You guys already know what this post is gonna be about. It’s a roundup of all of my 2017 Beauty Favorites! I tried a lot of new products last year but also rediscovered some OG faves of yore.

It was pretty easy to think of my most-used products but there were some categories where I just couldn’t think of a favorite and rather than putting a product I use but don’t love, I decided to just leave it blank and hope for better this year.

Skin

Best Skincare Products of 2017

Simple Cleansing Wipes
Simple Cleansing Wipes

Some dermatologists advise against cleansing wipes for being too rough and tugging on skin. This is probably true which is why if I have the time or if I wore really heavy-duty makeup, I’ll use Clinique Take The Day Off Balm. However, I don’t like the tub packing (SO not hygienic) and most days, I just don’t need that kind of greasy man-power to remove my makeup.

For lazy weeknights and my average everyday makeup – I find keeping these Simple Cleansing Wipes on my coffee table or nightstand is just what the Dr. ordered for removing my makeup quickly and easily.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
An OG standard. Most dermatologists recommend this cleanser as a gentle, less drying alternative to the average drugstore foaming cleanser. I rediscovered this baby this year and love using it in the morning or after using a makeup wipe at night.

Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Toner
I never used to subscribe to the idea that you need a toner in your skincare routine. That is, until I met this baby. It’s not going to rid your skin of visible pores (NOTHING CAN, the sooner you accept that, the better). But I DO notice a difference in my overall tone and clarity when using this on a little cotton pad. It’s packed with antioxidants and is a great way to treat your skin’s problem areas (like the t-zone) without drying it out.

Alpha Hydrox AHA
With great power comes great responsibility. This should be used carefully and sparingly. But DAYUMN does it work! Used once a week, this exfoliates and removes dead skin overnight. Like most AHAs it makes your skin glow and improves the appearance of dark spots and acne scars.

Paula’s Choice C 15 Super Booster
Another rediscovery. This serum is watery, sticky, and smells a little funky. But it WORKS. It improves those red marks that pimples leave behind and improves my overall tone. I noticed a difference in my skin after using this every night for a week. It works better than any other Vitamin C serum I’ve tried.

Drunk Elephant B Hydra Gel
There was so much buzz about this brand last year and I can see why. It’s super expensive so this is the only product I bought (maybe 2018 will bring me great fortune and I can afford to try a few more) but it became my holy grail moisturizer for those hot and humid summer months. My skin basically does whatever the weather is doing – so if it’s muggy outside, my skin will feel greasy. This moisturizer hydrates without adding any extra grease. I definitely recommend it for anyone with oily skin.

CeraVe Pm
For the rest of this year, this is my OG standby. I didn’t rediscover it because I never stopped loving it. It doesn’t really have any antioxidants to speak of but it moisturizes simply without breaking me out. And what more can I expect from a moisturizer? This may not be moisturizing enough for those with really dry skin, but this worked great for my normal to dry skin October – June.

What’s Missing?
SPF – I have such a hard time finding SPFs I like. They either make my skin too greasy or shiny, pill up and don’t wear well under makeup, or leave a white cast on my already too pale skin. I’ve settled for using SPF in my makeup and standard Banana Boat for summer days where I know I’ll be in the sun. 

It’s super important to use SPF, especially if you’re using AHAs like I do. If anyone reading this has similar issues with SPF and has any recommendations, please help a girl out. 

Makeup

Best Makeup Products of 2017

Becca First Light Priming Filter
2017 was the year of primers for me. Like toners, I never really saw the point of them before. But this year, I started experimenting with primers and really fell in love with this one. It adds a nice moisturized base plus a little glow that makes a great base for sheer foundation looks. I like the other Becca Primer (Becca Backlight Primer) but that one is a little TOO glowy for everyday.

Maybelline Baby Skin Primer
This is my drugstore pick for primers, especially for those hot summer days when I don’t need ANY help with glow. This silky silicone primer smooths out pores and wrinkles and provides a shine-free base for more matte makeup looks.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
This has been a best-seller at Sephora in the tinted moisturizer category for years and I agree with the millions of women who love this. It’s really rare to find a foundation/base with sheer coverage and a matte, natural finish. This tinted moisturizer fits that bill for me. It’s my standard go-to year round for me.
NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturizer gets an honorable mention but it can be occasionally too thick and shiny (probably due to the higher sun protection). Most days, I’m choosing between these two tinted moisturizers based on what my skin is doing that day.

NARS Soft Matte Concealer
I’m pretty sure this baby is on everyone’s favorite list this year. Don’t let the “matte” in the product name deter you – this concealer has a satin finish that lasts all day. It’s my favorite under eye concealer of all time.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
What can I say? Nars just kills it in the concealer category. I purchase both concealers in the shade “Vanilla” which is perfect for my neutral to slightly pink, pale complexion. This concealer is my go-to for sides of the nose and any other blemishes or discolorations on my face. I prefer to use this conealer where needed instead of a standard foundation.

MAC Mineralized Skinfinish Natural in Light
My go-to sheer, every day finishing powder. I use the shade – to add a polished finish without taking away any of my natural glow, great for days when my skin is a little drier.

Kat Von D Lock It Powder in Light 45
The packaging is kickass and the powder inside is a smooth operator. I use it with a compact sponge (like this one from Sephora). If you try to use a stiff powder brush, the surface of the powder inside will sort of crumble. I don’t use this every day, but for any kind of special occasion where you want to look extra polished – big presentations at work, date nights, interviews etc.

Tarte Exposed Highlighter
Okay, so I confess that this is a more recent purchase towards the end of the year but this quickly became a favorite. It competes and compares with the famous Becca Opal powder highlighter for an intense high-beam glow. FYI, Becca Opal is also a fave.

Note, this highlighter comes in 2 other shades which I plan on trying in 2018. Stay tuned!

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz
For a more low-key, natural highlight, you can’t go wrong with Glossier Haloscope in Quartz. The roll-up stick applicator makes application a breeze. You practically don’t even have to rub it in, it’s so sheer and natural. This one wins my pick for a totally goof-proof highlighter.

Maybelline Highlighter in Molten Gold 
This drugstore fave falls somewhere between Quartz and Exposed on the intensity scale and is the perfect shade of neutral gold (without reaching Fenty Trophy Wife status). If you liked MAC Soft & Gentle highlighter back in the day, you’ll probably like this

Tarte Exposed Blush
The perfect shade of neutral, browny pink that goes with seriously ANY makeup look. And the Tarte 24-hour amazonian clay formula lasts all day. What more could you want?

Milani Rose Blush
Another more recent purchase, I’ve already reached for this blush practically every day this month. I love the rose design – so girly and pretty! And the shade is a perfect medium pink true to its name. It’s not as neutral as Tarte Exposed but goes really well with the majority of my cool-toned or neutral makeup looks. The formula from Milani lasts well and applies smoothly.

Kevin Aucoin Contour Powder
I’m not much of a contouring person but I’m taking baby steps. This lighter shade replaced the lightest contour shade in my beloved Kat Von D Shade & Light Contour Palette. I apply it with a NARS Ita brush and spend about 5 minutes blending it into my moon face. I definitely don’t use this every day but if you’re a contour person, this pricey little Kevin Aucoin product is a gold standard in the beauty community.

Anastasia Dip Brow in Chocolate + Anastasia Clear Brow Gel
This combo is my go-to for days when I have a little extra time to get ready. I probably don’t need the extra pigment in Dip Brow, given that my brows are already dark, but I like that I can fill in gaps super fast without a lot of additional pencil strokes. And of course Anastasia Brow Gel holds my unruly caterpillars in place with rock hard hairspray-like hold.

Glossier Boy Brow in Brown (See review here)
For quick, everyday, natural but full brows – you just can’t go wrong with Boy Brow. It’s replaced my previously beloved Benefit Gimme Brow (also a great product).

L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara in Blackest Black
I have fairly dark, full lashes naturally so I prefer mascaras that can lengthen and separate without smudging. This mascara fits the bill. I’ve gone through about 4 tubes this year as I wear it just about every day!

L’Oreal Feline Mascara in Black 
For special occasions when I want my lashes to have extra oomph, I reach for this little leopard-print tube of goodness. It’s an all-around good mascara for lengthening, volume and separation. The brush is firm which allows good control (I don’t like how wiggly Maybelline’s mascara wands are) and I love the nod to my feline friends.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette
Has anyone who tried this palette NOT liked it? The warm, neutral shades are universally flattering and the finishes include matte, satin and shimmers making the palette diverse enough to complete pretty much any eye look. I used this palette off and on since it came out over the summer.

Anastasia Modern Renaissance
Ugh, this palette is just so gorgeous. The blush and burgundy shades are romantic and beyond flattering on my neutral to slightly cool-toned complexion. I’ve dipped into all the shades multiple times but my most-used shades are —, —, and —-.

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette
This palette got a little bit of buzz when it first came out but I feel like no one really talks about it much. It may not be the most exciting palette ever but I’ve gotten a ton of wear out of it. The formulas inside are super blendable with matte and satin finishes in those warm, reddish neutrals that are so in right now.

L’Oréal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush
This little pot of rose gold shimmer is ideal for days where I’m in a rush and don’t have time to be fussing with eyeshadow brushes or palettes. It’s such a bargain and lasts pretty well on my eyes for about 6-8 hours on even the hottest, sweatiest summer days. I usually apply it with my finger as a wash all over the lid. Because it’s so easy and simple, I actually think this is my most-worn eyeshadow this year.

Bobbi Brown Longwear Cream Shadow Stick in Taupe
Another standby, this neutral medium brown eyeshadow stick serves as both an overall eyeshadow shade as well as an eyeshadow base for neutral bronze looks. It lasts all day, easily 8+ hours and is just the right shade for a natural eye look for my coloring.

Still Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Gold Retro, Smoky Storm, and Kitten
This liquid eyeshadow comes in two finishes – a super glittery sparkle and a more satiny, smooth metallic shimmer. Both formulas are SUPER long-wearing and just beyond dreamy. I’ve worn Kitten more since it’s metallic finish is more wearable for every day but make no mistake – these are special occasion products. I wore Smoky Storm for New Year’s Eve and it was perfect.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencils in Whiskey and Bourbon
I love a basic medium brown eyeliner pencil blended out with a thin slanted eyeliner brush. These two replaced my favorites from last year (MAC Costa Riche and Teddy) for lasting noticeably longer on my occasionally greasy eyelids. After a long day at work, these liners are still standing strong on both my bottom waterline and top lid. Whiskey is a medium matte brown while Bourbon has a touch of shimmer. 

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
I don’t always use liquid liner but when I do, I find that I can’t go wrong with Kat Von D’s tattoo liner in Trooper. It’s a matte, deep true black and lasts FOREVER. The thin felt-tip makes it easy to apply – or as easy as you can hope for with liquid liner.

Compared to the Stila all-day waterproof liquid liner, this one lasts equally well. However, my Stila liner’s felt tip started to fray after only owning it for a few months. For that reason, I’d suggest this Kat Von D liner instead. I’ve owned it for almost all of 2017, and the pen is still going strong and the felt tip is as thin and precise as it was when I first bought it.

Lancôme Matte Shakers (See my reviews of this here and here)
With so many lipsticks out there, sometimes I feel like I’ve tried ’em all. That is, until I tried these. The formula is SO unique – sheer yet matte at the same time. These have quickly become some of the most-worn lipsticks in my collection. If you have dry or chapped lips but love a matte lipstick, this may be the one for you.

MAC Lip Pencil in Spice
To be honest, I like all the MAC neutral lip pencils and get wear out of all of them. But when I was looking at my collection for this blog post, I noticed that this pencil was several inches shorter than the others. Clearly it’s the one I’ve used the most. It’s a cool-toned, medium neutrual brown with a touch of pink. It goes with so many of my lipsticks or on its own with some NYX butter gloss.

Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick 
I really experimented with different lipstick formulations in 2017 and finally found a liquid lipstick that I could apply without looking like the Joker. My favorite shades are Lolita and —.

YSL Rose Perfecto
My go-to rose shade in a comfortable, smooth matte finish worthy of its luxury price tag.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Bond Girl
This lipstick has a gorgeous, long-wearing, comfortable matte formula. The Bond Girl shade has come in handy for any daytime neutral look or serves as a slightly understated lip with bolder eye looks for evening.

L’Oreal Blake’s Red
My favorite drugstore red. It’s so cool-toned that it ALMOST verges on hot pink but not quite. It’s a bright red that makes your teeth look whiter and your skin brighter. What more could you want?

NARS Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red
Another more recent purchase, this was my go-to red over the Holidays. It’s neutral to slightly cool-toned and added such a nice pop to my fair winter skin.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte
For a moisturizing, matte, vampy, berry/brick red – you can’t go wrong with Charlotte. On the color spectrum of berry to red, this color falls flatly in the middle with a satin finish that turns matte with one blot. It’s a great option for anyone who wants a darker lip without going too purple.

Glossier Lip Gloss (Full review here)
I’m not much of a gloss person but even I can admit that this lip gloss is having a major moment right now. 2018 may very well be the year of lip gloss. I don’t use this gloss every day but find myself reaching for it before going to the gym (I don’t know why, I just do) and to top off the Glossier Generation G lipsticks. I like the formula and appreciate the high-shine finish.

What’s Missing?

Foundation – I tried quite a few foundations in 2017 but returned almost as many as I tried. I’m really not a full-coverage person and I have fairly sensitive skin that makes any foundation with cyclopentasiloxane out of the question. (If you get cystic acne from wearing foundation, you may have an allergy to this ingredient too).

Honorable mention goes to L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation but I had trouble finding a shade match since the drugstore doesn’t let you try them on.

Bronzer – Admittedly, I’m really not much of a bronzer person. I really embrace my paleness and make it part of my signature “look.” However, there are times I want to add a little bronzer to warm up my face and when I do – I’m kind of just winging it.

I’ve tried Nars Laguna, Benefit Hoola, and countless others. They’re alright, I guess. But no matter what bronzer I use, I run the risk of being too heavy-handed and looking a little dirty. I’ve been thinking of trying the Benefit Hoola Lite but just haven’t bit the bullet yet. Is $29 worth it for a product I only use once in a while? If I do give it a try, I’ll review it here on the blog for my other pale-skinned readers out there.

Hair

Best Hair Products of 2017

Tresseme reverse shampoo + conditioner
I have really fine hair that can easily be weighed down by heavy conditioners. I’ve gone through two batches of this duo which is really saying something since the bottles are huge. You start with the conditioner, which I leave on while I shave my legs, wash my face etc. Then you follow it up with the shampoo. I find that this combo cleanses and conditions my hair without drying it out or weighing it down. It’s a perfect balance.

Tresseme, if you discontinue this, I WILL FIND YOU.

Tresseme heat protector
This is definitely an OG fave. It adds a layer of protection between your hair and the straightening iron, without adding any unnecessary grease to my fine locks. As with most heat protectors – you kind of don’t’ know whether it’s worked or not until you’re due for your next trim. Regardless, I appreciate the mild scent and lightweight, watery texture.

Tresseme Refresh Dry Shampoo
Tresseme just killed it this year for me. I go through dry shampoo like some people go through toothpaste. I wash my hair every other day so I rely on dry shampoo to keep my fine, flat hair looking fresh. Because I use it so much and go through it so quickly, I can’t afford to be spending a lot on it. This one beats out other drugstore dry shampoos like Batiste for its ability to refresh my do without adding that annoying white chalky powder.

Drybar Triple Sec
I use this texturizing spray as a blast of super-powered root volumizer after I’m done blow drying my hair. Every time I wear it, my boyfriend says my hair smells amazing (probably because it smells like cake).

Ouai Texturizing Hairspray
I’ve stopped using traditional hairspray to hold my freshly curled hair in place and started relying on this texturizing spray. I love the minty scent and lightweight, flexible hold. It never makes my hair feel stiff or sticky even when I use a little too much.

Ouai Wave Spray
I jumped on the bandwagon with this product, even though I haven’t had great luck with wave sprays in the past. They usually make my hair crunchy or sticky or worse, leave me with a wet/greasy look. This spray is totally different – it’s just a little moisturizing with just enough hold to emphasize natural or iron-created waves. I use it after air drying or curling my naturally slightly wavy hair.

PHEW! That was a doozy. Kudos to you if you read the whole thing. What are your favorites from 2017? What products do you hope to try in 2018?

I plan to try more of the Stila Glitter & Glow eyeshadows, the two other shades of the Tarte Amazonian Clay highlighters, and to find my HG foundation and sun protection. I’m also dying to try Fenty Beauty, including their Mattemoiselle lipsticks (of course), stick and powder highlighters, and their medium-coverage foundation.

Here’s to a beautiful 2018!

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Feeling a chill coming on this winter? Warm up with toasty shades of bronze, magenta, and gold. Yep, these are my top 5 warm-toned eyeshadow palettes.

I tend to reach for warmer eyeshadow shades any time of year, but the bronze smoky eye is definitely having “a moment” right now. So many brands from drugstore to high-end are releasing eyeshadow palettes with exclusively warm tones. I’m not complaining.

Regardless of eye color or skin tone, these warm neutral shadows are universally flattering. I find that during this time of year, when my skin is at its most pale and lifeless, these shades really add warmth and sparkle. I particularly love pairing cool-toned vampy lips with warm-toned bronzey eyes from one of my favorite warm-toned palettes:

  1. Urban Decay Naked Heat
    $54 Sephora

    Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

    I have all the Urban Decay Naked palettes and this one is, without a doubt, my favorite of the bunch. It was released during the summer but most reviews tout this as a fall/winter eyeshadow palette. I think I’ll be using it year-round as it goes with just about every lipstick I own.

  2. Tarte Tartelette Toasted
    $46 Sephora

    Tarte Toasted Palette

    This baby is a newer addition to my collection but it’s already a favorite. I love the leopard print packaging (meow) and the name is fitting. It’s slightly more wearable than the Urban Decay Naked Heat so I find myself reaching for this one more for everyday wear.

  3. Too Faced Just Peachy Matte
    $45 Sephora

    Too Faced Just Peachy Matte

    Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t like the Too Faced Peach collection. I just never felt like it was meant for me – cool-toned skin, black hair, dark eyes. It just always seemed like a shade range for blonde-haired babes or tanned-skin lovelies. I swatched the original Sweet Peach palette and was just never that into it.

    Until this palette came along. The warm browns and matte plums spoke to me. They said, “buy me, Anna.” I’m still not a massive fan of the packaging but can attest to the formula and shade range of this palette.

  4. Anastasia Modern Rennaisance
    $42 Sephora

    Anastasia Modern Renaissance

    This has got to be one of my favorite palettes of all time. It has plenty to offer in the “warm neutrals” category but also houses some more interesting shades like burgundy and gold.

    I’m not the biggest fan of the suede packaging – it looks nice at first but starts to look cruddy looking after just a couple weeks on the vanity.

  5. Kylie Cosmetics Bronze
    $42 Kylie Cosmetics

    Kylie Cosmetics Bronze
    I tried so hard to avoid the Kylie Cosmetics hype but was able to pick these babies up for half off on Black Friday. I must admit – I’m impressed. The formula is so smooth and blendable and actually LASTS on my super greasy eyelids. The shades aren’t the most unique and could probably be duped in other palettes but I find the collection to be very cohesive. If you’re a fan of Kylie’s signature bronze eye, this palette will definitely help you achieve that look.

And that’s a wrap! There are tons of great bronzey eyeshadow palettes out there right now so these are just a few of my favorites. I’ve recently been impressed with NYX eyeshadow formulas so I may be trying out this bad boy soon:

NYX Ultimate Warm Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette
$17.99 Ulta

NYX Ultimate Warm Neutrals

 

What are your favorite warm-toned shadows? Also…should I break out of my comfort zone and do a similar post for cool-toned palettes? Let me know in the comments! <3

 

 

Fall is just getting started here in Virginia but I’ve been loving a few products and fashion pieces so much over the last few weeks, that I thought it’d be worth sharing.

1. Alpha Skincare 14% Serum
Alpha Skincare 14% Serum
Paula says you shouldn’t use glycolic acids of over 10% on a daily basis but despite that, she gave this product a raving review – and so do I. I used it every other day for a week, (after doing my 10 day skin detox), and my skin has transformed. Also, it’s worth noting – I’m no stranger to glycolic acid. I use the Paula’s Choice 8% gel on a semi-regular basis and this stuff DEFINITELY took things up a notch.

2. Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick in Sanctuary
Kat Von D Lipstick in Sanctuary
I never thought I was a liquid lipstick person. I tried the one from Lime Crime and several from Anastasia and they just weren’t for me. That is, until, I picked up the Kat Von D one. The applicator is very firm but also pretty small so it’s easy to get a precise lip look with just one coat. I have 4 shades so far but I’ve been loving this spooky one for fall. It’s sort of a grey-ish taupe but it’s oddly flattering on my fair skin.

3. Short A-Line Skirts
Ya know when you discover a type of clothing that works for your body type and then you just start buying them in bulk? Yeah. That happened.

Short a-line skirts with buttons or zippers, in denim or suede, embroidered or basic – I can wear them without tights and some sandals or flats for warmer days, or with tights and ankle boots for cooler days. Something about how it nips in at the waist and then flares outward over my lower tummy (ie., my danger zone) is just so flattering. If you have a similar shape to me, and have a small high waist but tend to bloat in your lower tummy area, this style might work for you too.

4. Harry Potter
This is more of a lifetime favorite – but this time of year I love to break out these movies and books and just dive back into that world of magic. It makes me feel like a kid again and gives me all the nostalgic feels. FYI, I’m in Ravenclaw. Luna Lovegood FTW. What house are you?

Morning Walks

Looking serious but feeling lighthearted on a breezy morning stroll.

5. Morning Walks

As the weather gets cooler, but not TOO cool, I like to take advantage of it by doing nice little saunters outside in the woods behind my apartment. There’s a little trail and it’s the perfect distance (about 15-25 minutes there and back) depending on how fast I walk and how much time I have. I’m not gonna lie – sometimes I’m lazy and I definitely don’t do it every day. But when I do (mostly on the weekends), I find that it just does WONDERS for my mood. Sometimes I listen to music but usually I just walk in silence and listen to the wind in the trees. It’s a great way to be alone with my thoughts, and start my day off on the right foot.

6. Nest Indigo Perfume

Nest Indigo Perfume
I’ve had this one for a year but hadn’t worn it much over the Spring and Summer. I recently started wearing it again and I forgot how much I loved it. I’m a big fan of the Nest fragrances in general – they’re all so unique and the packaging is beyond gorg. Sephora describes it as warm, aromatic and mysterious with notes of Moroccan tea, kashmir wood, cardamom and wild fig. Seriously, perfect for fall.

7 & 8 Eyeshadow Palettes (because I couldn’t decide and they’re similar) – Urban Decay Heat and Marc Jacobs Scandalust 
Urban Decay Naked Heat and Marc Jacobs Scandalust

Both of these palettes are amazing quality and contain perfect shades for fall – lots of warm burgandies, plums, warm pinks and browns. The Urban Decay one has more shades and was oddly a summer release, despite the fact that the shades are so perfect for fall. I purchased the Marc Jacobs one more recently as a birthday present to myself and I’ve been enjoying switching between the two.

9. Trader Joe’s White Truffle Potato Chips
Trader Joes Organic White Truffle Potato Chips

I thought it couldn’t get any better than the honey butter potato chips – but I was wrong. These chips taste so amazing. If you don’t like the flavor of mushrooms, you might not like these. But they’re so herby and greasy – it’s the perfect thing to snack on while you watch all your fav. Halloween movies.

10. Celestial Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea

Celestial Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea
This stuff basically tastes like apple cider. It’s zero calories and feels like such a treat anytime of day.