2014 Beauty Favorites

Second day of the year, second post (in a row) of the year…looks like 2015 is off to a good start here on susienotsohomemaker!

Today’s favorites feature some ‘beauty’ products that I reached for over and over throughout the course of the year.

They are all products that I used for the first time in 2014; some from brands I have loved for awhile, some were new companies and new products!

And drum roll please…..my 2014 beauty favorites are…..

2014 Beauty Favs


(yes, I know it’s a lot of Lush…and yes…I do work there…but I have been a BIG fan of their products for a long time)

*To my knowledge, all these products are cruelty free. Some are owned by parent companies, some are not. If you have any questions, please please please feel free to leave a comment!*

Favorite Handsoap:

Deep Steep Handwash

Deep Steep’s Foaming Hand Wash in grapefruit bergamot

Deep Steep is one of the new companies and products from 2014 for me! I happened upon some Deep Steep products at Marshalls and saw that they were Leaping Bunny certified so I grabbed a few of their products!

I enjoyed all of the products I tried from them, but the hand soap was for sure my favorite! I didn’t use it right away, and I have a piece of bar soap on my sink at all times which is why I still have half left (that and because I love it, I am kinda of rationing it for who knows what reason).

Three reasons I love it.

1) Foams like crazy without SLS…

2) Doesn’t leave my hands feeling like I have soapy residue on my hands/have to rinse for a long time..

3) Smells like fruity pebbles. I am so serious about this. I cracked this baby open and pumped out a full pump (which btw, is WAY too much, a little goes a loong way) and was in love with the scent. It’s clean and fresh and warm all at the same time!

I kept using it and wondering what. the. heck. it smelled like.

Every time I used it, I would try to figure it out until for some reason one day it had been brought up that Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is what we call fruity pebble beer because it kinda tastes like it…and DING!

That’s when I realized it smelled like one of the best kid cereals in the world. In the absolute best way.

Get it at Deep Steep‘s website and at Marshalls and Whole Foods!

Favorite Shower Gel

Olive Branch

LUSH’s The Olive Branch

This shower gel is just perfection in my opinion.

Softening (from the Olive Oil you can see at the top), soothing (from the bergamot and vine extract), and cleansing (from the mandarin and…it’s soap).

I must really like bergamot..because my first two favorites have it in them…hmm. Liiiight Bulb.


You have to shake this shower gel up in order to get the olive oil allll mixed up, but that is part of the fun!

I had a small bottle of this that I started to use around the beginning of the year and went through that like it was pure gold I liked it that much and didn’t want to be without it.

I saved it for when I wanted the smell/needed more moisture, but then when it came back in stock (it is that popular) at my LUSH, I bought the medium size!

If you haven’t tried this shower gel, go smell it. Unless you hate bergamot and/or mandarins, you will most likely love this shower gel!

You can get it at your nearby LUSH store and online at www.lushusa.com

Favorite Hair Product

No Drought

LUSH’s No Drought Dry Shampoo

Ah dry shampoo.

Gift from God. Manna from above.

Ok, maybe I am taking it a bit too far there, but this is a fantastic product that unless you wash your hair errr’yday (which you really shouldn’t), helps to keep you looking – and smelling – fresh and oil free!

My husband even likes this…and if that’s not an endorsement, then I don’t know what is.

You may be asking, “Why this dry shampoo and not others? Why the powder-y kind, isn’t that hard to control?”. And those are good questions!

I use this dry shampoo and not others for the same reason I use the powder form.

No butane.

One day I was blissfully spraying my hair full of dry shampoo from another brand and happened to check out the ingredients.

The first two ingredients of my dry shampoo were “Butane, Propane”.


What was I spraying onto my head, breathing in and absorbing through my scalp???

I looked around for some CF and natural products and, deciding I didn’t want to make my own quite yet, decided on the LUSH one.

The powder is easy to use. You just fluff it into your hair and is the same as pointing and spraying I think, once you get the hang of it.

The powder doesn’t give any more or less of a white cast that the spray ones did for me…and James (who has almost black hair) uses it without looking like he’s in a middle school play on the founding fathers.

No Drought smells SO GOOD with the lime and grapefruit oils, and the maize and talc in it absorbs oils and fluffs up your hair!

You can get it at your nearby LUSH store and online at www.lushusa.com

Favorite Skin Cleanser/Mask

Mask of Mag

LUSH’s (sorry, I know…I have an obsession) REFORMULATED Mask of Magnaminty

Or, as LUSHIEs call it…Mask of Mag!

In the summer of 2014, LUSH decided to do something really cool and take an extra step beyond their current level of awesome and remove the preservatives from their three best selling products. Mask of Mag was one of those three.

*Now I know and have read up on the dangers vs. the non dangers of parabens (the main preservatives that LUSH uses). I do understand the pro’s and con’s to their usage and the dangers of other preservatives that are being used in their stead ever since they became a buzzword. If you want to have a conversation about them, I welcome that in the comments as well!*

I decided in the summer of 2013 that I, especially for skincare products, would try to stay away from them for two reasons.

1) Limiting the amount of even tiny amounts of non necessary chemicals and preservatives can’t be bad for you – they all add up.

2) My face doesn’t like parabens. I don’t know why or what they may or may not do, but I was having skin issues, happened to cut out parabens and use more natural products, and my issues subsided. Tried a sample of a paraben containing product, and the issues came back.

SO- after that longwinded explanation…I was FINALLY able to try Mask of Mag, which I had heard so many people rave about…and I loved it just as much as I thought I would!

Honey, Kaolin Clay, Mint and ground Aduki Beans give a fantastic deep cleansing and exfoliation without over drying or hurting my skin! The mint is great for stress relieving and headaches, and the large amount of honey in it makes it a great mask to use while taking a bubble bath because it doesn’t dry up as fast or as harshly like other masks can.

You can get it at your nearby LUSH store and online at www.lushusa.com

Favorite Toner:

SW Basics Toner

SW Basics of BK’s Toner

Toner. An often looked over, under appreciated skin care product.

It’s a fantastic product that can really make a difference in your skin and your makeup.

Toner basically works in three ways:

1) Finishes cleaning/gets any left over dirt your cleanser didn’t get

2) Repair/replenish the skin with ingredients that are full of antioxidants, etc.

3) Prep the skin for moisturizer/serums and help them to absorb fully. (This can really help the way your makeup applies/sits on your face)

Now this toner isn’t for everyone…but for my combination skin type, it’s great!

Most other toners, including the one I was using before, have alcohol in them and are harsh and drying on the skin. Instead of pampering and replenishing the skin, they hurt.

I got a sample of a new to me company; SW Basics from my Petit Vour subscription box. I looked them up and saw that they made a natural toner too!

After researching the ingredients and reviews from people with similar skin as mine…I bit the bullet and bought my first full sized luxury natural CF product from Petit Vour!

I am so glad I did!

This toner really helps to balance and prep my skin, the witch hazel is not too harsh for me because the toner is a water based toner, and the witch hazel is just enough to help to balance and prevent any inflammation/redness!

It smells like the apple cider vinegar, which is fine by me.

The only negative and the reason the picture is of a mostly empty bottle… The cider in it rusted up my screw on lid, so in order to prevent rust from getting in my precious toner, I transferred the product into a spray bottle from Target. Which I kinda like better!

You can get it online from SW Basics and Petit Vour

Favorite Primer

Hourglass Veil Primer

Hourglass’s Veil Mineral Primer

Might as well continue in the order I put things on my face, I guess…

As a skeptic of primers, it took me a while to find and like – let alone love –  a primer.

I didn’t think primers did anything for me other than make my face slippy feeling and make my foundation come off faster.

Until I tried this baby!

This is a sample size of the primer, and it has lasted me a long time.

The primer has a slick feeling to it and is easily moved around the face…but when you stop applying it…it dries into nothingness! No slippy silicone grease here!

It helps to mattify my skin and to allow a longer wear for my foundation. Which was necessary for the many weddings and events I had in 2014.

I used this for times I knew I would have a heavy foundation on, be in pictures, or have to have my makeup last longer than usual.

It doesn’t smell weird, feel weird or look weird. And it does what a primer is ‘supposed’ to. Only con? The price.

The full size of this is 30ml for $52. ouch. BUT…the 10ml is only $18..and since such a small amount works for me, it is probably the size I’ll try next.

Get it at Sephora in store and online and online from Hourglass.

Favorite Foundation:

Buxom Foundation

Buxom’s Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation

This has made an appearance in the few monthly favorites I did do in 2014. (sorry about that, kinda fell of that bandwagon)

It’s a BB creme/foundation that feels more like a tinted moisturizer/builds up to a normal foundation.

If that doesn’t make sense to you…well, it’s a lightweight foundation that has a sheer and natural coverage that can be ‘built up’ by applying two or more ‘layers’ until you cover up your blemishes, but still looks like skin and less like spray paint.

It also doesn’t smell horrid or feel thick on your skin.

It absorbs a bit into your skin and doesn’t just sit on top, feeling like a mask.

I also think it helps to mattify a bit (great for that T-zone) and doesn’t get super cake face-y if you have to have it on for a while.

I used it a lot because it was so versatile and sheer for everyday!

You can get it at Sephora in stores or online and online from the Buxom site.

Favorite Eye Makeup and Favorite Beauty ‘Tool’:

Makeup Geek

Makeup Geek Eyeshadows and Z Palette!

In 2014 I FINALLY ordered myself some Makeup Geek shadows after drooling over them for a while.

Basics: cheaper than MAC, same size as MAC, just as good as MAC, and they’re cruelty-free!

The makeup pans you buy individually and are $5.99 or you can get a starter kit (which is in that picture with others) for $49.99!

I got these around last Christmas because James got me the Z-palette as a gift and then I bought some shadows I wanted, but didn’t really use them until after Jan 1, 2014.

I then supplemented my original 7 with the starter kit and filled up my Z-palette!

The pigmentation is fantastic! Not just for the shimmer/satin ones, but for the mattes as well. It seems to be a hard thing for affordable eye shadows to really be a consistently good matte! Plus, the black from Makeup Geek (MUG) is black as black can be.

They are great shadows that build up really nicely without a ton of fallout so you can do your eyeshadow after your foundation if that’s what you like!

You can create any number of looks just with these shadows, even use the black and browns as liners with a small wet brush.

Marlena, the owner and founder of MUG, keeps pushing herself and has a pretty much full line of makeup and brushes and has future releases planned! I can’t wait to try some of her other products!

You can get the shadows, her other products and Z-Palettes online from www.makeupgeek.com

Sephora carries a special Z-Palette with the iconic black and white Sephora stripes, and Z-Palette has their own site.

Favorite Mascara:

Jordana Best Lash

Jordana’s Best Lash Extreme

For me, mascara needs to be mostly volumizing with a touch of length but not be ridiculously clumpy.

Well, I had heard of this mascara from a few You Tubers- Tati from Glam Life Guru, Lauren Curtis and Kathleen Lights. Since it seemed to be getting rave reviews from three people I like on You Tube, I tracked it down at my Walgreens. (Hiding on the side of the beauty counter)

I know it’s not natural…and I know that Jordana/Milani had some issues with the CF community this past summer…but they sorted it out to my standards. And I will often times use a more natural mascara as a ‘protecting’ base coat if I am worried about it, but this has never irritated my eyes.

I, like Kathleen Lights, like to open it up right away (GASP!) and let it dry out a bit. It is a bit wet of a formula, and I prefer a slightly drier one.

The brush is a classic and stiff brush, none of that bendy crap here.


A mascara that gives me great lashes for less the $5? yes please.

You can get it at Walgreens in stores and online and from Jordana online.

Favorite Blush


Milani’s Baked Blush in Luminoso

Another Youtube/Beauty Blogger Fav here!

I finally grabbed on of these from CVS in early 2014 and it quickly became my ‘go to’ blush.

It’s a gorgeous coral peach color that gives that just in from the cold pink to your cheeks.

Unless it’s already freezing out…then you just look extra pink…or if you’re like me…pink all over with more pink in the cheeks.

I really like that Luminoso, as the name insinuates, has some luminosity or sheen to it.

I don’t need much of a highlight above/over my blush with this product, and the color is a soft one that can be built up if you want.

You can get this at CVS stores and from Milani’s site.

Favorite General Skin/Beauty Product:


LUSH’s Ultrabalm

Back to LUSH products. I can’t help it…

Ever since ‘going cruelty free’I had a hard time finding something for really dry, itchy skin…or petroleum jelly.

I must have walked by Ultrabalm a hundred times in that store before I worked there and never really looked at it.

Which is my loss. This stuff is MAGIC!

It is a three ingredient, preservative free, vegan version of Vaseline. I use it like ‘normal’: for dry skin, lips, cuticles, etc. But, I found that Ultrabalm also works as a replacement for Neosporin!!!

I burnt myself within ten minutes of buying and trying a curling wand…ouch!!! I couldn’t find burn cream so I put some of this on it and the itchy sting of the burn went away immediately! I also swear it helped heal it and I didn’t get a scar from it!

I started putting it on cat scratches and bites (after they were cleaned and stopped bleeding) and did the same for a pretty nasty cut on  my ankle. Every time I’ve used it, the injury has healed and almost vanished!

It works for almost everything I’ve tried it for, and it is my new ‘holy grail’ of beauty/skin products.

Ultrabalm fan club anyone??

You can get it at your nearby LUSH store and online at www.lushusa.com (Seriously. Get it)

James’ Favorite:


LUSH’s Kalamazoo Beard and Facial Wash

LUSH finally came out with a product for those manly men!

James has a beard – and like most beards – it’s scratchy. So when I saw this coming out at work, I grabbed him a sample.

This product has only been out since mid November…but he likes it THAT much.

It sold out twice if not three times in my store, and I believe at least once online.

It’s that awesome. (For bearded men and non bearded men alike!)

Basically, it’s a wash that is safe for the skin underneath the beard that most men forget about when they just use their shampoo on their beards.

It’s also good for the beard and helps to soften and nourish the hairs unlike face wash which can often dry out and even tint or bleach the hair. (Ever notice how a lot of guys have red hairs in their beards but not on their head? It’s not because of “gingeritits”, you 14 year old…sigh…)

I have noticed a definite change in the level of softness which in turn makes the beard look fluffier and fuller in my opinion!

Wife approved!

That is IT for 2014 Favorites!

Thank you if you stuck with me for this long two part post! I hope that some of these products strike a chord with you and can even inspire you for the remainder of 2015!

Any beauty favorites of yours from 2014? Please share!

And again, I hope that 2014 was a great year for you and wish only the best for you and yours in 2015!



*These products were purchased by me and my husband with our own money. I do work at LUSH, but this post is not sponsored or provided for in any way by LUSH or any other company mentioned*


5 thoughts on “2014 Beauty Favorites

  1. I bought the Hourglass primer on a whim last week & I honestly have no idea what I ever did without it. I typically have to put my foundation on twice a day because of my oily skin & thanks to that stuff it stays put ALL DAY! Will definitely have to try Jordana lash, I’ve heard good things!

  2. Woooooooooahhhhhhhh. I had no clue that there was Butane and Propane in dry shampoo! I never read the label but wow… And I didn’t know Jordana was cruelty free! Are they the same company as Milani? Milani has some new products out that I desperately want to get my paws on but alas… no displays are out over here yet! And Makeup Geek… your post just may be the straw that has broken the camel (that is my bank account)’s back. Need. $49.99. Need. LOL

    • Haha! Kaily I was right there with you! Who knew!? Two things you would not expect! Jordana is actually the ‘parent company’ of Milani! And I purposely avoid CVS so I don’t get tempted to buy all their lipsticks! Oh haha I’m sorry! But yes, go get MUG shadows! So worth it!!

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