Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favourite Products for 2013!

Can you believe it's been months since I've last updated? More unbelievably though, it's amongst the last few days of the year. As in, 2013 is almost over.. in a matter of days.

AND I've finished second year, passed it and moving onto third year (AKA death year) already.

Because I can't.

And just when I thought things couldn't have been any weirder, I finished my 4 week rural placement a few weeks ago. It's gone so fast.. and it's now past Christmas. I really cannot believe it.

I thought I would fit at least one more post in before 2014 and present to you my favourite products for the year. I was originally going to make it 10, but then I totally lost count and probably couldn't have brought the number down anyway. I actually haven't counted how many I chose, so it may be a little awkward if it turns out to be less than 10.

NTS: sleep more. I'm sitting here yawning out of my mind, and my brain is just about to fall asleep.

These are in no particular order.

1. Dickonson's Witch Hazel

I don't think it's possible for me to rave on more about how much I love this witch hazel. I remember stumbling upon it one trip to the pharmacy about six months ago and the bigger version of this was $6 so I decided to get one.

Since then, it's been my daily toner and my skin sings every time I use it. Frankly I have no idea what it's doing but I absolutely love it. My skin feels a bit tighter, more hydrated, less oily and certainly less prone to breaking out (although that's never really been a major problem for me). It's even improved my blackheads.

Granted, it has a very odd smell.. so odd that I can't quite put my finger on it, but after a few uses I was completely used to it and it became strangely appealing. I guess it's one of those acquired scents.. however, if you're still not a fan, my consolation is that the scent is certainly not lingering in the slightest and dissipates within a matter of seconds.

Surely the skincare benefits far outweigh the smell?

I think I've found my HG of skin toners - it's cheap, effective and multi-functional (just google its uses).

2. St. Ives Green Tea Scrub

I bought this on a whim after my friend let me use hers a few times on placement.

I absolutely love the smell. It doesn't smell like green tea at all - it's fruity, and I feel almost as if there's a hint or two of pomegranate infused into this wonderful tube of greeny goodness.

As a cleanser, it might be too harsh to use every day because at the end of the day, it's an exfoliator and it has very fine beads. I haven't had time to collect my La Roche-Posay gel cleanser from Sandra so for now this is going to have to do for a daily cleanse. Ahh well, I haven't noticed any problems so far and it'll all be over soon.

Whilst it may not be my HG cleanser, it's pretty damned close.

3. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil

I have to give full credit to my friend Fi for introducing me to this amazing brand.

After reading up on Nuxe, it was clear that this was its award-winning product, so when Priceline had its 40% off skincare sale a few days ago, I rushed.

I paid a pretty penny for it, but I use it day and night and it is possibly the most fabulous product I've bought this year. The packaging alludes to that of perfume, and is complete with its own atomiser, so it's not messy at all. It smells so amazing, kind of like jasmine infused with coconut and if the atmosphere isn't hot, it absorbs into the skin in a few minutes. I use it straight after toner. The smell is a bit strong but again it dissipates after application.

The best thing about it is that it can be used for the face, body and hair. Once I apply enough on my face, I rub my hands together and use the rest in my hair. I can't describe how good this is; you'll just have to try it yourself. It's not cheap, but a little goes a long way. I can't think of anything I that I don't like about it.

4. Babyliss Pro Argan Oil

This has been hyped up enough. I hopped on the bandwagon in 2011 and have been using the same bottle since. Crazy, right?!

Argan oil is absolutely gospel for my hair and will always be my HG leave-in hair product. I love it because it's light, non-greasy and makes my hair feel amazing.

'Nuff said.

5. Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque

This is my absolute favourite in-shower hair mask.

It smells amazing and works wonders.

If you've never tried this, you are definitely missing out. I think I prefer this over the Kerastase range - it smells better and is cheaper. I love both, but this one I love more.

6. Dove Foaming Makeup Remover

I love this because it works so effectively but it's starting to run out.

Read my review here.

I don't think I'll repurchase this just yet because I don't really like how it's almost a soap texture. I just bought the Bioderma Crealine H2O cleanser/make up remover so I'll give that a go before I decide which is really for me.

I use it as soon as I step into the shower. It's a little inconvenient because sometimes I want to take my makeup off when I get home but I can't be bothered having a shower. I mean it's pretty easy just to wash it off at a sink, but I hate washing my face over the sink in general. Water just goes everywhere and it's a huge mess.

7. Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge

... and synthetic foundation brushes.

This stuff removes every last trace of foundation from my foundation brushes. It has made cleaning them an absolute delight - before I discovered this, I would be at my sink for 30 minutes to wash 2 brushes.


It's so cheap and an absolute necessity in my life. I bought my first bottle at the beginning of the year and I still haven't finished it yet. It may be one of the best $2.80 investments I've ever made. Be prepared to stock up on these, because they sell out like crazy. Seems a few people have caught onto it.

Read my review here.

8. Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

And here I present the other of Nuxe's most popular products.

To say this product is great is an understatement.

It's the best lip treatment I've ever used. A little goes a long way, and my lips are instantly transformed from this chapped mess to a chapless dream.

In 3 days, my lips have been repaired completely. It has a matte texture, and looks as if you're wearing nothing at all, which is one of my favourite parts of this. There's nothing I hate more than glossy looking lips (personal preference, of course, and perhaps a touch of exaggeration).

It's also a little thick, so I prefer to use it at night before bed. I wake up with the most delightful lips, without a trace of dryness throughout the day. The packaging is so luxurious for its price and it comes with a lot of product! I can see myself using the same tub for a long time.

What I say cannot justify the quality of this product in the slightest.

9. Shiseido Perfect UV Protector SPF 50+ PA++++

I've always hated sunscreens because they make my face feel so, so oily.. that's until I discovered this.

It dries matte, is as thin as milk and spreads so well. It doesn't make my face feel oily in the slightest and I always forget I'm wearing it. I usually wear it under foundation primer.

It's pretty pricey, but for its quality and cost-per-wear status, I'm happy to fork out for it.

If it's $40 vs skin cancer, the choice is obvious. I wish I loved that thick sunblock, but unfortunately I don't.

10. MAC 182 Kabuki brush

Usually people's favourite brushes aren't kabukis.. but this one is amazing.

I love how dense yet soft it is and it works absolutely amazing. It still sheds 1-2 hairs every few times I wash it but that's to be expected.

It's excellent at softening out harsh contour/highlight lines and blends beautifully. I will always love this brush.

The first time I used it, I was totally in awe.

11. Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipstick in Champs-Élysées (165)

This formula is fantastic.

Usually I absolutely hate shimmer, but I'm willing to overlook it for this. Obviously the photo doesn't do any justice (Temptalia's is much more informative).

It has a light, floral scent which is very pleasant. It's hydrating, smooth and long-wearing. The payoff is fantastic and it just glides along my lips. The packaging seems a little cheap for Guerlain, but in the end it's the product that matters and not its exterior.

12. e.l.f. Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Matte Bronzer

I love this bronzer. It was really cheap, the colour is so natural and doesn't make me look like I've been dropped in a pool of brown shimmer. Although it says matte, it is actually a little shimmery but again I love it so much that it doesn't matter.

It acts excellently as a contour and is quite pigmented, yet very buildable. Amazing for beginners who don't want to fork out ~$60 for the Terracotta bronzer..............

13. NARS Blush in Gilda

Most make up fans love NARS Orgasm but it's a bit shimmery.. and pink for me. I much prefer a warmer and more corally colour. This blush is super pigmented, but buildable (with the right brush) AND you can see how little I've used of it! I've had it for almost a year.. pretty much every day! It comes with a pretty hefty price tag but as you can see, you don't need much at all.

14. Banila Co Slick Expressions Liquid Eyeliner Pen

My Shu liquid eyeliner pen ran out so I asked Fi to buy me 3.

To be honest, I probably won't purchase any refills for the Shu until I've finished all of these. I love how dark and inky it is, and it's completely smudge-proof once it dries. Removing it is also a dream - it flakes off with some water (much like those tube mascaras).

As you can see, the brush tip has untapered a little but for $12 I'm not really complaining that much.

15. Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in FBI

I can't say I was completely thrilled to receive this in the mail. I was looking for a concealer which matched my skin colour perfectly so I could use it on those lazy, no makeup days.. I didn't make much use of this until I realised it was pretty much the exact shade of my sheer glow foundation.

As you could probably tell, this was a fairly recent discovery, which is why it's not used very much thus far. Don't worry. It will be used completely in due time.

As far as formula is concerned, it's creamy (not dry at ALL), runs very smoothly and blends very, very well. The only annoying thing is that you have to sharpen it, which wastes both time and product, but oh well.

Urban Decay, you've done it again.

Next time I'll probably buy the next shade darker just because I am looking for a lazy-days concealer.

16. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Punjab (Medium 1)

I'll be honest, the name sort of puts me off a bit, but it's just another thing I'm willing to overlook. I mean, people aren't going to know what foundation you use just by looking at you.

I've been using this foundation for a year straight and it's become my HG everyday product. It gives a light-medium coverage and isn't cakey in the slightest. I don't think I'll repurchase this for a while just because I've got the matte version waiting to be used, as well as a Lunasol and YSL one.. oh yeah I have the EL DW one ready to be used up as well. Too many foundations. I was a little ambitious I think.

It's almost completely gone, which I'm totally excited about. If there are 2 things I'm going to complain about though.. firstly, it doesn't have a pump which is SUPER annoying because I always manage to spill a bit somewhere and that just wastes product (and for the price it really should have a pump included). Secondly, the lid doesn't twist on properly anymore.. it kinda does another half turn and ends up completely misaligning with the bottle.

17. Guerlain Teint Beige Meteorites powder

Fi gave these to me for my birthday this year and so far have been getting very, very good use out of them.

The packaging is a little disappointing for what you're paying, but again, packaging is secondary. These have an extremely delightful light violent scent to them. I spend so much time just sniffing them because they smell so good!

I use these as a highlighter as well as an all-over powder - they give this wonderful glow that's hard to explain in words.

Overall this is a beautiful product. It has a dear place in my heart.

And that marks the end of this post.

Talk about multi-talented, I wrote this post in its entirety while watching Saving Mr Banks (which is an absolutely fantastic movie - Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are absolutely flawless) with my parents. Also I think I'm coming down with something related to the flu - my body is aching, my head is throbbing and my neck feels a bit constricted.. not to mention the fact that it's getting increasingly harder to breathe!

And with that, I bid farewell. But, before I do, I have a few honourable mentions and last words of beauty wisdom.
  1. NYX Matte Lip Creams - San Paulo and Antwerp are my favourites.
  2. NYX Creamy Round Lipsticks - the formula is fantastic and for about $5 or so, you really can't go wrong. My favourite shade right now is Hestia.
  3. Same goes for the NYX Matte Lipsticks
  4. And the NYX powder blushes - the colour payoff is great and they're all super affordable
  5. I'm also loving the Rimmel Apocalips lip lacquers
  6. I can't ignore my Paul & Joe Lipstick C in #75 Sex Kitten
Bottom line? The French do it better.

Also? There were more than ten.

Lots of love, and if I don't post again, I hope you all had a very, very merry Christmas and have a wonderful new year! x

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