A Beauty Reflection
A look back at my 2016 makeup routine and beauty choices…
I usually do a “Best of Beauty” post to celebrate some of the “best” products I’ve tried in the year that’s passed. BUT. For some reason, last year, I just wasn’t very attuned to the latest and greatest, the best of the best. Sure, I was intrigued by new releases and felt surges of delight to be able to try and take part of beauty brands’ newest launches – but my overall personal beauty philosophy was finding and using things that I truly like, those that aren’t fussy and those that might not be the best but work for me in my current state of blah-ness during those times.
It happens – I think I peaked my makeup obsession and have lost the usual enthusiasm and passion I used to have for it during most of the months last year. But at the end of the year, I suddenly felt that my makeup-loving-soul was officially revived! My heart-eyes excitement, I realized, was just buried under my massive home decor lust. Ha ha ha! Come to think of it, I guess that’s what happened – I temporarily replaced my makeup compulsion with home decor infatuation.
Which means that these products I’ve included here are those I really, no-bullshit, used and abused during the waning stage I went through. Some are really good that I’ve used them to the pan, some are “okay, they work but I can find something better after this“. Okay, enough babble! Let’s get on with it.
Banila Co Prime Primer Fitting Foundation. One of my favorite discoveries last year! I’m close to emptying this bottle because I’ve used it compulsively since I got a hold of it. It has medium coverage that dries matte on my face and lasts the whole day. I even skip out on concealer sometimes and I find it good to go still. My sisters were so convinced when they tried it that they bought their own bottles of this as well for their everyday use. Most of the time, I just used this + brows + lipstick and I’m out! I also like that it has SPF30 so when I forget to put on sunscreen, I’m still shielded from those pesky UV rays.
Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Liquid Foundation. This is one of those “I think it’s okay, but I can find something better” products I’ve tried after using it several times. I guess I expected more from such an expensive foundation. While it has a beautiful skin-like finish, it just doesn’t last long on my face and I’m not even of the oily spectrum. I just wanted it to work longer, y’know? Texture-wise, this is beautiful and has a smooth, silky not-dewy-but-supermodely-skin finish but it doesn’t cover redness well so I have to conceal and correct and all that jazz I just don’t have time for anymore. If you were to spend your hard-earned money on a Guerlain product, I will redirect you to a holy-grail compact I will mention in the last part of this post.
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint. As I write this, it’s only now I realized this is quite the same as the Banila Co Fitting Foundation in terms of coverage, texture and finish. However, NARS has more alcohol content and is quite drying on the face compared to Banila’s version. I do love this for those times I feel quite oily than the usual, though. It lasts the whole day, too and I can just put this on and go. No concealer needed.
Clinique Blush in Rosy Pop. This is such a creamy powder blush that I can even skip the brush when I use this. LOL! I just dab some on my cheeks and it blends so effortlessly – got a new shade of this just last year, Rosy Pop, which is a muted rose shade. To be honest, I’m least fussy about blush. I still maintain that until now, I can whittle all of them down to three shades – they’re either orange, pink or brown on my cheeks.
Kevyn Aucoin Highlighter in Candlelight. This is one of those things I hemmed and hawed over for the longest time now but was never really sure about. So when my sister directed me to a pre-loved version of this in a Facebook group, I immediately snatched it. Guess what? I was underwhelmed. I didn’t expect it to be so subtle that I couldn’t pinpoint it at all. I think I’ve been too spoiled by the glow of my Burberry Nude Radiance highlighter, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks and Estee Lauder Modern Mercury highlighter that this failed to impress. Still, I kept on using it because I wanted to be proven wrong. My mind hasn’t changed though. It’s still too subtle for my preference.
W7 Shape Your Face Contour Kit. My sister lent me this when I needed a contour shade and while it’s not the ‘best’ powder in terms of texture, it’s quite pigmented and easily blended than most drugstore powders. Also, the shades are perfect for contouring since they are devoid of orange oompa-loompa tones that most brown shades have. The highlight shade is quite good, too. A matte, beige shade that complements the contour shades perfectly. I don’t know where she got the palette as I haven’t even heard of W7 cosmetics ’til I tried this. Apparently, it’s a drugstore UK brand!
Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Palette. I love this palette. It resurrected my love affair with eyeshadows. For a while there, I’ve just been using my Tom Ford Golden Mink palette as my “everyday” eye look (I should’ve included that here btw) but when I got my Tartelette palette (from here), I was hooked. I didn’t use any other palette for a long time! They’ve got the neutral eye shades covered – the texture is a bit powdery but the matte shades are incredibly pigmented which I appreciate. Matte eyeshadows are tricky! My three favorite shades are Firecracker, a bronze copper and Funny Girl, a champagne.
Maybelline Power Black EyeLiner. One of my beloved eyeliners because it’s so easy to use and glide on the lids plus it’s jet black, like a real intense black in just one swipe. I do find that this has smudged on me when I have oily lids, though so minus points for that. But when I have my lids primed and eyeshadow-ed, it doesn’t fade so easily nor does it smudge.
Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum Concealer. I’ve two power concealers (which I’ve failed to include here because I couldn’t find them at the moment I was shooting this) – Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer and Guerlain Multi-Perfecting concealer). But the Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum concealer is my go-to when I don’t need a heavy-duty concealer and just need evening out and some light-reflecting to combat the tired, dark circles. I like that it smoothens out my undereyes and doesn’t cake or fade easily within the day, too.
Etude House Lash Curl Mascara. This mascara is one of the few that retains my lash curls and lasts the whole day without smudging. Nil. None. Zero. It’s waterproof and rub-proof, you guys. But most importantly, it retains my curls. That is the most important feature for me. I usually don’t bother with mascara at times because they always weigh down my lashes anyway, but not with this one! The only downside? It’s so waterproof that it’s a biznatch to remove! Massaging each lash with oil cleanser is the only way I’m able to completely remove it.
Clinique Pop Oil and Lip Cheek Glow in Black Honey. Lip oil? You’ve got to be kidding, right? NOPE. My dry, overly parched lips from wearing too much matte lipsticks have found some solace in the Clinique Lip Oil because they bring back the moisture and juiciness along with a beautiful, natural tint. It isn’t just a gloss (which I hate wearing TBH!), it’s a lip-repair treatment for those suffering with cracking, dry lips (ME ME ME). I don’t particularly like wearing it as a cheek tint but it works for the cheeks, too.
Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream. The Colourpop liquid lipsticks have the nicest shades I prefer but they are very death-inducing to my lips. These Sleek liquid lipsticks offer the same matte-ness with minimal dryness. My favorite liquid lipstick though is the Inglot Lip Tint Matte (which I also lost in one of my bags LOL) because it doesn’t dry up my lips at all. However, I prefer the shades of Sleek like Birthday Suit, Velvet Slipper and Bittersweet.
Kylie Lip Kit in Dolce K. I just really love this shade on me for when I have a strong eye game going. I don’t find it soooo great as it is touted to be (honestly, it feels just like the Colourpop liquid lipsticks!) but I like the shade a lot and it’s less drying than the Colourpop version, Beeper. I do find this doesn’t last as long as most liquid matte lipsticks, though so that’s that.
Benefit Ka Brow Gel Creme. I’ve been a fan of the MAC brow gel creme for a long time but it dried up pretty quickly. The Ka Brow gel creme is the perfect shade for my brows and remains creamy for a long time despite not being able to seal it tightly as it should be. I love that the brush is also built-in (on top of the cap) so I never have to worry about losing it or forgetting to bring it. It’s pigmented but not overly so that it’s hard to blend and perfect. Depending on how you apply it, you can get natural-looking filled-in brows or the perfect HD brows. I love, love, love this! Benefit definitely perfected this formula, methinks.
K-Palette 2-way Eyebrow Pencil. A long-time staple and favorite, the K-Palette pen has a pencil on one side, a powder in the middle and a spoolie on the other side so you get on fleek brows without the hassle. I’ve gone through a number of these and it’s my go-to when I’m on the go and have no time to carefully draw in my brows with the gel creme.
Kate Eyebrow Mascara in BR-2. Though not in photo ‘cos I stash this wherever I go, I will never go back to expensive eyebrow mascaras ‘cos I found the perfect match for me! Kate’s eyebrow mascara in BR-2 is the ultimate ashy, brown shade that finishes off my brows and makes them look polished. It lasts the whole day, too!
My HG Powder
A special mention because I rarely declare HOLY GRAIL products, you guys. But my love goes out to Guerlain Parure Gold Powder Foundation which I’ve hit pan on and am planning to repurchase as soon as it’s available. This is the smoothest, most finely-milled, creamiest powder that my face has ever had the honor of absorbing, LOL. I will never stray with any other powder foundation again. It can be built to medium-full coverage as well which is great. It doesn’t cake, doesn’t emphasize dry patches. NOTHING. It has no down sides, I swear. It’s the only high-end powder so far that is worth all its ridiculous price. I. THANK. YOU.
So that’s it. I hope I didn’t miss anything! Can’t wait to try new products this year and hopefully be more experimental with makeup again so I can share more good, better, best and none of the above finds with you guys.