Despite my best intentions, a ‘year in beauty’ post didn't quite make it into the works this year. Given the time I could easily have compiled an exhaustive list of brands and products I’ve used and loved this year, but I’ve edited it down to just ten in order to truly set the elite above and apart. These are the best of the best, each 100% guaranteed a repurchase and a permanent home in my makeup drawers/bathroom cabinet/heart. If you’re a long-term reader you’ll undoubtedly recognise these from numerous posts, and my monthly favourites roundups throughout the year.


Way back in August I documented my love for the latest addition to Origins’ high-performance masking line-up. Four months down the line, and it’s safe to say I’m still obsessed. I crack this one out at least once a week; the rose clay base offers a deep cleanse, alongside exfoliation, hydration, and some seriously efficient ingredients that manage to brighten my complexion, calm redness, and reduce the appearance of exposed pores immediately post-use. If you buy one mask in 2016, let it be this one.


Ending my search for a single product that achieves an effortlessly tousled, ‘je ne sais quoi’ effect in my naturally poker-straight hair, I was initially rather dubious about Brilliantine’s claims to give hair a ‘polished, languid separation’. However I’ve tried a few brands that seek to create this effect, and none have in anyway matched Brilliantine’s stellar performance. A light, and subtly fragranced cream, it’s perfect for adding shine and the effects of life, movement, and shape to thick, coarse hair. What’s more, the effect automatically revives itself the next day - no need to constantly reapply


The product that convinced me that daily facial massage needn't always be a chore. Early in the year I was introduced to SUQQU by way of the brand’s signature [and highly acclaimed] facial massage, the Gankin. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to receive several at the hands of SUQQU’s facial specialists, as well as attend a ‘Self-Gankin’ workshop, and on merit of the effects immediately noticeable post-treatment, have integrated the massage into my daily routine. Proven to tone muscles, ease tension, and drain toxins, the massage dramatically improves the appearance of facial structure and skin condition when performed on a consistent basis and is best performed with this rich cream, which can also be left on as a mask. The thick texture eventually sinks in, leaving skin well hydrated but never greasy.


Packaging aside there is nothing overly fancy about this lipstick, but it became a stand out for me this year after ousting MAC’s Cosmo from its four year long tenure as my go-to ‘my lips but better’ lipstick. I’m fussy with lip products and hate anything too glossy or too drying but this formula sits happily in the middle; the texture is creamy but light, and surprisingly long-lasting. Like the best nude shades, it adds a sophisticated hint of colour that is discreet enough to apply without a mirror - and what’s more, the hue itself is the perfect neutral balance between pink and brown.


An effective but gentle alcohol-free exfoliating toner - I’ve used several chemical exfoliants over the past year [some much more and some much less stronger than others], all of which I’d heartily recommend to anyone looking to clear up post-acne scarring. I chose to include this one for I find it strikes the best balance between efficiency and sensitivity - performing notably better than some weaker formulas [Pixi Glow Tonic - best for sensitive/dry skin] but without instigating the effects of a full-on chemical peel [Radical and NeoStrata - not best for very sensitive skin]. A cooling, soothing lotion best applied in sweeping motions with a cotton pad by night [post-cleanse and pre-treatment/moisturiser]; it has the effect of gently buffing away the top [scarred] layers of the skin, reducing the appearance of marks whilst preventing the build-up that causes breakouts.


Until discovering this, contour products ranked amongst my most hated makeup products: typically too warm in colour and impossible to achieve a contoured effect with finesse. Applied with the right brush, this magically delivers a natural-looking shadow with very little effort required at all. It’s a glitter-free but not matte grey-taupe shade with a malleable texture, impressive longevity, and buildable coverage, that’s hard to beat for blending seamlessly for a subtly contoured look. Hollow also works well as an eyeshadow if you're trying to slim down your makeup bag as the finish is incredibly similar to MAC’s Pro Longwear Paint Pots. I haven't come across another product that so successfully draws in shadows in just the right places, and without looking unnatural or too warm.



I’ve long since striven to make eyeliner a permanent feature in my day-to-day makeup look, but until now I’ve never really found the right product. As a daily liner, this is the best I’ve tried in terms of texture, colour, and formula; Audrey is a soft brown-black that I like to use to tightline my upper-lashline. It’s soft without being creamy, and precise enough for natural definition, whilst delivering just the right amount of pigment without any powdery fallout. The soft colour is less harsh than a black liner, adding to the subtle effect.


The fact that I’ve managed to empty three jars of this stuff in the past twelve months should be testament enough to my love for it. This was the first moisturiser I’ve used that made a noticeable difference to my skin, aside from simply boosting hydration levels [making the premium price tag a little more bearable], which it also does in abundance. Whereas most moisturisers rarely do more than provide that final layer of moisture, this contains fast-acting ingredients that actually make a difference. The result is a fresh, healthily glowing complexion from day one, and over time, noticeable reduction of redness and scarring.


Making the cut for the second year running, Invisible Oil is the one constant in my daily hair routine. A styling product and treatment oil in one, I’m yet to find a cheaper or better alternative [and in truth, I doubt its prowess will ever be surpassed]. The most effective product I’ve tried for calming frizz without causing greasy roots or wearing off within a few hours, and it also doesn’t weigh my hair down or cause build-up. There’s a full ‘defrizzing hair’ post with more info in the pipeline…


I know, I know, another Eve Lom mention, but it’s a brand that has really stood out for me this year.  I’m a little cleanser mad [as the contents of my bathroom cabinet would attest to], but I always go back to Eve Lom’s cleansing balm the second my skin starts to freak out. I adore the simplicity of it and the fact that it removes makeup, deeply cleanses, exfoliates, tones, and hydrates skin in one go, and without compromising on efficacy in any part. Heaven for congested skin, nothing else leaves my skin feeling quite so clean - and yet simultaneously soothed and comforted.

What are your standout products from 2015?

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