As with my makeup favourites this year, I’ve tried to only mention products that I didn’t mention in last year’s post so that I’m not repeating myself. Of course, unless otherwise stated everything from that post is still a favourite, but I figured I would keep things interesting and try and only talk about products that I’ve started using in the last year. I also don’t necessarily have a favourite from every category, so I’m only talking about products that have really stood out to me this year and that are genuine favourites.
The best makeup removing balm cleanser that I tried this year (that was new to me) was the Heimish All Clean Balm. This obliterates makeup, comes off easily with the use of a cloth and warm water (my preferred method of cleansing) and is a lot more affordable than most of my other favourite cleansing balms. It does have a noticeable scent, so if that’s a problem for you then I’d avoid it, but other than that I think it’s a wonderful product. Plus the packaging is cute and it comes with a plastic spatula which means I don’t have to dig my fingers into the product to get it out, which earns it a huge thumbs up from me. I would definitely repurchase this as I think it’s great value ml for ml compared to most of my other favourite balm cleansers.
In terms of my morning cleanse/second step cleanser, I mostly use the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser this year, however that really doesn’t need yet another mention on my blog, and it’s not available in very many countries, so the alternative I found that’s available in Aus/NZ is the Mecca Transforming Facial Cleanser. Texturally this is really similar to MJC, and the only major difference is that the Mecca one has a fruity plum scent from the Kakadu Plum Extract that’s included. The packaging is beautiful, and if I could only get my hands on either one of these cleansers then I’d be happy either way.
When it comes to acid products, there’s one thing that has reigned supreme and taken over everything else for me, and of course it’s the OG of acid toners, Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50 (AU). I mentioned Sunday Riley’s Good Genes’ in last years’ favourites post, and while I still absolutely love that product, I really don’t feel the need to own both of these at the same time as they both exfoliate the skin and you can only do so much of that in a week.
Some people can tolerate using P50 as a toner morning and night, although I have no idea how because it’s one of the strongest leave-on acid treatments I’ve used and my skin can’t tolerate that. It contains lactic acid as well as malic acid and gluconolactone (a PHA), all of which exfoliate the skin, as well as phytic acid (an antioxidant), salicylic acid (great for acne) and niacinamide, which is an all-rounder that my skin loves.
I tend to use this a couple of nights a week when my skin needs a boost of exfoliation and my face always feels smoother and looks brighter the following morning. On the other nights (and often mornings as well) I’ll use a gentler acid toner like Pixi’s Glow Tonic because my skin is fine with me using that twice a day. But in terms of stronger acid treatments, if I could only ever use this again I’d be a pretty happy girl.
If you own Good Genes or the Drunk Elephant Framboos serum, or Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold, for example, you don’t need P50 as well because they all perform the same function. I’ve tried them all and in my eyes P50 has the best ingredients list, and provides the best results for my skin (although I do have a soft spot for Good Genes). I’m not saying I’d never buy another stronger acid treatment again, but with this in my arsenal I won’t ever strictly need to and if you just want products that will work and to not think about having to try new things, then I’d just buy P50 and call it day.
While I do always keep a vitamin C serum and a retinoid in my routine, I don’t think I’ve found “the one” yet in either of these categories, so I’ll have to keep looking. One product I tried this year that has replaced my favourite from last year is the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Serum (AU) which I bought because of its high niacinamide content. I was looking for an alternative to The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1% (AU) and although it’s more expensive I much prefer the Dr. Jart+ serum. I find it really soothing because of the tiger grass extracts, and it’s also quite hydrating too (enough for me anyway, since I don’t have dry skin). It has a much smoother texture than the one from the Ordinary, which tends to be quite thick and gloopy, and because it’s multi-purpose for me it’s worth the extra money.
When it comes to moisturisers, there are a lot of different products I like so I don’t want to identify anything as being my all-time favourite, but I do want to give a special mention to the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (AU) which really stood out to me this year. In my eyes this isn’t a luxury product, it’s pretty no-frills, but sometimes that’s exactly what I want. In any case, I tend to focus my money and my active ingredients in my serums, so I never expect my moisturiser to be the most life-changing thing in my routine.
This year I experienced a couple of skin flare-ups that I’ve never dealt with before, and although I don’t consider myself to have sensitive skin, it has been a little more prone to irritation this year, particularly as the weather has gotten colder. So this, to me, is the perfect moisturiser when I don’t want anything active, scented or overly complicated that might challenge my skin.
It contains colloidal oatmeal which helps soothes the skin, and it’s lightweight but still hydrating enough for me (although it’s worth noting that I don’t have dry skin). It’s very affordable ml for ml compared to most other moisturisers, and it’s suitable to use on the face or body, so I would also recommend it for things like healing tattoos, or if you suffer from a condition like eczema. While I definitely still use other facial moisturisers and will continue to do so, I think I’ll probably always have this on rotation for when I want something simple and fuss free, so it’s become a real staple for me.
Body & Hair Care
I'm never really sure where lip balm fits in the beauty world because I don't consider it makeup, but it's not skincare either. So I’m throwing it in here, loosely under “body care”. I’ve tried about a million lip balms in my time, but I like to keep my stash pretty streamlined these days as they take me a long time to get through and I’d rather just use the ones I really love. The Nuxe Reve de Miel (AU) is probably still my all time favourite lip balm that I will always come back to, and because I’m working towards a more minimal & considered lifestyle these days I didn’t really try many lip balms this year. One that I did try that really impressed me though, is a mini of the Fresh Sugar Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm (AU). I had a pretty decent sized sample from Sephora and I’ve just recently finished it up, but I plan on picking up the full size soon. It has such a beautiful scent, and it has that trademark creamy texture that all the Fresh balms have, and (at least in my eyes) the price isn’t outrageous for a high end lip balm. If like me you’re not bothered about using lip balms from a pot (I know some people don’t like it) then this is a really lovely one to consider.
In terms of hand cream, I’d heard people talking about the Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm (AU) for years and was given a large glass jar of it by a close friend when Mark and I moved to Canada and I absolutely fell in love with it. It has the most beautiful herbal scent that is so relaxing, especially when you use it before bed. This jar has lasted me ages and is still more than half-full, so it’ll be a while before I need to repurchase it but I definitely will again in the future, and it’s the sort of thing I’d be likely to give as a gift too.
I wouldn’t say foot care is something I’m especially into, but I like to have a foot cream on hand as my heels do get dry and it’s nice to take care of them. I don’t like that 99% of foot creams seem to be peppermint scented, or that a lot of them have a tacky, gummy sort of texture, but this year I found a winner in the L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream (AU). Not only does it feel like a regular body cream that doesn’t leave your hands feeling super sticky, but it delivers results and it smells pleasantly of lavender. Not many brands seem to do foot creams, but of the handful I’ve tried this is easily the best and I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with it in future.
Although I got my hands on quite a few smaller fragrances this year (around the 10ml size) the only full sized one I desperately wanted was Diptyque’s Eau Duelle EDP (AU). Unlike most fragrances where the EDP is just a stronger version of the EDT, I find that the EDP version (in the darker 75ml bottle) has virtually nothing in common with the much lighter, softer EDT version.
I love a deep, warm, heady fragrance and that’s exactly what Eau Duelle EDP is for me. It’s rich and spicy and slightly sweet, but not too much. Scent is really personal and what I like isn’t for everyone, but definitely give this a smell if you get the chance, I think it’s absolutely beautiful and for me it was love at first try and I’m so glad I was able to add it to my perfume collection this year.
In terms of hair products I’m never really that adventurous, but this year I tried the IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel, which is designed to be applied to damp hair that is left to air-dry. I’m far too lazy for regular blow-drying or heat-styling, so anything that reduces frizz and fluffiness and takes less than 30 seconds to do is exactly my speed. I had been using the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment (AU) in the same way for about two and a half years, and I still love that product, so my plan is to have both options and alternate between them, because they’re both great.