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.
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.