Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of 2016 | Beauty

Best beauty products, that is. After trial and tribulation, these are my face's favourite makeup, skincare and mask picks in 2016!

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue in Buttercream
I bought this in the Complexion Discovery set early this year so it's slightly smaller (20mL instead of 30) and I've loved using it for sheer coverage; just evening out skin tone. I've never used a tinted moisturiser before this but I imagine it's very similar. It gets a bit shiny if I don't powder to set after applying this but I don't mind because I'll opt for the Laura Mercier Mineral Powders when I want more coverage and settle for the bareMinerals powder from the Discovery Set when I want something sheer.

EcoTools Custom Coverage Buffing Brush
My favourite base brush. So soft, great at blending - just like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, only the edges are slightly more right-angled and the bamboo handle doesn't get grubby like Real Techniques do.

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in Real Sand and Natural Beige
An oldie but a goodie. These are going strong and they're my favourite product to use on work days when I don't want anything clogging my pores or weighing my skin down. They give sheer-medium coverage depending on which brush I use and I'm close to running out, which is great because I've definitely gotten my money's worth.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer in 53 Light Beige
I bought this when I needed particularly full coverage and I love this! I've had this product once before and it's easy to blend, doesn't shift throughout the day, provides decent coverage for redness or discolouration and one tube lasts for ages.

Zoeva Sheek Luxe Cheek Brush
I usually run into trouble applying more blush than I intended and needing it to blend it out. This natural hair brush picks up just enough product and the angle places it right where it needs to go, adding some natural colour without looking gaudy. It does shed more than my synthetic brushes but that's the price to pay for natural bristles.

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction
I love the shade of this lip liner and it's been my go-to for special occasions. I especially love how portable it is and how it's mechanical! I usually wear a lip balm or comfy gloss like the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfecter over it.

Tarte 12 Hour Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed
Love this blush. Perfectly natural shade to wear everyday, for months on end. I've not picked up many other blushes since getting this one.

bareMinerals Correcting Concealer in Neutral
I also got this in the Complexion Discovery Set I bought earlier this year. I love it. It conceals so well. I lost it for a few months and bought the Bourjois as a result but I'm so glad to have found it (under my bed, no less)!

Physician's Formula 2 in 1 Eyeliner
I only got this recently but it's been the easiest eyeliner to apply. The felt tip, pigmentation and control are on par with Maybelline Master Precise, and better than Eye of Horus.

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolour Eye Shadow in Bronze Sands
I love the consistency and pigmentation of this product (and the fact that it stays on until you want to remove it and it washes off so easily). The shade is gorgeous, and I would only sing its praises if only the foam applicator hadn't fallen off, leaving a plastic handle and no way to access the product. I've taken to dipping a cotton bud into the bottle when I want to use it.

Lioele Artist Auto Eye Brow in Grey-Black
Such a favourite. I'm tempted to try Anastasia Beverley Hills or Benefit because I'm running out of this pencil but I don't think anything beats this for good value.

These favourites are the odds and ends of the beauty routine.
Lucas' Papaw Ointment
I got on this train this year and it's been indispensable. It's the one product I used during winter and 99% of the time I just have lip balm on, and it's usually this.

Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water*
I received this in the Doll Connection goody bag and I prefer it to the Hada Labo Cleansing Oil because it's easier and a lot less messy. It effectively removes face makeup and eyeliner. Waterproof mascara is a bit tougher to shift but I have done away with that most days.

Blackmores Bio Zinc
I've been taking these supplements for my skin and I believe they help, but they have not miraculously cleared everything up. For that, I rely on deep sleep, time and cleansing.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White and Black rollerballs
I have Nirvana White too but I can't seem to locate it. Tasha hooked me up with these when she went to the USA and bought them in a big perfume value set. Now that we have Sephora in the Gold Coast they're much easier to get a hold of and I'd recommend going to have a nosy because they are so beautiful!

bliss Hand Cream in Peppermint
This is my favourite hand cream because the scent is simple and clean and it hydrates very effectively. It's become my go-to over something like Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Hand Food because it's calming and a more sophisticated scent, especially in the office.

I have struggled with my skin all year (no surprise there, if you've been reading for a while now or if you know me in person) and I still haven't achieved blemish free status but I've reached a point where I'm pretty happy with some staple products and I'm relying on them to help me get there.

Cetaphil Suntivity SPF30 UVB+UVA Ultra-light Fluid for Face
I have loved this sunscreen because it's lightweight and absorbs quickly. I used to neglect sun protection in my skincare routine but in an effort to mitigate the hyperpigmentation I've been using this daily (even on cloudy days!) and I've almost run out.

Go-To Face Hero
My foray into Zoe Foster-Blake's Go-To Skincare range led to discovering this face oil blend, which is aptly named Face Hero. I prefer it to rosehip, which I now realise is too greasy and rich for my skin. Face Hero absorbed easily and nourished my skin especially during the cooler months. I've since emptied the bottle, and am keen to repurchase if I don't find an alternative which equally lightweight.

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Gel
I bought this cleanser after reading it included on the Paula Begoun's list of Best Cleansers. It's not too expensive, frangrance-free, cleanses thoroughly without leaving skin feeling dry or taut and I think my skin is better off for it. I don't like the packaging because the cleanser is quite fluid but I haven't had any mishaps yet!

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads EXTREME
I've loved these Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads EXTREME all year long. I think I've gone through about 3 or 4 tubs and I try to snag them during Priceline's 40% sales. I haven't seen them in shops recently which causes me to suspect they have been discontinued but the ingredients in the Daily version are very similar and I have a tub of those as a back-up when this runs out.

Benzac AC 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Gel
This has been the one thing getting my skin through it all. It speeds up blemishes' life cycles and kills bacteria which would be conducive to more spots. I upgraded from the 2.5% to the 5% two years ago and I've stuck to it instead of upping to 10%. 5% and patience have been helping my spots to go away but I still am very self-conscious about having adult acne and go without makeup most of the time to help my skin out.

2016 marked the year of the face mask for me. I tried a bunch, and found some real gems and some duds.

Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask with Charcoal and Kaolin Clay
This was great. I picked it up at Chemist Warehouse and thought the manuka honey and clay sounded like just what I needed and while emollient, it dries quickly and has proven very effective at drawing out the skin's impurities and excess sebum without leaving it dry and thirsty.

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask
I bought this fairly recently but I've loved the way it has sped up skin cell turnover to help shift some of the hyperpigmentation which marks my skin after every spot without fail. It smells like marmalade and doesn't cause any discomfort when it's working its glycolic and lactic acid powers. I've used it twice a week since getting it and I think it helps.

Sukin Anti-Pollution Facial Masque
I've found this mask to be thicker than the Swisse and slower to dry but also effective at drawing out impurities. Despite its claims I don't know how effective it is against the free radicals from pollution but I took a break from face masks for the first half of the year before realising I had missed them and was breaking out a fair bit and after using them often I felt my skin go through a purging phase. I'm coming out of tail end of the purge now and am nursing my skin back to health from some big red sore blemishes and the discolouration associated with them but these masks have definitely helped.

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
I've wanted this for years and finally bought it on sale in Priceline. It's very effective at plumping and soothing the skin, even when it's full of blemishes, unlike some hydrating masks which use rich ingredients like shea butter that are known to clog pores. If I could only repurchase 3 face masks I'd pick the Swisse, the Ren and this one because I've used them all to tackle my skin's various problems.

Macadamia Deep Repair Masque
Another positive mask is one for hair. This hair mask did my hair wonders when it was long (I've since gone for a summery collarbone-length crop to rid myself of the split ends) and I think it does a great job of deeply conditioning hair. Oddly Macadamia is an American brand (as an Australian I've always associated macadamia nuts with Australia) and the line is quite pricey but I bought this on sale from Coles and it has been totally worth it. It leaves hair softer, smoother and smelling amazing.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask
This was a great mask to use on my dry cheeks in winter (not the rest of my face as it contains shea butter!) and I've a good mind to repurchase some other things from the brand (Ultra Repair Cream!) but I bought this a year or two ago and it has served me very well. It nourishes and deeply hydrates dry, cracked skin only requires 10 mins to leave skin feeling more moisturised than it did before.

These are the other face masks which I have NOT been very impressed with, rounding out the face mask series.

The Origins Masks (Original Skin (pink), Clear Improvements (dark grey) and Drink Up Intensive (green)) have not been as great as I anticipated. These were part of a Mask Marvels set which I was very excited to try and did not end up liking. I liked the Original Skin, which was similar to a traditional clay mask but included exfoliating particles, which I found were a bit rough on the skin. The Clear Improvements had too much slip to be an effective purifying face mask- it hardly dried and did not show clear improvement to back its claim. The Drink Up Intensive I've had for years and I think it might time to retire it. My skin was not as dry and flaky as it was last winter, and I found it to be too rich for my combination, blemish-prone skin. It smells deliciously fruity and it's very luscious to touch but for skin prone to spots I would not recommend it.

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask
This shot to fame for the horrendous, hideous way it appears when it bubbles (very Snapchat-worthy) and while I tried it a few times I felt like it did more harm than good on my skin. I broke out soon after and have shied away from it since. The novelty is there, but the benefits are not.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Revitalizing Mask
I bought this because it was a more affordable alternative to the REN Glycolactic which boasted the same claim. I found it actually broke me out, and read a review by Paula Begoun criticising it for containing more fragrant essential oils than beneficial ingredients.

Thanks for making it this far if you did! I have not had a good skin year, and haven't had many makeup favourites as a result, but I've definitely discovered some fresh stock and some of it has been really good.

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