10 Game Changing Products I Tried in 2018

I wasn't sure if I was going to write a best of 2018 beauty favorites post because as I was writing my list, I realized it's basically a regurgitation of my seasonal favorites (and if you didn't read those-- here are my winter favorites, spring favorites, summer favorites, and fall favorites.) So to switch things up, I decided to whip up this post on my favorite game-changing products of 2018. Yes, most of these were also featured in my seasonal favorites BUT today I'll be talking about how they changed my approach to skincare, haircare, makeup, yadda yadda yadda.

1. Biologique Recherche Lotion P50V

$28.00 via Rescue Spa

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Gluconolactone, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Lactic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, Vinegar (Acetum), Magnesium Chloride, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Phytic Acid, Spongilla Lactus Spicule Extract, Yeast Extract, Horseradish Root Extract, Capsicum Frutescens Fruit Extract, Walnut Seed Extract, Arctium Lappa Root (Burdock Root) Extract, Sulfur, Sodium Salicylate, Salicylic Acid, Sorbitol, Sodium Bisulfite, Sodium Benzoate

Any skincare lover worth their salt has heard of Biologique Recherche and their famed Lotion P50. It took me a long time to get around to trying it, because of tales of the stinky scent and burning flesh. But once I did some research, I learned that there are gentler versions out there that don’t smell like death and won’t burn your face off.

I bought P50V which is one of the gentler formulations, targeting towards dry and aging skin. It’s free of phenol and is contains moisturizing and anti-inflammatory ingredients to help balance out all the exfoliants. (It was Farah’s guide that ultimately had me settle on this version.)

It has truly lived up to the hype. Within a week of using it, I saw dramatic improvements to my skin in terms of brightness + fading of dark spots. After 2 months of using it 3x a week, I had the best skin of recent years! It was a tad bit drying, but nothing that couldn’t be counteracted with a generous slathering of essences and toners. As far as the scent goes— it’s mildly vinegary but nothing too heinous. I’ve definitely used stinkier products before.

I’m calling it a game changer because a) it significantly improved my skin and b) it convinced me that BR is a brand worth exploring and not something that’s overhyped by snooty skincare elitists.

2. Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo (PR but have since repurchased on my own)

$40.00 via Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bergdorf, Look Fantastic, & Violet Grey; £24.00 via Cult Beauty

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, TEA-Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamide DEA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Piroctone Olamine, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Alcohol, Magnesium Nitrate, Magnesium Chloride, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, 2-T-Butylcyclohexyl Acetate

I've tried a lot a lot a lot of dandruff shampoos throughout the years. Most of them absolutely stripped my hair and smelled like death. And if they didn't, it's probably because they used something very mild like tea tree oil or menthol. Then this year I discovered this Philip Kingsley shampoo that broke the mold! It smells good, didn't strip my hair, AND contains an effective active ingredient to successfully combat my dandruff-- Piroctone Olamine.

Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for more shampoos and conditioners featuring Piroctone Olamine. Sadly, it isn’t very common amongst American haircare brands but rather amongst EU brands, and doubly sad is that most of them aren’t sold here in the US (dear Bioderma & Klorane, pls bring your dandruff lines to the US!)

If you’re itching (literally) to try this out, I recommend purchasing it from Cult Beauty as they offer the best price and have international shipping!

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3. Chanel ILLUSION D'OMBRE Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in 97 New Moon

$36.00 via Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, & Macy’s

2018 was the year of the cream shadow for me and it all started with Chanel’s new moon. I’ve tried cream shadows before but new moon introduced me to the beauty interdimensionality of a sparkly single shadowed look. I swear, when I quickly rub this on my eyes, it looks like I’ve spent a few good minutes blending out 2 or 3 different eyeshadows. Except I haven’t! It’s the perfect solution for lazy makeup enthusiasts.

I’ve had it for a year now, and it’s still going strong aka hasn’t dried up and shriveled into dust (yet. *knocks on wood*)

4. Sioris Time is Running Out Mist

$18.99 - $22.00 via Amazon, Ohlolly, Jolse, Credithink, & Melody Cosme

Ingredients: *Prunus Mume Fruit Water(78%), Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Propanediol, Water, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Beta-Carotene, Glycerin, Allantoin, Beta-Glucan, Tocopherol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil (*ORGANIC)

I know I just talked about this in my last blog post (my Fall Beauty Favorites), but I’m gonna rave about it again.

This is a bi-phase mist that truly delivers on its moisturizing claims. If you don’t think mists do anything, I think this is a mist that can change your mind. It comes out with a fine spritz and absorbs easily into my skin. At the same time, my skin is noticeably more moisturized afterwards.

Sioris overall is a brand I want to explore more in 2019! Their focus to skincare focuses on seasonal ingredients, which I’ve seen applied to food but not skincare. Furthermore, they use innovative plant based ingredients (not to say that they’re inherently better than synthetic, just something of interest) and seem to focus on effective results gently, while keeping skin hydrated.

5. OMI Brotherhood Verdio UV Moisture Essence SPF50+ PA++++

$13.80 - $14.90 for 50g/ 1.7 oz via eBay & Beautius

Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bisethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Tinosorb S), Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus), Octocrylene, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Acrylates / Alkyl Acrylate C10-30 Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Tocopherol Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Carbomer, BHT, Disodium EDTA , Phenoxyethanol

Things I learned in 2018: the best sunscreens are made in Japan.

They’re lightweight, they provide superior protection (especially in comparison to the decades old sunscreen filters we rely on in the US), they’re relatively affordable, and they don’t leave a white cast. What more could I ask for?!

I tried quite a few sunscreens in 2018 but the Verdio UV Moisture Essence hands down came out as the winner. It’s alcohol and silicone and essential oil and fragrance free. At the same time, it doesn’t feel heavy nor does it leave a white cast. It’s light and liquidy and is absorbed readily, leaving my skin with a healthy, dewy glow. It reapplies beautifully, with no pilling or tackiness. Best part? It costs less than $15! And has SPF 50 PA++++ protection!

6. Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel

$45.00 - 50.00 via Look Fantastic, Goop, & Net-A-Porter; £31.00 via Cult Beauty

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Aqua, Cetearyl Olivate, Sucrose Laurate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Sucrose Palmitate, Parfum (Natural), Geraniol*, Dimethyl Sulfone (MSM), Citronellol**, Dehydroacetic Acid, Lactobacillus/Cucurbita Pepo Fruit Ferment Extract, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Sucrose Stearate, Linalool**, Retinyl Palmitate, CI77491 (natural iron oxide), Jojoba Esters, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate.

I feel like Oskia was at its peak circa 2014 amongst all the cool, British lifestyle vloggers. I might be a few years behind, but it’s okay cause the cleanser is worth it!!

This is a game changer because it introduced me to the magic of gel to oil formulas. This cleanser is dispensed as a goopy gel, but as you rub it into your dry skin it turns into an oil! Afterwards, you splash your face with water and the cleanser emulsifies into a milky consistency and washes away. I love using it as a morning cleanser because it wakes me up and refreshes my face, without drying me out. It’s also not a messy cleanser. It doesn’t drip, it’s easy to wash away. Aka perfect for mornings when you’re half asleep (which is every morning in my case.)

7. Wayne Goss Brush 04 Small Eye Shadow Crease Brush

$28.00 via Beautylish

I wrote a blog post reviewing this brush + a few other Wayne Goss + artis brushes last year, so I won’t get into it too much. But this brush pretty much cemented my love for FUDE and squirrel brushes. I use it almost every time I apply eyeshadow.

It’s soft, evenly blends out eyeshadow— even those with subpar, patchy formulas. I don’t have to wash it too often because it doesn’t cling to powder. And it never scratches or irritates my sensitive eyes. It’s pricey but has absolutely been worth it for me. I’ve fully been indoctrinated into the cult of FUDE (aka handmade Japanese brushes.)

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8. Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

$28.00 via Sephora, Nordstrom, & Revolve; £24.00 via Cult Beauty

Ingredients: Water, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phytantriol, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-37, Tetrasodium EDTA, Magnesium Nitrate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Magnesium Chloride, Etidronic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate.

Like many pre-teen girls, I started frying my hair straight in middle school and continued to do it on a weekly basis through high school. It was in college that I started embracing my curls more, but by then they had kind of withered away into soft waves.

Enter: Olaplex. Olaplex contains a specific active ingredient that helps repair the bonds in our hair proteins. It sounds like some marketing mumbo jumbo, but Lab Muffin reviewed the science and it’s legit!

After using Olaplex, my hair is softer, hydrated, and best of all— has a better curl pattern. It’s a bit of a labor intensive process because you have to wet your hair, put in the treatment, wait, and then shampoo + condition. But it’s absolutely worth it for the results! Since then I’ve started testing the shampoo and will eventually test out the conditioner too.

9. Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo

$42.00 via Sephora, Nordstrom, & The Detox Market; £36.00 via Cult Beauty

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate*, Cocamidopropyl Betaine*, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate*, Glycerin*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate*, Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate*, Microcrystalline Cellulose*, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Panthenol*, Xylitylglucoside*, Charcoal Powder, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Anhydroxylitol*, Bisabolol*, Menthyl Lactate*, Xylitol*, Polyquaternium-7, Fragrance. *Coconut, vegetable, plant, or sugar derived.

It’s like everytime I open Instagram, I discover yet another scalp scrub. But so far, the best one is also one of the first ones I tried— Briogeo’s! It has a whipped texture that makes it easy to apply and rinse out. Plus, the scrubs are small enough to be effective without being too rough. And most importantly, it doesn’t strip my hair. I reviewed a bunch of other scalp scrubs in a scalp scrub round up, and will eventually be publishing a part II this year.

10. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

$45.00 via Sephora, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales; £34.00 via Cult Beauty

Suffering from dehydrated + dry skin means I’m usually not too keen on using powders. Furthermore, it’s just another additional step and I like to keep my makeup as minimalistic and low effort as possible.

BUT I will absolutely make the effort to use this Charlotte Tilbury powder. It’s effective enough to set my makeup and prevent it from easily transferring onto my clothes/ hands/ hair/ etc. But at the same time, it doesn’t completely mattify my face and suck all the moisture out of my face. I still have a slight dew shining through when I use it. I use the medium shade and it also doesn’t leave a white cast on my face nor does it create flashback!

Overall, it gives off a very skin like finish while also slightly blurring my pores!

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