the 2015 beauty standouts.


I was going to do what I did last year and round up my favourite 'new finds' from the past 12 months. However, I was feeling quite constrained when I was trying to gather together the products as my favourites were a good mix of products I already owned and the new ones that I picked up along the way. So rather than doing a haul recap, so to speak, this year's beauty roundup is going to include both old favourites and new faces. And yes, I'm recycling photos as well, I've been slacking and uh, didn't have time to take a new photo. Sorry.

the base: No one should be surprised by this one, but the NARS Tinted Moisturiser (£29) made it into another annual favourites. I even have it in two shades, that's how much I adore this lightweight base. However, there has been another standout product that's on the whole other side of the spectrum. The L'Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation (£7.99) has been a foundation I didn't think I'd fall in love with. It's full coverage, almost completely matte, and from the drugstore. But it's one of my go to heavy coverage foundations now and probably one of my favourite finds from the year. 

Honorable mention: Dior BB Cream - it's good, it's easy to travel with, but I have to mix it with other bases 70% of the time to get a perfect shade match. 

the concealer: Without a doubt, the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer (£26.50) has been the annual standout concealer. The harder, waxy texture of this pure pigment ensures the product stays all day without slipping or melting. As for undereye concealing, the old favourite combination of the Bobbi Brown Corrector (£19) and the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer (£5.49) has assisted me in hiding signs of stress and sleep deprivation throughout the year. 

Honorable mention: Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer - the softest, kitten paw applicator throws this to the top of the list. The slight fall back? It's only medium coverage. But other than that, the formula is spot on. 

the powder: It's been a long while since I've been wowed by a powder, but the Bourjois Java Rice Powder (£9.99) knocked me off my feet the first time I tried it. It works wonderfully under the eyes, brightening the area while setting the concealer; but it's magic works when applied all over the face. I was wry about the glitter particles that seemed glaringly obvious upon swatching. But you know that Victoria's Secret angelic glow that seems to be out of reach for us mere mortals? Not anymore. I bet Aphrodite herself would be reaching for this brightening powder if she used makeup. 

Honorable mention: Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot - definitely the best mattifying powder that I've ever tried. Not only does it actually work at keeping oils at bay for hours, the finish is natural and seemingly impossible to cake up. 

the cheeks: I haven't really been into bronzers and blushes the past year. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've skipped it most days I've worn makeup. Highlighting, on the other hand, has been a whole different game. It's something that I've incorporated into part of my core base routine. The two that I've really been loving the past year is, of course, theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer (£17.49) and the Topshop Glow Pot. I love the sandwich method, with my base essentially acting as the 'ham' between the two layers of 'bread'. 

Honorable mention: Collection Glow Palette - an offering from the drugstore that holds its own against higher end offerings when it comes to that serious glow. However, it runs on the slightly darker side which sets it back. 

the brows: 2015 was the year that I realised brow gels aren't actually useless. The Benefit Gimmie Brow (£18.50) was the product that changed everything. Not only did it do the simple task of keeping my brow hairs in place, it also darkened my brow while adding fibres to keep it looking natural. From the drugstore, the L'Oreal Brow Artist Gel (£5.99) is one that completely won me over. It's more natural looking than the higher end offering and works just as well, if not better. This is perfect for the days I'm a bit over enthusiastic with the brow pencil and desperately need to do something to tone down the drama queen brows, as it 'fluffs up' my brow hairs, making things look a lot more natural and 'I was totally born with awesome brows'. 

Honorable mention: Catrice Brow Kit - mine's shattered but I still lugged it across continents back to Taiwan. This is how good it is. It's also more ashy toned, something that's a rarity amongst drugstore offerings. 

the shadows and liners: Not gonna lie, this was initially going to be two categories, but I was racking my brain trying to figure out which products really stood out to me the past year and it was limited. Not that there weren't any good ones, there were - it was just all a bit, well, less exciting than the other categories, y'know. That aside, the Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows (£6.90) that I got my hands on at the start of the year quickly became part of my regular routine that I thought I had it much longer than I actually had? Does that make sense? Like I loved it so much, I subconsciously forgot that I was once excited by how amazing it is. I've been also really enjoying the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner (£14.50) for a kitten flick. 

Honorable mention: Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics - I thought I was over the Naked hype, but then I got this palette. NOW I'm over the hype. 

the mascara: I fell into a mascara rut early in the year after my Catrice False Lash Fibre Mascara ran out, but the release of the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (£7.99) scooped me out of that one. It's lashy, dramatic, and the curl that it holds! I've repurchased this mascara twice already, that's how much I love it. But for some crazy reason, I wanted to wean myself off the Maybelline attachment and I fell into another rut. This is the story of how I fell in love with the Essence Lash Princess ($4.99). I sent a very very excited text to the friend that sent me this from the Netherlands (HI ELS) the first time I used this. It's just as good as the Maybelline offering if not better - it has a slightly drier formula that clings to my lashes ridiculously well, holds a curl, the packaging is adorable, the brush is a bristle, rather than plastic brush, and the best part? It's ridiculously affordable. I've since then picked up a couple other Essence mascaras that are waiting to be trialed because of this one. 

Honorable mention: YSL Faux Cils mascara - I tried a sample of this and hated myself for doing so. It's such a wonderful product but I refuse to spend that much money on a mascara. 

the lips: 2015 was the year of lipsticks. I'm not even going to sugar coat it, I'm sure my lipstick collection tripled in the past year, pushing the total count to a ridiculous number that's thankfully still only 2 digits. It was a hard time narrowing things down, but after a lot of painful 'umm'ing, I've narrowed things down. A bit. 
For the first half of the year, I was rotating between NARS Audacious Lipstick (£24) in Grace and No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick (£9.95) in Rosy Ribbon, both warm, mid-toned pinks (both swatched and reviewed here). I think I also found my favourite red lipstick ever in the form of Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme ($30) in Oh Miley! (worn here). I'm pretty sure this was my go to lipstick during the summer months - or at least the days when I wasn't stuck in the library basement with papers, dust, and coffee as company. The Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Matte Lipstick  (£25) in Unattainable quickly won my heart and became a staple with the gorgeous colour and standout formula. I also fell into another MAC lipstick (£15.50) addiction phase this year. I swatched and reviewed all of them in this post but the standouts were Flat Out Fabulous, All Fired Up, and Twig. 

Honorable mention(s): You'd think I wouldn't be able to list more lipsticks, but that's where you're wrong. Here are some that almost made the cut: MAC Faux, Wet N Wild Rosebud, Maybelline Velvet Beige, Catrice In A Rosegarden, Rimmel 03, Sephora Lip Cream in Strawberry Kissed.

It's been quite the year for beauty products - I've rediscovered a lot of old favourites and found a lot of new ones along the way. What were some of your beauty standouts from the past 12 months? 
With Love, 
Daphne x