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 #2: Skin Care Edition!

Hey friends!

I hope the last few days of November are treating you all well! With December now just around the corner, holiday season is starting to get into full swing. When winter holidays are so soon, it can be hard not to stress about gift giving — after all, it’s looking a little different this year. In order to save you from worrying about how you’re going to handle online shopping for gifts this year, I’ve made a compilation of what I consider to be some of the greatest gifts you can give so you can sit back and enjoy the holidays! Feel free to check out my segment from last week on Self-Care Gift Ideas for some extra inspo as well!

Skin care is one of my favourite things in life and, when done right, can make a fantastic gift. Of course, it can be difficult to gift if you don’t know where to start — many people already have their favourite staples, or special skin concerns that may not be compatible with certain products. However, I’ve gone out of my way to compile a list solely of items that won’t interfere with staples and are good for all skin types. As well, I adore all of these products, and my skin is super sensitive — so you shouldn’t have to worry about these products being too harsh on your family/friends/SO’s skin!

With such a wide range of products, there’s a gift here for everyone on your list from the skincare guru to the newbie looking to try something new in 2021. Hopefully, with the help of this list you’ll find something great for even the hardest people on your list to gift for!

Fresh Face Masks

These masks have been a staple in my skincare line-up for years now — so I can certifiably tell you they’d make a fantastic gift. Both of these masks are gentle on the skin and have a visible effect on your skin after just one use. The Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask has a smoothing effect on the skin — it really lives up to it’s “instant perfecting” name — while also leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized. The Rose Face Mask, on the other hand, helps to moisturize and smooth your skin (and if you’re unsure about a person’s skin type and sensitivities, would probably make the safer gift). Either way, however, both of these masks are of the BEST face masks I’ve ever tried and will absolutely, visibly, change your skin for the better.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out the Rose Face Mask and the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask online at Sephora!

Grace & Stella Eye Masks

As someone who tends to struggle a lot with under eye bags, there’s nothing I love more than a good eye mask. These eye masks, which come in sets of 12 and only cost $16.00, making them a pretty solid deal. They have a lovely cooling effect on your under eyes, and come loaded with caffeine to help you look more awake and alert. Basically, these are a gift that’s great for anyone who’s ever had a rough morning and could use a little boost to look like they’re 100% — even if they aren’t (and really, haven’t we all been there before?).

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

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm

This is a pretty new product that I tried recently and absolutely fell in love with. Glow Recipe was one of the brands I was most excited to try in 2020, and to be honest, it’s one of the best things to happen to me so far this year. Basically, all of their products are amazing, but if you know anyone who’s specifically looking to jump in on the new cleansing balm trend for removing makeup and cleansing your skin, this would make the perfect gift. I’ve tried samples of other cleansing balms, but they just don’t measure up. This product smells amazing and it WORKS. 10/10, would make a fantastic gift.

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

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

This was the first product from Glow Recipe that I tried, and arguably their best known. From the first time I used it, I knew it was love. This mask leaves your skin feeling instantly softer and plumper and leaves your complexion looking moisturized and bright. Even though this mask uses AHAs to exfoliate, it’s incredibly gentle — and if you gift it to someone who has sensitive skin (like me) they don’t have to use it as an overnight mask — 10 minutes is enough to see results.

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

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel Exfoliator

Exfoliating is a super important aspect of skincare that is so often overlooked. This exfoliator has been a staple for me for years now — it’s so easy to use and works so effectively. All you have to do with this product is gentled rub it over dry skin and watch all your dead cells be wiped away. It’s gentle, never caused me irritation, and is quick and satisfying to use. Do I need to say any more?

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

Shiseido Full Lash Serum

I’d absolutely recommend this lash serum for anyone in your life looking for longer lashes. This is one of the few lash serums I’ve used that actually gave me visible results, and the doe foot applicator makes it easy to apply to brows as well. For anyone in your life who’s been wanting longer lashes or fuller brows (and who doesn’t want those things?), this serum makes the perfect gift.

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

Biossance Squalene + Tea Tree Detox Mask

This mask is another one of my all-time faves. Biossance has been one of my favourite brands ever since I first tried their Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil, and their products have never done me wrong. I absolutely love this mask, because to me it’s like a gentler version of a charcoal mask. I’ve never been able to find a decent charcoal mask that a) has a visible effect and b) doesn’t irritate my skin, so this mask has kind of been a lifesaver. It does a great job of purifying my pores, and rather than irritating my skin it actually softens it significantly. While charcoal masks may seem like a great gift as they are universally popular, if you know someone with sensitive skin looking for a good purifying mask — this is it.

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

Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber Single-Use Rubber Masks

These are hands-down my favourite single-use face masks of all time. They’ve recently rebranded these masks a little, but Dr. Jart+ makes some of the greatest sheet masks I’ve ever come across so even if they’re a little different, I’m not concerned (however, I’m pretty sure they’re exactly the same). These masks come with ampoule and a rubber sheet mask to lock in the product for the duration you choose to wear it for. It’s a great way to treat someone when they’re needing a little self-care night — these masks are definitely on the pricier side for single use masks, but the results make them oh-so-worth it.

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

Herbivore Rose Quartz Facial Roller

If you’re worried about not knowing someone’s skin type before buying them a skincare related gift, a rose quartz facial roller is pretty much the perfect way to go. Facial rolling has all sorts of benefits, such as de-puffing, treating fine lines, soothing your skin. It really helps push all the skincare products you use into your skin as well, making sure you reap all the benefits. It really doesn’t matter what age, skin type or routine the person you’re gifting for has — this will be a perfect addition to their skincare collection!

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

Mount Lai Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool

This skincare tool is also the perfection addition to any skincare lover’s collection — regardless of skin type. Unlike facial rollers, gua shas held to massage and brighten the skin, as well as sculpt the face. On top of that, they really help to boost circulation and can help stimulate your lymphatic drainage, boosting skin clarity and making your skin glow. Gua shas are simple to use and, like facial rollers, really work well for absolutely everyone — making them a fantastic gift.

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

Mount Lai Jade Textured Facial Roller

And finally, for anyone who’s really been needing a way to massage out their face in 2020, Mount Lai’s textured jade roller is the exact gift they’ve been needing. This jade roller is covered in tiny little bumps to help massage out every little knot on your face, leaving your skin feeling beyond pampered and brand new. Even if you’re looking to gift to someone who (gasp) doesn’t really care much about skincare — I think we can all agree we’ve been needing a good massage after this year. Plus, same as all the other facial tools, this product works for all skin types.

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

I hope you’ve all been having a great week! It’s crazy how close we’re getting to the end of the year — this year has really been simultaneously the longest AND shortest year of my life. It’s definitely going to be a weird holiday season this year — I’m curious, how do you all plan to spend it? Are you going 100% virtual for the holidays this year, or do you have a plan with your bubble in order to be able to spend some time in person? Whatever it is — I hope you’re all staying safe while still enjoying the holiday season as best you can!

If you’re still looking for some gift ideas, stay tuned for next week’s segment where I outline some of my favourite lifestyle gift ideas for the 2020 holiday season! I hope you guys are all enjoying my gift guide series so far, as well — it took me a lot of effort to put this all together, and all of your comments, reads and shares mean so much to me! So, basically, thank you all for your support — it means a lot.

Much love,

Meredith