I’m The Pink Tarha lady who is obsessed with makeup. And I’m not even a makeup artist. I’m just your average Jane who likes makeup! I like discovering new things and trends when it comes to the makeup industry. I am so smitten with Youtube beauty gurus that they’re all I ever watch (and I don’t even watch the television anymore except for Netflix’ Rupaul’s Drag Race). My husband is testament to my love for makeup. He rolls his eyes at the rate my collection is growing, keeps on suggesting I should let go of most of it because they’re “all the same” and grudgingly wait for me when I enter Sephora, Boots, and Whites in the mall. I understand him: of course he doesn’t understand makeup. I’ll be surprised if he does! Hahaha! Anyway, almost all my makeup are tucked in my IKEA Helmer cabinet, which the husband bought for me because he can’t bear to see all the makeup in my desk. I have a decent collection of makeup which I acquired for quite awhile. I have a lot of foundations in tubes or in bottles. I just want trying out different formulas and discovering what my true shade is. I also like highlighters and eyeshadow palettes. I love liquid lipsticks! I love a lot of makeup.
That’s why it’s hard to pick the best of the best. I believe that most of the makeup I have are good. Just because I watch a lot of Youtube beauty gurus and follow their recommendations. I also read reviews before getting anything. Many people see makeup as a waste of money and yes, maybe. But not if you buy the ones that are truly good and effective. Makeup brands are constantly coming up with a lot of makeup in a year, so many collections are launched per season, per holiday, etc. So it’s important to not jump into the bandwagon immediately. Most beauty Youtubers get first dibs on makeup so it’s important to find out what the reviews are before buying anything. Most of the products I listed here are bestsellers already and I’m not the only one raving about it so don’t worry; they’re really the best! Some of these have been launched, not only in 2017, but years prior but I only got and used them last year so I’m counting them too. I’m also listing down my holy grail makeup after each section (labeled “HG”). They’re my all-time favorites and if I will have to let go of most of the makeup I have, they will only be the ones that will remain. These are the products that I’ll always love, no matter what new ones will be launched in the years to come.
I’m big on primers because I put a lot of skincare stuff on my face before makeup. I need a primer to act as a barrier between the skincare product and makeup. My favorite this year has got to be the Sephora Collection Smoothing Primer (SR 70 / Sephora). It has a velvety texture that reminds me of the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, only Sephora’s is far more affordable. It preps my skin to become a smooth canvas before real makeup comes. A cheaper alternative is No-Shine Mattifier Primer by QuickFX but it’s only available in the Philippines soooo…. For a really matte primer, the Inglot Mattifying Primer is a great option. It has a smooth yet firm texture that grips makeup like there’s no tomorrow. These primers lasts a long time. I also tried Nikkie Tutorials’ favorite unconventional primer: the Nivea Men After Shave Balm (Sensitive). To those who are hearing this for the first time, it’s hard to grasp a product for men be treated as a product for women (and related to makeup at that) but this has a nice, soft texture that goes on the face effortlessly. It was weird putting after shave stuff all over my face but it does work. I just don’t like the scent but overall, makeup sticks to it like glue (it does look like Elmer’s glue too). HG: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer / Benefit Porefessional Primer
Up next is foundation. I bought a lot of foundations this year but I’m paring them down to three. My best buy would be No7 Lift and Luminate Foundation (SR 115 / Boots Pharmacy) which Youtuber Kathleen Lights made me buy. This foundation gives a light coverage and perfect for every day use. It gives a nice dewy finish on the skin. Every time I put this on my face, I’m like, “that looks okay” but when I am already out and about, friends usually ask me what foundation I’m wearing because it looks nice. So yup, this is definitely a winner on my books. When I need full coverage, I’m torn between Dermacol and Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation. I decided to feature the latter because while I like the smooth, airbrush finish of Dermacol, it only lasts a couple of hours before it begins to separate and flake on my face. It’s also oily; the oil of that seeps right through the tube and into my cabinet! So, it’s the Urban Decay All Nighter Fundation (SR 202 / Sephora) then. It gives a full coverage that lasts for hours. My face looks flawless and it’s also easy to apply. I usually use my buffer brush but I found out using a damp sponge is also suitable. Last but not the least, I love the Nyx Total Drop Foundation (SR 60 / Nyx in Granada Mall). It’s a bit liquidy and the texture a bit thin and sheer but it gives the most natural coverage. A little drop goes a long way with this one. It’s lightweight and very versatile: it has a lot of shades to choose from and you can always mix and match. Now if you’ll ask me why I didn’t mention the Fenty Beauty Pro-Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation and the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation… well, 1. I don’t have them and 2. I’m still not sure I want to buy them because they’re expensive and beauty reviewers are torn in the middle whether they’re worth the money or not. So maybe, this 2018, I’ll decide. (UPDATE: Since this entry is so late, I already have the Fenty Beauty and I’ll review it soon.) HG: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation
I wasn’t using concealers for a long time until I discovered the Tarte Shape Tape ($27 [approx. SR 103) / Tarte). It’s all the beauty world can ever talk about. It’s full coverage, doesn’t crease and lasts a long time. It’s a great concealer sure but for the price, I find that the Colourpop No Filter Concealer (Medium 30) ($6 / Colourpop) can rival the Shape Tape. It’s also good, plus I got my right shade for the Colourpop. It blends smoothly, doesn’t crease and makes my under eye smooth. An in-between is the Sephora High Coverage Concealer (SR 85 / Sephora). It has a natural finish and not as expensive as the Shape Tape. Easily available at all Sephora branches in the Kingdom too.
For powders, a gem of a find is H&M Immaculate Foundation (SR 64 / H&M). The price is a bit ridiculous at SR 64 for a high street brand known for clothes but this is a nice powder that goes on smoothly and gives additional coverage for sheer foundation creams. I love using it on top of foundation or BB cream and because I got the wrong shade of Chestnut (darker than my skin tone), I use this to correct the other foundations I have that are lighter than my skin tone. Yes, I still make mistake in getting my shade. Anyway, loose powders that I love is the RCMA No-Color Powder (a holy grail) but I’ve had that since 2016. A new find last year is Sephora Beauty Amplifier Smoothing Translucent Setting Powder (SR 96 / Sephora) which is so fine and so silky! The only thing is, it’s so fine it flies all around when I open it. The Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer (SR 49 / iHerb) is marketed as a bronzer but I use the Light shade as my normal face powder. It gives my face a light coverage that supports the foundation. It also has a fragrant coconut scent that reminds me of the beach. It’s a pleasure using this one! HG: RCMA No-Color Powder / Ben Nye Banana Powder
My all-time favorite contour powder is Sleek Makeup Face Contour Kit (SR 40 / Whites Pharmacy). It’s the easiest to apply and I love that I can contour my face with just one easy swipe of the dark powder on the kit. I don’t really use the illuminating highlighter in the kit but the dark matte pressed powder is a HG status. It helps sculpt my chubby cheeks and jaw making it a tiny wee slimmer. I also like the Sleek Cream Contour but the cream is a bit heavier than what I want to wear on my face. I give it a use once in a while though, especially when I’m prepping for an event. I purchased the Kat Von D Shade & Light Contour Palette (SR 210 / Sephora) last November. It really is one of the best contour palettes in the market today. It has everything I ever need in contouring the face but it only ranks second to the Sleek Face Contour Kit for accessibility, ease of use and convenience (the KVD palette is huge). This is a must in your arsenal though especially if you’re a makeup artist.
For blushes, I love the No7 Match Made Powder Blusher in Plum Velvet (SR 60 / Boots Pharmacy). The color is a bit dark in the pan but it’s actually very flattering on medium skin tones like me. The price is a turn-off but I got this on sale for SR 15 so that made it worth it for me. Another blush worth mentioning is the H&M Powder Blusher (SR 40+ / H&M). They come in a lot of varied shades. They’re also expensive at around SR 40 a piece but H&M is always having a sale so when they do, score some of their blushes. They always sold out quicker than their other beauty products. I love the shade Deep Brown the most because it gave me an effortless healthy-looking glow. Ever since I had it, it’s all I can ever wear. Inglot’s Face Blushes (SR 35 / Inglot) are also good choices. They’re super pigmented and a pan lasts you a long, long time. They also have a nice array of shades to choose from that a Blush Freedom Palette should be in the works for you gals. I reviewed them last March here. HG: Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso / Wet N Wild Color Icon Blush in Pearlescent Pink
I love highlighters! It’s that very thing that makes you “pop” all day. I’m always fascinated by women wearing it in the malls of Riyadh. I’m not that into a blinding kind of highlighter. I don’t need to be seen beyond the earth’s stratosphere, haha, that’s why I only go for a natural, subtle shine for every day wear. However, I love a good glow all right. Up on my best highlighter is the Jeffree Star Skin Frost. I have the Peach Goddess shade and it’s so buttery and pigmented! A little of this glows a long, long way. You need to scrape of the top of the E.L.F. Cosmetics Baked Highlighter (SR 16 / iHerb) to get to the glow underneath. After that, these gems truly gave me an unexpected shine: not too loud and not too subtle. Just right! So right that got them in two shades: Moonlight Pearls and Blush Gems. Super affordable too! Colourpop Super Shock Highlighters ($8 [approx. SR 30] / Colourpop) are still faves of mine. Their formula is the bomb. You don’t know if it’s a cream or powder but they work really well. Fave shades are Wisp and Lunch Money. HG: Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette / Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop
A really cheap eyebrow product find for me last 2017 is the Miniso 3-in-1 Angled Eyebrow Pencil (SR 9 / Miniso). It’s a brush, pencil and powder in one that shaped the eyebrow nicely. It has a natural wax formula that creates hair-lie fine lines. I was amazed at how good this is for only SR 9. An eyeliner that I swear by is the Essence Super Fine Eyeliner Pen (SR 15 / Whites Pharmacy). It creates a fine, subtle line but can also be used to draw dramatic styles. It’s so thin, it’s so precise! This is the only eyeliner that doesn’t smudge on my extremely oily lids. Affordable too at around SR 15 only. When it comes to mascara, my go-to is another Essence product. The Essence Lash Princess Mascara (SR 19 / Whites Pharmacy) is the best! Whether you use the orange or the minty green packaging, both does wonders to my lashes. They give a falsies effect. For volume and blackness, you can’t go wrong with these.
It’s a year for wonderful eyeshadow palettes for me. I won’t elaborate as much but here goes my faves for 2017: the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Palette as the best formula, pigment, and color selection of all the palettes I’ve acquired this year. If you’re just starting makeup, then get this palette because it has shadows in the colors of the rainbows, and more in between. The Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette (SR 283 / Sephora) is the best warm eyeshadow palette that I have. My friend gave me those for my birthday and it just made a long dream come true. Its mix of warm caramels, deep mochas, bronzy chocolate, and vibrant sugared blueberry hues is divine. One of the high-end eyeshadow palettes I acquired is the Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette by Marc Jacobs Beauty (SR 235 / Sephora). Just knowing that I have this in my collection empowers me already: sleek, pigmented, elegant. It’s for the #womanboss! I’m not disregarding the little eyeshadows that could though! Single eyeshadows that left a great impression on me are Wet N Wild Color Icon Single Eyeshadow in Creme Brulee (around SR 10 / Whites) and H&M Color Impact Single Eyeshadows (SR 15 when on sale at H&M branches). These are amazing! I love their color selection specially the raspberries, midnight greens and grays. HG: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette / Wet N Wild 3-in-1 Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette in Walking on Eggshells
Now, when it comes to lip products, I have a lot of favorites! Also, I have a shit ton of them so it’s really hard to pick which ones are the best. I trimmed them down by choosing the ones I have used most often. For lipliner, I honestly loved Sephora Rouge Gel Lip Liner (SR 56 / Sephora). It’s so smooth and so easy to apply. Very pigmented and long lasting. It gives my lips a fuller look, even though my lips are chapped most of the time. I even wear this on its own! No lipstick needed. I also couldn’t stop wearing Calabasas, a burnt cranberry sienna liquid lipstick by Jeffree Star Cosmetics. The color pops but it’s not too loud for the office and not too pale for a no-makeup makeup look. It’s part of Jeffree Star’s limited edition Chrome Collection. Closer to home is Sleek Cosmetics Matte Me Liquid Lipstick. Reina gushes about this and she was surprised to find this so comfortable on the lips. I just wish they come up with their brown collection here in Riyadh already! A very affordable find is Essence’s Shine Shine Shine Lip Gloss (SR 15 / Whites). True to its name, it is shiny. Not too sticky also. For a lip gloss that has a plumping effect, I love Soap & Glory’s Sexy Mother Pucker XL Extreme Plump (SR 80 / Boots). It buzzes, tingles and zings! HG: Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip / Huda Beauty Lip Contour / Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in White Russian
Wow, this list is long! I hope we shared the same kinds of make-up favorites! If not, well to each her own. And I’d like to know which ones are your favorites and holy grails. Please do share!
Go and be more beautiful, Riyadhizens!