With 2015 (and Snowzilla!) gone, it is the perfect time for unveiling which were my absolute favorite beauty products in 2015. Mind you, though most of them were released during the past year, 2015 was also a year of discovery for me, especially in what refers to natural and organic brands. Because I support the idea that great classics never die, I hope you can find some inspiration for your 2016 beauty woes -regardless of their launch date!
Click through the post to find my best natural and traditional solutions for dry skin, dark undereye circles, curly and frizzy hair, and many more. Aside from my personal opinion, I have included direct links to the product website so you can learn more and, if interested, make an informed decision. Just remember: Here at New York For Beginners our links are colored light pink.
Fighting Dark Undereye Circles
1. Rodial Instaglam Eye Brightening Concealer: This lightweight, hydrating concealer is definitely one of the best products ever invented. Aside from having a quite good coverage power, its pigmented formula reflects the light and treats the undereye dark circles at the same time, leaving behind a well-rested eye area for hours on end. Thanks to its high content in hyaluronic acid, it evens out fine lines without actually crumpling up in them (I personally hate when you can see product build-up!) For me, this product scores a 9 out of 10.
2. 100% Pure Long-Last Concealer with Super Fruits ($20): If I could name a brand of the year, it would definitely be 100 Percent Pure. This totally natural (and, in some cases, organic) cosmetics brand creates high-tech products using ingredients exclusively sourced from Mother Nature. To speak plain and simply, this is the real deal in natural cosmetics, not another greenwashing practice. This concealer is all-natural, long-lasting and made from fruit pigments.
What I like most about its formula is that it delivers a good coverage of my undereye circles while treating the area with natural hydrating ingredients, such as shea butter or cocoa butter. It also comes in a wide range of shades, making it compatible with all skin tones, including olive and dark skin. Because it is a bit more dense than its traditional make-up counterparts, I have found it works best if you heat up your finger before scooping up and patting the product in the undereye area. In terms of coverage and resistance, it scores an 8 out of 10 in my scale. However, it gets 2 extra points for using only natural ingredients, which rounds the scale up to a 10 out of 10. This is the ideal concealer for those of you who want to embrace a green lifestyle and would like to get rid of chemicals in your make-up bag.
3. AmazingConcealer by AmazingCosmetics ($28, small size): Advertised as a full-coverage, water-proof concealer that kisses good-bye skin imperfections, this product holds up its end of the bargain. A little quantity of this great product goes a long way in optically correcting and covering up my quite dark circles. What’s more, it comes in a huge variety of shades that takes into account all the possible nuances in the different types of skin (I am in between pale and olive skin, and this is one of the few brands that offers my exact color without being too dark or too fair.) Taking into account its full coverage, I would award this product a 9.5 out of 10. However, it is a bit more drying than the other two in these categories, so I would recommend to moisturize the area and pat dry before application.
Groundbreaking facial care: Los Tres Caballeros
4. Power of Three Antioxidant Repair Cream by Trifecta Skincare MD ($70): Formulated to improve and correct a wide variety of skin issues, this cream has been one of the best friends of my very dry skin when confronted with the cold winter weather. Not even Snowzilla was a rival for its highly effective yet gentle hydrating power. Rich in resveratrol, the antioxidant found in red wine, and other polyphenols, it has effectively reduced my levels of redness and feeling of skin tightening after just four days of application.
After only a week of use, my skin felt plumped without a trace of the itching that accompanies me every single winter season. Although the cream is not totally natural, it combines some of the most gentle and effective ingredients available in the market with hand-picked natural ingredients, such as polyphenols, resveratrol, and fruit extracts. Advertised as suitable for sensitive and laser-treated skin, the Power of Three Antioxidant Repair Cream yields a 9 out of 10 in my score. It definitely satisfies my needs and my expectations, is gentle enough to be used in dry and sensitive skin, and I would love to see its formula evolve to include more natural preservatives.
5. The Cygalle Healing Spa True Holistic Tropical Enzyme Peel ($29.50): This wonderful tropical enzyme peel has been my perfect preparation for the winter months. Suitable for dry skin, this gentle exfoliant hydrates and effectively gets rid of the dullness caused by dead skin cells in the blink of an eye. Its formula balances a wise combination of natural ingredients with potent active principles that are gentle enough for my quite sensitive skin. I also like that this peel doesn’t contain jojoba pearls, which end up clogging up bathrooms and affecting wildlife in the last instance.
The Cygalle Healing Spa True Holistic T peel incorporates banana – rich in minerals and antioxidants that
dissolve dead skin cells, eliminate toxins and
lock in moisture – along with papaya and pineapple enzymes that gently
remove free radicals. These enzymes contain pectin and vitamins A, C,
and E, that work to reduce inflammation and soften skin for a brighter,
more supple look. This product scores a 9 out of 10 because of its effectiveness and its high content in rich natural ingredients.
6. Cellular Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 by The Organic Pharmacy ($69): This natural mineral sunscreen combines titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect against UVA and UVB. Its physical filters create a screen on the surface of the skin that protect more effectively against the solar damage without leaving a white residue nor potentially penetrating in the deep layers of the skin. With one of the cleanest formulas out there, this product contains zero nanoparticules and very few concerning ingredients (I would rather say it’s nearly 100 percent natural, except for the parfum, which I understand is potentially naturally-derived knowing the brand as I do.) For its hydrating powers, it comfort of use, and its very scarce white residue, this product scores a 10 out of 10 and gets extra points for including zero nasties in its formula.
Best Hair Products of 2015: Getting the Mane of my Dreams
Yes, you are reading right. In 2015, I had the great accomplishment of getting the mane of my dreams. As you know from New York For Beginners, the man of my dreams is Mr. Gotham, and we met quite a few years ago. What a lucky lady I am!
7. Keune So Pure Moisturizing Conditioner ($20.79): After testing the Keune So Pure Line for 10+ washes in my extremely long and curly mane, I am not surprised they have received quite a few beauty awards. Their line, formulated without harsh parabens and enhanced with deeply hydrating natural ingredients, works wonders with dry and sensitive hair and scalp. While the shampoo in this line is definitely something to keep under your beauty radar if you are looking for gentle yet effective treatments for your hair, this moisturizer is definitely something else. Formulated to moisturize and balance dry hair and scalp, it has marked a before and after in my hair treatments.
Let me put it simply: My hair hates me. It’s curly yet not completely thick, it has a million flyaways that seem to appear any time I have to give out a good impression (e.g. at job interviews), it hates combs, and it’s dry yet sensitive. A dream come true! Although I could write a million reasons to explain why Keune’s So Pure
conditioner works on me, I think the best is to let the product speak
for itself. There are not many conditioners that I can apply on my scalp without clogging its pores nor adding unwanted weight to the roots. What’s more, after a couple of days my scalp, usually itchy due to a combination of sensitivity to chemical allergens and the cold of the winter weather, feels perfectly comfortable. That is why I can honestly recommend this product and award it a 9.5 out of 10 in my beauty scale. If I were you, I would keep a close eye on this European brand: It’s whispered to be one of the best-kept beauty secrets of some royal family members overseas! To find the salon that carries the brand near you, visit Keune’s Salon Finder.
8. Seaberry Serum Medium to Coarse by Obliphica Professional ($38): Finding a good serum is like finding a BFF; patience is of the essence in your search, and once you find the person you should stick to it no matter what. This Seaberry Serum is definitely one of my mane’s new BFF. It has visibly helped my split ends since the first application without adding a greasy leftover or adding weight to my hair (which I can tell depending on the way it curls after washing it.) Featuring seaberry oil among other ingredients, this serum has also been capable of taming my unruly flyaways (!) even when Snowzilla hit (if you check my IG stream you’ll see I did go outside my building to experiment what a blizzard looked like. I ended up totally snowed under but with perfect hair!) My rating? 9 out of 10 in my scale.
9. Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie by Carol’s Daughter ($14): Formulated for dry, dull, and brittle hair this is an extremely effective solution for dry hair without breaking the piggy bank. Intensely hydrating, this small wonder in a jar works miracles in curly hair, leaving it hydrated and wonderfully bouncy without the need of applying expensive styling products after. This is my go-to hair mask, and scores a 8.5 out of 10 in my ranking because I would love its formula to include more natural ingredients, as it did in the past before it was bought by the L’ Oreal group. To read more about other Carol’s Daughter products featured at New York For Beginners, please click here.
10. Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Finishing Creme ($18): The secret to a well-kept naturally curly mane is hydration and definition. To me, Briogeo Curl Charisma line should be named one of the curl authorities of 2015. I have used the product over 10 washes, and I get consistent results: Beautifully defined and manageable curls. This may mean nothing to those of you with naturally straight hair, but let me give you an insider tip: Curly hair is unpredictable. Bad hair days usually happen too often. That’s the reason why once we find a treatment that works consistently (and not once in a blue moon) we feel the need to stick to it and spread the word. This finishing treatment, which I apply after my wash-off moisturizing
conditioner, is nourishing, lightweight and texture-enhancing.
Although Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Finishing Creme cannot be considered a totally natural nor organic product, it boasts a cruelty-free, 90 percent naturally-derived formula WITHOUT
parabens, phthalates, silicone, gluten, synthetic fragrances and dyes. Although on its own I would award this wonderful product a 9 out of 10, it also gets extra points for a good formula that combines avocado oil, rice aminoacids and superfood quinoa. My final veredict? A 10 out of 10.
11. Philip B. Peppermint and Avocado volumizing and clarifying shampoo ($28): Let me be extremely clear and concise: My hair hates me year-round. Aside from my curly-haired and flyaway woes, its extreme dryness calls for constant hydrating treatments. I am extremely glad I put Philip B in my life! The problem with mild hydrating treatments for sensitive scalp is that in their vast majority they leave behind some kind of residue that makes my roots go totally flat. If you combine that with an extremely voluminous and long mane, the effect is somewhat clownish.
Philip B’s shampoo is one of the best I have ever tested. Deep-cleansing and volumizing, it is my to-go treatment once a week to get rid of any product buildup that clogs my roots. With a botanically-enhanced formula, this shampoo adds lift at the roots without being harsh, it boosts the micro-circulation on the scalp by using peppermint oil with a hot-and-cold invigorating effect that lasts for a couple of hours, and is safe for color and keratin-treated hair. It scores a 10 out of 10 and gets extra points for its invigorating effects, which happen to chase my Monday blues.
Disclaimer level 1: The author of this post received some free samples to test for editorial consideration, which did not affect her opinion in any manner. This post also includes products the author bought for herself. The author received NO compensation to write this post. This post includes NO affiliate links. Any links to external websites are provided for information-only. To learn more about New York For Beginners’ Editorial rules, please check out our About page.