The 9 Best Beauty Products I Took a Chance on Last Year

I don't like surprises when my money is involved, but these purchases paid off.

Whenever I go beauty shopping, nine times out of 10, I’m merely stocking up on stuff I already have. It’s not very exciting, I know, but I’m completely fine buying the same product over and over if it works, gets along well with my skin, and is at a reasonable price point. Plus, I don’t really like surprises when money is involved.

On occasion, however, I do buy products for myself just out of sheer curiosity or impulse. Looking back, here are the nine products I bought for myself in 2015 that proved to be worth the risk.

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

I never thought double cleansing (using an oil cleanser before a foam cleanser) was for me till I read Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho’s book, The Little Book of Skin Care, which mentions how important it is to the Korean skincare regimen. I encounter Korean women in New York City very often, and let me tell you, they all seem to have amazing skin, so I was sold.

Next thing I know, I’m taking home this product to use as my first-step-cleanse.

Using this cleansing balm has been an amazing way to remove my makeup — even super-long-lasting eyeliner and mascara. Unlike another oil cleanser I used, this actually turns milky and rinses off easily with a few splashes of water. I only need a little bit to remove all my makeup, and I love how it melts into my skin.

On the downside, it can be unhygienic since you’re dipping your fingers in the same jar over and over, but so far, it hasn’t been an issue, and the inside of the jar isn’t icky at all. I just make sure to always have clean fingers when I take any product from inside.

The Face Shop Masks

I know it’s taken me all year, but I’ve started getting the hang of using sheet masks regularly. Just a few weeks ago, I stocked up on a bunch from The Face Shop — some for oily skin, some for dry skin, and even some holiday ones with Santa’s face on it, and I am impressed. They leave my skin feeling moisturized and refreshed, and they’re generally very cheap!

Simple Cleansing Micellar Water

Micellar waters are super-trendy right now. I first tried an expensive one a few years ago and didn’t end up incorporating it into my regular routine, but am now using it again because my cleanser just wasn’t cutting it in the makeup removal area.

This one from Simple was so easy to use, removed my long-wear makeup in a snap, is cheap, and didn’t dry out my skin.

Urban Decay UD | Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

I reviewed this palette already, and though many commenters were not convinced this was worth buying based on other people’s reviews, I genuinely really love this palette. Neutrals are my jam. What can I say? I have literally been using it EVERY SINGLE DAY since I bought it. I even use the darker colors, which normally intimidate me.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

I initially received a press sample of this for a story, but I adored it so much, I’ve since purchased two more tubes with my own, hard-earned money. This is my favorite liquid liner since it lasts all day on my oily lids. And due to its bristle, as opposed to felt tip brush, I never have to deal with the liquid liner dispensing weirdly. The product just always flows nicely and evenly through the bristles.

There are probably several more expensive, high-end liquid liners out there, but why splurge when there’s a $19 one that’s already amazing?

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Natalie

I never thought I could love a bright pink lipstick so much 'til I met this one. The shade takes some getting used to if you prefer subdued lip colors, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize it’s not that crazy-bright at all.

As you might expect from a lipstick from the NARS Audacious line, the wear time is really good — about four hours — it doesn’t feather on me, it is non-drying, and it is ridiculously pigmented in one swipe.

Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

OK, I didn’t actually pay for this; I used gift card credits on this. But still, it was my choice to pick this up, and I’m glad I did.

I never thought I had much use for a translucent powder, but this one does just enough to tone down shine without making my skin look unnaturally matte. I dust it on my T-zone when I want to give my foundation extra mileage that day. I’ve also used it on my roots when I was desperate to avoid washing my hair. It worked like a charm, but I will not be doing that regularly since this powder is expensive!

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet+ Matifying Foundation

To the xoVain commenter who recommended this to oily-skinned people in the comments section: THANK YOU! I bought this for a wedding, and it stayed on the whole day and kept the oilies at bay throughout the reception. My only qualm, aside from price, is that the outer cap keeps popping off, but that’s nothing some superglue can’t fix.

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover

I never understood the importance of cuticle removers for DIY manicures until I started using this product. Before, I’d just push back my cuticles and go, “Whhyyyy is there all this white stuff left over that’s impossible to remove?”

Ever since I started using this cuticle remover, which actually helps dissolve those weird white things on my nails, I don’t have that issue anymore. It helps my cuticles look so much neater than before.

  • What's product have you bought that made you think, That was totally worth the money?
  • What product was a waste of money?