2015 favourites: top twelve makeup products of 2015

I decided not to do a 'best of' post at the end of 2014 because I'd only been blogging for six months then and I wanted to wait until I'd been blogging for a full year. 

Also, at the end of 2014 I was sitting on a bunch of fantastic products that I'd either just opened or had yet to open, so I knew my favourites list wouldn't completely reflect the best products in my collection.

Now that I've been blogging for 18 months, I feel more able to pick out my top products because I've tested more stuff and it's been a good year in terms of working out what suits me and what doesn't.

Do note, however, that I'm limiting my top twelve to makeup products I've reviewed. This means that products I love and use daily (like my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette) won't get a mention, although they'll get one in 2016 because I hope to review them in the coming year.

Also, I've decided to use the photos I've already taken of my top twelve - rather than taking fresh ones - purely because I don't have everything on hand (some products I've finished and the empties are long gone).

But enough preamble! In no particular order, these are the best makeup products I've reviewed since I started blogging:

Best Primer: Inika Certified Organic Pure Primer

This was an easy choice because I haven't had a lot of luck with primers and this is the only one I love and plan to repurchase. I've reviewed it here.

It's super hydrating so it's great for those of us with dry skin, plus it feels wonderful on and you only need the tiniest bit each time so this bottle has lasted me ages and it's still going strong. 

Inika has recently updated the formula of this apparently and added some hyaluronic acid, so I can't wait to try the new version.

Best Foundations: Bodyography Powders and Liquid Foundations

I've rolled these in together so they only count as one product, meaning I've still got plenty of places to fill ; ).

The powders I've reviewed here and the liquid foundations here. Both the powders and the liquid foundations are the best products in their respective categories that I've ever tried. They both offer such a natural finish and feel so light on the skin.

I'm really surprised that these aren't more popular in the blogosphere and I can only imagine that it's because it isn't so easy to test the brand's products - stockists are difficult to find (at least in Australia).

An honourable mention goes to Maybelline's Fit Me Foundation (reviewed here), which is a great option if you're after something more affordable.

Best CC/BB Cream or Tinted Moisturiser: Stila CC Color Correcting Cream SPF 20

This stuff is sensational and I'm sad that I've just finished off my tube because apparently it's been discontinued so I probably won't be able to find another one. Sad face!

I was testing other products on and off as I was using this, and that just confirmed how great this one is: it offers a natural, dewy finish; it's buildable; it blends and applies like a dream; and it doesn't sit in pores. The only downside is the ridiculous $65 price tag, and while I didn't pay that much for it, I still paid a lot and I think it's far too expensive for a product you're going to get through quite quickly.

Honourable mentions go to the Revlon Age Defying CC Cream (reviewed here) and the Maxfactor CC Cream (reviewed here), which are both great options if you're on a budget.

Best Bronzer: Stila Sun Bronzer in Dark

I know this will shock a few people but I've chosen this bronzer over the Bahama Mama Bronzer from theBalm - mainly because I like the colour better since it's warmer - but I do also prefer the formula of this because it's so smooth and creamy. I've reviewed it here.

Best of all, it's a pure matte bronzer with not a speck of shimmer or glitter in sight, which is how I prefer my bronzers. It's also easy to apply and blends well, so I'm never left with bronze splotches on my face.

If you're after a cheaper alternative, I suggest the Mellow Cosmetics Blush in Bronze (reviewed here) - a product I liked so much that I actually managed to finish it within a year.

Best Blush: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion

I also have the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette, and this blush in Dim Infusion and the palette are my favourite blushes of all time - it's just that I've only reviewed this one (see here).

Dim Infusion is my most-used blush and I always grab it when I want to look good but not overdone. It's one of those blushes that goes on lightly to start with but quickly builds up if you want more colour. Whenever I use this product, I feel good. If you haven't tried the Hourglass blushes, I urge you to test them because they're off-the-charts good.

For a cheaper option (although it's not super cheap), I recommend the Josie Maran Coconut Cheek Gelées. I have the colour Honeymoon Honey (reviewed here) and I love it, and the good thing about these products is that a couple of the shades are available in minis, so you can buy a smaller (and cheaper) one to see how you like it - and even the smaller one will last for ages because you only need a little each time.

Best Highlighter: theBalm Mary Lou-manizer

I've reviewed this product but it was one of the earliest posts I did so the photos are terrible and I'm planning to do a revised one sometime in the coming year.

I do love this highlighter but it's super intense so it's not for everyday wear, and I have other highlighters I reach for more often but those are still in the testing period so I'm not ready to post on them yet.

This highlighter is however a cult favourite for good reason: it's pigmented; it's a beautiful shade; it's easy to apply; and it doesn't cost the earth. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Honourable mentions go to MAC's Strobe Cream (reviewed here) and The Cosmetic Kitchen's Macadamia Wax Creme Highlighter (reviewed here). 

Strobe Cream is a great base for makeup - particularly if you have dry skin because it's so hydrating - and the cream highlighter is great to carry around in your purse for touch-ups. Both these products give a more natural highlight than Mary-Lou does, which is why I've managed to finish one of each this year.

Best Eyeshadow: Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Portobello (high-end) and 'Tini Beauty Eyeshadow in Pearl Fizz (budget)

This category was a bit tough for me (at least the high-end section) because I have better eyeshadows on hand but haven't reviewed them, and I don't love the Nars formula because I find it too hard and sheer.

Having said this, Portobello was easily my most-used eyeshadow this year because it's so simple to use and goes with everything, plus it's good for everyday wear. I've reviewed it here. While it mightn't be the prettiest shadow I own, it's a good workhorse so it deserves a mention for that.

This Pearl Fizz Eyeshadow from 'Tini Beauty however was super easy to pick because I love it and it's one of the best shadows I've used in a long time. I've reviewed it here.

The reason I like it so much is that it doesn't transfer as much or as quickly as other products do - even the high-end ones - so it's a great find because I have hooded eyes and any shimmer I place on the lid normally transfers in a heartbeat. 

Plus it's a beautiful, subtle highlighter shade that you can use on the face as well as the eyes, so I've used this a lot. Love.

Best Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

This was another easy choice because the formula of this product is far better than any other mascara I've used this year. It makes my lashes so long and thick, even with one coat, and I reckon you'd be hard-pressed to find another one that does this much with so little effort.

The only downside to this product is that the brush can be a nightmare to use if your eyes are hooded like mine - it's quite big and thick so I always make mistakes and have to wipe them off my upper eye area - but I'm prepared to overlook that with this product because the formula is so good. I've reviewed it here.

The best budget option I've found this year is the Enesti Ultra Volume Mascara (reviewed here), which I received from Memebox but I think it's possible to find it online (it's a Korean product).

Best Eye Pencil: DD'dell Stay Forever Gel Eye Pencil in 04 Espresso

This was another clear winner for me because I don't use black eyeliner anymore: I used to, but I much prefer a more natural look these days so browns that aren't too dark work best for me.

I also prefer browns because my eyes are hooded and on the small side, so I line my upper and lower waterlines only to open them up, and using black eyeliner can close them in (as can lining them above and below the lashline).

I've reviewed this pencil here. What I love about it (aside from the colour) is that it lasts longer on the waterline than many other pencils I've tried, and you can use a light or heavy hand depending on the look you're after.

Best Lipstick: Bodyography (high-end); Shanghai Suzy and Sportsgirl (budget)

I used and reviewed a couple of Bodyography lipsticks fairly recently, which is why they're front of mind. See my review of the colour Smooch here

I don't have a lot of high-end lipsticks because you can pick up some good ones cheaply and I'm much more likely to spend my pennies on skincare or foundation than I am on something like this.

I do like Bodyography's formula though because it's hydrating and lasts well on the lips, and it does feel more 'special' than my other top picks from Shanghai Suzy and Sportsgirl.

Both Shanghai Suzy and Sportsgirl create great lipsticks in terms of formula and wear time (and price!), but I can certainly tell that the Bodyography product is of greater quality. Not so much that I don't use budget brands all the time though!

I've bought nine Shanghai Suzy lipsticks over the past couple of years and six Sportsgirl ones, and I've never bought that many lipsticks from any other brand, so that's saying something.

Best Lip Gloss: Pureplus+ Milk Bebe Lip Treatment

I had a look through my posts on lip glosses and this product was really the only stand-out, so it hasn't been a great year for me when it comes to glosses. I've reviewed it here.

What I love about this gloss is that it plumps my lips nicely without being uncomfortable, and it also smooths out any lines so it's great to apply over drying lip products.

Let's hope 2016 is a better year for glosses!

Best Setting/Finishing Powder: Lipsi Aphrodite Powder

Full review here. I haven't used a lot of setting powders in my time because my skin is dry so I only use the smallest bit (if I use them at all), but this product is one of the best I've tried so I'm happy to wear it all over.

It's light and doesn't dry my skin out, plus it reduces the look of pores and fine lines. It also keeps oil at bay, although I don't get a lot of oiliness - even in summer - so I can't say how it fares for those with super oily skin.

In sum

I've found some great products this year and I reckon that 2016 will be even better (spoiler: I've got a bundle of fancy products waiting to be reviewed : ) ), so I'm looking forward to using and loving some more great products in the coming year.

Do let me know what your 2015 favourite makeup products are - I'd love to hear.

I'll check back in soon with my 2015 skincare favourites. I have a feeing that my skincare post will be harder than this one because I've found so many products I love since I started blogging.

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