Best of 2017: Beauty

in at February 18, 2018

It’s been a year of *obsessively* testing some of the beauty market’s newest releases and beloved holy grails. Cushion foundations, contour palettes, liquid lipsticks, and highlighters from one brand to the other, we’re evolving as beauty consumers!

I’ve curated the best of the best – mostly from the drugstore – which exceeded my expectations. From a foolproof matte foundation that lasts all day to an everyday eyeshadow palette which smells like chocolate, here are some tried and tested products worthy of your top shelf!


BB Cream

L.A. Girl Pro BB Cream in Natural (Watsons/SM Beauty Section, P399)

My 6-month journey to a no-foundation routine led me to try more lightweight and skin-friendly counterparts: BB creams, tinted moisturizers, and cushion foundations. This resulted to less acne and over-all better skin!

The L.A. Girl Pro BB Cream is, hands down, the best make-up discovery I’ve made this year. With 4 shades to choose from, it perfects the appearance of skin without the heavy feel usually accompanying a liquid foundation. The shade Natural is v. suitable for my skin color, dissuading me from believing that BB creams only favor mestizas – still my biggest drawback with K-Beauty. It’s great for every day and also budget-friendly!

Read: My Skin But Better: Drugstore Bases for Good Skin Days

Cushion Foundation

L’Oréal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation in N3.5 (Watsons, P900)

For my stubbornly dry skin, the L’Oréal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation – in 6 Filipina-friendly shades – is a Godsend. It gives the most natural coverage while also giving me chok chok skin. The cushion puff dispenses product slightly, which gives off light yet buildable coverage, but I also love using a beauty blender with it. Skin looks like skin – but better!

A notable disadvantage of any cushion foundation is it contains less product yet is more expensive than, say, a liquid foundation. Quick tip: To get the most out of the product, get a tweezer and flip the cushion when it dries down. Wait for it to go on sale; I got mine for half the price! *winks*

Liquid Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation in Sun Beige (Watsons, P399)

For those who need heavier coverage, I managed to try out a number of liquid foundations earlier in 2017. The holy grail Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation is easily my favorite. It covers blemishes and pigmentation – even with just a single layer – sans a heavy-duty concealer. It makes me look Photoshopped! It fares better for dry-combination skin while the L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation, another cult-fave, targets oily skin.

Read: Battle of the Holy Grail Drugstore Matte Foundations


Pink Sugar Our Lil’ Secret in Warm (BeautyMNL/SM Beauty Section, P349)

For spot concealing – before or after my main base – local fave, Pink Sugar Our Lil’ Secret, works wonders! I dot this on my problem areas and call it a day! On lazy days, I can even wear this alone. With aloe vera, it nourishes the skin, too. Better work fast though because this dries quickly!

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand (Watsons, P199)

For brightening my under eye area, bridge of the nose, and forehead, I use the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer. It visibly lightens without being cakey, even if it does have a dewy finish. Shout out to the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in Light which is a close runner-up!

Contour Powder

Pink Sugar Sweet Cheeks HD Color in Morocco (BeautyMNL/SM Beauty Section, P299)

My go-to contour powder is actually a blush, Pink Sugar’s Sweet Cheeks HD Color in Morocco, upon recommendation by Liz of Project Vanity. It’s more warm-toned than my 2016 winner, Sleek MakeUP’s Blush in Suede, but cool-toned enough to match my morena skin. Have a light hand because it’s richly pigmented – almost to a fault. 


Pinkies Collections Blusher in Sweet Bean (Watsons, P198)

My obsession with the Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso – my winner for 2 consecutive years – was finally replaced with a local blush from Pinkies Collection. Sweet Bean is a light mauve that rosies up the cheeks. It’s a great pick for beginners because it’s matte – doesn’t accentuate blemishes – and isn’t intensely pigmented. It’s buildable no matter how heavy your hand is. It has been my default blush for all looks; I literally use it every day!


Essence Pure Nude Highlighter (Watsons/SM Beauty Section, P379)

Essence won my heart again for this category, this time with it’s widely raved about Essence Pure Nude Highlighter (which is almost always sold out!). A buildable, glossy highlighter that goes from subtle to blinding, it deserves its holy grail status! Use it with your finger or apply it with a fan brush; don’t forget to add a setting spray for that extra glow!

Banila Co. So Strobing Stick (BeautyMNL/Banila Co., P865)

For a more naturally dewy finish, the Banila Co. Strobing Stick is a K-Beauty lover’s dream! It reminds me of MAC’s Strobing Cream but with a more luminous finish. Because it is a cream product, best to not apply this on top of powder – unless it’s translucent!


Eyeshadow Palette

Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Amazonian in Clay Eyeshadow Palette (Your Make-up Store, P2,699)

For beginners, I would recommend the Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Palette. With 9 matte and 3 shimmer, warm-toned shadows, they’re wearable for every day! Sweetheart (a soft pink), Smartypants (a basic brown), Rocker (a lustrous taupe), and Funny Girl (a dazzling gold) are my go-to shades. Mix and match to your heart’s content without going overboard. The über blendable, smooth shadows are so pigmented – without the usual fallout – and they smell distinctly of chocolate. How divine!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette (Your Make-up Store, P2,699)

The cult-favorite Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills is my top palette of the year. Being a fan of cool-toned shadows – love me a pink look! – it features 14 vibrant matte and shimmer shades ranging from neutral to berry hues. The buttery shadows are heavily pigmented – sometimes taking a life of its own – so do use a light hand when blending. There’s a myriad of looks you can create with this, it’s insane. I recommend this for all make-up enthusiasts; it’s such a collection staple!

Full review here.

Brow Pencil

L’Oréal Paris Brow Artist Designer Pro 3-in-1 in Dark Brown (Watsons, P500)

The 3-in-1 L’Oréal Paris Brow is a game-changer for my brows! It contains a spoolie brush, brow crayon, and powder sponge. I tame the eyebrows with the spoolie, fill in any sparse areas with the crayon, and apply the sponge last to further build the color up.


Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Filler in Deep Brown (Watsons, P399)

For unkempt, bushy brows ala Cara Delevingne, the Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Filler does the job! This is the last step of my brow routine (after the L’Oreal Pro 3-in-1) and use it as a brow mascara. I already have very thick eyebrows to begin with so this just tames it and adds volume. Use this if you have sparse brows, and fawn over the results!


Maybelline Volum’ Express Hypercurl Mascara (Watsons, P199)

The biggest surprise from the drugstore is the P199 waterproof mascara from Maybelline. I’m so late to the game but the Volum’ Express Hypercurl Mascara – a Liza Soberano fave – is everything I want in a mascara and more. It gives you long, natural-looking lashes that stays curled all day. Best of all, it doesn’t clump!

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise in Waterproof (Your Make-up Store, P749)

For sky-high lashes that reach the Heavens, the 2017 release is a favorite. Because of its waterproof formula, this lengthening mascara withstands even the worst of breakdowns – tried and tested, my friends. With that said, it is also an *absolute* pain to remove.

P.S. Shout out to the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara, a free sample I got from Sephora months back. It gives me the best Twiggy-looking lashes! It’s amazing for lower lashes, too.



Maybelline Powder Mattes in Touch of Nude (Watsons, P299)

My most worn lipstick of 2017 is, without a doubt, Maybelline’s Powder Mattes in Touch of Nude; it never leaves my bag! It’s a bright yet wearable pink-peach nude that looks good on every skin color. I’m actually on my second tube already! Formula-wise, it goes on creamy but dries down powdery. It lasts half a day but will leave your lips dry so better to reapply. 

Full review here.

blk Cosmetics Bridal All-Day Intense Matte Lipstick in I Do and Mon Amour (Watsons/SM Beauty Section, P349)

The limited edition lipsticks by Anne Curtis, released on her wedding day, is a recent favorite. I Do is a darling, nude pink while Mon Amour is an everyday, muted red. They’re such universally flattering colors! It comes in a lightweight and non-drying formula because of camellia oil and Vitamin E.

I’ve never found a formula quite like it. It’s fully matte yet creamy enough that my lips don’t feel parched in the middle of the day. The lasting power is unbelievable; it’s a godsend for those who hate retouching!

Full review here.

Liquid Lipstick

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Marvelous Mauve (Sephora PH, P779)

My favorite liquid lipstick formula, hands down, is the Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain. It’s such an underrated product when it performs better than most high-end liquid lipsticks; it’s more affordable, too! I’m a sucker for pink looks for morenas so Marvelous Mauve is my go-to mauve.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita and Mother  (Sephora PH, P1,194)

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks are so comfortable to wear and lightweight that you forget you have anything on! It doesn’t flake off and lasts a full day. I wear the best-selling Lolita (a chestnut rose) for every day – it looks good with any look! – while Mother (a dusty mauve pink) is a staple for events. 

Ever Bilena Matte Liquid Lipsticks in Dusk, Toast of New York, Siennas, and Sexy Nude (Watsons, P185)

Another drugstore discovery that blew me away is Ever Bilena’s 2017 release, their Matte Liquid Lipsticks. The nudes (Dusk, Toast of New York, Siennas, and Sexy Nude) are my favorites from the ever-growing shade range. The colors are so wearable and even rival high-end brands with the superior color payoff and pigmentation. The staying power is intense, even withstanding my everyday Starbucks drink!

P.S. I also love Careline’s liquid lipstick counterpart (P185) in Gotta Go (a warm nude), In Bloom (a bright blue-toned red), and Normcore (a wearable greige).

Full review here.

Lip Tint

Peripera Airy Ink Velvet in Elf Light Rose (BeautyMNL/Club Clio, P430)

For my minimal make-up days, a lip tint will suffice. The Peripera Airy Ink Velvet in Elf Light Rose is my favorite! It’s such a well-loved shade that it’s always sold out. It applies velvet and dries down to a comfortable, non-drying, powdery finish. It lasts the whole day, too! I’m so Gandang-Ganda Sa Sarili when I have this on!


Make-up Spray

Milani Make It Dewy Setting Spray (BeautyMNL, P650)

A make-up spray is a non-negotiable in my make-up routine. It sets and enhances my make-up and over-all perfects my look. For my dry skin, I love the Milani Make It Dewy Setting Spray to add a non-greasy, natural, dewy finish. Another favorite is the Pixi Glow Mist from my recent empties.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater (Rustans Beauty Source, P550)

Now, I have back-ups of the Mario Badescu Facial Spray because it’s such a staple in my collection! I use it as the last step of my skin care routine, after applying powder, and/or at the end to give an extra glow. I also take it with me everywhere I go for the midday hydration!

What are your favorite make-up products from 2017? Leave them in the comments below!

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.