13 January 2017

Best in Beauty Products: 2016

A highly requested post from many of you is my Best in Beauty Products for 2016. Last year I produced my My 2015 Beauty Favourites and pretty much all of these products are still favourites of mine or regularly on rotation here at Bows & Pleats. For this post, I am including only new discoveries and beauty favourites. Be sure to read last year's favourites, as I am still enjoying so many of those products which is why they didn't need replacing! It seemed to me that 2016 was the year for more contouring and highlighting than ever before, matte liquid lipsticks and as many layers of concealer as possible. I discovered quite a few new products, both drugstore and high-end so I have included my favourites throughout the entire year for you all in one post! Make sure you have a notebook ready to scribble your wishlst and maybe a snack because this is another long one!

Primers & Finishing Sprays

Surprisingly, I had quite a few new contenders come onto the scene last year that really hit the mark in terms of primers and pre-foundation products.

Boe Professional Pro Finish Base Primer I absoloutely love this affordable, drugstore primer that costs just under $10 AUD. It feels creamy and moisturising. I find it way more hydrating than a typical silicone primer, however it is still mattifying and dries well to create the perfect base for makeup application. It has a tropical, almost coconut scent that I really like as well but it may not appeal to everyone. This was definitely my favourite drugstore primer for the year, and perhaps ever! I am obsessed.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light My favourite high-end primer for the year was definitely this offering from smashbox. It is quite similar to the Boe, but slightly thinner in consistency and no scent. I also find it holds my makeup extremely well throughout the day and increases the longevity. I have tried almost all of the Smashbox versions and this is by far my favourite.

MAC Cosmetics Oil Control Lotion More of a multi-tasking product, I often use this when my skin is feeling dry as a hybrid moisturiser and primer combination. Sometimes I wear a moisturiser and add this on top as a primer. I love it and it would work especially well for dry or combination skin types that can't find hydrating primers that work for them.

L'Oreal Infallible Fixing Mist* This was my favourite finishing spray find of the year. I still love my Urban Decay Chill Setting Spray and Skindinavia Bridal, but at $40 a pop, it's nice to have some drugstore alternatives. This fixing mist really impressed me and I have been loving it on a daily basis. Don't forget to shake it to mix up the solution!


Benefit definitely blew me away when it came to brow innovations in the beauty sector. I was so impressed with their magic brows collection (read my first impressions here) and after attending a Benefit Brow Masterclass, I became hooked on the entire collection.

Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Pencil (4) I love this for getting a very precise line with my brows and really defining my arch. I have never really found a brow pencil that worked perfectly for me, finding the ABH Brow Wiz and MAC brow pencil too thin, but this pencil is the perfect size and consistency for brow perfection.

Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil* (4) This has definitely been a brow standout in my collection throughout the year and I am still using this daily for perfect brows. It is the quickest tool for perfect brows with just a few strokes, you can achieve very full and bold brows which I absoloutely love and it blends out so well to look super natural.

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow* (3) Paired on top of the Precisely My Brow Pencil or Goof Proof, I finish off with a layering of Gimme Brow to set my brows and add a little extra definition. The new packaging and formula are better than ever, making this product a definite beauty staple.

Chi Chi Cosmetics Brow Pomade (Dark Brown) This is definitely my favourite brow pomade of all time, feeling more natural and easy to use than my previous love the ABH Dipbrow Pomade. I love how the formula is very creamy, a little goes a long way and it looks very natural when brushed through with a spoolie. Also, it is super affordable!

Powders and Concealers

I am still a massive fan of the Australis Fresh and Flawless Pressed Powder and MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural Powder, both of which were mentioned favourites in my 2015 Beauty Favourites post (here). However, there were a few new standouts this year from this category as you can see below.

MAC Studio Fix Powder (C3) This was a new powder for me and although I knew it was a cult favourite, I had never tried it myself until this year. I use this to set my foundation, and find it works well to use over lighter coverage foundations to add some additional coverage and mattify certain areas like my t-zone. It doesn't go cakey on me but I use mine with a very light hand and find it lasts all day, through heat, humidity, rain or shine.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Concealer (Light) I absoloutely love this concealer and it has become my favourite concealer for highlighting under my eyes. I know, a bold statement but I love how illuminating it is on the skin. It has a light-medium coverage so I find it blends into the skin seamlessly and doesn't crease. However, with lighter coverage, you may find it doesn't do the job for hiding harsh dark circles, so in this case I would suggest layering a corrector underneath.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Corrector (Light) Speaking of correctors, I have never really been into using under eye correctors until this year when I discovered this product at Sephora. I love using this as the first step under my eyes, layered with a light colored concealer over the top. This is a very high coverage corrector that can cover the ugliest of dark circles and has been a saviour whenever I have had a sleepless night. The pot is a huge size and will last you a long time as you only need a tiny amount for great coverage.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer (Fair and Light) Finally. my favourite all around concealer was the Maybelline Fit Me range. I mentioned the Covergirl, Ready, Set Gorgeous concealers last year and I still really enjoy using those for an everyday staple. The Maybelline concealers have a little more coverage and I use the fair shade for under my eyes and light or sand for blemishes depending on my tan. They are very cheap, reliable and get the job done without creasing or fading. There is good reason why these are so popular!


I am a complete foundation junkie, so there is no surprise that I have 3 foundations that I have been loving throughout 2016. Be sure to check out my 3 Holy Grail Foundations post if you'd like to know my top 3 foundation choices of all time. These new bases below really impressed me this year and might soon make their way onto the HG list.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (5.0) Although my most recent purchase, a great love for me has been this luxury foundation which is super thin and silky in texture and glides on the skin to feel weightless and natural. It gives a beautiful medium, buildable coverage and I have found it to be really long-lasting even throughout hot and humid days. I love it especially for how natural it looks but I try to save it for special occasions as it is pricey.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation (118, Y325) A foundation that I had heard a lot about from MUA's, I hadn't gotten a chance to try it myself until it was the foundation we used through my makeup school. This is the foundation they recommended for flash photography and special events which suits almost all skin types. I love this foundation and find it so seamless and makes the skin look airbrushed. My recommendation would be to use a flat top kabuki brush and not a beauty blender or else the coverage gets lost.

Stila Stay All Day Foundation (2 Fair) Finally, my favourite full coverage foundation for when my skin is not playing nice and for when I need a foundation that will last throughout festivals, swimming, whatever, I find this baby just stays on ALL DAY as the name says. I think it could have the tendency to apply cakey if too much product is used. I use a beauty blender and use a very small amount of product. The packaging leaves something to be desired with the strange plastic stick for application but the formula is spot on. This covers all my redness and blemishes and looks more natural than the Estee Lauder Double Wear in my opinion. 

Bronzers, Blushes & Highlighters

I definitely had some new and significant discoveries in this department in 2016, falling in love with the formulas from Becca Cosmetics and also finding some unlikely allies with IT Cosmetics and Revlon.

Becca Cosmetics x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette This was definitely the most anticipated and exciting release of the year for me. I really love Jaclyn Hill, and after falling in love with Champagne Pop, I was really looking forward to an entire face palette, which did not disappoint. I love both the highlight shades (Champagne Pop and Prosecco Pop), and the blush shades. I actually use the darkest blush, Amaretto as a bronzer as well as a blush and I love both Pamplemousse and Rose Spritz layered together over each other.

IT Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Ombre Bronzer I hadn't really found a bronzer I truly loved, and wasn't even totally sold on bronzers until I found this bad boy. Purchased from Sephora, I was intrigued by this ombre bronzer that was massive in size and swatched so natural and radiant. Fast forward and this is now my HG bronzer and I love using it everyday as it never disappoints.

Revlon x Chloe Morello Sculpt and Highlight Contour Kit (Medium/Dark) One of the most unlikely favourites of the year, was this contour kit from Revlon which I picked up on a whim and have ended up falling in love with it. Although I have heard mixed reviews, I love both the contour and bronze shades and use the bronze shade daily (between this and the IT Cosmetics bronzer). I also LOVE the highlight shade and am dangerously close to hitting pan on it. It's a perfect, subtle everyday highlight and it's gorgeous, The yellow shade is nice for setting under the eyes but I admit I don't use it that often.

Mascaras and Eyeliners

Last year's favourites still hold very true in this department, with Benefit Roller Lash and Maybelline Lash Sensational remaining top winners in my books. I did, however find a few new eyeliners that have been high performers throughout the year and found another mascara from Maybelline that I love.

Maybelline Volum' Express Pumped Up! Colossal Mascara I have fallen in love with this mascara throughout the year and repurchased several times. I already have fairly long eyelashes, so I love a good volumising mascara and this one really delivers with a super black formula and just a few swipes and I am ready to head out the door and conquer the world (dramatic, but you get the idea).

L'Oreal SuperLiner Perfect Slim* This eyeliner is one that I have been loving from the drugstore, and although I still really enjoy my Maybelline Hypersharp Wing, this seems to be one that I turn to more often. I love the thin tip and find that it does not dry out at all and creates a very precise, thin line which is great for that perfect wing.

Too Faced Sketch Marker Liquid Eyeliner (Black) This offering from Too Faced was also a pleasant surprise and I like the slightly larger tip on this eyeliner compared to the L'Oreal with both performing similarly in terms of pigmentation. I find that this one lasts a little bit longer than the L'Oreal and is less likely to smudge if I get watery eyes. I really like it!


Oh boy, was it hard for me to narrow this section down. My weakness is definitely eyeshadow palettes and I obtained a fair few different palettes throughout the year but these two were my standout palettes that would need to come with me if I was ever stranded on an island.

Violet Voss Holy Grail Eyeshadow Palette There was more hype around this palette on instagram than almost any other palette this year but fortunately for me, the quality of the product was there and the marketing didn't cloud my judgement! If you are into warm eyeshadows, this palette is like the Morphe 350 on speed - it just delivers every shade you would need in a compact, thin and portable palette. I completed several bridal and formal looks using only this palette and I loved the results. This is also my go-to for very glamourous looks or when I want to look fierce. It contains a mixture of mattes and shimmers and the shadows are extremely pigmented and blendable.

Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Palette - The other standout palette for me this year was this palette from Tarte. Although I wasn't a huge fan of the all matte Tartelette original palette, this new palette from Tarte really delivered all the things I felt like I was missing from the original. A very small, travel-friendly palette that has all the neutrals you've always wanted in your life. This was definitely my number 1 travel companion this year and such a staple product for me for my day to day makeup looks. Definitely a very high-quality palette that is worth the pricetag.

Violet Voss Holy Grail Eyeshadow Palette

Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Palette

Lip Products

Well, you may have noticed a theme here ... nudes, nudes and pinky nudes! I swear I did wear bright and colorful lip products this year but when it came down to picking my top recommendations and what I would wear again and again, this is what I came up with.

NYX Butter Gloss* (Tiramisu) I love the formula of the butter glosses from NYX no matter the shade, but my most used shade was certainly Tiramisu which is the perfect pinky nude that goes with any look and is easy to throw in your handbag for any situation.

Too Faced Melted Lipstick (Chihuahua) I definitely fell in love with the Melted range from Too Faced this year, and my favourite shade is certainly this darker nude colour. This is described as a dusty mauve shade, and it comes off as a medium peachy brown. I love it and consider it to be so flattering and can add a little confidence to any look.

ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lip (Bestie) ColourPop didn't disappoint with their ultra glossy formula. I love this gorgeous medium pink shade that goes with almost any occasion. I didn't even realise how much I loved this one until I realised the ColourPop logo had rubbed off the tube from always having it in my handbag. It looks so nice when layered over pretty much any nude or peach lipstick.

Ofra Cosmetics x Manny MUA Liquid Lipstick (Aries) My favourite liquid lipstick formula this year would definitely go to Ofra who have developed a super comfortable and pigmented formula that finally has be enjoying liquid lipsticks without the dry, chapped lips. I picked up the trio of liquid lipsticks from the Manny MUA collaboration but this is by far my most favourite shade - a true light peachy pink.

Rimmel Moisture Renew Sheer and Shine Lipsticks* - I have raved about these lipsticks quite a bit and you can read my full review/swatches here. These are so great for day to day use as they are extremely comfortable and hydrating on the lips. They do offer a good bit of pigment, and although they aren't too long-lasting, they are easy to layer and reapply when needed. I love the shades 600, 700 and 300.


In terms of beauty tools, I kept it pretty simple, sticking with my usual favourites, however there were two major discoveries in 2016 that I was so happy to find and incorporate into my makeup collection.

Chi Chi Cosmetics Make Up Blender Complete Collection Bye bye Beauty Blender and hello Chi Chi sponges. Arguably a great dupe for the BB (read my full post here), I became obsessed with this cheap alternative by Chi Chi that really delivered everything I was looking for in a makeup sponge. At just $15 for 4 sponges, I wasn't about to forget to mention these little magic sponges to you all.

Spectrum Brushes Attention Seeker 10 Piece Essential Set With Sigma and BH Cosmetics previously being some of my favourite makeup brands, it was nice to have a new up and coming brand catch my eye. Spectrum have extremely high quality brushes to match their amazingly cute, colourful and playful packaging. I picked up this brush set and have been wanting to buy more ever since. These are so soft, durable and high-quality and I would highly recommend you check out this brand that offer low cost shipping to Australia from the UK. They are awesome!

Wow, just a few favourite to wrap up in 2016! I am looking forward to the year ahead, and although I'm sure there will be many new and exciting beauty releases to come, I am going to try my best to use what is already in my collection and be very selective with any of my new purchases. There is always new makeup to lust over, but we do have to do our collections some justice and give them the loving that they deserve!

What were your makeup favourites of 2016?
What was the one product that stood out to you the most?

*This product was sent to Bows & Pleats for consideration. All opinions are 100% honest and my own. For more information please read my disclaimer.

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