Top products of 2019. Aka, la crème de la crème, the best of the best, the highlights for me this year. You can click (here) to see the previous editions. This is my 6th year sharing yearly favorites and the excitement does not fade. Last year, due to dedicating a large part of my time to the opening of Galerie Pletzer, I wasn’t able to post as many reviews as I used to on the blog, however, I have been sharing most of them on my IG and stories this year.
The selection process: I focus on performance, creativity, and sustainable aspect. If it’s something I enjoy but not likely to repurchase, then it’s not going to cut. Every year, it gets more difficult because a myriad of brands is coming up with outstanding products. Without further ado, meet the top products of 2019.
LANI blue mint cleansing powder
Cleansing powders are in my humble opinion, severely underrated. Not only are they easier to preserve, less prone to waste but they make phenomenal multitaskers. Depending on the formula, you end up having a cleanser/exfoliant/mask in one jar. One to remember is Lani’s blue mint cleansing powder. A zingy mix of clay, oats, coconut and spirulina powders, with a dash of peppermint. Mixed with water, it emulsifies into an indigo cream/mousse texture that gently removes impurities and leaves the complexion fresh and smooth. My skin enjoys it and it feels like a fresh cold shower but for your face. Very invigorating. Peppermint can be sensitizing but Lani has come with a very subtle dosage and I did not have any irritation. Oat, on the other hand, is outstanding for sensitive skin (see more about this ingredient here).
JANE SCRIVNER Hyaluronic hydrator
The instant skin quencher. I had the pleasure to be one of the ambassadors for Ailish’s Glow Getter summit and I kindly received this beauty Hyaluronic acid gel by Jane Scrivner. Since the first use, it’s been pure love because it smoothens and plumps the skin (thus helping to minimize fine lines). It is so easy to use, with zero sticky feel, and for someone who’s not familiar with Hyaluronic Acid, this product would serve as an excellent introduction. Instantly sinks into the skin and I find it to be thriving as a skin primer too because it softly smoothens out the skin and preps it for a smooth foundation application.
LIMA balancing face oil
A niche skincare line based in Israel, that would have been a great fit for my “United Nations of Green Beauty series“. Lima brings me back to my early foray into green beauty when I would jump up with joy over discovering an artisanal skincare line. The products are fresh and the balancing face serum won me over because this is a product that caters to most skin types (except for teen skin as acne skin would need something more astringent) but this is a nourishing face oil (with a base of sunflower, jojoba and macadamia seed oils) for a plump, supple and dewy complexion. It just sinks in beautifully into the skin and leaves a subtle aromatherapeutic scent thanks to a blend of lavender, frankincense, myrrh, and geranium essential oils. The simplicity, yet the commitment to quality and excellence were a sweet reminder that self-care does not have to be complicated and extravagant.
MOTHER DIRT foaming cleanser
Game-changer. The link between probiotics and gut health is being constantly brought up, but now we also hear about skin microbiome. This foaming cleanser is laden with skin-friendly bacterias. With no added fragrance and fewer ingredients, it is also suitable for sensitive skin. Although it is foaming, it is surprisingly not stripping. Quite the opposite, my skin felt completely fine and supple. Super light, I used it post-workout but also in my PM routine and I did notice my skin less congested over time. It’s not every day that I can praise a foaming cleanser, which used to be the bane of my acne-prone skin. Those times are gone with Mother Dirt. Now it is imperative to use it up within a few weeks as it contains no preservatives.
HENNE ORGANICS Nordic Berries lip exfoliator
An elevated version of a lip scrub. Enriched with nourishing oils and luscious plant waxes and butters, it both exfoliates and moisturizes. Pout is smooth, soft and conditioned. After several uses, I noticed that I was less and less subjected to flaky lips. Granted, I may be partial to berries, but the Nordic berries version is addictive. You won’t forget to exfoliate your lips. Scaly lips are no longer an issue and the mundane task of exfoliation is turned into a decadent experience.
LOVELYDAY BOTANICALS Coral elixir
Think of it as a morning vitamin juice for your skin. It has helped my skin get through stress, renovations, self-doubt, pollution without any noticeable damages. It has this deep carrot color, and as you apply the oil, the complexion looks instantly healthier. High in Vit. C and Astaxanthin to boost collagen. It also has squalene and red raspberry seed oil (which is known to be high Vit. E, omega 3 and 6.). It sinks in instantly and revives dull complexion in no-time. Absolutely remarkable!
DAFNA Revival mask
Scared of abrasive scrubs? – Dafna. Looking for a nourishing mark? – Dafna. This stracciatella-esque face mask is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket after a long day in the cold. A clever blend of active botanical ingredients with hydrating, replenishing and balancing ingredients. The mask contains aloe vera leaf juice, reishi, rose water, clay, ginseng, charcoal, squalene, camellia leaf extract, sodium hyaluronate just name a few. The use of capsulated charcoal maximizes its efficacy which is important to Dafna who puts emphasis on biotechnology and science-driven skin care. I could feel my skin soothed and relieved after each application. The bonus (mild) exfoliation made my skin silky soft and it was a struggle not to stroke my cheeks because they were baby smooth. Dafna can make self-care effortless, you apply the Revival mask and it gives you instant results each time.
EARTHWISE BEAUTY Farizad’s veil
Sun protection is a step that I don’t skip and keep up all year round, but the quest to find non-clogging sunscreens is a bumpy one. While I can count on several options now, I am always on the lookout for the next big thing and this year, Earthwise’s Beauty Farizad’s Veil has been my go-to. Farizad’s veil formula looks like a flower bouquet with SPF: a delicate and thoughtful blend of (non-nano) zinc oxide with aloe leaf powder, magnolia, rose, geranium, rose geranium and frankincense. No white cast once blended. I mix it with a face oil, shimmery face oil or even my foundation…everything works. The finish is smooth and the mixture applies seamlessly.
THERA WISE Skin healing ointment
Thera Wise is a Canadian brand that offers a series of ointments and products that can (potentially) be considered as alternatives to certain prescription creams and pharmacy ointments. I was impressed with some of their products, particularly the skin healing ointment. Brimming with plant-based actives that have outstanding soothing and regenerating properties, including chamomile, calendula, oat prebiotic, burdock root, aloe vera, argan, and rosehip. After being stuck during the holiday season with a sinus infection, I developed irritations from blowing (or trying since I was hella congested) my nose 24/7. So I’d apply 2-3 times a day the ointment to soothe my skin and in a few days, every trace of irritation was gone. This is now a keeper in my “skin woe kit”.
NATURALLOGIC Flourish cleanser
2019 was the year of the cleanser and I could not choose only one. Naturallogic’s supremely gentle exfoliating cleanser decongests the skin like a boss, without disrupting its fragile balance. It has a delightful spicy vanilla aroma to it and its silky soft texture washes off like a dream to reveal a soft, calm and smooth complexion. I find it especially remarkable during the winter for blemish-prone and dehydrated skin thanks to its clever blend of aloe vera, grapeseed oil, pineapple, apple (AHAs), cucumber, and willow bark extract.
NAYA Everyday oil
Naya came up with the term “committed beauty” and Sarah, the founder continuously pushes forward her commitment to sustainability. The core ingredient in her line is cacay oil. With possibly similar properties to retinol in long-term uses (minus the side effects), Cacay oil has repairing and balancing effects. Prepare to be cray for cacay. In addition to cacay, we can also find grapeseed and bisabolol in this blend. To top it off, an enticing citrusy aroma that I wish I could bottle up. Aptly called “everyday oil”, I’ll also add that is suitable for most skin types. Dry and mature will benefit from the replenishing properties of cacay while normal and the combination will enjoy the balancing properties. Over time, I noticed my complexion more even and with fewer and fewer breakouts.
I love to incorporate it in my marks for that little boost. Commonly used in Ayurvedic beauty, Lotus leaf, flower, and seed extracts have “showed the strong possibility for whitening and anti-wrinkle functional cosmetic agent” according to some studies. I do feel my skin looking healthier and firmer whenever I make a face mask with added lotus powder. It holds soothing, cooling and astringent properties so if your skin feels rough, fussy and tense, then a soothing clay mask incorporating lotus might work very well for you too. Make sure that you only add a tiny amount and ensure that it’s only combined with other plant powders or clays.
MYROO super boost drops
Myroo recently launched three individual carrier oils, namely Marula, Buriti and Blackberry. I was a big fan of the quality and versatility of them. You can mix them with a face cream, a powder mask, or in a face oil. My go-to DIY mask recipe involves mixing Myroo’s Marula, clay (green or pink) and Lotus powder. A game-changer. This helps tackle dullness, sagginess, and uneven skin.
TAILA Mukha botanical cleanser
A simple yet effective emulsifying oil cleanser. Makes removing makeup enjoyable (even the most stubborn makeup don’t stand a chance) Turmeric and papaya make a killer combination (especially for oily/acne-prone skin) turmeric is excellent to calm down inflammation and prevent them, whilst papaya is rich in vitamins and provides a mild exfoliation to decongest the skin. My skin felt balanced and revitalized by consistently using Mukha.
FLOWER SPICE Instant Glow calming exfoliator (lavender & fennel)
The title of the product says it all. This epitomizes green beauty with its abundance of botanical extracts. Skin feels so soft and calm. The cream texture is whipped to perfection, délicate, refined and profoundly effective. I adore the herbal scent of the product and just like Dafna’s mask, the calming exfoliator is supremely gentle and brings the skin into a smooth and balanced state. The delightful aroma virtually takes you on a walk in an luxuriant botanical garden. Food for skin and senses.
LUXE BOTANICS cleansing duo
Cleansing made simple but effective. This is the duo if you want a fuss-free cleansing routine that does not take up your time. The ease, the balanced and refreshing sensation post-cleansing. The pre-cleanser, oil-based removes effortlessly dirt and pollution. The second is a featherlight aloe-vera-based cleanser that refreshes and calms irritated and stressed skin. This combo is stellar and nothing you’d want more from a cleansing duo.
ECO BY SONYA eye cream
I only used two products this year Eco by Sonya and Madara serum later on. I credit these for keeping my under eyes in good condition to make up for the lack of sleep and stress experienced throughout the year. It absorbs like a dream and while the cream feels rich, it is not clogging. I can’t help but be mesmerized by its deep indigo hue, a reminder of the marvelous power of plants 🙂
MADARA Re:gene optic Lift eye serum
I bought it on a whim during one of Madara’s super sales. This is an illuminating eye serum and I credit it for having kept my eye area in good condition despite a rocky sleep schedule. It sinks right into the skin, and is light enough to be applied underneath an eye cream (yes, it feels a bit extra, I know haha) but also hydrating enough on its own. You may remember my post switching concealers for “illuminating eye creams” (here), Re:gene would fit right into that post. The collagen-boosting formula includes hyaluronic acid, ceramics, birch water and their “eyebright periocular complex’ which aims to stimulate microcirculation and prevent dark circles. I am also a big fan of its illuminating particles which instantly makes me look more awake.
EARTHWISE BEAUTY Resilience face serum
The first couple of uses, I experienced some redness but no irritation or itching, (similar to when I use the Josh Rosebrook cocoa mask) so I was not worried and kept going. Then magic ensued: my skin progressively cleared up and my chin was spotless during the entire time I used resiliency. This had not happened in years as my chin had become an Airbnb for zits. It’s as if resiliency was this shield that gave my skin that extra strength or simply put, more resilience. There are two Earthwise Beauty products featured on my top 2019 but it’s one of those brands that think outside of the box and epitomize green beauty at its finest. Products made consciously, with ingredients sourced ethically and highlighting the power of well-formulated botanical extracts. Resilience is unlike any other product I have seen, a light, cooling gel that feels comforting and hydrating. Highly recommend to anyone struggling with acne and blemishes.
LUK Beauty food lip
I first tried this Australian brand when I was asked to judge the lipstick finalists for the CertClean Awards. It ended up winning and it’s no surprise. This is the perfect balance between color payoff and hydration. It has the nourishment of a high-quality lip balm with the pigmentation of a lipstick. The shade “Tea Rose” is a dream nude share. Full post and swatches (here). You can skip lip balm, these instantly restore dry and cracked lips to a smooth pout. It deserves all the praise and it’s on my top lip products for sure.
AETHER BEAUTY eyeshadow palettes
You’d think that one would be crazy nowadays to launch a makeup brand in an oversaturated market. Well, not when you fill a gap. The eyeshadow palettes by Tiila Abbott are just phenomenal. They deserve all the hype and praise: silky smooth application, mesmerizing hues, cruelty-free and green formula and sustainable packaging. Aether palettes ended up being my most-used because they reignited the spark to play with color combinations. My full review (here).
KOSAS Tropic equinox color & light creme
Thank you, Sheri, for putting this on my radar, and you can find out all about it in this post (here). Tropic Equinox is the go-to for a fool-proof bronzed and dewy goddess look that remains very-natural-looking. The bronzer shade doubles as a blush and since it’s more of an apricot shade, it does not look muddy on the skin. I also like to apply it on the lips for a warm nude hue. Super versatile, I also love to mix both shades and use them as highlighting blush and eyeshadow. The formula is silky and it instandly blends onto the skin.
RMS Peach swift shadow “Savannah Sunset”
No need to introduce RMS nor how impactful this brand has been in the beauty industry. The pressed eyeshadow was Rose-Marie’s gift to us oily-lids gals and today, I want to give a special mention to this color: Savannah Sunset is just THE Color I have been looking for ages, the ultimate metallic peach with a glimpse of champagne for a gorgeous, fresh, spring/summery look. This is a color that instantly makes the look. Can be worn wet or dry.
CLOCHEE SPF30 illuminating cream
Clochee Illuminating SPF is a tinted moisturizer with added sun protection, the type of product that is always good to find. It does the job really well; the coverage is a solid medium and the cream blends easily to offer a satiny finish. While it is a thick cream texture, it is not clogging. I would particularly recommend this to combination and normal skin. Dry skin would need something more nourishing.
AXIOLOGY lip crayon “enduring”
The formula is creamy, very comfortable to wear and the shade “Enduring” is just one of those timeless colors that makes your lips look naturally more defined and plumper. For me, it’s one of the best “my-lips-but-better” shades available. Axiology is an outstanding ethical brand and they have a knack for coming up with unique colors.
NUI eyeshadow cream “Puawai”
A mesmerizing champagne eyeshadow shade that doubles superbly as a highlighter. A good multitasker that is slightly thicker in consistency than RMS, thus suitable for normal/oily skin. It’s my go-to to recreate a natural, lit from within glow and a product that I can use on a daily basis.
ERE PEREZ carrot colour pot (hello)
This is pure joy in a pot. This is the perfect warm red for cheeks and lips and it never fails to revive the complexion. Light but devilishly pigmented, you only need a tiny amount for the shade “Hello” to come through.
DM ALVERDE Wolke 7 lip oil (raspberry)
The product you can’t stop reapplying because it just feels so damn good on your lips. Makes my lips plump, juicy and perfectly nourished. It leaves a soft berry tint, and the finish is reminiscent of Korean makeup. Proof that DM does a great job at providing high-quality green cosmetics with a drugstore price range. I really hope it becomes part of their permanent collection.
NINI ORGANICS glow illuminator
Divine. Keeps me glowing with the flow. Incredible multitasker, you can use it as a primer, bronzer, highlighter and illuminating face oil. I love to mix it with foundation, not only does it give me that added glow but it also enables the foundation to be applied with more ease for a more nautral-looking finish (#byebyecakiness). Since it is formulated with oils to nourish and calm the skin without clogging it, it is a product that will appeal to most skin types. Nini does not leave anyone behind and is the definition of eco and inclusive beauty. I bought the Tahira Makeup limited edition, but the original version is just as glorious.
ILIA BEAUTY “Limitless” mascara
Longtime followers know my love for ILIA. An everlasting love story since I put “Arabian Knights” on my lips. Their latest limitless mascara is a vast improvement from their original and no wonder it is sold out almost everywhere. Once applied, it makes me feel limitless. My lashes are nicely lifted, elongated, refined and in place for the day. There’s nothing I would want more in a mascara. Ilia has it all.
FINE serum “Peace
This is revolutionary. Unlike anything, I have tried before. Lightweight, nourishing, and fresh, aka the winning trifecta for a body product. The Bi-phase serum which comes in 3 “atmosphères”. I picked the blend “peace” as my favorite but all of them are outstanding. “Peace” contains an exquisite combination of lavender, Australian Bush flowers and a sophisticated infusion of essential oils to restore the body into a zen and relaxed state. On top of that, FINE uses a special extract from Mediterranean algae which aims to help repair UVA/UVB and pollution-induced damage. FINE is a brand that deserves more attention because everything is crafted with utter care and knowledge.
AGENT NATEUR holi(skin) shave oil
This shaving serum would have spared many shaving horror stores in my teens. Even with the worst razor, you can achieve a smooth shave without any bumps and cuts. Only a little amount is needed (which emulsifies with water) so the bottle will last you for a long time. I love the subtle aroma that lingers on the silky soft skin afterward. My skin is nourished, calm and irritation-free post-shave. I am already fond of the deodorant but the shave oil deserves some praise too.
MALAYA ORGANICS moisturizing body oil Citrus & Bloom
You’ve got to try them to understand how delightful Malaya oils are. The body oils are like mini spa sessions and my skin feels silky soft after applying it post-shower. I had a second bottle which I gave away to my dad who has been suffering from muscle pains and rheumatism. Massages with this oil provided him instant relief and for that I am forever grateful for Malaya. This is a multitasker oil, Malaya is a master at scents. Just for the aromatherapeutic benefits, I’d repurchase it.
WONDERLEAF Juniper Lane fragrance
Not all fragrances are created equal, and while Juniper Lane fragrance cannot compare to eco brands like Abel, this DM-stocked brand has done an incredible job offering a “natural” fragrance to a larger customer base. For this price point, you cannot find an equivalent. The smell is lasting but unlike other drugstore brands, this does not give me any headaches. The scents are floral and sweet and will appeal to a wide range of people. I’ll definitely try to get my hands on the other scents once I have the occasion.
MADARA Grow volume Shampoo
Madara’s formula is tailored to fine hair needs and it is legit amazing. It provides volume while maintaining the scalp balanced. It lathers just enough and post-wash, hair feels justly clean and I can easily go for a full week without shampooing my hair with it. I have not used anything else for the past year and the bottle will last you ages as you only need a small amount for each use. For that, it became my top products of 2019.
RACHEL’S PLAN BEE x THE GREEN JUNGLE BEAUTY SHOP COLLABORATION
When two amazing women collaborate to create products that will help a young boy living with an rare medical condition and raise awareness of his situation, you can only expect the best. Julie, founder of the Green Jungle Beauty Shop (aka one of the best eco-beauty destinations in the world) and Rachel, the founder of Rachel’s lan Bee, a top artisan line specialized in creating indulgent (yet accessible) products with a divine aroma, joined forces and gave us a soap and a scrub that you simply cannot miss. The scrub: this is a tropical holiday in a jar. You can’t go to Polynesia or Hawaii, this scrub will do the job in the meantime, trust me. Monoi lovers will be in paradise. The soap is equally delightful, and if you’re switching to soaps for a “no-waste” routine, grab this one. Not just because it’s a high-quality product, but also because it supports an important cause.
AYUNA Spirulite body mask + wash
More than a soap bar. It’s a skin conditioning and re-energizing product which effortlessly brings back self-care into your life. This multi-tasking body bar contains natural Luffa fiber which gives this soap an unparalleled ease to soften the skin. This is perfect if you’re traveling or living in a small space because it replaces shower gel, scrub and luffa all at once. It also contains spirulina and calendula, the latter being a miracle-wroker for sensitive skin.
JOSH ROSEBROOK Hair serum
Thank you, Josh, for thinking of fine-haired gals. Few styling products do not turn my freshly-washed hair into a greasy mess. This styling/conditioning spray adds bounce and a soft shine. I am fond of its dual-function: treating the hair while adding some structure. The lemony-herbal smell is also a major forte. Just keeps confirming the rule that Josh Rosebrook can do no wrong. Every release is just so superbly thought of and crafted.
TEYM zip hoodie
I had the pleasure to chat with Maxine, the founder of TEYM for the blog (here). If you read her interview, you’ll get a clear idea of her vision and focus on long-lasting garments. Sustainable equals durable and TEYM pieces speak for themselves. I have been living in the TEYM hoodie, and it’s a staple in my wardrobe. It is exceptionally well-tailored and fits like a glove. No runny strings, pointy shoulders or fading of color. It’s robust and remains in impeccable condition. While it comes with a higher price tag, this one will stop you from collecting ill-fitted hoodies. Simply “teymless”.
A new activity I discovered at my local gym. A combination of TaiChi, Yoga, Pilates, the first few times I was in sweat because the movements you’re doing are completely unusual. It engages muscles that tend to be completely neglected. At first, you look like an elephant doing the poses, but it’s teaching you to move more gracefully and consciously while strengthening the core, improve the focus and balance. Here are videos of BodyArt sessions.
DE MAMIEL sleep collection
I am someone who needs 8h of sleep to function properly. Sleep-deprived, I am useless. Alas, when my sleep pattern is challenged (whether it is stress or electronic devices that take a toll on my sleep), I find myself needing every little help I can get. So I always turn to the De Mamiel sleep series which contains two roll-ons, one balm and notebook. The whole kit works to reintroduce you to a calm state, ready to dive into a deep slumber. The products combine a blend of sooting herbs, watermelon seed oil and passionflower oil to maximize the absorption of vitamins and minerals such as Magnesium, Zinc and B Vitamins that are essential for quality sleep. In addition to other sleep habits (switching off phones, working out etc.) I have been able to have a more stable sleep pattern by using De Mamiel’s blends.
JULISA massage roller
The Earth is round and so is my roller. Massage rollers can help promote circulation for a glowing complexion. This unique circle shade is much easier to use and actually allows for a smooth massage and wellness sensation as it fits the round contour of the face. I love to use it to release any facial tension. I am particularly a big fan of it for the under-eyes and between the brows (aka the frowny spot haha). Also, Julia released a high-quality Tamanu oil that works stupendously great as a spot treatment.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my top products of 2019. Take care and stay safe <3
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