FACE | 17 quick reviews for 2017

I deliberately withdrew from pre-Christmas hype this year, and managed not to think about Christmas or gifts much until December 23. The year I worked at Farmers over the Christmas period definitely spoiled a lot of the magic for me, and since then I’ve tried to avoid the spendspendspend hype as much as possible.

Last year I wrote about my disdain for Christmas gift guides and for most beauty-related Christmas giving, and I still feel the same way—except this year I expressed it by not writing a word here for six weeks instead. My attitudes towards beauty in general have changed a lot over the past year, which I might write about another time.

Now, though, to make up for six weeks of silence, I’m writing something that might be useful: seventeen quick reviews of products I used in 2017. I haven’t written about them here before, so it’s all New Content™.

1. The Body Shop Big & Curvy waterproof mascara*, $28.95

This is the most waterproof mascara I’ve ever encountered. It’s also Bioderma-proof, bi-phase-remover-proof and Napoleon-balm-proof. It will stay and stay and stay, which is handy if you get hayfever, cry a lot, rub your eyes often, or want to put mascara on on Monday and have it still be there on Wednesday. The brush is sensible and it gives both length and volume.
The only thing that gets it off is next on the list, which makes sense I guess.

2. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter*, $32.50

I don’t bother with balm cleansers a lot, because of the faff involved and the inevitability of it getting in your hair. It’s lucky I held on to this one, though, as it’s essential for removing the aforementioned mascara. The camomile is so far down the ingredients list it might as well not be there, and the balm is mostly plant oils and shea butter. I don’t use it for all-over removal for that reason (my skin gets clogged) but for just mascara removal it will last for a good long time (too expensive for a regular makeup remover otherwise, imo).

3. Korres Milk Proteins Cream Cleanser, $???

Cheating, bc I bought this when Mecca Maxima opened, but I didn’t review it then. The description says this removes makeup but I disagree. It’s a good morning shower cleanser for when your face needs a foamy cleanse and it doesn’t contain SLS etc if you care about that. I really like Korres and it’s surprisingly affordable at Mecca Maxima, but they change their product lines too regularly to be able to review their products because even this isn’t available on the Mecca site anymore??

4. L’Oreal Botanicals Strength Cure Coriander shampoo*, ~$15

I was sent this shampoo earlier in the year and it’s still going strong. The bottle has a pump, A+ excellent. I’ve had lots of shampoos I’m iffy about this year but this one I’d buy again myself. It says it’s a ‘restoring preparation’ which is L’Oreal’s way of getting on the herbal, botanical Aesop vibes (note also how hard it is to tell this is from L’Oreal) but it’s good and much, much cheaper than Aesop so I don’t care.

5. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, ~$12

This is the most straightforward glycolic acid product: 7% glycolic acid in water with some plant extracts for soothing purposes. You get plenty for its low price, as long as you can find it in stock somewhere. Read my post about AHAs if you don’t know why glycolic acid is great.

Use it once a week if you’re new to acids, once every two days for regular skin maintenance, and once daily if you’re ~wild~ like me.

6. Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics palette, $99

I asked Callum’s Mum to bring this back for me when they were in the States a year or so ago and it’s as great as I had hoped. My MAC eyeshadow palette is usually packed in my freelance kit so I don’t use it on myself as much as I used to. This makes a great replacement, has a good range of mattes and isn’t too pink-based like every other eyeshadow palette that has been released in the past two years.

(Sorry, I just realised this is NINETY NINE DOLLARS at Mecca. Maybe buy it from somewhere else.)

7. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer, $79

Time for the Hourglass section of this list. Everyone likes the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders, but I wasn’t too fussed with the blushes that came out in that range. Expensive and unexciting, I think is what I said in my review. Well, that didn’t stop me buying one of the bronzers and I actually really like it—it isn’t matte but has ~glow~ rather than visible shimmer. On the rare occasion I actually wear makeup I’ve whacked stacks of this on and no one has told me I’m wearing too much bronzer.

8. Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo, $51

These came out with wanky names like Believer and Peacemaker and Explorer but of course the colour I liked had the worst name of all: Influencer. I bought it as a birthday gift to myself last year because fancy lipsticks are fancy and if you can’t buy yourself yet another pink-beige lipstick, then who will?

9. Hourglass fancy af lipstick (Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick), $54

Of course not long after I bought the aforementioned lipstick Hourglass launched even fancier and more dangerous-looking lipsticks. These have a grievously small amount of product, are incredibly expensive and won’t stay put when you put them down because the shape makes them roll around unpredictably. And of course, I bought one right away.

These have sillier names than the Lip Stylos, too (mine’s called I’ve Been ____) but I’ve given up caring.

10. NYX dewy setting spray, ~$15

My huge bottle of Skindinavia setting spray is probably a bit old now and with NYX now available in Farmers stores in New Zealand, I thought I’d give the dewy setting spray a go. It’s fine? In which case, you should use it instead of whichever more expensive setting spray you’re currently using, once you run out.

11. MAC Eye Brows in Stud, $38

The Anastasia Brow Wiz is expensive and hard to get and the MAC brow pencils are still expensive but easier to get, PLUS now that MAC is in the Queensgate Farmers and Farmers have sorted out their stupid loyalty system, there’s an extra incentive to shop there. Stud is quite a dark brown but with no warmth whatsoever, which works for my brows.

12. MAC Chromaline, $21USD

I’m gradually collecting these for my kit because they’re like makeup paint, have beautiful pure colours and also because I’m a completionist. Hi-Def Cyan and Primary Yellow mixed to make a great vibrant green when I did an optimistic makeup look on election night and the yellow diffused smoothly to make an adhesive base when I did my friend Kate’s makeup and told her to trust me, the yellow would look good with her blue eyes. And it did.

13. Biore Aqua Rich Watery Gel sunscreen, ~$15

If you’re using active skincare you need to be wearing sunscreen. If you’re wearing makeup you probably don’t want to put on sunscreen underneath because every Western sunscreen feels like shit under makeup. This stuff is all the rage on Reddit and I bought some on eBay to find out why. It legit DISAPPEARS into your skin. Feels like nothing. And it’s SPF 50. Get it.

14. Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base, $110

This is very expensive and very extra. It smells really good, like, people will hug you and say OH YOU SMELL SO GOOD levels of good. It’s too much for my skin regularly but it’s so great as a base for all skin types skin, especially on special occasions (weddings, etc) and I use it to feel ~nourished~ after a particularly intense mask or scrub. It’s oil free which probably explains why my skin doesn’t hate it but you wouldn’t believe it’s oil free given how smooth and lovely it is to put on.

15. Gel manicures, ~$50

RIP my nails in 2017. I thought I’d be a gel manicures guy and for a while I was. My nails got long, so long it was hard to type, and they looked damn cute.

But then two things happened. First, I ran out of colours I liked at the place I get my nails done. I wanted endless shades of brown and neutral pink but there were only a few good colours and the rest were lurid and metallic.

And secondly, I realised the manicures were FUCKING UP my nails. I know, ~if they’re doing it right your nails should be fine~ but they get filed on the surface every time and it just gradually wore away at the structural integrity of my nails. I’m still growing out the damage. I learned my lesson.

16. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, ~$35

A month or so ago my skin went to shit for no apparent reason and I made it worse by using an expired face mask (turns out use-by dates have a real purpose). I got mildly worried and tried to revert to a super basic skincare regime (I say regime on purpose because periodically people freak out about it on /r/SkincareAddiction and it cracks me up that everyone on Reddit is so US-centric) and realised practically my whole skincare collection is heavy on actives. Out came the Embryolisse from my kit and truthfully I don’t think it’ll go back in before it gets used up.

17. Chi Chi sponge, $9

If you’re still buying Beauty Blenders, you’re a fool. The Chi Chi ones are just as good, come in multipacks and are often on super-sale. (Not pictured cos all of mine are filthy.)

Bonus election night face:

And now it’s 2018!

What was your favourite product discovery of 2017?

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  • I love that NYX setting spray, I have had mine for about 3 years – probably expired but still going strong!

  • Caroliney

    Happy to see a new post from you, Morgan! Long time listener first time caller…
    2 new finds: Ombre Blackstar Cream Eyeshadow by Terry. The shade Bronze Moon is my favourite.
    And Urban Decay Naked Skin Colour Correcting Fluid in Pink to disguise dark circles under my eyes (newly occurring in 2017). Very happy with this product!

    • Thank you! I thought I owed it to everyone…
      So many people love the By Terry ombre blackstars! I must get around to trying them.

  • I also picked up the fancy weapon-like Hourglass lipstick, Mecca had a combo pack with 3 refills that made it a slightly better option cost-wise. I know the actual product amount is tiny, but I’ve got teeny lips so the size of the bullet works perfectly for me!

    My fave find from last year would be the Mecca Hydrating moisturiser (yay, a hydrating product that’s not a sticky gel!), which I already have a backup of because annoyingly you can’t tell how much product you’ve used. I’m incredibly brand fickle, so using something twice is a biggie for me.

    • I like the idea of the combo packs, as long as you’re likely to wear all the colours! Also, Mecca skincare is surprisingly nice. The tinted SPF 50 is pretty good, although I gave mine to my mum to use.

  • love your work as always & am mildly envious of your writing style (as always). There aren’t many beauty blogs I can read right through to the end with my goldfish attention span but yours always crack me up or keep me engaged. That sunscreen sounds dope too, a++ xoxo

    • Oh thanks gal, that really means a lot! Def get on the Biore sunscreen vibes if you need a new one!

  • Some really great products here! I have so much makeup, but it still feels like it is never enough!

    Much love,
    Marianne x http://mariannesophia.com

  • I need that urban decay palette x


  • punkdinosaur

    Hilarious and awesome as always.