So here we are, twenty-sixteen going on seventeen! If you need someone older and wiser, telling you what to do, I’ll take care of you. These are my top picks of 2016, the things that made My Life In Makeup more beautiful. They are not necessarily new, and are not in any particular order, just sixteen products or treatments that served me well in my professional and personal life. There’s sometimes a bit of a crossover.

Kate Somerville DermalQuench LiquidLift

This is one of those crazy miracle products and all the rage on the west coast. A blast of hyaluronic acid and a special blend of Kate-y ingredients “fill” and “lift” the face, and blimey, it’s quite surprising to see the results. Use it regularly am and pm, or on special occasions, underneath your regular skincare and makeup. Kate Somerville is beloved in Hollywood with  an amazing skincare clinic on Melrose (you can imagine who her clients are). I consistently experience magnificent results using her products at work.

This one also looks and acts like a dalek so is quite fun to have on your top shelf.


Sarah Moon for NARS “Give In Take” Palette

This year has been the year of superb makeup palettes. I tend to stay away from them, preferring to buy individual eyeshadows, blushes etc, so I can pick the colours I want and need, but this year’s palettes have been exceptional and I’ve bought several. Where Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Look palettes give you fresh and easy, albeit sexy makeup, the release of the Sarah Moon “Give in Take” Dual Intensity palette from NARS offered a different story. Sarah Moon, aka Marielle Warin, is a French model turned fashion photographer. The Moon palette is urbane, cool and utterly sophisticated; it’s a weekend in Berlin without having to go to the airport. Six sublime shadows, a contour/bronzer, highlighter and gorgeous blush. The dual intensity products also give you options for subtle or dramatic. Wear it with a nude or a burgundy matte lip, or a white sparkly lipgloss for achtung baby.  I’m very tempted to keep this one at home.


Daniel Sandler Watercolour Liquid Blush

I finally got my hands on these in 2016. The ultimate in liquid blush, they stand alone or can be layered with other liquid or dry blushes. Gorgeous (see “Pretty Cheeky Part I” for the whole story).




My first day with lash extensions, January


Eyelash Extensions

I came late to the party (it wasn’t the first time); I first tried these at the beginning of the year out of sheer desperation, after what seemed like an endless battle with the lashes, or lack of them. Apparently I do have quite a few, but they are blonde and short so the extensions changed my makeup life without looking ridiculous and have saved my eyes from a daily ordeal. Saving twenty minutes in the morning is also a bonus when starting work at 5am! In the summer I even went so far as to try a perming and tinting treatment before the extensions were applied. I had a summer of good lashes, without having to work hard. Finally (Read “Length Matters” for the full story).


Make-Up Brushes from London Brush Co.

The London Brush Co. makes premium natural and vegan makeup brushes; they are “designed by a Brit, made by hand, loved by all”. Try them if you can, they are worth the expenditure.




TF has me covered but leaves a glow. It’s a win-win situation! Do you like the sneaky way I’ve included one of my have lipsticks of the year?…Audacious Lipstick by NARS in “Claudia”


Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation

Foundations are the foundation of a makeup artist’s career. Without a good canvas the rest gets lost so I need to have hundreds of them, for all skin tines and types and to create different looks.  Over the years I’ve developed foundation radar; this one became an overnight favourite. It gives a beautiful dewy finish that is perfectly traceless, with coverage ranging from sheer to full depending on your needs. The stick format makes it easy to apply, easy to layer and very easy to pop into your handbag for touch-ups. Use with either the moisturising or illuminating  primer for a lovely base for lovely makeups.




This beautiful shade is “Love Liberty”

Charlotte Tilbury Cosmetics

If you’re a regular reader you will know all about my love for this line which was very new in 2016. It launched in late 2015 which meant my 2016 was slightly obsessive. The “problem” is, Charlotte Tilbury Cosmetics makes it very easy to do great makeup! On yourself or someone else. I remain overwhelmingly impressed with it. Standout products include lipglosses and pencils, Miracle skincare, Instant Look palettes, Ibiza beachstick, cream shadows, big stubby eye crayons, Feline Flick eyeliner and Supermodel Body body makeup. Not to mention the Gold Bar! I gave mine to my favourite boy who dresses like a girl (watch this space) and my kit realllllly misses it. Sorry if this is cheating, but I can’t pick just one thing because I love so many.

Chanel Nail Polish in Vendetta

I go back to this one all the time and bought more than one when it came out. A glam and gorgeous dark purple on short or long nails. Including my own, which are sometimes long (time off) but mostly short (at work!). I am always rooting for nail varnishes to be good because I love them so. Chanel always delivers, in terms of pigment and silkiness. In a pinch, one coat does it all. I don’t even think this one’s around anymore (why do they do that?) but there’s bound to be a new colour close to it.

The terrible cuticles are all my own!

For recovery at midnight or midday


Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

I have loads of Kiehl’s in my kit and have been a fan ever since I visited their flagship NYC store many many years ago. It’s a fabulous beauty pharmacy. It also has a motorcycle in it. Kiehl’s is constantly at the forefront of skincare technology and brought out some amazing things this year, which deserve their own post. This one, however, is a cult classic that I dole out constantly, especially after people have had a long flight, for reviving and nourishing tired skin overnight. Do an exfoliation first and hear your skin say “thanks!”

Containing squalane, evening primrose oil and essential oils including lavender, it’s a forever favourite. It also has a honourary place on my home top shelf.

Award winning lip balm from The Blue Lagoon skincare line


Blue Lagoon Rejuvenating Lip Balm

A lucky discovery in the spa shop of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland. I took a dream-come-true trip there this summer and came away with some superb Icelandic beauty products. This one stays firmly in my handbag.

Just noticed that it’s Made in Denmark. Bit cheeky but explains why it’s so good, doesn’t it? It’s hygge for the lips!





Vichy Ideal Body Serum-Milk

A great chemists/drugstore find from Vichy and a bargain compared to my other fave body lotions. As a makeup artist I am not just responsible for making faces beautiful; it’s all about hands and bodies too. This one is gently scented and nourishing and containing thermal spa water, LHA, hyaluronic acid but no parabens, so it softens you up nicely.



Make you own candlelight with “Bounce Around”

MAC Soft Serve Eyeshadows

This summer MAC launched twelve Limited Edition shadows that looked like fairy dust and were just as magical. I use them alone for a gentle sparkle, or layered over other shadows for instant night-time gorgeous; they look amazing in candlelight, just saying. Because they were limited edition there’s not many left around – in fact I recently saw them in the sale items at a MAC PRO store, so if you find one, snap it up. This one is called Bounce Around and works over any shadow. Apologies if they’re already sold out.



The sign of a good inner eye pencil is it’s stubbiness!


Laura Mercier Inner Eye Definer

Formerly known as kohl eye pencil and a staple in my kit and my own makeup bag (I wear Antique Jade on an almost daily basis). Creamy, pigmented and stays put on the water line, i.e., the inner eyelid. After my favourite Bourjois pencils were discontinued, Laura Mercier’s have taken their place. The colours are beautiful – black violet and black navy are worth a second look.





Josie Maran Intensive Hydrating Treatment

What goes under makeup is as important as the makeup itself, and this one saturates and glows without interfering with foundation. Wear alone for juicy skin. Made from only natural ingredients including argan oil, and from the amazing Josie Maran, it’s one that gets used a lot.




Aveda Hand Relief

Hands off this hand cream. I can’t keep this around very long – the salicylic acid formulation works wonders, short or long term. Another surprise find, as I don’t usually go to Aveda for skincare. The scent is non-offensive and everybody seems to love it. I use it to counteract my grandpa hands.

P.S it’s got French on the packaging because I bought it in Canada. C’est la loi!

Barefoot Venus Therapeutic Mustard Bath

Last but not least. At the end of long days, this is where it’s at. Barefoot Venus is a wonderful line of bath and body products that I was lucky enough to come across in Canada. They are made in a small town, with the best ingredients, and the retro packaging looks fun and fab in the bathroom.

Containing essences of mustard, wintergreen , eucalyptus and rosemary, it is therapeutic indeed, whether your days are short or long. Run a hot bath, throw in the salts, immerse yourself and relllllaaaaax. Kindly, they also sell refill salts so you don’t have to buy the tin over and over. Unkindly, they only ship to the US and Canada so far but I’m thinking of starting a smuggling ring.


That’s it, sixteen for sixteen and another year of My Life In Makeup almost over. I am looking forward to a new year of using all my favourites and discovering new ones. I will, of course, keep you posted! I didn’t even get to the best lipsticks of the year.

Dedicating this post to Charmian Carr, another beauty who left us this year and who will be forever sixteen going on seventeen as far as I’m concerned.


Happy Shopping!

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PRODUCT REVIEWS does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.
I'm a British / Canadian Pro MakeUp Artist with a colourful career: have kit, will travel, have info, will share! This blog is all about My Life In MakeUp. I hope you enjoy your time here and learn a little something along the way xo


  1. Hi Wendy.
    Love all your blogs and was particularly interested in your mention about the Tom Ford foundation.
    I’m scared of foundation after spending my youth using foundations that needed a trowel to be applied but as I’m getting older & suffering from dry skin whilst being prone to redness, I feel I could do with a light coverage to try & even out my skin tone but still look natural.
    What I don’t want is something that feels heavy or sinks into my skin and ends up patchy !
    What recommendations would you have ?

    1. Ah, the perils of youth! Fortunately there is no reason to be afraid of new formulations. There is something for everyone, in fact usually more than one.
      You’ve identified the two most important things I need to know before recommending something for you – your skin type and the kind of coverage you want. I have dry skin myself and have tried loads (and have 4 or 5 in my personal arsenal that I use for different looks) so you’ve asked the right person!
      If your skin is dry it’s better to stay away from any of the “long-lasting” types and to find something which will take care of your skin as you wear it, so anything oil-based and moisturising is great. Might be worth checking out of your “redness” is environmental (cold or hot weather) or medical – for instance if it’s rosacea or allergies – but that’s for a doctor or dermatologist to determine.

      In terms of what makeup can do for you I think there’s at least two great options to start with:

      NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser is one of my favourites for dry skin which will feel great, give you a lovely glow and natural coverage where you need it. I use a tinted moisturiser in the winter all the time; they aren’t only for the summer months! If you need a bit of extra coverage where you’re red, then add a bit of concealer, and that goes OVER the foundation so you use less and only use it where you need it. I’ve written about concealing – check out the previous posts. NARS’s sticks are marvellous. Creamy but cover at the same time. They also have an SPF30 which is important all year round.

      Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation – these are beautiful, and the stick formal is really great for controlling coverage because it’s so easy to layer. They are in the pricier range but it will last you ages and give you a lovely natural coverage. You may not even need concealer if you use this one so you might save some money that way.

      Hopefully one of these will work for you – let me know how it goes!

      P.S When buying any foundation – try it on and then go outside and look at it in daylight. Don’t be persuaded to “go lighter” as nobody likes a Mrs Danvers and it will make you look pasty if it’s not the right colour. I’d not use powder at all or go very lightly with it if your skin is dry. Remember to start your routine with the right moisturiser xo

      By the way, it’s ok to ask for samples at any makeup counter and try them out for a day or two before you decide which is best for you. You mentioned you like the samples that came with your CT purchase – of her two formulas the Magic Foundation is best for dry skin so have a go of that one as well next time you order something. You may want to sheer out the coverage in some places – for that I recommend a BeautyBlender sponge. There’s an old post about how to use them successfully.

      What a good way to start a new year – with a new foundation and a new look! Have fun with it all, because that’s what it’s all about, and very best wishes for a beautiful year!

      1. Hi Wendy, just wanted to update you that I bought the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation stick (with the help of the sales assistant who was highly impressed that the product had been recommended by a Canadian/British pro make up artist) and applied it with my beauty blender and it’s fabulous !
        I just kept blending until I got it as sheer as I wanted.
        Fabulous product and I hardly used anything so although it wasn’t cheap it will last me ages.
        Many thanks for the recommendation !!

        1. Glad to hear! Can’t go wrong with Tom Ford and a Beautyblender 🙂 Did you manage to stay away from the fragrance section? I never can! Personally I think it’s worth spending on good quality cosmetics that don’t have loads of fillers in them – you’re right, it will last ages. You get an A+ for being a good makeup student xo

        2. P.S Please don’t forget that the beautyblender has to be wet then rung out so it’s nice and spongy, you’ll use less of your foundation that way and get a really good blend quickly.

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