• Sydnie Mares

2016 Beauty Favorites

Even though this year kicked everyone in the butt, I hope we remember that there were good times too. I had so many great memories this year. We had awesome trips to Port Aransas, New York City, and New Orleans. Pedro and I added another dog to our family and we moved into our first house. This also meant that I ended up spending (or wasting) less money on beauty than I did in previous years. Still, it didn't stop me from having some new faves.


Chokers were one of the best trends of 2016. And of course my favorite look happened in NYC. During my outfit planning stages, I bought this dress from Forever 21 for $15, and of course it was too long for my short legs. My grandma/personal tailor/friend helped me alter it to fit. When I saw the scrap of material that we cut off the bottom, I thought it would be perfect to make into a matching choker. Like the procrastinator I am, I waited until the night before we left to actually make it, and my fabric glue and hot glue gun were nowhere to be found. I had no faith in the consistency or professionalism of my hand-sewing, so I opted to just use double-sided bra tape to "hem" the material and then I sewed a button on the end for a clasp. Nobody was the wiser.

Wearing too much highlight was also one of the highlights of my year. Maybe next year we will be mattifying our skin, but this year I've enjoyed looking like an angel and packing on the shimmer. Oh, and I got my phoenix tattoo this year! That is my favorite accessory of all time.


I finally got to try Inglot Duraline this year. I have never bought it because the brand is only sold on certain websites and I never wanted to pay for shipping. When we were in NYC, there was an Inglot store in Times Square and I finally got my hands on it and a couple of other products. If you're unfamiliar with Duraline, it is a liquid that can turn any eye-shadow into an eyeliner that you can apply with a brush. In the second photo, I tried to demonstrate how I use it most often, to add to shimmery eye-shadows to make them "pop". The first swatch is with Duraline, and the second swatch is without it.

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette is in everyone's favorites this year. The shadows are so crazy pigmented. They are powdery and buttery at the same time. For me, I really enjoyed having something colorful that wasn't too wild.

Swatched in order: MUG Mirage, MUG Cocoa Bear, ABH Sienna, MUG Bitten, and MUG Vintage.

The mascara that I wore the most this year was Urban Decay Perversion. I always bought the travel size because I pretended the cheaper price was saving me money.

With my Christmas money last year, I made my first Makeup Geek order. It was a big deal for me. I wanted to expand on my single eye-shadow palette, and I had heard that Makeup Geek eye-shadows are the best quality, they are more affordable than higher end brands, and they are cruelty-free. I ordered mostly colorful shades, but I'm including some of my most reached for neutrals. Two of the eye-shadows pictured, Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear and Anastasia Beverly Hills Sienna, are almost exact dupes of one another. For me, they warm up a smokey eye or a cool-toned eye look that is too grey and dull, or they look great in the crease paired with a darker brown. If I were to recommend either one, it would be MUG Cocoa Bear because it is about half the price. As you can see, I really love warm shadows.


My top three brushes this year include the ELF Blush brush, which I used for layering on highlight on my cheekbones, and the MUG pointed crease brush and soft dome brush. I probably used these brushes every day. they changed my life.

I also wanted to give a shout-out to the Real Techniques Brush Cleaning Palette. It helped me wash my brushes in a third of the time that it used to take me to wash them by hand. I just poured soap on the brushes, ran them along the palette and rinsed. A brush cleaner like this is not the first on the market, but this is one of the more affordable new releases.


My favorite lip products didn't change too much this year, but I really loved the Kaepop Collection from Colourpop. It was limited edition, so I hate to mention it because it can't be bought anymore, but I really admired that the collection was by and for people with non-white skin. That is something that most brands don't really cater to. I had the lipstick that accompanied this lip liner called "Chi", but I gave it to my friend who has a deeper skin tone because she had never been able to find a nude lipstick that didn't look weird on her. I bought the highlighter in that collection, but it is so dark on me that I use it as a bronzer. I love it. I hope Colourpop brings more products like that into their permanent collections.


My favorite way to take off my makeup is with a cleansing oil. The Ultra Light Cleansing Oil from Neutrogena really breaks up my makeup, and then I wipe it all off with a wet washcloth. Easy and affordable.

I finally found a cleanser that has made a huge difference for my acne prone skin. The REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser. I took a leap of faith after reading a lot of good reviews on, and I was pleasantly surprised. My skin has been mostly clear, and the breakouts that I have had have been clearing up so quickly. Even though I was unsure about the creaminess and the slight residue that this cleanser leaves, I am so happy with the results. I still want to repurchase my all time favorite, First Aid BeautySkin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay, because it lathers and makes me feel squeaky clean, but for now, I am enjoying this cleanser.

Another skincare favorite is some basic tea tree oil (or Melaluca) from DoTerra. When I get that occasional, painfully awful pimple, a drop in the morning and evening helps it disappear. Bonus: it's all natural.

One product I will purchase until I die is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. Mine has seen better days. The grey on the packaging rubbed off from me squeezing the tube, and then our dog Tonks chewed it up when she was in her puppy stage. I need a new one, clearly, but there is still so much product left because a little goes a long way. If you have lips, you will love this product. I use it every morning and night.


My favorite foundation of 2016 was technically a CC cream, but it has so much coverage that it definitely counts. The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream was what I wore almost every day. Some days I mixed it with a fuller coverage foundation, sometimes I wore it alone. It makes your skin look so natural, luminous, and covers basically every imperfection. My only complaint is that it did not last too long on my skin when I was really oily, but I can look past it because it is one of the only foundations that I feel matches my skin tone perfectly. I wear the shade Light and it has the most neutral undertone, no pinks or oranges. I am currently out of this foundation, and I want to repurchase ASAP.

Even though this year was nuts, we still looked good.What were your favorite products and trends of 2016?

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