But seriously, where did 2016 go?
While I'm pretty pleased to be saying goodbye to the year that's gone, it did introduce an amazing array of beauty products into my routine that I can't imagine my regime without!
If you're after some new beauty essentials that are tried and tested, and very much loved by yours truly, this guide to the best products of 2016 spans over makeup, skincare and haircare (as well as some of my trusted beauty tools!). You'll be bound to find a new favourite amongst all of these holy grails!
Read on to see my picks!
All products marked with a (*) were gifted to me, but they made it into my Best Of 2016 fair and square, because I love them a tonne!
This was a late release into 2016, with the full trio of L'Oreal Paris masks hitting the market late November, but for an affordable drugstore face mask, it blew everything I'd tried all year in this category out of the water. Well. And. Truly.
In particular, I 100% love the charcoal-based one, which does an amazing job of clearing out my pores and detoxifying my skin. It's the type of mask that once you've removed it, you'll probably go up to everyone and anyone around you, asking them to feel how soft your face is. Just me? Creepiness aside, it's amazing. There's a full review of the whole set on my blog, which you can read if you'd like.
If you suffer from dry skin, this is easily the BEST moisturiser I have ever used. It's so good that I use it as both an overnight treatment slathered all over my skin to wake up with baby smooth skin, and as a daily moisturiser applied in a thinner layer. I think this is my third tube now and I don't plan on stopping.
It's one of Clinique's more dark horse products, as their Dramatically Different moisturisers are more famous. But I've tried both, and let me tell you, this one is a whole other level above. A bit pricey at over $50, but your skin will thank you and you'll be thanking strangers for all their compliments.
Don't let the clinical packaging deter you - I bought this on a whim because my usual toner wasn't on special (girl has a budget to keep!) and this was the cheapest one available. And HOLY MOLY. This stuff is magic.
I use it after cleansing my face and before applying moisturiser, and it instantly makes my skin tone more even. I've seen a big difference in my skin since introducing this into my morning and night time regime - if you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I get red cheeks, but this has crazily reduced that within the last two months. It kind of smells like soy sauce, but at less than $7, this holy water can do no wrong.
I'm a pretty simple soul when it comes to eyeshadow - I generally only wear one (maybe two if I'm feeling adventurous!) colours on my eyes, so my uncomplicated eye makeup routine requires a pretty uncomplicated eyeshadow brush!
This Medium Sweeper is a fantastic everyday eyeshadow brush that does everything you want for a natural eye look. It applies shadow evenly, is ace at blending your shades, and can also be used on its side for smudging shadows into your lower lash line for a smokier effect. A+ beginner's brush.
This brush really changed my eyeshadow game. It does SUCH a great job of blending shadows into the crease of my eyelids for a really soft, smoky eye look. If blending eyeshadow successfully has been a bit out of your grasp, this brush makes it SO MUCH EASIER. All you have to do is sweep it back and forth - literally like windscreen wipers - and it does all the work.
If you haven't experienced the magic of having a beautyblender apply your makeup, then I'd add that to your list of resolutions for 2017. Seriously. It will change your life. No matter what skin type you have, what finish your foundation has (well, except for powder), this talented little egg will leave your base looking so smooth and flawless.
There are a few different ones available, but I literally just chose the black because it matches my soul (just kidding, I just thought it looked nicer than the hot pink!). It doesn't matter which one you get, as long as you do. Trust me. They put those flat sponges we used in high school to shame.
While more of a big ticket item, getting yourself a Clarisonic is a worthwhile investment that will really give you RESULTS. When paired with any cleanser of your choice, these electronic brushes do an incredible job of cleansing and clearing our your pores.
After your first few uses, you'll really start to see the texture and tone of your skin improve (no matter WHAT skin type you have - I have combination and it worked wonders!). You'll never be able to go back to just using your hands to cleanse your face, plus it's waterproof, so you can even use it in the shower!
Since getting my hair bleached and dyed an ashy blonde/brunette, this purple shampoo has completely saved my hair from going that awful brassy colour that blonde can tend to go. After trying a couple of other brands and watching my hair get more and more copper, I bought this and AFTER ONE WASH, my hair was back to being a cool-toned ash.
I use it two to three times a week and leave it in my hair while I wash my body in the shower, and it has done an amazing job of maintaining my hair colour. And the fact that I can buy it at the supermarket and not some specialty store is a great bonus.
As you just read, you know that I have bleached and dyed hair, and with that comes dry ends. But this conditioner makes my hair so soft and silky! I actually did a full review of this golden tube of goodness on my blog, which goes through my hair journey in detail, but in short - this conditioner is the best one you can buy at this price point. EASILY.
Most of the time I can't be bothered with hair masks and treatments (make that ALL of the time), but the way this cream makes my hair feel is the reason that it's only one I'll keep going back to. This is simultaneously a heat protectant cream for when your blow dry, curl or straighten your hair, and a conditioning balm for dry hair.
And it's - the magic words - LEAVE. IN. No need to rinse it or anything! I just apply it through the lengths of my hair once I've washed it and am out of the shower, let my hair air dry for a bit to let the cream soak in while I scroll through Instagram or something, then blow dry it. The difference it makes is sensational.
Face & Base
Maybelline BB Cushion Foundation
There's no price and store for this as I actually bought this in Japan, but I recently saw that these Maybelline cushion foundations are launching in the US, so hopefully they come to Australia soon! I bought this during Japan's brutally humid summer, and this compact of goodness stood the test of time. The foundation did not melt off my face, wear off or go streaky, or anything like that - it just gave me really gorgeous medium coverage and a glowing, natural base for my makeup. Fingers crossed it comes to Aus!
This wonder powder might just be available in a loose powder now, but this pressed finishing powder is the best makeup setting powder I've ever used (how many times do I want to say the word 'powder'!?). It's translucent so it doesn't add any colour to your makeup and it's so finely milled that it blends like a dream. As you can see, I've pretty much finished mine!
If you've ever tried the cult favourite Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, this NYX one is almost a third of the price and just as good. This gel primer glides onto your skin, creating a flawless and smooth base for your foundation. Plus it helps your makeup last longer and look better under flash photography (beauties who know that ghostly white flashback you sometimes get in photos... you know what I'm talking about!).
This foundation is a great everyday (or all night!) base, as it's both long wearing and creates a really nice finish to the skin. As it's a hydrating formula, my dry-skinned beauties will looooove it - even when I've had dry patches on my skin, this foundation covers them up without clinging to them like most other foundations I've tried. There's a full review of this baby on my blog too, if you want to learn more!
Complexion & Highlighter
Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Edit
This was a limited edition palette so it's no longer available, but you can buy most of the shades individually from Hourglass if this palette passed you by! As you can see, I really freakin' love this palette - I've pretty much finished three of the six shades!
Hourglass powders are just a dream to use - they're really smooth, easy to blend, and give your skin the most beautiful lit-from-within glow. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to one of their powder products - it doesn't matter whether it's a blush, setting powder, bronzer... whatever, you will fall in love with it.
Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight, Sephora ($56)
This highlighter is the REAL MVP. I cannot rave about this enough - this creamy illuminator is literally like liquid light. It blends seamlessly into the skin and the glow it gives you is next level. I usually apply it to my cheek bones, along the bridge of my nose, and add a little dab of it to the cupid's bow of my lips.
It's ridiculous how gorgeous this is, no other highlighter even comes close. Plus, even when I set my makeup with a powder (as this is a liquid product, I apply it after concealer, but before my powder), it doesn't lose it's shine or look dull. It's blindingly beautiful, and if you're after a highlight that will defeat your dull skin enemies, this is it.
Eyes & Brows
I'm pretty sure this palette even featured in LAST year's beauty favourites blog post! This twelve shade palette has every colour you'd ever need for a neutral day or night time look, and the shimmery shades are gorgeously metallic and high shine.
All of the shades blend really well, plus it comes with a dual-ended eyeshadow brush and a mirror for travelling. If you're looking for an everyday palette, while this may be expensive, the quality justifies it.
I used to be a total Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow fan, but I've converted to this amazing eyebrow pencil! This retractable pencil is somehow both creamy and waxy to apply, which creates really natural looking brows. For someone who lacks a little in the brow department, this pencil does a great job of filling in sparse areas and defining the shape of my brows. Plus it comes with a spoolie brush on the other end to help blend and brush out your brows.
MUJI Wooden Lip Liner in Pink
When I wandered into a MUJI store (for those unfamiliar, MUJI is a Japanese minimalist living store) while I was in Kyoto in August, I didn't expect to find a new holy grail lip liner! This rosy pink liner is the creamiest one I own, it applies so smoothly, and the colour is gorgeous both on its own or worn under other lipsticks. I've almost finished it, and that day will be a sad day indeed!
After falling in love with this lipstick after receiving it in my Lust Have It bag, I wear this shade pretty much everyday! It's such a good shade for work, as it's a muted nude pink that is glam enough to pull a look together, but not so full on that it looks over the top.
The finish is almost matte, with just a little bit of a sheen to it, and it is crazy long lasting - I can wear this for a full work day (including breakfast and lunch) and not need to reapply it. That's a winner in my books!
If you're looking for a nude lipstick that doesn't make you look washed out, this warm, brown-toned lipstick is a great everyday shade. The formula is really creamy and I love wearing this one on the weekends for a quick and easy lip look.
A real classic, MAC's Velvet Teddy lipstick is a creamy matte, almost peach brown nude shade that looks amazing worn both day and night. As it's a matte, it does require a little more upkeep and precision when applying, but the lipstick that Kylie Jenner made famous really is a stunning must-have for any lipstick collection.
Notice a trend in my lipstick choices?? I love rosy nude lippies! This liquid lipstick is a deeper pink than the others I've featured and has more of a glam look when worn. This also dries to a really true matte, so you'll need to apply it really carefully, because once this sucker dries, it's pretty much on your lips for life! It's so long lasting, so if you need a lipstick that will last all night, give this shade a go.
And that's all of my 2016 beauty favourites! Thank you so much for all of your support this year - every post you read, every Instagram photo you like, and every Facebook post you comment on helps me continue to do what I do.
All of the best for 2017 and I can't wait to see what it brings!