I love creating these end of year, ‘Best Of’ posts! Not only does it help me see which products/brands have been consistent in their performance, but it also helps me do a detox of my makeup kit clearing out the ones that haven’t quite made the cut.
This year, I found myself leaning more towards newer products – with the exception of a few all-time-favorite staples.
Without further ado, here’s a list of all the products that I reached for the most in 2019…
***CLICK THE PRODUCT NAMES TO SHOP***
Best Of 2019 Makeup
I’m not typically a primer person. I believe in prepping the skin really well before makeup application and I’ll usually utilise my skincare products – serums in particular (or liquid highlighters for added illumination) to do that.
Although my good old Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum has always created a great base prior to makeup, a recent new-comer has become my go-to primer ever since its launch…
Summer Fridays CC Me Serum
Summer Fridays CC Serum ($64) This light-weight Vitamin C Serum offers just enough hydration to wear under makeup, but it’s the instant glow it provides that has me loving it. On my no-makeup days, I put couple of drops of this serum all over my face and it looks like I just had a glowing facial.
It also helps the foundation and other base products apply and adhere evenly and extends their staying power. Skincare benefits and primer performance rolled into one! Big thumbs up from me!
Depending on the occasion (and the finish I’m after), I still alternate between many favorite foundations.
However this year, I returned back to a foundation that I’ve had a decade long love affair with…
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation – Stromboli
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation ($47) is such a classic formula that despite its name, provides plenty of coverage with a beautiful satin finish.
It feels like skin, it doesn’t settle into fine lines or highlight problem areas such as dry spots. Every single product I use on top, whether in powder, cream or liquid form blends like a dream.
I’ve sung the praises of NARS Sheer Glow Foundation plenty of times but this year I remembered yet again why it will always hold the top spot for me.
Unfortunately the concealer that I would crown as my favorite has been discontinued this year. Disappointing as that is, lucky we’re spoilt for choice.
So, I’ll give the runner-up a mention as it’s also been quite good in terms of coverage and performance…
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer #6
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer ($32) is a little thicker in consistency than what I usually prefer, but coverage and blendability is great. It also blurs over pores – especially if you use concealers to brighten the center of the face.
Depending on how much coverage I need on the day – and hence how much product I use, I sweep a light dusting of setting powder to lock it in place and I’m good for 8-9 hours.
The only thing I’m not crazy about is the sponge tip applicator; but then again I’ve never been a fan of sponge tip applicators in any product for hygiene reasons. I usually use a brush to distribute the product onto the skin which works perfectly fine.
I don’t like heavy setting powders. The more light and airy the powder, the more natural the look and I love that.
These type of powders are also easier to work with as they give the user full control of how much product is needed for each skin type or concern.
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Powder #2 Medium
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish ($45) pressed powder compact wins this category with flying colors. The super finely milled, barely there feel of this powder works wonders for me; especially under the eyes and in areas such as sides of the nostrils, laugh lines etc where creasing tends to occur more.
I also use this powder all over my eyelids before going in with powder eyeshadows, as it creates a smooth surface which helps blend the eyeshadows perfectly.
I haven’t used any other powder than Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush powder and I don’t think I’ll be swaying from it any time soon either.
I had a very fuss-free, simple eye look kind of year. In fact, for my everyday look, I typically smudge a rich brown shimmer eyeliner along my lash line with a coat of mascara and that’s plenty for me.
Along with a crazy year of travelling, I kind of enjoyed keeping my eye makeup to subtle monochromatic looks.
Natasha Denona Mini Eyeshadow Palettes – Sunset and Star
Natasha Denona Mini Eyeshadow Palettes ($25) The two palettes named Sunset and Star got me through this year with plenty of warm neutral options.
With a range of gorgeous velvety mattes, beautiful pops of shimmer and added intensity with rich browns, I created many different looks with these amazing quality mini compacts. They come in other color combinations too so there’s a mini compact for everyone.
Yet another category where I retired my previous all time favorite eyeliner, the dark chocolatey shimmering goodness of Teddy by MAC.
I mean, Teddy is still here and still holding its own, but switching to my new favourite in almost the same shade made a world of difference. If it’s almost the same shade, what is the difference…I hear you ask. The answer is: Longevity.
MAC Teddy eyeliner is an amazing pencil, but it’s not a long-wearing formula. It’s great for smudging and creating that lived-in look which I adore, but it’s not a pencil that will stay put for more than couple of hours – before it starts to fade.
NARS High Pigment Eyeliners – Mamba & Mulholland Drive
NARS High Pigment Eyeliner ($24) is long-wearing. It’s still super soft and easy to blend/smudge but it locks into place and stays the same intensity until you take it off.
My holy grail shade is Mulholland Drive which is a shimmering dark chocolate. I also have a matte color called Mamba which is a warm, almost burgundy chocolate shade that I alternate with Mullholland Drive. I love these pencils!
BROWS & LASHES
Of course, no eye look is complete without defining the brows and fanning out those lashes.
This is one category that has not changed since last year for me. As I explained in many posts which feature mascaras, I have really straight lashes; and despite curling them to the heavens, the second I apply any mascara (other than my holy grail favorite), my lashes weigh down and head south.
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler; Colourpop Brow Boss in Medium Brown; Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara Waterproof
Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara ($27.50) is an all-in-one wonder, lengthening, thickening and curling the lashes at literally the first swipe. Buildable and non-flaking, non-smudging, I’m yet to find another mascara that works as well – and I try plenty of products.
I use the waterproof formula so my lashes hold the curl but it also comes in a regular, non-waterproof formula.
Colourpop Brow Boss Pencil ($5.50); I keep my brows fairly simple. I prefer a natural look, so a fine tip long-wearing pencil where I can create hair-like strokes to define the shape is more than enough for me.
Whilst I always have an Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil on hand, the $5 Colourpop Brow Boss pencil (versus the $21 Anastasia Brow Wiz) does the trick at a fraction of the cost.
CONTOUR & BRONZER
This duo has been a go-to combo for me whenever I want to create a sculpted, perfectly framed face look.
I particularly love using cream foundations that are quite a few shades darker than my skin tone as contour. You see, most of the mainstream cream contour products have a powdery finish that either disappears or ends up looking quite patchy if not applied correctly.
A stick foundation that’s a few shades darker than your skin tone (but within the same undertone) provides coverage and blendability so you end up with a more even distribution.
Disclaimer: The NARS product I use for contour is unfortunately discontinued. I’m including it here because it is what I still use and you may also be able to find it in clearance stores like I did. I did however list a Makeup Forever version which is a great alternative.
Marc Jacobs Coconut Bronzer in Tan-Tastic; NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick in Macao
NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick in Macao is the perfect color and formula for me. Quality and performance is amazing and having stumbled upon this particular tube at just $14 at TJ Max, I’m not complaining one bit :)
Makeup Forever Ultra HD Cover Stick ($43); Creamy, seamless and long wearing, MUFE Ultra HD line is renowned for its coverage whilst managing to stay natural on the skin.
Marc Jacobs O’Mega Coconut Bronzer ($49) in the color Tan-Tastic is my winner for bronzer of 2019. With a great balance of warm and cool undertones, a silky matte finish and a delicious coconut scent that takes me to a tropical island every time I open the compact, I absolutely loved using this bronzer to add a veil of warmth to my skin, and also frame my face.
Recently, Marc Jacobs launched a darker version of this bronzer named Tantalize for dark/deep beauties, so with a gorgeous (and very generous size) compact, the Coconut Bronzer is a great investment.
This year, I barely reached for powder blushes. It’s all been about the light and glowy look of cream and liquid blushes.
There’s something about a fresh face that makes me feel better and cream/liquid blushes really bring that whole look together.
Glossier Cloud Paint – Dusk & Beam
Glossier Cloud Paint ($18) is the perfect product to achieve that very look I just mentioned. Seamless, perfectly pigmented and long wearing, the airy application and feel of Cloud Paints hands down take the top spot for me.
While on the topic of Glossier, I also have the Glossier Coconut Lip Balm in the above picture. I love the texture of Glossier lip balms, not to mention the delicious scents. I usually prep my lips with the Coconut Balm before I apply my lip products.
One liquid formula and one powder formula adorned my face majority of 2019 – rain, hail or shine. I’m a huge fan of highlighter (as I think most of us are for that instant pick-me-up) so I usually have an arsenal of highlighters in the top drawer of my vanity.
Although I did use some others depending on the looks I wanted to achieve, two products have been my constant go-to…
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter #5
Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter ($44) is such a versatile product, I don’t even know if it’s right to call it just a liquid highlighter. It provides sheer coverage so it can definitely be used as an everyday base on no-makeup days.
It blurs pores and lines so it can also pass off as an illuminating primer. But I love it as a liquid highlighter dabbed on the high points of the cheeks as it provides the most natural dewy finish.
Fenty Killawatt Highlighter in Afternoon Snack/Mo’ Hunnyy
Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter ($36) The color Afternoon Snack/Mo’ Hunny is pretty much the same product in a different color to last year’s winner Mean Money/Hustla Baby.
Fenty Afternoon Snack/Mo’ Hunny was launched this year, along with their bronzer range. Compared to the slightly more frosty/peachy tone of last year’s winner, it has a warmer champagne/gold undertone which I love.
The dual sides vary in intensity so you can go as subtle or heavy as you like. You can also use them on the eyes or on the lips with a coat of gloss over the top.
I adore bright, punchy, vampy lips BUT, for me personally, I will forever love neutral/nude colors.
Along with the usual beige nudes, my lip color choices this year have been based around warm, peachy terracotta tones varying in intensity.
I went back and forth between four shades and the finish of these lipsticks have been the selling point for me….
MAC Powder Kiss Lipsticks in Sultry Move & Mull It Over; Too Faced Peach Puff Lipsticks in You Wish & Scary Spice
MAC Powder Kiss Lipsticks ($19) in Sultry Move & Mull It Over; A formula that is best tried in person than trying to explain it in words, MAC really did an amazing job with the pillowy matte formula of these lipsticks. Available in so many amazing colors, I naturally (no pun intended) picked two of my stand out colors.
Too Faced Peach Puff Lipstick ($19) in You Wish & Scary Spice; Different formula yet similar concept to the MAC Powder Kiss, these lipsticks literally erase all signs of dryness, fine lines and wrinkles from the lips as you apply it. It’s probably the most interesting lipstick formula I’ve ever owned; and yes they totally smell like fresh peaches.
Super light, super airy and almost a soft powder-like matte finish, both the MAC and Too Faced lipsticks glide over the lips like butter, wear so comfortably and pair up great with other lip products.
In line with the lip colors that I just mentioned, 2 lipliners have matched these combinations perfectly.
Carrying the similar warm peachy undertones , the classic MAC Spice lipliner and Huda Beauty’s Trendsetter have helped define and shape the lips beautifully. They also pair really nicely with more muted nude lipsticks bringing a touch of life to the overall look with their warm shades.
MAC Lipliner in Spice; Huda Beauty Lipliner in Trendsetter
MAC Lipliner in Spice ($18) is possibly the most sold and most renowned lipliner ever made by a cosmetic company. With a gorgeous warm terracotta undertone, Spice lipliner can go as nude or dark as you choose to, making it a universal product.
Huda Beauty Lip Contour Lipliner ($19) the color Trendsetter lipliner came in a lip set I purchased in the beginning of the year. Having a similar undertone to MAC Spice, the biggest selling point of this lipliner has been its long-wearing formula. It prevents lipsticks and lipglosses worn with it from smudging and melting, and extends the longevity of the lip products when worn as a base all over the lips. Great formula!
Shall we add that glistening coat of shine to our lips to end this year’s ‘Best Of’ post then?
Fenty Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow
Fenty Gloss Bomb ($18) the original color Fenty Glow crowned a winner for second year running, this gloss has travelled with me in my handbag, within an arm’s reach at all times. There’s something about this color, formula and finish that makes me go back to it, no matter how many other glosses I attempt to use.
Although only a couple of months old in release, you can imagine my excitement when Fenty launched a 5-color mini set of the Gloss Bomb as part of their holiday collection. Now I have the same amazing formula in 5 other colors where I can alter and adjust my lip looks with a hint of different shade gloss. Love this gloss!
‘Best Of’ posts are usually really long so thank you for sticking with me til the end. I feel each product deserves a mention and a break down of why they made the top spot for me.
I hope you find my tried and tested product list helpful; and please share in the comments below what made it to your Best of 2019 list.
Follow me on Instagram @sarahbeautypov as I share all my product pics, videos and swatches there more often :)