I haven’t blogged in a VERY long time, but I have enough friends asking for makeup tips/lessons/recommendations that this entry seemed the perfect foray back into the world of blogging. I know this blog was created for the journey of moving into my house and making it home, but I’m going to digress a bit today!
I am going to post my favorite beauty buys of the year. Not only have I found them to be absolutely stellar products, but anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with getting the best deal. Yes, my “couponer” tendencies carry over into makeup, because you won’t believe what I scored some of these products for!
It is no secret that I prefer prestige brands, but you’ll see I have some budget products in my extensive arsenal that I refuse to live without! I’m also going to highlight one brand in particular that is so affordable and insanely good in terms of quality.
Without further delay, and in no particular order, here are my favorite 2016 beauty buys:
1.) Lorac’s “Cue the Confetti” blush palette. Regular $30, and I scored it for just $12 after a 50% off sale plus a coupon for 20% off.
I really wanted a blush palette in my collection that would be seasonless, quality, and fun. Blushes are fun to me, and if the colors and brand didn’t sell me at first sight (obsessed with Lorac), then the packaging and rose gold brush that was included would have gotten me! The blushes are all buildable, blendable, and insanely pigmented…a dream to work with. The packaging design reminds me of “The Great Gatsby”.
2.) Urban Decay’s “Blackmail” Vice Lipstick Palette, originally $35, purchased by me for $20 after a $10 off sale plus a 20% off coupon.
UD unveiled its Vice lipstick line in 2016, and the color array is INSANE. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some…um, except, I then saw that each was $17. I don’t have great lips and don’t wear much lipstick. I try to spend my money on products I really will use. However, then UD released the Blackmail palette at Ulta…a PALETTE for lipsticks?! Some of the shades included were my favorites. I love having numerous shades from the line at my fingertips, the palette itself is sturdy without being huge, the included retractable brush is nice, and I’m really enjoying this one. There’s a palette variation called “Junkie” at Sephora.
3.) Smashbox “Light It Up” Primer + Primer Water set…holiday set for $36 that I scored for just $18 half off at Macy’s!
Purchased separately at regular price, you’re paying $60! I have been a devotee of Smashbox primer for many years. It is fabulous, it keeps your makeup on, blurs your pores, and lasts the day. Because of its quality and staying power, I use less of this one than I have to of others to achieve the same result. This was an insane deal…I got super lucky on this find.
4.) Real Techniques makeup brushes…all of mine were purchased for 50% off in small sets!
You do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, need to buy expensive makeup brushes to get fabulous results! I have found these brushes to be excellent in terms of quality, and the value cannot be beat. They will last, too! Before you run out to buy brushes by It, MAC, UD, Anastasia, etc…give these a try, and I am sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Did I mention that it never hurts that they’re gorgeous, too?! For other brushes that are economical and do the job well, try Eco Tools or BH Cosmetics.
5.) Pur Cosmetics’ “Transformation” Palette…originally $32, purchased half off for $16!
First off, this one is worth it all day every day at the original price. I can’t say enough about it! The colors are unique, the pigmentation is INSANE, and everything blends like an absolute dream. For fall/winter, the palette is pure perfection. Even still, I can see this being amazing in the summer. See the gold? IT’S unreal…I’m serious. It’s the most vibrant, metallic, true gold shade I have ever seen. The creme blush is perfect for any skin tone, the creme bronzer makes for a perfect contour on the go, and that shimmering black? I still cannot tell if it’s powder or cream (or some sort of hybrid of both). It allows you to turn any combination of the shadows into a smokey look AND makes a great eyeliner. This palette breaks the mold in so many ways. You can go loud and vibrant or more understated with the champagne shimmer shadow with the maroon/brown in the corners. Even better? Pur uses better/kinder ingredients and is cruelty-free! GO. PICK. THIS. UP. NOW. Seriously…do it…it’s disappearing more each day as the sales go on.
6.) BH Cosmetics’ “Studio Pro” Concealer wheel…purchased on sale for (yes, you’re about to read this correctly) $4. Seriously.
BH Cosmetics is amazing…please check them out. Drugstore prices and prestige quality! This little gem is something I’d be lost without. Our faces are not just one color, and different areas need their own color match. This concealer palette allows me to get the best match, and the coverage is wonderful, especially over primer! The yellow literally erases dark circles or undereye redness, and the other shades let me conceal to my liking no matter if I am winter pale or summer tan. I bought the light/medium shade (top right). It’s so good, I got one for my sister and hope she loves it as well. This is a staple product I couldn’t do without! Even better? It blends as great with a finger as it does with a brush.
7.) Maybelline “Define and Fill” Brow Duo (my shade is “soft brown”). $7
I have tried a million brow products in my years wearing makeup! This cheapie-but-goodie is a keeper for me! I can lightly trace over sparse areas with the pencil and fill in with the powder end. It allows for a less “harsh” finish, and lasts all day. Before you try Anastasia or Benefit…give this one a “go”.
8.) Anastasia Beverly Hills’ “Master Palette by Mario”…originally $45, purchased by me for $35 after Macy’s had a $10 off beauty coupon.
This is a collaboration between ABH and Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist, Mario Devidanovic. He named the shadows for influential people and places in his life, and wanted to create highly wearable shades with perfect texture. Well? Mission accomplished. This is so damn perfect…and it sold out in what felt like mere minutes. Thousands of people were never able to get one. I waited too late, and by sheer luck, got the LAST ONE that Macy’s had in stock on their website. After I bought it, they never got any more! The jewel tones are to-die-for, and I have created some of my most beautiful looks with this amazing, stunning palette. The shadows are buttery, velvety, and intensely pigmented…yet blending them out is effortless. My favorite look is “Luna” and a touch of “Isabel” in the crease, “Marina” on the lid, and “NYC” in the outer corners, with a little black on the outer “v” for some “smoke”. Oh, and that brush it comes with? Superb.
9.) Urban Decay’s “Primer Potion”…originally $20, purchased for $6 and change each during UD’s holiday sale (I bought 3)!
This shadow primer has been my “ride or die” for many years, and I still think it’s the best. It is the sole reason my oily-tending Mediterranean skin can even wear eyeshadow! It prevents creasing and fading quite well. You can find it on sale for $8 right now at Sephora. Jump on this sale now, because they changed the packaging and from this superior squeeze tip to a sponge applicator. You want this “old” version, trust me!
10.) Tarte’s “Amazonian Clay” Powder Foundation/Mini Buki Brush…foundation usually costs $36 and the brush is $28. I scored both in a kit that included a number of other Tarte products for just $40 total. I practically stole these!
I dislike liquid foundation, and this gem of a find has amazed me! The coverage is flawless, the ingredients are “clean”, and the brush feels like silk against my skin. This isn’t cheap, but it’s the best powder foundation around and a little goes a long way. It doesn’t take much for excellent coverage! I never knew a powder foundation could be this heavenly. Blows Bare Minerals out of the water!
11.) Lorac’s “Pro Contour” Palette (Brush included), $45. I gladly paid full price.
This is one of the “workhorse” products in my arsenal. I chose this kit over similar ones by Tarte, Anastasia, UD, etc. Lorac has a level of blendability and softness that most others cannot match. These shades will work for any skin tone, the highlight is finely milled, and the included brush is actually pretty nice. Contouring is life-changing and a good kit is key to achieving a great look…because if you do it wrong or are heavy handed, you look like Skeletor! I can honestly say I would be LOST without this product.
12.) Maybelline “Great Lash” Mascara…$3.99-$5.99, depending on sales.
Need I say more? I have been wearing this mascara since high school faithfully. I have tried them all, and I keep coming back. The only one I love more? Lancome Definicils…buttttt it’s $27!
13.) Lancome “Cils Booster” XL Mascara Primer…$25 or $13 in travel size. I got mine in a giant kit that I bought for $50, so I pretty much stole it.
This is the BEST mascara primer on the market. It gives my annoying, straight lashes definition, length, volume, and my mascara never flakes or quits. When my full size runs out, I’ll purchase the travel size. I love it that much! A single coat takes care of both eyes, top and bottom, so it lasts a long time!
14.) Neutrogena Makeup Remover wipes…$4-$7, depending on sales.
This is another of my “ride or die” products. I have used them for over a decade, and they remove every trace of my makeup without irritating my sensitive skin. What more can you ask for, and for such a bargain price?!
15.) E.L.F. Liquid Eyeliner, $2 (Yes…$2. Really).
If you are not steady-handed and you want to try, learn, and practice with liquid liner, I always recommend a brush-tip and NOT a felt-tip! This one is a brush-tip that allows for as thin or thick a line as you please. Yes, prestige brands are far more pigmented, deeper black, and less watery. But for $2?! My goodness, it’s a good product, anyone can afford it, and you just can’t go wrong.
16.) BH Cosmetics “Forever Nude” Contour & Blush Palette. Purchased on sale for just $8.
If you want to learn to contour, want a quality kit, and can’t afford $40+ for one of the prestige brands, this is your winner. You will not be disappointed! It blends beautifully, includes a yellow matte highlighter that will neutralize red in the skin, especially under the eyes, a nice shimmer highlight, a gorgeous shimmer blush similar to NARS “orgasm” (a pricey cult favorite), and 2 deeper contour shades. It comes in light/medium and medium/dark. It is truly a “full face” product that is great quality at an economical price. I love it, and gave one to my sister (I want to teach her how to contour and highlight).
17.) Pur Cosmetics “Elevation” Highlighter Palette with fan brush, $15.
This is another excellent product by Pur. I have seen prestige brand highlight palettes for $40+. This little palette packs a punch AND even comes with a great, travel-friendly fan brush for application. The 3 shades are beautiful, nicely pigmented, and wear well. I will even use the peachy gold as an eyeshadow in the spring/summer.If you want this one, I advise you to go grab it, because it was a holiday 2016 offering and is disappearing. I snagged the last one at my Ulta store. This is so worth the price tag….no need to spend more!
18.) BH Cosmetics “Carli Bybel” Palette…$14.50 (I used a $3.50 off Ulta coupon and got mine for just $11).
I hope I am convincing you to try BH as a brand! This palette ( a collab with Youtuber Carli Bybel) could EASILY be a $40 prestige palette due to the quality. These shadows and highlighters are buttery, smooth, and so easy to blend. The pigmentation is more intense than any budget brand. There is no way anyone couldn’t love this palette…the mattes are lovely, the shimmers are velvety, and the highlighters are gorgeous.
19.) Urban Decay “Naked Smokey” Palette…Normally $54, went on sale for $27 and I had a $10 UD Kickback on my account, so mine cost me a mere $17!!!
In my opinion, this is the only UD Naked palette worth getting. It is intensely versatile, and can be used to create both understated and deeply smokey looks. The mattes are awesome, the deep shades smoke the outer corners perfectly, and the lighter shimmers are beautiful. It has champagnes/gold, purples, browns, greys/black…I love this one. In fact, it is the ONLY UD palette I have ever loved. I can do so much with it.
20.) Honest Beauty Sheer Lip Crayon in “Sheer Rose Kiss”…$18, purchased mine for $13.50.
Even $13.50 is a lot to me for a single lip product, but my goodness…this one is my absolute favorite! Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty line uses clean and organic ingredients, and this shade is a pretty pop of sheer color that looks wonderful with my coloring. A little goes a long way, and it’s lasting forever. I will absolutely repurchase this! No wonder it’s won awards!
21.) Tarte’s “Tarteist Pro to Go” Eyeshadow Palette…normally $23, purchased for $16 on sale.
I am obsessed with this mini palette. The colors are perfection for me. I got 2 so I won’t ever run out of it, and the shadows smell like vanilla. As if that isn’t fun enough, the shadows are richly pigmented and blend like a dream. As with all Tarte products, it is cruelty-free and made of clean ingredients. This palette is super travel-friendly and I adore every single shade in it.