Best of Beauty 2017

In the spirit of *~*beauty blogging*~* I’ve decided to hop on board and do a Best of Beauty for the year 2017! While 2017 was a crazy (some good, some bad) year for most other aspects of our lives, the beauty industry did not disappoint. I’ll be naming my favorites from multiple categories and I hope you find some new things you want to try! As always, these are products that worked for ME and they range from drugstore/inexpensive brands to higher end/expensive products. So without further ado, my picks for 2017!

SKIN (definitely the biggest category of the year):

Tatcha The Water Cream


I’m obsessed with this moisturizer. Especially in the AM, it gives me a perfect amount of moisture without making me feel like my foundation is slipping off my face. I know tons of people have talked about this product, but it’s only because the hype is real. I also love that it comes with a small gold applicator, it’s so bougie but it’s cleaner not to stick your fingers in the container!

Tatcha The Essence Plumping Skin Softener


So I originally tried this product because I was interested in the SK-II Essence. I love products that are “out of the ordinary” and not something someone would normally use. It’s not a necessary step to your routine, but I’ve seen such a difference. It makes it so I use less of my other product, because it infuses in the skin with moisture. If you’re willing to splurge on an anti-aging product, this is the one to get!

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum


I am a firm believer that everyone should have a vitamin c serum included in their regimen. Vitamin C helps fight pollution and free radicals (which age us quicker). This particular serum also has enzymes in it which act as pac men to eat away at dead skin. You only use it in the morning so you don’t go through it as quick, and I’ve seen a huge difference in the brightness in my skin!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2%


Hyaluronic acid is ANOTHER product you need in your routine, and this serum is fantastic! I actually love to cocktail it together with the C-Firma serum in the morning. Hyaluronic acid can hold its 1000x it’s weight in water, so when I’m feeling especially dry or dehydrated this is the perfect fix!

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion


You know those tiny little texture bumps you get on the surface of your skin that are impossible to get rid of? Use this retinoid serum and they’ll vanish. I’ve seen a huge improvement in texture since using this. It can also help with wrinkles and dark spots!

Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment


Okay so if you haven’t heard of this mask, I kindly invite you to come out of the rock you’ve been living under. It’s everywhere and for good reason. Every time I’m feeling congested or having “monthly inflammation” AKA period blemishes…. I reach for this baby. Just one use a week is enough to help keep congestion at bay.

Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment


Alternatively, this is the mask I use when I am in need of a surge of moisture. It smells like a beach vacation and feels soooo good on the skin. You can also sleep in it which I love because sometimes I’m far too lazy to mask and wash it off… #thestruggle. When I wake up my skin is plump and full of hydration! Idaho weather (especially in winter) literally sucks any and all moisture out of the skin, so this mask is a necessity.

Tarte Pack Your Bags 911 Undereye Rescue Patches


Okay so a bit off topic but I promise it pertains to this product. My boyfriend, since I’m convinced he hates me, requested that we watch that movie “A Dog’s Purpose”. Have you SEEN that movie? I’ve never cried so hard in my entire life. I’m talking heaving, sobbing, tissues surrounding me crying. Anyway, I woke up the next morning and my eyes were basically swollen shut from crying so much. These eye masks saved my life. Cooling to the undereye area and super moisturizing. These would be great after a long night out if you accidentally took thirsty Thursday a little too far, and need to look alive on Friday morning.

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Gel Cleanser


This is my ride or die facial cleanser. Gentle enough to not cause skin sensitivity (I turn tomato red if I even just touch my face) but powerful enough to wash off my makeup thoroughly. Dry, oily, combo, etc. can all use this cleanser. Get it, thank me later.

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant


What I love most (well, one of the things I love most) about the Botanical Kinetics exfoliant is ease of use. Exfoliating, I’ve noticed, is a daunting task for a lot of people. I know this because when I ask clients if they exfoliate, most either try to lie and say they do, or they flat out say “no.” All you have to do with this exfoliant is put it on a cotton pad and wipe it on your face. That’s literally it. Salicylic acid exfoliates and helps to fight against breakouts.

Volition Beauty AM/PM Eye Gel


So I had never heard of this brand before, but I was on Sephora’s website reading reviews for eye creams. Something I do in my spare time. Anyway, this one had a lot of great reviews so I decided to take a chance on it…. and I am in LOVE. I almost debated putting it in the makeup portion of my Best of Beauty because it doubles as an under eye primer that prevents creasing, which is all something I feel we struggle with. A little goes a long way and the packaging is SO cute (if that matters to you!)


Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation


Okay so Fenty Beauty seriously lived up to the hype. I am so impressed by a ton of the products she put out, specifically her foundation. The shade range is amazing, obviously, but second to that is how light this foundation feels on the skin. Literally the only con is that it feels so light that I forget I’m wearing it and I touch my face. Which is not the worst problem in the world. I’m a full coverage kind of gal (thanks, hyperpigmentation) and this foundation is lightweight but ACTUALLY covers my dark spots. It’s best for normal to oily skin tones, but if you mix it with a drop of your favorite oil it works great for dryer types too!

Fenty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer


Again, I’m just really impressed with RiRi’s makeup line. This gloss is perfect for any occasion, even for those who hate wearing makeup in general. It’s not sticky, feels moisturizing, and it has a shimmer to it to give it an extra “oomph”. I would describe the color as “your lips but better,” if that makes sense. Obviously it’s going to vary on everyone, but literally every single person could wear this color!

L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara


I got this after I heard from literally the entire beauty community that it’s basically a dupe of the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, and they were right. I will spend thousands of dollars on makeup but for whatever reason I find it *extremely* hard to spend $23 on high end mascara. Don’t ask me why I honestly have no idea. Anyway, this mascara is amazing and costs half as much as the Too Faced. Yay for saving money!

Benefit Hoola Bronzer


A cult classic for a reason. I love this bronzer because it’s not too warm and not too cool (all you need is a light jacket! haha… get it? Miss Congeniality? Anyone? Just me? Okay cool.) Anyway, it’s perfect for contouring or bronzing so it’s great if you’re looking for both! It’s also matte so you don’t have to worry about any shimmer, which is something I hate in my bronzer/contour color.

Jaclyn Hill x Morphe Brushes Eyeshadow Palette


If I’m being totally honest, I have not touched another eyeshadow palette since this one came out. I’ve hit pan on multiple colors that I use every day, and you can genuinely create a billion different eye looks with this. She did an amazing job at picking out shadows and perfecting the formulas for each color. No matter your opinion on Jaclyn, you can’t deny that this palette is bomb.

Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow


These are another one of those products that have been just about everywhere since they came out. If you like dramatic eyes or you’re a glitter person, these should definitely be in your collection. In the past, I’ve always hated wearing glitters because of the fall out and general task of putting them on… but these make it SO easy. Some people use a different applicator but I find the wand they come with works the best. They’re so pigmented and shiny, I get compliments whenever I wear any of the colors. My favorites are probably Kitten and Smoky Storm, but ALL of the colors are worth trying!

Kylie Cosmetics Ultra Glow Loose Highlighters


If you’re looking for a blinding highlight, please grab these. They’re EXTREMELY pigmented and you only need the tiniest bit for your entire face. They’re a bargain at $14 a pop, and I’ve barely gone through any of mine since you need so little. I attached my favorite color (Santorini) but there are other ones available on her website! You can even use it as a body highlight with a brush or mix it in with your favorite lotion for an all over glow!


Pravana “The Perfect Blonde” Purple Toning Masque


So if you weren’t aware, my hair is really blonde. I hate super warm tones in my hair and I’ve always had a problem with toner falling out of my hair really quickly after hair appointments. I could never find a good purple shampoo or anything to keep it cool toned, until I came across this baby. You need the TINIEST amount (I actually mix mine with my regular conditioner so it lasts even longer) and, seriously, only leave it on for max 5 minutes. Otherwise you will have purple hair. Unless that’s what you want, then go for it! I am licensed so I buy mine at a local beauty supply store, but you can get it if a salon sells Pravana, or on Amazon. It’s my must have product! (I also featured this in another blog post, Blondes Have More Fun (Except When Buying Product), if you wanna check that out!)

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo


Everyone has their favorite dry shampoo, and this one is mine. I prefer aerosols to powders due to ease of use. I do not recommend this dry shampoo if you are a brunette or you have dark hair, because I find that it lightens even my hair… but I like that about it. Especially if I’m overdue for a highlight (aka right now). The smell doesn’t bother me or stick around which is a big problem for me with dry shampoos in the past. I can still smell my other yummy hair products after using this!

Aveda Thermal Dry Conditioner


If you haven’t tried dry conditioner you are missing out! Before Aveda released this product every dry conditioner I had used was just “okay,” but I never found anything I was blown away by. Since my hair is blonde (aka inherently damaged/dry) I have to be careful about how much heat I use and how much I wash my hair. This helps refresh my locks and moisturize them until the next time I use a mask or condition in the shower. It also smells like Shampure, and if you don’t use Aveda you’re probably unaware of the magic that is Shampure. It’s basically Aveda’s signature aroma, and I have people creepily smelling me whenever I have this scent on me. If you want people to tell you that you smell like a spa, use this.

Aveda Pramasana Purifying Scalp Cleanser


I don’t know how I lived without this product before it came out. I use dry shampoo and dry conditioner on a regular basis, obviously, and it can cause build up. Like most hair products. This completely “resets” my scalp back to a healthy state. I always just used shampoo to wash my hair and scalp but since using this I could never go back. Any flakiness on the scalp, gone. Product build up, gone. It’s a miracle worker. It’s also great for those of you who struggle with hair growth, some of the problem might be excess build up!


Kat Von D Sinner Perfume


You guys, I have been waiting since *2009* for this perfume to come back. Well that’s when it originally debuted anyway. It was back when I couldn’t afford to buy big bottles of perfume (I was only 16) so I got the travel rollerball. When it was discontinued, I literally hoarded the rollerball and I still have some left to this day. When Kat Von D revealed she was releasing this again I legitimately squealed with joy. For anyone who likes warm spicy scents, this one is for you. The “key notes” are patchouli, cinnamon, and wood. I actually hate patchouli by itself but they’ve done an awesome job concocting a perfect mixture with this perfume. The smell is powerful and mysterious. I get compliments all the time when I wear this! The packaging is also so beautiful and fun to display.

Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream


First of all I love that this product is called Bum Bum Cream. I think it’s so cute. I actually don’t use this *just* on my bum bum, but as an all over body lotion. I think it smells so yummy (however if you don’t like a fragrance that will stick around, this is not for you) and it leaves a beautiful shimmer on the skin. Not like, I’m wearing roll on glitter hashtag summer of 1998 status, but shimmer that gives you a glow. It has caffeine in it, to help with firmness, and cupuaçu butter and coconut oil to condition the skin. Plus, a little goes a LONG way.

Shiseido Facial Cotton


Alright this is an especially bougie product and I realize some people will make fun of me for using fancy cotton on my face, but I don’t even care because I absolutely love these and I will never go back. I think it was Jaclyn Hill that originally recommended these, and her and I both have really sensitive skin (like I actually know her? lol). ANYWAY, I use these to apply my Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant, clean my eye makeup off, liquid lipstick, etc. The cotton is so gentle on the skin and really is worth the money. Especially around the eyes which is such a delicate area anyways. Buy these and you’ll never go back to the Walmart brand cotton ever again.

Foreo Luna 2 for Sensitive Skin


I did an entire blog post on this comparing the specs to a Clarisonic, so if you’re interested in reading in depth about this guy then here is the link: Clarisonic Mia 2 vs. Foreo Luna 2. In that post you’ll find I prefer the Foreo over the Clarisonic (which was a tool I used for years). It’s easy to use, gentle on my sensitive skin, and really gets down and clean like it says it does. It’s a lot more economically friendly as well since you don’t have to replace brush heads, which is a win in my book! Face cleansing tools are seen as a “nice to have” instead of a “need to have” in terms of skincare, but I firmly believe in them… as should you.

Invisibobble Power Hair Rings


I guess I could have also put this in hair but it’s more of a “tool” to me so I’m keeping it here. I was always intrigued by these “hair ties” especially because word on the street was that they didn’t kink the hair and helped with breakage (again something necessary to me). However my hair is EXTREMELY thick, so I was afraid to try them. Enter: The *Power* Invisibobbles. When I saw these online I was so excited! They’re specifically made to stay in better, which was music to my ears. Plus they come in nude so they blend in with my hair pretty well. They keep my hair wherever I put it until I take it out, and doesn’t lose it’s shape which is wild. I have gone through SO many hair ties in my lifetime, as I’m sure we all have, but I’ve had the same three invisibobbles since July. JULY PEOPLE!!!

Lilumia 2 Makeup Brush Cleaner


This is such a cool product, I can’t believe I didn’t buy it myself. I saw ads for this long ago and looked at it before but always saw it as unnecessary because I didn’t want to spend the money. Fast forward, my boyfriend actually bought this for me for Christmas! I never uttered a word about it to him, he just thought I would like it (he’s a keeper!) Anyway, if you HATE cleaning your brushes (like I, and most of the beauty world do) consider getting this contraption. All you do is put the solution in, stick your brushes in the compartments, press a button, and sit back while the Lilumia does all the work for you. It’s insane and so so cool. I’m going to be writing a separate full-length review on it, so stay tuned for that, but this truly has changed my life in regards to cleaning my brushes. Now I don’t dread it, but look forward to it!

Welp, that’s all folks! I hope you were able to possibly find some new products to try or saw some products you already have and love! As I said before, these are what worked for me and what I enjoyed. If you find a product on here that you didn’t necessarily love, that’s okay! What’s great about the beauty world is that there is something for everyone.

Have a question about any of these products? Did I mention a product that you LOVE too? Feel free to comment down below! Or let me know what you would like to see me post next! I love hearing from you guys.

Happy 2018, I can’t wait to see what this year will bring us!

xoxo, Shelby

PS: If you’re an online shopper like me, you NEED to be using Ebates! Ebates is a website that gives you cash back for purchases you make online. Literally, that’s all you have to do. Just this year I’ve made $170 for things I’m buying anyways! If you sign up using my referral link, you’ll get $10 after your first purchase!

Start makin money, honey! —> *click here*


Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit vs. Kat Von D Shade Light

Okay- let me first start off by saying that both of these palettes I love, immensely. They both have their pros and cons just like any other palette. However, both of these palettes, I believe, can serve you in different ways. I’ll explain as I go along. For the sake of not developing any additional carpal tunnel, I’ll use the abbreviation SL for shade light, and ABH for Anastasia’s kit. My grades will be based on color, blendability, cost, pigmentation, and overall usage. Let me show you how my grading scale works:

A: Perfect, wouldn’t change a thing

B: Amazing, but could use some work

C: Eh, so-so

D/F: These don’t come around that often but if they do, something has gone seriously wrong

Lets start off with the basic premise of these palettes and where the idea comes from. Both are meant for the new trend (contouring, obviously) that has taken the modern day beauty industry by storm. It seems as if we woke up one day, and EVERYBODY was contouring. This specific technique has been around for ages, but with all the Kardashian’s being contoured to the nines, we’re more obsessed with it than ever. Say what you will about the Kardashian’s- but those cheek bones can be seen from a mile away. So not only are celebs taking advantage of this beauty secret- but many companies have now given us mere mortals the tools to replicate them. In my own opinion, contouring is the equivalent of a real-world filter. It’s meant to enhance our features, yes, but also to sculpt and manipulate them to appear a different way. Contouring can be used to elevate cheek bones, shorten or slim the face, narrow the nose, etc. etc. The makeup gods have shown mercy upon us and granted us with the power and convenience of all-in-one kits, and we are forever indebted to them. Bless.

These are my personal palettes. You might not be able to tell, but I usually stick to two colors in each palette….. Wait, you can tell? Yeah that makes sense. I know they’re banged up but these babies get a lot of lovin, as they should. Also just a disclaimer- I have owned the ABH palette for much longer. They are both black and both have a magnetic closure, but you can see the SL is much larger than the ABH. It also has a mirror which the ABH lacks. Aesthetics does not matter so much to me because truly, it’s whats on the inside that counts.

Moving right along. The top colors are specific to highlighting and the bottom colors are specific to contouring. I organized these swatches based on their location. For instance, whichever color was in the bottom left hand of the SL, I picked the same one from the bottom left of the ABH. Generally these colors are placed here because of their shades.

These are all swatched on me in natural lighting with no flash, no filter, and my skin tone is about an NC20 in MAC or “Light” in KVD’s Tattoo Foundation.


Havana (ABH) VS. Sombre (SL)

Both of these colors are the “darker” shades in each palette. Havana has a definite clay-based undertone to it. Almost an orange against my skin tone. Sombre has a more ashy-gray undertone. Taupe, if you will. Both of these I would use on someone who has at least somewhat of a tan, because on lighter skin these colors can be difficult to blend and may appear as if the skin is bruised if done incorrectly. I also had to use more product when swatching Havana because it’s pigmentation isn’t as high as Sombre.

Fawn (ABH) vs. Shadowplay (SL)

These are the two colors I have used the most personally. They’re very similar in color with the exception being that Shadowplay in this instance is more orange based than Fawn. These colors are a little more versatile as far as being used on different skin tones. Fair skinned for a bolder contour, and darker skinned for a more subtle look. Once again I had to use more product when swatching Fawn, and I noticed this with just about every ABH color.

Java (ABH) vs. Subconscious (SL)

These two are VERY alike in color, with just a touch more of an orange base in the Subconscious. For these I have no problem using them on fair skinned people. Since they’re “lighter” than the other two colors in each palette, they’re not too harsh when blended well and used sparingly. Too much contouring on any skin tone can turn a slimmer contouring look into a drag queen look in a flash. So be extra careful with lighter skin.


Sand (ABH) vs. Lucid (SL)

The main difference in these two colors is that Sand has a shimmer to it. It’s a nice iridescent color so you don’t feel like you have a pound of glitter on your face. For this particular shade I would definitely put at the top of  cheek bones, but I would stray away from using it under the eyes. The shimmer can accentuate bags and/or dark circles. Lucid would be a better option for under the eye as it is matte and won’t draw as much attention to the area if you have those imperfections.

Banana (ABH) vs. Lyric (SL)

Both of these I use the most and honestly the color difference is practically nonexistent to me. They’re both a very light color with a yellowish undertone. A highlighter with a yellow undertone is ideal for the under eye area because yellow can counteract the purple/blue hues we get due to dark circles. Who likes dark circles? Nobody? That’s what I figured. Plus these are both matte and are phenomenal at setting your under eye concealer.

Vanilla (ABH) vs. Levitation (SL)

Both of these colors are so light you can barely see them on my pale skin. I seldom use them, if ever, and it’s because I feel that even on my skin tone these can be TOO light and don’t really do a whole lot. Levitation has a bit more of a yellow tone to it but not enough to really notice all that much unless someone was 2 inches away from your face. If you’re very very fair these will basically disappear. However if you’re darker and want your highlight to stand out more, you could use these. However, be careful of a lighter tone on dark skin. The color may appear as chalky if the difference in shade is too severe.

Overall I give each of these palettes an A as far as color goes. They both have a good variety for the specific skin tone this palette is directed towards. As you may know, ABH has since released a medium and deep kit as well as this original light kit. I think that’s phenomenal that they offer those options, the SL palette does not (yet) so extra points to ABH for appealing to a larger demographic of users.


As I mentioned before the ABH palette I found I had to get more product to compare the swatch to the SL palette. This does not work in ABH’s favor because not only did I have to use more product, but the amount of the product in the palette isn’t as much as SL when it comes to the contouring colors. Each contouring color in the SL palette has .16 oz of product, where every color in the ABH palette has .11 oz. The SL palette’s highlighting colors are only .08 oz, but I have no problem with this .03 oz difference considering the amount of pigmentation it offers.




In all honesty both of these palettes offer a good amount of blendability as far as I can see. The SL palette has a bit more of a creamier texture compared to the ABH, which contributes to the pigmentation payout. The only problem I can see arising is that the SL palette is SO pigmented that if you accidentally put too much on the brush and start to apply, there may be no turning back. However this is a user issue and not a product issue, so I am willing to overlook it.




The difference in cost between these two as a whole is a whopping $6. The SL palette retails for $46 while the ABH retails for $40. In the end, the SL palette gives you .72 oz of product and the ABH gives you .66 oz. The difference is literally .06 oz, so you’re paying $1 more per .01 oz in the SL palette. But when it comes to pigmentation and cost, it may end up that you’re using the ABH faster. The HUGE HUGE HUGE difference between the SL palette and the ABH however, is being able to replace your colors. The SL palette does not offer refill colors (so to get the main colors you use you would have to replace the whole thing), whereas the ABH does. They don’t sell them in stores (annoying) but you can buy each color for the ABH palette separately for $14 (which by the way if you did that every time, not including shipping, it would make your palette $84 instead of $40) or buy an entirely new palette with customized colors (online only) for again, $40. So here inlays the problem- do you pay for an entire new palette every time you need new colors with the SL? or buy the colors separately whenever you need them with the ABH? I think this depends on what you’re using the palette for. If cost is your BIGGEST issue, this is how I would go about it. If using on clients, I would go with the SL. You probably won’t be using the same exact colors on every person you’re applying a contour to. So the colors will probably wear out all the same (ideally) so you could replace it all at once. If for yourself, the ABH palette. You can replace the colors you use the most because unless you’re drastically changing skin tones constantly, you’re probably going to stick to the same colors. So if you wanted to, when you go through your two favorites, you could potentially just buy another palette with 3 of each color and it would last you, like, forever. That’s just my opinion, but I don’t think cost should be your deciding factor when the difference is only $6.


Like I mentioned before, I’ve had my ABH palette for a good amount of time longer than the SL palette. The only reason being is that the ABH palette came out much sooner. I like having the option of both because sometimes you just need to switch it up. Playing with new products is always going to work in your benefit because you never want to get too comfortable. In the matter of SKIN TYPE (dry vs. oily, etc.) both of these are technically a powder contour, and powder always pans out better on people who are prone to normal-oily skin. It’s just a known fact that powder will dry out previously dry skin. However, with the right base foundation, this can be easily fixed.

Now, by law, we can only have one winner. The fact of the matter is, once I purchased the SL palette, I was in love. A love I knew surpassed the ABH palette. The blendability is superior, the pigmentation is off the charts, and the ONLY downfall this product has is not being able to refill it individually. Which is a matter of cost. I would gladly pay $46 every time my favorite colors run out. It’s really the pigmentation and the blendability of the ABH in comparison to the SL that it falls short. By no means does it suck in the matter of either, but if we’re COMPARING, I’m going with SL 100%. 

****UPDATE 10/02/2016****

Kat Von D has FINALLY released refillable shades for the SL palette! Wahoo! They are only available on right now as far as I know. The highlight shades retail for $14 and the contour shades retail for $16!


SIDENOTE: When I looked on Sephora’s website to research the reviews on both palettes, I found that the ABH palette had 754 reviews in total and the SL palette only had 534. Probably because the SL palette is newer. However, the SL palette had 440 5star ratings with more than 200 less reviews, and the ABH palette only had 475. So even though less people have reviewed SL, the percentage of 5star ratings was 82% whereas the percentage of 5 star ratings for the ABH was only 62%. You can’t argue with math. These are facts.


If you are still with me thank you thank you THANK YOU for reading! I know it was long but getting you the facts thoroughly and my personal opinion was important to me. If you have questions or comments please reply- I would love to answer either! Or if you have any suggestions or requests on future posts please let me know. You’re all wonderful. Happy contouring!

Xoxo Shelby