Now that you're up to speed on my favourite facial skincare of 2019, it's time to share the rest—all the makeup, haircare, hair tools and bath and body products that I used and loved this year.
Over the past 12 months, I discovered some amazing brands like Kosas, Lilah B. and Love Sun Body (and in the case of Lush, rediscovered their fragrance!). But I'm still very loyal to my beloved RMS Beauty, along with tried-and-true staples from Kevyn Aucoin, Mason Pearson and Lanolips!
Without further ado, here are my top beauty picks for 2019:
The Best Beauty Products of 2019
I don't use primer that often, but when I do, I reach for REN Perfect Canvas Clean Primer. I love that it's silicone-free, feels fresh on your skin and helps to mattify the T-zone a little bit. The ILIA True Skin Radiant Priming Serum is also great, but perhaps a tad more prone to pilling.
Best Sheer Foundation (Liquid)
I've never found a liquid foundation that I like better than Sappho New Paradigm Essential Foundation. (I wear the shade Leisha.) I hate the feel of most foundations on my skin, but not this one. It's super light, with sheer coverage that's buildable to a medium. I'm obsessed with the clean ingredients, natural scent, and how it's virtually undetectable on your skin. You need to try it!
Best Sheer Foundation (Cream)
On a day-to-day basis, I almost always wear RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up in shade 00. It's a hybrid concealer and sheer foundation, and I just find it easy and quick to use—and so natural-looking on my skin. (See my application tips here!) It's made with all-natural oils, which have never once broken me out.
Best High-Coverage Foundation
I'm not a full-coverage or even medium-coverage foundation person, but I've been testing out the new RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up Cream Foundation. If you like a really perfected skin look, this dense cream does the job without looking dull or mask-like on the skin. I just find it leans a little more yellow than the original "Un" Cover-Up.
Best Tinted Moisturizer
The Omorovicza Complexion Perfector is probably the best tinted moisturizer formula I've tried to date, even though I only wear it in the summertime. (I have the Light shade, which is a bit too dark for me, so I need to buy Fair in 2020!) It's silicone-free, lightweight, and gives good light coverage (more than bareMinerals Complexion Rescue, my other favourite).
Best BB/CC Cream
Just like the brand's Foundation, the Sappho New Paradigm CC Cream feels light and fresh on your skin. I think this one is best for oilier types, as it has more of a semi-matte finish. The texture is like a mousse, and I'd describe the coverage level as light. The Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream, which I also wore quite a bit, is much more sheer and dewy.
Best Foundation Brush
The right foundation brush can make the difference between a streaky application and a flawless one. The best I've found is RMS Beauty Skin2Skin Foundation Brush, which I usually use with "Un" Cover-Up, but also works with liquid formulas. Something about the bristles buffs the product into your skin so it looks super natural!
I've long been searching for an opaque concealer like Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer, but with more natural ingredients. I finally found it in W3ll People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer (and not a moment too soon, because Make Up For Ever just discontinued my shade!). The only problem is it does tend to separate after a few months, perhaps due to the summer heat. Otherwise, it's the perfect high-coverage concealer for spot concealing. Make Up For Ever, along with Sappho New Paradigm, Glossier and Surratt Beauty were also in my concealer rotation this year.
Best Concealer Brush
The secret to concealing spots and blemishes is a tiny brush—that way, your concealer is only going on the discolouration, not the surrounding skin. I swear by Kevyn Aucoin The Concealer Brush.
To set my makeup and tame any excess shine (especially when I use "Un" Cover-Up), I love ILIA Soft Focus Finishing Powder. This is a cornstarch-based translucent powder that does a great job of mattifying, but doesn't leave your skin dried out or weirdly slippery, like pure silica powders can. It's also silicone-free and talc-free.
Best Cream Blush
After trying and loving their Lip Balms, I bought a few shades of Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek this year, and they're equally good. Although the ingredients are not as natural as the RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek collection (which I also wore a lot), the colours, texture and finish are beautiful. I also still use the Olio E Osso Balms (reviewed here).
Best Powder Blush
It had been a while since I was wowed by a powder blush, until Rose-Marie Swift herself painted my face with RMS Beauty Pressed Blush back in the spring. I never would have chosen the shade Mooncry for my fair skin, but it creates a gorgeous realistic flush that she claims will work on any skin tone (just vary the intensity of your application).
For bronzer, I find creams look a lot more natural than powders, so I like RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer for a sun-kissed glow. I also use RMS Beauty Contour Bronze, which is a little deeper and more brown-toned. With both, I just brush them across my nose and cheeks—I never contour!
Best Blush Brush
I used to apply cream blushes and bronzers with my fingers, but the RMS Beauty Skin2Skin Blush Brush has made such a difference. You get a much more light and even diffusion of colour, with no danger of overdoing it.
For me, the OG luminizer, RMS Beauty Living Luminizer, is still the best for my skin tone. (And when I met Rose-Marie Swift, she confirmed that it's my perfect shade.) This stuff always gives my skin a healthy sheen that doesn't look like makeup.
Best Freckle Pen
I first heard about Freck OG The Original Freckle when the product was still in development, and have wanted one ever since! I finally got my hands on a tube in 2019, and I have to say, it really is the best for creating faux freckles. The only catch is that you need to take your time with it. When I'm in a rush and I still want that cute sun-kissed look across the bridge of my nose, I dab on freckles with the Stila All Day Waterproof Brow Color in the shade Light.
The shade range needs expanding, but I was really impressed with Kosas 10-Second Liquid Eyeshadow this year. Despite being a clean formula, it doesn't crease or slide around, and you can easily blend it with your fingers. I just think they need more neutrals, because I only like the shades Globe (champagne) and Astronaut (silver). (And the latter is only available in the Mixed Metals Trio set.) In addition to this brand, I also wore a lot of RMS Beauty Eye Polish—clearly, I'm more into shimmery cream eyeshadows than powders.
In 2019, I started feeling like all my eyeliners were looking too dark and harsh—even the browns. But it's not so easy finding lighter shades! Fortunately, a random Internet comment led me to Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Lionfish. It's a metallic bronze, and a great choice for people with light skin, eyes and hair.
Best Lash Serum
Best Eyelash Curler
I switched from Shu Uemura to the Kevyn Aucoin The Eyelash Curler, and it seems to fit my eyes better. It always captures all my lashes, never pulls or pinches, and the curl has a nice, gentle curve and is long-lasting.
I hate looking in the mirror mid-day and seeing mascara smudged under my eyes, so now I only use tubing formulas that won't budge. Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara is the ultimate—a shiny, jet-black formula that volumizes and lengthens without clumping, and stays put until you want to remove it (with just warm water).
Best Brow Mascara
I don't know if I've found the perfect brow mascara yet, but the one I used the most in 2019 was Glossier Boy Brow in Blond. I like the colour, which has the right amount of ashiness; I just wish it had more hold. Truthfully, I want to go back to Maybelline Brow Drama, but I can never find it here in Canada in Blonde (even though it's still on the brand website).
Best Tinted Lip Balm
I have a million tinted lip balms, so it's hard to pick a favourite, but I probably wore Lanolips Rose Gold 101 Ointment the most. You get all the healing benefits of lanolin with a flattering, warm pinky-red tint. But there are so many others I love, too: Kosas, Lilah B., Henné Organics (reviewed here), Dior, French Girl (reviewed here), Cocokind, Tata Harper (reviewed here), Olio E Osso (reviewed here) and COOLA (reviewed here).
Best Colour-Adjusting Lip Balm
The new Buxom Powerplump Lip Balm is the best colour-adjusting lip product I've tried (and I've owed many of them—remember when they used to be a big thing?). Because it's in a balm, it doesn't dry your lips out like its predecessors. On me, it turns into a pretty sheer rose shade, which suits me perfectly because I don't like to look too lipsticky. When I want a brighter pink, another good one is the Winky Lux Flower Balm.
Just like I stopped wearing dark eyeliner, I'm also in a no-lipstick phase lately. Most of them just feel like too much—except for Kosas Weightless Lip Color Lipstick. The three lightest shades are the closest thing to "your lips, only better." My favourite shade is Stardust!
Best Lip Liner
I rarely wear lip liner because I prefer my lip colour to look dabbed on, not so precise. But sometimes I like to build up my thinner top lip a bit with RMS Beauty Lip Liner in the shade Nighttime Nude (reviewed here). It's the perfect match for my lip tone, and it has a lot of "grip."
I wash my hair daily, and Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo was my shampoo of choice in 2019. It's clear (not creamy), so it doesn't weigh my fine hair down, and it's sulfate-free. I also use Innersense Pure Harmony Hairbath, which is another volumizing formula with good ingredients.
After shampooing, I use the matching Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Conditioner, which is silicone-free. It's fairly light, so I think it's best for fine hair that doesn't need a lot of detangling. The Innersense Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner is a little more nourishing.
Out of the shower, I comb out my hair using the Mason Pearson Rake Comb. Supposedly, this is for "very thick, curly or tightly permed hair," and mine is none of those things. But I like it because it's so gentle on wet hair.
I'm still using my trusty Mason Pearson Junior Mixture Nylon & Boar Bristle Hair Brush (reviewed here) to brush my dry hair. I've had this brush for more than a decade, so that's how well it holds up!
Best Heat-Protecting Spray
Usually, I let my hair air-dry, but when I do use a blowdryer, I protect my hair from the heat with the Philip Kingsley Perfecting Primer. It doesn't have the cleanest ingredients (I'm still on the hunt for a more natural version), but I like that it leaves my hair soft and isn't heavy or greasy.
Best Volumizing Spray
For a little lift at the roots, I've been using Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Spray. I love the ingredients, and it doesn't feel like you've got product in your hair.
I'm pretty sure the T3 PROi Professional Hair Dryer is being discontinued soon, but it sure has served me well these last few years! I've always trusted this brand's hairdryers because they last forever and never damage your hair. This is the best dryer I've ever owned, so I can't wait to see what they replace it with!
Best Flat Iron
Meanwhile, the best flat iron I've ever owned is Drybar The Tress Press. I use this daily to touch up my bangs and the ends of my hair, and it takes literally two minutes. It never creates dents and always glides smoothly through my hair.
Best Dry Shampoo
After looking for a cleaner, non-aerosol alternative to Dove, I settled on Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo this year. It's not perfect (the packaging sucks), but I feel like it's a lot better for my scalp and the environment!
Best Texturizing Spray
For creating beachy texture, I bought Playa Endless Summer Spray, and I like it well enough. It's made with natural ingredients like sea salt and aloe vera, and isn't super moisturizing, which is a plus in my books. (I find that a lot of beach sprays weigh my fine hair down.)
Best Body Wash
REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash was my main shower gel this year, and I love the jelly texture and spa-like scent.
Best Body Scrub
Every few days, I buff away dry skin in the shower with Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Scrub (reviewed here). Not only are the ingredients all-natural, but it's so moisturizing, you can get away without body lotion.
Best Acid Exfoliant for Body
I invested in Paula's Choice Clear Acne Body Spray to prevent sweat-induced body breakouts in the summertime. The spray makes it easy to reach your back, and it has two percent salicylic acid in a fast-absorbing liquid (so you can get dressed right away).
Best Body Lotion
I'm the pickiest person when it comes to body moisturizers, because there's so much product being absorbed over a large surface area—so the ingredients need to be top-notch. Odacité Perfect Nutrients Body Lotion is basically perfect, because it's a blend of aloe vera, coconut oil, glycerin and jojoba oil. If you need more moisture, I'd layer a body oil on top.
Best Body Oil
When I want to transport myself to the tropics, I slather on some Monoï Tiki Tahiti Huile Parfumée, a fragrant monoï oil made the traditional way by steeping tiare flowers in coconut oil. Otherwise, I just use plain Kopari Coconut Melt.
Best Body Sunscreen
The body sunscreen I was most impressed with this year was Love Sun Body Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Fragrance-Free. It's waterproof, silicone-free and 100 percent natural, with 20.4 percent zinc oxide as the active ingredient. And unlike most mineral SPFs, it's not whitening at all. You could use it on your face as well, it's just on the dewy side.
For deodorant, the formula (and scent) I like best is Schmidt's Ylang-Ylang + Calendula Natural Deodorant. Great ingredients and it works!
If you're a long-time reader, you might remember me gushing about Lush Sikkim Girls back in the day, when it first launched. I don't know why I ever stopped wearing it, but this year I went back to it and realized it's the closest thing I have to a signature scent. It's frangipani and other white florals, but mixed with incense and vanilla. Very feminine, natural and Bohemian. I adore it!
Best Nail Buffer
If you don't have the time or inclination for a manicure, Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer is your saving grace. It makes your nails so shiny, it looks like you're wearing clear nail polish!
Best Nail Polish
I love a sheer pearly nail polish, and Nails Inc. NailKale Nail Illuminator was probably the only nail polish I wore throughout 2019. (I've cut back on constant nail polish changes because I've found my nails are so much healthier, stronger and longer without it.) Unfortunately, this shade now seems to be discontinued... hopefully they bring it back!
Best Hand Lotion
Lanolin has healed my dry, chapped lips, and it's also made a huge difference for my hands. I love all the Lano hand creams, especially Lano Coconutter Hand Cream Intense because it smells like coconut. And it doesn't leave you greasy!
Best Cuticle Cream/Foot Cream
I also use Lansinoh Lanolin Cream, which is a 100 percent lanolin ointment, to moisturize dry cuticles and even feet. Plus, it doubles as a lip balm. (If you want cuter packaging, get the Lanolips 101 Ointment!)
Best Foot Peel
Every couple months or so, I do a deep exfoliation using Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel (reviewed here). If you're prone to calluses and thickened skin on your heels, nothing is more effective at getting it off!
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What were your favourite beauty products of 2019?