Half of the year is already gone, and beauty brands are already revealing their coming-to-a-beauty-store-near-you fall lineups. Not to sound depressing, but many brands have already sold out of their summer limited edition items, and it is barely past the first day of summer! Social media and the internet pumps up customers early on by sending kits to beauty bloggers/vloggers to tease months in advance. This free marketing causes items to sell out in record numbers (like that time we sold out of the Legendary Lashes mascara in a few days at Charlotte Tilbury) and these items are hard to find unless you check places like Amazon and Ebay. Some of the items I will be featuring in this list are already sold out, and although this is yucky, it gives us hope that the fall collections will offer similar products that we can get our hands on. Let’s begin!
Best Foundation: I’ve already expressed love for the Sephora exclusive Marc Jacobs Re(Marc)able Liquid Foundation ($55) for being the fullest coverage and mattest foundation I could find on the market. Sometimes the super matte formula isn’t want my skin wants or needs. I discovered the caviar luxury foundation from La Prairie and it has been really hard to look at anything else. There are many 5-star reviews on Nordstrom.com for this $220 foundation. There is something special about the whipped consistency and the beautiful concealer that it comes with. If you think about it, this is a pretty good deal for a skincare foundation with a concealer. It makes your skin look beautiful and glowing, and is undetectable. Worth every single penny! Don’t believe me? Check YouTube for positive reviews by Jeffree Starr and Tati.
Best Mascara: I tried hard not to like it, but Benefit Roller Lash ($24) kills any high-end mascara competition. There is something about that curved comb wand that stretches my lashes to the limit. The creamy texture never gets clumpy. My only gripe is that the handle of the wand got pretty gross and dirty. My favorite drugstore mascara is Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam ($6). The hourglass-shaped wand creates a really dramatic effect and the formula is among the best I’ve tried. Something really interesting about the mascara is that I lost it behind a cabinet for several months, and when I found it, it certainly wasn’t dried out. It is still going strong!
Best Bronzer: I still reach for the same bronzer palette every single day: The Bare Minerals California Bronze Palette. ($29.50). I bought it a year ago, and I use it every day…this thing never ends! It has a gold highlighter included that is a little dark for most people’s highlighting needs, but I suggest using it as an eyeshadow if it isn’t a color that works for popping that cheekbone.
Best Highlighter: This Burberry Spring/Summer highlighter is a bit legendary. It sold out of Nordstrom stores so fast I couldn’t even get one for myself. I wore it daily at work and I couldn’t stop staring at myself. Sephora still has it, but why am I too lazy to order it? It gives you unicorn skin from the gods. It is also available in a gold shade, but this shimmering white is what dreams are made of.
Best Lip Product: I bought too many lipsticks this year. I mean.. a lot. After the NYX store opened up at the mall I work for, I’ve been a little obsessed with the NYX Suede Cream liquid lipsticks and Intense Butter Glosses. But in fact, after all of those purchases, I’d have to say that my favorite lip product purchase so far has to be the Pro Longwear Lip Pencils from MAC ($20). I bought three shades of awesome: Morning Coffee (Dirty Rose, perfect for nude lip color), Bittersweet (when I do my dark brown vintage-inspired lip), and Voltage (a coral salmon shade that works well with all of my coral lip looks). The cool thing about these liners is that they can be used to fill in the entire lip and worn as a lipstick.
Best Eyeshadow: I’ll go off of what I get the most compliments wearing–the Vintage Vamp eyeshadow palette from Charlotte Tilbury ($52). I never wanted to spend over $50 on an eyeshadow palette, but I just had to try this formula. I didn’t realize that you were supposed to use the lightest shadow color as a primer. I always use my $5 Wet N’ Wild eyeshadow primer (or my NARS) no matter what, but next time I will try the palette without it. The Vintage Vamp has two burgundy-brown shades, a shimmering pink/champagne shade, and the “pop” shade, which is a golden shimmering fleck that you use to add major glamour to your look. Charlotte instructs us to use our ring fingers to apply the pop color, but it grosses me out to put my fingers in my eyeshadow. If you recall the Stila Magnificent Metals shadows, those are pretty much the same thing as the pop color, but they come with a liquid primer (which I hate), but I use just plain water to dampen a flat eyeshadow brush and it works the same.
Best Eyebrow product: I go back and forth on this often. I have oily skin, so pencil usually doesn’t stand a chance. It looks good, but if I touch my face, my eyebrow is like two sheets in the wind. I recently discovered something that surprised me. The Anastasia Tinted Brow gels ($22) can be used with an angled brow brush to apply the product to barely there brows. I have more skin than brow hairs, and I can’t use the brow gel in the way it was intended, so I tried using a brush separately, and it worked miracles. I used the Auburn color to match my hair and it was THE best match! The other colors are weird because there is a ton of shimmer in them. The Brunette shade had a little sparkle in it, but it still worked great on one of my clients. The best part of it–it is not going to move. It sets to this waterproof-like film, and even when I touch my brows, it feels dry and no product is removed. Sephora claims the formula is botanical, but the only botanical I found was Chamomile.
Best Eyeliner: I can’t help it that I love a $29 eyeliner. I’ve tried them all and none stood up to the Burberry Effortless Kohl liner in Jet Black. This waterproof formula stands up to the most rigorous days of working on my feet in a hot store. No more “clown tears” as this formula stays in the waterline. Pro tip: Remove moisture from your waterline before applying with a q-tip. It will help the liner’s application and staying power.
Best Eyeshadow Primer: I’ve already mentioned my Wet N’ Wild primer that I use daily, but I also want to give some love to my MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Soft Ochre ($22). This is supposed to be used as a cream eyeshadow, but works excellent as a base. The slight yellow tone cancels out redness and any discoloration on the lids in an instant. This works great as a base for powder shadows as well as other cream shadows. It also works to “clean up” your dramatic looks such as a cut crease or severe angles. I use a small flat concealer brush to “paint” areas that need a little detail work.
Best Concealer: The gist of it is this: I can’t find a good concealer in the department store for under the eyes. For the face, I find that my concealer from the La Prairie foundation works fine. But, my oily under eye area is finicky. The only concealer that will work under my eyes is the Kryolan TV Paint Stick in 1W. I use it with my beautyblender sponge and it works amazingly–all day.
Best Blush: This blush never seems to disappear from the compact. The Kevyn Aucoin Pure Powder Glow blush in Dolline ($37) is my everyday go-to peachy blush color. The matte finish looks smooth, never powdery.
Best Foundation Primer: It’s hard to find a good one of these. I’ll tell you what my face likes so far: The La Mer Perfecting Treatment is a beautiful product. At $240, it is quite a splurge, I agree. But, I’m a sucker for anything that makes my skin look pretty. I have a deluxe sample of this treatment and it looks gorgeous under any makeup or when worn alone. The rose-algae combo helps with refining the texture and tone of the skin.
Best Setting Spray: This is another type of product that hardly ever works on me. BUT, I found Coola’s Organic Setting Spray with SPF 30. This 70% certified organic spray made with cucumber and aloe vera to soothe, and hyaluronic acid to plump the skin with moisture is the best setting spray I’ve tried to date. I’ve tried Urban Decay, MAC, NYX, and all of those seemed to do nothing for me. I love the fact that there’s sunscreen in the spray!
Best Beauty Tool: I always brag about my beautyblender ($20) to my customers–because it IS the best thing, ever! I own three of these things. I use one for foundation, one for concealer, and one for self-tanning my face or with cream blushes. It is a bit hard to describe sometimes why this is better than a brush, but it is EASY to show the difference. The finish that the beautyblender leaves is a flawless, seamless, airbrushed-looking face. I use it damp most of the time, but a bit drier when I use my under eye concealer since I do not want that diluted!
Best Skincare Product: RéVive Les Yeux Pressé sounds really French and fancy, but the line was made by a Kentucky native named Dr. Gregory Brown, who created his line right here in the states. This is the only line of skincare created by a plastic surgeon. The Les Yeux Pressé product ($195) is an eye brightening and tightening serum–and it really, really works. It is expensive for most people, and I totally understand! I will have to say that puffiness, fine lines, and any darkness around my eyes has completely subsided. My eyes look better now than they did a decade ago. This is one of those products that I think are worth the splurge. Since it is a treatment serum, I was told you still need to use an eye cream with this, but I haven’t had the need for it.
Best Mask: People on my Snapchat already know what my favorite mask is. (Add me to Snapchat- kristarobyn1134). The Glam Glow Gravity Mud Mask ($69) is not only BEAUTIFUL to apply and wear, but it works pretty darned good, too. This peel-off mask comes with a nice brush for application. The metallic silver mask will dry in about 30 minutes, and then you peel it off! Your skin is firmed, tightened, and I even see a bit of a brightening effect. You’ll look forward to using this twice per week because this mask is FUN to use.
Best Toner: What I look for in a toner is something that doesn’t dry my skin out, and something that restores my skin to a regular balance. I prefer thicker toners that give a little moisture back to my skin after performing my three-step cleansing routine. The AmorePacific Time Response Toner increases the efficicy of your serum and other skincare products by detoxifying the tap water that you rinsed with earlier. It also contains green tea leaf water that is a huge antioxidant that slows the aging process. This toner is more like a gel, and it leaves my skin completely refreshed and ready for serum. This toner will set you back $180, but it will last you 6-8 months or more.
Best Antiaging Treatment: Everything on this page has been amazing as antiaging treatments for my skin.
Final Thoughts: Here we are at the middle of the year and I’ve tried so many amazing things. I have been impressed with many of the skincare products from Caudalie, and I continue to test the products to see if this is the brand I want to transition to.
Paraben and Animal Testing Key: As always, I like to inform my readers on which brands animal test and use parabens. La Prairie- Tested on animals, contains parabens. Marc Jacobs – Cruelty-free and paraben-free. Benefit – Contains beeswax and is not a cruelty-free brand. Rimmel is not a cruelty-free brand. Bare Minerals does not test on animals, but their parent company does (Shiseido), no parabens. Burberry is not a cruelty-free brand, but product does not contain parabens. MAC Cosmetics does not test on animals, but the ingredients they’re using are tested on animals. They’re funding a program that may end animal testing. They’re trying! Charlotte Tilbury is a cruelty-free brand! But, it contains parabens! Wet n’ Wild is a cruelty-free brand and used no parabens here. Stila is tested on animals. Anastasia is a cruelty-free brand, but this product contains parabens. Burberry is not a cruelty-free line. Kryolan may or may not be cruelty-free. Kevyn Aucoin is cruelty-free! La Mer is not directly cruelty-free since it is owned by Estee Lauder. Coola is cruelty-free and paraben free! ReVive is apparently cruelty-free, but I can’t find a new update on that status. Glam Glow is not cruelty-free, but the mask is paraben free. AmorePacific is sold in China, so their claims to be cruelty-free must be false. Such a shame for a beautiful brand.