It’s time for the Best in Beauty for 2018! Part of the reason we try new things is the thrill of the hunt. We all want to discover a holy grail or made for me product and are willing to gamble on the unknown. At times, the risk pays off, and we find things worth talking about. Those are the items we want to shout about from the rooftops. Deal shoppers do not always try things the moment they release, because we like to read reviews and wait for sales. The items on this list were not necessarily released in 2018. I did not discover their greatness until 2018 though. This is a list of the 10 best products I tried for the first time this year and for good measure I have two bonus products. While it is amazing when we find drugstore items that perform as well as high-end ones, and I sample products from low-end to luxury with that goal in mind, this list is only indicative of the best products (not the best in their price range).
I try so many new things each year, because I love testing products. Limiting this list to the 10 best products I tried this year was hard. Thankfully, I had a harder time curating this list than I did with my worst list. That means I loved more than I hated this year, and that is always something I am thankful for. No one wants to spend hard-earned money on a bunch of duds. While I like the idea of the top 10, I am thinking of expanding this next year, so I do not have to leave so many worthy contenders off the list. Until next year rolls around, I am unsure what format I will use.
Funny enough, I got it when I still lived in California, but I never tried it until after I moved it away. Since trying it, I reach for this more than any other blush. I used it so many times I lost count. This pink shade with shimmering gold warms my skin so beautifully. It really makes my cheeks glow without being overly shimmery, and it pairs wonderfully with a warm-toned makeup look. Go in with a light hand and build the color up if needed, because it is very pigmented. I’ve wanted a pink blush that looks great with warm tones, and this is it. Winter is usually a time when I create more cool toned looks, but this blush inspired me to go warm more than I usually do. My dry cheeks have a hard time holding onto color, but this lasts longer than a lot of other blushes, including some others I own from Benefit.
I grabbed this, because I colored my hair for the first time in years in 2018. It was also the first time in about 20 years that I colored it at home. Without those fancy salon treatments to assist my hair, I figured this was the next best thing. Many salons actually sell this and many of the ones that don’t apply it to client hair after coloring it. Of course, the coloring did not go well, but how my hair felt and responded afterward could have gone worse without this product. Step 3 is an at-home treatment that rebuilds broken bonds in the hair molecules. This is for use after chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage. My hair seemed softer and stronger after each use. Less of my hair was breaking off when I combed it as well. If it was more affordable, I would use it every week. Since I do not use heat styling very often, I limit to it when I color my hair. It is nice to use it about a week before and after I color it. That way, I am coloring my hair after strengthening it and strengthening my hair after coloring it.
This is far from a full-coverage concealer so those looking for that would not like this. It does claim that it builds to full coverage, but even when I build this, it only reaches about medium coverage. Whether I apply a little for light coverage or a lot for medium coverage, it looks so natural. My under eyes have lines so I always get creasing with any concealer. The amount on creasing I get with this concealer is so minute that I can easily buff it out without disturbing it too much or moving it around. My extremely dry under eyes feel very comfortable with this on. Those with dry eyes know the tight feeling of dry concealer where you just need to wash it off ASAP. That has never happened once when I wore this. If you have very dark circles, this will not cover them. There was one day when my circles were darker than usual, and I still opted for this. I just used a little peach corrector first and still got very natural, comfortable feeling under eyes that day. Because there is not a lot of coverage in this, I do not recommend it for spot concealing, but I have one I do below.
Everyone raves about Too Faced bronzers. While I do have some I like, I find most of them too orange for my skin tone. After falling in love with Endless Summer, Too Faced discontinued it. That is probably still my favorite bronzer of all time, but I did not reach for that in 2018 and reached for this many times. Chocolate Soleil is a close color match to Endless Summer, but it is matte where Endless Summer had some slight shimmer. I prefer a slight sheen with my bronzers unless I am not contouring. Then, I can use a matte bronzer as a contour/bronzer. Discovering this filled a gap Endless Summer left, and it is funny that it comes from the same brand that let me down. It looks a lot like the Pink Leopard Bronzer (that I find too pink for bronzer), so I never would have purchased this. Thankfully, Sephora sent it to me. There is an overspray on this, which will give a slight shimmer until it rubs off. That does not bother me at all (as I just mentioned I like slight shimmer), but it had matte in the title so it is worth noting.
With a light hand, this can look extremely natural. Using a heavier hand, it will really warm up the skin. The slight hint of pink adds a radiant touch. This is my new favorite Too Faced bronzer. While I still think Endless Summer is prettier, you can no longer buy that. It comes down to this and Chocolate Soleil (which I also love) for me. I’d grab this when I want a radiant look and that when I want a matte look. Once the overspray is gone, I still think this will look more radiant that a purely matte bronzer.
This was a really hyped product. Whenever products get this much hype, I am skeptical. They rarely live up to the hype and even great products can feel disappointing when they’re overhyped. I also do not buy into the belief that there are universal products, because there is no one size fits all item. As there are plenty of one-star reviews for this at Sephora, it is important to note that others agree with me on that. It is not for everyone, but it is for “almost” everyone. I love this gloss. The color is perfect on me. It adds just a hint of color, but it is the shine I really like. This is very comfortable. There is not a lot of stickiness at all (which I appreciate) yet it is hydrating. Like most glosses, I do have to reapply, but there are some glosses that fade faster than this. I’ve tested glosses for a future article comparing them (for one that looks, feels, and wears great). This checks all those boxes.
If I had to pick my favorite moisturizing cream of all time, I would have a hard time choosing between this and La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream. They are both amazing. These rich creams moisturize so deeply to make my skin feel hydrated and supple. Since there is not much difference in the way they feel on my skin, I would grab the 1.7oz $38 one over the 1oz $175 one. As someone who has a 10-11 step skincare system, I do not need my moisturizer to have a bunch of stuff in it. My serums deliver powerful ingredients so all I want from a moisturizer is hydration and a lot of it. This delivers and by loading the cream with ingredients to deliver moisture and nothing else. Even though my skin is deeply hydrated, it can also breathe in the winter. My skin never gets to breathe in the winter. In the summer, I would actually select this over the La Mer. As it is a little less dense, my skin can breathe more with this. I really want my skin to breathe in the summer.
When ogx discontinued its split end mender, I was really disappointed. It worked better than anything else I had ever tried at reducing my split ends. I reluctantly purchased this hoping it would deliver the same results. It worked so well that I rarely had a spilt end, and I always assumed any that passed through were just strands that I consistently missed with the product. This works even better than the other one. There are NO split ends at the tips of my hair. I just spent a ton of time checking and cannot find one. My last haircut was months ago. Now that my hair does not split, I go longer between haircuts. A bottle of this lasts me about a year when I wash my hair every other day and only apply one pump to the ends. Given that this is already a drugstore item, and I stock up when Ulta has a BOGO sale, I spend so little to keep my ends intact.
Some of you may know that I am working on a lip balm article. For over two years, I keep purchasing new lip balms to review. My goal is to write an article with mini reviews for each one I’ve tested. The LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask has slightly detoured that task. When the weather shifted around mid fall from warm to cold, I found myself grabbing this a lot. I knew I had so many to test, but my lips were hurting because of how chapped they were. This provided a lot of relief and if I stopped using it, my chapped lips returned. As I’ve already done an article on this, I will only say here that this stuff is legit. Whenever I stop using it, my lips notice. My lips took a turn for the worst once winter started, so I am using this everyday again. I am also sick and hate tube lip balms when I am sick. Once I touch the tube to my lips while sick germs are present, I typically toss it once I am feeling better. With a jar like this, I can stick a clean toothpick in it to pull product out. Then, I remove the product from the toothpick and apply it to my lips. Now, my nose is chapped, but my lips feel all right. That article is getting pushed back again, but I still hope to publish it sometime in 2019.
My skin has always been dry, and I’ve tried a number of things to add moisture. Then, I thought why not add a moisture boosting serum. At that point, I had already tried moisturizing toners, essences, and creams. The h2o+ Beauty Oasis Moisture Boost Serum was the perfect place to start, because water (moisture) is right in the name of the brand. This little gem works wonders for my dry skin. It drinks it right up (as long as I remember to shake it before I apply it). If I skip even one application, I notice the difference in how moisturized I felt. Though it works best in cold weather when my skin struggles to hold onto moisture, I still applied it at times in warm weather. When I use this consistently, my dry patches are almost nonexistent. I will always use a moisturizing serum before other serums now. Since I finished this one, I’ve tried two new moisturizing serums (keep switching back and forth between them). Neither even come close. This is a really special product.
I love eyeshadow palettes and had a hard time deciding which one to place on this list. At one point, I almost had two. Then, I remembered that only one renewed my love of palettes and gave me hope for the future. That hope is the reason it deserves the top spot. Not only do the colors in this palette really speak to me, but the formula of each shade I’ve tried so far is beautiful and easy to work with. It can create very neutral looks, but it can also give a very sultry look as its name suggests. The versatility does not escape me, and I can see myself grabbing this over almost anything else I own when I travel. One palette can do so much. For the past couple of years, eyeshadow palettes and eyeshadow primers that used to leave me crease free had failed me. As I aged, my eyes got more hooded and more oily. Even if the creasing was only light, it was there. Creasing is one of my biggest pet peeves, but it reached a point where I thought it was my new normal. If I wanted to wear eyeshadow, I now had to deal with the inevitable creasing.
Then, I tried this palette. No matter which eyeshadow primer I used, it never creased. I cannot tell you the last time I used a palette that many times that remained crease free. This is amazing. It renewed my hope that while it is harder to go crease free, it is still possible. Aging does not have to equal makeup that cannot last all day. I just have to adjust some of the products that I used to love and pass them onto younger people. The glitter shades do transfer when I do not use a glitter glue but even when they move up higher than my crease, they stay crease free. As someone who really loves glitter, I love that this palette lets me play with it again. When I use glitter glue, it mostly stays below my crease. ABH should have left the glitter off the outer packaging though. It does transfer to your hands and can end up on your face because of that.
As I happily selected two items that work wonders for my hair in 2018, I realized that no product has done more for my hair than the Wet Brush. I regretted not placing this in my top 10 back in 2015. Part of the reason I made that decision is I think I discovered this in 2014 or even 2013. I was not blogging in those years, so I should have included this after I started. The funniest thing about it is I selected a hair product as my number 1 in 2015. It is a product I still love, and I stand by it. Having all these products I love in my Top 10 makes me happy, but the one I love the most is noticeably absent. While I cannot promise this is the last time I will feel the need to right a past wrong, I can say this is the only one that been bothering me for a while. Thus, I must give an honorable mention to my favorite hair product of all time, the Wet Brush.
My hair is fine and it tangles easily. The brush works through my wet hair like no other. It removes tangles without pulling too hard. That results in less breakage. Whenever my hair breaks less, I have less baby hairs and fly-aways. Less tangles also equal less frizz. If I change no other products I use in my hair other than the brush, I notice a difference both in the way my hair feels as I am brushing it and the way it looks after it dries. On both accounts, this is easier to brush through than anything else, and it makes my hair look better after drying than any other brush. I find it a lot easier to use than any other comb I’ve tries as well, and I spend less time brushing than I used to spend combing. This is a FabuFind.
I usually do not feel the need to name products I love from a brand when I name others I hate. Most people are intuitive enough to know that with rare exception all brands have some products that are good and others that are bad. Besides, some of the ones I think are bad get loved by others and vice versa. After placing a Volition product in the top spot on my worst products list for this year, I felt I had to mention an amazing product here. This is mostly because I really support what the brand is doing. It takes the ideas of people, funds them, promotes them, and helps them mass market their beauty products. Many of these products would never see the market without the help of this company, so I am a huge fan of what it does. It is also important to recognize that every product has a creator. If you dislike a product or multiple products from one creator, you do not have to ignore products from other creators. It is an entirely different animal from most brands.
Sadly, I could not place this product in my top 10 to meet my goal of encouraging people to explore the brand to support independent creators backed by this brand. I felt the 10 I selected were more deserving of their spots, but I could have easily picked this if I changed the format to top 3 in each category. If I had a top 3 for skincare for instance, this would come in at number 3 behind the belif product placing the h2o+ product in my number 1 spot. This is unlike any mask I’ve ever tried before. It dries like a clay mask, but it leaves my face super soft like a moisturizing mask. Unlike your average clay mask, it does not completely dry down. That probably prevents this from sucking moisture out the skin. I left this on longer than the 5-10 minutes, it never completely dried out. Even though it does not dry down, it still seems to pull things out of the skin. My skin looked brighter and firmer so I can tell it purified as promised. There was no redness or irritation, and my skin just felt calm. As someone with dry skin who does still get breakouts from clogged pores, this is a simply beautiful product.
What do you think of my best in beauty choices? Let me know below. Now that you’ve seen the ones I love, see the ones I hate. See all of My Best Awards. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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