Best Beauty Products of 2016
Honestly, this started as the ‘top 10 beauty products of 2016’ but scrolling back through the months, by April, I knew that 10 wasn’t possible! So, I’ve picked three from each month – products I’m still using and loving. I’m doing product picks by months (so, either when they launched or when I first tested them).
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Fluid £34, HERE. Loved for its tone warming, ‘bonne mine’ ability and light feeling on the skin. Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint £25, HERE. One of the buttery-est balms I’ve ever used that turns a tiny bit pink on the lips; all the sheen and a tiny dab of colour along with some excellent lip conditioning. Kent Ooh That’s Nice Hairbrush, £12.50 HERE. I used this for months – daily – for its massaging, bendy brushing. Eventually, it snapped in half but I miss it so have another on order.
Front runners in the non-sheet, single use mask packaging concept taken from the food industry (think ketchup, mayo etc) are the Origins Mask Pods, £2.50 HERE. I love the non-commitment of a one-time skin refresh and back for more only when you want to – no guilty-making full sizes lounging in the bathroom unless you size up. Laura Mercier Candleglow Foundation, £35 HERE, is higher coverage than Chanel Healthy Glow but skin softening in both look and feel – nicely fluid too which makes it good for older skin. REN’s Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist, £24 HERE, is a belt and braces job if you are so minded about taking care of your skin. One quick spritz and you have an extra shield for your skin. I don’t use this every day but I probably should, being a city dweller but do remember that it really struck a chord with BBB readers who love skin care.
Quickly fell in love with McQueen fragrance for its sweet and voluptuous floral smack down with no gourmande that usually accompanies such a full blown perfume. It’s a burst of jasmine, tuberose and ylang ylang – all famed for their night scents. I reach for it often and have both the Parfum and the EDP (which launched later than the Parfum). It’s £55 HERE. I can’t not mention Fortune Favours The Brave, £9.99 that launched in March – my collaboration with Makeup Revolution. This has sold and sold and sold beyond our wildest expectations meaning that unfortunately, it’s out of stock quite frequently. It’s out of stock on the MUR site and I don’t know when it’s back but it is in stock at Superdrug HERE at the time of writing. I use it every single day. Another base made it into my top products (don’t forget, spring is ‘new base’ time!) – Dior Hydra Life Water BB Moisturising Tinted Aqua-Gel with SPF30, £40 HERE. It’s a remarkably light feeling, smooth, gel fluid that gives a summer weight coverage and keeps skin feeling full of moisture.
April was a great month for skin care! I loved using Lancome Energie de Vie Liquid Moisturiser, £28 HERE, and have only a tiny bit left. It’s made using Korean technology and has a cooling ‘wet’ moisture feel but sinks in like a regular hydrator to leave my skin feeling supple and silky. There is enough hydration in this as a day product that I didn’t need to top it up with anything else but if you have very dry skin it may not be quite enough. Vichy’s In Shower Aftersun, £11.05 HERE, was a beauty breakthrough for anyone who hates the tedium of applying aftersun (me!). You can use it post shower, but hey, why make life complicated! I’ve talked a lot about Melvita Nectar Bright Duo – it’s a daily use product for me to give light moisture but crucially do a cell turn over that keeps skin looking clear and fresh. I would not be without this! It’s £39, HERE.
Oh, those Paul & Joe lipsticks that set the internet on fire! They’re all sold out now but I really hope they bring them back. My samples are sitting in my treasure box of things to never, ever throw away! Prai Throat & Decolletage Cream, £19.99 HERE . This one came to me by way of a sponsored post which is often the way – to be considered for a sponsored post, I really have to try the product properly (or just give factual information and no opinion) – and I loved it. In fact, I had a few extra pots that I gave to friends and they’ve all re-purchased. I don’t know how or why, but this stuff does smooth out the neck area like nothing else I’ve tried – for twenty quid! Give it a month and you’ll be a convert. Another Chanel product… The Chanel UV Essential SPF30, £41 HERE, is one of the lightest feeling SPFs ever with a decent protection level. Feels like skin care, protects like sun care.
I’m not even apologising for featuring a £300 hair dryer HERE. You’d virtually have to fight me to the death for the Dyson Hair Dryer, I’d be so reluctant to let it go. We all use it more or less daily and it still looks and feels as though it’s just come out of the box. Once I’d discovered that pre-drying without the styling nozzle dries my hair in double quick time, leaving styling time down to a bare mimimum, I was hooked. It truly is that good (and it dries Miss Honey super-quickly, too). I wouldn’t swap it for any money and I’d purchase another if anything happened to it. I could only find the silver version at Boots – it’s sold out everywhere else so I’m not alone in my love! Chanel Le Rouge Collection No.1 – Lucia Pica’s first collection for Chanel (the palette is £40 HERE). I went to the launch of this at Somerset House and saw the meticulous, artist’s-eye attention to detail that went into the making. Probably my best discovery of the year is new brand, 72 Hair. Their Replenishing Mask, £24.99 HERE is worth every second of the twenty minutes you have to leave it on for and it really does look like you’ve just come out of the hairdresser. I’ve had amazing reader feedback on this one, too.
Although this year has seen a lot of amazing masks, one of my favourites has been the Fresh Vitamin Nectar Mask, £52 HERE, if you can get past the fact that it’s not unlike putting marmalade on your face. Less sticky, maybe. I’ve never found a Fresh face mask that doesn’t do the trick and this is no exception in terms of perking up and refreshing the skin. When Clinique put their Take The Day Off, £16 HERE, in a stick balm version for the eyes, it was a stroke of genius – this whips off mascara and shadow in seconds so there’s no excuse for panda eyes. Ultra handy for travel if you’ve done the guilty holiday wipe thing to save space. Finally, another internet breaker, the Kailijumei Flower Jelly Lipstick – mine came from Ebay (HERE at £7.90) but I noticed a certain retailer knocking them out for £20 a pop! I still just stare at mine now and again for the sheer loveliness of it.
Of all the budget options in foundation, you’ll be hard pressed to beat L’Oreal True Match Foundation, £9.99 HERE. Most of the L’Oreal bases will equal any high end coverage. I love the fluidity and hydration of the formula (again, great for older skin), the wear and the coverage. Colour extensions that launched in the UK this year celebrate all tones. Good luck in getting hold of Kanebo Evita Whip – the foaming cleanser that comes out of its nozzle in the shape of a rose. And it’s rose scented. With roses on the bottle. Another internet breaker when it made into the national press for being the most beautiful cleanser in the world! I’ve seen it on Ebay for over £50. Finally, for August – Lipstick Queen Black Lace Rabbit Lipstick, £22 HERE, the grey wash to smoke up any lipstick shade. You can be wearing the babiest of pinks and a slick of Black Lace changes it into something vampy and exciting. It’s really, properly sexy!
I’m barely giving my Clarins creme blush a backwards glance these days, now I have the Vincent Longo Water Canvas Blushes, £33.50 HERE instead. I love cremes rather than powders and this one goes onto your cheeks cool and a little damp. In a nano second, it’s blended to a second skin finish and won’t adhere to any dryness. I can’t see myself being over this for a long, long time. £33.50 seems a ridiculous price but it’s in daily use and I’m nowhere near the bottom yet – a little goes a long way. I know, sorry, Chanel again, with the Chanel Allure Ink Matte Liquid Lipsticks, £26 HERE. And I don’t even like matte. These are easily best in class for matte wear – stunning on the lip because they don’t exacerbate every crease, instead, sit comfortably for hours. The only possible contenders for the matte crown are the Armani Lip Magnets, £27 HERE. The secret to these is to apply one coat, let it dry completely and then apply another. There’s nothing dry or shy about them at all.
I’m 100% a convert to the Paul & Joe Cotton pads for makeup removal. At £3 for a box, it seems like an affordable way to make a cleanse more luxurious, and they certainly do. Last time I posted about these, they went out of stock, and they’ve just gone out of stock again! They’re kitten soft, don’t leave fibres and I swear they take your make up off better! NYX Cosmic Metals blew me away for £7 each HERE! The most metallic of lip covers, they’re for beauty adventurers and some of the very best of budget beauty. MAC Redlite Strobe Cream, £24.50 HERE – I saw it backstage months and months before it actually launched and it was love at first sight. It’s the only strobe cream I use and love the sheer, red toned glint that it gives to cheeks. I use it in moderation but wish I was brave enough to just go for it!
Even though it’s probably the last brand to release a cushion foundation, Givenchy really did save the best to last. The Givenchy Cushion foundation has amazing packaging (the fluid seeps through the metallic GG when you press down on it) and a beautiful, light and fluid foundation with a high water content that gives medium weight coverage. In the UK it launches in January. The I Heart Rainbow Highlighter stole everyone’s heart with a shimmering colour bar and being the best of its type. I’ll probably never wear it (love the idea of a unicorn look but in reality, not so much!) but it keyed right into an Instagram trend. It’s sold out everywhere on-line. When Superdrug released their Bacne Spray (aka Spot Clearing Spray), readers commented that Clinique used to do one and it is very much missed. It’s a simple concept that’s unisex, a problem solver and affordable at the same time. It’s also sold out!
Everpro Zero Grey Magentic Root Touch Up Powder has been around in other countries for a while but it’s brand new to the UK. I’ve only just featured it but it’s truly excellent – it really works to cover greys and it’s incredibly simple to use, making a dull job much simpler and quicker. We are promised this in Superdrug by the end of the month but it’s not there yet. *taps fingers* December is also the month that I was introduced to the Laura Mercier Lash Sculpting Mascara, £19.50 HERE and I’m using it almost daily. It doesn’t move, makes your lashes look huge and it has never smudged. Finally, the Pixi/Caroline Double Cleanser – cream cleanser on one side, balm on the other. I like this for functionality and novelty – both sides do a great job and together they do an excellent job and I also like it for the fact that it does slightly force you to double cleanse – it would be too annoying to run out of one and not the other! You know it’s going to sell out the day it launches.
*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated