2015 in beauty has been experimental, I've tried a lot of products! and I've found a lot of new staple products, some loves, some hates, and some exceptional. Everything that made it to 'Exceptional' is in this blog post. These are things I've been using all year and deserve to be on everyone's holy grail list. There's a 2015 Skincare favourites coming your way too soon so be on the lookout for that.
Best: Kat Von D tattoo liner in 'Trooper'
This is very similar to the Stila stay all day liner, but the Kat Von D one wins out because of the ingenuis brush. Its almost like a paint brush, its made up of fine bristles that taper to a sharp point, this kind of brush can never become dull (unlike felt brushes) so will stay sharp until the end of its life. The formula is waterproof/smudgeproof/party proof. Its the blackest of blacks, matte, you can layer it up and it won't look streaky. its easy to use, it has a spring loaded cap so it never dries out. There isn't a bad thing I could say about this product. Perfect in all ways.
Second Best : Stila stay all day liquid liner
This has a long, sharp, very fine felt tip that tapers towards the point. This makes it perfect for creating an impossibly thin line, and the thicker base means its easy and quick to make a thicker line too. Its a blacker than black colour, completely waterproof, smudge proof, it really does stay all day (I've slept in this before and it still didn't budge) but its also easy to remove at the end of the day, a normal micellar water will do the trick no problem. The spring base lid means it seals tightly and doesn't dry out. It lasts forever, I've had mine for 6 months with daily use. Its been compared to the ever famous Kat Von D Tattoo liner and the only difference I can see is the brush, the Stila brush is a felt so if you aren't careful when putting the cap back on, you can blunt it, otherwise they are pretty much the same.
Best (for oily skin) Gosh Prime and Set Primer and mattfying setting powder
This is the best primer for oily skin I've found on the high street, Since I discovered it in early 2015 I've gone through four pots of this stuff. Once you get over the fact that using a powder as a primer is a little strange, this works like magic. Its a very finely milled, translucent, loose powder. Its actually the finest, softest texture powder I've ever used. You dust this all over the face, then go onto to do the usual foundation, concealer etc, and then set your make-up with the same powder. This makes me oil free for 5 hours (considering that if I use no primer I get oily after 2 hours, that is amazing) It leaves a very natural finish, it doesn't look like you're wearing powder at all.
Eye Shadow Palette
Best: Zoeva Cocoa blend palette
Best: By Terry ombre blackstar in Brown perfection
I tried to avoid buying this, but so many beauty bloggers went on and on about it that I bought into the hype. I got Brown perfection because I saw Sam Chapman wearing it in an Instagram post looking amazing, she'd used it for the base of a smokey eye with glitter in the centre of the lid. This is the best eye cream formula you will ever find, and it should be for the price! it has a very subtle amount of iridescent shimmer throughout, I'd suggest doing one eye at a time because once this sets it doesn't move. Once applied you have about thirty seconds play room to blend it. I want almost all the colours, and might drop by a Space NK store next time I'm feeling spendy.
Second best: Maybelline 24 hour colour tattoo eye creams
These eye creams are fantastic for the price point, I wish they came in more shades. I have the reddish copper toned one called Pomegranate Punk, a great color for Winter. They have a lot of glitter in but it doesn't look gaudy when its on the eye. You can apply a thin layer for a light wash of colour or a build it up for very opaque pigment. It definitely lasts all day and they make great, inexpensive, long lasting bases for other eye shadows to stick to.
Best: (Matte formula) Bourjois rouge edition velvet lipsticks
These are the best matte lipsticks I've come across, and such a good price point too. Its a liquid lipstick that sets to a very soft, satin finish. It settles in much like a stain and has amazing staying power because of it, however, because it isn't a competely matte finish it does tend to transfer on your coffee cup. Forgive it though, because it comes in a load of pretty colours, feels comfortable on the lips and is of high quality. I would expect this kind of lipstick to be high end and would absolutely pay double what it retails for if I had to.
Second best: (Matte) Kat Von D everlasting liquid lipstick in Outlaw
Although The Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks stay perfect on the lips for longer (doesn't cling to all the dry patches) the Kat Von D ones win because they have a much better colour selection, want a Kyle Jenner like nude? use 'Lolita', a brick red? 'Outlaw', a mauve-y purple? 'Mau 5' a lilac? 'LUV' there are some natural shades as well as very out there ones, bright oranges, barbie pinks, vampy wine colors, the list is endless. Outlaw is my favourite, its an orange toned red that looks great on any skin tone. She recently released some new shades too and they are brilliant. If you want very out there shades (or simply want a black liquid lipstick to mix with others in your collection) then the Jeffree Star cosmetics ones cater to that. The lasting power of both are insanse, if you don't drink anything it can last up to 12 hours, if you do drink then just the inner lip part can fade.
Best: (Pencil) Maybelline Color Drama lipstick in Berry Much
The best Berry lip color I own, these lip pencils dry to a semi-matte finish. It can transfer a little but not a lot. Its a berry toned red on me, but on paler skins you can really see the purple tones of it. They have some other great shades too such as a pink toned coral and a classic red. They are very comparable to the Nars velvet matte lip pencils, only a fraction of the price. Fantastic formula, I need to get more.
Best: (Traditional lipstick) Charlotte Tilbury matte revolution lipstick in Birkin Brown
These are unlike any matte lipstick formula I've ever used, they go on in a creamy texture and dry matte, not a flat matte but somewhere inbetween that and a velvet finish. They are expensive, but the formula is solid, it lasts well and is completely comfortable on the lips, to the point where you don't feel like you're wearing lipstick at all. They smell lovely, kind of like kinder eggs. They come in a great range of colours too, a deep wine (Glastonberry) a soft pink (Bitch Perfect) etc, but the one I use is Birkin Brown, on me a very natural if a little dark nude, on anyone paler a more dramatic, 90's lip.
Best: Benefit Roller lash
This isn't just the best mascara of the year, its the best I've ever found. For my stubbornly straight lashes, they hold a curl like nothing else, and its not even a waterproof formula! The brush has the perfect amount of bristles to separate my lashes and the curve of the wand adds volume, whilst the spiker end creates length. This is expensive, and the packaging although cute is very gimmicky, its still worth the money to me.
Second Best: Maybelline Lash sensational in black/waterproof
Specifically the waterproof because waterproof formulas hold a curl the best, essential for anyone with stubborn, short lashes that stick straight out like an elephants (raises hand). This mascara is comparable to the Benefit rollerlash, but only a bit. They both have a curved wand, with a longer spiker edge along one side. Although the Maybelline one has a much thicker wand which means you can build up volume a lot quicker. The more this mascara dries out the better it is to use, its not a very 'wet' mascara when you first get it which I like, if the formula is too fluid then you have 0 chance of building volume. Its a plastic bristle brush. The slightly curved, inner part of the wand is great for packing on the product, and the spiker, outter edge part of the brush is brilliant at separating out lashes and giving length. Best for those with sparse lashes.
Best: Maxfactor Creme puff blush in Gorgeous berries
The blush I've been using all year is the Creme puff blush in Gorgeous Berries, its the deepest purple shade above. These blushes are magical, they have strong pigment, swirled around the prettiest highlighter, on the cheeks it makes you look healthy, like you're naturally flushing, and glowing. I'm surprised its taking me this long to gain interest in the other shades, the bronzey one would be great for summer, but mostly I have my eye on the taupe shades. These have been compared to the ever famous - and ridiculously expensive - Ambient lighting blushes by Hourglass, and they are very similar.
Best: Smashbox liquid halo HD foundation with SPF 15
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this foundation, I didn't realize how good it was until I ran out, tried something else and then started to miss it. The Liquid Halo foundation is ultra lightweight, almost like a lotion in texture, it goes on smoothly and blends insanely fast. It doesn't give you much play room to blend it before it starts to set, but this makes application very speedy. Its great for oily and combination skins because its oil free. The finish isn't cakey, it looks like you're actual skin, just perfected. The SPF was appreciated in the Summer months, it comes in a wide range of colors for the palest to the darkest.
Best: NYX gottcha covered waterproof concealer
I'm cheating because I only got this a month ago but my god, is this concealer incredible, and its dirt cheap! its the highest coverage concealer I've ever found, I've used many a high end concealer and none of them compare to this. You only need the smallest amount of this for high impact coverage, its could most definitely conceal your tattoos, so your dark circles are no problem. It doesn't take too long to tap in and blend with the fingers. It doesn't crease under the eye (provided you set it with powder first) it stays all day. You can layer it up without issue, it comes in a lot of colours and did I mention its cheap? available at Boots.
Best: Soap and Glory Archery pencil
I've been through about 5 of these now, I've never been loyal to brow products before, but the Archery pencil by Soap and Glory is worth my loyalty. It has a brow brush on one end and the thinnest pencil on the other end, ideal for creating small, hair like strokes, a lot of brow pencils on the high street are too thick, not great for me because the tail end of my brows are non-existent, this tiny pencil means I can naturally fill them in so it doesn't look like a thick stripe towards the end. This is similar (If not exactly the same) as the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, only the Archery pencil comes in less colours and is significantly cheaper. I couldn't be without this pencil so much that I buy two at a time. Available at Boots.
Best: Loreal Brow artist plumper
It has the tiniest brush which allows you to comb through brow hairs without getting product on the surrounding skin. There's a lot of product when you pull out the wand but not too much, the brows are held firmly in place but not painfully so. There is some colour but not a dramatic amount, enough to make a natural difference but not enough to interfere with your other brow products applied. The thing I love most is that this brow gel has fibres in it, so you can build up the product over really sparse areas to create thicker brows. No other brow gel on the high street compares.
Best: (For daytime) The Balms' Mary Lou-Manizer
This is a 'suits all' highlighter that looks beautifully subtle in the day but can be applied more heavilly for more impact. The Mary Lou-manizer is a pearly white sheen, applied to the tops of cheek bones, inner corners of eyes, brow bone and cupids bow, makes you look like you're glowing from within. They have other colours too, the Betty Lou-manizer is a bronze, golden version, great for very deep skin tones, and the Cindy Lou-manizer is a pink version, perfect for the paler skin tones.
Best: (For night time) MUA Undress your skin highlighter
Everyone should own this highlighter, it doesn't last all day on the skin, but it gives the most stunning, iridescent glow to the skin, not glittery at all. I have this in the pink version as well as the golden/amber one, both are incredible. I can't believe they are only £3!? In truth I've been wearing this much more than the Mary Lou-manizer but only because of the beautiful colour of this, and the MUA one gives a much more intense glow, fantastic for night time looks (or day time if you're like me and just need intense glow all the time) this also looks very pretty when mixed with your blusher.