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


Sunday 26 January 2020

The Best Beauty Products Of 2019

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One of my favourite blog posts to write (albeit a mammoth task hehe) is my yearly beauty round up. I adore beauty products and I'm grateful I've been able to trial out so many incredible brands over the last few years. I have my favourite brands and there are always products that stick in my make up bag or bathroom shelf year after year (I'd recommend keeping an eye on my vlogs and the beauty section of my blog to see what I'm using and loving throughout the year) but then, there are newbies that creep their way into my life too. I wanted to write my 2019 beauty favourites blog post so you can see what beauty products are worth the money and which products I adored and grabbed over and over again over the last year, many, coming with me into 2020! As a beauty lover, I think it's so important to celebrate and rave about the brands I used the most throughout the year so let's do this. Let's go!

neutrogena super boost serum
THE BEST BASE PRODUCTS: I'm sure you're all aware by now that my favourite kind of make up products are good base products, I believe with a good base, everything else follows. Get ready as I have a lot of favourite base products here. In 2019 some of my most used and loved base products were: Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Protection (SPF 50) - I went for a Linda Meredith facial and was told about the importance of using a primer to act as a barrier between my skin and the make up, rather than letting everything sink into my skin, so why not use one that incorporates an SPF too? Not many primers have a high SPF in them but Bobbi Brown primers are phenomenal, there are some epic facial SPF's out there but if you're looking for something that primes and protects from the sun, this is the perfect multi-tasker. Another multi-tasker is this little one, my skin loves the Elemis Daily Defense Shield (SPF 30), it acts as a nice day cream and protects from pollutants as well as defending from UV rays. Lastly when it comes to facial SPFs, Speaking of SPFs, when it comes to the face I have been utterly obsessed with La Roche Posay Anthelios Light Facial Suncream (SPF 50) for years - it's rare this wont be in my bag on a trip, their SPF stick is SO handy too for areas like the ears, scalp or just if I'm out and about. I couldn't not talk about Skin Ceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense (SPF 50) and I'll often apply this on mornings where I don't use my SPF primer. Honestly, I never took facial SPFs seriously until I saw Caroline Hirons on ThisMorning talking about the importance of it and since, I've worn one every day. The next base product I have sworn by for years is the Elizabeth Arden City Smart SPF 50+ Anti-Pollutant, the perfect skin loving tint for busy city days, full of amazing science. I also love switching it up to a CC cream too, particularly in Summer. If I'm not using Kiehl's CC cream (it makes my skin look flawless and is SPF 50 with anti-pollutant properties), I'll be using one of the best brands for base products, Erborian. I have Space NK to thank for introducing me to this incredible, Korean skincare brand. Their CC creams are the best on the market, with anti-ageing, skin soothing, radiance making properties and I've been loving them for years now. You can read my review of Erborian's CC Eye Cream.

THE BEST FOUNDATIONS: I think it's time we talk about foundations right? I adore foundations once my SPF/CC cream/face base is on! You may have read my blog post about my top foundations for a flawless base, to tell you the truth, this hasn't really changed so much. From the day I grabbed my first EVER Clinique Perfectly Real Foundation (me and my love Clinique go way back), I knew I was into good base products. I am still a sucker for Vichy Dermablend (online here and here) and wear shade sand most days, it's the most phenomenal coverage but feels so light on my skin and is non-comedogenic meaning it's so kind to my skin. Vichy Dermablend is the ultimate. Often I will mix it up with Nars Sheer Glow Foundation - utterly flawless or on days where I want a nice coverage but want my make up to be more 'skin friendly' I'll still reach for my IT Cosmetics CC Cream with all it's skincare benefits. I think I always will adore Armani Luminous Silk, mainly because if Kim Kardashian says it's good, it's good. Give me that high coverage and flawless glow. I also finally tried Charlotte Tilbury foundation in 2019 and yep, as with all Tilbury products, I've never felt so flawless. I am such a fan of Charlotte Tilbury.

THE BEST CONCEALERS: I'm into good concealers and here are two I've been using throughout 2019. Firstly, the Marc Jacobs Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick Concealer - online here - Apparently Priyanka Chopra used this on her wedding day so it's definitely the creme de la creme. It's blended with antioxidant-rich snow mushroom extract and is designed to glide on smoothly and blur imperfections. For me, it's lovely and thick and perfect to cover up any imperfections or the worst under-eye bags. Next up, Nars Creamy Concealer - online here - everyone talks about this concealer and there's a total reason for it, I'd say Marc Jacobs is more of a cover up stick and this is more of a dewy concealer. This is also the number one best selling concealer in the US for a reason!

THE BEST POWDERS: When it comes to powders, there are two I have used daily over the last year. First we've got MAC Mineralize powder, and to be honest, this is my holy grail powder and it has been since I was about 15. I have probably bought 2-3 per year for the last 10 years! I hate applying foundation without this, it sets my foundation and adds a gorgeous natural colour, I buy it in shade medium to dark. Next up is the Marc Jacobs Instant Blurring Powder, I used this when my MAC Mineralise ran out and it gave me the most gorgeous, flawless finish. When it comes to blush powders, there's one I've used all year and it's by Hourglass. Hourglass Ambient Lighting blush is truly divine, everyone adores Hourglass anyway but this little blush has accompanied me for over a year and just adds a gorgeous, healthy pop to my cheeks. With bronzing powders (I love to be bronzed), I used Lancome Maxi bronzer (I love using it on my eyelids too) for a gorgeous bronzed glow throughout Summer. I will never stop loving Guerlain Terracotta, the loveliest range when it comes to a gorgeous tanned glow. Last but not least, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, if you're wanting a deep glow, this is the product for you.

LIPS: I have been obsessed with Nuxe Reve De Miel for as long as you can imagine but this last year I also fell in love with the Piz Buin SPF lip balm. If your lips are SUPER dry, Eucerin do one of the best lip balms on the market. For lip liners, MAC is always unreal and I wore spice liner into the ground in 2019, always and not forgetting Charlotte Tilbury lip liners, I first discovered Tilbs via her gorgeous lipliners. I've loved Marc Jacobs and Stila lip glosses over the last year and grabbed for them over and over again. I mainly put my lip liners on and then put glosses over the top.

Read: My Hero Beauty Products For Flawless Skin 

THE BEST MAKE UP BRUSHES: Make up brushes are such an important part of your daily kit and if you buy the right ones, they'll last you for years. I personally apply concealer with my fingers but everything else with a brush so I can buff it in. First up we've got the famous Beauty Blenderthere are so many ways you can use it, whether it's under your eyes or for buffing your foundation in. There's a reason people swear by Beauty Blenders, most people I know use them for their foundation - make sure you wet it first. I use so many different brushes but have to say BareMinerals brushes are some of my favourites and I've been using them for years. I swear by their Powder Foundation Brush - online here - it's so good at buffing foundation in and one of the best I've used. For foundation buffing I also love HourGlass Cosmetics foundation brush and for years have loved the trusty Clinique foundation brush. These three have been trialled and tested by yours truly, over years and they are great buffing foundation brushes that I still adore. I have three MAC make up brushes that definitely need replacing as I've had them for years and years (I bought them from World Duty Free) but MAC brushes are so incredible for powder and blush/bronzers. I highly rate this MAC brush for blush/bronze and this brush for powder. For eyes I have some gorgeous Bobbi Brown brushes, I grew up being obsessed with their brushes. For more affordable make up brushes, I rate Spectrum brushesStylpro and RealTechniques very highly. Spectrum brushes are close to my heart as the company is owned by sisters who started the collection from their garage! Girl power. I believe in supporting businesses like this and have loved watching them grow over the years.  When it comes to washing make up brushes, pick up some Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo in your local supermarket, it's so good for cleaning them, Stylpro and Real Techniques also do good brush cleaners! 

fresh soy cleanser

THE BEST SKINCARE OF 2019: Skincare is just one of my favourite topics, if I could have done a degree in skincare I'd have definitely got a first class honours hhaa. I love skincare, there are so many brands I adore when it comes to skincare so let me get this down to some of my favourites from 2019! I've already talked about some good skincare base products at the top of this post, but when it comes to other skincare items, here are some of my favourites.

BEST FACIAL OILS/SERUMS/MOISTURISERS: I'd highly recommend the Sisley Black Rose range - I've never felt something so divine on my skin, their oil is the ultimate luxury night oil and my skin drinks it right up. 2019 was my first year using Sisley and this range has not disappointed. Also on the serums and oils, one of my holy grails has always been the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil - I've grown up using this before bed and it will forever be a favourite. We've then got the L'Occitane Overnight Reset serum - there's so much science behind it and it's been one of my favourites since it launched. I fell in love with ThisWorks Extreme Moisturiser to brighten my skin, I love ThisWorks, the science behind the brand is fantastic and it's so thick on my skin, perfect for dryness. I used a bottle of Skin Ceuticals H.A Powerful Corrective Intensifier so quickly, I blame Instagram, I spotted not one, not two but three influencers saying they swear by it and since then have used a whole bottle! It's epic for hydrating the skin and it was actually the first Skin Ceuticals product I tried. I'll always adore Decleor Oils, both my brother and I swear by Decleor as a brand and that didn't change in 2019! Elemis oils because their superfood oil (online here too) has been in my life since it's launch, I even got my Nanna hooked! If you're looking for a more affordable serum, I always have a bottle of Neutrogena Super Charged Booster nearby. Last but not least, my all time favourites at Elizabeth Arden and their incredible Vitamin C Capsules and Retinol Capsules, these little capsules will supercharge your skincare, just pop one open in the morning and one in the night and thank me when your skin is glowing. I fell in love with Drunk Elephant in 2019, particularly their  Drunk Elephant Minis for travel, every product is incredible, I've never gone through minis so fast!

THE BEST FACE MASKS: I LOVE the Sisley Overnight mask and this has saved me SO many times over the last year when my skin has been super dry. I sleep in it and wake up with glowing skin, I've seen so many people saying they sleep in this now. Speaking of overnight masks, two more I've been using for years: Origins Drink Up Mask, perfect to sleep in on flights, it quenches my skin so well and the Clarins SOS Hydra Mask, I'll often leave this on overnight too and all dryness has gone by the morning. I swear by sheet masks and there are so many good ones on the market for all prices now too, for me some of my favourites are Charlotte Tilbury, Elizabeth Arden, Starskin and my trusty, affordable Neutrogena Sheet masks, I can never believe how affordable they are and how many benefits they have. I love taking them on flights with me. For a facial detox, I like Sand + Sky clay mask and the original Glam Glow mud mask - they both make me feel as if they're pulling everything out of my skin and detoxing it. For radiance/glowy skin, apart from my sheet masks above, I started using Fresh beauty Lotus Youth at the end of last year and it's divine, it's a natural product that just makes my skin glow, as well as Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin enzyme mask for exfoliation. This is a seriously good face mask.

BEST CLEANSERS/TONERS: I go through a lot of skin cleansers, I just love a good cleanser, love trying as many as I can and tend to switch them up throughout the year. In 2019 here are my favourites. Always Elemis Balm (online here too) - a lazy girls way to remove all the make up, but it's kind to the skin too, so many people are obsessed with this. If you're into balms, there's also Clinique Take Off The Day - another holy grail balm cleanser and a must-have product and one more balm I used loads over the last year, Temple Spa! You feel it polishing your skin as you cleanse. For other cleaners, I've loved using the Neutrogena Hydroboost jelly cleanser, I feel it hydrating my skin with every wash and I trust Neutrogena so much as everything is made with the top science and dermatologists - Skinceuticals Simply Clean Cleanser has been fantastic for a daily clean, and it exfoliates too - CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser - I cannot believe the price of this cleanser, it's the most perfect daily cleanser and makes my skin feel SO soft. Last but not least, My Mum and I adore Fresh skincare and their soy cleanser has been in our life for years now.

MULTI-TASKING SKINCARE:  I love my multi-tasking skincare and three epic products are Arden Eight Hour Cream, a real goodie, I personally love using it on my lips and super dry skin but there are so many uses for it. I first discovered it on a flight and bought it for my Mum, we've both loved it since. My boyfriend always has a mini on him for his lips and a dry nose too! Then more recently in my life, Astral, who knew Astral was a cream that could literally be used ANYWHERE? Face mask, make up remover, hair mask, you name it. Lastly, Eucerin Aquaphor Skin Balm, it soothes all dry skin and helps heal too. I think it's SUCH a good hero product. We love a multi-tasker!

jo malone intense candle

BEST FRAGRANCES: When it comes to fragrance, it totally depends on my mood and where I'm heading, I try to take a new perfume on special trips with me so it reminds me of the trip. I really do mix up my scents or even layer them together, This year I have to say, it was a Jo Malone fragrance year, Tuberose Angelica for date night, Earl Grey and Cucumber by day whilst my boyfriend was forever obsessed with Orange Bitters. You cannot beat Jo Malone for luxurious fragrances and they really can do no wrong. I'll forever adore Armani Si Perfume too, it's a favourite in my family, year after year. It's so sensual for a night time. I can't ever forget about Juicy Couture fragrance, it brings back all my childhood memories and just reminds me of happy, sweet times, I wore it a lot in 2019. I always smile when I smell it. I'd be lying too if I didn't mention Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf, I've grown up with it and it's always in my life, particularly around Christmas timeJimmy Choo will forever remind me of Christmas too and I wore it a lot during December. Last but not least, last year I was introduced to Atkinsons and have loved their Tulipe Noire scent ever since, it's utterly sexy. 

BEST FAKE TANS: One of my most asked questions is about my favourite self tans, I have so many favourites to tell you the truth and again, mixed it up all year depending on my requirements. I had a fair few Sienna X spray tans at my house and have to say, the colour was always spot on, way better than I could ever do it myself! I don't really like messy tans, hence me not getting a spray tan every month ha, so prefer to use a translucent ones at home so Tan Luxe water remained a favourite, I've been using it since 2017! The dark one is such a good colour and it doesn't mess up my bedsheets, bonus. I was SO happy to see St Tropez Purity come through with translucent tans too, their gel formula is divine and makes my skin feel so smooth and then their mousse gives the best colour too. I talk about James Read a lot, he uses the best ingredients in his premium, skin loving tans, I personally love his oil for a total glow on holiday and his FoolProof tan for a deep colour. If you're looking for an epic colour and no mess too, you cannot go wrong with Vita Liberata Invisi.

Read: 10 of the best self tanners

good hair products

BEST HAIR PRODUCTS: If you're a regular EmTalks reader, you've probably read my hair care posts, and yep, my haircare journey has been a turbulent one. I'm pleased to say thanks to Sassoon Salon Leeds (the best hair dressers who have literally saved my hair - Tatty/Conor for hair cut and Louise/Valencia for colour, I cannot thank you enough for what you've done for my hair) coupled with good products, we are getting away from the bald patches and my hair is getting stronger day after day. I regularly get the liquid hair treatment or the SmartBond alongside my colour at Sassoon and truly think it's made a great difference with my hair health. For years now I've sworn by Kerastaste, Redken, L'oreal Proffessional, Pureology, ghd, Aveda and Bumble and the love for these brands has only continued in 2019. I have a lot of favourite shampoos and hair masks, I try to use hair masks every time I wash my hair. As well as my trusty hair dressers, the last year it's been about Redken (epic strength range called Extreme - I've been a lifelong fan) and Pureology - epic vegan products which are so kind to the hair and their superfood mask is a forever favourite of mine. I've wanted to try Michael Van Clarke for years and finally visited in 2019, I have loved using their 3"" More Inches range throughout the year and it's been amazing for volume. A brand I really did love and discover in 2019 was Windle, a gorgeous independent salon in London, I had the most amazing treatment at their Covent Garden salon and their treatment shampoo to use at home is utterly divine. I have Space NK to thank for introducing me to Olaplex at an event in 2019, their 4 step at home range has definitely transformed my hair. I loved using affordable shampoos like Love Beauty and Planet and Maui hair last year, there's also an amazing brand called Mask, they do great little hair sachets which are amazing for travel, I'll often leave them on in the sunshine and then wash off (you can grab these three brands at Boots/Superdrug). Then I can't ever forget my trusty Batiste dry shampoo for clean hair after the gym/when I cannot be bothered to wash my hair which is basically never ha! I couldn't not mention Sugar Bear Hair, I cry a little every time I run out of these vegetarian hair growth goodies, I have currently run out and I honestly notice such a difference in my hair when I'm taking them, my hair dresser said she started to see new hairs coming through! Last but not least, the Dyson hair dryer, my holy grail hair dryer and I love that it's better and kinder to the hair plus speeds up drying time.

PAMPER: Selfcare and wellbeing is so important, I tried to put more time aside for face masks, hair masks, exercise and baths last year but kind of failed haha. 2020 is my pampering year! Even if you take a bit of time on a Sunday night, you'll start the new week feeling incredible. Here are a few of my favourite pampering brands but you could argue all of the above are pampering brands too. Obviously Jo Malone because you cannot beat their luxurious creams and candles. 3 years on I am still in love with Fresh and their sugar body scrubs and body moisturisers. Speaking of body scrubs, if you're looking for an affordable one, this Bondi one has been fantastic and I love the Neom one too. I've gone through so much Sol De Janerio Beach Body Cream over the last year, it smells like holiday and I feel totally spoilt after putting it all over my body. Speaking of luxurious body creams, Kiehls Creme De Corps is always up there. For a more affordable body cream, Neutrogena Hydroboost Whipped Body balm is like applying soft clouds to my body! I love a body oil and have featured many throughout the year, I have to say, Espa fitness body oil is a total dream. I've loved using Decleor shower gels over the last year, they are SO luxurious in my shower when I can't fit in a bath. I can't talk about pampering without talking about Molton Brown, whether it's Molton Brown handwash or the the Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood candle which is my favourite. I've been loving using White Glo on my teeth, I picked it up from Boots, I actually grabbed their travel toothbrush and white toothpaste and it was a godsend with all the red wine I drink. When I'm in the bath with my Diptyque and Jo Malone candles lit, I have been LOVING Dr Teals bath salts, particularly because I workout so much, it really helps ease the muscle tension. Pampering can be done at home or outside of the time, I love going for a blow dry or getting my nails done, RagDoll Nails in Leeds is forever my happy place for nails and I went so many times in 2019, when Laura does my gel nails it lasts for weeks! In London I tried a few different nail places, including Richard Ward, Nails Inc, Michael Van Clarke and Rawr beauty, they were all fantastic and it just depends where you are based in London. Rawr Beauty is a gorgeous new salon which is very central, I cannot wait to go back and get my nails and pedi done at the same time! What a treat.

HEALTH/WELL-BEING: I'm sure you'll know I adore my health and fitness, wellbeing for me is all about self care, good nourishment and moving more. I have been going to David Lloyd gym for YEARS now and whichever one I go to, I fall in love, my home gym is Leeds but I often visit Harrogate or London clubs. I am fully obsessed with their spin classes in Leeds and their Blaze classes in Leeds and London - honestly the most amazing workouts ever and I rave about them daily on Instagram. They get harder every session and I see such a change in my body. I sound like a broken record but I've never felt so fit, sweaty and strong so I thank David Lloyd for inventing Blaze, I don't know what I did without them! Lastly, Kobox. I upped my Koboxing over the last year and really enjoyed mixing this up with my Blaze classes, again, I feel sweaty and strong and it feels like a nightclub, not a chore or a boring workout!

Read: The best workouts in London and Leeds

You might also like:

Best things to see and do in New York
Charlotte Tilbury Darling Eye Palette Review 
Charlotte Tilbury Valentine and Pillow Talk Lipstick Review 
Armani Ecstasy Shine Lipstick Review 
Jo Malone Myrrh & Tonka Intense Body Creme and Candle Review 

The best products for a flawless skin base 
Erborian CC Eye Cream Review
Elizabeth Arden Vitamin C Capsules Review 
Charlotte Tilbury Glowgasm Palette Review
Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Midnight Review 
Fresh Soy Cleanser Review 

Lots of love, Em x

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