The Best Beauty Products of 2016: Makeup, Nails & Fragrance
I think 2016 was the year I truly found my personal style with beauty. As I developed a better understanding of the brands I love, the type of products I enjoy using and what works well for me, the past 366 days really brought about some standout additions to my collection and I probably even decluttered and used up a whole lot more. While everyone seems to do their yearly favourites posts differently, I limit mine to the products that were new to me, otherwise I'd just be repeating myself every single year! (If you want to see my holy grail products, you can take a look at my Favourites page). I've featured almost every single product that I bought throughout the year in this post just because it's very rare that I buy things I'm not impressed with (if I'm going to part with my money, I'm going to make damn sure it's worth it!), so while 2016 was mostly a sombre year, at least there was beauty to spark a little joy. Across makeup, nails and fragrance, here is what I considered the best in 2016.
Starting off with base, there was only one product new to me this year; the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer. I think it even surpassed my love for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, which is really saying something. It's creamy, perfect for both under the eyes and blemishes, and feels really nourishing on my dehydrated skin. There were no other base products that I tried in 2016 as I'm really happy with the ones I already own, I didn't feel the need to go out and buy anything else, but who knows what 2017 will bring!
Moving onto cheeks, my mum bought me the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light for Christmas last year, and though it was too late in the year for it to make it into 2015's makeup favourites, I've loved it all throughout 2016. As I have yellow-toned skin, I just adore the warmth and glow this brings to my complexion. Bronzer had always been a product that intimidated me, but since falling in love with this Hourglass offering, I've now come to appreciate a good bronzer, so much so, I bought the Tom Ford Small Bronzing Powder in Terra in the middle of the year. If you prefer something subtle like I do, this comes highly recommended from me. 2016 was the year I finally got into contouring too. I'm really not a fan of that super sharp, chiseled out cheeks look, but I just couldn't resist the rave reviews on the Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium any longer. I use it sparingly for a more natural contour and it looks so effortless, yet put together all at the same time.
Two blushes came into my possession in 2016; the Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Baby Love and Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher in First Love. Both slightly shimmering nudes, I'm now really satisfied with my blush collection and have no desire to obtain anymore in the New Year. In highlighters, there were another two products I bought this year too; the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal and Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight. I bought the full size BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl last year, so I decided I only needed the mini of Opal and I just adore the warm tones in this one. I mostly wear the Shimmering Skin Perfectors underneath or mixed in with my foundation, and adding such luminosity to the complexion, they make dreamy highlighters too. If you appreciate a subtle highlight, you'll love The Celestial Powder in Candlelight. It's not going to give you super glowy cheekbones, but it's enough for a natural-looking radiance.
Along with bronzer and contour, I also got into warm-toned eyeshadows in 2016. My lovely friend Jess picked up a few MAC eyeshadows for me during her trip to the US at the end of last year and they came into my possession at the beginning of this year. I simply love Soft Brown and Brown Script (I don't think this shade is available in Australia, as I could only find it on the MAC US website) and the cooler shades, Era and Mystery are really beautiful too. Here's hoping 2017 will be the year I finally complete my MAC palettes! Apart from the first two Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palettes, pre-made palettes have never been something to grab my attention, but it was pretty much love at first sight when I spotted the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Palette in Sephora. Though it was the cool-toned eyeshadows that initially lured me in, the warm-tones are really something too and you get the best of both worlds with this one. It's very rare to find a palette where you'd use every single shade. I really don't care about the new Naked Palettes Urban Decay keep releasing, though I did fall for an older one; the Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette. It's travel-friendly and with a variety of transition, crease and liner shades, it's the perfect accompaniment for any shimmery eyeshadow. Another Urban Decay eyeshadow that was a favourite of mine this year is their Moondust Eyeshadow in Diamond Dog. Although it only recently came into my possession, I'm already absolutely in love. It's the most stunning glittery brown-taupe that glistens and sparkles so beautifully and is so perfect for the festive season.
2016 was all about the nude lips, though I do want to get back into wearing reds and vampy shades more next year. I miss them! MAC's Lipstick in Spirit is another product Jess picked up for me from the US (MAC is way too expensive to buy full-priced in Australia) and it's my perfect '90s brown nude. After falling head over heels with Charlotte Tilbury lip products last year, another two were added to my collection this year; the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude and Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria. Together or on their own, they're the most beautiful brown-nude shades and really flatter my medium skin tone. Two NARS standouts of the year were the Pure Matte Lipstick in Tonkin and Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, which are both really easy and effortless everyday lip colours for work. I've got the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Walkyrie and Satin Lip Pencil in Bansar on next year's wishlist! I finally splurged on a Tom Ford lipstick this year, adding the Ultra-Rich Lip Colour in Revolve Around Me to my collection. A satiny pink-nude, it's hydrating and comfortable on the lips and can we take a moment to appreciate that packaging? I die.
Like lips, nails in 2016 were all about the nudes too. I picked up Essie's Nail Colour in Lady Like during one of Priceline's 40% off sales earlier in the year and described as "an elegant soft mauve", it's super flattering against my skin tone. OPI's Nail Lacquer in Barefoot in Barcelona is a deeper, more sultry nude and one that I think looks utterly sophisticated and elegant. The Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Mink Brulee was a super sweet and generous birthday present from my friend Jennifer, and is by far, the star nail polish of 2016. It's more or less the same colour as Barefoot in Barcelona, only a touch warmer and lighter, and the quality is simply outstanding. A friend of mine thought I'd had Shellac done when I wore it out to dinner!
There was however, one colourful nail polish highlight of the year, which goes to the Essie Nail Colour in Go Ginza. I picked this up when I got Lady Like and described as a "soft cherry blossom pink" (though I think it veers more on the lavender side), it's super fun and playful. I love soft, pastel colours on the nails.
Fragrance in 2016 was an absolute winner. I mean, does it really get any better than Byredo, Tom Ford and Diptyque? I sure spoiled myself this year! I'd been wanting a Byredo fragrance for the longest time, partly for the exquisite minimalist style bottle, part because their scents are truly something unique and niche. I chose their Bal d'Afrique EDP and I'm utterly, utterly in love. Said to be inspired by "the decadence, euphoria and romance of late 1920s Paris" (as if a perfume could be any dreamier!), it reveals notes of heavy cedar and vetiver, and to me, is perfect all-year round.
Like you would expect from anything created by Tom Ford, his Black Orchid EDP is sexy, sultry and sweet. It contains notes of black truffle, black orchid, black plum, noir gourmand accord and patchouli, evoking the utmost sophistication and glamour. Every time I smell this, a part of me dies and goes to Heaven and I can't believe something so beautiful exists in the world.
Diptyque's Philosykos EDT was a beautiful birthday present from my mum. "A true celebration of the magnificent fig tree on a summers day in Greece", Philosykos is crisp and fresh-smelling, which makes it perfect for this time of year. I've been wearing it non-stop since I received it and it's truly been this year's go-to spring/summer scent.
What were your favourite makeup products, nail polishes and fragrances of 2016?