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

Mask-Friendly Makeup Tutorial!

Hey friends!

Can you believe it’s almost the end of August? This year has absolutely been flying by — its crazy to think back to how different things were even a month ago, yet alone back at the beginning of this year. One of the biggest changes to our world this year is requiring (and possibly normalizing) wearing masks in public. Wearing masks in public has been popular in many countries for years as an act of courtesy if you’re feeling sick, and while it wasn’t entirely uncommon in Vancouver, going forward I think it will become more normalized than ever.

Personally, I’m all for it. If you’re feeling sick, it’s only polite to protect others and limit spreading illness. I don’t find wearing a mask to be that much of an inconvenience, plus, you can get some pretty cute and custom ones to complete your outfit and express yourself! You can find all kinds of different masks anywhere nowadays, but for really unique designs and essentially unlimited options, RedBubble has you covered — I’m waiting on an order of masks I put in from them recently and I couldn’t be more excited! They really have something for just about anyone, given how many artists are active on the site.

The only things I find tricky about masks are 1) wearing them with glasses (which of course, I can always just wear my contacts — but it’s a pain if I don’t want to) and 2) wearing them with makeup. While you can get away with wearing a full face of makeup under a mask if you’re only wearing it for a short period of time or are careful not to exert yourself too much (and you know, end up fogging up the inside of you mask) — you really can’t get away with wearing a full makeup look if you have to wear the mask for a while. It’s pretty much impossible to not have your makeup get at least a little messed up under there, especially when you’re wearing foundation and a full cheek look. It’s impossible to keep your mask from wearing away your makeup when wearing it long-term, which can leave your makeup looking pretty rough after a while.

So, yeah. Masks can be a bit of a pain. But what’s a little inconvenience in the grand scheme of things? It may be a pain, but it’s better than the alternative of spreading disease and accelerating the pandemic. While you can easily choose to go makeup-free, I’ve also come up with a simple makeup look that’s a lot less prone to smudging under your mask for anyone who’s determined not to let their masks stop them.

I’ve found, personally, the trick to having your makeup stay relatively intact under a mask is to forgo foundation. I know this probably sounds unappealing to a lot of people, especially if you were looking for a tutorial to maintain your makeup under your mask exactly as you wear it normally. Sure, you may have to go a little more ~au natural~ for this look, but it still ends up looking like a full face in the end.

Step One: Prime

This is the first step to most people’s makeup looks, but given the mask (and thus the increased likelihood your makeup is going to wear off over the course of the day), it’s more useful than ever. I’ve been using (and loving) Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip primer, however, whatever your go-to is works best for you!

Step Two: Conceal + Set

Next up, dab a little concealer of your choice underneath your eyes. My holy-grail under eye concealer is Tarte’s Creaseless Concealer, but once again — whatever your favourite concealer is works perfectly as well! I apply my concealer under my eyes in a triangular shape, and then blend it as best I can into my skin. The line between concealer and your face doesn’t have to be flawless — blending that out comes next. However, you’ll want to get it as diffuse as possible. Once you’re done, use a powder to set your concealer and keep it locked in before moving on to the next step.

Step Three: Bronze + Blend

Once your concealer is set, take a matte bronzer and apply it all over your face. Try to choose one that’s a more natural shade and isn’t too dark compared to your skin tone (this way, you’ll avoid turning out orange). You don’t want to use too much — it’s more meant to give you a little glow and blend the line between your concealer and your skin rather than acting as foundation. Make sure to get your eye area, too — you want it to look uniform with the rest of your face, after all! My go-to is Too Faced’s Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer — I haven’t made a whole post for this one yet since I’m waiting to finish and repurchase it, but it’s one of my faves. (After all, I want it to be all shiny and new and looking it’s best when I show it off to you guys!).

Step Four: Blush + Highlight

This step is kind of up to you, and whatever you want your finished look to be. If you need to blend your concealer a little more, you can add some more bronzer to your cheekbones. If you want to look fresh and glowy, feel free to add a little highlighter to the look. And if you want a cute and rosy glow, throw on some blush! It’s really up to you. I’d recommend keeping it as natural looking as possible, though — since this is where your mask sits, it’s the more prone to getting smudged throughout the day. Whatever you end up going for, be sure it won’t be too noticeable if it ends up being wiped away.

Step Five: Eyes

This step is totally up to you — feel free to style your eyes however you please! Whether you’re just looking to stick with your go-to everyday eye look, or go big and bold, or stick to simple and natural — the choice is yours! De to the natural look of this makeup, I like to stick to something simple and light — which I love the Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk Instant Eye Palette for.

Step Six: Set + Complete!

For the final step, you’re going to throw on whatever finishing touches you normally add and finish up with a setting spray! My go-to, of course, is ran Decay’s All Nighter Pollution Protection. This step is pretty crucial, since it really helps to hold everything in place — making your makeup more resistant to being worn off over the course of the day. As a final note, if you want to wear lipstick/gloss, I’d recommend bringing it with you and applying it after you’ve taken your mask off — at best, it may stay in place under your mask but it’ll probably feel pretty gross all the while. Save yourself the stress and just bring it along with you!

And there you have it! A simple, easy, six-step makeup look that will keep looking fresh, even if you have to wear a mask all day. The feeling of taking off your mask and having NO idea how messed up your makeup looks underneath is the worst — but with this makeup look, you can avoid the stress altogether. Even if it does get a little damaged after long-term mask wear, it’s simple enough that the difference won’t be noticeable. As well, after step three its more a less up to you how you want to finish the look — so while I often pair my natural every-day eye makeup to achieve a natural look, you can still go all-out on the eyes for something more bold — or go no makeup on the eyes, if that’s what you love. No matter what look you’re going for — this tutorial leaves your options open!

I hope you guys are having a good wrap-up to this summer season! I can’t believe we’re so close to September, but I adore fall, so I’m not mad. I can’t wait for fall to get into full-swing, after all, I’ve been needing a bit of change lately. August has me feeling super burnt out, which is pretty fair considering what a rollercoaster this year has been. I’m hoping to be able to shake things up this September and get back on track for all my goals for 2020!

Much love,

Meredith

Love It or Leave It: Brow Tinting!

Thanks to @Dizzyd718 for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

Hey y’all!

So, if you’re an even semi-avid follower of beauty trends on Instagram nowadays, you’ll already know that semi-permanent makeup solutions are all the rage. Every day it feels like you hear of something new — lash lifting, eyelash extensions, microblading, ombre brows, brow laminating, makeup tattooing, lip injections, the list goes on.

These trends have often had my attention since the very beginning, but I’ve yet to really take the leap and try them out as it does seem like a commitment. However, as I begin to get busier with my current job, which requires I look put-together almost daily, the idea of stopping in for an appointment once a month becomes a lot less daunting compared to having to have flawless makeup applied every day.

However, when I finally took the leap it was entirely on a whim — while getting my eyebrows threaded about a month back, my brow lady finished up, and casually suggested that I should give brow tinting a shot — and I did.

This was really unlike me for so many reasons — I’m really not one to take such a permanent approach without fair research and prep, as my appearance is rather important to me. I also have a lot of allergies to non-food items, meaning there was a VERY likely chance I could have reacted negatively to the dye.

Luckily, not only did everything work out — it went amazingly. My brow lady reminded me a little hesitantly that sometimes people freak out about how dark their brows look, but after a day of getting used to it she was sure I would love it. However, it didn’t even take a day. I took one look in the mirror and was immediately sold — and honestly felt a little silly for not taking the leap on semi-permanent makeup for so long. My brows looked FANTASTIC, as if they were naturally perfect, and took an entire step out of my makeup routine going forward before work.

If you’re someone who doesn’t love wearing lots of makeup, or find you constantly are in a rush to get ready, give brow tinting a shot. In terms of semi-permanent brow solutions, it’s a lot cheaper and significantly more low-commitment than many alternative options. (While obviously prices change between salons, this service cost me $15.00). Ultimately, if you don’t love it, it’ll wear off in a couple of weeks — but if you do love it, you’ll be saving all kinds of time and money on daily makeup application.

For those of you, like me, who’ve never given semi-permanent makeup a go, I hope this review of my experience was helpful! Stay tuned for more posts like this — since I’m definitely going to be trying out more of these services in the near future.

Xo,

Meredith

Me, Sans Makeup, Post Brow Tint