End of Year Beauty Favourites 2018

Eek I can’t believe I’m typing this - it’s time for my yearly roundup of favourite products. Everyone and their dog has probably typed how they can’t believe it’s already 2019, but my mind is still orientated it’s September or October. Past two to three months has just flashed by.

I’m trying to list you only new products I’ve discovered (or/and reviewed) in 2018. Not all of these items are brand new, but they are new to me. My initial list was massive, so I’m trying to list only crème de la crème, best of the best, non-negotiable items. This doesn’t mean I’m not standing by my other recommendations, they’re still good, but the items in this post deserve the extra attention. Enjoy!

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina
Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Brushes

Sonia G (aka Sweet Makeup Temptations) smashed 2018 with Beautylish. Her brushes are so gorgeous, designed and manufactured with absolute finesse. I skipped the first set, but decided to pick up some individuals and later her PRO Eye Set, which was even more to my liking than her first eye brushes I purchased! It solved one design issue I had with a smaller eye brush (review here). In 2019 I’m dying to pick up more face brushes from her.

I also loved Hakuhodo’s G511 “salt and pepper” brush, which became my most used contour brush in 2018. It’s much cheaper than Surratt’s contour brush, which is also lovely, but I think for most people I’d recommend the more affordable Hakuhodo. This brush is also less dense, and gives nicely diffused edges for cheek and neck contour.

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina
Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Perfume

This Fall I wrote about my obsession with Atelier Cologne and Mimosa Indigo* (review), which instantly became my signature scent. It’s unique, light and elegant and perfectly balanced with floral and leathery tones. Atelier Cologne also has such attention to detail in their packaging and service, so I’d recommend them for anyone looking for a luxe gift.

..Then came Black Friday and I made some perfume investments and purchased a couple of perfumes from Tom Ford, including his Tobacco Vanille, which will get a post of its own. I love how Tom Ford’s perfumes last very well on me, I can even smell them on my clothes. I think one of the best (free) gestures of affection is borrowing your scarf with your scent and perfume on it.. Hehee, perfect during cold Finnish Winters.

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Skincare

Gosh, it was a great year for skincare in 2018. I discovered and loved so many, especially wash-off masks, but they were mainly old favorites (Mahalo, Max and Me). My best new discoveries are exfoliation related, both acid, powder-to-paste and cleansers with beads (non-plastic of course!).

I especially fell in love with de Mamiel’s Cleanse and Exfoliate that works great both as a quick brightening mask and an exfoliant. I also tried the iconic Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 in mini size and purchased a full size bottle once I ran out. I can agree it’s worth all the hype and every penny, but certainly not for sensitive skin.

Then there is Tata Harper. I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting her this Summer in Naturelle’s event and her product made such a lasting impression me: luxury and efficacy meet eco beauty. Her Regenerating Cleanser* (also available on Cult Beauty*) quickly became favorite to me, you’ll notice its refreshing effect right away. The bottle in my hand looks almost full, but I’ve gone through a couple of minis. 

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

I also tried a bunch of good hydrating serums and ampoules this year, but the one that was above others is Esse’s R6 Serum*. Not only Esse products are packed with probiotics, but also this serum plumps and hydrates in instant - contesting my old fav Kypris Antioxidant Dew (review).

Another hydrating product I’ve been reaching are the Kicks sheet masks*. Although I’ve seen Korean sheet masks with better ingredients list and cheaper price tag, Kicks’ bio-cellulose sheet masks are pretty easy for us Nordic/Scandi people to access. I’ve never really liked jelly or gel masks before, but the Kicks ones stick to the skin without slipping and sliding. They’re thin, thin, comfortable, cooling and packed with moisture. They also come with a generous amount of serum and I use the excess for my arms and décolleté.

Last but not least - Ben and Anna deodorants (review)*. To this day, I’ve used up almost 4 tubes of them in various scents. I love it the packaging is recycleable, scents are not overpowering, but above all - these deodorants keep me odour free and feeling dry! Naturally baking soda and shea butter based, formulated without any aluminum. The only con is I go through these pretty quickly.

Hair

I tried and tested some very good hair products this year, but I can’t choose one shampoo or conditioner over the others as I tend to mix and match them according to my hair’s needs. My most “mind blowing” hair experience was meeting Mark Birch and learning about proper scalp health. Since then I’ve been washing my hair and scalp almost daily! Unfortunately I’m not the biggest fan of the tar-like scent of his products, so I do rotate them with others.

The Maria Nila Schist fibre cream* is certainly my most reached for styling product this year, I much prefer it to the OUAI matte pomade. I like how Maria Nila’s matte texture hard-to-detect; as if I had woken up with my hair styled nicely. I use it to add some nice texture, hold and add that piece-y look to my short hair.

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina
Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Makeup

I think this was the easiest category for me to choose from. I’ve tried a good amount of very nice makeup this year, including cream blushes, new shades from firm favorites (Tom Ford and SUQQU), but what raised above everything else were SUQQU’s Glow Touch Eyes (review), creamy liquid eyeshadows. Not as opaque as my other favorite Rouge Bunny Rouge Cream shadows, but still very lovely and perfect for easy eye looks. Just a quick swipe with the applicator and blend with a fluffy brush and you’re done!

Honorable mention goes to Lumene’s Invisible Illumination Instant Luminizer*. It can be doubled as a glowy primer and a highlighter, but personally I prefer the former method. I apply a couple of drops on my cheeks and blend with my fingers before applying a tinted moisturizer. The result is less flashy than RBR liquid highlighter so you can wear it on its own too.

Then I have two mascaras that are outstanding: Lancome’s Monsieur Big (not pictured - review here, available at Kicks.fi*) and MAC’s classic Extended Play Gigablack mascara (available at Kicks.fi* and MAC counters). Monsieur Big gives the perfect doll like fat lashes while MAC’s Extended Play Gigablack mascara has the perfect dryness from the first application, holds a curl and won’t smudge during the day. I rarely purchase high-end mascaras, but these are total repeat items!

Speaking of lashes, I love Tweezerman’s lash curlers*. Who knew this classic tweezer brand made eyelash curlers (or “Hell Machine” as my gf says) as well? I’ve tried both the regular and round eye version and they both create an amazing, long-lasting curl and won’t pinch my eyelids!

Last but not least there’s Bobbi Brown Crushed Lipstick in Ruby (mentioned here). Gorgeous everyday muted red shade that wears like a stain without drying the lips. I’m eyeing more shades from the Crushed range..

Final word

THERE WE HAVE IT! Best of the best 2018! I need to know what’s your favorite product(s) from last year! Please chat with me in the comments. xx

* Products marked with an asterisk (*) were kindly offered for review.
My thoughts are honest and my own.

5 Best Tips for Long-Lasting Lip Color

"That's pretty, but will it stain or fade if I kiss?" This year I've noticed that my lip color preferences have been taken over by longevity. While I do enjoy a creamy lipstick, a shiny gloss or a strong full coverage matte lip - if it's a date night I'm more drawn to a long-lasting formula than wiping off stains from my boyfriend's cheek. Here are my tips for a long-lasting lip color and a couple of product favorites.

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Exfoliate!

No lip color, especially matte or liquid lipsticks, look good if your lips are very chapped or parched. One of my favorite ways to exfoliate my lips is by mixing sugar with thick lip balm (such as Nuxe Reve de Miel) and scrub away. Lazy girl’s version is by using BYBI Beauty’s lip Buffer*, which also conditions the lips. It’s not very abrasive scrub so I rub vigorously before removing with a tissue. The Plumper* is a balm with a minty feel, but I the plumping effect is from natural moisturization instead of tingling. In Finland BYBI is available on Jolie.fi* and Twistbe.fi - who also have a super cute set*.

No Lip Balm Underneath

Lip balm - as much as we love it - is the devil when you want a long-lasting lip color. Add the balm when you start out your makeup routine, but make sure to rub it off with a tissue before adding any color. This slight rubbing not only removes the extra slip of the lip balm, but the last bits of dead skin - giving you even smoother canvas!

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The Lip Liner Trick

Classic, obvious, but so good. You don’t only line the outside of your lips for the perfect shape, but color your entire lips with either 1) “my lips but better (MLBB) shade” or 2) something closely matching your lipstick color. This matte and even surface makes your lipstick glide nicely on the top, but also gives something to stick to. When your glossy lipstick fades, you still have something underneath and there will be no color left on the cracks of your lips. Here I’m using the trusty ol’ Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner in Pillow Talk* and lipstick in Stoned Rose* I shop at Cult Beauty.

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Double Blot

You apply lipstick, then either press a tissue against your lips or bite a tissue. Apply some more lipstick, just one layer and blot again. This layering technique works for a variety of lipsticks, making them last longer and a bit more matte looking.

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Dab lip stains, tints and Jumbo Pencils

Lip tints are my best friend when it comes to a long-lasting lip look. I especially love the Lancome Matte shakers (available in Finland at Kicks.fi, Sokos, Stockmann), but unfortunately we have a very limited shade range in Europe. This lip color leaves a nice stain after the majority of the color wears off. If you’re not into the Lancome shades, look into Korean lip tints and tint waters, but not liquid lipsticks - they can be too drying.

I’ve noticed that jumbo lip colors tend to be created for all-evening wear. Also try dabbing a matte lipstick with a finger to your lips for that diffused, modern, hazy look. My favorite formulas are by ADDICTION and ‘Crushed’ formula by Bobbi Brown, which leaves a ting to the lips as well.

Did you learn any new tricks? Are you a lipstick or a lip balm person?

*BYBI Beauty products were kindly gifted for consideration.
My thoughts are honest and my own.