Well here we have it, 2016 has come to an end and what a crazy year it was on both a personal level as well as a global level. This year will be remembered for all sorts of reasons - it will be the year that Brexit happened, Donald Trump was elected into the White House and we also lost icons such as David Bowie, Prince and Carrie Fisher. This year will be the year where the Olympic Games in Rio, once again showed us great sportsmanship and humanity between all nations, no matter what race or religion. An article written in 2016, showed me personally that compassion, inclusion and acceptance shown by some Canadian citizens can make a world of difference to those most in need.
On a more personal level, 2016 was the year that brought me to uproot my life and move overseas to be with the Mr (the man I am marrying in less than 8 weeks!), only to move back home again. It is the year that pushed me to create this blog - orchids&peonies - an outlet where I can let my skincare nerdiness run rampant and free haha. For me, 2016 marked a year of forming amazing friendships, connecting with some amazing brands, learning more about the world of beauty and skincare and overall just have a new found respect and gratitude for everyone who has crossed my path in both their generosity and time. I have met and connected with some amazing people, been able to do some serious travelling this year and have come across some really exciting products and brands! The knowledge that I have built upon this year has amazed me - in both literal knowledge about skincare and just knowledge about myself and what I am able to achieve. Overall, 2016 has been a truly inspiring year and I have many of you to thank for it.
Today's blog post is a little look back on some of my favourite products, my favourite brands and some of my favourite blog posts that I have since starting the orchids&peonies blog back in May 2016!
My 10 Favourite Products for 2016
***Please note that anything marked with a * has kindly been gifted to me from the brand for my own personal opinion and view. I have not been paid to express any positive opinions on these products and all views are my own personal opinions. The reason why they have been featured in my favourites for 2016 is because simply...they are awesome and are actually some of my favourites for the year!
- African Botanics Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum*
As many of you know I absolutely adore the African Botanics range and this does stem a lot from the fact that I have a whole new appreciation of just how much work and effort goes into creating each and every product from the range. In short, if I had to pick just one (out of many favourites within the range) product of choice it would be this AMAZING serum. My skin absolutely loves this and drinks it up - it keeps my skin hydrated, glowing, healthy and radiant overnight. I am so scared to use this all up as it is on the more expensive side but I do truly believe that the results it yields makes it worth every penny.
- Sodashi Skincare Calming Concentrate*
If I had to choose one product which caught me by surprise this year, it would hands down go toward the Sodashi Skincare Calming Concentrate. I remember when I first received this, I was a little be confused as to HOW this product could possibly benefit my skin. Upon using it, I was not only incredibly pleased as to how relaxed this just made me feel but also how wonderful it left my skin looking and feeling. It is such a beautiful, delicate yet gentle exfoliator that works so well in conjunction with a wash off mask. For me, the Calming Concentrate does take my pamper sessions the next level in terms of results but also that indulgent, spa like feel. It is a truly gorgeous product and such a pleasure to be able to use.
- 5YINA Divine Bio-cellulose Mask
So there was a time where I was a little skeptical of sheet masks and it was this glorious mask by the wonderful creators of 5YINA that really created a new found obsession into sheet masking for me. In a nutshell, the Divine Bio-cellulose Sheet Masks are the creme de le creme of my sheet mask collection. They are the masks that I will go to for the most instant radiant, glowing, luminous skin look and feel. No other sheet mask seems to give me the same glow as these. These masks are by far my favourite and my most precious (these are not cheap) but are worth every single penny in instant performance and feel.
- Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask
If I want to do a really good detox of the face and pull everything up and out then this powerhouse mud mask by Hungarian brand Omorovicza is my choice of mask. It leaves no impurity behind and leaves my skin throughly cleansed, purified and glowing, without the tightness or dryness of a regular clay mask. I also to love use it to draw out any spots or breakouts. It does this every so effectively. This mask by Omorovicza is by far one of the best I have ever used!
- Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser
I love cleansers, my weakness when it comes to skincare is cleansers. I love the whole ritual of cleansing BUT if I had to choose my favourite cleanser for 2016, it would go to Tata Harper's Purifying Cleanser. This cleanser is just such an amazing cleanser to use in the morning as the scent really invigorates and wakes me up whilst leaving my skin feeling clean, refreshed and glowing. I feel that this cleanser does give my skin a deeper clean that most cleansers due to the use fruit enzymes which work to help gently exfoliate the skin but does not dry or irritate my skin. Overall, the smell and the way this leaves my skin looking and feeling afterwards makes it one of my favourite cleansers in my skincare stash!
- Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturiser*
This moisturiser was possibly one of the best discoveries of 2016 for me due to the fact that it not only felt incredibly lightweight but also the fact this moisturiser was so wonderfully hydrating for my skin. I really enjoy using the Clarifying Moisturiser as it just sinks so well into the skin without leaving any form of residue or feeling heavy on the skin. My skin absolutely loves this and soaks in every drop and it leaves a beautiful natural finish on the skin. I find that even though this moisturiser does feel so lightweight and almost 'thin' it does pack a punch in terms of hydration as skin feels plump, smooth and soft upon application. It sits so well on top of a facial oil and so well underneath make up as well - making a wonderful moisturising primer. A real favourite due to its non greasy, barely nothing feel on the skin.
- 5YINA Lucent Summer Facial Oil*
Choosing my favourite face oil for 2016 was an incredibly hard one but I would have to give the accolade to 5YINA's Lucent Summer Face Oil. This wonderful formulation by creators, Ervina and Angela not only works wonders for my skin in terms of hydration, nourishment and glow but the actual ingredients used are so unique and different in comparison to other oils available on the market. All 5YINA products use an amazing combination of Chinese herbs that are found in the principles of Chinese Traditional Medicine. For example in the Lucent Oil, herbs such as ginseng, lotus flower and root, perilla seed and radix ophiopognis ( a root) are used to help clarify, balance and purify the skin. This beautiful lightweight oil by 5YINA is just so unique in terms of the combination of ingredients used but also so effective in keeping my skin balanced, healthy and glowing.
- Pestle and Mortar Cosmetics Pure Hyaluronic Serum
I have used my fair share of different hyaluronic acid serums this year and whilst there have been a few that I would consider a miss, the Pestle and Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum takes the cake in term of being one of the best I have used in 2016. This serum sinks into the skin effortlessly and seamlessly whilst delivering results of smoother, plumper skin instantly. It is such an effective serum in terms of giving the skin a much needed hydration boost and I do find just a little goes a very long way with this.
- Jordan Samuel Skin Plie Treatment Cleanser
The Jordan Samuel Skin Plie Cleanser is possibly one of the best cleansers I have used this year as it literally does everything in terms of cleansing. I can use this as a first cleanser or as a second cleanser as it destroys makeup off the face (including heavy and waterproof makeup) as well as cleanses the skin to leave a beautiful fresh, clean glow. Its gel to oil consistency makes is wonderful to massage into the skin and its tube packaging makes it an absolute dream to travel with. If you had to buy just one cleanser - the Jordan Samuel Skin Plie Treatment Cleanser would be it and it is so well priced as well!
- Allies of Skin 1A All Day Mask
This mask disguised as a moisturiser is perfect for helping my tired skin look less dull and much more awake and helps the aftermath of a sleepless night be that bit more bearable. I find that this moisturiser helps to perk up, brighten and lift skin that looks a little zombie like and create a more fresh and awake complexion. It has been a life saver on many occasions where my sleep has been lacking and not only does it revive tired looking skin, it also nourishes and helps to protect my complexion as well. This moisturiser is perfect for those who want a more simple skincare routine as the mask/moisturiser does try be a few different skincare products in one but also for those who travel often or lack sleep due to children, work or simply just partying too hard.
My 5 Favourite Brands for 2016
African Botanics is an ethical and natural luxury skincare line that focuses on the use of African Marula Oil and other African botanical extracts and oils in their skincare products. Founders Julia and Craig are both such wonderful, kind and passionate people who are involved in every aspect of the creation of each product - from conception to production to distribution. What I love about the African Botanics brand is their use of these wonderful natural ingredients that are found almost exclusively in Africa to create such a wonderful and high performing skincare line. The attention to detail from the company is also second to none in terms of trying their hardest to source the very best ingredients and testing ingredients to be of the highest calibre. I haven't used a single product from the African Botanics skincare line that I dislike or found doesn't quite work for me - in all honestly everything that I have tried thus far has been wonderful on the skin. My favourites in the line include the Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum and the beautiful and very luxurious Fleurs d'Afriques Facial Oil.
I was so incredibly lucky to have met the lovely and inspiring Ervina Wu, co-founder of 5YINA when I was living in Shanghai earlier this year. I immediately fell in love with the philosophy of the brand and truly appreciated the time, research and knowledge that both Ervina and Angela have in crafting their beautiful products in the 5YINA line. What I really love about this line is that it incorporates Traditional Chinese Medicinal principles by way of Chinese medicinal herbs to create a potent and powerful skincare line that delivers results. This approach is so unique and I don't believe I have seen another skincare brand like the 5YINA line which incorporates these same ingredients and principles. The other unique approach that 5YINA also have to skincare is that they have created 5 different lines in their product range to be in line with the 4 seasons, as well as a 5th 'season'. This unique approach to skincare and creating in what I find a really high performing line that delivers some incredibly results is why 5YINA is one of my favourite brands of 2016.
Drunk Elephant Skincare
This is a brand that needs very little introduction and it has just gone from strength to strength this year in terms of popularity but it is popular for a reason - the line really packs a punch in terms of performance. Whilst I officially own just one Drunk Elephant Skincare product (the TLC Glycolic Serum), I have dabbled and sampled a few other products such as the B Hydra Gel and the Lala Retro Moisturiser and I can say that I am quite impressed in the results it has given me. The Lala Retro I love so much that I will most definitely purchase when the new pump packaging hits Australian stores. What I love about the range is that is simple, effective and it just works. There isn't too many bells and whistles promised which I love and the brand is quite careful not to include potentially irritating or harmful ingredients to the skin. The TLC Glycolic Serum itself is such a fantastic product to use as it is potent enough to exfoliate my skin well to give me beautiful fresh glowing complexion in the morning.
Sunday Riley is just one of the brands whereby when they do release something, I am rarely disappointed. Almost everything I have used from the Sunday Riley line I adore and love and the reason being is that many of the products just work for my skin. Sunday Riley herself comes from a chemistry background and is so incredibly knowledgeable about each and every active ingredient that goes into her products (if you listen to an interview you will be quite impressed with her knowledge). It is obvious that her passion is to create skincare that yields actual results and results the line does create for many women, as the brand has quite the cult following. I am always so excited to see what Sunday Riley launches next and I am always willing to get that next Sunday Riley product in my collection. My favourite Sunday Riley products include her Start Over Eye Cream and the Tidal Moisturiser.
My love affair with Sodashi Skincare starts with the fact the brand is based here in Perth, Western Australia - my home city. Its amazing to see that such a small city like Perth is home to one of the pioneering natural skincare companies (Sodashi is almost 20 years old!) and its even more wonderful to see that the company has stayed true to its roots and remains in Perth still. The other thing that I love about Sodashi is the just the scent that each and every product from the line has to help create such a wonderful and luxurious experience when using it. The brand's use of scent makes using their products very much a beautiful and indulgent ritual that not only works to help maintain beautiful skin but also works so well to create a wonderful spa like experience. This is one of the many reason why this gorgeous natural luxury skincare line is one of my favourites for 2016. Some winners from the brand include the Calming Concentrate and their Eye Mask.
My 5 Favourite Blog Posts in 2016
An Attempt to Understand Anti-Pollution Skincare
My very first blog post that took a deeper look into our skincare! This blog post looked at the effects of pollution on our skin and also a little insight into the world of anti-pollution claims and what they meant. A very long and lengthy read but a post in which I found so interesting to write.
Understanding Face Oils Part Two - Not All Oils Are Made Equal
This blog post looked into the world of face oils and gives a little insight into perhaps why some face oils are more expensive than others. I had the wonderful opportunity to pick the brains of Julia from African Botanics and April from Vintners Daughter as to why perhaps their facial oils are more superior to others. This was such an interesting blog post to research and is a topic that I am still learning more about.
Truth About Sunscreen
I remember writing this blog post in a fit of rage as I had read something in an online newspaper that sunscreen was 'dangerous' and should NOT be used. I wanted to explore a little deeper into these claims and to see the basis of where these claims came from. This blog post really made me learn to understand how some information from scientific journal articles can be so grossly interpreted by the media and the news.
A Moment With Ervina and Angela from 5YINA (Interview)
One of the best things about starting this blog is the chance to be able to connect with such amazing and wonderful people from all over the world. The wonderful ladies from 5YINA are no exception to this and for me this was such an insightful look into what it is like to create your own skincare line and also to learn a little bit more about the ingredients used in the 5YINA Skincare Line.
Skincare Discoveries Series
This series is possibly one of the most fun series to write as I am able to talk about some really, really interesting new brands that I stumble upon and discover. I love exploring different, new, innovative and sometimes crazy new skincare brands and this series allows me to share these amazing discoveries with everyone. I also love learning more about the brands that I come across and finding out what made each and every founder pursue their passion in creating these wonderful skincare lines.
So there you have my little trip down memory lane for 2016. I am so incredibly proud of what my little blog has managed to achieve this year but these achievements are absolutely nothing without you - the wonderful reader who has kindly given up your time to read my posts. I also give much gratitude to each and every wonderful skincare brand who has a product that I have written about or have mentioned on the blog, thank you for creating something for me write about (good or bad) and thank you for feeding my curiosity, interest and passion in skincare.
As I sit here and reflect, I cannot help but think what a year it has been! Whilst it is so easy to look on what has been quite a tumultuous year on a global level - I am sure there have been many wonderful, beautiful and inspiring moments that have touched us or we have celebrated over the course of 2016. Let's all focus on the positive, be optimistic of the future and close the chapter of 2016 to welcome in a brand new amazing year that will be 2017!
How was your 2016? Do you have any skincare resolutions for 2017? What would you like to see more on the blog? Feel free to leave your comments in the section below! I would love to hear your thoughts!