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

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!

Get The Look: Fake Freckles!

Hey everyone!

So, today I figured I’d share a little tutorial: how to create a natural, sun-kissed freckled look. With the last few weeks of summer coming up, it’s time to take full advantage of the tanned summer look. While it can be nice to look super glowy and golden all summer long, many of us have busy lives and can’t afford to hit the beach every day. Plus, for those of us without freckles it can be a fun way to switch up your look! However, it can be tricky to make them look natural, hence the growing popularity of products to help mimic a freckled look. But with these easy steps, I can show you how to freckle your face with products you likely already have at home.

Step One: Do Your Regular Make-Up!

I do my freckles as the last step in my makeup, so to start your just going to do your makeup as usual. I find that freckles look waaaaay more natural on skin that looks naturally tanned (even if you’re super pale). The best way I achieve this is with bronzer. I usually start off with a matte bronzer (I personally use Too Faced Chocolate Soliel Matte Bronzer) and apply it all over my face and cheekbones using a large powder brush as I find it makes my other makeup blend more naturally.

Then, I take a shimmery bronzer (I like the use Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer, it’s one of my personal favourites) and apply it to my cheekbones, temples and jawline with an angled bronzer brush. I find this works best if you go in lightly on your forehead/jaw. To make it look as natural as possible, be sure to blend your cheekbones right up into your ear.

Finally, and most importantly, I take some shimmery bronzer and apply it to my nose. If you’re outdoors a lot, your nose tends to tan more than the rest of your face as it sticks out under direct sunlight. So I find applying a bit of bronzer to your nose tip makes you look a little more naturally sun-kissed!

After this, I simply finish with matte pink blush as well as highlight. If you’re looking to warm up your complexion a bit, the blush can always be applied to your nose and temples as well! Additionally, I always highlight my cheekbones, top of my brow, nose tip and cupids bow. I find the nose tip especially important if you’ve applied bronzer to your nose to help blend it all together.

Step Two: Use Eyeshadow That Matches Your Skin Tone!

For the freckles themselves, I like to use eyeshadow to create the look. Once you’re done with the rest of your makeup, you’ll want to take a light, matte brown eyeshadow to create your freckles (similar to an eyeshadow you may use as a transition shade). For this, it likely depends on your skin tone, however I find a light taupe/neutral brown looks the most natural. As well, you may want to choose a slightly darker shade to help vary the colour and intensity of your freckles.

Step Three: Apply Freckles!

For this, you’re going to want to take an eyeliner brush and wet it. Simply dip it into your selected eyeshadow shade and start applying! Just patting on plenty of gentle dots I find works best for me. To get the most natural look, I find it works best to begin on the bridge of your nose and spread outward from there, doing your best to maintain a random pattern and going back in to fill in any sparse areas after the fact. As well, I find it best to concentrate on the nose, but also spread all the way past your eyes, being sure to keep them fairly high up on your face.

It’s important to keep your freckles light, otherwise they make start to look unnatural. If some of them are almost invisible/not perfectly circular, it’s okay! Ultimately no one will focus on each freckle individually and it will only help to heighten the natural appearance of your look. I personally have found its easier to pull this look off if the freckles themselves are almost barely there, rather than too in-your-face. As a final step, try to blend them out a little with powder or extra bronzer.

And just like that, you’re done! No freckle tattoos or stencils required. Finish with a setting spray to help your makeup last all day and go out there and show off your look!

Much love,

Meredith