I’m taking a page out of Kick Arse Red Lips’ book and am splitting up my yearly favourites from last year into two different posts of fifteen products each – I’ve done the thing where I have narrowed down my products to slightly over a dozen on a couple of occasions and while I probably do have the restraint to do the same again, I thought sharing a less restrained collection of favourites would depict the products that were essential throughout the year more clearly. Today, I’m starting with the non-makeup and I should probably warn you that I fell in love with Paula’s Choice this year and a whole lot of products are skincare items from their lines…
1.Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment ($32 US): I’ve been using this lotion textured combination AHA/BHA exfoliant on a daily basis since I received my very first order from Paula’s Choice last spring with pleasure during the day. It’s one of those great combination acidic products and it stands out because it contains a non-sensitizing but still effective amount of each – 5% glycolic acid and 0.5% salicylic acid – and it has treatment benefits that extend beyond the expected exfoliant classification. Despite containing acids, the product is gentle and even soothing, and serves a kind of serum-y function whilst exfoliating with its hydrating texture and concentration of ceramides and antioxidants. | review here
2.Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($20 US): This milky soothing toner was the toner that was solely responsible from making me believe that toners are powerful essential products to the daily routine, and making me deem this step essential. Like the exfoliant above, it almost serves the function of a serum, with a lightweight hydrating texture and high concentration of beneficial ingredients – but it’s even better with a serum applied on top. I adore how calming, plumping and instantly hydrating this essence-like toner is, particularly after using sensitizing ingredients or going through irritated skin patches. | review here
3.Differin 0.3% Gel ($$): At the beginning of 2015, I switched my retinoid to a higher concentration overall, and one that was cheaper for me with insurance coverage, still formulated in alcohol-free base but without an antibiotic ingredient and I’m still pleased about it to this day. I’m not someone who finds their breakouts to be caused primarily by bacteria, though, so I love the gentler adalpalene as the retinoid ingredient and the smoothing and resurfacing results that it provides. Used every other night, this retinoid has definitely helped to create a more even textured complexion overall, brighten my skin and most of all, vastly limit the formation of blemishes and bumps on my skin. Although it’s a gel texture, I appreciate how the prescription is hydrating and non-irritating – unless I’ve overdone it, which I tend to do on occasion.
4.Caudalie Vinosource Intense Recovery Oil ($55): Although I’m currently without this intensively hydrating and repairing facial oil, as I finished it some months back, and am trying out a different facial oil at the moment, I could not imagine leaving this oil out of my favourites. It does have some essential oils – with rose oil as one of the main oils in the blend – and some other fragrance ingredients, but nevertheless, I find this oil soothing, replenishing and intensively moisturizing. It’s a fantastic one that does not cost a fortune but fills the needs of someone whose skin is in perpetual need of an instant drink and the benefits of antioxidant-rich oils. | review here
5.Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Body Spray ($24 US): Longtime readers might already be aware that I’ve always struggled with stubborn body acne on my back and shoulders and I can honestly say that a couple months after using this 2% salicylic acid spray, I noticed a significant reduction in the number of blemishes that were coming through. Even more pleasantly, it did not lead to irritation as most products of this kind do. Also, I’ve been adding it to the exfoliation rotation on my face – but I spray it into my hands first – and I’ve noticed that it’s particularly helpful for any spot-prone areas or clogged pores.
6.Paula’s Choice RESIST Intensive Repair Cream ($32 US): In the early fall, I picked up and fell in love with this retinol-enriched intensely nourishing moisturizer, and although it’s a recent product in comparison to the rest, it has impressed me to a degree that I can’t go without mentioning it. As has been my experience with other products in the RESIST line, it’s loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial treatment ingredients at the same time as intensely nourishing with emollients and plant oils. It does have a thicker texture but it does not clog my pores or feel overly heavy in the slightest, leaving me with soothed and hydrated skin when I wake up the morning after.
7. L’Oreal Sublime Soft Soothing Cleansing Wipes ($12.99): My dehydrated sensitive skin does not typically get along with makeup removing wipes but sometimes the allure is far too appealing to go for them when I’m at my laziest and most tired, and these affordable ones are my favourite. They are alcohol-free, soothing and do not dry out the skin in the slightest, while being ‘wet’ enough to remove makeup adequately, even without stinging in the eye area. I’m not a cleansing wipes lover on principle, but these ones are the exception.
8. Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster ($48 US): I originally was going to leave out this vitamin c treatment/serum because I felt that this post was Paula’s Choice heavy enough and it wasn’t one of those products that I noticed an immediate life-changing difference with. This in mind, I felt a tremendous deal of anxiety at the prospect of being without this 15% vitamin c fluid that I had to place an order for another one – even with the dollar being more than slightly painful. When you deal with a dull complexion, uneven texture and generally inflamed skin like I do, a potent antioxidant can help in a multifaceted manner, especially when combined with a sunscreen.
9.Calvin Klein One Summer Eau de Toilette 2015 ($65): Annoyingly, this fragrance is no longer available, as Calvin Klein releases a different limited edition scent each year, as ‘One Summer’, but my mother generously gifted this to me at the end of my exams last year, and it’s become a daily staple ever since – and particularly in the spring and summer. It’s a unisex scent that fits into the fresh and aquatic category without the usual traditional feminine notes but I loved it regardless. It has notes of cucumber, citrus and a hint of light musk, and it reads as fresh and clean. It holds a special place to me because it’s what got me into the perfume game in the later months of the year.
10.Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Rollerball ($30): It all began when Sephora offered the rollerball as a point perk and I sniffed the heavier warm androgynous-leaning perfume. It’s three notes seem simple – violet, sandalwood and vanilla – but it’s been worn nearly as much by me as the Calvin Klein, and makes me feel like myself but more confident and pulled together when I wear it. It has nice lasting power, does not require much product and smells warm with a spicy musky kick to it. It gives me that cozy feeling that is all kinds of awesome too.
11.Living Proof Curl Detangling Rinse ($32): This conditioning product – it’s not exactly a conditioner in the conventional sense that you would likely expect – was a surprise favourite for me, not because I didn’t enjoy it for as long as I’ve had it, but because I’ve been so hesitant to declare my love for any hair product in the last year. I haven’t given this weightless serum-textured conditioner enough love – it defines curls like a champ, manages to detangle my crazy tangly wavy curls better than anything else and leaves my hair hydrated and not weighed down in the slightest.
12.Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Cream ($23): Throughout 2015, I went through the process of trying out a number of different curl creams and styling products to define my curls the best without losing volume, and I’m now realizing that I didn’t give this lightweight cream the praise it deserves. It’s nourishing but does not weigh down hair in the slightest, while having light to medium hold on it’s own and frizz-taming abilities. It’s silicone free, as well, for those who might be interested.
13.Colab Sheer Invisible Dry Shampoo in London ($10): In 2015, I fell in love with dry shampoo and in particular, I fell in love with Ruth Crilly’s range of dry shampoos. I use it to add texture and grit after a few days rather than to absorb any serious quantity of oil, so I can’t speak much to it’s performance on refreshing hair, but I do love that it adds texture without that grungy feeling and the white cast that it leaves is mild, and easily combatted. The scent is remarkable too, like a sophisticated non froufrou perfume.
14.NUME Classic Reverse Wands ($139): Speaking of my crazy unpredictable and unmanageable mane, I have always had issues with my hair holding heat styles for any length of time – and even conforming to the ideal style in the first place. On a whim, I picked up this conical wand at Winners a year or so ago, and ever since, it’s been a prized staple for when I want to do something extra to my hair. It styles my hair quickly and lasts for days somehow, with it’s high heat, and magical ability to keep my hair in a style overnight.
15. Bath & Body Works Flannel Medium Candle ($13.50): Given my obsessive candle burning and candle loving throughout 2015, – especially that of Bath & Body Works – I could have very easily dedicated a post to my favourite candles of the year, but if I don’t think too hard, I can narrow this one down as my favourite. I’m pretty sure that my mad rush for the three medium candle at my Semi-Annual Sale when they restocked, even before learning that they were 75% off, indicates my depth of love for this “cologne-y” scent. It doesn’t quite smell like your typical masculine-leaning musky and woodsy scent with extra warmth that’s comforting like a cozy sweater, a pear note that leads it away from smelling too ‘mandle-y’ and a hint of vanilla maybe.
What were your faves? Maggie, x.