I'm not big on recap posts, and you could say that January 2nd 2017 is a bit late to share any sort of year recap for 2016. But I felt like the concept for this particular recap is a valuable one: after all, I review lots of beauty products and shake up my routine so often that it becomes difficult to give my readers an honest impression of what products I LOVE, what products stand out from the high quality crowd, what products I keep going back to even after trying a bunch of different options. This recap features those cosmetics I discovered in 2016 that really blew my mind/improved my beauty game.
My ten favourite makeup products of 2016, in no particular order! Click the product name for my earlier posts/reviews on these.
We have to talk about the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette. I reviewed it very recently and while the palette hasn't been a part of my stash for long, it blew me away the second I touched the shadows with my brush. The pigmentation is out of this world, you only need the tiniest amount of product to create a gorgeous look, and the range of matte shades gives you anything you need to create a variety of warm toned makeup looks. I can honestly say that none of my other palettes (high or low end) measure up to this one, quality-wise.
Second, my Anastasia Beverly Hills dipbrow in Ash Brown. I've been colouring in my brows for a couple of years now, but out of all the options I've tried (pencil, powder, wax, coloured gel), this combo of the dipbrow + the angled brush is hands down my favourite. I've heard some people complaining about the product drying out too fast, but I've had mine for over 6 months and it's still easy to use. I also have plenty of product left, I'll probably get another year's worth of use out of my little pot. I love how naturally soft and ashy the shade is, how easily it applies whether you're going for a defined or a more feathery look, and the staying power is great.
The Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani collab collection was beautiful all-round, but the blush palette stands out for me. I wasn't drawn to the palette at first, but when I got the chance to try it I quickly came around because the shades are all such high quality and surprisingly flattering. I figured that the bottom row would all be too orange on me, but nope! I can use all of these, and Hush was a blush game changer for me. I used to be all about (cool) pinks until I tried Hush's beige-peachy goodness, and now I always go for more neutral to warm toned blushes because I feel like they work best for my look.
Again, a game-changing product: I used to gravitate towards cool, frosty highlighters until I got the chance to try Nars' Albatross, and I've never looked back. The yellow/gold glow this one gives is so soft, so warm, so candle-lit. I can't get over how beautiful it is. The only highlighter I have that can rival this one is Urban Decay's Sin.
While the Milani Mattalics were the liquids that opened my eyes for the possibility that liquid lipsticks wouldn't all be cracking, crumbling, lip-parching messes, it was the Lime Crime Velvetines that sealed the deal and made me a liquid lip addict. The gorgeous range of unique shades is a selling point of its own, but these really hit a homerun in the field of comfort and ease of re-application. These don't dry out my lips, and only begin to feel heavy after about 3 rounds of retouching (and three meals). In other words, these get you through the day looking fab AF.
- NARS Radiant Creamy concealer
I haven't done a review on my NARS Radiant Creamy concealer, but I really should! After basically passing on concealers for years because I hated how they'd settle in the lines under my eyes or emphasize wrinkles if I tried to set them with powder, the NARS Radiant Creamy concealer finally made good on all those promises concealers throw at you. This concealer is super pigmented, which makes it great at covering my dark under eye area, but it also remains in place. No lines, no buildup, no smudges: this one will look great all day without looking heavy. Holy grail!
This translucent setting powder by ELF was also an eye-opener for me. I had tried the whole "baking" thing before, trying to "set" my under eye concealer with powder to get that budge-proof coverage, but I hated how heavy and cakey it looked. Basically, with most powders I'd tried before, it looks good until you start moving your face and then it becomes a cracked mess. Not with this powder! It's so finely milled that it just sits on your under eye concealer as a velvety veil. I usually apply the powder right after I've applied my concealer, and then I let it "bake" while I do my brows. The effort is minimal and the result is amazing; the coverage of your concealer is improved, and your makeup will look flawless until you take it off.
Urban Decay's Solstice moondust is the most expensive eyeshadow I've ever bought: about €20 for a mono. Insane. Yet totally worth it. THREE of my girlfriends have bought this one for themselves after trying it, while none of them are generally prone to spending that amount of money on an eyeshadow mono. There's just something about its blue sparkle suspended in a rusty pink base that is irresistible. I have tried and failed to find a dupe (or anything similar) by another brand or at a lower price point; of you want that Solstice look, you'll have to pony up the cash. But I feel like the product is worth it. Solstice is my go-to eyeshadow when I feel like making minimal effort but still want to brighten up my look. A simple finger-dab application of Solstice + mascara, and I'm good to go. Doesn't even need primer, and causes zero fallout.
I haven't reviewed the original Beauty Blender here yet. Instead, I bought the Real Techniques dupe because I'd read that it was practically the same quality, and while I still think the RT sponge is a great alternative for those who don't want to spend €16-19 (depending on vendors) on a makeup sponge, I have been converted. The original Beauty Blender is simply better than the RT sponge: it lasts longer without falling apart/developing a mold (mine is still in great shape after 5 months of daily use), it's bouncier, lighter and easier to clean, and it dries quicker. You'll get a similar finish with the RT one, but I just prefer using the original BB.
Last but not least, my new HG mascara: Guerlain Cils d'Enfer. With this mascara I get everything I could possibly want: separation, length, intense blackness, easy to take off at night and no smudging on my brow bone. Only mascara I've tried that comes close is Dior's Diorshow mascara.
And that's it! Have you discovered any new HG beauty products in 2016?