Welcome to part two of my #TopTenSeries! I’ll be honest: I’m not sure how many top tens I’ll be posting, but this is definitely one you’re getting. As you might’ve guessed from the title, these are my favorite makeup products of 2017.
For my #TopTenSeries, I tried to pick things that had actually been released in 2017; there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, this is all brand new to 2017.
What’s my makeup style like? Well, if you follow me on Instagram (you should; do it right here) you probably know that I keep it quite minimal if we’re talking face makeup. Foundation-type products break me out, clog my pores, irritate my skin…all that good stuff. I try to take good care of my skin/invest in skincare products that work well enough so that I don’t feel like I have to wear face makeup.
Rant over – let me actually talk about my makeup style. I love a good dramatic eye look, I adore glowy skin, & *gasp* though I never thought it would happen, I actually do like lip gloss now – though I’m pretty sure I have it on record somewhere on the Internet that I’d never convert. Well…when it’s made by Rihanna, I have no other choice than to love it.
So – glowy skin, minimal face makeup, bushy brows & a dramatic highlight/eye look when I’m feeling up to it are my “defaults.” Some of the products I’ve listed pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible; I wouldn’t ever have thought that I would like blush…but here we are. None of these products should be a surprise to you; I’ve probably posted at least a little bit about each one of these – but here’s a quick run-down on why I love these products so much, & what they’ve done for me. As with skin care, let me start from the “beginning” – or, what I tried earliest in 2017, then move chronologically from there. Enjoy!
I don’t have any actual photos of my personal Tartelette palette, because it’s that banged up – but I’ve included some photos of me wearing Tartelette In Bloom (& Tartelette In Bloom only) on my eyes.
I picked this up last Christmas, & didn’t really start wearing it until mid-January – I was on a no-makeup run for the last half of December 2016 & the first half of January 2017, since I had a staph infection on my face (ouch) & needed time to let things heal.
I always have trouble finding simple neutral palettes that work with anything – anything at all, no matter what. I’ve been on a matte eyeshadow kick this past year, too, so I was drawn in by the fact that the Tartelette In Bloom palette only has two shimmer shades; the rest are matte.
There are some cool shades, some warm shades, & some neutral shades. I would recommend this to anyone of any skin tone. It’s the perfect palette to travel with – if I take this & this alone for a trip, I know that I can create a two-minute neutral eye for the daytime…& I can also amp it up in the evening, smoke things out with some of the darker shades, & even pop one (or two) of the shimmer shades in the very middle of my lid. This palette is a winner from start to finish, & that’s because it truly works for any & all occasions. The mirror & sturdy packaging score some extra points in my book, & again: if you’re looking for one palette that can do it all, this is the one for you. My favorite thing to do: use these shadows as my base, then grab whatever “crazy” eyeshadow color I’m feeling at the moment. Try some Colourpop Super Shock Shadows, yeah?
I’ll be the first to admit it – seeing Bella Hadid plastered all over Sephora, Instagram, & basically everywhere else was what initially spiked my interest in the Diorshow Mascara. I had never tried any other Dior makeup product before; I’d assumed they were outdated & that I could get better for less. So – Dior, if you’re reading this (which I highly doubt) good job! Your campaign succeeded. It sold me.
I’m not a big mascara fan; my lashes are pretty dark & I usually just focus on eyeshadow if I’m going to be doing eye makeup. Pre-Diorshow, I was wearing Benefit Roller Lash Mascara, which I really liked. I saw this in the checkout shelf at Ulta when I was shopping with my mama in the spring, & decided to put back my refill of my Benefit & give the Dior a go. They’re both about the same price, give or take $2. I swiped it on, & I was sold.
This gives all the volume that Roller Lash does, but the wand makes the mascara feel less stiff. My lashes feel more like they have a pomade on them, as opposed to a heavy, sticky paint (which is how most mascara feels on me). It felt light, but my lashes looked extremely long, dark, & luxurious. If I’m wearing mascara, I’ll usually curl my lashes – but Diorshow Mascara doesn’t make me feel like I need the extra boost of volume that a quick curl might give.
Long story short: I’m sold on Diorshow, until I find a better one. But I doubt I will. I guess casting Insta-Girls really does work. (See above selfies for a closer look at Diorshow in action; I’m wearing that mascara plus Tartelette in Bloom palette on my eyes in both of the above photographs!)
I’m not “a blush person.” My fair skin makes most blushes pop – not in a flattering way. I usually just end up looking sweaty, or like a clown. Sometimes, I’ll look like a sweaty clown. The only blush that ever really worked for me was NARS Orgasm – & I have to use the tiniest tap for it to look flattering. No swirling of the brush for me.
I was skeptical of Glossier’s Cloud Paints, because they were cream blushes (which I thought would be more difficult to work with) & they looked very pigmented…& they are – but they’re sheer to buildable before they’re pigmented.
I did not expect to like Haze & Beam best; those were the two shades that I thought would be least flattering on me. Once again, I was proved wrong. Beam is the only coral shade of blush that has ever looked flattering on me; I used it all summer long on the apples of my cheeks & on the bridge of my nose (for a sun-kissed look). Now that it’s cold, & darker colors are “the thing,” Haze works just as beautifully. I’d compare it to the Generation G Lipstick in Jam; both are a berry shade. Haze has a little more brightness to it than Jam, but they’re quite similar. I was very nervous about Haze being too over-the-top for my skin tone, but I didn’t have to worry. A tiny dot on my fingertip works just fine. I tap it onto my cheeks (use it as a contouring blush or on the apples of your cheeks for a more natural flush) & blend it in with a face brush if I feel like it’s still a bit much.
All-in-all, these were a big win for me in 2017. I discovered that I could actually wear blush without looking like a clown. Don’t worry about them sliding around, either – these set very nicely, even if you’re not wearing setting spray. It’s just a natural flush that you can make as pigmented (or as sheer) as you wish. That’s why they’re so great for all skin tones, too. Try mixing them together if you own more than one shade; I love combining Puff & Dusk for a dusty rose blush. Super pretty. I’m now a tentative blush fan; I say tentative because I have yet to find any other blushes (besides NARS Orgasm) that work on my face as well as the Cloud Paints do.
This wasn’t the first CLĒ Cosmetics product I tried, but it’s remained a favorite ever since I put it on my face. The Essence Air Cushion is great if you need a lot of sun protection (50+ SPF? sign me up) but don’t like the heavy/tacky feeling that a lot of foundations/BB creams/CC creams can give you. It feels like CLĒ’s cushion was made for me; it goes on sheer, & blurs everything beautifully. It acts almost as a color corrector, but doesn’t smudge or cake up in odd places. The cushion comes with a little applicator sponge, but I use my $8 Real Techniques brush to apply it; I just dip my brush into the sponge, buff the product over my face, & go from there. It’s like a snap filter for my face – my skin still looks like my skin…just a little better. Extra points for the shade range – most cushion foundations have two shades at most. CLĒ has five. For reference, I wear light.
The price will probably make you blink the first time you buy it – but after you’ve purchased the compact, just re-fill the cushion when yours runs out (or runs dry). Those will only run you $23. Much better.
Even more extra points for the all-day dewy glow it gives me. I’ll be carrying this into 2018 without a doubt.
Glossier’s Boy Brow is a product that’s been around the block a few times; I’ve been wearing Boy Brow in Brown since early 2016. Clear was a new shade debuted in spring 2017, though – & it became a regular for me. I’d say I use Clear even more than I use Brown now.
From February to April of 2017, I had had bleached brows – then, when I was growing them back, they obviously had some color to them, but they weren’t their natural dark color (just scroll through my Instagram; you’ll see!). I relied on Boy Brow in Brown to make my brows look their normal dark shade, but once my brows went back to normal, I started making use of Clear.
There’s nothing different about the formula; it looks transluscent-white in the tube, but doesn’t dry down white. It doesn’t feel crunchy – it has the same pomade texture that the colored Boy Brows do. Not something that was revolutionary for my face this year, but definitely something I picked up more often than I picked up the brown BB. Give it a go, if you’re unsure about which Boy Brow shade is best for you.
I first tried the CLĒ lip powders around the same time I tried their Essence Air Cushion – but the shade Desert Rose wasn’t released until September, for CLĒ’s fall collection. It’s currently sold out…for good reason. This is a shade that’s very flattering on any skin tone & all skin types.
As the name might suggest, the powder is primarily for lips. I was a bit skeptical when first applying one of these; I worried that they’d have the dreaded liquid lipstick effect: aka, my lips dry down to the texture of sandpaper in less than two hours. Not so with the Melting Lip Powders. I apply a little to the center of my lip – yes, it’s a powder in the tube & comes out of the tube as a powder as well – then wait for the heat of my skin to melt it down. I pop my lips together, apply a lighter layer to the remaining parts of my lips, pop them together again, & I’m all set. This gives a great liquid lipstick finish – without the drying effect. Even better: they can be used on the cheeks & eyes, too! I’ve had a lot of fun with the shade Red Cherry on my eyelids (I love a bold red eye look) & the shade Milk Choco (the first shade I ever tried from CLĒ) looks beautiful as a dusty, contour-y blush. If you have deeper skin, try Hot Choco for the same effect.
When using the powders as blush, I like to take a little smear of Glossier Balm Dotcom & mix it with a tap or two of the pigmented powder. I then dab it into my cheeks. The balm sets within a minute, & it’s easier to move around on my dry skin. If you have oily or combo skin, you probably can skip the balm step & just apply straight to your cheeks!
All-in-all, this is a super unique product. I’d never heard of a lip powder before I heard of CLĒ’s products, & I haven’t seen any other products like these powders! They’re worth a go. A very cool, unique product with lots of fun shades, from neutral to wild. Desert Rose is my favorite – as you probably could tell from the listing of the name – so if you’re interested in this shade, sign up on their site to get notified when Desert Rose is back in stock.
Like everyone else on Planet Earth, I could hardly contain my excitement for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty launch in September of this year. We got some sneak peeks in the weeks leading up to the brand’s launch, & I deliberated very carefully. Almost right away, I decided on getting the gloss, because I was shocked at how “affordable” the gloss was. Okay…it’s not a $4 gloss from e.l.f., but for a celebrity brand, $18 isn’t bad at all (let’s just take a look at Kylie’s prices). I was also intrigued by the fact that it looked different – but beautiful – on all of the models. Fenty made sure to be diverse from the moment they dropped their first “intro video” – we had a fair-skinned ginger, Mallory Merk, all the way to Duckie Thot (one of my favorite models of the moment, & the face of the deepest shade of Fenty Beauty’s foundation). There was only one shade of the gloss: Fenty Glow, which everyone found quite surprising – in fact, Fenty’s Gloss Bomb is the only permanent collection lip product for now, along with the Stunna Lip Paint (there are lots of lipsticks coming the day after Christmas). The gloss looked beautiful on all of the girls, & it showed off different undertones on each skin tone. I was really curious about how it’d look on me, so I made sure to snap it up. I was not disappointed.
If I’ve done an eye look & want some color in my lips (no clear gloss) but am not really sure what to reach for, I grab Gloss Bomb. If I’m wearing some Glossier Boy Brow & a little concealer, I grab Gloss Bomb. If I’m wearing no makeup at all & am running out the door – but want a little polish to my face – I grab Gloss Bomb. No matter what, I get compliments. It smells amazing, it looks incredible. The shape & shine of the packaging itself makes it its own accessory; it’s not something you’ll be embarrassed to pull out of your pocket/purse/backpack/sock/whatever you carry your lip products in.
Gloss Bomb didn’t live up to my expectations…it went above & beyond. This is something that I’ll continue to refill until the day I die. Also, Rihanna’s little statement about it is beyond cute:
“I made it because I wanted the girls to get kissed more.”—Rihanna, Brand Founder (via Sephora’s site)
Second purchase that month – Fenty again. I couldn’t help myself. Trophy Wife was the shade that had been teased most, tested most, & the one Rihanna herself had worn to the brand launch.
I knew this wouldn’t be a “natural highlight on me” – & I was right. I was, however, surprised at how wearable this product is as a highlighter. I worried I’d have to return it if it didn’t serve the purpose of a higlighter…but I’ve been pleasantly shocked at some of the looks I’ve been able to accomplish with Trophy Wife & Trophy Wife alone.
If you don’t like glitter, this isn’t the one for you. Just know: it looked beautiful lightly dusted across my cheekbones for the daytime (still calling that a soft look; I wasn’t wearing any other eye makeup or lipstick); it looked dramatic when built up on my inner corners & cheekbones as a night look; I use it all the time as a lid topper & love using it on my cupid’s bow.
Long story short – the color is beautiful. If you have medium/deep skin, you’ll probably be able to wear this as a comfortable highlight. If you’re not in that range – it’ll still be a very fun product, & I don’t believe it’s looked ugly on anyone I’ve seen wear it. It’ll turn heads, but let’s be real: we already kind of get that vibe just looking at Trophy Wife in pan.
Trophy Wife is a winner for me, because I’ve been able to do several things with just the one product. I can glimmer slightly, or glitter like a disco ball – that’s up to me. New Year’s Eve look? Most probably.
Let’s not pretend this product is news to anyone. It’s been around the block more than a few times – but I decided to include it because I’m often asked how to keep makeup on while maintaining a dewy/glowy finish to the skin. I’ve given a few sample-size setting sprays a try this year, & none of them lived up to the NYX. I tried Caudalíe Beauty Elixir (okay…almost as good, but not as much staying power & way more expensive), a few spritzes of the famed Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist (don’t waste your $$$), & stole my mama’s Urban Decay Setting Spray, which is probably the best known out of the three I just mentioned. My mother loved it – until she ran out, & I converted her to NYX as well. Now we’re both the spray’s #1 fans. You can join our club if you like.
Truly, though: this spray is great. The spritzer doesn’t soak one part of your face while keeping another part completely dry; it dispenses very evenly. It doesn’t smell of alcohol or burn when first applied (a problem I get a lot when using setting sprays), & it just lasts really well…& it keeps my skin dewy all day long. Remember: I have dry skin. Oh – & if you’re about the matte finish, NYX has one for you, too. Same price. I’m sure it’s great, too.
If you’re looking for a high-quality setting spray for under $10, go for the NYX. Save your money – buy a Tom Ford lipstick you don’t need or something instead.
This was not (surprisingly) one of the first Fenty items I sprung for when Fenty Beauty initially launched; I was getting mixed reviews on the powder highlights, & I decided to wait a little while. I finally made the choice to spring for the dual panned Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal highlight, part of the Killawatt powder highlights the brand has (along with their cream shimmer sticks). I was worried it would be too chalky or glittery, because the arm swatch wasn’t that promising – but I was desperate. I’d finally run out of my Anastasia Glow Kit in Gleam, which was what I used for two years. It was cool-toned, it was luminous, it was finely milled…it was perfect. Then Anastasia decided to make it limited edition, & I never had a chance to pick up a second before they were gone for good. From what I could see, Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal was close enough to be a combination of the shades Crushed Pearl & Starburst from the Gleam kit: my two favorite shades to combine, & a highlight that could be blindingly bright or just perfectly natural, depending on how much I layered. It didn’t look muddy or dirty on my cool-toned, fair skin – & this Fenty highlight seemed to have the same undertones that the combination of those two Anastasia highlights had. I heard they applied better on the face than when swatched, so I decided that if I didn’t like it, I could return it the next day.
I love it. I love it; it’s almost identical to the finish of the Gleam kit – though I will say that Gleam will always hold a special place in my heart. Still, the highlight lived up to the reviews. It didn’t swatch well on the arm, but it applied beautifully on the face. I tried it layered with a cream highlight underneath for a truly blinding effect; it looked more natural when just used by itself.
To close the case: I’ve found my “natural” higlight. It’s one that I can use without worrying that it won’t go with my eye look or my lipstick; it’s one that I can build up to look super dramatic (in a natural way); it’s one that I can use day in & day out without having to worry about whether it’ll be limited edition. Fenty Beauty is here to stay, & so is this highlight. Stay it will.
There you have it! My top ten makeup items of 2017. I tried to keep it as interesting as possible – but I also tried to be most honest about what I used most. I think I nailed it as well as I could. Tell me your top ten (or just top one) makeup product of 2017! I’d love to hear it. Maybe it’ll inspire me to bring something new into 2018.
Stay tuned for another #TopTen very soon. Until then!