The Ultimate Beauty Round-Up: 2015
Yearly favourites are always some of my favourite posts to read and write. You always get a proper sense of what that person has really been enjoying if it makes the cut. It's taken me a while to compile this list into a somewhat shortened down version as it was a great year for beauty in my life.
CLINIQUE EVEN BETTER FOUNDATION: This was one of the first high-end bases that I ever looked into buying around 4 years ago but went for the Estee Lauder Double Wear instead. Upon first application, I was completely blown away with just how seamlessly it applied and just how flawless my base looked without the addition of primer, corrector or concealer. It glides over the skin without accentuating any dry or uneven patches of skin and can be built up in any areas that need the extra help. Even though it's medium to full coverage base it still looks completely natural on the skin and is almost undetectable and if that wasn't enough it's very long wearing. The only downside to it is that the colour range, it's very poor in variance so if you're very fair or dark skinned then it's unlikely that you will find a shade to suit you.
TOO FACED CHAMPAGNE SHADOW INSURANCE: Whenever I wear eye makeup I always make sure to apply this underneath. Even when worn alone it's a truly beautiful champagne shade but in combination with some of my favourite shadows, it's even better. It helps to smooth out the lid and counteract any discolouration and veins without being overly obvious. When used in combination with cheap shadows it not only improves the quality but the wear time too. I always thought eye primers were unnecessary and just an extra step but this is a truly beautiful product.
CLAUDIA LOUCH CORRECTING PALETTE*: Considering how badly I've struggled with blemishes, redness and scarring in the past, I'm surprised it took me so long to try a colour correction palette. I've had nothing but good results with this product from skincare brand Claudia Louch. I mostly use the green shade to counteract redness in blemishes and scarred skin and once the sting of the redness has gone it makes the area so much easier to conceal without the need for layers of product. This palette, in particular, is pricey but there are so many of the market to try at a cheaper price point.
FRESH SUGAR LIPBALM IN PETAL: My love affair with the Fresh lip balms began last year and over the past 12 months I've been adding more shades to my collection and my favourite by far is petal. It's a beautiful dusky rose that has a hint of brown which is something I find incredibly flattering against pale skin. If I could bottle this shade and make it into a blush and nail polish I totally would as it's just beautiful. The formulation of these balms is what makes them truly fantastic. Even though this a treatment the pigmentation of the shade can be built up to an opaque finish on the lips. It doesn't scrimp on the nourishment either and they are incredibly hydrating and a real treat.
REVLON NAIL POLISH IN TEAK ROSE: This was the shade that sparked my entire obsession with rose nails. Revlon isn't a brand that I think of for nail polishes, but I was surprised with the quality of the formula. However, the brush is little to be desired as it's very thin and without precision it makes for a messy finish. The shade Teak Rose is one of the most beautiful colours I've ever worn, it makes a statement whilst still being sophisticated. It could be worn in any season and still not look out of place and the wear time isn't too shabby, not incredible but still pretty good.
HOURGLASS AND MAXFACTOR BLUSHES: We all know that I'm a complete sucker for a good blush and this year was the year of the baked blush. When the Hourglass blushes were released I was completely gooey eyed but I thought they were incredibly expensive. Whilst I do still think that once I tried them I could see why they are so popular. They look absolutely beautiful on the skin but as Maxfactor has released their own answer to the popular product you don't need to spend the extra pennies to achieve the same look. When I've been going for a more natural looking base I've found these blushers to be the perfect cheek addition as they add so much luminosity to the skin without the need for a highlighter.
MAYBELLINE LASH SENSATIONAL: This was a tough one to narrow down as I've discovered some incredible mascaras this year. Of course, two honourable mentions go to the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara and the Claudia Louch Volumising Mascara*. The Maybelline Lash Sensational won the top spot because it's not only incredible, but it's very affordable too. It's got the right mix of everything that I want from my mascaras in term of length, volume and curl. Even though it's not a waterproof formula it holds well and doesn't smudge or flake down during the day, even on oily lids.
CHINA GLAZE QUICK DRY TOP COAT: Ever since discovering the joy of quick dry top coats a couple of years ago I've never looked back since. I was loyal to Seche Vite but after a while, I found it was making my polishes shrink and chipping more than usual so I hunted around for other options. I've tried many Sally Hansen top coats in the past but never found them to be all that good and I was a big fan of the O.P.I Quick Dry Top Coat but found it to be quite pricey. So I was still on the lookout for the polish with the formula and price point that suited my tastes. Enter the China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat, the formula is great and dries my polishes incredibly quick without any shrinking or making my manicure chip quickly. I've always found it in T.K Maxx, but it's super cheap on Amazon too.
PESTLE AND MORTAR SERUM*: I've been trying a lot of hydrating serums this year, but this one has been my favourite, it's pure hyaluronic acid. It feels like water upon application and sinks into the skin within seconds, but it hydrates instantly. As the formulation is so incredibly light you don't need to wait long between applying your moisturiser. It doesn't pill up with the addition of other products either like some hydrating serums can do. You only need a small amount to see a difference in your complexion so it's a great value for money product.
OSKIA CLEANSING GEL*: An incredibly popular cleanser in the beauty blogging world and it only took me a couple of uses to understand why. Having the word 'gel' in the title would probably put many people off but it isn't at all like your stereotypical drying gel. It melts into the skin and then with the addition of water it turns into a milk that hydrates as well as cleanses the skin beautifully. The addition of pumpkin enzymes in the ingredients brightens the complexion without the need for harsh chemicals or exfoliants. Whilst I don't think any cleanser will trump my beloved Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish this does come close.
SOAP AND GLORY NO CLOGS ALLOWED*: The S&G skin care line isn't something that I've tried a lot from but what I have tried has been fantastic. This mask isn't like anything else I own as it's self-heating upon application which feels absolutely wonderful on the skin. It removes anything that is lurking deep within your pores with ease without leaving you with a face full of spots afterwards. If you're after a cheaper deep cleansing mask that doesn't scrimp on the quality then this is definitely worth looking at. The squeezy tube packaging makes it super easy to apply and makes sure you get the most out of the product.
TONY MOLY SNAIL SERUM MASK: 2015 was the year that I discovered the wonder that is sheet masks. They are absolutely hilarious to use so it's always advisable to do them when you're alone unless you fancy scaring your friends or even better your boyfriend. This mask from Asian brand Tony Moly contains 'snail' serum and hyaluronic acid. I have no idea what snail serum is exactly but I've found it to work wonders on my complexion. By using one of these masks a couple of times a week, I've noticed a large difference in breakouts I've been suffering with and the moisture levels of my complexion. If I've got an occasion that I want my skin to look particularly good for then I will use this mask and by the next day, my skin will always look so much healthier.
CLINIQUE TURNAROUND MOISTURISER: It's not often that a moisturiser really wows me but this number from Clinique really did. I wasn't sure what to expect from it but I've never seen such a difference in my complexion from just a moisturiser. It's oil free but it doesn't scrimp on the hydration at all and gives your skin an incredible glow. The slight tint to it makes it incredibly easy to forgo primer and correcting/concealing products. When I was using this moisturiser primarily it was when I was going makeup free most days and it made the transition so much easier as it makes your skin look that good.
ROGER & GALLET LOTION*: I've been pretty loyal to S&G body lotions as they work well and aren't horribly expensive. So when this moisturiser landed on my doorstep I was excited to see how it would hold up against my beloved S&G products. Dare I say I prefer this? It's incredibly lightweight and sinks into the skin in seconds but leaves it feeling beautifully nourished and supple without feeling greasy or sticky at all.
BUMBLE AND BUMBLE SUNDAY SHAMPOO: Shampoo isn't the most exciting product to discuss is it? If it cleans and nourishes my tresses then I'm generally a happy customer but this cult classic from my favourite hair care brand Bumble and Bumble is a little more exciting than most. You're meant to use this on a Sunday like the name suggests [I don't, I just use it when my hair needs it] to give the hair a deep clean to remove any product build up to leave tresses lightweight and bouncy once again. It does exactly that without leaving the hair feeling stripped or dry. It needs to be used sparingly on coloured hair though so you don't see your colour disappear.
SCHWARZKOPF GOT2B OIL-LICIOUS WEIGHTLESS DRY OIL MIST*: I use oil in my hair nearly every day to keep my ends and lengths in the best condition that they possibly can be in. Even though I love the results that oil gives it can sometimes be a little bit of a faff to use. Especially if it doesn't come with a pump so discovering this oil in spray form was revolutionary. It's incredibly easy to mist through the hair and then brush through for maximum results. It's a dry oil so it doesn't run the risk of making the hair feel greasy. It's safe to use on freshly washed tresses too for a bit of added moisture or to tame flyaways.
PACO RABANNE OLYMPEA PERFUME*: As I've grown up so have my fragrance tastes. Typically I wouldn't head towards Paco Rabanne when hunting for a new perfume but their latest release is lovely. The art deco style packaging with the rose gold detailing is miles away from their classic Lady Million scent which has a garish diamond bottle. Scent wise it's nothing like anything else I own because it's top note is spiced vanilla so it's still a bit sweet with that edge. Describing perfume isn't a strong point of mine so I'll keep this one short but it's a beautiful fragrance.