OK, OK — the title is a little misleading. Many of these products are ones I’ve been using for much longer than the last year. In fact, I’ve been using one in particular (the eye cream) on and off since I was 22 — also known as two decades. But since I wrote a fave beauty products of 2016 post, I felt like I should do a best beauty products of 2017 post, too.
I take my beauty routine pretty seriously, and that’s because I’m vain. (Just being honest here.) I really like my face and I want to keep it looking young, fresh and dewy for as long as possible. And I’m not above fillers or plastic surgery down the road, either. I gifted myself Dysport for my 40th birthday to help eliminate the perma-frown that seemed to develop — and I may never stop. It easily wiped five years off of my forehead.
I also add a scoop of Bulletproof Collagen to my morning protein shake and my hairdresser swears she noticed a difference in my youthfulness before and after.
Before I get started, let me point out that there are ZERO affiliate links in this post; I don’t get a cut of sales or anything from sharing these products with you. I also purchased most of these things myself, though some of the products were provided by brands. However, they wouldn’t appear here if I didn’t genuinely love them.
Here’s a group shot of my favourite beauty products as they appear in my bathroom:
I don’t have my beloved Warsh Cloth in the above pic, but it’s still a top favourite of mine. I use it to wipe away makeup I’ve sloughed off using the below skin-care products or to wash my bare face without requiring any products at all. (Notably, it does a great job of removing a full face of makeup, but you do need a couple of rounds with washing the cloth in between so there’s more time involved and therefore convenience factor diminishes.)
The other tool not shown that I use — but not often enough — is the Arbonne Intelligence Genius Ultra. This powerful little guy does work if you use it diligently. I have tested it on my and my husband’s skin as well as my mom’s and aunt’s faces. I noticed a difference after just a few minutes of use, especially on my husband’s forehead’s deep creases. I also saw a difference in my mom’s and aunt’s before and after pics but they didn’t feel it was worth the time it took to use the wand every day, twice a day, for several minutes at a time. You can look through Google images because the results are there…it’s just a matter of whether you have an extra five or more minutes in the morning and night to sit and “wand yourself.”
Facewash: I have used Dermalogica’s precleanse for many years but the new precleanse balm is actually THE BOMB. It’s so much easier to work with and much less oily. It also comes with a nifty “mitt” that helps wipe away heavy makeup and environmental impurities that your skin’s subjected to on the daily. I usually follow this up with Dermalogica special cleansing gel. Neither of these dry out my skin and that’s an important part of maintaining my dewy glow!
Exfoliant: The Dermologica daily microfoliant is so awesome. It allows you to create the kind of exfoliating consistency you want — thinned out or paste-like. I like a thicker paste and then after a good scrub, I add water to my hands and re-scrub and re-scrub until it’s all gone.
Eye cream: Like I said, for the last 20 years, I’ve used Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avacado on and off. I have tried other brands, but I always come back to this one. I have some testers for the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream, though, and I suspect it’s going to blow me away like her other skin-care products have. But know that Kiehl’s is a very good choice.
Serums + moisturizers: I tend to do a lot of mixing and matching in this area, especially as the weather in Canada changes from warm to cold and back again and depending on where we’re skiing. The mountains are exceptionally dry so I do a tonne of extra moisturizing then.
In the summer, my skin can almost get away with just a serum and I’ve used the RE9 Advanced Intensive Renewal Serum from Arbonne for several years now. If I need a bit more moisture in the spring and fall months, I’ll add the RE9 Advanced Restorative Cream on top of the serum. But for winter, there’s absolutely nothing like the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. It’s thick without feeling heavy on the skin — or causing breakouts — and creates such beautiful hydration that you don’t even need a primer for your makeup to go on like a pro.
I’ve started using the Magic Night Cream as well, and I don’t even think describing how it makes my skin feel would do it justice. Please, PLEASE go get a sample of this stuff from your Charlotte Tilbury counter and try it. I promise you’ll be back to buy the full container. It’s not unusual for me now to wake up and just add some iridescent liquid to my skin (see makeup primer below), throw on some lip gloss and go thanks to this stuff.
After a long night or busy travel schedule, I also rely on Biologique Recherche’s Serum Collagene Marin for some extra plumping and firming help under my moisturizer. And if I get a zit, there is NOTHING that fights acne like BR’s Complexe Iribiol. I don’t know what kind of witchery these cosmeceutical products contain, and they certainly don’t come cheap, but they are excellent for targeting specific issues.
Mask: When I told a colleague that I was switching to Charlotte Tilbury makeup, she asked me if I’d tried the mask. Her words exactly: “It made my skin look like that of a three-year-old child’s.” That was enough for me. The Goddess Skin Clay Mask is now part of my weekly routine; it helps my skin feel tighter (and definitely brighter) but doesn’t dry it out like so many other masks I’ve tried.
Hand cream: This has been my go-to hand moisturizer for years and years — L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream. You can put it on in the morning and even wash your hands a few times through the day without needing to reapply. Very little goes a very long way; you could easily use the small travel-size tube for months. I
This is the fun part for me. I just love makeup. I have since I was two years old and applying it not only myself but my wonderfully patient Granny who babysat me from Monday to Friday for the first eight years of my life.
Primer: I have dabbled with many different primers over the years and recently started using the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow primer with great success. It’s got a beautiful pearly finish that creates really youthful-looking skin. If you want a dewy look, this is where it starts.
Foundations: I finally had to break up with Armani. I’d been using Armani foundation for the last several years, but at $75 a bottle, I knew I could find something I loved just as much with less sticker shock. And I did — again, with Charlotte Tilbury. For an everyday fresh look, I like to use the Wonderglow under the Light Wonder foundation, which is quite light and natural. If I’m going to a special event or feel like some heavier coverage, the buildable Magic Foundation is my pick. I don’t even bother with the primer for this one because it knocks out that iridescence — just some Magic Cream to start and this foundation right over it is perfection-in-the-making.
Eyeshadow: With all the travelling I do, it started to make less sense to carry around individual eye shadow pots and instead opt for a palette kit. I bought Charlotte’s Uptown Girl Luxury Palette because I’m most drawn to these colours, which easily take me from day to night by using one, some or all of the shadows in the kit. The bigger Instant Eye Palettes also look awesome and I’m excited to see what the next set of limited-edition colours are.
Blush: I have Tilbury’s Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher in Sex on Fire, which at first glance looks a bit dark for my skin tone but, when applied, is smouldering.
Highlighers + light reflectors: I love to highlight; it’s become a pretty sweet trick as I age to move light around on my face. I am totally OK with facial deception and highlighter is key! Here are my faves:
- Under eye — the Mini Miracle Eye Wand from Charlotte Tilbury pulls double duty because it has eye cream at one end and light reflector with just a dab of colour at the other! I’m fortunate in that I don’t have bags under my eyes or really dark circles, but the thinner skin under my eyes does have more of a blue-ish tone to it and this totally eliminates that. This is also ideal for travel because you don’t have to bring two separate products with you
- Along the brow bone — what used to be called “pigment” when I first bought it many (many!) years ago now seems to be called Glitter at MAC. I have barely made a dent in my pot because you need very little
- In the corners of my eyes — I’ve used the MAC Glitter here, but my new favourite is the Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Jean. Now, this is supposed to be a cream eye shadow but I really like it best in the inner corners of my eyes to make them look red-carpet stunning
- On cheeks, forehead and nose — another product I’ve been using for probably 15 years is the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (though once it finally runs out I really really really want to try this Bar of Gold!)
Eyelash extension conditioner: I can’t talk mascara with you because I haven’t used it in nearly five years. Instead, I opt for eyelash extensions and my Lash Lady uses Misencil products so the closest I get to mascara is lash conditioner/protector. For this, I swear by Misencil’s Revitalizer.
Lipsticks + glosses + plumper: This is certainly where my makeup obsession leads me. I tend to play with lips more than eyes because the lash extensions are already so drama on their own. In a given week, I can go from light pinks to ravishing reds to nudes to glosses or plumpers and back again with ease. Lipsticks and glosses are my vice.
I couldn’t possibly list ALL of my favourites but some of my latest faves include:
- Lip plumpers and I had been on the outs for many years because I found that they made my lips sting. Then I found Buxom Full-On Lip Cream one day at my local Sephora and I’ve been hooked ever since
- Hands down, my No. 1, absolute FAVOURITE lipstick right now is Charlotte’s Hot Lips lipstick in the Kim K.W. colour. It really is the perfect nude (pictured above) and the colour lasts really well, even through a couple of cups of coffee or a few glasses of wine. And I don’t get that weird lipstick “line” as it wears off throughout the day either. It’s very creamy and goes on perfectly without a lip brush in sight, plus there’s UV protectant in it as well
- For lip glosses, I often still head to the MAC counter because of the sheer volume of colours available (plus, you get a freebie every time you bring back six empty containers to recycle them)
- For the last couple of years, liquid lipsticks have been on the scene and they’re pretty awesome for all-day-all-night-strong staying power. They go on wet like a gloss but settle and dry like a heavy matte lipstick with incredibly strong pigment. I received a sample of Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Lips in the Best Actress shade, and while the colour is definitely not right on me, I can tell you that the performance of this lipwear is remarkable. I put it on at 6:45 a.m. and by the time I got home at 7:30 p.m. (after a day of breakfast, much talking, four big glasses of water, one coffee and a face-full of lunch and a protein shake for dinner) it was still on! I will definitely be picking up a more “me” shade of this product — probably Platinum Blonde
Lip balm: I really don’t wear makeup unless I’m going out for a fancy dinner, an event, a party or to work. That usually leaves me with about five days a week where there’s nothing on my face except moisturizer (and possibly some Wonderglow if I’m feeling a bit fancy) and lip balm. These days, I’m reaching for the EOS Crystal Lip Balm. It’s marketed as “weightless” and it totally is. My daughter loves it, too.
Eyebrows: I confess that I have pretty good natural eyebrows so the only time I use anything on them is if I’m going to a big event or something. But what I reach for every single time is PONi Cosmetics’ Brow Magic. It’s the only one I can make look natural. The company is based in Australia but does ship worldwide (this brand’s Contouring Kit is also awesome and great for travel).
Good tools mean your makeup goes on more flawlessly, lasts longer through the day and I find that you ultimately use less product overall as well.
I have a mix of makeup brushes, dating back to my first “real” brush set from MAC in 1998. Many of those brushes are still in surprisingly good shape considering how old they are. I also have a bunch of Tweezerman brushes that I featured last year, which I also still use. But I know what’s going on my Christmas list this year: Charlotte Tilbury brushes! I have three of them so far (a little sample blush brush that I’ll use for travel, the Magic Complexion Brush and the Eye Smudger Brush) and I really want the Hollywood Complexion Brush, full-size Blusher Brush and the Bronzer Brush to start building my collection and replacing old brushes.
Big, medium + travel sizes: For a few years, I was smitten with a vanilla oil that Kiehl’s used to make. When they stopped, and after I stopped bawling, I found Cologne Absolue at the Atelier Cologne shop in Manhattan’s swish Nolita neighbourhood. I was pretty thrilled to find it at Sephora locally after the small tester-size bottle I bought ran out.
I have had all four sizes that the brand offers, but I’m always most excited to use the 30 mL travel size that comes in a leather case stamped with my name on it. (If you’re not near a brick and mortar store or you’re in Canada and want to avoid the shipping/duty costs, watch for times when Sephora Canada has a pop-up in-store and Atelier Cologne is on-hand with the stamper.)
My favourites are the Orange Sanguine and Pomelo Paradis — both of which have the most intense, gorgeous citrus smells. And with a really high concentration of essential oils, the scent lasts for a long time.
Do you have favourites to share? Pop them in the comments and tell me what you love so much about them.