Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Top Best Beauty Products And Brands Of The Year

Charlotte tilbury highlighter
Okay okay, are you ready for a mammoth blog post? First and foremost, I am sorry this has taken so long to write, I knew it was gonna be a big one. After writing my 2017 honest reflections post, it felt wrong not to then write a blog post about my favourite and top beauty products in 2017. As most of you know by now, I love beauty, it really is one of my favourite things ever (it's a little embarrassing how overly excited I get about new beauty launches) so today I wanted to do a blog post all about the best beauty products of 2017 (and, things I'll be using this year too). As a beauty lover, I think it's important to celebrate the brands I've used the most throughout the year so let's do this.

If you watched my most recent vlog below, (you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here and it would mean so much to me) you'll have probably seen me talk through this list of things at the end of the video too.




So, without rambling any longer, let's get going. My top beauty products/items in 2017, basically the things I'd highly recommend are worth the money... in no particular order.


foundation flay lay


BEST FOUNDATIONS: When it comes to foundation, well, I'm a sucker for a good foundation. If you read my blog post about my top foundations for a flawless base, you may recognise some of these products and also know that I'm a sucker for a dreamy, flawless base, it really is the ultimate product to get right in my beauty bag, with a good base, everything else follows in my opinion. I tend to stick to 3-5 holy grail foundations (yes, I am an addict) and blend/mix them to get my own perfect finish. So, which ones are crowned the best foundations of 2017? I have to say Vichy Dermablend because I probably wore it 80% of the time in 2017, with it's medium-full coverage but light-weight feel, it honestly gives the most flawless finish ever. It's designed for acne meaning it's really gentle on the skin and doesn't make me break out. It often gets a bad rep for coming out too thick but put the tiniest bit on a foundation brush and blend for the best coverage/most flawless dewy finish, ever. I also love adding a bit of IT Cosmetics CC Cream in for extra skin loving benefits, or, on really good skin days, wearing it alone. We've then got a long term lover of mine, Armani Luminous Silk basically the creme de la creme of glowing foundations. New to the party? Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude, for a water-light texture, soft on the face and gentle on the skin, this foundation is a complete pleasure to apply and just leaves such a flawless, easy look. 


skincare flatlay
beauty flatlay

SKINCARE: This is a really exciting one for me as skincare is one of my favourite beauty topics. I'm honestly such a geek and spend my spare time researching the science behind skincare and the top skincare products, I'm weirdly passionate about skincare so here are a few of my favourites from 2017. It was hard to whittle this down because I *really really* like love skincare.

OILS: First things first, a big shout out to Elemis because their superfood oil seriously got me through all my travels in 2017. I've always adored Elemis but this year felt they totally stepped up their game with their new oils bursting with goodness. I can't talk about oils and leave out my trusty Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil, I've been using it for years to cheat 8 hours sleep and it's still a firm favourite. A different kind of oil but one I'm hooked to? Elizabeth Arden Illuminating Caps. I've loved Elizabeth Arden for as long as I can remember, mainly thanks to their SPF 50 City Smart skin shield which I tend to use as a primer (such a hero product) but then I discovered their caps. I often describe them as a busy ladies way to get great skin. I've packed them on flights, to festivals, you name it. Simply pop open a cap and then put the oil on the face, tadaa, ready to sleep. They are SO easy and oozing with goodness. 

NEWNESS: In 2017 I was introduced to Sanoflore as it came over to the UK and boy, am I so grateful to have discovered this brand. Sanoflore is incredibly affordable for such high quality, natural skincare and I was lucky enough to actually go to France and see how the products are made. This was a ridiculous highlight for me as someone who is such a geek and into skincare. Sanoflore's Aqua Magnifica water is a holy grail for me now and always on my bathroom shelf, I put a splash of it on my skin every night to help with impurities. As a whole, I have to say Decelor deserves a mention this year. From their oils to their divine, luxurious cleansers, I'm a little bit in love with the brand. My brother adores it and so do I too so now it's like a mutual family love for the brand. 

CLEANSERS: Speaking of cleansers, I fell in love with two cleansing balms this year, firstly, Erborian, a divine Korean skincare brand I first discovered in Space NK (I found a lot of incredible new brands in 2017 thanks to Space NK), if I'm honest, I never want it to run out but I'm getting close. This product is basically a cleansing oil and cream combined in two and is enriched with active ingredients. The oil helps to dissolve impurities and the water then turns it into a lotion which cleanses the skin. It's pretty epic. Then you've got Clinique's cleansing balm, a holy grail for so many people and now, for me too. Goodbye stubborn make up on lazy days when I can't be bothered to do a full blown three step cleanse. I can't not mention Simple Skin, who's affordable micellar range has been a total staple for me too. When it

FACE MASKS: Anyone who knows me knows I adore face masks. If you follow me on Instagram @emshelx I'm sure you'll have seen me playing around with many face masks over the last year on my Insta stories. From Simple's new Korean inspired sheet mask, to Origins sheet masks. I love trying new masks. Other favourites include Origins Charcoal and Origins Hydration mask. I really do see Origins as one of the best brands for masks. I can't not talk about Clarins Hydraquench mask, I've been using it for years and still to this day sleep in it on really dry skin days. My skin drinks it right up. You've then got L'oreal Clay Masks and they totally took the beauty world by storm, affordable and FINALLY pushing the idea of multi-masking, that means, using one mask for your chin and one for your cheeks or forehead. It's something I accidentally always did depending on which parts of my skin felt different. L'oreal understand that and made it cool to focus on getting a glow on the cheeks, tackling impurities on the T-Zones and blackheads on the chin. I'll forever love L'oreal for making epic products affordable too, meaning we can all use them. You've also got The Body Shop with their epic range of masks for multi-masking (their Chinese Rice one is my favourite) but then again, The Body Shop will always be one of my number ones for skincare and body care. I'm always going to be a big fan. Last but certainly not least on face masks, it has to be Glamglow. I've been using Glamglow since before they even came over to the UK and I'm so excited to see how innovative they continue to be, they really are the best when it comes to luxurious face masks, that actually work.

IN-FLIGHT BEAUTY: If you've ever read the travel section of my blog you'll know that I travel a lot and as a beauty lover, that means in-flight beauty is my thing. I wrote a full blog post about my top in-flight beauty products but for now, let's talk about a few favourites this year. Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels are the flight product of my dreams. I have used them and sworn by them for years. I also fell in love with Guerlain Super Aqua-Eye Anti-Puffiness Smoothing Eye Patches, one of my favourite brands for make up and their skincare does not disappoint. Say goodbye to puffy eyes with this product. Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Glow Miracle saved me so many times this year as it acts as a cleanser, a mask and a hydrating leave on cream. It really is magic. 


jean paul gaultier



jo malone



FRAGRANCE: When it comes to fragrance, I'll forever adore Armani Si Perfume, it's a favourite in my family. Then, they introduced the perfume oil which got me particularly excited because it almost hydrates my skin at the same time and I feel like it lasts longer when it's put on my skin. Let's not forget about Armani Nacre too, a new, sparkly Armani Si fragrance perfect for the festive season, leaving the perfect party glow for winter. I get so many compliments when I wear Si and I'm sure it's down to it's sensual date night scent. Speaking of date night, Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal deserves a shout out because in 2017 I was introduced to this seriously sexy fragrance and love everything about it. In the daytime, I'm more of a Nina Ricci (fruity and sweet) or Flowerbomb kinda girl. I've always adored Jo Malone too, whether it's their new English Oak scent for an autumn/woody scent, their Tuberose Angelica for date night (I struggle with 'favourites' when it comes to Jo Malone as I love everything but Tuberose is a very close contender for the hotspot) or their Earl Grey and Cucumber by day. I also fell in love with their incredibly luxurious Rare Teas collection again this year. Jo Malone really is at the top spot when it comes to a luxury pamper. I love mixing and matching my Jo Malone scents to make a personalised scent of my own too and often find myself wandering around World Duty Free. Whilst it's not a fragrance, let's give Sure a shoutout for being my every day number 1 in my handbag, particularly the black and white.



TAN: I often get asked what fake tan I use and there really are two favourites in 2017, much like skincare, I am obsessed with fake tanning and always have been but I'm always on the hunt for tans that are kind to my skin, non-smelly and actually look like a natural tan. I also hate messy tans too. Tan Luxe with their water tan has been one of my favourite discoveries of 2017, purely because it's the easiest tan I have ever used and will change the way I tan forever. Whether it's the water mousse or the spray water, you just put it on and then can put white clothes on over the top and get on with your day. I only ever get the medium-dark as find the light is way too light for me and doesn't really make a difference. Then there's James Read - talk about saving the best til last, he took the world by storm with his coconut tan, his face tan and his overnight tan. James Read products are unique, skin friendly and the most Instagram friendly products I have ever seen. It feels so luxurious putting his products onto my skin. Again, I go for the dark shade wise. I love how much James Read tan hydrates my skin for even 24 hours after application, they're like body balms and tans in one. It doesn't go on my covers either and smells divine. Hello natural tan, gone are the days of orange Em. I find applying fake tan such a chore and with James Read it's more of a pleasure. For a natural tan, Dior Bronze Balm is the BEST after-sun ever, it smells incredible and oh my goodness it soothes skin after sun exposure. I am so glad I picked it up from Boots.

armani lipsticks


MAKE UP: Let's *try* and quickly run through a few of my top make up picks in 2017. Firstly, Bobbi Brown. Bobbi Brown just keeps bringing out epic new launches in the most beautiful packaging, I feel like it's moved from quite a safe brand to a really luxurious, on trend brand. I've sworn by the Clementine palette and their Hydrating Face Cream (honestly the most opulent, luxurious make up base ever) this year. I just cannot get enough of Bobbi Brown. I fell in love with Clinique's Johnathan Adler collection, mainly their gorgeous pop blush to brighten my complexion, it's such a small product but it's powerful in boosting the complexion. Next, we've got MAC Mineralize powder, my holy grail powder and it has been since I was about 15. I hate applying foundation without this as my second step. Lipsticks are most definitely my thing, my collection is a little bit over the top but hey, we only live once. I swear by Dior lipsticks, their red is probably the best red shade I've ever seen and it sits so nicely on my lips and isn't drying at all. I also adore Dior Lip Glow for a beautiful balm finish with a natural glow, perfect for winter. L'oreal Lip Paints came on the scene in 2017 and I have to say, they're probably my most worn lip colours however, they are quite drying so I've been putting a L'Oreal gloss over the top for a nice luminous finish and the two work hand in hand so well together. I've also been using a lot of Armani this year when it comes to lipsticks, their lip magnets are phenomenal for staying power, I'm a sucker for a good lip liner and have been loving YSL lip liners and BareMinerals this year. I wrote a lot about highlighters this year, if you missed my blog post with the top winter glow products then have a read. I can't talk about make up and not include Guerlain, Guerlain meteorites in gold answered all my beauty prayers and have transformed my make up look, one little brush stroke and my skin is instantly more glowy. Then we have Smashbox, who nailed it with their Spotlight Palette, I'm sure you all know just how much I adore Smashbox. 2017 was Glossier's year... their Dot Balm and brow brush have changed my life,  a lazy girls way to look good with minimal effort. It’s an incredible brand and every single thing I use blows me away. Last but certainly not least, Charlotte Tilbury. How can I do a 2017 round up and not talk about queen Tilbury? Her Contour Sticks were a definite highlight for me this year and I of course continued to use her Magic Cream and Balm Cleanser as if my life depended on it whilst travelling and also, as a primer.


HAIR: If you've read any of my hair care posts, you'll know that my hair journey has been a turbulent one. From having bald patches to just basically ruining my hair and having to treat it like a piece of silk for an exceptionally long time, it's fair to say my hair care favourites list is a long one so I'm gonna try keep this short and sweet. I've sworn by Kerastaste, Redken, L'oreal Proffessional, Pureology, ghd, Aveda and Bumble for my hair care products for a very long time and also discovered Mane N Tale in 2017 which I love, (L’Incroyable blow-dry by Kerastase is epic pre-styling and I can't even count how many I went through in 2017) then when it comes to colour, I adore L’oreal Proffessional Silver Shampoo to keep my hair looking icy and John Frieda too as their blonde range has always been a winner, I've been using it for years. I don't think anyone who's into their hair care can choose just one favourite hair care brand, there are so many epic products and I try to mix and match as much as I can, I really do love sleeping in hair masks, using new shampoos, you name it, it's my happy time in a steamy bath. It goes without saying that ghd stylers are my number 1 when it comes to styling, I'm a sucker for them and always have been. If you guys follow me you'll know that I am pretty obsessed with my blow dries (although I am pretty lazy and could just do it myself, nothing beats a good hairdresser) and I have a few top salons for blow dries. Aveda in Covent Garden are great for more of a treatment with blow dry, I see it as more of a relaxing well-being treatment and then you walk out with epic hair too. SHOW in Notting hill is my go-to for a quick, bouncy blow dry and the staff are so talented, I go here without fail most weeks when I'm in London and cannot recommend it enough. I've definitely had some of my best blow dries there. When I was in central and didn't have the time to get over to Nottinghill, I popped into DryBy and absolutely LOVED that too, the salon is so gorgeous. Primarily though, when I'm at home, I go to Sassoon in Leeds and Manchester, for my cut, colour AND blow dries and they really are the biggest, bounciest and they've saved my hair. I owe everything hair-wise to Sassoon really, they've taken me from bald patches and zero confidence to actually falling back in love with my hair. Read about how I lost my hair confidence and regained it, I love Sassoon for getting my hair back to health and reccommend them to everyone for cuts and colours, the only reason I can have pretty, bouncy blow dries now is because they got my hair back into such good condition.

shangri la the shard
body oils

PAMPER: My favourite thing to do is to pamper and I couldn't not include a few top pamper brands on this post. Relaxing nights in pampering are just my favourite, they're so good for the mind too so these are the brands that helped me through those relaxing evenings. Firsly, essie because I love sitting and painting my nails in pretty colours and it brings back such happy past times using essie, just the cutest brand. Next, The Body Shop for their body butters and exfoliators (I have been using them for as long as I can remember) and will forever adore the brand, Jo Malone because you cannot beat their luxurious creams and vitamin E exfoliator (my holy grail - it is so luxurious). When it comes to pampering, I'm a bit of a sucker for hydrating with oils. I've loved Guerlain Terracotta body oil this last year, particularly during summer months for hydrated, glowing limbs, it makes me feel soft for days on end. For a more affordable option, Rosie Huntington Whiteley does one too for Autograph, these oils are magical and you can use them on the skin, hair and body so they really are multi-tasking, they're packed with natural ingredients and will make your body glow like never before. When it comes to baths, obviously Lush bath bombs and bath melts are the best but on top of that, I swear by Laura Mercier. I go through tubs of their creme brulee bubble bath. I have also used a lot of Origins Ginger bubble bath in the last year too teamed with Dr Teals salts when I've been doing a lot of working out. A few years ago now I discovered a brand called Fresh and still to this day they are one of my favourites. I swear by their body buffing cocoa exfoliator, soft skin but you also smell like chocolate too. Winner. Last but not least, candles. I love Jo Malone, Molton Brown, Elemis, Neom and Diptyque and love them all for different reasons, in my opinion, if you want a high quality candle, it has to be one of the above. There is something so incredibly special about Diptyque though, I have to say it's probably one of my top luxury brands, I could get lost in their stores. You guys know I love Jo Malone so it's no surprise to see them up there. With Molton Brown, I really fell in love with them this year, mainly because their HUGE candles are so indulgent and I also loved their Christmas bath salts. There's also the Elizabeth Arden White Tea candle which is a dream come true scent wise. Sorry guys, I realise that is A LOT of candles but I'm a sucker for them.


Manuka doctor honey



HEALTH/WELL-BEING: Last but not least, a quick shout out to a few favourite health and well-being brands, if you read Emtalks regularly you'll know I am massively into my health and wellbeing, I love eating well, balance and working out so I think this is an important one to end on. Firstly, David Lloyd gyms. I have been going to David Lloyd for over a year now and cannot explain how much I adore my membership. First and foremost, it's way more than just a gym, I see it as more of a country club/office/social place too. I am able to use it as my office and work from there, hop in and out of any fitness classes I wish (the trainers are exceptional), eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there and, workout with my family too because they all have memberships. It's a really family friendly place. Another great thing? They have David Lloyd's all around the U.K and some in Europe too, meaning you can go into any club, it's great as I usually work in different cities so it means I can always stay active and have some office space too. I swear by David Lloyd spin classes and cannot wait to see what new classes come to the clubs this year, rumour has it I may finally be able to start doing my barre workouts there too! Foodwise, I have sworn by the Super Exilir Welleco protein powder which is pretty much my ultimate health powder. It is one of the only protein powders I have found without loads of added sugar and it is basically a tin bursting full of incredible nutrients. My only wish? I had more of it. I'm yet to try the vanilla one so hopefully, soon I'll try that too (hello vanilla muffins). One scoop and you're good to go, fuelled with the good stuff, I throw this in my porridge, in my smoothies, in my baking and have never tasted something so nice but that's good for me too. I'm sure you all know by now that I adore Manuka Honey by Manuka Dr, year after year, the yummiest honey I have ever tried. I'm a sucker for crisps so I can't ignore Yushoi and their delicious baked pea crisps and because they're guilt free and packed with goodness, they definitely helped me in the last year curb a lot of crisp cravings. Then we've got Popchips which I have been buying for years, because although they're not 'healthy' they're definitely 'healthier' than other crisps and curb all my cravings. I do love Hippeas too and always pick them up when I can find them on the go. I'm a sucker for something that tastes like crisps but isn't as bad for me as crisps (I could honestly eat all the Pringles/Walkers in the world, crisps are my weakness so I stock up on those three for most of the week). Another thing that's massively stopped my cravings this year is Ombar, I wish I had an endless supply of them, this refined sugar free chocolate is just divine and is enough to *often* keep me away from other chocolate packed with sugar. Then we've got Vita Coco, I love this coconut water, it actually really helps my brother with his illness too, I throw it in my oats and smoothies for extra hydration. Not forgetting Teapigs for their incredible selection of teas (hello matcha, I love you), Fiji Water because I always have a large 1 litre bottle to get me through spin classes and last but not least, Bloom matcha. I love Bloom matcha and have done for years, they do different types with different health benefits too, the perfect blends and such high quality matcha. I'm really over the top with my matcha and like to ensure I use the highest quality which is why it's teapigs and Bloom all the way.

armani fragrance


Phew, so there we have it, hours and hours later, this blog post is finished. Every single item menioned on this blog post has been mentioned throughout 2017 (probably multiple times) whether it was on a vlog, a tweet, an insta stories, an Instagram or a blog post. As you can tell, I had A LOT of favourites, so many things stood out to me and I hope this gives you a little insight into the things I really think are worth the money, the things I continually put on my face, my body or, ate. Do leave a comment and let me know what you loved in 2017, what stood out to you in the beauty or wellbeing world and if you've used anything I've recommended or mentioned. I cannot wait to see what exciting launches we're gonna have in 2018!

Thanks for sticking around guys and don't forget to read my 2017 honest reflections post.

You might also like:


The best autumn beauty products


Lots of love, Em x

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