As the 2014 looms I've been having a think about my past year in all things beauty, in particular what's changed and the new things I've discovered in 2013...
Contouring is a beauty technique I didn’t used to ‘get’, but since I started giving it a go I’ve realised it can make a huge difference, especially if your face lacks definition and cheek bones, like mine! I’ve also been mastering the tricks of making your nose looks slimmer with a bit of strategically applied powder contour, and I’m developing quite the highlighter addiction since previously having always skipped that step.
I don’t necessarily do a full contour and highlight every day as it can be a bit too much effort, but I usually do a little bit of light contouring on my cheeks on a daily basis and usually add highlighter as a finishing touch. I’ve just received the Hourglass ambient lighting palette for Christmas so I’ll be in highlighter heaven in 2014!
I’ve never tried contouring with cream products, or the extreme Kim Kardashian contour we see everywhere, but maybe I’m ready to give that a try.
Toners were very much a forgotten product until 2013. I’d not used or owned a toner in literally years, but they made something of a comeback this year and I had to see what all the fuss was about.
I used to think of toners as just a watery product adding an extra step to your routine without any benefits – and I think that was true to say about some of the toners I remember from the past – I’m sure my Mum had a cucumber one which didn’t seem to do much! The toners I’ve tried recently however all have specific aims and they seem to deliver pretty well. I tend to use a hydrating or moisturising toner in the morning to help lock in hydrating ahead of using my moisturiser, and at night I usually go for one with exfoliating and resurfacing properties to hopefully improve my skin while I sleep.
Masks were something I didn't used to make the time for in the past, but since finding some firm favourites which actually work, they’re now a weekly staple in my routine.
The Glamglow Youthmud mask is my absolute favourite and one of the best products I’ve discovered in 2013. After using this my skin always looks brighter and smoother and the effect lasts for a good couple of days. I’ll always use this the night before any sort of event where I want to look my best.
My other favourites are all Origins. The main one being the Drink up overnight intensive mask which I’ve banged on a lot about in the past – I use this every night during winter on any areas of my face where I get dry or dehydrated. Clear Improvement and Out of trouble are also regulars which I tend to use while in the bath. I always use them together – Clear Improvement followed by Out of Trouble – and it seems to work really well for perking up my skin and clearing up imperfections.
Curling with ghds baffled me for so long - you’re going to think I’m an absolute numpty, but I could never master the swivelling slight of hand trickery that gives effortless loose curls in minutes. I used to blame my old ghds for not having rounded enough plates, so when I got newer ones it was time to sort my life out and learn how to do it!
I think it was watching an old video from Vivianna Does Makeup which showed me what I was doing wrong, and I started to experiment with some very dodgy and lopsided curls until I got it right.
My hair is notoriously difficult to curl, but the high heat of the ghds seems to work well and gives me curls that actually last, and it’s quite quick to do, so it’s not my go-to method.
Applying lashes used to be an absolute nightmare for me. It would take me half an hour or more of frustrated poking and tugging and getting covered in glue, and they’d still look wonky or a bit loose.
This year I decided there must be a technique that would work, so I started watching a few youtube videos and practising different ways of getting the pesky little customers on my eyes in an acceptable fashion. I tried a lash applicator contraption, and didn’t get on with that. In the end it was good old tweezers that changed things up for me, as well as a little bit more patience waiting for the glue to go tacky and trimming overly long pairs. I’m not quite a pro yet, but I’m getting there and I’m faster each time I put lashes on now, and they’re straight! I might do a little post on my new found tricks at some point.
I’ve been trying to think of what else has been new for me in 2013. I’ve tried a lot of shampoos but haven’t really found one that truly works for me, so that’ll be a continued quest for next year as always, and I’ve not really found a favourite mascara. The way I do my nails is a bit different as I’ve been more adventurous this year and will now quite happily wear a mismatched mani of several colours at once and usually pile the glitter on top! I’m planning to challenge myself to never wear the same mani twice in 2014, which should help me get some use out of the mountain of polishes I own!
What were your best discoveries this year? I’d love to hear about them :)