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

Holiday Gift Guide #4: Makeup Edition!

Hey y’all!

December is officially under way and the holidays are going to be upon us before we know it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting pretty stressed out around this time of year — there can be a lot of pressure leading up to the holiday season, and it can be a crazy busy time for all of us and the year comes to an end. However, the holidays really shouldn’t be stressful — they’re supposed to be a time of joy, after all! — but ya know, sometimes that’s easier said than done.

It’s particularly easy this year to let the holidays sneak up on you before you even realize what’s happening, leaving you unprepared. After all, what even is time anymore in COVID? Do any of us truly know what day it is? Probably not. So if you haven’t completed your shopping yet, don’t worry — you’re definitely not alone. Cut yourself a little slack — it’s been a crazy year. If you’re still needing to get some shopping done and are in need of some ideas, I have you covered. Almost every item on this list is good for all makeup users, regardless of skin tone or skin type. As well, all these items can be found at Sephora, which tends to ship pretty quickly (within Canada, at least), so you’ll have plenty time to pick out some items and get them shipped and ready. (And of course, if the person you’re buying gifts for isn’t super into makeup, you can always check out my previous gift guides on Self Care, Skincare, and Lifestyle!).

Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Setting Spray

I figured that I’d start off with a product that truly would work for anyone on your list, regardless of their skin tone, skin type, or preferences. This setting spray by Urban Decay is a total classic, and one of the best products I own. One coat of this stuff, and your makeup will not move even a bit all day. Not even a little. It won’t fade, smudge, or wear off in areas that are oily or even high-contact (ie. under your mask). This stuff WORKS. Plus, it can be universally gifted to anyone who wears makeup — they’ll be sure to love it.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Huda Beauty Obsessions Palettes

Obsession palettes was a super fitting name for this product, because I’m completely obsessed with them. These palettes come in a wide variety of colours and themes, from neon, and pastel, to nude and jewel tones. These palettes are nice and pocket sized, making them great for compact makeup collections or travel — but don’t let their tiny size fool you, they pack a lot of pigment, making them last endlessly. These are some of my favourite eyeshadow palettes that I’ve ever owned, and I couldn’t recommend them more as a gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner

Stila’s liquid liner is, IMO, the penultimate liquid eyeliner. This liners been my go-to since high school, and it’s never let me down. This liner is SUPER pigmented, and comes with a solid felt tip that makes it easy to apply. Seriously — this liner comes out in the blackest black I’ve ever seen an eyeliner come. For any winged liner fans in your life, this liner will make the PERFECT gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer & NARS Pro-Prime Eyeshadow Base

This is another gift that’s pretty universally good for any makeup lover in your life, regardless of what they’re into or they’re skin tone/skin type. Makeup primer is something all makeup users likely use, and if not — they might like to give these a try! These are, hands down, the two most effective primers I’ve ever used in my life and I could not recommend either of them more. Milk Makeup’s Hydro grip primer is hydrating, lightweight, and provides a smoothing effect. Most importantly — it holds your makeup in place ALL day (even under a mask!). As well, NARS’s Pro-Prime shadow base is the only shadow primer I’ve ever used that holds your shadow perfectly in place for hours on end — it doesn’t crease, smudge, or fade (and I’ve accidentally fallen asleep with it on before). These both will make great gifts for any makeup lover you’re looking to spoil — no matter how picky they are.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out Milk Makeup’s primer and NARS’s shadow base online at Sephora!

Kaja Mochi Pop Bouncy Blush

This is a product I tried recently and totally fell in love with. This little cream-powder blush is easy to apply and makes a great everyday, simple-look blush. It’s cute, shimmery, and has a super-unique formula so that, contrary to other cream blushes, doesn’t stay sticky or need to be set the same way. Even if you have someone on your list that isn’t crazy into makeup that you’re still needing a gift for, this blush makes a great addition to any simple, every-day makeup collection.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

This is another product I tried recently and was blown away by. I’m a big fan of the “dewey” makeup look, so I love adding in a little shimmer wherever I can. This finishing powder is meant to be applied over your face (or just areas you’re hoping to add a little extra glow to) after you’ve finished your makeup to add just a little extra shine. It really adds just a small shimmer, so you won’t look shiny or oily, but just a little dewey — and it makes my makeup look even more flawless and natural, IMO. It comes in a couple shades, but it isn’t like foundation where you’ll need to know someone’s skin tones/under tones to buy a perfect match — especially since it is so sheer. If you have a dewey/natural makeup lover in your life who’s always looking for a little extra glow, I could NOT recommend this finishing powder more.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

Is there a soul out there who’s tried Fenty’s Universal Lip Luminzer who HASN’T loved it? Seriously, this stuff is the best and I’d own it in every shade if I could. Fenty Beauty is so high quality and made to have products that are flattering for all. The original and light pink shades of this gloss are classic shades you can’t go wrong with, and the two clear shades look like they’d be a fantastic addition to any collection (I’m hoping to get my hands on them myself!). These glosses are long-lasting, and they don’t bleed into your skin at all. 10/10, would make a fantastic gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Sephora Luxe False Lashes

This last one is a great for any lash-lovers, or any makeup users who’ve been wishing to test out lashes but don’t where to start. These lashes are the BEST, most realistic lashes I have ever used. They’re fluffy and beautiful, plus they come with a clear strip that’s very flexible — making it work well with all eye shapes. I find that these are great beginner lashes, since they have such flexible strips and fit so easily along your lash line. Honestly, if my lashes could look like mine do when I’m wearing these 24/7, I’d be the happiest I’ve ever been.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

And that wraps up this year’s gift guide! I hope that you’ve all enjoyed it — I really put in a lot of effort putting this together for you all this year. Hopefully you’ve all got good, safe, socially-distanced plan for the holidays this year — whether that means with the family under your roof, your SO, your roommates, or even alone. Hopefully, along with this online list of gift ideas, you’ll be able to stay home and safe this holiday season.

Sending you all so much love right now! I have a number of exciting posts planned out for you over the final weeks of 2020, so stay tuned for that! I have a number of posts lined up, from a FabFitFun unboxing, to a little round up of 2020, a look back at 2020 and my very first ever ColourPop haul. I’m so excited to share them all with you, and I hope you’re all just as excited to read them!

Much love y’all — please stay safe this holiday season!

Xo,

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

Sephora Haul: August 18th

Samples At Sephora!

Hey everyone!

So, recently, I took a little trip down to Sephora (classic, I know). However, this time around I figured I’d do a little Sephora Haul post of everything I got and share with you some returning favourites, as well as some new things I just got to try out!

On top of all that, my list of stuff I want to try out from Sephora is both a) completely unrealistic to buy at once and b) expensive. I was going to include all the products I’m dying to try here before I got into my whole haul and realized that added my Wishlist was going to turn this into the longest post of all time, so stay tuned for that next week instead. I have a couple of products that caught my eye that I’m excited to try in the future — after I’ve used up whatever equivalent I’m currently using or when I can justify the purchase a little better. If you’ve tried any of them and have some feedback, good or bad, I’d love to hear it!

So, let’s get into it!

Returning Favourite: Tarte Creaseless Concealer!
Tarte Creaseless Concealer

I’ve tried out sooooo many concealers in my time, but this one is my personal favourite. I haven’t gotten the chance to make a Tuesday Favourites post about it just yet, but trust me, it’s coming. I suffer from some serious under-eye circles and while I’ve tried out many a concealer, none of them last all day and cover everything up like this stuff does.

New And Exciting: Biossance Squalene and Bamboo Deodorant!
Biossance Squalene and Bamboo Deodorant

Okay, maybe this is TMI, but I tend to be a pretty sweaty person and it’s the bane of my existence. I’ve tried out so many deodorants, from VERY all natural (read: Lush T’eo Deodorant, which sorry, I totally hated), to Dove aerosol spray, to men’s Old Spice (yes, seriously). While I usually go for Secret’s gel formulas (which are great since they don’t leave any obvious white residue) I sometimes find they don’t work all that well, especially around the end of the tube. On top of all this, I’d like to have something natural — we’ve all heard about the dangers of aluminum in deodorant, and since I’m a pretty frequent user, I’d like to limit the chemicals I’m applying daily. I saw this stuff at the checkout line and immediately grabbed it and threw it in my basket. Sephora offers a bunch of all-natural deodorants, but I love love love Biossance, so this one immediately caught my eye. Fingers crossed it works, I’ll be sure to update you all if it goes well!

Returning Favourite: Lilly Lashes (Miami)
Lilly Lashes in Miami

Y’all already know I love lashes, and I promise a post on Lilly Lashes is coming soon. While I’ve already done a post on my other favourite lash brand, Sephora’s Luxe Lashes, these ones are a favourite for totally different reasons. They still look pretty natural, however I don’t find them as easy to apply or as flattering as the Luxe Lashes. The big upside here is that these lashes can last forever. Seriously, they are so well made — as long as I don’t lose them I can use them forever. While I tend to spring for the Luxe Lashes for specific events as I do like their appearance just a little more, these ones are also stunning and make a great lash for weekly use.

New And Exciting: Farsali Rose Gold Elixir
Farsali Rose Gold Elixir

If you’ve ever seen an Instagram makeup tutorial, like, ever, you’ve probably seen Farsali elixirs before. They’re super popular amongst make-up influencers for application under makeup, or even mixed in, for a fresh and dewey look. I’ve never been ready to commit to a whole bottle, as I wasn’t sure it was really something I really needed — but I was always curious. When I saw this sample sized bottle, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try!

Returning Favourite: Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes!
Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara

Alright, you guys already know I love Tarte. This product has always been one of my favourite mascaras and frequently in my rotation. Mascara is one of those products that I actually switch up pretty frequently; I’ll admit I’m pretty married to most of my other makeup items and rarely stray from what I always buy. With mascara, however, I’ve always had a couple of favourites that I switch out, and I’ll try out new products that catch my eye every so often as they only last three months anyway. This one reigns as one of my favourites, as I find the brush a great shape and the formula pretty fantastic — as well as the added eyelash conditioning bonus. Be sure to stay tuned for a post on all my favourite — and least favourite — mascaras I’ve tried!

Returning Favourite: The Beauty Blender!
Blender Sponge by Beauty Blender

I won’t go too deep into this one since I’m sure most of you are at least a little familiar with it. I’ve never met a better makeup applicator, and have pretty much been married to this sponge since I bought my first one. I seriously can’t remember a time I’ve purchased a different sponge or foundation brush since.

New And Exciting: ABH Matte Lipstick Set!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Matte Lipstick Set

Anyone who knows me knows I have never been a matte lipstick gal. From the start of the matte lipstick boom a few years ago, through its peak, it was never a favourite of mine. While I tried to hop aboard the trend, I always hated the dryness of it, how it looked when it wore off and was re-applied, and even the look — I just never personally never found it attractive. (This, along with straying from the bold-brow and contour trend, was actually a huge turning point for me in learning that I don’t always have to follow what’s trendy and a product’s popularity doesn’t mean it’s what looks best on me). Through and through, I’ve mostly stuck to gloss or non-matte lipstick through the years until they started to finally come back in style this last year. However, I occasionally spring for the occasional matte lipstick — I find at least non-liquid matte isn’t as drying and doesn’t give as extreme of a matte look which I indulge in sometimes. This product (and the surprising low price of it) caught my eye near the checkout, and I decided to give it a try as most of the colours have a shimmer and the sample size of them is fairly low-commitment. I’ve never tried ABH Lipstick but the brand is one of my favourites, so I’m sure these won’t disappoint.

Returning Favourite: Hello Fab Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer!
Hello Fab Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer

Okay, this product’s name is a bit of a mouthful. But this stuff is fantastic — it can double as a moisturizer even when you’re going out sans-makeup and has a lovely glow to it that illuminates your complexion. My skin is generally on the dry side, so I find this product works wonderfully to give my skin a little extra moisture before I start my makeup routine. While I’m not 100% married to it like I am with many of my other products, I’ve used it consistently as a primer for about a year now.

Returning Favourite: Benefit Gimme Brow Mascara!
Benefit Gimme Brow Mascara

I won’t go too deep into this one since I already made a whole post about it here. However, if you’re one for a more natural brow look, brow mascara is a product worth looking into — it helps define your brows while also holding them in place all day. Plus when it comes to brows, Benefit is one of the best.

And that’s all for my haul! Stay tuned to read all about my wish list of Sephora products — I have so many things I’m dying to try and I’d love any feedback before I go out and purchase them!

As always, much love,

Meredith

BONUS: Inside look at the Farsali Elixir — I’m already in love!