Happy New Year 2018 my lovelies! I hope everything you wish for this year comes true.
I can’t believe another year has passed. It’s been a year full of cosmetics and lovely makeup. A year that’s been really interesting in the beauty word, a lot of new products and collections came out, a lot of controversial products as well but somewhere between the drama of it all, there were some amazing products that I want to dedicate this special post on.
A lot of people ask me what my favourite products are, not only because I am a beauty blogger but also because I am a chemist by profession and therefore, one can say, I am a little pickier than others. I always take into consideration the ingredient and formulation of the products as well as whether they actually work and if they look nice! So, without further ado, here’s my ride or dies, my swear by products, the official: A chemist’s favourite beauty products – the Bonds of Beauty 2017 awards! Not all products were released in 2017 but they are so good that they are still holding their title!
I thought about giving an award for each category but I decided not to, for two reasons:
- This would be a never ending post and it’s already super long
- Not all categories have clear winners
As a result, I am only awarding the categories that have clear winners, the products that really stand out for me. These products are top notch and there aren’t many of similar quality that come near them. They are the top of the top and they deserve that you, at the very least, give them a try!
Best Beauty Brand 2017 – Estée Lauder
I thought I should get this one out of the way first, as it will become apparent quickly anyways. As a professional chemist and a beauty lover, I strongly believe that the best, most coherent, higher quality brand that has the most, best products, and even the ones I don’t use are actually still good, is Estée Lauder!
You can create entire looks using only this brand. They have pretty much any product you might need and even amazing skin care. The formulation of their products is top notch and it is very rare, in fact I don’t actually have an example, that their products are not good. I might not have a favourite from this brand for each category, but their products are still excellent.
This is a professional company that does professional make up and it shows. It’s not a mediocre company that does makeup on the side. They are specialised and they know what they are doing. If I had to use one brand only for the rest of my life, it be Estée Lauder!
It’s an expensive brand but you know that you are at least getting quality products. I’m sure that a large part of the price is the name and the fact that this is a company that specialises in cosmetics, but the products are high quality too.
I wish I could visit their labs. A chemist’s dream come true.
Right, let’s get into the actual products, in order of usage!
Best Eyeliner 2017 – Nyx Professional Matte Liquid Eyeliner
I actually do my eyes first, before any make up or skincare because this way, if you mess them up, you can wipe it off and start again! Easy!
The best eyeliner is a major, major, major, major category for me as I have been wearing eyeliner on a daily basis since…gosh…for at least 19 years. So, I consider myself a bit of an eyeliner super user and it’s an absolute huge thing for me to say that the best eyeliner that I currently use is the Nyx Black Matte Liquid Eyeliner.
It’s sleek, has a proper black colour, it doesn’t shine, doesn’t smudge, lasts all day and it’s even there after you wake up (we’ve all been there) and although it is not water proof, it survives a slash of water. It only comes off if you rub it while wet.
It works well over eye shadows, doesn’t loose its intensity and you can also layer it up although, its really not needed. It has a very thin brush which I love as you can create very precise looks. I personally prefer brushes over felt tip pens because (a) they are most of the time more intense in colour and (b) they can be a lot more precise if you practise using them.
It doesn’t make the eyes sting if you accidentally get it in and it doesn’t irritate the sensitive eye skin at all. It’s completely weightless and super affordable. It comes off easily in the shower with just water or a makeup wipe/remover and doesn’t ruin your lashes. The best part is, it retails for £6!
Best eyeshadow palette 2017 – Too Faced Sweet Peach, Peachy Mattes and Natural Love
Obviously, I do eyeshadows first before the eyeliner, but since I don’t wear shadows everyday I’ve put them second.
This was an interesting category actually because if you asked me which eye shadows are the best quality, I’d say the Urban Decay ones. Urban Decay has come up with an amazingly gorgeous palette this year, which I was super excited for, the natural HEAT palette (see post Urban Decay Naked Heat Eye Shadow Palette and Lipsticks! Swatches and Reviews on National Lipstick day!) but still the palettes I pick up the most and actually feel most inspired to create by, are the Too Faced Sweet Peach, Peachy Mattes and Natural Love. If I really had to only pick one I’d go for the Sweet Peach but I think that the Peachy Mattes is an absolutely gorgeous 2017 addition that works well with the Sweet Peach (see post Battle of the Peaches – Too Faced Sweet Peach vs Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes).
I also think that the Natural Love palette is underrated and should have received more hype than it did. It’s absolutely gorgeous, the shadows are very good quality and very everyday wearable (check out Too Faced Summer Collection 2017 – Natural Love Eye Shadow Palette and Love Light Highlighters – Reviews and Swatches!). Even the colour names are cute!
I know there are some concerns out there, but I’ve personally never had quality issues with Too Faced shadows. Even though they might not be as good as the Urban Decay ones, the fact that I go for them the most, shows that an eyeshadow palette is not always about top quality (they are very good anyways), it’s about being inspired by the palette and being drawn to it. Too Faced will almost always win with their cute names, gorgeous packaging and scents.
Best Day Moisturiser for oily skin 2017 – Estée Lauder DayWear Matte
If you have oily skin, you have to try this one out. In truly helps keep your skin moisturised, so that it doesn’t over produce oils, but it also controls any oil production that takes place and helps keep you matte all day.
It’s neither a cream or a gel, I’d say it’s somewhere between the two, which is an excellent consistency for oily skin.
There are no nasty ingredients in it but at the same time, I can’t say it’s the most skin nutritious cream you can get, however, it will definitely moisturise your skin and control your oils and for that it is worth it.
It smells nicely cosmetic and it retails for £25-44, depending on size, but it is totally worth the cash. Even the tube it comes in looks gorgeous!
Best Makeup Primer 2017 – This Works In Transit Camera Close-up Primer, Mask, Moisturiser.
The first time I saw this I was completely confused. Is it a primer, a mask or a moisturiser? How can it be all, there are very different ingredients, formulations and functions for each one of those! I was almost sure it wasn’t going to be good but my goodness, it is the best!
This primer is bar none, the most nutritious one out there that I have at least come across. I use it as a primer, after my moisturiser, and it keeps my skin nicely moisturised and smooth while helping my makeup stay flawless all day long. After using this for a while, I noticed a positive change in my skin.
It smells really nice and has a thick consistency, however, don’t rub this too much, it sort of destroys the formulation. Just dub it in and let it get absorbed by the skin.
You won’t find another good for your skin and great functional primer out there like this one. It is truly in a league of its own. Even Victoria Beckham said “this works” and it has also won a lot of beauty awards.
It retails for £30.00 which honestly, is an excellent price for the ingredients it contains.
Best Pore Minimising Primer 2017 – Too Faced Primed and Poreless
I’ve tried so many pore minimising primers, creams, serums, gels, powders, you name it. This year I have declared a war against pores and I have tried it all! Surprisingly, even though there are so many pore minimising products out there, not many of them actually work on the face. They hide pores at the back of your hand when you try them in a shop, but the face is a much more “alive” and complicated skin situation.
The products that worked for me are the ones I least excepted and some that are not even labelled to be helping pores (see Estée Lauder Night Repair Serum near the end of this post).
There were a couple of pore minimising products that I managed to get them to work. However, almost all of them would work for an hour or two and then as my face would produce oils or naturally as the makeup would get less fresh and my face went through more movement, they would fail and all my pores would become visible again.
There is one product though that really kept my crater pores in check all day and that is the Too Faced Primed and Poreless powder. Too Faced has two similar products, a compact powder and a loose one, I am talking about the loose powder here. I use this before my foundation but after my makeup primer and I simply push it on the pores with a sponge. That’s it. Don’t rub it, don’t do anything fancy, just push it on and literally you will be instantly powerless. Like a baby’s bum!
As long as you don’t use too much foundation over it and you don’t unhide them all in your makeup process (by using brushes etc), it will stay intact and hide your pores all day long.
I am seriously looking to replace this product though because the powder really makes a huge mess and you will unwillingly breath it in too, which is not healthy. I definitely want to find another excellent pore minimiser but for now, this one has worked the best for me!
This retails for £24 which is expensive for a simple powder, but ah so cheap considering it actually hides crater pores. If you have crater pores, you’d pay anything for something that works. I know, I know, I’m there with you. I think there is a chance that Too Faced might discontinue this product though, so even more reason to find a replacement. If only it was so easy.
Best Foundation for oily skin 2017 – Estée Lauder Double Wear
I have oily skin which makes finding a suitable foundation very difficult. There are many foundations in the market that claim to control oil production, in some way, and stay put, without coming off or separating, all day long, but neither work as well for me as the Estée Lauder Double Wear.
I think it comes to no surprise that this is the world’s number one foundation and the beauty bloggers’ choice, if you check places like Influenster etc.
It lasts all day long, controls oil production well and for me it is the only foundation I’ve ever tried (believe me, I’ve tried…) that actually, really, trully doesn’t come off on clothes, when you hug someone or when you touch your face. There are many foundations that claim to “stay in place” but this one actually does.
The formulation doesn’t have any nasties, it doesn’t separate, doesn’t really oxidise, it’s an all rounder, and even the bottle it comes in looks nice. It doesn’t have a pump but you can buy one from the brand (£4-5) if you need to, although I promise you it’s very easy to get used to it, you won’t need one at after all.
It’s a medium to full coverage and layering it up works like a charm. I actually always layer it twice because it controls my oil production even better, not so much for the coverage. Honestly, I cannot speak highly enough for this foundation, give it a try, especially if you have oily skin.
Too Faced gave this foundation a good run for it’s money this year, with the Peach Perfect foundation launch, coming close with an 80% match dupe (see post Three way battle of foundations: Estée Lauder Double Wear vs Too Faced Peach Perfect vs Too Faced Born this Way.). However, the fact that Estée Lauder has 50 shades to choose from, definitely gave it the upper hand.
It lasts me somewhere between 3 weeks to a month, depending on usage, and it retails for £32.50.
For more details check out:
Best Concealer 2017 – Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer
Again, a beauty blogger favourite, all over Influenster and other blogger media, is the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer. This year, Tarte gave this one a good run for it’s money, with many actually saying that they prefer the Tarte one. I haven’t actually tried the Tarte one as it is almost not available in the UK (bad points for Tarte there) and so I have to stick with the old favourite, Urban Decay Naked Skin.
I love this concealer because it lasts for ever, it doesn’t crease, it doesn’t need to be set with a powder as it dries on its own, it doesn’t add heaviness to the eyes and it truly does make the eyes brighter and younger looking (choose a shade lighter than your foundation).
It retails for £19 which is not bad at all considering this will last you 2-3 months!
Best Mascara 2017 – Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir
Ok, so up until November 2017, my favourite mascara was the Too Faced Better than Sex mascara. The name is cheeky but it is a good mascara. It lasts all day, makes lashes long, doesn’t run and the lashes look natural. It doesn’t stick and the lashes stay nicely separated too.
And then all of the sudden I received the Influenster Marc Jacobs box (see post Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Influenster VoxBox – Unboxing and Review) which contained the velvet noir mascara and ever since I cannot put it down. It is as good as the Too Faced better than sex and actually, dare I say, a little bit better because it does everything the Too Faced one does plus it makes the lashes thicker, something that the Too Faced one doesn’t do as much.
Both are great and it really depends on what type of look you are going for. If you like thinner lashes try the Too Faced one but if you like thick, never need falsies again lashes then give the Marc Jacobs velvet noir a go!
The Too Faced Better than Sex retails for £19 whereas the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir retails for £22. Both are totally worth it.
Best natural highlighter 2017 – Too Faced Love Light Blinded by the Light
Ok. I know a lot of you will hate me for this but I have to stay true to what I like. I know many beauty bloggers didn’t like this highlighter because it doesn’t blind people but quite frankly that is exactly why I like it. It is natural and it also works well if you layer it, so you can make it blinding if you want to.
It’s a highlighter that you can use for both natural makeup and fancy makeup and it comes in an adorable heart shape with a mirror. There are three available colours, “blinded by the light” which is the silver-normal one, “you light up my life” which is the gold one and another one which I always forget the name of which is pink. The pink one is not as great quality but the gold and silver one are great.
It lasts absolute ages (been using mine daily for 6 months and I’m about half way through!) and most importantly it doesn’t add texture to the face or emphasise pores. Very important!
It retails for £25 which is a very good price considering how long it lasts, the packaging and how good it is.
Best Setting Spray 2017 – Urban Decay All Nighter
Again, another no shocker here. A beauty blogger favourite, the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray. There are many setting sprays out there but neither will keep your makeup flawless for as long as this one does and not many will help control your oils too.
Urban Decay also does an oil control setting spray but it actually doesn’t keep the makeup flawless for as long as this one. The all nighter is oil free, so it works for oily skin too and it is an absolutely amazing spray.
It doesn’t feel sticky or strange, it doesn’t smell bad, it doesn’t feel like a shock when you spray it on the face and it doesn’t ruin your makeup at all. It dries in a few seconds and creates a nice invisible barrier between the world and your makeup.
It retails for £23.50 and comes in a travel size too.
Best Brushes 2017 – Spectrum Collections
I love Spectrum Collections because they are cheap but high quality, soft, wash well, blend well and they even have so many themes to choose from.
I just don’t see the reason for spending £30 on one branded brush when you can buy 5-6 Spectrum ones for the same quality! If you haven’t tried them, give them a go and check out their website for all the brush designs and themes!
Best Lipstick Brand 2017 – Urban Decay
You have to give it to Urban Decay, they have so, so many colours to choose from with so many different finishes and their lipsticks are all amazing quality but yet not as expensive as they could be.
Sure, the packaging is typical Urban Decay, simple but yet not as fancy or thought after as it could be. It does the job though and it still looks reasonably nice.
These lipsticks are very buttery, last for hours and feel great on the lips. They do fade while eating or drinking but any lipstick does.
I am a bit of a lipstick lover and I have a couple of hundred lipsticks, and yet it is the Urban Decay ones that I reach out for the most.
An Urban Decay lipstick retails for £15.50 which is totally worth the cash, in fact there are many top brands that sell their lipsticks in the £20-30 mark and don’t have as good lipsticks! Go to an Urban Decay counter and spend some time there, I am positive you will find a couple of colours you love and you won’t be disappointed with the selection.
Favourite Lipstick of 2017 – Urban Decay Colour Backtalk
Since I love lipsticks so much I though I should share my favourite. The lipstick I’ve used up the most, finished a few bullets and even bought some more, is the Urban Decay in colour Backtalk.
It’s really nice, matte, buttery lipstick that has a pink/purple-ish colour while still being in the “naked-natural lipstick” category. It just gives your lips that little colour boost without being too intense or fake. It neither dries or moisturises the lips. It’s a great everyday option for any looks, whether casual, professional or fancy and I highly recommend it.
Best Moisturising Lipsticks 2017 – Laura Mercier Crème Smooth
Although I have oily skin, my lips are very, very, very dry. They peel off every single day no matter what I do and finding a nice lipstick to keep them moisturised can be difficult.
The Laura Mercier lipsticks are bar none the most moisturising formula out there and they even contain olive oil! The lips feel so nice and look great too but unfortunately the colour range is not huge and hence why they don’t win lipstick brand of the year.
My favourite colour is Audrey, a nice pinky-red with a sheer to it. It lasts all day and survives food but its shiny sheer fades away. Nothing that a quick reapply cannot fix, in fact it is almost needed in order to keep those lips moisturised.
The packaging is also very fancy and expensive feeling although the brand is not so obvious. There is a Laura Mercier writing on the lid but its so subtle you need the appropriate light reflection on it to see it.
These retail for £22, a price totally worth it. If you have dry lips, YOU MUST try these.
Best Long Lasting Lipstick Formula 2017 – Too Faced Peach Kiss Comfort Matte Long Wear Lipstick
These lipsticks are insanely gorgeous. The packaging looks so expensive and feels heavy (in a good way) and the lipstick bullet is has an absolute genius peachy pattern.
The lipsticks have a peaches and cream scent which is gorgeous and feel completely weightless. They do not moisturise or dry the lips and the last all-day-long! You can eat, kiss someone, drink and of course the colour does come off, but your lips will still look flawless, no colour fading or lines missing. This lipstick range truly does last long.
I wish they were a little bit easier to get to in the UK and that the range had more colours. Nevertheless, these are lipsticks worth trying. A peach kiss lipstick retails for £19 which is again, totally worth it.
Best Cleansing Wipes 2017 – Nivea Dry Skin 3 in 1 Gentle Cleansing Wipes
So, I have oily skin but I still like the dry skin Nivea wipes the best. They smell the best and they feel the nicest on the skin.
These wipes can take any makeup off, even the waterproof kind and they leave the skin feeling nicely fresh. They don’t dry out, the first wipe is as wet as the last one and they are very practical to carry around too.
They are also super affordable and you can find them almost everywhere. The price per pack varies greatly, depending on where you are buying it from and if there are any offers, but it is usually in the £1-3 range.
I’ve tried so many fancy wipes but quite frankly nothing comes near the Nivea ones. They clean the best, the smell the best and they feel the best.
Best Face Cleanser 2017 – Lancôme Gel Eclat
This is a wet face cleanser. It comes out as a thick, silky white, gel-cream and foams up when in contact with water to give a super silky, creamy liquid that will leave your skin literally, squeaky clean. It smells nicely sweet-cosmetic and it lasts a while too.
It works amazingly well and it almost feels like it was specifically designed to work well with electronic face cleaning brushes. It’s so silky smooth but at the same time thick enough to hold onto the brush and it works perfectly with a Clarisonic, for example.
It’s just the perfect consistency and it cleans out a full, heavy make up face without any difficulties. One tube retails for £23 which is a very good price for what it is.
Best Serum 2017 – Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum
This serum has been around for a while and yet it is still so good and worth it. I’ve read some bloggers complaining that this has been around and the same for a while now, but why fix something that is not broken?
You are meant to use this before your moisturiser, to give your skin that little extra mile of nutrition.
I don’t think I can praise this serum enough. For me, it’s almost like skin medicine. After a month of daily usage (in combination with the night cream below), my pores became noticeably smaller, my skin smoother, healthier and younger looking.
It’s such a versatile item as well. If you get burnt while cooking you can use this to help your skin heal faster, thanks to the hyaluronic acid and other great ingredients it contains. If you get a rash or irritated skin, this will calm it down. Obviously, if you have a skin disorder or something you are worried about, consult with a medical doctor first.
The bottle is nice and I love that it comes with a little squeezy dropper. It is expensive, it retails for £53-88 depending on size but it is absolutely worth it.
I just love this serum so much. It has amazing ingredients and it actually works miracles. I’d never allow myself to run out of this, I always have a back up bottle.
Best Night Cream 2017 – Estée Lauder NightWear Plus Anti-Oxidant Night Detox Creme
I’ve been using this cream for ages and it is so nutritious for the skin. It has great ingredients and a nice formulation. It’s thin and not too creamy, so it works really well for oily skin and it gets absorbed very quickly. It doesn’t leave any residues behind and it has a refreshing, cucumber-like scent.
The tube is gorgeous and it retails for £48. You might think that’s expensive but it is truly the best night cream, in terms of ingredients, I have come across so far. I’d love to change this up and use another one, but honestly there aren’t many creams with ingredients that good.
Remember that skin care is not just about moisturising your skin for now, it’s about protecting, healing and giving the skin those extra ingredients that will keep it healthy and young, for later too. Skin care is all about prevention, so invest some money in a good, nutritious cream. I highly recommend this one.
That’s it for the beauty favourites of 2017. There’s a lot of categories I haven’t touched at all, not because I don’t have favourites in them, but because those products are not THAT much better than others to deserve the category award of the year. I’m very excited to see what 2018 will bring us and if next year this time, I will be talking about the same products as now, or not!
I hope the New Year 2018 is even more beautiful that the last.
Lots of love,
Bonds of Beauty
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