Beauty Favorites of 2014

Recently I’ve had some requests to share my beauty and skincare favorites – over the next few months I hope to share with you all of my favorite finds both this year, and ever!  Today I thought I’d start with beauty (especially since I’ll personally be stocking up on some favorite sets during the holidays)…here’s what I’ve been using, and loving, in 2014.


Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment: I love these, I have for years, I just can’t give them up. I even tried buying some of the more inexpensive versions that have come out over the years – from Burt’s Bees, to Maybelline Baby Lips. They’ve all been fine, but Fresh’s version is king. My favorite colors are Passionfruit and Plum, and I’ve basically tried them all.

By the way – each year, Sephora comes out with a few great Fresh Sugar sets that lets you try out multiple colors.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy: My favorite blush. I’m a bit of a blush addict, and even though I usually prefer gel/cream textures, this one is still the best. Fantastic staying power (and I have oily skin), and an array of flattering colors. I like coral blushes, and I’ll use this one year round.

MAC Blot Powder in Medium Dark: Like I mentioned earlier, I have oily skin. I brush this on over my t-zone each morning and again if I’m going out somewhere at night. Keeps the shine at bay and doesn’t clog my pores. I have pretty light skin but I still use the medium dark color – it’s pretty translucent and never shows up as too dark on me.

Maybelline Full N’Soft Mascara: I love mascara, have a tried a lot of brands, and sometimes with great results. I’ve come to the realization however, that I have neither the skill, patience, or time in the morning to achieve spectacular lashes – that is, at least not without a ton of corresponding clumps and those awful brittle looking lashes. Over time, I’ve found myself reaching for an old and happily inexpensive favorite from Maybelline. Full N’Soft rarely clumps, goes on easily, and yes- my lashes feel soft.

Chanel Nail Polish in Pirate: I am a hoarder of red nail polish. It is very sad, but yes I can actaully tell the difference between different reds, and the staying power of each. I have my favorites. And my current one for the last few months has been Chanel’s Pirate – really, the perfect red, and super good staying power. What makes it more special is that this bottle was a gift from a lovely friend, Ava, who introduced me to it. When it runs out, I’ll be buying more for sure!

MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Lingering: I love this eyebrow pencil. It is my perfect one. It has the most perfect brownish/taupe color and amazingly, it looks good on a lot of different skin tones and hair colors. The cost isn’t offensive, and there’s a decent amount. Plus, no sharpening. One of the items where I have multiples so there’s never a risk of running out.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil in Zero: Super black, great staying power. Yes, if I’ve had one of those super long grueling day at work, then gone straight to a dinner, then drinks, and then come home – sure a bit may have faded, and there may be a tiny bit of smudging. Day to day though, this is the best pencil I’ve found so far for lining eyes without smudging, and has a nice smooth application.

Lorac “Unzipped” Eyeshadow Palette: I love this palette even more than all the Urban Decay “Naked” versions. Every shade is gorgeous and easily wearable for both work and evening situations. No glitter and no crazy colors. It’s $14 less than the Urban Version, and comes with an extra primer too!

Yves Saint Laurent “Touche Eclat” Highlighter: I’ve tried to find a cheaper version. Each year, I try. And I always come crawling back. I currently use either shade #1 or #1.5.

What have been some of your beauty favorites of 2014? I’d love to try out some new products!

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  • Reply
    November 5, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I love hearing about other people’s favorite beauty products. I feel like it’s a tried and true way to discover something new. And also just in time for Sephora’s VIB sale! I too also have oily skin (mine is extremely oily – my consoling factor is that I hear that means you develop wrinkles later in life..) Here are some of my favorites:
    – Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
    – NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (must have for my oily lids)
    – Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 For Face (Dries matte and smooth)
    – SEPHORA collection Instant Nail Polish Remover (removes nail polish like magic!)
    – Rimmel Stay Matte Powder
    – AmorePacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel Oil-Free (perfect for the NE winter and oily/acne prone skin)
    – Elizabeth Mott Mascara (smudge proof)

    • Reply
      November 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you for all the recommendations! I also have oily skin – I’m adding the AmorePacific and the Elizabeth Mott especially to my list!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2014 at 10:06 am

    1-Drew Barrymore’s FLOWER Glow Baby Glow Blush-Bronzer Duo in all 4 colors! Beachy Keen, Sunkissed & Single, Shimmering Goddess, Gloriously Golden. All her products are proudly made in the USA and are never tested on animals. 2- butter London Lippy: Moisture Matt Lipsticks, Tinted Lip Balms, and Liquid Lipsticks. 3- butter London’s Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat, Hardwear P.D. Quick Top Coat, and Horse Power Nail Fertilizer. I am including 4- CREED fragrances that swept me off my feet: Love in White, Virgin Island Water, White Flowers, Sublime Vanilla and soooo much more CREED. As for skin care with incredible results, 5- OBAGI skin care that totally made a startling difference with my brown spots (melasma) so common in asian women. I’ve had so many compliments about how my skin looks so “flawless”, lol.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      Hi Sybil, thanks for sharing your list. I’m very interested in the OBAGI because I also have the same brown spots. I think I will ask for a sample next time I’m in Sephora!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I adore the whole Fresh sugar line. Other than coconut oil – it’s the only brand that does not dry my lips out! And I have tried everything. The light colors are so wonderful. Just enough tone to know it isn’t a bare lip and protect you from the elements.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      I’m also a lover of coconut oil. One of the best products in my kitchen and beauty drawer!

  • Reply
    Ava Lon
    November 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Dear Katherine,
    Awww, you’re so sweet! I love that you love the Pirate! Wearing red everyday I see – lol! 😀
    I love this post! How great to see what your beauty faves are! Now I totally want to try the Maybelline Full n’ Soft!

    Like you, I suffer from oily skin with dry patches in the winter 🙁 Aside from applying a very high SPF daily, here is my list along side some googled images for visual reference:

    For lips –
    Boots No. 7 Sheer Temptation Lipstick (basically a fragrance free and more wallet friendly version of Chanel Rouge Coco Shines) layered over a nude lip pencil which I will use to color in my lips so I don’t have to reapply during the day (I hate carrying around makeup and I’m lazy) 😀

    Lorac Breakthrough Performance Lipstick “Vanity”
    I keep this in my desk at work for days I eat a guilty-indulgent-breakfast and my lipstick wipes off — this is a MLBB kind of shade — and frankly I think I’ve worn it a handful of times (like I said, I’m lazy with makeup) but it is currently on sale below at over 50% off! 🙂

    For Eye lid and face and lip primer:
    Hourglass Veil (hands down the ne plus ultra of primers and it takes care of your eye makeup and lips AND SPF to boot!) 🙂

    For Eyes-
    Viseart Matte Nudes Palette
    I am a total idiot when it comes to eyeshadow but every time I use this palette I get compliments galore – it is really idiot-proof and they are all matte shades which blend like a dream and I’m using the $3 elf shadow brush to apply and blend – lol
    I also own their Sultry Nudes Palette which is also idiot proof. 😉

    Milani Eye Tech Extreme liquid eyeliner pen in black
    The perfect cat eye and works better than Stila, Tom Ford, Chanel, and Eyeko on my oily lids IMO

    For Brows-
    I got this on a clearance sale at the local drugstore and use the black shadow for my brows and it goes on nicely and not like Cruella de Ville brows, lol, and “realistic” looking.

    For Cheeks-
    Nars “Deep Throat”
    Naughty name aside and the minor bits of what appears to be shimmer aside, I promise you there is no glitter apparent once applied and you will get a very nice luminous glow

    For Nails-
    Chanel “Frenzy” on my hands and “Pirate” on my toes (more wallet friendly dupes are L’Oreal Colour Riche “Eiffel for You” and Wet-n-Wild Fast-Dry “Everybody Loves Redmond”)
    Partially bc the color works and partially bc the name IMO is in stark contrast to the color — and reminds me of my life, frenetic and crazed but I maintain a calm demeanor – lol

    Chanel (bc it’s pretty idiot-proof)

    All over powder-
    Chanel (this will last you the rest of your life, and I have oily skin and I say this)

    Highlighting (for inner corner of eyes and cupids bow when feeling particularly ambitious – aka date night w hubby when I have the energy, lol):
    L’Oreal Silkissime Eyeliner in Highlighter

    Contouring (when I am feeling exceptionally ambitious for a special event in the evening)
    RCMA VK Palette #10

    Makeup Brushes –
    While I own a few different brands, some touted as being “the best” I use my elf studio brushes (these are the $3 brushes from Target) on a daily basis 🙂

    I’d love for you to do a post on “how do you take off your makeup” – it’s so interesting to see how your readers all take such different approaches to everything from storing prized purses and bags to applying makeup, etc.


  • Reply
    November 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Ack! I love beauty so this was a great post! Perfect timing for the Sephora VIB sale too!

    I highly (!!!) recommend the Reve de Miel lip balm- it is awesome and the best part is that it’s matte so it won’t slip off and smear. Mine fell out of my purse a couple weeks back and I realize how much I love it.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      I LOVE Nuxe! I will look out for this next time I am in Paris!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Paths & Errands
    November 5, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    This post makes me want to shop lol! If you love red nail polish, hands-down my favorite is Dolce & Gabbana Fiamma. It’s so elegant, and a little bit darker than the other reds in my collection.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you for the rec! That looks gorgeous.

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Just in time for the Sephora VIB sale today! I’ve been meaning to try the YSL touché eclat for a long time and your review and the sale is just the right motivation. I am also a longtime fan of your other suggestions – the Fresh lip treatments, the Tarte blush, and the MAC blot. fantastic products.

    • Reply
      November 7, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Ah, I lost my VIB membership 🙁 So no sale for me, hope they do something for the lowly Beauty Insiders, lol.

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I love MAC blot powder, too! I’ve been using it for about ten years and have never – ever – found anything that can come close to it. It’s the best.

    I’ve been loving Revlon Colorburst lip crayons. I’m not usually a drug store make-up girl but ITG highlighted these once (it’s the cheaper version of Clinique Chubby Sticks) and they are fantastic. All kinds of finishes and textures. My favorite is the laquer balm in Enticing Desirable #150. The perfect red for day or night. Women stop and ask me what lip color I’m wearing.

    • Reply
      November 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you for the rec! I’m always interested in the “cheaper version” of anything, lol. I have a few chubby sticks and like them a lot.

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I’m not a make-up wearer, per se. I never wear foundation, powder, blush, tinted moisturizer, BB or CC creams, etc. as I don’t like anything on my face that I can feel if that makes sense. I wear full coverage lipstick every single day. If I am feeling like it, I’ll put on eyeshadow and mascara.
    My favorite eyeshadow has been Be a Bombshell Bora Bora quad, NYX baked eyeshadow in Lavish, and Cargo Cosmetics Vintage Escape palette.
    Two mascaras that I loved were the Ulta Plush Drama and Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big.
    Favorite lipsticks were Kate Moss for Rimmel London in 107, Laura Mercier Plum Orchid, and Lancôme The Hit List. Japonesque has a really nice formula.

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I’m not a make-up wearer, per se. I never wear foundation, powder, blush, tinted moisturizer, BB or CC creams, etc. as I don’t like anything on my face that I can feel if that makes sense. I wear full coverage lipstick every single day. If I am feeling like it, I’ll put on eyeshadow and mascara.
    My favorite eyeshadow has been Be a Bombshell Bora Bora quad, NYX baked eyeshadow in Lavish, and Cargo Cosmetics Vintage Escape palette.
    Two mascaras that I loved were the Ulta Plush Drama and Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big.
    Favorite lipsticks were Kate Moss for Rimmel London in 107, Laura Mercier Plum Orchid, and Lancôme The Hit List. Japonesque has a really nice formula.

    • Reply
      November 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you for the lipstick recs! They all sound amazing. I want to try them all.

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Agree with the mac blot powder, having oily skin this one is perfect for me in a reasonable price. Adore how you share about nail polish and loving red color. There’s something about red that make it irresistable no? Though chanel is the only brand i did’nt try so far. I’m using estee’s highlighter and knowing you love ysl and coming back to it make me want to try.

    Love to hear more of your beauty picks though in the next post and skincare perhaps.

    Have a great weekend ahead.


    • Reply
      November 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks Audrina, you too!

  • Reply
    christine brightside
    November 7, 2014 at 6:32 am

    well I have to admit I’m sort of a creature of habit, especially when it comes to beauty stuff! I trust my daily beauty items, and after many years of trial-and-error, I have my “steady crew” on board 😉 This loyalty prevents me from impulsive beauty shopping madness, especially regarding fancy holiday gift sets, limited editions, seasonal colors etc. But this week I went weak – simply ADORE the eye shadow pressed pigments from MAC’s “Heirloom” edition and went bonkers buying two colors several times. Shame on me! But they are definitely worth the hype, I love them! Furthermore, I rediscovered Giorgio Armani’s mascara “eyes to kill” this year, I tried a few other ones but returned to Armani. Other beauty items that I loved this year were:
    * Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy lipsticks – their coverage, application and texture is simply awesome! Felt like I can throw away every other lipstick I owned after trying these!
    * Sally Hanson “Insta Dri” topcoat – well, I was trusting Essie’s topcoat for a long time. This is just a little bit better, I can’t stand sitting and waaaaiting for nailpolish to dry, with “Insta Dri” the color is dry within few minutes
    * Clarins “Super restorative” skincare – I neglected Clarins as a brand for my whole life until I tried this moisturizer and night cream. Awesome. Will buy fullsize when my samples are empty!

    • Reply
      November 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      I’m adding the Insta Dri to my list. Always searching for the perfect topcoat. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

    LOVE beauty-related items!! My favorites for 2014 so far..(I have combination my ultimate goal is always to keep my t-zone shine-free)

    – Hourglass serum primer –this doubles as my moisturizer and primer in the morning. I’ve gone through massive amounts of these
    – MD Solar Sciences sunscreen –definitely helps keep the shine at bay AND sunscreen!
    – Tom Ford blush in “Wicked” –color may look bright and scary at first, but it gives you that lit-from-within glow and application is easy peasy b/c it blends so well
    – Burberry eyeshadows –not a 2014-only love per say as I’ve had them for awhile, but these are the best eyeshadows..pigmented, creamy, easy to blend. Favorite shade: rosewood
    – Lip balm — Jack Black..for men..yes. It has SPF and it certainly wonderful when I’m running outside..lips stopped becoming wind-chapped after I started using it.

    • Reply
      November 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      I’ve heard multiple times about this serum primer. I think I’ll be ordering it the next time around…am cracking!!

    • Reply
      November 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      I also discovered the Jack Black lip balm recently and totally love it! It works way better than Lip Therapy or Chapstick.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    My skin is combination/ extremely sensitive but I’ve found a few products I really like this year:

    1) Blinc mascara- forms little tubes around your lashes. It’s one of the few products that doesn’t smudge when my eyes are oily. I try to stock up on Fiberwig when I find it in a store.
    2) Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil 100% Squalane- finally an oil that doesn’t make me break out.
    3) Simple Wipes- the lazy and inexpensive way to remove all makeup.
    4) Shiseido Advanced Hydro-Liquid Compact Refill SPF 15- this is supposed to go in a compact but used as is it weighs almost nothing and doesn’t count as a liquid when traveling.
    5) NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Rue Bonaparte (light almond)- the perfect flesh colored eyeliner for hiding a red waterline.

    And it’s not a product but I did find a great cosmetic travel container. I purchased a 9 pack of sauce containers (a container useful for box lunches) that has 3 different sizes of tiny plastic bottles made to hold liquids. They’re the perfect size for oil, sunscreen, or tinted moisturizer for one night or while flying. Mine were $1.50 at Daimo but I imagine you could find them elsewhere.

    I already had Sugar lip treatment in my Sephora basket and have added YSL Touche Eclat. Great idea for a post and perfect timing for the VIB promo.

    • Reply
      November 9, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Ah another lucky VIBer! Have fun 🙂 Thank you for the blinc recommendation – I had been curious a few years ago and forgot all about it – I’m going to add it to my to buy list.

      • Reply
        November 9, 2014 at 9:19 pm

        There’s not much time left but I haven’t used my VIB invitation to share if you’d like it?

        • Reply
          November 10, 2014 at 11:15 am

          Thanks Kim! If you have one free I’d love it, no worries if not though 🙂 Thanks so much for being so thoughtful! I’m

          • Kimberly
            November 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm

            I just submitted your email address to Sephora so hope you get the email soon; today is the last day to use the promo code. Happy shopping!

          • Katherine
            November 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

            Thank you so much!!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Hi katherine, how would you compare the LORAC unzipped palette tp the Pro palette?

    • Reply
      December 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

      I’ve never used the Pro unfortunately…but I love the unzippd!

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