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Best Beauty Buys of 2012

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As I get older, I purchase fewer beauty products. When I find something I like, I stick with it. So when a new product not only is on my radar but purchased and re-purchased, it’s pretty fabuloso stuff. I did a beauty product recap last year; here’s my favorite beauty products from 2012:

best beauty buys 2012

1. L’Oreal Youth Code BB Cream
Eventually there will be a full review on this site for this product (pending approval since I got my first tube free via L’Oreal and BlogHer), but I can’t not mention it for 2012. I tried the Garnier BB Cream, got a sample of the Smashbox one, and I just didn’t get the BB Cream hype. When L’Oreal sent me their version, I didn’t have high hopes. Well, I get the hype now, and I am a BB Cream convert. This product is thicker than a tinted moisturizer, but far more sheer than a traditional foundation. The L’Oreal Youth Code BB Cream is thick and hydrating but doesn’t get greasy or slide during the day. Unlike other BB Creams, I can apply this one over moisturizers and still get great coverage. It makes my skin look pretty, not just tinted, and I think it does help minimize dark spots and breakouts. I love having a face product I can just rub in and go, this was awesome in the warmer months as well as the winter. My tube is almost empty and I know I will be purchasing another.

2. Dr. Brandt Pores No More
I bought this on a whim, thinking it may reduce the appearance of pores on my nose. Tried it on my nose, HATED it (cakey, false, smelled like tea tree oil and didn’t do much) and considered giving this to my mom. Then I tried it again on my forehead… and I fell in love. This product doesn’t work well on the nose or under the nose where it can be greasy and the pores large but it ROCKS on cheeks and forehead to hide pores and also hide fine lines. I apply a thin layer by patting it onto the skin with my ring finger; I wear on bare skin or over foundation and under powder. You can reapply during the day without it looking cakey if you dot it on and apply sparingly. It dries a bit like a powder so no shiny spots on your face. I really think it does a great job at making my skin look a little less bumpy and wrinkly and such without looking false. And yeah, Pores No More does smell like tea tree oil but the scent subsides and the scent is far less noticeable when not applied directly under your nostrils!

3. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain
I used to be a beauty product snob and went to the drugstore just for things like a trendy lip color or brow powder. However, in the past couple of years drugstore brands have really improved and the quality often rivals department store and Sephora brands. These crayons from Revlon have better consistency, color choices, packaging, and lasting ability than similar products I have tried from higher-priced brands. Romantic is my jam and as long as Revlon makes this product I will likely purchase it. It makes me feel like Snow White with soft red lips with a hint of natural shine. These crayons also work great under lipsticks or glosses for a completely different effect.

4. Laura Mercier Creme Lip Color in Sparkling Pink
Once I got a mini Laura Mercier lipstick from a Sephora GWP – it was called Champagne Pink and was a beautiful cool mauvy pink. It was tiny, I wore it occasionally, it got lost in a purse. A couple months ago I found it, the cap now cracked in half and the lipstick smashed into said cracked cap. I tried it with a lip brush and still loved it. I loved it so much I wore every bit of smashed lipstick in that smashed cap and the little bit still in the tube. I treated myself this Christmas to a full-sized version of this lipstick, now called Sparkling Pink. Don’t worry, not a single dot of glitter in this creamy, elegant cool rose shade. A perfect daytime lipstick, a perfect nighttime lipstick to pair with a dramatic smoky eye. Feels great on the lips, doesn’t have a strong smell, elegant case. Laura Mercier has yet to do me wrong, I am always a fan of products I buy from this brand!

5. Neil George Detangle Nourishing Spray
I reviewed this product here, but I am STILL a raving fan. Curly hair, straight hair, wet hair, dry hair, this product just makes my hair look better. It smells like coconuts, it lasts a long time, it’s a great style refresher when I go out after work. I am almost finished with my second bottle and already have a third waiting in the linen closet as I can’t imagine a day without this spray!

6. Maybelline Line Stiletto
I know, I am so late to the game with this one but it is now my favorite liquid liner on the planet (original review here). The Brownish Black makes a statement but isn’t too intense or shiny for the office. Now that I wear glasses, I wear this liner almost daily to make my eyes stand out. You can get a really skinny line right against the lash line or a dramatic cat-eye swoop with little effort. I consider this a Holy Grail product – I have found my liner for life.

7. Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo
I reviewed this product here, but I know many of you scroll right past my sponsored posts. No worries, I get it, but do know what I state in those posts may be a bit glossy, but never false. This is another product I received for free, but loved so much I repurchased when I ran out. I have hair on my upper lip, and I don’t like how it looks. Every few weeks, I use this product and the hair is gone. No redness, no numbness, no irritation, no terrible smell. I can do it, slap on my makeup and head to work without any worries. It gets the job done, is reasonably priced, and easy to use. Big fan.

8. Phyto Phytophanere Dietary Supplement – Hair & Nails
I think I bought this at the same time I purchased the Dr. Brandt No More Pores. Had a good month on the blog and splurged on a couple beauty products. These pills get mixed reviews, but my hair had been looking old and tired, dry and brittle. A doctor said it’s normal for my hair to be like that as I age, especially with the changing seasons. I couldn’t just accept straw, so I started washing my hair less frequently, tried changing my shampoo, used hot tools less often, added more good fats to my diet, continued my water intake… and started taking these pills. I am now on my second bottle. Yes, they are pricey, but now, I just have strong hair and nails that are naturally shiny. Go ahead and look through my outfit posts and see the difference in my hair the past few weeks (I really started seeing the difference around the time I went to Key West). It took about a month to see any results other than a bit of constipation the first week and excessively oily hair the first two weeks (just used more dry shampoo), but after that the body regulated itself and in about a month I really noticed a difference.

And now I ask you readers, what are your favorite new beauty products from the past year? 
Many of my Holy Grail products are thanks to your recommendations, and I’d love to hear what you are loving and buying!

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  1. I bought the Olay Smooth Finish because of you, this stuff is amazing, and I am so glad that I got it. I have super sensitive skin and was afraid that it would burn, but it is simply fantastic! Thank you so much for introducing me to this!

  2. A bit late but had to tell you I tried the Maybelline stilletto after seeing your rave review here, and love it! I have blue eyes and light lashes so it’s very easy for me to get washed out. I thought the liner would be too much, but it is perfect, and creates a seamless connection with the mascara and my eyes seem to just double in size. And easy to apply – I got the hang of it the first time. Thanks so much!

  3. Revlon ColorBurst lip butters are so much happy-making for me. They just feel awesome. I find that they tend to fade off quickly, though, so I might try the Just Bitten and see if it stays better. 🙂

  4. I love Laura Mercier, too, and her Caviar Stick Eye Colours are amazing, especially for summer. I only recently discovered Kerastase Cristalliste Lumiere Liquide after I got a sample in a beauty box, and though it is for long, straight hair (mine is short and curly), it is amazing. I ordered a full-size bottle because I love it that much! (I found it for a good price on Amazon.) Thanks so much for sharing your beauty products: I still need to check out the Revlon balm.

  5. This is an end-of-the-year best of 2012, since I just got it as a Christmas gift, but I have to share because I’m very impressed: Origins VitaZing SPF 15 energy-boosting moisturizer, sheer tint release (how’s that for a mouthful!). I’ve tried quite a few tinted moisturizers and BB creams, but something was always off…too cakey, too orange or white, too oily. This one does two things that I love: evens my skin tone and makes my skin glow! I don’t feel like I need to wear as much makeup when I wear it, and the effect in photos is especially nice. I’m a fan!

  6. I changed my skincare routine this year, and now I get tons of compliments on my skin from friends and strangers. Lately people keep assuming I’m in college! (I’m 31.) The biggest change is that I don’t wash my face with tap water anymore. I got this idea from Garance Dore’s blog. So I clean my skin with Bioderma Crealine H2O, spray it with Avene Thermal Water, then moisturize. I kept changing my moisturizer because I hadn’t found one I was crazy about, but right now I’m using and loving Caudalie Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream. For day, I add Clarins UV Tinted lotion, which only uses physical sunblocks, not chemical sunscreens. My skin is super sensitive to chemical sunscreens.

    For curly hair, the new Paul Mitchell Curls line is AWESOME. When I want to wear my hair curly, those products add serious curl. I use the shampoo, leave-in conditioner (I’ve previously never like leave-ins) and the Ultimate Wave.

    For body, I’m in love with Caudalie Divine Oil. It’s pretty pricey, but I wear it like a fragrance most of the time. It’s a great for body, hair, nails, bath, and massages, though I was actually hooked by the fragrance: very modern and warm.

    Btw, I just love your product posts, Allie. 😉 Probably because we use a lot of the same stuff!

  7. fyi: half of these are on sale at CVS right now! I might have pulled up your post while I was browsing the aisles…

  8. wow, really enjoyed reading your recap. always nice to hear from others, and i’m beyond late to the game: i need to try that liquid liner!

  9. Have you used the LM tinted moisturizer? If so, do you like the L’Oreal BB cream better? (I’m running out to get the Olay Facial Duo right now!)

    1. I never liked the LM or any tinted moisturizer for that matter. I don’t think they give enough coverage to be worthwhile, they just melt away on me. I like that the L’Oreal BB Cream is a bit thicker -it’s almost like a mousse, and it doesn’t fade during the day. While it’s nowhere near as opaque as a foundation, it does have more coverage than any of the tinted moisturizers I have tried and far more staying power through heat, humidity, sweat, and time. 🙂

    2. I used the LM tinted moisturizer, but since starting to use the L’oreal BB about 6 months ago….I will not be going back. I like the texture and coverage of the BB much better (and the price!) I also use the BB under my mineral makeup when I want heavier coverage.

  10. My favorite discovery this last year was a hair product called Gritty Business by Kevin Murphy. I’m not sure it would work for long hair, but on short hair this stuff is amazing. It’s got clay and beeswax in it, but it’s not drying, and gives you incredible options for style. You want animé hair? You can have animé hair.

  11. I love the youth code BB Cream! I switched over about a month ago and have been very happy. I will have to try the Revlon lip crayons, I’ve found most crayons in the past a bit drying. Do you use the regular strength or coarse hair version? You don’t have to answer that! I just am curious bc I’ve used the regular and am thinking I need to try the stronger version..Thanks for sharing your top beauty products!

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