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My Top 7 Makeup Favorites Of 2017


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!

August & September Beauty Favorites 2017


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.


June & July Beauty Favorites 2017


This summer has been so promising in the beauty front. Maybe it’s all the new launches that have been popping up from brand to brand, but I have a feeling it’s something more: Despite throwing the occasional morning tantrum when I can’t find anything to wear in a sea of clothing, I honestly think I have a newfound self-confidence that has helped me blossom in the beauty realm. This year, I’m not afraid to flaunt my natural hair texture: it’s wavy, it’s messy, it’s slightly frizzy, and, you know what, I love it. I’m no longer trying to fight it. I’m also not looking to hide my natural beauty with too many products. It’s summer, and the less product there is to melt off my face, the better. That’s why I’ve taken the time to simplify my morning makeup routine and go for more easy products that don’t take too much time and enhance my natural features. Summer is all about embracing your natural glow, right?

Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It (H)air Styler for Thick Hair

Last summer, I decided to put away my hot tools until the weather cooled down. And this year, as soon as the days got longer and the temperature remained stagnant in the 80s, I knew I had to do it again. In fact, I’ve only used a hot tool on my hair twice in the past two months: once to add very sparse curls when I went out for my best friend’s bday party and the other time to test a product for work. Otherwise, I like to stick to my daily no-heat hair routine, and this product is definitely what helps my hair look more like a subtle bed head rather than a complete frizzy mess. A long time ago, I tried this product in the original formula for fine hair, but it’s really not that effective for someone with thick wavy frizz. This thick formula is SO much better (and you can betcha I’ll be picking it up once I finish this bottle). I like to distribute it from mid-shaft through the ends after my deep conditioner and before my mousse. Curious about my hair routine? Hopefully a more detailed post will be coming very soon!

Flower Beauty Shimmer & Strobe Highlighting Palette

I cannot (will not) put down this highlighting palette. I’ve tried so hard to go back to my other favorite highlights, but I can’t. NOTHING COMPARES. The palette features three shades: a blue-toned pink, a champagne and a light yellow-gold. And while all three colors are endlessly gorgeous, I have to say that the champagne is my HG highlight for summer. Did I mention it’s less than $15 at Walmart. This palette is so underrated, I cannot even begin to explain my love. Just try ripping this palette out of my hands. I dare you.

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo in Bad To The Bronze

I’m ridiculously late to the game with this one. I’ve heard YouTubers, bloggers, Instagrammers, and friends rave about this eyeshadow (in this specific shade) for way too long. But finally, I decided to jump the gun and just buy it. I was having a moment of weakness in the beauty section at Target, and I ended up buying too many things I didn’t need. But this eyeshadow was the best of the lot. If you’re looking for a subtle eyeshadow that you can literally dab on and go, this is your one, true love. It’s nicely pigmented so you can add on a single dab for something barely-there, or you can pack it on for an intense bronze smoky eye. This shadow does no wrong. And it’s been so great for summer days when I don’t have to patience to do too much eyeshadow (ie every day).

Glossier Cloud Pint in Puff

I was SO skeptical about this blush when it first launched. I thought it was such a rip off for the size of the product. And I had tried so many cream blushes that I thought it would just be like every single other one out there. Boy was I wrong. This blush will last you FOREVER. It’s so incredibly opaque — all you need is a single dot of blush for each check. It blends out flawlessly with fingers or a beautyblender. And, in all honesty, I can’t imagine using any other blush during the summer. I even wear it to the beach or on low-key days with only BB cream.