Staff Picks: Our best (and worst) finds in 2017

Working at Project Vanity means I have to stay updated about the newest products and latest trends, and I think it's amazing that there's always more for me to learn about! Because of this constant exposure, I've become a lot meticulous about adding to my beauty stash and I feel that it's really paying off. Together with the other PV girls, we've discovered quite a few HGs in the past year! We've raved about some of them in posts here on PV and on the Facebook group but we're still so #shookt about how good these finds are so we're recapping them here together with the disappointments that landed in our trash.

Den: 2017 saw the start of what looks to be a life-long love affair with chemical exfoliation, and the CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is the starting point. Seeing results after a single usage truly blew me away, and my life is forever changed by the power of acids! There were two other HGs that helped make it work though: the In Her Element Low pH Rose Gel Cleanser prepped my skin while the lightweight formula of Human Nature's Hydrating Face Toner kept it from drying out. The improvement in my skin allows me to go foundation-free but not being perfect, I can easily apply The SAEM Cover Perfection Tip Concealer on any imperfections - the coverage is amazing for an unbelievably cheap price! I'm also able to quickly fill in my brows with the B. by Banila Truetrick Brow Auto Pencil, as the formula is super easy to work with and gives me natural-looking brows with little effort.

Unfortunately, I forgot to include the Collagen by Watsons Instant Finishing Cream in the photo but that was really such a pleasant surprise. A few people in the PV community ended up getting it because of the review and one of them shared that it looked almost exactly like her high-end illuminating primer! I'm so glad that it really works and not just for me!

The only truly bad product that I encountered last year was the Senka Perfect Whip that I tried before discovering low pH cleansers. My skin got so dry and tight with just one usage, and it was so awfully harsh that it even ruined my makeup brushes because I felt hinayang. After that incident, I just threw it into the trash because I wouldn't even pass that on to my worst enemy.


Tellie: 2017 has been the year of skincare epiphanies, with mine being appropriate layering and the use of acids. I realized that I didn't have to follow a Korean 10-step for great skin, and that acids and actives benefit me so much more than five additional layers. I'd still want to explore more actives, but so far retinoid is a non-negotiable for me. 

The worst was the Gudetama All Kill Sheet. Gett can give a notarized account of how I lost my sanity in Holika Holika over the Gudetama collection when we were in Korea. I wish she held me back because most of the skincare stuff I hauled was awful! The Guetama All Kill Shit (not a typo) should be cremated and the ashes should be reburnt. This is awful. The cleansing sheet is unbelievably detergent-like, and the mask doesn't even lay on the skin.

Crystal: I love facial mists and setting sprays but I never thought of using them together. I use a facial mist after I do my makeup and when my face is completely dry, I layer with a setting spray. I find that this move helps keep my makeup in place longer than setting spray alone!

Stacie asked me to try the Miniso Hyaluronic Acid Toner but it reeked of alcohol so much it you could clean your tables with it! Absolutely not putting that on my face. Yuck!

Gett: I’ve been loving gel pencil liners so much this year! I always used liquid liners but when I got hold of Happy Skin’s Eye Am Here To Stay liner, I stopped using anything else. I just love how it's so easy to use, and how creamy and pigmented the formula is! Another fave is from a Taiwanese brand called Miss Hana.

Cleansing oils are my jam but, man, if I had to use Mumuso’s Green Tea Cleansing Oil I’d rather run the other way. Trying this cleansing oil made me ensure to read labels more. It was waaay too rich for my skin. For around P200, I suggest to pick up Biore’s or Garnier’s micellar water instead.

Claire: I nabbed myself a Foreo Luna Play Plus during one of Sephora's sitewide sales. I could not believe how much this little device has changed my skin! I wish I had invested in one much, much earlier as it makes all my skincare products absorb and work better. This in turn lets my makeup sit so much better on my skin. Plus, I started seeing visible results even when I pared down my after-cleansing skin care to the humble aloe vera gel and grape seed oil. If you have sensitive combination skin and have yet to try the best way to cleanse and exfoliate, this just might be the answer.

There's no one product that I hated, but the worst ingredient I found this year was witch hazel extract. I've had my suspicions about it not working for me a couple of years back, but I finally confirmed it this year. I tried out a couple of products without checking the ingredients list and broke out in places I don't usually get pimples in (cheeks and temples). Lo and behold, both products contained witch hazel rather high on the ingredients lists. I am so jealous of those who achieve awesome results with this as my skin just abhors it!


Sam: The NARS liquid blushes have solidified my love for cheek colors and this formula is perfect if you want to achieve a multitude of looks, from a wash of color, to full-on Igari. It lasts all day, never destroys base texture, and the color selection is great. (The ladies from NARS told me they're bringing Luster, Dolce Vita, and Torrid to our shores this year!) Aside from that, I've also said good bye to my crusty skin and blackheads with Cure Natural Aqua Gel and CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid.

Unfortunately, the 499-peso Happy Skin Air Touch Sponge feels more like a Daiso iteration with its toughness. There's probably a market for a hard sponge that's tough to clean and never thoroughly blends makeup, but probably not at the P499 level. Sorry?

Did you find any HG-worthy products last year? Or what did you love to hate? Let us know what's in your lists!