14 Favorites from 2014

Happy 2015, all! While there were some favorites from 2013 that remained stapes throughout 2014 (YÜLI Halcyon and #ED4OLO Cleansing Oil, looking at you, reviews here and here), there were also many delightful new discoveries in 2014, including new friends, new shops, and new products. Let’s take a look:


Oils that keep my skin healthy and hydrated – tie between YÜLI and Roiel
YÜLI’s Liquid Courage is like a healthy shot of vitamins for my face. There is at least a month straight in the fall where I was using this that is legendarily burned into my mind where I had exceptionally clear and healthy skin. Roiel Cosmetics’ Marula Oil has been wonderful as a heavier oil as the weather has sunk into winter. (YÜLI: Spirit Beauty Lounge, YÜLI; Roiel: Roiel Cosmetics)

Quick and delightful treatment for post-acne marks – Odacite
Here is another legendary several weeks burned into my mind where one day, I had some pretty red post-acne marks (popping may have been involved) and a week or two later, I was squinting in the mirror wondering, “Where did they go?” Pa+G Serum Concentrate, you rock. (The Detox Market, Odacite)

Extraordinary eye-depuffing gel – SkinOwl
I yearned for Eye+ months after this was applied on me during skin prep at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque (recap here). When I finally got my hands on it (birthday present from mum, as requested from me, thanks mum!), I thought, “Why did I wait so long?!” The cooling sensation feels incroyable and these puffy eyes that see many a late night are nearly instantly depuffed upon application. (Pemberley Jones, SkinOwl)

Intoxicating perfumes that won’t alter my hormones – tie between Strange Invisible Perfumes and Lotus Wei
This was the year I got into perfumes. On a whim, I asked the fellows at the SIP table at #ANFG to perfume match me to something jasmine-y (May Lindstrom’s Jasmine Garden got me hooked)–they sprayed Fair Verona on me and I walked around for the rest of the night telling people to smell me and then bought the perfume (my visit to their flagship store recapped here). Another one that’s really grown on me (just as it’s run out, too) is Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love Perfume. Small but mighty, I never fail to get comments on it whenever I wear it out, from girls and guys. Intoxicating, I tell you. (SIP: Spirit Beauty Lounge, Integrity Botanicals, SIP; LW: The Detox Market)

Highlighters that give my eyes a glow and make my cheekbones pop – tie between Kjaer Weis and La Bella Figura
Move over, Living Luminizer, there’s new boys in town. Kjaer Weis’s Radiance highlighter is gorgeous. It’s the most obviously sparkly highlighter I’ve used, but it makes my eyes sparkle and cheekbones pop like no other. For something a little more subtler (think twinkles when lights shine) plus a little sensory experience, I’ve enjoyed La Bella Figura’s Brazilian Denise highlighter, whose rose flower wax sometimes has been dabbing it on my wrists as a perfume. (KW: The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty; LBF: The Detox Market, La Bella Figura, Eco Diva Beauty)

Softest kabuki brush that makes putting on foundation a joy – W3ll People
After Shirley Pinkson applied the Altruist mineral foundation using this brush at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque, I was like, boom, need to have this. I semi-liked Altruist before, but after this I really liked Altruist. Awesome brushes, i.e. incredibly soft kabuki brushes, make a difference. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty, Integrity Botanicals)

The nail polish I won’t take off – Aila x BeauTeaBar
I’m not allowed to wear nail polish on my fingernails because of piano. Or rather, if I wear nail polish, other pianists will severely judge me for being flippant/not-serious/ridiculously whimsical. So after lessons finished for the semester, I doused my fingernails and toenails in this. Now, several weeks later, it’s slowly chipping off but I don’t want to take it off completely…the rose gold is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. And I shine like a diamond. (BeauTeaBar)

Revolutionary serum foundation that dries to a powdery finish – Gressa Skin
I’ve had this annoying problem with foundations where after application, my skin looks dry–like it seems like there are flakes on my skin but I’m not always feeling as dry as I look. (Now that I think about it, sounds like pilling.) I don’t get that with Gressa’s Corrective Serum Foundation. Also I don’t break out with this, which before only happened with mineral foundations. And it dries to a powdery finish even though it starts out like a serum. What? Yeah. For reference, I wear shade 03. (Gressa Skin)

Go-to blemish eradicator – Indie Lee
Go to bed looking like you have pink chicken pox, wake up, wash it off, and blemishes will have shrunken down. I ran out of the Blemish Lotion before #ANFGB, bantered with the delightful Indie Lee at #ANFGB, thought about buying it there, didn’t, severely regretted it, and caved in and bought another several months later with no regrets. (Follain, Indie Lee)

Delicious, buttery cleansing balm with a sensory experience – de Mamiel
Softer than butter, smells like a bouquet of flowers, works perfectly with a massage to wipe away makeup, and makes my skin happy. Restorative Cleansing Balm: wins all around. (Seed to Serum)

Best-smelling and volume-inducing dry shampoo – One Love Organics
Because second-day hair actually smells pretty bad. Healthy Locks dry shampoo gives my gravity-loving Asian hair some grit and volume while also a nice smell. (Integrity Botanicals, Eco Diva Beauty, One Love Organics)

The gel that scares away dry skin – Osmia
Active Gel Toner is, I think, exactly what my skin needed last winter, instead of futile different layering combinations of oils and moisturizers. The skin feels miles more hydrated this year. (The Detox Market, Osmia Organics)

Favorite as an SPF AND a day cream – Josh Rosebrook
This has got me hooked with its amazing scent (a common factor for all of Josh’s skincare products), its complete lack of white cast and all that makes sunscreen abominable, and its really awesome performance as a cream moisturizer. I don’t typically like cream moisturizers, but I love the Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30. (The Detox Market, Follain, Josh Rosebrook)

What changed my mind about setting powders – Ilia
I am a sweaty person and I used to let my oil run free. Then I dotted Fade Into You over my T-zone and realized what a mistake that was. The very convenient application doesn’t hurt either. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Follain)

What were some of your favorites from 2014? See any here?

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All products were purchased by myself except for YÜLI Liquid Courage and Roiel Cosmetics Marula Oil, which were both kindly sent to me.
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One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo

I can split my hair-washing relationship so far into 3 disjoint phases:

  1. When I was younger, I hated washing my hair and tried various ways to trick my parents into thinking that I did wash my hair when in fact I didn’t (there was a similar theme going on at the time with brushing my teeth–I must have been a stinky kid)
  2. When I was in middle school-mid-high school and realized my hair can make some serious grease, I loved washing my hair daily.
  3. Since mid-high school, I’ve realized that hair oils aren’t the devil and that washing my hair every other day keeps it healthy and me creative with 2nd-day hair (yay braids and buns and ponytails and more braids). Also, every other night, I can be in and out of the shower before the mirror even starts to fog up (win!).


During phase 3, I discovered the wondrous (and at first, seemingly contradicting) thing that is dry shampoo. I’ve used Acure Organics’ reliable dry shampoo, been on the fence about Lulu Organics’ dry shampoo, but I’ve loved, loved, loved One Love Organics’ Healthy Locks dry shampoo, which is part of OLO’s Limited Summer Skim Collection.

So, how can you shampoo your hair but not get it wet??? On the mornings after the nights I haven’t washed my hair, I sprinkle and rub the powder throughout sections of my hair, leave it for a couple of minutes, brush it out, and style my hair for the day (check out an Insta-video I did with Acure’s dry shampoo). The powder absorbs the grease–maybe not to the point where it looks like 1st-day hair, but enough to where my roots aren’t super greasy.

Why I love Healthy Locks the most:

  • It absorbs grease exceptionally
  • It lightly perfumes my hair with a gardenia scent (delicious)
  • Even though the powder is white, it blends in with my black hair. Sometimes I just rub in the powder and walk out without thoroughly brushing the powder out of my hair and so far, no one has told me that my dandruff has been exceptionally bad (or maybe this shows people are nice/uncomfortable with awkwardness)
  • It leaves behind a textured feeling that lends easily to styling
  • It gives a tiny bit of oomph and doesn’t weigh down my hair. As a straight-haired gal, when my hair is greasy, it sticks to my head like a helmet. This prevents that.

The magic = starches + clay + baking soda + bamboo extract + hyaluronic acid + their proprietary gardenia scent. Starches, clays, and baking soda in dry shampoos is pretty standard, but whoa hello bamboo and hyaluronic acid. Bamboo extract is rich in silica (I’m assuming the extract has more than the general bamboo plant, which generally is composed to 9% silica), which is silicon + oxygen (stay with me)–
1) Hair is one of the most abundant sources of silicon in the body
2) Silicon is important for bone formation, collagen synthesis

All that to say, I am thinking the bamboo extract is the “strengthens” part of the “softens, strengthens, and nourishes hair” description. Now, the hyaluronic acid–something much more commonly seen in skincare these days as the ultimate hydrator penetrating deep into the skin and plumping up wrinkles. This is probably the “softens” and “nourishes” part of the description–after all, I am rubbing it into my roots and my scalp.

tl;dr My fave dry shampoo, and it has to be limited edition. Makes my hair smell really good, look way less greasy, and a teeny bit of oomph to my straight hair. Get it before it’s gone!! (Will be on sale until September 15 at OLO but you can also get it at Integrity Botanicals and Eco Diva Beauty, I’m assuming, until they stay in stock!) Let’s also just say I have 2 of these on hand for when I run out of my current little bottle.

Have you tried this dry shampoo? If not, what do you use to extend your hair wash? 

Ingredients: oryza sativa (rice) starch, organic zea mays (corn) starch, kaolin, sodium bicarbonate, tapioca starch, bambusa (bamboo) arundinacea stem extract, silica (and) sodium hyaluronate, proprietary natural and organic fragrance compounds

Disclaimer: I’ve purchased this product at least 3 times from OLO’s website (once in person at #ANFGB). All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for my words in any shape or form.

Additional Sources:
Ding, T.p., J.x. Zhou, D.f. Wan, Z.y. Chen, C.y. Wang, and F. Zhang. “Silicon Isotope Fractionation in Bamboo and Its Significance to the Biogeochemical Cycle of Silicon.” Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 72.5 (2008): 1381-395. Web.

Price, Charles T., Kenneth J. Koval, and Joshua R. Langford. “Silicon: A Review of Its Potential Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis.” International Journal of Endocrinology 2013 (2013): 1-6. Web.

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Acure Organics Dry Shampoo

Cannot stress how much this dry shampoo saves my life daily. I have pretty oily hair and awkward bangs that I’m kind of growing out so I can barely survive washing my hair every other day. But with this product, I tap a bit of the powder in my hand, press it into the roots of my hair, leave it in for a couple minutes, brush it out, and voila — non-greasy hair for the win. ($12.99)