Last year, one of my most popular blog posts was my Top 10 Beauty Products of 2014. There have been so many new beauty products fly across my makeup desk this year, there was no way I could narrow it down to just 10 products but I wanted to come up with a special post to highlight my absolute beauty favourites for the year. I also decided to include both high-end and drugstore favourites where possible so this post can apply to a larger range of readers. So sit down, grab your coffee or tea, and get ready for a massive beauty roundup post!
It's definitely not an easy feat to look back over the past year, and narrow it down to my favourite high end and drugstore products. As a beauty blogger, I generally can find pros and cons in almost any product, but for this post, I really tried to pinpoint the products which I found myself using day after day and found it difficult to switch them out for something else, simply because I liked them so much!
TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer - $29.95 AUD
I actually couldn't really pick out a drugstore highlighter that I've been loving as much as my high-end ones but I felt like Mary Lou just couldn't be ignored since I have been using this baby non stop for the entire year. Considering how high quality this highlighter is, it's actually pretty affordable. I have had trouble finding any highlighters which are as pigmented, glowing and blend out as nicely.
Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer - $42 AUD
For a high-end concealer, I think this offering from Urban Decay is a great choice. I have a shade that matches my face so I use mine more for blemishes than highlighting under the eyes but I really like it and think it offers good coverage and is really blendable. I use shade medium-light neutral. You can read more in my September Monthly Favourites where this one was featured.
Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Concealer - $11.95 AUD
By far the best drugstore concealer I've tried this year, I use this one more than any other for under my eyes and to cover over any blemishes. I have the shade medium which I find is a perfect match for my skin but still has a somewhat brightening effect. This concealer is super blendable, with an easy doe-foot applicator and doesn't crease on me. I would highly recommend this one. You can read more about it in my May Monthly Favourites.
Makeup Geek Blush in Romance - $12.99 USD
This was the only blush that I took with me on my honeymoon, and the fact that I didn't tire of wearing it everyday and that it complimented a range of different makeup looks earned it's place in this post. It is the most stunning rose gold with shimmer and it makes skin look radiant and glowing.
Bourjois Blush in Rose Coup de Foudre - $20 AUD
I really love the blush formulas from Bourjois and find them to be just the right amount of colour and blendability. This specific shade is also a gorgeous rosey colour with golden shimmer embedded in it. Super pretty and a really nice everyday shade.
One of my favourite setting powders that offers some additional coverage without looking cakey. I've gone through about 4 of these now and I keep repurchasing. I featured this in my September Monthly Favourites.
Australis Fresh & Flawless Pressed Powder in Deep Natural - $12.95 AUD
This one is definitely a cult favourite. It adds some great coverage to the skin and can be worn alone or lightly over foundation for a more full coverage look. You need to use this powder with a light hand so it doesn't look cakey but it's extremely finely milled and blends really well into the skin. I dislike the new packaging but the product in itself is the exact same formula. I will forever repurchase.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette - $87 AUD
Does this look familiar? I actually featured this palette in my Top 10 Beauty Products of 2014, but I thought it was worth including in this post as well. As you can see from the barely recognizable Hourglass branding at the top of the palette, this product has been well worn. I love the variety it offers for pale to medium skin tones, with three powders that can be used as a highlighter, a setting powder and blush/bronzer in one palette. I just never get bored of using these lighting powders and I think this palette is definitely a worthwhile investment in any beauty lover's collection.
Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer - $31.95 AUD
A newer addition to my makeup desk, this drugstore primer quickly has become a favourite. Slightly thicker and creamier than the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer which is often compared with this one, I like the Max Factor version because it provides some additional hydration while smoothing the skin and helping makeup to last all day (and night).
Bare Minerals Prime Time Foundation Primer - $32 AUD
For only $1 extra, this high-end primer choice is definitely a winner in my eyes. It has a silicone base but still feels creamy on the skin and glides on so nicely. It creates a soft and smooth base for the face, while also brightening and making skin look radiant. This is my second bottle and I definitely feel this is a super underrated primer that is worth every penny.
Setting Sprays & Other
MAC Cosmetics Paint Pot in Soft Ochre - $35 AUD
The MAC paint pots have been around for ages, but something that I sort of rediscovered and used a lot more over the past year. Something about them just seems easier than applying an eye primer, and soft ochre almost doubles as a concealer for me as it matches my skintone perfectly. Definitely worth adding to your makeup kit since these last for a long time!
Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray in Bridal - $39.95 AUD
Coming out as my favourite product from my post Setting Sprays For Every Budget Explained, I am so in love with this setting spray, and think it is necessary to have if you live in Australia's super hot and humid climate. This spray keeps my makeup on all day and night and doesn't make my skin feel tight or sticky. You can also buy little minis to keep in your handbag for touchups throughout the day.
NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray - $14.95 AUD
This is a great affordable drugstore option and obviously works well when you want to stay matte all day. I like applying this over bb creams or very dewy foundations to keep my foundation from sliding around or looking too shiny.
Eyeshadows & Palettes
Morphe Cosmetics Jaclyn Hill Favourites Palette
Although this palette is no longer available, you can find similar offerings from Morphe, and if they are anything like this palette I would definitely recommend these shadows. They are quite affordable considering their high quality in both pigmentation and texture. They blend out really easily and this palette especially offers a huge range of gorgeous warm tones that are stunning for day or night. I literally could not put down this palette throughout the year and it is my go-to for creative, dramatic and special makeup looks because I can always find the colours I want.
ColourPop Super Shock Shadows - $5 USD each
Although some may argue these aren't that affordable, with shipping to Australia being weight-based as well as the US-AUD conversion, for any of my readers in the USA, these are a steal! I actually still think they are affordable if you split shipping with friends or buy in bulk. I really do love these cream to powder hybrid shadows, especially the metallic and duo-chrome shades. My favourite by far is Too Soon that was in the Rebound palette which is no longer available which is a shame because I have hit some major pan. Some other favourites include Kathleenlights, Cornelius and DGAF.
Zoeva Cosmetics Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette - $26.70 AUD
I purchased this palette at the end of August so it was a fairly new addition to my makeup collection but made a huge impact over the past few months. You can view swatches in my Zoeva Cosmetics Haul, and this palette was also featured in my September Monthly Favourites. I think this palette offers an amazing variety of warm neutrals to sultry purples and greys. I brought it with me on my honeymoon vacation and used it everyday. I can't wait to try more palettes from Zoeva and you can now purchase them from Beauty Bay for under $30. Run!!!
|Top to Bottom: Raquel, Grace, Claudia, Anita, Juliette|
Nars Audacious Lipsticks - $47 AUD
At almost $50 a pop, you know these lipsticks have to be good or they're ridiculously overpriced. I actually tend to think that the former is true. These are the most pigmented, yet moisturising lipsticks I've ever tried. I really hate lipsticks that are super drying and flake on my lips, and these lipsticks have been a great solution to that because they feel so comfortable on the lips while also looking very opaque and creamy. As you can see, my favourite everyday shade by far is Raquel, which is a stunning nude shade and my favourite bright is definitely Claudia. You can read more in my Nars Audacious Lipstick Collection Post (I've added some new shades to it since then), and I also featured these on my February Monthly Favourites.
|Left to Right: Nude Perfection, Berry Much, Love My Pink, Light It Up, In With Coral|
Maybelline Color Drama Lipsticks - $9.95 AUD
For a great drugstore lipstick option, you really can't ignore the crazy pigmentation and creamy formula of these lip pencils from Maybelline. They offer a great shade range from nudes to pinks to berries and bright reds. These look a little worse for wear, only because I use mine all the time. They need to be sharpened but I haven't had any issues with mine and they're so portable and light they are great to take along with you for touch-ups. One of my favourite shades is Nude Perfection which is a dupe for MAC's Velvet Teddy, and I also love Light It Up and Love My Pink. These are a great bargain, and definitely worth checking out. You can read more about these in my March Monthly Favourites.
Too Faced Born This Way Foundation - $58 AUD
This foundation definitely created some polar views this year, with most people either hating it or loving it. I definitely love it and it is my new go-to foundation for full coverage or a big night out. It photographs beautifully and makes me look airbrushed. I have a full review that you can read here.
Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation - $60 AUD
I wonder if I'll ever tire of babbling on about how much I love this foundation? It gives the most stunning, natural looking finish that always leaves me getting compliments about my skin even on bad skin days. It blends out like a dream and makes you look radiant. One of my favourite foundation for everyday or nighttime when it is built up. You can read a full review of this awesome foundation here.
Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation - $16.95 AUD
Don't worry, if you're budget is a little lower than the top two bases, you can definitely rest assured that this base from Covergirl is a great contender. Offering medium to full coverage, this foundation is amazing at covering up redness and blemishes while still looking natural. It lasts about 8 hours on me without needing touchups and is also super affordable. Read more about it in my April Monthly Favourites.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream - $38 USD
Now more widely available to Australians through Beautylish, I thought it would be worth mentioning this super full coverage CC Cream that also has 50 SPF. An amazing everyday base for those of you that still would like full coverage, while adding some radiance and not looking thick or cakey at all. You can read more about this one in my May Monthly Favourites.
Mascaras & Eyeliners
Benefit Roller Lash Mascara - $40 AUD
This is a pricey mascara, but it's honestly one of the best high-end mascaras I've ever used. Creating volume and length for days in a blackest black formula, this mascara actually gives the illusion of false lashes. I thought They're Real! was my holy grail but I think I actually prefer this formula.
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper - $28 AUD
Now available on the Sephora Australia website, this liner has amazing lasting power and the felt tip makes it super easy to create a dramatic wing. I owned a mini version of this and felt the urge to buy the full-size since it's a great product.
Maybelline Hypersharp Wing Liquid Liner - $16.95 AUD
I thought that Maybelline Master Precise couldn't be beaten, but I think I may actually prefer this new formula from Maybelline which is one of the blackest, most pigmented liners I've ever used and super easy to apply. I literally wear this every day and am so in love.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara - $21.95 AUD
Maybelline is killing it this year with releases, and this mascara is no exception. This is the best drugstore dupe I have come across for the Benefit Rollerlash and packs a punch with volume and length while still maintaining an ultra black formula.
Read my comparison post of these two products here.
Rimmel Brow This Way Brow Kit in Dark Brown - $12.95 AUD
This is a super affordable brow kit that works well to tame and shape the brows with a tinted brow gel and accompanying brow powder. Paired with a small angled brush this kit can take your brows from sparse and uneven to fleek status.
Benefit Brow Zings in Medium - $55 AUD
This high-end option is very similar to the Rimmel kit, however I find the pigmented gel a little easier to work with and more long-lasting. I also love that this kit comes with mini-tweezers and some mini brushes which makes it great for travel.
*takes a deep breath*
Wow! Well, that was quite the roundup, I feel tired just talking about all these amazing beauty discoveries from 2015. I hope you enjoyed this post! I'm really looking forward to the year ahead, and I'm sure many of these products will remain some of my favourites.
If you'd like to see a skincare, haircare and other favourites post, just let me know! I think it would be smaller than this one but still quite a few gems discovered. I hope you're having a relaxing and happy holiday period. Sending you all lots of love!