2021 Skincare Favorites

This is more a list of my best skincare discoveries in 2021 instead of the traditional “all time favorites” like my 2021 makeup favorites post. I have a ton of tried and true favorites that I’ve used every day for years and post about all the time in my empties posts and most repurchased posts. Many of my favorites also still hold from last year’s post, so instead of going through each category, I’ll be listing my ultimate HGs and discoveries from this year.

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 – I ran out of my sunscreen, and decided give this a try since it’s a favorite of so many people with dry skin. And I love it – it’s both moisturizing and lightweight and doesn’t leave a white cast despite being an all mineral sunscreen. I love that the formula doesn’t dry out my skin or have a tint that leaves my face looking a strange color like a lot of mineral sunscreens tend to do. It doesn’t pill, it great under makeup, and also smells amazing – every time I put it on, it just cheers me up and helps me get ready to face the day.

PSA Skin the Most – I hardly ever do this, but I feel like the brand’s description is so spot on that I’m just going to paste it in here: “This nutrient-packed hydrating serum is like an island oasis for stressed out, hungover, dull, and dehydrated skin. It provides essential hydration immediately while helping skin cells better retain moisture overall for plump and supple skin.” My skin absolutely loves this serum, and I missed having something for dehydrated and dull skin, especially right after I washed my face. I already have a backup from their recent sale, and I’m so excited to have this in my routine.

Dieux Deliverance – This is truly a game changing product. My skin had been looking a bit dull and overly dry in the summer, and even though I love the other products I use, I needed something more. This serum is supposed to address skin issues like irritation, uneven tone, texture, lack of firmness, among others, and it definitely does everything it says it does. My skin definitely looks more even, less dull, and less textured since I’ve been using this, and I could tell a big difference when I didn’t have it with me at home for Thanksgiving. Given how much I love their Forever Eye Mask, I’m not surprised this is just as amazing.

Phytosurgence Verdant Forcefield – This is described as a skin barrier reinforcing moisturizer that hydrates, softens, moisturizes, and protects with well studied vitamins, actives, and extracts. And it does all of that! I love how quickly is sinks in so I can move on to my next step without any pilling or issues. It’s a more lightweight option for the winter even though it’s incredibly moisturizing so I use it in the morning (and the Honey Halo at night – more on that below). It’s also only about $11 per ounce, which is a bargain compared to some of my other faves like like the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream at $28.4/ounce and Farmacy Honey Drop at $26.4/ounce. I still can’t get over how high quality Phytosurgence products are from the packaging to the efficacy for their prices.

Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer – I’m still surprised by how much I love this given how incredibly lightweight it is. It’s still very moisturizing, but has the benefit of sinking into my skin so fast. I really appreciate that for a morning moisturizer because I tend to start my makeup pretty quickly after my morning skincare routine. It also layers incredibly well with my other morning skincare without causing pilling. I’m so excited to have this in the summer months especially when it’s really hot outside, but it’s honestly been great for the winter too.

Farmacy Honey Halo Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer – This is honestly the best moisturizer I’ve tried for my super dry skin. It’s incredibly thick but still absorbs super quickly and plays well with my other night time skincare products. Usually by this time of year, my skin starts to get flaky and itchy because it’s so dry, but I’ve had no issues since I’ve been using this. I’m so glad they have the jumbo version now because I know this is going to be a staple for me for a long time, and it’s honestly been saving my dry skin from totally losing all its hydration overnight.

NBM Cuticle Buddy – My nails have never been healthier or stronger since I starting using these (someone actually thought my nails were fake at the gym because they looked so nice!). I don’t freak out about nail breaks anymore because they grow back so fast now that I’m using this. I originally got a kit that comes with a great travel nail file, the cuticle buddy, and a full 1oz of nail oil to refill your cuticle buddy with and fell in love with the product. I now own 8 of them and carry them with me everywhere. They have amazing scents, especially the seasonal ones, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. As always, you can use my affiliate code with Shop NBM to get 10% off sitewide: LIFT10. Like all my reviews, everything written is my completely unbiased opinion, and I would definitely be talking about these without being an affiliate (I even wrote this before getting a code and am editing this in afterwards). 

What were your favorites this year? Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see here on LiftBakeLove, and thanks for reading! As always, some links may be affiliate links that support the blog, but all reviews/opinions are completely my own and unsponsored.

KACKIE (REVIEWS BEAUTY) MADE ME BUY IT (Part 2)

Kackie has one of my favorite beauty channels to watch – so much so that it’s part of my morning routine Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when she posts new videos, and I can’t imagine it any other way. What makes her stand out for me is that she actually reviews products rather than fawning over new releases. She covers textures, colors, formulation, packaging, etc. in depth, usually with comparisons to similar products you might already have. She has what she refers to as an encyclopedic knowledge of products, and I think that’s why I find her reviews so helpful. Kackie goes out of her way to give the most pertinent information to help viewers decide why something might or might not work for them and what they should know about the product when making a purchasing decision. For that reason, almost everything I’ve gotten because of her recommending it has become a fast favorite and something I wish I had bought sooner. As always, thank you so much for being here, and it would mean so much to me if you subscribe here or on Instagram @liftbakelove for new posts!

Typology Paris Serum Teinte – I’m still really loving this, especially for when I’m having a really dry skin day. It’s incredibly smoothing and lightweight while providing solid light to medium coverage (which is the coverage level I prefer for foundations). It is actually so smoothing that I got carded at dinner wearing it, and the person said “your skin is so smooth, there’s no way you’re not in your early 20s.” And I’m not in my 20s anymore at all! It wears incredibly well for how moisturizing it feels (as Kackie says it wears in without wearing off), and it plays well with every bronzer, blush, highlighter, and powder I’ve used with it. It also contains lots of great skincare ingredients, and my skin definitely feels way less dry at the end of the day than with other base products. I have lots of swatches on my Typology review if you’re interested!

Melt Cosmetics Cream Blushlight – I have the shade Polished, and it’s such an incredible warm pink that looks so at home on me. It has a really beautiful luminosity to it from a slight amount of shimmer that makes this really special. I only tried it because of Kackie, and now it’s my go-to blush for when I want something that has that super glowy from within blush look. It blends so effortlessly and quickly, and I just love the super thin but hydrating texture. They also have great staying power for a cream blush. I’m likely going to pick up another one during the sale because I love using it so much, even with my dozens of other cream blushes.

Natasha Denona Puff Paint Liquid Blush – This is a liquid blush serum that dries down but keep its beautiful sheen – you can see how dewy it looks on my swatch above. I love using it as a finishing touch after I apply other cream blushes to add some brightness and shimmer-free shine. It never disturbs anything underneath it and is just the right amount of pigmentation to use in this way. I have it in the shade Darya, which is a bright melon color that is really unique to my collection (which is exactly what Kackie said about this shade for her collection and how I knew I had to try it).

Phytosurgence Skin Spark Blush Balms and Flash Florescence Cream Shadows – Phytosurgence is yet another brand that I never would have known about until Kackie  talked about them in a video. I’m so glad she did though because I’ve loved everything I’ve gotten from the brand. Phytosurgence is a small indie brand that focuses on transparent and conscious beauty, and they make high performance and affordable products. The Skin Spark Blush Balm formula (I have Fume and Simmer) impressed me from the first time I used it, and I find myself using them over and over again over my other cream blushes. It blends so seamlessly and easily into the skin, leaves an impact with such little product, and stays all day. It doesn’t need to be built up but absolutely can be layered. The finish is just glowy enough without being sticky even though it has a balmy, moisturizing texture. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s basically perfect.

The eyeshadows (I have Wild Oak and Potent Petal) are the perfect mix between a matte and shimmer shadow so I can use them for a more subtle day time look or build them up to something super multidimensional and impactful. I’ve frequently added a more sparkly shadow (like the ones from Phytosurgence) on top for something extra, and the glitter sticks to these eyeshadows all day. I also love how much time I have to play with these to get them just where I want them on my lids, but then they dry down and stay put (even through some super intense gym sessions).

Kosas Cloud Set Baked Setting & Smoothing Powder – This powder is really so amazing, and I know I posted about it super recently because I love it so much. I have it in the shade Airy, but because of how sheer it is, I’m sure Breezy or Feathery could have worked for me as well. It has a tiny bit of luminosity to it so it sets without mattifying too much, and it’s the perfect hybrid between a finishing and setting powder. I love using this for all over my face and to set all my cream products without getting rid of any of their dewiness.

Vesca Kissed By Bronzing Powder in Santorini – I have been loving setting my cream products with powder products in a matching tone to make them last longer and add a bit of coverage in those areas. I didn’t purchase this before watching Kackie talk about it, and her review helped me know that it would work for me. I find this creates a more satin finish which is great for someone like me that wants to look hydrated and dewy while still having something long lasting, especially under a mask. This Vesca bronzer is my favorite for this purpose (and also my favorite powder bronzer in general) – it’s not too orange, feels incredibly smooth and velvety, blends beautifully, smells amazing, and is such a believable bronzer on me (to borrow a Kackie phrase).

Vesca Kissed By Bronzing Powder in Santorini

Ulta Under Eye Brightener – Kackie mentioned this is a very effective dupe of my beloved Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector for $10, and she was so right. Just like the Becca one, this corrector works so well for correcting my super dark circles and helps hydrate my super dry under eyes for whatever concealer goes on top without any heaviness. It blends like a dream and the color is perfect for me. And it’s in stick form which is so much easier to use than the pot!

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see here on LiftBakeLove, and thanks for reading! As always, some links may be affiliate links that support the blog, but all reviews/opinions are completely my own and unsponsored.

October 2021 Favorites

I can’t believe it’s almost November, and it’s time for another round of favorites! As usual, I fell in love with a ton of new products this month, but am only featuring products in my favorites that are true favorites that I’ve been using consistently for longer than one month. As always, if there’s anything you were looking for a review on or a topic that you want me to cover, please let me know if the comments below! And, of course, thank you so much for being here, and it would mean so much to me if you subscribe here or on Instagram @liftbakelove for new posts.

Amika Multi-Task Repair Treatment – My hair had been feeling incredibly dry and lifeless lately, but when I added this into my routine, it’s like my hair went right back to normal and then some. It makes my hair feel so soft, so much less frizzy, and way shinier. It also has more volume and movement without me doing anything to it, which I love. I’ve only been using it once a week, and that’s been plenty to see results.

Farmacy Honey Halo Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer – This is honestly the best moisturizer I’ve tried for my super dry skin. It’s incredibly thick but still absorbs super quickly and plays well with my other night time skincare products. Usually by this time of year, my skin starts to get flaky and itchy because it’s so dry, but I’ve had no issues since I’ve been using this. I’m so glad they have the jumbo version now because I know this is going to be a staple for me for a long time.

Phytosurgence Phytobrushes – I have been loving both the Skybuff and Skyfluff brushes, and I am so happy I have them in my collection. I’ve been using them with lots of different cream blushes, bronzers, and highlighters, not just Phytosurgence products, and they’ve been fantastic. They pick up and blend out products so seamlessly and quickly so that the products really look like they’re naturally part of my face – exactly the kind of look I love doing. I’ve washed them a few times now and can confirm that they still look and feel brand new and have no issues with shedding or misshaping.

Salt New York Crème Tint Pro in Flora – I’ve written about my love for Salt New York’s products so many times, and it’s because it’s my favorite cream formula. They blend out super easily, are super lightweight, and look so at home on my skin. I’ve been loving the shade Flora from their summer duo, which is described as a a rich, juicy, intoxicating hot pink with a slight blue undertone. It doesn’t matter how little sleep I got or how bleh I’m feeling, this shade brightens up my face and makes me look so healthy, hydrated, and happy. It’s not available anymore, but the 90s duo just launched, and I think Sugar Plum is going to be my Flora equivalent for winter!

Mac Glow Play Blushes in Grand and So Natural

MAC Glow Play Blushes – I wrote about these in my February 2020 favorites and can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written about them again. This formula has been my go-to recently for finishing off my cheek looks because they have a really incredible blurring quality that really pulls together any look I’ve done. Because the texture is like a cross between a powder and a cream, it adds a slight sheen like a cream and great lasting power like a powder. I’ve been using both of the shades I have, So Natural and Grand, depending on what other blushes I’ve used, and I’m so glad I’ve been using these again. These are on sale right now at Nordstrom too!

What were your favorites this month? Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see here on LiftBakeLove, and thanks for reading! As always, some links may be affiliate links that support the blog, but all reviews/opinions are completely my own and unsponsored.

Phytosurgence Review: Phytobrushes, Spectral Shine, Flash Florescence Cream Shadows in Bloom, and Verdant Forcefield

I’ve been waiting to do another Phytosurgence review until I had enough products to do a full post with only buying things I thought I would love. And now I almost have too much for one post because they keep launching amazing things! If you haven’t heard of Phytosurgence before, they are a very small indie brand that focuses on transparent and conscious beauty. They make high performance and affordable products that absolutely rival luxury brands. As with my last Phytosurgence review, I’m about to really rave about the products so I want to say upfront that this was not sponsored, and I bought the products with my own money. As always, thank you so much for being here, and it would mean so much to me if you subscribe here or on Instagram @liftbakelove for new posts!

It took me an incredibly long time to start this paragraph because I’m still in shock about how good the Phytobrushes are, especially for both being under $15. I purchased both the Skybuff and Skyfluff brushes, and I’m in love with both of them. If you’re a regular reader here, you know how much I invest in fude brushes (from Sonia G., Chikuhodo, Wayne Goss, etc.), and these fit right in my collection because of how high quality they are. They suggest using the Skybuff for their Spectral Shine and Skyfluff for their Skin Spark blushes, but I actually love using them the opposite way. They blend out the products so seamlessly and quickly so that the products really look like they’re naturally part of your face – exactly the kind of look I love.

I used the Phytobrushes, Skin Spark blushes, and Spectral Shine highlight for a perfect no-makeup look

It’s so hard to describe how special Spectral Shine is and how unique the formula is. It doesn’t have glitter or shimmer, just really fine pearl pigments that blend seamlessly into the skin. It’s incredibly lightweight and feels like nothing but is super long lasting. Especially if you want something that looks like your skin but better in person (vs blinding highlights that look great on camera), this is for you. I was waiting for the right shade to come out, and then the limited edition Divine Daylight launched. It’s a peachy neutral beige shade, which is so at home on my skin.

Spectral Shine in Divine Daylight

I’ve been using the Flash Florescence Cream Shadows – In Bloom almost every day since I got them. The formula is incredibly thin and lightweight with very little fallout. I love how multidimensional the shimmers are – they’re just really special. I have two of the shades: Defiant Dahlia (described as a rich deep brown shade with violet undertones and neutral/gold shimmers scattered throughout) and Orchid Overload (described as a translucent based shade with pink, purple, and silver shimmer). Defiant Dahlia looks amazing as a one-and-done shadow, and Orchid Overload is one of my favorite toppers of all time. And these are about half of the price of the Hourglass Scattered Light eyeshadows! If you’d like me to get and review the other two shades, let me know in the comments below.

Flash Florescence Cream Shadow in Orchid Overload and Defiant Dahlia

I’m always looking for new moisturizers to try because of how ridiculously dry my skin is. Verdant Forcefield is described as a skin barrier reinforcing moisturizer that hydrates, softens, moisturizes, and protects with well studied vitamins, actives, and extracts. And it does all of that! I love how quickly is sinks in so I can move on to my next step without any pilling and how much softer my skin feels now that I’ve been testing it for over 3 months (I don’t like to review skincare until I’ve really tried it). It’s also only about $11 per ounce, which is a bargain compared to some of my other faves like like the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream at $28.4/ounce and Farmacy Honey Drop at $26.4/ounce. I still can’t get over how high quality Phytosurgence products are from the packaging to the efficacy for their prices.

Have you tried anything from Phytosurgence? Are there other products from them or other brands you’d like me to try and review? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks as always for reading!

July 2021 Favorites

I can’t believe it’s already time to talk through my July favorites, which means we’re more than half way through 2021! I fell in love with a ton of new products this month, but as usual, I only feature products in my favorites that are true favorites that I’ve been using consistently for longer than one month. So if you don’t see something you were expecting based on how much I raved about it, you’ll likely see it in a future post. And as always, thank you so much for being here, and it would mean so much to me if you subscribe here or on Instagram @liftbakelove for new posts!

Phytosurgence Flash Florescence Cream Shadow in Potent Petal – I have used this shadow so many times since I got it that I feel bad for neglecting my other eyeshadows. Potent Petal is described as a  a soft cherry blossom pink with a slight hint of a champagne shimmer, which is perfect for my brown eyes. The formula is the perfect mix between a matte and shimmer shadow so I can use them for a more subtle day time look or build them up to something super multidimensional and impactful. It’s just so easy! I’ve frequently added the their new Flash Florescence Cream Shadow in Orchid Overload for some extra dimensional glitter, and the glitter sticks to these eyeshadows all day. I also love how much time I have to play with these to get them just where I want them on my lids, but then they dry down and stay put (even through some super intense gym sessions). I have also been loving Wild Oak (the other shade I bought), but Potent Petal is my favorite of the two.

Phytosurgence Skin Spark Blush Balm in Simmer – I have been loving the Phytosurgence blushes I got last month, but in particular the shade Simmer. It’s a beautiful bright pink that really wakes up my whole face. It blends so seamlessly and easily into the skin, leaves an impact with such little product, and stays all day. It doesn’t need to be built up but absolutely can be layered. The finish is just glowy enough without being sticky even though it has a balmy, moisturizing texture. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s basically perfect. it’s just really special, especially considering it’s only $17. If I didn’t own so much blush, I would buy more colors (definitely let me know if you want me to review any other colors though – I will grab them if you comment below with a request!).

Glossier Ultralips – I have been loving all of the shades I got – you can see more swatches and comparisons of all of them here. The Ultralips are a pretty pigmented tinted lip balm that has a touch more glossiness than your average balm. I love how moisturizing it is and how long lasting it is (for a lip balm texture). You can also build up the color without anything weird happening like pilling or patching. Glossier says that the formula is so comfortable it’s like “pulling on a buttery-soft, well-loved cashmere sweater”, and I definitely agree. This is like putting on your favorite pair of sweatpants after a long day, but for your lips, and I have been using them so much.

Ultralip in Portrait, Villa, Trench, and Cachet

Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer – I’ve been loving this in the summer because it’s incredibly lightweight but still very moisturizing. It also sinks into my skin so fast, which I really appreciate when it’s this hot and I don’t want to feel moisturizer on my face. It also layers incredibly well with my other morning skincare without causing pilling. I’m planning on picking up the Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer to try for the winter when my skin gets even drier than it is right now – let me know if you’d like a review!

NBM Cuticle Buddy Color Expression, who does amazing nail polish reviews, totally sold me on the Cuticle Buddy. And for $35, you can get a kit that comes with a great travel nail file, the cuticle buddy, and a full 1oz of nail oil to refill your cuticle buddy with. I think this is just such an incredible value, especially considering how great the oil is. I got the orange (growth) formula which contains tangerine and sweet orange essential oils, and it smells amazing. I’ve been using this every night, and I definitely feel a difference in my nail health and strength. I’m so excited to have found these and am hoping to pick up some of the fun summer scents when they restock. As always, you can use my affiliate code with Shop NBM to get 10% off sitewide: LIFT10. Like all my reviews, everything written is my completely unbiased opinion, and I would definitely be talking about these without being an affiliate (I even wrote this before getting a code and am editing this in afterwards). 

What was your favorite product this month? What would you like to see next on LiftBakeLove? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks as always for reading!

Phytosurgence Review: Skin Spark Blush Balms and Flash Florescence Cream Shadows

This is yet another brand that I never would have known about until Kackie Reviews Beauty talked about them in a video. I’m so glad she did though because I’ve really enjoyed trying these products out. Phytosurgence is a small indie brand that focuses on transparent and conscious beauty, and they make high performance and affordable products. I’m about to really rave about them so I want to say upfront that this was not sponsored, and I bought the products with my own money.

I own over 30 cream blushes right now, so it takes a lot for something to become a real favorite. The Skin Spark Blush Balm formula impressed me from the first time I used it, and I find myself using them over and over again over all my other cream blushes. It blends so seamlessly and easily into the skin, leaves an impact with such little product, and stays all day. It doesn’t need to be built up but absolutely can be layered. The finish is just glowy enough without being sticky even though it has a balmy, moisturizing texture. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s basically perfect. The only complaint I have about this formula is that I’m not a huge fan of the packaging . That said, knowing they are such a small brand and with how incredible the formula is, I am super okay with having to deal with the pot format. it’s just really special, especially considering it’s only $17. If I didn’t own so much blush, I would buy more colors (definitely let me know if you want me to review any other colors though – I will grab them if you comment below with a request!).

Simmer and Fume

The colors I got were Simmer, a bright pink, and Fume, a dusty rose, and they both look right at home on my skin. I swatched Simmer next to the Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Petal Poppin, the Westman Atelier Baby Blush Stick in Petal, and the the Kajer Weis Cream Blush in Blossoming. I swatched Fume next to the Salt New York Crème Tint Pro in Spice, the Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Rose Latte, and the Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Creme Pigment in Lovesick. I hope this gives you a better idea of the shades and formulas. As you can see, the Phytosurgence blushes are much more pigmented and have more of a thickness to them, which I think is what helps make them last so long. They also apply so quickly because of that. One note – the swatches above were on a cloudier day than the ones below, but I would say the colors are accurate in both, just the sheeniness is more true to life on the sunnier day below.

Simmer next to the Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Petal Poppin, the Westman Atelier Baby Blush Stick in Petal, and the the Kajer Weis Cream Blush in Blossoming
Fume next to the Salt New York Crème Tint Pro in Spice, the Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Rose Latte, and the Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Creme Pigment in Lovesick

I also own a ton of cream eyeshadows that I love, and I have to admit that these haven’t beat out my beloved Roen or Vesca shadows. They do fill a gap in my collection I didn’t even know I had, and I’m so happy I got them. They are the perfect mix between a matte and shimmer shadow so I can use them for a more subtle day time look or build them up to something super multidimensional and impactful. I’ve frequently added the Bodyography glitter pigments on top for something extra (though I think Phytosurgence might be coming out with their own toppers!), and the glitter sticks to these eyeshadows all day. I also love how much time I have to play with these to get them just where I want them on my lids, but then they dry down and stay put (even through some super intense gym sessions).

Potent Petal and Wilk Oak

The colors I got, Potent Petal and Wilk Oak, are also very special and unique to my collection. Potent Petal is a much brighter pink than anything I own and really brings out my brown eyes, and Wilk Oak is a golden, neutral bronze that is such a perfect smokey but still daytime appropriate shade. I was planning on swatching them next to some other eyeshadows but realized they don’t really compare to anything I own in a way that it could be a dupe – let me know if you have any requests, and I’ll add here or post them on my Instagram stories!

Have you tried anything from Phytosurgence? Are there other products from them or other brands you’d like me to try and review? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!