28 December, 2016 Best Beauty 2016: What Rocked My World This Year
Hello all, and welcome to Best Beauty 2016. The last year has been probably the craziest 12 months of my adult life so far: I left my old job (relief is an understatement), spent three months figuring out my career goals and did a ton of writing, landed my new job as a copywriter which is bringing me all sorts of happiness right now, and spent the summer celebrating my oldest and bestest friend’s wedding.
In terms of beauty, 2016 has definitely been a year of discovery. I’ve been lucky to work with some incredible brands and names, including Debenhams, Dermalogica and Algenist, and I’ve also added some lovely beauty treats to my skincare and makeup routines. Without anymore waffling, here’s my complete rundown of my Best Beauty 2016:
This stuff is bloody lovely. Luxurious, rich without being overly cloying, and heavenly scented to boot, it’s just the thing I like to use after a long day. I typically follow with a foam, milk or cream cleanser, but I think you could use this again if you wanted a gentle and pampering double cleanse. It’s the makeup remover I’ve been impressed with the most this year, and arguably the biggest surprise win from the entire Dermalogica skincare trial I did a few months back.
Oskia’s cult classic cleanser is so popular with beauty bloggers, that it’s almost impressive it took me so long to try it. It’s a gel to oil to milk cleanser, and washes off cleanly without a speck of residue. I love this in the morning or as an evening cleanse when I’ve not worn makeup that day, and it’s the perfect cleanser when my skin is a little dry and dehydrated – basically for the entirety of winter.
An oldy but a goody, Glow Tonic has been a firm favourite for a while. I learnt this year that you can use it to help slough away dead skin on those unsightly ‘chicken skin’ bumps I often find on my arms – not that sexy if you’re wearing a T-shirt. It has really helped with those, as well as generally removing dead skin on my face, keeping dry patches at bay, and perking my complexion up after a day on public transport.
I have tried so many essences, lotions and tonic this year, but for an all-round boost of hydration that leaves my skin feeling silky soft and healthy, this is fabulous. In my opinion, hydrating toners don’t make that much of a difference to my skincare routine, but they help to layer moisture, keep skin supple, and generally promote a more calm and collected complexion. I wouldn’t be without them!
Best Serum: Superdrug Vitamin E Serum
For a cheap and cheerful moisturising serum, this year I stayed true to this wonderful gem. It’s SO affordable (under £4), has a lovely gel consistency, absorbs quickly and makes a great base for moisturiser and primer. It’s also always on offer at Superdrug, so you can probably stock up for the year for about £10.
Best Moisturiser: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel
I’ve loved this moisturiser for a while, and although it’s not that fancy, it’s super reliable for giving my skin a dose of moisture while controlling oil production. I picked up a huge bottle for £30 in the summer of 2015 and because it lasts for 24 months, I’ve still not finished – that’s proper value for money IMO.
I love a face mask as much as the next girl, but 2016 was the year I got a little tired of faffing around with clay masks, and switched to fast-acting, acid-packed treatments that make a noticeable difference to my skin. This gorgeous product from REN can be applied just before you brush your teeth and removed once you’ve used mouthwash and flossed – it’s so, so quick. I like to use this the day of a big event for a boost of radiance, and I find it to be the perfect skin pick-me-up if I’ve got a cold.
I’m an absolute primer fiend, and this year I’ve chosen two primers, as I feel like using them together gets the best result. Spackle is fantastic for lightly hydrating my skin, smoothing out any dry areas and keeping my skin feeling comfortable, and the No.7 primer is great for absorbing oil, filling in texture and keeping my skin looking matte and airbrushed. I’ve used this combination for about four months and it works for both light and full-on makeup looks – I definitely recommend you checking out both of them.
Best Foundation: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
It was super close between Sheer Glow and the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition Foundation, but I went for the NARS offering because of how buildable it is, and how it works so well regardless of whether my skin is dehydrated or super oily. I’m between Santa Fe and Stromboli, although I’ve been using Stromboli for a month or two and it still seems to match my skin. The formula is creamy, the coverage brilliant, and it wears well throughout the day, with some oil coming through at the four-five hour mark. There’s no SPF so you can use it in the evening without worrying about the flash in photographs, and although Silk Creme is my go-to when I need high coverage, this will work well if I’m going all out and want my base to last through the night.
Best Concealer: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks to the powers that be at Tarte. If you can get it in your shade, this concealer will change your life. It’s creamy, full coverage, hydrating while also offering enough pigment so it doesn’t slip and slide all over my face, and the chubby applicator is fab for quickly swiping it on in the morning. I can use this on both blemishes and under-eye circles, and it dries semi-matte, making it a great option for combination-oily skin types. If I can find the shade Light Medium in stock EVER AGAIN, I’m definitely picking up a few more tubes.
I’m so pleased I found these powders this year. Both shades have basically zero pigment, but they neutralise oil in a second and are great for giving makeup a refresh. I like to use Banana to set my makeup upon first application, and then I keep Translucent in my clutch or desk drawer for top ups. They’re usually out of stock online, but Selfridges and any local Boots should have a good supply of both colours.
Best Bronzer: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
More blendable than Hoola, and a little more pigmented too – this is how I usually sell this fab bronzer to anyone looking for a better option to Benefit’s iconic bronzing powder. It’s lovely and warm, completely shimmer-free, and can be built up depending on your level of tan. I’ll happily take this on holiday and be able to use it as my skin colour deepens in the sun. Plus, it smells of chocolate. Nom.
If you read my edit of the best mauve blushers (linked above), then you’ll know how obsessed I am with all things dusky rose, plum and (obvs) mauve. Mood Exposure is a beautiful mauve with champagne shimmer, and it’s very similar to Benefit’s Boxed Blusher in Dallas, with a slightly cooler tone to it. And yes, I’m aware I didn’t photograph Mood Exposure in the featured image. It’s hard fitting a bajillion products into one shot!
Best Highlighter: Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Palette (review here)
Although this palette is usually praised for its ability to create cheekbones out of thin air, I love it for the beautifully pearly and luminous highlighter. It’s a stunning blend of champagne, ivory, cream and a hint of yellow and pink mixed together – pure deliciousness on the tops of cheeks, brows and even down the centre of the nose. I use this every day and often dab a little onto my eyelids when I need a little sparkle to complete a makeup look.
It doesn’t come with a spoolie, and the highlighter is a little too glittery, but this brow pencil is the PERFECT combination of wax and powder. I love this combined with brow gel, and at £8 I think this little pen is a pretty great find. Also, there are so many colour options for fair brows, making this a fab option if you’re blonde or grey. Yay!
Best Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara
Just when I thought I couldn’t rave about the original Lash Sensational any more, this stunner comes along to knock it off its perch. It’s a little more glossy than the former, and has a funkier brush that really gets to the root of my lashes. For maximum volume and drama, I like to use both tubes.
Out of the 362 days I’ve enjoyed so far this year, approximately 350 have been spent applying liquid eyeliner. Not all of the day, but some of the day. A decent amount of time. Anyway, I love a feline flick regardless of the occasion, and Stila’s offering creates the most precise, opaque and long-lasting wing I’ve ever seen. The Kat Von D pen is also lovely, but in recent weeks my current tube is starting to dry out, while the Stila one I’ve had since September is showing no signs of giving up.
Best Single Eyeshadow: KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 5 Rosy Brown
If you’re after a sparkly, mauve-pewter-purple-chocolate stick of goodness to gild your lids, this cheap-as-chips shadow stick from KIKO is going to make you seriously happy. I always have this in my travel makeup bag, as teamed with a matte brown in the crease it creates a stunning smoky eye in seconds, and it’s perfect for glamming up after work too. 2017 is the year I discover more shades from the range.
I’ve raved about this palette non-stop since picking it up in the summer; in summary, it’s the perfect neutral selection with great pops of colour, a lovely and rich selection of mattes, and a few highlight shades that work really well together and on their own. I’ve loved using this in autumn and winter, and although it’s almost always out of stock, it’s supposedly a permanent fixture in the Anastasia product catalogue, so try and get your hands on it!
Best Lipstick: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Bahama
I own a shockingly large collection of lip products, and of all my discoveries in 2016, this has impressed me the most. I love how convenient it is (a chubby crayon will always delight me), the colour is a beautiful pale burgundy-brown, and I truly believe this colour will suit any skin tone. Plus, the formula is matte without being drying. The ultimate ‘chuck on and go’ lip product of dreams.
Treats and Scents
Best Beauty Innovation: Dr. Bronner’s Organic Almond Castile Liquid Soap*
I’ve been quietly using this throughout the autumn and winter months, and find it to be one of the most versatile beauty products in my collection. I mainly use this to wash my makeup brushes, but have also found it handy as an emergency body wash, soap and also as a shampoo – it’s a true multi-tasking miracle. The almond scent is rich and comforting, and reminds me of cherry bakewells – perfect for cosy nights in.
Best Pampering Treatment: Algenist Splash Absolute Hydration Replenishing Sleeping Pack*
I’m lucky that I leave work at 5pm and can now afford to have a proper social life in the week, but what makes me the happiest is being able to enjoy my skincare routine every day, as opposed to hastily scrubbing away my liner and foundation so I can get a decent sleep. This beauty from Algenist is awesome for using as the last step in my regime, and really helps to nourish my skin and leave it looking plump and healthy the next morning. It’s also great when travelling – I normally pack a squeezy tube with this and apply as and when my skin feels a little parched.
Best Fragrance: Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne
My last hero product as part of my Best Beauty 2016 is this stunning Jo Malone fragrance. Fruity, fresh and earthy, it’s not too sweet but also has a lovely hint of blackberry that gives it a gorgeously feminine kick. I wore this at my best friend’s wedding and it now always reminds me of that fab day – a great pick me up on cold winter days.
We did it! 2,000 words later and my Best Beauty 2016 has come to a close. You deserve a serious medal. Which products made it onto your hero list this year? Did any of mine make the cut? Get commenting below, and feel free to share your blog links so I can have a nosy too.
Have a fabulous New Year’s Eve and a great start to 2017!
*Some products have been sent to me for editorial consideration. I was not remunerated for mentioning them.