Best of 2016 Discoveries

And here it is – as you can imagine, trying to narrow down the best items was difficult! These items are new to me but may not be new launches in 2016.  Also, these items may not necessarily be my absolute “Holy Grail” of all time – they’re simply the best from the past year (I probably should do a “Holy Grail of All Time” post one of these days…)  Here’s what made it into my Best of 2016 Discoveries list:
A departure from previous years, instead of doing Top 10 or “Top xx of 20xx” (ie. Top 16 of 2016), I’ll list top items within categories: makeup, skincare, nails, body care etc.  This post is long but rather than breaking into several posts, I decided to do it all in one – I just hate it when they break movies into 2 parts – I don’t want to do that to you! 😛

Many of these were mentioned in my quarterly favourites so I won’t go into too much detail on each. I will link to reviews or posts where they have been mentioned before. Some of these items I no longer have in my possession so I’ll borrow photos from previous posts or use stock photos where required.


Cleanser: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (mentioned here and here) – this removes everything and is kind to the skin.
Honourable mentions: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser (reviewed here), DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (mentioned here)

Micellar water: Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water (shown here and here) – gentle and effective and smells like marshmallows!
Honourable mention: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water (mentioned here)

Toner: MUJI High Moisture Toner (shown here and here) – fragrance-free and hydrating, very pampering for dehydrated skin.
Honourable mention: MAC Lightful Softening Lotion (mentioned here)

Moisturizer: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (review here) – great all-rounder daytime moisturizer that wears well under makeup.
Honourable mentions: Antipodes Vanilla Pod Day Cream (review here), Mary Kay TimeWise Age-Fighting Moisturizer Normal/Dry Skin (shown here)

Eye cream: Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-aging Eye Cream (shown here) – non-greasy yet hydrating and creates a protective barrier on the skin for nighttime use.
Honourable mention: Yves Rocher Comforting Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream (mentioned here and here)

Serum / Facial Oil: NuWorld Botanicals Cold-pressed Organic Sea buckthorn & Jojoba Oil (review here) – silky wonder oil that absorbs into the skin like no other.
Honourable mention: Saje Sensitive Elixir Calming Skin Serum (shown here)

Mask / Treatment: Etude House 0.2 Therapy Air Mask (mentioned here) – the thinnest sheet mask I’ve ever used; conforms to the face like a second skin to deliver hydrating serum.
Honourable mentions: Farmacy New Day Gentle Exfoliating Grains (mentioned here), Too Cool for School Smart Fit 3D Mask Moisturizing (mentioned here), and LUSH The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask (review here)

Lip treatment: Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in Honey (mentioned here and here) – protects lips in a thick honey scented oil that lasts a long time without stickiness.
Honourable mention: H&M Lip Rescue (shown here)

Setting Spray: Avon Makeup Setting Spray (shown here and here) – keeps my makeup looking fresh for a long time.


Cake Beauty Creamy Coconut Supreme Body Mousse (shown here) – I tried a few of Cake’s body mousse and this scent was my favourite.

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Coconut (shown here) – what can I say, I like creamy coconut smells! And this aluminum-free deodorant was my favourite formula after I tried a few through my journey to switch from antiperspirants to deodorants.

LUSH Bath Jelly (shown here) – this particular one is a limited edition Easter one but I’m all about these fun little wobbly shower gels – they lather up and actually work well.


Tracy by Ellen Tracy – this was given to me by fivezero when we met up and I keep forgetting to mention how much I love this! It’s a creamy and mellow scent… as described by Chris, it’s “skin-like”.
Honourable mentions: Philosophy Love Sweet Love (shown here), Bobbi Brown Beach (shown here), The Body Shop White Musk Libertine (shown here), and H&M Cashmere Haze (shown here).


Garnier Whole Blends Green Tea Green Apple Refreshing Shampoo (shown here) – smells great and cleans my hair thoroughly.

Herbal Essences Smooth Collection Conditioner (shown here) – this made me rethink hair conditioner! Doesn’t weigh down my hair and keeps it smooth. All credit goes to Mrs Strawberry Blonde for this recommendation!

Lee Stafford Coco Loco Blow & Go Genius Lotion (shown here) – smells incredible and does what it claims: defrizzes and provides fantastic volume. Thanks to Rachael for this!


Base / Concealer:

Foundation: Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Skin-Transforming Makeup (review here) – easy to apply, wears well and contains mineral sunscreen.
Honourable mentions: Vincent Longo Water Canvas Foundation (review here) and W7 HD Foundation (shown here and here)

Under Eye Corrector: Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector (review here) – a game changer corrector that also acts as a primer too.
Honourable mentions: Mary Kay Undereye Corrector (shown here) and Tony Moly Panda’s Dream Brightening Eye Base (mentioned here and here)

Concealer: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (review here) – covers all day long without making the skin look dry or crepey.
Honourable mention: Shu Uemura Point Cealer (shown here)

Eye Shadow Primer: none of the new ones I tried in 2016 were any good. Sad!

Powder: L.A. Colors Pressed Powder in Beige (reviewed here) – so inexpensive and provides shine-free coverage.

Colour Makeup:

Eye Shadow Palette: CoverGirl TruNaked Eyeshadow Palette in Roses (review here) – buttery smooth, pigmented formula and well-curated colours – I can’t rave about this drugstore gem enough!
Honourable mentions: Lise Watier Simply Nudes Eyeshadow Palette (review here) and Tarte Tartelette Tease Palette (review here)

Eye Shadow Single: Teeez Spectrum of Stars Eyeshadows in Smokey Rose (shown here and here) – a truly unique colour among my many eye shadows, and in a pigmented and smooth formula, to boot.
Honourable mentions: Burberry Pale Barley (shown here), Faces Metaliglow in 03 Rose Bronze (shown here) and MAC Smokey Mauve Extra Dimension (shown here)

Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensation Mascara (mentioned here) – this delivered on volume, length and curl. Thanks to Nicola who sent this to me in a swap, or else I never would have tried it.
Honourable mentions: L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara (mentioned here), Revlon Volume + Length Magnified mascara (reviewed here) and CoverGirl Super Sizer mascara (shown here and here)

Pencil Eyeliner: Shu Uemura Coloring Pencil in M Dark Brown 83 (shown here) – this liner will last through rain, allergies, and crying – all at the same time! XD
Honourable mention: Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil Longwear Eyeliner in Pluie (shown in the same post as above).

Liquid Eyeliner: I did not try any new liquid liners in 2016! 😮

Brow Product: Shu Uemura brow:sword (reviewed here and here) – this was the only new brow product I tried in 2016 and initial review wasn’t outstanding, but as I brought it along on my trips, I came to appreciate how handy it was. And how awesome is the name?

Blush: Surratt Beauty Artistique Blush in La Vie En Rose and Se Pomponner (shown here and here) – silky formula that blends itself – both colours are so wearable despite being so different.
Honourable mentions: Clinique Heather Pop (shown here), Nars Goulou (shown here), Kiko Shade Fusion Trio Blush in 05 Marsala (reviewed here)

Highlighter: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal (shown here) – this was so neglected and went mostly unmentioned on the blog but it’s a truly beautiful highlighter and its cult status is well-deserved.
Honourable mentions: the ones from the Carli Bybel BH Cosmetics palette (review here)

Bronzer: No new discoveries stood out to me this year

Contour: No new discoveries stood out to me this year either!

Lipstick: MAC Lipstick in Brave (shown here and here) – thanks to Cat, my PLC! ❤ This brightening MLBB is easy to wear and feels comfortable on the lips – everyone needs Brave in their lives!
Honourable mentions: Burt’s Bees lipsticks in Lily Lake 530 (shown here), MAC Finally Free (review here), Rimmel Nude by Kate lipstick in #45 (shown here)

Lip Gloss: Lancôme Juicy Shaker in Berry in Love (shown here) – the shaker is gimmicky but the product inside is great – this particular shade is very flattering on.


Surratt Relevée Lash Curler (review here) – this has been one of my best finds in years and a definite new HG!

MAC Masterclass Oval 6 Brush (review here) – even among all of the much cheaper dupes, the MAC one performs better and I reach for it more than the others.

H&M Precision Makeup Sponge (mentioned here) – a squishy sponge that blends foundation similar to the famed Beauty Blender, for only $5 (and they now offer a peach coloured version so, less stain-y!)


Overall best: Essie Gel Couture in Pinned Up and Top Coat (review here) – this lived up to its claims and now I can ditch UV gel nails when I go on vacation.

Stand-outs for colour and formula:
• Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her (review here)
• Revlon #905 Sophisticated (mentioned here)
• China Glaze Change Your Altitude (review here)
It was certainly a year of grey polishes for me! 😀

• Paul & Joe Figue 04 (mentioned here)
• China Glaze Let’s Jam (review here)
• Cover Girl Outlast Being Blonde (mentioned here)

Have you tried any of these items on my list?  What were your favourites of 2016? If you have a blog post with your best of 2016 list, please link them below! 🙂

124 thoughts on “Best of 2016 Discoveries

  1. Stashy, I’m soooo happy that you love the Herbal Essences conditioner. And thanks for spreading the word!

    I really like your 2016 discoveries. THAT blush, and THAT shower jelly, and THAT Teeez eyeshadow (and how pretty is the packaging?)… 100% sugoi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It takes me forever to go through conditioner though… I’ve been using that bottle for at least 3 months. I use it maybe 3 times a week and only on the ends (from ears down). But that one is my favourite!

      I’m glad you like the picks – 2016 was full of fun stuff! And I still haven’t dug into all those Japanese goodies yet…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was late to Becca Opal as well. It’s a beautiful formula. See if you can get a small size in a kit or something.
      The Surratt curler replaced my Shiseido MaQuillAGE one… I never thought that was possible!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. I haven’t had the best experience with Maybelline mascaras in the past – I’m more of a CoverGirl fan – but this one has me considering trying others!


    1. Thanks! Have you tried those items on the list? I can’t take credit for “discovering” them, since a lot of the products were raved about on other blogs and I decided to take their recommendations. Now I know the hype is warranted!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely!! I have used Clinique balm in the past and loved it. I am currently obsessed with clarins lip oil which I did a haul of a few weeks ago. Garnier shampoo, Kiehl’s ultra facial cleanser and the list goes on.. ❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay, I love this post! I like big long posts instead of it broken out into two smaller ones.

    My 2016 favourites post is done similarly, separated into categories. I didn’t even bother mentioning categories I didn’t find anything new in, but I like how you name the category and say you didn’t try anything new/didn’t find any favourites. I think I’m going to copy you! We have a few of the same favourites, too 😉

    Heh, I’m surprised the Tartelette Tease isn’t your favourite eye palette discovery, since you loved that a lot. Makes me super curious about the CG Roses palette!

    The other day I was in Lush and I was so tempted to take a peek at their bath jellies. They were not on my radar until you started talking about them. Definitely a must-try for 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This post took friggin forever to do! 😛 But yeah, go big or go home, man.

      Yeah I figured even if I didn’t find anything outstanding in those categories, they’re good placeholders for future lists. And, when I do my all time HG list, it can help guide those categories too! 🙂 Copy away!

      The Tartelette Tease is great but a bit limiting. And when I compare a $15 palette vs a $30 palette, the quality and colours are really similar (side note, omg, the Tartet palette was $25 when I got it last April, it’s now $30! Damn that exchange rate).

      I’m using another LUSH bath jelly right now, the lemon one. SO FRESH! It is the ultimate waker-uper. XD

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I will do my HG list soon-ish… maybe before the end of the 1st quarter of 2017! XD

          $5 difference on a $25 item… that’s 20%! I should really check the prices of all of my staples… how annoying.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. And, that top coat also works on non-Essie polishes too. Just FYI. It doesn’t make non-Gel Couture polishes 14 days but it does work well and dries really fast too. I was so impressed.


    1. I love the sharing of best of lists since these are recommended by my peers rather than “advertised to”.
      Thanks for linking me to yours! Off to read! 😀 (I don’t mind long lists!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a lot of good looking products in there and I like the longer post with everything in one place. The Tony moly Panda eyes was one I found this year and lush shower jellies have been a favourite of mine for years, it’s so versatile and works so well. I’ve been trying to do a best of 2016 post but I keep remembering new things I use every day I forgot about finding last year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really challenging to try to remember at the end of the year, that’s why this year I did quarterly favourites, which helped a LOT to prepare this list. I also went through all my empties posts to see how I rated those products too. I’d love to read a best of 2016 from you!


  4. Such a thorough post…I loved reading it! 🙂 I’m a big fan of the Maybelline Lash Sensational as well (I have short, straight Asian lashes and this one keeps them curled forever). Also a fan of the Covergirl TruNaked roses palette…it surprised me because I never had luck with the brand’s eyeshadow quads so it was a great surprise. My favorite eyeshadow primer I discovered in 2016 was definitely Essence’s I Heart Stage one. It’s literally $3 and works just as well as my Too Faced one in terms of longevity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed! I was really surprised by some drugstore gems this year. I’m never one to blindly praise high-end products but I was more blown away with the drugstore products this year than high-end.
      I’ve tried the Essence eye primer – it’s quite good! I was surprised too. I like how it colour corrects / conceals too. Might need to pick it up again.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. YES YES YES to the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm! It has changed my skincare game, and is just so comfortable to use. This is gonna be a hugely unpopular opinion but I think the Lash Sensational mascara is just okay for me, but bare in mind, I have a crap lash base. I will have to try it again though maybe.

    The H&M sponge sounds interesting to me…I actually do need some new sponges. I use Real Techniques but would be a good chance for me to try something new soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That Clinique balm is so effective, and I love that it’s not scented and no-frills. It just works! Plus, now I don’t have to tote around cleansing oils when I travel.
      Mascaras are hugely personal. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the Maybelline Lash Sensational because I’ve had a terrible record with Maybelline mascaras (I much prefer CoverGirl mascaras in general). Give it another whirl but if it doesn’t work for you, it just doesn’t!
      The H&M sponge is more squishy compared to the Real Techniques – I find the RT one to be more dry and airy which tends to soak up more product. I also much prefer a rounded shape rather than the harsh edge of the RT.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My favourite mascara formulas are all Japanese, either from Dolly wink or Heroine Make. I have yet to find a favourite as far as Western brands go!

        RT sponges are the only sponges I’ve used to be honest so who knows, my opinion will probably change regarding RT once I explore more!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Tried the Lash Sensational again yesterday…Simple answer: nope! Just doesn’t do anything for me so I don’t understand the hype lol. I guess cos my lashes are naturally really flat so unless they hold the curl and length, it’s useless for me.

            Btw – went shopping today. Got the H&M sponges under your recommendation 😄


  6. Stashy! How do you keep track of all the new products you are trying?
    I tend to forget about things unless I majorly like them or dislike them.
    Have heard such great things about the Maybelline Lash Sensation Mascara.And that Covergirl palette looks gorgeous! I just don’t want eye shadow often enough to buy palette :S

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s helped a lot that I did those quarterly favourites posts. Also, I look back at the reviews that I did this year as well as all the empties posts. And, I have that cosmetics inventory spreadsheet that I keep, and that helps a lot! Here’s the post on that:

      I’ve mentioned to you before but I wear eye shadow almost daily! It’s just a habit now! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I JUST got some Lavanila deodorant to try! The other aluminum free deodorants I’ve tried all have something that I don’t like (texture, number of applications necessary, etc.) so I’m excited to see that this one has worked out for you 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you’ll like it! I tried 4 other kinds of natural deodorants in 2016 and like you, they all fell short due to various aspects. The Lavanila one came out on top because it is easy to apply, feels creamy smooth and it works.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the way you broke everything down and categorised it all – organised or what! I’m definitely going to re-read some of your reviews and decide if I’m going to try any of these products 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found this helpful! It took a whole to organize and link everything but it was worth it! Now I can use this as a reference myself. I hope you’ll find some things to try! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your best of 2016 list! So many great products you have on it. I’ve always wanted to try the Garnier whole blends shampoo and conditioner. Brave is a wonderful shade too! One of my faves! I’ve been using the Lavanila deodorant too. I have the Pure Vanilla, and I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I love the smell of the Garnier shampoo – I want to try them all! I haven’t tried the Pure Vanilla scent of the Lavanila deodorant – I’ll likely try that one next! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The Maybelline Lash Sensation Mascara was once my favorite until I discovered Covergirl The Super Sizer. I still reach for the Maybelline Lash Sensation Mascara when I know I need a serious lash protection that will last all day may it be rain or shine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the SuperSizer a lot too but there was such a learning curve with that one – the Lash Sensation is good right from the get go. Actually for me, the SuperSizer lasts longer than the Lash Sensation!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I remember your article about the deodorant, I’m going to search for it beacuse I’m really in need of a good, aluminum free, deodorant that works. Since years I’m using crystal deo. I started to use them when I first got pregnant and couldn’t stand any smells of perfumes. But now I think I need something different. I’ll definately have a look and see if I can find this one somewhere. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried the crystal deodorant once and it didn’t do anything for me! I hope you can get your hands on the Lavanila one – it’s just the best that I’ve tried. I’ll probably try out other brands since I’m curious.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Aww yay – glad that coco loco made it into your faves of the year, I really need to get myself another I ran out in November and haven’t repurchased yet! If you need a dealer let me know ha –
    Also so glad Brave is a favourite, I knew you’d like it!
    My local H&M finally got a beauty section so I’ll look out for that sponge – I do have too many on the go at the moment though thanks to the sponge showdown I think I have about 10, I need to get rid of a few before getting some more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m rationing that Coco Loco!!! I only use it if I have an important meeting that particular day. 😛
      When I looked at all the new lipsticks I tried, the MAC Brave was just the best all-rounder. I understand why it’s so popular!
      Haha, I’ve been accumulating makeup sponges too. I just realized that I’ve had my Beauty Blender for almost THREE years so it was time to toss.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great list!! I’m glad you didn’t do a 2-part. Lol. I want Becca’s Under Eye Brightening Corrector so bad! Does it crease with Setting powder or is it better without? You know I love MUJI’s toner, thanks to you! My H&M has yet to add a beauty section. MAC Brave just might be the one that changes how I fell forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Becca under eye corrector needs to be set with powder – it’s quite emollient.
      I heard that H&M Beauty seems to be closing some of the departments here in Canada. They’re now only going to be available in downtown Toronto but not any of the other surrounding stores. I wonder if their things aren’t selling well? 😦
      Maybe! MAC Brave could be that ONE! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. FIRST of all…let me say that I LOVE this format. It was so easy to be able to read through and nice that you referenced the corresponding blog post for easy reference.

    The things I want to try would be the Clinique Cleansing Balm, the MUJI Toner (picking that up tomorrow when I go to Square One!), Paula’s Choice Eye Cream, Clarins Lip Oil…and I think that’s it LOL. It’s so weird because I’ve grown to truly trust your product suggestions and feel confident just throwing my money around without much thought other than #StashyMadeMeDoIt

    Side Note: I remember following along with your deodorant journey for a while and then dropped off for some reason (I blame pregnancy lol). Are you completely off of drugstore aluminum based deodorants? Also, how long do you think it took your body to adjust to the less chemically based versions?

    Side Note 2: Random, I know…but I signed up for email alerts of your posts (I’m just not good at remembering to come every day, I’m sorry!) but for some reason, I don’t get them 😦 Do you have any idea why?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you found this helpful Belinda! It took a long time to narrow down the products and type up the post so it was coherent and easy to navigate! 🙂
      Haha, you can squarely blame me for your beauty purchases, that’s fine! 😛 I really hope that you’ll like them!

      Yes, I’m completely off aluminum based deodorants now! It took my body probably 2 months to really adjust. That’s why I think the winter months are the best time to go down this path. One of the new sensations I had to get used to is having wet armpits. I always lived in fear that wet = BO. But now using the Lavanila deodorant, I don’t have to worry anymore.

      I have no clue why the email alerts aren’t working for you! I don’t personally manage them – they’re through WordPress. Maybe they’re going into your junk mail? My friends subscribe to my posts via email and they’re receiving them fine.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. YAY for this Becca Brigtener 😊 The Surratt Curler is on my wishlist but I’m hesitant because I rarely curl my lashes…like maybe once a week when I remember so I’m not sure I’d get value. But maybe it would encourage me to do it more? Lol. Loved your favorites- our formats were so similar hehe ❤️️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re lucky you don’t NEED to curl your lashes! It’s a must for me.
      I know, when I was reading your post, I noticed the similarities in our formats too! Great minds think alike, I suppose! 😉


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