Last year, one of my most popular posts was this one on my Best Buys of 2015, so I thought it would be fun to keep the tradition going and share my Best Buys of 2016. You'll see that there are a few of the same products that made the list both years... but there are also a lot of new ones! 2016 was a year of makeup experimentation for me. I tried a TON of different makeup, hair and skincare, threw some away in the process, but also found my holy grail, all-time-favorite products. All of these have my 100% stamp of approval.
Let's start with makeup & skincare!
BEST BEAUTY PRODUCTS OF 2016
Best Lip Balm: Dior's Creme de Rose Smoothing, Plumping Lip Balm was my favorite lip balm of 2016. I blogged about this lip balm in my night routine post, I've been using it for the past six months and absolutely love it. The scent is so feminine and very calming, and the formula is really smoothing - it also has SPF 10 in it so it's a good option to wear under your day-to-day lipstick.
Best Primer: Smashbox's Photo Finish Primer wins again for the best primer! I did test out some new primers this year that I really loved, however I keep going back to Smashbox. In particular, the formula of the Photo Finish Primer is really good because it reduces shine in photos - I'll take it!
Best Foundations: I had two favorites this year. Over the summer I was obsessed with using It Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50. The medium shade is the perfect shade for my skin during the summer months, it's pretty full-coverage AND has loads of sunscreen since you'll undoubtedly be outside more during the summer. For the past several months I've been using L'oreal's Infallible Pro-Glo Foundation in shade #207. The bottle claims that it offers an all-day glow - for up to 24 hours. It actually does last a long time (for me it lasts 12 hours until I wash my face). It's very liquid-y, so I apply it straight onto my face and then blend it in with this foundation brush. It seriously looks FLAWLESS on your skin and it only costs $11.99 which is amazing compared to department store foundations!
Best Bronzers: BareMineral's Sheer Sun Bronzing Serum seriously saved my life this year. Okay, not my life, but it did save my pale face! I mix it right into my liquid foundation and blend on my face for full coverage bronze. It makes me look sun kissed when I can really be as white as a ghost :) Another year-long favorite was Benefit's Hoola Bronzer. The brush it comes with is really convenient, I use it for contouring my cheekbones, around my forehead and nose. It's the PERFECT bronzer for contouring.
Best Mascara Primer: L'Oreal sent me this mascara primer in a PR package this year, and I ended up loving it and have since used and re-bought four or five more tubes of it. If you're not using a primer before your mascara, you need to get on it - it makes such a difference!!!
Best Mascara: For the second year in a row, Too Faced's Better than Sex Mascara takes the gold medal for mascara. I've tried switching mascara brands and I just CAN'T. Nothing beats this!
Best Makeup Palette: It Cosmetics' Complexion Perfection Palette is a staple in my makeup bag. It contains a gorgeous pink blush, highlighter, bronzer and setting powder. I use every powder except the bronzer (I use my trusty Hoola Bronzer instead). I could rave about each powder for days - the blush is gorgeous and the highlighter is BRILLIANT and so pigmented.
Best Setting Powder: It Cosmetics wins again! Their Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbush Powder was my go-to this year. I tried out a few other powders but ended up deciding that the Bye Bye Pores was better. Not only does it really make your skin look and feel airbrushed, it eliminates all shine for hours - which is a lifesaver for photos!
Best Brush Cleaner: This Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove is the easiest method I've ever found for cleaning your makeup brushes. I put this on my left hand and clean my brushes at sink with a little bit of dish soap - the grooves in the glove really get out every bit of makeup debris in the bristles.
Best Brushes: Sigma Beauty is unrivaled with the quality of their brushes. Believe it or not, a high-quality makeup brush can make a HUGE difference in how your makeup looks on your skin. Even though they're pricey, they can last you for years if you take good care of them!
Best Face Wash: Y'all are probably sick of hearing me rave about this bareMinerals face wash but it is hands down my favorite facial cleanser I've ever used. It stopped my breakouts! Read more about it in this blog post.
Best Corrective Treatment: I heard TONS of good things about Sunday Riley's Good Genes treatment, so I started working it into my nighttime skin routine about a month ago. This stuff is amazing - it plumps your skin, brightens and fills in lines - I use it two nights in a row, then switch to a retinol, then continue for two nights in a row.
Best Retinol: My dermatologist recommended Avenue's RetrinAl 0.1 Intensive Cream and I've been using it every since. If you don't know much about retinoids, read this article or just do a simple google search on them. My dermatologist said that she recommends it for all women in their late 20s - it's the one product that all dermatologists use themselves and it TRULY helps with the aging process. I use the RetrinAl every third night!
Best Face Mask: Without a doubt, GlamGlow makes the best face masks on the market. This one is really good to use overnight!
Best Moisturizer: Similar to the face wash, I've probably overtalked about this moisturizer. I really do attribute my clearer skin to both the wash and moisturizer! The bareMinerals moisturizer is really light on my skin, doesn't leave a greasy residue, but I wake up with perfectly hydrated skin. I use it every. single. night. :)
BEST HAIR PRODUCTS OF 2016
Best Shampoo and Conditioner: I have gone through four sets of this shampoo and conditioner (you may remember it from my blog post on hair care from a while back). I am obsessed with this stuff!!! It's pricey, yes, but I've seriously never found a shampoo or conditioner that works better on long hair.
Best Treatment for Damaged Hair: The Aveda Damage Remedy Hair Repair is a lifesaver. If you have time, read some of the reviews on this product - people RAVE about this stuff and I can see why. I apply it after I shower and after towel drying my hair - it works double duty as a heat protectant which is so important for preventing split ends when you use heat products on your hair!
Best Hair Oil: I have been using this hair oil for YEARS and I don't know if I'll ever stop! Sometimes I use it on wet hair to make it more manageable and other times I use it when my hair is dry to make it look silky and smooth. I've tried other hair oils and nothing compares!
Best Curling Wand: You guys probably know by now how much I love my T3 curling wand (many of these products I have blogged about over and over). I use the 1" straight barrel on my hair in pretty much every single blog post - the curls last for DAYS. Just a warning, it does get very hot! One of my friends in Winston-Salem bought it and loved it, but it accidentally burned through a plastic toilet seat!! (lol) So be careful!
Best Hair Dryer: T3 also makes an insane Featherweight Hair Dryer. By insane, I mean amazing! This dryer works really fast and also makes my hair feel softer - whenever my friends use it this is the first thing they say afterward.
Best Hair Brush: You can get a Wet Brush from Target, Sally's Beauty Supply or pretty much any drugstore. I love this brush because you can use it on wet hair without damaging your hair.
Best Hair Clips: Still lovin' my Conair Hair Clips! My mom used these all while I was growing up, and now I use them too (and I've been notorious to wear them around town, even though they aren't "pretty" haha). Their main purpose is to section off your hair while you're blow-drying, straightening or curling your hair. I have fifty of them laying around my house at all times!
OTHER RANDOM BEST BUYS
Jeans: This one is a repeat winner: AG jeans are hands down my favorite jeans to wear. They don't stretch, fit me perfectly and I love the different washes they come in. I bought them in denim, white and black in 2016.
Shoes: This one might surprise you! My favorite shoes to wear this year have actually been... UGGs! No, this is not sponsored or anything, I seriously wear my UGGs every single day when it gets cold out. I wear them to pure barre, to the grocery store, to Target, even out to dinner. I've never found a more comfortable shoe, and I love the look of them too. This pair has been my favorite.
Steamer: My friend Krista sent me this PureSteam Fabric Steamer when I moved into my new apartment in Winston. It was seriously the best gift ever - this little thing comes with me one very single trip and gets used multiple times per week (sometimes multiple times per day). Steaming is SO MUCH easier/quicker/better than ironing your clothes. I steam every outfit before I take blog photos, so this product has been a lifesaver.
Diffuser: I bought this diffuser from Whole Foods over the summer and use it pretty much every day and night. It produces cool steam (there's no heating involved), so there's no risk of burns or fire. I can't even explain how much I love this thing! I use a mix of essential oils during the day, and lavender or "calming sleep" oil during the night. It makes me whole apartment smell fresh and clean and also helps my emotional health.
Luggage: Definitely my best luggage purchase would have to be this Delsey Chatelet luggage set. They're incredibly easy to roll, durable and come with an integrated TSA-Approved lock. I have both the large one and the 28" carry-on. Aside from the logical reasons, they're also beautiful! I've literally had someone chase me down in the airport to ask where it was from!
Crock Pot: I'm LOLing because of how adult-ish I sound right now (ha ha), but I have gotten SO much use out of my crock pot this year. I love how you can put in all the ingredients in the morning, and then by nighttime, voila! You have an amazing meal that's ready to eat. For a couple of my favorite crock pot recipes, check out this blog post.
Do you have any products from 2016 that really stood out as your favorites? I would love to know! Let me know in the comments if you have one you think I should try :)
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