The Newbie Awards | Best of Beauty 2018

Newbie Awards 2019 | Best of Beauty, Skincare, and Haircare

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:


Best Eyeshadow Palettes: Milani Soft & Sultry Eye Shadow Palette | $14.97 USD (CF)

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 applied with a brush or finger. For a more pigmented, metallic look apply the shimmer shades with a finger or wet brush.

An in-depth review is on the way in 2019.

Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara & NYX Micro Brow Pencil
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. Just based on price and hype, I was quite skeptical when I first tried the Iconic Overcurl. I wanted to hate this mascara, but this mascara does EVERYTHING it promises and more. It lifts and curls my eyelashes, and in doing so it lengthens them. I’ve never received more compliments on my lashes than when I was regularly using this mascara.

If you’re looking for volume and lifting, then this is the mascara. However, if you require or prefer waterproof or smudge-proof mascara, then this may not be for you.

Honorable Mention: Bobbi Brown’s Eye-Opening Mascara ($30.00 USD) also lifts and volumizes the lashes to make your 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. 

RELATED: Ride or Die Beauty Tag

Best Brows: NYX Micro Brow Pencil | $12.50 USD (CF)

As a whole, I usually find NYX products underwhelming, but the Micro Brow Pencil is one of the best brow pencils I’ve ever tried. The Micro Brow Pencil is a total dupe for the Anastasia Brow Wiz and is half the cost! This pencil makes filling in my eyebrows such a breeze because of the way I am able to create structured, but natural looking brows. Fans of twist-up pencils and stiffer pencil formulas will enjoy this pencil.


Best Lipstick: Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil | $24.00 USD

Nudestix is an under-hyped brand that deserves more love. The Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle was a fast-love in 2018. Belle is an opaque, nude pink shade. 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 Highlighter: Benefit High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter| $26.00 USD

Benefit’s iconic High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter is a product I rediscovered in 2018. This highlighter provides a dewy, lit from within gleam to wherever it is applied on the face. 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 High Beam
Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer & Benefit’s High Beam

Best Blush: Glossier Cloud Paints | $18.00 USD (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. The formula is pigmented and easy to blend. Even guys and gals with oily skin will find this long wearing on the skin.

I have the shades Dusk and Beam, but I’m hoping to pick up additional shades later this year.

RELATED: Bad or Rad: Glossier

Best Bronzer: Physicians Formula Murumu Bugger Bronzer | $14.99 USD (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. The Butter Bronzer has a buildable satin finish, so it doesn’t make the skin appear overly matte or dry. Also, this bronzer plays well with other products.

My only gripe with the Butter Bronzer is the packaging – it is bulky and the clasp breaks.


Best Foundation: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation | $38.00 USD (CF)

The online description of the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation makes no sense – since products cannot be both matte and radiant. That being said, I loved this foundation because it gave the appearance of “my skin but better.” 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.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder & Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer (N20)
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder & Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer

Best Concealer: Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer| $9.99 USD

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 since I always need to remove it after a month (or the dirty applicator will cause a breakout).

Best Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder| $38.00 USD

The Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder is a staple in many Makeup Artists’ kits for good reason. This finely milled powder sets your makeup without looking cakey or causing flashback in photos. Although this powder is expensive, it lasts a long time.

Skin Care

Best Makeup Remover: Ponds Cold Cream Cucumber Cleanser | $4.99 USD

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
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboose & Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Best Cleanser: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser | $38.00 USD

Whenever I repurchase the Soy Face Cleanser from Fresh I feel incredibly bougie because of the price, but 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 but 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 USD

Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum completely transformed my oily, acne-prone skin. Within a matter of weeks, my dull, textured skin was renewed and 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 because 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 USD (CF)

LOL, I’m screaming internally as I write this because IT Cosmetics skin care products are largely too expensive and way overhyped. Earlier in 2018, I wrote a comprehensive brand review on some of the brand’s cult favorite products and I was largely underwhelmed with everything but the eye cream.

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!

RELATED: Bad or Rad: It Cosmetics Skin Care

Best Moisturizer: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer| $19.99 USD

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.

RELATED: Best Affordable Drugstore Skin Care for Oily Skin

Hair Care

Best Shampoo: LUSH Karma Komba Shampoo Bar | $11.95 USD (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.)

As with all bar shampoos, I love how this is plastic-free and compact. This is a great product for the traveler.

RELATED: Damaging Effects of Dry Shampoo & Haircare for Sensitive Scalps

Sexy Hair - Hot Sexy Hair Flash Me Quickie Blow Dry Spray
Sexy Hair – Flash Me Blow Dry Spray

Best Styling Aid: Sexy Hair – Hot Sexy Hair Flash Me Quickie Blow Dry Spray | $18.95 USD

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
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!

Kate @ Katedaysaweek | Kate is a Brussels-based Beauty Blogger who covers posts in-depth reviews of skin care and cosmetic products that are witty and informative.

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!

Charlotte @ Multi Bendy Beauty | Charlotte is a UK-based cruelty-free, beauty blogger. If you’re looking to transition to a Cruelty-Free Beauty collection, then you need to check out Charlotte’s blog! I’ve discovered quite a few new-to-me brands through her blog.

Emma @ Emma Kernstein | Emma an US-based blogger, and is one of the first blogger friends I made on WordPress. She blogs about a variety of topics, but I love her thorough Beauty Box Reviews. She is incredibly honest with her reviews.

Let’s connect on social:  Instagram | Twitter| Pinterest | Bloglovin’

Newbie Awards 2019 Header

Disclaimers: Nearly all the products I’ve mentioned above were released prior to 2018, but this was the year I discovered and loved these products. All products marked *(CF)* are cruelty-free.

Also, I read and love SO many blogs through WordPress, so please know that if I regularly like and comment on your posts that you inspire me, too! 

Have you tried any of these products – what was your experience with them? What were your favorite beauty finds of 2019? Please let me know in the comments below!


24 thoughts on “The Newbie Awards | Best of Beauty 2018

  1. I tried our Hydroboost for the first time. It smelled different but definitely left a cool, moist feeling on my face instead of the usual stickiness or other moisturizers. It’s lightweight and I highly recommend. Assuming theres no allergic reactions.

    1. Thank you for your comment! ☺️ the Hydro Boost can definitely have a “skin care” smell to it but so far I’m impressed by the quality for the price! Glad to know that you enjoy it, too!

  2. I haven’t tried most of these products because I try to purchase cheaper ones, but I really want to try the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara and the Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer. The concelear I use now is light coverage so a little bit of my dark circles still show, so I’ll definitely look into this one!

    1. Thank you so much for your comments! 😊 I always have such a love-hate relationship with expensive products because of the high price tag. Definitely let me know if you try the Maybelline Age Rewind! 💜

  3. Thank you so much for mentioning me. I’m very grateful and honoured to be amongst these beauty bloggers.

    There’s a lot of your favourites I haven’t tried (mostly because IT Cosmetics and Glossier aren’t available here and Milani and Benefit are hard to find and / or very expensive compared to the US.)

    I have very unpopular concealer opinions (e.g. I hate the Makeup Rev. concealer) and I wasn’t really impressed with the Age Rewind when I bought it a few years ago. Now, if they’ve changed or improved their formula, I should probably give it another try.

    The Laura Mercier powder is a blessing, but I’ve recently bought the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish and omg…. I can’t even begin to express how good it is (although I’m planning to write a post about it, so I should probably start coming up with words lol)

    And the few DE products I’ve tried have not disappointed at all. I’m currently testing both the DE and The Ordinary’s Marula oils to see how they compare.

    Kate xx

    1. Of course – was so glad to give you a shout out! Your reviews are always so comprehensive so others will definitely benefit from reading them!

      Also, Milani is sort of a strange brand in that they’re a known US Drugstore brand but many drug stores don’t sell them or cut back on their selection (at least where I live). I found the palette in a Walmart down in the Southern US when I was on vacation lol.

      I’ve heard so many good things about the Charlotte Tilbury Powder!! Everyone that uses it loves it!! I for sure want to try it out, but I want to wait until I work through the other products I bought for my brand review!!

      Can’t wait to see how The Ordinary’s Marula Oil stacks up against the the Drunk Elephant one! I’m using the DE one currently because I received it as a gift and I love it, but it’s so pricey!

  4. You are too sweet! Thank you so much for the shout out. Really kind of you to think of me girl!!

    I’ve not tried any of these products but you can’t go wrong with Lush! The shampoo sounds great. I’ll keep an eye out for it next time I’m in. X

    Samamtha | https//

  5. I love this post and thank you so much for the mention, it is so so appreciated!!! I also love that NYX brow product, my fave! I went to use it literally yesterday and it had somehow snapped and broken, I was devastated!! I also really wanted to get that Milani palette when I was in America as I don’t think you can get it in the UK and I couldn’t find it! I will await your review!! xxx

    1. Of course!! 💜 Thank you for all of your constant support!

      Milani is literally the strangest brand because they’re sold in most US drug stores, but only a limited selection of their their products! Like I literally bought that Milani Palette when I went to a Walmart while I was on vacation in the southern US!!

      And omg – the NYX pencil is so small I am envisioning the pencil snapping on me now! 😱 Hopefully it won’t!

  6. Thank you so much for the shoutout lovely, its so kind of you! Thank you so much for being so amazing and supportive throughout last year, so glad to have met you on this platform!! ALSO, great post!!!! I really loved this, especially the fact that you included both drugstore and high end products. I’m sooooo jealous you got to use Glossier products, I’ve wanted to try them for ages but they don’t ship here which is so rude 😡😭
    I think you’ve convinced me to buy the Hydro boost, I had been considering it for a long time but always decided not to due to price, the amount of product (kinda seems small) and the fact I to, am a mostly oily mess. BUT now I’m gonna buy it, you have definitely convinced me! So excited to see your blog grow even more this year xxx

  7. Thank you so much for mentioning my blog hun! I feel so honoured, I truly appreciate it! You are so kind! I have to try this mascara and lipstick, they sound amazing. I love the Maybelline concealer and NYX brow pencil as well. They are amazing! Such a fab post x

    New Lune |

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