December 23, 2015

It’s once again that time of the year, when we look back on the past year in beauty and reflect on what we loved, what really worked for us, and what didn’t. We always believe in sharing the good stuff we found – so here are the 10 launches from this year that have become our favourites.


1. Hada Labo UV Perfect Gel

hada labo

When you first open the jar, this looks like really thick, white sunblock. It actually comes with SPF 50+/PA++++ UV protection, but we think of this more of a day moisturiser that happens to double up as sunscreen. Despite its appearances, what really pleasantly surprised us about this was how it melts into the skin so quickly, and actually leaves it feeling really soft – and with none of the chalky residue you might find in some sunscreens. This is still very much in our daily regime, and we plan to keep it there.

$35.90, available at Watsons and Guardian stores.


2. 111SKIN Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask

111skin mask

This definitely is the most expensive sheet mask we’ve tried – and to be honest, we also questioned initially what a sheet mask must contain to come with a price tag of more than US$100 for a pack of five. But when we put it on, we realised the gel texture of the mask fit our facial contours better than any other mask ever has. The key to this is in the fibres that are as fine as tissue, which help the mask adhere gently to the skin, allowing the hydrating, brightening and firming ingredients to be better absorbed by the skin, which really did feel significantly more hydrated after.

US$168, available on net-a-porter.com


3. Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask


It’s become a nighttime routine we look forward to: Apply this right before bed, and wake up with skin that we want to keep touching, because it just feels that soft. Although this nighttime mask feels rich, it absorbs into the skin quicker than we expected, while leaving a corset-like effect on the face to firm it up.

$144, available at Fresh stores and Sephora.


4. ettusais Premium Amino Essence Foundation

ettusais premium


What we really ask of a foundation is it achieves the texture it promises, and lasts a decent number of hours. This ettusais Premium liquid foundation does exactly that – one layer leaves a subtly dewy finish, and it’s really easy to blend it evenly over the whole face. And, no shiny patches even by the end of the day. We couldn’t ask for more.

$40, available at ettusais stores.


5. Lancôme Blanc Expert Cushion Compact


Lancôme was one of the first Western brands to launch a cushion compact, after AmorePacific, proprietor of the cushion technology, started selling it. To be honest, we were initially hesitant about non-Korean brands trying their hands at cushions – after all, what can come close to the cult status of Laneige’s version? – but this one performs surprisingly well. We like that it’s a foundation cushion instead of BB Cushion, so it provides the coverage that traditional cushions tend to lack. The finish is even and nicely luminous.

$75, available at Lancôme counters.


6. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

urban decay

This concealer has earned the honour of being in our daily makeup pouch, to the point where we feel lost without it. The texture is feather-light, but it’s able to provide sufficient coverage for dark eye circles and blemishes – so no risk of strange-looking patches here. The doe-foot applicator also makes application quick and convenient.

$40, available at Urban Decay stores and Sephora.


7. NARS Dual-Intensity Blush


Boy, were we excited when we first laid eyes on these. Blushes in the prettiest colour combinations, with the option of wearing wet or dry, depending on the kind of colour intensity you want. While they look incredibly pigmented in the pan, we find that these colours go on nice and sheer, for a natural-looking flush. Our favourite shade has to be Jubilation, which has yellow gold and rose gold highlighters that look so pretty on the skin.

$68, available at NARS counters.


8. Majolica Majorca For Romantic Night Perfect Auto Liner 

majolica majorca

This is a brush-tip liquid liner that dispenses the product with the turn of a dial. The colour is a gorgeous, dark shimmery violet, and it’s truly sweat and sebum-resistant. The brush tip is fine enough for you to draw your lines precisely as well. Wearing this shade will get you lots of compliments, trust us.

$27.90, available as part of the Lash Expander Edge Meister and Perfect Auto Liner set at Watsons.


9. L’Oréal Paris False Lash Miss Manga (Waterproof)


This actually works for short, poker-straight lashes. The key here is really the arched brush, which is able to comb through even small lashes, and significantly lengthen them. The waxy waterproof formula also helps to hold the curl in place.

$22.90, available at Watsons and Guardian.


10. Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet


Our favourite luxury lipstick of the year, the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet has a matte finish that’s not at all drying. Also, we love the way you click the end of the glossy black tube to reveal the lipstick inside. We highly recommend La Mystérieuse, a rose with coppery accents.

$48, available at Chanel Beauty stores and counters.