Wow, so 2013 is nearly over which is just a little bit crazy, it feels like the shortest year ever but time really does fly when you're having fun I guess! 2013 has been a year filled with hundreds of new, exciting products, this is great but it makes it so difficult to choose what to spend your money on when there is so much stuff out there, so I've decided to choose my 11 favourite, and ultimate products of 2013 - trust me, it wasn't an easy job. These are the products which I will most definitely be carrying through to 2014 with me...
The Ultimate Foundation Of 2013: Vichy DermaBlend. Come on, it had to be didn't it? I talk about this on a daily basis, it really is the best foundation and I beg you to try it. Vichy's Dermablend is actually probably more designed for people with acne etc, as it's designed to kind of cover anything up, and it's kind to skin, so it's not going to make you break out. Even though I don't have acne, I just find this foundation incredible, I use literally the tiniest drop of it (because it is really thick) and then blend it from my chin, all over the rest of my face. Once on your face, it really doesn't feel or look thick/cakey whatsoever. It looks beautifully dewy, bright and wakens up your complexion completely (even more so if you pop a highlighter along your cheek bones). I've done a full review of it here which you can (and should) read for more of an in depth review as to why I can't get enough of this!
The Ultimate Tan Of 2013: Xen-Tan. My favourite Xen-Tans have run out so at the moment so instead I've been using Palmers Cocoa butter for a lighter colour throughout Winter. If you read my blog/know me as a person you'll know that I absolutely swear by Xen-Tan, ever since I got back from my holiday in September I've had a pretty good natural tan (which still hasn't fully gone) so I've managed without my trusty tan, but when it the time comes for fake tan, there seriously is just no brand like this one - there isn't even any competition. I've never heard a bad word about Xen-Tan, the colour is natural, it smells delicious and it's easy to apply. Do not fear if when you apply it, you look a little bit dirty, I find that the best results from Xen-Tan come when you leave it on whilst you sleep, wash it off the next morning and I promise, you'll look like a bronzed goddess (Beyonce eat your heart out). My favourite Xen-Tan product of all time has to be their original dark lotion, it's only £23.00 at the moment on FeelUnique so get your paws on it and let me know how you get on, you won't be disappointed. Thank you Xen-Tan for allowing girls to be tanned, without being orange and streaky.
The Ultimate Moisturiser: Palmers Cocoa Butter. Another product which I have raved about throughout the year, it's good old Palmers. Their Cocoa Butter moisturiser was recommended to me by my Mum and I've never looked back, it smells delicious (seriously, you'll be good enough to eat) and actually it feels like it's tightening my skin (whilst keeping it soft and smooth). I need an endless supply of their Natural Bronze body lotion as it's just as good as their original formula, only with added 'bronzeness'. It makes you look such a natural, even colour - granted, not as dark as Xen-Tan, but I use this by itself in Winter or to top up my Xen-Tan so that it doesn't fade quickly. The only thing I dislike about this product is the price, in Boots, I've paid up to £6.00 for it before and I always thought Palmer's was a cheap high-street bargain. Luckily, I've found it a little bit cheaper on FeelUnique for less than £5.00, I better get stocking up.
The Ultimate Hair Masque: Kevin.Murphy Young.Again.Masque. Now, as most of you know, I am desperately trying to grow my hair after bonded extensions nearly left me bald (it wasn't a highlight of my year). My hair dresser (Jade, XS Hair - she's fabulous) recommended Kevin Murphy to me and I don't think I'll ever look back. This hair mask is probably the best thing I have ever smelt. I can't even explain how good it smells. This masque is a deep conditioning, restorative mask and it really does repair the hair. I do believe in spending money on good hair products and at around £24.00, this isn't cheap, but it's well worth the money. I promise it will leave your hair feeling stronger, shinier and in my case, it's helped to grow it because it's strengthened it. I even slept in this last night and my hair feels like new this morning. You can check it out at Kevin Murphy here.
The Ultimate Brand: The Body Shop. Now, I felt I had to give an ultimate brand award this year and I feel that The Body Shop most definitely gets it. I have really started to appreciate just how good their products are (I am currently loving their Vitamin E Night Cream) and everything just smells so good. My favourite smell has to be their Moringa range, and not forgetting their honey-scented products. This honey lip balm (photographed above) which actually came in my incredible Body Shop Christmas Advent Calendar, is the only lip balm which I've come across this year which actually works, it smells nice, tastes nice and fully moisturises my lips - it doesn't just work for 5 seconds like most lip balms, you don't have to keep reapplying it all day. I love the Body Shop for honest, natural skin care, make up and more. I think this brand deserves more recognition as I really do feel like they give the customers what they want, plus they're always doing special offers, The Body Shop used to be quite unaffordable, but thanks to their new genius offers, I can afford to shop there daily (hooray).
The Ultimate Facial Cleanser: Cidal Soap. Soap - what?! No seriously, this soap has worked wonders for my skin. It costs a mere £1.99 for two bars from Boots or Tesco and I have to say, it's the best £1.99 that I have ever spent. I was having a really troublesome time with my skin a few months ago and my Mum highly recommended this, she said it got rid of her acne which made me really hopeful. Fortunately, I haven't got acne, but we all know how much it gets us down when we have a bad skin day, too many products on my skin were literally killing my face so I stopped everything and just started using this basic soap and a moisturiser. I thought that it would really dry my skin out/make it feel horrible and tight, but it really didn't at all. Months on I am still using it and touch wood, my skin is 1 million times better than it was. Once a week I do use my Murad Essential C Cleanser/Exfoliator to just wake my skin up and get rid of any blackheads, but apart from that, I feel that this soap really has saved my skin. You can read my full review of Cidal Soap here.
The Ultimate Skin Serum: Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Wow, this really was a tough one to decide on. In 2013, I wrote a guide to serums and oils earlier this year and this little beauty didn't even make the list as it's quite a new addition to my life. However, once my beloved Jurlique Herbal Recovery Oil ran out, I moved onto Kiehl's and I've never looked back. You can read my full review of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate here but it does exactly what it says on the label, it recovers, pretty much everything, over night. You'll wake up glowing and fresh with a complexion to envy Kim Kardashian's.
The Ultimate Hair Care Product: If you put one thing on your hair this year, it's all about Macadamia's Healing Oil Treatment. I can honestly say that this is the best oil/after wash product that I have used when it comes to strengthening my hair. I put this all over my hair after every shower and I do believe that this is one of the reasons why my hair gave me a second chance and grew back thicker and stronger than ever before after I ruined it with hair extensions. If you haven't used Macadamia before then you must be crazy, I absolutely swear by it and have been using it for years. You can buy a miniature one to try for only £4.00 on FeelUnique at the moment, or a larger one is only £11.00. I've just noticed that lots of their hair sets are half price at the moment so I'll be treating myself to a few bits. Hooray for long, strong, healthy hair (at half price).
The Ultimate Make Up Brushes: Real Techniques. For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge MAC fan when it comes to make up brushes, but paying £30.00 for a make up brush, which sheds all over your face and just doesn't really do what it's supposed to do, is pretty annoying. As bad as it sounds, I did have really low expectations of Real Techniques brushes, but went ahead and bought a few from Boots anyway. I can honestly say, these are the best make up brushes that I have used, particularly because they are so affordable too (ranging from £9.00 each and you can buy the set for £21.00). They don't shed and the actually blend and apply my make up perfectly. I love the expert face brush and the powder brush. You can read my full review of why Real Techniques brushes are so good here.
The Ultimate Primer: Shu Uemura UV Under Base Mousse. I have been using this for years and go back to it every time. There are some incredible primers around at the moment, but this is always going to be a winner for me. I love the mousse formula, it instantly evens out my skin tone and makes my skin look flawless before I've even applied any foundation. I also love that this is SPF 30, so my skin is always protected from harmful UV rays, hopefully I'll never get wrinkles if I wear this everyday. I honestly think this is the perfect primer for a perfect flawless face.
The Ultimate Mascara: Benefit They're Real. Benefit was a contender for brand of the year and came a close second place, I am absolutely loving Benefit this year, they've really upped their game. Plus, this mascara is just epic, I got it as a free sample with Elle magazine and bought about 5 copies so that I never run out of it. I then bought my Mum the full sized mascara so that she could try it too, and as well as me, she also loves it - we are now a family of Benefit lovers. Benefit's They're Real makes lashes incredibly long and not too black. I love L'Oreal Telescopic mascara, but it tends to get a bit messy as it's almost too wet, with They're Real, it's the perfect consistency and shade.
I would love to know what your favourite beauty products or brands are! Let me know in the comments below. Have you tried any of the above or would you like to? Lots of love, Em x