Since we’re about to bid farewell to 2019 — and wow, an entire decade for that matter — and there’s been no shortage of new beauty drops and discoveries on our end. STYLECASTER’s senior beauty editor, Nikki Brown knows this first hand. To honor the passing of yet another year in proper editorial form, I decided it was an apt time to ask Nikki for her beauty editor favorites of 2019. Nikki literally comes into work every morning only to be greeted an entire office covered filled to the brim with press packages and boxes chock full of new beauty launches from PR firms and brands (she actually refers to her desk as a “beauty dumpster,” from time to time), so she clearly knows a thing or two about what’s worth your money and what actually works.
Sure, a daily unboxing ritual probably either sounds like a blessing or the contrary — a straight-up chore — but one of the perks (and well, occupational responsibilities) of our job is being able to test out new products on the regular to make sure that we’re recommending you the best stuff to drop your hard-earned coin on. With all of the samples and constant switching up of our routines to give beauty’s constant cycle of newcomers a fair shot, naturally there are bound to be some standout favorites (and un-favorites, to be sure) that make their way into our everyday beauty routines and even attain long-term holy grail status — despite the overwhelming influx of new product coming in at all times. It’s hard to name just a few favorite discoveries from the year, but I pressed Nikki anyway for her tightly curated selection of products she fell in love with in 2019 — from a foundation that rekindled her halted love affair with a matte finish to an innovative foam conditioner that she now cannot live without.
Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial Mask
“Polyhydroxy acids (aka PHAs) are the gentler alternative to the more popular AHAs and BHAs we love to name-drop when discussing chemical exfoliation. However, given that I went a bit overboard with my usage and started to experience some consequences (mostly random breakouts), I decided to start using more of the former. Enter: my favorite face mask of the year. I love that it glides onto my skin like butter and having to massage my face until it changes color makes me feel like it’s not just sitting on top of my skin. There’s also very little tingling and when I rinse off, my skin doesn’t feel completely dried out.”
Check out Nikki’s full review of the mask here.
FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Brow MVP Pencil & Styler
“Some of my friends have complained that the tightly packed bristles on the paddle brush disturb their brow makeup too much, but I haven’t had the same experience. Compared to most spoolie brushes, it’s done a much better job of getting all my hairs moving in one, uniform direction. The ultra fine point also gives me a lot of freedom with drawing in my eyebrow ends, where I basically have no hair.”
Check out her full review here.
Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter Foundation
“This is the foundation that made me fall in love with matte formulas again. I really appreciate the amount of research and technology that went into the formula, which blends into and moves with my skin instead of just sitting on top of it. Although it dries down relatively fast, I still feel comfortable applying it quickly with my fingers and it actually stays matte without the need for a setting spray or powder. I have yet to try a Tilbury product that doesn’t leave me looking glowy; this foundation included.”
Tap to check out her comprehensive review on this best-seller.
Eden Bodyworks Papaya Castor Foam Conditioner
“I literally can’t imagine a hair routine without foam conditioner. Before I big-chopped, it completely eliminated the need for curl definer because it handled that before I even stepped out of the shower. And now that I have a buzz cut, it gives my hair the perfect amount of moisture without creating a flaky white cast. It dries down really nicely and blends nicely with other products. If this is ever discontinued, I will protest.”
Bottega Veneta Illusione For Her Eau de Parfum
“Fragrance is absolutely my favorite beauty category, so picking just one out of the dozens I’ve tried this year was a daunting task. However, when all is said and done, this is probably the one I came back to the most (YSL Libre is a very close second). Florals have never been my favorite, but there’s something about this one—maybe it’s the olive wood and tonka bean essences that tone it down a bit. My scent also usually depends on the occasion, but Illusione is one that makes me feel amazing, no matter where I am.”
Pat McGrath Labs MOTHERSHIP VI: MIDNIGHT SUN Palette
“Cutting my hair also re-energized my love for eyeshadow palettes. Although I am admittedly still learning how to use one like a pro (or something close to it), McGrath’s palette left me so excited to keep trying. Her formulas are so creamy and glide onto the lids effortlessly. Even if you’re just using your fingers to dab a little color on, the payoff is satisfying every time.”
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