Top 13 Discoveries In 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
2013 was excellent with regards to trying and discovering new skincare and make-up. Getting to know the Beauty Anonymous girls Sophia, Sara and Eliza definitely expedited the whole discovery process with our constant US hauls. In this post, I would like to share with you the top 13 discoveries I made this year.
PS: I will have a video up tomorrow with my top picks for the year. That video will cover a whole lot more items including items that were discovered prior to 2013 and still very much loved. Also, there are 2 bonus discoveries at the bottom of this post 🙂
Now let’s begin…..
1. Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl
Been using this for a couple months now, and I STILL LOVE IT! I know there are lots of online retailers selling for much cheaper than what I paid, so if you manage to score one of those and they are authentic, good for you. It has been such a breeze in giving me effortless looking loose curls.
2. Albion Skin Conditioner
This was an accidental discovery I made when trying out a sample from a Vanity Trove box. It’s meant to be a skin softener (according to Japanese skincare routine). I actually substituted my regular toner with this and have been using it daily with a cotton pad. It’s got a powdery scent and leaves skin feeling hydrated, soft and supple. I don’t really know how it works, it just does! I also like “masking” with this by soaking my Albion cotton pads with this and tearing out each ply to let the lotion sink into my skin for 5 minutes. Mega love!! If you haven’t tried this, you should.
3. YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation
I think I am starting to sound like a broken tape recorder. Yes I am in love with this foundation. It provides the hydration and radiance that I yearn for in my looks for my usually naturally matte and sallow looking skin. Only gripe is that I need to use a primer underneath because, this foundation does not last, not even on me!! And most foundations last forever on me! Nonetheless, it’s really pretty!
4. Brows: Shu Uemura Hard Pencil & Benefit Gimme Brow
Ok.. I kinda cheated here with 2 items. In my defence, I use both items hand-in-hand for my brows. The Shu Uemura Hard Pencil is hard(duh..) and not waxy like most eyebrow pencils. When I first started using this, I did not like it because I didn’t really know how to work with it. It only dispenses colour either in areas where there’s hair or where there’s a little bit of oil or tacky base which will stick to the colour from the pencil. The trick to using this is to use small strokes while controlling the amount of pressure you put onto the brows. I just love how soft and natural the finish look is. I couple it with the Benefit Gimme Brow to “set” the brows and they stay put all day!
5. Suqqu, Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Koyudo Brushes
These natural bristles, handmade Japanese brushes are and will forever be my weakness. I started with picking out a set of Hakuhodo + some individual brushes when I was in Tokyo earlier this year. That led to splurging on the renowned Suqqu Cheek Brush – best purchase ever!! This brush made all my Hakuhodo’s second best. Later in the year, Eliza helped me pick up another few brushes during the one week Hakuhodo sale in Singapore. I have yet to try out my Koyudo or Chikuhodo brushes but have since washed them all and there hasn’t been any falling bristles, which is good! Chikuhodo brushes feel very similar to Suqqu (not quite as soft, but similar nonetheless) but the “cut” of the brush is slightly less refined. Will check back with you once I start using them.
I’ve got a detailed review of the Suqqu Cheek Brush here if you are interested.
6. Kevin Aucoin Sculpting Powder & Candlelight Highlighter
You cannot get the sculpting powder and not get the highlighter. These 2 products have been reached for the most throughout the year. Before discovering the KA Sculpting Powder, my favourite was the NARS Laguna Bronzer and I thought I would love that bronzer forever (I still do but I now use that as a bronzer rather than a contour powder). The only other sculpting powder I had was the limited edition Chanel Notorious. It’s gorgeous but not quite as perfect as the KA Sculpting Powder in creating the illusion of sunken cheeks while accentuating high cheekbones. I will need to do a detailed review and demo of this powder so you can see how it works it’s magic 😉
No contouring and sculpting is complete without highlighting. If you meet me in person or spot glowing skin in my photos, chances are… it’s the KA Candlelight Highlighter working it’s magic. Yup! It is that amazing! This is a very finely milled powder with microscopic shimmers which reflects light in all the right angles giving you a healthy natural glow without that shiny/oily look.
7. Red Lipsticks
I used to always shy away from bold, bright red lipsticks because I used to associate red lipsticks with older mature women. After seeing Sophia and Joey flaunting red lips in many LOTDs, I had to give it a shot. My first red lipstick was the Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro which I got from Japan. What better place to experiment with bold colours than in Japan..right? So I did and I fell in love with red lips! The rest is history. Red lipsticks brighten up the face like no other, and you won’t need any other make-up to look well put together.
A majority of my red lipsticks are from NARS and Giorgio Armani. They seem to do the best reds. If I had to pick, my most reached-for reds are the NARS Satin Lip Pencils in Majella and Luxembourg.
8. NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder
I cannot live without this powder!!! It is THE best powder for setting under-eye concealer. I have got both the loose as well as the pressed versions. And guess what? I’ve even got some hit pan action going on with my pressed powder (Woohoo!). Hitting pan is something that is pretty much non-existent in my beauty journey. I can’t rave enough about this powder.
Read and watch the detailed review here.
9. Inglot Eyeshadows and Blushers
This is one brand I have always been very intrigued by after seeing various YouTubers rave so much about it. What I love most is the ability to choose and create your own palettes from a wide (AND I MEAN WIDE) selection of matte, pearl, shimmery colours. Yea I know.. MAC allows you to do that as well. BUT, the difference is that this brand is so inexpensive and has such good quality shadows and blushers. I first encountered this in Penang, Malaysia and was surprised that each eyeshadow was only about SGD12. I had initially gotten only a couple shades to try but have since depotted everything to a Z-palette. I intend to fill up my big Z-palette with Inglots in the near future.
10. THREE Pencil Eyeliners
I do have an overflowing stash of pencil eyeliners but none – yes, NONE can compare to these THREE eyeliners in withstanding my oily lids. These eyeliners are pricey at around SGD50 a pop, but they are well worth every cent because nobody wants panda eyes right? They are so creamy, smooth and easy to glide onto the lids. Once they set, they will not budge, apart from the ones on my waterline. My waterline eats up every eyeliner that touches it which is a pain, but I can deal with that. A more detailed review of these babies will follow soon.
PS: The closest dupe to these are the Solone eyeliner pencils from Taiwan. They also have pretty shimmers and are very easy to apply. The only problem is that they get so soft and melt in Singapore weather, making it almost impossible to sharpen without first popping them in the fridge for 5 minutes.
11. High-End Nail Polish
I will admit, I was never much of a nail polish kind of girl. I think it’s mainly because I really do not have the patience to wait for my nails to dry; plus, I
am was a terrible nail polish painter. To top it off, I used to think that all nail polish formulas are the same and high-end nail polish are no different from OPI, Essie and China Glaze. Well, I was so wrong! After trying a number of high-end nail polishes from different brands, I finally understood why people loved them so much.
Chanel polishes do not have the longest staying power, but they have a way to make every polish shine with micro shimmers that are visible up-close but from afar, these would simply add shine and dimension to the colours.
Dior has the best brush applicator, period. The formula of the polish is also brilliant, always creamy and easy to apply. This is extremely important for a noob like me. :p
YSL, Guerlain and Burberry also have pretty good flat brushes. Their formulas are also really awesome and I’m sure these will not be the only ones in my stash by the end of 2014.
12. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
If you follow me on Instagram (@sheshopsmakeup), you would probably already know that I am a huge concealer hoarder. My undereyes have always been the biggest problem area for me – not just dark circles and eye bags, but I also battle with dry skin and fine lines which most concealers sink into, as such I am constantly on the lookout for the best concealer. This concealer has been a dream for my undereyes, especially when coupled with the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder. I will be doing a series dedicated to concealers so keep a look out for that.
13. Hourglass Ambient Powders
I finally got my hands on the HG Ambient Powders, not one but three that came in the limited edition palette. Every ambient powder is very smooth and finely milled. They are also very versatile and can be used for different purposes. For instance, Dim Light can be used to “air brush” parts of the face where your pores might peak through your foundation; Incandescent light is great for bringing some radiance back to the face, I like dusting this all over the face with a stippling brush. Radiant Light has a slightly more golden/peachy undertone which is lovely on the cheekbones as a highlighter. I just love how it allows me to look “healthy and radiant” all the time 🙂
Bonus top picks!!!
This is basically a battery operated eye massager which vibrates upon contact with skin. It is a Korean brand and is meant to help eye serums absorb better. It’s the same mechanics behind the ball bearing spatula that comes with some eye cream like the La Mer Eye Concentrate. It helps reduce puffiness and dark circles by stimulating the blood in the area. I got it for $50 from Clariancy but I have seen many similar massagers going on sale on Qoo10 for only $10.90. You can check it out here.
Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream – Everything But The…
This is a recent discovery and I have since polished off 3 pints! Do you sometimes feel icky with ice cream of a single flavour? I know I do, that’s why when I tried this, I just thought it was perfect. A little bit of everything, some chocolate, vanilla, salty almonds, and most importantly, Reese’s Peanut Buttercup!! It’s just a little tub of all kinds of satisfaction for all types of cravings (according to me, that it).
Phew… If you made it this far, thank you so much! I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve. May 2014 be blessed with abundance, health and happiness.