Sunday, 10 January 2016

Beauty Favourites of 2015

Okay, so technically, the first week of the year was last week. But I have mentally classed it as this week because it has given me a few extra days to do 'new year' preparation things. I have cleaned out my wardrobe, bought (and built I might add, courtesy of IKEA) a new desk and chair and done a massive spring clean...well, a summer clean but you know what I mean. I now feel very ready to welcome 2016 and all that it holds. I have some exciting things planned for this year, one of which is to make more time for this blog.
This blog has always been, and will always be, a spot to write about the things that interest me. My aim has never been to be the most read or the most followed, to me the success comes from finding like-minded people who enjoy talking beauty as much as I do, finding out about new products and sharing what has, and hasn't, worked for me.

With 2016 well and truly began I thought I would share some of the products I reached for the most in 2015. I thought about doing a best of the year, but some of my best finds for the year would fit into the same category, so instead I thought I would do a favourites within each category and hopefully I can keep it as as short as possible. Wishful thinking...

I figured we would start with my favourite category, skincare, then hair then makeup.
Favourite Toner:
This year I was introduced to the Pixi brand by Caroline Hirons, specifically the Pixi Glow Tonic. It is an exfoliating toner with a five percent Glycolic content and contains Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel and Ginseng. This toner has the most enchanting fresh rose scent and is gentle enough to use twice a day. At first I thought my skin was too sensitive for toning twice daily but my skin has changed over the last year and now I use it every morning without fail. I find that this actually has kept that afternoon t-zone oiliness I used to get at bay because it clarifies my skin of a morning enough to last the whole day. This would be a really good addition to your skincare regime if you get oily but wouldn't classify yourself as actually having oily skin, or if you are just starting out with exfoliating toners and are looking for something mild.

Favourite Treatment:
Sunday Riley's Good Genes is marketed as a corrective treatment that brightens, exfoliates, plumps lines and increases radiance. I would definitely say that it does all of those things, and my skin is definitely happier when I have used this. You will notice changes to your skin overnight; not huge changes but changes nonetheless. I find my skin looks more radiant and plump after I have used this, for me it is like a 'great nights sleep and plenty of water' in a bottle.

Favourite Moisturiser:
This one is another introduction from Caroline Hirons. The Alpha-H Essential Hydrating Cream is seriously moisturising but it never feels oily on the skin. It absorbs beautifully and has a clean almost herbal scent and I have used this everyday under my makeup (and on every makeup free day too for that matter) since finding it.
Favourite Serum:
Last year I discovered Hylamide and decided to take the plunge and try some of these little rainbow bottles. I bought two, one I am still waiting to try, but this one is the Low-Molecule HA Rehydration Booster (the pink bottle). This serum soaks into the skin really fast and feels like it absorbs very well. It has a very mild scent, nothing offensive and it gives my skin a plumper and more hydrated feel and appearance in the morning after I have used this. I do get some dry skin on occasion around my face and this clears that up super quickly. For me this is a definite drawer fixture and I will use this year round whenever I feel like my skin needs a drink or feels dry.

Favourite Eye Cream:
Last year I had about four eye creams that I used depending on whether I was oily or dry or the combination of other products I was wearing that day. However the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream has been my most reached for without a doubt. I wear this every morning as it doesn't disrupt my makeup and keeps my eye area hydrated but I also often use this at night when I want a cream that isn't too heavy or gel based.

Favourite Remover:
Bioderma. I know this is a miceller water which isn't really a remover as such, but this is what I use to take my makeup off every single day before I cleanse my skin. It does a great job, even with eye makeup.

Favourite Setting Spray:
I don't always set my makeup with a spray, but when I remember/need to I use MAC Fix+. It will get rid of any powderiness if you have been too heavy handed with your setting powder and I do think it makes your makeup look and feel better on the skin. Not sure if it makes it last longer but it definitely looks and feels better.

Favourite Hair Treatment:
I use the Joico K-Pak Styling Oil very sparingly at the ends of my hair when my strands are feeling dry. I get my hair coloured regularly so sometimes after a colour my scalp feels a bit dehydrated too so I will use the tiniest amount to massage through but this product can easily be overused and will weigh your hair down, especially if you have thin hair like I do. Great product, use with a light application.
Favourite Hair Product:
I have been using Paul Mitchell Heat Seal for the longest time. Although this is a thermal protectant it actually helps my very straight hair to hold curls for way longer.

Favourite Eye Palette:
My most used eye palette for this year would have to be the Urban Decay Naked Palette, the first one. I have used it almost every day for my work makeup and it has all the colours you could need for a neutral eye look. My favourites shades are Virgin, Naked, Dark Horse and Hustle and despite using these heaps I still haven't hit pan on any of them.

Favourite Setting Powder:
For my complexion the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light is the perfect setting powder for me. I don't need to use powder everywhere, just down my t-zone and on my forehead, and this powder is just a touch darker than my skin naturally so it gives a nice bit of dimension while still adding some life with the light sheen that the powder imparts.

Favourite Bronzer:
The Bourjois Bronzing Powder is a great warm tone that gives a near matte glow to the skin. When you look at the bronzer in person you can see tiny gold flecks of glitter but these don't transfer on application. What I like about this bronzer is that it is very easy to get a light application, I'm pretty pale so I like that this imparts a small amount of colour which is easy to control.

Favourite Highlight:
It was a toss up between this and Benefit's Watts Up but The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer won because I tend to wear this more often. You need the smallest amount to get a gorgeous glow and it looks great on a huge range of skin tones.

Favourite Mascara:
This was a new find quite late in the year for me but the L'Oreal False Lash Wings Intenza gives me the best lashes of any mascara I have ever used. Big claim, I know. As much as I love mascara few can give me the perfectly long but wispy, natural but bold lashes I want, This comes the closest of anything I have tried.

Favourite Neutral Lipstick:
I picked up the L'Oreal Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in 640 Erotique in a Priceline sale on a whim and it swatched nicely so I threw it in my basket. Now I wear this shade at least twice a week. It lives in my handbag now and it is the perfect go with everything shade.

Favourite Red Lipstick:
I adore red lipstick, I would wear it everyday if I could. And as such I have an unreasonable amount of red lip options. Last year though my most reached for shade was NARS Red Square, it is a gorgeous orange tone of red and is long lasting but still comfortable to wear.

Favourite Lip Liner:
The fact that I had to go on a wait list for this liner earlier this year tells me that it is a lot of people's favourite liner. Soar Lipliner from MAC shot to stardom when the Kardashians credited their plump pouts to it (hence the waitlist) but what I love about this shade is the actual shade. I think it looks especially great on pale people (I may be biased) but as far as warm browns go I think it is a definite winner. I often wear this alone with a gloss, I just colour the whole lip in.

Favourite Eyebrow Product:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Taupe. I rarely leave the house without it on, even if it is the only makeup product on my face.

Favourite Eye Shadow Base:
Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in Birthday Suit is a gorgeous colour all on it's own, and I do wear it alone sometimes, however I always use this as my base for powder eyeshadows. It gives a great neutral canvas for shadows to stick to and as the name suggests, limits creasing and movement of colours.

Favourite Eyeliner:
I don't really like using liquid liner, I like the result it gives but I much prefer using a gel liner and a brush. For most of last year I used the MAC Fluidline in Black Track and have loved it. It doesn't smudge and it is easy to use with a range of brushes. I feel like I have had this forever so trying something new may be on the cards but this was a definite favourite for last year.

Favourite Foundation:
This is no surprise because it has been my favourite foundation for the last hundred years, but the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia is amazing. I tried a few other bases this year but I kept coming back to this, it gives good coverage without looking too heavy and it wears well throughout the day. I think what kept me reaching for this though is how perfectly the colour suits. I don't have to worry about mixing colours or about applying it down my neck and shoulders, it just works and makes applying a base each day super easy.

Favourite Concealer:
I have long been a fan of the NARS Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, I think this would be about my tenth tube of the stuff. I use this every day under my eyes and on any spots and I find it brightening and to have great coverage, especially once set with a powder.

So, that rounds up my year in beauty products. If you have lasted to the end of this post then a massive thank you, chatting through a years worth of products is hard to keep short and sweet so I really thank you for stopping by!

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