Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Beauty Favourites

I've had way too much fun putting this post together. I love reading these end-of-year beauty round-ups, so it's no surprise that this has been one of my favourite posts to write.

Let's go over my self-imposed rules. This is a rundown of my overall favourite beauty products of the year - not specifically ones that were released this year or that I discovered this year. There's a mixture of old favourites and newer finds here - whatever I've been using and loving the most. I have, however, refrained from mentioning products I've only discovered close to the end of the year - say, the last two months. Just because there's no telling yet whether they'll stand the test of time.

I don't want to force in products that aren't really my top favourites for the sake of discussing every category, so you may notice a few categories missing. For example, there hasn't been an exfoliator or a mascara I've been particularly loving this year. Hopefully 2018 will be the year I make some game-changing exfoliator and mascara discoveries! But for now, let's talk about my top beauty picks of 2017.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (£4.99)
I've never tried the cult favourite Bioderma micellar water and, thanks to Garnier, I don't feel like I need to. This one removes my makeup with relative ease, is gentle on the skin, and you get 400ml for £4.99. It's great value. It's a great product. It's all I've been using to remove my makeup this year.

REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel (£15)
If you read my December favourites post, you'll know that a new cleanser has taken pride of place on my bathroom shelf, but for most of the year I was using this fab REN cleanser. It's very light and gentle, non-clogging but non-drying, and smells like roses. Simple but effective, which is exactly how I like my cleansers. I think this would work for just about any skin type.

Lush Tea Tree Water (£9.50)
I've repurchased this handy blemish-buster three times this year, and will undoubtedly stay stocked up throughout the next year too. Breakouts occur far less frequently when this refreshing antibacterial mist is part of my skincare routine.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum (£25)
I've gone through several bottles of this over the past two or three years. It's the most effective hydrating serum I've used, in terms of immediate results. A light layer beneath my moisturiser instantly makes my skin feel quenched and plumped. It also happens to smell lovely. Good if you're into fragrant products. Potentially bad if your skin doesn't respond well to them. Mine has obviously had no negative effects.

Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (£33)
This has been a staple in my routine for years because it combats my skin's oiliness like nothing else. Since my teen years, I've had extremely oily skin to contend with. Extremely oily. Back then, no amount of powder could keep my excess oil at bay for more than half an hour. Incorporating a facial oil into my routine - this one specifically, though I'm sure there are many others that would do the trick - has vastly reduced how greasy I get throughout the day. I'm talking life-changing results.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Light (£16.50)
It is a crime that I haven't yet mentioned this moisturiser on my blog, because I've gone through several bottles of it this year. It has a lightweight, lotion-like consistency which doesn't clog my pores or sit on my skin, but still really packs a punch hydration-wise. A complexion like mine - oily but dehydrated and flaky - is difficult to cater to, so finding a moisturiser that can deal with those opposing issues is no mean feat. This one strikes just the right balance.

Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask (£30)
I've tried a lot of deep-cleansing masks, but none compare to Pai's offering. Its consistency is thinner, lighter and creamier than any other clay mask I've come across, and it's significantly less drying. It's also noticeably more gentle. It effortlessly unclogs pores and sloughs away dead skin cells, without leaving any redness or irritation behind. Just a cleaner, smoother complexion.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm (£9.50)
Thanks to this gem, I can't even remember the last time I had dry, chapped lips. Easily the most nourishing lip balm I've ever used, with the most long-lasting results.

Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Primer (£11)
When I'm facing a long day/evening out, this is the primer I tend to reach for. It has a pleasant silky, cream-like consistency, which softly mattifies shiny areas while smoothing over drier ones, and it noticeably prolongs foundation wear-time. My t-zone stays grease-free that little bit longer when this is on my face.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation (£33)
I've raved about this foundation in my last two posts, so I'll keep it brief. Medium-buildable coverage. Semi-matte finish. Long-wearing. Fantastic shade range. It's the best foundation I've ever tried.

Jouer Matte Moisture Tint (£33)
Back in June, I rediscovered my love for the Matte Moisture Tint when I took it away on holiday with me, then proceeded to wear it every day for the next several months. It has a moussey texture that blends out with ease, and is matte in a very soft, skin-like way. It's also not as sheer as the word 'tint' would lead you to believe - I find it covers up my redness and evens out my complexion nicely, without the need for multiple layers.

NYX HD Studio Photogenic Concealer (£6)
Another product I've repurchased multiple times, this NYX concealer has been a long-term resident of my everyday makeup bag since some time in the first half of the year. It's very lightweight, has a natural skin-like finish, and melts into the skin like nothing else. Approximately two seconds of blending are required. Which I definitely appreciate on work mornings, when I've hit snooze about eight times and have about that many minutes to get ready.

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in 'Translucent' (£29)
2017 was the year I finally gave in to the hype and splurged on Laura Mercier's much-lauded loose setting powder, and I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed. It mattifies my shiny face without making it look overly powdery or cakey, and really locks my base in place. And if you caught the multiple mentions of my skin's oiliness in this post so far, you may have gathered that locking my base in place is no easy task.

Becca Sunlit Bronzer in 'Bali Sands' (£32)
Okay, I've made one exception in regards to the whole 'no products discovered near the end of the year' rule. I had to because this Becca bronzer has been one of my favourite beauty discoveries of the year. I've used it pretty much every single day since purchasing it a couple of months ago, and it's really reignited my love for bronzer in general. 'Bali Sands' is the perfect pale tan shade for fair skin, and the formula is a joy to work with. Very blendable. Very natural-looking on the skin.

L'Oreal Glam Bronze Cushion De Soleil (£14.99)
One of my favourite summer beauty discoveries was this cushion bronzer. The product is so thin and lightweight - it barely looks like makeup on the skin at all. I loved using this to make my face match my body during my post-holiday tan weeks - both by applying it as you're supposed to apply a bronzer, and mixing it in with my overly pale foundations.

MAC Mineralize Blush in 'Cosmic Force' (£23)
I've been favouring a very subtle blush look this year, and 'Cosmic Force' is as subtle as they come. It's a light, rosy beige nude which adds the barest hint of colour to the cheeks and is impossible to go overboard with. Great for a subtle everyday face. Great for pairing with a bold eye or lip. Great for literally any makeup look.

NARS Blush in 'Tribulation' (£24)
While NARS has labelled this a blush, it's actually more of a highlighter. It's a muted sandy gold with a hint of rosiness, and a beautiful soft sheen. Whatever you want to call it, it has definitely been my most-used cheek product of the year.

Dior Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer in '001' (£39.50)
A pricey highlighter pick, but I don't regret a single penny. The colour of this one is actually very similar to NARS 'Tribulation' - champagney, but in a very muted way, and with a similar hint of rosiness. The main difference is that the Dior one has a stronger, brighter sheen. The shade is very flattering. The texture is very forgiving. It's beautiful.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (£19)
Picking out my top brow products of the year was easy because I rarely stray from my staples. I'm pretty sure Dipbrow is the only product I've used to fill in my brows this year. I seem to be in the minority here, but I find a pomade with a fine liner brush easier to use than a brow pencil, and Dipbrow is the reigning queen of the pomade world. It's just the right combination of creamy and waxy. It's ultra long-wearing. It comes in a great range of shades. It's the best.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel (£23)
More ABH, because they just do brows right. Their Clear Brow Gel has the setting power of cement, without being overly thick or clumpy or crispy, or having any other undesirable effect on your brows. It simply holds the hairs in place for as long as you want them to stay in place. Definitely worth the splurge.

Benefit Gimme Brow (£20)
As painful as £20 per teeny tiny tube is, I've repeatedly repurchased Gimme Brow because it's just that good. A couple of swipes adds a bit of tint and volume, and makes the brows look that little more groomed - in a very effortless way. Perfect for lazy brow days, or for adding extra fullness to already-filled brows.

Lorac Pro Palette ($44)
Eyeshadow is definitely the category of makeup I switch up the most, and my palette collection is getting a little ridiculous... But when in doubt, I reach for my Lorac Pro Palette. I love the easy-to-wear shade range. I love that it has an equal number of mattes and shimmers. I love the soft, buttery formula. I love everything about this palette. Except for the fact that it isn't available in the UK.

L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim (£6.99)
If, like me, you struggle with liquid liner, give this L'Oreal one a go. I've tested out a fair few and found this one the easiest to use. The nib is fine, precise and just the right amount of flexible, giving you a lot of control over how thick or thin you want your liner to be, and allowing you to create the sharpest of wings.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in 'Cruella' (£21)
When I stopped to consider my lipstick picks of the year, I realised there hasn't really been a nude I've loved above all others. There has, however, been two bold lipsticks getting more than their fair share of wear-time, the first being NARS 'Cruella'. It's very matte without being overly drying, it's extra long-wearing, and it's just the perfect, cool, bombshell red.

MAC Lipstick in 'Diva' (£16.50)
I'm a huge fan of dark lipsticks, so 'Diva' is one of many similar burgundies in my collection, but for some reason it's always the one I find myself most drawn to when I feel like going vampy. Partially sentimental reasons maybe - it was my first ever MAC lipstick and, actually, my first vampy lip purchase at all. In any case, it's a beautiful rich burgundy, with a nice balance of warm and cool tones, and I find the formula to be a very comfortable kind of matte.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (£5.99)
I've refrained from listing all of my favourite brushes, because no one wants to read a blog post the size of War and Peace, but I couldn't not mention the Real Techniques sponge. This is the single most important makeup tool in my collection. I use it daily for foundation, concealer and powder. I occasionally use it for cream bronzer, cream blush, cream highlighter - any kind of cream that goes on the face. I couldn't be without it.

Well, that was a post and a half... If you've made it this far, happy new year! And do let me know what your favourite products of 2017 have been!
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