2016 felt like the year that I tried hundreds of beauty products. Out of the bunch, I wanted to compile a list of my best of the best, my holy grails and the products I wouldn’t want to be without. Some I’ve been using for years and years and some are newer additions that I’m so excited to have found. Below is a breakdown of my skincare, makeup and beauty favs.
Kate Somerville Exfolikate: Typically, I’m a fan of acid exfoliators rather than physical, but this is the exception. I use Exfolikate once a week, usually on Sundays and it beautifully preps and opens my skin for any products that follow. On days that I use this, I will NOT use P50 or any other exfoliator (chemical or manual). I’ll usually follow with a moisturizing cream and seal it in with a favorite oil.
SkinCeuticals Serum 20 AOX+: When I visited my dermatologist several months ago, she insisted I incorporate both a retinol and a vitamin C antioxidant into my routine. Applying this serum after cleansing and before sunblock creates a shield that protects against environmental damage and prevents against accelerated aging. I’ve also noticed a lot of my hyperpigmentation fading, something I attribute to this product and my use of retinol.
Shani Darden Retinol Reform: Speaking of retinol, ever since my post, I’ve had a bunch of you comment and email me to tell me that you swear by Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform. Being the skincare junkie that I am, I had to see was the hype about. It’s also part research, right? Well you all were not kidding! Seriously, my skin thanks you! What makes this product so great is that it’s a strong retinol, but with a moisturizer base so you don’t get that dry feeling that you may get from other retinols. No wonder she’s the esthetician to the stars.
Biologique Recherche P50: I’ve spoken about my love for P50 countless times. It truly is one of the best products in the market! At one point, I ran out and stopped using it for several weeks and I noticed a serious difference in how my skin looked. Rather than going into it again, you can check out my original post here. Currently I’m using the P50 1970 several times a week.
Bioloique Recherche Masque Vivant: This balancing mask is at the top of my holy grail list. Yes, it’s probably the worst smelling face mask you’ll ever use, but I’ve gotten so used to it, the smell doesn’t bother me anymore. What makes this mask so great (and smelly) are the live yeast extracts which are loaded with amino acids and vitamin B. This means skin is purified balanced and toned. I always exfoliate with P50 first and then apply the mask after for 15-20 minutes and wash off with a face cloth.
Sunday Riley Good Genes: Yet another acid, but this time around it’s lactic, the gentlest of them all. I use this several times a week and my skin is left brighter, my pores are reduced and it’s loaded with a ton of anti-aging properties. Like most of Sunday Riley products, I just wish it wasn’t so expensive, so if you’re trying for the first time, get a sample to make sure you love. I’ve also gotten a ton of questions asking whether I use this in conjunction with the P50 and the answer is no. On nights that I use Good Genes, I’ll use a much milder exfoliator like Pixi Glow Tonic.
Sunday Riley Juno: I’ve expressed my love for face oils here and while I love all of the ones I posted, this is the one I’ve repurchased several times. It’s pricey, but even in the harshest winters, my skin feels nourished and never dry.
Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm: Ever since I started using a cleansing balm to double cleanse, I cringe at the thought of how I used to wash my made-up face (a little foaming cleanser, water and done). Out of everything I’ve tried, this balm remains my favorite to break down all makeup and sunblock without drying my skin out.
Lancome Artliner: On most days, I wear a thin line of black liquid liner on my lid. Out of all of them, this one stands above the rest. The felt brush makes it so easy to apply, the color never fades or smudges and always looks beautifully pigmented.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer: Even when I’m not wearing eyeshadow, I use this primer. It prevents my lids from looking oily and gives my liquid eyeliner something to grip on to.
MAC Lip Primer: An absolute must before applying any pigmented lipstick. It keeps my lips moisturized without cracking or peeling and makes the lipstick go on so much smoother.
MAC Blot Powder: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repurchased this. This is my favorite product for taming my shiny forehead without ever looking cakey.
Nars Creamy Concealer: This concealer does the best job of actually concealing without caking. I use this under my eyes, on any red spots and on blemishes.
YSL Touche Eclat: I’ve raved about my love for Touche Eclat in the past and years later, it’s still at the top of my list. While the highlighting effects are subtle, it makes such a difference in making my eye and brow area look so much brighter. There are days I’ll use this by itself but when I need an extra boost, I’ll apply a bit of this over the Nars Creamy Concealer.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector: The prettiest highlighter I’ve ever used. It blends like a dream and makes my skin look fresh and dewy rather than a shiny disco ball.
Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipgloss: When I’m not wearing a bright lip, chances are, I’m wearing this. Hands down, my favorite lipgloss out there! My favorite colors are Bellini and Pastel.
Nexxus New York Emergencee Treatment: When my hair is in major need of some TLC, I rely on this protein treatment to whip it back into shape. If I don’t have much time, I’ll use it in the shower: shampoo, apply the Emergencee, rinse out and finish with a moisturizing conditioner. If I have more time, I’ll actually get out of the shower for each step and leave on both the treatment and conditioner for 30 minutes each. FYI: There is such a thing as using too much protein, so make sure you don’t overdo it.
Mason Pearson Brush: When I tell people how much this brush cost me, they look at me like I’m crazy. I get it, paying this much for a hairbrush seems absolutely ridiculous! However, I can assure you that once you use one, there’s no turning back. This brush gives the scalp such a great massage and distributes essential hair oils evenly. I swear, if I had to pick only five things that I can keep off this list of favorites, this would easily be on that list.
K’erastase L’Incroyable Blowdry Lotion: I own an embarrassing amount of hair products, especially anything that claims to cut down frizz. Out of my bunch, this is the one I reach for the most! It makes my hair way smoother in texture and repels humidity, something I had the unfortunate pleasure of testing out on a 90 degree/99% humidity day.
Harry Josh Pro Dryer: This dryer not only cuts my drying time in half but it makes my hair way smoother, shinier and less frizzy.
T3 Styling Wand: I finally took the plunge and splurged on this curler and I’ve been so happy with it. Tip: I ended up getting it at Sephora and the Sales Associate told me that I could take it home, try it and if I wasn’t 100% happy, they’d take it back.
Nexxus New York Promend Heat Spray: I’ve become diligent in using a heat protectant spray prior to using heat. I posted about this product here and since incorporating it into my routine, I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in damage caused by heat.
And there you have my favorites! How about you guys? Are there any products that you’d recommend and you can’t live without? I would love to hear!
Also, I know sometimes these type of beauty/skincare posts result in a lot of questions. If you have any, ask in the comment section below!