As a makeup lover, there is nothing more thrilling than finding a new holy grail product that you just can’t live without. While there were plenty of flops and fails in 2018, there was also a lot of good. Over the course of the year, I tried some incredible products that have become staples in my daily routine. If you’re interested in seeing the best beauty products I tried in 2018, then please keep reading.
WOW! It is hard to believe that the Milani Soft & Sultry Eye Shadow Palette is a drug store palette!!! Not only does the packaging for this palette look super luxe, but the pigmentation is stunning. The matte shadows are easy to blend and the shimmer shades apply well whether using a brush or finger. For a more pigmented, metallic look apply the shimmer shades with a finger or wet brush. Read my in-depth review on the Milani Soft & Sultry Palette.
Bobbi Brown Eye-Opening Mascara & NYX Micro Brow Pencil
Best Mascara:Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara | $29.50
I know what you’re thinking – $29.50 is ridiculous to spend on mascara. In fact, I was quite skeptical when I first tried the Iconic Overcurl* due to the hype and the price tag.
Honestly, I wanted to hate this mascara. However, this mascara does EVERYTHING it promises and more. It lifts and curls my eyelashes. Also, it lengthens them. I never received more compliments on my lashes than when I was regularly using the Iconic Overcurl Mascara.
If you’re looking for volume and lifting, then this is the mascara. However, this will not be for you if you require or prefer waterproof or smudge-proof mascara.
Honorable Mention: Bobbi Brown’s Eye-Opening Mascara ($30.00) also lifts and volumizes the lashes to make the eyes appear larger and more open. However, the wand for this mascara is so huge that it can be difficult to apply to the bottom lashes without smudging.
Best Brows: NYX Micro Brow Pencil | $12.50 (CF)
As a whole, I usually find NYX products underwhelming. However, the Micro Brow Pencil is one of the best brow pencils I’ve ever tried. In fact, the Micro Brow Pencil is a total dupe for the Anastasia Brow Wiz but at half the cost!
This pencil makes filling in my eyebrows such a breeze. I am able to create structured, but natural looking brows. Fans of twist-up pencils and stiffer pencil formulas will enjoy this pencil.
This matte formula glides across the lips and lasts without leaving my lips feeling or looking dry. Also, I find that I’m able to apply with more precision than a traditional bullet lipstick due to the slim, pencil format. This lippie wears well on its own and layered with other lipsticks and glosses. I recommend this to anyone who wants a comfortable, matte lippie.
Best in Cheeks
Best Highlighter:Benefit High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter| $26.00
Benefit’s iconic High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter* is a product I rediscovered in 2018. This highlighter provides a dewy, lit from within gleam wherever it is applied. Also, this product works well with other products, whether layered underneath another foundation or highlighter, or layered overtop another liquid.
For the most natural looking glow, I apply this to the highpoint of my cheeks, brows, and the inner corner of my eyes before applying foundation. Since the product has a pink undertone, this will work best on individuals with cool to neutral undertones.
Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer & Benefit’s High Beam
Best Blush:Glossier Cloud Paints | $18.00 (CF)
I could write a sonnet about my love for the Glossier Cloud Paints* – these were my favorite find of 2018. These gel-cream blushes provide the most natural, radiant flush to the cheeks, whether worn alone or worn over a foundation. Also, the formula is pigmented and easy to blend. Even guys and gals with oily skin will find this long wearing on the skin.
Best Bronzer:Physicians Formula Murumu Bugger Bronzer | $14.99 (CF)
Like some of the aforementioned products on this list, I find it hard to believe that the Murumu Butter Bronzer from Physicians Formula is from the drug store. This creamy, powder bronzer provides a healthy, radiant-looking bronzed glow to the skin. Also, the Butter Bronzer has a buildable satin finish. Therefore, it doesn’t make the skin look overly matte or dry. Finally, this bronzer plays well with other products.
My only gripe with the Butter Bronzer is the packaging – it is bulky and the clasp breaks. See where it lands in my Bronzer Ranking.
Best in Complexion
Best Foundation:Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation | $38.00 (CF) – now discontinued
The online description of the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation makes no sense. Products cannot be both matte and radiant.
That being said, I loved this foundation. It gave the appearance of “my skin but better.” Moreover, the formula is semi-matte with buildable light to medium coverage. This lasts all day, even on my oily skin, regardless of the primer I’ve applied. Also, this does not emphasize my texture or fine lines. See where this landed in my oily skin foundation ranking.
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder & Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer
Best Concealer:Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer| $9.99
What can I say about the Age Rewind Concealers that hasn’t been said already? This is an affordable, medium coverage foundation that masks the appearance of dark circles and doesn’t settle into fine lines.
However, I want to note that I still hate the sponge tip applicator. I always need to remove it after a month. Otherwise, the dirty applicator will cause a breakout. See where this landed in my concealer ranking for dark circles.
Best Setting Powder:Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder| $39.00
Best Makeup Remover: Ponds Cold Cream Cucumber Cleanser | $4.99
The Ponds Cold Cream Cucumber Cleanser is a classic drugstore product that I never quite understood. After doing some research, I realized that this product is essentially an ultra-creamy cleanser.
I cannot believe that this makeup remover is less than $5.00! This creamy cleanser completely breaks down and removes even the most stubborn, waterproof makeup with ease. The emollient formula is gentle on the skin so no harsh tugging is needed. I recommend this to makeup wearers of all skin types, but want to note that anyone with oily skin will need to double cleanse (use a face wash afterward).
P.S. The cold cream comes in a huge jar that I don’t anticipate finishing in less than a year’s time!
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboose & Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
Best Cleanser: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser | $38.00
Whenever I repurchase the Soy Face Cleanser* from Fresh I feel incredibly bougie because of the price. However, I love this product. At this point, I’ve lost count of how many cleansers I’ve gone through over the years.
I never imagined that such a gentle formula could work well with my oily, congested skin but this formula manages to be effective without being harsh to my skin. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling clean and nourished. Rich in amino acids, it helps support the natural elasticity of the skin.
I typically use this as my morning cleanser. However, I will use a slightly stronger cleanser at night to remove set-in makeup and impurities. I recommend this to anyone with sensitive or aging skin.
Best Serum: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum| $90.00 (CF)
Drunk Elephant’sT.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum* completely transformed my oily, acne-prone skin. Within a matter of weeks, my dull, textured skin was renewed. My pores looked the smallest I’ve ever seen them! Not only did my skin look better on its own, but my foundation and cheek products also looked better. The products sat better on my revived skin.
This powerful nighttime serum contains a powerful mix of AHA/BHA’s that drastically diminish the appearance of dull, textured skin (pores, fine lines, wrinkles). Although I recommend this product to anyone with problematic skin, I want to caution those with sensitive skin to start slowly.
Best Eye Cream: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream | $48.00 (CF)
However, I can honestly say that my under eye area truly looked tighter and brighter when I was regularly using the Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream.* If you have severe dark circles, then this may be a good product for you!
Best Moisturizer: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer| $19.99
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer is one of the best drugstore moisturizers, regardless of your skin type. Both my boyfriend and I loved using this moisturizer this year. (He has ultra dry skin, while mine is an oil slick). This ultra-light gel-cream formula instantly locks moisture into the skin all day without leaving the skin feeling greasy or congested.
Although the Hydro Boost line is pricey, the products are effective. Plus, since these items are sold at the drug store, you can almost always purchase these on sale. Check out this post on the best affordable drugstore skincare for oily skin
Best in Hair Care
Best Shampoo:LUSHKarma Komba Shampoo Bar | $11.95 (CF)
As a whole, I love the LUSH Bar Shampoos because they are so good for deep cleaning my sensitive scalp. A long-time fan of the Jumping Juniper Shampoo, I tried the Karma Komba Shampoo Bar and fell in love with the formula. Karma Komba clarifies the scalp, without stripping the hair. (Jumping Juniper can cause my hair to feel brittle when used without a nourishing conditioner.)
Best Styling Aid:Sexy Hair – Hot Sexy Hair Flash Me Quickie Blow Dry Spray | $19.95
Sexy Hair’s Flash Me Blow Dry Spray* is the hair styler that I never knew I needed! When it comes to my hair styling routine, I am impatient. This new spray from Sexy Hair has cut my blow dry time in half!!!
I want to point out that the smell of this product is quite strong, but I find that it dissipates shortly after blow drying. I recommend this to anyone with fine hair that is looking to cut down their blow-dry time.
Because some of these products were discovered later in the year, I will be posting a full, in-depth review in early 2019! So, please look out for those & let me know if there are any products you want to read about first!!
2018 Newbie Award Winners
Beauty Bloggers You Should Be Reading in 2019
I’ve gotten to know and interact with so many lovely bloggers across all different categories from books to lifestyle to beauty in 2019, but I wanted to give a special shout out to the Beauty Bloggers who keep me inspired and continuously put out high-quality content.
Samantha @ The Beauty Spy Glass | If you’re looking to transition your beauty routine to be more ethical and sustainable, then you should check out Samantha’s thorough blog posts! Plus, she always has the most flawless-looking photography!
Molly @ Mind of Molly| Molly is an Australian-based blogger, and is also one of the first blogger friends I made this year! Not only does she radiate positivity and enthusiasm, but she is super honest with every post she shares.
N @ New Lune | N is UK-based blogger who shares well-researched beauty posts and blogging tips for newbies! Regardless of whether her posts are about beauty or blogging, her readers (including me) always learn something new!
Laura @ Palette of Thoughts | Laura is a UK-based blogger and is also one of the first blogger friends I made! She writes across a wide variety of topics, but in terms of the beauty-sphere, she regularly posts hauls, reviews, and tips!