Further to my top skincare products of 2018, the following are my top makeup products of the past year.
1.Best primer – Banila Co Prime Primer Matte
I wasn’t always consistent with primer until I tried the Banila Co Primer in matte and now I find it difficult to go without. I enjoy using this on a daily basis over my t-zone to keep the oil at bay for a few extra hours and it helps my foundation apply smoother. Although I primarily use primer to control sebum production and fill in my pores, it has the added benefit of increasing the foundation longevity on my oily areas. It is such a comfortable consistency and texture to wear all year round; not drying at all for winter, is lightweight, super smooth and silky to apply and absorbs immediately.
2. Best foundation – Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover (high-end) and Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation (drugstore)
I don’t tend to be as experimental with makeup as I am with skincare; if I love a product I tend to stick with it long term. However when it comes to foundations (and cushions), I love trying as many new ones as possible and it’s the most satisfying/fun aspect of makeup application to me. With so much choice I couldn’t narrow it down to just one; I had 2 standouts that I reached for the most in 2018 – 1 high-end and 1 drugstore.
The Diorskin Forever Undercover was a revelation in how a foundation can still feel and look weightless on your skin while providing high coverage. I didn’t necessarily use this the most last year (I rotate foundations almost on a daily basis), but it was one of the best discoveries in 2018. I relied on this especially for special occasions or for photo events. I did mention this previously in my ‘Long-lasting Natural Summer Makeup’ post and still stand by everything I said.
As for the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum, this was an unexpected surprise. Given how affordable it is, I thought it’d be good from its glowing reviews but it went above my expectations. I get the most compliments about my skin when I wear this foundation and that’s down to its natural coverage, lightweight and dewy formula. It doesn’t have the best longevity and it does rub off on my t-zone by midday but overall I love the glow and how healthy and radiant it makes my skin look.
Honourable mention: I rediscovered my love for Estee Lauder Double Wear again last year and was the foundation of choice for my holiday to Singapore as it does not budge and holds up so well to sweat and humidity.
3. Best cushion foundation
Compared to 2016/17, I really didn’t gravitate to cushions as much and really enjoyed regular liquid foundations in 2018. However when I did, it was usually the Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture. It’s has a natural finish, medium coverage, good longevity for a work day and overall a very reliable cushion.
4. Best eyeliner – Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner
I took this on a trip to Singapore last October and my friend commented that she still remembers me using this during university and surprised that I’ve still stuck with it for so long, given that I try alot of different products. I never stopped to think I’ve been using this for 10 years now, but it really is a testament to how amazing this gel liner is that I’ve never found anything comparable. This is quite expensive for a little pot (£19.50) and I did go through a phase of buying cheap Korean ones to find a more affordable dupe but in the end I concluded Bobbi Brown is my holy grail.
My problem with a lot of other brands is that while they may initially perform well like the Bobbi Brown (long-lasting, water and sweat-proof, creamy, easy to apply and remove), they would eventually fail because they would dry up sooo quickly! Other formulas just can’t get it right. After 2 or 3 uses, the eyeliners would get stiff, hard and dry. This made it hard to either pick up anything on your brush, or otherwise clump on your brush, making it difficult to achieve a clean, precise line. Other issues I had with pencil or liquid liners were not giving me enough precision, not as easy to use as gel and brush, not as long-lasting or not as pigmented. I found that while I was buying cheaper eyeliners, I had to replace them quicker. So in the end I wasn’t saving money but actually spending the same if not more than the cost of one Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner pot, which can last me a good 6 months if not more.
(Note: I do think the Mac Fluidline is the closest to Bobbi Brown – and a few GBP cheaper (£17), but due to its slightly creamier nature it tends to smudge more, especially if you line your under eyes or waterline. It also takes a little longer to dry down whereas the Bobbi Brown dries down fairly quick, while still giving enough time to correct and fix mistakes with a q-tip should you need to.)
5. Best mascara – Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara
This should’ve been the Estee Lauder one as I’ve used it the most in 2018 but as it’s now discontinued, my new favourite is the Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara I got as a birthday gift in October. I’m very picky with mascara and find many to be too clumpy and thick for my thin, Asian eyelashes. I don’t wear mascara on a daily basis but when I do I want length, curl, and natural volume. With one light coat of the Monsieur Big Mascara it has minimal clumping but it lengthens and adds just the right amount of volume for me. Best of all, this holds a curl all day, doesn’t smudge and doesn’t require touch-ups.
6. Best blusher – Benefit Dandelion and Benefit Rockateur
I tried to pick a blush that wasn’t in a palette but ultimately I had to go for Benefit’s Dandelion which I discovered in their cheek palette. I never thought this would work for me because I don’t go for bright pinks and I thought it’d be sheer, natural and light as opposed to the darker flush of dusty rose I prefer. However I was completely wrong as Dandelion (on my skin) turned out to be very pigmented and was a deeper shade of pink than the swatches lead you to believe.
I have also been impressed with Benefit’s Rockateur – I don’t like the one in their palette because once the gold overlay is gone, the product doesn’t pick up easily on the brush and the colour payoff is weak. I do have this as a mini individual though, and the forumula is so different. It has great pigmentation and is the perfect long-lasting dusty rose.
7. Best highlighter – Too Cool For School Artclass by Rodin Highlighter
I love collecting highlighters and I have so many amazing ones I love but my favourite is still the TCFS Artclass by Rodin Highlighter and I get the most compliments on my ‘glowing’ skin when I wear this one. It has 3 shades in one pan which makes it so versatile for different looks, but generally I love swirling my brush through all 3 and that looks amazing on your cheekbones. All 3 shades are so wearable for many skintones; they are very pigmented on the first swipe and don’t look too frosty, metallic or warm. It strikes the perfect neutral balance which is what I look for in highlighters to wear on a daily basis. You can build up this highlight but just be careful about applying too many layers as it can start to emphasise skin texture and look cakey.
8. Best bronzer – Benefit Hoola Light
I don’t feel the need to be experimental with bronzer and contour after I tried this. Of course I still use others, especially ones that come in face palettes – but I don’t actively go looking for new bronzers to try because I am so in love with Hoola Lite. The original Hoola was always a little dark/warm for me so I mainly used it in summer, and even then I had to be very light-handed with it or risk looking too muddy. With Hoola Lite, it is just perfection. Whether I’m light or heavy handed, it always blends into my skin perfectly and looks natural (neutral – cool undertone) but not so sheer that you don’t notice the contour making a difference. It has no shimmer, is semi-matte and doesn’t cake up even if you build up intensity. If you’re pale or fair-skinned and felt intimidated by bronzers, this is a great one to start out with. It can be used to contour or even as an all over powder to give you a healthy sun-kissed glow.
9. Best setting spray – Mac Prep + Prime Fix+ (Coconut)
I have a few face mists that I like and they all serve different purposes but generally the one I enjoyed using the most last year was the Mac Fix+. I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much without the coconut scent because there are surely better setting sprays that increase longevity or provide more glow, or mattify better etc.) However, I love the Mac Fix+ because it is so refreshing on the skin and if you’ve been too heavy handed with your makeup or it looks too matte then spraying this just makes everything blend together nicely, it hydrates and gives your face a nice glow and provides a bit more oomph to your makeup look.
10. Best lip product – YSL tint in balm (Shade No.1) and Tatcha Red Camellia Lip Balm
I feel like I’ve been going on about the YSL Tint-In-Balm all year that it isn’t surprising it would make my year end favourites. I don’t think I wore full on lipstick much in 2018 because I just loved grabbing for this. YSL’s packaging is stunning but the formula for this is also one of the best I’ve tried. I hate when matte lipsticks go dry and crack, settle into my lip lines and I have to constantly fix it when it goes patchy. The YSL Tint-In-Balm is just effortless and natural to wear on a daily basis. It’s very hydrating and nourishing, smells divine and still provides a wash of colour (not as pigmented as a lipstick but more than a regular tinted balm and the colour can be built up easily). This fades very naturally, but it stains your lips slightly so each time you re-apply, the colour gets more intense which I like. I will definitely pick up more shades this year.
Another favourite has to be the Tatcha Red Camellia Lip Balm. When my lips are sore or chapped and not feeling in the mood for a lipstick, yet I still want a wash of colour on my lips to perk me up, then I use this. Camellia oil is so nourishing and moisturising and my dry lips love this, especially in Winter. It’s good to have a lip product that doubles up well as functional skincare and makeup in one.
11. Best makeup (face) palette – Benefit Cheek Parade and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Unlocked
These are both undoubtedly my absolute holy grails and it’s so unfortunate that they are both limited edition and discontinued.
Benefit does release a new cheek palette every year so while you can’t get the exact same one I have, their 2019 Cheekleaders Pink Squad does feature 3 of the same shades from the 2017 Cheek Parade that I have. (You can also find each shade sold individually). I love this mainly because I discovered Hoola Lite and Dandelion from this and having 2 of my favourites in one palette to take on the go is so convenient. It also contains a huge mirror which is a must for me with any good palette. The only downside is that there is no highlighter, otherwise it would’ve been perfect but the new one does include it so I would definitely recommend.
Towards the end of 2018, I did move away from my Benefit Cheek Parade when I discovered the new Hourglass Unlocked palette and this is just brilliant. I’ve used it non-stop and take it travelling with me everywhere I go. Super pricey but well worth it in my opinion because I love every single shade in it. There is always a couple that you don’t care for but there are honestly no duds in the Unlocked palette and I can do a full face of makeup with just this. I’m dreading hitting pan on this because unlike the Benefit where you can just buy the shades individually, each Hourglass shade is exclusive to this Unlocked palette which was limited edition for the 2018 holiday season. I really do hope they eventually release these shades individually. I would especially snap up the blushers and highlighter again.
There you have my best of 2018 makeup products. You may be wondering why some categories are missing as there is no concealer, eyeshadows or setting powder and that’s just because I rarely used these in 2018. I’m not a big eyeshadow person and when I do, I just gravitate to my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette. It just doesn’t interest me to try various eyeshadow palettes because I’m not adventurous in my eye looks and it’s not a makeup product I wear on a daily basis or get excited about to be worth investing my money in.
For setting powders, I swapped this out for setting sprays last year but who knows, maybe summer 2019, powders will make a comeback in my makeup routine.