KOSAS Tinted face oil: the go-to for a ”my skin-but-better look”
The one that will sweep foundation skeptics off their feet. A weightless veil that evens out the skin, feels supremely light yet provides medium coverage. Imperceptible once worn, and yet it’s not a David Copperfield illusion trick. My full review on my YouTube channel (here).
FITGLOW BEAUTY Conceal +: the best concealer for high coverage.
No creasing, no cracking, it stays put for hours. It’s suitable for all but to me, it’s highly convenient for busy people and moms because the coverage is insanely good. Juicy zits, dark spots, eye circles, nothing can resist to Conceal +, brace yourself to look wide awake even if you’re running on very little sleep. If you’re curious to see how it looks on and some other concealer options – check out my concealer round-up on Youtube (here).
ILIA BEAUTY essential face palette: the perfect makeup quad for a warm, glowing look.
A stunning combination of warm shades that look sophisticated without looking unnatural. Ilia has a knack for creating flattering shades and I love how easy it is to wear makeup by mixing and playing with this winning color quartet. I did a full look with it (here).
ECO BY SONYA face tan water: the magic potion for a surfer girl complexion.
It works. Need I say more. I never tan but when I am starting to look like a Transylvanian creature, I reach for the tan water. After a couple of days, it warms up the complexion and after a few weeks, expect to be asked if you went on a vacation.
ALVERDE Shiny rouge: Korean-inspired beauty at a mini price
These blushes have his unique water-gel texture that blends seamlessly and adds a touch of dewiness. A cream highlighting blush with a stunning metallic finish, I have never seen anything quite like it. You get a high-end finish at a drugstore price.
SAPPHO NEW PARADIGM vegan mascara: hello pretty lashes.
I have professed my love for this mascara all over my social media since it came in the previous Beauty Heroes makeup discovery box. It gives you defined eyelashes for that ingenue, wide and bright-eyed look. You can also skip the eyelash curler with this one because one application gives an instant lift. It is also fairly resistant, not waterproof per se but it holds up pretty well.
MAYA CHIA highlight of the day: Just dew it.
I own many highlighters and I use them for various reasons, but every time someone asks me for a highlighter recommendation, Maya Chia is my top response because it will correspond to most people’s expectations. It’s not glittery, but it has a metallic finish instead which is more natural-looking. It blends seamlessly for a gorgeous dewy result. It’s an instant solution to revive a dull complexion. You can mix a few drops with your foundation, but I also love to mix it with my blush for added glow.
HIRO liquid lip paint: wow-effect guaranteed.
Hiro filled a gap by creating the lip paints, 5 bold, vegan, vibrant and helluva pigmented colors that can be applied on lips, cheeks, eyelids. They have phenomenal lasting power and feel very comfortable once worn. If you want to stand out, grab some liquid lip paints. Here’s how it looks on (click)
CUPID AND PSYCHE lipsticks: everything you can ask for in a lipstick.
A vegan and clean formula, a recycled and biodegradable packaging, a range of beautiful and diverse colors. a long-wearing and moisturizing formula and buildable color. They are my latest lipstick coup de Coeur, and I can only recommend them. My IG video (here).
MADARA tinted CC cream: the CC cream that gives you porcelain doll skin
I am mad about the CC cream and in the most positive way. I have never been this enthusiastic about a BB/CC cream. It’s a magic product that protects from environmental pollution while making your skin look lovely. It makes it dewy and plump and cherry on top provides an extraordinary coverage. Every time I wear it, someone compliments me on how good my skin looks. You have to try it to believe it.
MUKTI 2-in-1 resurfacing exfoliant: one of the best skincare surprises of 2018
A marvelous gooey green texture that eliminates dead skin to reveal a fresh and glowing complexion. The results are quickly noticeable and in my humble opinion, this might be one of Mukti’s star products. Made with Caviar Lime, Desert Lime and Rainforest Lime native (AHA) fruit acids, jojoba esters and finely ground bamboo particles, it is gentle but performs like a treatment you’d get at a spa. Not to mention, the delightful tropical aroma it leaves on your skin.
LUXE BOTANICS Kigelia clarifying serum: a must-have for acne/blemish-prone skin.
I used it up to the very last drop, as this has blown me away. Unlike other acne-targeted serums, this texture that does not feel sticky, it just absorbs like a dream thus being ideally suited for layering skincare routine. I have noticed a drastic difference on my chin and forehead breakouts since using Kigella and it is now a permanent member of my blemish-fighting arsenal. (full review here)
MUN Anarose toner: don’t send me roses, I prefer Anarose.
This is actually a rediscovery, I have been using Anarose more diligently this year and have fully been enjoying its enticing floral scent along with its soothing and hydrating benefits. The Mun Aknari (reviewed here) is one of my all-time favorite serums and Anarose is simply put, the toner version of it.
SKINOWL beauty drops: Can’t remember what life was before them.
I have been using the SkinOwl beauty drops all year and I never felt the urge to try anything else because they make me feel good about my skin. I felt like a mini chemist because the beauty drops allow you to make own custom blends by mixing the different options they have. The Beauty Drops contributed to keeping my skin perfectly nourished and balanced. They absorb seamlessly and not once did I experience any discomfort or clogging effect. I can’t praise SkinOwl enough, it’s one of my go-to brands because tremendously simplify your beauty routine while never compromising on quality and performance.
MALAYA advanced repair Neem mask: the queen bee of honey masks.
The Malaya neem mask solves the problem for people with blemish-prone skin who are still seeking to get the benefits from honey-based masks without the pore-clogging risks. It is also exceptionally packed with clays, reparative herbs, flower hydrolats, aloe vera, colloidal silver and probiotics to tackle various skin woes. While it can effectively be used all year long, I find it particularly enjoyable in fall/winter for its cocooning and restorative effects.
NAMARI Kokon cleanser: the cushiest cleanser.
There was a before and after Kokon. I have never felt a cleanser that feels so luxurious and cushy. It is an absolute skin treat, that effortlessly removes every trace of dirt and grime while providing intense nourishment and comfort. A dream cleanser. (Full review here)
INLIGHT line softener: Botox and fillers who?
A product that was completely off my radar, until Beauty Heroes shone a light on it. It does exactly what it says. An amazing balm for mature skin to soften lines but also an excellent preventing and nourishing treatment for tired, worn out skin and neglected areas such as neck, eye lines and lips.
LINA HANSON Global face trio: the best friend I never knew I had.
One of the most effective brightening treatments I have so far tried. It has considerably smoothened my skin texture, softened acne scars, and dark spots. Over time, my skin felt brighter, clearer and healthier. It can be used in a multitude of ways and the global face trio fits wonderfully within this effort of reducing waste and going more minimalistic. It belongs to my holy-grail products.
LILFOX Kalahari eye serum : thanks for hiding my insomnia.
I struggled the past few months with restlessness and sleep deprivation (I have now been receiving treatments). While the struggle to find sleep got me at my wit’s end, I knew that I could at least use proper eye products for damage control. Every day and night, I popped the Kalahari serum and it has helped me maintain a healthy-looking eye area. I still have some dark circles but no bags, no crepey texture, and harsher lines. I feel like the Kalahari would be the beauty bestie for all the party animals out there 😉
SIAM SEAS Songkran elixir: a shining star.
I am one of those people that enjoys adding spicy sauce to meals as it can elevate the blandest of foods. Siam Seas’ Songkran elixir has the exact same function, but for skincare. I add a couple of drops to a mask or a face oil and I get an anti-inflammatory boost in my beauty routine. It used to be part of a limited edition release however, I heard through the grapevine that it could make a comeback. If it does, get your hands on this potent potion.
AMBAR daily antioxidant primer: one of the most innovative products I’ve tried.
Everything about this product is unsettling at first, the color, the texture, the scent but once you apply it on the skin, it leaves you in awe. Ambar (founded by Celestyna – aka founder of Moss) is among the coolest and most creative brands I’ve seen. It is buttery smooth and light but it is packed with antioxidants to help fight pollutants. It imparts a dewy and soft-focus finish, perfect for makeup-free days. Since Vit C can be an irritant to some, Ambar came up with a much-needed alternative.
Together they make one of the most powerful and enjoyable sunscreens I’ve ever tried. You can use Halo on its won and combine it with the face oil of your choice to create a custom sunscreen, but I kept it all in the Ambar family but mixing Lumi and Halo. In the summer, my skin becomes particularly sensitive and I don’t tolerate a lot of products but I credit Halo/Lumi for keeping my skin balanced and calm during the heat. No irritations, no white casts (it provides a tinted coverage), no clogged pores, Sun protection just becomes a breeze with this duo.
5YINA divine biocellulose sheet mask: the sheet mask to rule them all.
This year is also the year I tried a multitude of sheet masks and at some point, I could not detect any differences between them, until 5Yina came along. They’re on the pricier side but they feel and perform like an instant facial. You get dewy, plump, fresh, soft and calm skin all at once. Personally, I don’t see the appeal of using sheet masks on a weekly basis (unless you are traveling a lot) when I can resort to my cream and powder masks, but 5yina’ masks are a real skin treat.
A comforting and purifying blend made of eucalyptus, spruce, rosemary, inula, grapefruit and oregano for a crisper air and enhanced breathing ease. I use it in my diffuser to freshen up the air and also add a few drops on my sheets/pillow since I am prone to congestion.
This is a preventive treatment which helps humidify naturally the nasal mucous membrane. It is more than a saline solution since it also has added plant extracts of thyme, echinacea, cysts, camomille, and eucalyptus Eo to decongest and work for healthier respiratory health.
LOVELY DAY BOTANICALS body elixirs (limited edition)
There were 3 options available and all of three (calming, energizing and shimmering) were outstanding on their own. They did not feel greasy and absorbed swiftly while leaving a divine aroma on the skin. The scent was not overpowering but present enough to skip perfume if you felt like it. I really hope they reappear soon on LovelyDay Botanicals.
Oral health is important and usually one of the first recommendations I give to people starting their journey is to switch to gentler and greener toothcare products. The Apeiron mouthwash is an excellent product that has a subtle taste but washes thoroughly. It soothes and strengthens gums while keeping the oral flora balanced thanks to its potent blend of clove, peppermint, sage, and tea tree oil.
KHUS KHUS Rasa restorative body potion: the most decadent body butter
I was already impressed by the Body Bleu wax, but Khus Khus exceeded my expectations with their latest launch, Rasa. It contains plant butters infused with herbs, adaptogenic mushrooms such as reishi and chaga, California poppy and CBD isolate and it feels deeply moisturizing without being too thick thanks to its whippy texture. It heals dry, cracked skin in no time and reduces little skin irritations. I can’t think of a better product for cold, winter days with its cozy and warm cardamom aroma.
SASKIA’S FLOWER ESSENCES Strength and Support: a little rescue kit in a bottle
This incredible essence blend was particularly effective in helping me become more at ease with my emotions. It does not stop dark thoughts, but it is a gentle push to help you face them while reminding you that those bad feelings are temporary. I highly recommend this one if you’re going through a little stressful situation and have a tendency to be emotionally rapidly affected.
OGAENICS daily biotic complex: vegan probiotics for the win.
My first experience with probiotics was a success. I noticed a clearer skin (with less hormonal breakouts) during the time I tested the supplements. I am thrilled to have now a vegan and organic brand I can go-to when it comes to supplements.
DEMETER PROVIDA ORGANICS nettle hair tonic
This is an excellent hair tonic to relieve itching, get rid of dandruff and freshen up your hair between hair washes. I use this instead of dry shampoo and it works just as fine.
EVOLVH ultra shine moisture shampoo: hair salon in a bottle.
It revitalizes and adds shine and volume to dull and flat hair. The effects are noticeable after just one use. I have oily and fine hair and it works like a charm. It also washes off oil treatments effectively. Shiny, bouncy, luscious locks guaranteed.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST ESSENCES Sun infusion: lets the sunshine in.
Every year, I fight a case of the blues during fall/winter season because of the lack of sunlight – but not this time. I have been diligently using Sun Infusion and I can safely say that I noticed an improvement in my mood. Really grateful for this product because it allows you to free yourself from the nagging nuisance that can become a seasonal depression.
FASHION & LIFESTYLE
ANGELA ROI Grace crossbody bag: THE bag.
Angela Roi bags are made with high-quality vegan leather and I’ve been recommending them to everyone around me. The Grace crossbody bag is such a perfect, well-rounded bag. Roomy enough to carry all you need on a daily basis, it can also be worn from day to night without a doubt. I wear mine every single day and it has stayed in mint condition, as opposed to certain PU bags whose “leather” wears down very quickly. Ethical, stylish, practical and high-quality. What more could you want? My Insta look with it (here).
LUCY AND YAK Dorothy shirt: fair fashion is fun
One of my favorite fashion discoveries this year. A brand that is quirky, bold, colorful and ethical. It celebrates individual style and creative expression. There is not a dull piece in their collection. While they are initially known for their dungarees, the shirts are a standout for me. The buttons are made out of coconut shells and the cotton is soft, yet robust and warm – perfect for winter. A close-up of the shirt on my IG (here).
ANJALY TLV round Bamboo round tee: the ultimate workout top
Anjaly is a sustainable brand all the way from Tel Aviv and during one of their sales, I got curious and ordered a couple of workout gear from their bamboo line. Even in case of profuse sweating, the tee is not soaking wet and I swear it is to a certain extent, smell-absorbent. I love the fit, it is loose on the stomach area for optimal breathability and a tad longer on the back to cover up your butt – especially convenient if for instance, the leggings are translucid or if it’s a part of your body you prefer to cover-up.
PALA sunglasses ‘Farai’: the superstar sunnies.
High-quality, ethical, sunglasses at a fair price. I treated myself to the Farai pair and I was blown away by every little detail. The handwoven case, the handwritten note and the quality of the product. Pala is also helping people have better access to eye care by donating a part of their proceeds. You can look good and do good with Pala. See my ethical sunglasses round-up (here). A close-up of these gorgeous sunnies (here).
KINGS OF INDIGO denim jacket: calling all denim lovers.
They are the kings of jackets. The fit (which is unisex), the embroideries, the design, the materials…everything is made with great intentions and utter care for the people and the environment. I have a serious brand crush on it is one of my favorite sustainable shopping places. I have several jackers from them and they made me realize the difference between high-quality and “clean” denim versus the ones we see in high-street fashion. For info, they use environmentally fibers such as recycled and organic cotton (including GOTS certified) Tencel/ Lyocell, recycled polyester, and recycled wool. They work with recycled yarns, to reduce the use of chemicals and water for growing new cotton and they avoid chlorobenzenes, azo dyes or heavy metals.
There’s so much unnecessary waste with plastic phone cases, so switching to eco-friendly ones is a simple, doable step to be more sustainable. I love my Pela case, it is robust yet smooth and flexible and it looks just as neat as any phone cases on the market. The cases are 100% compostable, made of Flax shive and a plant-based biopolymer. It is a zero waste product and will degrade in any composting environment, unlike plastic. I also did a “5 ways to reduce waste” post where they are also featured (here).
One of the beauty readings that impacted me the most this year. It does not mean that I loved every paragraph, no but it is an excellent resource for anyone longing to start fresh and reevaluate their beauty conception and routine. Nadine Artemis focuses on a holistic beauty approach and offers valuable tools to unleash your inner, vibrant beauty. DIY’s, ingredients 101, mantras, there’s a little bit for everyone. A special mention to a topic that is not often (and accurately) addressed which is breast health. Nadine gives some insightful information to start healthy and long-lasting habits without making you spend hundreds on products.
I am a huge chocolate lover. I got serious about raw chocolates last year, but I struggled with finding one that still felt indulgent so to speak. Then Ombar’s raw chocolate with raspberry filling came along. It tastes so delicious that it has been even approved by friends who hate raw caco and still swearing by milk chocolate 😉
I did a first impression post (here) and October marked my first year doing Pilates. It has been almost miraculous for me. After suffering from chronic fatigue and depression two years ago which forced me to take a personal and professional hiatus (see my story), I could barely muster the strength to get out of bed. I did not have the green light to start exercising and my only option ended up trying Pilates. It can be adapted depending on your condition (if you want higher intensity, it’s definitely possible) but I started classes with a room filled with elderly ladies. The first months were difficult, I would feel muscle aches and sweat like a marathoner which is rather unusual in Pilates as it is low-intensity, but for me, it felt like a huge effort. Progressively, I felt less and less pain, my posture changed; I am able to stand with my back straight, I gained strength and my silhouette toned up a bit. I was building muscle, slowly but surely. To this day, I go to the classes with enthusiasm, a first since I had a tendency to be easily bored by sports. I highly recommend giving it a try. It is an investment but this will do your body a favor in the long term – especially if you’re like me, a newbie to physical activity, feeling weak or lacking core strength (and muscles).
What do you think of this list? Any discoveries for you?
Thank you once again for reading, commenting and following me on the blog and social media after all these years. I cherish this little community we have built and I look forward to continuing this journey with you all. I wish you a wonderful New Year. You are awesome <3