Best of Beauty 2016: Makeup

best-2016-coverEverywhere I look this week all I see is “Best of Beauty” posts and videos. So of course I figured I would throw my hat into the race too. This year I somehow managed to try a lot of products that I don’t feel I have talked (or blogged) about a whole lot. When thinking of products I decided to separate this post into two: makeup and skincare. Today we will cover the monstrosity that is my makeup favorites for the year of 2016.

Now, looking at my makeup collection I got kind of overwhelmed. After much deliberation I decided to feature one of each product I would generally use while doing my makeup. I didn’t pick anything over the top or dramatic. Instead I chose to feature the products that I know will not fail me if I’m in a hurry. These are the products I pack when I go out  of town and never have a bad makeup day when I use them.

I tried to wrangle a good mixture of high-end and drugstore makeup, but after I started choosing I realized it did lean more in the direction of high-end. This group includes a list of primer, foundation, contour, concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, highlight, brow gel, a single eyeshadow, eyeshadow palette, eyeliner, mascara, lipgloss, lipstick, and liquid lipstick. It ended up being more of a “products I can’t live without” post, but hey, these were the products I couldn’t have lived without through the torment that was 2016.


Images via (left to right): Sephora, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Nordstrom

Primer – Becca ‘Backlight Priming Filter’ $38

Having dry skin is a bummer and it makes having a hydrating primer a necessity. I’ve tried my fair share of primers that promise the world and am generally disappointed. However after I bought the Becca Backlight Priming Filter on a whim, I put all the others to the side.

I’m currently on my third bottle of this primer and I love it because I only need to use one pump, it’s lightweight, it smooth’s over any dry patches, and helps my makeup look stunningly dewy. I don’t get flakiness around my nose on days that I use this primer, so that’s enough for me to lay down the bucks.

Foundation – Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation ‘Warm Natural’ $25

About midway through this year my Makeup Forever stick foundation started failing me. It was clumping and not covering acne anymore. I ran over to Ulta one morning and ended up picking this foundation. I usually read reviews on products like this before I purchase them, but thankfully I didn’t this time. I bought the shade ‘Warm Beige’ which concerned me since normally “warm” shades are pink based, but it matches my fair olive skin well.

This is easily a very controversial product in the dry skin community. Some people swear by it, some people say they cant blend it at all. With the help of my Becca Primer and a damp beauty blender this product melts into my skin and lasts all day.

Contour – Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation Contour ‘Fawn’ $25

About a week after purchasing the foundation, I went back to get the contour stick. I’m not the biggest fan of using a powder for dimension, so I have been using a dark concealer. I picked up the shade ‘Fawn’ which is a medium toned taupe. It doesn’t have warmth to it, which makes it ideal for creating a shaded look on the low points of my face. It blends out nicely with a contour brush for a dramatic look, or a damp Beauty Blender for a “no makeup, makeup” day.

Concealer – NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ‘Custard’ $29

If you have fair olive skin, you know how hard it is to find a concealer. There were so many popular new products this year (Shape Tape anybody?) that I cannot use because all the shades were too peachy. So, I kept with my tried and true, ride or die NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in ‘Custard’. It’s just light enough to create dimension, but not light enough to make me look hyper-contoured. It covers my under eyes like a absolute dream with either the dab of my finger or a Beauty Blender (depending on my own personal laziness).

Powder – MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder ‘NC20’ $27

2016 was the year of baking, and I partook in the trend but on the daily you cant separate me from my MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder. I wear the shade NC20, and it keeps my skin shockingly hydrated while also setting my foundation up to last all day.

I apply this foundation with a fairly dense natural bristled dome brush. I simply swirl it around a couple times in the pan, then whirl it around my skin lightly in circular motions. Not only does the pigment help cover any last hyper-pigmentation, but it also helps to add the final touch in blending in my stick foundation.


Images via (left to right): Milani, Ulta, and Colourpop

Bronzer – Milani Baked Bronzer ’05 Soleil’ $9

Like I mentioned above, I like to contour with creams, which means my dry skinned self likes a luminous bronzer. In my humble opinion, you absolutely cannot beat the Milani Baked Bronzer in ‘Soleil’. It brings the perfect amount of warmth to my skin and makes me look like I’m glowing from within. There really is nothing else I can say about it, its gorgeous and you need to buy it. Just sweep it around your skin with a fluffy blush brush and you’ll look like you’ve been in Fiji for a week.

Blush – Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush ‘Seduce’ $28

With my coloring, I sometimes have a hard time with finding the perfect blush. In 2016 I am pretty sure I found it. I’m always frustrated with how quickly the color seems to leave my skin so I went and checked out the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour blushes. I immediately fell in love with the shade ‘Seduce’. It’s a beautiful matte rosy nude that looks like a natural flush. Its beautiful, incredibly smooth, and lasts all day.

Highlight – Colourpop Super Shock Cheek ‘Flexitarian’ $8

*Insert church choir singing here*. I’m honestly at a loss for words at how great this highlighter is. Flexitarian by Colourpop is a stunning white champagne cream to powder highlighter. Honestly, it’s one of the most pigmented products I’ve used but can be easily blended out to create a natural dewiness if you don’t want to look like a snow goddess. At only $8, I think I’m going to stock up.


Images via (left to right): Ulta, Makeup Geek, Ulta, and Nordstrom

Brows – Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel ‘Chocolate’ $22

I have naturally bold and bushy brows. This year I feel like everyone either embraced the sharp “Instagram brow”, or the feathered brow trend. Personally I took this as an excuse to stop obsessing over my brows being sharp and used the gel to keep them tamed and in place. This product is great because the shade covers up any foundation or powder that made its way into my brows, plus it makes it so easy to make my natural brows look a little more glam.

Individual Shadow – Makeup Geek Foiled shadow ‘Grandstand’ $10

I have dark brown almond shaped eyes and I always feel like I need to put on at least a wash of shadow before walking out the door. I love the versatility of this foiled shadow. If I want to create a dramatic smoked out look, this is the perfect insanely pigmented lid color for me. If I’m about to run out the door with a natural makeup look I will literally swipe my finger over the pan, dab it onto my eyelid and just blend it out with whatever fluffy brush I can reach. It’s such a great shade for my coloring and brings a healthy color to my eye area.

Shadow Palette – Too Faced Natural Matte Palette $36

Palettes were easily the hardest choice for me. I only buy them if I can see myself using every shade, which means that I adore them all. This one came down to which I grab when I go out of town and that is the Too Faced Natural Matte. The nine shadows have the perfect mixture of warm and cool tones, are buttery and unbelievably pigmented. I can use it to just bring a little dimension to my crease, or create a beautiful matte smoky eye.

Eyeliner – Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner ‘Midnight Cowboy’ $20

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you most likely know I am not an eyeliner girl. So, when I was thinking about eyeliners only one really came to mind. The Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ is a cult favorite makeup item for excellent reasons.

When I feel like adding a dash of drama to a look, I will apply this product all over my lid because lets be honest, its literally just glitter and glue all in one (no mess, no hassle). On the other hand, if I’m feeling sassy I will use this as a liner and create a golden glitter cat-eye.

Mascara – Lancôme Hypnose Drama Mascara $28

In the summer I was given this mascara as a gift and immediately became obsessed. Before this I was always torn between using my Smashbox ‘Full Exposure’ or Marc Jacobs ‘Velvet Noir’. Somehow Lancôme’s ‘Hypnose Drama’ brings in the best of both mascaras. It lengthens my lashes, adds lots of volume, and somehow manages to keep them clump free.


Images via (left to right): Marc Jacobs, Milani, and Nordstrom

 Lipgloss – Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in ‘Sugar Sugar’ and ‘Taboo’ $28

Originally I was going to say the best gloss of 2016 was the bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie, however I believe it has been discontinued and I couldn’t find links anymore. Because I am a gloss girl, I easily had a second runner up which is the Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer. My favorite shades are ‘Sugar Sugar’ (champagne gold shimmer), and ‘Taboo’ (sheer mauve shimmer). Both look great with or without a lipstick underneath are hydrating, and non-sticky.

Lipstick – Milani Color Statement ’43 Pretty Natural’ and ’61 Matte Naked’ $6

In the spring I was running to a midterm presentation, I was late for my BART train and took off to realize I had a face full of makeup and no lipstick (or even balm) for my lips. It was a beauty marketing class and I couldn’t look that crazy. On my way to class I ran into a Walgreens and purchased an inexpensive lipstick that ended up being Milani ‘Pretty Natural’ (natural rose).

The second I applied it I knew it was a game changer. Super creamy, stunning pigment, and it smells like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. I ended up stopping in the store on my way home from class and picked up a couple more shades, my favorite being ‘Matte Naked’ (matte medium nude). These are the perfect everyday lipsticks and I always have one in my handbag.

Liquid Lipstick – Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick ‘Babe Alert’ and ‘Drivers Seat’ $24

I’ve had a hard time getting into the liquid lipstick trend because I always find them incredibly drying. However one day on an Ulta trip I fell in love with the Smashbox Always on Lipstick in ‘Babe Alert’ (nude rose). I was shocked when I applied it and easily wore it all day without becoming overly chapped.

A couple weeks later I went back and purchased the shade ‘Drivers Seat’ (warm pink) and I feel like it’s even more cushiony than ‘Babe Alert’. Although it dries down, it is not kiss proof. So if you have dry lips I will recommend this liquid lipstick until the cows go home. I’m planning on picking it up in the shades ‘Out Loud’ (deep orange), and ‘Stepping Out’ (deep nude) as soon as I can get my hands on them.