Today I wanted to share my favorite beauty products from 2016. Unlike monthly favorites, I wanted to review the products that overall were the best from my routine throughout the year. With the wedding on my brain all last year, I wanted to amp up my beauty routine in some areas, but also stick with what I know works to avoid potential unwanted reactions from my sensitive skin. These are the products I’ve used and loved throughout 2016.


IT Cosmetics CC Cream: I have repurchased this product multiple times throughout the year, and my mom and aunts have also jumped on the bandwagon with me this year. It was actually featured in my everyday makeup routine filed in 2015, so its basically my ride-or-die foundation. I use it during the week for work and on the weekend when I’m running out for errands (aka shopping). I prefer the original formula to the illumination version. I love that it includes SPF 50, but I do question if you need to use more than I do for the full protective benefits. I use probably half a pump for my face and even that can seem like more than enough!  I recommend setting it with a powder, and recently I’ve set it with a bit of Bare Minerals original powder.

Dermablend Foundation: This is the foundation my makeup artist used on me for my wedding. It gives awesome coverage but still gives a natural finish (aka no cake face). I previously swore by Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation for blog photos, but this one works better for my neutral / dryer skin and looks better on me in person as well.

Loreal Voluminous Lash Primer: I’ve never taken the time to wear a lash primer until I started using Neulash and actually found one that worked enough to add an extra step into my daily routine. This one is affordable, and I prefer it to the Dior and Tarte versions I’ve used in the past.

Dior Overcurl Mascara: My mom and I have both loved this mascara this year. I’ve always purchased drugstore mascaras, but again since buying Neulash for my wedding, I upped my lash game in more ways than one. I think the serum also helps, but my straight lashes look way longer with a product that can keep it curled. This one does that and has a good ratio of volume to lengthening. If you’re on the market for a drugstore mascara, Maybelline is my go-to line.

Urban Decay Concealer: This has somehow lasted me over a year, and I don’t own another under eye concealer so it’s not like I haven’t used it all year! The consistency is very light-weight, which I like because no one wants to look older by creasing under eye concealer. I just re-purchased it just in case mine runs out on me, but I’m tempted to try this one that I’ve heard good things about.  I love to set mine with the light shade in the Kat Von D palette.

Kat Von D Contour and Highlight Palette: I don’t use this every day… but when I do I look 5 lbs skinnier.  Ok jokes aside, I use this for date nights, blog photos, and special occasions to contour my face and set my concealer. You can see me use it in my Everyday Makeup Routine video.

Buxom Lip Gloss: Another mention from earlier years, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? I’ve learned that I prefer lip gloss to lipsticks day-to-day because my lips just look healthier with it. A few colors I love are White Russian, Katie, and Hot Mama. I primarily wear lipsticks for blog photos because I need the extra color because I love my exposure ;)

Urban Decay Setting Spray: With starting work this year I was interested in a product to help make my makeup last during those 9-5’s. I’ve used this in the past and my makeup artist used this on us at the wedding as well. Since I can get dry skin, I also like taking away the powder look after you set you makeup. This works for me much better than the MAC Fix+ I’ve used in the past, and the big bottle will last forever.

Real Techniques Brush: Thanks to a crazy MAC obsession when I first discovered Youtube in college, I own mostly Mac Cosmetics brushes. However, if I could get a repeat I would save a bit of money and get more of these instead! I do still reach for my Mac eyeshadow brushes, but as far as the face brushes are concerned this one is my go-to for bronzer, powder, and blush. It doesn’t shed, cleans up really well, and the size makes blending a breeze.


Tula Face Cleanser: I’ve used this cleanser every day since March and my skin has really balanced out. My resolution last year was to get an actual skin care routine down (no more makeup wipes!) to get my skin in good shape for the wedding. I’ve talked about my it on the blog before, but I had a hormonal breakout challenge to overcome after my pill switched to generic. It takes off eye makeup really well and I always use it to clean my beauty blender when it needs it. You can get 20% off your first purchase at Tula through this link.

Loving Tan Express Tan: This isn’t in the widget but is worth a mention. Other than the inconvenience of only being available online (and a few cents of foreign credit charges may apply, FYI!) this has been my favorite self-tanner of the year. I prefer to use a mousse formula, and why bother with an 8-hour formula when you can shower off and be tan in 2?! In comparison to St. Tropez, it lasts longer, is slightly cheaper, and gives a deeper color payoff (even in the medium shade I use). I always google for a coupon code to get a free mitt when I purchase.

Coola Sunscreen: I’ve always hated the hairspray feeling most aerosol sprays leave me with and switched to lotion because of it. I’ve been good about wearing sunscreen under my makeup, but I really slack when it comes to other parts on my body (especially on my hands and arms).  I purchased this organic sunscreen before going to Hawaii on our honeymoon. It smells like a pina colada and makes your skin feel moisturized but not greasy. This product has helped me wear sunscreen on my on a daily basis because of that! They also have an unscented version that I will buy for work in the future.


T3 Whirl Trio: I purchased this during 2015’s Black Friday sale and eventually bought an additional clip barrel that I’ve used on a daily basis since. I prefer to have brushed out curls vs my flat straight hair, and this has helped limit the damage caused by daily heat. Read my T3 Whirl Review here and see the three looks I get when using it.

Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo: Out of the handful I’ve tried in years past this has definitely been my favorite. I have pretty soft/ silky/ fine hair and I can’t stand the powdery feeling a lot of dry shampoos can cause. This one is light-weight and a little goes a long way, plus it comes in a darker version for my dark haired friends! I think I’ve repurchased 3 times this year.

Fromm Hair Brush: I was sent a few of these brushes and I honestly can’t even remember what I used before them. This brush is gentle on my fine hair and I use it to brush out my curls. I also use the round brush when I blow dry my hair, and the handle is much easier to work with than the larger rubber round brush I used before (plus, it’s rose gold <3)

Long post, but I hope you found it helpful! Maybe your New Years resolution is to wear more sunscreen, take better care of your skin, or try new products instead of sticking with the same routine. Do you use any of these or have a recommendation? Let me know in the comments if there’s a product you think I should try!

xo Amanda John


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