Last year when I put together my annual makeup favourites post, I felt that the most natural format was to talk about my go-to looks for the year and the products I found myself reaching for most often. The traditional style of choosing one favourite product from each category doesn’t really work for me because I don’t try a huge amount of new makeup each year, and I often felt like I would be repeating myself unnecessarily. This year some areas of my makeup life have seen quite a bit of change, while others have stayed pretty predictable and boring, so rather than cover old ground, this year I’ll be talking about my favourite products that were new to me in 2018.
The biggest change that has come about this year concerning my complexion is that I’m now completely devoted to using either a Beauty Blender (AU) or the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge for all my cream base products. Not all sponges are created equal, and we all know the Beauty Blender is the master of all sponges, but I personally think the Real Techniques one is just as good and I’ll happily use either. I’ve owned both versions for years but only ever used them occasionally when I could be bothered with the extra step of dampening the sponge before using it. But this year everything changed, and to be honest for most of the year my foundation brushes have sat on my dresser unloved. The moisture in the sponge makes all the difference to the finish of your foundation, especially if you’re using something that’s higher coverage or has a long-wearing formula. It really helps soften things and make it look a lot more skin-like. I finally get the hype and now using a sponge in the morning is second nature to me, and I don’t see myself switching back to brushes in the future.
Much earlier in the year I decided I needed to get my foundation stash to a place where I was happy with everything in it. I made a point of getting samples of lots of different foundations and bought the ones that I loved the most. Finding long-wearing foundations that hold up well on my oily skin is quite a challenge, but this year I feel like I found some forever favourites. The one that I was most surprised and impressed with has to be Estee Lauder’s Double Wear (AU). I know, I can’t believe it took me this long to try it either, but now that I have I don’t think I could live without it. It’s become my go-to foundation for any occasion when I need my makeup to last and look good for as long as possible. Although I have to mention that I only love this foundation with a sponge – I had to apply it with a brush while travelling recently because I didn’t want to pack away my sponge while it was still wet, and it didn’t look anywhere near as good, but applied with a sponge it’s just perfection. I wrote a post earlier this year covering all the foundations in my collection (bar one that I have bought since then) and the truth is that I love all of them for different reasons so I can’t just pick one favourite. I stand by all the foundations I currently own and think they’re all worth having.
All the cheek products I’ve added to my collection this year have been a hit, so I’ve got a few to mention here. My cheeks definitely saw some excitement in 2018 as I finally started wearing bronzer in the later half of the year and it was a real game-changer for me. I never thought that I needed it but now that I’ve tried it I can see what I have been missing all these years. I only own three bronzers so it seems a bit redundant to name a favourite – I was careful to only buy bronzers that I knew I would love, so I don’t own any duds. I have to give a special mention to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer (AU) in Nude Bronze Light though, it has the most beautiful, sheer, foolproof formula that could work on even the fairest skin without looking muddy or orange.
But at the same time, I can’t not mention the Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow (AU) which I always semi-lusted after during my pre-bronzer days but never bought because it would have been wasted on me. This is one of the most beautiful products I own (not to mention the stunning packaging). Both the bronzer and the highlighter look beautiful on the skin and they give the perfect amount of warmth and glow. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think there’s anything I’ve tried from Charlotte Tilbury that has disappointed me yet.
When it comes to blush I only added a few nude shades to my collection this year, because increasingly they’re the shades I reach for most often, and that’s the colour family I felt was lacking in my blush collection. My favourites have to be Charlotte Tilbury’s Cheek to Chic Blush (AU) in First Love as well as my mini of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush (AU) in Mood Exposure. They’re both beautiful formulas with beautiful packaging and they give a lovely, natural, neutral flush to the cheeks, and they go with any eye look. So when it comes to bronzers and blushes, clearly Hourglass and Charlotte Tilbury are where it’s at for me.
Aside from the highlighter in the Charlotte Tilbury duo, the other two highlighters I added to my (very, very small collection) this year and absolutely loved were the Dior Diorskin Nude Air Luminiser (AU) in Pink Glow And the Mecca Lit From Within illuminating Balm. I prefer a more natural highlight rather than the kind you can see from space, and these both fit that bill. The Dior one looks very soft and creamy on the skin, while the Mecca one gives the most natural glossy look and has an undetectable finish. If your highlighter tastes are anything like mine then you would probably love these two as well. I feel like the Mecca one especially is such a hidden gem.
Although this palette was only released in November, and therefore I’ve owned it for less than two months, the Huda Beauty The New Nudes Palette (AU) has to be my favourite for the year (and possibly forever). In last years’ post I talked about how much I was obsessed with pinky-neutral-brown eyeshadows and how hard they were to find. Every palette I saw on the market had one or two shades that fit the bill, but the rest of the palette was usually too colourful or too dark for my tastes, and it never felt worthwhile to buy a whole palette when I knew I wouldn’t end up using half of it.
As soon as I saw this palette I knew it was the answer to my prayers, and I bought it based on swatches I found online before even seeing it in person. Not only do the pearly-shimmer shades have the most beautiful, unique finish, but the palette contains a huge array of mid-toned dusty pinky-purple-brown shades that are exactly what I’ve been looking for. There are few small changes I would make to this palette if I could – add in a light champagne shade, and probably lighten the shades of the two pressed glitters, but ultimately I feel like it’s really scratched that itch I had, and it feels like a super unique offering compared to everything else I’ve been seeing. I’m just head over heels in love and haven’t felt this way about a palette in years. If I had to pick a single favourite makeup release for the whole of 2018 this would be it.
When it comes to lipsticks, although I’ve been a red girl through and through in the past, this year I really expanded my selection of nude lipsticks and tried a few new formulas and shades. In fact, I only added two new red lipsticks to my collection all year, (one of which was a gift), which just goes to show that I’ve built up a really solid collection for myself and didn’t feel the need to keep buying more. If you want to know my favourite reds you can refer to my post from last year where I went into more detail as very little has changed since then.
In terms of nude lipsticks, one of my favourites from the year has to be Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick (AU) in Pillow Talk. From the formulations to the shade choices to the packaging, Charlotte Tilbury products always seem to be a hit with me. Their matte formula is what I would call a “soft-matte” in that it’s very creamy and comfortable to wear, and it doesn’t dry your lips out, but it’s surprisingly long-wearing. I really don’t have a bad thing to say about the Matte Revolution line and if you find a shade from it that you like I don’t think you can go wrong.
I also really enjoyed my Tom Ford Lip Colour (AU) in the shade Pink Dusk. I had a mini of the shade Indian Rose that I loved and actually finished up(!) this year but that shade is more of a neutral pink, while this is closer to a true nude. It’s really similar to my natural lip colour and is such an easy shade to throw on in the mornings without having to think about it. Tom Ford’s beauty line is painfully expensive, but if it’s within your budget the lipsticks are a really beautiful product. Another of my favourite formulas is the NARS Audacious Lipsticks (AU) so this year I picked up the shade Brigitte which is described as a nude rose. It’s a beautiful pinky-nude and the formula really is second to none. I know I’m mentioning three nude lipsticks but I feel like the shades are different enough that I can get away with it, and all of the formulas are superb.