25/01/2014

Favourite Beauty Products of 2013

As I have mentioned a couple of times before on itsneecola, I started my own business with Arbonne International back in May 2013, so it should come as no surprise that many of the items featured in this post are Arbonne products!




Skincare

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Arbonne's skincare is the best I have ever used - I was so impressed that I became an Independent Consultant. I started using the Complexion Perfecting Set (the cleanser/toner, moisturiser and powder for oily/combination skin) in May 2013. Firstly, I was blown away by how long the sample sachets I first used lasted (a good couple of weeks!). Secondly, I knew immediately that these products were in a different league to anything I had ever used before - they really are incredible. Thirdly, these products fixed my skin. After using this set for a couple of months I found I no longer had the greasy, oily T-zone that I thought I would suffer with forever. Thank you Arbonne!

Seeing as my skin was no longer oily, I switched over to using Arbonne's Complexion Revitalising Set, the cleanser, day moisturiser and night moisturiser for normal to dry skin. This has been particularly perfect during the winter months, when my skin is prone to getting dehydrated and dry - something that has been worsened by many coach journeys between London and Leeds (4 hours sat in a stuffy coach with hot or cold air blasting at your face really dries out your skin!!). This set, like all Arbonne products, lasts a very long time and does wonders for your skin which makes it well worth the initial price.

Next is Arbonne's Deep Cleansing Mask. This is not only a great face mask for when your skin is in need of  'deep cleanse' but also works as a brilliant spot treatment. I'm happy to say that bad skin days are very rare now, however when the occasional spot does appear (usually thanks to stress or the time of the month!) I'm glad I have this in my cupboard. Before bed I simply dab a small amount on the spot and leave it overnight or if one appears in the morning I will do the same but pat it into the skin before applying my makeup rather than leaving a noticeable white mark!

Another face mask that I've been loving is Arbonne's Intense Hydration Mask, which is perfect during the winter months when my skin needs a boost. This has been great to use alongside the Complexion Revitalising Set, particularly after the coach journeys that have been stripping my skin of all moisture, as I previously mentioned.

Makeup

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Moving on to makeup, in particular the Arbonne Makeup Primer. Like many #bbloggers, I have tried plenty of primers in my time, the best being Porefessional, however I never found one that was perfect. As soon as I tried Arbonne's primer I knew I was on to a winner - it is silky soft (not greasy like all other primers I've tried), works as a perfect base for my foundation (which applies so smoothly after using this primer!) and keeps my makeup on all day.

Speaking of foundation, during 2013 I finally found my perfect one! Arbonne's Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Honey Beige applies absolutely beautifully with either my Real Techniques buffing brush or slanted foundation brush, particularly when applied after the primer. This shade is one of the lightest in the medium shade range, however I will probably buy one of the lighter shades for the paler winter months. People often ask me what coverage this foundation gives, which is a question I find difficult to answer. I no longer need high coverage foundation - Arbonne's skincare has meant that I can now get away with very light coverage foundation. But that's not to say this is a light coverage foundation. On nights out or bad skin days (which as I previously mentioned are very rare now!) I prefer medium to heavy-coverage foundation and the Perfecting Liquid Foundation is certainly buildable. Perfect foundation? I think so.

MUA Undressed Palette - this eyeshadow palette is nearly perfect. Whenever I go away I tend to take only this palette and no other eyeshadows as there are so many shades I know I will be able to create multiple looks. Having said that I tend to stick to a few favourites from this palette - the two matte browns, and a couple of the gold and pink shimmery shades.

I was given 'They're Real' for my 18th birthday and was so pleased, it is a brilliant mascara! However there were a few things I disliked about it - I felt it does take your lashes to the clumpy side and it is an absolute nightmare to take off at the end of the day. In my opinion, Arbonne's It's a Long Story Mascara is easy to remove and gives the same effect as 'They're Real' without the clumping (however, similar to the foundation it is buildable for natural-looking lashes through to dramatic eyes).

2013, the year of the brow? I have had the ELF Studio Eyebrow Kit for longer than I'd like to admit, and I finally used up the wax just before the end of the year and have been using the powder on its own since then. I prefer using wax on my brows to pencil or powder, and I've found this kit great. I don't use the brush that comes in the kit, but rather a small angled brush followed by a brow brush (this sort of thing!) and I apply the wax first then set it with powder. Using the powder on its own has been ok, but I really need to re-order this product or buy another eyebrow wax as that holds my brows in place all day.


In May 2013, I made the somewhat drastic (Drama queen? Me? Never.) decision to get my hair chopped! It wasn't quite a Jessie J transformation but I did get a lot cut off - from waist-length to bob-length. (Here's a before and after in case you're wondering!) I'm growing it again now, but won't go back to really long hair for the time being. Just after I had my hair cut, I tried plenty of different tools including various curlers etc but in the end I went back to my faithful GHDs. They are seriously a holy grail product for me; I've had them for years and (touch wood!) they are still going strong. I use them for straightening my hair, which goes without saying, but also for curling/adding waves to my hair. People often ask how I curl my hair with my straighteners and all I can do is suggest they head to YouTube for tutorials which is what I did until I found a method that works for me.

One (if not the only) positive of being so delayed on our holiday to Zante last summer was that we were given vouchers to use in the airport and on the plane, which was Thomas Cook's way of apologising for the delay and disruption. Flicking through the plane's magazine I spotted the Naked 2 palette and knew that was what I wanted to buy, but sadly they didn't have any on board (typical.) so I opted for the Tangle Teezer Compact Leopard Print Styler and some lipsticks and the total came to around a fiver thanks to my vouchers! The tangle teezer was a lifesaver during the holiday as my hair was under a lot of strain from the sun, chlorine, seawater, backcombing, hairspray... I've continued to use it daily and can honestly say it is worth the hype. I'm tempted to get the Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash to use in the shower...what do you think?

Brushes

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Left-right: Blush BrushBuffing Brush, Sigma E25, unknown brand angled brush, Contour Eyeshadow Brush, unknown brand small angled brush, L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim


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Firstly, the infamous Real Techniques Buffing Brush from their core collection. Who doesn't love this brush?! I use this daily and wouldn't be without it, if only they sold it on it's own! (Not that I need to repurchase it, but I'd be a bit stuffed if I did! However I imagine the Expert Face Brush could be a good alternative) I dot my liquid foundation all over my face then use this brush to buff it into the skin, giving a smooth and flawless finish. I will love this forever.

Another Real Techniques brush that has been one of my most-used brushes during 2014 is the Blush Brush. I use this brush for sweeping bronzer over my cheeks and temples and then, on the rare occasion that I wear blusher, I will use this same brush to apply some blush to my cheeks. This is a great fluffy brush and feels so smooth on the skin. Josh's soon-to-be-3-year-old sister loves helping me with my makeup and this is by far her favourite brush!


I'm sure I was given the Sigma E25 blending brush in a goodybag at a meetup and I'm so so glad it is part of my brush collection now. This is such a gorgeous brush for blending eyeshadows in big sweeping motions, and I also use it for blending out my Maybelline Colour Tattoo which I've been using recently as an eyeshadow base.

I picked up the second blending brush from a tiny makeup shop in York as I was planning on doing very dark eyes and needed more brushes! As soon as I used this brush though I knew it would become a favourite and I've found a place to buy it online which is ace. Apparently this Contour Eyeshadow Brush is from a brand called 'Royal'... this is a brilliant brush for blending eyeshadows into the crease in smaller motions as opposed to the Sigma E25 which is better for blending all over the lid.

Unfortunately I don't know where either of the angled brushes pictured are from, but I use them both daily and I'm sure you can find similar ones from known brands. The first, the medium-sized brush with purple bristles, is brilliant for pushing eyeshadow neatly under the lower lashline - something I do most days to balance my eye makeup. The second, smaller angled brush is the brush I use with the elf brow kit - it is great for adding definition to your brows because of its shape and size.

I know the eyeliner isn't technically a brush but I forgot to photograph it so stuck it in here...soz. Zoe was kind enough to send me the L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim in 'intense black' last year as she wasn't using it anymore and I'd mentioned I'd like to try it - all I can say is thank you so much mammaZo! All it took was a bit of practice and I can now say I can actually apply liquid liner now without the need for a million cotton buds and hours of time to spare. This liner is perfect for a thin line on the upper lash line but can be used for a thicker line and the perfect cat-eye flick. LOVE.

Send me links!

I can't believe how late I am with this post, but better late than never, right? Send me links to your '2013 favourites' posts! What have been your favourite skincare, makeup, hair and brush items over the past year? What do you think of the products I've mentioned?


Find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and Instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com
Arbonne Independent Consultant, ID: 441117872
For Arbonne business or product enquiries, email nicola.sharp13@hotmail.co.uk
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