I love the reflection and round up posts that come at the end of the year (and very beginning of the next one) and some of my favorites are beauty favorites. I love monthly favorites too, but it's nice to see what actually made the cut in sticking around in someone's routine all year round. I know I've found a lot of favorites this year in a lot of categories (although I'm still looking for the perfect concealer...and eye cream...and powder) and while I'm so glad to leave a lot of 2015 behind, these are some products I will be taking with me into 2016 (and possibly further.)
FoundationBy far the best foundation I've tried this year (or ever, let's be honest) is the Maskcara palette. While it does take me a little bit longer to apply than regular foundation, it saves me so much time when you consider that it is a foundation, contour, highlight and blush palette all in one. It was definitely an investment (it was around $40) but the colors last really long (just a little bit of product goes a long, long way) and when you consider all the products it replaces (again: foundation, contour, highlight and blush, which doubles as a lip color) it's totally worth it.
Runner Up: As far as foundations that are just foundations and take me thirty seconds to apply go, Rimmel Stay Matte takes the cake. I don't have very oily skin, but I can skip powder and use a dewy setting spray with this one and it looks great all day.
ConcealerI'm still looking for that perfect concealer, but my favorite so far is the Pixi Correction Concentrate. The peachy shade is perfect for neutralizing my dark circles, but not so orange that I need to cover it with more concealer. It's creamy and thick but doesn't crease (and I never set it with powder) and lasts all day.
Setting SprayI personally rarely use powder because it just looks and feels so weird on my skin, so I love setting sprays for making my makeup last all day. My favorite by far is The Body Shop Vitamin E Mist, which moisturizes and soothes your skin while setting your makeup. (It even works well as a skincare product. Sometimes when I'm lazy at night, I spray this on instead of using night cream and it does the trick!)
Runner Up: While it's more expensive and doesn't moisturize my skin, Urban Decay All Nighter gets the job done.
Eye ShadowOne of my favorite beauty buys this year was the Ulta Rose Gold Palette. It comes with both matte and shimmer shades (crucial for me because I don't like too many shimmer shades in a look and they tend to irritate my eyes more) in a gorgeous array of colors. There are only two or three colors I don't use regularly, although I totally could if I put some more thought into my makeup everyday.
Runner Up: I also tried some Tarte eyeshadows this year (similar) which were also highly pigmented, and came in gorgeous shades. What makes Ulta come out on top is one: the much better price point (you'll get more of the Ulta shadows for half the price) and two: the shades in the rose gold palette go just a little bit better together (at least for a makeup coward/non-expert like me.)
MascaraI have been absolutely blown away by the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara. It makes my lashes look so long and naturally thick, and I swear it even adds a bit of curl. While I'm not entirely sure it nourishes my lashes, I have noticed it doesn't damage them like a lot of other mascaras, so they have looked better on their own since I started using it.
Runner Up: When I have the time and motivation to, I love using the Physicians Formula Eye Booster Kit. If I put in the effort, I can get some pretty awesome lashes going on and it is foolproof (unlike my makeup fiend, false lashes. Still can't figure them out...)
BlushI used to never wear blush because it always looked too clownish and/or cakey on me, but the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes have completely changed that. They go on so smooth and matte and come in so many pretty colors. The three I have came in the Tarte gift set from Ulta, so I got them at a terrific price point, but I would even consider paying full price (which is around $30) for one of these gems.
Runner Up: Another blush I got at a great price point was the Maskcara Liquid Blush. They actually added it to my order free of charge (and I already knew I was getting a free illuminator - this just goes to show Maskcara makeup is totally worth the price) and I am so impressed. I have never found a cream or gel blush that didn't completely rub away at my foundation before, but if I just apply this with a foundation sponge (and maybe a little bit of primer like I mentioned here) it looks so pretty and natural. It also works great on the lips, which is a great bonus because I'm all about that coordinated lip-cheek look.
Eye BrowsI've been in love with the Pixi brow powder (similar) I got in my Ipsy bag a few months ago. I use the light shade to add a little volume and shape, but use the dark shade in very fine, short strokes to fill in the sparse patches. It makes my brows look more polished while still appearing pretty natural.
Runner Up: I'm all about low maintenance, so most days I opt for brow gel. I've been meaning to pick up the Rimmel Brow This Way gel, but it's never available in brown wherever I go, so I keep buying Maybelline Brow Drama. It definitely fills in my brows a bit while tinting and taming them, although if I have any sparse patches it doesn't do much to those (not that I expect it to.)
LipstickLately I've tried a few shades of the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipsticks and am totally in love. There are so many gorgeous shades, they aren't too drying (and everything dries my lips out) and they've been an absolute bargain at Ulta the past couple weeks at around three dollars.
Runner Up: As far as matte shades go, I have loved the Rimmel Kate Moss Lipsticks. Shade 104 is the perfect mauvey neutral and 107 is a really nice dark red.
Lip GlossI'm not a big lip gloss fan, but if I'm going to wear gloss (which happens more than I'd like to admit with how dry my lips have been lately), NYX Butter Gloss does the trick. They feel so smooth (they aren't sticky at all), so pigmented and they even smell good.
CleanserFor taking off my makeup at the end of the day, The Body Shop Camomile Oil is my holy grail. It doesn't dry out my skin like most cleansers do but the oil doesn't break me out or make my skin more oily either. It really gets all the makeup off, especially if I use a cleansing brush or cloth.
Runner Up: I got a sample of this in a Birchbox and although I would never shell out the big bucks for a full size, I wouldn't complain if someone got me the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleansing Polish either. I love that it's gentle enough to use on my eye makeup (which isn't true for 90% of makeup removers I've tried) but still gets everything off. Plus, it feels amazing on my skin, especially using the hot cloth with it.
TonerI've said it before, but after trying Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic I don't think I will ever need to try another toner (assuming it is around for the rest of my life, and I don't even want to think about the possibility that it won't be.) Just taking a look at the ingredient list gives you a pretty good indication of what it does for your skin: aloe vera soothes, glycolic acid exfoliates and witch hazel tones. And it's alcohol-free to boot.
SerumI guess it's only technically half serum, but I love The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil. It is so moistuizing that sometimes I feel like I can skip the night cream and it seems to deliver just as many, if not more, of the benefits of just the serum.
Runner Up: While it's definitely not a groundbreaking product, I love the Vichy Idealia serum. The formula immediately makes my skin look more radiant with its brightening components, but it also helps it look better in the long run, like any good serum should.
Target TreatmentsAfter hearing about it on Melanie Murphy's channel, I decided to try out Clearogen to clear up my skin and let me tell you: it works. I don't use all three steps anymore but just using the lotion at nighttime has really helped me improve and maintain my skin.
For dry skin days, I love the Body Shop honey and oat mask. It makes my skin so soft. It exfoliates just a bit without being too harsh and honey
For skin flare-ups, I adore Lush's Mask of Magnaminty. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear any breakouts I have go down in size (as well as redness) whenever I wear it for about twenty minutes. Again, it has an ingredient list I can totally get behind (everything is so natural that I have absolutely no reservations about putting it on my face) and also has honey, which I think is a major factor in how effective it is.
As always, I love to hear what you think about any of the products I mentioned or any of your own favorites that I didn't talk about (I always have my eyes peeled for a holy grail product or two in at least half a dozen categories.) Leave a comment with your thoughts and here's to a great 2016!