This past year has definitely been a good one for me when it comes to discovering fun new beauty products. I addition, this was also the year that I started the Beauty Loon blog and I’m so honored and pleased that you all have tuned in over the past few months! The blog hasn’t even been around for a full year, but I’m feeling celebratory and wanted to make mention of the products that made the biggest impression on me over the past 12 months. I’m covering skincare, hair care, and makeup picks all in one list. Here we go!
The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter ($15)
The Body Shop released their line of Camomile cleansing products this year, and this cleansing butter is a soft balm that easily breaks down makeup at the end of the day. Over the past year I’ve tried a variety of makeup removers in the form of liquids and towelettes, but this butter has been my absolute favorite of the bunch. It has a wonderful texture and leaves my skin feeling clean and soft. It’s also reasonably priced, comes in a slim tin that doesn’t waste any space and has an extremely gentle scent.
LUSH Angels on Bare Skin ($13.95 for 3.5 oz.) … full review
Angels on Bare Skin is an older product and best-seller facial cleanser from Lush, and I can definitely see why it’s so popular. I tried it for the first time this year and it quickly became a favorite of mine. It’s really well-balanced and leaves my skin feeling clean and soft. It’s preservative-free, too. The ground almonds provide just enough exfoliation to cleanse thoroughly, but it’s still really gentle and won’t dry skin out. It’s a dry product sold by weight, and you just need to mix a pinch of it in a little warm water and work it onto skin.
Raunsborg Skin Tonic (169 DKK, or around $31 USD) … full review
Sadly, this one is not available in the US at the moment, but the Raunsborg Skin Tonic currently stands as my favorite toner. I stumbled upon it while on vacation in Denmark this summer, and I’m so glad I did. It takes a moment to fully absorb but it really leaves my face feeling soothed and nourished, and as I worked my way through the bottle I could tell that it was making a real impact on the health and balance of my skin. If you’re in Denmark, you’re a lucky duck! I’m hoping that Raunsborg will be able to bring their products to the US soon, but in the meantime they were kind enough to send me a new bottle as well as a few other products to test out, so you can expect reviews for those in the coming weeks.
The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Moisture Lotion SPF 15 ($18.50 for 1.69 fl. oz.) … full review
I used the Seaweed Mattifying Moisture Lotion for over half of the past year. It was a perfect moisturizer for the summer months and it’s actually been working for me this winter, too. It’s been really great for my combination skin, providing enough moisture for the drier areas of my face yet not so much that it adds shine to the oilier areas. I absolutely love The Body Shop’s seaweed scent, and I like that this lotion has a little bit of SPF in it. It’s a little expensive at full price, but you can pick it up during one of The Body Shop’s frequent sales for a lot less.
Over the past year, I’ve tried a handful of different facial oils. Turns out my favorite one doesn’t come from a beauty store, but from a natural health store! I first heard about using borage oil as a facial moisturizer from a cosmetics chemist who was a special guest on an old Dr. Oz show, but it took me a while to find a store that sold it. I ended up buying it from a neighborhood natural health store, and I’ve also found that Whole Foods carries it. It’s natural, moisturizes skin and reduces inflammation. A tip: if you find that it has a weird smell, try finding a higher quality brand. I applied the oil topically, but you can also take supplements orally – the research I’ve seen says that both methods work.
Red Flower Cleansing Hair Wash ($28 for 8 oz.) … full review
I haven’t deeply explored natural shampoos as of yet (it’s something I intend to tackle in the future), but I was able to try Red Flower’s Cleansing Hair Wash and thought it was really impressive. It left my hair feeling bouncy, voluminous and shiny, and seemed to be really balancing, as it cut my need for conditioner in half. At $28 per bottle, it falls pretty much in line with other salon brands, but t’s full of great natural ingredients. I tried the ocean scent which was really pleasant (and gentle), but all of the scent options sound great.
L’Oreal Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer ($12.99 for 0.5 oz.) … full review
I started trying different primers this past spring when my skin started getting a bit oilier, and I found that L’Oreal’s Magic Perfecting Base was a winner. It really smooths out the texture of my skin, extends the longevity of my makeup and helps keep me matte. I like the little space-saving pot, too. It’s not the cheapest primer in the drugstore, but it’s definitely better than the options sold in Sephora. You only need to use a little, and I’m still working my way through the pot I purchased in May.
DreamWorld Hermetica Mineral Foundation ($20.50 for 12-14 g) … full review
DreamWorld Hermetica is an indie mineral cosmetics brand that relaunched earlier this year. They offer a whopping 170+ foundation shades in 3 different formulas, and I found an awesome shade match by trying out a handful of sample baggies (I’m using Rhea II in the Cloud formula). I enjoy their products, and their mineral foundation has become the foundation that I most often reached for on a daily basis. I really like it, it’s not too expensive, and it doesn’t have any questionable ingredients in it.
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer ($30 for 0.35 oz.)
Tons of people talk about this one so it probably comes as no surprise, but the Chocolate Soleil bronzer from Too Faced has truly been one of my most-used beauty products. I use the classic medium/deep version, but there is also a Milk Chocolate shade for those who prefer a lighter color. I just think that this one works so perfectly. I can use it any time of year, and it can also work as a contour shade. It has a matte finish and the color is very lovely and natural, not at all orange … oh yeah, and it smells like chocolate. I can’t say enough good things about it. Too Faced updated their packaging for their bronzers at the end of the summer, so you can now buy it in a soft gold compact instead of the brown one that I have.
L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara ($8.99 for 0.22 fl. oz.) … full review
The Voluminous Butterfly mascara is a new product from L’Oreal that was released in the past few months, and it reminds me of a couple of other mascaras that I tested earlier in the year – Lorac’s Visual Effects (review) and Clarins’ Be Long (review) mascaras come to mind. However, the Voluminous Butterfly is my favorite. It’s cheaper and easier to use than those other two, and it just makes lashes look beautiful. It’s strengths are length, definition, lift, and a deep black color (I’m using the shade Blackest Black), and it really helps give lashes a striking look. This is a recent find of mine and I haven’t posted a full review yet, but I will and can share photos of the effect it gives (update: full review).
There are my ten! I’d love to hear about your experiences with these products, or what your favorites of 2013 have been. Hope you’ve been enjoying the holidays, and I wish you all the best in 2014.