Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum
Sure, the scent of this is a bit too reminiscent of shampoo for my liking, and the texture is like a lightweight, gel-like hair conditioner, but I do think my skin is appreciating what it does. I apply a dollop to my freshly cleansed/toned face in the morning before going in with my regular daytime moisturiser. The extra step boosts plumpness, hydration and protection, resulting in smoother, more balanced and supple skin. I much prefer this to Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum which I'm not sure ever did anything for me. I liked it so much I even bought a whole 40ml bottle (I'm currently using a 15ml sample) during Priceline's latest 40% off skin care sale.
Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening & Tone-Correcting Serum
I can't really comment on the skin-brightening and tone-correcting claims (mainly because I haven't seen any noticeable difference, and/or I haven't been using it consistently or long enough), but I have been enjoying using this as my evening serum. The consistency is unlike anything I've experienced. It's extremely watery upon contact with the skin, but before then, it's somewhat gloopy and thick. Coagulated, even. I'm used to either oils or runny serums, so it took a while to adjust to the entirely new texture. When it is applied, it does feel refreshing and hydrating, sinking into the skin quickly and effectively without the slightest hint of greasiness or heaviness.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche
I use this as a nourishing, plumping night cream after my toners and serums, and it's like a drink of water for my skin. Instant, comforting hydration. Infused with their Thermal Spring Water, it's very moisturising but not unpleasantly thick or oily (unlike Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream). Suitable for dry, sensitive skin, I like that it's very basic (scentless, non-irritating, clinical ingredients), with a creamy texture that spreads out and absorbs well, providing vital protection and moisture.
theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer
I resisted valiantly for a year and a half, but finally caved. Honestly, I don't know why I didn't just buy it earlier. I still prefer the cult Mary-Lou Manizer, simply because the colour is more universal and versatile, but Cindy-Lou is a beautiful, worthwhile addition to my highlighter wardrobe. It's not so much a highlighter in the traditional sense (i.e. belonging to the champagne/pearl family), but pure peachy-pink shimmer. Depending on the rest of your makeup, a strongly pink highlight might be incongruous with the rest of the face, but when it does work, it's eye-catching, unique, and damn pretty.
SUQQU Cheek Brush
I've barely recovered from the amount of money I paid for it, but at least in July, I've been reaching for it daily. It was being neglected for a while because it's not my preferred brush to apply blush, but for highlighters, it's perfect. Especially ultra pigmented, smooth, easily blended, high impact highlighters like Cindy-Lou, Mary-Lou and Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow. I wouldn't have thought to use the Cheek Brush primarily for powder highlighter, but it was Christine of Temptalia that recommended it. The small shape and unrivaled softness of the brush places and diffuses product effortlessly and flawlessly.
l-r: Shimma Shimma, Glamorous, Cosmopolitan, Roulette, Homecoming, Cocoa Bear, Grandstand
Makeup Geek Eyeshadows
FINALLY, I become acquainted with Makeup Geek shadows. Could I have called myself a lover of eyeshadow without having tried these earlier? When I heard the company was holding a free shipping promotion (thanks to the AustralianMakeup subreddit, of all places), I couldn't get onto the site quick enough. After waiting an age and almost giving up hope my order would ever arrive (though realistically, shipping time was less than 3 weeks), my precious cargo arrived safe and sound.
Sure, I basically have all the warm-toned, orangey/bronzey/rose goldy colours in a combination of Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar and Morphe Brushes Jaclyn Hill Favorites Palette, but who's counting. I love all the shades I picked out, but especially Glamorous, Homecoming and Grandstand. Roulette is the only one that I'm slightly iffy about, in that it's a bit too brightened, in-your-face red for everyday wear, and extremely similar to a few existing shadows I have (LORAC Garnet from the Pro Palette and Morphe Mysterious ES11 come to mind). Still, the shadows are incredible quality: beautifully pigmented, vibrant, smooth, easy to blend, and complex in their colours and finishes. I'm honestly impressed and despite not needing any more eyeshadow for the next 3 decades, I want to order more.