At first I thought I could narrow it down to 5 products in each category but I underestimated how difficult it was. Instead of forcing myself, I thought I’d just put it in because these are actually seriously good and affordable products. Similarly, I added a list of Worst of Beauty 2018. It is solely my opinion and my experience with it, so please do not hate me for it.
I’ve broken it down to 4 categories – Best of Beauty, Best of Beauty Tools, Worst of Beauty and Bet of Skincare in 2018. The reason why I did not include worst of skincare is because… well, I don’t buy enough to say much about it.
In 2018, my beauty habits experienced a 180 degree shift. I used to be very keen in trying new products, always in the lookout for the newest local products… But ever since I realized that all the brands were manufacturing in those local factories (there are only about 3-4 suppliers that I know of. Locally situated but they manufacture in China), I choose to skip it unless the product is very interesting, or claims (and has proven itself) to be different than the rest.
I want to love locally made products but I feel like there are wayyyyy too many brands that are not passionate about what they are producing. Hence, everyone is making the same types of products, from the same suppliers, with the same exact copywriting… Nothing is ever original anymore.
That was my experience and observations in 2018. In 2019, I hope that these brands will keep pushing on to create different products, not just lipstick, lipstick, lipstick. Enough with that. Also, “celebgrams” who think the industry is very lucrative and “cuan”, they bring in their mediocre products, thinking that they have enough connection to send their products to, and it would be a huge hit. Stop it. Stop bringing in your overpriced sponges and brushes and lipsticks… People are getting smarter, we really don’t need moderate products selling marketing filling up the market anymore. You’re just another voice adding to the chorus.
Okay, I’ve talked too much and probably will raise a few eyebrows but don’t say you don’t agree with me! I know some of you have thought about it, you just haven’t said it yet. (Or you don’t dare to, and that’s okay).
So… that’s one of the reasons why there is a shift in my makeup spending habits.
In addition, because I always have errands to run, I work out pretty religiously every week, I don’t meet up with friends that often… I do very basic makeup because I feel that there isn’t a need to pack on a lot of products… Practicing minimal living is another – I also didn’t want to hoard many products which I will only use a handful of times, resulting in yet another preloved… It’s just too troublesome for me. So 2018 was about buying less makeup.
Let’s start with my best of best of best that I discovered (and rediscovered) this year.
- Hourglass Stick foundation
I know, I know… Took me a daaaamn long time to get on this trend. When this foundation first came out, everyone was raving about it except for the price. Costing about $48 (I think), it can be said to be pricey. But here’s where you get your money’s worth – you really don’t need to apply a lot. What I usually do is to use my fingers to warm up the product and using my fingers to blot 2 dots on each area of my face. You really only need the tiniest amount for a medium-full coverage.
Every time I apply this foundation with NIKO’S sponge, I take a good look into the mirror and think that my skin looks really good.
Just like a little black dress, I think you can “dress” this foundation up or down. Apply another layer if you think you need more coverage. Apply just a tiny amount if you’re just out running errands. For someone who loves the natural look, I say invest your money in this. You really don’t need any other foundations.
- Bye Bye Breakout Acne concealer
This has been a life savior a lot of times for me. As you may know, my skin is very sensitive and I’d have spots if I make a wrong move, especially when I’m trying on makeup with talc. My pores clog pretty fast. In 2018, I have been very stressed out because of work and such. 2018 was a very busy year for me and I have sacrificed tons of sleep. If I don’t sleep enough, it will show. My skin will be dull and tired; the worst part is… I’d get spots.
I used to like baremineral’s acne powder. It’s basically sulphur and my skin really likes natural remedies for spot treating instead of AHA/BHA. According to the official IT Cosmetics website, the concealer is “infused with anti-aging peptides and hydrolyzed collagen, plus oil-absorbing zinc oxide, kaolin clay, witch hazel, tea tree, sulfur and a gentle AHA/BHA complex”. Those ingredients are acne-fighting properties.
Usually I find that my spots will diminish after I blot it with the concealer. Also, the concealer is full coverage and DOES NOT move a single bit. It stays put the whole day which is the best. Highly recommend it to those who have occasional acne from time to time. It’s definitely not a full face kinda thing.
- DUP Liquid Eyeliner
This is one product I purchased on my trip to Japan in December 2017. I’ve used it the whole year and think it is fantastic. Back then, I used to love Dolly Wink’s eyeliner. It is black (but not SUPER black like permanent marker), easy to remove and easy to apply because of the flexible brush tip. It was one of those very beginner friendly eyeliners. However, Dolly Wink will cause my eyes to itch at the end of a 12 hour wear. DUP does not do that. DUP’s eyeliner is also blacker than Dolly Wink. If you like the liquid eyeliner from Stila, you might not like this because this is wayyy more natural looking than Stila. Growing up, I realized that eyeliners like Stila (mostly though popular in the US) are very strong in color and precise. It gives a very bold look and can look weird if you don’t have eyeshadow on.
Instead, in 2018, I’ve been very comfortable with my makeup style. I am very inspired by the Japanese/Korean look, very natural and never overwhelming. Sometimes I like to play it up with eyeshadow, but then I’d want to remove my makeup as soon as I reach home. The DUP eyeliner is very friendly for beginners. The tip itself is a brush tip with maximum flexible. If you make a mistake, you don’t need to worry because it can easily be removed with a cotton swap and Bioderma. I understand how painful it can be when you make a mistake and have a terrible time removing it, and you’d need to fix your whole eye look. Yikes.
DUP liquid eyeliners can be found in Japan and I’ve seen some in Singapore. I’d advise you to stock up if you ever go to Japan. I stock up on my eyeliners everytime I’m there, as it’s pretty affordable too! If I’m not wrong, it is about $24 in SG, and about 1300yen in Japan.
- Maybelline Everlasting Gel XXS
This is another favorite I discovered on a trip to Singapore, which is a Japanese product. It is a gel liner with a tinnnny tip that I use for tightlining my eyes. I used to use BLP Beauty’s Kohl Eyeliner but it is shaped as a standard pencil, which can be too big and can hurt when I accidentally apply it wrongly, sometimes even poking my inner corners. With this, I do not have that problem. In fact, I can precisely color the empty spaces between my eyelashes.
If you have never tried tight-lining, you probably want to try doing that the next time. Believe it or not, there really is a difference!
This eyeliner is highly recommended by me is because… it’s affordable at $17SGD, pas di jepang juga muraaaaah deh pokoknya.
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel
If you noticed a trend in eye products here… You are definitely not wrong. Of all days I do my makeup, I make sure to never skip the eyes. The eyes are the windows to the soul, they say. For me, the eyes are just something you need to do something to if you want to at least look put together, ESPECIALLY YOUR BROWS. (Shout out to my Cle De Peau Eyebrow Pencil that I rediscovered in 2018!!!!! I forgot why I abandoned you. I went back to that particular eyebrow pencil because of the color. The perfect color for my jet black hair) But hey, listen to me when I say that this has a connection to my best eyebrow setting gel. This is definitely one of my favorites (and I think the best!) this year.
Originally, I was given a deluxe sample of this from Sephora. I swear Sephora is very smart in giving out deluxe samples at random times because it has resulted in me buying the full size item.
I like that the gel stays put, is not shiny (does not have that shiny coat) and is not too overhyped/expensive. ABH is known for their pomade, which I don’t exactly like because I like the natural brows look. But this… This is good. Whenever I sweat, I do not have to worry about my eyebrows disappearing because this takes care of it.
Believe me, it has saved me a lot of times. When I don’t apply this, my brows will be given after 12 hours (sometimes my day stretches out to be an 18 hour day). So yes, life saver. Go get it, especially if you work outdoors/commute. You need this!
- Glossier Cloud Paint
My list will not be complete without a Glossier product no? I am probably said to be a Glossier activist by now, I’m repping Glossier in any way I can (also, same makeup style in 2018. I’m all about that natural look!). But this product… has saved my life way too many times not to be on the list. It would be like betraying my favorite brand!
Easy product. Easy results… All that I want in a product. You can read the review here, but let me just tell you… this product looks good on its own, under foundation and after foundation. Want that flush of color? Use a tiny bit, pop on eyeliner and brows and you’re good to go. Want to have it look like you have that Asian flush on a Friday night? Apply a bit under your foundation and again a bit after, top it with a pinkish peach blush.
I have 3 colors – Dusk, Beam and Dawn. Dawn is my latest addition the last time I was in the US for the summer. It is a pretty orange and have been my favorite in 2018. I don’t know why, my skin just loves orange color for lips and blush. I do look very Korean and fresh, which is what I like.
Get it, get it, get it. It’s perfect for busy women who are always on the go. If you’re too busy to apply make up in the morning, at least just try this and I think you’ll fall in love with it.
It’s about 350k in Jakarta but it’s very affordable in the US. Either way, get it and let me know. I guarantee you’ll like it as much as I do.
Honorable mention —
- LUNE skin in Oui
I wanted to mention LUNE skin because their lipsticks are one of the few I’ve tried in 2018 and completely fell head over heels for. First… Fragrance free! That’s what I ultimately love and feel that more brands should go fragrance free. Lipsticks like MAC, Layn… They all really annoy me with their scent. That grandma lipstick smell. But Lune does not have that scent.
Aside from that, their lipsticks are also hydrating and not matte at all. They don’t tug on my lips. They’re easy enough for you to pop in your bag and go. It’s really something different than all the other lipsticks/liquid lipsticks in the market right now.
Their branding… Man, I have to admit. They do it well. So well even I got sucked in. The price is not cheap but I bought all 4 straight away because I was too lazy to figure out which shade to buy. Lune lipsticks make a great gift too!