The best and worst of 2016
While we all very likely will agree that 2016 was a pretty horrible year generally, I look at this year’s beauty experiences and guys, I don’t know. 2016 had some pretty fantastic products. Either new ones, or ones that weren’t new but new to me. There also were some pretty crap ones, too. Let’s have a look at the best beauty products of 2016, some un-favourites and the ones that were solidly meh.
Best rediscovery – Urban Decay All Nighter spray
Around for ages, I had a bottle languishing in the back of my vanity until it got hot in Shanghai. And humid. And let me tell you, that’s a totally different thing than hot and humid in Europe. In my despair (foundation dripping off your face isn’t fun) out came the spray and I was a convert. No more did my sunglasses smudge my foundation, everything held up for a reasonable amount of time and generally, yay. Lifesaver product. The end. (Or not, as UD reformulated all their primers and setting sprays and will release them in 2017. We’ll see how that goes!)
The brush everybody needs – Hakuhodo J142
I’ve sung its praises here, and I stand by that. That’s one of the most versatile brushes I own, I can do a whole eye look with it, and it’s cheap. No, really – we’re talking about a luxury brush brand, and this all-rounder is about 18€?!?! I consider that cheap. I also like that it’s synthetic, and consider buying more.
Best budget makeup product – Kiko lipliner
Better than a lot of high-end liners, better than most mid-range liners, and definitely the best among its own class. This is creamy, easy to apply and sets like a gel liner. You can use it on its own or apply gloss or lipstick over it. It’s been said it’s a dupe to Charlotte Tilbury’s lip cheats – honestly, I doubt lip liners can be any better. I’ll pick up a lot more shades soon. (I wrote about it here.)
The high-end brand that doesn’t play it safe – Armani
Prettiest makeup packaging – MAC Chris Chang
There wasn’t even any competition about that. MAC landed a solid with its cooperation with Chinese fashion designer Chris Chang. Both boxes and products are stunning, and I would’ve gotten the compact no matter what was in it. These are the ways of a beauty addict… (It was MAC’s workhorse Prep & Prime Powder. Smart move, MAC – solid product and a design everybody went crazy over? Sold out in seconds.)
Best luxury experience – Le Labo perfume
I fell head over heels for Le Labo Rose 31 when I first used the toiletry line they do for Fairmont Hotels. I fell so hard, in fact, that I had to buy the perfume, and was blown away by the experience of a fragrance that is mixed for you, in front of your eyes (read about it here). The whole package is incredibly luxe and niche, and I want a candle next.
Best products for hot & humid climate – Paula’s Choice sunscreen & heroine make mascara
Did I mention it gets hot and humid here? Lifesaving products for that were both Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Mattifying Fluid (aka sunscreen with SPF50) that was great under foundation (significantly better than my other favourite Skinceuticals sunscreen) and hold up well under extreme conditions and heroine make Volume and Curl Super Waterproof mascara. Swimming? Sweat? Tropical rain? Nope, it stayed on and didn’t even smudge. Colour me impressed.
Most blah – high-end liquid lipsticks
Chanel did it, YSL did it, and Armani did it, and none did it well. Liquid lipsticks were a major thing in the beauty world in 2016, and what beauty enthusiasts desired upon else was matte, matte, matte and long-lasting. The original liquid lipsticks came from indie brands and boasted blue, green and grey shades. High-end brand translated that into somewhat matte, maybe long-wearing if the conditions are right and colours suitable for women wanting to play it safe, thus watering down all characteristics and making a mainstream lipstick that was so incredibly boring that the makeup gods wept.
Most stupid packaging – Clinique pep-start eye cream
I like the product, I really do (wrote about it here). But every morning I start to rant about the most stupid packaging ever invented for an eye cream. Clinique, riddle me this: Why does my eye cream need a plastic ball applicator that’s not cooling and therefore useless? Why do I have to pull said ball up for it to dispense said cream? And why, for god’s sake, why?!??! Product squirts out when I push the ball back to close it, thus wasting the product. I don’t get it. A simple tube with a pointy applicator would’ve worked so well.
Most disappointing CS – ColourPop and Nailland Hungary
I did find CP’s products a hodgepodge of mediocrity (they’ve such a huge line-up that even I did find some gems, but mostly, products fall under the ‘meh’ category for me), but when they started to ship for free to Europe I decided to give them another chance. Picture my disappointment when my order was cancelled, and cancelled, and cancelled again. CS was completely indifferent and send me apathetic one-liners. Only when I resorted to the cheap move of threatening to take my business elsewhere, I got a lukewarm reaction. And guess what, I didn’t order again. Why should I? Apparently business is well enough for the rising brand that they don’t care about individual slip-ups.
Nailland’s mistake was innocent enough at the beginning – they mixed up my order with the order of another customer. How they handled it was another matter entirely. Ungracious, unhelpful, snippy and downright incompetent, it took six weeks to sort everything out. Then I was completely over the allure of ordering indie nail polishes from Europe with a low shipping fee. Never again.
So here they are, the best beauty products of 2016, and the ones that weren’t exactly favourites. Now I really want to here about yours! Anything that really stood out to you in 2016?