It may be three weeks into 2017, but I discovered some really great products last year, and I thought you'd want to know about them - no matter how long it took me to get this post together!
This list started out pretty hefty, but I thought I'd strip it back to the products that really impressed me last year. So, this is the crème de la crème of my 2016 beauty discoveries...
Kat Von D Tattoo linerLet me begin with my #1 beauty discovery of 2016; the 'tattoo liner' liquid eyeliner pen by Kat Von D*. As a daily cat-eye enthusiast, I don't know how I've gone 25 years without this eyeliner in my life. It's the best I've tried so far (yep, even better than any of these). The ultra-fine nib glides smoothly, making it easy to draw a clean line on the eyelid, and its razor-sharp point makes it so easy to achieve a perfect, precise flick. The shade 'Trooper' is a deeply pigmented black with a slightly glossy finish that I love, that lasts ALL day and doesn't run, smudge or fade - which is ideal for me as my eyes water in cold and windy weather. Yet, it's not a nightmare to remove; bit of micellar water and job's a goodun.
Definitely a staple of my make-up bag for years to come.
💁 See my KVD make-up look, featuring the tattoo liner, here
I do love a highlighter, but it's not always easy to find one that ticks all the boxes; absolutely must not be metallic or glittery, not too white but not too golden, natural looking and easily blendable. Well, this one does it all. It's a pinky-beige pressed powder with lilac, blue and yellow veining running through it, with a very subtle shimmer (no discoball cheeks here). The champagne undertone is perfect for a natural looking glow on my pale skintone, and the swirls of different colour mean that it always catches in every type of light.
Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade
The soft, mineralized texture means it not only blends easily, avoiding the dreaded 'stripe', but it's also really buildable. Dusted lightly across the entire face, the powder gives a healthy glowy sheen to the complexion, or applied with a heavier hand over the cheek and brow bones for a subtle highlight.
Kylie Lip KitsThe Kylie lip kits were totally worth the excruciating wait and eye-watering customs charges. The lip pencil and matte liquid lipstick duos create the perfect voluptuous matte lip trend that King Kylie has made so coveted. I ordered three shades throughout the year; Maliboo (90's style brown), Koko K (pretty pale pink-nude) and Kristen (strawberry pinky red; pictured).
The lip pencils are incredibly creamy, meaning no dragging, making it easy to line, define and fill in the lips, before applying the liquid lipstick. The liquid lipsticks have a gorgeously velvety texture upon application, they dry matte in a couple of seconds and then literally DO NOT BUDGE. No smudging, no feathering, no fading - the colour stays perfectly in place for hours, throughout eating, drinking, kissing, talking etc. And they're comfortable to wear - the matte formula dries weightless so, although it's not nourishing or creamy, it just feels invisible.
Make Up Forever Excessive Lash MascaraI have quite short and straight eyelashes and struggle to find a mascara that can give me lovely fanned out and fluttery lashes. Which is why I love the Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Mascara*. It has a dainty little brush that allows me to get right in at the root of my lashline in order to smoothly lift and coat every single lash. The double-fibre brush contains two types of bristles; one to distribute the product and one to comb through and eliminate any clumps, separating each lash for a real eye-opening effect.
And the best part? My lashes stay freshly volumised all day, as the formula includes 'hairspray technology' that stops the lashes from drooping. I can't wait for payday to repurchase a second tube.
Smashbox Contour Kit
2016 was the year I learnt to contour, and it's thanks to this Smashbox kit which, apparently, is rated by the Queen of Contouring; Kim Kardashian. The kit contains three buttery-soft powders (a dark contour shade, a bronzer, and a highlight) that melt into the skin and blend together to avoid any blockiness. The fluffy angled brush that it comes included picks up just the right amount of product to softly apply for a really natural look, and the instructions on the mirror make it totally idiot-proof (good for me then).
Lush 'Angels on Bare Skin' CleanserMy (usually clear) skin broke out into a red, blotchy complexion whilst I was in Budapest in December; the cold winds combined with having packed a sample sized make-up remover that I had a bad reaction to caused havoc with my skin. I made an emergency trip to Lush (that explains why my pot is in Hungarian) and picked up the 'Angels on Bare Skin' cleanser. The list of calming ingredients (kaolin clay, lavender, rose and chamomile oils) sounded like they'd soothe my sore skin - and smell incredible. And in literally ONE use, my complexion was rescued. And that's why it made this list. It's a skin SOS saviour!
I continued to use the cleanser throughout the Christmas period, and my skin stayed calm, smooth and balanced (despite the copious amounts of alcohol and cheese consumed). The cleanser is in paste form, which you mix with wet fingertips to create a cleansing lotion. This makes it kind of messy to use, especially when the loose lavender bits manage to get everywhere, but it's a miracle worker for skin emergencies.