02 February 2014

2013 Beauty and Fashion Favorites

I've written quite a bit about beauty products on this blog in my Ipsy Glam Bag review series, but I haven't much talked about my go-to beauty and fashion favorites. Since it's a new year and all the beauty bloggers and vloggers out there are discussing their 2013 favorites, I thought I'd join in the fun and share my own. And if you want to know even more about what I liked in 2013 (not that I expect anyone will), be sure to check out my "2013 in Review" post!

Links go to manufacturers' websites and are not affiliate links, and all photos except for the clothing are from the manufacturers.

Skin, Body, and Hair Care Favorites:

I love the convenience of cleansing towelettes, and find it much easier to remove makeup with them than with regular facial cleanser. I particularly love these towelettes from Burt's Bees because they're 99% natural and formulated for sensitive skin like mine.

This lip balm came as a free bonus product in a Burt's Bees hand care sampler that my mother bought, and she let me have the balm because I was in the market for one. I'm not sure that I would have picked pomegranate on my own, but I actually really love the formula of this product. I wear it every night in the winter to keep my lips from drying and chapping, and since it's lightly tinted I sometimes wear it during the day to add a subtle touch of pink to my lips. I also love that it's 100% natural, since I want anything that I might accidentally ingest in small quantities to be chemical-free.

My hair is dark brown that gets natural golden-bronze highlights when I'm out in the sun, but with Sun-In I can get an identical effect indoors any time of the year. The label recommends that you use a hair dryer to "activate" the product if you're not wearing it in the sun, but the second ingredient is hydrogen peroxide so it works even if you do as I do and let your hair air dry indoors at night. The marigold and chamomile extracts also help to lighten hair, and the aloe and flaxseed more than make up for the drying effect of the peroxide, at least on my hair--it actually feels softer after using it!

Makeup Favorites:

As I mentioned earlier, I like my lip products to be 100% natural, and Burt's Bees really does a great job at making natural lip colors in a variety of formulas. My go-to lip color is their Tinted Lip Balm in Honeysuckle, a very sheer peach tint that gives my natural lip color slightly more of a coral hue. When I want something a little more intense, I use the Lip Gloss formula in Sunny Day, a natural peachy-pink shade, or Evening Glow, which looks bright red in the tube but goes on like a warm berry when applied lightly.

While Burt's Bees makes it easy to get 100% natural lip color, finding other kinds of makeup anywhere close to being that natural for a reasonable price is pretty difficult. I'm compromising for now by transitioning to makeup that is at least paraben-free for my foundation and blush, and I was quite pleased to find that this mousse blush from L'Oreal doesn't contain parabens in its relatively short ingredient list. It's still got silicone in it, which is only slightly better than parabens according to the Environmental Working Group, but it's a step up at least. I use Angelic, a soft peach, in the warmer months and Celestial, a warm pink, in the cooler months, and both are very natural-looking on my pale skin. I like the creamy formula so much that I don't think I'll ever go back to powder blush!

Fashion Favorites:

Old Navy Floral Ruffle-Trim Dress (no longer available)

I bought this pretty, gauzy dress on clearance with an added discount code for about $12 late in 2012. It is definitely the best $12 I ever spent, because I just love this dress. It's very lightweight and loose so it is super cool and comfortable even on hot summer days, but the tie waist and the ruffles gives it enough detail and structure to be figure-flattering. The floral pattern includes some of my favorite hues, too--ivory, yellow, and aqua. This was my go-to dress all summer long in 2013.

Target Xhiliration Babydoll High-Low Dress (no longer available)

In my 2013 in Review post I mentioned that winter fashion has been problematic for me in the past, but the ballet-inspired look I went for this year has been working out well so far. I don't typically shop at Target but when I was looking for some new ideas for winter wear I wound up on their site and eventually purchased all of my winter skirts and dresses from them. This babydoll dress in a deep purple print quickly became my favorite of the bunch--I had never worn the high-low hem that's been trendy for the past year or so, but I loved the look of this dress and thought that the hem and the babydoll cut were both very flattering. I wear it with black leggings and a purple wrap sweater to keep warm.

Old Navy Lightweight Tank Top (no longer available)

These tanks were another step outside of my fashion comfort zone, and another step that paid off. I usually go for more structured tanks because looser cuts can be unflattering to the figure, but these Old Navy tanks surprised me with how nicely they drape. The curved hem and the patterns add just enough detail to keep them from being too boring, and I love the look of them peeking from underneath a cardigan (see below).

Lands' End Canvas Skinny Cardigan (no longer available)

I bought this cardigan in a bright gold color in early winter 2013, and went back for two more in bright coral and soft pink in late summer. Cardigans are a year-round wardrobe staple for me, and the cut of these is just perfect--slightly cropped, three-quarter-length sleeves, and a little roomy without being at all boxy. I love the bright pop of color they can add to a relatively plain outfit, and the silky-smooth texture of the yarn that never pills.

I love the look of ballet flats, but I have trouble finding ones that stay on and don't give me blisters. These flats from Wanted stay on well since they're elasticized all around and very flexible, and they don't give me blisters on the heel even when I wear them without socks as I prefer. I do get slight irritation on my little toes when I do a lot of walking in them, but I can go quite a long time in them without this happening.

If you read my 2013 in Review post, you'll remember that I named this my best purchase of last year. It's the most versatile bag I've ever owned, since it functions equally well as a handbag, a school bag, or a shopping tote. It's got plenty of useful pockets, including one in which you can securely strap a small laptop.

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