Top Ten Best Makeup Products: 2016 Edition

Enabling or not, I've been loving watching and reading everyone's 2016 round-ups, so I thought I'd add mine. I've used dozens of different makeup products over this year (many of them new to me!), and here are the ones I keep coming back to and can't be without.

Note that I didn't bother trying to come up with one thing for each category—I just stuck to 10 simple favourites. Here we go!

1. Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact in Highlight 01 Golden Nude

I thought long and hard about ordering Laura Mercier's Matte Radiance because I'm not actually a highlight fiend, and I already had several. But after I finally caved, this quickly became my favourite. This is the highlighter I reached for most days this year. I'm 32 years old, my skin has some texture, and I work a job in a fairly conservative office, so I don't want my face to look like a disco ball on the daily. Laura Mercier's highligher offers the perfect soft, glowy, champagney golden highlight that isn't too shimmery. When I want something more intense, I'll reach for Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow or for one of Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfectors (pressed) such as Opal or Moonstone. But for every day, this is hands-down my favourite highlighter.

2. Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette (the OG)

This was a tough one. Choosing a favourite eyeshadow palette is tough when you're me! I'm not a particularly loyal eyeshadow wearer; I change it up a lot. And if I'm being very honest, a few of the Charlotte Tilbury quads (round-up of Charlotte Tilbury quad looks at the bottom of this EOTD post) DO make my heart go pitter-patter more than this—but I have a hard time choosing one little quad over a full palette with so many different shades. The Chocolate Bar Palette is just so beautiful, foolproof, and, importantly, versatile. Love it. Here is an EOTD I did with the Chocolate Bar Palette earlier this year.

3. By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock

I traveled to Toronto for a work trip in April, and made a special point of stopping by Saks Fifth Avenue so I could purchase this shimmering beauty, which I can't get in Vancouver. It's the perfect mix of taupe and purple, it glows, and it's so easy to apply and blend. I reach for it when I want a special eye look that doesn't require a special time investment. As long as I use a good primer, such as the NARS Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base, and don't layer on too much, it lasts very well. These days I like to draw it all over the lid and slightly into my crease and blend the edges with a Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush, which is perfect for cream shadows because of its density. Then I blend some brown mattes from the Viseart Neutral Matte Eyeshadow Palette into my create to balance the look out. Done! Have a look at Misty Rock as part of a look in this post.

4. Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Powder in Fair

I have a mild obsession with getting my base to look flawless and natural, and last most of the day. This powder gets me as close to perfect as I may ever get. It sets makeup and mattifies without looking too matte, and blurs pores and imperfections just so. Whenever I wear Charlotte Tilbury's Wonderglow paired with one of her foundations (I confess, I have both), I use this powder to set. I love it so much that I've long since hit pan! That's rare, given how many products I have to rotate through. My previous favourite was the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, but I now prefer Charlotte's. It's less messy, and even more natural-looking.

5. Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Swish and Pop Blusher in Love Glow

Sorry for all the Charlotte Tilbury in this list—sort of. (I can't help it if her products are perfect now, can I?) I have five of her six blushers—all but the bronzey Climax, which I think is better suited to deeper skin tones anyway. Love Glow is the one I keep reaching for, again and again. It's just the perfect, glowy, warm pink, and it's absolutely foolproof. I never have to work to blend it like I do with some other blushers. And unlike her powder, which I go through quite quickly, this blusher just keeps on going. I barely see a dent in it. Love. (Glow. Heh.) You can see Love Glow as part of a look in this post.

6. Rosie for Autograph Lipstick in Lady Rose

I hope adding this one isn't cheating—it's the newest item (to me) on this list. Lisa Eldridge's makeup video featuring the stunning Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley  sold me on this lip colour. Apparently it's Rosie's favourite from her line. (Lips like Rosie's? Yes, please!) I tried in vain to arrange a swap with a British beauty enthusiast so I could try this. Eventually, a couple of months ago, I caved and got it on eBay, and I'm glad I did. The packaging is a gorgeous rose-gold, reminiscent of Charlotte Tilbury's packaging—but rosier (ha!). The formula is beautiful, creamy and smooth. It smells lovely. And the colour is a perfect, pinky-brown nude that isn't too light. I typically don't even like nudes—they typically wash me out. But I love this. It's the only lip colour I wore on my recent vacation to California.

7. Make Up for Ever Pro Bronze Fusion in 10M Natural Matte Honey*

I wasn't really a bronzer person until Make up For Ever sent me this to try. I'm so fair that most bronzers make my face look dirty or orange. Not this bronzer. It's mostly matte with just enough sheen to look natural. The colour is a perfect, honey-golden brown—essentially exactly the colour my skin would be if I tanned. I can't explain how perfect the formula is. Don't try to swatch; it's misleading. You need to apply this formula with a brush. It's so genius that I barely need to blend. I brush it along my cheekbones, jawline and hairline, and voila—soft, subtle warmth and dimension. You need to try it. See Pro Bronze Fusion in action in this post.

8. Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'n' Kohl Iconic Liquid Eyeliner Pencil in Barbarella Brown

This eyeliner formula made me put aside my beloved black gel eyeliner for the first time in years. It's that good. It is so soft, creamy and pigmented that it really is like a gel or liquid liner in pencil form. I can soften the line if I work quickly (apply, then smudge on each eye, before it sets), but then it doesn't budge. And can we talk about this colour? I never thought I was a fan of brown eyeliner until I tried Barbarella Brown. It has all the oomph and drama of black eyeliner, but with a little more warmth (not too much) and softness. I think it helps make the green in my eyes pop. You can see Barbarella Brown in action in this post.

9. Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick in 2 Fair

There are so many concealers I enjoy that I came to this product late in the game. I confess, the purchase came from my well-documented Charlotte Tilbury obsession. I figured if I loved her other products, I'd love this one. And sure enough, I do! This concealer looks surprisingly flawless considering it's not the highest-coverage concealer around. It's not my favourite for blemishes, particularly given the packaging, but I love it under the eyes. So glowy and, well, perfect. If you're darker under the eyes like I am, pair it with a corrector such as the Giorgio Armani Master Corrector or the Chanel Éclat Lumière Highlighter Face Pen (reviews here and here), and you'll be set.

10. MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NW20

This powder is an old friend I became re-acquainted with this year. MAC Studio Fix was my first high-end makeup product, and I wore it as my foundation—exclusively—for over 10 years. I switched to a liquid-powder combo when I was 25 or so because I wanted a more flawless look, and I was getting more into makeup. Then, this summer, I really wanted something easy and fast for no-fuss weekends when it was hot and sticky and I didn't want to deal with liquid foundation in Vancouver's humidity. MAC Studio Fix checks all those boxes and so many more. I apply it with a brush on bare or primed skin for a light coverage, no-fuss foundation, and a sponge for heavier coverage and touch-ups—though this is rare for me. (Applied with a sponge, it provides a very matte, high-coverage base. Very 90s. Very reminiscent of my high school days.) My favourite way to use it is as a setting powder, applied with a fluffy brush. It makes my base virtually bulletproof for the day, and yet it always looks good—never powdery or cakey. You can hear a little more about Studio Fix in my "Ride or Die" tag video.

There you have it! Have you tried any of these? What are your favourites from this year? Let me know in the comments, or link to our own post below.

Disclosure: Products marked with an asterisk were sent to me by PR for consideration. All other products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.

An Overdue Eye of the Day and a Life Update

Sunset in December at Huntington Beach, California.

Life is unpredictable. Things often don't go the way you think they will. Sometimes it's hard—and if you're going to be joyful, you have to choose it.

I'm sorry I was gone for so long. I didn't meant to be—but this fall was one of the most challenging periods of my life to date, for various reasons. I needed to "turtle" for awhile, and it did me a world of good. When I head back to work next week, I know I'll feel refreshed and ready for the new challenge. I've chosen joy, and I'm already seeing the effects.

I wanted to share with you a little of what I've been up to during my unplanned hiatus, as well as share some photos of an eye look that I've been sitting on awhile. 

First things first: The makeup. Always the makeup.

Charlotte Tilbury's Nocturnal Eyes to Hypnotise: An eye of the day

If you're a regular around these parts, you know about my love of (bordering on obsession with) all things Charlotte Tilbury. Around Black Friday, she was selling her Nocturnal Cat Eyes to Hypnotise sets at buy one, get one, so I snapped up the two sets I didn't yet have: Midnight Seduction + Sapphire Sex, as well as Silver Leopard + Black Magic.

This is a very basic look I tried with Midnight Seduction + Sapphire Sex. I swept and patted Midnight Seduction, a midnight-blue eyeshadow with some fine silver glitter throughout, over my lid and along my outer lower lashline. Then I blended some soft brown matte shadows from the Viseart Neutral Matte Eyeshadow Palette into my crease, and lined my upper lash line with Sapphire Sex, a shimmery azure Rock 'n Kohl liner. Then, as always, I finished the look with lots of black mascara.

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This shadow formula is interesting—used dry, it can be sheered out a little, like above. Used wet, it will apply more metallic—but I find the lasting power isn't as good. The liner is the real star of this set. Charlotte's Rock n' Kohl formula is probably my favourite eyeliner formula of all time. It's smooth, creamy, pigmented as heck, easy to soften (if I work quickly), and lasts well. A solid dark blue shade, like this one, is a softer, more fun alternative to black.

What do you think?

In other news: We went to California!

Christmas is hands-down my favourite holiday. It's important to me for so many reasons, one of them being an opportunity to spend time with family. But if you're anything like me, you know that celebrating with extended family, while a blessing, can be exhausting. This Christmas, my husband and I decided to focus on the immediate family: just us. And it was so good.

We crossed a key travel destination off of our bucket list: Disneyland! I'd never been before, and I loved it. It really is magical. I actually squealed a little bit when I saw Mickey and Minnie in the Christmas parade. (Disney princesses are great and all that, but I'd rather meet Mickey and Minnie any day.) When I ran into Minnie over breakfast on our first day, I grinned like a little kid and hugged her. She also made a (silent) fuss over my Christmas sweater and Mickey-and-Minnie-themed manicure. (That's right—I went full cheese.) I was legitimately starstruck! So silly, I know—but who cares?

We did three days in the parks in total. After the first two days, our feet were killing us, so we took a day's break and visited Huntington Beach in Orange County. I busted out my DSLR for something besides blog photos for the first time in awhile, and I have to say, these photos give me life. How breathtaking is this place? How peaceful? (Side note: Those are my husband's legs—not mine!)

Now that I'm back on Canadian soil and (mostly) recovered from the post-vacation slump (can you say #firstworldproblems?), I'm looking forward to what 2017 will bring. I'm hoping for the following:

  1. Healthier eating—I'm going to try bringing delicious salads to work for lunch almost every day. Wish me luck! Beauty starts from the inside—am I right?
  2. More shopping my stash and being thankful for what I have so that I can save my money for making memories like the ones above. Less of the short-term gratification that comes from buying something pretty—again.
  3. Better self-care, including leaving work at work, investing more time in mental wellness, and treasuring precious moments with the people who are most important to me. The daily grind can take more from us than we know if we're not mindful.
  4. Finishing my thesis—finally! It will feel good to walk the stage for my MA. Eye on the prize, Amy. Eye on the prize.

What have you been thinking about as 2017 begins? Have you made any plans or resolutions? Have you tried any beautiful new makeup? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you.

Disclosure: Al products mentioned in this post were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.

A Quick EOTD with the Master Palette by Mario

Work is a little crazy lately—I've been transitioning into a new role—but I still wanted to take a moment to show you a look I recently came up with using Anastasia Beverly Hills' Master Palette by Mario. it's out of stock online—sorry!—but you may still be able to find it in stores. If you happen to see one, consider grabbing it. It's beautiful. I think of it as a neutral palette with a twist—in addition to your standard browns and golds, there are some stunning, earthy shades including an olive green, and even a slate-blue. To me, it's unique without being too crazy.

In this look, I used a couple of the matte shades in my crease, and created a shimmery spotlight look with some of the darker shimmer shades.

A look with Anastasia Beverly Hills' Master Palette by Mario.

The colours apply, blend, and last beautifully. I really like how this turned out. What do you think?

Have you tried this palette? Do you regret missing it? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.