I’ve (finally) compiled a list of my favorite makeup products of 2016. I was going to list out categories and pick my favorite product in each but there are some categories that I really just haven’t found favorites for yet (brows, skin care) so instead I decided I would just share the items I really loved all year-long. There are some that became favorites closer to the end of the year but I’ve included them because I know they’re going to stick.
I’ve had an interest in makeup for a while now and have enjoyed doing my makeup since college but 2016 really became the year that it blew up and I legitimately started to follow trends and pay attention to new launches. I’m really excited to see where this year leads as far as trends go, though there are a few I’m already tired of. If I never saw another warm toned brown palette with pops of cranberry again I’d be ok with that. And to think, a year ago I was searching for the perfect one! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good warm toned palette, they just all seem to look the same lately. I’m ready to see something different! That being said let’s jump into the items I fell in love with this year.
I had used this primer a few years ago, it was actually one of the first primers I ever used, and enjoyed it then. I only stopped using it to try other products as I got more into makeup and eventually forgot about it. Recently I’ve felt that I can’t find a single primer that works on my skin. It either sticks really well but makes my pores look larger or it fixes my pores but causes my foundation to slip on nose and chin half way through the day. This works better for the sticking than pore perfecting (if I could only fix one of the two concerns this would be the one I would choose over the pore perfecting anyway) but it at least doesn’t make my pores look even larger. It also makes my skin feel more hydrated rather than slick like some silicone based primers do. I’ll keep trying primers but so far this is the only one I love.
I first purchased this in February and have since gone through three bottles! I’m pretty close to needing another one. I wear the shade porcelain, which pulls slightly yellow on me, but it is the closest shade I can find. I have a really hard time matching any foundation to my skin though, but I was once told by a professional that it’s because even though I’m fair I have a slightly olive complexion, something most companies don’t account for. This is really neither here nor there, but it does mean when picking shades I’m almost always slightly too pink or too yellow.
Anyway, what I really love about this foundation is the finish. It is not full coverage, I would say it is medium. You can build it up but most days I’m looking for a more natural look so I wear just one layer. Natural is exactly how this looks on the face. It isn’t too matte and it isn’t too luminous. It fits on my face like a second skin. I typically forget I’m even wearing it because it is comfortable. I will say it can stick to dry patches but if you moisturize before putting it on it won’t. I can’t see myself using anything else as my every day foundation.
I tried a few different concealers and some discover my dark circles better than this (IT Bye Bye Under Eye) but they tended to feel so heavy and creasy that I would end up reaching for this over and over again. I’ve said before I seems impossible to find a concealer that covers dark circles and doesn’t sink into my fine lines so I need to pick one or the other. The Age Rewind doesn’t completely cover my circles but it does have the highest coverage I’ve been able to find without sinking into every one of my wrinkles and aging me even more. It also blends out really easily without blending away, an issue I come across fairly often with concealers.
2016 was supposed to be the year I tried more indie products. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, though I don’t have a real reason why. The reason I wanted to try more indie was because I found the Looxi Beauty highlighters and fell so deeply in love with them I decided I must try more unknown (to me) brands. I also decided I must try more Looxi! I’m so happy I did because I fell in love with her shadows. I mostly have shades from the Aurora Collection, her version of duochrome shadows, as well as a few mattes, a few shimmers, and a few from her Clueless collaboration with Pop Polish and Glitter Elixirs. I love all of them. I don’t think there is a Looxi shadow I’ve tried and haven’t loved.
These shadows are pigmented, they blend easily, and they last all day. I love wearing the Auroras all over the lid by themselves since the duochrome colors are so interesting. I also feel like she has a really nice, wide range of colors rather than you’re typical browns and greys, though if you are more standard she does have those as well. Especially greens, she does some really fun green shadows. These shadows biggest flaw is their fallout. They do tend to have quite a bit, but that isn’t a deal breaker for me, as I expect at least some fall out. I just do my face makeup last. The fallout also wipes away easily enough with a fluffy kabuki brush.
I only swatched a few shadows for photos but if anyone wants me to do a full review on the shades I own that aren’t limited edition, or even the ones that are, I would be happy to.
I know, I know this one was super hyped up and is surrounded by controversy. I can’t help it though I love my Peach Palette. I was lucky (or stalky) enough to be able to score this during the first round it was released back in April. I truly love this. I have used it so much I have already hit pan on one shade and am really close on hitting pan in a few others, as you can see in the photo. I love the warm tones with pops of pink, the way too cute packaging, and the peach ring scent. Actually I used it so much this spring and summer any time I use it I’m instantly brought back to some of those memories. Smell is really an interesting sense.
Even more than the colors and gimmicky stuff though, I love the shadows themselves. When Too Faced does it right, they really do it right. Unfortunately when they don’t it can be a huge flop (I’m talking to you Nikkie Tutorials collab). Anyway, these shadows are so soft and smooth, especially the mattes. I don’t know that they’re “buttery” but they’re definitely not chalky (save for one or two). They’re pigmented enough to keep me happy but not so pigmented that the brighter, peach shades are in your face. However if you want in your face peach, like I prefer, these build up easily and work well with Fix+. I also find they blend fairly well. The shimmer shades do have a fair amount of fallout, but again that’s not a big deal to me. I did do full swatches in my review here.
If you follow me this one will be no surprise. I love, love, love the Better Than Sex mascara and haven’t found anything yet that even begins to compare. To be fair I do really like the Lancôme Hypnose Drama, but not enough to switch. I do prefer Better Than Sex once it has been used for about a week and dries a bit. It really volumizes my lashes, which I prefer to length, though I do think it adds a little length as well. It doesn’t crumble off my lashes and doesn’t smudge throughout the day. Of course this was the year they also brought it a waterproof version and I was in heaven! I prefer waterproof mascara to regular, and this was just as good! I do feel the formula of the waterproof was slightly thicker and a little mor difficult to work with clump wise, but overall I’m very happy with it. I can’t see anything replacing these any time soon.
This is another product I’ve raved about since getting it this summer. I hadn’t found a liquid liner marker/pen that I liked before this, as I had found them all too difficult to work with. They were either too stiff or way to soft, so I preferred the old school style wand. This marker though is just right. It also makes me feel like a pro when I’m doing a wing. I’m not sure what it is about it but 9 times out of 10 it makes the wing process faster and more precise. It doesn’t tug at my lid and the color is pigmented enough for one swipe though if I do more than one (which I usually do to clean up messiness created by my own fault) it doesn’t pull the product that is already down off. It also lasts a decent amount of time. Mine is just starting to fade, though I do need to purchase a new one for sanitary/expiration reasons.
Ok in all fairness Valley Girl is actually a highlighter, and it is gorgeous on deep skinned girls. It is too deep for my pale skin though so I wear it as a blush and love it. I was never a big fan of shimmery blushes but this fall and winter I fell hard into peachy, pink, shimmery blushes. Milani Luminoso, Makeup Geek Romance, and The Balm Hot Mama to name a few, but Valley Girl was the blush I reached for most. It is a bit more pink and the gold is heavier in this than the above mentioned blushes. It goes on smoothly and blends out easily, which is good because it’s pigmented and easy to go overboard. It can look a bit patchy when my skin is dry so if I plan on wearing it I do have to make sure my skin is well moisturized.
As far as drugstore highlighters go Wet ‘N’ Wild really brought it this year. Sure some brands have brought out some great highlighters but they were the first to really make one that was worth while, even at a low price point. Precious Petals has been my go to gold since October. It can be hard to find a gold for my skin tone because they all seem too deep but this seems to work well. I especially like it paired with my Looxi “blush” when I’m feeling extra salty and want that ridiculous glow. You know the one that I shouldn’t leave the house with because it is so exceptionally silly to have that much highlight on but I do it anyway? I blame Instagram, honestly. Don’t act like you don’t do it too. I nod my head at girls with raging highlight. It’s like a little club. A club of people who know better but do whatever the fuck they want because they can. That’s how I feel anyway.
Anyway… once you get past the top layer of overlay on this product and really get to the powder it’s quite nice. It is very shimmery but it isn’t super pigmented when applied with a fan brush (my preferred application method) so you can wear it more toned down, or layer it up. It actually layers really well, which I prefer for control purposes. It’s also super inexpensive which makes it even more worth it.
I found Looxi when she released her Aurora highlighters in January and, as I’ve mentioned, fell madly in love. Can we also point out that before Anastasia Beverly Hills and Kat Von D and Jeffree Star, that duochrome highlighters were fairly big in the indie makeup world. Looxi was actually the first brand I personally saw make them, though I’m not sure who actually started it. The auroras were so unique I just had to buy them. I thought I would hate the blue shades too because they would be too weird and unwearable but of course that is my favorite out of all of them. I actually just hit pan on Wicked today.
These highlighters are just so pretty. They’re unique, they offer such a different look, I can’t quite explain it. The highlighters aren’t so powdery they float away but they aren’t creamy either. I remember calling them creamy in my original review but I feel like I didn’t have a good grasp of what was actually a creamy powder then. I’ve learned a lot this year. They definitely have kickback/fallout but if you just tap your brush off before you apply them it really isn’t a big deal. They also have nice pigmentation so you can see the duochrome when you first apply them but not so much it’s overwhelming. It’s like a sheer wash of double color but that can easily build up to a much more ethereal look. I like to put down a couple of layers then add another on top of my setting spray for a much “louder” look. Again, highlight crazy. If you want to see a better breakdown of the first three colors I bought you can read my original review here.
As you’ll see I Love my liquid lipsticks but I decided this summer that I really should have at least one go to bullet lipstick, so I picked up MAC’s Kinda Sexy. I actually didn’t expect to love it but I do. The color is the perfect standard nude. It works with almost any look and, unlike some liquid lipsticks, is less messy to reapply. The matte finish does tend to show a lot of lines in my lips, which I don’t love. However, I also feel like with all the lip filler lip swatches we see these days I forget that my lips are just fucking normal and that lines will be there regardless. As long as I use a scrub before applying this lipstick to pull the dead skin off so it doesn’t show patchy, gross, dry lips it looks like lipstick on your standard, every day normal lip.
I do feel like the lasting power isn’t great for the price point, about 4 hours for me, but again that is probably because I do prefer liquid lipsticks that have a very long wear time. That this lipstick is easier to reapply and fits in my wallet nicely due to its small size, makes up for the wear time because I can just easily throw more on. As far as standard lipstick goes this really is the only one I reach for on a consistent basis.
I love Colourpop. Anyone who knows me knows I love Colourpop. It was hard for me to even choose just a couple lipsticks but I did. Fancy is hands down my all time favorite lipstick shade. Unfortunately they did discontinue it this year. I found a couple of their liquid lipsticks that were close in shade but they were limited edition so I continue to hunt for a Fancy dupe. Fancy is a beautiful coral shade, that leans a bit more orange though that never comes across as clearly as I would like it to in photos. This is especially gorgeous in the spring but I find myself grabbing it just about any time I want a bright lip, regardless of season. It is a Satin finish, so a bit more glossy than my usual lip choice, but after a couple of hours it loses the shine and looks more matte. It also lasts about 6 hours (not eating) before I really need to reapply. At a $5 price point you really can’t beat that! If I were forced to choose one lipstick that is my all time favorite lipstick this would be it!
Colourpop lipsticks were really my stand out product from the company this year and the Ultra Satins won a place in my heart as one of my favorite formulas. These are much more comfortable than their liquid mattes, though I do like those as well and they’re much better now that they’ve been reformulated than they were after the original launch.
The Ultra Satins don’t dry down completely but they are still long-lasting. I’ve gotten a full day out of them, at least 8 hours, without eating anything too greasy or, depending on the shade, just a dab of touch up needed right in the center of my lips.
I have a lot of shades but the two standouts for me were Toolips, a dark purple toned brown, and Double Tap a peachy nude, pulling slightly more orange. Toolips was the color I would reach for consistently when I wanted something darker and a bit more vampy. It wears really comfortably, not too think, and isn’t patchy, unlike other browns I’ve tried.
Double Tap is the nude I’ve been looking for! Unfortunately like all the other peachy nudes I’ve tried and loved the shades on, this is patchy. No, not even patchy but it pools and drags, and has that strange thick look on the lips even though it doesn’t feel thick. Of the two different peachy nude shades I own, the Colourpop one is the easiest to work with and fix so I still wear this any time I want that nude peach shade.
Metallic liquid lipsticks really blew up this summer, and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere any time soon. I tried a few but the one I continuously grabbed for was Heir by Kylie. I think I preferred this over some of the other metallic lipsticks because it was a bit more subtle, which is funny because there isn’t anything subtle about Kylie. The color is a light pink with gold, metallic shimmers. I find the gold sort of off sets the pink making it look more nude. The formula is slightly streaky though I find that on some days it seems more streaky than others and I haven’t really figured out why that is. Humidity? Maybe. It also takes a longer time to dry down than I like, but once it does it is long-lasting and doesn’t transfer.
It is actually very comfortable, and though I know people love to compare the Kylie liquid lips to Colourpop formula wise, I don’t think they’re the same. I actually think the Kylie formula is thinner. Not as thin as Kat Von D, but maybe what you would expect consistency wise if the Kat Von D liquid lips and Colourpop Liquid lips had a baby. I wore this shade so much, and still find myself consistently reaching for it, that I am quite sure I will repurchase it when I run out.
I abhor washing my makeup brushes. I’m gross and will push it as long as I possibly can before I wash them. It just seems to take so much time, especially when using a brush shampoo. I would plan what day to pull the shampoo out, pull all of my brushes out, and do a full on clean. With the shampoo I would have to dump it on a plate to swish in or directly on the brush if I was doing a quick wash, and felt like I wasted so much product. When I saw the solid brush cleanser at the cash wrap at Sephora I really only bought it because I had recently run out of brush shampoo and it was staring me in the face. I’m so happy I did.
I find this to clean better than the shampoo I had (I can’t even remember the brand) but I also find it so convenient. I leave it right on my sink in its little container and because it is there I find that every few days I’ll take my brush and just run it around the soap, give it a little scrub on the pink pad, and set them aside to dry. I clean a few brushes every day that way they’re always rotating and it really only takes about 5 extra minutes. It’s nice to have consistently clean brushes!
I know I recently talked about how I had low expectations for this and ended up loving it, but it’s become such a staple in my routine I figured it couldn’t hurt to mention it again. I’ve only been using it for a few months but I’ve already picked up a second bottle for when I run out. This takes off my eye makeup, especially my waterproof mascara, unlike anything else I’ve ever used. IT takes it off without tugging, and making my eyes raw, which is really the kicker. I swear it also makes my skin just look nicer, but who knows. I’ve also been drinking a ton of water because of being pregnant, so that could be where the nice skin comes from. Regardless this is definitely a staple in my beauty routine.
And those are it, my favorite beauty products of 2016! I’m excited to see where 2017 will lead makeup wise, but with the new baby on the way it should also be exciting in my personal life as well. She is due in less than two weeks now! As for makeup, I’m currently working on bettering my skin care routine. I’m hoping to have more skin care products to review and share with you, and figuring out a nice routine. I am not getting any younger and I just gain more wrinkles with every kid. As for makeup, who the hell knows what the year will bring. I can’t wait to find out and take it on though!