Friday, January 2, 2015

Beauty Buff Favorites of 2014: Skincare

Hi friends! How was your New Year's? Now that we've looked at the blog overall in 2014, I'd like to go back over my favorite products with all of you. These are the best of the best that I've discovered or rediscovered in 2014. 

Best Cleanser -PHILOSOPHY Purity Made Simple ($23 for 8oz)

This product has everything I look for in a cleanser! Philosophy advertises it as a 3-step cleanser, meaning it removes makeup, cleanses the skin, and acts as a toner to restore the skin's pH levels. This is great, since it enables me to be lazy, while allowing me to sleep at night knowing I still took care of my skin. It's sulfate-free, which means it's less likely to dry out my skin and it removes makeup wonderfully (unlike other cleansers that say they remove makeup, then they lie). If you're wearing waterproof mascara or eyeliner, you're going to want to go in with a waterproof eye makeup remover first.

Read more: May 2014 Favorites

Best Makeup Remover - CVS Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover (compared to Neutrogena) ($6.79 for 6.4oz)

I've never felt the need to pay for expensive makeup removers, especially when most of the time they cost more than I spend on my makeup! This one from CVS (which works the same as Neutrogena, only it's $2-$3 cheaper) gets everything off with no problem. If you don't use a cleanser than removes makeup, you can use this all over. If you're like me and would rather get as much makeup off with a cleanser as possible, this allows me to just use this on a Q-Tip and go along my lashline to get any remaining  makeup. It's odd that this is marketed as oil-free, since this is definitely a 2-part cleanser (you can't see it in the picture, but this has two separate parts that you have to shake up to combine). If it works and continues to be $6, I'll keep buying it forever! This was a 2013 favorite, too!

Read more: Evening Skincare Routine

Best Toner - BOOTS Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz ($8.39 for 5 fl oz)

Although my Philosophy acts as my toner at night, I don't use it in the morning. My face is quite dry, so I find that I don't need to wash it twice a day (I just washed it that night, and I wasn't doing anything crazy in my sleep). However, since your skin still produces sebum (oil) in your sleep, I like to spray this on my face in the morning to remove any excess. It has a rose fragrance, which although is lovely, can be irritating to some. My sensitive skin never reacted with it, but that's why skincare is a personal thing!

Read more: Morning Skincare Routine

Best Eye Cream- SUPERGOOP Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream SPF 37 ($45 for .5oz)

I'm not picky with my eye cream, and often times I'll just use my moisturizer in the daytime if I want an "eye cream" with sun protection, but I think this one is unique. The "anti-aging" claim is mostly due to the fact that is has SPF (which is actually the most important anti-aging factor, so good for them), but I don't know if the "oat peptide complex" does anything. It has an SPF, which is more uncommon than you'd think, and it leaves a brightened appearance under the eye when applied, most likely from the mica in the ingredients. If you're not wearing makeup that day, it's a nice touch. If you subscribe to Birchbox, you can use your points to buy it in the shop. If not, see if you can score a sample with purchase somewhere, just because it's nice to try things before you spend $45 on them. The full-size has a metal tip applicator as a cooling effect to calm down morning puffiness, but you can just use a col spoon if that's the winning perk for you.

Read more: Sample Society unboxing

Best AM Moisturizer - OLAY Complete All Day Moisturizer SPF 15 

No matter what products I try, I always go back to trusty Olay for my morning moisturizers. They have adequate sun protection, and formulas for different skin types. I switch back and forth between the Normal and Sensitive Skin formulas, since the ingredients are basically the same. The Complete SPF 30 formula is a little greasier, and the SPF 30 causes any flash in photography to make you look like a greaseball, so I prefer the SPF 15 formula. This has both physical and chemical sunscreens, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. I never have to apply sunscreen separately and it hydrates my skin--it's my "apply it and go" product! This was a runner-up in last year's favorites!

Read more: May 2014 FavoritesJuly 2014 EmptiesOctober 2014 Favorites

Best PM Moisturizer - ADOVIA Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($23 for 1.7oz)

I'm really happy I got to try this product this year, because it's my new favorite night cream! The texture is luxurious and I love how hydrating it is. It also has lactic acid (AHA) in it, which means it exfoliates and helps expose a new, healthy layer of skin. The only thing is, if you want to use a BHA, I wouldn't recommend using this as well, because it could be way too harsh on your skin (and no one needs that much exfoliation). It's also packaged in a jar, which kind of sucks because of contamination, though the exposure to air won't harm it as much since there aren't as many ingredients that will expire quickly.

Read more: Full review

Best Serum - SEVENTH GENERATION Boosts Botanical Serums ($11 for 1.5oz)

This is my all time favorite serum. When I was writing this post, I realized that the Soothing variety was discontinued, because the universe works in such a way that I will never understand. From what I hear, they're all very similar, and the next time I run out I'm going to try the Hydrating kind. You can still get the discontinued ones (ex. Soothing) on Amazon, though! This was also a 2013 Favorite!

Read more: Full ReviewMy Evening Skincare Routine

Best Exfoliant - PAULA'S CHOICE Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ($20.80 for 4oz)

BHA exfoliants are probably my favorite discovery in 2014. This comes in different formulas for different skin types (liquid, lotion, and gel). I especially like this one because I respect Paula Begoun as a researcher, and the ingredients list doesn't have anything that irritates my skin. This gets all of the gunk out of your pores, like dirt, excess oil, and remaining makeup. If you have blackheads or enlarged pores, this will be your new best friend. Seriously. You're going to be on the phone with your friends and be like "Sorry, I can't hang out today, I'm chilling with Paula's Choice 2% BHA." Or something.

Read more: October 2014 Favorites

Best Tool - CLARISONIC Mia 2 Cleansing System ($149)

The Clarisonic turned my face from an acne-ridden disappointment into something I'm proud of. My skin is beautiful! It's great! This tool cleans your skin six times better than your hands ever could. Haters say you could use a washcloth and it'll clean just as well, but I've tried both and I disagree. There are a bunch of different heads you can use depending on what you're looking for (shown is the Acne Cleansing head, but now I mostly use the one for sensitive skin). Just make sure not to use it more than once a day, so you don't over-exfoliate and irritate your skin. It's also different than all of the other cleansing tools, since instead of rotation 360 degrees, it oscillates, meaning it just-barely-almost-but-not-quite rotates in a full circle, so it's not just pulling your skin in one direction (which, by the way, did you know pulling skin creates wrinkles?) I love my Clarisonic and it loves me and we are in love.

Read more: Full ReviewThrifty Find: Brush HeadsFive Products I'm Thankful ForBeauty Scenario Tag

Well, that's my skincare year in a nutshell! What were your favorite skincare products last year?

Can't get enough yearly favorites? Check out last year's.

Let's be friends! 

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Disclaimer: The Clarisonic was a Christmas present. The Seventh Generation serum and Adovia Night Cream were sent for review, but that doesn't impact my opinion on them at all. YOLO, INC 2015. Omfg I just Googled Yolo Inc and it's a real thing omg.