My Favorite Beauty Products of 2016

Kara Manos DC Beauty Blogger | Andrea Rodway Photography

For me, 2016 was the year of the lip. As I put together my favorite beauty products of 2016 I kept thinking of really great lip products that have not only taken over my vanity but my Louis Vuitton handbag as well. But I didn’t want my 2016 obsession to take over this list so I truly narrowed down my top makeup, hair, nail and skincare picks that I raved about earlier this year (or recently discovered) that I’m still using to this very day.

1. I never had a signature scent until I took a whiff of Joie Folle de Joie—which means “crazy with joy.” Just a few sprays of this woody and floral fragrance and it will transport you to the beaches of California or the romantic streets of Paris. It’s strong enough to leave a lasting impression yet light enough not to disturb any small space or cubicle. Joie discontinued the fragrance but you can still scoop up this fragrance in a gift set on the Birchbox website here.

2. Interviewing Drybar founder Alli Webb for my blog was definitely one of the highlights of 2016 for me. In case you missed it, you should read the Q&A because she had some awesome DIY hair advice. She also spilled on her go-to beauty products and The Chaser Shiner Cream has become my must-have for achieving gorgeous shine & texture.

3. It feels like every summer I’m obsessing over salt sprays and wave wands in hopes that my usually flat, lifeless hair will transform in to soft tresses. Ouai Wave Spray was the closest product I could rely on to get that look. The scent itself is addicting (think Italian lemon, amber and white musk) and paired with my trusty GHD Wave Wand, I was in business!

4. I expanded my mascara wardrobe this year and Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara easily became my go-to for luscious, dramatic lashes. I’m also going to plug another mascara I recently started using daily—Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara. This tube has some serious lash lengthening power and doesn’t leave me with any clumps—which make it a go-to for the work week.

Favorite Beauty Products of 2016 - Politics of Pretty

5. I think I was one of the last people hopping on the “color correcting” beauty trend earlier this year. But the best color-correcting product I still use to this day is Laura Geller Filter Finish Setting Powder. This super powder blurs away imperfections while setting makeup using four shades that work together to brighten, balance and illuminate my complexion.

6. OK, so I’m totally sneaking in one new product you haven’t heard me rave about until now. In an effort to become a Sephora VIB member I splurged on Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow (a cool pink) and I’m obsessed! I don’t think I’ve ever come across a blush that looks so natural yet so radiant on my fair complexion.

7. I tested a plethora of masks in 2016 but First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask easily ranks as one of the best masks I’ve discovered. This 10-minute gel mask smells like fresh cucumber while working to help nourish, calm, firm, plump, and refine skin.

Favorite beauty products of 2016 - Politics of Pretty

8. Buxom Full-on Lip Cream is perfect for work or weekend (or both!). Each creamy, no-shimmer tube is rich in color but still applies slightly sheer so you get just the right amount of coverage.

9. Earlier this fall OPI released its Washington DC Nail Polish Collection (in partnership with actress and activist Kerry Washington) and I fell in love with every single shade. From crimson reds to lush greens, this 15-piece palette perfectly reflected everything I love about the city I call home. You may have seen me sporting my favorite shade on Instagram right before the election.

10. Applying toner has never been a part of my skin routine—until Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic showed up on my doorstep. I use it in the morning between cleansing and moisturizing and it’s made a huge difference in my skin tone. Most exfoliating toners can dry out your skin but not this one—the Aloe Vera ingredient replenishes moisture instantly so you’re not left high and dry. They also have this in a travel-friendly version (think pre-soaked pads) so you can glow on the go!

You can shop my favorite beauty products right below!

What were your favorite beauty products of 2016?