Beauty

Skincare

Health

About

My Top 7 Makeup Favorites Of 2017

Beauty

Photo by Alexandra Folino.

 

As stated in my previous post, I’ve done a lot of reflection on 2017 in the past few weeks. Although the year itself had many, many faults overall, I still managed to discover some pretty great beauty products. So I sat down with a mug of tea, read through all my monthly favorites posts from the past year, and tore through my vanity drawers. What I found: coveted products unearthed from the depths of 2017’s past. And they’re good — like insanely good. Ahead, I whittled my selections down to just my makeup favorites. Just in time for that tax refund (am I right?).

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil

This. Shit. Is. Gold. Pure gold. Actually, I suppose it’s pure Argan oil, but nonetheless, it feels like gold on the skin. I stopped using a makeup primer for the winter time (hello, dry skin), and replaced my traditional primer with a mix of this oil and a few spritz’s of Smasbox Primer Water (a brand new discovery). The oil soaks into the skin instantly and never feels heavy or sticky. In fact, it’s probably the only thing keeping my skin from flaking off right now in the brutal Arctic cold. I also like distributing a pump into the ends of my hair to tame fly-aways. I’ll be buying the full size bottle as soon as I run out. Like I said: freaking gold.

Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer

Talk to me long enough, and at some point during our conversation, I will try to convert you to a Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer fan. I started using this concealer as soon as it launched last spring. Well, it’s officially 2018, and I have yet to put it down. The potted formula covers up anything: from red bumps to acne scars, even dark circles. Plus a little goes a long way, so you can bet I’m still working on the same pot I was months ago. (It makes the $30 price tag a bit more bearable.) The best part: this concealer comes in every skin shade out there. I’m very fair with cool undertones, and I sit comfortably with the shade “Vanilla.”

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb

Far too many times, I’ve caught myself wax poetic about how this amazing lip gloss. Truth is, I don’t see my love affair dying off anytime soon. This lip gloss is the perfect everyday soft pink color — for any one. Any skin tone. Any skin type. The rose-y sheen has gold reflects that makes teeth look whiter and complexion look glowing. It’s also made with shea butter, so it doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue. Glosses just don’t get better. I’ll be over here patiently waiting for Rihanna to make more shades.

Flower Shimmer & Strobe Highlighting Palette

Not even five years ago, it was impossible to find a decent highlighter from the drugstore. I tried and failed on multiple accounts. But flash forward to 2017, and every brand under the sun had its own iteration. Some of the best: Wet N Wild’s MegaGlo, NYX’s Bright Idea Illuminating Sticks, and, my personal favorite, Flower Beauty’s Shimmer & Strobe Highlighting palette. IMHO, this palette is better than some of ABH’s and Huda’s palettes. Fifteen bucks get you three shades: a champagne, an icy pink, and a yellow gold. All three are spectacular shades, but I prefer to mix the champagne and pink for everyday wear. Just the lightest dusting leaves behind an almost wet appearance. And, unlike so many highlighters I’ve tested, this one stays all day long. Talk about a bargain!

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

2017 was the year when I discovered that loose powders ≠ dry skin. Actually, I’ve found that loose powders — in contrast with pressed powders — allow me more precise application and less creasing. Thus began my relationship with Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. It’s a cult favorite, so I knew I would love it from the beginning. But, there’s something special about this powder that makes me want to use it forever: perhaps the fact that it glides over skin (even dry patches) as if nothing is there or the way that it is forgiving when I make novice makeup mistakes. Whatever the reason, I’m not putting it down anytime soon.

Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner

This Dolly Wink Eyeliner might be my favorite discovery from the entire year, not because it’s a good liner (don’t get me wrong, it is), but because I found it in the most unexpected place. When I was on vacation last May, I picked this eyeliner up from one of the shops in Disney World’s Epcot Japan. I had previously heard a YouTuber chatting about the brand, so I instantly recognized it. After months of using it, this eyeliner became a favorite. So much so that I just ordered another one when I was planning content for this post. Plus, you don’t have to go all the way to Japan (or Epcot Japan) to get it. You can buy the brand for cheapie cheap on Amazon Prime. Two day delivery come through!

Jane Iredale Kabuki Brush

I tested out a lot of beauty tools this year. When I was testing products for Refinery29’s 2017 Beauty Innovator Awards, I tried everything from Clarisonic foundation brush heads to light up Tweezers. But the best makeup tool I found all year wasn’t even one of the most bazaar. A couple of months ago, I was sent some of Jane Iredale’s newest cruelty-free brushes, and one of them was this Kabuki Brush. Hands down, this is the best powder brush I’ve ever used. It applies loose powder like a freaking dream. The bristles are neither too dense nor too sparse, and they have the quality of a brush three times the price.

 

Was 2017 a great year for you too? Is there anything I missed out on trying? Let me know some of your favorite product discoveries in the comments below!

End Of The Year Musings: 2017 In Reflection & 2018 Resolutions

Health

I find myself very anxious this time of the year. For starters, we’re in the midst of the holiday season, and my to-do lists are never ending. But the most anxiety-inducing part of the season isn’t the holidays; instead, I find myself filled with uncertainty. Am I ending this year the way I was hoping to? Have I changed for the better in the past year, or have I just allowed myself to disappear into the shadows of 12 months? Allow this post to be a reflection of my thoughts and actions over the course of the past 365 days.

2017 In Reflection

I’d like to start by acknowledging the elephant in the room: I began 2017 with a revamp of my personal blog. Gone were the days of a site branded as “The Macaron Queen.” Instead, I vowed to focus on mental health, skin care, and self-expression through beauty. In that sense, I’d like to say that I’m very proud of all I’ve accomplished with this blog this year. I’ve turned my dreams into an outlet of my creativity. What I wasn’t expecting was my ability to create content like I had never hoped — at work. Writing everyday for a job became a blessing this past year, and while it’s taken away from my time and creativity to create content for Speckled, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I would love to be able to promise a better dedication to the blog this coming year, but I’d much rather turn to this website if and when I have the time to create on my own time and with my own inspiration. That’s when I make my best content.

2017 was also the first full calendar year in New York City. 10 years ago, I would’ve never believed you had you told me I would be living in NYC as a 23-year-old writer. But here I am. I’ve come a great distance — both physically and emotionally — to become the New Yorker that I am now. This journey has been inexplicable, mostly because I’ve never experienced something as exhausting and simultaneously invigorating. One of my favorite shows, Broad City, explained it best: New York City is one big delayed orgasm. I always feel like I’m getting somewhere, as a career-focused young woman. But the satisfaction of getting there is something I have yet to experience. It’s frustrating and exhilarating all at once. Because of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that this city is like nothing else I will ever experience. But it’s also somewhere I won’t be living for the rest of my life. And that’s something I’m totally okay with.

Finally, I think this year was one when I began to understand the relationships in my life. When I was younger, my mom always told me: “You can’t be friends with everyone.” I was persistent in proving my mom wrong, attempting to collect friends over the years, almost like you would collect coins or baseball cards. But the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how painfully right my mom was. I can’t be friends with everyone, no matter how hard I try. But even though I can’t be friends with everyone I meet, I can channel that energy into being a better friend to the ones who matter the most. I didn’t come to this realization until more recently, but I’d like to make an effort to be a better friend to the friends I love most — no matter where they are.

Another relationship I came to better understand this year is my actual relationship, with Jorge. He fills so many roles in my life: my best friend, my partner, and my true love. Moving into our own apartment together this year has done wonders for our relationship. We no longer feel like we’re inconveniencing others or living under someone else’s roof. This is our apartment, our rules, our decor style, and, for anyone else who’s made that move with their significant other, you understand how liberating that feeling is. But even more, because we no longer live in the city, our apartment is an escape for the both of us, something we’ve craved individually since moving here. But even more, with each passing day, I’m reminded how important my relationship is to my overall happiness, not because I’m dependent on him, but because we are co-dependent, supporting each other in this crazy city as much as we can. That’s the one thing I’m most thankful for this past year.

2018 Resolutions

Despite feeling overwhelmed with anxious end-of-the-year thoughts, I’m also someone who likes to get excited for what’s to come. 2018 is a blank page in a whole new chapter of my life — and being the Type A, detailed, pain-in-the-ass that I am, the thought of the new year fills me with joy. A new year means so much: new opportunities to become a better person, a new chance to hit the reset button on mistakes we may have made over the past year. And, most importantly, the new year offers a quick moment in time when we can make promises to ourselves. Sure, some of them might be empty promises, but if anything, we can acknowledge the components of our personalities we aren’t so keen on and tell ourselves how we would change them in an ideal world. Below, a few areas of my life I would like to focus on in 2018:

Organization
This seems to top the list of resolutions every year. But this year, more than others before, I find it necessary to really focus on my organization and scheduling. This year, I’m starting Spanish lessons on Wednesday nights. I will be continuing my weekly volunteer tutoring position on Thursdays. And I will be taking back up my yoga classes on Tuesdays. All this juggled between work and social obligations — there’s a lot of scheduling, and I need to focus on organization in order to navigate everything effectively. Thus, I promise that I will actively use my weekly planner to its best.

Health
This is an area of my life I’ve never prioritized in the past. It didn’t hit me until I was out to holiday drinks with my team from work. We were all joking about how we prioritize specific things in our lives, and it wasn’t until then when I realized that all of the things which I prioritize — work, my relationship, my friendships — are not myself. Because of this, I’ve ignored my health. It’s time to focus on working out, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and my skin care.

Style
Again, something I’ve never particularly cared about, but it’s ridiculous how often I default to a sweater and jeans when I’m stressed. My personal style is something I’ve never really cared about, but it’s such a big outlet for my creativity. Whenever I feel dressed up, I feel like I can do anything. So, let’s make 2018 a year when I’m not wearing jeans and a t-shirt every day because I feel like I have to. That’s a promise I intend to keep.

August & September Beauty Favorites 2017

Beauty

transition to fall beauty 1

With the exception of the holiday season, the transition into fall is one of my favorite times of the year. In fact, everything from September on is usually my cup of tea. But this year has been something out of a strange fable: 80 degree weather in October, hot and humid days that seem to never end. It’s an anomaly.

That’s exactly why my August and September favorites looks more like mid-summer favorites. But, to be completely fair, I’ve made do with the weather that this unseasonable warm “fall” transition period has given me. And in result, I’ve been rocking a very subtle, natural look for the past two months: soft pink blush, nude lips, chardonnay highlighter. It’s a look I’m very familiar with and verrryyy happy to continue wearing. So before I whip out my seasonal berry lip and golden eyeshadows: a toast to the end of summer. May these hot 80 degree days come to an end, and may these coveted beauty products take me into the fall with one unfaltering swoop.

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray

Rarely do I find a product I’m willing to buy over and over again, but here I am, on my third bottle of Rosarco Milk. This leave-in conditioner leaves my hair feeling soft and detangled, but — here’s the best part — the formula doesn’t weigh my wavy and curly bits down at all. I like to sprtiz evenly on towel dried hair before I add my other hair products. The resulting effect: smooth, playable hair that doesn’t get knotty throughout the day.

transition to fall beauty 2

Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in “Paaarty”

This deluxe-sized sample blush comes in the Sephora birthday gift this year for reward members. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted it, but at the last second, I decided to stop by and get the little set during my birthday month. Boy am I glad I did. The matte pink blush is the most flattering color — and the formula doesn’t fade overtime. As well, with all the traveling I’ve done over the past couple months, I’ve been really enjoying the smaller size. I’m so used to using blush in big palettes, but this guy is easy to throw in my bag for use on-the-go.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

In 23 years, I had never met a lip gloss I would wear every single day for the rest of my life — that was until I met this Fenty Beauty lip gloss. Yes, I did jump on the Fenty Beauty train like everyone else. And, yes, it is worth the hype. This lip gloss happens to be the most amazing gloss. It’s actually moisturizing, so I never feel like my lips are dry and chapped with a gooey outer layer. But it’s also hella pretty. The light pink shade has golden reflects and a natural-looking finish. It’s a bit pricey at $18, but it’s worth every single penny in my books.

transition to fall beauty 3

NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick in “Chardonnay Shimmer”

I have used cream highlighters at three or four times the cost, but I’m here to tell you that none of them stand up to this $8 formula. The shade “Chardonnay Shimmer” is ridiculously flattering on what I can only imagine to be almost any skin tone. And it’s ideal for transitioning from the hot days of summer (where skin is always shining and illuminated) to fall, where an illuminating stick is oh so necessary to maintain a “lit from within” highlight. To apply, I sweep on to the high points of my face and diffuse with my fingers. Bonus: this color is so pretty as a quick fix eyeshadow too.

Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Concealer

This potted anti-aging concealer is so so good under the eyes. Even though it’s potted, the formula is creamy and blendable. Plus it’s a buildable coverage so I can swipe it on for a fresh look or pack it on when I need it more. I don’t necessarily love this for acne spots — I still stand by my Nars concealers for redness. Unfortunately, I can’t find this anywhere online. But I did link out to what appears to be Korres’ newer formula, which I’m sure is just as good.