I wasn’t sure if I should do a Top Picks post for high end and a separate one for drugstore, but I figured I’d challenge myself even more to pick my top three choices from different categories from both high end and affordable makeup! If anyone would like a full review from any of these products, just let me know! I’ve used all of these items for quite some time so I have a thorough grasp on each item.
I used to find it extremely difficult to use primers because I had a bad habit of not letting them fully set. However, I’ve finally gotten used to using them more often and found these three work great for me. My skin type is normal to combination– oily in the T-Zone as per usual. The Hourglass Mineral Veil has been absolutely great at creating a smooth canvas for my face makeup without being heavy. The Smashbox Pore Minimizing Photo Finish and the MUFE Step 1 Equalizer work very well at filling it and smoothing out the areas of my face with larger pores.
I’m not sure what’s up with the lighting in my photo, but they’re definitely coming out a lot more yellow photographed here. For reference, the shades I use are Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea in Medium Tan Sand, Too Faced Born This Way in shade sand, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation in Warm Tan. The Tarte foundation is great for everyday use. It is a water based foundation that is buildable for light to medium coverage. I apply this with a brush so that the beauty sponges don’t absorb too much product. The Too Faced foundation, however, I usually apply with a sponge. It has fuller coverage for special occasions, or days I just need more coverage without using too much product. It definitely keeps my oils controlled with great longevity. The ABH Foundation stick is a great on-the-go product. I carry this in my bag for touch-ups or to carry around just in case I ever need to apply foundation unexpectedly. But be sure to set the Tarte & ABH foundation with a powder so they stay put all day!
Similarly to the above photo, the shades are coming out a touch more yellow than in person. Nonetheless, these concealers have been absolutely perfect for me throughout the year. The MAC Mineralize Concealer in NW30 is ideal to combat the occasional darkness under my eyes without being heavy. The Tarte Shape Tape is extremely long lasting and great for bringing some subtle highlight to the high points of my face. The Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer is the most full coverage and long wearing of the three. I always warm the concealer between my fingers before applying so that the consistency thins out for easy application and minimal creasing.
These trusty powders have been absotively posilutely phenomenal for my skin– whether it be for touch ups or setting liquid products, these never fail me. The NYX No Filter Finishing Powder in shade Medium Olive is my absolute Holy Grail. I’ll use it to set my face after applying foundation and concealer, or just carry it in my bag at all times for touch up. It is very reminiscent of a mineralized powder without looking flat. Because it is a baked powder, it has very light coverage if any at all. It has a gorgeous natural sheen, no shine or sparkle or flat. The Maybelline Matte & Poreless Powder in color 310 Sun Beige I’d carry for daily touch ups, or to set a light foundation. This offers a touch of coverage without looking cake. Lastly, the Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder I use to set liquid products– normally or to bake the high points of my face.
MAC Powder Blush in Coppertone, NARS Madly Blush, & Lorac Blush in Cinematic — I always opt for a neutral blush so I can go crazy with the lip color or eye shadow. These three tones are so easy to pair and easy to blend. Ask me which is my favorite, it’ll be NARS Madly. It goes with absolutely every single look I could ever do.
The LE MAC Studio Sculpt Defining Bronzing Powder in shade Delicates is great for day to day use. For a touch of bronze or a bit of shadow for a soft contour, this powder is awesome. It’s not flat and not shimmery at the same time. The TooFaced Chocolate Soleil Medium Deep Matte Bronzer is the only bronzer I’d reach for that is for knowing it’s fool-proof. It gives a stunning contour and smells like cocoa! You can’t go wrong by investing in this product.
Hard Candy Baked Highlight in shade Tiki is old but gold. It provides a gorgeous subtle sheen that brings so much light to the cheekbones and it costs under $10! For a slightly more luminous highlight, the Tarte Highlight in shade Exposed Highlight is a great option. I’ve been raving about the Becca Champagne Face Palette for a long time, that I decided to give it a rest and go back to these babies. For that bold metallic, wet highlight, I’ve been reaching for none other than the ABH Highlight in Riviera. It is a perfect dupe for the MAC LE Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Superb.
I know I said Top 3 per category but these are the only ones I’ve used in the year of 2016. I didn’t even reach for my Urban Decay All-Nighter (honorable mention) because the face products I used this year held up great. The Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist I only use where I apply highlight to make it pop. Do I have it in me to purchase the full size yet? Not sure because it is just so pricey. The MAC Charged Water is an all time favorite of mine, yes, even over the MAC Fix+ because the smell is a lot more fresh.
I know what you’re going to say… the ABH Brow Wiz is the same as the MYX Microbrow Pencil! And you are correct! Exactly why they’ve both made it to my favorites for the year. If I recall, they’re made in the same factory. ABH Brow Wiz in Dark Brown and the NYX Microbrew in Ash Brown are super easy to work with for both subtle or strong brow looks. Benefit’s Gimme Brow was an old favorite that I received from GenBeauty NYC. Whether I fill in with pencil or powder, I can use this product on it’s own just to make my brows more presentable for days I choose to not wear a full face. I have a few other alternatives but this one wins by far!
If I had to choose three palettes from my whole collection and throw out the rest, I’d keep these three by far! Pigmentation 10/10, blendability 10/10, variety 10/10, price point 10/10. Need I say more? For swatches, refer to my previous posts.
NYX released a ton of different liners and the Matte Liquid Liner is my new go-to liner, hands down. It is extremely black, easy to work with, and doesn’t bleed on the skin. Urban Decay’s Waterproof Liquid Liner in shade demolition is the liner I used up before purchasing the NYX liner. Would I repurchase? ABSOLUTELY. Demolition was a matte brown liquid liner. For a bold gel liner, the Sephora Rio Nights Waterproof Liner is awesome. Tip– to revive gel liners, put a few drops of eye drops to bring back the consistency.
I think it’s safe to say it was the year of liquid lipsticks. I surprised myself that my top three turned out to be on the neutral side because I’ve always been a fan of the bold berry lips. For full reviews on all these products, please refer to my earlier posts!
Chanel Coco Rouge Lipstick in shade 438 Suzanne is my go-to in terms of formula and color. It gives a touch of neutral berry giving healthy pigmentation and doesn’t emphasize any textures. MAC Satin Lipstick in shade Spirit is a lovely go-to nude for a semi-matte finish. And I’m sure you know about the lovely light vanilla scent to their lipsticks! Bite Beauty is known for the stunning formula of lipstick. It has a very light citrus scent and is extremely comfortable to wear. It’s a cream finish that nourishes the lips. Damn, how many times did I say “lip”?
I would happily rid my collection of all glosses and to keep only these three. And even more so, if I have to choose one, I’ll keep my Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss hands down. Gerard Cosmetics Gloss in shade Plum Crazy has such beautiful pigmentation. It has such a creamy formula that doesn’t bleed and completely covers the pigmentation of my own lip color. MAC Cremesheen Gloss is so comfortable as well. I really can’t say enough good things about these glosses that pair beautifully with a liner, lipstick, or solo dolo!
If you have any questions about any of these products, feel free to ask! Let me know if any of you have tried these products and whether or not they worked out for you!