Top Beauty Picks of 2013: 13 Products to Pretty

A new year brings new hopes, new opportunities and new beginnings. And along with it, the much awaited blog post of the year: The Best of Beauty. I don't know about you but I've spent the last two weeks reading blog posts after blog posts and watching all my favourite beauty vloggers, sharing and discussing their top beauty picks of 2013. And I can't get enough. It's partly down to my nosy nature but it's also due to my obsession with all things beauty. This is my third time compiling my favourite beauty finds of the past year and it is by far my favourite post to write.

Unlike other bloggers, I didn't have any difficulty narrowing down my choices and deciding which products truly deserved a spot on my list. I knew exactly what products to include and I think it's a clear testament to how much I love each and everyone of them. 2013 has been a great year for beauty. I tried my fair share of new beauty products, discovered and fell in love with several brands (mainly Bourjois) and I had such a blast while I was at it. But 13 products stood out among the pool of prettiness. (Three are repeats from last year and I counted the make-up brushes as one) So without further ado, here are the winners- the crème de la crème of my make-up stash.

To kick things off, we have Bourjois Happy Light Luminous Serum Primer. Prior to purchasing this, I only had one primer in my collection- the wonder that is the Benefit POREfessional. To be honest with you, I never understood the need for primers. With my current lifestyle right now, I don't need my foundation to last me more than 8 hours. The only reason why I use POREfessional is because it helps to minimize the appearance of my pores. But I completely understand the fuss with primers now and boy, it's all thanks to this offering from Bourjois. This skincare/make-up hybrid instantly hydrates my skin, leaving it looking and feeling a lot more smoother and softer. Although it's not the mattifying version, this complexion enhancing primer leaves a semi-matte finish while still delivering the most subtle natural looking radiant glow, without leaving my skin shimmery in the slightest. It creates the perfect smooth canvas for my foundation to adhere to, resulting in a smoother and easier application. Smooth, hydrated, radiant looking skin- for my dull dry skin, this has been a life-saver. 

When it came to nailing the no make-up I just woke up looking quite the bombshell with flawless skin look, I opted for light coverage foundations.When it comes to bases, I always prefer a light coverage because I don't have any major imperfections that requires covering up. (Not a day goes by when I don't thank my lucky stars). Apart from the occasional minimal redness, a few spots that are few and far between, I only have my terrible permanent under-eye circles to deal with. So with that said, the two foundations I relied on were: Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation in 150 Nude and Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in 210 Sandy Beige. I spent the majority of 2013 going back and forth between them. Why? They both offer a natural finish to the skin. Their coverage is light- just how I like it but still very buildable (especially the Fit Me foundation) without leaving me in a cakey mess. I can layer on their formula but they will still leave me with a second layer of perfect, natural looking skin. Their lightweight formulas blends seamlessly into the skin, blurring out my minimal imperfections and covers redness with great ease. As for the finish, it's a cross between matte and dewy. It sits perfectly in between, leaving me with a subtle natural luminous finish. They add a subtle dewy, glow-y veil without the unwanted shine. Flawless, fresh complexion with lightweight,easy to buff in formulas? Me gusta :)

The only face make-up product, lucky enough to appear twice in a row in my annual Best of Beauty post, Nars Casino Bronzer rightfully deserved the nickname I've given it The Bombshell Tool (quite creative no?) This highly pigmented chocolate brown bronzer with its soft, finely milled texture creates cheekbones like no other. While it consists of micro golden shimmers, they're subtle enough and it has more of a matte finish than shimmery, making it the ideal contour shade for my complexion. If I wanted to channel my inner Kardashian for a day, I called my trusted and ultimate bronzer BFF to lend me a helping hand. Swept under or on my cheekbones, it instantly slims down my round face and sculpts- giving my face the much needed definition. It made my dreams of having it's all down to genes chiseled cheekbones a reality. Lightly dusted all over my face where the sun naturally shines(forehead, cheeks, nose and chin), it warms up my complexion, offering the most natural looking sun kissed glow. Casino+Me= LOVE.

My most used (shall I say abused?) eyeshadow palette the Urban Decay Naked Palette was a favourite in 2012 and it was still a firm favourite in 2013. It has certainly earned its holy grail status because it served me well.... time and time again. What's not to love? Do I even need to elaborate? A beautiful palette with a wide selection of all needs are met shades from bronzes, golds and taupes- it's heaven. It has always been about Smog, Darkhorse and Toasted but the 2 buttery soft matte shades- Buck and Naked captured my heart last year. All shades are super blendable and incredibly pigmented. Surprise pick? Definitely not.

2013 has been quite the year for cream blushes. Cream blushes dominated my cheeks in full force. I developed a massive crush on them and rightly so. For a gal who considers dry skin as her annoying relative that she has to put up with on a regular basis, they are far more forgiving than powder blushes. As long as I prep my skin with plenty of hydration in the form of a moisturizer, they don't accentuate nor do they cling onto dry patches as much. Plus as long as I blend them correctly into my skin, they look a lot more natural. The cream blush that ignited my love and served as the catalyst for my newly found obsession with the stuff was Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Pinched. I spent the first half of 2013 abusing this blush. Not a day went by without me layering this beaut of a blush. Then summer came and Bourjois released their line of cream blushes. Bourjois Cream Blush in 02 Healthy Glow quickly found a permanent residence inside my make-up bag. Pinched is a lovely light soft peach that I reached for when I wanted to add a pop of freshness to my cheeks. Its faint pinkish peach hue is beautiful and irresistible as it is softly and quietly pretty. Healthy Glow is a deep peachy coral. For a healthy flush, this was my blush of choice. Both shades are actually very similar in terms of their colour, once applied to my cheeks. Pinched is just a tad lighter and due to its thinner formula, I do need to layer it on to achieve the same colour payoff as Healthy Glow but it was  the perfect choice, on the days when all I wanted was a minimal color on my cheeks. Their silky soft consistency makes them a dream to apply. They're so easy to blend and once blended into the skin, they both transform to a semi-matte powder finish while still injecting such a beautiful, natural looking glow.

The Real Techniques Contour Brush with its densely packed but not rigid bristles is perfect for applying my cream blushes to the apples of my cheeks. The bristles always pick up just the right amount of product and blends them in beautifully. Its small size is so ideal for blush application.

To keep my lips nicely smooth and soft, all year round- Elemis Fresh Skin Loving Lips Quenching Lip Balm (phew! What a mouthful) stepped up to the challenge. Formulated with sweet almond oil, Vitamin E and passion flower oil, it moisturizes, soothes and softens my lips. It has such a nice, refreshing peppermint candy scent (think Polo and Mentos) It also leaves a noticeable subdued glossy finish which is similar to a lipgloss but it's non sticky and I love it.

Lipstick wise, one thing is crystal clear to me. I love me some glossy lipstick/lipgloss/lipbalm hybrids with plenty of shine. 2013 saw the addition of 2 beloved lipsticks to my everyday make-up bag. Maybelline Color Whisper in Orange Attitude and Bourjois Color Boost Glossy Lipstick/Lip Crayon in Orange Punch were the clear winners in their category. They both look quite a vibrant orange in their respective packaging but they apply less orange, more coral to the lips. In terms of their colour, texture and finish- they're so identical, in so many ways. Hydrating, sheer but buildable wash of juicy orange toned muted coral made them the perfect candidates for perking up my complexion. Once applied to the lips, I honestly cannot tell the difference between them. Swatched side by side, it's easy to spot the difference between the shades. Orange Attitude significantly pulls a little bit more orange, whereas Orange Punch has more of a pink undertone thus, making it a pink toned coral. Due to their glossy nature, they don't stick around for too long (1 1/2 hrs max). Do I wish for them to hang around a lot longer? Yes. Does it bother me that they don't? Not in the slightest.

For a subtle nod to the bold lip trend trend, I enlisted the help of my Burberry Lip Glow in Pink Sweet Pea during the latter part of 2013 (thanks to Nic for her very generous giveaway :) ) With its great I can't believe it's not a lipstick pigmentation, it fits the bill every.single.time. 1 swipe and you'll have yourself a semi-opaque coverage, double it up and you'll have yourself some serious pigmentation for a lipgloss. Pink Sweet Pea is a stunning rich, highly pigmented vibrant fuchsia pink. The nourishing oils and ceramides (with its excellent moisturizing properties) cushion the lips with impressive hydration. My lips look so hydrated and plump every time I've reached for it because the formula imparts such a lovely luscious shine to the lips. Longwearing (lasts up to 3 hours on me) but non-sticky formula that also feels cushion-y when worn? Give me some more shades please.

Dry patches didn't stand a chance with Origins Drink Up 10 min mask by my side. This is a skin care saviour in a tube. As mentioned above, I tend to suffer from dry patches especially on my cheeks. I tend to get them all year round, but they were particularly bad last year especially during the last couple of weeks. (In the run-up to Christmas, how typical) For a quick boost of hydration, I didn't have to look far. The cocktail of moisture boosting and thirst- quenching ingredients such as Algae Extracts and Apricot Kernel Oil truly helped with replenishing the needed moisture back into my skin. Prior to the onslaught of the dreaded evil, sadistic dry patches at the start of November last year, I used this once a week and it kept my dry patches at bay. Applied as a weekly treat, my skin just drinks it up. It sinks in really quickly. I find it incredibly hydrating and soothing, leaving my entire face feeling so smooth and soft. Leave it on for 10-15 mins then tissue/rinse off (I tend to use a soft face cloth to remove it) and hey presto, nourished, softer skin with no sign of greasiness is mine! Applied twice weekly, whenever my skin  required more hydration for example during November, it immediately solved my dry skin woes and showed my dry patches the door. Regular use results in fewer dry patches. Fewer dry patches= HAPPY DIANE. Did I mention that it also has such a nice peachy fruity scent?

For achieving a natural looking, my skin but a whole lot better, fresh faced finish and to achieve a seamless and flawless foundation application ( or any other liquid/cream products for that matter) the Real Techniques Buffing Brush was still THE ONE. This brush is to me, what Chuck is to Blair. A love pairing so powerful, they should always be inseparable. Match made in heaven? YES!

As for the Real Techniques Blush Brush , it's slightly too fluffy and large for applying blush onto the apples of my cheeks but where it fails in blush application, it makes it up during bronzer application. It contours and defines my cheeks perfectly. The tapered end makes it ideal for applying a contour shade into the hollows of my cheeks.

No 7 Blend and Contour Brush has been my partner in crime for the last 3 years. The love is still going strong. After countless washes, not once did it shed a single hair and it serves me well as far as blending is concerned. 

So there we have it, my beauty favourites of 2013. If my experience with beauty in 2013 is anything to go by, I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for me. Needless to say, I'm going to take you on the journey with me. :)


  1. The Bourjois primer sounds SO nice! <3

    Jennie xo |

  2. great favorites - how have i never heard of that bourjois primer? i still have yet to find a primer that i love, so maybe this will be the one! i'm crossing my fingers that it'll come to hong kong ;) and that revlon photoready cream blush is so pretty, looks like the perfect color for spring time! thank you for the sweet comment on my blog, so glad i got to discover yours too! am your newest reader now :)

    rachel x

  3. Anonymous21/1/14

    Really great choices! I love Real Techniques brushes!

    Ray | Obey Ray

  4. totally agreed with the naked palette x

  5. Anonymous5/2/14

    Such a lovely post :) your photos look so professional! I'm now following you :)

  6. I love your blog it's so nice. I love the naked palette as well. I haven't tried the real techniques brushes but heard great reviews on them. :D

    followed you, please do the same.

  7. Can not live without my Real Techniques Brushes!! Great Post
    Ive nominated you to take part in the Liebster Awards, check out my blog to get involved

  8. Thank you for such a fab review! I really want to try the Burberry gloss and Origins mask now. x

    P.S. I am hosting a giveaway at the moment and hope you can enter - you'll find a link in my Monday post. :)


If you have any questions relating to a product please don't hesitate to ask. I'd love to answer them. I'd always try to reply as promptly as I can. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate and read every single one of them. Have a beautiful day ahead of you, beautiful :)