2019 was a big year of makeup discoveries for me. I dove deep into many brands that were either new or mostly-new to me. I attended beauty events for the first time, including IMATS and the opening of Harrod’s new beauty hall. All in all, I tried a huge variety of makeup products last year and learned a lot about my own makeup preferences along the way.
So here it is (FINALLY) – my 2019 makeup favourites!
FYI I will be talking about my favourite products that were new to me in the year of 2019, not just new releases from the year. I don’t necessarily have a product from every category, I just picked out things that truly deserve a mention. To keep this post to a somewhat reasonable length, I will leave out products that I have used in previous years, even though I have been using and enjoying many old faves throughout 2019. I figured some sort of ‘Holy Grails’ blog post would better encompass those things, which I’ll be sure to do in the near future.
I shall split this up into five categories: Eyeshadow, Eyes (other) and Brows, Base products, Cheek products, and Lip products. I will dedicate each product to a single bullet point to prevent myself from waffling anymore than I already have up to this point. You are welcome. Let’s get on in.
Powder eyeshadows, cream eyeshadows, and eye primer.
- Tom Ford Eye Quads – If I was to choose only one beauty product that represents 2019 for me, it would have to be Tom Ford eye quads. I’ve always been a fan of smaller eyeshadow palettes and I love the simplicity of picking a palette for each particular look and colour story, knowing that all colours will work beautifully together without any thought. The TF regular eyeshadow formula is beautiful (for example, the OG Cocoa Mirage for mattes and Golden Mink for shimmers and the top coat shades). It’s a very easy formula to work with, has a good amount of pigmentation – not overly pigmented but very buildable, and they blend themselves. The wet-dry formula, i.e. the palettes with the TF imprint on the shadows (Nude Dip and Honeymoon are perhaps the most well known), are so extra special. They’re smooth, pigmented (even when used dry), and they give you a beautiful glowy eye look – that classic Tom Ford eye. I love all of them, but my absolute favourites that make me all warm and fuzzy inside when I gaze at them are Double Indemnity (wet/dry formula, released in 2019, permanent) and White Suede (regular formula, unfortunately limited edition). The quads from the Soleil Neige collection were also stunning, and the OG Cocoa Mirage, Nude Dip and Golden Mink are staples for me.
- Surratt Artistique Eye Shadows – Although I purchased my first couple of Surratt products in 2018, 2019 was really the year where I fell completely in love with this brand. Their powder products, including the single eyeshadows, are made in Japan using a special slurry process where the formula begins as a liquid and is baked down into a powder form. The eyeshadows come in a variety of different colours and finishes, all of which have an incredibly unique silky texture. They have just the right amount of pigmentation and blend beautifully. The eyeshadows and empty palettes are sold separately, so building a custom palette soon becomes quite expensive, but for me they are totally worth it. I know that some people hate the packaging system as they are stuck into the palette with a sticker (no magnets or clicking into place), which can be annoying if you want to switch them around. However, the lack of magnets in the pans keeps them readily recyclable, which I do appreciate. I built my custom palette based around two shades I saw Lisa Eldridge use recently: Vison and Brunatre. I added some lighter and deeper shades so that I am able to create a full look. Scintillante has a unique greyish tone to it which works beautifully as an inner corner highlight for fair skin tones. Ombre and Griege are great transition shades which I keep as singles (in fact you don’t need to put the shadows into a palette at all as they all come with a sliding window to keep the pans protected).
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry Palette – I spoke about this in my birthday haul, where I also swatched the shades, so I will keep this brief. I still stand by my original dislike for how powdery the ABH formula is. For this reason I have no interest in buying any more of these palettes, but that is also partly down to the fact that there couldn’t be a more perfect colour story for me. I love neutrals and cool-toned browns, so I use almost the entirety of this palette (no offence, bloom). It’s not my absolute favourite formula and I have to make sure I’m careful with my brush, but they are blendable and pigmented, so overall I really enjoy using this and would recommend to any neutral lovers out there. The colour story and the fact that I really do get my money’s worth out of this palette means that this earned a place in my yearly favourites.
- Pat McGrath Ritualistic Rose Blitz Astral Eyeshadow Quad – for my first encounter with Pat McGrath eyeshadows, I figured trying one of the holiday quads containing just the special shades would be a good place to start. I’m not really into big eyeshadow looks or colours, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to buy her large palettes (although I’ve been eyeing Mothership I for a while now and may buy that at the end of 2020). I do, however, love a bit of sparkle when the time is right, and these shades are very wearable for me. I feel like a pretty ball of glitter (in the best way possible) when I wear these shades, so I 100% think that they are worth the hype.
- Chanel Eyeshadow Palettes (Limited Edition releases) – Chanel absolutely killed it with their seasonal releases in 2019. The collections as a whole were beautiful and cohesive, and I even admired collections that I ended up skipping over. The eyeshadow palettes in particular were a winner for me, and I would recommend keeping an eye out for the 2020 releases, as it is definitely worth purchasing a palette that is calling your name. The 9-pan Les Indispensables palette is probably my favourite from the year due to its versatility and day-to-day wearability. I really wish they would bring this one back and make it part of their permanent collection.
- Victoria Beckham Beauty Lid Lustre and Smoky Eye Brick – possibly the biggest brand launch of 2019 was Victoria Beckham Beauty. I wasn’t wowed by the initial release pictures, but after seeing plenty of reviews and purchasing a few items myself, I am hooked. The packaging is STUNNING – very luxurious and weighted. The formula of the eyeshadows are amazing, and they are all matte without being ‘flat’. I have the eye brick in signature, and definitely want to pick up tuxedo later in the year. The Lid Lustre in Blonde is also beautiful for transforming the look from day to night. They feel a bit more crumbly than say the hourglass scattered light glitter eyeshadows, but when applied with a finger in a pressing motion I didn’t really experience much fall out.
- Chanel Ombre Premiere Longwear Cream Eyeshadows – these have been around for a long time, but they were new to me in 2019 and I already have quite the collection. They have a fairly firm cream texture, they are smooth, easy to apply and blend, and they have great lasting power. Definitely my favourite cream eyeshadow formula for everyday use. Two of my favourite shades, Patine Bronze and Undertone, are swatched below.
- Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eyeshadow Colors – Coming in at a close second are the Tom Ford cream and powder eyeshadows. The cream section has a much more mousse-like texture than the Chanel ones, and these also come with a glittery topper shade which gives them a day-to-night functionality. I find the cream formula in these to be slightly firmer than the Tom Ford single cream eyeshadows and similarly the Charlotte Tilbury eyes to mesmerise formula. They last very well on the eyes and the colour selection (especially naked bronze) is perfect.
- Nars Tinted Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base – The best everyday eyeshadow primer I have ever tried! It colour corrects and helps your eyeshadow last through the day. I’ve had this for almost a year, and after using it ~3-4 times per week it is still going strong.
Eyeliner and Brows
No stand-out new mascaras for me this year I’m afraid, but I do have a mascara empties roundup coming soon! I was mourning the Sephora Outrageous Curl Waterproof mascara for most of 2019. Luckily I came across one or two great mascaras last month, but that will have to wait for 2020 favourites.
I’ve been using brow pencils for a while, my long-time favourite being the Anastasia Brow Wiz in medium brown and dark brown, but it wasn’t until 2019 that I started using brow gels. I enjoy clear formulas and use them simply to hold my brows into shape, which really lifts my eyes and brightens my face. I love a good old bar of soap, but some more time-conscious picks are:
- Benefit 24 Hr Brow Setter – the quickest and easiest to use, has great lasting power and a really neat spiky comb. I also carry a mini of this in my handbag in case I don’t have time to apply this in the morning. It does dry slightly shiny, which is my only critique, but otherwise it’s a great product.
- Surratt Expressioniste Brow Pomade – this was my first eye “gel” encounter. After years of hearing Karima McKimmie rave about this and then being recommended to try this in store, I never looked back. It provides an excellent hold and is invisible when dried. I was taught a little technique to first brush all hairs backwards so that they point up towards your forehead when dispersing the product, then lightly drag the comb forwards so that the hairs set at a 45 degree angle.
- Please ignore the inclusion of the glossier brow flick in the picture – I’m not really sure what I was thinking. I don’t hate this product, but it’s definitely not a yearly favourite.
- Marc Jacobs Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayon in (Earth)quake – An absolutely indestructible eyeliner, perfect for tight-lining the upper lash line. This is also a perfect shade of brown – still dark but softer than black.
- Victoria Beckham Beauty Satin Kajal Liners – a very creamy formula, easy to smudge but then it sets and lasts all day. These pencils come with a smudger on one end and a separate sharpener.
Note and Update: The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation did not make it into my yearly favourites. I don’t dislike it, but the more I have used it, the more I realised how much I prefer Estee Lauder Double Wear. I hope to finish up the CT foundation in 2020 and then I won’t be repurchasing.
- Clarins Fix’ Make-Up setting spray – I’ve never been a huge fan of MAC Fix+ as I never found it to be very good at perfecting and finishing my makeup. This Clarins fixing/setting spray not only has an amazingly fine mist but it does for me what MAC fix+ does for others: it meshes my makeup with my skin and perfects the finish of my makeup whilst lengthening the wear time. The only downside is the added fragrance which stings a little when my skin is already sensitised, and just generally has no place in any face product.
- Tom Ford Illuminating Powder, 01 Translucent – This is my absolute favourite under eye setting powder, and all-round brightening powder. Most yellow powders go a bit ashy on my under eyes, but this TF one has the perfect slight yellow cast to provide the much needed brightening whilst remaining invisible on my skin.
- Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder – Another great under eye brightening powder that I tried for the first time in 2019. This one is a loose powder and contains tiny reflective particles that can only be noticed on very close inspection.
- Sisley Paris Phyto-cernes Eclat eye concealer, shade 1 – holy sheeeeet. After hearing Karima McKimmie and ttsandra raving about this one I finally bit the bullet. I went for shade 1 rather than shade 2, which still has a very peachy undertone, just slightly lighter. This is the best under-eye corrector I have ever tried and well worth the ££. It has great coverage (could be used alone if your dark circles are less visible than mine), sets down beautifully on the skin, and it looks great both on camera and irl. It also comes with quite a nice little synthetic concealer brush. The amount of product you get is huge which is how I’m justifying this particular splurge.
- Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer, SX02 – yet another Karima-made-me-do-it purchase. I’m blown away by the pigmentation of this, which makes it perfect for covering spots and hyper-pigmentation. It has a creamy texture that sits nicely on the skin, doesn’t emphasise those old flaky spots, and sets down without looking dry. One pot of this will probably last you a lifetime as the tiniest pin head amount covers a face of blemishes.
- Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer, Ivory – After purchasing this with my US beauty haul, I decided it deserved a place on this list. Another base product that meshes beautifully with the skin and provides very good coverage (less than shape tape but still full coverage). It works well on dry skin so I don’t have to worry about my skin prep, but at the same time it sets down well even without powder. I wish there were more shades, but Ivory just about works for me – might be a problem if you are paler than me or prefer a brightening shade.
- FACE atelier Ultra Foundation Pro, 0- Zero Minus – You can probably guess which youtuber made me buy it… the shade zero minus is great for lightening the shade of a foundation without changing the formula. A little goes a long way. I purchased mine off of Tilt Makeup.
- Surratt Surreal Skin Foundation Wand, shades 1 and 2 – I didn’t buy Surratt’s new Dew Drop foundation as I prefer less dew and more coverage, but I did try their older foundation instead. I can thank Michele Wang and Lisa Eldridge for this recommendation. The applicator can be a bit annoying if you need to mix shades like I do, but the brush is quite good and is very convenient. The formula sits so nicely on the skin and also provides a blurring effect. The coverage is medium and buildable and the wear time is very good (not extremely long-wearing if you’re out of the house for the whole day, but it is more skin-like than my super long wearing formulas – I guess you can’t have it all). I have tried many new foundations this year, but this is the only one I would repurchase.
- Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF15, Alabaster – Michele Wang influenced many of my 2019 purchases including the Chantecaille tinted moisturiser. It’s very nice for dry skin – has a luminous finish without being greasy as many tinted moisturisers and bb creams are. It has reasonable coverage for a tinted moisturiser, offering a light-medium coverage, and wears well on the skin. The shade Alabaster is on the light side for me but still works well for my skin tone (about an NC15, veering towards NC12).
- Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, 1 Fair – I don’t always wear highlighter, but when I do, 9 times out of 10 it will be the Hollywood Flawless Filter. It’s natural and skin-like, but not to the point where you think ‘why bother??’. I like to use this on the high points of my face either under or over foundation (sometimes even both!).
Shoutout to some highlighters that I totally forgot to include:
- From the Chanel holiday 2019 release: Éclat Magnétique de Chanel illuminating powder in the shade Metal Peach. Review here. Limited edition
- Benefit Cookie Highlighter – Beautiful highlighter! I have mine in a 3-pan palette but it is now available separately.
- Surratt Artistique Blushers – Carrying on from what I said about the Surratt eyeshadows, the formula of these blushes are equally as exceptional. They have the right amount of pigmentation that shows well but allows the product to be built up. They come in satin-matte (look matte on the skin but with some dimension to them) and shimmery finishes. Barbe a Papa is the only one of mine with any real shimmer; it is a very cool-toned pink blush. Guimauve is a light candy pink that appears very subtle on the cheeks. Duchesse is the only one I don’t really use as it doesn’t really show up at all on me. La Vie En Rose is a gorgeous ‘just been out in the cold’ shade and goes with pretty much any eye/lip colour. La Rosee du Soir is a great nude with a slight pink undertone (pair with the Surratt Lipslique in Chuchoter), whereas Chaleur is a peachy nude (pair with a classic smoky eye and the Lipslique in shade Paramour). Grisaille is actually a contour shade for those with a light skin tone. There are many other shades in the line including ones more suitable for medium and deep skin tones.
- Tom Ford Soleil Glow Bronzer in Terra – the price of this makes me cry a little, but i’ll admit that it is a beautiful neutral toned bronzer that blends so easily into the skin. I have the small size which will be great for travel. This particular formula was released this year and is still available, so I’m hoping this is permanent.
- Fenty Beauty Matte Skinstick in Amber – I absolutely love this for adding depth just beneath my cheekbones. It is a stiffer cream formula which I appreciate for the purpose of contouring as it stays in place as a shadow. I don’t have a problem with blending this in and I haven’t noticed it moving my foundation, but could imagine encountering this problem if I were to apply them to larger areas of the face (for instance, if using the blush and bronzer shades of the skinsticks).
- Dior ‘Diorskin Rosy Glow Healthy glow booster blush’, 001 petal – don’t be too intimidated by the vibrancy of this pink shade, it’s a very buildable blusher that is supposed to adjust to each individual skin tone. Just be careful though as the pigmentation takes a few seconds to appear as it warms up on your skin, and if you don’t allow this time to happen you may end up over applying.
- Marc Jacobs Air Blush Soft Glow Duo in shades ‘Flesh and Fantasy’ and ‘Lush and Libido’ – I’m a little late to the party on these ones, but I needed to mention them. I love the idea of customising the colour of the blush by leaning more to one size of the pan, it makes them very versatile. The pan sizes are absurdly large, but on the plus side the mirror is great. My favourite shades are flesh and fantasy (a nude) and lush and libido (a cool-toned pink). I also have the shade kinks and kisses which is a warmer pink and not a shade I reach for that often despite it being very wearable. The clasp on this blusher broke which is very irritating as I can’t close the packaging due the spring opening and now it sits ajar in my drawer.
- Natasha Denona Bloom palette – I saw this in many people’s yearly favourites videos, and I have to agree with them. However, i’m not into really glowy cheeks all the time so I mainly focus on the two cream blushers under the protective plastic. The top left is a lovely subtle everyday pink, but its really the top right berry shade that has put this product in the top of my 2019 finds. Despite it looking like it would only work for deeper skin tones, it looks great on my fair skin when I apply it with a stippling brush. I actually really enjoy this type of berry shade both sheered out in the daytime and built up more for an evening look. The formula is a great balance between the blend-ability of a creamy product and the longer lasting power of a stiffer cream.
- Jillian Dempsey Cheek Tint in Scarlet – similar to the ND shade I just mentioned, this dark red can be used on any skin tone and is great to pair with red lipstick or just to be used as a natural flush of colour (even more subtle if applied under foundation). This has a firmer texture, so needs a bit more work to blend, but it’s not a problem once warmed up on the skin, and it lasts better than softer cream blushers.
The final category is lip products, including lipsticks, liquid lipsticks, lip glosses and tinted lip balms.
- Armani Lip Maestro Liquid Lipstick, shade 400 – I am a hater of liquid lipsticks, but the Armani Lip Maestro formula is very comfortable to wear as it doesn’t set down to the point where it starts to peel and flake off your lips. This does slightly compromise the wear time in theory, but since it wears away evenly it can be nicely reapplied without removing any residue. It is still a long-wearing lipstick formula, and has a velvety texture and matte appearance. The shade 400 is Armani’s classic red shade, and this liquid version is a slightly deeper tone which I find to be very flattering on me.
- Tom Ford Lip Color, Pink Dusk – Although I wasn’t blown away by the Tom Ford lipsticks at first (partly because the first shade I ever purchased, Spanish Pink, didn’t end up suiting me very well), I have come to appreciate it for its creamy opaque formula and reasonably long wear time. The shade Pink Dusk is one of my favourite soft pinks and it goes with almost every makeup look and is suitable for day and night (I even used this shade on a friend for her wedding day). I don’t think the formula is really worthy of £40, but the colour selection is amazing.
- Lisa Eldridge Lipsticks – I currently own all of Lisa Eldridge’s Lipsticks (Velvets and the pink collection released in the summer). I aim to do a full review with swatches off all shades later in the year before the are released again around the holidays, so I won’t spend too long here. The velvet formula is possibly my favourite matte formula, but the main selling point are the shades. Lisa has clearly spent a lot of time creating the perfect mix of undertones to make her lipsticks flattering on all skin and lip tones. I really enjoy using Velvet Decade and Velvet Myth as lip stains in the daytime, whereas Velvet Jazz is my go-to deep red for going out in the evening. I think £26 is a very reasonable price point for such a special luxurious lipstick where there is clear attention to detail in terms of the shades, packaging and velvet effect lipstick texture.
- La Bouche Rouge Lipsticks – I first mentioned these in my Harrods Haul and am working on a full blog post dedicated to this company and all the lipstick shades that I have. I absolutely love seeing a brand produce sustainable beauty products and developing formulas without micro-plastics. The lipstick formula is amazingly nourishing and the shade Knightsbridge Nude is my all-time favourite ‘my lips but better’ lipstick. The rather expensive refillable cases are very luxe and you can even have them engraved with your initials. They are available to purchase on the Harrods website and in store, and also on LBR’s own website.
- Charlotte Tilbury Superstar Lips – I’m still not a big wearer of lip gloss despite the current trend, but I do enjoy a glossy lipstick such as the superstar lipstick formula that CT released at the end of 2018. They are quite thick and balmy on the lips, but I quite like heavier formulas like this as they last well and feel protective on my dry lips. Thin, oily formulas tend to rub off quickly and my lips always end up feeling drier. The darker colours like Confident Lips are a bit patchy and don’t wear too well, but I love Princess Kiss (a light pink) and Wild Lips (a berry pink) and would recommend the paler colours! The only negative is the amount of product you get, which is quite small despite them costing the same as other Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks. Below are the swatches of all the shades I own.
- Surratt Lipsliques – Yet another amazing product from Surratt beauty! I love the formula of these lipsticks – they are semi-opaque yet buildable, are very moisturising and have a shiny finish to them which makes your lips look amazing. I reach for these often as they have shades for every occasion and the chicness of the slim bullet makes them a pleasure to use. The three shades I purchased in 2019 are Paramour (a peachy nude – pairs perfectly with the Surratt Artistique Blusher in Chaleur and a smoky eye), Chuchoter (a pink nude which I like to pair with the Surratt Artistique Blusher in La Rosee du Soir), and Hevyn which is a great everyday shade that is a little bit deeper than my natural lip colour. I have swatched these three here:
- Dior Lip Glow, 001 Pink – I feel like I’ve been using this product for years, but it was actually only at the beginning of 2019 when I first tried it and I’ve already finished up a whole tube. I’ve tried numerous tinted lip balms, including other pH adjusting formulas, but this is by far my favourite. I actually quite enjoy the smell of this, and the pink colour it turns my lips is very flattering on me and really brightens up my complexion. The colour remains quite strong even after the balm has faded – this is a positive for me as I have quite a pale natural lip colour. I also find it very effective as a moisturising lip balm.
- Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lip Volumizer and Lip Repair Potion – I talked about both of these in a separate post where I expressed how I was already enjoying the Lip Volumizer. It is probably my most worn ‘gloss’ of the year and I tend to wear it over a nude pink lipliner. It isn’t exactly plumping in a tingly minty way, but it adds a pink tint similar to the Dior lip glow and a glossy finish, creating the appearance of fuller lips. I wasn’t blown away by the Lip Repair Potion at the time of my first post, however since using it overnight during the summer months and using it more as a day time treatment, it has become my go-to for chronically dry lips, and I will most definitely be repurchasing this.
- Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss in Solar – Everyone on YouTube was raving about these reformulated Hourglass lip glosses last year. A friend of mine kindly gifted me one in the shade Solar, which is quite opaque and has a shimmery, almost metallic finish. I don’t think it is a shade I would have picked out for myself but it is actually stunning to wear in the summer, and the opacity means I can just throw it on alone. Would recommend this one!
And that’s about it for my 2019 favourites! Again, there were lots of other products, especially old favourites of mine that I used throughout the year, and continue to use now, but this post highlights the absolute best makeup that was new to me in 2019. It’s a lot, but I did try a tonne of makeup! I think there will be a makeup fails and disappointments post coming soon, with juicy news on the products that have not worked out for me over the past year or so.
Let me know what your favourite brands and products of 2019 were in the comments below, and I’ll speak to you all soon! (I am currently doing a course on top of working full-time, so I apologise for my absence over the coming months. Hopefully content will pick up more during the second half of the year, and I’ll try to roll out some shorter posts that I’ve already begun working on before then.)
This is not a sponsored post. All products mentioned in this post have been purchased by me.