2016 has been an absolute dumpster fire….I mean….god damn. But hey, at least makeup has remained a relatively bright spot in our lives! This year was a big one in makeup for this particular bunny. I went from a makeup enthusiast to a full on obsessive. I also went cruelty free!
I’m still on the hunt for the perfect foundation and felt tip eyeliner, but as for the rest of my makeup, I definitely found some real winners. Check them out!
Tony Moly Peach Foam Cleanser ($13)
EDIT (2/26/2017): I recently found out that Tony Moly IS NOT CRUELTY FREE. Therefore, I can no longer recommend this product.
Foamy, peachy, and absolutely lovely, I adore this cleanser. It does a fantastic job of cleansing the grossness from my skin, without being overly drying. Also, I love the smell (and taste) of peaches, so this one was an immediate winner in my book. God, I love Korean beauty products.
Hada Labo Tokyo Replenishing Hydrator Facial Moisturizer ($8.99)
Okay, so bear with me on this one. I would compare the texture of this moisturizer with snot. Not just any snot, mind you, but the super runny, clear snot that pours out when you have a really bad cold. Now, I realize this isn’t the best way to sell you on a moisturizer, but this stuff is awesome! It soaks into the skin immediately, and leaves you feeling baby smooth — not sticky or greasy in the slightest. It’s the perfect daily moisturizer.
NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler ($13.99)
At 31, I am starting to see some of the signs of aging. One of those signs is enlarged pores, and man do they piss me off every time I notice them. For a while I was looking at Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer, but the price tag scared me away. I just couldn’t see paying $31 for primer. Luckily, NYX came through with a fantastic dupe for less than half the price! While this doesn’t make my pores disappear completely, it does do a great job of minimizing them.
Ben Nye Neutral Set Setting Powder ($11)
I’m a huge fan of powder makeup, so setting my liquid foundation is super important. If I don’t, my powder blush and highlighter just don’t want to blend. For the first half of the year I used It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Finishing Powder, but after I hit pan, I decided to try something else. I found so many positive reviews for Ben Nye’s Loose Setting powder, and the price point was so low, that I ordered it right away. I love this stuff! It’s far better at preventing cakiness than any other setting powder I’ve tried.
Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer ($4.99)
Like pretty much every makeup lover on the planet, I used to be solid user of Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion. However, when I ran out earlier this year, I was too broke to afford another $20 tube. I did some research, and found some insanely great reviews for Wet n Wild’s Fergie “Take On The Day” Eyeshadow Primer. It was five bucks and being hailed as an exact dupe of UD’s Primer Potion. I bought it, and to be honest, I actually think it’s better! Unfortunately, Wet n Wild has discontinued the Fergie line. However, their new Photo Focus primer looks to be the same formulation, and side by side tests seem to prove that to be the case.
BH Cosmetics Supernova Eyeshadow Palette ($20)
After a horrible experience with a “pro” eyeshadow palette in November (more on that later), I was feeling the need for something fancy that actually worked. On Cyber Monday, I snagged the Supernova palette from BH Cosmetics for $8, and whooooooweeeee, do I love, love, love this palette! This palette is all shimmer shades (sorry matte lovers), and while it is no means perfect, it’s still quite lovely. It blends well, there’s no fallout, and the shades are gorgeous. You do have to layer it a bit, especially after blending, but it’s great for the price point.
Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Eyeshadow Palette ($29.95)
A few years ago some dear friends bought me the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette. I loved that palette (and I still use the brush that came with it), but the $54 price kept me from replacing it after I hit pan. Fortunately, I received the Coastal Scents Revealed 2 palette in a Boxy Charm box, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t a beautiful stand-in. It has a fantastic mix of matte and shimmer shades, all of which are buttery smooth and blend well. I love doing rose gold eye looks with this palette!
It Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara ($24)
The right mascara can be hard to find. For the longest time I used L’Oréal’s Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, but when I moved to cruelty free, I had to toss it. I bounced from mascara to mascara, looking for something that was….I dunno…decent. Finally, I stumbled upon It Cosmetics’ Superhero Mascara. The box claimed that I’d see a “500% increase in volume in one coat”, and while I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, it does give me quite a bit of vavoom! After using up a tube, I switched to Urban Decay’s Perversion mascara, and then switched right back. This one is definitely a win.
Model Co. Blush Cheek Powder — Peach Bellini ($22)
I used to think that blush was blush. I mean…how different could each brand be. I saw the truth when I received Model Co.’s Peach Bellini blush in my Boxy Charm. Holy hell, this stuff is awesome!!! It has a touch of shimmer to it — not so much that you look actively glittery — just enough to give you a slight glow. It also has great color payoff, and goes on soooooo smooth. It’s well worth the $22!
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed — Pearl ($38)
Now, forty bucks for highlighter is a bit much, I’ll give you that. However, as a pale as fuck ghost woman, I have a hell of a time finding highlighter that actually shows up on my skin. This not only shows, it gives me an ethereal glow. I know the dewy look is probably on its way out, but I’m going to use this stuff down to the very last dusting of powder.
LUSH Lip Scrub ($10.95)
I wear a ton of matte lipsticks, which means lip prep is pretty much required. Dead skin needs to be removed and followed by a heavy layer of moisturizer. LUSH’s lip scrub is my absolute favorite, it exfoliates gently, but still does it’s damn job. I currently use the Popcorn flavor, but I’m thinking when it comes time to replace it, I’ll be trying out Mint Julips.
Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($20)
If you saw my previous review on this lipstick, you already know I’m a fan. This is the shit! I love it so much that I don’t want to spend money on any other lipstick, I only want more of Kat’s line. Like…every shade. It’s smooth, creamy, moisturizing, goes on opaque, layers well, and lasts all fucking day. It is the best god damned lipstick out there.
NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream ($5.99)
If you’re looking for a long lasting matte lipstick at a lower price point, this one’s for you. It truly lives up to its name — it’s super soft on the lips. You will have to reapply throughout the day, but it has decent staying power for a six dollar lipstick. Furthermore, they have a great color range — and yes, that product you see to the left is available. You can get all 36 shades in the vault for around $130.
Evian Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray ($12.50)
Yes, I know it’s canned water. Again, you gotta bear with me on this. I use a full coverage foundation followed by setting powder. This means that if I get even slightly heavy handed, I end up looking like a cakey mess. I use two products to help prevent this. The first is Evian’s mineral water spray. Now, I’m not paying thirteen bucks for the water, I’m paying thirteen bucks for the continuous atomized spray. I could put mineral water in a spray bottle for a lot less cash, but I’d only end up looking like I stepped into the shower in a full face of makeup. This gives you a fine sheen of water that helps set your makeup and take away that cakey look.
NYX Cosmetics Setting Sprays ($7.99)
The second step in preventing cake-face is a proper setting spray. I use NYX Cosmetics setting sprays, both matte and dewy formulas — depending on what look I’m going for that day. I know what I’m about to say may be controversial, but I really don’t see much of a difference between NYX’s setting sprays and Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray. I’ve used both, and the only real difference I noticed was the $23 variance in price. I love this stuff!
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($6.99)
Talk about a life changer! I love this damn thing so much that I’ve bought it for all my friends. I used to apply foundation with my fingers, then I tried a brush, and then came this beauty. It gives you that flawless airbrushed look for nearly a third the cost of the Original Beauty Blender. GO BUY ONE! GO BUY ONE NOW!!!
And now for the one thing you should avoid at all costs…
Tarte Tarteist PRO Amazonian Clay Palette ($53)
I am so pissed about this palette. I fell for the marketing on this one, and I fell hard. It was all over YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. People were raving about how “uh-may-zing” this palette was and how it was a total game changer. So, I splurged, using all of my Ulta Points in my excitement.
Besides the gorgeous packaging, I have NOTHING positive to say about this palette. A quick finger swipe was enough to fool me, but once I tried to load it on my brush, I realized something was off. It did not want to adhere to my lids — even with primer. I layered, and layered, and layered, trying desperately to get some color. Meanwhile, there was fallout everywhere. Once I was somewhat satisfied with the color, I applied a second — and again, layer, layer, layer. When I tried to blend, I found there was no blending to be had. Swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, and in the end, nothing but mud. Two hours later, all pigment was gone. Just….poof! Gone!
I couldn’t understand why this palette was getting five star reviews from some of the biggest YouTube beauty gurus. I did some research and found that Tarte had sent YouTube influencers on a free trip to Bora Bora. Whether they signed a contract, or just felt obligated to give a positive review after their vacation, I don’t know. What I do know, is that I fell for their reviews, and so did a lot of other people. While I only lost Ulta points, other people lost some serious money. Consider this my warning to you. DO NOT BUY THIS PALETTE. It’s absolutely awful. Your, or the person you’re buying a gift for, deserve better.
I hope my favorite list is helpful to you all! If you have any questions, just let me know!