BEAUTY FAVOURITES OF 2014

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I present to you the beauty products that I have most used in the grand scheme of what was 2014, split up into a few categories for your (and my) convenience.

I know, I know. It’s way past the socially acceptable duration to talk about those 2014 favorites – I mean it’s so last year already. Alas, my procrastination has no notion of time as is its own mirror, so I am just going to be a bloggin’ rebel and write up this blogpost anyways.

Disclaimer: I go quite in-depth on certain (okay, most) products in this post, so beware of those extensive ramblings that lie ahead. (Okay, anyone else just thought of that Harry Potter quote, “Dark and difficult times lie ahead – soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy”? No? Just me? Oh, alright then. On we go.)

#01: SKINCARE

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Having a combination to oily skin type, I long for non-obvious yet thorough hydration during the day and a more rich and luxurious feeling nourishment in the evenings and night. I’ve used a ton of daily moisturizers in my young life, but I’ve come to appreciate Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Gel Creme, though I have now switched to their Hydramax + Active Moisture Gel Cream. I like its airy and refreshing feeling gel-creme texture, less sticky feeling than some of the gel type moisturizers that I’ve tried before. It feels hydrating, has softening benefits and gets absorbed into the skin almost immediately. Nevertheless I do feel like I prefer the Hydra Beauty Gel Creme just a tad more, since that one just feels even more hydrating. But certainly with summer on the horizon, the Hydramax + Active Moisture Gel Cream does the job brilliantly, leaving my skin refreshed, soft and glowing after application.

My past and current serum to apply underneath my daily moisturizer is the MAC Lightful Marine-Bright Formula Essence Serum. Providing a good base for my moisturizer and other toppings of choice, it feels wonderfully light and invigorating on the skin. It does the job at hydrating, softening, smoothing and even, over time, evening out my skin, and adds that little bit of extra hydration that my skin needs without feeling as though I’ve slapped on too much product. I’m currently on my third bottle, so I can honestly say that I have not seen any fault in this product so far.

When talking of my evening routines, I like to switch it up just a bit every now and again. After taking off my make-up using a dual-phased make-up remover, currently using and loving the MAC Gently Off Eye & Lip Make-up Remover for the job, and a micellar water, I then use the MAC Lightful Marine-Bright Formula Softening Lotion to fully cleanse my skin and prep it at the same time for either the Lush Gorgeous moisturizer, which is filled to the brim with organic ingredients such as orange blossom honey and fresh pineapple juice for a natural cleanse, or for the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, a lightweight serum-like product containing naturals oils and other beneficial ingredients that instantly replenishes the skin with moisture.

The reason why I like to alternate between these two lovely products is the way they feel on my skin, or the reason why I want to use them. They both provide me with intense hydration and boost my skin immensely, making me wake-up with lovely glowing and plump looking skin that feels soft and smooth to the touch. When my skin feels a bit more tight or I’ve had a rough or tiring few days, I tend to reach for the Lush Gorgeous for all its organic goodness. If my skin needs a bit more sustenance or if I just fancy treating myself to more of an overnight facial, I go for the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Or I just act like the whimsical princess that I am and choose at random. In the end I’m in adoration with both of these products and never wish to be parted from them. They are the Romeo to my Juliet. Or until I find me a better Romeo, that is.

On days where my skin (or my hormones) feels the need to annoy the frick outta me, I put my faith towards the Effaclar Duo[+]spot treatment by La Roche Posay. It’s light, doesn’t stick or slip across the skin and isn’t very drying. It’s marvellous at correcting the skin and unclogging those pores. I have not found another spot treatment as gentle yet effective as this one, and it has yet to fail me. Don’t expect wonders from it except some loyal assistance against the battle that are our hormones, our diet and pollution in general.

As for extra treatments and pamperings, I’m all over Lush’s Dark Angels cleanser, that I use as an exfoliant, and their deep cleansing mask, Mask Of Magnaminty, to further purify and revive dull-looking skin. For a more soft exfoliate and cleanse, their funny-looking facial soap, Movis, acts as a bit of breakfast in the bathroom. It’s a soft facial soap that doesn’t dry out my skin and is effective at getting rid of any residue or dead skin that only needs mild exfoliation. The fact that it looks and obviously is based on a loaf of bread makes it all the better. #breadbuddies

Though I’m not a fervent eye cream user, I do try to remind myself to use the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serumevery now and again, as I prefer the lightweight yet throroughly hydrating formula of this serum above any other eye product I’ve ever used so far – although I do like Origins’ Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream, too.

As a yummy bonus, a lovely cherry on top my skincare pie, I love using the Lush Bubble Gum Lip Scrub for obvious exfoliating purposes, but also because it just tastes so dang good. #noragrets


#02: FOUNDATION + CONCEALER

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It’s always been challenging, finding foundations that a) don’t break me out, b) don’t make my combination skin feel turn into an oil slick and c) are fair enough to match my complexion. Don’t get me wrong, I like Oompa Loompa’s a whole lot, but I don’t particularly wish to look like one myself.

Needless to say, I’ve tried and tested a shit-ton of foundations before and I’m very content to share with you a product that may well be my holy grail of choice: the MAC Pro Longwear SPF 10 Foundation in NW13. Naturally, us beauty enthusiasts are always on the look-out for “the next best thing”, and while I am still keen on finding and trying out new products, I’m so pleased to have found a product I know will always work for me. Now mind me, this is one of those products that you either absolutely love, or completely detest. For me, it holds the perfect balance in formula. Not too matte, yet not too dewy. Not too full coverage, yet not too sheer to have to build up layer after layer to achieve the medium to sometimes even full coverage that I prefer. It has a rather thick consistency that adheres to your skin almost immediately after application, so you better not go around poking and rubbing that thing! Its consistency lends itself to filling in and blurring out pores and other imperfections, and thus creating a smooth layer of that much desired “new skin”. So even though it’s medium to even full coverage and quite a thick consistency, it doesn’t feel nor look heavy or even apparent on the skin. I can’t begin to tell you all the compliments I’ve gotten from people, telling me how it’s barely noteable that I’ve got anything on.

One of the other aspects of this foundation that I has made me fall in love with it, is that it is unbelievably long-wearing. It doesn’t go blotchy or cakey (as long as you apply it in a correct manner and in thin layers), and when my skin does start to get oily, it doesn’t make my foundation tear apart at the seams. It just kind of, I don’t know, melts into it. I prefer using a synthetic buffing brush or, above all, a beauty blending sponge. There’s something about using a damp sponge that makes this foundation apply even more flawless.

One thing that does annoy me, is that their lightest shade, NW13, is still a wee bit too dark for me. But no worries, I just mix in some of the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW15 or NC15, which is basically the same formula except a bit more dewy, or some of the Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + if I feel like going for a more matte finish that day.

On those days where I don’t feel like wearing medium coverage and/or prefer something more dewy looking, I go for the Make Up For Ever Face & Body in 38. Made up as being a water based and thus water resistant foundation that can be used on both the face as the body, it provides you with a lightweight and almost skin-like finish. I love using this one in the summer especially.

I can’t believe I didn’t include the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque in the picture, because it absolutely earned its holy grail status in my collection. I never, ever, do my make-up without this product. It’s the perfect shade for me to correct and conceal my under-eye area. Its creamy consistency makes it almost invisible to the eye as it melts into the skin beautifully. Absolute essential. Its partner in crime, the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer, is a more emollient concealer, perfect for those spots that are in their last stages of being flaky and dry. It’s a tad too creamy for use on the under-eye area in my opinion, but a lovely product that I have enjoyed using nonetheless.

Many concealers have passed the jury as well, and though I still love the Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer, a new sheriff has come into town and is here to stay: the NARS Creamy Concealer in Chantilly and Vanilla. Similar to the Pro Longwear in formula, it’s lightweight yet potent in coverage, whilst not being drying, cakey or too creamy. It stays put and gives a lovely luminosity to the skin. It doesn’t cling to dry patches or settle into lines. Another holy grail. I always recommend this to everyone I know – which says a lot.


#03: POWDERS

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Ah, what’s an oily skinned gal gotta do without her powder, ey? And boy oh boy, do I have plenty of those hidden inside my drawers. But alas, there can only be so many favorites, so here are the ones that have beat the bunch in 2014.

My first and everlasting love from MAC is and will always remain their Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light. Lightweight, luminous and light to buildable coverage. Not cakey or apparent looking in the slightest, it’s the perfect product to finish off my base with. Mineral powders are known to be (one of) the most luminous and natural looking ones out there, but MAC has the best one, in my opinion. This powder gets better by wear as it melts into your skin within the first hour of application. As my foundations tend to be more on the matte side anyways, I’m not always too keen on adding a mattifying powder on top. Lately, this little fella is the only powder I’ve really reached for, except for the MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder – which is kind of similar in texture to the MSF except that it has more coverage and that it’s obviously not a mineral powder – that is always safely stashed away in my handbag and I have ever so conveniently forgotten to put in this post because of that very reason. Oops.

For days or for foundations where I know I’ll need to add a more matte powder on top, I use the MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder. It only has about 20% of pigment in it, so it works perfect as a finishing powder. It’s light and finely milled enough so that it doesn’t cake the whole thing up, but still very effective at locking it all in.

And then there’s the ever so famous MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NW10, which is perfect for those days where I like to go all out on the higher coverage, or when I fancy wearing a powder foundation on its own. It’s quite a dry powder, so you have to be careful not to overdo it, or it will end up looking cakey and obvious. I always use a buffing brush for application and never forget to spritz it off with a finishing spray to really make the powder melt in with the skin.

For contouring and bronzing purposes, I’ve only ever found two products that really do the job for me. Unfortunately they were both limited edition, but I’ll list dupes for them along the way. The first one is the MAC Next To Skin blush that came out with the Artificially Wild collection. This one’s only intended for all those fair skinned ladies out there, as it’s obviously a contour shade that will only show up if you’re part of the Snow White clique. It’s a perfect, fool-proof contour shade that I hope they will bring back eventually, though I have a backup ready. A more pigmented, less muted dupe would be MAC Taupe.

MAC’s Jolly Good Mineralize Skinfinish Duo is a two-in-one product, with the one side acting as a bronzer and the other as more of a highlighter. The texture feels silky and finely-milled which makes application subtle and thus fool-proof for my fair complexion. It’s a beautiful light beige shade that is cool enough as to not turn up muddy or orange on me; it just provides me with a luminosity and a subtle warmth.

I’m not sure what dupe I’d find for this, but The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder is fairly similar, although less muted in warmth and not as luminous.


#04: BLUSHES

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I need a bit of color in my life, and certainly on my face. Being fair as I am, I need blusher to revive myself a bit more. I tend to go for more cooler tones and not so much terracotta’s or such – although I do love my peaches and certainly my corals. I have a considerably blush collection so it’s only natural that I alternate often, but if I look at the blushes I have reached for the most in 2014, it’s more cool-toned ones. Either I opt for the more ‘apparent’ kind such as Desert Rose, Blushbaby and Douceur, or I go for more soft and fresh shades like Dainty, Hervana or Peony Petal. Tenderling is somewhere in between being a more warm toned blush and a muted contour shade, for days or looks where I don’t want much color but just a bit of warmth.


#05: HIGHLIGHTERS

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I’m a sucker for a good highlight. I don’t like chunky, glittery and very notable highlighters. I want it to look as natural and subtle as possible, with the option of upping the game. If I go for the latter and want a more obvious looking highlighter, I go for theBalm Cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer, which is a golden champagne shade with texture like butter and pigmentation like… like… curry powder. (Saywhatnow?)

When I feel like going more subtle, I bring out the Physicians Formula Happy Booster Powder in Translucent. I have no idea why they’ve baptized this baby into being translucent, because it sure as hell isn’t. It’s a subtle frosted highlighter that leans more on the warm beige-champagne side with a hint of pink to add a bit more glow to your face.

Then there’s MAC Perfect Topping Mineralize Skinfinish, a golden peach highlighter with violet veins running through it that leaves a soft, frosted sheen. The texture of soft and buttery with excellent pigmentation. I really love these reformulated highlighters from the MAC Lightness of Being collection. I recently picked up the one in Lightscapade, which is vastly different from the permanent one that I already have stashed away.

#06: THE BROWS

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Brows, brows, brows. This is what makes or breaks a look, in my opinion. You’ll seldom see me without my brows done. They form such an important feature on the face. They frame it, they reflect and enhance the shape of your face. And even so, many people forget to pay attention and give a little TLC to their brows – myself included. I think it was one of the last things I ever mastered, but has now become one of, if not the, most crucial and favorite step in my make-up routine. People always compliment me on my brows, and they’ve become a part of how I look. I’ll do a detailed how-to in the future, but what it comes down to is to use different textures and shades to become that gradient effect that has become so popular these days. I mainly focus on the outer parts of the brows and barely touch the inner parts in the process. I begin with creating the shape and length that I want with a gel liner, in specific the MAC Fluidline Brow Gelcreme in Dirty Blonde, and a fine angled liner brush. I confine myself to about 1/3 of the brow, starting from the arch. After that I switch to MAC Mystery eyeshadow to go over the gel liner to further intensify and sharpen it. I then use my beloved MAC Omega on 2/3 of the brows, not going further than the middle of the brow. I then wipe off almost all of the remaining shadow off the brush, and use whatever is left to fill in the inner parts, merely creating a shadow.

To get that crisp and defined brow, use a powder or concealer in a lighter shade to outline your brows, especially below the brow. I use MAC Blanc Type and MAC Gesso, which is basically a matte white shadow, to create more depth. I finish it all off with a transparent brow gel such as the Make Up For Ever Brow Seal, and boom, Bob’s your uncle.


#07: THE EYES

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I alternate between minimalistic and subtle eye looks and more dramatic, smokey ones – either in neutral shades or vibrant ones. But on a day-to-day basis, I go for a more minimalistic look. I never, EVER, start my eye make-up without applying MAC Painterly as a base. Nothing beats it. Nothing. I then often use MAC Blanc Type as a skinlike base, or use the beige shades in the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette. I’ve loved using MAC’s Artificial Earth as a simple, neutral base shade on the lid. Unfortunately it was limited edition, but MAC Era is very similar to it.

If I want a very minimalistic look but still want to make it look like I put some effort in it, I simply use MAC Groundwork all over the lid. No fuss and looks great. If I’m feeling vibrant, I love using MAC Violet Pigment as a subtle frosted lavender wash all over the lid and into the crease. Adds some color without being too much, and it works great with my green eyes and cool complexion. Effortless texture as well.

MAC Sweet Satisfaction and MAC One To Watch are both beautiful ready-to-go shades for those one-eyeshadow-application looks. Both extremely smooth in texture and lovely in pigmentation, the MAC Pro Longwear eyeshadows are not to be missed.

My all time favorite crease and transition color is MAC Kid. I can’t say much about it except that it’s the perfect neutral shade that has a beautiful balance between being not too cool toned and not too warm, not too sheer and not too obvious. And for when I do want a more apparent crease color, I always reach for MAC Corduroy. It’s a medium brown with slight red undertones, again providing the perfect balance between being not too cool and not too warm.

MAC Shroom also possesses that perfect balance of pearlescence without being too much. It’s the perfect highlighting eyeshadow since it’s not too frosty or metallic, yet just luminous enough to enhance any look and brighten up the eyes. Ladies, it’s better than caffeine.

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#08: THE LASHES

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I won’t spend too much time on this segment as it’s the most subjective one so far. Figure out what type of lashes you have and what type of lashes you’d like to achieve through the use of a mascara. I don’t like dramatic lashes on myself in general, so these mascaras achieve fairly natural looks. I have medium-length lashes and I prefer synthetic bristles or fine ones, often targeted for creating more length and definition rather than volume.

My absolute favorites are Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils, currently using the one in shade 4, a deep eggplant shade that compliments my green eyes most elegantly. Similar but slightly more everyday is the Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara which is a real no-brainer for me. No clumping, crumbling or smearing with these two, only love.

For my lower lashes, or for adding more length in general, I adore the MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash. You won’t really achieve much volume with this one, which is why I like to pair it with other mascaras, or I use it on its own if I fancy a softer looking lash.

The MAC False Lashes Extreme Black (not shown in picture) or the MAC False Lashes Waterproof mascara are both favorites if I want more drama, though the Waterproof one isn’t the best for layering, just for being waterproof and not clumpy.

#09: THE LIPS

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I can’t even mustard up the strength for you to ketchup with my lipstick collection. It’s bananas. I love both neutrals as brights, though I’ve always had a preference for more satin or matte formulas. MAC make the best lipsticks ever. Ever. Anyways, enough adoring, here are some of my favorites.

In the neutrals, there’s Velvet Teddy, Kinda Sexy and Taupe. All very neutral, though you can’t really say they’re subtle. Mocha is a more burnt red, on the warmer side. Retro, unfortunately not being displayed as I lost it but thankfully possess once again, is a more vibrant, red version of Mocha, and perfect paired with Mahogany lip pencil, also by MAC. Shanghai Spiceis a softer, more creamy version of what would happen if Kinda Sexy and Velvet Teddy would have a baby, with perhaps a bit more pink in it. A very easy, grab-on-the-go lipstick.

Faux is ridiculously famous because of the whole Kylie Jenner hype, but I can see why it’s loved either way. It’s an easy shade, keeping in mind that it’s not exactly a MLBB shade as it’s still quite a brownish muted pink. Similar to Brave, though that one’s a good deal rosier and less muted.

I love going all out on the lips when I’m keeping it simple on the eyes. All business on top, party downstairs. I have many favorites, but these are my most used ones from 2014.

I’ll start off with Fashion Revival, as it’s both not the brightest out of the bunch and was also a limited edition (soooz). I know I’m referring to birth in the lipstick section, but if Diva and Captive had a baby, this would be it. Sticking with the more red based shades, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl is how Ruby Woo should be like concerning texture. It’s a bit more on the blue-toned side as Ruby Woo, but I love it even more for it. Perfect paired with Cherry lip pencil, it wears for ages without drying out and tugging on the lips. Lady Danger is my favorite non-red-red. It’s a vivid bright orange-red, smack-bang in the middle of being red and orange. Very bright retro.

Heroine… Oh, the name says it all. What a commotion this shade brought with it when it became part of the permanent range again! It’s a bright pinkish purple with a matte finish. Violetta is very similar to it, apart from it having a blue metallic shimmer to it.

Pink Pigeon is one heck of a bright lipstick, with its blue-based pinkness. It’s somewhat similar to Candy Yum Yum, though that one’s even brighter and more cool toned. Show Orchid is one of my all time favs because it’s just so unique and pleasant to wear. It’s a vibrant fuchsia-pink with a purple and blue metallic sheen. For more wearable brights I often reached for Please Me and Snob. Please Me is a lovely pink-peach shade, providing you with a nice alternative to all those mainly cool toned pink shades. Snob is one of those cool toned light pink shades, maybe even leaning towards lavender. I mostly pair it with Whirl lip pencil for more depth and warmth, but it’s the only pink lipstick that is so cool toned that I actually like.

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For lip pencils it’s a bit more difficult to state which ones are my favorites, because it just depends on what lipstick I’m wearing, but my most versatile ones are definitely these ones. They work with so many shades of lipstick and are overall lovely to work with.

If you know me, you know that I hardly ever wear lip gloss. I just don’t like the stickiness and the bleeding it often gives, but I do like how it looks on the lips, making them look more plump and luscious. The ONLY product that helps me achieve this without feeling like a gloss, is the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, in various shades but mostly #01 and #02. It’s hydrating without being too rich and it gives your lips a sheen without feeling tacky. They also have the slightest iridescence to them without being obvious at all. It’s all about being subtle and natural. They’re just complete no-brainers and are always in my handbag. The perfect marriage of a lip balm, a lip tint and a lipgloss. Oh, it’s love. Baby, it’s fact.


#10: THE HAIR 

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And last but certainly not least: hair products. Now, I’m a very no-fuss kind of gal when it comes to my hair. It’s quite an easy cut anyways, so it’s either up or down, flat or tousled. For the more beachy and texturized effect I know I can always rely on Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray to do the job. A good and slightly more affordable alternative would be Toni & Guy’s Sea Salt Texturising Spray, though the Surf Spray is still more effective.

Together with my beloved Surf Spray, the Batiste Dry Shampoo is another long term favorite of mine, and I am never without at least one bottle. It’s good clean fun. It provides me with volume, freshens and livens the hair up and gives it a bit more texture in general.

For hairspray, the only one for me is still the L’Oréal Elnett Satin. No crunch, no stickiness. No need to explain as I’m sure most of you have this beauty tucked about in your beauty cabinets already.

That’s all folks! For all who have stuck with me until the end, I SALUTE YOU! It’s been a long one, but we’ve made it, we’ve planted our flag and we’re ready to face another year of exciting new discoveries or comforting re-discoveries. I am now going to give my starting-to-cramp-up fingers a rest and please do tell me if you liked this post or if you fell asleep halfway through it. I won’t judge, promise.

Much love and chocolate chip cookies to you,

Jolien

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