The Best Beauty Products of 2017: Makeup & Nails
2017 was the year I developed a newfound relationship with beauty and learnt to feel happier with less. Where I was once so easily persuaded by trends and new product releases, I'm now progressively buying less and less each year, and my healthier shopping habits have actually made me appreciate and love beauty even more. I don't get stressed over trying to maintain and use a hoard of products, and instead, my collection feels more curated. Part because I know my personal style well enough to know what I like and don't like, part because new releases are mostly rubbish nowadays, some of my cut backs this year include only buying one blush and one nail polish, and not buying a single new foundation or fragrance. In saying that, I am still a beauty blogger and I've nevertheless welcomed in some wonderful new products over the last 12 months. As always with my Best of Beauty posts, I limit mine to the products that were new to me in the year (I'd only be repeating myself otherwise) and across makeup and nails, these are my favourite products 2017 has brought me.
2017 was all about the glowy primer, apparently. When it comes to primers, I don't necessarily look for ones to extend the wear time of my makeup, but rather products that'll keep my skin looking fresh and radiant. I purchased the Marc Jacobs Invisible Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer and Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base both in 2016, though I only begun using them this year once I had used up a couple of older primers first. The Marc Jacobs primer was my go-to come winter (though I'm still wearing it now that it's summer) when the harsh, cold weather left my skin looking parched, and applying this prior to my foundation really does give it that extra moisture boost. The Chanel primer is less hydrating, but as the name suggests, is beautifully illuminating and perfects the complexion by smoothing over the skin's texture. It's heavily perfumed, which not everyone will enjoy, but I don't mind the fragrance and the formula is a silky, rich consistency that applies like a dream.
The last new primer I tried this year (something tells me I won't be needing to purchase a primer in 2018!) was the Mecca Max Bright On Bright Illuminating Primer. A pearlised champagne hue, the Mecca Max primer instantly adds glow to the skin similarly to the way the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquids do and could even be used as a dewy highlighter. This one does need setting with powder (which I always do, anyway) and is a good budget-friendly option.
I haven't tried a new foundation since 2015, though I did try two new concealers this year; Glossier Stretch Concealer and the By Terry Touche Veloutée Enlightening Concealer Brush. Glossier Stretch Concealer is the most lightweight and uniquely dewiest concealer I've ever tried and every time I use it, I'm always amazed by how skin-like it is. It won't perfectly hide your blemishes, but it's enough to take away redness and brighten dark circles. It melts and blends in beautifully, and I love that it doesn't look like wearing you're wearing anything. The By Terry concealer is one I use more like a lightening product, similarly to the YSL Touche Éclat. Like the Glossier offering, it's not high coverage enough for spots, but it will fade dark shadows and awaken the complexion. I'm not overly keen on the scent (it's rose, but the grandma kind), but I've been using it for quite a while now and have grown used to it.
After a traumatic experience with a MAC cream blush many years ago (they've since reformulated them), I was put off them for the longest time, but this year, I plucked up the courage to try them again and bought the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Blushed Rose. I was after that "fresh, winter rosy cheeks" look when I bought this, but on my naturally tanned brown skin, that effect doesn't translate so well! Nevertheless, it's a lovely deep, warm rosy red colour and I love how natural cream blushes look on the skin. Cream blushes are a bit of a faff to apply compared to powder, but the Beautyblender is a godsend and makes it a breeze. They aren't as long-lasting either, but funnily enough, I find applying powder before cream blush as opposed to after to extend the wear time. The Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges have restored my faith in cream blushes and next year, I'd really like to get a nudey pink-brown one.
There's nothing like a good highlighter to perk up a dull complexion. At the beginning of the year, I placed a Glossier order and bought their Haloscope in Quartz; a dew effect highlighter infused with crystal extracts (the outer halo) and vitamin-rich moisturisers (the core). True to Glossier's no-makeup makeup aesthetic, it's subtle and I really don't notice anything on my skin unless my cheekbones catch the light. In saying that, it makes you look naturally glowy in all the right places and if I ever want to a little oomph, I'll apply a powder highlighter over the top. In stark contrast, the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal is the most out there highlighter I own. I stayed away from these for the longest time thinking they were too much for my liking, but applied with a light hand, the skin simply beams and Opal is the most stunning warm-toned champagne colour. I can see why everybody raves on about the BECCA highlighters now! This year, I also decided to buy the Stila Heaven's Hue Highlighter in Kitten. It's less warm and more neutral-toned compared to Opal and when it catches the light, has a hazy and dreamy almost wet-look effect. A bit of a spontaneous purchase for me, I love pressing this into the centre of my eyelids too and I can see myself loving this highlighter for years to come.
This year, I discovered my holy grail eyeshadow primer in the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. This stuff really adheres and since switching over from Too Faced Shadow Insurance, my eyeshadow doesn't crease whatsoever. My eyelids are prone to dryness, yet my eyeshadow can still fade throughout the day, which it doesn't at all with this, and I know people who have oilier skin also love this too, so it really is an amazing all-rounder for everyone.
I tend to be quite restrictive when it comes to buying eyeshadow as I really only wear neutral colours and there are only so many I can own until everything becomes a dupe of one another. 2017 was also the year I finally completed my two custom MAC palettes (I started them all the way back in 2009!) and with my assortment of shades, I really don't feel like I need anything else. They aren't the most financially viable option for everyone, but I got into beauty blogging when that was literally all anyone ever owned and out of all my palettes, they're what I reach for most because they're customised to my personal tastes. I ventured into warm tones more this year (as did everybody else!) and picked up the three rich, beautiful brown shades; Saddle, Texture and Swiss Chocolate, and for a neutral pinky-purple look; Haux. I didn't buy any eyeshadow palettes in 2017, but when my bloggy bff, Jess, decided to declutter her makeup, she so generously gifted me her Lorac Pro Palette, which I had been eyeing for years! Since warm eyeshadows have become trendy, the Lorac Pro Palette doesn't received the praise it once used to, but I'd take this over the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette any day and cool tones suit me a lot better than anything too red/orange. The formula of the eyeshadows is a little powdery, but that also means they're highly pigmented and blend like a dream. My favourite eyeshadow look to create with the palette is Pewter all over the lid, Sable on the outer third, Espresso on the outer V and lashline, and then Nude on my brow bone.
Like primer, lipstick is another area I went all out in in 2017. Mostly thanks to Back 2 MAC, but also because it's one of my makeup weaknesses. With my empties, I was able to pick two MAC Lipsticks; Russian Red (this was actually bought in late 2016, but I really only began using it this year) and Taupe. When Jess came to stay with my old housemate and I in Melbourne last year, she was wearing the most stunning red lipstick, which of course happened to be Russian Red, and I immediately had to add it to my wishlist. I didn't think I needed Russian Red given that Ruby Woo is similar and my all-time favourite red, but it's slightly deeper and rich, and to me, there's definitely a difference! As for Taupe, this matte lipstick is a peachy terracotta nude that works really well with my medium toned complexion and makes me feel straight out of the '90s. MAC lipsticks aren't often talked about anymore, but they're still some of my favourites and it's even better when I can get them for free!
It turns out I fell in love with warm-toned nude lipsticks this year and along with Taupe, I bought two others (they're different enough to justify all three, of course!), MAC's Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond and the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Walkyrie. Smoked Almond is a "medium peachy rose" and I highly recommend the Liptensity Lipstick formula. They're a creamy and comfortable demi-matte, and I'm thinking of picking up the shade Well Bred Brown next. Walkyrie is a "burnt coral red" and I purchased this after seeing how lovely it looked on my sister. It's bold, but not too bold (at least, on my skin tone) and one I reach for when I can't decide between a red or a nude because it's the perfect in between. From fair to dark, I've seen bloggers of many colours look beautiful in this lip colour and the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are one of the most pleasant matte formulas out there.
The Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk is my most worn lip pencil, so when they released the shade in Matte Revolution Lipstick form, I was all over it. A nudey neutral pink, this is another colour I can imagine suiting a variety of skin tones and like the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, these lipsticks aren't drying whatsoever. I'm really picky when it comes to pink lipstick, but this has become a firm favourite and never makes me look "princess bubblegum pop".
The final lip product I picked up in 2017 was the Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Achiever. A "deep mauve" shade, the GIRL Lip Stylos are like an intensely pigmented lip balm and are one of the most effortless lip products I've ever tried. They're great for those with dry lips or if you still want to look put together on a lazy makeup day, and because it's Hourglass, you won't have to compromise on luxury and will still feel a million bucks.
From someone who once owned 100+ nail polishes, I'm still in disbelief that I only bought one nail polish this year! My tastes have become a lot more refined as I've gotten older and for the colours I still love, I'm more than happy to keep wearing them over and over. The one nail polish that did, however, catch my eye was the Nails Inc Nailpure Nail Polish in Bond Street Passage. Muted pink nude shades are my absolute favourite nail polish colours to wear and as it's not available here in Australia, I was over the moon when Jess was able to pick this up for me on her trip to the US. Described as a "dusky grey pink" colour, the Nailpure line from Nails Inc is incredible; it's opaque within one coat and the wide brush makes it a dream to apply. I don't have any nail polishes on my current wishlist, but we'll see what 2018 brings!
What were your favourite makeup products, nail polishes and fragrances of 2017?