Thursday, December 11, 2014

Best of 2014

  I am so happy to be sharing with you my beauty favorites from 2014! It's been an amazing year full of discoveries I'm revealing today. Please keep in mind that every skin is different, so what works for me may not work for you. Also, I am not sponsored by anyone. These are my genuine thoughts and I'm recommending the crème de la crème. 


The cleanser: I raved on and on about Nude Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly because it's that good. I even have two backups. I look forward to washing my face every morning and night just to use this. Yes, I use it in the morning. I find it's a great "skin" cleanser as it always leaves my skin feeling comfortable, nourished, cleansed but with a soft-focus glow. Bonus: the jelly-like consistency minimizes the risk of messiness and the plastic packaging makes it excellent for travel.

The skin transformer: Peel pads are a quick way of removing dead skin cells in a non-abrasive way revealing a more youthful appearance. After experimenting with several methods of exfoliation, I fell in love with Radical Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads. They do seem expensive at first, but considering you get sixty pads you only need to exfoliate once of twice a week, it's not a bad deal at all. I absolutely love the ingredient list; the blend of AHA's and BHA plus antioxidants provide visible results in weeks. They're also easy to use: just cleanse, tone and run the pad across your face and neck. Follow up with your eye cream, serum and moisturizer/oil.

Good Genes by Sunday Riley had to make it to the list to. It's a powerful serum (though it has a lotion-like consistency) that contains 40% lactic acid. Talk about glowy skin in a pump, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and minimized pores. I don't use it every single night because I do find it runs fast, but when I do, my skin looks noticeably better.

The skincare splurge: I had always wanted something by La Prairie because I grew up watching my mom use it. This year I graduated as a Psychologist and to reward myself, I decided to get something from the line. I knew I wanted a serum because I love them; they are potent, effective and you only need a small amount. I went for the Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex because it was on the lower end of the spectrum price-wise. I tried it at Bloomingdale's and fell in love with the immediate tightening effect. The best part is that you only need one drop and the packaging comes with a pump, so all you have to do is very lightly press it down - otherwise you'll get too much product and waste it. I reviewed it here.
The brightening serum: Tatcha Deep Brightening Serum has an incredible lightweight feel to it, unlike serums that feel more like light lotions. Tatcha uses HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex (a blend of green tea, rice bran and red algae) and licorice to reduce hyperpigmentation and give the skin luminosity and  clarity. Just one pump is sufficient to cover my face and neck, gently pressing it into the skin. 

The moisturizer: Tatcha Moisture Rich Silk Cream has everything I look for in a moisturizer: it has a light, gel-texture that feels amazingly soft, I get a beautiful blend of ingredients, my makeup glides effortlessly over it yet it's nourishing enough for nighttime. It's never oily and never feels heavy. I highly recommend it to those with normal to combination skin.
The SPF: Second time in a row winner, Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free SPF 42. You need to make sure you give it a good shake. This is superbly light and quite mattifying, so it's the perfect final step to your skincare routine. Even though I have normal to dry skin, I've never had any issues with it making my skin feel dry or tight because of all the layers of moisture underneath (toner, serum, moisturizer). If you hate sunscreen because it reminds you of oil, stickiness and the beach in an unpleasant way, give this a shot.

The mask: Another second-time winner! Arcona Tea Tree Mask is the perfect mask, in my opinion, due to its antimicrobial properties and its ability to quickly reduce inflammation while providing an invigorating, relaxing, cooling experience. It doesn't harden on your skin like most acne-fighting masks. And even if you don't have problematic skin: this mask just feels too delicious to pass. 

The brand: I tested a lot of skincare this year and playing with foreign ingredients can lead to unhappy skin. No matter what the problem was, Tatcha was there to solve it. I love it because it is such a balanced skincare line with only a few steps in its routine. Aside from that, the team behind is an incredible family that always makes their customers feel like friends -- they even include handwritten notes in every order, and its lush packaging makes you feel spoiled and pampered. No matter what my skin concern is, all I have to do is go back to Tatcha so my skin goes back to its prime state.


The foundation: everyone raved about it but it took me a while to get it. Armani Luminous Silk makes skin look perfected and flawless. It photographs beautifully, making it a must have for special events. I do want to point out that this isn't a good foundation for you if you have oily skin. It's best for those with normal to dry skin.

Me (left) wearing Armani Luminous Silk Foundation for my brother's wedding. It photographs so beautifully!
The concealer - high end: Second time winner, By Terry Touche Veloutee. I am still using the same one, so even though it's pricey, it lasts a long time. One pump is sufficient to dab this full, yet natural coverage concealer under my eyes to illuminate and conceal. I like to use my fingers to blend it out. The texture is absolutely lush.

The concealer - drugstore: I was lucky enough to discover Bourjois Happy Light Concealer this year thanks to my sister-from-another-mother, Anne. It immediately became my favorite after smoothing it under my eyes using my ring finger. It is so creamy, has excellent coverage and wears well. You also get a lot of product and you don't need a lot to do the job. I absolutely LOVE this concealer!
The brow product: Anastasia Beverly Hills has done it again for me this year. Brow Powder Duo features two long-wearing shades that can be used on their own or mixed together to fill in your brows. Another bonus is the variety of shades available -- there is something for everyone.
The blush: My friend Fenny introduced me to Dolce & Gabbana The Blush Luminous Cheek Colour. I was so impressed by the texture; despite their powder-formula, these go one so creamy on the cheeks. Just beautiful.
The highlighter: I could never get ahold of Mac Whisper of Gilt, which is such a beautiful gold-toned highlighter. I kept seeing Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in the shade Opal being compared to it so I decided to get it and oh-my-God. It is now my go-to highlighter, I never reach for anything else. It provides the most dewy, glowy highlight while being creamy and easy to blend. Note: be careful with your brush; you don't want to apply too much product as this is highly pigmented. Remember it's easy to add makeup than to remove it.

Wearing Becca "Opal" as my highlighter

The red lip: Now we have second time winner, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in the shade "Beso". There's just something about this red that is so perfect. I always feel sexy when I wear it and I think it's a very universal red. I love how long-lasting it is and how pigmented it is.
The mascara: My eyelashes are straight and very stubborn. The majority of the mascaras I've used have failed to impress me, but Hypnose Drama by Lancome is awesome. It's buildable, so you can go from natural looking eyes to thick, dramatic lashes. It isn't as volumizing as Too Faced Better Than Sex, but at least Hypnose Drama doesn't flake.
The eyeliner: Most of my eye looks include eyeliner. I feel "weird" without a wing. I found an intense black gel liner this year, but unfortunately, it can have the tendency to smudge a bit. Inglot #77 Gel Liner is an opaque creamy black that goes on smooth.  

Using Inglot # 77 Gel Liner + Mac 210 brush

Contouring and highlighting: When I want to sculpt dramatically, my go-to is the Mac Prep+Prime Radiant Rose Highlighting Pen set with the Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light which is lighter than my skin tone. I then bronze my skin with any matte bronzer and then contour with Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium. This combo photographs beautifully, too!  

Heavy sculpting + Stila "Beso" liquid lipstick


The smoothest legs: 2014 was the year I stopped using shaving gels/cream. Yes, they are cheap, but after using an oil in the shower, I have not looked back. L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil is a thick oil that warms up as you massage it on your skin and makes a great base for shaving. My legs are never irritated afterwards but rather smooth to the touch. I also love the Almond Supple Skin Oil. It's very nourishing and makes my legs glossy and look sexy - great if you're wearing shorts or a dress! If you don't like oils and prefer cream textures, their Almond Milk Concentrate is absolutely lush and has great slip to it providing intense moisture without needing to use too much product.


Calling all curly-hair gals:

"I cannot even count how many hair products I've gone through in my lifetime trying to find the one product that keeps my curls looking hydrated, soft, bouncy, yet not crunchy or wet looking. Moroccan Oil not only smells divine, their Curl Defining Cream works. It is my HG curl product. I love how much product you get for the price you pay (a whooping 250 ml for $33.60!). All you need is a pump -- massage it between your hands and run it down your towel-dried hair. I personally always let it air dry. I'm left with soft, voluminous, frizz free curls. I have received tons, believe me, tons of compliments on my curly hair. Thank you, Moroccan Oil." (December 2013)

This is my favorite product for curly-hair gals once again. I agree with everything I mentioned last year, only that now I use two pumps instead of one because my hair is a lot longer. Everyone always compliments me on my curls and it's all due to this gem!

I hope you have a beautiful Christmas and New Year's Eve and that 2014. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my posts. Your support was one of my biggest highlights of the year. 

Much love,


  1. I'm surprised you didn't include the Perricone MD Blue Plasma.
    I love Beso on you and I'm glad I got to try it out. It's amazing. Happy holidays, Pat xx

    1. It is good but found better things this year. Happy you love Beso, too! Xoxo Happy Holidays to you, too!

  2. I just subscribed to your YouTube channel, and I'm so glad to find that you have a blog as well! Great post. I love hearing your thoughts on beauty products (especially skincare items) because you seem so knowledgeable. I think you've convinced me to try Tatcha!

  3. Great post sis!
    Thank you for the mention! I'm happy you love this concealer! I haven't tried it yet, I need to! :-)
    I wish you an amazing (end of) December and many exciting things for 2015!
    Catch up soon on What's App! We have a friend visiting at the moment so busy busy here...
    Big kiss!

    1. Thank you sis! You know I wish you all the best, too. No worries! We can talk whenever. Big kisses and hugs your way! Xoxo

  4. Such an amazing post! Love the pics with all the products you discussed:)