I never managed to put together an annual favorites post in 2015 because the shit hit the fan around that time. It’s all good now and a lot of great products have entered my life since the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve! Because of that, and because we’ve kind of reached the half way point of the year (in blog favorites terms), I thought I would compile some of my top finds so far from 2016! Not all of these are brand new products, but I hadn’t tried them before. The one thing they all have in common is that they are fantastic! 🙂 No more suspense, let’s get to the good stuff!

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Let’s start with my first amazing find of 2016 – the Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Polishes! These polishes are absolutely stunning and rather surprising given the $5 price tag. 🙂 They really do mimic the look of gel nails…well, as far as I know never having had the real thing. They are quite opaque in one coat, though they typically require two for full opacity. The shine of them is impressive as well! I love the colors too, though I can’t say there are a ton of unique shades within the line. Nonetheless, they’re all pretty shades and there’s definitely a color for everyone. I don’t agree with their claim of lasting 2 weeks, but they do last as well as any other quality polish. The 1 Step Wonder Gels are just amazing quality polishes with a very reasonable price tag and I highly recommend testing at least one out!

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Another early find were the new Milani Everyday Eyes Powder Eye Shadow Palettes. These palettes are great affordable options at about $10 each (and often on sale for less)! Each palette includes 6 shadows in a mixture of shimmer, satin and matte finishes that range from light to deep, and there are 6 color ways to pick from! There’s a shade for everyone I think –brights, plums, smoky greys, as well as warm and cool neutrals. Some of the shimmer shades in these palettes can be a bit dry, but there always at least one or two that are great and the mattes are spectacular! My most used palette is probably “Bare Necesseties.” It has a great selection of neutral colors that works well for every day wear. Every shade in this palette performs incredibly well in my opinion. I absolutely love the Milani Shadow Palettes and find myself reaching for “Bare Necessities” quite often both for an entire look, or just one shade to add to another palette. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend giving them a go!

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A much buzzed about product that absolutely needs to be on this list is the RCMA No Color Powder! If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “Really? A powder? How much of a difference can it really make?” Well, let me tell you, this powder will help control oil and set makeup without leaving any trace behind. A lot of powders either are somewhat visible until they either mix with the oils on your skin (at which point they seem to disappear anyway), or emphasize texture, or just downright cause that dreaded white cast. The RCMA No Color Powder does none of these things! Granted I’m not 100% convinced it really minimizes the look of pores as something like the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores can, but I also find that pore minimizing powders rarely do much else, nor do they minimize my pores for very long. I’d rather have something that looks like nothing at all on the skin and keeps everything in place! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever found another powder that you can really cake on the face without looking like you’re covered in powder. The packaging is weird and annoying, though I could see the function for pros (for who it’s actually designed), but you can easily just sprinkle a bit into a powder-looking container and use it as you would any other loose powder. I am absolutely in love with the RCMA No Color Powder and shudder at the thought of using anything else! 😉

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Going a bit backwards, I’m going to mention a foundation. The Japonesque Luminous Foundation has been my dream come true! I have normal skin that’s prone to shine when wearing foundation, plus I have larger pores that always look worse with foundation. Well, the Japonesque seems to keep my pores looking as they did before application, and the shine is kept to a minimum, more so than with anything else I have tried! I would not expect that from a foundation with the word “luminous” in the name, but it’s wonderful! The coverage is good – I would say it’s a light-medium. I often feel a need for a touch more coverage, so I simply add a bit of the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops (another wonderful product, but I found them in 2015 😉 ) and it’s absolutely perfect! I often still need concealer on trouble areas around my nose and on any pesky blemishes, but the finish is still beautiful! I would call the resulting finish natural (I seem to say that for most foundations don’t I?) which I find ideal. Too much “luminous” means emphasized pores and increased shine to my skin! It’s also not flat matte which I don’t think anyone really wants either. I feel it’s one of those rare foundations that might just be great on all skin types! Hands down, the Japonesque Luminous Foundation is the best I have found! 🙂

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One more makeup item and we’ll move on. The ColourPop Crème Gel Eye Liners are absolutely spectacular! These are twist up stick pencils that come in so many colors – both neutral and unusual brights – as well as matte and metallic finishes. I don’t think even Urban Decay has some of these shades! They are intensely pigmented, creamy and long lasting. You have a decent amount of time to blend them out, but then they set and do not budge, flake, run or otherwise mess up your face. 😉 They’re also not going to break the bank at $5 a pop! That said, I did receive one that seemed to have come loose from the packaging, but I just pushed down a bit from the end of the liner and it seems fine now. That does make me question how long they will last, but for that price, I’m not sure I mind having to replace them every so often if they dry out or break. Absolutely wonderful liners in a stunning array of shades make ColourPop’s Crème Gel Liners on my “best of…” list!

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A scalp saver for anyone with a dry, flaky, itchy, or an all of the above scalp, you must try the Derma E Scalp Relief Shampoo! I have a dedicated review here that goes into more detail, but this stuff absolutely solved all of my scalp woes! It’s formulated with Salicylic Acid that helps to remove that dry itchy layer of skin that often flakes and causes dandruff. It adds Tea Tree, Neem, and others to gently and effectively calm and soothe the scalp, while still nourishing the hair. Add to that that it’s sulfate free and color-safe, and you have an absolute hit in my book!

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Finally, we have a hand cream that absolutely saved my hands from the brutal cold air and constant hand washing I subject them to. It is the ShiKai Borage Therapy Hand Cream. I have reviewed this in detail here if you want further information. To sum it up briefly, it’s a wonderful non-greasy hand cream that not just makes your hands feel better right after you apply it, but actually seems to go into the skin keeping them feeling better even after washing your hands! I love using this before bed so it really has a good chance to deeply penetrate and heal my hands. I then find I don’t feel a constant need to reapply moisturizer, which is fantastic for someone who’s constantly washing their hands! 🙂 Even if I forget to put some on at night, I still find my hands feel much better for a lot longer than with any other hand cream I have ever tried! Fantastic stuff and I highly recommend the SkiKai Hand Cream – especially in the winter or if you’re a constant hand washer. You will notice the difference. 🙂

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That’s going to do it for our mid-year round up of the best new beauty finds! With so many products already out there, not to mention the constant stream of newer shinier objects, it can be difficult to figure out what is really worth the time and money. I can say without a doubt that all of these products truly stand out among the mind boggling sea of stuff. I feel no need to seek out something newer or “better” in these particular areas of my beauty arsenal, though I may still try things here and there just for kicks. 😉 I will be surprised, albeit impressed, if I were to find anything better than these beauty gems!

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