I was in two minds about whether to do a favourites post for 2016, but I like reading them and, frankly, it’s useful for me to really think about what I’ve loved the most; it’s easy to get caught up in the desire to try everything new and it’s good to gather together the things that I reach for regularly without really thinking about it. These are all products that I use at least twice a week, if not every day, and all of which I have/will repurchase.
Starting with skincare, I’ve gone back to my old-faithful cleanser, the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. I still love the Oskia Renaissance Gel and the LRP Toleriane Cleanser but the Emma Hardie is the one I’ve been using the most. It smells amazing, it destroys makeup, the accompanying cloths are brilliant, and it can be used as a mask or serum. I’m on my fourth tub, I think (ever, not this year!). I’ve eulogised about the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial already, so it won’t come as surprise to see it in my favourites.
My discovery of the year is the Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-reducing Concentrate. It’s a stable vitamin c serum which, despite the name, I don’t use to reduce lines but to even skintone and reduce the appearance of my pores, and it’s great. It’s a really weird texture – super slippery and silicone-based – and it feels as if it’s going to ball-up immediately under any other product but somehow it never does. I’ve been using it every morning under SPF 50 for about six months and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my skin.
My two ‘get out of jail free’ products are the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask and Clinique Anti-Blemish Clearing Gel. I could go on and on about how brilliant both are but instead I’ll keep it snappy: they’re excellent and do exactly what they promise to. The PTR mask is the most smoothing thing I’ve ever put on my face; it uses three types on exfoliant and leaves my skin completely flake-free and ready for serum/oil/a hydrating mask. The tiny pot has lasted me about two months and I’ll be buying a full-size soon. The Clinique gel is the best spot treatment I’ve found, ever. I put it on any potential whiteheads and they vanish overnight. Magic.
Lots of my makeup favourites have been mentioned before – the excellent Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow is here and I’ve sung the praises of the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer numerous times – try this or this. I’m on my third tube of the UD concealer and you can see that I’m going to need a new one soon. The Superdrug version of the Beauty Blender was raved about here, and has been my go-to way of whacking on foundation this year.
The lipstick that I’ve reached for when I don’t know what to wear is MAC Mehr – it’s matte but not drying, the perfect everyday dirty pink/nude on me and seems to go with everything. I’ve also been loving the newer MAC Liptensity in Smoked Almond, and will be on the lookout for another shade soon. The Burberry Eye Contour Smoke & Sculpt pen in Pale Copper has been a very happy discovery; it’s a bit less dry than the Kiko version, slightly easier to blend as it takes longer to set in place, and is close to the tone of their excellent shadow in Pale Barley, that I raved about here.
The Clinique Flutter to Full mascara launched this year and quickly became my favourite. It’s the same tubing formula as the Lash Power but with added oomph. The concept is that you can change the intensity by turning the dial which, I think, alters the amount of product left on the brush. It does make a slight difference but, to be honest, I just leave it on the most intense setting and it’s ace. My final favourite is the RMK Face Colour Brush, which is one of the softest brushes my cheeks have had the pleasure of being stroked with. It’s like using a kitten to apply blusher and diffuses pigmented blushers perfectly.
Congratulations if you made it this far! Let me know what you ‘best of 2016’ products were – my notepad and pen are ready…
- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -