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Every year I test tons of beauty products. Most of them are fine, some of them are terrible, and a few stand out above the rest. In this post, I am sharing the absolute best of the best. Here are the best beauty products I tried this year:
About my skin: I have combination skin that is often dehydrated. My skin is prone to redness and is somewhat sensitive. I have acne marks, uneven texture, and large pores. Since I am getting older, my skin is starting to show some signs of aging.
I am sharing my skin issues so you can understand why I love these particular products. If you have a different skin type or different skin issues, your experience with these products may be different than mine.
Of all the daytime serums I tested, the SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator is the one that wowed me the most.
SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator is a multipurpose serum that replenishes moisture and resurfaces the skin. Yes, it exfoliates and hydrates at the same time. This is due to the unique combination of hydroxyethyl urea, Kombucha, and sodium hyaluronate.
Why do I love it? Because it has worked wonders on my dry patchy skin. My skin is visibly smoother, more hydrated, and less flakey.
For the evening, I love using the SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E. Yes, it is an expensive product, but it is the best antioxidant serum I tried this year.
When most people think about antioxidant serums, they think about Vitamin C. However, Vitamin C is not your only option. If Vitamin C serums irritate your skin, but you still want an antioxidant, consider trying resveratrol.
I love this serum because it does not irritate my skin like a lot of Vitamin C serums do. I also find it very convenient to use this serum at night with my retinol.
Since visiting the dermatologist can be expensive, I opt for a non-prescription retinoid. My favorite of the year is the Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum.
When you start using retinol it is suggested to start with a formula with a lower percentage of retinol. Once you use an entire product up, it is then time to up the potency level. Working your way up to a higher amount of retinol does take time, but it leads to less irritation.
After using up a beginner-friendly retinol from First Aid Beauty, I upgraded to this Sunday Riley serum. Even though it is a high-dose retinoid, I did not experience any irritation.
After acclimating my skin to retinol, I added the Sunday Riley 5 Retinol + Niacinamide Eye Serum to my routine.
The skin under the eyes is usually thinner and more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your face. This means you need to be extra careful about the actives you put under your eyes. Too strong of a retinol under your eyes would be an absolute nightmare.
I love this eye serum because it is a miracle worker. After just a few uses this made my insomnia eyes look less tired.
The Versed Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream is both awesome and affordable. If you are interested in learning more about this affordable brand, check out my Versed skincare review.
Rich moisturizer is the perfect description for this product. While it does not feel greasy or overly thick, it is highly moisturizing. This moisturizer gets its rich texture thanks to the combination of squalane, red algae, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin.
During the day I prefer a lighter moisturizer, but this is my go-to night cream. It gives me that glazed donut look that I love and it locks in all the good ingredients I just put on my face.
My makeup preferences: When it comes to makeup, it has to be easy. No fussy formulas here. I love light coverage foundations, dewy-looking skin, and easy eyeshadow looks.
Tower 28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Foundation is a two-in-one, fragrance-free mineral sunscreen foundation. It is a light-medium buildable coverage, with a natural finish.
If you like light coverage and natural-looking makeup, this is the foundation for you. While it is technically buildable, it would be a stretch to get this to a true medium coverage.
I love how easy this product is to use. I just use my fingers to blend and that’s it. If I want a dewier finish, I’ll layer this on top of the Supergoop Glowscreen.
For correctors, my favorite product is the Bobbi Brown Skin Corrector Stick. It is a natural-looking color-correction stick that neutralizes dark undereye circles and discoloration on the face.
When using a skin corrector, make sure to pick a shade that will cancel out what you are trying to cover. After using the corrector, apply your concealer.
I love that this corrector is a stick. It makes it super easy to use. No messy pots here!
This year I purchased a lot of eyeshadow palettes. My absolute favorite is Moonlit Seduction by Pat McGrath Labs.
Pat McGrath Labs makes stunning eyeshadows. While the mattes are good, the shimmers are next-level good. You can do super complicated eye looks or keep things simple by using one shade. Either way will look amazing.
I love this palette because it makes doing my eye makeup fail-proof. Even I, someone not good at eye makeup, can get a gorgeous look from this palette.
This year, I tried some really good mascaras. The Macstack Mascara is one of two mascaras that made it to the favorites list this year.
Finding the right mascara requires knowing what type of look you are trying to achieve. If you are looking for bold, look-at-me lashes, the Macstack with Superstack Mega Brush is a perfect choice.
I love that this gives super bold lashes and it never flakes or smudges!
The second mascara on my list is the Tower 28 MakeWaves Lengthening + Volumizing Mascara.
This mascara visibly volumizes, lengthens, and defines, for the most amped-up, natural-looking lashes. If you like a super-defined and long lash, this is the mascara for you.
While I wear the MAC mascara when I go out, this is the mascara I reach for daily. I love that it gives a subtle boost to my lashes.
The last makeup favorite for the year is the Merit Signature Lip.
Signature Lip isn’t a traditional lipstick. It has a buildable sheer formula. Apply one swipe for a sheer finish or layer on three swipes for rich color.
I love this formula so much that I have two shades. I love that I can blot it on for a barely-there look or layer it up for more color.
About my hair: I have fine hair that is naturally very straight and a scalp that is oily. I also get my hair colored with a demi-permanent color every few months.
My go-to shampoo is from the drugstore. It is the L’Oreal Elvive Color Vibrancy Protecting Shampoo.
If you are looking to make your hair color last longer, you need to wash your hair less and/or use a color-safe shampoo. You can use a nice shampoo recommended to you by your stylist or you can save a bit with a great drugstore formula.
This shampoo is a true hidden gem. It is affordable, smells great, and gets my hair clean without stripping the color.
In addition to the color-safe shampoo, I also love the Kerastase Bain Hydra-Fortifiant Shampoo.
If you have issues with breakage, consider adding fortifying hair products to your routine. This one is expensive but you don’t need to use it every time you wash. Just adding it to your hair wash every once in a while is enough to make a difference.
This shampoo dramatically reduced my breakage. After a couple of months, I had way less hair coming out when I brush my hair.
When my hair is extra gross, I wash my hair with Olaplex No 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo.
This shampoo removes damaging product buildup, excess oil, hard water minerals, chlorine, heavy metals, and pollution. It is also sulfate-free and pH balanced to maintain hydration.
I’ve tried a lot of clarifying shampoos. I love that this one degunks but doesn’t dry out my hair.
To keep my hair looking its best, I use a variety of treatments. This year I tried and loved the K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask.
This is a leave-in treatment mask for all hair types. The patented peptide technology works to repair damage from bleach, color, chemical services, and heat. After a few uses, it restores strength while adding softness to the hair.
Yes, this product is an investment, but it is absolutely worth it.
Final Thoughts On Best Beauty Products
This year I found a lot of really great beauty products at a wide variety of price points. From drugstore shampoo to medical-grade skincare, there are great products at every price point. While I won’t be giving up my nice skincare, I am wanting to be more open to trying affordable products in the future.
If you have any beauty favorites for the year, please feel free to share them in the comments. I’d love to know what products you are loving.
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