2018 Best of Beauty - Top 25
Reflecting on 2018
This year was one of the most life-changing and memorable for me, filled with more personal growth than I thought was imaginable in one year.
We became homeowners. My husband and I celebrated our first year of marriage, and continue to grow closer every day. We moved to Dallas in 2017, but in 2018 it became a real home for us, and we found an amazing community of people who made that possible. I made my health and fitness a priority, and at 31 (almost 32), I am in the best shape I’ve ever been. I volunteered more and found an organization close to my heart. I started this account last January— completely out of comfort zone (no photography skillz AT all, but I loved beauty and writing)— to my surprise I was welcomed with open arms by this community. This year I found my passion. There aren’t words I can put together to say thank you for following along, talking to me about skincare, and most importantly, being SO supportive.
Wishing you the happiest new year. I cannot wait to see what 2019 brings. I don’t really set resolutions, but more try to set intentions. Next year I want to volunteer even more. I want to focus on being present and staying in the present— worrying less about what I can’t control. I want to expand my photography and web design skills.
OKAY— now for the fun part! These are not in any particular order.
For the sake of transparency, *denotes that the product was gifted to me. Some links below are affiliate, meaning I make a very small commission if you purchase using the link.
Top 25 Beauty Products of 2018
The blush to end all blushes, and the blush that made me excited about exploring cream makeup. The creamiest formula, that stays put, is easy to blend and never patchy, but not oily either. A dream. This is what made me fall in love with KW and excited to try the rest of their products. I now own five shades, but desired glow was my first, and is still my favorite. It's the perfect bronzer-blush, and on days where I forgot to pack my bronzer, this worked wonders. Honestly, I wish I could add 10 more products to my top 25 but that wouldn’t make things interesting for you. Just know-- I love everything KW makes!
Another product I didn't (and won't still) shut up about. People seemed very confused about this when it launched, but I immediately saw it and knew I could make my own tinted moisturizer. It has transformed the way I do my makeup. Mixing a half pump (winter) or full pump (summer) with my moisturizer, it gives me a youthful glow, blurs my skin, and covers any redness or minor blemishes to the point where I rarely wear foundation anymore. If I have a blemish, I will spot conceal and call it a day. Cannot live without this. I used 1 full pump every day for the sake of seeing how long it would take me to use one tube, and it lasted 100 days, and at only $36...it's a no brainer.
A gel cleanser that can remove makeup and act as a second cleanse? Yes please-- perfect for travel for this exact reason. I also love wearing it as a quick 3-5 minute mask for extra brightening. I love the strawberry scent from the strawberry seed oil, and I love the jelly texture. I feel like this is also good for all skin types, because I find it to be pretty hydrating.
Although in the US this isn't marketed as a sunscreen, because it can't be— this is the best SPF I've ever used to date. It even beat my beloved Supergoop Mineral Matte, which was also a favorite of 2018. This has SPF 50+ PA++++, is lightweight, doesn't leave a white cast, and contains beet root extract and antioxidants to fight free radical damage. This feels like a lightweight moisturizer, and blends into your skin like a dream. In the winter I use a moisturizer underneath, but I could see myself skipping moisturizer in the summer and just using this. Liah Yoo and Krave Beauty can do no wrong.
I am a die hard KE fan, and lover of her entire line. I have no idea why I waited until the end of 2018 to try this, but hands down it is the best dry shampoo I've used, and is so affordable (like all of her stuff). It leaves no white residue in my hair, and I also find it adds a ton of volume to the point where people think I've actually washed my hair..LOL.
I was skeptical when I first tried this. The OG translucent matte powder is a holy grail of mine, but I was curious how this one would translate on the skin-- I didn't want to be a disco ball. However, it reminds me a lot of the hourglass finishing powders that give a beautiful glow, but is more mattifying. This powder manages to really mattify me in areas where I get more oily, so instead of looking oily and glowy-- it just gives my skin a really nice glow. I like using it on targeted high points of the face, OR all over. I prefer it all over in the winter when my skin is drier and duller. I am honestly surprised how much I love this, even more than my Hourglass powders which can tend to make me look too dewy at times.
At this point if you’ve been following me a while, you know I am a sleeping mask junkie to the max. There are a few night creams that I love, but I enjoy just skipping a nighttime moisturizer and going straight to a sleeping mask/pack. This one stood out to me this year. Not only does it bounce back to its shape in the tub, but it is INCREDIBLY hydrating. I truly think all skin types would love this, especially dry skin folks. I am combo, and I still love it. You need so little, and it truly penetrates all my skincare to keep me hydrated all night long, and well into the next day. This is an absolute must in winter/dry climates, and for dry skin. Not super pillow safe, but #worthit.
It's hard to believe this came out in 2018, but it was a new year launch, and one of my first purchases of 2018. It feels like it's been in my collection forever, and I can't imagine my life without it. Perfect day time moisturizer, and fantastic at night mixed with a few drops of oil. It's lightweight, anti-aging, plumping, hydrating, and makes my skin look amazing-- it has actives that help with tone, texture, and firmness. Need I say more?
I didn't think any product could actually give my thick, curly, heavy hair some volume at the roots but I was wrong. I spray this into my damp roots and when I diffuse, it gives me volume for days in my hair that would otherwise be flat. I have friends with straight hair who also love this. I wash my hair 1x a week and I've had this bottle almost a year and still have plenty of uses left to go.
Musky coconut is my signature summer scent, but finding a coconut fragrance that lasts, isn't too sweet, doesn't include other tropical fruit notes, and has that base layer of muskiness is so hard to find. Sunday Forever launched this fragrance, and once I saw it on Matt's page (@dirtyboysgetclean), I knew I had to try it. This smells like an expensive vacation in a bottle, and wears longer than Tom Ford Soleil Blanc. Notes include pure toasted coconut, a touch of fig, yellow orchid, vanilla flower, sandalwood, orris root, soft musk, and a tiny hint of citrus zest. Someone at work told me I smelled like vacation that's what I am going for.
The lightweight, powerhouse oil of my dreams came out in 2018. It contains an algae plankton blend that is high in essential fatty acids to plump skin, fight free radicals, improve appearance of skin-tone, texture, and firmness. It also contains four superfood plant oils-- moringa, bilberry, baobab and kalahari melon--filled with antioxidants, vitamin A, B, C, D, E & F, and minerals, to hydrate, and visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Truly, this face oil is amazing for all skin types, is gorgeous under makeup, and at night. It's really versatile, and the ingredients are different from any other oil in my collection.
Most of the hair oils on the market are really lightweight, which requires me to nee about 10-15x more than the average person, meaning I go through bottles really fast, and its really pricey to use hair oil. I've had this oil for 6 months now, and I'm only 1/2 of the way through! It's thick, smells like honey, and hydrates my hair like nothing else. It's never heavy, or greasy, and never weighs my hair down. I love everything about this hair oil.
This has to be one of my favorite finds of 2018. This has 4% BHA and is more potent than any other BHA toner I've ever used at breaking up congestion, blackheads, pore blockages, and breakouts in general. It is potent, so I really only use it on spots where I need it, otherwise you could get a little dry. But I do think given the BHA potency, it isn't that drying. I don’t know how Cosrx does it, but they continue to impress me with their affordable but effective products.
I can't believe I only discovered this mist this year. It is an EXPERIENCE to use this. It's like blue cocoon in that sense. The scent, the feeling, just gives me all the feels, like it's a true treat to spritz with. It also has an insane ingredient list in the best way possible. It's vitamin infused aloe water with fatty acids to deliver hydration, antioxidants and nutrients to the skin, to moisturize, firm, and tone the skin. Aloe and herbal anti-inflammatories calm, relieve redness, and set up your skin to better receive your skincare. Hands down, best mist in the game.
I have combo/oily skin, and I never thought I could love a super hydrating cream like this so much for both day and night, especially in cooler temps. I notice a huge difference in the balance of my skin, and evenness of my skin tone with this, and it was worth the 2+ year wait for them to make it! I haven't heard from a single person who doesn't like this cream and I recommend it to so many people, and various skin types. This was a standout of 2018 for sure.
2018 was the year of the pimple patch, and I will say this--I have tried a LOT of patches. No patch stuck onto my skin like this patch, especially after an extensive night routine with many layers. These have hydrocolloid which is really effective at reducing any blemish, whether it is at a head or not (sorry, ew). But it's true, even more cystic spots that are under the skin, this helps to reduce in size overnight.
This was one of my favorite clean beauty discoveries in 2018. Ari (@clumsor) lovesss this stuff and raved about it. The brand did send me my first bottle, but I've since bought several. It's one of those amazing serums that does it all, and uses powerful Hawaiian botanicals to deliver it's benefits. It firms, tightens, stimulates regeneration of skin at the cellular level, calms redness, brightens, reduces scarring, and is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. It also has potent anti-aging antioxidants, vitamin C, nourishing fatty acids, which make it incredibly hydrating as well. This serum does it all, and because of that it's one of my favorite one-and-down serums, and awesome to travel with. It smells beautiful, and I never want to be without it.
Kosas created the most pigmented, most comfortable, clean lipstick on the market, hands down. That's not to say there aren't other fabulous ones, but with one to two swipes, you get intense long-wearing pigment, that does. not. budge. And they somehow created a collection of colors that suit all skin tones. I wish they would come out with more beige/apricot nudes, and I can only hope they expand their collection overall. If you don't own at least one, you're missing out. My favorite is thrillest, an orange leaning red which is my signature color.
My favorite Caudalie product in existence. Essences were a thing I used a lot in the past, and sort of wondered if they were necessary in my routine. I started using them again this year, and noticed a big difference in my dehydrated skin. Not only is this one hydrating, but has a little bit of glycolic acid that is lightly exfoliating-- but not so much that you need to ditch your acid toner. Everything applies better after, and my skin just looks better, younger, plumper.
This was the year of trying concealers for me. I tried MANY! Nars, Laura Mercier, Ere Perez, Charlotte Tilbury. This one is hands down the best discovery. Although I enjoy the others, this one is truly bendy, moves with your skin, is hydrating, but not too dewy, and just looks like your skin but better. It never gets cakey, cracks, or creases. I am obsessed. My only complaint is that the color selection is SO limiting.
Where do I even begin? I've been eyeing this product for a year, waiting for a time when my skincare collection would dwindle down and I could justify this purchase. Well, that never happened. Then a friend sent me a sample, and I fell in love immediately, and knew I could find a place for it. You apply a half pea sized amount to damp skin, so I usually spritz my face with my Josh Rosebrook hydrating accelerator. This just melts in. It's awesome under the eyes and on the lips too. It's SO soothing, and brings down any redness, irritation, or inflammation. What's great is that you can still apply moisturizers, other oils, or sleeping masks over it, without it being too much. Truly an incredible product and experience. I want a mini so that I can travel with and apply on my lips throughout the day!
I never thought any clean mascara could give me the look of my beloved Chanel Le Volume, but Ilia did it. This formula is amazing, never too wet or too dry, never flakey, and most importantly, it has an amazing wand. The wand allows you to get in at the root, build volume, width, length. Anything you'd ever want or need in a mascara. You can do a more subtle day time look, or really amp it up. It's the best of the best.
I've been using the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask for years, and that one is a forever favorite, but this year I discovered an even more occlusive lip mask that I fell in love with. If you live somewhere or travel somewhere that has a proper winter or is extremely dry, you need this in your life. It comes in some amazing scents/colors too. Maple and Lavender are my absolute favorites! And a tube lasts forever.
Also a very early 2018 discovery, but this has become my weekly shampoo. Despite having curly hair, it feels weighed down using the no-poo method, which also gave me tons of dryness and itchiness at my scalp. This is gentle enough that I can use it every week, it lightly lathers, and really cleanses, but also exfoliates my dry skin away. I go through about 2 tubs a year, and I just can't say enough good things about it.
This is the everything mask-- it has antioxidant actives that work to detoxify and support the skin's healing abilities. It has cocoa, vanilla, honey, coffee, and plant botanicals and extracts that detoxify, brighten, soothe, soften, and gently exfoliate. It feels like a thick paste with a gentle grit, and when my skin is congested, dull, red, and overall just broken, this does a little bit of everything to bring it back to life. I'm not a mask person, so for me to say it's my favvvv, says it all.