Makeup | Skincare

Beauty Loon favorites: best of 2016!

January 6, 2017
Wrapping up the holiday season in Tokyo

Over 2016 I generally reduced the amount of cosmetics that I purchased and really scrutinized new releases, which means that a Beauty Loon year-end wrap up can be quite succinct and focused. There were a few specific brands that became new loves for me, so you’ll see some brands repeat in my product picks, and I’ve gone ahead and broken down the favorites into 10 product categories. Ok, let’s go!

Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser

Cleanser: Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser

I don’t tend to get fired up about cleansers, but they are tricky for me because my skin has become more sensitive over recent years and gets tight and dry very easily. The Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser is about as perfect for my skin as I might hope for. It includes salicylic acid but also is very gentle, and I only need to use a little bit so the bottle lasts a good long while. This is a fabulous product and it’s an easy standout from the past year.

Nature Republic Argan 20 Essential Toner (on the left)

Toner: Nature Republic Argan 20 Essential Toner

In the last month or two of 2016 I found that the Union Square Nature Republic had their argan oil skincare line on sale, and I picked up several products. The toner is a lovely hydrating mist, with a more substantial texture than most spritzes but not to the point of providing a sticky or greasy feeling. It has a nice natural aroma but the scent is very mild and restrained, which I appreciate. I just love using it.

Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

Serum: Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

I featured this in a Keihl’s favorites post, and if there’s one product from the brand that’s become a staple for me, it’s this one. The serum is gentle and I use it nightly, and it definitely helps refine my skin’s texture and alleviate hormonal bumps that I’ve been struggling with for years now. I’m on my second bottle now.

Nature Republic Shea Butter Steam Cream (Moist)

Moisturizer: Nature Republic Shea Butter Steam Cream (Moist)

I’m currently using and loving the Nature Republic Argan cream, but my moisturizer pick for the year would actually be their Steam Cream I was using last winter. It has a funny thick but wet texture that I suspect won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s super comforting as a night cream and looked forward to using it at the end of the day. It’s smells fantastic, too – kind of like rain, or fresh river lined with wildflowers.

Club Clio Kill Cover Highest Wear Primer (on the right)

Primer: Club Clio Kill Cover Highest Wear Primer

I came to try a good handful of Club Clio makeup products this year by way of multiple sample sales in a couple of Manhattan stores, and this South Korean brand as a whole is a wonderful discovery for me. Literally everything I’ve tried from them has been great. I got this primer in a cushion foundation set, and this has to be one of the best primers I’ve ever tried. It’s really thin in texture but gives some rubbery grip to the skin to improve the longevity of makeup, helps smooth texture, and combats oil that might otherwise start to smudge makeup later in the day. It has a really pleasant delicate fragrance, too. Technically, I think the pink color is also supposed to help brighten skin tone, though I’m not sure that has any effect for me.

Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer

Complexion: Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer

I’m on my second tube of this concealer already and I think I first tried it in April or May of this year. It has a great texture that sets and doesn’t require powder, there’s an awesome shade selection, and it’s priced well at $14. Easy-peasy, love it.

Shiro Cosmetics

Cheek color: Shiro Cosmetics blushes

I already owned a couple of cheek products from Shiro prior to this year, and I bought a bit more from them several months ago. Both of the Shiro Cosmetics powder blushes that I own have been staples for me on a day to day basis, and I think they’re great buys. They provide good color payoff but are still transparent and remarkably easy to diffuse on the skin. They’re under $10, too.

ColourPop Pearlized Highlighter in Flexitarian

Cheek highlight: ColourPop Pearlized Highlighter in Flexitarian

I tried ColourPop for the first time this year, and I’d been wanting to try their highlights ever since they were released. I’m so pleased with this one. I’ve taken it with me every time I’ve traveled since, and I think it’s super easy to quickly pop it onto my face with my fingers. It’s so affordable, too.

Manny MUA X Makeup Geek eyeshadow palette

Eyes: Manny MUA X Makeup Geek

I have not jumped on many special edition and collaboration products this year, but when Makeup Geek released this Manny MUA collab eyeshadow palette, I suspected that I would need it in my life. It didn’t disappoint one bit, and although it has some dramatic shades included, there are also definitely a handful of really useful everyday tones and I find myself reaching for this palette a ton. Not all of my Makeup Geek products have turned out to be essentials for me, but I think they knocked it out of the park with this release.

ColourPop To and From 6-piece Lippie Stix set

Lips: ColourPop To and From 6-piece Lippie Stix set (Matte/Matte X) – view swatches

I had to think about this one for a bit, but this set stands out to me for a few reasons. The first is that it came in an adorable package that I can’t bring myself to throw out, even if it’s completely impractical for storing the actual products. Secondly, this is just a color selection that really drew me in, and includes both everyday shades as well as a few bolder colors that are really fun to wear. Thirdly, it was really affordable and such a nice way to try different shades from the brand. And fourthly, I’ve just grown pretty fond of reaching for these because they provide easy opaque color, last well on the lips, feel comfortable, and I haven’t had issues with my lips drying out – which really surprised me, to be honest. This particular set is limited edition but ColourPop releases little collections like this all the time, so in 2017 I’ll keep an eye out for other new releases that speak to me.


I hope you’ve had a good year and a wonderful holiday season, and wish you the best in 2017! I’d love to know what some of your favorites have been, and if you’ve tried any of my picks!

Follow by Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge