2017 Beauty Favorites + GIVEAWAY!

Hey y’all and welcome to 2018! I love reflecting on the trials, accomplishments, and lessons learned at the end of each year, and it was fun for me to look back on all of the adventures 2017 brought my way. From Taiwan to Korea to Thailand to the USA and back to Okinawa, I covered a lot of ground and made so many memories. I also like to evaluate the products I have in my collection and decide what I should keep, what I should toss, and what I should repurchase. Every year, I write a favorites blog about the standout products of the year before. So without further ado, here are my 10 beauty favorites (plus a bonus shoe fave!) from 2017, and if you make it to the bottom, you’ll have a chance to win one of them! All I ask is that you follow my blog and leave a comment with one of your resolutions or favorite products 😊

Burberry Brit Rhythm for Her Eau de Toilette / Fragrances are very personal, but I loooove this ultra-feminine perfume! It’s floral without being stuffy, sweet without sending middle school flashbacks, and woodsy while maintaining its femininity. I wear this daily and frequently get compliments. Not gonna lie, I just dabbed some on my wrists just to smell it. Mmmm…< a href=”http://tartecosmetics.com/en_US/makeup/face/concealer/shape-tape-contour-concealer/836.html?dwvar_836_color=tan&cgid=makeup-face-concealer#start=1&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in Light Sand / Let’s be real. This concealer basically broke the internet in 2017. According to Tarte, one of these beautiful babies is sold every 20 seconds. If you haven’t tried Tarte Shape Tape, get on it, because this stuff is amazing. It’s full coverage without being detectable, and you get a significant amount of product (10 ml)–I purchased this in July and am still using it daily in January. No drugstore concealer (even my favorites!) can top this, and it’s 100% worth the splurge.

Too Faced Sweet Peach Papa Don’t Peach Blush / I think the only blush I’ve consistently recommended on my blog is Benefit’s Dallas. I have a little confession to share about that…I’ve barely used it at all since purchasing this blush 🙈. Papa Don’t Peach is still bronzey and natural-looking, but it brightens up your face in a way Dallas can’t. It smells just like Too Faced’s other peach items, and you get 9g of product, so it’ll last a while even with daily use. Plus, I can’t get past the freakin’ adorable packaging!

Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil with Argan and Coconut Oils / People with oily skin tend to be afraid of facial oils and oil cleansers, but they’re actually beneficial for all skin types! Some oils can even regulate sebum production 😍 This Burt’s Bees oil cleanser is actually my favorite of the several I’ve tried, which is surprising considering it contains coconut oil, which breaks me out on its own. I use this to remove my makeup before cleansing, and I can’t get over how well it removes my makeup or how soft it leaves my skin. I’ve pretty much ditched makeup wipes for this, AND it hasn’t broken me out!

Sexy Hair Vibrant CC Hair Perfector / After getting highlights sometime mid-year, I felt my hair start to ride the struggle bus. It was stringy, lifeless, and a little straw-like. I picked this up on a whim and OMG. After just one night of using it, my hair was radically different. I became an instant believer. This product makes your hair so soft, and it smells delish!

wet n wild Photo Focus Foundation / So, can we talk about how this foundation is less than $6? 👀 It’s medium-full coverage, so smooth, super lightweight, and DAMN. It just plain makes your face look fabulous. I like it best when applied with a damp sponge, and the coverage is buildable at pretty much all levels. So whether you want a flawless full-coverage face, or a sheer wash of even coverage, this foundation can do it for you. I bought it enough to buy a shade for each level of the fake-tanning cycle. That’s commitment.

Tarte Cosmetics Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara / I’m about to make a bold statement. I think this is my holy grail mascara. Yep, I said it. Why is no one talking about this?! I had never even heard of it until I saw it mentioned in one of Tarte’s Instagram stories. I ordered it at random during a points promotion for platinum members on Ulta.com and my lashes have never been the same. This mascara does everything I wish Too Faced’s Better than Sex mascara did. It gives you tons of length, medium volume, and won’t flake or smear throughout the day. I have excessively watery eyes, and this has never run. I even tested it with actual tears once. Still no running. Do your lashes a favor and buy this. Oh, and supposedly it also nourishes your lashes and stuff 🤷🏼

Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum with Willowherb / If you have textured skin and/or large pores, this serum is a must-have. It doesn’t have the consistency of a serum, it’s more like a gel moisturizer, and it absorbs right into your skin. Origins claims this serum will solve your skin’s quarter life crisis, and I think they’re right. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in the texture of my skin, and I think my pores are slowly starting to look smaller as well. My skin’s usually pretty dull as well, and this gives me a glow without making me shiny or dewy.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips All-In-1 Custom Nude Palette / Hi, my name is Shelbie and I’m a snooze alarm addict. So, basically, a stoplight-styled messy bun, exta-shot latte, and 10-minute face are my workweek staples. I need versatile products I can take on the go, and it’s always a bonus if they’re inexpensive. Thataylaa has raved about this palette for forever, but I only purchased it a few months ago. The palette is made up of 12 shimmery shades, ranging from ivory to pale pink to copper to bronze. I frequently use the four top-left shades swirled together as a higlight on my cheekbones, nose, and browbones, with one of the light pink shades on my lids and the darkest shade in my crease. It’s also stunning all swirled together and topped over your blush. If you like shimmer, I’m confident this can be a short-on-time staple for you, too!

Toms Women’s Majorca Cutout Sandal, Taupe Suede / This is my bonus fave. And you’re probably eye-rolling at the fact that I’m recommending a pair of TOMS heels, but stay with me. These are my daily go-to work shoes. I can dress them up with ankle-length trousers or dress them down with jeans, and they are SO. DAMN. COMFORTABLE. Seriously. I walk about 2 miles a day on my lunch at work, and I can comfortably walk that in these shoes without any pain or blistering. I don’t even think I can do that in my running shoes, tbh. The heel is high enough to enhance your legs, but low enough to prevent you from eating pavement. They are well worth the investment and I’ve already purchased a backup pair. (BTW they’re as low as $45 on Amazon right now and retail for $130!)

Because I love these products so much, I want to share one of them with you! Enter my Amazon Giveaway to win a Vibrant Sexy Hair CC Hair Perfector here . Don’t forget to subscribe to wisconsinwhimsy and comment your resolution or favorite product below!

Happy new year! xo, Shelbie | By the way, I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website, although all opinions stated here are my own. Your purchase helps support my little space on the internet, and I’m grateful for it.

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How I’ve Been Treating My Acne

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’re familiar with my acne-prone, sensitive, oily skin. I feel like I’ve tried an endless flood of skincare regimens from the drugstore, from high-end brands, from gimmicky infomercials (cough, Proactiv). I’ve tried exercising more often, drinking more water, getting more sleep, hormonal birth control, a cocktail of antibiotics and a handful of prescription topicals. (Haven’t tried that viral charcoal face mask, though, and don’t count on that ever happening) If you’ve dealt with stubborn acne before, you can understand that the struggle is real. I’ve spent a crazy amount of time and money trying to feel less insecure about my skin, an unsuccessful endeavor until recently.

Moving to Okinawa was not kind to my skin – I don’t know if it was the stress of an international move, adjusting to the climate or both, but my skin really did not like moving here! The photo on the left was taken in late November and the photo on the right was taken in March of this year. Crazy, right??? I feel like I may be jinxing myself just by posting this. If you can believe it, I actually reduced my skincare regimen to just THREE steps 😱 I know. You’re probably thinking I’m about to go multi-level marketing on you (I’m not) or that it’s unrealistic given the transformation of my skin, but it’s the real deal. I do occasionally add steps as needed, like masks or a night cream, depending on my skin’s condition, but I try to keep it simple on a daily basis.

  1. Wash // Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash // $22 @ Origins
    • I use this with my Clarisonic at night and usually skip this step in the morning and go straight to toner.
    • My skin has never felt dry or tight while using this cleanser. I’m low-key obsessed.
  2. Tone // The Body Shop Pomegranate Invigorating Toner // $15.50 @ The Body Shop
    • This toner surprisingly feels moisturizing and removes any impurities my cleanser didn’t wash away. Bonus: it smells good.
  3. Moisturize + Treat // This step consists of the following two products combined:
    • Holika Holika 99% Aloe Soothing Gel // $8 from Amazon
      • I got this for free with other Holika Holika purchases while in Korea, but you can find it on Amazon and MemeBox for a reasonable price!
    • Plant Therapy Zit Fighter Synergy // $15 @ Plant Therapy
      • I mentioned this in my last blog!
      • This is an undiluted essential oil blend of geranium bourbon, pink grapefruit, cedarwood deodara, peppermint, rosemary, Roman chamomile. You must dilute it to use it safely!

I emptied the entire tube of aloe gel into a separate container and added 10-15 drops of the essential oil blend. I apply it every morning and evening with a cotton ball and voila! My skin has never been clearer or more balanced. I started to see results within a few days of using the Zit Fighter Synergy and I’m so grateful that I took a chance on it after reading reviews. It has a bit of a strong smell and will make your eyes water if you apply it too close to the eye area, but I don’t mind the odor. And I can handle the occasional accidental eye stinging if my skin looks this fab all the time! I feel much more comfortable wearing BB cream or even going foundation-free than I ever have before. The aloe/oil combo doesn’t make me oily, either. I actually feel like it balances my skin and makes it less oily! I’ve also noticed that my skin redness has been significantly reduced as well. After 12 years of dealing with acne, I’m incredibly thankful for a break.

I should also add that I got a shower head filter, which I also believe helped with the rapid reduction of my acne. I got the Zit Fighter Synergy and the filter on the same mail day, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship 😅 I purchased the CaptainEco 8-Step Advanced Shower Filter from Amazon for $30 and highly recommend it if your household water is treated with chlorine. It’s helped my skin and my hair.

I still have occasional minor blemishes, but the majority of the marks remaining on my face are scars. I recently picked up Boots Vitamin C Smoothing Serum (sadly only available in Thailand, so I’ll try not to get too attached to it!) in hopes it might help fade them. If you have recommendations for scar-fading skin care products, please let me know in the comments!

Wishing you well,

xx Shelbie