one on my list. This is the only perfume that I personally bought this year. I found it at a marketplace in Brussels, and I also recently found out that they have an online store. This perfume is dominated by jasmine and tuberose, and it’s a great blend of floral and something slightly headier.
As for other top perfumes from the year, I have to list Harvey Prince’s Hello, Crabtree & Evelyn’s Summer Hill, and Chloé’s Love Story.
There are so many products that I wanted to include but didn’t have room for, like Make Up For Ever’s Rouge Artist Natural in Copper Rose, or Kat Von D’s Shade Shifter Eyeshadow in Love Letter, but there’ll be plenty of time for me to tell you all about those throughout this year.
Happy new year, everyone!