Gina Vaynshteyn
December 24, 2016 9:00 am

When I get sad, I just hop online, type in “,” and buy myself a bright, new lipstick. It works every time! (Until I check my bank account, but let’s not talk about that.) Whether you’re a beauty junkie, or just dabble with drugstore go-tos, makeup has a special way of making your day a little bit more magical. And we needed all the magic we could get in 2016.

Here are the products the HG team loved the most this year:

1 Treat Beauty Jumbo Soft Candy Vanilla Buttercream Organic Lip Balm, $13.99

“When looking back on 2016, I can’t think of one day when my lips felt dry, cracked, or flakey. And it’s all because of this product. It leaves my lips feeling naturally kissable, emphasis on the naturally. When I put this product on in the morning and at night, it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything and, most importantly, doesn’t leave my super sensitive lips feeling bruised or irritated. In fact, I wrote a whole post about this balm because I love it that much. The best part: It’s not tested on animals!” -Anna Gragert, Associate Editor

2 Alpha Hydroxy Face Cream, $25

3 Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant from Paula’s Choice, $25-29

“These are super gentle leave-on exfoliators designed to make your complexion as bright and even as possible. I’ve noticed a BIG difference since implementing them into my daily routine and find my skin looks better both with or without makeup, which I love!” – Toria Sheffield, News Editor

4 Too Faced “Better Than Sex” mascara, $23


“I had heard this was a cult product and that beauty junkies were obsessed, so I finally tried it out and OMIGOD, it’s the best mascara ever. Don’t use this product if you don’t like thick lashes because this stuff will give you the THICKEST lashes. My only gripe is it’s sometimes too intense for the bottom lash line, but whatever. This is is the closest you’ll come to faux lashes without going faux.” -Madison Vanderberg, Senior Editor

5 MAC Selena lipstick in the shade Amor Prohibido

Alyssa Morin/HelloGiggles
“Not only do I adore Selena Quintanila, and was SUPER excited about a major brand like MAC creating this collection, but I truly loved the lipstick. The shade was a nice, neutral brown that had a hint of pink. I liked that it gave my lips a little extra OOMPH! Because it was a nude color with a sliver of shimmer it didn’t make me feel self-conscious about it getting all over my teeth. It also moisturized my pout and it applied smoothly! I really hope I can get my hands on another one when the collection comes out in early Jan.” -Alyssa Morin, Associate Beauty Editor

6 Wet n Wild’s Megalast Lip Color in Cherry Bomb, $2.19

“I am not the most ~proficient~ person when it comes to makeup artistry, but I really do love playing around with makeup. Because I am not super skilled, I pretty much exclusively buy the cheaper drugstore brands since I’m a little intimidated by the more luxe items. This year, I started using Wet n Wild’s incredibly affordable Megalast Lip Color in Cherry Bomb, which is a deep, vampy red. It helps me add some ~drama~ to my v. basic makeup routine — plus Wet n Wild is cruelty-free, and this specific product is paraben-free. Which makes it even better.” -Rachel Sanoff, Features Editor

7 Sachajuan Ocean Mist Spray, $31  

“For me, 2016 was the year of the sea salt spray. I used to never think this kind of product actually worked, but then I found Sachajuan’s Ocean Mist and it turned me into a full-blown believer. This stuff takes a nanosecond to apply, and suddenly my hair goes from a sad ball of yellow yarn to mermaid status. Bonus: It smells incredible. Anyone who’s around me while I spritz this on always asks ‘What IS that? That smells SO GOOD.’ Even if it didn’t work (which it does), I would still buy it for its fresh scent alone.” -Emily Popp, Deputy Editor

8 Pangea Italian Greek Mandarin w/Sweet Lime Facial Toner, $27.20
“Obsessed with it. Best. Toner. Ever.” -Jessica Blankenship, News Editor

9 Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, $17.90 

“This Korean moisturizing product made a lip balm monogamist out of me. When I put it on before bed, I wake up feeling like an Instagram lipstick application video, and when I wear it during the day, I feel like Britney Spears in the ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ music video. So, uh, is it worth $17? Hells yes.” -Christina Wolfgram, Video Producer

10 Too Faced’s Melted Mattes, $21 each 

“I’ve always been a fan of Too Faced because, duh, they are amazing! But it went from schoolgirl crush to full-on sordid romance once I tried their Melted Matte lipsticks. The first one I bought was the reddish-pink shade ‘It’s Happening!’ and it instantly became my go-to liquid matte. It is not only extremely pigmented and goes on easily with one application, but smells DELISH! It can last on my lips all day, through various meals and coffee refills, AND even through my evening workouts. What more could you ask for in a lipstick?” -Marie Lodi, Beauty Editor

11 Revive Eye Concentrate from Le Métier De Beauté, $175 

Neiman Marcus
” It keeps my bags and wrinkles under control, esp when I’m staring at computer screens all day churning out videos!” -Dan Magro, Senior Video Editor

12 Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Tulip, $24 

“Out of all the balms and lipsticks and glosses, Fresh’s lip treatment is my ride or die. This year, I experiment with the shade “Tulip,” which was a delightful light red. So you can treat your lips like the royals they are, AND get a pop of color.” -Gina Vaynshteyn, Editorial Director