Best of 2016: Beauty

in at January 17, 2017

My glorious education with everything beauty has grown the past few years but 2016 is something else; proof is the staggering collection of acrylic organizers overflowing with products on my top shelf. I’ve been producing more beauty and skin care content, and there is an unbelievable warmth in my heart! I’ve only been confident writing about something as foreign as beauty recently. I’ve tried many other topics in the past – fashion, food, and even technology – but I’ve never felt emotionally attached to any of them. It’s even more encouraging when people send me mail telling me how my reviews help them choose products!

From the riveting world of cushion compacts to liquid lipsticks and make-up sprays, I’ve tried much. I’ve searched far and wide – from our neighborhood Watsons to online beauty retailers and sketchy kiosks – for the best make-up from both the local and international scene (mostly drugstore!). I have nothing but high praises for these knockout products from these cosmetic powerhouses. Here are my personal picks for beauty’s finest in 2016!



L’Oréal True Match Liquid Foundation in Nude Beige (Watsons, P600)

I started the year falling in love with Bourjois Paris’s Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation – easily the most full coverage drugstore foundation I’ve tried. I emptied it a few months after, and I ended up getting a discounted (score!) L’Oréal True Match Liquid Foundation. It easily covers pigmentation and acne scars that I tend to forego concealer most days. Compared to other brands, this has a wider range of colors (18 shades) which adds to its appeal! It applies beautifully with a beauty blender or any fluffy foundation brush. Of course, it’s important to start off with a good toner-moisturizer combo that will transform how foundation glides on skin – trust me.

Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte Foundation in Natural Beige (Watsons, P499)

For a more affordable option from the drugstore, the Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte Foundation is a recent discovery. I initially had a difficult time liking this because I used it with a foundation brush. I learned that the formula works best with a damp beauty blender; it makes a tremendous difference! It’s available in 5 shades and wears great throughout the day. It feels so comfortable that I’d recommend it to anybody who prefers to be foundation-free but may need some coverage.

For both foundation choices, I don’t actually have the perfect shade match so I mix both with the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal in Fawn, a steal from the Dollar Store at P169.


Catrice Camouflage Cream in Light Beige (Watsons, P329)

I overlooked the power of a good concealer for years but my hormonal breakouts have led me to the Catrice Camouflage Cream. It’s creamy, buildable, and covers blemishes with one swipe. This is magic in a pot!

Face Powder

Nichido Final Powder in So Natural (Watsons, P150)

Setting my face with loose powder after my foundation routine mattifies my face and helps prolong its staying power. I wear the Nichido Final Powder every single day, I kid you not. It makes my pores less visible – sans primer – and leaves my skin feeling velvet smooth. This is available in other shades but the color, So Natural, is translucent on me. The only thing I don’t like about it is the strong fragrance but I overlook it because of all its A+ streaks. It’s unbelievably cheap and can last anyone several months, or a year!

For those with oily skin, Korean skin care brand, Innisfree, nailed it with the No-Sebum Mineral Powder (P260). I’ve recommended it to friends, and they love it as much as I do! It keeps my face dry the entire day without sacrificing moisture. I’d say this is better at doing the job than the Nichido Final Powder. For those who find a loose powder really messy, it’s also available in compact form (P480).


*Sleek MakeUp Blush in Suede (Zalora, P425)

2016 is the year I learned about the magic of contouring. It slims down features – defines the cheekbones, nose, and jawline – presenting a more chiseled face. PSA: Any matte powder a shade darker than your skin tone can act as a bronzer.

I picked up Sleek MakeUp’s Blush in Suede as recommended by a favorite YouTuber. Swatches don’t do it justice because it hardly shows up until applied on the face. It looks natural for both the Filipina morena and mestiza. This is best for those who just want that extra warmth and don’t really plan to contour. I emptied this after a few months of constant wear!


Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (Your Make-up Store, P450)

I often skip blush because I’m content with a bronzer but for a wash of color, Luminoso is my go-to. It’s every YouTuber’s holy grail blush – mine, too! This peach baked blush transforms cheeks giving it a subtle sheen that won’t accentuate pores or scars. It makes me look naturally radiant, and I can’t imagine loving any other blush as much as I love this!


Benefit Watt’s Up! (Benefit, P1,700)

Highlighter can immediately change an entire look! Discovering its magic has changed my routine immensely. Benefit’s Watt’s Up! is, without a doubt, the best I’ve tried. This cream to powder highlighter provides a stunning, luminous glow – that’s even better with a tan. Others draw attention to texture on skin but I find this doesn’t. This is especially perfect for morena skin. I try so much product and end up coming back to this! PSA: Kim Kardashian swears by this!

Essence Soo Glow! Highlighter in Bright Up Your Life (Watsons, P169)

Catrice’s sister company, Essence, is such a good (European) drugstore brand which is overlooked by many. Their products are at par with more well-known brands like Maybelline and Revlon; they’re even more affordable!

The Soo Glow! Highlighter is my favorite product from the brand! It has an iredescent finish which is suitable for fair skin; it can appear streaky on darker complexion. I diffuse the product with a beauty blender, and it stays all day!


Brow Gel 

Holika Holika Wonder Drawing Browcara in 01 and 03 (Beauty MNL, P355)

I’m not big on kilay products given how naturally bushy mine are; excuse the lack of recommendations! Holika Holika’s Wonder Drawing Browcara is the only product I put on my brows: 01 for my brown hair and 03, now that I have red hair. It’s smudge-free and looks so natural.


Stila Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette in Mind (Sephora)

Gone are the days when I’m content with a simple curler-and-mascara eye make-up routine. After months of learning how to apply eyeshadow, I rue the day I find myself with a naked eye! If you’re a beauty rookie, like me, Stila’s Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette or really, any all-matte palette, will change your life! Starting with matte rather than shimmer shades will train you to blend and mix colors for both a daytime and night look.

Mind contains a mixture of beautiful, versatile hues that you can use by itself or combine. I wear the lower two rows the most plus the white on top to highlight my brow bone. I recommend using this for travel since it’s small. This is also a multi-purpose product, which you can use for a nose contour and a brow powder (darkest brown).

Zoeva Rose Golden Eyeshadow Palette (Sephora PH, P1,106)

A simple swatch on the hand, and you’ll fall deep in love with any Zoeva Eyeshadow Palette. Rose Golden happens to be my favorite. The array of rose gold and champagne colors are divine. Just A Rose is definitely the most unique shadow I own. It’s buttery, has zero fallout, and stays on all day. This is also friendly for beginners since you can just apply the product using a finger on your entire lid, and voilà, you’re done!


*Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (Watsons, P429)

The Lash Sensational Mascara from Maybelline is hands down, the best I’ve tried! It gives great definition without leaving any clumps. The mascara wand is designed to separate and volumize lashes. Of course, the pink metallic tube also looks so pretty in my kit!

*Fashion21 Double Up Mascara (Watsons, P225)

I can’t stop raving about Fashion21’s Double Up Mascara! If you want elongated, natural-looking lashes without breaking the bank, pick this up on your next Watsons run. I’ve emptied 2 tubes in 2016 and will probably empty more this year!



Happy Skin Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Matte Lippie in The Morning After (Happy Skin, P649)

I’ve religiously worn vampy shades in the past but I took a much needed break from my bold(er) choices. 2016 was personally the year of pink lipsticks!

Happy Skin’s Moisturizing Matte Lippies have the best lipstick formula for me; the formulation is so dreamy! It’s richly pigmented and super hydrating. There’s nothing quite like it! The Morning After is a cool-toned mauvy pink that is so low-maintenance, it goes well with so many looks. I can’t wait to try more products from the brand!

MAC Lipstick in Faux (MAC, P1,050)

From a random trip to the MAC counter with my Mama, I got Faux after hearing much rave about it. It took me weeks to try it because I felt no emotional attachment to it – but boy, was I wrong! I committed myself to the shade instantly. This flattering muted mauve-pink looks gorgeous with an all pink make-up look. As with other light shades, this makes lips look extra plump!

Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Clay Crush, Nude Nuance, and Touch of Spice (Watsons, P299)

I’m trading my ultra matte lipsticks for the Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipsticks! This line is the best launch of the year for so many Filipinas. It moisturizes lips, and the color payoff is terrific. Its staying power is unbelievable – it can last me a day! Wait for the occasional sales, and you might just get this for P100 less!

Full review here.

Liquid Lipstick

Happy Skin Glam Squad Liquid Matte Lipstick by Mickey See (Beauty Bar, P699)

I’ve tried a number of affordable liquid lipsticks but this definitely wins in formulation. This limited edition collaboration between Happy Skin and make-up artist, Mickey See, is everything I hoped for in a long-lasting liquid lipstick. It doesn’t make my lips feel like sandpaper and survives even the messiest of meals. The shade is also reminiscent of ColourPop’s Lumière – another favorite. Crossing my fingers I can still get the other colors from the Glam Squad line (Juan Sarte, Denise Go-Ochoa, and Jigs Mayuga)!

The Balm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Loyal (Beauty Bar, P795)

Finding the perfect red lipstick is an initiation to womanhood. I never thought I’d love another like MAC’s Ruby Woo until I discovered The Balm’s Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Loyal. Gliding it on will make you feel like you can conquer anything. Other formulas make my lips scream from dehydration but not this one – it’s so lightweight. It also lasts all day!

Full review here.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Happy Nude Year (Watsons KK)

I wore Bourjois’s Rouge Edition Velvet in Happy Nude Year and So Hap’pink all summer because of the vibrant hues. It wasn’t exactly love at first swipe given the unique mousse formula but my affections grew overtime.

What were your Best of 2016 products? I’d love to know! Comment below. 💕

Read: Best of 2016: Skin Care

*Emptied in 2016

Elisa Aquino

Elisa Aquino is a portrait photographer, life(style) writer, passion blogger, and beauty rookie from Manila, Philippines. This platform exists to document her daily musings and to showcase the life-changing power of grace to transform women from ashes to beauty.