As promised, here are my top Beauty picks for 2012:
1. Ren Hydra-calm Global Protection Day Cream - £27.00 full size
Earlier this year I was given a ton of miniatures of this cream by a friend, and it is honestly the best moisturiser I've ever had. It eliminates any redness, and leaves my skin looking and feeling amazing. Once my mini's have ran out, I would more than happily pay the hefty price tag.
2. The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Oil - £11.00
The best thing to happen to dry skin. It's meant to be used pre-moisturising, but I just add a couple drops to my normal moisturiser if my skin is feeling particularly dry. I honestly couldn't recommend it enough.
3. Dr Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm - £18.00
Those who use Glossybox are most likely already familiar with Dr Jart. I use mine on days where I don't want to wear makeup, but still want a little bit of coverage. Evens out my skin with a dewy finish, perfect.
4. Premier Blemish Treatment by Monu - £16.25
Another brand Glossybox subscribers will be familiar with. I also use Monu's Premier Facial scrub and Premier Cleanser & Eye Makeup Remover, both I love, but their blemish remover is my star product. Applied before I go to bed, I wake up in the morning to find any blemishes are significantly reduced with no redness. Clinique's anti-blemish gel has since been given the boot!
1. Smashbox Shades of Fame Palette - (US only) $48.00
I picked this up in Florida back in April, and it has been used to death since. My surprise product of the year, the pigmentation and blend-ability of Smashbox's eyeshadows are superior to any other, even high-end brands. The eye primer that came with it was used up months ago, and I still use the full sized brush that came in it every day. One of my best buys of the year without a doubt.
2. Sephora Double-Ended Every Day Eye Brush - $18.00
I challenge you to find me a blending brush that I'd love more than this. This incredibly fluffy brush blends eyeshadow edges to near invisibility, and gives me the perfect smokey eye every time. I wash my personal brushes every fortnight and I've yet to experience any fallout after almost a year, while some of my higher-end brushes have shed somewhat (I'm talking to you, MAC).
3. Smashbox Hyperlash and Full Exposure Mascara - £17.00 and £19.00 full size*
These were given to me back in September at the Smashbox On Location event in Mayfair, post here. Both have since been used up and have left me wanting more. Hyperlash is a lengthening mascara, which perfectly combed out each and every lash to create natural but striking eyes. Full Exposure is a volumising mascara, which gave me plumped up lashes with zero clumping. Going to be tough to decide which one to buy on my student budget!
4. Illamasqua Liquid Metal - £17.50
Beginning of the year I wanted to know if Illamasqua's Liquid Metals lived up to the hype and anyone who has given one a try will know the answer. I sadly get excited each time I get to use this in something I'm doing, and I'm constantly fighting off the urge to go crazy and cover my entire face with the stuff. The one pictured is Electrum, a beautiful Antique gold.
5. Illamasqua Skin Base - £27.00
I was a loyal user of MAC's Studio Fix foundation for six years until this year. I was at Illamasqua's Generation Q launch at Selfridges when on a whim I asked to try skin base out, less than 10 minutes later I found myself at the till with it in a perfectly packaged Illamasqua bag. Flawless coverage, lightweight feel and the ultimate skin-realism finish, I'm in love.
6. MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in Young Punk - £16.50
How pretty is this! If you can even bare to use it (I nearly couldn't!), applied dry it looks like a sheer chalky black with just a slight purple shimmer. Applied damp, the purple takes over and it becomes a more intense, metallic shade. I use it to jazz up a boring black smokey eye..and to look at how pretty it is.
7. MAC Pigment in Vanilla - £16.50
In our 'no makeup' makeup lesson at LCF, our tutors showed us how to use this as a highlight on the face. I have to admit I was a bit confused at first as to how it would look better than a proper highlighter, but on camera it is amazing. I used it on my models face in this look for a photoshoot.
8. YSL Touche Eclat Celebration Edition - £25 - Out of Stock :(
This is my 'last 5 years in a row' pick, but as it's a 20th anniversary edition it's allowed. Both the product and the box are covered in tiny gold rings and is a collectors edition. I got it as a present for Christmas and haven't brought myself to use it yet!
Another limited edition, it is beautifully scented and is concentrated, so my hands have been lovely and hydrated all year. As you can tell by the picture, it is constantly used!
Given to me by Ciate as part of their Caviar set, I have found my new favourite black polish. It is quite watery and requires a couple coats, but as a result gives a flawless, shiny, polished finish and stays chip free for almost a week.
This black polish is my 'I'm in a rush and don't have time to do my nails properly' favourite. It goes on thick and opaque in one coat and dries mega quick. It does chip easily, but for those moments when you're in a hurry and have bare nails, this is perfect.
I received this in my November Glossybox and I've been using it ever since. It's super glossy and is touch dry in a couple minutes. I've also noticed it gives some of my polishes a slight rubber-looking finish which I love.
I'm not a fan of overly embellished nails, there's a fine line between nice and tacky. I love this one by topshop because the sequins aren't too big and can be built up to cover the nail without looking over the top. Also mentioned but not pictured is their polish in Big Smoke. It is the absolute perfect nude nail for me, and I constantly have people borrowing it off me before a night out, which must be where it is now because I can't find it!
6. Nails Inc. Clifford Street - £11.00
This polish has saw me through the gothic trend this Autumn/Winter season. The gold flecks give a bit of dimension to the nail, and sealed with the caviar top coat, gives that rubber-finish I was talking about above. I also used this polish in my snowflake nail tutorial here.
So there are my favourite products that have carried me through this year. And what a year it has been! I was able to achieve something that I have worked hard for for 4 years and what I have wanted since I was 15 - to get in to The London College of Fashion. It hasn't been easy to get here, but it just shows what hard work and ambition can do. I have started to get a taste of the professional industry and its many perks (Endless opportunities and of course, free products). And I finally made the move to London, which has been and continues to be, a weird and wonderful experience.
I have to say, it is truly amazing to take a gigantic step in the way forward to a promising career. As great as it is getting all the perks, the true joy is from being able to do what I love most every single day. It is also amazing to have such an incredible family behind me who have given and continue to give me so much support.
With those sickeningly cheesy words aside, I wish you all a very happy new year and wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide to make of it. I am now off to get ready for New Years festivities!
How are you spending your last few hours of 2012?