This was originally supposed to be a Top 5 post.
But as much as I’d like to be, I’m not very good at minimalism when it comes to beauty. I like having choice when I get ready in the morning. The products I choose depend on my mood, how much time I have, and where I’m going.
So instead of choosing a Top 5 straight away, I photographed everything I really loved and then picked five favourites for each category — the five things I really can’t imagine living without.
1. theBalm Schwing Black Liquid Eyeliner
Finding a liquid liner that’s easy to use and doesn’t smudge at the blink of an eye is a challenge many make-up lovers face, but theBalm have your back. This one is a proper black, not a wishy-washy grey, and it glides on but isn’t too runny. The lid fits comfortably in your hand for steady application and the liquid doesn’t set too quickly, which gives you time to get that perfect wing. I use Schwing with some Scotch tape to make sure all my lines are sharp.
2. Rosie for Autograph Cream Blush in English Rose Flush (v)
I’ve had my eyes on Rosie’s make-up collection for Marks and Spencer ever since it was released — the cream blush was the first product I got my hands on and it was love at first sight. My love for it has only deepened with regular use and in fact I use it nearly every day. It’s just so easy to apply — you just dab a dot on the apples of your cheeks and blend — plus it gives you a healthy glow that lasts all day. And the rose gold packaging is beyond pretty.
3. theBalm Mary Loumanizer Highlighter
The dream highlighter for many of us, Mary Lou gives you a gorgeous glow. Despite how pigmented it is, it doesn’t make you look fibre-optic or glittery — just healthy, with the touch of shimmer brightening up every make-up look.
4. Sleek All Night Long Eyeshadow Palette* (v)
I’m a firm believer that Sleek make the best eyeshadow palettes on the high street. This one has everything you could possibly need — neutral mattes and beautiful metallics in shades of gold, bronze, nude, and taupe. The eyeshadows are lovely and pigmented (the metallics more so than the mattes) and they blend out into a pretty cloud of colour.
5. NYX Tame & Frame Tinted Brow Pomade in 03 Brunette
I’m very fussy with brow products — there’s a fine line between subtle and groomed, and full-on marker pen, so I tend to be cautious. I bought NYX’s Brow Pomade back when I was in Cardiff and I’m so happy I did. All you need to do is pick up a tiny bit of pomade with an angled brush and use short strokes to fill in the hairs. I’ve had my little pot for months and it’s still going strong, so this is £5.50 well spent.
1. Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream*
I saw a noticeable difference after using this eye cream, with my dark circles lighter and my whole undereye area generally much more awake-looking. My make-up also applies more smoothly. £24.99 is a lot of money to spend but I’ve been using it since August and I still have half a pot left, so you’ll get your money’s worth if you fancy making the investment.
2. Lush Ultrabland Gentle Facial Cleanser
My favourite cleanser of all time; this was never not going to be on the list. A thick balm, Ultrabland melts down to an oil and removes the most stubborn face of make-up with ease. There was still a queue for the Lush website when I finished writing this post, but I’ll put a link in when I can. (I managed to make it to my local Lush to pick up supplies of Rose Jam, so I’m happy!)
3. Antipodes Manuka Honey Mask*
Yes, it’s like putting yogurt on your face, but that’s a small price to pay for soft, glowing skin and calmer breakouts, so I’ll make the sacrifice. What a gorgeous face mask.
4. Pixi Glow Tonic
The cult liquid exfoliator that everyone raves about — and for good reason. Pixi Glow Tonic brightens the skin and gets rid of dead skin cells (which clog pores), plus a little goes a long way. One bottle lasts me months at a time, even with daily use, so I’m happy to pay the £18.
5. Soap & Glory Sunshield Superfluid
A factor fifty SPF that sits well underneath make-up and doesn’t feel sticky or block pores. I used this everyday when I visited Portugal in the summer and I didn’t burn once. An everyday staple.
Bath and Body
1. Avril Organic Roll-On Deodorant for Women*
I was so excited when new cruelty-free French brand Avril got in touch with me to ask if I’d like to try some of their products, but I would never have predicted that my favourite would end up being a deodorant. This stuff is good. Like, really good. It smells lovely and fresh — a little like pears, in my opinion — and leaves you stink-free and sweat-free all day.
2. PHB Ethical Beauty Restoring Body Lotion Rosemary & Chamomile*
A soothing, calming body lotion that provides the skin with long-lasting moisture, something I never expected given its light, runny consistency. One of the best lotions I’ve ever tried, hands down.
3. Lush Big Shampoo
I use this salt-based shampoo once a week to give my hair a bit of bounce and get rid of build-up. It’s a little drying to use at every wash but it works wonderfully as a detox and I don’t want my bathroom to be without it.
4. Yes to Coconut Ultra Moisture Conditioner
It’s rare for me to find a moisturising conditioner that doesn’t weigh my hair down, but this is it by a mile. My ends always feel soft after I’ve used this in the shower and the coconut scent is beyond gorgeous.
5. Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel
My favourite festive scent; my favourite festive Lush product. I stock up on this candyfloss-scented shower gel for the year ahead so I can get a little pick-me-up when needed.
What were your favourite beauty products of 2016? Let me know in the comments!
(v) = vegan