January Favourites 2016

January is pretty lame as far as months go. Often characterised by the post-Christmas lack of pounds in the bank and extra pounds on the scales, January is also prone to the “new year, new me” spam, which seems to get more annoying every year. Thankfully, however, I discovered some pretty magical products last month to help me kick the January Blues and look less like the tired, cold and pale creature that I felt.

| NYX Highlight and Contour Pro Palette: £18 |

Since my absolute dream of a friend bought me this for my birthday, I have not been able to go without it. If I’d written a December Favourites post, it would’ve featured there too. This palette entered my life just as my NYX Blush in Taupe, which I used to contour with, smashed into a million pieces and I wasn’t sure whether my life would ever be the same. But now, my life is BETTER. Because I have 8 glorious colours to pick from, including cool-toned matte sculpting shades (warm tones are a complete no-no for contouring, in my opinion), as well as banana shades for setting concealer and highlights. I’d repurchase this over my Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit, because I feel it looks far more natural and less cakey on my skin. And can we just appreciate the value of this palette; each shade is equivalent to £2.25. Winner.

| MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Give Me Sun: £24 |

I feel like this powder sums up my life. Every single day: GIVE ME SUN. Where is the sun? It’s in Australia, that’s where. But it’s also in this little bronzer compact, in pressed powder form. Despite looking alarmingly orange in the pan, this manages to give a natural bronzed glow when used sparingly. A little goes a very long way and I can see this lasting rather a long time, quite like the sun itself. I wouldn’t wear this every day as I’m far too fair during the working week to get away with slapping on a warm-toned bronzer, but I do love a good sweep of this to warm up my contour when I’ve got my “full face” on. This bronzer was, again, a birthday present – TOP MARKS to my friends.

L’Oreal True Match Mineral Foundation: £14.99 |

So this was a total gamble on a rogue trip to Boots one fateful lunchtime. I had been after a dupe for the BareMinerals Original Foundation, which I had become quite obsessed with but seemed to be getting through ridiculously quickly. The world of loose powder foundation was totally new to me, and I felt compelled to branch out and try out a more affordable option. As far as high street foundations go, it’s not cheap; especially for what seems like a small pot of powder. But I am amazed at the quality of this, and will definitely swap permanently to this over the BareMinerals.

It’s non-comedogenic, perfume and paraben-free, 95% minerals and suitable for any skin type, including those with sensitive, oily and/or acne-prone skin. I use this every day before work as I hate the feeling of heavy liquid foundations on my skin. This is so quick to apply, feels light on the skin and also gives a healthy glow – which I did not expect from a powder. If you use a dense, flat-top brush to apply, you can get a very impressive level of coverage whilst still allowing your pores to breathe.

| James Read Express Mask Tan Face: £25 |

This was a super cheeky TK Maxx bargain. Usually, the TK Maxx beauty range features products which have been discontinued, but this is still available online on sites such as M&S and Net-A-Porter, with slightly updated packaging. James Read is a tanning guru from the UK, who has bronzed celebs such as Rosie H-W for years. I have used his BB Gradual Face Tan (£22) in the past and found it to be one of the only facial tanners that doesn’t break me out. The beauty of the Express Mask is that it gives you a noticeable colour in just one hour (it claims to be 30 minutes but I think that’s pushing it) so this is perfect when you need a quick fix. I’ve been using it post-moisturiser beneath my foundation and it makes a world of difference when I’m feeling pasty. I’m still not 100% sure whether it breaks me out or not, but nothing drastic has happened thus far, so we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

| NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Natural (£5.50) & Rimmel Provocalips in Make Your Move (£6.99) |

OBSESSED. With both. These two certainly deserve individual credit, but I’ve grouped them together because I can’t seem to wear one without the other at the moment. The shades aren’t the same, but the NYX liner can pretty much be worn with any nude/pink lip colour because it’s a perfect your-lips-but-better nude. It adds definition to the outline of your lip and, thanks to its waxy formula (similar to the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheats), has some serious staying power.

The Rimmel Provocalips is something I’ll be buying again and again. It’s the ideal nude/rose day and night colour for me and I can’t stress enough how long-lasting it is. The 16HR wear claim is, as usual, an exaggeration, but you can definitely get a full day of wear out of one application which is seriously impressive for a high street product. The tube is double-ended – the thin liquid colour is applied first and left to go dry for a few seconds, then the clear gloss is applied to lock in the colour and add moisture. At this price, it would be rude not to try more shades, and I already have my eye on the bright red shade “Kiss me you Fool”…

Let me know your thoughts if you try any of these!