Rachel’s 2017 Beauty Favorites

Ah New Year’s Eve - that special night of the year where we all stare into the abyss of time, make resolutions that we’re DEFINITELY going to keep longer than the first week of January, and read so many “best of” lists that the phrase pretty much loses all meaning. Which brings me to the topic of today’s post….my own ‘best of beauty’ list for 2017. I don’t claim that these products are the absolute best products released in 2017. 1) Makeup is far too subjective for that; and 2) you’re reading The Beauty Blackout, not Allure Magazine. What you WILL find in this post is the definitive list of products that defined the year 2017 for me - at least in terms of beauty. I think I speak for many of us when I say that, in the larger scheme of things, 2017 wasn’t exactly the best of years. Beauty made it a lot more bearable though, and it provided a nice escape during those moment when we thought we’d hit peak crazy (and of course, ended up being wrong).

To prevent this post from turning into a dissertation on makeup, I’ve limited myself to a mere ten top products, which I’ve subdivided into three different categories: 1) Base Products; 2) Eye Makeup and 3) Lips. There are a ton of amazing products that didn’t make the cut but are still incredibly awesome anyway so you’ll be hearing about those in reviews to come. We’ll also be doing in-depth reviews of many of the products mentioned in this post in the weeks and months ahead, so if anything here catches your eye, hit the subscribe button above to keep yourself updated on all the The Beauty Blackout’s posts.

Disclaimer: not every single one of these products were released in 2017. Most were and are indeed new, but a few are just “new to me”.


NIOD Photography Fluid 12% Opacity

After much pondering, I decided to skip including a foundation this year. Although Tom Ford’s Waterproof Foundation and Concealer has been a fantastic new discovery for me, it hasn’t displaced my two holy grail foundations: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua in 213, and Giorgio Armani’s classic Luminous Silk Foundation (4 in winter, 6 in summer, for the record.)

But let’s just admit that any ‘best of’ beauty would be barren without mentions of base products. (Right??) So I AM including a combination primer/foundation mixer- the NIOD Photography Fluid (12% Opacity) by Deciem. This was an Emily recommendation (one of many great ones in 2017) and is a really interesting product (I initially mentioned it in my Black Friday sale post here and said I would report my findings back to you). As I’ve experimented with the Niod fluid, it’s become an increasingly indispensable product for me. It can be used alone, as a primer, or mixed with foundation. Personally, I like this best mixed with foundation. It’s not a typical primer - it simply gives you a glow and blurs imperfections by adding a magic touch of coverage that lessens the need for foundation.

By Terry Savannah Love Sun Designer Palette

For the past two years, By Terry has released two ‘Sun Designer’ palettes for their summer resort collection. I love the concept of the Sun Designer palettes - you get several shades of blush, bronzer and highlighter in one gorgeous compact that is easy to travel with and beautiful to boot. The different stripes of color in the palette can be worn as individual shades but the easier thing to do is swirl several adjacent shades together for a beachy bronzy glow. The combinations are endless and the brighter shades in the left side of the palette are perfect for adding a flush of color to your cheeks for the ultimate healthy glow. The palette gives you tons of options and you can achieve any number of effects you want. I have the Sun Designer Palette in Savannah Love, which was one of this year’s additions, and I love the combination of gold, nude, soft tan peach, and pink. The powder is unbelievably silky and finely milled and practically blends itself - the darker, bronzier shades double as eyeshadows too, so it’s perfectly possible to do your entire face just using the one palette. (Much nicer than any of Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Looks in a Pallette too!) Brilliant! Savannah Love is my first foray into the Sun Designer line, and it’s safe to say I’ll be eagerly awaiting next summers launch.

Suqqu Cheek Brush

There comes a time for every fude lover/enthusiast/collector, when they are faced with the inevitable- the Suqqu Cheek Brush. It’s a must, there’s no way around it! For me, that time came this past August, and I was almost afraid I had it hyped up so much in my head that it couldn't possibly live up to expectation. Once it was in my hand all my fears were allayed. It’s wonderfully soft and diffuses blush in delicate sheer layers, allowing you to build up to your desired intensity easily and flawlessly. As you can see in the photos below, it’s on the smaller side compared to other cheek brushes and mine has a distinctive flared shape that gently tapers to a round top.

L-R Chikuhodo Z-4, Suqqu Cheek, Surratt Cheek

The Suqqu is wispy, I’ve heard it described as “floppy” but I don’t find it so...or at least, not floppy enough for it to be problematic. Of course, brush preferences are personal and I like less dense cheek brushes so Suqqu is perfect for me.

L-R Chikuhodo Z-4, Suqqu Cheek, Surratt Cheek

As you can see, the shapes on these “similar” cheek brushes are actually quite different. Surratt has that perfect round pom pom shape and has the most resistance when pressed against the skin, the Chikuhodo is larger, more oval, and has a density somewhere in between the Surratt and the Suqqu. All are fabulous, and as cheek brushes are my favorite type of brush, I deemed the Suqqu a necessary addition to my collection.

Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Blooming Flowers Toner

Most of the skincare products that I couldn’t live without are products I’ve been using for over a year- over 2 in some cases (one of the few areas I’m loyal in). I was looking to add an extra layer of moisture to my routine so was on the hunt for a good hydrating toner, and a friend suggested this to me. I’m so glad she did, because not only is the Pink Camellia toner (I can’t bring myself to type the whole dumb name more than once for the heading) great for adding another layer of moisture, it smells utterly intoxicating. Like blooming jasmine and honeysuckle and humid summer nights where the air is heavy with the scent of blossoms and oh my god. Sometimes after I apply it I literally sit there and huff my hands like a teenager huffing glue trying to catch a high. It’s embarrassing but trust me, if you tried it you’d understand. Blossom Jeju is a brand whose products all focus around the Japanese Camellia flower (its trademark red blossoms are on all of Blossom Jeju’s packaging), and the plants extract does seem to have hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. I’m looking forward to trying the Essence Serum and maybe a few more Blossom Jeju products in 2018...especially if they have the same smell.


Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color Duos in Paradiso and Naked Bronze

I hear you. Yes, Naked Bronze came out in 2015 AND is also probably the same as the Spice single cream shadows (only in duo packaging), it is in no way “new”...I don’t know why I resisted so long. I guess I thought it would be boring? But Naked Bronze anything but- it has depth and intrigue, can be sheered out or built up into a rich, warm brown. Nobody does elegant shimmer like Tom Ford, and Naked Bronze has it in spades. Pat the gold topcoat over the center of the lid to amp up the shine. Plus everyone needs brown eyeshadow right? So it’s practical!

Meanwhile Paradiso, from the summer 2017 collection, feels like spring in a jar. Cheery and bright, it’s one of the prettiest pinks I’ve ever seen. Paradiso is pretty much opaque in one coat; building it up won’t bring the depth and nuance that Naked Bronze does, but the effect is magical- it has that elusive wet shine look, and unlike eye gloss, it won't crease. Seriously. These things are as budgeproof as cream shadows get. With both Naked Bronze and Paradiso, you have a minute or two to work before they set. Long enough to apply, blend the edges, and apply a second layer to the lid. I also like to wear Naked Bronze smudgesd on the lower lashline, or Paradiso as an inner corner highlight, brought down onto the innermost third of the lower lashlinen - it really brightens up the face.

Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder 2016 Palette

Again, this product isn’t technically a 2017 release. But it’s new to me plus its still available! Emily actually sent this to me. She loved it so much that when she saw it was still in stock at her Estéee Lauder counter, she bought a backup for herself AND one for me. Needless to say, I am greatly indebted to her- because it's beautiful. There are 6 shades and they’re all shimmers which some might find off-putting but honestly, who said you have to have a matte to complete an eye look? Who made those rules up anyway, they’ve probably been dead for 100 years and it was probably a man, the same man who invented pantyhose. Have some fun...all the shimmers look great on the lid, in the crease, alone or mixed, whatever strikes your fancy. The blue and green are stunning, and I particularly like wearing the midtoned golden brown all over my lids with the emerald green smudged around the lash line, with the darker brown lending depth to the outer corners.

Pat McGrath Mothership III: Subversive

I mean....just look at it. I had to at least give it a mention. I heard faint choirs of angels singing the first time i opened it up. As someone who is not the most cough adventurous with eyeshadow, this palette really inspired me to try new things- and the inclusion of “safer” shades like a matte deep brown and a few smooth shimmers alongside those stop-you-in-your-tracks intense iridescents means you can create a complete eye look without dipping into another product. Gigabite and Blitz Amethyst were standouts for me- I have nothing in my collection like them. Full review of ALL 3 palettes incoming in 2018! These are unlimited/permanent (hallelujah) so if you’re near one of the US Sephoras that has a PM display- check them out in person.


Pat Mcgrath MatteTrance Lipstick in Omi

I am the first to admit it- i have 0 willpower over lipsticks. I love makeup (obviously) but can usually pick and choose what I want, have some patience (coughLIEScough), etc. Show me shiny new lipsticks, however, and I go into a fugue state which, armed with a credit card, leads to more lipsticks than I have space to store them. When legendary makeup artist Pat Mcgrath launched her Mattetrance and Luxetrance lipsticks this past year, Emily and I knew we were in trouble (you...may have noticed a few posts covering Pat McGrath's Luxetrance Lipsticks on this blog). Omi is one of the Skin Show (nude) shades from the MatteTrance line, and is the perfect rosy nude. The formula is...kind of matte? But not super dry, shrivel your lips matte. I’d categorize it as a demi-matte finish and is long-wearing but does transfer. Big thanks also to Naomi Campbell for inspiring one of the best lip colors of the year.

Cat is clearly anti-fabulous nude lipsticks

Dior Addict Lacquer Stick in Underground

Lacquer Sticks were a new launch from Dior in 2017, and I blind-bought several when they first launched on Dior’s site. They’re meant to be one of those hybrid lipstick formulas that have the pigment of a lipstick with the high shine of a gloss. They feel like balm going on but are not sheer- opacity is medium at first swipe but full with a 2nd layer. I have to say i’m a fan overall, the formula is smooth and makes your lips look absolutely luscious, but my favorite is Underground - Charlotte Tilbury Very Victoria’s glossier, deeper sister.

PS: this photo also features Tom Ford Paradiso

Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet in Brilliant Violet

I am, for the most part, over liquid lipsticks. Even the “good” ones, like the Armani Lip Magnets, just feel so dry to me. The Lip Magnets are at least manageable but at the end of the day, I just had not intended on buying more liquid lipsticks. Luckily, the beauty industry seemed to sense the collective dryness of consumers lips after what seems like a solid 2 years of all matte everything. Enter Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets. They are not transferproof nor truly 100% matte, but they are long wearing and dry down to a demi-matte finish, and they feel refreshingly rich and creamy when applied. I immediately fell in love with Brilliant Violet- not my typical lip color at all. A bright violet- perhaps almost an orchid purple- with strong pink tones, it feels fresh and lively. Weirdly, this pulls more purple on me in summer and pink in winter.

Pat Mcgrath LuxeTrance - Madame Griege, Mcgrath Muse, Tropicalia

What can I say about the Luxetrance launch that we haven't already said here...extensively. I won't reiterate too much why these lipsticks are so great, you can read our full reviews here, here, and here , but I thought it would be fitting to end with my top three:

McGrath Muse is my favorite red of the year, Tropicalia is a soft coral stunner, and Madame Griege...she's grey, she's lavendar, and she made me nervous enough that I avoided her during the initial launch but I couldn't get her out of my head. Naturally, I caved soon enough and of course Madame Griege ended up being one of my favorite shades out of the whole line.

Ok that was actually a top 11 list, not 10, but it’s (half) my blog so I get to, on occasion, break the rules. What products got you excited in 2017? Can be new or new to you, just let us know in the comments!