2016 was a year full of amazing beauty discoveries for me, and although it was extremely hard for me to pick just one particular product that has stood out for me the most from each category, I have narrowed it down to the beauty products that I feel were worth the praise this year. From base products to lip products, here is my guide on the beauty staples that have had my heart since the get go.
Although primers haven't always been a vital part of my routine, I have slowly began to appreciate their uses. After giving my beauty stash a declutter a few months ago, I came across Mac's strobe cream; a product that I've had for a while but never really gave it a chance. I wouldn't class this as your standard primer, but what I like about it is that it still has the benefits that a primer would have. It smoothes the skin, improves clarity and prepares the surface for the application of your base products, but it also moisturises and highlights the skin at the same time. One of my pet peeves when it comes to primers that I've used in the past is that I disliked the texture and found them quite drying, whilst this one makes my skin feel hydrated at the same time as giving it an iridescent, subtle glow. And who doesn't want glowing skin all the time? I know I do.
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The foundation that has stuck out for me the most throughout 2016, and one that has been a true life saver to me for a good couple of years now is the Bourjois Healthy Mix. I'm yet to find a foundation that just works with my skin as much as this one does. It provides a medium, but build-able coverage that is extremely easy to blend and makes the complexion look and feel flawless with even the tiniest amount. Not only does it last, but it also includes a fruit therapy formula (apple, melon and apricot extracts) which instantly awakens the skin and keeps it looking young and radiant. I love a good foundation that covers any problem areas on the face as well as keeping it hydrated and glowing at the same time, which is why this one is a winner for me.
Another hero product from the likes of Bourjois has been the Radiance Reveal concealer. This product along with my foundation of choice make the perfect combination when working towards that flawless and blemish-free base. It has an extremely creamy consistency that completely conceals any imperfections and masks problem areas such as dark circles and redness around the eyes and nose. With ingredients such as glacier water and hyaluronic acid, it also does the job at hydrating the under eye area and smoothing away any fine lines and puffiness too.
It's a rarity that you'll find me leaving the house without a powder to save me from any skin disasters throughout the day, and the one that I've been relying on the most this year has been the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder in Diffused Light. This is definitely on pricier side of the scale, but I would highly recommend trying if you're looking for an all-in-one product that locks in your base, but also leaves the complexion looking fairly natural and effortless. The idea of this powder is to capture, diffuse and soften the way the light reflects on the skin (perfect for pictures using the flash) and it certainly does just that. Not only does it create this amazing effect, but its finely milled particles mean that it feels light on the skin and it lasts all day too.
Although I don't tend to use bronzer on a daily basis, when I do fancy a subtle contour or my complexion is looking extra pale, the one that I'll reach for is Urban Decay's Beached bronze. It has a creamy texture like no other powder product I've tried before which makes it so easy to apply, but provides a subtle matte finish and feels extremely light on the skin. I've tried so many bronzers in the past that have made my complexion way too orange, but this one offers 2 very natural looking brown shades that give your skin that muted warmth that it sometimes needs.
One of my favourite beauty products to use on a daily basis is my Hourglass Ambient lighting blush in Mood Exposure. I typically lean toward the dusky pink, plum and mauve shades as I feel they add a more natural looking flush to the cheeks, which is why mood exposure is perfect for me. Not only is the packaging aesthetically pleasing, but the product itself is like no other. Just like the standard Hourglass powders, this one feels lightweight on the skin and there is no need to plaster it on as the smallest amount gives the cheeks a generous pop of colour. I just adore the definition this gives to my cheek bones.
This was possibly the most difficult category to narrow down to just one, but the highlighting product that I've found myself reaching for over and over again this year has been Sleek's Solstice palette. The pigment in these highlights are insane, and for such a reasonable price too. This palette in particular can be used sparingly to create a beautifully subtle, light reflecting glow to the cheek bones, but can also be used as an eyeshadow palette too. There are 4 different shades included, a cream and 3 powders. I'm a huge lover of champagne toned highlights as they just make my complexion look and feel a little more alive on those tired and grumpy skin days, so the golden powder shade in Subsolar is definitely my favourite.
2016 was the year that I fell back in love with Urban Decay's Naked 3 palette. Much like my blush choices, I found myself warming to the dusky pink, rose-hued neutral shades and this palette certainly delivers the goods. What I love the most about all Urban Decay eyeshadow palettes is the fact that each shade is wearable and there isn't one that goes to waste. From every day, barely there looking nudes, to shimmering pinks and metallic darker shades, you can create so many different versatile eye looks for any occasion. The texture is like no other - it feels like you're applying velvet to the eyelids. They're also the only shadows that I find have the staying power without the need of a primer.
Mascara's are always hit and miss and it's usually down to an individual's preference on the look they are wanting to achieve for their lashes. I've tried my fair share from many brands over time, whether it being drugstore or high end and I've come to realise that it's not always the price that determines the quality of a product. My natural lashes are fairly long but tend to be quite straight and lifeless without the use of eyelash curlers, so a good mascara that has the benefits of lifting and volumizing my lashes is key for me on those days when I'm looking to make as little effort as possible. One of my favourite discoveries of 2016 is Maybelline's Lash Sensational mascara which not only has a low price tag, but has the effects of no mascara I've tried before.
I was disappointed to say the least when I discovered that my local Tesco had ran out of my favourite Collection liner, but me being me, left it to the last minute the night before the races a few weeks ago, so picked up the next best thing which was Maybelline's Master Precise liquid liner. Surprisingly, I found that I actually preferred this one. It has an extra thin and precise tip that allows you to create a straight line with ease, as well as the perfect set of wings. Along with a good concealer, I find a bit of liner on the top of my eyelids creates the illusion that I'm very much awake, even when I'm not.
A good set of brows is a necessity to me and I definitely won't leave the house without them. Again, I've tried many brands when it comes to my brows, including Anastasia Beverly Hills' dip brow pomade, but the only products that have worked for me are the ones by Benefit. I've been a religious user of brow zings for a number of years, but I was drawn towards their new selection of products when they were released a few months ago. Whilst repurchasing brow zings, I decided to add another product into my cart which was the Goof Proof eyebrow pencil, and I don't think I'll ever look back. Its wax like texture glides over my natural hairs with ease and does a brilliant job at filling in any gaps, whilst looking really natural at the same time.
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Along with my taste in blushes, I tend to gravitate towards the muted browns and dusky pink lipstick shades (Charlotte Tilbury's Very Victoria & Mac's Faux, Velvet Teddy and Mehr are some of my personal favourites) whenever I find myself drooling over the makeup counter. I've discovered the brighter tones don't really work for me and my complexion, no matter how hard I try and smother my lips in Lady Danger hoping that one day it will. As much as I envy those females that can pull off a super glam red lip, I'm a massive fan of subtle, Autumnal tones that also have the benefits of creating a fuller lip. It was extremely hard to narrow my collection of 20+ Mac lipsticks down, but the one that seems to appear in my handbag/clutch wherever I go as well as being the one that is the closest to coming to an end is 'Faux'. From the satin range, this muted-mauve pink shade has a lovely creamy consistency that doesn't make the lips feel dry like the matte ones sometimes do. I will definitely be repurchasing this in 2017.
When it came to narrowing down my favourite lip liners, it was a no brainer for me. With Mac offering such a wide selection of shades to go accompany any lipstick, it was hard to find a brand that could possibly compete. I have around 8 different shades in my collection, but the one that I seem to go back to on a daily basis is 'Soar'. This is a gorgeous mid-tone pinkish brown shade, and the perfect partner in crime to my most used lipsticks. These liners are great for shaping and giving the illusion of a fuller lip whilst providing the most amazing colour pay off too.
What were your hero beauty products in 2016?