It’s that time again makeup lovers. This is my annual post that quickly shares products I discovered during the year, but didn’t blog about. I don’t blog about everything I get for various reasons. Some items are limited edition, and by the time I get around to blogging it may be sold out. My 2014 started out with a bang as I became pregnant with my first (and only) child after years of trying. This explains my absence from posting a lot this year and possibly going forward. (It took me a week to prepare this post alone.) Thankfully, I gave birth to a healthy, adorable boy a few months ago.
Okay, back to makeup. Enjoy and Happy New Year!!
Paula Dorf Brushes
I have to thank a great makeup artist and YouTuber Lisa Eldridge for turning me on to these brushes. They are priced similar to Mac, but better quality and hand crafted versus machine cut. The softness is similar to that of Hakuhodo. They are soft enough to feel good on your skin when applying, but stiff enough for good control. The wood handle is short and travel friendly with the name of the brushes etched in. What really set these brushes apart for me are the shapes (with the exception of the crease brush) that you rarely see.
The Smokie Lid Brush ($28) is my favorite. It looks like it would stab you, but it is really soft and holds it shape well after cleaning. (I formed this brush into a point after washing so the look of it may be different elsewhere.) It’s great for use under the lower lash line or used for detailed crease work. The Eye Contour Brush ($28) looks like a crease brush that has been chopped at an angle. It’s good for crease work and deepening shades in the outer corner. The Eye Blender Brush ($30) is a very large eye brush that can be used for blending all the shades on your eye. I personally like it for cheek highlight and detailed contouring. The Sheer Crease Brush ($30) is your basic blending or crease brush and I like using it for both. You can find Paula Dorf brushes on her website. The one downside is it takes an incredibly long time for her to restock the sold out items. I stalked her site for months looking for the Eye Blender brush to be available.
Revlon Ultra HD Lip Lacquer
Drug store makeup is always a risk for me because I like to swatch and try products first. For the past few years, the quality of drug store has improved a great deal so I’m more confident when I shop. These HD glosses (excuse me, lacquers) are really nice. The pigmentation varies, but you get a decent color payoff for the sheer shades. What I appreciated the most was the base oil isn’t a mineral oil, like their older glosses. The formula isn’t too sticky, but it is thick. I find it comfortable to wear. The applicator is a stumpy brush similar to Nars, which some may find irritating. The price may vary, but I paid $9. Pink Ruby is by far my favorite, while Rose Quartz is more of “my lips but better” shade as my lips are quite pigmented.
Anastasia Brow Powder Duo
I know this product has been out for a long time, but I only started using it in early 2014. I initially avoided it because I’m not a fan of duo shadows. For a couple of years, I was using Anastasia’s Brow Wiz but experienced a couple of duds. So, I decided to give this product a try and was glad I did. You get 1.6g of product for $23, which is a much better deal than their Brow Wiz. I’ve been using this almost daily and barely have a dent. The compact is small, sleek and travel friendly. The key to this product is using a good brow brush with a very thin edge. It’s easy to pick up too much product if you don’t.
Makeup Geek Foiled Eye Shadows
I wanted to blog about Makeup Geek shadows last year, but never got around to it. I’ve been pretty impressed with their shimmer shadows. The price point is very reasonable, especially if you just buy the pans. Makeup Geek recently released their Foiled shadow line and it’s really nice. The bright shades are nice, but not over-the-top and the neutrals have a nice edge to them. These shadows are smooth and blend easily, but are soft. Some product (as in small chunks) will come loose if you’re heavy handed with your brush. Good luck to you if you use anything remotely fluffy to pick up product. Makeup Geek’s regular shadows are $5.99 (pan), while the Foiled line is a bit more at $9.99 (pan) for 1.8g.
1 – Magic Act
2 – In the Spotlight
3 – Grandstand
4 – Mesmerized
5 – Flame Thrower
6 – Showtime
7 – Caitlin Rose
8 – Center Stage
9 – Houdini
10 – Jester
Nars Audacious Lipstick
Nars came out with a new line of lip colors this year in forty shades. I haven’t swatched all of them, but the ones I have are satin finishes. The pigmentation is great and the product doesn’t tug at your lips when applying. I purchased several deep shades in this line and have not experienced bleeding past the lip line. My favorite out of this bunch is Fanny. Who doesn’t love purple? The packaging is a sleek (smudge-prone) hard plastic with a magnetic closure. These retail for $32 for 0.14oz.
Abbey Brown Lip Balm
Okay, confession. I’ve had a massive addiction to lip balm since grade school. Ingredients are hugely important to me now, but back then, the only ingredient I cared about was the flavoring. I loved artificial grape and cherry. I think (in fact, I know) I would apply and re-apply just to lick the lip balm off my lips because it tasted so good. Ahh, those were the days. Since my Vaseline and cherry days, I have searched for a great lip balm that suits me. I’ve learned over the years that mineral oil and SPF dries out my lips. I stumbled onto Abbey Brown at a local farmers market over a year ago and have loved it since. The base oil is shea butter. The balm is not too thick that it feels gloopy and not too thin that it disappears after an hour. Abbey Brown is a local company (Chicago, Illinois), but their products can be purchased online. The tubes retail for $3 (14g) and the tins are $4 (28g).
Ardency Inn Modster Manuka Honey Enriched Pigments
Let’s do something different and start with the not so great first. One, these aren’t cheap; $21 for 0.6g of product. The color range is limited and the quality ranges from utterly fabulous to “wha”. Yet, these still made my list this year. My local Sephora doesn’t carry this brand in-store so I purchased without swatching. I was extremely impressed, but ended up with one dud. These shadows are super creamy, pigmented and blend effortlessly, except for the dud. The dud in my collection is Vintage Gold. The base color is weak and the gold flecks have a mind of their own, but it works better when used wet. The others I purchased are utterly fabulous. What is also great is the packaging. The compact is small and magnetic, but what I loved is the pan pops out with a good, hard shake. (I depot my eye shadows.) Understandably, this may be horrible news if you travel with your makeup or often get a case of the clumsy. If you can buy these at your local Sephora, do so. If you were going to buy online, consider buying it from Ardency Inn’s website. I did and it was packed quite well.
theBalm Read My Lips Gloss
A Hautelook sale urged me to try these. I can’t turn down the chance to get a nice gloss (good ingredients and pigmentation) for $8. They are regular $15 on theBalm’s website, which is still a good deal for 6.5ml of product. These glosses are smooth and creamy and feel great on. It has a light fruity scent but no taste. As I have naturally dark pigmented lips, a couple of shades are sheer on me (Boom!, Ka Bang!), but I still like them. The line seems to have a number of “my lips, but better” shades with a few bright reds and pinks thrown in.