2016 Makeup Favourites

I recently wrote about my 2016 Skincare Favourites and I promised to follow shortly with my 2016 Makeup Favourites. It's going to be quite a lengthy post as expected so brace yourselves but I promise it's worth it. Similar to my 2016 Skincare Favourites, it was a herculean task sitting down and picking out my favourite makeup products. I think I definitely tried more makeup products than skincare products but I ensured that I picked my absolute favourites!! Many of these products have been featured on my blog, Instagram, Twitter at some point, etc. Also, you will see many products from some brands I discovered and fell in love with such as Vincent Longo Cosmetics, Nude by Nature, etc. Right let's get into it..

Eyeshadow Primer
I only used one eyeshadow primer all through 2016 which says quite a lot and it's none other than the Essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Primer//£2.50. I can't even begin to tell you how many tubes I repurchased in 2016. I think it's probably 4/5 and I even bought some for my friends, my sister, etc. It is essentially an amazing eyeshadow primer with a doe foot applicator for easy application. I believe there are two shades of this primer and I got for the cream shade one. It helps my eyeshadow pop, prevents crease and increases longevity. The best part is it's only £2.50 and it works so much better than many other  more expensive eyeshadow primers. It was a favourite in 2015 an it is back again.

Face Primers
Each time I wear foundation, I always wear a primer because my combination oily skin does not work well without one. I loved three primers in 2016 and they all offered various benefits for me. The first is the Wilko Silky Mattifying Primer//£3 and it ticks all the boxes for me. It is a slightly silicone primer but it does not feel too slippery at all. It helps my foundation apply smoother, last longer and it prevents shine. It's also super affordable at £3.  The second primer I loved (and still love) is the Vincent Longo Water Canvas Base Primer*//£33.50 (Review). It is such a beautiful primer and it always transforms my foundation. It works so well on my skin because it is water based so it offers a moisturising, refreshing and hydrating effect. It helps my foundation apply smoother and last longer although I won't classify it as a mattifying primer. Regardless, it still controls shine and my foundation always looks great whenever I wear it. The third primer is the Nude by Nature Smoothing Primer*//£22 which is one of the best primers I have tried when it comes to making my skin feel smooth. My foundation glides across so easily and lasts all day. It's truly a good all rounder and I really enjoyed it especially towards the end of the year.

Brow Products
I don't think my brow routine has changed much from 2015 because I tend to use the same kind of products. In 2016, I finally got to try the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade //£15.50 (Review) and I enjoyed it so much. It is one of the best brow pomades I have tried and I know I' be repurchasing it. There are close dupes in the drug store but for my brows, the ABH is the best so far. My shade is Chocolate and it is spot on. Contrary to some reviews I read about it drying up quickly, mine is still going strong and I have hit pan already.  It applies so smoothly, lasts all day and does not wipe away regardless of any weather condition. The second product I loved was the Soap and Glory Brow Filling Pencil //£8 (Reviewwhich I absolutely adore. I think I may have repurchased it at least 6 or 7 times and I won't be stopping any time soon. I don't have a picture of it because I just ran out of my last pencil before I took the photos for this post. In the picture above, I have the ABH Brow Wiz (Reviewwhich I also adore but it is more expensive and works in the same way as the Soap and Glory version.

What can I say? For almost three years straight, the Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Mascara//£25.50 (Reviewhas remained my number 1 mascara. No other mascara has even dreamt of coming close to it although I do have a few drugstore versions I have enjoyed. I have repurchased this mascara more than a few times and used up all the mini samples I have gathered (which I love so much). It is the only mascara that lengthens, adds volume and holds a curl with no clumps in sight. It is a true all rounder for me. Another mascara which I was not the biggest fan of initially but it has grown on me is the Lancome Hypnose Star Mascara (Waterproof)//£22 (review). I fell in love with the sample I got from a while ago and purchased the full size but  I was initially slightly disappointed. However, I started using it again and actually really like it. I am not sure what has changed. It is great as an everyday mascara as it moderately elongates my lashes and adds a good amount of volume. I find it works better when I layer it with other mascaras.

I have never done an eyeshadow look without eyeliner. It just won't work out and my eyeshadow never looks complete with a nice wing. Even when I do minimal makeup, I still reach for an eyeliner. I always look out for a nice black, demi-matte eyeliner which is easy to apply.  My all time favourite (and it has been for a few years now) is the L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim //£6.99 (Review). I switch between the Perfect Slim and the Super Star but I think I used more of the Perfect Slim in 2016. It applies smoothly and the felt tip gives me a lot of control. More importantly, it lasts all day unless I purposefully rub and smudge my eyes. For the price and quality, it is a 5-star product in my opinion. Another eyeliner I discovered in 2016 was the Nude by Nature Definition Eyeliner*//£16 (Review). It comes in such a gorgeous rose gold packaging and the product itself is so easy to apply. It starts off looking quite shiny but ends up as a classy matte texture which I love for everyday wear. I love wearing this during the weekends which is when I have more time to perfect my eyeliner wing.

Now for my waterline, I used two different eyeliners all through 2016 because they had amazing quality. The first was the Vincent Longo Cosmetics Pro Waterproof Eyeliner in Aubergine*//£17 (Review). It is such an amazing purple shade which is so flattering on any eyeshadow look I create. It really makes my eyes pop and I love the texture, the way it glides and it does not irritate my sensitive eyes. Another set of eyeliners I loved (and still love) are the Nude by Nature Contour Eye Pencils*//£14 (Reviewwhich are the softest eyeliners I have tried. They glide on so beautifully and are highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. I absolutely love them for this and the fact that they are made from natural ingredients makes me love them even more. There are 6 shades available and I love all the shades I have.

I almost didn't want to write about concealers because I don't think anything has changed at all from my 2015 Makeup Favourites. The first concealer is the Revlon Color Stay Concealer //£6.99 (Reviewand it is my main under eye concealer. I purchased 6 backups when I panicked that my shade (Deep Fonce 06) was being discontinued. It is lightweight, easy to apply and does not easily crease under my fine lines. The second concealer is my all time favourite and it's no surprise- LA Girl Pro Concealer//$3.99 (Review). I have spoken about this so many times so I am going to try not to repeat myself again. I don't use this concealer for my under eyes at all rather it is specifically for concealing dark blemishes. It has a thicker texture so I know it will not be ideal for under eye concealing as it will be prone to creasing, etc. For my blemishes, it works like a dream and I sometimes use it as a foundation because it is amazing like that. It lasts all day, does not budge and the shade Fawn is a perfect shade for my complexion. The third concealer on my radar is the Becca Dual Coverage Concealer (Reviewwhich I love and have repurchased more than a few times. It can be used for any type of concealing but I mainly use it to neaten my brows and highlighting my brow bone. The other concealer which I loved so much especially at the beginning of the year was the MAC Prep & Prime Highlighter in Peach Lustre //£19 (Review). It is a peach toned corrector which I use mainly to colour correct before applying my foundation and concealer. It works so well to cancel out any discolourations from my dark blemishes especially on my cheeks. Lastly, I have the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage //£27.50 (Reviewwhich I loved a lot during Summer. It is best for pin point concealing which is what I mainly use it for. It has a somewhat pasty texture which ensures it does not slip off my face especially during summer.. I don't reach for it so much now that it is Winter but it will make a come back during Spring.

When it comes to foundation, I am very picky but quite open to try out new ones. I don't want to have to faff around with my foundation especially if I have to mix or manipulate it to get it to suit me. I just can't be bothered doing that. I have a whole drawer of foundation and I have recently started giving them away because I want to retain only the best of the best. My first favourite foundations is one I adore although one tiny snag about it absolutely annoys me but let's start with the good points. It's the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation//£22. It has been an old love and I have used it on and off for about 6 years. It offers a lovely medium coverage that can easily be built up too full coverage but one has to be careful as it could look cakey. It is such a perfect match to my complexion (NC45) and it is best for combination oily skin as it has a demi-matte finish. One little snag is its smell or should I say scent or fragrance but I can hardly classify it as one. It just smells like paint, to be honest. The sad part is that this smell does linger for a while before fading off. However, the foundation performs so well that I just overlook this little snag. I will be repurchasing it regardless because it makes my skin look flawless. The second foundation I fell very hard in love with is the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Even Finish Foundation /£31. I used this foundation almost every single day since I purchased it and I still use it mostly during the week. It is a good match to my complexion (my shade is Golden 6). I am beginning to think it slightly oxidises to become the most perfect match to my skin (to my delight). It is long lasting, applies like a dream and has a demi-matte flattering finish. I just wish it offered more coverage  because I still have to either build it up or use a concealer for any dark blemishes. My third favourite foundation is the Black Opal True Colour Foundation Stick //£9.99. I used this foundation so much that I finished one and repurchased a back up. My shade is Topaz and it is a pretty good match for my complexion. I love its ease of application and how long wearing it is. I do have to say it has the tendency to colour transfer but it is nothing out of the ordinary. I used it during the colder months when my shiny T-zone is better controlled because this foundation makes me get shiny pretty quickly during the warmer months. However, I find these little snags very minute compared to how much I enjoy wearing it and that's why it is made it into my Makeup Favourites.

My all time favourite foundation for 2016 is none other than the Vincent Longo Water Canvas Creme-to-Powder Foundation*//£43.50 (Review). It is the most expensive but one of the best foundations I have ever tried. It is a water based foundation as the name suggests so it feels extremely lightweight  on the skin no matter how much I build it up. Whenever I use it, I don't even bother with a concealer or powder because I build it up to conceal every blemish. Whenever I want a flawless Instagram ready finish, I reach for this foundation because it makes my skin look incredible with the littlest effort. I was so lucky to be gifted two because I managed to destroy the surface of my first one. I have learnt the trick of applying it and now my second one has no terrible dents yet (*touch wood*). The trick is using a rounded buffing brush and picking up the product eve so gently. I press it into my skin as opposed to spreading or swirling it and it's really perfect this way. It's totally worth the price tag as I feel fabulous when I use mine. My shade is Honey Pecan. 

In 2016, I was mainly into muted tones when it comes to blushes I think my go to shades are a bronze pink and dusky rose as they look best on my complexion. The first blush is Sainsbury's Boutique in Fool's Paradise*//£8 (Review). It is just my perfect everyday blush and I wore this blush on a daily basis (even into 2017). You know when you find that one blush that suits your complexion and goes with all your makeup looks, you just stick to it. That's exactly how I feel about this amazing blush. The next blush I loved is the Vincent Longo Water Canvas Blush in Swan Lake*//£33.50 (Review). The texture is so similar to the VLC Water Canvas Foundation and I just adore its application. It always looks very natural and never looks cakey on me. My third favourite blush is a new discovery but one I love so much- Colour Pop Blush in Bardot //$8. It is a such a beautiful bronzey copper shade and I usually opt for it when I want something extra. I love its texture, application, wear time and of course, the price. 

Face Powders
I rarely ever use my foundation without using a powder to set it. There are a few exceptional foundations that I can get away without using a powder but that's for another post. I use an all over face powder to ensure that my foundation lasts longer and to prevent shine. The first favourite is the MAC Mineralize Skin Finish (Medium Dark) //£24 which has been a favourite for many years. It does not sit heavy on my face at all and it's just the perfect last step to my makeup/foundation routine. It also really helps control shine on my combination oily skin especially during summer. The second powder is a new discovery for me and it's the Nude by Nature Flawless Pressed Powder Foundation*//£25. I have the shade Sandy Brown (N9) and it is a pretty good match for me. It is a lightweight powder that sets my foundation in place and it keeps my face matte for a good while. I love that it comes in a pressed powder form and it can actually be used solely as a foundation. However, I just apply it lightly to set my entire face and that's me done. Whenever I have to do any touch ups, I am always delighted to whip it out because who does not love rose gold packaging.

I think I really got into Highlighters towards the end of 2015 and even more in 2016. Highlighters just add that extra oomph to my entire look and I love that there are different products that provide whatever level of glow you want. I have quite a collection of highlighters but I had to really be strict and pick out my top favourites. The first highlighter is the Nude by Nature Highlight Kit*//£25 (Review) and it is my most used highlighter. This kit contains my 3 gorgeous highlighters which are perfect for everyday and can be built up for a more dramatic look. The particles are finely milled and these highlighters give the most natural looking glow. The second highlighter is the Vincent Longo La Belle Luce Highlighter in Patina*//£24.50 (Reviewwhich has such a beautiful mosaic design. It is a gold toned highlighter and it looks so flattering on my complexion. It is ideal for everyday use but I tend to reach for it more during the weekend when I can layer it as much as I wish. Its glow lasts all day which is a plus for me. The other highlighter I loved which I enjoyed was the Colour Pop Highlighter in Avalon//$7. I got this towards the end of 2016 but it has become one of my favourite highlighters. It went straight to y wish list after watching several YouTube videos and I saw how flattering it looked on darker skin tones. It has the typical Colour Pop Pearlized finish which is the texture everyone loves. The pigmentation and wear time is absolutely fantastic and it really makes my skin look sun kissed with its rich bronze gold shade. The last highlighter is an old favourite- The Balm Betty Lou-Manizer //£15 (Review). It was one of the first highlighters I fell in love with and I still have a soft spot for it. It is incredibly pigmented and I reserve it for days when I want to make a statement.

I don't think I can mention highlighters without thinking of my contours. I love contouring my face but not in a crazy way. I have three contour kits and products that I reach for depending on my mood. My first favourit is the Nude by Nature Contour Kit*//£25 (Reviewand it is also my everyday contour. I have already made a lovely dent in the Contour Shade and I am so glad I have a backup waiting for me. It is the perfect contour colour for my complexion and it is amazing for everyday wear. The good thing about it is that it can be built up according to your preference but it still manages to look natural (no muddy contour in sight). An old time favourite is the Sleek Contour Kit //£6.49 (Review) which is actually the first contour ever I purchased. It has been repurchased so many times that I have lost count. I use the shade Medium which works so well on my complexion. It is very pigmented so you need a light hand.. Having said that, it is quite easy to blend so you can always go over any mistakes made. It's a lovely kit, affordable and easy to find in the UK. What's not to love? The last but not the least is a cream contour although it is actually a foundation stick. It's the Black Opal True Colour Foundation//£9.99 (Review) in the shade Suede Mocha. I reserve it for days when I want to be totally extra and have my contour pop. The contrast of the shade against my complexion makes my hidden cheek bones defined and I have enjoyed using it so much. It is also easy to blend and does not interfere with my foundation at all.

Eyeshadow Palettes
When it comes to eyeshadows, I have no self control at all. I knew there was no way I was going to pick just one eyesahdow palette so I cheated a little and made several categories of my favourite eyeshadows.  I split them into Palettes, Single Eyeshadows and Cream Eyeshadows. I thought I'd start with palettes because they are my top favourites. These palettes were custom palettes i.e.I picked out my favourite single eyeshadows and inserted them into an empty palette. My most used palette has to be the KIKO Eyeshadow Custom Palette// £2.90 each.This is my go-to eyeshadow palette and I use it almost everyday I wear makeup. The eyeshadows have incredible pigmentation for the price range and they last all day(especially with a primer).They do kick up some powder but their pigmentation, wear time and beautiful shade choice overshadows any slight powder kick up. The second palette is another custom made palette- Makeup Geek Eyeshadows. I bought both the Regular//£4.95 shades and the Foiled//£6.95 shades and they are one of the best eyeshadows I have tried. They are greatly pigmented, last all day without rubbing off and they come in the prettiest wearable shades ever. The third eyeshadow palette is my MAC Customised Eyeshadow Palette//£10 each. I feel quite sentimental (very silly I know) about this palette because it took me quite a while to finally complete it. l. I still love all my eyeshadow palettes but there's still that little something special when it comes to my MAC Palette. All my palettes look alike and I realised this when I finally complete them. I have neutral shades and the bold shades and I can't think of any shade in these palettes that I won't use.

Single Eyeshadows
In 2016,  I tried out two incredible brands that made me convert to think about investing in  single eyeshadows as I prefer buying or making palettes. In 2016, I was absolutely obsessed (and I still am) over the Vincent Longo Pearl X Ombre Eyeshadows*//£19 (Review). They are possibly the most beautiful eyeshadow designs I have ever owned. Their gorgeous mosaic design never fails to impress me and I always want to just play with them. I was lucky to be gifted two shades- Luna Beach*(purple/blue/bronze) and the Gypsy Rose* (pinks, rose gold with specks of burgundy). I always use them to create custom eyeshadows and I usually get compliments and questions on my eyeshadows. Later in 2016, I got to try the Nude by Nature Natural Illusion Pressed Eyeshadows*//£14 (Reviewand I fell in love with them. Their rose gold packaging tugged at my heart strings and I was even more delighted that the eyeshadows delivered amazing quality. I was gifted the entire Eye Collection (Review) and the single eyeshadows within the collection are so lovely. Their texture, finish and pigmentation was top notch and I didn't expect this especially as they are a natural brand.

Eyeshadow Quad
Apart from my single eyeshadows and custom palettes, I absolutely loved some quads and wheels in 2016. I enjoy using them because they are travel friendly. My first favourite a Shu Uemura Quad//£10 each  and it is also a customised quad. I chose these colourful shades because I sometimes struggle to find them in a palette and I just love purples/pinks, etc. The packaging is one of the classiest I have ever owned and the eyeshadows themselves are top quality. They have a buttery texture and really great pigmentation. The second quad is from Illamasqua Fatale Palette//£34 and it was a lucky purchase for me. I pretty much use all the shades in there except the darker taupe shade. The three other shades are my favourites and the pigmentation of these eyeshadows are top notch. This quad was so handy for travelling as I just grab a neutral palette and this colourful quad and I am sorted. The last eyeshadow is actually an Eyeshadow Wheel which I discovered at the end of 2016. It's the My Sign Collection by Makeup Revolution*//£5 (Review). Of course, I have Capricorn which is my zodiac sign. All the colours in this wheel are up my street and they are so easy to use. I can create an entire look just with the colours in this wheel and even do my brows on top of it. I love it and I adore the idea used in designing an eyeshadow wheel.

Cream Eyeshadows // Link //£29 (Review)
I know I included the By Terry Ombre Blackstars in my 2015 Makeup Favourites but they still remain my favourites. I have tried a few other cream/stick eyeshadows and none even comes close to these Ombre Blackstars. They are very expensive but I have to say they are worth it. They come in a variety of shades but I only have 6 shades and I love them all. They apply so smoothly, last all day and have a pearlized finish (thanks to the Tahitian Pearl infused in the formula). I have worn them on their own or under other eyeshadows and they always look gorgeous They just transform any eyeshadow look and I cannot get over how beautiful they are. I won't be surprised if they show up again in my 2017 Favourites.

Lipsticks (Review)
The easiest category to choose from for this post was lipsticks. Why, you ask? It's because I was 100% obsessed with only one brand and it's none other than the ILIA Lipsticks*//£22 and Tinted Lip Conditioners*//£22. They were my most used lipsticks and lip products in general and their quality is just out of this world. I have a good number of shades which are made up of my favourite colours. Their packaging is really unique and I don't think I have tried any other lipstick with similar packaging. The lipsticks themselves have a really gorgeous pigmentation and their wear time is impressive. I love reaching for the Tinted Lip Conditioners for everyday while I opt for the Lipsticks during weekends or any other days I want something extra. ILIA is a Green Beauty brand and their quality is just really commendable.

Favourite 2016 Purchases
I thought I'd include a final category which is basically a shout out to my two of my favourite purchases in 2016. The first one was a gift from the man and a lovely surprise at that. It's none other than the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette//£65. I loved this palette in 2016 and it is still a firm favourite. The Ambient Edit Palette contains blushes, a bronzer and lighting powders which I adore. There's just something so unique about Hourglass and that's why they are a firm favourite for many people including bloggers. Of course, we can't ignore the gorgeous packaging!! If you missed out on this palette, you can purchase the Marble version or wait for the Blush Palette coming out on the 14th February 2017.

The second purchase was made at the end of 2016 and it's sadly sold out (it was limited edition though). It's the MAC Nutcracker Sweet Copper Face Compact//£29. I am not usually crazy about MAC Limited editions but this Face Compact had me at Hello. I saw countless posts on Instagram, Twitter and even Facebook. I could not resist and I am so glad I caved in. Inside the palette you get a Blush and a Highlighter and they are so perfect for my complexion. I can't even begin to describe how much I love this Face Compact. I honestly thought it would be more expensive than it was and even if it was, I'd have still purchased it.

Overall Thoughts
It took me such a long time to write this post because I have been so busy but I wanted to write about things I loved only. I really hope you enjoyed this post even though it is such a long one. I am keen to know what your favourites are so I can check them out. If you have written yearly favourites, please link them below so I can have a nice read. That's all from me and I'd see you in my next post...xx
*PR Samples + Gifted PR Samples, Affiliate Links used, read my full disclaimer here

FOREO Luna Mini 2 Giveaway (Instagram Entry Only)

As promised, I have another Giveaway for a lucky person to win the FOREO Luna Mini 2*.  I have written a review on the FOREO Luna Mini 2 which you can find here. It is one of the best tools, alongside other FOREO beauty tools, I have ever tried. I am so pleased that someone else will be able to try and enjoy a brand new one. The rules of this giveaway are pretty simple so please make sure you read the instructions carefully. I found that in my previous giveaways some people don't read the instructions and their entries are sadly invalid. This giveaway is all on Instagram (link to the Giveaway can be found here). The winner will be chosen on Instagram so entry comments below this blog post will not count. This giveaway is to spread the love as February is a love month (although all months are love months). I would like to know #whatdoyoulove. You can check out my post in Instagram to see what I love.

Now, how do you win a gorgeous FOREO Luna Mini 2? Simple!!  Follow the steps below:
1. Follow @foreo_uk on Instagram.
2. Make sure you are following me, of course 😊 @fashstyleliv 
3. Tell me - #whatdoyoulove under the original Instagram Post here and make sure you use the hashtag #whatdoyoulove in your answer.
4. This giveaway will end on 15th February 2017 and it is open to UK residents only.
5. I will pick the best comment on Instagram on the 16th February 2017 and the winner will win a Luna Mini 2.
Good luck everyone!!
*Gifted PR Sample, read my full disclaimer here

2016 Skincare Favourites

I am a huge fan of skincare products and they do form a good bulk of all my reviews here on the blog.  I recently wrote about my Favourite Skincare Launches from 2016  and many of them are featured on this post.  You can also check out my 2015 Skincare Favourites over here. I know this is late considering that we are already in February but I still wanted to share my favourite skincare products from 2016. I have a post planned for my Makeup Favourites and of course, Hair & Body Care and Fragrances, etc.  I have read many yearly favourites and I am amazed at how many bloggers are able to choose one favourite from each category. Sadly, I am not that disciplined as I love at least two or three products and let’s face it; we are looking at a whole year. Most categories have at least two products and believe me, it was a herculean task trying to whittle them down because I tried so many amazing products last year.  Sometimes, I find that there's the temptation to choose products that were used more towards the end of the year compared to all through the year. This is why I went through my entire collection, blog posts, bathroom and skincare drawers to pick out products that actually stood out for me through the year. Grab a cuppa or your favourite drink and relax while I present you with my 2016 skincare favourites (dramatic much? Nah!!never)…..

Favourite Beauty Tools
2016 was definitely the year of discovering and diligently using amazing beauty tools. I honestly cannot remember any time in 2016 when I cleansed my skin with just my hands. I just feel my skin is much cleaner when I use a beauty tool and I have been so lucky to try out quite a few. My three favourites from 2016 were the FOREO Luna Exclusive for All Skin Types, Magnitone Barefaced Cleansing Brush and the PMD Personal Microderm. I cannot even describe how much these three products have changed my skin. I have a long standing love for my FOREO devices and I have the Luna Mini 2, the Luna Exclusive and the Luna Play. I found myself loving and using my FOREO Luna Exclusive*//£129 more than the other Lunas I own although I do rotate them all.  I love it for massaging my skin and it feels so lovely like I've had a facial. The second beauty tool I adored in 2016 was the Magnitone Bare Faced Cleansing Brush*//£70  and I still enjoy using it. It is ideal for deep cleansing and I feel it also helps in exfoliating my skin. I usually opt for it in the evenings especially if I have worn heavy makeup during the day. The last beauty tool which I was so obsessed with (and still love) is the PMD Microderm*//£150.  I was so lucky to have been given a chance to try it out and I have seen improvements in my skin's texture and hyper pigmentation. I was so scared to use it but now I can't wait for Sundays which is the day I use it. Basically, my beauty tool routine is: FOREO Luna in the morning for an amazing revitalising cleanse and massage, Magnitone Bare Faced Cleansing Brush for a deep pore cleanse in the evening and the PMD  Personal Microderm every Sunday evening to exfoliate my skin and help clear my hyper pigmentation.

Favourite Makeup Removers- First Cleanse
In 2016, I did try quite a few makeup removers like wipes and micellar waters which I use to remove my makeup before going in for my second cleanse. I wrote a whole post on some of my Favourite Micellar waters over here so you can check that out. However, the two products that stood out for me when it comes to removing every scrap of makeup with the littlest effort were the Fake Bake Beauty Dream Skin Cleansing Melt and the Roger & Gallet Aura Mirabilis Cleansing Mask. They both remove every scrap of makeup including eye makeup. I don’t generally use balm/oil cleansers for my eyes but when I do, they do the job so well. However, I still prefer to use a separate eye makeup remover for them which I will touch on later. The Fake Bake Beauty Dream Skin Cleansing Melt*//£15.00 was featured in my 2015 favourites and it still remains my favourite for 2016. It is a balm texture which melts to an oil texture once it hits the face and I love using it. I remove it with a warm/hot cloth and all my makeup is gone. The Aura Mirabilis Cleansing Mask*//£15 can be used both as a mask and a cleanser/makeup remover. I recently started using it to remove my makeup more than a mask and it’s a dream to use. It has a gel texture that also melts to an oil texture and takes off all my makeup. I also remove it with a hot cloth and there's no scrap of makeup in sight. These two makeup removers have really impressed me.

Favourite Cleansers- Second Cleanse
I believe these cleansers may have been featured in my 2015 Monthly and Yearly Favourites and it's no surprise they are back again for 2016. It is simply because they are incredible and they were the main cleansers I used through the year. I am so in love with them because they give my skin a good cleanse and I know I can rely on them. I love to use the La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel*//£11 in the morning because it feels really gentle on my skin and does not strip my skin at all. The second cleanser is my Holy Grail and it is the African Black Soap (Dudu Osun). I have stacks and stacks of this soap in my room and I know they will last me all through 2017 and maybe 2018. That's how much backup I have because my Mum always sends them to me. The Dudu Osun gives my skin such a good cleanse and helps prevent breakouts. It does strip my skin out a little but to be honest, I don't mind much because I use it more at night and I always load my skin back up with moisture and oils. I just love both of them and I won't be surprised if they feature again at the end of 2017. I also have to mention the FOREO Day and Night Cleansers which I absolutely adore. I did use them a lot at the beginning of 2016 and they still are firm favourites. I always take the mini size with me when I am travelling along with my FOREO Mini and they are just the best travelling partners ever!!

Favourite Eye Makeup Removers
I have chosen two eye makeup removers that have done their job so well without irritating my eyes or contact lenses. The first is the L’Oreal Gentle Eye Makeup Remover*//£3.99 which featured in my 2015 Favourites and with god reason. It is affordable, does the job well and backs up all its claims. I have gone through several bottles and I also have a good number of backups. It removes my waterproof eye makeup gently and I never have to rub my eyes or have the infamous panda eyes. The second one is an underrated eye makeup remover but one I loved so much in 2016. It’s none other than the Liz Earle Eye Bright Lotion//£13.25 which is incredible. I am surprised that they claim on the bottle that it removes only light eye makeup because this baby has been effective at removing my heavy eye makeup. In addition to its eye makeup removing properties, it really soothes my eyes and it feels so cooling and refreshing. I absolutely love it and it is so much better, in my opinion, than even using a cucumber slice. It’s a gem!! I also have loved the Clarins Eye Makeup Remover which works so well but I didn’t use it as much as these two which is why I haven't included it in my 2016 favourites.

Favourite Toners/Astringents/Chemical Exfoliators
I am a huge fan of using chemical exfoliators which contain either AHAs or BHAs. I have used them for a few years now and they have helped with my hyper-pigmentations. There were three toners that stood out for me in 2016 and I am sure you'd have seen them mentioned either on Instagram, Monthly Favourites or standalone reviews. The first on the list is the Alpha- H Liquid Gold//£33.50 which is one of my favourite chemical exfoliators. It still stings a little despite using it for months but the results are worth it. My hyper-pigmentation and blemishes are getting better. I don't use it daily; let's say about 2-3 times a week and usually at night. Sometimes, I use it solely without using any other skincare products so it works fully. Other times, I use it alongside other skincare products and the results are impressive. My second favourite toner is the Pixi Glow Tonic//£18 which is more of my everyday toner. It also contains Glycolic Acid like the Liquid Gold and they surprisingly have the same percentage (5%). However, it is much easier t tolerate than the Liquid Gold and I think it will be best to start with if you have sensitive skin.. I do find that it works  better at preventing acne or breakouts and whenever I use it consistently, I never break out. Last but not the least was a new discovery mid year - The Roger & Gallet Aura Mirabilis Beauty Vinegar*//£15. I don't think I can put into words how much I adore this product. It is ideal for everyday use both morning and nights and I use it as frequently as my Pixi Glow Tonic. It leaves my skin radiant, re-balances it and prevents any skin problems. I am definitely repurchasing this when it runs out.

Favourite Serums
I love a good serum because they pack a punch when it comes to active ingredients. I use serums both at night and during day and I have only missed using them a few times through the year. When it comes to serums, I look out for one which is hydrating, moisturising and if possible, effective at clearing my hyper pigmentation. I know it is very difficult to find one that delivers all three benefits but there are a few that have swept me off my feet. The first is the Lancome Advaced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate//£59. I have featured it on a few Gift Guides but it definitely needs its own separate review. It provides both hydrating and moisturising benefits to my skin and I absolutely adore it. I tend to use it more in the morning because the hydration takes me through the day. My second favourite is the newest addition to my serum stash and it's none other than the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair*//£52. I know it says night repair but I use it during the day and at night. It equally provides hydrating and moisturising effects but I think the Lancome Advanced Genifique is slightly more hydrating. Nevertheless, I feel the Estee Lauder ANR makes my skin feel supple especially when I use it the night before. I can't really comment on any anti-ageing effects because I feel you can only tell many years later if it worked or not. The third serum is the Roger & Gallet Aura Mirabilis Double Extract*//£40 which was one of my most used serums in 2016. It is a bi-phase formula which mimics the natural composition of the skin and I feel that's why my skin loves it. It feels a little bit like a serum-oil hybrid which makes it ideal for the winter season or if you have dry/dehydrated skin. The fourth serum is the Aveda Tulasara Bright Concentrate*//£45 which is a serum-moisturiser hybrid. I really enjoyed using this serum. I saw improvements in my hyper pigmentation and I still use it alongside my other serums. I feel there's a place for all the serums in my stash and I have enjoyed using all of them.

Favourite Eye Creams
I think finding the right eye cream is quite a difficult task and it also depends on what you are targeting. I don't really have dark under eye circles but I do have very faint fine lines which I think are from smiling/laughing too much but I don't mind. However, these fine lines under my eyes sometimes make my concealer crease and I end up looking tired. This made me continue the search for a really good eye cream. The first one I fell in love with is actually not an eye cream although it says on the bottle that it can be used as one. It is the La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide*//£17.50 which I used for under my eyes for the good part of 2016. It has a very lightweight texture which makes it perfect for under my eyes. I apply it with my ring finger and it provides the right amount of hydration. My other favourite Eye Cream is one of the best eye creams I have tried- Lancome Advanced Genifique Yeux Light Pearl //£46. I tried several samples of it and I knew that I had to purchase the full size so I saved up all my Debenhams Loyalty points for it. It was worth the purchase and I see myself repurchasing it and maybe the Estee Lauder ANR eye cream. The Light Pearl is lightweight, provides amazing hydration and has helped with the appearance of my fine lines. I rarely experience creasing under my eyes although my fine lines are still visible especially when I am smiling. However, my under eye concealing technique has not changed so I know these eye creams  have helped with any improvement.

Favourite Day Creams
I am very particular when it comes to day creams because my skin needs good hydration and moisture without sitting heavy on my skin.. I always look out for moisturisers that don't interfere with my foundations because that's a big No-No. In 2016, I tried quite a few day creams but the ones that stood out for me were the Verso Day Cream*//£90,  La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra*//£17.50 and Aura Mirabilis Legendary Cream*//£32. The Verso Day Cream is one of my favourites because it gives me a radiant glow without looking greasy. I also know that it is working on my hyper-pigmentation which is why I always wear a sunscreen with it. Another day cream I enjoyed was the La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra which I used both for my face and my eyes. I love the texture and the amount of hydration I get with it. It does not interfere with my makeup at all and I absolutely love it. Last but in no way the least is the Aura Mirabilis Legendary Cream from Roger & Gallet. It is quite richer than my usual day cream picks but it does sink in and does not mess around with my foundation. if anything, it helps my face look radiant and hydrated. I am a huge fan of the entire Aura Mirabilis range.

Favourite Night Creams
When it comes to night creams, the richer the texture, the better for me. I don't mind layering my skin with oils and moisture at night because I know my skin will thank me in the morning. I actually did use some of my day creams at night but I just chose these two because they are specifically night creams. The first is the La Roche Posay Toleriane Nuit*//£17.50 which is slightly richer than the regular Toleriane Ultra. It provides a good amount of moisture and hydration and I know I am leaving my skin in good hands. The second night cream which I have just fallen back in love with is the Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep*//£26.50. I can't get over its silky texture (whipped yoghurt always comes to mind whenever I use it). My skin always looks perky in the morning whenever I use it the night before. It contains caffeine as well as other ingredients which work on the skin to improve its texture. It's one of my favourites and I always look forward to using it at night.

Favourite Sunscreen
I know I must be sounding like a broken record but I am absolutely obsessed with my Anthelios XL Sunscreen SPF 50//£16.50. I have been gifted this sunscreen in the past and repurchased it more than a few times. Not just stopping there, I have recommended it to family and friends and even purchased for them to try it out. That's how much I love this sunscreen. In the past, I always avoided sunscreens for a number of reasons including the fact that most of them left a white/blue cast on my face. The Anthelios does not leave any cast and it ticks all the boxes for me. This is simply why I still use it even after 3 years. I use the Dry Touch Gel version which also has a mattifying effect on my skin and almost doubles as a primer for me. Win-Win!!

Favourite Acne Treatment
Yes, I still have some breakouts every now and then which can be very frustrating considering the fact that my teenage years are truly and well behind me. Why on earth should I still be breaking out? I do have to admit that my breakouts are closely related to hormones (when Mother Nature pops around) and lifestyle (mainly when I eat dairy). I wrote a post on lifestyle changes I made which helped my skin and I still maintain them. However, a few breakouts happened in 2016 and I was not scared because I had my blemish busting crew ready. I have featured my La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo//£15.50  and A.I.Targeted Breakout Corrector//£11.00 so many times here on the blog and I still love them. I always have backups because my skin can go crazy with the littlest notice. I adore them and together, they have never failed me. I also fell in love with the revamped Body Shop Tea Tree range which I was lucky to try out in 2016. It's no secret that Tea Tree is well known for its blemish busting properties and the Body Shop range does just that. I particularly loved the Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution//£12 which worked well as a serum before my moisturiser. The Tea Tree Oil* in itself is really good quality as expected from Body Shop and worked wonders on my spots. I still enjoy using them because I know I can count on them.

Favourite Hyperpigmentation Treatment
I am planning a post on products that have helped me with my hyper pigmentation but before then, I want to share a few that stood out for me in 2016. The first product is the Aveda Tulasara Concentrate (Bright)*//£45 which I tried out for a good while last year. It is a serum-moisturiser hybrid and it works so well in preventing dark spots and clearing the ones I already have. I won't say it works as fast as other hyper pigmentation products I have tried but its results are impressive. It's an amazing product and requires consistent use to see results. The second product is the Verso Dark Spot Fix*//£125. It is a hero product and it works so well on fading away on dark spots particularly newer ones. It contains Retinol 8 which is eight times more effective than regular Retinol and far less irritating. It is very, very expensive but it does work and that's why I love it.

 Last but in no way the least is my absolute favourite when it comes to hyper pigmentation. It is none other than the Alpha-Hydroxy Glycolic Range. This is actually my second set of products I have tried and they work the fastest when it comes to hyper pigmentation. The products do contain at least 10% Glycolic Acid which is considerably higher than most products you can usually get. For reference, Pixi Glow Tonic and Alpha-H Liquid Gold both contain 5% Glycolic Acid. I don't think these products are for sensitive skin or even the fainthearted because they do sting but the results are absolutely outstanding. The sad thing is they are only sold in the US (Ulta and their website) which is such a palaver but I still get them when family and friends are visiting the US.

Favourite Masks 
I was really int my Masks in 2016 and I tried quite a few masks which I enjoyed. I have featured them in various posts over the year and it was a struggle choosing my absolute faves. I still love my Ark Skincare Hydration Injection Masque which was featured in my 2015 Skincare Favourites. In 2016, the Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Clay Mask//£9.99 and the Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Masque*//£55 were my favourites. I always go back to my Una Brennan Mask when my skin is playing up and feeling congested. Whenever I use it, it just resets my skin and gets rid of any gunk that may be hiding. I am a huge fan and it is definitely one I will repurchase once I run out. The second mask is the Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Mask which I discovered towards the last quarter of 2016. It is intensely hydrating and filled with anti-oxidants that get rid of any free radicals that cause skin problems. I have enjoyed it even more now that it's winter and my skin is on the dry end of things. I absolutely love it and I am so pleased I have it in my stash.

Favourite Mists
I find that I reach for mists regardless of what the weather is doing although I do reach for them more during the warmer months. Last summer, I mainly reached for my La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water*//£7.00. I had a full size can and a mini one which I popped into my hand bag. I don't know what it is about this Thermal Spring water but it really hydrates my skin and refreshes it instantly. Believe me, I have tried ordinary water in a spray bottle and the effects are not the same at all. I use it during winter when my skin is feeling dry from the central heating and it's been a skin saviour for me. The second Mist which I enjoyed (and still enjoying) is the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist*//£24 It hydrates, refreshes and re-balances my skin. I use this mist during the day (to set my makeup or even before my makeup if my skin is feeling dry) and at night especially on days when I have used AHAs or BHAs skincare products.

Favourite Lip Balms
In the past I avoided lip balms because many of the ones I tried felt so greasy and heavy on my lips. I know some are meant to be that way but when they sit on top of my lips forever, I feel the purpose is defeated. I want a lip balm that will exert its effect but sink in nicely into my lips. I was so glad when I discovered two lip balms that do exactly what I want and more. The first is a firm favourite and I believe it was featured in 2015- the By Terry Baume de Rose//£39. It's such a joy to use and it has never let me down. It's hydrating, moisturising and caters to my dry/chapped/cracked lips each time without fail. I love to wear it at night but I have used it many times during the day under my lipsticks and it's been bliss. It's quite expensive but the quality is outstanding and there's a decent amount to last a good while. The second was a new discovery towards the end of the year- Verso Lip Serum*//£45. I don't think I had ever tried a lip serum before I tried it so I didn't know what to expect. It has a lip balm texture but with a lighter texture. It sinks in quickly while fixing my lips and it has been one of my lip saviours this winter. I am so pleased I discovered it and I will be talking about it soon on the blog.

Favourite Hand Creams
The last category is my hand creams and I am such a huge fan of hand creams. I have them everywhere-on my desk, bathroom, handbag, in my pocket at work, etc. I just hate the feeling of dry hands and I am so happy to have all my hand creams come to my rescue. Three hand creams stood out for me in 2016 and they include- Molton Brown Delicious Rhubarb & Rose Hand Cream, Verso Hand Serum and Amouage Hand Cream. The common thing they do is properly moisturise and hydrate my hands. However, they all bring something extra special to the table. The Amouage Hand Cream*//£55 is my special hand cream and sometimes I use it on my body. It smells gorgeous and it keeps my hands moisturised and hydrated for a long time. I reach for it on days when I want a long lasting hand cream which smells luxurious. The Molton Brown Delicious Rhubarb & Rose Hand Cream*//£10 is my everyday hand cream and it comes with me almost everywhere. It stays in my handbag which means I reach for it more than the others. The final one is the Verso Hand Serum*//£55 which is very different to other hand creams I have tried. It contains Retinol 8 which helps with hyper pigmentation. A pair of scissors accidentally scratched three of my fingers as I was trying to open a parcel. My fingers are healed but there is some surface scarring which annoys me. The Verso Hand Serum has been helping fade them away and that's why it is a pretty special Hand Cream to me.

Overall Thoughts
I know this was a super long post but that's what Skincare Favourite posts are. I absolutely enjoyed taking the photos and writing this post up. I am so keen to hear what your favourites are as I am always looking to try new products. I hope you enjoyed this post and I will see you in my next one..xx
*Gifted PR Samples & PR Samples + Affiliate Links used, read my full disclaimer here

Nude by Nature Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and left lovely comments on the Nude by Nature Giveaway. The competition ended yesterday and I chose the winner today via Random.Org. I am pleased to announce that the winner is ........................................Heather!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Congratulations!!! I have already emailed her and all the lovely Nude by Nature makeup will be om their way to hers once she replies. I have another Giveaway coming up on my Instagram just before Valentine's Day so make sure you are following me on there so you don't miss out. I will be hosting even more giveaways this year; maybe I'd just do it randomly so I get to give back to true readers of my blog. See you in my next post...xx

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