The 56 Best Beauty Products Launched In 2016 — According To The Pros

The year 2016 has been a roller coaster. We've had our highs, and we've definitely had our crushing lows. But on the beauty side of things, it's pretty hard to deny that this has been a year to remember. Boys broke boundaries, hijab-clad women made strides in mainstream cosmetics, and natural hair rocked runways. Oh, and we tried scores of innovative new products that ascended the ranks to holy-grail status.

Every year around this time, we call upon editors, makeup artists, and hairstylists to look back on all the products that launched in the past 12 months and pick their favorites. We're talking serums that changed our skin, highlighters that carved cheekbones, and lipsticks that made our confidence soar. Here, we present the best products from 2016 — and there are a ton — according to the pros.
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Cat Quinn, Beauty Director At Refinery29
"I feel like we got to a point where all we cared about was how long our liquid lipstick lasted — and were willing to put up with bad smells, weird packaging, sketchy ingredients, and uncomfortable finishes to get there. This cream returns us to the luxurious magic of lipstick. Yes, it lasts for hours — but it's also soft, never flaky, and comes in a beautiful case. Just a reminder to never settle, ladies."

Giorgio Armani Lip Magnet Liquid Lipstick, $38, available at Sephora.
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"You know how some body oils feel amazing, but smell like the inside of a weed shop? Not this stuff. Somehow, it smells exactly like clean, fresh lotion — but in a dry-oil form that leaves skin silky and grease-free."

Nivea Nourishing Body Oil, $12.99, available at CVS.
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"'Babe, your eyes look so beautiful. You should wear that shadow every day for the rest of your life.' And that, my friends, is the story of how my boyfriend proposed to this Dior palette before me."

Dior 5 Couleurs Splendor Holiday Limited Edition Palette, $63, available at Dior.
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"True story: I once asked an Airbnb guest to help me spray-tan my back. I'm not proud of that. This in-shower lotion is a lot easier to use — and a hell of a lot less awkward."

St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Tanning Lotion in Medium, $25, available at Sephora.
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"I love that this high-shine cream helps me create the perfect, low power bun — with absolutely no frizz or flyaways. But what I love more? The fact that it sneakily moisturizes my hair all day when I'm wearing it."

R+Co High Dive Moisture + Shine Crème, $27, available at R+Co.
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Lexy Lebsack, West Coast Beauty Editor At Refinery29
"We tested these new gel polishes when they came out — and they did not disappoint. In fact, they're some of the best lacquers I've tried and I've been using them for months now. Read: They last and last and last. I am not convinced you actually need to follow the entire system — even just the top coat is clutch for making any manicure last longer."

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in Sit Me In the Front Row, $11.50, available at Essie.
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"I was a bit unsure of these creamy tints when I first tried them — but now I'm obsessed. I use the Taupe color to carve out my eyelid using a small, stiff brush, and the result is long-lasting and natural-looking. I can't wait to try the rest of the shades."

Giorgio Armani Eye Tint, $39, available at Sephora.
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"This creamy powder formula is so damn flattering. Seriously, I never thought I'd love pink on my eyes, but then I found this baby. I gravitate towards the second and fourth shades on my lids — and use the last two hues as liner, too."

CoverGirl TruNaked Roses Eyeshadow Palette, $11.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"This mist makes my skin feel fresh and soft — and can be sprayed over makeup (as a quick refresh) or over just-cleansed skin to add some hydration."

Skin Inc. Pure Serum-Mist, $55, available at Sephora.
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"This mask saved my hair from a little too much bleach this year. And by a little, I mean a lot. Reversing major damage is next to impossible, but this formula helped smooth and soften my strands in a big way."

Kérastase Resistance Masque Thérapiste, $65, available at Kérastase.
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"Behold: the only texture spray that I love as much as my beloved Sachajuan Volume Powder. It beefs up strands and makes hair look lived-in and cool — but doesn't get dry or brittle if you apply too much, like many texture sprays."

Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, $26, available at Ouai.
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Alix Tunell, Senior Beauty Editor At Refinery29
"I never thought a fragrance could compete with my love for Tom Ford's Jasmin Rouge, but by god, this one does. I reached for it solely because it had a cool, mystical name, not expecting it would be the sexiest jasmine I've ever tried. Now I use it every morning."

Atelier Bloem Half Moon Eau de Parfum, $195, available at Barneys New York.
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"I never met a highlighter I even remotely liked until this one. It's the perfect size to glide across your cheekbones, it blends in easily when you tap, tap, tap it with your fingers, and it never looks sparkly in the sun."

Glossier Haloscope Face Highlighter in Quartz, $22, available at Glossier.
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"I'm going to go ahead and say something really bold: This is better than Oribe's famous Dry Texturizing Spray. I know, I know, I love that one, too, but it sprays out with firehose force and is prone to leaving my hair feeling a little hard. The Living Proof spray expands my waves in an instant, keeps them from falling flat all day, and adds tousled, cool, airy texture. If I didn't have time to do my hair and it's looking blah at work, I just hit it with this and rake my fingers in it and all is right again."

Living Proof
Full Dry Volume Blast, $29, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Dawn Davis, Beauty Director At Total Beauty
"This mascara has a flat comb instead of a brush. It lets you get in really close to the lashline for a liner-like effect, and it combs through lashes for a clean, minimalist look. It's become my go-to on weekends when I don't want to wear any other makeup."

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara, $9.49, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"I'm a complete freak about SPF, and I test every new formula. (Though I'll only use physical sunblocks — made with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide — on my face.) This one is silky, slightly tinted, and super-moisturizing thanks to coconut oil — definitely my favorite of the year."

Karyng by Dr. Karyn Grossman Complete SPF 50, $79, available at Karyng.
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"So many beautiful perfumes launched this year, but there's something extra-special about Phlur. It has a direct-to-consumer, Warby Parker-esque model, the scents are unique, and the bottles are gorgeous. Moab is spicy and cool, like a dreamy desert road trip."

Phlur Moab, $85, available at Phlur.
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"I'm a body-lotion slacker. Most of the time I can't be bothered, but keeping this in my shower is saving my scaly legs this winter. You apply it to damp skin, it absorbs instantly, and for some reason, it just seems faster and easier than using regular lotion."

Curél Hydratherapy Wet Skin Moisturizer, $10.99, available at Target.
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Katie Mellinger, Makeup Artist
"I am completely obsessed with RMS Living Luminizer — it's rare that I do a makeup application and don't use it. So I was beyond stoked when the brand released this new shade. I love that it has a more golden undertone and shimmery finish. Having an arsenal of highlighter options in my kit is essential, and this is a new fave!"

RMS Magic Luminizer, $38, available at Sephora.
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"Kjær Weis' lipsticks are seriously gorgeous. 'Brilliant' is the perfect modern nude. It works for a wide range of skin tones without reading too pink. 'Red' is the perfect go-to red. It packs a punch, but is also great if you're a red-lipstick-every-day kind of person. I'm glad to see natural lines upping their lipstick game, and Kjær Weis does not disappoint."

Kjær Weis Lipstick in Brilliant, $56, available at Kjær Weis.
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"Liquid lipsticks can be tricky. Application can be difficult and they often dry super-matte, making them a little uncomfortable on the lips. That's not the case with these. The doe-foot applicator makes it easy to apply, and the formula is nice and even. They have hardcore staying power and come in every color you could possibly need. The range of nudes is particularly nice."

Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint, $20, available at Tarte.
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"First of all: This brand rules. I was already addicted to their body oil (Jasmine + Néroli is my favorite), but then [the brand] went and put shimmer in it and I just lost my mind. It smells amazing, and is organic, vegan, and plant-derived. Oh, and the packaging is adorable. Whenever I pull it out of my kit, I get a lot of oohs and aahs. I love the Lumière in Moonlight for both red carpet and editorial. It really gives the body that extra-beautiful highlight."

French Girl Organics Lumière Body Oil in Moonlight, $45, available at Catbird.
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Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer At Refinery29
"I tried a record number of concealers and foundations this year, but this one stood out. Unlike most tinted moisturizers, which veer dewy and luminous, this one has a velvety finish, which is ideal for my oily skin. Not fishin' here, but I don't get compliments on my skin that often. When I do, it's almost always when I'm wearing a sheer layer of this stuff."

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint, $44, available at NARS Cosmetics.
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"This palette, like many of Too Faced's launches, received an insane amount of hype when it launched. So, when I finally got my hands on it, I had pretty high expectations — and I'm happy to report that they were all met. All 18 shadows in this palette have incredible pigment with very little fallout. Plus, the shade assortment is ideal. It's got a great mixture of warm shimmery and matte neutrals, with a few pops of color thrown into the mix."

Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette, $49, available at Too Faced.
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"Maybelline's first collection of Loaded Bold Lipsticks launched over the summer, and I was blown away. The formula is highly pigmented and has a velvety-matte finish that feels like a balm on the lips. It also has a strange ability to fade evenly into a stain as you wear it. It's honestly just as good (if not better) than every high-end lipstick I own."

Maybelline ColorSensational Loaded Bold Lipstick in Dynamite Red, $5.31, available at Target.
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"Earlier this year, I wrote a lengthy love letter to this lightweight liquid lippie by beauty mogul Huda Kattan. Months later, it's still my favorite liquid formulation to date. It feels comfortable on my lips all day and never gets crusty."

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick, $20, available at Sephora.
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"I almost exclusively use drugstore mascaras. My philosophy is: Why shell out for a pricey tube when you have to replace it every four months? This mascara is one of my favorites. It lengthens, defines, and volumizes — all while holding a curl."

Catrice Glamour Doll Volume Mascara Waterproof, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"I'm a huge fan of this brand's Honey Potion mask, but I think this multipurpose balm takes the cake. In all my years as a beauty aficionado, it's the only over-the-counter salve that actually manages to soothe my eczema and keep me from scratching."

Farmacy Honey Savior All-In-One Skin Repair Salve, $34, available at Farmacy.
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"Yes, I've decided to include a deodorant in my list of yearly favorites. I'm a fan of aluminum-free formulas and am always looking for the next best thing. I've been using this one since July and have been so impressed with its stink-stopping abilities. But, apart from its incredible citrusy smell, it's also a joy to apply. The gel formula cools the skin on contact, making it a refreshing option to slick on — especially during a heat wave."

Arrow Protect Aluminum-Free Deodorant, $9, available at Birchbox.
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"Until I tried this cream, I had always associated spot treatments with drying gels that sucked the life out of skin. This one, though, is the complete opposite. The active ingredient, sulfur, is a gentle acne-fighter known for its oil-absorbing and antibacterial properties. Plus, it actually manages to soothe and hydrate thanks to the glycerin and aloe vera in the formula."

Kiehl's Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment, $28, available at Kiehl's.
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Hallie Gould, Senior Editor At Byrdie
"I’ve never met a foundation that so genuinely lived up to its moniker— it’s pure magic. At this point, I won’t use anything else. The velvety formula covers everything from discoloration to redness to dullness to breakouts. That, and it’s almost just as protective and anti-aging as your favorite moisturizer."

Charlotte Tilbury
Magic Foundation, $44, available at Nordstrom.
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"Milk Makeup’s clear, non-sticky face gloss allows you to subtly highlight all your best features without looking too 'done.' Just a quick [dab] on the cheekbones, lids, and Cupid’s bow, and my cool-girl, no-makeup makeup fantasies are fulfilled."

Milk Makeup Face Gloss, $20, available at Milk Makeup.
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"I use this highly concentrated oil (a little goes a long way) to remedy my sad, dry winter skin. It’s a blend of broccoli, flaxseed, and daikon radish that leaves my face feeling properly moisturized and shockingly supple."

Elemis Superfood Facial Oil, $72, available at Nordstrom.
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"I love to use RMS Beauty’s new Eye Polish as a sheer, sparkly wash over my lids when I’m feeling sassy. It’s easy to smudge on with your fingers, and even moisturizes like an eye cream to boot."

RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Lucky, $28, available at RMS Beauty.
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Sam Sasso, Beauty Editorial Assistant At Refinery29
"I use a lot of different dry shampoos, but this one wins out almost every time. When a new product is failing me or my natural hair feels limp, I spritz this all over my roots. [Hairstylist] Mark Townsend once said you can never have too much dry shampoo, and I believe him. Plus, it cuts out the need for a texture and volume spray — this gives you that lift and wave all in one."

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, $44, available at Birchbox.
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"I'll never be able to get enough of Chloé's perfumes. I used to secretly spritz from my roommate's bottle when she went to class, and the rest is history — I've been hooked since. This one fits somewhere in the middle of potent and discreet, so no matter the occasion, outfit, or mood I'm in, this scent matches."

Chloé Fleur de Parfum, $132, available at Sephora.
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"Whenever I find a hair-care bottle that has the word 'reparative' on it, I'm sucked in immediately. This shampoo made everything so much better for my dry hair, so I consider myself #blessed. No matter how long I went without a fresh cut or neglected my strands with hot tools, this shampoo brought it back to life."

Ouai Repair Shampoo, $28, available at Ouai.
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"I discovered this entire product line over the summer, and my sunburned, damaged skin felt rejuvenated after just one week of trying it. There's one product that really stood out, though: the essence. This is actually the first essence I've really maintained in a routine, because its heavier consistency makes me believe it can deliver better results than the watery options on the market. (I have no real proof for this, but it's what I tell myself.) I smooth a few drops of it over my entire face morning and night, and instantly have a radiant glow."

Lancôme Énergie de Vie Intense Essence, $50, available at Lancôme.
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Kelsey Castañon, Beauty News Editor At Refinery29
"I’m the laziest beauty editor around, and I love a good one-and-done product. So, when it comes to my brows, I usually consider brow gels with a mini spoolie brush on the end the easiest to use. Then, I met this pencil. You seriously can’t go wrong. It’s buildable, which means I’ll never apply too much pigment; and the slanted tip makes gliding over (and filling in) the area a breeze."

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil, $24, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"This mask has changed my hyper-sensitive skin, and now I don’t know what I’d do without it. Whenever I feel a breakout coming on (or after my face freaks out from a too-harsh treatment or cream), I slap this bad boy on. Instant relief — every single time."

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque, $55, available at SkinCeuticals.
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Billy Del Russo, Hairstylist At Craft Hair Studio
"Ouai products have become so popular this year. One of the brand's products that I always have in my kit is the finishing crème. It's that perfect final touch to your style. It adds shine, smooths, polishes dry ends, and creates separation."

Ouai Finishing Crème, $24, available at Sephora.
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"The Beachwaver added two new additions to the family this year. Originally, only the 1-inch barrel size was available, but now you can get wands a quarter-inch smaller and a quarter-inch larger than the original. The Beachwaver .75 is ideal for anyone with shorter hair or textured hair who wants to polish up their curls. The 1.25 is great for those with longer hair or anyone who wants a looser curl or wave."

The Beachwaver S.75 Curling Iron, $129, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Kristie Dash, Senior Editor At Obsessee
"I have so many positive memories associated with Chanel No. 5. I've always loved the scent, but it's always been too strong for everyday wear. This L'Eau was meant to refresh the original version (a difficult feat!), and I think Olivier Polge did just that."

Chanel No. 5 L'Eau, $100, available at Sephora.
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"This might sound dramatic, but this collaboration made my entire year. I've sworn by Shu Uemura Essence Absolue for almost five years (I use it every time I wash my hair), so the fact that my favorite hair product now comes adorned with Murakami flowers is the best thing ever."

Shu Uemura x Murakami Essence Absolue, $69, available at Shu Uemura.
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Elisa Flowers, Makeup Artist
"Skin Inc's Pure Revival Peel is a wonderful and convenient exfoliator for combating flaky skin on the go. One pump onto fingertips, and after a couple of seconds of rubbing, dry patches flake off and beautiful skin shines through. All of Skin Inc's products are so hydrating and gentle."

Skin Inc Pure Revival Peel, $55, available at Sephora.
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"Make Up For Ever Face and Body was one of my favorite foundations until they revamped the formula and created the Water Blend Foundation. This foundation doesn't mask the skin. Instead, it subtly smooths tone and texture. It's best suited for those desiring a light, dewy coverage."

Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation, $43, available at Make Up For Ever.
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"Magnif'Eyes Stay True Shadow plus 24HR Kohl Kajal Liner from Rimmel London really impressed me in 2016. One side of this dual-ended, waterproof pencil is a gel-like eyeliner and the other side is a creamy eyeshadow. The eyeliner and creamy shadow glide on and blend easily and don't smudge when set. I used the blue side of the Dark Side of the Blue pencil on Amanda Steele for an event, and we all loved how vivid and modern the color was on her. All five of the pencil's colors are absolutely gorgeous and look fantastic on most skin tones."

Rimmel London Magnif'Eyes, $6.99, available at Walgreens.
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"MAC's Big Brow Pencil is a foolproof, mechanical crayon that fills in brows with a sheer veil of waxy pigment. I like that the wax also holds the hairs gently in place and that the coverage is buildable, creating a natural-looking brow. The colors that I use the most are warm shades of brown that look pretty and modern: Spiked (a dark brown) and Cork (a light brown). There's also a bonus sharpener at the end of the pencil if you find that your tip is getting dull."

MAC Big Brow Pencil, $21, available at MAC.
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Sara Tan, West Coast Fashion & Beauty Editor At Bustle
"I feel like 2016 was the year of custom everything — custom shampoo, custom vitamins, and now, custom foundation. The technology behind Lancôme's Le Teint Particulier blows my mind. They use this tiny handheld gadget to not only detect your exact skin color, but to also determine your skin type within seconds. From there, a machine will create a shade that's completely unique to you. Most importantly, it goes on flawlessly and feels and looks like your skin, only WAY better."

Lancôme Le Teint Particulier Custom Foundation, $80, available at select Nordstrom stores.
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"I'm all about instant gratification, so the first time Kerry Benjamin of Stacked Skincare dermaplaned (a.k.a. shaved) my face and revealed an instantly glowy complexion, I was sold. The best part? She developed a tool that I could use at home between appointments. I use it on myself every couple weeks to get rid of peach fuzz and dead skin cells. Immediately after, my skin is brighter and glowier."

Stacked Skincare Dermaplaning Tool, $75, available at Stacked Skincare.
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"I love everything Glow Recipe's Christine Chang and Sarah Lee recommend, but this hydrating K-beauty essence truly takes the cake. It firms, smooths, and plumps your skin overnight, thanks to artichoke-leaf extract. What's more, it smells so clean and refreshing. I couldn't love it more."

(Ed. note: Yuri Pibu Artichoke Power Essence is currently sold out. Click here to be notified when it's restocked.)
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"As I get older, I'm becoming more and more obsessed with slathering my skin with as much sunscreen as possible, which has led me to try many different sunscreen products. By far, my favorite way to shield my skin is with this incredible anti-aging, anti-pollution serum from Supergoop. It's made with vitamin E, B5, and SPF 30. It also goes smoothly underneath my makeup, almost acting like a primer."

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum, $42, available at Supergoop!.
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Maria Del Russo, Beauty Editor At Refinery29
"This year, I went from being a makeup maximalist to more of a minimalist. This meant I was focusing more on skin care and cosmetics that looked less like makeup and more like I was just naturally gorgeous and angelic. (Isn't that the dream?) I hit the lottery when Tarte released their Lifted Sweatproof mascara. Meant to be worn to the gym, this formula is flexible and waterproof. But most of all, the shade is more of a brown-black than a jet-black. That means it simply coats my lashes instead of loading them up with black pigment. My lashes look natural and defined — and I'm a happy camper."

Tarte Lifted Sweatproof Mascara, $21, available at Tarte.
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"This year was also the year that I completely fell in love with fragrance. My go-to is Maison Margiela Replica in Lazy Sunday Morning, but since it's so light, it tends to fade by the end of the day. So when I heard that Margiela was releasing a duo of spritzes that would deepen the fragrance and lengthen the time it lasts, I was on board. What I didn't realize was that their filter Blur would become a go-to standalone fragrance of mine. It is the perfect spritz for when you want just a whisper of fragrance. But layer it with your other scents, and they'll last all day long. It might be the perfect mini-miracle."

Maison Margiela Replica Filter in Blur, $55, available at Sephora.
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"I used to be one of those people who ran screaming in the opposite direction whenever someone mentioned facial oils. As someone who once suffered from acne, I couldn't imagine putting more grease on my face. But then, I was introduced to Uma and its incredible line of oils — specifically this Ultimate Brightening formula. Made with orange and neroli essential oils, this golden bottle stimulates rapid cell turnover and evens out skin tone. I've now become obsessed with the brand's whole line, and even turned my colorist on to the body oil to help with her stretch marks while she was pregnant."

Uma Oils Ultimate Brightening Face Oil, $150, available at Uma Oils.
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"In my quest for a completely minimal beauty routine, I hit a wall when it came to hair. I wanted texture, but I also wanted hydration. This used to mean layering in a dry oil and then adding some kind of pomade. But then, the guys at IGK burst onto the scene with their new line of products, and my head was never the same. Rich Kid is a coconut-oil gel, which means it gives me the hydration I crave while also adding some major texture to my mane. It's perfect for woke-up-like-this hair — and who doesn't want that?"

IGK Rich Kit Coconut Oil Gel, $27, available at Sephora.
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