Before I launch into this mammoth retrospective let me just say thank you for all your lovely messages/comments/tweets regarding yesterday's post. It wasn't until after I posted it that I started to feel a little emotional, all thanks to the kindness expressed in your feedback. So thank you. Many of you have followed me for a long time and I do regard you as close friends. With that in mind I think candidness should also be an approach adopted in 2015.
Right, let's get started on my 2014 beauty favorites. I have focussed on stuff that I have tried this year - rather than old stalwarts that line the cupboards. There are quite a few so don't be afraid to get a cup of tea and assume a comfortable position on the sofa.
Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation
Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation
This achieves two things: 1) It acts as an amazing setting powder, securing the longevity of a liquid base for the entire day but also 2) Makes even the heaviest foundation appear natural. I don't know how number 2 works but every time I use this I am amazed at how an extra layer of slap can actually work to make me look more natural. *shrugs* I never want to be without it.
Louise Young LY34
When I think base I think LY34. The two are synonymous with each other because this mega-sized brush never fails to blend a product into the skin with minimum effort. For make up obsessives it's a must have.
Laura Mercier Orange Blossom
I discovered this at the beginning of the year, likening it to a superior version of NARS Orgasm. I stand by that. It's far prettier than it's famous competitor - the tone is that perfect peach/gold sheen hybrid and no matter what shade my skin is, it always works.
Tarte Natural Beauty
A strawberry-hued blush doesn't exactly scream "natural" but this dabbed on the face gives THE PRETTIEST glow. If you want to get one blush from that line I would push you to consider this one.
MAC So Sweet, So Easy
This is one of those reformulated creme blushes that MAC came out with. It's very sweet in colour - giving that dolly-like flush of pink - but not that easy to work with due to the relatively light level of pigmentation but I actually don't mind that because the colour and end result is just that good.
Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Ibiza
I recently announced my love for this little bronzed stick. It glides on the skin, is easy to blend and gives the most realistic warmth to the face. Of course it isn't all wonderful - it can fade easily if you apply to a "slippy" surface, so pop it on after you have powdered your foundation. Net a porter is one of the only places that has a decent stock of this.
Benefit Watt's Up
Okay, so TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer would rank as the best powder highlighter (and a pretty awesome inner corner colour as well) but I also want to make sure that Watt's Up gets the credit it deserves. This is a champagne-hued cream highlighter that makes you face radiate in a flattering, dimensional way.
James Read Bronzing Mousse
Can I whack a fake tan in this category? Why the hell not eh? I actually haven't had this in my stock for months but when I think of the best fake tan I have used this year/EVER I think of this one. It's the best tone and a mousse formula always goes down well as it dries quickly and is easy to apply.
Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage
At the time of purchase this quad felt like the biggest extravagance. It contained four of the most generic neutral tones that would undoubtedly be duped within my collection. And yes, this is probably true but the quality, oh the quality, makes this different. If you got rid of all my eyeshadows (except MAC Sable, Mythology etc) I would be perfectly fine with this.
Lilash/Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde
One is affordable, the other less so, but this combination gives great lash. Lilash is of course the conditioning treatment that makes your eyelashes longer and then the Volume 1 Seconde gives them the kick up the bum to take them to the next level.
If we focus on the mascara I just want to make the following declaration: I shall not deviate from Volume 1 Seconde Ultra Black for the foreseeable future. It is absolutely incredible.
Oh there are quite a few in this category. Brace yourselves....
Revlon Matte Balm's
These are really lovely. They leave a minty aftertaste, are totally comfortable on the lips and mimic products that cost maybe 2 or even 3 times their price. Audacious is a poppy coral that I always go back to on days when I have no idea what to wear.
Bobbi Brown Art Sticks
The stick love continues. I tried these this year and I honestly think they are one of Bobbi Brown's greatest releases in 2014. They give more of a satin finish on the lips but they are just as comfortable to wear as the Revlon ones I chatted about above. Rose Brown is a wearable way to try and pretend you are Kylie J and Sunset Orange is a pretty take on a bright hue. I must make a promise to buy more of these.
Clinique Soft Matte Lipsticks
Another release from the house of Estee Lauder, although this time it comes from a brand I haven't deigned to look at for years. Soft Matte really changed how I perceived Clinique because these are an excellent formulation - excellent. They are weightless and undetectable - pretty remarkable for a matte. Petal and Suede are pretty but Mandarin and Peony are sensational.
Estee Lauder Colour Envy lipsticks
You know how everyone raved about the NARS Audacious formula well I really do prefer Estee Lauder's 2014 offering. I know it doesn't seem as cool but it has a nice slip to it - which makes it easy to apply - leaves a great sheen but has a rich and true pigmentation. I have a few but I love Rebellious Rose (a great professional looking plum-nude) and Desirable ( a nude that makes my heart sing).
MAC Pure Zen
This would be the year that I really discovered this shade. It's such a gorgeous peachy nude suspended within the Cremesheen formula. I have gone through two bullets in 2014 and that's pretty good going for me. Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell is similar but without question, Pure Zen is better quality/more pigmented.
Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede
I haven't got around to repurchasing this but I will. Oh yes I will. There is nothing like this. It layers so well with Wood Sage & Sea Salt but even on it's own leaves a complex floral scent. You have to try it to understand it - who the hell even understands what Blush Suede is anyway?
I got this on Xmas day so I am totally counting it as a 2014 favourite. I LOVE this. ADORE it. For you to feel the same you have to be keen on fig notes. It's that fresh, green tone. We start there and then once a few seconds have passed we are met with a cedar base that makes it a little bit musky and mysterious. This is unisex and addicting. I have the oil roller ball now - which is perfect for handbag situations and delivers an intense punch of fragrance - but a full sized bottle isn't far off for drowning myself in. If I wanted to develop a signature scent I would want this to be it.
So that was 2014. Of course there were many other products that I liked but when I think of the favourites, these are the ones that immediately pop up in my head.
Now I cannot wait to see what 2015 brings :)