Favorite Beauty Finds of the Year

Thanks to Mo, I have become a total make-up junkie. This not a definitive list, but just an off-the-cuff  list of the beauty goodies I’ve fallen in love with this year. They’re not necessarily new, and some are tried and true- but all are products that rise above the competition and are worth trying out if you like looking good and being master of your own confidence. Yeah yeah yeah, we could argue that women are beautiful on their own, and blah blah blah… sure, yeah, I totally get it. I’m not above a naked-face now and then- but I sure do feel in charge of my world when I know I look good. And knowing how to use what’s available is a big part of that… and it’s empowering! (all products available at Sephora or MAC counters, and even Target for one)

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Primer – There are a ton of primers out there- they have different consistencies and different benefits- I’ve used Stila, Urban Decay,  Benefit, Tarte and Bare Minerals. They are all fine- but this one is the boomdigity. Too-Faced does primers right- it locks your make-up down and amplifies your own beauty. It can be worn alone (it’s like a tinted moisturizer) under a sheer foundation, or even with full make-up. It’s versatile, fragrance free, and leaves your skin feeling like silk.

Right behind it is it’s cousin, Too Faced Shadow Insurance – Lots of folks rave about Urban Decay shadow primer- and I have several tubes of it in my make-up- but the biggest downside to UD primer is the container- it’s a doe-foot applicator, and you can never (ever!) get all the product out of the container! When I fork over cash for a product, I need access people! UD is a good product, but Too Faced Shadow Insurance is easily as good, and comes in a tube without the issues. Too Faced wins.

MD Skincare All-In-One Tinted Moisturizer – I learned about this product line from my friend Jen who runs Mythbuster Beauty, and lucked into tube in a box Jen sent me to review. For as much as I love cosmetics, I hate having a heavily made-up feeling face, and this solves that problem in spades. It’s an SPF 15 covering UVA and UVB rays, comes in 6 tinted shades, and leaves your skin hydrated, and sheerly covered. It’s light, easy to use, and makes you look natural, only better. It’s a little pricey, but a little goes a long way, (my tube has lasted months) and it’s really good for your skin

Now here’s a good value: Maybelline Volume Express Falsies– For five bucks, you can’t beat this drugstore mascara- I’ve got a drawer full of mascara, and this if my favorite. No, it won’t give you false-lash drama (nothing can do that except the real (ha!) fakes) but this mascara is a fantastic value, gives good full coverage, has a nice brush, and has given me virtually no sloughing or flaking under my eyes, even after all day. Can’t beat that- plus, I just cannot, no matter what, make myself consider paying $26 for DiorSHOW, the purported master of mascaras. If you can, let me know how you like it- I tried it in Sephora, but seriously, $26 for mascara? No can do.

This… Oh, this my lovelies… This is the best beauty find of the year, hands down. The Urban Decay Naked Palette – This is the most beautiful collection of neutrals I’ve ever seen- and everyone else too, judging by the Sephora backorder on it until spring- yes, spring! Urban Decay makes the best shadows anyway, with the possible exception of MAC, but even that I’m not completely convinced. UD’s shadows are highly, richly pigmented, and the color pay-off is huge. Every color in this palette will look good on a wide variety of skin tones and shades- it’s become my go-to make-up and I wear it more than half the time. When applied over a primer, I can make up my eyes at dawn, and have them still look smokey and perfect at midnight, with virtually no touching up. This is where buying good makeup, while may cost more initially, makes it totally worth it. Get  your name on the wait-list for this one! Plus, it comes with a double-ended UD liner in Zero and Whiskey. UD 24/7 liners are the bomb, by the way. Don’t even bother with anything else anymore- even MAC can’t top them. They stay put and never migrate.

Speaking of MAC… when you go to the trouble of using good products and applying them carefully, give it a set. MAC Fix+ is a light misting finishing spray when you are done applying all your make up. Many companies are making them now, and I was skeptical, I have to admit. Mo talked me into trying it, and wowza, what a difference! Last thing I do before I start my day- spritz a fine mist over my face and closed eyes (I know it sounds nuts) and bam! everything is dewy and fresh, and stays that way all day!

MAC Viva Glam V – Oh yes… if you’re looking for a neutral, natural pink lipstick or gloss, Viva Glam V is a perfect shade. I seldom (like, never) go rich or dark on my lip color, but I like a good neutral, and Viva Glam is fantastic. Plus, when you buy Viva Glam lipstick or lipglass, every cent of the selling price (yes, really) goes to the MAC AIDS fund. Also, hold onto your MAC empties- if you take in five (any five) empty MAC containers, you get a free lipstick or lipglass of your choice. I can totally get behind that whole thing.

Now make yourself beautiful- use whatever you’ve got, and learn how to amplify and rock it. If I can go from an inept makeup geek to darn-near master, you can to. It brings a tear of pride to Mo’s eye, watching her Padawan turn into a Jedi. And sorry Ray, one more thing girls can do that you can’t. 😉

10 thoughts on “Favorite Beauty Finds of the Year

  1. This makes me tired just reading it. So much stuff for your face!!! And I’m sorry, but I was taught the “mister” trick as a teenager, and it is fabulous, but water will do just fine. A fine mist of water will do exactly what your finishing spray will do. Unless I’m wrong, and the spray is awesome. But a fine mist of water is great, and the only “trick” I know.

    So, you’re saying — tinted moisturizer, and you don’t need make up. Primer, and you don’t need make up, so do you wear them BOTH on the same day, or go one or the other?

    I’m getting older, and unfortunately, my skin needs more to look good, and so this is good to know. But agh!!! So much crap. Can’t I just have my 19 year old skin back?

    • The Evian spray trick is an old one, and it’s good. But it’s not as good as the MAC Fix+. Trust me. 😉

      And I, personally, would skip primer if I were going for just a tinted moisturizer- I use the primers when I’m wearing actual make-up, for a night out, or pictures…

    • Sephora are both freestanding stores in big malls, or JC Penny’s have mini-Sephora inside them now. MAC can only be bought at a MAC store, or in Nordstroms.

  2. OK, I totally overreacted. This is not that much stuff — I just REALLY REALLY want my 19 year old skin back. And now I want tinted moisturizer – so intriguing.

    • If you want to give tinted moisturizer a try before springing for something pricey, give Almay tinted moisturizer a try. It self-adjusts to skin tone, and is under $10 at the drugstore. If you love it, you can upgrade. Good stuff.

  3. Your last line made Michelle’s husband laugh, as well.

    However, this is one time when I have NO regrets whatsoever that I can’t do something my wife and daughters can do.

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