The SNW Beauty Awards - The Best In Makeup
From luxe to the luxe-for-less, a tried and tested guide to the best foundations, palettes, lipsticks, mascaras, and more...
I'm a big believer that looking good (even if you don't always feel it!) can boost your mood three-fold. Some days when I'm feeling a bit flat I'll slap on a bit of CC cream, some blush, a few lashings of mascara and a slick of lip gloss. I instantly feel better and more ready to face the day. It's totally not necessary seeing as most days I work from home (and these days with a new born in my arms!), but somehow this ritual of doing my face just as I would when I worked in an office just makes me feel more human. Plus I really, really, love makeup - experimenting with different products, trying out new techniques and having a play with seasonal trends.
For the See.Need.Want Beauty Awards, I asked some of the biggest brands to send me their best products to road test. Given their generosity, I wanted to do them justice and test each and every product I was sent, so this second instalment a round up of the best makeup and hair care products has been four months in the making! (You can check out the first part, The Best In Skincare HERE)
I hope you enjoy reading this article and feel inspired to add some fabulous new cosmetics to your makeup bag.
BASE - The Best Brighteners, CC Creams, Concealers & Foundations
Shiseido - White Lucent All Day Brightener, from $60 & White Lucent OnMakeup Spot Correcting Serum, from $40
Simply put, Shiseido's White Lucent All Day Brightener, from $60, is the bomb. To be applied after your normal daily moisturiser and serum, this brightening moisturiser leaves skin looking fresh and radiant. Containing brightening ingredients including Vitamin C and E and SakuraRESIST Technology with Japanese cherry blossoms the moisturiser works to reduce the appearance of dark spots while protecting, hydrating and brightening. Skin looks instantly more luminous after applying, and looks amazing under foundation or just on its own on the days you want to go makeup-free. It's also contains SPF, which is important for anyone concerned with anti-ageing.
I have skin that marks really easily, so I was thrilled to try the White Lucent OnMakeup Spot Correcting Serum SPF 15. An easy-to-apply concealer that works to diminish the appearance of dark spots while providing coverage, the correcting serum goes on seamlessly and can be used both under or over makeup - especially handy for when you are out and need to reapply.
Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Fluid Foundation
When it comes to foundation, I have to confess I've always been a NARS fan. I could not be swayed to try anything else - that was until I tried Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Fluid Foundation, from $45.
Since entering my 30s and having children, I tend to gravitate to anything that can give me a I-got-a-whole-eight-hours-sleep glow! This foundation is it. With a serum like texture, it goes on like velvet and blends seamlessly to give a light to medium coverage. It's long lasting and moistures skin while giving a dewy glow minus the shine. It also has SPF great for day, but I also think it makes a great evening foundation too.
it Cosmetics - Bye Bye Redness™ Correcting Cream, Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Anti-Aging Concealer, Your Skin But Better CC+ Colour Correct Full Coverage Cream
Hailing from the US and created by Jaime Kern Lima, a Roseca sufferer herself, these three products are what I like to call the hoy grail of makeup for anyone who has sensitive skin prone to redness like me. Without fail every time I use this makeup, I get complimented on how amazing my skin looks. The reason for this? The range is developed with leading plastic surgeons using anti-ageing technologies and skin-loving ingredients which improve skin texture, brightness and hydration.
I like to use all these products together for a glowy day look. I start with Bye Bye Redness™ Correcting Cream, $54 is the best concealer I have ever used - it completely camouflages redness and any red-toned skin discolourations from rosacea, broken capillaries, blemished skin, irritated skin, sun damage, scars and age spots. Then I pop on the Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Anti-Aging Concealer under my eyes to brighten the eyes and reduce the appearance of fine lines. The beauty of this concealer is that it can also be used as a spot concealer or even all over like a foundation. However my favourite for all over face coverage is Your Skin But Better CC+ Colour Correct Full Coverage Cream, $58. It flawlessly covers redness and gives full coverage without looking caked on, leaving skin with a natural luminous glow.
Revlon - Age Defying CC Cream, Age Defying With DNA Advantage SPF 20 Cream Makeup, PhotoReady Concealer
Truth be told I haven't used a Revlon face product since I was 18 and had a terrible reaction to their Skinlights foundation. However I have to say that I think all these products are absolutely fantastic, caused no irritation and are incredibly well-priced for the results they deliver.
The Revlon Age Defying CC Cream, $26.95 is perfect for everyday use. It goes on beautifully with the fingertips and leaves skin looking dewy, smooth and hydrated. It contains an SPF 25, has in-built anti-ageing properties that make skin appear brighter and more even.
Similarly the Age Defying With DNA Advantage SPF 20 Cream Makeup, $39.95, combines skincare properties to help fight signs of anti-ageing while leaving skin looking hydrated, smooth and more even while reducing the look of fine lines and dark spots. It offers a bit more coverage than the CC Cream, but still leaves skin looking bright and glowing.
For any area that needs a bit of extra concealing, the PhotoReady Concealer, $24.95. works a treat. It hides dark under-eye circles and diminishes the appearance of blemishes, dark sports and skin imperfections. Plus it's just the right size to keep in your bag for a night out when you might need to reapply.
Givenchy - Matissime Velvet Radiant Mat Powder Foundation Absolute Matte Finish SPF 20 - PA+++ & Givenchy Matissime Velvet Radiant Mat Fluid Foundation SPF 20 - PA+++, $73
If you prefer your foundation with a bit more of a matte finish, or have skin prone to shine, both these Givenchy offerings are for you.
The Givenchy Matissime Velvet Radiant Mat Powder Foundation Absolute Matte Finish SPF 20 - PA+++, $80 is extremely lightweight and has a velvety finish that still makes skin look radiant. Containing silica and also colour correcting pigments the long-lasting powder neutralises and controls shine while hiding imperfections. Even though it contains SPF it is a great choice for evening makeup looks too.
I actually like to layer the Givenchy Matissime Velvet Radiant Mat Powder Foundation over the Givenchy Matissime Velvet Radiant Mat Fluid Foundation SPF 20 - PA+++, $73 for a really flawless matte base. Like its powder counterpart, the fluid foundation instantly mattifies your complexion but without drying out the skin. Like the other foundation offerings above, the foundation is infused with ingredients that act as skincare while working as makeup; silica microspheres to absorb excess sebum and moisture, Black Cumin oil renowned for its purifying benefits, and burnet, ginger and cinnamon extracts to help tighten pores while small imperfections are concealed.
BASE - The Best Mineral Foundation
endota spa COLOUR & YOUNG BLOOD, Natural Loose Mineral Foundation
If you're a fan of mineral makeup I definitely recommend giving both these mineral foundations a go - especially if you have sensitive skin.
100% natural mineral foundation, endota spa COLOUR mineral foundation, $55, blends really well and gives a, natural no makeup look while offering coverage and a subtle glow that lasts all day. Even though it's a makeup product, it contains Kakadu plum and hyaluronic acid so it also treats like skincare.
Likewise, YOUNGBLOOD Natural Loose Mineral Foundation, from $65.57 is a lightweight crushed powder formulation that buffs onto skin beautifully to give a natural glow. It lasts all day and even though it gives sheer coverage it hides redness and blemishes well too. If you have reactive skin, this would be a great product for you as it's non-comedogenic, talc-free and fragrance-free.
FACE - The Best Blush & Highlighters
Contouring, highlighting adding a bit of colour to your cheeks - these products get the big thumbs up from me!
BEST FOR HIGHLIGHTING - Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick
If you love a bit of a contouring and want something that can help you achieve a radiant, flawless glow without ending up looking like a clown, this little stick of goodness is it. For a subtle highlight, a little swipe of the Insta-Fix Highlighting Stick, 29.95, down the bridge of the nose is all you need, however the handy stick also makes it really easy to build across the face to create a dramatic 'strobed' effect. It's available in Pink Light for light-medium skin tones and Gold Light for medium to deep skin tones.
BEST CREAM BLUSH - Revlon Cream Blush & it Cosmetics Vitality Flush Colour Satin Stick
Following on from my love of glow-inducing foundations, I'm also a fan of cream blushes. Both the Revlon Cream Blush, $10.95, and it Cosmetics Vitality Flush Colour Stain Stick are my top picks for a soft satin finish. They both give a natural flush of colour, easily blend onto cheeks with fingertips and are long-lasting.
BEST BRONZER PALETTE - Guerlain Terracotta Sun Trio Bronzing Contouring Palette
For a sun kissed, lit from within complexion, the Guerlain Terracotta Sun Trio Bronzing Contouring Palette, from $72.95 is a must. It combines three shades in one palette, to tan, contour and light the complexion, emulating the sun’s reflections on your face. Though it leaves a matte finish, the bronzing powder does not dry out skin thanks to active moisturising ingredients - plus it smells delicious thanks to notes of ylang-ylang, orange blossom, tonic bean, vanilla and white musk.
Contouring can be a scary concept, but thanks to the comprehensive how-to-use directions below, you really can't turn yourself into a clown!
DIRECTIONS FOR USE
For easy and sunny contouring:
1. Warm up your complexion by applying the bronzing shade (the one at the bottom) by tracing a figure 3 on each side of the face.
2. Create shaded areas by applying the darker shade (top right) under the cheekbones, to the sides of the forehead and along the sides of the nose.
3. Light the complexion by applying the lightest shade (top left) to the temples, under the outer corner of the eye, and to the T-zone.
For a tailor-made glow:
Blend the colours however you like using a brush to create your own personal shade.
EYES - The Best Eyeshadows, Mascaras, Liners
BEST LUXE-FOR-LESS EYESHADOW PALETTES - Revlon PhotoReady Primer, Sparkle +Shadow & Revlon ColorStay Not Just Nudes Shadow Palette
Anyone who knows me, knows I love me a good smokey eye. I have long been a fan of Revlon's eyeshadows, and both these palettes Revlon PhotoReady Primer, Sparkle +Shadow, $25.95 & Revlon ColorStay Not Just Nudes Shadow Palette, $29.95, did not disappoint. Considering how budget-friendly they are, the quality is really impressive. They're both long-lasting, fade-resistant and don't settle in creases.
In fact the Revlon ColorStay Not Just Nudes Shadow Palette, $29.95, in Romantic Nudes has become my daily go-to. A mix of neutral shadows in matte and pearl finishes, you can keep it simple with just a sweep of single colour over the entire eyelid, or mix-and-match a selection for an elegant smokey eye. Its a great palette to take travelling or pack in your bag if you need to take your eye makeup from day to night.
For a bold, dramatic look with high shine, I recommend the Revlon PhotoReady Primer, Sparkle +Shadow, $25.95. The coordinated shadows can be used wet or dry, and the eye shape layout takes the guesswork out of application. It comes in eight shades, and being a fan of gold and earthy tones, I love the Impressionist palette.
BEST FOR BROW POWER - it Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil & CherryBlooms Fiber Brow
Thanks to brow pin-up girl Cara Delevingne, thick brows are here to stay and thank goodness for that. Brows frame the face, so adding definition to my eyebrow shape has become part of my regular makeup routine, and this magic little pencil it Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil, $38 is my secret weapon. Unlike like others that can leave you looking a little bit like scary clown, this is a universal shade that transforms to your hair colour and mimics the look of real hair - and it does not budge! Definitely one of my makeup must-haves.
Another great product, especially if you have trouble growing or shaping your eyebrows, is CherryBlooms Fiber Brow - Mineral Fiber Brow Kit With Stencils, $49.99 which is available in four shades - Latte, Espresso, Cappuccino Brown and Mocha. Choosing from one of the three stencils provided in the kit, you apply the semi-permanent mineral fibres with the wand provided. The result is perfectly full, shaped eyebrows. The formula is fade, sweat and splash-proof bust also easily wash off with water. A great alternative to eyebrow tinting.
THREE OF THE BEST MASCARAS
There is nothing like a good lick of mascara to liven up tired eyes! I am a bit of a mascara-fiend, so I have tried many over the years, and these three are my current faves.
1.it Cosmetics Superhero Mascara, $55
Super lengthening and volumising, this mascara will totally transform your lashes while conditioning them thanks to ingredients including peptides and proteins, strengthening biotin, lash-lifting polymers and plumping collagen. I also love the super black pigment - the blacker the better!
2. Smashbox Full Exposure, $31
Once you try this mascara it's easy to see why it has a cult following. It really curls lashes while adding volume and length. It doesn't clump, flake and is humidity-resistant - great if you like to exercise during a lunch break.
3. CherryBlooms Fiber Lash, $69
A mascara that gives the effect of extensions - sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! I was seriously impressed with the way this product made my lashes appear longer, fuller and 3D-like - plus it's super easy to use. Basically the 2-piece kit which features a transplanting gel and fiber tube, definitely delivers on the promise to make lashes look 6x longer. First you apply the transplanting gel, then the fiber, then seal again with the transplanting gel. The best bit, it washes off with water and doesn't damage eyelashes like eyebrow extensions can.
LIPS - The Best Lipsticks & Lip Glosses
Bold and bright, dark and moody or glossy and natural - these lipsticks and glosses with put the finishing touch on any makeup look.
5 OF THE BEST LIPSTICKS
1. SHISEIDO Rouge Rouge, $50 (tested in colour 504)
Creamy, long-lasting and the perfect rich wine-red colour, this lipstick is worth the money.
2. BURBERRY Burberry Kisses Sheer, $49 (tested in colour Camellia)
If you like your lippie sheer but with shine, this one is for you. A pretty pink colour, this lipstick goes on super smooth to leave a subtle tint and feels super moisturising too. A great daytime choice.
3. Guerlain KISS KISS, $52 (tested in Orange Peps 542)
Coral-coloured are my go-to when I need a pick-me-up and this one by Guerlain quickly became a fave. Not only is the packaging beautiful, it goes on smoothly with a creamy texture. You can also build up the colour from a subtle tint to a bold and bright. It's long-lasting and smells divine too.
4. Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede (tested in Influencer), $25.95
Hands down one of the best deep red lippies I have ever worn. Goes on like velvet and stays put for hours - and even moisturises thanks to its formulation which includes shea butter and aloe. For the price you can't go wrong!
5. Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lipcolor (tested in HD Pink Cloud), $24.95
A silky, shiny and delivering just the right amount of colour in high definition, this lipstick is the perfect handbag companion - it's slim packaging meaning it will fit in smaller clutches too! It also contains wonder moisturising ingredient hyaluronic acid which leaves lips feeling hydrated and soft. I like to add a slick before I head out the door to the run daily errands, and Pink Cloud is a great daytime appropriate choice.
3 OF THE BEST LIP GLOSSES
Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet (tested in Bright Plum), $50
This lip gloss really took me by surprise! I was expecting a shiny gloss, with a hint of tint, but what I got was much more grown up and luxe! A rich, matte cream colour the Liquid Lip Velvet has a whipped, creamy texture that goes on smoothly to leave a long-lasting velvety finish. If you like a bold lip that stands the test of eating and drinking, you will want to add this baby to your cart immediately.
Lanolips Tinted Balm SPF 30 (tested in Nude), $14.99
An Australian-made lanolin-based lip balm, this little tube of goodness is super moisturising and treats chapped lips while offering sun protection. I love that it also leaves a pretty hint of colour that enhances your natural lip colour. It's also worth noting that unlike other lip balms, Lanolips is free from artificial fragrances, parabens, petrolatum peg's, mineral oil and sulphates and is not tested on animals either. The tube is small and easy to use. I don't leave the house without my Lanolips - especially because it can also double as a cheek tint too!
Revlon Ultra HD Lip Lacquer, (tested in Carnelian & Pink Sapphire), $24.95
For a pop of fun colour, Revlon's Lip Lacquer is a winner. Super glossy but not sticky, you can expect a bold, super shiny lip colour that feels silky on the lips.