I'm just going to state one product from each category, so this will be tough! Bear with me...
My favourite cheap foundation is probably one of the products that surprised me the most this year. Rimmel Lasting Finish has been around for yonks, but when it was relaunched earlier in the year with a ''25 Hour'' tagline, bloggers everywhere went mad for it. I was sceptical but picked it up to try when it was reduced in Boots, and had to eat my words immediately. If you have oily skin, are on a budget and are a fan of the likes of MAC Studio Fix Fluid, this is your cheaper friend.
As for high-end foundations, I've been fortunate to try out a good few this year, including some that aren't launching until 2012. Sticking to what's on the market right now, I have to hand it to Face Atelier Ultra foundation. This was literally a game-changer for me: it was the foundation that made me realise that I don't always need full coverage, and that my skin isn't half as bad as I think it is. Try it, you won't regret it! Full review here.
A serious component in my beauty arsenal has to be concealer. This year I fell in love with MAC Studio Finish Concealer, which I bought in March and is still going strong, justifying the price! If you can afford it, it's a great investment, but if not, Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer is also fantastic.
I have Sinéad to thank for this one. MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural is unbelievable and I won't be straying from it anytime soon. I am thinking of investing in a loose powder to keep at home, though, so if anyone has any suggestions, please tell me!
There's nothing like blusher to give a bit of life to your face, especially if you're looking a bit run-down. I was pretty sick in the run-up to Christmas and this is the blusher that made me look alive again! TheBalm Hot Mama is seriously underrated. We tried the brand at the start of the year and were really impressed, but this blusher has blown me away since.
Coral blushes are really popular, and I urge you to give this one a go as it's cheaper than the likes of Benefit Coralista, NARS Orgasm, MAC Style etc, and the quality and pigmentation is fantastic. You can get TheBalm in A-Wear and also some pharmacies.
I really wasn't a highlighter person before this year, as I reasoned with myself that as a shiny-faced gal I kinda made my own! How wrong I was. Dior Amber Diamond is now one of my all-time favourite make-up products, and I really couldn't be without it. The difference it makes to a look is phenomenal, and it also looks good when you're being photographed. If you've vouchers to burn after Christmas, you won't regret putting them towards this fabulous compact.
Lippie is another fetish of mine, so this will be super-difficult. I love bold colours and don't really do nudes at all. I'm going to pick one high-end and one cheapo favourite just to be fair. For a luxury lipstick that can't be beaten, it has to be Chanel Rouge Allure Lacque in Dragon. I get so many compliments when I wear this, and will be purchasing a backup soon as it's being discontinued - sob.
Other lipsticks that I bought and loved this year were MAC Rebel, Impassioned, Russian Red and Violetta. You guys see these shades on myself and Sinéad all the time, so suffice to say that we adore them!
In terms of cheaper lippies, I adore the Rimmel Lasting Finish line and, being the lipstick whore that I am, own well over half of it. My very favourite shade has to be One of a Kind - it really is an original purpley shade that I heart.
We both tried an abundance of mascaras this year, and a lot of them were fantastic. Props have to go to La Roche-Posay Respectissme, Max Factor False Lash Effect and Avon SuperShock. They are all amazing mascaras, but my very favourite has to be Benefit They're Real! Everything about this, from the wand and packaging right down to the formula itself, is perfect and worth the money. I love it and will be buying another one when the one I was sent runs out. You can read a more in-depth review of They're Real! here.
I've seriously expanded my eyeshadow collection this year. It won't come as a suprise to many of you that my overall favourite has to be Inglot. The price, pigmentation, quality and presentation is all superior to MAC, and I really can't say enough good things about the brand. Check out my two palettes here and here.
I've tried a good few, from the likes of Urban Decay Primer Potion to the Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows (which are still very close to my heart), but since I picked it up in London in July, hardly a day had gone by that I haven't used MAC Painterly Paint Pot. Enough said! I love it for how it smoothes out the eye area, cancels out redness and makes eyeshadow last forever.
After foundation, eyeliner is another product that I'm freakishly obessed with. This is another really difficult one for me, but thinking logically, the eyeliner that I've used most often this year has been the Essence Gel Liner. I'm on my second pot, and, being the eejit that I am, never even did a full review! This is a really creamy, soft liner that is super-easy to work with and lasts well. For €3.50 or so the quality is unreal and I would pay well above that price. I actually prefer this to the Bobbi Brown Gel Liner as it doesn't dry out as quick and is easier to use.
affordable brushes which I still stand behind and recommend. The very best brush that I bought this year, though, has to be the Inglot 27TG duo-fibre brush. It's amazing, and I prefer it to the MAC 187 and Sigma flat-top kabuki for foundation, which says a lot!
I'm getting palpitations even trying to pick just one polish. Off the top of my head, before I get too freaked out, honourable mentions have to go to Essie Peach Daiquiri, Chanel Morning Rose, OPI Teenage Dream, Catrice After Eight and Angelica Holiday Fun.
We both tried a plethora of hand creams this year and it's hard to pick just one. For the quality and gorgeous scent, I have to go with Nuxe Reve de Miel. It's beautiful and such a nice treat for the paws - I've actually cut down on using this as I want it to last!
This is a bit of a clichéd one but I've been loving Chanel Chance since my Dad brought it back from the US for me. The smell is divine, classic, and, well, makes me happy. Thanks Dad :)
Both Sinéad and I are really fond of The Body Shop Body Butters, and the Pink Grapefruit one is the nicest one I've tried so far. I love the packaging, the huge variety of scents and also how long they last. A few of them are going for a tenner in the sale at the moment, so if you're thinking of trying one, now is the time!
I'm not always fussy about what I use in the shower, but it's nice to have something to treat yourself sometimes! Lush It's Raining Men was definitely my favourite shower gel of this year, and I went through two bottles of honey-scented yumminess! Although I'm not a Snow Fairy fan (it's just too sweet for me!), I'm looking forward to trying more Lush shower gels in the new year. I Love Juicy is next on the list!
Scrubs are another product that we were lucky enough to be inundated with sample-wise this year. I think my very favourite has to have been the Soap & Glory Pulp Friction. This has a new and different scent to most of the old S&G products - kind of fruitier - which I love. It foams up slightly but still scrubs and exfoliates brilliantly - love!
I'm constantly wandering around the house with a face mask on, to the point where my parents and brother don't even bat an eyelid any more. I love minty clay masks that clear out the pores and combat zits. My very favourite has to be the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque which my aunt in Boston was kind enough to bring over to me in bulk! This is only available in the States and on Ebay, but if you can't find it, Neutrogena 2 in 1 Wash/Mask is the closest thing to it that I've come across.
For both myself and the majority of bloggers, 2011 has been the year of the hot cloth cleanser. If you haven't tried one, you're seriously missing out. Although I have yet to try the infamous Liz Earle version, the hot cloth cleansers from both No7 and Soap & Glory come highly recommended from me. However, my very favorite cleanser of the year has been the Nuxe Face Cleansing Make-up Removing Gel. This is a super-light melting gel cleanser which I use with a muslin cloth. It smells divine, feels lovely on the skin and leaves my face super-soft and not tight or dry at all. I've had a bottle of this on the go since September, so it's worth the money and I love it dearly.
Eye Make-Up Remover
Both of us love Johnson's Daily Essentials Eye Make-Up Remover, both for the price and the efficacy. It works incredibly well and is just as good as the likes of Lancome Bi-Facil for getting every last scrap of gunk off. You can find this for about €3 in Penneys and Tesco!
I've tried a ton this year, but my all-time favourite facial moisturiser for my combination is still Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ. It smells refreshing and is the perfect consistency - it mattifies my skin and creates the perfect base for makeup, so much so that I rarely use primer after this. A fantastic product from one of my all-time favourite skincare brands.
So that's it for my favourites of 2011. I could include more, but I think it's best that I stop here! Happy New Year everyone, and thanks so much for your support over the last twelve months, it means a lot to both of us. Lots of love!