Saturday, January 17, 2015

My 2014 Best In Beauty Favorites!

These are my very favorites, the best of the best!  Whether you are a beauty junkie/veteran with loads of makeup, or a newbie just starting out looking for the basics, this is what you need in your collection, in my opinion.

Favorite Primer:  Smashbox Photo Finish:  I started using this a few years ago, and I have to say, I have yet to find a better primer.  They have a large variety, depending on what you want your primer to do.  It does have a very silicone feel to it.  It smooths out your texture, diffuses imperfections, and prolongs your foundation....everything a primer should do!

Favorite Foundation:  L'Oreal True Match Lumi, Maybelline Dream Wonder, and Mac Pro Long Wear

Foundation, like mascara, is one of those tricky products to recommend, because there are so many variables.  It all depends on your skin type, what type of coverage you like, and what finish you prefer.  I used to be very oily, but this year my skin has been very normal.  I prefer a medium to full coverage, with a luminous to satin finish.

The L"Oreal True Match Lumi I wore a lot in the summer.  It gives a medium, buildable coverage, and a luminous finish.  If you like that J LO glow, like me, you will really love this foundation.  True Match is very affordable, but performs like a high end foundation.  They also have soooo many colors to choose from that you will definitely find your match.  If you would like to see a full review, Click Here!

Maybelline Dream Wonder is new to the drugstore this year.  It has a satin/natural finish, is lightweight, and is great for a lighter makeup/everyday look.  It has a light to medium coverage, and can be built upon a little, but in no way is going to be full coverage.  It has a very liquidy consistency, so make sure you shake well.  It blends into the skin seamlessly.

Until this year, I never work Mac Pro Long Wear.  This one is just a great all around foundation.  It has a medium buildable coverage with a natural finish.  It is super long wearing, so it will last your hectic 12 hour work day, and even through your workout.  Whether you want a an everyday look or a more coverage look for a special night out, this one does the job!  It is more expensive than the drugstore foundations, but is well worth the price difference, in my opinion.

Favorite Concelear:  Mac Pro Long Wear Concealer & Maybelline Dark Circle Eraser- Brightener

Mac Pro Long Wear is also new to me this year.  It has a very thin, lightweight formula, but covers impeccably.  It doesn't crease, and stays ALL day.  I use mine under my eyes, and to highlight, so I get a shade lighter than my foundation.  I don't know anyone who doesn't love this concealer.

The Maybelline Dark Circle Eraser has been my favorite since I first bought it two years ago.  I recommend it to EVERYONE!!  If you like the extra brightening look under the eyes, go for the brightener.  It is a light pink color, and gives the under eye that extra lightening affect and lift.  This also is a thin formula that blends into the skin beautifully.  A real drugstore gem!  I couldn't live without it!!

Favorite Powder:  ELF HD Powder & NYX Radiant Powder - Brighten

These are both products that I found this year, and truly love!  The ELF powder is a finely milled, loose powder that perfects the skin and sets your makeup, but doesn't provide any additional coverage.  Once I set my face in the morning, I don't need to reapply any powder for the rest of the day. I use this powder on the areas of my face that I do not highlight.

I found the NYX Radiant Powder later in the year.  I haven't used any other setting powder for under my eyes, and the areas that I highlight.  It sets everything and keeps my under eye concealer from creasing.  It has such a brightening affect, that I have not found in any other powders.  You swirl all the colors together with your brush, and it's like magic!  Such a great find at such a great price.

Favoriter Blush:  Mac Blush:  Prism (matte) & Milani Baked Blush- Luminoso

Mac blushes are great.  I think most people would agree.  They are long wearing and blend beautifully into the skin.  They also have so many colors to choose from that you will definitely find a color you love.  I chose prism, because it is such a versatile color that I believe will look great on everyone!  I have used this color alone, or with other blushes.  Whether my other blush is more pink, coral, or mauve, it works!  If I use it with another color, I apply the darker color towards the back of my cheeks and prism on the apples.  It a great look that gives your face more dimension.

I think I listed Milani blushes as one of my 2013 favorites, and I still love them!  I chose luminoso, because not only is it a beautiful coral color with gold flecks, but it is flattering on everyone!  Most of their baked blushes do have some shimmer in them, but they don't look too sparkly on the face, just a nice glow.  This year they came out with two matte baked blushes, though I think they are more satin.  I have almost every color they have, and they are all beautiful.  They perform like a higher end blush, and are truly one of the best products from the drugstore.

Honorable Mention:  Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush

I have four colors....mauve, deep bronze, pink rose, and coral.  They have six all together.  Now, if you don't like a glowy, highlighting blush, this isn't for you.  If you do, you will love this!  It is glowy, but not sparkly.  It gives a beautiful color and highlight.  It is really a two in one product that is great for a quick every day look.  I love these and am so glad I picked them up.  If you love the highlighted J Lo glow, you will love these!!

Favorite Contour:  Too Faced Chocolate Soleil

I actually got a sample size of this from Sephora this year.  Since I got it, it is pretty much the only bronzer/contour that I use.  Even with having a small size, I still haven't hit pan (though I don't wear makeup everyday).  It is just the perfect shade....not too orangey and not too ashy.  Of course if you are paler, just use a lighter hand when applying.  I apply this on the hollows of my cheeks, sides of nose, forehead, and jaw line.  It can give a more natural look or a more sculpted look depending on how you apply.

Favorite Single shadows:  L'Oreal Infallible Single Eyeshadows

These have been a favorite of mine for a long time now.  I believe I have almost every color, if not every color.  They are definitely a drugstore gem!  They are actually a pressed pigment.  Pigments can be very messy, but these being a pressed pigment that are much easier to work with.  They have excellent staying power, and such vivid, beautiful colors.  They have everything from neutrals to BAM in your face color, and everything in between.  They are a little pricier for a single shadow, but  you get so much product in each single, and it is truly like nothing else you will find in the drugstore.  If you do have some, make sure you keep the flat insert in it.  It keeps the color from separating and drying out.  Also, make sure that the lid is sealed tightly.  They are beautiful, and you want to keep them that way.  Some of my favorite colors are Amber Rush, Iced Latte, and Continuous Cocoa.  Many of these are great for a quick one shadow look also.  Just pack the color onto your lid with a flat brush, then use a blending brush (with no product) to blend out the color.  Great for when you are short on time!  Amber Rush is one of my favorites to use for a one shadow look.

* From top to bottom - Amber Rush (dupe for Mac Tan Pigment), Iced Latte (dupe for Stila Kitten), and Continuous Cocoa

Favorite Eye Palette:  Lorac Pro Palette

I love this palette!  Half of the shadows are matte and half are shimmer.  It has warm neutrals, along with some deeper, smokey shadows.  If you are only going to buy one palette, this is it!  The shadows are creamy, very blendable, and long wearing.  I have nothing bad to say about this palette.  It is thin and sleek, so it is easy to store and great to travel.  It also comes with a full size mirror, which comes in handy when traveling as well.  If you would like to see a review along with looks, Click Here!

Favorite Eye Liner:  Rimmel Scandal Eyes and L'Oreal Infallible Gel Liner

These two liners have been my favorite for at least two years now.  Both of them are super long wearing, affordable, and easy to find at any drug or discount store.

Rimmel Scandal Eyes comes in several colors, glides on smooth, blends out well for a smokey look, and is long wearing.  I can wear this one in my water line and it stays really well.

L'Oreal Infallible Gel Liner is such a drugstore gem.  It performs great, has a smooth consistency, and is super long wearing.  It does everything you want a gel liner to do.  No complaints!

Favorite Brow Product:  Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade

This product came out at the beginning of the year.  I bought mine during the second half, and fell in love with it!  It has made the biggest difference in my brows.  Many people use several different brow products....brow powder, brow pencil, and a wax or gel.  This product is truly an all in one!  It is water and sweat resistant, keeps your brows in place all day, and can give you a more dramatic or more natural look, depending on your technique.  I love it, and I can't imagine ever leaving this product.  If you would like to see a full review, Click Here!

Favorite Mascara:  Cover Girl Clump Crusher, L'Oreal Million Lashes & L'Oreal Million Lashes Excess

As a whole, L'Oreal has my favorite mascaras.  Some are better than others, but all are good.  I have pretty good lashes.....good length and fullness.  They hold a curl very well.  I rarely deal with transfer, unless I get a mascara that has a wetter formula.

L'Oreal Million Lashes and Million Lashes Excess are quite similar in formula.  They give great length and volume without getting clumpy or spidery.  The Million Lashes Excess' wand is smaller, which I find is a little easier to get into the inner corners of my lashes.  I have no transfer or flaking, and they look just as good at the end of the day, as they do the beginning.  I have been using these for over a year now.

Cover Girl Clump Crusher is a great mascara, that I love to pair with one of my favorite.  Like the name suggests, there is absolutely no clumping!  Because I try out many mascara's, if I find that one tends to get a little thick or clumpy a coat of clump crusher will take care of that.  I rarely use it on it's own, unless I am wearing very light makeup, but I almost always use it as my second mascara.  It really separates every lash.  I have never found a mascara hat separates better, and it does not get hard and crunchy or flakey.

*I typically wear two different mascaras.....2 -3 coats of the first, and 1 -2 coats of the second.

Favorite Lip Balm/Lip Treatment:  Nivea Lip Butter - Raspberry Kiss, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Nourishing Lip Balm (SPF 20) & Elizabeth Arden Lip Protectant Stick (SPF 15)

Nivea Lip Butter has been a long time favorite of mine.  It is kind of in the middle as far as lip balms go.  Not too thick/heavy and not too sheer.  I wear this during the day, but also before bed at night.  This does give shine and a hint of color, so it also looks nice on minimal makeup days.

These two Elizabeth Arden products were new to me this year.  I have fuller lips, and need some sort of protectant year around.  In the warm months, I always have to wear a lipstick or balm with SPF, because the sun will give me fever blisters very quickly.  In the colder months, my lips chap very quickly, and we all know how uncomfortable that can be.  The Cream Nourishing Lip Balm is heavier and more emollient.  I wear this more in the colder months and overnight to really hydrate.  It is also great to use after a lip scrub before bed.  When I wake, my lips feel so much better and hydrated.  During the day, the Lip Protectant is great.  You can wear it alone or under your lipstick.  Neither product has any color, but does have shine.  These are pricier products, but if you have the type of lip problems that I do, it is well worth it.  Also, a little goes a long way, so they will last you a very long time.

Favorite Lip Liner:  Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner - East End Snob & Mac Lip Liner: Whirl

Rimmel Exaggerate was a favorite of mine for 2013 as well.  These liners come in many colors, are creamy with great staying power, and don't require a sharpener.  It is the retractable kind that seems to always have a pointed tip.  They are also very affordable and last a good amount of time.  While I have yet to find a color that I don't like, I wear East End Snob the most.  A lot of other people must love it as well, because it is always the first of the colors to sell out.  It is a medium pink, but it is so versatile.  I wear it with pinks, berries, and nudes.  It just works so well with most of what I have (and I have a TON of lippies)!

Mac has great lip pencils in a variety of shades.  These are different from the Rimmel in the sense that it is an actual pencil that requires sharpening.  You get so much product with these though that it would take forever to use an entire pencil.  I purchased the color Whirl this year.  It became hugely popular, because it was reported that this is what Kylie Jenner used to get her infamous lip color that everyone was gaga for.  This shade is more of a brown/neutral, but not too brown.  Like East End Snob, it is extremely versatile.  I pair it with browns, nudes, and browny pinks.  It has great staying power, and I have yet to be disappointed with any Mac Lip Pencil that I have purchased.

Favorite Lip Gloss:  NYX LIp Butter

I have to say, I'm not a big lip gloss girl.  I think they look nice, but I'm not a fan of many formulas.  Plus, now that my hair is longer, it can get stuck in my gloss.  I hate a thick, sticky texture, and I have had some that just leave a horrible taste in my mouth.  I do find that they tend to be a higher maintenance lip product for me.  Having said that, I really do like the NYX Butter Glosses!  They have a creamy, moisturizing formula that has beautiful colors and high shine.  They are a slippery formula, so they aren't long wearing, but I don't mind as long as they aren't thick and sticky.  They look great with alone, paired with a liner, or over a lipstick.  They also have a great smell that most people love.  They are very affordable, and now NYX is more widely available.  You can now find them at Target, CVS, and Meijer.

Favorite Lipstick:  Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick & Mac Lipstick

I have to say when it comes to drugstore lipsticks, there are quite a few good ones, but I think Maybelline really stood out for me this year.  The color sensational line has such an array of colors and lines within the Color Sensational line.  They have the vivid, which are as the name implies, have vivid, hot colors.  They have a nudes line, which has a great selection of nudes, no matter your skin color, and along with a few others, they also came out with a matte line this year.  The matte lip really took over this year.  It was everywhere!!  If you lean towards matte lippies, you will notice that many end up being quite drying and uncomfortable on the lips.  That is not true with these mattes!  They came out with some really beautiful colors, and this line is just as creamy and moisturizing as all the others.  They are an affordable drugstore product that does not disappoint.

One of my favorite things. if not my very favorite thing from Mac is their lipsticks.  So many people love them, and rightfully so.  They have an enormous amount of colors, as well as finishes.  They smell great, and they are great quality.  The color I grabbed for most this year is Fast Play.  It is a rosy brown that just really went well with whatever makeup look I was wearing.  I haven't heard many beauty bloggers mention this color, but I think many people would like it, especially seeing how popular the Kylie Jenner/90's lip was this year.

*In the above pic, I am wearing Mac Whirl Lip Pencil & Mac Fast Play Lipstick.  I am also wearing L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation, Elf Radiant Powder, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Anastasia Brow Pomade, Both Maybelline and Mac concealers, and Maybelline Master Hi-Light Blush in Mauve.

So, that is my favorites of 2014.  I tried a lot of products this year.  I found many I like, some I didn't, and some new favorites.  I hope this list is helpful, and helps you make some makeup choices that will end up being some of your favorites as well.  If you found any great products this year, please list them below.  Us beauty lovers love hearing about anything that is working for you, because it could end up being our next holy grail product!  Thank you to everyone who has been following and reading my blog this year.  It means a lot to me!  I hope you had a great 2014, and have an even better 2015!!

                                                                                                              -XOXO Monique


  1. My daughter and I really enjoy reading your post\blog. We have tried several of the items you have reviewed and appreciate that you take the guess work out of the products. My daughter loves the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil ( she is very pale and uses a lighter hand when applying). We also like that you review drug store and higher end items!

  2. Thanks so much, Jennifer!! I am so glad you enjoy the blog. I take my reviews very seriously, so I make sure I test the product out for a good amount of time and really pay attention to the details. I also watch and read a lot of reviews. I am not sponsored, so I spend my own money on all my beauty, hair, and skin products, so I don't want to be wasting it. I am a drugstore girl at heart and always will be, even though I do own some high end items. I just don't see the point in spending a lot of money when I can buy something at the drugstore that is just as good if not better! Name brands aren't important to me. I just want good products. Thanks for reading the blog!