A few weeks into the new year and I thought I’d kick things off on a positive note with a Beauty Favorites 2016 post. I haven’t done a favorites in ages. Something I’m hoping to rectify in 2017. The products featured in this post aren’t necessarily products that were released in 2016. More like products that I discovered last year. I’m not featuring skincare because I plan to do a skincare routine post at some point. Over the past four months or so, I’ve been experimenting with my skincare and have found some fantastic products. There are just a few that I need to get a better sense of before I feel comfortable enough to share my routine/recommendations with you guys. Hopefully, I can get that up sometime around February/March. I’ll also talk about my favorite hair care products in a separate post.
Keep in mind when reading this post, that I’ve been blogging for about 2 1/2 years and using beauty products for much longer. longer. As such, there are quite a few products that I really love and some that have even achieved “Holy Grail” status. But because I’ve never done a “Best of…” type of post prior to this one, I would not have highlighted those products save for perhaps mentioning them in a favorites or something. Why say all that? Well because when I talk about my Best foundation or primer of 2016 that doesn’t necessarily mean its my ultimate Holy Grail – it was just my one of the best discoveries of the year (2016) that made it to my all time favorites list.
Before continuing, let’s address the elephant in the room…I’m finally back to blogging after nearly two months. This was the longest and only unplanned break I’ve ever taken from blogging. What happened? Basically I just lost my blogging mojo. Towards the end of the year, I started to feel weighed down and uninspired by the blog. And you guys know that I do this for fun…not as a job/career, so having my hobby make me feel that way was not very nice. In the end, the break was a good thing because it allowed me to reflect on my blog, how I was approaching it, what I want from the experience, what my readers want and a whole host of other things. So, after making some decisions I’m back with renewed energy and focus.
Anyway, back to beauty…
Primer – Diorskin Forever & Ever Wear Extreme Perfection & Hold Makeup Base (full review here): Dior says that the Forever and Ever Wear makeup base contains a holding polymer which optimizes foundation’s adherence and that with each application of the primer, the Poreless Effect skincare ingredient within helps to refine the skin’s texture. With respect to the first claim, I 100% agree that this primer helps my foundation stick around longer. Much longer. I get about 3-4 hours of extended wear which is amazing.
The primer has a thin, fluid consistency without that silicone feeling – another fact that I love. It is off-white in color but dries down invisibly and quickly leaving behind a touch of tackiness that helps foundation cling to the face. I’ve also found the formula to be mattifying which is great for my slightly oily combination skin – though not so much for drier skin types. Even I have a hard time using it with certain foundations in the winter (but its phenomenal in the Summer).
Additionally, it’s lightweight, has decent SPF, and does not break me out. When I first reviewed this primer I said that I did not notice it minimizing my pores in any significant way. I’ve since change my mind – sort of. After using it for several months, I’ve come to the conclusion that it does help those areas of my face with visible pores appear somewhat smoother. That being said, I do not wear this particular primer every day and, therefore, cannot say for certain whether it has any long-term benefits in terms of refining skin texture. My skin has improved over the past several months but I attribute that to some changes I’ve made in my skincare routine.
Foundation – Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation SPF 22 (full review here): I adore this foundation (the newer formulation). It gives me beautiful, even medium to medium-full coverage without looking heavy or clinging to dry patches. The radiant yet satin/semi-matte finish gives my skin a youthful appearance. I wear the shade BD10 which is a near perfect match (a little too light for Summer) and the formula does not oxidize.
Powder – NONE. I don’t have a product for this category that I discovered in 2016. But, spoiler alert, there are two new powders I picked up this year which have impressed me so far. Stay tuned. I’ll mention that my favorite powders of life so far are the NARS Light Reflecting Loose Powder (reviewed here) and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light. I also own Mood Light which I love to use in the evenings. The Hourglass powders are phenomenal and I have been wanting to try some of the others as well. If you didn’t already know, Hourglass now makes travel sizes of ALL its Lighting Powders now. So I may pick up Ethereal Light and Luminous Light in the smaller size at some point.
Makeup Tool – Beauty Blender Pro (Black): I’ve been using the original Beauty Blender for years but recently discovered the Nude and Black versions. Enjoy the Nude if I’m looking for lighter coverage but really, really LOVE the black version. It’s slightly denser allowing for higher coverage but feels and works the same ways as the original.
Makeup Tool- Kat Von D Lock-It Edge Concealer Brush: A really fantastic brush for applying and blending out liquid or cream concealer under the eyes. I love it because it gives me so much control and the shape really allows you to get into those crevices, leaving a smooth finish. I’m definitely going to look into more brushes from her line.
Concealer – BECCA Under Eye Brightening Corrector (Not pictured): So annoyed that I forgot to photograph this! I use this under skin toned concealer (currently MAC Pro longwear) to conceal darkness and brighten. There is something really special about the formula. It’s slightly tacky, creamy texture melts into the skin. It’s sheer and light weight yet still highly effective. I think the lack of strong white base means that this pink toned brightener can work for a wide range of skin tones. The satin finish is another great feature. During the cooler months, however, I find that it doesn’t blend as well especially if my eye area is really dry.
Brows – NONE: My all time favorite brow products are ABH Brow Pomade and Benefit Gimme Brow. In 2016, I tried and reviewed several brow pencils which were featured in my Battle of the Brows series. Two of the pencils, the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil and Surratt Expressioniste Brow, are quite nice and I use them regularly but I’m not sure I would assign them Holy Grail status.
Eyeliner – Chanel Stylo Yeux Water-proof Long Lasting Eyeliner (full review here): I’m really very glad I received the Stylos as a gift because it allowed me to discover their great formula. They are creamy and nicely pigmented, apply smoothly to the lash line, waterline and lids without tugging and are super long lasting.
Eyeshadow – NONE. I did not include eyeshadows or eyeshadow palettes because my favorites of 2016 were all Limited Edition. You guys know that I purchased and reviewed the Kat Von D Metal Matte palette (here). In fact, I loved it so much that I purchased another for a giveaway. I also continue to enjoy the ABH Mario palette, the Chanel Desert Eyeshadow Quad from last Summer and the YSL Dangerous Seduction Quint.
Mascara – MAC Gigi Lash: A product that I’m probably the last to try is the MAC Gigi Lash mascara. First of all, it’s just as awesome as everyone says it is for grabbing those bottom lashes. But I also really love it for my upper lashes as well – gives me great length and definition.
Highlighter/Illuminator – Dior Glowing Gardens/Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder (full review here): Yes, Glowing Gardens was limited edition but Dior recently released the new Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powders in four shades, two of which are meant to the same shades/formulas as the Glowing Gardens highlighters (001 and 002). Some of the best highlighters I own, the finish on the skin is high sheen/glossy without being glittery, imparting a stunning luminosity. The powders feel dry to the touch but apply smoothly and blend very well. I have rather large pores and have not found that they emphasize that situation. Pink Glow really impressed me because its not chalky as some highlights in this tone family can be.
Blush – Burberry Light Glow Natural Blush – Earthy & Cameo: Technically, I first encountered the Burberry blushes in 2015 (my Burberry Beauty Box review) and fell in love with Earthy, an incredible neutral, light/medium brown shade with taupe tones. However, it was the only blush from the brand/formula that I’d ever tried and I didn’t want to speak too soon. Since then, I’ve added Cameo to my collection and, having now tried two of the blushes, I feel more comfortable gushing about the formula. The Light Glow blushes have an incredibly natural finish and a soft, silky and smooth texture that’s probably one of the most finely milled formulas I’ve ever encountered. I love to use Earthy as a contour/blush combo. It’s AMAZING!
On my light-light/medium skin tone, Cameo is the most natural looking neutral mauve-pink. What I love most about this formula is how effortlessly it blends into my skin. I suffer from some minor texture issues around my cheek area and with most blush formulas I have to work at the blending to get a smoooth finish. It’s pleasure to use something so seamless that looks perfect every time. The only other formula that does this for me (and obviously I’ve not tried everything) is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes. For those sensitive to smell, please note that Burberry blushes do have a floral fragrance.
Bronzer/Contour: NONE. But I have hit pan on my all time favorite bronzer/contour powder, Marc Jacobs Dream Filter (reviewed here) and continue to enjoy my YSL cream bronzer for a more natural look (reviewed here).
Lipstick – Gucci Luxurious Pigment Rich Lipsticks (full review here): One of the best lipstick formulas I’ve ever tried. The formula hugs like a second skin becoming one with my lips. Although offering full color coverage, the lipsticks have a thin, comfortable texture. And while I’d categorize the finish as satin, they’ve got the longevity of a matte. Love, love, love!
Liquid Lipstick – YSL Vinyl Lip Creams (full review here): These are lovely, creamy liquid lipsticks that offer a nice glossy yet pigmented finish, minimal transfer (when applied correctly) and decently long wear. One of my favorites from YSL, the red, Rouge Vinyle, is amazing for that bombshell look and I adore Carmin Session for everyday wear.
Lip Liner – Sephora Rouge Gel Lip Liners (full review here): Closer in consistency and texture to a lipstick than most lip pencils, I really enjoy how comfortable, easy and affordable the Sephora Rouge Gel liners are. If you find most lip pencils to be too drying, you’ll love these. That being said, these are quite creamy and sometimes I do want a stiffer, dryer formulation depending on the look I’m going for.
So that’s my roundup! What are your favorite products of 2016? Do you have any recommendations for me?
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