Happy almost Friday, friends! Last week we did a look back at 2020, with your favorite Beauty posts and products, which got me thinking about my favorite beauty finds of the year. Next thing I knew I was down the rabbit hole of my own Sephora Hauls. I was surprised by how many of last year’s new (to me) finds had quickly became part of my daily routine.
So for our first Sephora Haul of this new year, I’m sharing my Top 20 Sephora finds in hair, skin, makeup and more! We may have left 2020 in the past, but I’m bringing all of these products with me! Here are the things I not only finished, but have bought again.
Pssst…. Sephora has free shipping on all orders this month with code FREESHIP!
Best Finds // Hair
I keep going shorter and shorter with my cut, but the constant coloring, heat tools, and (cough!) my age mean it needs more care than ever to stay healthy and hydrated. Fortunately I found products that have brought my hair back to life!
No shocker here… y’all know I drank the Olaplex koolaid early last year! My stylist actually insisted I try OLAPLEX Hair Perfector No. 3, and I was hooked after a single use. Turns out, it’s the secret product he’d been using on me (one of the reasons my hair always looks so good after he does it!). The transformations he’s seen in his clients’ hair after using it consistently is nothing short of a miracle!! (I mean, my gosh… just look at the 3,000 perfect reviews!!)
The concentrated treatment strengthens and protects compromised hair from within, and restores a healthier appearance and texture. Apply it weekly to damp hair (I try to use it twice a week since my hair is so fragile from coloring), let it sit for 10 or more minutes, then shampoo as usual. It has made the single biggest difference in my hair’s appearance and manageability. I literally look forward to using it because I know my hair will instantly look better!
After only a month of using the Hair Perfector No. 3, my hair was noticeably stronger and dare I say it, healthier! So next I added this Reparative Styling Creme, and was smitten after just one use! It’s not only a styling product, but also a leave-in reparative creme.
I apply a small amount to damp, clean hair from the mid-shaft down, comb it through easily, then style as usual. My hair dries in less time, is incredibly smooth and shiny, and is noticeably less frizzy. I can even air-dry without frizz for the first time in my life!
I’d been a long time user of the Kenra Volume Spray 25, and while I really like the strong hold for some styles, the nozzle always seems to clog, causing it to spray willy-nilly. I also like to have a lot of movement in my hair (especially now that it’s shorter), but the Kenra holds it firmly in place. I’ve also used Aveda Air Control Hair Spray, which allows for a lot of play and movement, but doesn’t provide much staying power.
Enter MoroccanOil Luminous Hair Spray, which is really the perfect blend of the Kenra and Aveda formulas! It provides strong hold that leaves no sticky residue or stiffness on the hair, and the flexible formula keeps hair looking natural and touchable. I love the fine mist that makes it easy to get in all the areas of my hair, and no clogged nozzles!
And bonus, it’s argan oil-infused, so it adds shine, while fighting frizz and humidity. I use the medium hold for everyday (I’ll spray it in the layers of my hair for more texture and volume, without stiffness), and strong hold for times I really want to set my curls.
Dry shampoo has been my BFF for years, plus is a huge time-saver. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo has been my go-to choice for a few years, but I was hearing so many things about Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, I had to try it for myself! Both do their job well, but the biggest difference for me is the texture of each spray.
The Living Proof dry shampoo is a fine mist, while the Drybar is a bit thicker with a slight ‘powdery’ finish. It quickly absorbs the excess oils in my hair, with no residue or texture. I actually spray it to my roots at night and brush through the next morning for fresh hair!
Sugarplum Tip: Not sure about a product? Order the smaller, travel size to try it out. That way if you don’t love it, you didn’t make as big of an investment, and if you do love it… order the full-size and keep the small one for travel!
My love of velcro rollers goes back decades (geez, that makes me sound ‘mature’!), but it’s only in the last year that I’ve brought them back to my regular routine. They smooth the top layer of hair, while providing tons of volume at the crown… and all without additional heat!
Drybar High-Tops Self Grip Rollers roll easily into my hair and stay in place without clips or clamps, then remove gently without pulling or tugging any strands. Immediately after blow-drying, I roll small sections of warm hair up and away from my face, and set the rollers on top. Usually I place just a few at the crown, but I’ll add rollers to the sides, too, for more overall volume.
I’ll let my hair cool and set on the rollers while I finish getting ready, then pull them out at the end. They not only give great volume, but add a nice bend to my ends.
Top Finds // Skin
The foundation of my daily skincare routine has stayed much the same over the last few years, but have added a handful of new finds. It seems I add a new product with each year older, ha! I can’t help but wish I’d been this passionate about skincare at an earlier age!
I was most excited for this face mask, as it’s all the rage among the beauty bloggers these days. And after only one use, I can see why!
It’s a triple-action mask that refines the appearance of facial contours by visually removing morning puffiness and swelling caused by stress, heat, and hormonal changes. And in my case, last night’s pizza! It also helps to brighten the complexion and restore radiance.
It’s a luxurious, cream-mousse formula that goes on thick and literally seems to absorb puffiness! I apply it in the morning to clean skin (usually after refreshing my skin with OLEHENRIKSEN Balancing Force Oil Control Toner), then rinse with cool water after 30 or more minutes. To preserve this precious product, I concentrate it in my puffiest areas, as opposed to applying to my entire face. The only downside is the cult following that keeps it sold out more often than not!
I declared Sundays my Self-Care Day last year, and the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel is my favorite step! Chock-full of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids to visibly reduce signs of aging and encourage natural cell turnover, it’s a powerful at-home facial.
Once a week after cleansing, I dermaplane my face (see my how-to HERE), and follow with this two-step professional level peel. The combo has made the single biggest difference in the texture and appearance of my skin! And since I only use the pads once a week, the box lasts me a long time. I just noticed the Dr. Dennis Gross Exfoliating Body Treatment pads and think I’ll test those out next!
If you have super sensitive skin or rosacea, you might check with your dermatologist before trying.
No surprise here, the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask made my 2019 list of Sugarplum Faves! I wear it day and night, and have banished chapped lips forever. Enriched with Vitamin C and antioxidants, the exclusive Moisture Wrap™ technology boasts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film over the lips to lock in moisture.
I layer it on every night, and it’s so thick and hydrating, remnants of the product remain the next morning. It’s great as a light gloss over lipstick for day, too. I just ordered a new pot, and noticed it now comes in a slew of new flavors. I’m an original girl, but Little Miss is all over the ‘sweet candy.’
PS… this makes a great little pick-me-up gift! I’ve given it to everyone from my hair stylist to girlfriends. Even Mr. College was excited to find one in his stocking (so he’d quit stealing mine)!
Possibly one of the best eye creams I’ve tried yet… the Banana Bright Eye Creme does the work of several products! The thick and creamy formula goes on easily and absorbs quickly, leaving the under-eye area extremely hydrated and plumped.
It also has special pigments that instantly brighten and color-correct, plus it creates a smooth canvas for better concealer wear. So hydration, anti-aging, color-correcting, brightening, and makeup-base all in one! That’s a power combo for a single eye cream.
The constant hand-washing was wreaking havoc on my hands! I’ve tried a slew of hand creams over the years, but none have come close to the healing and moisturizing of Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve.
This thick, rich cream was created to repair the appearance of severe dryness caused by manual labor, neglect, or exposure to harsh elements, so you know it’s effective against constant hand-washing! It allows skin to draw and absorb water from the air, forming a ‘glove-like’ protective barrier against moisture loss. It’s instantly soothing, rubs on easily, and absorbs quickly.
The eucalyptus gives it a slight medicinal smell that I love, and feels like actual healing, rather than just temporary hydration. My hands look 10 years younger after applying!
Top Finds // Makeup
Living with a teen girl, and being besties with a professional makeup artist, has taken my makeup addiction to a whole new level! I love discovering new products and palettes, and these have all become regulars.
I learned this trick from the pro herself, Suzie Moldavon… and it’s become an essential part of my daily makeup routine! Adding the TARTE Fake Awake Eyeliner in ‘Universal Nude’ to your lower waterline is a makeup artist trick for instantly bigger and brighter eyes!
It neutralizes any redness, and highlights the eyes making you look instantly more awake. The tug-proof, long-wearing formula glides on smoothly, and aloe moisturizes eyes. You can even apply it to the inner corners and brow bone for more highlighting, and use the built-in smudger to blend.
Trust me, once you see the difference, you’ll never skip this step in your makeup routine again!! It’s also a Sugarplum Reader fave!
I was first drawn to this lipstick by the interesting package… then the overwhelmingly positive reviews and color selection convinced me to give it a try.
Hourglass Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick is a creamy, saturated, long-wearing formula, with a satin finish. It has the staying power of a matte, but without smudging or feathering. Each lipstick is encapsulated in a sleek gold tube, and has a slim tip for precise application and to define the lips.
The gold applicator can be used interchangeably with the full collection of Confession Ultra Slim Lipstick Refills (sold separately). I started with ‘I Can’t Wait,’ a bold, bright pink that’s become my top 3 shade of pink! (Which you know is saying a lot!)
This lipstick formula is also 100% cruelty free, and made without Parabens, Sulfates, or Phthalates.
The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is no stranger around these parts… I’ve been using it for years! In fact, I’d say it’s in my Top 5 makeup faves. It’s super hydrating, which is especially good for those of us no longer in our 20s!
The creamy, lightweight formula blends easily, with excellent medium coverage, yet doesn’t settle in to fine lines like most concealers. It also lasts all day and comes in a ton of shades. I wear ‘creme brûlée’ pretty much year-round.
Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Concealer is my other favorite… providing amazing, full coverage, with a super-hydrating formula and even a touch of brightness.
Another Suzie Moldavon fave, she insisted I needed this palette. Tarte is one of her favorite eyeshadow brands, and the Tartelette In Bloom is one of her most used palettes. It has a range of shades for day and night looks, with a mix of matte and shimmer.
They’re highly pigmented, buttery soft, and blend easily. The palette is arranged by quads for easy application ideas. I love the compact size, too, especially considering how many colors it provides! Just check out the over 3,000 5-star reviews… many say it’s their ride-or-die eyeshadow palette!
Remember the trick Suzie taught us about over-lining just the Cupid’s bow to bring back that youthful, bee-stung lip? (See it HERE.) It’s one of my favorite tips she’s shared (along with brightening the lower waterline with this highlighter), and I do it pretty much every day! I just love the effect.
You can achieve the look with just lipstick, but it’s much easier with a lip liner… plus it stays put longer. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in ‘Pillow Talk’ is the perfect neutral shade for wearing with all my bright pinks and red lipsticks.
It goes on smooth and creamy, not waxy at all, but has a matte finish which is a perfect primer base for lipstick. It has slight pink undertones to the nude shade, so it matches my lips almost identically so when my lipstick wears off I’m not left with an obvious outline. I’m thrilled to have a single liner for all my lipsticks!
Okay, so I’m not necessarily a fan of the name (seriously, why do beauty brands do that?!), but I’m a serious fan of this product! I’ve been using NARS blush for years, and love the high pigment formula and natural flush they provide. In fact they’re so pigmented, it only requires a single swipe across the product with a brush, and it stays put all day.
The NARS Orgasm X Cheek Palette features three universally flattering shades, including their cult favorites, Orgasm (peachy pink with gold shimmer) and Orgasm X (shimmering deep coral pink with gold pearl). Both of which are so natural and pretty. It also includes Orgasm Highlighting Powder, which adds a golden shimmer and luster to face, eyes, and brow bone.
I love having them packaged in a single, convenient palette, allowing me to easily switch up my blush shade. Plus, each color is full-size, so it’s a great deal!
Y’all are no strangers to my go-to It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination with SPF 50+… I’ve been using it for years, and credit the illumination for giving me that ‘filtered glow’ look. Mama Sugarplum swears by it, too. (It even made her Mama Sugarplum Favorite Things list two years in a row!)
With stay-home orders, I was using NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 for lighter coverage around the house, but am now back to the more full-coverage of It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination with SPF 50+.
Top Finds // Tools & Brushes
My whole life I thought all eyelash curlers were the same. I mean, an eyelash curler is an eyelash curler, right?! Nope! The Shiseido Eyelash Curler delivers an intense curl that instantly opens the eye. In fact, I have to be careful with over curling them!
The edge-free design reaches every single lash, even those tiny ones on the ends. It’s gentle and safe on the lashes with no pinching, and curls them from the base to the tip. No wonder it’s a cult favorite and Allure Best of Beauty winner!
I needed an upgrade on my makeup brushes, and after researching tons, I settled on this Sephora Collection Ready to Roll Brush Set (almost-perfect reviews!). The 10-pack brush set includes all the essential brushes for eyes, face, contouring, and highlight…and they come in a handy roll that’s great for travel or storage.
The high quality bristles are designed for ease of application without shedding and have soft-touch handles. They also have their purpose etched on the side, which is super helpful! Need a smaller set? They just released this PRO 6-Piece Set of the best sellers.
If you’ve been around HSP for any time at all, then you’re well-versed in my love for this shower cap! We all know the purpose of shower caps, but did you know not all shower caps are created equal?! First, the Drybar Morning After Shower Cap (again, not a fan of the name, but that’s irrelevant) is lined in terrycloth, which absorbs all the moisture and steam, keeping it off your hair! Standard shower caps just act as a sauna creating a ton of humidity under the cap, and wreaking havoc on your ‘do.
The Drybar cap is also lined in a thick cotton elastic, so it not only stays in place, but acts as another barrier to letting steam and moisture past the hairline. And lastly, the cap is a generous size, so it doesn’t squash your style.
I don’t fully submerge my head while wearing it, but the cap still gets damp, so I hang it on a hook outside the shower to fully dry between uses. After awhile, it starts to look a little grimy around the edges from makeup and soap, so I hand wash it and air dry it inside out… good as new! I’ve been using it for well over five years, and replaced it two or three times… so it definitely gets a lot of wear.
I didn’t technically discover the OLEHENRIKSEN Balancing Force Oil Control Toner at Sephora, but it definitely deserves a spot in my Top 20 beauty finds of last year! I can’t wait to see what products emerge as new favorites this year. I just ordered Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter and Briogeo Don’t Despair Super Conditioner… who knows, maybe they’ll be on 2021’s top list!
If you’re a beauty junkie like me, make sure you’re a Sephora Beauty Insider (sign-up is free HERE!)… they offer exclusive deals and sales, along with bonus samples, rewards, and points with every purchase!So tell me, did any of these products find their way to your vanity, too? What beauty faves should I try next?
Find all my monthly Sephora Hauls HERE.
*This post is created in collaboration with Sephora and ShopStyle, but all product selections, opinions, and beauty junkie obsessions are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*