Top 22 of 2022

Because I lack the appropriate organizational skills and planning and the end of 2022 is busy, this post is coming a wee bit late, but I’m still going to make it happen. These are the new products I discovered or new products I fell in love with in 2022; I tried to leave out products that I’ve consistently talked about before 2022, but these still apply. These posts are my favourite to read or digest in any form as they are a longer-term view of the products, as opposed to initial impressions. There are some repeats from last year, but these were only on products that I included last year when they were pretty new; I felt I needed to include them again as I continued to love them.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Purifying Cleansing Balm ($31 CDN | 100 mL)

Despite the fact that I wasn’t the greatest with using sunscreen daily and didn’t wear much makeup, I really enjoyed using this cleansing balm, either for a double cleansing routine or on its own. It has a subtle calming scent that comes from good ol’ synthetic fragrance, that my skin tends to tolerate better anyway, and is enriched with evening primrose oil, argan oil, centella, green tea and licorice root. It melts down makeup and sunscreen well and keeps the skin feeling calmed and nourished afterwards. It also doubled as a moisturizing mask when left on while having a bath or doing some self care.

Fenty Skin Fat Water Hydrating Milky Toner Essence ($42 CDN | 150 mL)

I’ve been loving this super moisturizing milky toner since I bought it from the Sephora VIB Sale. I don’t find that I can use it every single day on top of tretinoin and chemical exfoliants without starting to feel it, as I find the fragrance in the formula (it’s not subtle) or one of the plant extracts kind of irritating on sensitized winter skin. It contains a significant amount of barrier-healing/reinforcing niacinamide, squalane, hyaluronic acid, a number of amino acids, apple fruit extract, watermelon oil and coconut oil. The end result is skin that looks bouncy and plump, moisturized and soothed. It’s very rich but is great on dry winter skin.

Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum ($108 CDN | 30 mL)

I tried this lactic-acid chemical exfoliant and serum after buying it in the November 2021 Sephora VIB Sale, and it was love at first use. I included this serum as an early favourite in last years favourite post and I’m pleased to report that my feelings haven’t changed. I use this serum 2-3 times per week and I find that it gently resurfaces my skin and refines my skin texture, but it also performs as a barrier-supporting humectant serum, making it great value for money, despite being a bit of an investment. The peptides are plumping, the amino acids help to fortify the skin barrier and the lactic acid is a great gentle exfoliant. I’m also partial to the inclusion of sodium hyaluronate and fatty acids.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence ($16.99 CDN | 100 mL)

I had to check previous yearly favourites posts to make sure that this was a new inclusion, but somehow it is. This is described as an essence, but in all honesty, it’s my favourite humectant serum and you get enough of it that it can be used liberally. It’s 96% snail mucin so has that snail-y snotty gel texture but it really helps to draw the moisture into my dehydrated skin and helps repair anything that’s going on barrier-wise, if I’m in an eczema flare or if I’ve overdone it. It also has the amino acid betaine, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, arginine and allantoin and gives me bright, plumped skin. It helps minimize dry patches and texture, too, without using any irritating actives.

Cosrx Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream ($25.99 CDN | 25 mL)

Despite not traditionally being an eye cream kind of gal, as I find they are often kind of irritating and are a glorified moisturizer, I’ve happily purchased this eye cream twice. I have a uber-sensitive eczema-prone under-eye area and tend to have issues with any sort of makeup clinging to that dryness and texture; this eye cream doesn’t sting or anything, adds moisture and maybe a hint of brightness to the area and makes concealer and face makeup sit 100x better on the area. The niacinamide and adenosine is likely what is helping with the brightness and barrier improvement and the snail and peptides work well as humectants. I enjoy that the texture is a rich lotion (although the texture does make it easy to over-use) without that heavy over-occlusive feeling. I also enjoy that the formula is sophisticated without being expensive.

Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Moisturizer with Vitamin F ($86 CDN | 50 mL)

My last minute recent skincare favourite of 2022 has to be this moisturizer. It’s occlusive, so I don’t find that I’m going through a ton of it with my super thirsty often-angry skin, but it will pill up if you go to town with it. However, it contains ceramides, lanolin, fatty acids, sodium hyaluronate, squalane, algae extract and sugar-based humectants so it’s well equipped to reinforce the skin barrier and protect the skin during drier winter months, especially when paired with tretinoin and sleep deprivation. It contains fragrance that is quite marzipan-y but it doesn’t irritate my skin in the way that essential oil laden formulas do and really helps to lock in serums, toners and essences.

Cerave Baby Healing Ointment ($13.49 CDN | 85g)

Strangely enough, you can’t purchase the regular Cerave Healing Ointment in Canada, unless you want to pay extra to an Amazon third party seller; However, the baby version seems to be absolutely identical. I swear by this healing ointment, first as a lip balm that actually works to heal chapped lips and as a healing ointment over any eczema patches or any form of dermatitis/sensitivity. It’s petrolatum-based so works beautifully for any sort of slugging, if that’s your thing. It also contains three different ceramides, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, panthenol and phytospingosine, which gives it extra barrier-healing power over your traditional petrolatum ointments.

Paula’s Choice Daily Replenishing Body Cream ($25 US | 210 mL)

I shouldn’t have been surprised by how much I loved this cream moisturizer, given Paula’s Choice’s track record of irritant-free sophisticated formulas, but I was impressed. It’s remarkably un-stingy even when my eczema is flared up and is helping me to keep it at bay. It contains shea butter, plant oils, ceramides, antioxidants and skin soothing ingredients and has a rich but lightweight texture. It’s comforting on dry itchy winter skin and definitely helps with an upset skin barrier, and leaves my chronically tight and dehydrated skin moisturized for a substantial amount of time.

Curlsmith Core Strength Shampoo ($36 CDN | 335 mL)

This was my happy discovery of my just right everyday shampoo — not everyday in the sense that I wash my hair but my standard shampoo. It doesn’t contain the harsher sulfates, thus, I haven’t had any allergic episodes to it (sulphates tend to irritate my scalp and give me generalized allergic reactions), but it also is cleansing enough to keep my scalp happy and to remove product buildup (with the help of a clarifying shampoo from time to time). Despite not being a typical fruity scent lover, I do enjoy the luxurious fruit scent and I enjoy how it’s gentle and moisturizing, while providing some lather. I love that it doesn’t exacerbate my hairs tangliness and has great slip. It also contains some proteins, which aren’t a game changer in rinse-off products, but it’s no wonder I love it — my high porosity hair tends to respond well to proteins.

Curlsmith Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash ($33 CDN | 350 mL)

I’m usually a shampoo kind of girl but every once in a while, I like to alternate with a co-wash that has actual cleansing abilities, like this one. It contains cocamidopropyl betaine, so it actually has extra ability to remove product buildup and cleanse the hair than standard conditioner washing, but is still super gentle and moisturizing. I love that it has wonderful slip, is uber moisturizing and works as a 2-in-1 product for me on lazier days. The slip is incredible and the shea butter seems to give me nice curl clumps.

L’Oreal 10-in-1 Professional Cream-in-Mousse ($32 CDN | 250 mL)

Years ago, when I first started styling my hair wavy, I really liked mousses. However, since I started following the curly girl method — and very loosely at the moment — I barely have been using, and the ones I’ve tried, I haven’t been a fan of. This one I really like, however, and it reminds me of the L’Oreal one I loved ten years ago. It does contain a drying alcohol but remains moisturizing, with glycerin, urea and fatty alcohols. It’s silicone-free and doesn’t offer much hold, but it’s moisturizing and gives me great curl clumps.

Pattern Beauty Styling Custard ($32 CDN | 443.6 mL)

While plenty of people seem to be using this supper-slippery custard as a gel or single-styler, I’m much happier with it as a curl enhancer, sandwiched between cream and gel. On its own, it doesn’t provide the hold and humidity-resistance that I’m looking for but it’s super slippery and moisturizing, giving me some of my most defined hair in general and juicy ringlets. It contains irish moss, flaxseed oil, a few polymers and glycerin. The end-result seems to be springy shiny clumped waves and curls.

Curlsmith In-Shower Style Fixer ($36 CDN | 237 mL)

This year, I tried this mega-thick glue-like gel and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed using it. It’s so thick and sticky that it needs to be used on soaking wet hair and you can’t overdo it, as it can be kind of heavy. However, it has amazing humidity-resistance and gives me curls clumps that last and last, even throughout heavy humidity in a maritime climate. It also gives some great grit that helps hold curl higher up in my hair, where my strands tend to lie flatter against my scalp. If you go to town on this gel, however, it can have an aggressive cast…

Pattern Beauty Strong Hold Gel ($32 CDN | 425g)

Another gel with even more hold, initial crunch and cast is this one and I enjoy it because of just how concentrated it is and how life-resistant is this one from Pattern, It gets product-y quickly and can totally build up in the hair if you aren’t clarifying appropriately. However, I often get 4-5 days with like no refreshing with this one, which is rare for me. The irish moss extract and linseed oil also help this formula give super juicy curl clumps, that set it apart from other super hard hold gels. The cast can also be aggressive but gives the most humidity-resistant and life-resistant curls. It’s so concentrated that I’m still using the mini.

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel Stronger Hold ($36 CDN | 250 mL)

This gel was not new to me in 2022 (or new in general). However, I fell in love with it last year. It’s featherlight but has medium-strong hold and actually holds up well in high humidity. It gives me light, spiral-y waves and ringlets that feel product free and have more bounce. This is one of those light slippery gels that refreshes well, holds up for days on wash day when used correctly and offers curl enhancement with the protein it contains. It holds up alarmingly well, despite being lightweight, on those rainy muggy days.

Ouidad Featherlight Touch-Up Gel Cream ($25.39 CDN | 100 mL)

As someone with a curly hair product hoarding problem, I’ve previously found refreshing-specific products gimmicky and unnecessary. However, this jelly-like product is the best product I’ve ever found for refreshing dry day 3-4 hair into more defined curls. It adds a little bit more hold (but no real added crunch) and helps to smooth frizz, reduce fuzziness and bring back definition. It’s quite hydrating and has some protein to add structure to the hair. Because it works smoothed over dry hair, it’s amazing for laying down frizz and adding control without being product-y.

Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil ($42 CDN | 50 mL)

In the past, I was always a hair oil kind of girl but after I started following the curly girl method, I abandoned them, as most are very silicone-y or weirdly heavy. Believe me, I tried a few at the start of my journey and my results weren’t great. Since reintroducing this oil back into my routine, I’m in love. It’s lightweight silicone-free and sealing, helping to seal my hair against humidity, locking moisture in and helping to break any sort of crunchy cast. Not only is this a way to help maintain my style, it tends to lend a more polished feel to second, third and fourth day curls, smoothing out crown frizz and the like.

As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Oil Treatment ($19.99 CDN | 120 mL)

As someone with hair that gets incredibly tangly (and has a lot of hair to detangle), using an oil before washing and dry detangling can be a life saver, and this is a great pre-shampoo oil. It has castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, salicylic acid to help with itchy scalp, olive oil, tea tree and even a ceramide so it’s more of a sophisticated formulation than your standard oil. This really helps to minimize a dry itchy winter scalp, while helping hugely with detangling and minimizing the tangling that occurs when I wash my hair. My high porosity hair also soaks up this stuff and looks great after being washed out.

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 ($62 CDN | 30 mL)

This tinted moisturizer come skincare-makeup hybrid featured in my previous year’s favourites post, however, it was included as a really new product. I had to include it again as a 2022 favourite because it was basically the only foundation-like product I reached for in 2022. The coverage is sheer to light, but it has a great shade selection, and it features a solid SPF 40 which honestly I use for sun protection in cooler months when I’m not outside; plus, it contains a few forms of hyaluronic acid, squalane and niacinamide in terms of skincare ingredients, and is fragrance free. I love that I don’t even need to set it and then it clings minimally to dry patches, even when I’m sick and/or I’ve overdone the tretinoin.

Clinique Airbrush Concealer ($36 CDN | 1.5 mL)

I’m quite picky about concealers, having under-eyes that are quite dry, sensitive and prone to creasing. This illuminating concealer pen has been a favourite of mine. The coverage is only light to medium but it illuminates the under eye area and minimizes dark circles without clinging to texture or becoming overly creased. As someone who is more into lighter coverage bases, this is the perfect complement.

L’Oreal Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Bronzer in 250 Light ($19.96 CDN | 9g)

L’Oreal has always made my favourite drugstore bronzers but the current iteration might be the best formula yet, and it certainly has the best assortment of shades. It starts pretty fair, rosy and cool toned — I’m not the palest shade, I wear the warmer second shade — and continues in decent increments until a fairly deep shade and it has a creamy formula for a powder, not accentuating texture imperfections and has good longevity. The colours are remarkably golden and non-orange and it works as a great matte eyeshadow too. If I haven’t been using cream bronzer, I’ve been happily using this.

Natasha Denona My Dream Eyeshadow Palette ($87 CDN | 1.28g)

This eyeshadow palette is pricy — but not as pricy as the larger format Natasha Deanna palettes or the Pat McGrath palettes — but I love the quality and selection of neutral warm leaning shades with that hint of plum. The eyeshadows have that rosy purply undertone that Urban Decay Naked 3 had but is executed a million times better, and probably warmer (which is my preference). I enjoy the selection of more unique paler shimmery shades that are perfect for the lid, the practical matte black and mid-toned matte crease shades, the plums and some of the more unique metallic shades. I don’t think I’ve used another palette since I grabbed this one from a Sephora sale.

What were your favourite products of 2022?

Summer Essentials

As I started to write and compile this post, the Canadian east coast has been in a heatwave constantly for well over a month, which wouldn’t be so bad if, a, I actually enjoyed this level of heat and if, b, it wasn’t accompanied with the constant mugginess of entering a sauna. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post — make that a hot and humid minute — but here are the products I’ve been loving most recently:

Editors note: It may almost officially be Autumn, however, the weather hadn’t leaned at all that way until the present week.

Ouai Cleansing Scalp & Body Sugar Scrub ($50 CDN | 250g)

This was a product that I chose to try from FabFitFun. It was an obvious choice once I knew it was sulfate free — I occasionally have multiple site allergic reactions and get horrific scalp eczema when I use either sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate — and had that signature warm rose floral ‘melrose’ scent that several Ouai products have. It did not disappoint. I actually really enjoy using the scalp scrubby cleanser when I want a gentle cleanse but need some scalp TLC — especially in this weather, with a fairly sweaty yoga regime and a scalp with a general tendency to become unhappy — or as a first cleanse before following with a gentle shampoo. I say this because, the cleansing agents are gentler and it’s not much of a latherer on its own, and I kind of appreciate that, not having an oily scalp. I will say that it’s an oil enriched gritty scrub texture so I can see many people not loving it as much as I do, but I quite like the nourishing sweet almond oil, coconut oil and fermented ingredients. It’s also a gorgeous oily body scrub that doesn’t irritate my eczema.

Curlsmith Core Strength Shampoo ($34.99 CDN | 355 mL)

Another product really contributing to my scalp not lashing out at me was/is this gentle slippery clear shampoo. It’s sulfate free but contains ingredients that remove silicones and other forms of buildup, which has been helpful because having fine-ish high porosity hair in this kind of humidity, I’ve had to go to town on humidity-blocking ingredients like polyquats, oils and I’ve been using some silicones– gasp.Not only does this keep me from getting any buildup on my scalp — in combination with using a clarifying shampoo every little bit –, it has enough slip, letting me detangle my hair with ease, even after washing. I like that there’s some protein as well, as every little bit helps (although it would help more in a leave-in product). It’s also gentle and moisturizing, without heaviness.

Curlsmith In-Shower Style Fixer ($35.99 CDN | 237 mL)

As someone who has the kind of hair that requires lots of product or hold to maintain its structure, high porosity hair that seems to absorb everything in sight and high density hair, I love a good potent humidity-blocking gel. Did I mention that I live in a humid east coast climate with hair that is very impacted by humidity?; In fact, my hair’s reaction to humidity was why I embraced my wavy curls in the first place. With high-hold and humidity-blocking polyquaternium-69 as the second ingredient in this gel, followed by sealing oils and the film-forming humectant, aloe, this has been a god-send for lending maximum control to my hair. True to its name, it has to be used with lots of water, provided you want to be able to distribute its super thick and sticky texture — unless you are refreshing a super-stubborn piece of hair and don’t mind the concentration, that is. It’s very moisturizing and is medium-heavy in weight, but my density and porosity can support heavier products. It’s not the most curl enhancing gel I’ve ever tried, but it holds clumps together beautifully through humidity, sweat and even getting rained on slightly. And it gives the hair some grit, which I enjoy but it can destroy curl clumps if over-used.

Curlsmith Curl Defining Styling Souffle ($35.99 CDN | 237 mL)

I couldn’t go without mentioning my holy grail gel that — happily for me — works well in my high porosity waves in every season, even though I will combine it with the former gel to get extra control, hold, and humidity-resistance, to get hair that lasts for 4-5 days with minimal refreshing, even in borderline-repulsive humidity. This gel is moisturizing but is lighter in weight and has much more slip, offering lots of curl enhancement and bouncy curl clumps. It contains a number of film-forming humectants which I’m sure is why I love this gel so much (irish moss, aloe and flaxseed to name a few); film forming humectants prevent moisture loss in my hair and minimizes the frizz and loss of hold in a humid climate. It’s really flexible too, with medium-strong hold, working well in both soaking wet hair, damp hair to refresh and on dry hair to fix wonky curls.

Pattern Beauty Styling Custard ($32 CDN | 443.6 mL)

While I don’t find this true liquid-y custard to have enough hold on it’s own in my humid climate, I’ve found this huge tub of product to be great as a curl-enhancer to sandwich between cream and gel for some extra help in encouraging clumps and ringlets and adding control. It has some polyquaternium for humidity protection, curl enhancing flaxseed and film-forming irish moss. It’s also a great refresher when you get to the point of needing more product without adding crunch when you aren’t completely drenching your hair. It’s super slippery too, which is a help with fine to medium tangly hair, especially when refreshing on less-than-fresh hair.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Purifying Cleansing Balm for Sensitive Skin ($31 CDN | 100 mL)

I’ve been happily relying on this balm cleanser to remove sunscreen and makeup (on the off-chance that I was wearing it) and to just cleanse my face. It has a light kind of spa-like scent that I find rather calming and doesn’t irritate my skin, even around my eyes when I’m using it to melt down tenacious eye makeup. It’s great at removing waterproof makeup and water-resistant sunscreen and leaves my skin feeling soothed and hydrated afterwards. I have been known to just splash it off and not even follow it with another cleanser when I can’t be bothered — it has not been a summer with a lot of complex skincare rituals in the equation. The evening primrose oil, argan oil, centella, green tea and licorice root are a nice (albeit unnecessary) touch, as is the non-greasy texture.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence ($19.25-$35.25 CDN | 100 mL)

After finishing up some other serums, I’ve been reunited with this snail-based humectant serum. This has been an essential, especially as the weather has been so muggy that I haven’t craved layering more occlusive products and I’ve been really slacking on the skincare in general. The snail itself is very soothing and plumping and is enriched with allantoin, panthenol and sodium hyaluronate, leaving dewy and bright skin. I love this as a humectant serum that really helps to support the skin barrier.

Natasha Denona Zendo Eyeshadow Palette ($87 CDN | 19.25g)

Given that I have been minimally bothered even with skincare in the summer we’ve had here, it shouldn’t be a shocker that I haven’t worn a whole lot of makeup, either. When I’ve been wearing makeup, I’ve exclusively reached for this palette. I have discovered that particularly love when doing basic 2-3 eye shadow looks with this palette, as the finishes and subtle nuances of the shades really stand out with a more pared-down palette. The shimmers have gorgeous sheens that can lean somewhat metallic but the payoff is buildable and the mattes have that muted buildable quality as well. That is not to say that there aren’t bolder buttery metallics in the teal section of the palette, but in all honesty, I’ve been enjoying the more muted warm tones of the palette with a bit of winged liner.