Monday, 8 January 2018

My Biggest Beauty Discoveries of 2017

my biggest beauty discoveries of 2017

Hola mi amigas I'm back! I hope the festive season was kind & loving to you all.

All this week on TNL I'll be recapping 2017 in all its messy glory & today I'm going to start off with what I consider to be my biggest beauty discoveries of the year that was.

For me, 2017 was much the same beauty-wise as it was in 2016 - discovering new products (as is always the case with beauty lovers) & inching ever so slowly out of my beauty comfort zone by trying things I'd either been afraid to use or just never bothered with previously.

I'm not going to ramble any longer, let's get into it:
Image from Beautylish
Everyone's gone mad for The (not so) Ordinary
I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but in case you were living under a rock for all of 2017, every beauty lover & her French bulldog went batshit crazy over Canadian skincare brand The Ordinary (who are part of the Deciem umbrella) this year. Why? Their serums & other formulations are affordable for the average Joe & whilst their packaging is sparse, their ingredients lists aren't full of bullshit. I think we all hate companies that say that their product has x, y & z ingredients, only for us to look at the ingredients list & find x/y/z ingredients towards the bottom of said list, below a whole bunch of filler. Maybe this is a sign of me becoming more discerning about products as I get older, but I really appreciate it when brands don't try & pull the wool over our eyes. That being said, Deciem (who are also home to brands like Hylamide & NIOD) did weather a storm from cruelty-free beauties when they announced that Estée Lauder (who are so far from being CF it ain't funny) were acquiring a stake in the company. Whether this will affect Deciem's margins in 2018, I don't know; but for now I'm sitting on the fence & enjoying The Ordinary's 100% Cold-Pressed Argan Oil & Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. I also now own their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, but have yet to try it as I'm still getting through the next cab off this rank....

Aspect Extreme B17 serum
I mentioned in my 2016 beauty discoveries round-up that serums were something that I was beginning to get into & I'm happy to say that in 2017 I found what could potentially become an HG serum for me in Aspect's Extreme B17 serum. I first raved about it in the March 2017 Monthly Happy List after scoring a travel size in Aspect's Try Me Kit & was super bummed once it finished as I really enjoyed it. I've since purchased it in a full size & yet again have been reminded of why I enjoy it. This serum contains a very high level of Niacinamide (no joke, it's the 2nd ingredient on the list), as well as a couple of polypeptides, Kakadu Plum extract (a well-known Australian native plant that is high in Vitamin C) & a whole stack of other goodies for your skin. Its helped flatten & reduce the look of my skin cancer scar, not to mention eradicate a pigmentation spot that likes to pop up on my left cheek. I'm sure I'd see further effects if I used it both morning & night, but I use it solely at night as I feel it works better then + this stuff is eye-wateringly expensive (IMO) & I want to save every last skerrick of it.

Pacifica body butters (namely Hawaiian Ruby Guava + Island Vanilla)
You might remember back in 2016 I hauled a bunch of Pacifica body butters back home from the States & whilst their Indian Coconut Nectar body butter wasn't my bag, I fell in love with their Hawaiian Ruby Guava & Island Vanilla scents. Hawaiian Ruby Guava was pretty much love at first smell (I'm a major sucker for tropical fruity-scented things & this was no different), but Island Vanilla was a grower & it wasn't until I used it last Winter that I appreciated it. Unlike other vanilla body butters, this one smells warm & inviting, not sickly. It kind of reminded me a little of vanilla extract, or Bourbon vanilla. Both of these body butters kept my skin well hydrated too. I'm really keen to re-purchase them at some stage + try a couple of Pacifica's other scents (Brazilian Mango Grapefruit, I've got my eye on you).

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel (Opal 01) shot, taken by TNL
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel in Opal 01
Another 2016 US purchase featuring highly in my 2017 beauty round-up. Whilst this product scared me initially - it had been a long time since I used a tinted moisturiser + this oxidised on me the first couple of times I wore it - eventually I began to really like it. I personally enjoy wearing this on days where I feel like some coverage, but not a full face of makeup. I've also found that this lasts a really long time on my skin (around 8-10 hours), even without a powder. It also co-operates with my zinc-based sunscreen & makes me look fairly dewy. I haven't worn this much of late as I haven't felt like wearing makeup during the day (plus I get a bit sweaty with this + sunscreen on), but I have no doubt that I'll continue to reach for it. I'm hoping to review this sooner rather than later on TNL - just need to get my butt into gear & make some sense of all the notes I have typed out!

A mask that makes you luminous? Gimme gimme!
Yep, another 2016 US purchase making its way into my 2017 beauty discoveries post, this time in the form of Andalou Naturals' Instant Luminous Mask with Turmeric & Gold Clay. I was a little hesitant when I first used this due to the mask containing some form of Vitamin C in it, however, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only did it not irritate my skin in any way (I get a little red with this, but it disappears eventually), but it also seemed to do what it said on the tin: made me look luminous! I swear my skin glowed the first time I used it. Whilst I haven't seen quite the same amount of luminosity since, I still enjoy using this mask when I feel like my skin needs a bit of pep in its step. The only downside of this is AN don't sell the Instant Luminous Mask with Turmeric & Gold Clay in a full-sized jar, only in "single use" packaging. (I say "single use" as I've managed to get at least 5 uses out of it before it either dries up or I finish it.) If they did sell it in a jar, I'd be all over it.

I no longer walk around with half-brows
I did something in 2017 that I'd never been brave enough to do before: have my brows tinted. I've been a threading devotee for some time now & during one of my visits my technician tried to convince me to do it, but yours truly is a big ol' scaredy cat. What if I looked like Groucho Marx at the end of it? What if the formulation wasn't as suitable for sensitive skin as my technician told me it was? What if I didn't like the effect? In the end, those questions were eradicated from my mind & at my next visit, I decided to go for it because I was sick of living with half-coloured brows (from the arch outwards my brows are practically blonde) & well, why the heck not. It took me a couple of days to get used to it, but now I won't go back & will continue tinting my brows forever. Only problem is I need to find a new technician as mine has suddenly gone MIA.😢

I'm no longer afraid of liquid eyeliner
Sometime towards the end of last year, I finally plucked up the courage to use something I'd had lying around for some time - Eye of Horus' Liquid Metallic Liner in Imperial Bronze. I'd purchased it during a previous Beautorium but hadn't used it because, as mentioned, I'm a scaredy cat. However, the decision to push past my comfort zone paid off as I discovered that this liner is quite easy to use (although I'm still prone to getting bits of it on my lashes or my eyelids). I've become such a fan that I've now acquired the Alchemy Gold version, as well as a new tube of Imperial Bronze as my first one has expired. Both colours make my blue eyes pop (especially the Imperial Bronze) & are highly pigmented; although I will warn you that if you react to alcohol in products, then don't purchase these. I did experience some irritation along my eye line when I first used these, but not enough to discontinue use.

Zoya - Neve, as swatched by TNL

Zoya nail polishes
Remember how I bagged me a whole bunch of Zoya polishes from my trip to the States back in 2016? Well last year I finally got around to swatching all but 1 of them. I just love how opaque they are (well, the ones that I own are largely opaque, except for Rayne - she requires some work) & I feel Zoya's shade & finish range is excellent. Personally, I swoon over Giovanna (which you might remember seeing in this NOTD), Neve (as seen here and above), the aforementioned Rayne (she is gorgeous once applied) & Serenity. At some stage I am planning on doing a swatch spam post, but for now this is just a sample.

A "drugstore" lipstick that won me over
I'll confess something here: I was a bit of a "drugstore" makeup snob up until last October. You might remember me heading along to beautyheaven's 10th birthday at that time & in their goody bag I received Barry M's Satin Super Slick Lip Paint in Nuditude, which I have to say has opened up my mind a bit more when it comes to this subject.

As I've mentioned several times here on TNL, I've had consistent & persistent issues when wearing my Bite Beauty lipsticks for almost a year now & have come to realise that their scents + their largely matte (albeit creamy matte) nature isn't helping my lips at all, to the point where I've seen part of my top lip (the same part that gets cold sore-like growths after every application of these lippies) blow up like a balloon on one occasion. 😲 Thankfully Nuditude does none of that & is in fact rather comfortable to wear on my lips. Whilst I do have to constantly re-apply, I figure it's a small price to pay to have a lippy that won't cause me heartache. I would've photographed said lippy for this post, but unfortunately I've broken the lid since receiving it.

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What were YOUR best beauty discoveries of 2017?


  1. Welcome back, Shell, I hope you had a fantastic trip and I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. I loved reading about your 2017 favourites. I am so on The Ordinary bandwagon and there's still so many of their products that I want to try xx

    Indie// In Search of the Holy Grail

    1. Thanks Indie, it was certainly a relaxing trip. I too am on The Ordinary bandwagon a bit - I want to try Buffet next as I've heard good things about it not only from yourself, but others.

  2. Absolutely LOVE this whole series Shell, and you found some fabulous products last year - thanks for sharing them, more for me to try with confidence ♥ Hard to narrow down my faves but Antipodes Hosanna Serum is up there, along with Grahams Natural Daily Gel Cleanser, and of course I would have to mention Skin Republic sheet masks & eye patches lol xxx

    1. Awwww thanks Kats, glad I've given you the confidence to try stuff! I've enjoyed seeing you wear all your sheet masks etc over at your blog, it's a bit of fun hey?


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