Best of 2015: Makeup Favorites

2015 was the year of purging for me. I started a massive makeup spreadsheet in January and finally tallied up everything I own - as a beauty hoarder the results were  obviously unsettling. But I'm happy to report that I've used up a lot, given away even more and - oops - purchased quite a few new products as well. I've rifled through my drawers and listed my top ten below. Most of these were new discoveries, but a few are tried and true staples that I always return to. Each product has gotten a lot of face time (literally) this year, and without sounding dramatic, they're all ride-or-dies.

Here they are, in no particular order (I honestly couldn't decide):

Bobbi Brown Art Stick - all shades

Bobbi Brown Art Stick Swatches - Rose Brown, Hot Orange, Hot Berry and Pomegranate

One of the best chubby-pencil-lip-stick-formula things I've come across, and the only one I've seen with an actual dose of pigment. These are supremely comfortable, decently long wearing and opaque in one swipe. The color selection is perfectly curated and Bobbi usually puts out a few new ones every other season or so. I'm bummed that I can't show you one of my holy grail colors, Dusty Pink, because it fell out of my bag when I was sloshed one night. Will be repurchasing, for sure.

Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara

Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Review

Hands down my favorite mascara formula I've ever come across. I love a lot of mascaras, mainly for different reasons, mainly because they all do different things. But when it comes to a foolproof, ultra-black mascara that lengthens and volumizes without smudging (and without being waterproof, which I find weakens most formulas and makes them impossible to remove): this is the winner. I usually don't buy mascaras because free samples seem to fall from the sky, but this is a staple I'll be repurchasing for years to come.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed - Champagne Pop

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Comparison & Swatches

I hate that this made it on my list, but I had to do it. I'm not usually one to be suckered into beauty guru-brand collaborations but this highlighter is beautiful. It really is one of those rare shades that looks great on every skin tone. I think it's success has made this permanent, but if it hasn't, pick it up while you still can! The formula is superb (as is the whole shimmering skin range, liquid or powder), with amazing pigmentation and blend-ability that puts other highlighters to shame. This is definitely an intense (albeit finely-milled) shimmer, so those not interested in radiating light from every orifice should stick with the liquid version.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder - Medium

AKA contouring for dummies. This is the only product you'll ever need to whittle away your face and embrace the imaginary hollows of your cheekbones. The color is such a spot on brownish-grey-taupe that it looks incredibly lifelike, no matter how it's applied (but my preferred method of application is with the NARS Ita Brush or Wayne Goss #2) It's a shame they made the packaging smaller, however I've barely made a dent in mine after ~2 years of daily use. Ridiculously blendable, effortlessly soft, yada yada. Just buy it.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

MAC NW20 Pro Longwear Concealer Swatch Review

I just waxed poetic about this stuff in a recent post, but it deserves more love. Hands down the best concealer I've ever used - mainly because I can use it under my eyes and on any spots/redness/discoloration. It immediately erases dark circles and covers raised blemishes fabulously. I also love that I can wear a light foundation (or nothing) and this will blend in without looking heavy where applied. Lasts all day and comes in MAC's massive range of shades - what more could you ask for?

Honorable mention for best concealer does have to go to NARS Radiant Creamy, because of how beautiful it looks on the skin. But it's ghastly under the eyes and I could also never support a complexion product housed in tube with a doe foot. You'll only get through 2/3 of the product before it appears "empty" and needs replacing.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel Review

I'm constantly fighting an internal battle between this product and Benefit's Gimme Brow (my favorite tinted gel). Gimme makes brows look fluffy and fabulous but nothing locks hairs (and any brow product under it) in place like Anastasia. Liquid cement. Most brow products (pencils, powders and waxes) tend to fade on my skin because my forehead is constantly slicked with oil. But I've fallen asleep in my makeup too many times and woken up with perfect brows to not give this stuff the credit it deserves. Magic.

Becca Beach Tint - all shades

Becca Beach Tints in Grapefruit and Raspberry Swatches

I tend to prefer powder blushes when I'm getting ready in the morning, but this formula really wowed me. I use this when I need to do quick makeup on the train (all too often) or for touch ups if I'm going out after work. I'm constantly amazed at how effortlessly this blends into the skin, without looking harsh. It also layers beautifully on makeup that's going on 8+ hours, without looking cakey. Every color I've tried has looked gorgeous on, and I love that they're lightly scented with the fruit in their name. These are always in my handbag and I use them at least 3-4 times each week. 

Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette

Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette Review

Thank god - an eye shadow palette for grownups (although Laura must have a sense of humor - Vanilla Nuts anyone?). There is a rhyme and reason to this palette that I love - each of the shades can easily work together or be worn alone as a wash of color over the lid. Miraculously, the mix of cool and warm tones flatter any makeup look, outfit or skin tone. I tend to rotate through eye shadow palettes because I have a lot, but this is always on my vanity and the true workhorse of my eye shadow collection.

Benefit Hello Flawless Custom Powder Cover Up 

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Petal Review

The name is a mouthful but the product makes up for it. I'd call this a powder foundation but I wouldn't want you to think it's cakey (not even close). The coverage is superb and can either be built up with a buffing brush or sheered out with something fluffier. I move between Ivory, Petal and Champagne depending on the season, but the shades are all very forgiving. I 100% must have this in my handbag at all times (probably why I have 4 floating around my apartment). I use it for touch ups just as often as I do for an all over foundation. It cannot be beat. 

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 79 Saga

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine 79 Saga Swatch

I waited a long time to purchase my first Chanel lipstick because I wanted it to be perfect - and this is. Yes, the formula is nice but it's the color that I love (and that feeling of pulling Chanel out of your handbag) - a perfect not-too-bright-yet-not-too-muted pink with a peachy, rosy undertone. It's slightly lighter than a standard MLBB, and brightens up my face no matter what makeup I'm wearing. I hear a lot of people talk about "Boy" but I found it to be a bit too nude and washed out. This has been my go-to shade for the past 6 months when my lips feel lost. 


Cheers to 2016, and all of the future makeup purchases I know are unavoidable. Happy New Year! 

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