Man ALIVE this post took a while to put together! I really wanted to make sure I was as thorough as possible and didn’t just get carried away with the products that have excited me over the last couple of months, so I went back over the whole year and made a list of all my favourite products before categorising them accordingly…and here we are! These won’t necessarily all be products that launched in 2014, but they will definitely all be products I loved and will continue to use.
Favourite Skincare – General
My favourite skincare product of 2014 was the Superfacialist by Una Brennan Neroli Facial Oil – I can’t seem to find it available online…I hope it isn’t discontinued! Neroli seems to be an ingredient my skin responds well to, plus I do love a good cleansing oil and I’ve found myself reaching for this regularly with only a smidgen remaining. Runner-up is the Clinique Moisture Surge Intense – link – which is a member of the truly wonderful Moisture Surge family. I will be reviewing this in full soon, but I find Clinique moisturisers great for my tricky skin. Commended entry goes to Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment – link – which is a great chemical exfoliator that’s powerful yet relatively gentle and provides great overnight brightening and resurfacing.
Favourite Skincare – Masks
Predictably, this was the hardest category for me as I’m such a mask obsessive. However, I tried my hardest to consider all the masks I’ve used over the last year but I still kept coming back to the multi-tasking hero that is Antonia Burrell’s Mask Supreme 7in1 – link. It does it all and it does it well! Runner-up was another Superfacialist by Una Brennan mask, the catchy named Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Pore Purifying Clay Mask – link – which I really need to hunt down and start using again as I remember just how brilliant it was at fighting spots, and so reasonably priced too! The commended entry goes to REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask – a few quid cheaper here – link – which is one of those products that deserves every bit of it’s hype. This *just* pipped the REN Flash Rinse mask to the post!
Favourite Nail Brand
2014 was a big year for nail collection with some great new indie brands getting the coverage they deserved. For me, there were two brands who really stood out and I’ve been back and forth about which deserved the top spot, but in the end it had to be Only Fingers and Toes – link – with their comprehensive range of stunningly presented colours. In very close second is Eve Snow – link, a brand that’s really impressed me with their formulations that are not only kind to nails, but have some serious staying power! The commended entry goes to The Lacquer Lab – link, a brand I’ve only become familiar with in the last few months, but the whimsically named shades and their great, seasonal offerings have got me very excited, so I look forward to finding out more in 2015.
Favourite Beauty Device
Now on to some beauty gadgetry, a category I always enjoy mooching through! The winner for me is the Remington Silk Heated Rollers – link – because they are so quick and easy to use, with a very impressive result. Whenever I’m after some quick curls, I reach for these. Next is the Tria Skin Perfecting Blue Light – link – which is a device designed to fight spots. I wouldn’t say it’s cured my spots, far from it, but if I miss even just a couple of sessions my spots get a lot, lot worse, so clearly it’s doing something right. Commended entry goes to HydraTest – link, a nifty device that helps you work out your oil and water levels in your skin, whilst also helping you decide if your skincare is working.
Favourite Lip Product
The Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balms – link – are such star products that come in some really great shades – in fact, their Honey Nectar is a nude shade that I would normally stay clear of, but in such a moisturising formula it’s very pretty! Therefore, they had to be my winners for 2014. In a very close second we have the Clinique Long Last Soft Matte Lipsticks – link – which were my favourite lipsticks of the year – easily! They had some great shades as well, in a very wearable, matte formula. Commended entry goes to another matte lipstick, the Nars Audacious – link – line, which contained some of the most amazing pinks I surely ever did see, with great names too!
Favourite Eye Products
My favourite mascara and indeed favourite eye product has to be the Tarte lights, camera, lashes mascara – link – which I always returned to for the whole of 2014, no matter what newness arrived. Also, I’ve had the same tube for the whole year and even though it’s drier than it was, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference! Runner up is the bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadows – link – which were star products for anyone who likes a clean, natural finish – these worked both as eyeshadows alone (especially great with a bit of liner) and eyeshadow primers. Commended entry is the GOSH Forever Eyeshadows – link – which were brilliant time-savers in great shades that punched well above their price in terms of pigmentation and longevity.
Favourite Face Product – Base
Number one has to be the amazing Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer – link – which delivers serious coverage that looks natural and blends well. Kevyn Aucoin is an expensive brand, but the products really do last, so they’re very much investment products. The runner-up is actually a product I’m surprised I haven’t raved about more on here as it’s just so good for toning down redness and reducing the angry look of spots – it’s Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream – link; a great budget find for evening skin and a product I reach for regularly. Commended entry is the Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation – link – which I like so much for being a product that cares for skin and delivers on coverage.
Favourite Face Product – Colour
I’ve raved about Studio 10 since I first started trying their products, and I will continue to do so as they are truly fab! The product I’m reaching for most is the Visible Lift Face Definer – link – as the contouring powder is the most perfect shade to create natural shadows on the face, whilst the cream blush creates pinched cheeks on low maintenance make-up days. Runner-up is the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher in Joy – link – which is quite possibly my most favourite pink ever created! I love this most as a lip product, although it’s also a beautifully natural blusher too. Commended entry is another Clinique product, the Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balms – link – which come in four flattering shades that make a perky complexion quickly and easily achieved.
Favourite Brow Product
As someone who often doesn’t have time to apply much make-up, the Benefit Gimme Brow – link – launch was a game-changer as it thickens and defines in one quick sweep, leaving brows looking neat and polished with just a few seconds of effort. More Tarte love in second place for their Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse – link – which is the perfect consistency for filling in brows as it’s thin enough to blend but pigmented enough to define. Commended entry goes to bareMinerals for their Frame and Define Brow Styler – link – which is the easiest pencil I think I’ve ever used for filling in brows.
There’s something about a beautifully presented palette that really gets me going, therefore this category was almost as tricky to put together as the mask one! I love palettes and I love blushers, so of course the winner had to be the Makeup Revolution Blusher Palette – link – I struggled to pick between the two shade variants I have which are the pinks (Sugar and Spice) and the oranges (Hot Spice) but I went for Hot Spice in the end as it’s a very flattering collection that suits my skintone perfectly. Close second went to the Illamasqua Multi Facet Palette in Aura – on sale here link – which deserves so much credit for providing pretty much everything you need in one dinky set – just add your base and concealer then you have everything! Commended entry goes to my personalised Hourglass Ambient Lights palette – link – that I treated myself to from Liberty as it contains the prettiest little trio of highlighting powders that give good glow.
Favourite Hair Care Duos
2014 seems to have been the year of hair repair products that fortify and nurture hair, repairing any damage from styling and colouring. These types of products work well with my type of hair – which is fine but there’s quite a bit of it – as they moisturise without weighing down whilst also providing a bit of a volume boost. 2014 was also the year I became more familiar with the Ojon range, and it’s safe to say I’m a convert! The gorgeous loveliness that can be found in the Colour Sustain Pro – link – duo which not only smell amazing, but they really do add impressive shine to my coloured hair. Interestingly, in a very close second we have something at the very opposite price range, which is the Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Omega Repair – link – duo, which provide unbelievable moisture without weighing my hair down; even the shampoo alone leaves hair feeling softer! I try to mix things up every few weeks to discourage build-up, so the two above duos are what I reach for most. I was also really impressed with the Salon Science – link – range that launched earlier this year, especially the Swiss Grape range which smelled amazing and well deserves my commended entry slot.
Favourite Brand Launches
There were two brands that I welcomed with wide open arms this year, the first of which was Tarte, which finally allowed us to experience the Amazonian Clay phenomenon in all it’s glory. The foundations, mascaras, blushers and brow products all jumped in to my most used products kit and I struggle to find a bad word said about this amazing brand. Pretty packaging too!
Next, of course, is purse-friendly superstar Makeup Revolution. Oh my word, what an insane launch this was! The impressive and overwhelming collection of dupes and originals supplied us with affordable and very accessible products that took the guilt out of hauling. Whenever I’m in Superdrug I can’t resist picking up some MR goodies and I can’t wait to see what else they release this year.
FINALLY (if you’re still awake by this point, a mere 1900 words later…) we have my product of the year. I wanted to go for something I’ve used a lot in 2014 rather than something that dazzled me. This may not be the most exciting product, but as I’m on my third bottle and I use it every single time I apply make-up, it had to be my product of the year, which is bareMinerals Prime Time Neutralizing Foundation Primer – link. If you suffer with redness, this will be your saviour as it makes a huge difference at reducing colour in skin, leaving you with a much cleaner base to work with when applying your foundation. It’s completely opened my mind to colour-correcting products and I wouldn’t do without it.
There we have it! A looooong look at all the products I loved in 2014, what a year it was!
*Mostly PR samples amongst a few purchases