O HAI! Here’s our annual roundup of our purrrrsonal faves of the year. Blame Angela for the belatedness. (Pssst, we save many of our picks at amazon.com/shop/beautyandthecat (affiliate links).)
My furvorites can be categorized as high joy, best in class, and awesomely lazy efficient.
1. Momo Puri Lotion and Gel Cream
PURI JOY. One sniff of the delicate sweet white peach fragrance and I fell in love. These could have been battery acid and I still would have put it on my face, but thankfully they’re a hydrating toner and gel-cream. They boast peach ceramides and probiotics, but I don’t know that they did anything miraculous. Rather they are lightweight hydrators perfect in the summer. The gel-cream in particular added a surprising amount of moisture, more than a typical moisturizer geared towards oily skin. I was bummed to tuck these away when the weather turned cold and dry. Very affordable at Kirei Station or $11-15 at Takashima or Image in the Los Angeles area.
You know my obsession with blue skincare: blue oil, blue serum, blue cleansing balm, blue mask…well that was before Ole Henriksen came out with a line of skincare in my favorite color, PURPLE. Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum ($58 for 30ml/1 fl. oz.) and Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme ($55 for 50ml/1.7 fl. oz.) boast AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids) and bakuchiol (a trendy plant extract with similar effects as retinol) for both short- and long-term skin renewal. I use this combo at night (they leave a shiny finish) and wake up to smoother and moisturized skin.
I’ve always been a showercap person (sorry, Etude House cat headbands!), wearing one from the time I wash my face and shower through putting on my makeup. So I’m very familiar with all their annoyances: elastic marks on hair and skin, plastic smell, loosening elastic, leaks, sweaty greenhouse effect…BLERGH.
After a lifetime of cycling through cheapie showercaps, I took a chance on the $43 Shhhowercap. WORTH IT. After an initial adjustment period (the elastic needs time to fit your head), it’s incredibly comfortable. I have two now that are still going strong after a year–no leaks, mildew, or looseness!–and just gifted some to my mom and sister. They’re pricey, but code 15NEVERSETTLE gets you 15% off the Shhhowercap site any time in 2019.
Finally! The Dior Nail Glow dupe I’ve been waiting for. Dior Nail Glow (reviewed here) is the laziest way to make nails look brighter and polished (figuratively and literally) without looking “done.” And it requires all the time and skill of applying clear nail polish. (If you’ve been using clear nail polish, time to upgrade! Clear polish doesn’t color-correct yellowness and can itself turn yellow on your nails.)
Much cheaper per ounce ($30 for 0.6 oz. vs. Dior’s $28 for 0.33 oz.), Perfect Formula Ruby Pink may have minor differences in shade and consistency, but none that matter. In the pic, I alternated Perfect Formula with Dior and can’t tell the difference. It also bests Dior by not getting goopy towards the end of the bottle and by strengthening nails (with keratin); I’ve had fewer hangnails since using Perfect Formula regularly.
I switch to Julep Sheer Orchid ($18 for 8ml) when I’m bored with Perfect Formula, and unlike Perfect Formula, this looks fab on toes. It’s a sheer lavender-tinged sakura pink that’s not chalky and that self-levels pretty well. I usually do two coats for almost-opaque coverage, with or without a topcoat depending on what I have on hand (hehe, PUN). Because it’s sheer, it dries pretty quickly.
The anchorwoman hair of my dreams is achievable in a flash with this magic combo. Left to its own devices, my hair is straight, flat, heavy, and sometimes pointing in different directions. Voloom Petite ($130 and worth it–see my review) creates lasting volume in less than a minute, and the Hot Tools 2″ Curling Iron ($60) smooths and bends the ends to add swish and definition, especially great for layered hair. I can blowdry or air-dry my hair haphazardly and still look presentable in 10 minutes with these two.
The BITE Beauty Lip Lab experience was a treasured bday gift, so let’s just ignore that these 2 lipsticks cost $150. I spent an hour
tormenting working with a pro on two shades I would love. While the colors are truly fab, it’s the scents that surprised me with how much joy they spark. Every time I catch a whiff of their mango or cherry scent, I’m reminded that these lippies are 100% ME: a kid hiding in grown-up packaging.
RIP UD Naked Palette. The discontinuation of the ubiquitous palette was sad and shocking–until I actually thought about it. While it was a staple for travel, I really only reached for the same 3 shades.
NUDEPOP fills the hole (hueh hueh) left behind. Kevyn Aucoin’s formulas are gawwwgeous to begin with. Ignore the kickback in the pan because it doesn’t result in fallout during application, and the colors are buildable and true to pan. I also love the combination of colors (mauve-ish neutrals) and finishes (matte, satin, metallic foil (glitter if you tap on lightly)) that create an easy office look and spur my creativity. My swatches don’t do it justice.
It’s $57, but for a similar color scheme on a budget, check out the $7 Makeup Revolution Re-Loaded palette in Visionary. Notice I did NOT mention the Norvina palette by Anastasia. Despite much anticipashun, I rarely reach for it.
I may or may not have more/less than 8 furrrvorites but let’s keep it at 8 because it’s a lucky number and I am too lazy to rethink Angela’s initial decision of a list of 8.
Talk about efficiency! I have been using lasers like I’m freaking Darth Vader, if Darth Vader were to take off his unsightly scars and hair by pointing the blaster at his own face and crotch. Ok so I didn’t use them for scars, but I’d been doing laser hair removal (face, underarms, nethers.) Yes it hurts like fk y’all!!! Worth it. If you read our insta-stories I’d also been doing Ultherapy to tighten the face and SculpSure to beat that abdominal fat into looking like I’d been doing pilates for 3 years. Moar to come on these. Btw did you know that Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation? Radiation ftw. How cool would it be if all this radiation gave me a new head? I will never be lonely!
This is pretty much a hydrating toner/serum that’s good for morning or night. I’ve always loved Fresh even though it’s pretty damn pricey. I’ve found that the scents are nice, the creams (incl the black tea night mask) work pretty well, and their packaging is just lovely. This black tea kombucha is a nice first layer that plays well with all of my random moisturizers. Very satisfying texture (thin but not watery, hydrating but not thick, fermented but not alcoholic) makes me want to splash on face all the time.
This is a minimalist palette of shimmery neutrals (yes yes I have like, a thousand neutral palettes, but this is special!) The smooth, buildable, strong pigmented formula just gives a beautiful wash of color on the lids. This is probably the first beauty product that promises a “natural” look without completely missing the point of “makeup”. It’s themed by the activity you’re doing btw. Surprisingly, their colors are pretty appropriate for the activity that supposedly inspired them (okay it’s mostly just one palette with cool tones and one with warm tones). I would def take this on a snow trip. It’s limited edition and I’m tempted to grab I totally grabbed one in the warm tones (palette called Off Duty) as well!
This primer from Becca was initially a small press sample provided to us for free. I used it during Angela’s sister’s wedding and fell in love. I went and bought one full sized bottle and TWO minis for various travel kits. It works great as a light moisturizer but also gives a subtle sheen and my skin looks dewy after application. I don’t use foundation over it so I can’t attest to its effectiveness as a foundation primer. However it’s definitely been a new staple. Doesn’t hurt that this brand frequently collabs with my celebrity doppelgänger Chrissy Teigen. Behold our high school fotos:
I used to turn my nose up at any house brand, especially since Sephora stopped making many products in Furrance and went further East to China. However, I like the formula of their liquid lipsticks, which are made in Italy. They’re very opaque, matte, and stay put through storms. For the price and the long wear, they’re not drying either. There’s also a ton of shades to choose from.
Eyeshadows are the windows to my soul, and good eyeshadows must be put on top of good primer. I recently discovered that Fenty Beauty’s eye primer is pretty good! It is my educated guess that brands that make very colorful eyeshadows (i.e. Fenty, Urban Decay, etc.) also make good primers, since those colors can be patchy as hell. Too Faced cosmetics used to carry an eye primer in a shade called “champagne” which was marvelous because it came in a squeeze tube (less germs on the doe-foot applicator.) The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in “sin” is a perfect dupe, but it is a little too shimmery. The Fenty eye primer is that wonderful in-between where it’s not really like a foundation-looking eye primer, but not entirely a shimmery liquid eyeshadow. Great discovery.
I am obsessed with the way things look because I am an artist manqué. My obsession isn’t with just physical beauty & cosmetics, but with harmony, symmetry, shapes, colors, forms, and all other miracles of the world. However, sometimes, finding beauty by facing inwards is the most rewarding process of all. Believing in your own beauty and the beauty of your own world sounds like a load of new-age shit, but meditating regularly has really brightened and calmed the turbulent & critical views I have of what “good” looks like. That’s beautiful.
Ok this isn’t a beauty purroduct either. HOWEVER, I recently learned what it takes to make a beautiful, luxurious, useful bag out of the nicely-moisturized-humanely-raised skins of our fellow mammals. And dayumn it is hard work. I find that working on things that give you joy, and spending time creating something gorgeous, can transform your looks from the inside out. Inspiration and pride glows more than 1,000 highlighters (cue Angela’s 1,000 highlighter palettes.) Although, for efficiency purposes, I wouldn’t skip the highlighters either.
9. Going Platinum
HA! Had to best Angela somehow by adding one moarrr. Among my absolute favorites dis year has been going from ombré brunette to Mother-of-Dragon blonde. Hair color technology has improved such that blonde Asian is no longer that orange washed out shade. I like it because it’s subversive and striking. You don’t see many bleached platinum Asian women walking around the floors of established investment banking institutions. Do you think it affects my career? Food for thought. In any case, it’s a ton of maintenance and I have really long hair. I’m also semi-turned-off by the increased number of blonde Asians on the street. It’s only a matter of time before “the crowds are gone / And it’s time to wash out the blonde“…
I hope 2019 brings you the joy, warmth, and satisfaction of a beauty sample sale. May it also bring with it iron discipline, to save money and achieve all your goals, by just window shopping those sales. Stay gorgeous.