Best in Beauty 2016: makeup favourites (cheeks, lips and eyes)


After the festive season and having house-guests for a couple of weeks - plus having two kids under two - my hopes for getting my all yearly favourites posts up by the end of the year were quashed, but I'm pleased to be bringing you the last one now, just before January comes to a close. 

Look, I could have done a lot worse and it's still the first month of 2017, yes?!

Anyhoo. If you'd like to see my makeup favourites from last year, see here. Only one item is a repeat (Hourglass blushes) and the rest are all new to my yearly list.

One thing to note before we get started is that I'm not someone who has truckloads of makeup, nor do I get sent all the latest things from various companies - but I do certainly test a lot of the stuff that comes out, it's just that I don't buy it all. So while I can't compare every item of makeup I own to all the newest releases, what I can say is that each item was bought after having decided it was the best of the best before I bought it, meaning my yearly favourites are the best of those things that I did buy. So hopefully that's saying something!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes and Bronzers

I'm yet to review the Hourglass bronzers but my blush review is here. Blushes and bronzers are my favourite two makeup items (yes, I think they even beat highlighters) so I do own far too many of them and these two formulas from Hourglass have been my favourites in their respective categories ever since they were released. Indeed, if anything ever beats Hourglass blushes and bronzers for me, I'll be surprised.

Why are they so good? Because they're pigmented without being too much (so less chance for error), they blend without effort and they make your skin look like it's been kissed by angels. As an example of how good these are, I've been panning my Too Faced Shadow Insurance and it's become gunky so I can't use it as an eye primer and instead I've been mixing it with oil to use as a face primer. Problem is, the mix is so 'grippy' that nothing blends properly over it. Except these. Even some of the best formulas in the world have skipped over this primer mix and left me with patchy makeup, but not Hourglass. 'Nuff said.

Becca Ombre Rouge Eye Palette and Shimmering Skin Perfector (Pressed) in Champagne Pop

I would love to be an eyeshadow palette fanatic like so many beauty-lovers, but alas I am not. Why? Because I have hooded eyes that are difficult to work with, and to add insult to injury I have dry/dehydrated skin and I'm in my thirties, so I can't just wear any old shadow because so many formulas make me look older than I am.

Enter the Becca Ombre Rouge Eye Palette (reviewed here). While it mightn't be the prettiest palette I own - nor does it offer the most variety because it only contains five shades - it's the one I reach for the most because it works. It blends, it lasts and I can go for a subtle or dramatic look, depending on what I'm doing that day. Never once have I buggered up my eyeshadow when I've used this, and believe me, that's saying something.

As for my highlighter pick of the year, I had to think about this one a bit because Becca doesn't make my favourite highlighter formula - the pressed powders tend to emphasise texture and I have to be careful with them because they're too pigmented for my personal tastes - but in the end I just couldn't go past Champagne Pop due to the colour. It's perfect. And happily Hourglass has duped it in its Holiday 2016 Surreal Glow Palette, but I've only just started using that so I had to give top highlighter spot to Becca for 2016.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara and Colour Sensational Lipsticks

This Maybelline mascara and the lipsticks are the best I've tried in their respective categories this year - whether budget or high-end.

While I do love Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara, this Maybelline one (reviewed here) easily beats it because it's not prone to clumping and the brush isn't too fat, so it's much easier to use - at least for me. On top of that, it gives me big lashes that still look natural and it doesn't smudge or flake throughout the day. Honestly, it's brilliant - and if you can pick it up at half-price, even better.

I've been a Shanghai Suzy Lipstick fan for years now, but in 2016 these Maybelline lipsticks overtook them and they're now my favourite formulas - budget or otherwise. I've reviewed the matte formula here and the cream formula here, and if I had to pick between them I'd go the creams because I prefer the look and feel of cream formulas, but they're both great and I recommend them equally. They apply well, they're comfortable to wear and they last well throughout the day. On top of that, they don't cost the earth so they're a wallet-pleaser to boot. Sensational indeed.

In sum

Hooray for finally rounding-off my yearly favourites! I hope something caught your eye in this post and that you have some new ideas about which products to test next.

If you'd like to check out my top makeup (complexion) products for 2016, see here - in that post you'll find things like primers and foundations.

I hope you've had a good start to 2017, and here's to many more great makeup discoveries in the year ahead.

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