Earlier this week I asked you guys to fill out my 2017 Reader Survey, and one of the things most of you want to see more of is beauty posts!
I’m certainly not a beauty expert, but over the years I’ve tried a ton of great products and today I’m rounding up my top 12 products that have basically been life changing for me. They need no more introduction than that!
Here they are, in no particular order.
Earlier this year I shared this post about my favorite sunless tanner. I’d been using that one for a few years and loved it, but then St. Tropez sent me their bronzing mousse to try. It took me awhile to get around to using it, but as soon as I did, I was completely sold and won’t go back to anything else. The color is really natural, and has an olive green tint to it, so it’s not one bit orange (but it doesn’t make you look green either). It’s the most natural color of sunless tanner I’ve ever seen.
It comes with this little brown mitt that you use to apply (just like the other one I showed here), and helps it go on nice and even. I could go on for ages about it, but two of my very favorite features are that it doesn’t rub off on your clothes or sheets, and it’s really long lasting. I apply right after my shower (moisturize first!) and then it stays through my shower the next day.
Two squirts of mousse on the mitt cover my entire leg, and I do two coats per leg. For my arms, one squirt is enough and I do it all the way down to the top of my hands and fingers (and it doesn’t wash off when I wash my hands, as long as I let it dry for an hour or so before washing them).
Obviously I love it. You need it.
Ok, I’ve talked about dry shampoo so many times on here, but it has to be mentioned. I’ve tried a bunch of different brands, and although maybe my very favorite is Living Proof’s dry shampoo, it’s pricey and the bottles are small and don’t last super long. So Suave wins. This is a huge part of the reason I go a week between hair washing without a problem. I actually liked the silver bottle the best, but it seems to be discontinued because hard for me to find these days!
I’ve talked about this before too, but a couple of years ago I was having major hair issues. I felt like it looked limp and oily all the time even right after I washed it. So I sent a frantic text to two of the people with the best hair ever — Leanne and Abby — and asked them what shampoo they used. Both of them responded saying they use Pureology shampoo. I’d never paid more than $10-15 for a bottle of shampoo, so suddenly spending $50 on a bottle seemed insane. BUT. You guys, this shampoo changed my hair. And my life. I have never been so happy with my hair as I was as soon as I started using this shampoo. It’s the other reason I can go a week between washes. It’s the reason my hair is healthy and has no split ends anymore (it used to be riddled with them), and it’s the reason I have volume and body in my hair.
Also, to help you justify the cost, it’s a concentrated shampoo, so you don’t need very much to wash all your hair (and I have a lot of hair). A little goes a long way, and since I wash my hair only once a week at the most, this bottle lasts me more than a year. And when you have to wear your hair every single day, isn’t it basically worth any investment?? That’s the way I see it. I could kiss this shampoo, I love it so much. It’s only $43 for a big bottle here!
[EDIT]: I’ve had a bunch of you asking about the conditioner I use. I’ve tried a ton and never been super loyal to one brand, but in the last few weeks I’ve started using OGX Biotin and Collagen Conditioner and it’s incredible. It leaves your hair sleek and soft, but still with volume. Plus it smells really good. Oh, and I’ve mentioned before, but I use a V05 Hot Oil treatment before washing almost every time I wash. Definitely recommend both!
I’ve tried about ten million lip glosses and lipsticks, and I struggle with them. For one, my husband hates all lipstick, but also I struggle to find good colors that go well with my skin tone. I’m also particular about glosses that are too glossy or sticky, or that come off in two seconds. Vivid Matte Liquid Lip Gloss has become one of my favorites. They have really good neutral shades that look natural, they go on matte (which I love), and they stay on for hours. Definitely recommend. I also love Bare Minerals Matte Gloss (“infamous” is my favorite color), but they don’t last quite as long.
I must be living under a rock or something, but I just discovered makeup setting spray a few months ago. Have you heard of it? It’s a spray you put on after your makeup is finished, and it sets it in place so it doesn’t come off during the day! I read somewhere that it works best if you spray after you put your face primer on before you put your makeup on, and the spray again after your makeup is on, so I’ve been doing that and it’s worked really well.
It basically feels like water, and has a slight cucumber-ish smell to it (which I like, and hardly smell anymore), and it dries just like water. So it’s not stiff or sticky at all.
I’m interested in trying this one from NYX too that’s only $8, but so far the e.l.f. one has been great, and it’s only $3. I’ve heard both are comparable to the Urban Decay one, but that one is $31 for a bottle and I haven’t tried it.
6. Wet Brush
This was another product that I only heard about this year. And maybe I’m the last to know. But a wet brush is a brush specifically designed to brush through wet hair without damaging it. I’d been using a paddle brush for ages and it was pulling and stretching my hair whenever it was wet. These are so cheap and worth every penny. My hair has been so much healthier and stronger since I switched!
This is my all-time favorite foundation. I’ve tried a bunch over the years, and I love this one because it has amazing coverage, goes on super smooth and light, and it has salicylic acid in it so it doesn’t cause breakouts, like so many other foundations did to me. I have acne prone skin, so this was a game changer for me.
I’d seen these little blending bulbs around for the last few years, but only recently got one from e.l.f. I’d always put my foundation on with my fingers, but felt like I would get uneven coverage from that if I wasn’t careful. This makes it so easy, and perfectly blended every time. I put the foundation on with my clean fingers first to spread it around, but then I go in with the bulb and dab until it’s perfectly blended. I feel like it makes my foundation look so much more natural than ever before.
I experimented with the bulb a few times when I first got it, and I found that if I put the foundation directly onto the bulb, it soaked up a good amount of it and wasted it. It also didn’t work as well if I had to spread the foundation around with the bulb, or if I did a swiping motion with the bulb. It works best if I spread with my fingers first (just roughly, it doesn’t have to be perfect), and then went back and did only a dabbing motion with the bulb. Also, I always clean it with soap and water after I use it, and then let it sit out to dry so it’s ready for the next day.
A few months ago Essie came out with their gel line. I rarely go get a professional manicure, but I love to have my nails done, so I was super excited to try this stuff. They call it a gel polish, but it doesn’t require a heat lamp, and it goes on and comes off just like regular nail polish. But it’s so long lasting — like almost two weeks without any chips! I only have a couple of colors in the gel polish, so I tried the top coat on my regular polish, and although it doesn’t last quite as long, it still lasts at least a week without any wear or chipping. I definitely recommend it!
I shared about my eyelash drama on the blog last year and how after they all fell out I used Neulash to regrow them. So even though I’ve shared before, I have to share again because it’s an amazing product that really works. It’s basically a non-prescription Latisse, and it’s the reason my lashes are so long. Well, that and great mascara.
It’s pricey for a tiny bottle, but you use so little so it lasts for ages. I’ve had mine for about nine months and it hasn’t run out. I used it every night until my eyelashes completely grew back, and now I use it about twice a week just to maintain.
Also, I have to mention that I’ve seen it available on Amazon for cheaper, but since it’s cheaper I don’t know if it’s actually the real product. Back when I bought it there was only one seller available, but now there seems to be way more, so maybe they’re legit. I don’t know. But I wasn’t willing to risk it since I’m putting it next to my eyeballs, so I bought the real deal here. Also I just bought their NeuBrow because I’m hoping to salvage my sorry, over plucked brows. I’ll share if I love it!
11. Mascara Primer. This is essential for me to get my long thick lashes, and I never put mascara on without it.
- GrandePrimer is a new brand to me, and I’ve really loved it. It comes in a nice big tube so it lasts a long time, and it goes on really smooth and thick, but not clumpy. My only complaint is that the bottle opening is pretty small, so pulling the brush out of the tube out often pulls off a lot of the primer. So it can be challenging to get a good amount loaded on the brush.
- Clinique Mascara Primer is my very favorite. The opening of the tube is wider, so it’s easy to load the brush, and the bristles on the brush are perfect for applying evenly. It’s a really slick consistency, so it glides onto my lashes so smoothly. Plus it’s a great price compared to a lot of other primers. My only complaint is that the tube is a little smaller, so it only lasts me a couple of months.
- Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara. This is my original favorite, and I shared more about it here, plus their primer which I really loved too.
- GrandeLash Mascara is so fantastic and all I’ve been using for the last few weeks. It also has that really slick consistency, so it’s easy to apply without any clumps.
- And lastly, It Cosmetic’s Superhero Mascara. This is a really thick, super black mascara that I like to use as a second layer after I’ve put on either Lancome or Grande. The bristles of the brush are really tight and close, so it doesn’t let you separate your lashes at all as you apply. But if they’re already separated and set, this is a good one to put over the top and create a really thick, dark lash.
Whew, did you make it??
I love sharing these beauty product reviews with you. Leave a comment below and let me know if this is helpful and if you’d like to see more reviews and roundups like this!