Since I hopped on the cosmetic bandwagon earlier this year, it has been an exciting journey to my
bankruptcy makeup collection. I've used products like a lab experiment subject and researched like a rocket scientist :-D So what do I love using the most from my stash? Here you go:
Skincare has been my priority. However, better makeup skills are making me neglect some of it. Not cool. My go-to products this year for skin, body, and hair care have been:
The Body Shop Seaweed Range: From this deluxe kit to the full-size items, I have used/praised/repurchased nearly everything. Summers take a toll on my combination skin and turns it into an oily slick. Using Seaweed Face Wash followed by Seaweed Clarifying Toner and Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream refreshes and brightens my face without any greasy residue for about 3-4 hours indoors in scorching heat. With added primer and setting powder on the face, it may last longer. For better results, I use Seaweed Facial Exfoliator twice a week and my skin survives those spells of heat.
Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque: What can I say? It's a cult-favorite to clear blackheads and dry the pimples on your face. Using it once a week gives such bright & airbrushed look to my bare skin. It's a keeper, ladies!
Pond's Pure White Face Wash: This is my first Pond's product I have ever used in my life - that too after resistance and reluctance. I was looking for something to brighten my skin without the scrubbing granules (which I love). It was a recommendation from a friend of mine who swore by it. Within few washes, I was more than convinced. It was gentle on skin, yet it performed superb. I've used it to take full face and eye makeup off, to follow after Hello Glow face polish, and to use in conjunction with several other face products. It has never disappointed me. <3 I'm a Pond's convert, y'all.
L'Oreal Exfoliating Gel Face Wash: This was an impulse-buy, after my not-so-good experience with L'Oreal Perfect White Face Wash couple of years ago. This has very fine granules that are not harsh on your skin, yet you can have really good exfoliation. To be fair, it doesn't clear my stubborn blackheads embedded on the nose by itself. But once I remove them by strips/mask/tool, it does a WONDERFUL job in delaying their return. I loved the results, just after one wash, and I alternate it with my other facewashes. So far, so good!
For the record, I sound like an exfoliation maniac :-D My weekends have this whole exfoliation extravaganza but in daily routine, only the L'Oreal facewash has gentle exfoliating particles. I don't get facials from salons, so this keeps me good to go :-)
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil: If I haven't raved enough about the miracles of Tea Tree Oil, let me tell you once more that it is a must-have due to its antiseptic qualities. For occasional breakouts, it's your best bet. I must clarify that it's best-suited for those bumps, zits, and clogged pores. I have no experience or knowledge about its effectiveness on ACNE.
The Body Shop Moringa Body Butter: It's a light-weight body butter that applies and hydrates like a dream. The best thing I find in this is the fragrance. Refreshing. I don't experience much dryness except sometimes in colder season. It would work really well on folks with dry skin even in Summers due to its non-greasy finish.
Hermes Kelly Caleche Eau de Parfum: It's not your girl-next-door fruity floral smell or even the dark mature-lady-like fragrance. I don't know how to explain perfume's scent :-P so all I can say it is currently my favorite. Lasts for 24+ hours without irritating your skin (or nose). Even if I wear the same clothes again after 2 days, it will still have the faint fragrance. It's my current love, if not the love of my life.
Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Reconstructor: I didn't care much for it in the first few times, but then I started noticing that my wispy heat-damaged curly/wavy hair appeared more tamed and smooth with this "miracle" product. Unlike a conditioner, it doesn't weigh my hair down at all. Win-Win.
Palmer's Olive Oil Conditioning Spray: I love how this can be used as a leave-in spray for frizzy hair as well as for a pre-shampoo oiling treatment. It's light-weight so you have to be careful of the amount that you apply. If overdone, you would have to clarifying shampoo or multiple-washes-a-time to take it out. I like its results better than Vatika's Olive Oil and Saeed Ghani's Maghziat Oil.
Now on to the makeup raves for 2013:
Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation "True Beige": Among all the types of foundations in my stash - liquid, powder, stick - this one is my favorite. Although shade-match was bit of a challenge because I was in a rush when I got it. The shade turned out to be one tone darker than my skin, but mixing with a lighter foundation or wearing over Luscious Whitening Base does the trick. The finish is semi matte - dewy over my skin and I don't set it with the powder - it stays fresh for over 10 hours (as per my experience). Have yet to see its magic in Lahore/Karachi summers :-P, but I'm impressed by how it feels like a second skin.
Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream - Shade 23: I didn't like how it appears a tad ashy when first applied, but after 20-30 minutes, I got a flawlessly glowing light-medium coverage which was phenomenal. I've wore it in different weathers, with/without primers, day & night events - it makes Western BB creations seem like a joke. The shade 23 is a PERFECT Match for NC 20-25. Anyone lighter than this go for the 21 shade in this. It flatters your skin only if worn in the right shade (as should a foundation).
Garnier Tinted Roll-On "Fair": Although it offers minimal coverage (but can be layered), it is my go-to concealer for day/daily usage. For reference, I don't have dark circles, but my hooded eyes look "incomplete" without a liner "accent" on the outer-upper lid and this concealer.
DMGM Kohl Pencil "Black": Speaking of liner accents, I use liner on the outer half (top & bottom) for a natural and open-eye look on my hooded-almond eyes. DMGM pencil is creamy (yet doesn't break on me), uber-black, and dirt-cheap. Once set, it doesn't budget unless I take it off. I also use this for waterline and tightlining upper lashline. In both cases, it stays good 5-6+ hours. [UPDATE] An equally awesome alternative to DMGM is Diana of London Kohl Eye Pencil (which has similar packaging to DMGM).
Essence Gel Eyeliner "Midnight In Paris - Black": Although it's on the drier side of the other gel eyeliners I've tries, but I love this for its value-for-money and staying power. I don't have to worry about this taking time to dry on my hooded lids or its smudging due to my frequent eye-pokes :-) Good purchase.
Luscious Perfect Brow Toolkit "Dark": I have not used any other brow-kit (becaus, honestly, I thought brow grooming is useless - and would make me look like Ainak Wala Jin). After this one, I see the difference that groomed eyebrows make. Now, I'd like to try what's out there, but this shall remain high in regard.
Benefit They're Real Mascara: I don't wear mascara much because of my Asian-like lashes. I have to put a lot of product on for it to make a difference. This changed with They're Real. I don't know WHAT it does, but my lashes become fluttery long & heavy. I still don't wear mascara daily, but for more formal stuff, this is LOVE. It would be even better on people with normal and/or heavy lashes. Like wearing falsies,
MUA Undressed Palette: Even when I don't wear eyeshadows every day, this is what I always reach out for. From subtle to bold, it has nice pigmentation for its price and I love love love the warm neutral shades - which makes me want to have UD Naked 1 even more. It has minor problems like fallout and uneven pigmentation for some shades, but still - its the bang for your bucks.
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter: I fell in LOVE with the formula and hydration with such awesome pigmentation. I currently own 6 shades of this and each one is great. My favorite has to be Raspberry Pie. It's a great shade for all skin-tones and seasons. A drugstore royalty, truly. Some shades have to be reapplied after 3-4 hours as well as after meals, but for this lippie, I don't mind. Will review all in detail.
Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick "39": It's a matte formula lipstick that I absolutely adore. It's a orange-nude type of lipstick which you can wear with smokey eyes, as well as by itself for daily usage. I like how it brings peachy-coral look in my complexion. It is one of the most-used lipsticks from my 40+ stash of lip products.
Sleek Blush "Rose Gold": I recently got Nars Orgasm, so will take the yes-dupe-no-dupe theory later in a separate review. As a standalone, I love the duochrome glow it gives to the cheeks. I use it in day time for soft looks and can binge on it for event :) I, for one, love that it has more golden sheen. With this you can skip highlighter.
Essence Blush Brush: With its slant bristles and compact size, it is a great tool for a beginner like me. For the price and quality, it is beyond great. It picks up the right amount of product and blends it well on the contours of my cheeks without any effort.
Benefit Girl Meets Pearl: I've raved about this already! Very subtle "no-highlighter highlighter" glow. You can apply directly on face or mix with your face cream for dewy finish. It takes one-tenth of a pea size to illuminate your cheekbones, so it is worth the investment to last you for a long long time. My favorite highlighter till date.
So, that's it from my end, ladies! Do share your 2013 favorites and feel free to share links of your posts that I should read <3