I know I fell off the face of the Earth (again!), but the truth of the matter is I am glad to see 2016 go. I keep thinking “my banner year” is coming and then things go horribly wrong.  My husband underwent back surgery and treatment for an achilies tendon tear right in time for Christmas, which caused us to have to shuffle around all of our holiday plans and my day job, well that has been a struggle to say the least.  It is true women can have it all, but do we really want to?   We’ll save that topic for another day… the bottom lime is that with faith and a little (ok a lot) of help from family and friends we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, thanked God for the lessons and blessings and moved forward.  In the grand scheme of things everyone is happy and healthy (finally) and we are starting 2017 off on the right foot and cam boot free all around!  

So I’ve gone back to my makeup decluttering project.  I am still determined to keep my collection in check with my five (or less) favorites in each category because while I would love to fill a room with makeup and play all day long, it’s just not practical for most of us.  

I also threw a couple of drugstore contour kits in the mix here.    So we’ll start there because these too really are good if you’re looking for an all in one product that won’t break the bank of course, if you’re looking for a high end kit, Anastasia makes an amazing one, but I haven’t spent the money to add it to my collection, because I have so many others that do the trick well.  I just don’t see the need right now.  

Wet and Wild Contouring Palette in Dolce De Leche:  this is a true “YouTube made me do it product”. I typically walk right past the Wet and Wild display in the drugstore, but shouldn’t.  They have really stepped up their game and have several products that have really developed a following, including this one.  The contour shade in this palette is on the warm side and very pigmented.  A little goes a long way to sculpted out those cheekbones or slim down a broad nose.  My only caution is tap off your brush and blend the edges well or it can appear a little harsh.  The highlighting shade is also beautiful for those looking to lighten and brighten without adding bling or glitter.  It’s a great everyday, conservative office approved choice.  

L’Oréal Infallible Pro Contour:  I have this palette in the light shade, which works well with my current shade of pale (need to get some Caribbean sun stat). The contour color in this palette is more of a cool grey toned taupe, which works to create that traditional contouring shadow, rather than a warm bronzed look.  The highlight shade also works for a more subtle highlight.  However, again use a light hand with the contour, unless it’s Halloween and you’re looking to join the ranks of the walking dead, then by all means, go to town.  I don’t always use the brush that comes with it although I do think it works ok, you just might need to blend a bit more. 

For traditional bronzer, I look for products that are versatile.  My holy grail has always been the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer.  I love love love this stuff and have gone through several.  In fact, I hit pan on this one so I’ll likely be getting a new one soon.  This is one of those products that does it all.  It is a matte bronzer so it is great for contouring or for warming up the face through a traditional 3 shape application.  It even makes a great mid-toned brown transition color for the crease if you’re looking for one.  If you’re more of a medium to dark skintone go for the regular Cholocate Soleil rather than the Milk Chocolate. Bonus, these both actually smell like rich decadent chocolate!  I’m not usually a fan of scented makeup by man, Too Faced does it right as does our next favorite bronzer.  

The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer smells like a Caribbean cocktail or suntan lotion and it is just beautiful!  It definitely has a sheen to it, but it’s not glittery and doesn’t emphasize texture on the skin.  It is equally as versatile as the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Bronzer and comes at a more budget friendly price tag.  Perfect for creating that Just home from the islands bronze goddess look.  I use the light bronzer, but again it does have a darker shade if that’s more of what you need.  

My final Bronzer pick is a new one to me.  The Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronzer.  My friend April said this was her “ride or die,” but she took my recommendation and tried the Too Faced one when hers shattered.  Since all is fair in love and makeup, I picked up this great kit to try out the Tarte one.  Stunning!  Definitely in the same category as my beloved Milk Chocolate Bronzer.  While available separately, this kit makes it the perfect take along palette with a beautiful pink blush and amazing subtle gleam highlighter.  Definitely Park Avenue worthy!  

I do have one very hyped luxury bronzer on my wish list of items to try and that’s the Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Base.  It appears to be all the rage and fills the cream bronzer hole that has unfortunately formed in my collection.  Maybe for my birthday.  

Now on to highlighters.  Long before highlighting or strobbing was mainstream, I had a bottle of Benefit High Beam in my collection, still do.  It is a great liquid highlight in an icy pink that is just beautiful on the cheek bones or Cupid’s bow.  It was the only liquid highlight in my collection until one of my good friends took a trip to London and picked me up the L’Oréal True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in golden (not pictured) before it launched here in the States.  Liquid highlighters are great when you don’t want to add another layer of powder to dry skin.  They also can be added to foundation or CC cream for a more subtle luminosity.  

Of the cream variety, there were two highlighters in my collection when I took the photo above, but I actually handed the Becca Poured Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop off to Bella right after this pictur was taken, because I didn’t care for the way it blended with any powder that may have been on my cheekbones after I set my under eye concealer. It just looked cakey and I had the pressed powder version in my collection as well, which I personally like better.  The other cream product I enjoy is the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer.  This highlighter provides a subtle dewy healthy glow and layers beautifully. It’s perfect for everyday. 

So on to powder highlight.  I don’t think it is a surprise to anyone that the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop is on the list. It is just beautiful for those sparkle and shine evening looks or when you just want people to see you coming.  Opal and Moonstone are equally stunning, but there is just something about that peachy pink shimmer that draws me in every time!  My second favorite powder formula is the Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighter Duo in Rosy Glow.  Swirl these two shades together and angels sing. I just love it.  Try adding a little of the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer over the top for a little extra glow. 

Shine on makeup lovers!  Let’s make 2017 gorgeous!