2023 Favorites

2023 was the year of discovering new skincare. I have finally tried a big more expensive cleansers and new skincare products that I haven't tried before. There was one game-changing device that I still use. As far as makeup goes, I have been on a hunt for good drugstore and high end foundations and I actually found some good ones. There have also been other bits that I have tried that were new to me, but not necessarily new launches. I have gathered the products that I think deserve to be mentioned as they are well worth the money in my opinion. 

Cleansing oil that is quite well known. It has a tad thicker formula than most of Asian cleansing oils, but that only means it melts even the most long lasting makeup and is great to massage every trace of makeup off the face. It turns milky once you take it off with water and doesn't leave any oily residue, though I always continue with a second cleanse gel. I like that you can get refills of it, so it's cheaper and you don't have to keep rebuying it, though the packaging is plastic, but pump works fine. I actually already bought refills of it and it's definitely one of my favorite cleansing oils, but then again all Asian cleansing oils have impressed me so far. 

Hada Labo Tokyo Gentle Hydrating Cleanser All-In-One

As you will notice, if you read through this post, I have invested quite a lot in trying out more expensive skincare especially when it comes to cleansing. I usually used very cheap drugstore versions, but I wanted to see if higher prices are worth it. And usually they were. This is a lovely cleanser with hyaluronic acid. It's quite thick and it can be hard to squeeze it out of the tube sometimes. You need a pea size, because it lathers very well and it cleanses the skin so well leaving it soft and moisturized. It never irritated me, but it always felt like it cleansed very well. I still use it. It's more expensive, but you need so little that it will last a long time. I am glad this is in our drugstores, so it's easily accessible. Very nice gentle cleanser for a second cleans or a morning cleanse. 

Nice lightweight cleansing oil that doesn't have any specific scent. It was actually one of the cheapest I have found, but very nice indeed. It removed even long lasting makeup. Once you splash it with water it turns milky and there was no oily residue left over. I even bought refill of it and I would repurchase, if it was easer to get here in Slovenia. 

This is probably my favorite cleansing oil that I have tried so far. I might be biased, because I like everything from Skin1004 and because I have a love affair with centella asiatica. It's a lightweight cleansing oil that turns milky once you wash it off with water just like others. It has fresh herbal scent and you really don't need a lot to take off stubborn makeup. I just liked how it made my skin feel and it must have been the herbal scent that made it almost spa like. All others I have mentioned are just as good and efficient, but if I had the budget I would probably repurchase this one, because it's the more expensive out of all.

I think I already bought two full sizes of these and one mini. It's 100% centella asiatica extract. This is lightweight viscose texture that feels super lightweight on the skin. I come back to this whenever my skin acts out - either it be irritated, sensitized, dry or full of blemishes. Centella asiatica is known for its soothing and healing capabilities and this ampoule just always feels so soothing and healing on my skin. My skin loves it and it's one of my favorite skincare products. 

Thicker cream cleanser which you literally need only a pea size, because it lathers well and it feels so nicely foaming on the skin. It feels just a bit grainy which exfoliated the skin along side witch hazel. It contains my favorites - centella asiatica, hyaluronic acid, beta glucan and tea tree extract. It made my skin feel so soft and exfoliated. There is no scent to it. It's a bit pricier, but in my opinion worth it and I don't say that a lot for cleansers. 

The first Vitamin C product that I have tried so far that doesn't smell like toiler cleaner. I hate these artificial Vitamin C scents of skin care products and this one doesn't have it. It contains 14% ascorbic acid and 6% ethyl ascorbyl ether. There is also my favorite centella asiatica in it. It feels almost like a dry oil with no scent. At first I mixed it in with my moisturizer, because I didn't want my skin to feel oily. Now I use it on top of moisturizing toner and before SPF in the morning. No mater how I used it, my skin never felt greasy and makeup actually wore well over it, so the formula is nice for my needs. I also noticed while using it regularly that my skin tone became brighter and sallowness around my mouth was less dark. It's one of the rare Vitamin C products that I actually liked and used in the past year. 

I don't put a lot of emphasis on moisturizer creams. It's probably because I prefer thinner textures and I love active ingredients which usually come in serum formats. So I never really buy creams. I just use whatever I have on hand mostly. I even skip moisturizer in the summer and replace it with SPF. But this gel cream from Vegreen was a nice change to my usual creams. It was super lightweight, but still soothing and repairing. It has 78.4% of tea tree extract which is very antibacterial and great for large pores and a lot of sebum production. It also contains my favorite centella asiatica and panthenol, great ingredients to soothe and keep your skin's barrier healthy. It gave me that natural velvet finish without any scent. This was the perfect moisturizing cream for combination skin. I loved it in the summer, but this could also be great for winter, if I layered something underneath it. Just a very nice formula that felt so nice on the skin. 

Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Water-Fit Sun Serum SPF50+ PA++++

Super lightweight sunscreen that feels almost like serum with centalla asiatica and hyaluronic acid. It's chemical sunscreen so no white cast. This was so nice to use. Very lightweight formula that felt soothing and hydrating. It gave my skin that hydrated almost dewy look, but wore so well under makeup and not heavy at all. I love pretty much everything from Skin1004 that I have tried so far, so that is one of the brands that I am willing to try more of in the future. 

I actually tried this SPF before 2023, but I only mentioned it in 2023 so I included it in my favorites. It's one of my favorite sunscreens that I have repurchase a few times already. Lightweight white cream that spreads like a dream, has chemical filter so no white cast. It gives a bit of that glowy finish, but isn't greasy and it actually wears well under makeup. I love the fact that it's unscented. There is not a lot of product in it, so you use it up fast. 

This is the first beauty device that I still use diligently as often as I used it while I was testing it. And that says a lot, because I get easily bored with these devices that require too much effort out of me to put in my daily routine. It's an LED Light Therapy mask that you strap on your face, turn it on, leave it working for 10 minutes 3 to 5 times a week and you see results after just a month. I won't go into details, because I have a full review written up. I've notice my skin looks more even toned, fine lines look less deep and almost shorter, my skin feels super soft and plump and the skin heals faster, if I have any pimples. It's definitely the one device that made the most difference in the way my skin looks. This is an investment, but I actually enjoy using it, because I get to have 10 minutes of peace while I wear it. I am over 30 years old now and I just want my skin to look best for as long as possible. I know I can't stop aging, but with these kind of devices you at least get to keep it in best shape for as long as you can.

Another beauty device that I have tried in the past year. I will say I am not using it as often, but it has a special place in my skincare routine. This is a microcurrent device that basically gives you sort of a facelift effect at home. Microcurrent stimulates your facial muscles to firm your skin, improve fine wrinkles and sculpt your features. It also boosts your microcirculation, so skincare works better and soaks in faster. I love to use it as a treat before special occasions, because I can see immediate lift of my contours and my brows. I use it for a few minutes with something very slippery, preferably oily and I can see my cheeks being more contoured and my brows lifter. I have one side of the face that is visibly lower than the other and Fore Bear is the only thing that can get me to make it look at least a bit more even. There is many levels of microcurrent and you can adjust it according to your tolerance. I am on a level 5 and I can definitely feel it tingle. It's a funny feeling, but also a good workout for my facial muscles. 

One of my best discoveries of the past year in makeup category is definitely this foundation from Yves Saint Laurent. It's my favorite foundation so far for my combination skin. Partly, because shade LW8 is a perfect match for my skin when it comes to undertone. It has a bit of that olive tone to it. Thought it's just a tad too dark for my winter complexion, but I can definitely make it work. It's got thicker formula that you don't need a lot of. It spreads so well and really gives you that luminous matte finish. Contradictory, but it's true. It's not a dead matte, but a luminous matte finish which is perfect for combination and normal skin. Plus it's definitely one of the most long lasting foundations I have tried so far. It also almost keeps my sebum at bay for the whole day. I don't need to powder it through the day. Plus it looks fairly natural, while still giving you a good medium coverage, but can be built up to full. It's very expensive and there is only 25 ml of product in it and for some reason the shade LW8 isn't available everywhere or it's always sold out and not on sale. I worry if I am going to be able to actually repurchase it at a descent price, so obviously I only use it on special occasions.  

L'Oreal Infaillible 32H Fresh Wear Foundation - 100 Linen

I stayed away from L'Oreal foundations for a long time. I guess I was still traumatized from way back when I bought one of their foundations and it looked so orange on me. I think it was their True Match foundation. But whenever I researched good drugstore foundations, L'Oreal recommendations kept coming up. So I got this one and it finally changed my mind. This is such a nice foundation. More on the liquid side, super smooth to apply and it gives you that nice medium coverage with velvet matte finish. It's also quite long lasting. Shade Linen is really nice for me when I have some color, it's a bit dark now in the summer, but I mix it with others now. It's a really nice drugstore foundation. I wouldn't say it's for dry or mature skin, because it can emphasize dry patches. I was so nicely surprised that I actually ordered another foundation from L'Oreal that I will be testing out in the future. 

I usually stick to my loose powders, because those feel more mattifying and you get a lot of product for a cheaper price usually. But this one from Charlotte Tilbury it's a treat. It's that super soft and smooth texture that just smooths our your skin and makes it look almost poreless. I would almost use it as a finishing powder. It's especially nice under the eyes and around my nose where I have large pores. It doesn't look powdery or cakey at all and you can definitely touch it up through the day and it won't look too much. It's a really nice powder. Mature and dry skin would like it too. I also love the fact that you can buy refills which are cheaper and much more environmental friendly.

Too Cool For School Artclass By Rodin Shading Powder - Modern

Why is it so hard to find good affordable contour powders?! It seems like only high end brands do these. I found this one in Asian market as one of their most popular. It has three shades which are in fact that cool grey undertone perfect for fair and light skin tone. The lightest shade is almost too light for me. Medium is perfect for nose contour and the darkest is great for a very light cheek and chin contour. Powder is soft and not too pigmented, so you can't overdo it. If you are fair and light it will work, but any darker and you won't be able to use this. I love the fact that you get three shades, because you can mix and match them according to the season. It's nice, though I would still want something more pigmented and slightly darker for the future. 

Look by Bipa Delicate Compact bronzer Bronzer & Contour Powder - 030 sunny beach

I found this gem in Austrian drugstore Bipa. It's their brand which also very affordable. It's that perfect slightly grey shade of bronzer, so you can actually use it as a contour or a bronzer. Or just use it as both in one product like I do. The tone is just perfect for light to medium skin tone. It's also fairly smooth, doesn't look patchy and stays fairly well on the skin. It's not the most long lasting, but I make it work, because the shade is just so nice. I would wand more similar colors in our drugstores, not just warm bronzer shades. I've obviously used it a lot, since I've already hit the pan. 

Paese x Krzyszkowska Creamy Bronzer - 02 Tan Kissed

I believe the year 2023 was the year of cream makeup products. I too have been discovering creamier products and one category that got the most likes was creamy bronzers. I have three that are all different, but I've enjoyed using all of them. Paese is the newest addition to my collection. It's actually the driest formula out of all, but it's got the most perfect cool grey undertone to it. Which means you can also contour your face not just use it as a bronzer. I feel like I can go over it quite a few times to get it opaque and it's not he most long lasting, but I really like the tone of it. And because it's a bit drier it sticks better to the skin and looks more matte on my skin. I especially like it now in the winter. 

Catrice Melted Sun Cream Bronzer - 020 Beach Babe

This I have a feeling will get discontinued, so if you want it, grab it while you can. This is a creamier formula that turns powdery once you apply it on the skin. It's actually very pigmented and sits somewhere in between being warm and slightly cool toned. I love a wider pan which means most brushes fit in and it's actually very quick to apply. It also blend quickly and I find it lasts well on the skin. I love it especially in the summer going into fall. 

This is the creamiest version out of all of these and it's also the warmest shade. It worked for me in the summer, when I had a bit of tan and I wanted that warmth on my face. For the winter is too warm for my skin tone. It's probably one of the easiest to blend and one of the most pigmented. You need the tinniest bit and you can use it all over the face. You also get a ton of product which you will never use up. The packaging fit a smaller brush, because it's quite a deep glass bottle. 

Essence The Blush - 90 Bedazzling

Sometimes you find the greatest finds among the cheapest ones. Essence The Blush is exactly that. Smooth formula that is so easy to apply and blend. I didn't even buy this one myself. I got it as a gift and the shade immediately looked like my kind of shade. That brownish apricot shade that you pick when you want something on your cheeks, but you almost want it to look like a bronzer. Not something bright or pink and this is perfect. They have quite a nice shade selection and I have actually ordered a more pink shades, because I love that they are matte, which is sometimes rare to find in drugstore. These remind of H&M Pure Radiance blushes which I still own and love. Worth every penny. Plus they are quite long lasting. 

I've decided to try indie brand's Lethal Cosmetics eyeshadows, because they have some nice multichrome shades to choose from. I got a few to complete my eyeshadow collection and add some pops of color. They are nicely pigmented, but have a bit of fallout, so it's best to apply them with fingers. However you can choose among so many different shades with fun shift and duochrome looks that are just so unique. They last on the eyes all day and so far these have been well worth it. I would need to get some more neutral shades in the future as well to try out.

Pierre Rene Eyeshadow

I sort of threw this one in the basket while I was shopping on some Poland online shop. It looked cute and I didn't think much of it, but oh wow. This is such a nice creamy formula with lots of small shimmery particles that act like fine glitter. It's an amazing eyeshadow topper or a good icy eyeshadow on its own. I've used it a lot already on me and my clients as well. The quality is amazing and it's so affordable. I hope I'll get some more shades from the brand in the future. 

Paese Warm Crush Eyeshadow Palette

Paese definitely makes one nice eyeshadows. They make great powders in my opinion as well, but their eyeshadows surprised me past year. This is the newest launch that I got from them. Shade range is exactly after my own taste. It has everything - matte light, medium and dark for eyeliner. Plus you get some fun shimmery shades for inner corner and the lid. One is even duochrome. Shimmery shades are drier, so they are best applied with finger. Mattes are super smooth and pigmented. They also last very well through the day and I know they have quite a selection of shades to choose from.

This palette is worth it for me especially for that second shades which is sort of a transparent light green with those shimmers that gives your eye that glossy look. I love to apply it over basic matte shades. This is in my favorites especially for this shade which I just adore. Again nice formula, but it really depends from shade to shades. 

Merzy The First Gel Eyeliner - G13 Amber Brown

I was buying some Asian skincare products and just decided to threw this one in the basket as well. Apparently Asian eyeliners are very long lasting and I love that they have a thousand and one version of brown. In our drugstores you usually get black, dark brown and grey. That's about it. I love those chocolate and amber browns that lean redish or warm. Amber Brown is that medium brown with warm chocolate amber tone. It's matte. The formula is super creamy, so it's perfect to smudge out or smudge out a nice thin wing like I love to do. If you go over the line several times it can look a bit gunky I'd say do one swipe and blend it out. It's such a soft color and so creamy. But once it sets, which is fairly quick it doesn't move and what I love the most, it doesn't transfer on my upper lid even if I don't set it with eyeshadow. It's not he most opaque, which might be due to lighter color as well. But that doesn't bother me personally, I like something creamy and easy to blend. It has that small sharpener on the bottom, because it's a twist up pencil. 

I think those two shades were discontinued or at least the green one. But I know they still have some other shades available in our drugstores. This is another cheap find that is so nice. Creamy formula that is thick and has a lot of color in one swipe. I would always blend this, because it's very pigmented. Both of these shades were lovely, a chocolate brown and darker olive. The formula is just so easy to apply and blend out with pencil brush. I usually set it with powder eyeshadows, but even if you don't they stay on well. These are also great as a base for eyeshadows if you want to make them last longer and make them look more bold. Very nice formula. 

Essence Stay & Play Gel Eyeliner - 02 But First Espresso

Another amazing affordable formula. It's again that gel creamy formula that applies like a dream. You have a bit of time to smudge it out, but once it sets this doesn't move at all. No transfer on my upper lid and it pretty much stayed like this all day long. Color selection is more basic and you don't get those fun warmer brown and olive shades, but if you need a basic dark brown, black or grey this is the way to go. These drugstore finds definitely made it clear to me that you can find amazing eye pencils at a very affordable prices and that it's pretty much useless to buy high end formulas. Except if you want specific shades, because like I said, shade selection in drugstore is limited. I heard somewhere that pretty much all eye pencils are made in two factory in the world, so there is a good chance your drugstore eye pencil is made in the same factory as your high end ones. 

I've realized I don't buy lipsticks anymore. Maybe because I have to many and I just can't justify throwing all of those away and buying new ones. But also I am pretty safe with my color choices and don't use many vibrant shades. I was glad to invest in this trio of mini lipsticks from Charlotte Tilbury, because the formula is very nice. It's that creamy, smooth and well pigmented formula that gives you matte finish, but a comfortable one. The shade selection is also really nice. Surprisingly, I think I wore Pillow Talk the most. At first it looked a bit too light for me, but once my tan faded away, it was just the most perfect brownish pink. Supermodel is that slightly darker more brownish version of a 90s lip almost. And Walk Of No Shame is that sexy muddy redish for those that don't want a full on red, but still want that sexy redish lip look. I actually love to apply this shade only on the inner part of the lip on top of any other nude. They are more expensive, but in my opinion worth it. Plus this mini trio has all the shades you may need and small format is great to carry in your bag.

Rephr 35 Brush

I believe I have bought most of my Rephr brushes in 2022, but in 2023 I've been repurchasing new ones and brush 35 is one of my favorites from the newly purchased. It's rounded brush, slightly bigger than an eye brush and it's perfect for blending concealer. I have only been using this brush for concealer since I got it. There is something about the size, it's not too big, but also not tiny, so you can quickly blend concealer underneath your eyes, around the nose and over larger areas. I even like to apply concealer on larger pimles and then just stipple it with this brush. Rephr brushes are made of goat hair, but they work really well with cream formulas too. They are super soft and great quality that will probably last you a lifetime. 

Skinfairytale Atopicbalm

This is one of the creams that has helped me with my eczema in the past year. It contains calamine, mineral which is used to treat itchiness. It also contains evening primrose oil and black cumin oil. Calamine gives it light pink color and mango butter as a base makes it buttery. Calamine is great for taming that itchy feel that you know, if you have similar problems. Other ingredients support the skin to heal faster. I use it when I have those inflamed dyshidrotic bubbles that itch so bad and look so irritated. This cream helps it to at least feel a bit less itchy and I feel that it also helps them dry out faster. It's been a lifesaver in those outbursts of eczema. 

Redken Volume Injection Shampoo And Conditioner

I came upon a few videos of a hairdresser that recommended this duo for those of us with thin hair. Since I hadn't had much luck with drugstore shampoos of actually giving me volume and I have very thin hair that just looks so flat and gets greasy super quick, I wanted something more. So I bought and used up one shampoo already and then I repurchased shampoo and got conditioner from the same range. I feel like both of these definitely clean my hair well and leave it lightweight. That's why it looks more full, but it also has their Bodifying Complex with Filoxane that helps to make look hair more full and gives it some body as well as volume. Shmapoo is a liquid that lathers well. Conditioner is also very light. It almost feels like nothing. Shampoo cleans my hair well and conditioner gives it just enough nourishment so that it doesn't tangle, but it still leaves it light. When you have thin hair you need all the help you can get and so far I love this combo. It does what is says. 

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