2020 Round Up: My Fave Products and Brands of the Year!

Hey y’all!

2020 is finally, FINALLY coming to a close and I, for one, could not be happier. This year has been pretty rough from start to finish for all of us — I think we can all agree we’re looking forward to turning over a new page and starting 2021 with a nice, fresh start.

It’s crazy thinking back on the early months of 2020 now — some parts of it feel like absolute eons ago, whereas some moments feel as though they happened the other week. There’s been some ups (and many, many downs), but it hasn’t been all bad, I guess. I mean, I still got the chance to travel to Mexico this year before travel shut down worldwide, and while I had some hard times, I’ve had a lot of time off to learn to cope and become reacquainted with myself as an individual. I’ve revisited old hobbies, discovered new things I love, and had plenty of time to explore exactly what it is in life I enjoy doing.

However, corny as it sounds, one of the positives of this year is that I got the chance to try all sorts of new products out during lockdowns — many of which I absolutely adored. This year, skincare definitely reined supreme amongst products I both tried and loved — after all, there’s not much of a need to be buying heaps of makeup if you’re never leaving the house.

With all the products I tried, it WAS a little tricky to narrow it down to a top 10. However, I managed to narrow it down (in no particular order, of course). The following 10 products are the best new products I tried this year (not all of them are new this year, but they’re new to me). I really loved each and every one of these products — they’ve all become regulars in my daily routine, and many of them I would say are my fave products of all time. I’ve attached a little reasoning with each product about why exactly I love it so much, so that all of you know exactly what’s so great about them and whether they’d be something you’d love too!

Top 10 Products I Tried in 2020

Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

Why I love it: I only use this mask a wash off mask (not overnight), but even after 10 minutes it leaves my face feeling brand new. It’s packed full of AHA’s and hyaluronic acid, which always leaves my face feeling soft, fresh, and plump. Plus, it clears up my skin and really makes it glow.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip Primer

Why I love it: This primer basically acts like a glue that holds all of your makeup in place, all day, though anything. It has a smoothing effect, allowing your makeup to apply as flawlessly as possible. Plus, it’s hydrating AF and actually leaves my skin feeling pretty great.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Herbivore Botanical’s Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil

Why I love it: This balancing oil helps to reduce redness and fix blemishes, leaving your skin looking clear and flawless. It’s not too heavy, and it’s squalene component helps to rebuild your skins barrier and protect it from dirt and pollutants.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Eyeshadow Palette in Pillow Talk

Why I love it: This palette! Ugh. It was love at first use. This palette was my first time trying Charlotte Tilbury, but it’s totally sold me on the whole brand. These shadows are so blendable and produce ZERO fallout. The colours are super cute and delicate, and work well for everyday use. I can’t wait for the chance to try out more products by this brand.

While this palette was limited edition, Charlotte Tilbury still has many great products to check out at Sephora!

Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask

Why I love it: I only tried this mask out recently, but I’ve already fallen in love. I was hoping to add a little retinol into my skincare routine — but only a small amount. I had tried their eye cream version in the past and while I loved it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to daily retinol (since it can do some harm if you’re not careful). This was the perfect medium — it leaves my skin looking FLAWLESS, and I don’t have to worry about using it wrong/mixing in wrong ingredients since I only use it occasionally. Now I get all the benefits of retinol, without any of the stress!

Check out this product at Sephora!

Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask

Why I love it: This is the perfect mask for anyone who’s skin is just a liiiiittle too sensitive for charcoal clay masks. I often find that while charcoal clay masks work for me, they leave my skin feeling a little irritated after. This masks clears up my skin while leaving it feeling softer than before — and it’s absolutely one of my all-time faves.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Huda Beauty’s Pastel Obsessions Eyeshadow Palettes

Why I love it: These palettes may be tiny, but they pack a lot of punch. They’re super pigmented and the colours are always stunning. The pastel colours are super on-trend for this year, and each palette comes with enough colours to create a wide range of diverse looks. 10/10, would recommend.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Sulwhasoo’s Bloomstay Vitalizing Eye Cream

Why I love it: I’ve always had issues with my under eyes, but this eye cream has honestly solved a lot of my problems. Since purchasing this cream, my under eyes have been nice and full and bright, and my fine lines and milia have been fading in a big way. This stuff may be pricey, but it’s totally worth it.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Why I love it: This stuff is the ultimate cure to chapped lips, IMO. One layer, one night and your lips will be feeling good as new the next day. It works so effectively, it actually lasts all night and the effects last all day. For real — my lips have been brand new ever since I tried this lip mask, and I can’t wait to try out more of Laneige’s products because of it.

Check out this product at Sephora!

Shu Uemura’s Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil

Why I love it: Double cleansing WORKS. It helps to remove dirt that water-based cleansers don’t, especially SPF and other oil-based grime. My skin has felt so clean ever since starting. I haven’t tried any other oil-based cleansers, to be fair, but this stuff is just fantastic.

Check out this product at Sephora!

My Top 5 Brands of 2020

Since skincare has been the main event of my life this year, my top 5 brands of this year naturally ended up being entirely skincare (unlike last year where I did 5 skincare and 5 makeup brands). Unlike my favourite products of the year, these aren’t necessarily brands I tried for the first time this year, just the brands that topped my faves list by the end of the year (and all amazing brands that I could not recommend more).

Glow Recipe

Credit: @glowrecipe on Instagram

Herbivore Botanicals

Credit: @herbivorebotanicals on Instagram

Biossance

Credit: @biossance on Instagram

Ouai

Credit: @theouai on Instagram

Fresh

Credit: @freshbeauty on Instagram

Top 5 Brands I’m Excited To Try in 2021

This one sort of speaks for itself — these following five brands are all brands that I’m hoping to get the chance to try sometime during 2021! I already got the chance to try 3/5 of the brands on my list last year — and they of all ended up being my newfound faves. Here’s to trying out more brands and discovering new favourite products in 2021!

Tatcha

Credit: @tatcha on Instagram

Melt Cosmetics

Credit: @meltcosmetics on Instagram

Patrick Ta

Credit: @patricktabeauty on Instagram

Supergoop!

Credit: @supergoop on Instagram

Summer Fridays

Credit: @summerfridays on Instagram

And there you have it! What a year it’s been. It’s kinda crazy thinking back on it all — trying out some of these products for the first time feels like a whole lifetime ago. We’re so close to 2021 now, however, and I honestly can’t wait to see what it brings. Maybe it’ll be good, maybe it’ll be bad — but at least it’ll be a fresh start.

Stay tuned for next weeks post, where I detail 20 life lessons I learned in 2020! This year has taught me a lot, and it’s always important to reflect back on what life has taught us in order to ensure we don’t forget. While this year has certainly been a challenge, it doesn’t have to be all bad –it’s important that we all take time to look back on what this year has taught us, and take these lessons into the future to better ourselves and the world we live in.

As well, over the next few weeks I’ll be dropping my review of my FIRST-EVER ColourPop Cosmetics haul (one of the companies on my list of brands to try in 2020 last year!) and my winter FabFitFun unboxing. As well, I have some exciting content planned for new year, so stay tuned!

Much love,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: July 16th

Hey friends!

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is having a productive and positive week — and if not, at least it’s almost Friday! I’ve still been feeling a little low on motivation lately, but the weather has finally started to turn around in Vancouver and feel like summer (which is kind of a huge blessing, but I also don’t have AC in my apartment, so it’s a bit of a curse, too). However, I’m kind of hoping to find some motivation and turn the second half of July around — there’s still time!

This week, I’m returning to more regular content and sharing a brand-new product with you all. I wanted to share a product that I’ve only started using recently, but have quickly fallen in love with. Have you ever stumbled across a product that filled a void in your skincare or makeup routine that you didn’t even know existed? Yeah, that’s this product for me: Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip Primer.

Not that I wasn’t using primer before — that would be crazy. I just didn’t know how much primers could DO before I tried this product. I honestly just tried it on a bit of a whim — I didn’t really need a new primer just yet at the time, but as this product grew in popularity I began seeing it popping up everywhere and decided I had to try it. I had been feeling just so-so on my old primer for a while — it was fine, but it was more of a moisturizer than something to really keep makeup in place. I already have more than enough moisturizers in my skincare routine, so I felt it was time to branch out and try something new (after all, I can always put down a layer of my everyday moisturizer before my primer to fill the need).

I really didn’t know what to expect when I tried out the Hydro Grip primer — I’d been using my last primer for years, and I honestly didn’t remember what it felt like to USE other primers with my makeup. (I guess Tarte’s Timeless Smoothing Primer would be the exception, which I only used on special occasions — but I still stand by and love). And while it wasn’t like my old primer had no grip to it whatsoever, I definitely did NOT know what grip really felt like until I gave this primer a go.

This primer is almost like a layer of glue that keeps your makeup stuck down on your face once you apply it. That definitely sounds like a bit of a weird way to describe something, because it does sound a little unpleasant, but I swear it’s not. This primer is also super lightweight, and once you’ve applied your makeup you absolutely cannot feel it, so don’t let the whole “glue” thing deter you — it really just means that it’s going to help your makeup stay put all day. (Which it does do an amazing job at — I can’t wait to be able to go out more and really test out what this stuff can do because while I’ve gotten a chance to see it in action, all the reviews say this stuff keeps your makeup in place like no other).

As well, this product does an amazing job of smoothing out skin and adding a little boost of hydration — which are two things I find are really important for a primer to do. There’s nothing I hate more than the look of my makeup when my foundation settles in to every fine line, pore, and bump — it really drives me crazy, as sometimes it actually makes my skin look WORSE than it did without makeup. As well, as someone who’s prone to dry skin, I’ll take any and every moisturizing product I can when it comes to my makeup routine. Overall, this product really helps my skin and makeup look smooth and fresh, while also keeping my makeup locked down all day long.

If this sounds like the primer you’ve been needing in your life, be sure to check it out at Sephora!

Stay tuned for this weekend’s post, where I’m going to be sharing with you all how to have a productive self-care day! It’s hard to carve out time for self-care when you’re feeling overwhelmed with life — but with my day plan, there’s ways to achieve both at once! That way, for those of us feeling little overwhelmed lately (I know I certainly am) you can kill two birds with one stone and relax AND get ahead on your tasks!

Much love,

Meredith

My Picks: Sephora Sale Spring 2020!

Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

Hey y’all! Happy Sunday!

This week marked the beginning of Sephora’s Spring sale, and now kind of feels like the perfect time to treat yourself. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve actually been saving a lot of money ever since Social Distancing was enacted, and it’s been a while since I splurged and got myself something nice. Not only did I need to do a little restock on items I had been running low on, but I branched out and got a couple of new products I’ve had my eye on for a while. Honestly, I’m already a little too excited to try out my new stuff — waiting on a package is 100% more exciting when you’re on lockdown with not much else to do.

If you’re not already familiar with Sephora sales, they often happen around the holidays and offer special rewards for members. The sale kicked off on April 17th for VIB Rouge members offering a 20% discount, with VIB sales starting on the 21st offering 15% off, and will be open to all Beauty Insiders on the 23rd with 10% off basically everything in store. These sales end on May 1st, April 29th and April 27th, respectively. If you’re not a Beauty Insider, fear not — you can sign up anytime, earn points, and it’s totally free!

I figured that I’d use this time to make a little list of products I’d recommend trying right now — some of my all-time faves that I feel would be perfect for stay-at-home enjoyment. This list ranges from skincare, self-care to spring makeup that you can play and experiment with to combat boredom during this time (and just about everything in between!).

Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe

This mask is absolutely perfect for giving your skin a little extra TLC while working from home. First of all, it is SO lovely to apply — it’s lightweight and smells amazing (it’s made with real watermelon, and you can definitely tell). But past that, it’s gentle exfoliating and hydrating effects help to clear your skin and make it glass-skin level clear and glowy. If you don’t really have a solid skincare routine but have looking to get into the habit, now is the perfect time! If you make a routine now, it’ll be so much easier to keep up your routine when your schedule starts picking back up. Plus, you’ll come out from it all and head back to work with flawless skin, ready to take on anything the world throws at you!

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask)

Pastel Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette by Huda Beauty

One of the activities I’m most looking forward to now that I’m done my studies is practicing and experimenting with makeup. This is especially true when it comes to eyeshadow — it’s not something I wear often in my everyday makeup, and I’ve been dying to practice and improve my skills both in terms of everyday looks, but growing my confidence when it comes to more experimental looks as well. These palettes are SO cute and perfect for spring, and are something I’ve been dying to try for a while. Huda Beauty’s Obsessions Palettes, as you guys already know, are some of my all-time favourites, so I know the quality of these palettes is going to be next-level, and I can’t wait to see what they can do.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Huda Beauty’s Obsessions Palettes — post on these ones in particular coming soon!)

Mini Anastasia Beverly Hills Spring Lip Gloss Set

Credit: @anastasiabeverlyhills on Instagram

This is something I purchased for myself this Sephora sale, as they were just recently released. I’m obsessed with these colours and when I saw them, I knew they were the perfect treat for myself as a pick-me-up during these stressful times. I’ve tried ABH’s lipglosses before and the quality of them is insane — they’re so pigmented and beautiful. These are perfect for a cute, nude spring-time look, and I can’t wait to give them a try.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here!

Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish by Herbivore Botanicals

I’ve already made about a billion posts mentioning this product, so you guys all know by this point that it’s one of my all-time favourites. I’m going to refrain from saying TOO much right now, as I’m FINALLY going to be writing a proper review on this product soon (I know — it’s about time!). All I’m going to say right now is that this really is the best exfoliator I’ve ever used (and I have used so, so many). It smells heavenly, exfoliates gently but thoroughly, and is infused with all kinds of oils to leave your skin feeling as smooth and soft as it ever has when you’re done. 10/10, perfect way to treat yourself during these times.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Herbivore Botanical’s Crushed Amethyst Exfoliator here — it’ll be getting a full post of it’s own soon, I promise!)

Treatment Masque by Ouai

I’d highly recommend this product if you’re looking to come out of Social Distancing with the shiniest, healthiest hair of your life. Similarly to exfoliators, I’ve also used many, many hair masks in my life — they were a real lifesaver back when I was bleaching my hair regularly. I’ve come to learn what makes a hair mask just “good” compared to what makes it great — and this hair mask is FANTASTIC. My hair is healthier than it’s ever been — its so smooth and shiny that it basically reflects light and really shows the depth of my hair colour. It achieves all this without being heavy, too — after all my time using this mask, I’ve never once accidentally ended up with greasy hair or heavy roots by accident. This stuff, no joke, has totally revived my hair and I couldn’t be happier with it.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Ouai’s Treatment Masque)

Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm by Fresh

I know I just posted a review of this product, but it really is the best. It’s just so lovely and smooth, and it works wonders on chapped lips. If you’re looking for the perfect lip balm, this is it. And if you were looking for the perfect time to buy it, the time is now! After all, this sale is only on for a few weeks — and this is the perfect little self-care item to avoid dry lips when you’re cooped up in your home all day long.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Fresh’s Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm)

Pillow Talk Instant Eyeshadow Palette by Charlotte Tilbury

You guys already know how much I love this palette. It is THE perfect palette for fresh, glowy everyday looks. It comes with four pre-set looks, that range from every day to nighttime looks. Whether you’re looking to experiment with makeup in your newfound new time, or just want to stock up on staples while this sale is on, this is the perfect time to get your hands on this limited-edition palette.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Palette)

Lover Rubber Face Mask by Dr. Jart+

If you’re planning an upcoming spa night, these masks are a must. First of all, the rubber mask-element are SO fun. But past that, these really are the best single-use masks I’ve ever tried. They legitimately change your skin within a single use and leave your skin looking brand-new. If your skin is looking a little worse for wear lately, or you’re feeling stressed and just need a little pick-me-up — invest in one of these and take a night off for self-care. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Dr. Jart’s Lover Rubber Masks)

Solid Brush and Sponge Cleaner Mini by Sephora

If you’re looking to do a little spring cleaning right now and get your life together during this time off, this is the perfect purchase to grab during this sale. This brush cleaner, which is only $10.50 (!!!) will leave your brushes looking brand new. Not only is it a crazy-effective cleanser, but it doesn’t leave behind any residue and has never damaged any of my brushes in the least. Plus, it comes with a little silicone cleaning pad to help scrub out every last little bit of makeup and grime out of your brushes and leaving them in perfect condition.

You can buy this product online at Sephora here! (As well, be sure to check out my personal review of Sephora’s Solid Brush Cleaner)

I hope you’re all holding up well in quarantine, and have plenty of tasks and hobbies to keep yourself busy! While, yes, this is the perfect time to catch up on work and be productive, its also a time to relax and take time to enjoy yourself. If you’ve been looking to unwind, take care of your skin and practice your makeup I hope you found plenty of inspo from this list! Just remember, it’s important to be working towards goals, but it’s also just as important to take care of yourself. Don’t worry about using this time to constantly be working on all of your tasks — it’s okay to take a day off to relax, unwind, and do absolutely nothing at all. This is an unprecedented and stressful time — don’t let anyone tell you how you should be spending it! Just do what’s best for you and be sure that you’re taking care of your mental health.

Love you all!

Xo,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: November 28th

Tarte Creaseless Concealer

Happy Thursday everyone!!

Hope you’ve all been having a great week! Personally, I’m super excited about today — it officially marks 24 days until I’m off to Toronto for the start of my winter holidays! Which, most importantly, means I’m starting my advent calendar!!! This year, instead of counting down until Christmas, I’m counting down the days until my vacation — both because I’m so excited for it and because it seems a little silly to waste valuable suitcase space carrying it around for the four days before Christmas.

This is so off topic but I just wanted to show you how cute this advent calendar is!!! While I do love coffee a whole lot, if I had to choose, I would pick tea over coffee any day. I’m just loving this David’s Tea advent calendar, both because I get to test out 24 new flavours AND count down the days until my winter getaway! I love getting David’s Tea packages like this, since it allows me to test such a wide range of their endless flavours. If you’re feeling inspired to forgo daily chocolates this year, you still have a few days before December starts to grab a calendar of your own! (You can check them out online at David’s Tea here!)

Anyways, back to the star of today’s Favourites post — the Tarte Creaseless Concealer! Okay, I know I promised this post so, so long ago, but it’s finally here! (Better late than never, right?). I’ve gone through a whole lot of concealer brands in my lifetime, and every time I swore I had found the best brand ever and I’d never switch. However, this time around I’m actually serious about it.

Tarte is incredibly well known for their concealers, especially their Shape Tape concealer — which surprisingly, I’ve never tried. (I’m probably going to at some point, since it’s Tarte’s most popular concealer. I just love their Creaseless Concealer so much I don’t feel the need to waste money on any other concealer products — but we’ll see). However, I can vouch for the fact they’re considered “America’s Number One Concealer Brand” for good reason — this stuff is unreal. As much as NARS is one of my all-time favourite brands, I resorted to buying their concealer (once a go-to for me) a few months ago when Tarte was fresh out of stock, and the difference was insane. (NARS does have great concealer, for the record — it’s just that Tarte’s concealers are REALLY next level).

This concealer, while rather thick, is incredibly lightweight. It covers absolutely ANY blemish or discolouration with a single coat, and it really lasts. They aren’t joking about it being creaseless, either — I know I’ve complained about my naturally dark and baggy under eye area countless times on my blog, but I’ve never found a product that conceals them as seamlessly as this one does. Plus it blends fantastically — I often use tinted moisturizer instead of foundation, and even though my concealer is so much thicker in consistency it blends flawlessly.

If you’re worried about having a very textured under eye area — don’t worry, I struggle with this too. This concealer does do a good job of concealing textured areas, and certainly doesn’t define them as some products can often do. Basically, this stuff is magic — I don’t even know how else to put it.

If this sounds like the perfect concealer for you, check it out on Tarte or at Sephora!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic week! Be sure to stay tuned for the second part of my Holiday Gift Guide series coming this Sunday. I’m so excited about this weeks theme, I can’t wait to share it with y’all!

Xo,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: November 21st

Sephora Clean Up Nice Brush Cleaner Spray and Vera Mona Colour Switcher

Hey y’all!

A quick little update first — since my Tarte Custom Kit already arrived, I figured I would share my post on it this Saturday, instead of two posts on Sunday like I initially planned. I don’t want to overwhelm y’all with too much content, or have either of them get lost in the mix, so I’m spacing them out a little! Sooooo, be sure to check back in Saturday AND Sunday this weekend for some exciting new content!

This week I figured I’d share another post on how to maintain your brushes. Last week, I discussed my new favourite brush cleaner, but what about maintaining your brushes in between cleanings?

For this, I have two favourite products — one to keep your brushes clean and disinfected, and one to help remove excess pigment between colour switches.

First of all, consider where you keep your brushes. If you’re lucky enough to have a desk or vanity like I used to, maybe this isn’t AS big of a problem for you. However, if you’re like me, and do your makeup in the bathroom — consider how dirty your brushes may get daily. Bathrooms, no matter how clean your keep them, are FULL of all kinds of nasty bacteria and germs. Doesn’t sound like something you want to be rubbing into your face (and eyes! Yikes!) on the daily.

A quick and easy solution I’ve found to this is Sephora’s Clean Up Nice Antibacterial Spray. I spray this product on my brushes daily, whether I’ve used them or not. This helps to ensure your brushes are nice and clean — free of any harmful bacteria that may be causing you to break out, or worse. All it takes is thirty seconds of your time, and you know your brushes are perfect and fresh every time you use them!

Another problem I’m sure many of us have encountered is when you’re trying to create a bold eyeshadow look, only to find you need to reuse a brush you JUST coated in a completely different colour. For this, I’ve recently began using the Sephora Collection Color Switch By Vera Mona Brush Cleaner Mini. Rather than rubbing off access powder somewhere you shouldn’t, you can just rub your brush around this little sponge, and it’ll do all the work for you. If nothing else, it’s certainly a lot less damaging than scrubbing your brushes into paper towels constantly.

Between these two products, and the Sephora Solid Brush Cleaner I discussed last week (or whichever product of your choice!), you’ll be good to go with sparkly clean brushes every day! No more worrying about harmful bacteria or struggling with breakouts. You’re brushes will look and feel good as new.

If these sound like products you’ve been needing in your life, be sure to check out Sephora’s Clean Up Nice Antibacterial Spray here, as well as their Color Switch Brush Cleaner Mini here!

Hope you’ve all been having an amazing week so far! Be sure to check back in this weekend for BOTH my Tarte Custom Makeup Kit Unboxing and the first part of my upcoming Holiday segment. I hope you’re all as excited as I am to share them with you!

Love,

Meredith