Best beauty buys 2016

It’s coming to that time of year to pause and reflect on the past year. Actually, let’s not do that. It’s too bloomin’ depressing. Instead, let us turn our minds to the fripperies of life. Yes, dear readers, when the going gets tough, the tough go for an exfoliating facial scrub.

I do not consider myself to be an expert in beauty products, but I am a big consumer of them and that has to count for something. This year, my large supply of beautification products has continued to grow. Not all of them have been great buys, but some have really helped make me feel (and who knows, look) better.

Here are 10 things that I’ve discovered this year and would recommend wholeheartedly.

Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer


Available in 3 shades in Boots, Superdrug £5.99 BUY ME HERE

This little gem has saved me from bags, blemishes and general haggardness. I’ve started using the lighter shade under my eyes in a vague triangle shape and blending it with an actual concealer brush rather than my fingers, over my foundation. I think it brightens up my eyes and makes me look much less tired. Try it and see how it works for you. I use this ‘Real Techniques’ brush from Boots and it works a treat.


Available at Superdrug or Boots, £7.99 BUY ME HERE

Chanel No 5, L’Eau


Available in most department stores, £96 BUY ME HERE

I have always wanted to like Chanel No 5 for all the reasons that make it iconic. Sadly, however, on me it soon breaks down and smells musty and dowdy. Not, however, this new lighter formulation. It’s fresher and rosier than the classic blend and very nice. I’m not quite ready to give up my Diorella, since we’ve just been reunited after 30 odd years, but L’Eau is now on my perfume list.

Smashbox Always Sharp 3D Liner


Smashbox eyeliner pencils, £16.00 BUY ME HERE

I love these liner pencils. They – yes, such wonders exist – actually SHARPEN THEMSELVES!!! And they do this every time you put the lid on. They are long lasting and come in great colours, including some sassy sparkly ones.

Mac Eye Shadow in Copperplate 


 MAC eyeshadow £13 BUY ME HERE

Use this on your EYEBROWS, people! I read somewhere (probably Sali Hughes) that this works brilliantly, applied with a slanted brush, to make your eyebrows look more defined and less gappy. I was a tad sceptical. The colour is a kind of purpley grey: what you’d end up with if Farrow & Ball did eyeshadow. But it works! For those of us who are mousey by nature if not by choice, it really is the perfect colour for creating luxuriant but natural looking brows.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel 

HYDRO BOOSTAvailable at Boots, £12.99 BUY ME HERE

I love this. It sinks in to my combination skin and leaves it smooth, soft and not at all sticky. It feels cooling too, almost like I’m giving my poor old complexion a big glass of water.

St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Golden Glow

st Topez

Available at Boots, £14.50 BUY ME HERE

I know, I know. I bang on about this all the time. But I just love it. It gives me a touch of colour so I don’t feel pasty and this year (oh joy) a new variant appeared, in medium tan: just as convincing but a little less subtle (which I like).

Olaplex No 3


Available from for around £25 BUY ME HERE

Now, don’t tell a soul, but I’m not quite a natural blonde. (Well, obviously I WOULD be if it weren’t for the parlous weather we have in this country.) The upshot is that I have to be careful about the condition of my hair. What I need is a product that can turn straw into gold. Olaplex is that Rumpelstiltskin. It’s worth using once a week, for anyone with coloured locks.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue 


Available in department stores, £27 BUY ME HERE

This is a recent discovery. I have been trying to find a good base that doesn’t look too heavy, but has more coverage than a tinted moisturiser. This stuff is great – light, dewy, fresh. They will try to sell you a special brush to apply it (which of course I bought) so be prepared if you don’t want to double how much you spend.

Nuxe lip balm


Available in M&S and department stores, £9.50 BUY ME HERE

This is an old product but, goodness, it works. This week a horrid head cold turned me into a day time Exorcist understudy, spewing green slime from every facial orifice and a night time mouth breather. But thanks to the Nuxe, at least my lips are all soft and kissy – not that any one would want to come close enough to check.

Bobby Brown illuminating powder



Available at department stores, £39 BUY ME HERE

I’m lazy about powders. I know I should ‘fix’ my makeup, la, la, la, but I can rarely be bothered unless I’m going somewhere special – and I never go anywhere special.

Then I watched a Vlog by make up artist Wayne Goss. He suggests you start with powder to help your make up last all day. He applies it all over, after a moisturiser or primer (yeah, right!), then you add your base and  a sprinkle of powder over your t zone to set it all. It really does help your make up last. For a few days I really didn’t have that unnerving experience of catching a reflection of the drawn, patchy face I go home with

I’ve been using this Bobby Brown illuminating powder for this technique. Putting aside the annoying fact that on their website they can’t spell porcelain (PORECLAIN???), this is lovely stuff. Each palette is made up of lots of little toning squares you squish and swirl onto your fluffy powder brush and then onto your soon-to-be-glowing fizzog.

Do share any of your discoveries. I’m always eager to hear more tips.



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