12 Beauty Products We Tried and Loved In 2016 Buy Buy Buy

At the very least, 2016 was an excellent year for beauty.

1. Botani Olive Skin Serum


“This is one of the products I started using to ‘greenify’ my skincare regime and after a month or so of using it, I was sold. First of all, it has a incredibly short ingredient list of just four ingredients, which is always a good indicator that the product is free from excessive chemical preservatives and other nasties. The main moisturising ingredient here is squalene, which is a type of antioxidant and moisturising agent naturally produced by our bodies. The squalene in this product is extracted from olives. The bottle may only contain 15ml of product, but trust me, it is very concentrated and only two or three drops is enough for your entire face. The reason why it is concentrated is because it doesn’t contain water as an ingredient, so you’re advised to apply it to a damp face – you can use a facial mist (read about the one I use, below) or good ol’ H2O – to help it be absorbed into your skin. Since I started using it, my skin looks visibly more radiant, and remains hydrated throughout the day without looking greasy.” – Denise Li

Retails for $52. Botani products are available online, and retailers such as The Organic Grocer (17 Mohamed Sultan Road), and Pure Tincture.

2. Institut Esthederm Eau Cellulaire Spray

“Until I tried this spray, I was of the opinion that facial sprays were the least essential beauty item ever. Most of them aren’t that great at moisturising the skin, and are always overly perfumed to be good for it. This one from Institut Esthederm is different. First of all, it doesn’t contain any fragrance at all, and it contains mineral salts trace elements, ATP and L-carnosine, which are supposed to help optimise cellular metabolism, enhancing the effectiveness of the skincare products you use after. I’m now using this in place of regular toner. Most mornings, my morning skincare routine consists of this, followed the Botani Olive Skin Serum, and sunscreen, and my skin has never looked better. In fact, my colleague Lili thought I’d started using CC cream regularly because of how smooth, evenly toned, and radiant my skin’s been looking!” – Denise Li

Retails for $22.50 here

3. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+

So good it deserved its own detailed post.

4. Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX Light


“While I’ve always liked Sulwhasoo’s Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream (especially its soothing scent!), it had always felt a bit too heavy for daytime use, especially since I have oily skin. With the launch of its fourth iteration this year, however, the feted Korean brand has also released EX Light, which retains the efficacy of the original formula, while being lighter in texture, making it more suitable for those who have oily skin or live in hot, humid climes. The fourth formulation of this product is six times more concentrated than previous versions, promising to be even more effective in helping skin regenerate naturally while strengthening its defence systems. This is thanks to its proprietary Bioconversion technology, which converts rare ginseng saponin into active ingredients that can penetrate into deeper layers of the skin. Since I started using this, my complexion been looking less dull and slightly more lifted. I like that lighter version is perfect for daytime application too. It’s a bit of a splurge yes, but trust me, your skin with thank you for it.” – Denise Li

Retails for $298 at all Sulwhasoo counters. 

5. Senka Perfect Whip


“This isn’t a new product, but it’s been my go-t0 cleanser all year. Why? Because it checks all the boxes: Just a small amount mixed with water gets you a rich, dense foam that gets rid of oil and impurities on my skin. Because the foam is so thick, it prevents you from ‘tugging’ on your skin as you’re cleansing. Best of all, it costs just $7.90 for 120g!” – Denise Li

Retails for $7.90 exclusively at Watsons. 

6. The Body Shop Expert Face Mask

For the ultimate pampering experience at home, there’s a mask to address every skin concern you can think of. Click here for a review of four variants.

7. YSL Touche Éclat Le Teint Foundation 


“My all-time favourite makeup product is the YSL Touche Éclat concealer pen. So, when I found out the brand was launching the Touche Éclat Le Teint, a foundation that includes the same magical light-reflecting formula, I felt like I’d won the beauty lottery. Other foundations I’ve tried tend to leave my skin feeling thick and heavy, which is why I don’t usually apply foundation unless I’m attending a special function. However, with the Le Teint, it is so lightweight and silky-smooth that I’ve been using it every day.” – Vanessa Tai

Retails for $79 in six shades at YSL Beauté counters and boutiques islandwide.

8. YSL Touche Éclat Strobing Light Limited Edition


“If you’ve been paying attention to your beauty news — no matter how casually — you’ll know all about strobing. For the uninitiated, strobing is basically highlighting 2.0 – it’s a makeup technique that creates a bright, dewy finish for your face. This highlighter from YSL Beauté takes its cue from the iconic Touche Éclat concealer pen (yes, again) as it comes packaged in an easy-to-use clicker pen and is formulated with light-reflecting particles. Use this across your cheekbones, nose bridge, cupid’s bow, and the underside of your brow for a brighter, more luminous complexion. And yes, I use this every day too! For someone who is always told I look tired, this help me look more lively in about 30 seconds flat.” – Vanessa Tai

Retails for $50 at YSL Beauté counters and boutiques islandwide.

9. Laneige Eyebrow Cushion-cara 


“If you’ve already experienced the awesomeness that is the Laneige BB Cushion, you’re going to love the Eyebrow Cushion-cara. Like the BB Cushion, a patented sponge is saturated with a liquid colour that turns to powder upon application. Using the dual-applicator that comes in the compact, you can easily fill and shape your brows to your desired intensity. Best of all? The product has amazing staying powder. I used it on my brows and went out to explore Penang in the hot and humid weather and my brows stayed put and there was no streaking to be seen.” – Deborah Tan

Retails for $36 at all Laneige boutiques and counters islandwide. 

10. FANCL Yogurt Facial Treatment 


“When your skin is looking tired and dull, and you’re not exactly in the mood to use a scrub, FANCL Yogurt Facial Treatment is the perfect solution. After cleansing, dispense an entire tube’s worth of product and gently massage it over your face for a minute. Leave it on for another three before washing it off. The mousse-like texture may feel soft on your skin but the powerful combination of yogurt filtrate and green tea extract works to boost skin metabolism, tighten pores, and slough off dead skin cells. I love how fresh my complexion looks after every use. It’s the perfect treat for dry, tired skin!” – Deborah Tan

Retails at $64 for 6 x 13g tubes and available at FANCL counters islandwide. 

11. Elastine Shampoo de Perfume in Pure Breeze


“I’m proud to say that this product, which costs only $7.50 for a 600ml bottle, is my single most wonderful beauty discovery of the year. And, it was discovered purely by chance!

Just a week ago, having run out of travel-sized shampoo, I decided to use one of those sample sachets I got from who-knows-when-and-where to wash my hair after a gym workout session. The shampoo lathered up really well, and it worked to detangle my hair better than the expensive shampoo I was using at home could. But what impressed me the most was how its floral scent lingered until the next night!

Since I threw away the sachet after the shower, I Googled what little I could remember about the shampoo – something something shampoo perfume – and amazingly the answer was right at the top of the search results. It’s a line of hair care products from Korea known as Elastine, with only three scents available – Pure Breeze (which I used), Love Me, and Sweet Fantasia. The three scents were created by renowned French perfumer Jean-Marie Santantoni, and there are even top, middle and base notes included in the fragrance description for each scent.

Elastine isn’t new, as it used to be available at The Face Shop outlets three years ago. Desperate, I went to check out its availability on sites like Qoo10, and was moments away from making an online purchase when I decided to try my luck at My CK Dept Store at Far East Plaza last Thursday. Let’s just say the hair gods must really love me, because I’m never this lucky in other areas of my life. Since Thursday night, not only has my hair been smelling like a garden, it feels smoother and looks healthier, too.” – Tan Lili

 Retails for $7.50 at My CK Dept Store.

12. Clarins Beauty Boosters

For those moments when your skin is overwhelmed by Life.

She may have been born and bred in Singapore, but Denise considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and needs to make a yearly pilgrimage there to maintain her sanity. Competitive by nature, she enjoys combat sports and is currently obsessed with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which she picked up just under a year ago. To no one’s surprise, the country currently at the top of her travel bucket list is Brazil.

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