Happy New Year!
Sara and I have had Pragmatic Beauty on the brain for months as a project, but we’ve been pragmatic about our beauty regimens for years. We want our make-up and skincare to have purpose and to work, and we’re very excited to share that passion!
To celebrate the start of the new year – and the new blog! – I figured a little bit of reflection was in order. This past year saw some of the biggest change-ups to my skincare and beauty routines, so I compiled a list of ten essentials – a mixture of old and new favourites – that will be following me into 2018. Who knows what the new year will have in store?
Fresh Umbrian Mattifying Clay Serum
Trying to hydrate my combination skin can be a nightmare: my cheeks crave moisture, by forehead and chin need drying out. Finding a serum that addresses all my needs year-round has been difficult. Thankfully, I found what I was looking for: Fresh Umbrian Mattifying Clay Serum hydrates my skin but does not leave an oily finish. My cheeks love it, and it doesn’t aggravate my acne-prone T-zone. I’ve paired this with a number of different facial moisturizers – Naked Kitty’s Supernatural, Philosophy Take a Breath, Clinique Dramatically Different – and it never fails to settle into my skin.
Too Faced Peach Perfect Foundation
I love sheer foundations, but lately, I’ve been gravitating towards foundations with a medium coverage for a more matte, porcelain look. Urban Decay’s Naked Skin foundation almost made this list for being my current standby; it does wear like an absolute dream for hours. However, the formula has a slight odour to it that I find off-putting.
Thankfully, I found a replacement this year. Too Faced Peach Perfect foundation wears similarly to Urban Decay’s formula with an extra matte finish. I don’t even need to set it with a powder: the Peach Perfect foundation is that good. And while the peach scent seemed a little cloying in the store, it’s actually light, refreshing, and all but vanishes when the product is applied. The formula is thicker, more of a gel than a liquid, and it buffs easily into the skin using either a brush or a make-up sponge.
Urban Decay Perversion Felt-Tip Liner
There is no look I love more than a perfectly executed cat eye. It’s the make-up equivalent of a little black dress: looks great on everybody, can be dressed up or dressed down, and never goes out of style. Unfortunately, winged liner can be a pain to execute perfectly, and while I’ve developed a number of strategies for applying it, I still look for ways to make my life easier.
I’ve tried a number of different liner pens and have a litany of complaints about them, but Urban Decay’s Perversion liner pen was very different. The formula moves FOR NOTHING. It lasts all day. It applies beautifully. Unlike other felt-tip liners, UD’s is designed to resist drying out at the tip and offers precision application. My only criticism is that the formula has a slight sheen to it. I prefer a matte black liner. Nevertheless, this pen saves me a lot of time in the mornings, and I’m going to make sure I always have one on standby.
Anastacia Brush #12 and MAC Fluidline (Blacktrack)
Again, I love cat eyeliner, and while the liner pen saves me time, it has not usurped the product that started it all. MAC’s Fluidline in Blacktrack is still my go-to for black gel liner. It applies smoothly, wears for hours without creasing, and dries matte for that perfect vintage look.
I did change-up my brush this year though. The MAC 210, a pointed liner brush, has been my standard brush for years, but I was turned onto Anastacia’s Brush #12 a few months ago. The #12 is an angled brush, a little wider than the MAC 208 (which was my first ever liner brush). It’s designed for filling in brows, so the bristles packed to a fine tip. They work to apply liner sharply, beautifully. It’s really helped streamline my make-up routine as well as my winged liner.
I’ve sworn off MAC a couple of times simply because I’ve exhausted their products, but the company always manages to develop something new that brings me right back. Their Dazzleshadows, a collection of metallic, sparkly eyeshadows, did just that this year, and I regret nothing. They’re gorgeous. The fallout can be overwhelming, so I recommend wearing them over a tacky primer or base (MAC’s Paintpot works nicely). The payoff from these is out of this world.
NYX Highlight and Contour Pro Palette
One of the benefits of wearing sheer foundation is that my face retained a lot of its natural contours without extra product. With heavier foundations, though, I’ve needed to bring back some of the dimension to my face. One of the best investments I’ve made is in the NYX Highlight and Contour Pro Palette. You can find it at most drugstores, and it comes with four different highlighters and four different contour powers. They wear beautifully and blend well, even for lighter skin tones, which can be difficult to match with good contour powder.
Anastasia Moon Child and Sugar Glow Kit
I know, I know, I’m kind of cheating by counting two products as one, but I just couldn’t decide which of these kits I like better. Moon Child is a gorgeous collection of iridescent, shimmering powders that range from an icy white to a sparkling lavender. Meanwhile, Sugar offers warmer, more natural tones. Both palettes can be used pretty much anywhere. They make great highlighters for the cheeks, but I’ve even slathered some on my eyelids when I’m in a rush or looking for a little extra shimmer.
Sugarpill Black Edition Lipsticks
This year, Sugarpill expanded their collection of Pretty Poison lipsticks to include four Black Edition colours. The shades range from a navy blue to a deep purple, a dark red to a pure, jet, matte black. The formula in these is spectacular. I’ve worn mine with and without a lip liner and seen very little feathering. The black lipstick, Zero, is the purest black lipstick I’ve ever worn. My only complaint is that my day job isn’t the best environment for a black lipstick. One day, perhaps. Sigh…
Naked Kitty 100% Naked Soothing Lotion
Let’s be real: Naked Kitty Body Butter is the bee’s knees. I have Vanilla Mint with me at work and Lavender Lemonade in my purse. But I also have a tub of the 100% Naked Soothing Lotion on my make-up table for my more stubborn patches of dry skin. It’s the only tub I have left. The two empties on my make-up table are testament to how much I love this stuff. It’s unscented, but it has all the awesome hydration of Naked Kitty’s moisturizing products. Sadly, it’s currently out of stock on Naked Kitty’s website. Hopefully, it comes back before my last remaining tub runs out!
Simply Pure Hydrating Oil
Last, but certainly not least, is my cuticle oil of choice. I’ve been working on improving my nail care for the better part of two years now as a hobbyist, and Simply Pure Hydrating Oil is the best thing I have ever done for my nails. Not only are my nails stronger, they’re also more flexible, so they survive bends without breaking. That means more surface to cover with nail polish.
That about wraps up my list for 2017 Favourites. What are some of your best beauty finds for the year? What are you still looking to improve? I already have some new skincare to try on the horizon, and I’m sure I’ll have lots of new make-up adventures to share. Be sure to check back here every Tuesday for make-up posts and Friday for lifestyle posts. Leave a comment below if there’s anything you’d like to see!