It's that time of year again, the time to round-up our favourite beauty bits throughout the year and whittle them down to only the most outstanding! Best in Beauty 2013 features eight categories; Face, Cheeks, Eyes, Lips, Skincare Basics and Extras, Nails and Body and in each we've picked our standout products and explaining a little about why we love them!
We would love to hear about some of your favourites of 2013 so, please do let us know in the comments! We will be taking a wee break from posting for the next few days so that we can relax and enjoy Christmas. We'll be back with a new post on the 27th December!
Sinead says; "This is a late entry for me but, the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer is just incredible for evening skin and blurring pores. I got a sample free with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and have been rationing it as the full-size is so expensive!"
Dee says; " Whilst I also adored Mineral Veil, I still have to give a shout-out to what is probably my all-time favourite: Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch. For special occasions and nights out, I always enjoy using this to smoothe, mattify and prep my skin for foundation. It just makes everything look so much better!"
Sinead says; "A tough one as I have discovered many amazing foundations this year. Special commendations go to L'Oreal Nude Magique Eau de Teint and last year's winner YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat but, this year, the full-coverage flawless face-maker Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation steals the crown."
Dee says; " This is hard; most of you know that Lancome Teint Idole 24H is one of my HG foundations, but I have been using that for years so I'm going to give it to Laura Mercier Silk Creme for the best foundation I've tried all year. Oh, and I have to give Revlon's Nearly Naked a shout too - for a 'drugstore' foundation, this has a great shade range, looks incredibly natural and wears well throughout the day on my oily skin."
Sinead says; "Again, this is a tough choice as I have found a few really great powders this year including the aforementioned Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette and Chanel Les Beiges but, the tried and tested winner is the skin-perfecting, unassuming Vichy Dermablend Powder."
Dee says; " I've tried some stellar powders this year, too! Out of this year's new discoveries, I'm going to go with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light, Chanel Les Beiges and Clarins Loose Mineral Powder as my top three."
Sinead says; "I went a bit concealer crazy this year so, have a lot to pick from. I'm going to cheat a little as I used two together on a daily basis. Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener is a must-have in my make-up bag for hiding those pesky undereye circles while NARS Creamy Concealer is the perfect accompaniment for giving an airbrushed affect."
Dee says; " I use so many different concealers but again, from this year's newbies, Clarins Instant Concealer really stands out to me - it's a lovely creamy liquid concealer which sits incredibly well on the undereye area. For blemishes, I go to all kinds of different concealers, but MAC Pro Longwear and Vichy Dermablend (Stick) have both been favourites. Oh, and I only got the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer this month but I already get all the hype!"
Sinead says; "Can I sneak two in again?! I still reach for Tarte Exposed above all other blushes in my collection but, sneaking in at the end of the year is Chanel Accent. Accent is basically Exposed's richer, more sophisticated cousin and ever since I got it about two months ago, it's been my go-to."
Dee says; " I bought a lot of blushers this year, and for me it's a tie between Illamasqua and NARS - both brands just keep getting it right. I've got so much use out of Illamasqua Naked Rose and Sophie since buying them this summer, and NARS Deep Throat and Sin were both favourites, too."
Sinead says; " This year wasn't so much about the bronzer for me but, during the summer I was still loyal to the Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel so, that's topping my list for Best Bronzer for the second year running!"
Dee says; "I often use a contour powder like MAC's Harmony blush in place of any bronzer, so I was really surprised at how well I got on with the Bronzing Primer from Bourjois - it's so blendable and incredibly foolproof!"
Sinead says; " I think Dee and I will both agree that Laura Mercier Spellbound is the must-have highlighter of the year. Rich, luxurious and full of glowy golden perfection, this the perfect highlighter for pale to mid-tone skins. Oh, and I also use it as an eyeshadow so, it's multi-purpose!"
Dee says; " Spellbound was definitely one of my favourite products of this year, and I'm just gutted that it was limited edition. I've also loved the Radiant and Incandescent lighting powders in the Hourglass Ambient lighting palette for a more daytime-friendly sheen.'
Sinead says; "This is probably the toughest category as I cycle through mascaras like crazy. However, MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash was my go-to for many months this year for it's natural, lengthening, face-framing effect and I haven't found anything quite like it before."
Dee says; " Bourjois Volume Glamour Ultra Curl was a surprise hit for me - it's super-black, holds a curl well, and doesn't clump. For extra drama, I fell in love with Benefit They're Real all over again after picking up a mini size in Boots over the summer."
2. Eye Pencil
Sinead says; "It's a tie between two bronze-brown pencils; MAC Teddy and Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Kajal in Black Coffee. Teddy is an old favourite which leans more bronze and brings out the blue in my eyes while Black Coffee is a blackened brown that lends itself perfectly to an easy peasy smokey eye."
Dee says; " This year saw me embracing brown liner in a big way thanks to the Clarins Crayon Khol in 02 Intense Brown. For a brightening nude liner, I have loved Illamasqua's Vow."
Sinead says; "This will come as no surprise but, the Laura Mercier Artist's Palette for Eyes is the best damn thing I bought in 2013. Previously devout to my MAC eyeshadows, Laura Mercier's high quality, high pigmentation shadows made me fall in love with make-up all over again."
Dee says; " 2013 was the year that I finally properly sorted out my MAC eyeshadows and also added quite a few to my collection! I'm immensely happy with the big palette and quad that I've put together, and use them all the time. I also can't leave this section without talking about the Laura Mercier Artist's Palette - it's just so, so beautiful and top-quality - especially the matte shades."
Sinead says; "I'm not a big eyeliner person so, will defer to Dee to pick the best gel and liquid liners of the year. However, if you're like me, I have been loving the aforementioned MAC and Bobbi Brown pencils for a soft, smudgey look along the upper lashline."
Dee says; " I'm pretty devoted to Essence Liquid Ink for liquid eyeliner, but when it comes to gel eyeliner, the Maybelline offering was a revelation to me. I'd heard so many good things about it and was pretty late on to this bandwagon, but it really is a great creamy, black, long-lasting formula. I lie it far more than the Bobbi Brown version! "
5. Eye Primer
Sinead says; "Last year I gave this award without hesitation to MAC Paint Pots but, this year, after careful consideration, I am awarding the underdog, Maybelline Colour Tattoos. These cheap cream eyeshadows make the perfect base for longlasting eyeshadow and my favourite is On and On Bronze."
Dee says; "I love cream eyeshadows as much as the next beauty junkie, but when I really need everything to stay in place on my oily lids, nothing beats NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. It is, hands down, the best eyeshadow primer I've ever tried and makes Urban Decay Primer Potion pale in comparison."
Sinead says; "Never in my life was I complimented on my eyebrows until this year when I started using Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow. Learning to shape and perfect my brows with this resilient cream product has ensured that I look instantly put together. I'm on my second tube and can't get enough of the stuff!"
Dee says; "Ditto here - Aqua Brow was my favourite discovery of the year! I love how it manages to shape brows, fill in the gaps and hold hairs in place all at once. It's super-long lasting and, in all honesty, probably the only brow product I really need."
Sinead says; "NUXE Reve de Miel is one of those mainstays in my beauty collection and I have repurchased it countless times. It is rich and luxurious and blasts dry lips into oblivion. The matte finish also makes it the perfect base for lipstick."
Dee says; " I don't usually suffer with very dry or chapped lips as long as I look after them properly. So far this winter, I haven't had a flake in sight thanks to the protective barrier of La Roche Posay's Cicaplast Lips - brilliant stuff."
Sinead says; "There really is no competition as MAC delivers on the lipstick front every single time. I have lost count of how many MAC lippies I have but, this year, I have mostly been loving Lustering, Shy Girl, Silly and Neon Orange."
Dee says; " MAC again! I dabble with other brands all the time but MAC always reigns supreme. My favourite colours of the year? Lady Danger, Plumful, Ablaze and Ruby Woo."
3. Lip Liner
Sinead says; "MAC always rates highly with me but, this year I want to go on record as saying that their Pro Longwear Lip Pencils are the cream of the crop. Superbly creamy and, obviously, longwearing, they are beyond compare."
Dee says; " After Sinéad's raving, I tried and love both the regular and Pro Longwear lip pencils from MAC - standout colours being More to Love, Cherry, Ablaze and Redd. For a more budget-friendly option, I've also been hooked on the Catrice pencils - That's What Rose Wood Do is my absolute favourite."
Sinead says; "This year the best cleanser award has to go to my dearly departed Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. This stuff was so sumptuous and brilliant at removing make-up and deep cleaning my skin and I miss it everyday. It's just so darn expensive!"
Dee says; "I tried a ton of cleansers this year but my hands-down favourite was Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. It's incredibly gentle and nourishing, gets absolutely everything off and suits all skin types."
Sinead says; "Hmmm...I think I will have to go with Vichy Aqualia Thermale Night Spa as a super hydrating, super soothing moisturising treatment."
Dee says; " I chopped and changed my moisturisers quite a lot this year, but one that I always come back to is the Avène Hydrance UV Legère. I've previously raved about a very similar product from La Roche-Posay, but this sinks in just a little faster and leaves my skin soft, comfortable and protected with an SPF of 20, making it brilliant for everyday wear."
Sinead says; "Since getting my Clarisonic last year, this is all I use when my skin is in need of a good scrub. It is so much gentler than a chemical or manual exfoliant but, it leaves my skin radiant and smooth."
Dee says; " I'm totally on board the Clarisonic bandwagon too and rely on it more than anything else to exfoliate the skin. However, I also enjoy a good chemical exfoliant and the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner is just the best. I find it helps keep acne and oil at bay without stripping the skin and leaves it looking the very best it can. "
Sinead says; "La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque is just one of those products everyone should have to hand. It gives the skin such comfort and dry skin will literally drink it up. For pore cleansing masques, I'll tip my hat to the No7 Beautiful Skin Pore Vacuum Mask."
Dee says; " REN really won me over in this category and I definitely used more masks from them than any other brand this year! I've tried a few but my favourite two so far have been the Invisible Pores Detox Mask for the incredible quality of the clay, and the Glycolactic Radiance Mask for its immediate transformative effects!"
Sinead says; "I'm not super conscientious when it comes to SPF even though I really should be. However, when I remember, I do love Eau Thermale Avène Très Haute Protection SPF50 as it sits beautifully under my make-up. "
Dee says; " We had an extraordinarily sunny and hot summer here for normal Irish standards and during those sticky weeks I relied heavily upon Vichy Capital Soleil Dry Touch SPF 50 for good protection and a matte finish that didn't interfere with my make-up one bit. "
6. Eye Cream
Sinead says; "I actually recently reviewed two of my favourite eye creams and all points still stand. Currently, I am using Philosophy Eye Hope but, I'm just as likely to switch to No7 Youthful Eye Serum."
Dee says; " I need to get properly into eye creams before its too late! I usually just use whatever is to hand and am not too fussy but a sample of the Clarins Eye Contour Gel really impressed me this year. It's cooling, soothing and moisturising without being too heavy or unsuitable for use before make-up."
1. Nail Polish
Sinead says; "Essie Essie Essie. I'm such an Essie convert and wish I could have them all! Favourites this year include Too Too Hot, After School Boy Blazer, Naughty Nautical and Bikini So Teeny."
Dee says; " Essie again. I love everything about the brand and rarely deviate from their polishes these days! My top colours from the last 12 months would have to be After School Boy Blazer, Fiji, Burgundy and Naughty Nautical!"
Sinead says; "I've dabbled in a few this year but, always come back to Sally Hansen Insta Dri as it prolongs the life of any polish, even dastardly Chanel polishes, and makes every polish super shiny."
Dee says; "Seche Vite has been a revelation to me - I can paint my nails last thing before bed, and with this on top, they're dry in seconds and I wake up with perfect talons and no sheet marks!"
3. Base Coat
Sinead says; "I'm going to have to concur with Dee that OPI Nail Envy is the greatest. Not only does it actually give your nails some strength and a chance to grow but, it keeps colour from penetrating and staining the nail."
Dee says; "OPI Nail Envy is just the best - I've tried loads of nail treatments and while many of them do help, Nail Envy is the only one that actually helped me succeed in growing long, pointy, strong nails during the summer."
4. Hand Cream
Sinead says; "Like SPF, I'm pretty pathetic at applying hand cream on the regular. However, Soap & Glory Hand Food has been my favourite this year for its non-greasy finish. It's cheap too!"
Dee says; "Clarins Hand and Nail Cream is a cult classic for a reason - I am addicted to the scent and texture as it's light without skipping out on moisture."
Sinead says; "Unsurprisingly, I am pretty devoted to Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan. It's the star of the Cocoa Brown line-up as I'm not overly keen on many of the other products but, for pale skinned ladies, this is simply the best tan there is."
Dee says; " Cocoa Brown is a tan I love too, but for an overnight job I also love Tan Organic - another amazing product for pale peeps!"
Sinead says; "I got a sample of Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Scrub as part of a Look Fantastic order earlier in the year and rationed it out as a pre-tan preparation. It is an amazingly coarse scrub that gives skin a smooth finish and gorgeously fresh glow and I need to get my hands on the fullsize."
Dee says; " When I really need to slough my skin I always turn to scrubby gloves (€1.50 from Penneys) teamed with whatever body scrub I have in the house. The nicest scrub I tried all year has to have been The Body Shop's Vineyard Peach Scrub - to me it smells like peach yoghurt (in a good way!) and leaves skin really, really soft."
3.. Body Butter
Sinead says; "One body butter that I always come back to is The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter. It is luxurious, non-greasy, smells incredible and gives great hydration to dried out skin."
Dee says; " For the second year running, we're both all about the Body Shop Body Butters! The Coconut one is also my all-time favourite, followed closely by the Pink Grapefruit scent."
4.. Body Lotion
Sinead says; "La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP has been a lifesaver of a body lotion/balm this year. Whenever my skin dries out or my eczema flares up, I do a few days of intensive treatment with this after my shower and all my skin woes fade away."
Dee says; " I first bought Garnier Intense 7 Days Coconut Body Lotion as a kind of stop-gap after using up a Coconut Body Butter, but now I'm pretty much addicted to it in its own right. It's really hydrating and smells far fancier than it really is!"