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theNotice’s Best of Beauty: 2014

2014 was a big year for me — or, at least, for my skin. I found out that I have eczema, I kept trucking my way through the silicone-free lands of Clear Complexioniteria, and I tried some seriously cool new products.

So, as the year comes to a close, here’s what I really, really loved this year. These are the products that are both the best in their class and the ones that I reach for time and time again, and all products that were just one or the other (for instance, a gorgeous eyeshadow that only saw use once a season, or an everyday favourite that I think could stand to be better) just didn’t make the cut.

I hope you enjoy the list, and please! if you have time, let me know what products you loved this year!

theNotice skincare favourites 2014

theNotice’s Best of Beauty 2014 – Skincare Edition

Best makeup removing cleanser – NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel, which beat out Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils for the spot! { $15.97 CAD / review }

Best serum for dehydrated skin – Clarins Hydra Quench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase. This one works better for me than Hydraluron, but it really shines when combatting dehydration — not dryness. { $58 USD / review }

Best de-puffing eye cream – L’Occitane Immortelle Eye Care & Mask Duo. This isn’t a fix-all, but so far, it’s the best de-puffing product I’ve tried — and trust me, I’ve looked. Slather on a thick layer of this before bed and puffiness from crying and salt will go way down by morning. { $42 CAD / also seen in }

!!! Best miracle product – Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion. If I had to pick just one product to attribute my clear skin to, it’s this! It works wonders on regular blemishes and really makes a difference with cystic acne. 9/10 times, if I apply this early & frequently, this clears up my spots before they even have a chance to come to a head. { $19 USD / also seen in }

Skincare favourites 2014

Best everyday moisturizer for dry skin – German Nivea. Great if you love a heavy moisturizer for dry skin; not so good for dehydration! {  review }

Best intensive moisturizer for dehydrated skin – This category, unfortunately, just has two runners-up: the Odylique Timeless Rose Moisturizer and the L’Occitane Light Comforting Cream (5% Shea), so neither have been photographed. Both are great for dealing with dehydration, but neither is suited for dry skin — and the Odylique goes bad fast. Expect reviews of both next week!

Best face mask for dry skin – Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask (for immediate smoothing, not long-term repair). { $27 CAD / review }

Best hand cream – Weleda Skin Food. This thick, glossy cream smells like citrus, lasts for an impressive amount of time, and really sinks into dehydrated hands. In a pinch, it’s great for extremely dry skin on the face, too, but it will leave your face pretty greasy. { $12.76 USD }

tn Best haircare body products of 2014

theNotice’s Best of Beauty 2014 – Makeup & Hair

Best body oil – Osmia Sunset Body Oil.This luxe body oil is all-natural and smells absolutely gorgeous. I’ve tried a few of the line’s other scents now, too, but this is the only one that I think is a must-have. { $25 USD / also seen in }

Best hair styling product – Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Dual Action Protective Leave-In Spray. Low scent, no silicones, and zero-effort smoothing and hydration. (Literally — this minimizes frizziness even in air-dried hair.) { $10.43 USD / review }

Best hair treatment – Coconut oil. Pure coconut oil is a dream for a dry scalp — even one with eczema. Just warm up about a tablespoon in your hands and work onto your scalp once every week or two!

!!! Best skincare secret – Moisturizer on the lips! M is actually the one who figured this one out. The next time your lips are dry and cracking, apply a generous layer of your favourite intensive moisturizer to the lips, and follow up with a heavy lip treatment 5-10 minutes later to lock it in overnight. Voilà — I promise your lips will be completely healed within 48 hours at most.

theNotice favourite makeup 2014

Best lip balm – Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15. This stuff is stiff, hydrating, and tacky, so it’s perfect for lasting until morning and keeping your lips hydrated overnight. It’s amazing for super-dry lips, comes in a wide pot (so it’s easy to pick up without getting any under your nails), and even works well as a lipstick base. { $23 CAD / review }

Best lipsticksRevlon Lip Butter in 085 Sugar Plum and Lise Watier Hydra Kiss Colour Balm in Rose Eden. Both formulas are super-comfortable, and both deliver my-lips-but-better colour. { $11-ish } { $22 CAD / review }

Best blushers – MAC Powder Blush in Full of Joy (Frost), which is a gorgeous, glowy sheer lavender, and Senna Sheer Face Color Powder Blush in Très Jolie, a really wearable neutral-pink (I love the slim packaging). { $22 USD } { $18.50 USD / review }

theNotice best tools, eyeliners of 2014

Best brushesEssence Gel Eyeliner Brush (wide/purple version; these are super soft super cheap), Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush Brush (amazing for a really sharp, defined contour), and the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for blending in creme products. { $1.99 CAD } { MUFE $40 USD /  review } { RT $9 USD / also seen in }

Best eyeliner – Well, it would have been Annabelle SmudgePaint Eyeliner in Glitzy Black (in a heartbeat), but Annabelle had to discontinue this amazing goddess of a product — so, instead, it’s Marcelle Double Precision Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Intense Black. (The Marcelle still wears like a dream, but I prefer a gel to a liquid-pen). { review } { $14.95 CAD }

Still searching for… 

With all of these favourites, I’m still looking for the perfect silicone-free foundation, the best drugstore body moisturizer, and (seeing as Annabelle’s was discontinued) the best gel liner. If you have recommendations for these products–or anything else you really loved this year–let me know in the comments!

Hope you have a great (safe) New Year’s Eve, dear readers.

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  • beautyreflections2013

    Happy New Year Rae!! Nice list of stuffs! I'll have to pick up that MB Buffering Lotion for Marky-sounds like it works really well!
    My recent post Okay Fun Now! My Makeup 2014 Favourites!

    • Happy New Year, Trakee!! YES pick up the Mario Badescu for Marky — it is SO good. Makes me sad that you can't use sulfur-based products!

  • tirurit

    Oooh I am taking notes of a couple products, specially that depuffing cream!

    Happy New Year!

  • Lily @ChloeAsh

    Happy new year Rae! Hope you have a blast celebrating. It's 2015 here already, and the fireworks went crazy just now
    My recent post Empties and Final Thoughts

    • Hope you had a great New Year's celebration with(out?) the kids, Lily! <3

  • Rae

    Nivea creme makes the best moisturizer for the lips. That blue tin can cream is awesome.

    • YES! On both accounts — it is AMAZING on the lips, and I love their themed tins.

  • scoo06

    The Mario Badescu sounds pretty interesting! I may have to give it a go sometime! I have a bottle of the Clarins serum but I find it pretty daunting to figure out when my skin is dehydrated and when it is dry! :P It'll take some time I guess! :-)

    Happy New Year Rae! Hope you have an amazing 2015 and continue to inspire me as always! Lots of love!
    My recent post The Best Blog Discoveries of 2014

    • The Mario Badescu is so good, Divya — seriously a skin saviour. (And as for the Clarins: if you have a lot of tightness, assume dryness first; if you have a lot of isolated skin texture problems, try treating for dehydration!)

      Thank you so much! I hope you have an amazing start of the year, too <3

  • Have you tried CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion from drugstore?I love it.

    • I haven't, but I'll put it on my list of things to check out! Thanks for the rec :)

  • Wonderful Favorites. Funny to see two German creams in your list :-) – I love the Hiro Mineral Foundation as Silikon Free. Beautiful on the skin. There is a BB Cream by Melvita (French Brand, Natural Cosmetics, absolutely pure). Maybe Worth a try? And the Eye Liner Cake by Laura Mercier is my favorite and you never have to worry that it could dry out like normal gel liners.

    Isn't the Laura Mercier Oil Free Supreme Foundation silicon free? The Lorac CC Cream, too. Should be easier to get for you than me, I guess – isn't it?Haven't tried both though! But they sound interesting.

    Best wishes to you and your year 2015!
    My recent post Absinth auf den Lippen &lt;br/&gt;Beni Durrer Absinthe KitKat Lippenstift

    • I think it is!! But I still haven't gotten around to trying it >.< I actually picked up some Cover FX Cream Foundation today, so I'll be giving that a go first — I hope I like it, but if not, I'm going to look for that Melvita one!

      No one does dry skin care like Germany ;) I'm using less and less Nivea as the days go by, but I do adore Skin Food — I need to pick up a US/Can version to make sure they're the same. (I feel like the last time I tried it (US-bought), it was a lot more fragranced?? But maybe that's just my memory playing tricks on me).

      Hope your year is off to a great start so far <3

      • If you need anything, let me know. I could pack some things up for you. Cover FX Cream is said to be great… Always thought I might try. But I've been too much a a foundation junky so far… To many in my drawers. But I am a different skin type (sensitive combination with impurities). I am curious what you're going to say about the Cover FX!

        The Melvita BB Cream is a little to dark for me, but not much. I'll try it some more but I am quite impressed with the Melvita skin care so far. Been to a Blogger Event lately. Very pure and organic. My skin's reacting well. Pai Skincare (UK) has been one of my skin saviours, too. And 3 years ago I wouldn't have thought organic skin care would work so well. (But I am still not using exclusively organic products). Avene (a french pharmacy brand) ist quite good with difficult skin, too!

        Enjoy your weekend!
        My recent post Silvestermakeup 2014 &lt;br/&gt;A Little Bit Of Plum

        • Thank you, lovely — right back at you! I don't change up my routine very often, so the Cover FX is probably going to be exciting for like, six months… but I'll let you know if I'm ever dying to try something we can't get here :P

          I'm not sure how the Melvita will preform on me if it was too dark for you, but I'll keep an eye out for it! I'm trying to go more natural with my skincare, too, but it's been hard so far >.< There are just so many pretty products out there that aren't all-natural!

  • Xuvious

    Happy New Year! Nice list of favorites here! I'm interested in the Mario Badescu one. There are a couple of other products for blemishes in range, have you tried any of those?

    My recent post Estee Lauder Pure Color Vivid Shine Lipstick in Violet Electra

    • Yup! I've tried almost all of them, actually :P The Drying Lotion is good, but I find that the Buffering Lotion works better AND is less drying; the Drying Cream used to be my favourite, but works a lot slower than the other two. It's definitely the most gentle and least drying, though, so keep that in mind if your skin is really sensitive!

      All three are good, but the Buffering Lotion is definitely my favourite. (Plus, you can wear it out of the house as long as you don't apply too much.)

  • Kate & Zena

    Happy New Year!

    I was going to say try Urban Decay Naked Foundation…then I remembered the Dimethicone. That's the only cone it has though (but, if I remember, the one you react most to.) That's my favorite foundation…when I actually wear it nowadays.

    For body moisturizer, my new favorite has no 'cones and you'd probably really like it. I don't know if you've tried Eucerin Intensive Repair for Very Dry Skin but that's what I'm using currently. It absorbs really quickly (unlike the Aveeno which could take a little bit of rubbing) and doesn't irritate my skin. At least, the US version has no cones.

    • Happy New Year, Katie! <3

      Dimethicone is my mortal enemy. One day, we will do battle on the spirit plane and I will return victorious.

      That Eucerin lotion is already at the top of my drugstore beauty wishlist!! It's called something else up here, but the ingredients are the same — blissfully 'cone-free. I'm just trying to find it for a little cheaper :P It was freaking $18 when I found it the other day at Shoppers!! (Which, okay, isn't TONS, but I know for a fact that you can get it for around $9 in the US). Crazy.

      • Kate & Zena

        $18.00 O.O It's $10.99 for the big bottle here at Jewel Osco or Walgreens! (A tad cheaper at Walmart or Target, but do I ever venture out that far? I'll suck it up and pay the extra $2 without tax. I don't care about $2.)

        There's a few versions of the Eucerin. I flip between the green top and the white tops in the repair line (yes, I know them by COLOR.) The other line in Eucerin I've either reacted to, won't go near due to some crazy ingredient I know nothing about (the eczema line), or I just hate it. Aquaphor is their down to basics healing line which I use if something gets super bad; my dad had to use the healing cream after his surgery to remove his skin cancer.

        I don't know if any of the Clinique foundations are 'cone free. Plus, you know Clinique…they tend to run pink. They have gotten better about that recently though! Will research this for you.

        • Yup. The markup on this one is INSANE — I might try it out and have mom bring back a few bottles from the US for me (she's going travelling later this month).

          I'll keep that thing about colours in mind — sometimes stuff gets repackaged for different markets, but the exact ingredients lists should be enough to help me tell them all apart. I was under the impression that they just did one popular 'cone-free moisturizer, but it could be two!

          Last I checked, all of the Clinique foundations were loaded up with 'cones. The colour selection is really bad for me, too — they're not the most ethnically-friendly line :/ Thanks for thinking of me, though! :)

          • Kate & Zena

            Oh no, there's a few cone free ones within the Eucerin brand (you just have to hunt for them.)

            Urban Decay has been getting more 'cone and skin friendly as of late. I used to not be able to use half of their stuff (oh my gosh, the SMELL of their lipsticks before. Migraine city. NO MORE!!!)

            I shall research this for you, but first…I have to crash a party next door with a call to the cops. Damn neighbors.

          • Oh no D: That sounds confusing!

            You're THAT GIRL, Kate. The girl that calls the cops on the noisy party. (But it's okay, I still adore you… because I'm totally that girl, too. >.<)

          • Kate & Zena

            Oh yeeeeeeeeeees, I am THAT girl. I am also the girl that calls the cops when your children thinks it is okay to be a herd of elephants at 2 am, when you fight outside my window using swear words and it starts to sound nasty, when your party moves both inside AND outside and you have the music up so it reverberates into my house (ESPECIALLY if you go into quiet hours)….I am a lady on a mission and that is I WANT PEACE AND TRANQUILITY! Heavens, just remove my evil neighbors next door and I would never call the police ever again.

            I long for peaceful neighbors. Ones who understand the term "quiet hours." My neighbors don't understand that local law yet.

            I really am a sweet, congenial neighbor. I just don't like noise and I don't like people abusing puppies! Those two make me a meeeeeeeeeeeeeeean neighbor.

  • E.

    Hi Rae, what is the difference between dehydration and dryness? Noticed that you make quite a clear distinction between the two. Thanks much!

    • Dehydration can happen to any skin type (even oily) and is characterized by surface roughness, flaking, etc.; true dry skin comes from the epidermis upwards and always comes paired with small pores. If your skin feels dry but still gets oily or shiny, it's probably dehydrated; if your skin feels dry even through the night and gets clogged very easily, it's likely dry!

  • oh Revlon lip butters are the bomb and I use coconut oil to remove my eye makeup then slather it all over my alligator dry skin!! MAC blush in "fleur power" is my all time fave! Love your site!!

    • Putting Fleur Power on my to-swatch list right now!! Any girl who loves both Revlon lip butters and coconut oil has my full confidence ;)

  • truecolorjoy

    my favorites of 2014 are probably the new MUFE artist shadows in metallic and diamond formulations, Algenist Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil, History of Whoo Whitening Essence and Lipstick Queen lipsticks.
    My recent post Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

  • German Nivea is one of my favorites, as well! There are some great skincare items that I want to try now!
    My recent post Chloe – the perfume of my dreams

    • I hope this list can help you find a few new favourites, Stephanie! :)

  • sylirael

    That Bio-Beauté Vitamin Rich Detox Mask… I want to eat iiiiiiit. >_< Maybe it's because it looks like a combo of honey and lemon curd. I dunno. I'm weird like that. Like new shiny lipstick bullets *omnomnom* (I've never *actually* eaten one, I promise… >_>)

    High fives on the Colorburst Lip Butter! I really like their formula, especially Peach Parfait (despite the grit) just because it looks so good on me. I see really mixed reviews of them, and certianly they're not all equal, but when they're good, they're good! I've never tried any Lise Watier stuff O_O…

    I'll be keen to hear if you find a really awesome drugstore body moisturiser! I currently have about 5 different Body Shop Body Butters on the go, but I sort of ration them, as they're $36 each here. *strokes precious*. I've tried a few drugstore ones, but nothing has really wowed me, and most of the brands cost as much as TBS for a decent amount here anyway *shakes fist*.
    My recent post The Freshly Sugared Rogue: Exploring New Lip Balm Frontiers with the Fresh Sugar Berry Lip Treatment!

    • Oh my god, DON'T, I promise you it won't be tasty. But mmmm does it ever smell good!

      Lise Watier is really hard to get outside of Canada, but they have some pretty good stuff. (And some stuff that's only mediocre, though, so it's an OK brand to miss). I tested a few of their blushes last year and it was just like — DUST CITY. I don't think I've ever tried a blush that powdery before! And so many of them come packed with secret hidden shimmer :(

      I will let you know how the hunt goes, lovely! Eucerin is up next on my list of things to try, and I ordered some Body Sorbets from TBS on Boxing Day. They were actually quite a steal — I can't believe how expensive the range is where you are O.o The Body Butters are usually like, $10 in Canada!! (They're constantly on sale, which is equal parts kind of alarming and super awesome. My ENTIRE order was 50% off on Boxing Day; it was amazing.)

  • Annabelle

    Hi again Rae!

    I didn't have many favourites this year… I really liked the Maybelline One-by-One Waterproof mascara (held a curl, was volumizing and lengthening while still leaving your lashes defined and not clumped together into 5 lashes, although it did smudge a bit by the end of the day – I haven't been able to find anything that doesn't do that – one of the cons of having oily eyelids), but I just found out that it was discontinued so I'm on the hunt for my next HG mascara. I'm thinking of trying Maybelline Full 'N Soft Waterproof (I hate how they don' t carry it in stores in Canada!) or Covergirl's new Full Lash Bloom Waterproof.

    I'm looking for a nice foundation as well, I think it you need to be 'cone free and paraben free, a really good option might be to look at the offerings for some "green" companies. I like the Genuine Glow blog for this, hope you' ll have some luck there. As for me, I'm hoping to find any good (fairly cheap) foundation with a medium coverage, dewy finish, and has a good colour match for me (I'm about an NC20 atm and looking into the Cargo Liquid Foundation). And I'm looking to buying the Real Techniques Base Core Collection brush set (for the Bufffing and Contouring brushes) to apply it!

    And who can forget – I LOVED the Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Sweet Violet – I've decided the shade actually looks the most similar to Benetint on the lips! I tried Rose and it was… Too feverish looking on me, if that makes sense? Revlon Lip Butters make my lips peel (boo) but I'm glad you like them and I'm glad I found an alternative! :P

    I have been teying to find the NSpa line at Walmart and haven't been able to see it so far… Perhaps your Walmart is just quicker on the uptake than mine is? Either way, I'll find some way to try it when my current cleanser runs out! >:D

    All the best,

    – Annabelle

    • Man, I wanna try Full 'N Soft, too. I don't get why they don't sell it in Canada, seeing as it's such a cult hit in the US!

      I'm very hesitant to buy a foundation sight-unseen, so I've kind of been tip-toeing around green foundations recently. (But YES, Genuine Glow is so great! I love Kimberly Loc too, esp. for skincare reviews). Parabens aren't something I'm worried about, so there are a few 'cone-free foundations that I CAN try in person — I just picked up the Cover FX cream foundation, and so far, so good. I'm not crazy about it yet, but it's not bad.

      I need Sweet Violet!! You always make it sound so good. I'm not even a big fan of Benetint, but, well… it doesn't take a lot to convince me to pick up more Burt's Bees :p

      Sorry to hear that you couldn't find the nspa line! I haven't actually seen it in-stores (mine were samples), but I was under the impression that they should be available in most! Maybe try calling around your area? (The Melting Cleansing Gel. SO good.)

      Sending you <3!

      • Annabelle

        Yeah, I remember trying the non-waterproof version a couple years back when it was still stocked and it was good :) it's surprisingly expensive though, about $12 before tax in the States? I wish they carried it here too :(

        I bit the bullet and tried CG's Full Lash Bloom in Waterproof btw, and so far it's pretty good! It's really hard to take off but it still smudges on me, so I think the problem might be that I need to set my undereye concealer.

        I also purchased Maybelline's Fit Me foundation (I spend a lot of money when I feel stressed out and am looking for a co-op job for the summer atm >.<) and it's not bad, but I don't think it's that great either. I have shade 120 and it's slightly too peach for me so I wouldn't recommend that. I understand what you mean about buying things without testing them though – that can be such a huge let down. I've heard really good things about the Cover FX foundation from Phyrra! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it :)

        What can I say, Sweet Violet is quite lovely ;) I've still got quite a bit of my regular cleanser let now so I think I'll just wait on buying it. Still excited to try it out though someday! It WILL happen :D

        <3

        • Noooo, smudging :( I find that a LOT of mascaras smudge on me, but I don't think it has to do with setting (I always set my concealer) — I think it has to do with the direction of Asian lashes. Like, the way that monolids direct your lashes downwards to your face? So that unless you SUPER curl them, they always rub against your undereye fold thingy when you blink. I've decided that it is my nemesis.

          (YES you can totally have nemeses that are physiological features and not… y'know, people.)

          I have fallen in love with soooo many products recently; I can totally help you stress-buy if you need :P Currently really loving Trust Fund Beauty matte (kind of a rubber-matte) polishes, the new MUFE pen liner, and a bunch of different perfumes! Ooh, and the shu uemura Brave Beauty blush sticks; the pink one is gorgeous (but I think it might break me out). Super into MAC Full of Joy blush and Weleda Skin Food, too. :p

          • Annabelle

            Yes, smudging! :( Interesting theory though! I think I have *partial* monolids (if you can call them that, it LOOKS like there's a crease on the outer corner but it isn't really because that area isn't really depressed, the area is still puffy but the skin there is just folded, and the skin from the "crease" connects to my tear duct….I know that's really hard to visualize lol but it's the best way I can describe it) Does your mascara smudge on your lid then or somewhere else? For me, it tends to smudge on my lower lash line!

            AHAHAHA you definitely can. Shortbread cookies and extreme short-sightedness are my nemeses! Part of the reason I never wear eye makeup (besides not knowing how best to apply it for my features) is because I can't see what I'm doing unless I'm like an inch away from a mirror! And then the brushes and liner pencils are too long and bump against either myself or the mirror. Sighs.

            Wow, good thing my university isn't located located in a major city, meaning that I won't have acess to this stuff readily – otherwise I would be jumping onto your bandwagon like THAT! (snaps fingers) And I'm too cheap to want to pay for online shipping so I won't be able to purchase them xD

            Time to put some more things on my wist lists! :D

  • PROPS to Osmia and coconut oil! And that Real Techniques face brush. I am so impressed with their products. Great price and great quality for so cheap!

    Have you tried the Smashbox gel liner (in a pot) or the Benefit They're Real Gel Liner pen? I wouldn't say either is an absolute favorite, but I have them in my collection and like them. I'm more of a liner pen gal (Eyeko London and Stila are my favorite liquid liner pens).

    Happy new year, Rae! xoxo
    My recent post makeup of the day | smoke and mirrors

    • Have you seen the new RT Bold Metals collection? SO pretty — but not-so-cheap :p

      I haven't tried either of those liners, actually! Haven't loved what I've heard about the Benefit one, but I might check out that Smashbox when my current one dries out. Thanks for the rec! <3

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