Most Valuable Products: December 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

I won't lie, this month's favorites is kind of a sh*tshow. Up until Dec. 24, I was absolutely swamped and all but completely let myself go. We're talking sleeping (for just a few hours) in my contacts most nights(!), and rolling out of bed desk to have just a few minutes to get ready before dashing out the door. Luckily, I've been able to get my life back for the last week of the month, so while this edition is a little scant, with some of the post-Christmas shopping I've done, January favorites is shaping up to be novel-length. 

1. Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer: I didn't want to like this product, and really didn't even want to feature it in on my blog. Call me ridiculous, but after seeing more than a few YouTube girls show so many obviously sent-for-consideration Tarte products, the brand has completely put me off. I'm not sure that's a fair attitude for me to have, but that's how I feel. So when my friend gave me this product, as it was too light for her, I secretly hoped I wouldn't like it so I could present a different opinion of it on my blog (since the favorable reviews of the YouTube girls are a little suspicious). I don't love the super-siliconey slick feeling of the BB primer, but it's included in this post because of how fantastically quick and easy it is to use. During the awful and harried mornings of this month, I would roll out of bed, and slap this on top of last night's moisturizer (I really wasn't kidding about letting myself go). The coverage is exceptionally high for a tinted primer, as I could apply this with no concealer and feel comfortable with how much it covered my horrendous, bulbous acne. It's on the thick side for a primer--a bit like the regular Smashbox Photo Finish--so you may need more makeup remover to get it all off, but there is no faster base product with such high coverage that I've encountered. I would probably use it more if this Light shade wasn't a bit too orangey and dark on me, so Tarte may need to sort out their coloring (and possibly their marketing strategy as well!). 

2. MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre: Ingrid (MissGlamorazzi on YouTube--like you didn't know that) used this eyeshadow primer as under-eye concealer in one of her videos this month, saying how it sets and lasts in a way that traditional concealer doesn't. I had heard a makeup artist on YouTube say that years ago, so between those two recommendations, I literally scooped up the paint pot the next day. I never use them for priming my eyelids because mine are way too oily and need something stronger like UDPP. However, as concealer, this texture of this stuff is near-perfect. It's slippy without being creamy, making it more pliable than my go-to Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer, and it sets much more quickly. It doesn't dry out my under-eye area like I thought it would, and while there are still some days when I get eyeliner or mascara transfer under my eyes, if I wait a bit longer after putting on my eye cream to apply the Soft Ochre, that usually doesn't happen. Unfortunately, this is a pale concealer, which means a lot of people with darker skin tones won't be able to use this under their eyes, so I'm going to play with mixing it with other concealers to see if it still does the trick. 

3. Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette + Maybelline Color Tattoo in Nude Pink: I'm totally cheating here, since the Naked3 was a Christmas gift, so I've literally only had it for five days. But I've worn it every day since opening it, and including it in this month's favorites means I'll have more room for other products in January's. I don't have Naked1 or 2, because my eyelids are very small and even medium to dark shades overwhelm my small eyes really easily--I would never get use out of most colors in either palette. But this third installment is just fantastic, as the shades are much lighter, warmer and incredibly wearable to the point where even the darkest shades are very usable. I was a bit worried the pinkness of the shades would look a little sickly (in the same way that red eyeshadow almost makes you look diseased), but there's enough of a minkiness to keep the shades neutral but with a rosy twist. My current favorite shade is Liar, a gorgeous shimmery taupey-purple color that I tend to slap all over the lid, with the perfect base, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Nude Pink, underneath. The pinkish-neutral coloring of the cream shadow not only cancels out any eyelid veining or discoloration, but also works perfectly with the rosy theme of the palette (and obviously helps the shadows to stick). Can you say match made in heaven?!

4. TangleTeezer Aqua Splash: You know from this post that I prefer The West Brush to the Tangle Teezer, but my hair is longer now and extra tangly when I come out of the shower, so I figured my in-shower wide-toothed comb wasn't cutting it. This hollow, incredibly light brush is designed to be used in the water (though some descriptions say it's for post-swimming), and now has a permanent home in my tub. While the wide-toothed comb distributed my conditioner evenly through my hair, using this brush instead not only helps the product penetrate (I think), but really works through all the tangles. It's still not as effective as The Wet Brush which I refuse to use on wet hair for some reason, and I do feel like it sometimes tugs at my hair while going through knots. I don't think it causes breakage, but there is the possibility that the tugging creates some kind of damage. I'm not sure if I would continue to use this with shorter, less-tangly hair since the wide-toothed comb feels safer where damage is concerned, but every time I use the Aqua, I never have any knots out of the shower. That may not seem like much, but it allows me to run out the door with wet hair (hello, headaches) on chaotic days and not have to do any maintenance since it's already been brushed out. 

5. Jack Black Lip Therapy: I raved all about this here, so obviously my favorite lip balm has a spot in this post, in addition to the coveted right-hand coat pocket place of honor. I've actually only worn lip balm this month (no lipsticks or glosses), and nine times out of ten, it's been this one. I'm already running low, but Sephora had a set of four of these balms out for the holidays, so hopefully I can catch it on sale now. 

This is shamefully my third blog post for the entire month, and again, I'm very sorry for all the holes in my usual posting schedule. These last few days have been a wonderful break, though, and now that I've recharged, I've got a whole bunch of posts I'm working on. 

I'll have another post for you on Wednesday, so I'll save the obligatory "new beginnings" spiel for Jan 1., but until then, have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve!


  1. Can you post some of your Naked 3 looks please? :D

    1. Aw, that's sweet, but even if I could figure out how to get my camera to focus on eyeshadow looks, I don't feel like mine are that worth showing.

      I love makeup and applying it, but I'm nowhere near a makeup artist/professional. I'm sure there are tons of bloggers/vloggers doing Naked3 looks right now, and I'm SURE they're all more skilled than I am!

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