2016: The year I explored more skincare, cosmetics and haircare products than ever before. This year saw me take on a role as a Beauty Editor for a huge U.S based beauty retailer, which only enhances and goes hand in hand with What Emma Did and all my beauty reviews.
I may have been a huge beauty junkie before taking on the Beauty Editor role, but now, it’s just plain silly. I have more beauty products than hairs on my head, and can give you all a running commentary on pretty much any product out there. Well, almost. I think I can anyway. Feel free to test me!
So, which products do I rate as my favourite, hand-picked products of 2016? Which ones have I repeatedly bought, passed on my recommendations, or can’t wait to re-purchase? From long-lasting, mattifying face powder to the most luxurious shimmer highlighters, I’ve drawn up a list of my newest discoveries of the year. That means that this time last year, I hadn’t used any of these. And now they are in lust list!
So here goes…
1. Illamasqua Hydra Veil Radiance Primer £32
I’ll start by saying one word: wow. This primer has really changed the luminosity, radiance and overall glow my skin now radiates. This is the third product in Illamasqua’s trilogy of best-selling priming and moisture Veils. As the name suggests, this is one in particular is a veil with a whole lot more to offer. Encased inside the stunning black rounded packaging, the three products house a specific type of priming potion. The Matte Veil for oil control priming, Hydra Veil for moisture, dewyness and priming for dry to normal skin types, and now there is the Radiance Veil.
Part primer, part illuminator, this Radiance Veil enhances make-up wear through its unique velvet crème formula. It really does make my foundation and powder stay put all day, whilst it’s key ingredient of Vitamin C provides moisturising benefits. However, its the the fine shimmer particles which inject light onto the skin, adding a luminous effect. It’s super glowy and brightening, giving skin that gorgeous gleam once foundation is applied on top. I really do love this and use it every time I go out underneath my make-up.
Here’s what my face looks like with it on…. (excuse the poor lighting!). It just has that healthy, shimmery radiance look all over my face, the type I’ve struggled to create with any other primer.
2. NARS The Multiple, Luxor. £29
NARS The Multiple is one of the brands most iconic innovations. This handy stick in it’s classic black tube is the original multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips and body. Its unique creamy formula and sheer colour is formulated to blend effortlessly to create shimmering accents; contours or dynamic highlights on all skin tones, and boy does it do the job perfectly.
The shade ‘Luxor’ is a slight pinky tinged pearly shimmer, which is highly pigmented and creamy. Just a small smudge of this product onto your finger, and then onto the tops of your cheeks, delivers a brightening gleam of shimmer, reflecting the light instantly. Some people just apply this in it’s solid form from the stick straight onto skin, which is great if you want to go all out and just stroke it on. I prefer to lightly dab it on, blending in and building up.
I tend to apply this on top of my foundation, and then lightly set with powder. That’s when I use it on my cheeks anyway. For my brow bone, inner eye corners or cupids bow, I apply it last, on top of my face powder as a finishing touch, Such a handy stick to carry around and glide onto the skin whenever I want that flash of highlight!
It’s also brilliant for the collar bones too, although I’ve only tried this once…
3. Vichy Dermablend Foundation, Shade Nude, £18
When it comes to foundations, the fuller the coverage, the better. For me, anyway. However, I don’t like those cakey textures and thick, heavy feelings when sat on the skin. Earlier on in 2016, I got introduced to this Vichy Dermablend foundation in shade Nude by the Vichy team, and at first I worried it would be too ‘mask’ like. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I apply a small amount to the back of my hand, and then apply to my cheek in a few strokes, and honestly, I can’t tell you how brilliant the coverage is. Just a few strokes blended into the skin, and all my imperfections and marks are camouflaged and hidden with this creamy textured fluid. No cakiness or heavy textures, just smooth, dewy coverage. Because the coverage is so great, I only use a small amount per each application.
Before this, I swore by Estee Lauder’s Double Wear and MAC Studio Fix, which I still rave about. However, I’m never going to use another foundation than this Vichy version. It’s captured my heart, and I even use it on my brides when I carry out bridal makeup!
4. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser £32
OK so I have always been a fan of Murad and their skincare products, especially their Essential C range. But this year, I tried out this AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser in a bid to shed away my dull skin cells and control my breakouts at the same time, and now I’m a huge fan. Basically, it has three exfoliating agents—salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid—which work together to reveal younger-looking skin. The creamy scrub type formula loosens any build up of dull skin, or old spots which just need shedding away at (you get what I mean, those pesky spots that don’t fade away easily!).
It’s also packed with Jojoba beads to polish away debris, dryness, and roughness whilst moisturising at the same time. After using this product (which I use twice a week), my face feels super smooth and soft, and after a good few months of regular use, red marks and rough skin have started to fade away. A fantastic non-harsh exfoliator!
5. Vichy Mineral Pore Purifying Mask
This thick and rich textured mask is Vichy’s first mineral mask combining two ultra-fine white clays with Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water. The aim of this creamy grey/white mask is to help eliminate excess sebum and impurities for purified pores and softer skin.
It’s fairly thick and ‘goopy’ to look at in the pot, but it’s so satisfying applying a layer which spreads around the face evenly and starts to set almost immediately. It’s rich in two white clays – Kaolin and Bentonite – that act like a ‘magnet’ to draw out oil and impurities, giving an oil-free mattifying result. It’s also loaded with Aloe Vera extracts to hydrate and sooth skin. I usually leave this on for just 10 minutes once a week, and find my pores look smaller, my skin looks refresher and feels so much more ‘un-clogged’. It’s literally replaced any of my other masks!
6. bareMinerals Perfecting Veil Powder, Light-Medium, ££22.50
I was introduced to this foundation setting powder after another bareMinerals powder was discontinued earlier this year, and I heard this was the next best thing. I was skeptical, especially as I used to use shade Medium before, and was worried this ‘Light-Medium’ version was a little too pale and a little too silky. However, I absolutely love this powder as a setting and finishing product to apply on top of my foundation. It’s extremely lightweight and just sits perfectly on top of skin, with no sitting or gathering in any lines or wrinkles.
This scent-less powder is rich in Lilac Plant Stems Cells and Vitamin C which also help to slightly brighten my complexion, as well as absorbing excess oil. I literally don’t ‘finish’ my make-up without it.
7. Pixi Glowtion Day Dew £24
So this is my newest discovery of the year, with only using this in December after it was recommended by a work colleague. Pixi’s Glowtion Day Dew is the ultimate treat for those dull, lacklustre complexions. It’s hydrating, nourishing and radiance-boosting, and I glide this over my skin to blur the visibility of imperfections while enhancing luminosity on those no make-up days. I’m still discovering this product, so I can’t say too much more at this stage, but so far, I’m loving it on those bare faced beauty days when I just need a pop of radiance and those pesky marks blurred away.
So there you have it, my top 7 products! Do you use any of these on my hot list? Or do you have your own beauty discoveries you want to share? Just leave a comment below if so…