It barely seems a year since my last post on this topic, but here we are, on the cusp of another brand new year – so it’s the perfect time to reflect on the beauty buys that really floated my boat (and my bathroom shelf!) in 2016…
2016 will go down as the year that I finally dipped my toe (face…?) into the world of sheet face masks, with one favourite firmly coming out on top. I’ve tried several kinds, raiding the aisles of TK Maxx and the shelves of Sephora whenever I could, but I kept coming back to the same one – and the good news is, it’s easily available in your local supermarket! Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask is, first and foremost, an absolute steal at circa 99p-£1.50 per mask, but better than that, it’s actually a real joy to use. It’s utterly soaked with a super-moisturing serum, and it’s quite a generously-sized mask, which seems to be rare in the sheet mask arena. I like to pop one on in the bath, sit back and relax – and then enjoy plump, nourished, super-soft skin for days afterwards.
I was already pretty happy with 2015’s cleansing routine and wasn’t really looking to change anything, but when the PURE Spa Cleanse & Glow oil popped through my letterbox, it definitely mixed up my routine for the better! This luxe oil is packed with skin-loving ingredients and works beautifully at melting away even the toughest makeup, for soft, radiant skin.
Also a new and beloved addition to my cleansing routine is the Precision Beauty Sonic Facial Cleansing Device. Similar to a Foreo Luna (but much friendlier on the bank balance!), this device uses soft silicone nodules and gentle vibrations to lift away makeup, dirt and debris for truly clean skin and some low-key exfoliations too.
2015 saw me loving oils not only for cleansing, but for moisturising too, and this year things certainly kicked up a notch. A must-have for me going on to 2017 is a gorgeous dry facial oil by little-known brand The Hero Project – their very aptly-named Glow Drops. I wouldn’t usually choose an oil for my daytime moisturiser, but this on another level. It absorbs in record time for a truly glowy, hydrated base for makeup, and it keeps skin looking delicious all day long. For night time, I’m still deeply in love the The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil, but I’ve amped up proceedings with the addition of PURE Spa’s Regenerate & Boost Eye Serum; this is a seriously luxe, dense oil that is just fabulous at hydrating and nourishing the delicate skin under my eyes while I sleep.
The first inclusion in this post is a very new addition to my beauty routine but it’s made a huge impression on me. When I recently ran out of both my beloved Bourjois Healthy Mix and 123 Perfect CC bases, I had to make an emergency dash to Boots – where they’d promptly sold out of my shade in both items. So after a rummage through the shelves, I settled on Revlon’s Color Stay base, in the Oily/Combination formula. The shade match is just stunning – I’ve never used a foundation that matches my skin quite so perfectly before. The formula is velvety and easily blendable, and the finished look is soft, medium coverage with an ever-so-slightly luminous finish. It’s true love!
While we’re on the topic of base products, I’ve found a combo that really works when it comes to extending the life of my look each day. L’Oreal’s Infallible range is just that – it makes makeup truly last the whole day, with a continuous freshly-applied look. I use the primer every morning – I personally prefer the clear, silicone-feeling primers to creamier ones anyway, but this is for sure the best I have used. Then once my base, blush, powder and highlight is applied, I set everything with a couple of spritzes of the Infallible 24-Hour Setting Spray, which tones everything down and leaves a glowy, fresh finish.
We all know that I love a great highlighter, and this year I’ve found one of my all-time favourites. I’ll always be faithful to my No.7 Instant Radiance champagne crayon highlighter, but for a powder formulation, Sleek’s Midas Touch palette is a bit of a game-changer. The palette has four shades, but there’s one in particular I’m obsessed with; a shimmery rose quartz that offers radiance unlike any other highlighter I’ve ever used. Not glittery, not sparkly – just true luminescence. It’s pretty incredible stuff!
Along with a great highlighter, I also love a fabulous lipstick. Reds, pinks, corals, nudes, even the occasional mauve – they’re all good to me. This year I’ve also dabbled in liquid lipsticks for the first time, and I have stumbled upon my dream shade in Revlon’s Ultra HD Matte Liquid Lipstick in Flirtation. It’s the perfect bright peachy coral that looks amazing with fresh, glowy skin and lashings of mascara – a little bit Parisian, very cool. The formula admittedly is a little bit hit-and-miss, but when you catch it on a good day, it’s very, very good. Just make sure your lips are prepped!
My hair has been through a couple of big changes this year – from mid-blonde to icy blonde, right back down to dark brown again – and it’s needed proper care and attention to keep it in good condition. Earlier in the year I was sent the Lee Stafford Coco Loco haircare range to try, and in these last few months, the shampoo and conditioner have really come into their own. Lightweight but deeply moisturising, this duo is gentle on my sensitive scalp and leaves me with shiny, strong, soft hair every time.
In terms of fragrance, I’m pretty fussy. Nothing too strong, nothing too heavy, else I’m in for one of those foggy headaches. A perfume I’ve really enjoyed using this year is Ghost Eclipse – it’s floral and fruity with a deep, mysterious base, but not heavy at all. It feels fresh but sophisticated, ideal for day or night time depending on your mood. Using perfume every day can get pricey though, and one of my favourite products to use instead is Ted Baker’s White Body Spray. £7 is quite pricey for a body spray but this smells just as good as an expensive perfume – in fact it smells just like Ricci Ricci. It’s my favourite fragrance to use on a daily basis, spritzed all over with no worries about the cost.
Speaking of fragrance, I love a delicious shower gel at bathtime, and I’ve discovered my holy grail in terms of scent – Original Source’s Cherry and Almond Shower Milk. Need I say more?!
And finally, a little throwaway purchase has made its way into 2016’s best beauty buys… Primark’s Satin Matte nail polish is a steal at £1.50, and I wasn’t expecting it to be much use. However, paired with a decent coating of Seche Vite, this polish lasts for days and looks great! I use the shade Dusty Rose, as I was desperate for a polish in this shade and couldn’t find one anywhere – this is the perfect blend of dusky rose and soft nude, nothing overly girlie but still very feminine and very chic. Just be sure to use that topcoat – the original flat matte finish does nothing for me…
What are your best beauty finds of 2016?