New year, same you – but with a fresh new chance to update and upgrade your life. Maybe it’s time to invest in a new wardrobe. Maybe get those running shoes you’vebeen meaning to invest in. It’s also time to consider upgrading your beauty product collection, and acquiring some new makeup, skincare, body products and hair care to enhance your appearance and bring luxury to your life. Does that sound good to you? I’m here to enable help!
In 2014, I had the good fortune of trying out a battalion of beauty products. Fancy serums and night creams, deep conditioning hair masks and high end hair appliances, mascara and eye shadow and lipsticks galore. I can tell you from trying out ALL of those products that there’s a lot of repetition going on out there. My advice to the beauty junkies out there? Do your research before parting with your coins. There may be an equally effective dupe for a lower price waiting for you at the drugstore. Quiet as its kept, there are brands who are dedicated to that cause! Read on for 15 of my top picks of peerless products that I tried in 2014, that will make your 2015 that much more beautiful. In no particular order, BTW!
1 Josie Maran Argan Black Oil mascara – I usually think of mascara as a means to an end, a product meant to be slicked on to enhance the appearance of lashes and then removed immediately and usually with struggle. This mascara has been a game changer for me – argan oil is one of its main ingredients, and it makes for moist, long, luscious lashes.
2 Organic Fiji – raw cold pressed coconut oil is a stand by in the natural community, and I happily slather it on from head to toe regardless of season. But Organic Fiji managed to do the impossible – make coconut oil even MORE enticing for my skin and hair. Their soaps and oils add fragrance and work externally par excellence. The tuberose is my favorite!
3 StriVectin AR and Extreme Cream – I can’t think of a brand that made more of a noticeable difference to my skin in the past year, than StriVectin. The Advanced Retinol day and night cream helped me effectively get my hyperpigmentation under control, and the Extreme Cream has become my go-to day or night moisturizer. Big fan of both products.
4 COVERGIRL nail gel – I still love a gel manicure, but reports about the possible health risks involving the UV lights made me keep my distance. Then I got into the world of gel nail polishes that are just as shiny, beautiful and long-lasting (if you’re careful) as their light-needing relatives. The COVERGIRL gels are bold, glossy and give you that salon mani finish at a drugstore price, in the kind of head-turning colors I love.
5 Lancôme Nude Miracle foundation – Anyone wondering about Lupita N’yongo’s flawless appearance at just about any red carpet event needs to know about Lancome Nude Miracle. I was blown away the first time I tried this liquid-to-powder makeup, it’s truly weightless and feels barely there. All that plus a matte finish and a range of shades for bellas all shades of beautiful.
6 Soap & Glory The Righteous Body Butter – I really like Soap & Glory’s products in general – the packaging is fun and the products are incredibly effective and pleasantly fragranced. This body butter truly turned me out this winter and my skin can’t get enough! Shea butter, cocoa butter, glycerin and coconut oil all mixed together with their signature Pink Fragrance, which combines fresh bergamot, mandarin, rose, jasmine, peach, strawberry, oakmoss, amber, and warm vanilla notes. I’ve loved almost everything I’ve tried from the brand so far, but this is my yummy, decadent, new winter staple.
7 ORS Monoi Anti-Breakage Oil Fusion – I love a multi-use oil, especially one that’s free of silicones and mineral oil. This monoi oil by ORS smells spectacular and I can use it as a pre-poo, I can add it to my conditioner, use it on my scalp, or to style my hair with added shine. Full disclosure – I was the hostess for the launch of this event in NYC, and it was a fabulous event!
8 Oyin Hair Dew – if there’s one product that my hair has truly LOVED and needed in spring, summer, autumn and winter, it’s Hair Dew. It’s the hair moisturizing soufflé that my coils seem to crave. Recently a friend with a beard tried to jack me for my bottle – he says it’s awesome for keeping his beard looking moist and healthy!
9 Cantu Coconut Milk Shine and Hold Mist – in winter and in summer, my hair tends to frizz. Dry weather brings out the tumbleweed in my fro. When dealing with dry heat, I need a spray on leave in conditioner before I apply a creamy styling product before I apply an oil. This is my favorite of late, it smells delicious and makes my hair emollient through and through.
10 Giorgio Armani Si – they always come up with such seductive tag lines for fragrances. Si by Giorgio Armani is supposed to be “strong yet feminine, sophisticated yet charismatic,” and it truly is all of those things. It’s the kind of scent that lingers for hours, with a very warm and “snuggly” drydown. It’s my new signature scent.
11 Belle Butters Beau Balm – there’s nothing better than a great multi-use beauty and grooming product, and many longtime Afrobella readers know I stan for all things Belle Butters. Beau Balm was co-created with fashion influencer Charles Wade, and it’s intended to be an overall grooming product for guys – as an oil cleanser, pre/post shave balm, beard softener, skin moisturizer etc. It works just as well for the ladies, thanks to the unbeatable combo of avocado butter, mango butter, abyssinian oil and jojoba oil amongst others. Get yourself some of this goodness and luxuriate in beneficial moisture!
12 Skin Deep lip butter – It’s not a lip balm, it’s a butter. As in, a highly emollient blend of oils that you rub into your lips for penetrative moisture. SO essential, for winter!
13 Wonder Curl Detoxifying Clay Cleanser – when my scalp feels dirty and my hair needs deep, restorative cleansing, this is the business. It makes my hair so supremely soft, and yes it takes a minute to wash out – obvs, it’s clay! Kaolin clay + shea butter + avocado oil + olive oil for the happy hair win.
14 simplehuman sensor mirror – I thought I had the magnifying mirror game handled, but I was wrong. I was so wrong. This mirror is a game changer. 5x magnification. You approach the mirror and it automatically turns on, bathing your face in light close to the sun (intentionally so. “The tru-lux light system provides 600 lux and a color rendering index (CRI) of 90—more than twice as bright as the next best and more similar to natural sunlight.”) And you never have to change the bulb! Like I said. Game changer.
15 Ouidad Double Detangler comb – Detangling can be highly subjective in the natural hair community. Are you Team Brush or Team Comb? Conditioner or nah? It took me years to find the detangling solution that truly worked best for me. The Double Detangler isn’t for everyone, it can definitely seem bulky and unwieldy. But it detangles my hair to perfection, with the least effort. Fan for life.
Those are the products that made a big difference to my hair, beauty and overall happiness in 2014 – if you haven’t tried these yet, treat yourself for 2015! See any of your favorites? Tell me about them in the comments!