Best Beauty Discoveries of 2016

The time has come for me to share my 2016 beauty favorites. If you think monthly favorites are hard... yearly favorites are even harder! Like last year, I won't be including products I bought in November or December because it feels like cheating if I include products I've only been using for a few weeks. Basically they must have been newly purchased and used between November 2015 to November 2016.

One good side effect from making this list is I feel less guilty about my recent beauty purchases. At least 50% of these were bought during the holiday sales or post-holiday sales last year. So even if I splurge a lot during the holidays, at least I know I'm very tame throughout the rest of the year ๐Ÿ‘

makeup flatlay, beauty blogger flatlay, 2016 beauty favorites

1. Mac 217 Blending Brush
Last December I bought my first MAC brushes and holy moly was it life changing. This little guy has blended my eyeshadow better than any other brush I've ever tried. $25 is a lot to pay for one brush especially when I know I could get 5 or 6 brushes from the drugstore for that price, but it's totally worth it to me. I can confidently say that this brush single handedly made me wear eyeshadow more often this year... and it's also the reason why I ended up buying 3 eyeshadow palettes and over 2 dozen singles this year ๐Ÿ™ˆ.

2. Wet N' Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Polish
Gel polish were super popular over the past year, with nearly every major nail polish brand releasing their own version. I haven't given any of them a try because I love this affordable one from Wet N' Wild so much!

For $5 I get shiny, opaque nails that last for a week or more. What more could I ask for? I've got a whole slew of colors but my two favorites at the moment are two pinky neutrals: condensed milk and stay classy.

Total disclaimer-- I'm not sure exactly how these are a gel polish since they don't have any special top coat or curing method. But they're extra shiny and last long so I'm happy with 'em ๐Ÿ˜‹.

3. Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in Blacquer
I've been looking for a liner that lasts in my waterline for the loooongest time and I finally found it in this Marc Jacobs liner. Not only does it last all day long, but it's also so easy to use. It's got a swivel up top so you don't need to worry about sharpening it. On top of that, the formula is very soft and creamy so it glides along oh so easily.

4. Original Beautyblender
I don't even remember how I ever did my makeup without a beautyblender. If I'm feeling lazy I'll occasionally still use a brush but the finish simply as flawless as with a beautyblender. This is another product that I picked up at the end of 2015 and the only reason I bought it is because it was in a Sephora favorites set. Back then $20 seemed like a silly price to pay for a sponge, especially when I liked the $5 Real Techniques one just fine.

But now I find the $20 totally justifiable since I love the finish the beautyblender provides. It makes my makeup look seamless and also adds in a little bit of moisture.

beautyblender review, beautyblender cleanser solid review

5. Beautyblender blendercleanser solid
Brush soap isn't a particularly exciting topic but I still get excited to use this solid soap. While I love clean brushes, I don't necessarily love cleaning my brushes. This soap makes the task a lot quicker and therefore enjoyable.

It removes the most stubborn of stains from my beautyblender which is quite the feat. I think the reason this soap works so well is because it doesn't foam like crazy. Do you know how annoying it is to wash foam out of your brushes? It makes a 1 minute wash job into a 5 minute wash job. A quicker gentler wash also means there's a less likely chance you're drying your brushes out.

6. Mac 'Prep + Prime' Fix+ Finishing Mist
It took me a while to join the Fix+ hype train but now I'm fully there and committed to the cause! The mist is so fine and it feels refreshing on the skin. Not only that, but it really does "fix" your makeup in place. If you've got a whole lotta powders and creams and liquids all clashing together, a few spritzes of Fix+ will make them harmonize beautifully! Got some cakiness? Fix+ it. Got some dry patches? Fix+ it. Want your eyeshadow to look more intense? Fix+ it. I basically just Fix+ every makeup issue that I have and it works out pretty nicely most times.

7. Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil
While I enjoy reading Into the Gloss from time to time, this is the only recommendation from them that I've actually liked. But I like it so much that I continue to follow their recs in hopes of finding another gem like this one!

$40 is a ridiculous amount to spend on a hair oil but this shit lasts so long. I've been using it a few times a week for the past year and I'm only about 1/3 of the way done with the bottle. It's been a miracle at preventing split ends. During my past 2 or 3 haircuts I've been able to cut minimal hair because I barely have any broken ends thanks to this guy. All I do is rub two to three pumps on my wet ends after I shower and bam-- protection in place.

It also doesn't make my hair greasy when I apply it to my dry hair. I can't say the same for any other hair oil that I've tried.

8. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
I started the year off not at all understanding the hype around this primer. But the more I used it the more I started loving it. One thing that made a big difference for me was shaking the bottle before I use it. For some reason the primer tends to separate in the bottle so shaking it insures that it's dispensed normally.

The main reason why I love this primer so much is because it blurs my pores without drying out my face or feeling super silicone-y. It also extends the wear of my face makeup without a doubt!

the ordinary niacinamide, bumble bumble hairdresser's invisible oil, hourglass mineral veil primer, mac fix+

9. The Ordinary Niacinamide Serum
The ordinary was the skincare brand of 2016. At least it was on the blogosphere. And it's not hard to figure out why-- they've got simple but effective formulas at very affordable prices. I've only tried out two of the serums out so far and while I didn't love the HA one, this niacinamide one was da bomb. I reviewed it here on da blog (with before & after photos!) ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜

10. Nars Lip Gloss in Chihuahua
If you told me in 2015 that I would be including a lip gloss in my 2016 yearly favorites I would have laughed at you. But this Nars lip gloss has restored my faith in all lip glosses! The lip glosses of now aren't sticky or tacky or glittery. They're simply fabulous.

Chihuahua adds the prettiest wash of glossy pink over my lips. WITHOUT BEING OVERLY STICKY! It's also pretty long lasting! Of course it can't compete with a wear time of a matte liquid lipstick but this guy can easily last for a few hours as long as I'm not eating anything.

11. Milani Rose Powder Blush in Romantic Rose
Despite the fact that I've bought a few blushes before this Milani blush, this was the one blush that convinced me to start wearing blush regularly. For most products light pigmentation is a negative, but I wear this blush so much because it's so lightly pigmented. I don't have to worry about overdoing it because it's natural and faint. Plus it's a stunner to look at even though my rose is starting to fade away ๐Ÿ’”

As I was typing up this post I realized they have a whole ton of shades available on their site which I haven't spotted in stores... ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

becca shimmering skin perfector pressed opal, milani rose blush, milani romantic rose blush

12. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal 
2016 was without a doubt the year of the highlighter for me and it's all thanks to this beauty. I picked it up last year during the Sephora Friends & Family sale and ever since then I've been fully committed to the glowy life.

13. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
For some reason I tried a loooot of face cleansers in 2016, but the only one that truly stood out was Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser. I can easily use it two times a day, 7 days a week and know that my face won't turn into a flakey mess.

While I am an ardent double cleanser, it's nice to know that this face wash will remove any makeup my cleansing balm/ micellar water missed out on. While I don't rub it into my eyes, it's gentle enough to remove mascara/ eyeshadow reside around the eyes without stinging.

14. Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
After discovering this cleansing balm, I don't think I can ever go back to using makeup remover or makeup removing wipes. Not only is this is soothing to use (it literally just melts onto your skin) it removes every speck of makeup without leaving any unnecessary residue. I have bought some more cleansing balms to test out in the future, but this one is still my current favorite and the one responsible for introducing me to the world of cleansing balms in the first place.

double cleanse, fresh soy face cleanser, foreo luna mini, clinique take the day off cleansing balm

15. Foreo Luna Mini
I'm not gonna chat much about the Luna because I realllly want to dedicate a whole post to it at some point in the near future. Hopefully. But I love how it cleans my face and totally prefer it over the Clarisonic!

17. bareMinerals Bare Skin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer
Most underrated concealer ever! Everyone is always raving about the Nars concealer, the Urban Decay concealer, the Tarte shape tape concealer, but my go to for all of 2016 was this Bare Minerals serum concealer. I mean I loved it so much I bought it in two shades! If you have dry skin this is the perfect concealer-- it's doesn't cling to dry patches at all. Even though it has a lightweight, watery formula it still provides a good amount of coverage. It's a dream to blend out and I can't say enough positive things about it.

The one downside I have to point out is their lack of color range. Unfortunately the darkest shade is not all that dark ๐Ÿ˜“

16. Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
As a teen I think I tried out every single anti-acne skincare line at the drugstore. Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit (or a lot) but eventually I just gave up and stuck to gentler products. While I have come a long way in my skincare journey, something that's stuck with me is my hesitance in using salicylic acid products. In my experience they did nothing but dry out my skin. So while I knew that BHA + AHAs are a powerful combo at fighting acne and scarring, I preferred to skip the BHA part of the equation.

Enter Cosrx BHA blackhead power liquid. This stuff uses betaine salicylate which is a gentler alternative to salicylic acid. Within a few days of using it I noticed an improvement in my skin texture! I'm still trying to figure out the best way to schedule and pair my actives but I do know that this guy has become a staple for me.

korean skincare, missha sunscreen, cosrx bha blackhead liquid, may coop raw sauce

18. May Coop Raw Sauce
It's an essence, it's emulsion, it's an ampoule.. no it's May Coop Raw Sauce! This stuff was my gateway drug to all things Asian Beauty and I'm thankful for it. It introduced me to the world of light, hydrating layers and it's made all the difference for my skin. When I use this in my routine everything I layer on afterwards sinks in a bit better. Even by itself it adds a nice bit of hydration! I'm currently working my way through a travel sized version but eventually I'll have to dish out the big bucks for another full sized version. But it's totally worth it!

19. Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF45/PA+++
Are you tired of me talking about this sunscreen yet? Yes it was life changing and yes I am forever going to be using Asian sunscreens now but I'm also tired of me talking about this sunscreen (and maybe I'm just tired period.) You can read my thoughts about it here in my flash empties post or here in my October beauty favorites.

And those are all my 2016 favorites! I never thought I would be saying this but Kylie Jenner was right, 2016 was the year of realizing stuff. Highlighters, makeup sponges, setting sprays, pricey brushes were all things I was hesitant about in the beginning of 2016 but are now things I can't go without.

I also have a few honorary mentions that sadly didn't make it... mostly because I forgot about them when I was making the list ๐Ÿ™ˆ  SO the runner ups are Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara (which totally would have made the list except I have to repurchase it), Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Kit, Wet N Wild Megaglo Highlighters in Precious Petals + Crown of my Canopy, and sheet masks in general.

And if you didn't know, I'm running an international giveaway at the moment! You can find out all the details on the original post and enter in the widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Designed by FlexyCreatives