Monday, December 31, 2018

Favorite Makeup Products of 2018

So, it's the end of the year, and everyone is making their lists of the best and worst makeup of 2018. The older I get and the less involved with the "influencer" side of the beauty industry I become, these lists matter less and less to me. That also might be because we are so inundated with new releases that it's hard to hold onto a few select products as "the best." And even if they do make that cut, where will they be six months or a year from now?

I didn't try a ton of new makeup this year. I did buy some things and I was gifted a few things, but I was generally less concerned with buying.

Because of this, it didn't make much sense to me to create my own "best of 2018" list, since I didn't buy many new releases and mainly just used and loved what I already had. And then it struck me—that's the entire point of this blog. To encourage mindful shopping and using what you already own.

So I decided to write a post on my favorite makeup items of 2018—most of which I acquired before 2018.


Foundation: Fenty Pro Filt'r 

I talked in depth about this foundation in a recent post, but this is a really fantastic foundation. It gives my skin a light, skin-like finish and provides a lot of coverage while also not looking like a mask. I love the shade range, and it is a brand that I feel good supporting. 

Primer: Australian Gold Tinted Sunscreen

I've used this sunscreen as a primer for a while, and despite trying several different primers this year, it still came out on top for me. My previous favorite foundation (It Cosmetics CC+) had SPF 50 within it, so it is even more important to me now to have SPF in my primer. I've raved about this sunscreen before, and I will continue to do so. It's non-greasy and yet really holds onto foundation well. I love it. 

Multi-purpose spray: MAC Fix+

I have used MAC Fix+ for many years, but I used it more this year than any other. And that's because I finally started wetting eyeshadows. This was never something I was all that interested in, mainly because I didn't feel I should have to wet an eyeshadow in order for it to work. And I still agree with that (I'm looking at you, Makeup Revolution The Emily Edit). However, some shadows still perform dry but pack a little more punch when wet, and those are the ones for which I don't mind putting in the additional effort. To wet shadows, I'll only use Fix+. This product was also heavily used when I was finishing my Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot powder and my face looked like it was caked in product. Fix+ took down the powder look and made my skin appear a bit more natural. 

Bronzer: Hourglass Luminous Bronze Light

It's not surprising that my favorite bronzer is from Hourglass, since all of my favorite powder face products are from Hourglass. I didn't use bronzer for years (I didn't understand the point of it, to be honest), and I still only use a small amount, but I have come to really love the warmth it gives my face. With that said, I'm unsure how anyone ever finishes a bronzer. I have had this product for a long time, and I use it almost daily, and I have only made a small dent in it. 

Setting powder: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

This is a relatively new product to me, so it might be a little unfair to call it a favorite already, but I don't care. It is. I purchased this powder to replace my One Heck of a Blot powder when it was finished, and I absolutely love it. It makes my skin look airbrushed. That shouldn't be surprising—so many Hourglass products do that. I feel like you might not notice a huge difference with this powder (and other Hourglass products) until you stop using it. That happened to me with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, and I just couldn't understand why my face looked so dull when I didn't use it. I feel the same about this. 

Finishing powder: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

I've talked about this product so much at this point, so all I will say here is that I can't really see anything ever topping this powder for me. I plan on using it as long as Hourglass makes it. 


I have a sizable blush collection (though it probably appears small when compared to a large number of beauty content creators), and these four are the ones that stood out to me this year as the best. 

Marc Jacobs Lines and Last Night

Lines and Last Night is a perfect peach/orange blush for my skin tone, and it lasts all day without fading. I have two other Marc Jacobs blushes in this formula, but neither are quite as special (on me) as this one.

NARS Exhibit A

I've talked about this blush several times before, but this is my all-time favorite and the blush I wear the most.

MAC Gingerly 

This blush is such a great color, but unfortunately, the staying power isn't the greatest on me. I really like to pair Gingerly with a yellow-gold highlighter and warm nude (on me) lipstick. It also looks great with green or mustard eyeshadow!

Hourglass Mood Exposure

Next to Exhibit A, this is my favorite blush. Whenever I can't quite figure out what blush to wear, I go for this one. When I'm traveling, this is usually the only blush I take. I think what everyone else loves about Tarte Exposed is what I love about Mood Exposure.


I firmly believe that a highlighter is a highlighter is a highlighter. I picked my three favorites from the year and the three I've worn the most, but honestly, while there are differences between them, I think they all look pretty similar on the skin—like almost every highlighter. 

Becca Vanilla Quartz

For years, Becca Moonstone was my top favorite, and it probably still is, but I wore Vanilla Quartz the most in 2018. I like that it has a yellow/peach base instead of a champagne base, which sets it slightly apart from Moonstone. Becca highlighters will likely always be my favorite, and Vanilla Quartz is a stunner. 

Physician's Formula Butter Highlighter in Pearl

I've recently talked about Pearl, but I have to say that I'll never understand why people seemed to have skipped over this highlighter. This is the only highlighter from the Butter line that I personally felt was unique, but performs at a level that is far above its price range. I would think people would rave about the Butter line, but unless I'm missing something, I haven't heard anything. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills X Amrezy Highlighter

This highlighter was given to me as a gift at a time when I really wasn't wearing much makeup or focused on anything other than recovering from 5 years of unhappiness and environmental depression as a result of living in New York City. So, it took me quite a while to use it. But since then, I have worn it a lot, and it has become a favorite.

Honestly, I wouldn't have purchased this highlighter myself, and I debated even including it in this list. And the reason for that is because Amrezy is not a person who I personally feel comfortable supporting. I understand that she and Norvina of ABH are friends, but I don't think she's a good candidate as a brand ambassador.

The highlighter is really pretty, and I was surprised by how much I liked the strong yellow-gold color. I pair this highlighter with MAC Gingerly, and I think the two make a really nice combination.


The irony here, of course, is that my two favorite eyeshadow palettes that released in 2018 (or at least were new to me) are pretty far apart in terms of price. I purchased NYX Grind for $12 (when it was on sale), and the Pat McGrath Decadence palette was a hefty $125. 

NYX Grind

I've heard next to no one talk about this palette, and I really don't understand why. I think it's really fantastic and one of the best color stories to come out in a while. It performs at a level that is much higher than its price range, and I don't have to work to make the shadows perform. They are just high quality. It's always a treat to use this palette. 

Pat McGrath Mothership IV — Decadence 

I bought this palette as a "Congrats, you survived New York" gift to myself. Decadence is the nicest makeup item I have ever owned. (I was then gifted another Pat McGrath palette—one of the smaller ones—and I was not impressed with that.) I have no concept why Decadence was the only limited edition Mothership palette. That makes no sense to me because I feel like it's the best one. And I think it's really disappointing that people can't buy it anymore. 

I had a slightly hard time tracking it down (it was sold out online and I had to put this one on hold at a Sephora near me and then race to buy it), but I never made the connection that it was limited edition (and not a false scarcity tactic). I remember the Sephora employee gasping when I gave my name and said what I was picking up. And I remember thinking that was weird. 

This is a beautiful palette, and these are the highest quality eyeshadows I have ever used. That's especially why I was disappointed in the smaller PM palette as it doesn't seem that the quality is consistent across the board. Decadence is the perfect name for this palette. I only wish it was still available for people to purchase. 


BH Cosmetics Zodiac 

Up front, I need to give a disclaimer. As I detailed in my last post, I'm not sure that I will ever buy from BH Cosmetics again because I have recently had the worst customer service experience to date after purchasing from them. Long story short: They took 28 days to ship a product to me, lied to me, ignored me, and then blamed the USPS for their errors. I was incredibly disappointed by how I was treated, and when I went onto their social media, the comments were littered with people like me who were being ignored and were frustrated. Customer service is a big deal to me (and most consumers), so, at present, this is not a company that I can or do recommend purchasing from. 

With that said, the Zodiac palette is my favorite palette in my collection. And I'm including it in this post because if you already own this palette, I wanted to maybe remind you of how great it is and encourage you to get more use out of it. Zodiac is a fantastic palette, and it performs better than a lot of high-end palettes that I've tried. It is beyond disappointing that BH Cosmetics handled their customer service so unprofessionally because I really do love a lot of their products. 


If you've read my blog for any period of time, you'll know that I love single eyeshadows. Reflecting upon which are my favorite of the year, I found that there was a nice mix of new and old shadows. They are:

Marc Jacobs Copperazzi
Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions
Fyrinnae Serendipity 
Urban Decay Space Cowboy
Marc Jacobs The Big O!
Hourglass Foil
Fyrinnae It Beautifies! 

I have talked about all of these shadows in previous posts, so I will just say that these are the singles in my collection that really stand out, either because of color, texture, or finish. 


This might be cheating, but I wanted to give a mention to my giant palette (from Coloured Raine) of single shadows that I either purchased individually or depotted from palettes. This giant collection of singles helps me dupe so many new releases, and my desire to own new things gets immediately curbed. Largely, I don't think singles get enough love, but they are the best tool I have to resist buying something unnecessary. Singles will forever be one of my favorite products. 


If I'm honest, I haven't always been a huge lip product person. That's largely because:
  • I drink coffee all day and hate getting lipstick all over my nice mugs
  • I typically only apply lipstick in the morning 
  • I very rarely reapply my lipstick throughout the day

But, even though I might not wear it as much as I would like, I still apply some kind of lip product most days, and these are my favorites.

NARS Barbara

The NARS Audacious lipstick formula is one of my all-time favorites, and Barbara is my go-to warm nude (on me) that I pair with bold eyes, MAC Gingerly, and the ABH highlighter. 


I think this is a perfect lip color for me and my skin tone, and it feels like the lipstick version of Hourglass Mood Exposure. 

Estée Lauder Shock & Awe

This has been in a monthly favorites post before, and I continue to love it. On me, it's not as bright as it looks in the tube, and I find it to be a really wearable and pretty pink. 

Pat McGrath Antidote

I bought this lipstick at the same time that I bought the Decadence palette, and I absolutely love it. I don't have anything even similar in color, and I love wearing it with a matte mustard eye look. 

Tom Ford Fetishist 

I wrote about this lipstick in a recent post, and I will say that despite the staggering price tag, it's a great lipstick. Its staying powder is like none other in my collection (including liquid lipsticks!). The color is deep and romantic, and it feels every bit as luxurious as you would expect from Tom Ford (and its price!).


  1. That NYX Grind palette looks really high-end! I've never heard of it - I'll have to look for it.
    I'm with you too - I so much prefer my single shadows that I put into my own customizable palettes.
    I'm curious about that Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder - do you use it under your eyes too?

  2. I thought of getting the Grind palette but I managed to dupe most of it with items in my collection, so thank you for being the inspiration behind that!

  3. I love the color story of the NYX Grind palette, but haven't been able to find it anywhere. Now knowing that it performs well too, I really wish I had known about it when it was still on the NYX website.