As I mentioned in my 2014 High End Beauty Awards post, last year has, in my opinion, been the best makeup year yet in terms of new releases, new brands coming to Ireland and setting up shop and new innovations being churned out at an alarming rate. The range of high street cosmetics has particularly blown me away this year, and it's clear that you no longer have to shell out big bucks to get quality makeup products. Even though I am more of a high end girl when it comes to my cosmetics (and you can check out my high end beauty picks for 2014 by clicking here), I've found some drugstore beauts too over the year, so for every category I am going to give you my favourite product of the year.
There have been many new foundations to cross my path over 2014 but my favourite is probably the Bourjois Happy Light Foundation because I just love the coverage for dewy days when I don't really want to look like I have foundation on. The lightest shade is a great match, this wears well and it's just a general high performer for me. Max Factor's Facefinity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation also performed well in the coverage and longevity stakes for me this year.
Best Foundation Base
No 7 Instant Illusions Rapid Radiance Balm performs quite similarly to my high end fave Clarins Beauty Flash Balm but is considerably cheaper. It provides just a little bit of life to your foundationed face without impacting the longevity of your foundation. It feels nice and fresh on the skin without feeling suffocating and my skin has not suffered adversely from using this. Whilst the Clarins BFB is a little thicker in consistency, this feels quite fresh, non-oily and performs similarly in terms of breathing life into your face before makeup.
NYX HD Concealers in 02 and 04 have been godsends to me this year and I've repurchased them already because I don't like the thought of being without them. Pigmented but blendable, I use 02 under my eyes and 04 to conceal any blemishes or redness. I can't remember the price of these off the top of my head but I think they are in and around the €6 mark.
Bourjois Healthy Balance Pressed Powder- it's an old 'un but a good 'un and this served me well to keep my summer oil-slick shine at bay during the heatwave we experienced in the summer. I will always make sure to have one of these in my collection. The powder is nice and finely milled and you barely notice it over your foundation and in the summer, I did not mind the shade I have (52- Vanilla which is the lightest shade I could find) over my foundation. I find it's a little too yellow toned for the winter however so I'll have to wait for another long hot summer before I can whip this out again.
MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighter in Irisdescent Gold- this is another gorgeous champagne highlighter that I love to apply with a fan brush down the bridge of my nose and to the top of my cheekbones. I sometimes cannot believe that this is about €3/4 because it is seriously impressive. I much prefer this to the previous pink version.
The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in Light was a real find back in 2013- so much so, that I've continued using it back into 2014. It's a lovely light bronzer, perfect for the depths of winter when you can't quite get away with looking so golden. L'Oreal Glam Bronze is also a fantastic contender and close runner up- nice and matte, a very flattering shade, and easily available.
NYX Powder Blush in Taupe. This is much revered as being the best drugstore contour shade for pale folk, but I find in my palest state this this looks a little grey on my face, so I usually use this when I have a light tan because I find it's more complimentary. The colour is very distinctive- not bronzer-esque but certainly murky enough to cast those desired shadows to achieve the chiselled face look.
Best Highlighting/Contour Palette
Seventeen Define & Conquer Contour Kit is quite a newbie to the market as it only made it's debut in the latter quarter of the year but that was enough to win me over. I've already posted a review of this palette with my thoughts on it but it's safe to say that I think it's worth a shot. Bear in mind that the highlight shade isn't sheeny or highlightery in the traditional sense, but that's ok because it's a great undereye concealer setting powder and it's great for brightening up that area.
Best Blush Palette
Sleek Blush Trio in Lace- Sleek blushes are amongst the best blushes you will find in the aisles of Boots or the like, and the arrival of Sleek in Ireland in 2014 has made me a very happy camper indeed. The blushes in this palette are gorgeous and I've used all three. The pigmentation is amazing and for somewhere around the €13 mark for three blushes, these are very good value indeed.
I have to give this award to my beloved NYX Powder Blush in Peach which is a gorgeous pinky peachy shade, nicer than NARS Orgasm, and I'm going to keep repurchasing this over and over. I have swatches on my NYX Powder Blush Collection post if you fancy a look too, but safe to summarise that they are amongst my fave blushes ever and they are only €7.49 a piece and available in Ireland now too!
Best Eyeshadow Palette
Well the arrival of Wet n Wild to Ireland back in January meant one main thing to me- amazingly affordable buttery quality eyeshadows just became more easily available to Irish makeup lovers. Oh the eyeshadows, they are beauts, and I was fed up of paying through the nose from eBay sellers and shops like Non-Pareil Boutique to get my Wet n Wild fix. My favourite palette so far is the gorgeous Comfort Zone palette, jam packed with earthy neutrals, each colour more impressive than the last in terms of pigment and blendability. Honestly, at €6.49 a pop for 8 shadows, you cannot afford NOT to own this. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
Best Eyeshadow (Single)
This year the arrival of the gorgeous L'Oreal Color Riche L'Ombre Pure Eyeshadows completely turned my head and I still find it hard to believe that you can find these eyeshadows in chemists for something crazy like €5.35 a pop. The pigmentation of these is exquisite, remarkable, the colour selection, colour payoff. These eyeshadows scream luxe with their packaging, embossed detailing, various finishes etc., and these are amongst the best drugstore eyeshadow launches of the year. Again, I feel like I have to mention the Catrice Velvet Matt eyeshadows for being amazingly matte, amazingly pigmented and amazingly affordable eyeshadows.
Best Cream Eyeshadow
The Maybelline Color Tattoos are without a doubt the best drugstore cream eyeshadow pots out there, and I have lost count of how many I have collected at this stage. On and On Bronze is ESSENTIAL, as is Permanent Taupe and Immortal Charcoal. The kind folks at Maybelline have introduced three of their Leather Effect Color Tattoos over the last year too- Creamy Beige, Chocolate Suede and my personal fave, Vintage Plum, which is a gorgeous smoked out purple/plummy shade that looks amazing under any purple, grey or brown shadow.
I really enjoyed using the Seventeen Falsifeye HD mascara this year and in this post, I've set out the 10 things I love most about it. Seventeen as a brand was not really on my radar before I tried this mascara but my level of impressedness has definitely earned a place on my radar.
Blank Canvas Cosmetics Felt Tip Eyeliner in Winging It has completely turned my head over the last few months of 2014 and I am almost finished up my second one already. The long pointy nib, the jet black line that it delivers and the ease with which one can wing eyeliner when using this most definitley makes it award worthy. I would panic in the morning if I couldn't find this mascara because I have gotten so attached to it. A close runner up has to be the Physician's Formula 2 in 1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner and Serumwhich I've only had for about a month but I've enjoyed using immensely.
There have been so many amazing lipstick launches this year. The Essence Long Lasting Lipsticks are absolutely exceptional in my opinion and I think I have 9 or 10 of them by now- not only are they pigmented, the lasting power is absolutely amazing and fades gently off the lips over the course of many hours of wear. The shade 09 Wear Berries is my favourite and one of my favourite lipsticks ever.
Best Lip Liner
Essence Lip Liner in Satin Mauve. This mauvey pink is meant to be a dupe for MAC's Soar lip pencil which of course was recently reincarnated by Miss Kylie Jenner, but I have loved this for the last few months/ The Essence lipliners are fantastically affordable at €1.29 a pop which is actually robbery. This is a gorgeous mauve colour that I like to wear as a lip colour or as a liner with a pink lip for a slight ombre effect.
Best Nail Polish Brand
Again, there are a whole array of drugstore nail polishes from the drugstore/high street that have performed well this year and my favourites are the Essence Colour & Go Polishes and the Wet n' Wild Mega Last Nail Polishes. For less than €2 and €3 respectively, these nail polishes perform well and last well.
So there you have my top high street beauty picks of 2014 and, as with my high end beauty picks of 2014, I can personally recommend each and every single one of these products to my readers if you're looking for some high street makeup inspiration for 2015.
Did any of your favourites make my cut? Are there any products for your favourites that I need to try in 2015? I'm always open to enabling!