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It’s been quite a year in beauty. In addition to smearing glitter all over our lips and running out to get shiny chrome manicures, there were a lot of new and interesting things to buy. Some were great, some were greatly hyped, but all were hits. Here are the products that caused a stir in 2016.
Everything Kylie Cosmetics
Kylie Jenner officially launched her Lip Kits in November of last year, but 2016 has been about one sold-out drop after another for Kylie Cosmetics. Are there better products out there? Definitely. Did anyone market those products as well as Kylie did? Not even close. From a limited-edition birthday stash to a pop-up shop with security that could rival the Secret Service, the youngest Kardasho-Jenner entrepreneur caused a beauty buying frenzy that will likely continue into 2017.
Jen Atkin, a Kardashian-adjacent hairstylist, made a name for herself this year with her stellar haircare line Ouai. The standout product, which smells like a dream and works without stickiness or crunchiness, is the wave spray.
This was the year Gwyneth Paltrow officially offered beauty via Goop. In January, she teamed with Juice Beauty on a color cosmetics line and followed that up in March with a high-end, mostly organic skincare line. (Which is good, sigh.) The bottom line: Do we need a $90 cleansing balm? No, but beauty is often not about need, is it?
Huda Beauty Liquid Lipsticks
Dubai-based beauty vlogger Huda Kattan has 16 million Instagram followers and counting. She launched a line of eyelashes that became successful worldwide, and followed that up this year with a line of matte liquid lipsticks with one of the best formulas out there. (Psst, they’re better than Kylie’s.)
Glossier Haloscope Highlighter
The only beauty company to even come close to rivaling Kylie’s for pure hype this year has been Glossier. A lot of the magic here is less about the products themselves than the aura surrounding this brand, which cannot be bottled. Great marketing aside, the highlighters caused quite a scene when they launched in the summer. The shimmer is subtle, with a core of hydrating balm. They come in three colors, and the limited-edition icy Moonstone shade is the most dramatic of the three if you really want to shine.
Benefit Cosmetics Brows
Brows are still a huge category, and Benefit took its already super-popular brow line, threw out all its formulas, and came out with 45 new products, the biggest launch in the brand’s history. From a brow conditioning primer to a gel that lasts 24 hours, the products — and their cute silver packaging — were hyped by countless influencers all over social media.
Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream
I have no idea what “cicapair” means, but it doesn’t really matter. Dr. Jart, a Korean brand which has been building momentum at Sephora for several years, caused some excitement with this cream. It purports to offer both short-term and longer-term redness correction. Microcapsules change color from green (a color commonly used to cover redness) to beige to immediately even skin tone, plus it contains SPF 30. Finally, it has some ingredients to help heal inflamed skin, including the extract from a plant called tiger grass, which tigers supposedly roll around in to heal their “battle wounds.” It’s just an all-around great origin story and concept.
Everything Urban Decay
Urban Decay has been creating buzzy products for 20 years, and 2016 has been no exception. Naked Ultimate Basics, a limited-edition Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass palette, the newly formulated Vice lipstick collection, vaults — all caused a feeding frenzy.
Becca x Jaclyn Hill
This was the year of highlighters, and indie brand Becca ultimately monetized the trend the best. After a collaboration with vlogger and Instagram beauty guru Jaclyn Hill in 2015 that was one of Sephora’s best sellers ever, Becca reprised the collaboration with an even bigger highlighter collection this year. A few months later, Becca hit the big time and got acquired by Estée Lauder.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
A $400 hairdryer is a tough sell, except when it’s this one. It’s weird looking. It’s lightweight. The diffuser and concentrator attachments are magnetic! Dyson wisely teamed up with Jen Atkin and then teased the launch of this hair dryer for months with the power of her social media.