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My Top Beauty Picks of 2016

2 016 is winding down. It’s been 7 years and a half since I wrote my first post. Whether you’re a long-term reader of RatzillaCosme or you’re here for the very first time, massive thanks for your continued support! Beauty products are highly subjective, but I always try to cater for a wide audience. So I hope you’ve found my words relevant and useful to you.

On this note, I bring you my personal favourites this year. If you missed last year’s top picks, you can check it out here.


A new skin care discovery this year that has become a permanent fixture in my bathroom drawer is Makeup Artist’s Choice (MUAC) Mandelic Acid Peel. I hate its packaging (it’s impossible to control how much liquid you pour out using its screw top cap!), but everything else is brilliant. I haven’t touched my BHA/AHA since I started using it! Just twice a week at night is enough keep my pores very clean, skin super smooth, bright and more toned. Usage: I apply the liquid with my fingers on clean, bare skin then leave on overnight. I don’t get a tingling or burning sensation upon application and no redness or flaking the day after either. (My skin is normal and very resilient. If you’re new to chemical peels or you don’t have my skin type, I’d strongly suggest following product’s direction — rinse it off.) I currently use the 40% strength but I did start with 25% at the beginning, which is gentler and cheaper. I have the 30ml size — 25% is US$17.85 HERE while 40% is US$24.25 HERE — which seems to last forever. 2 fluid dram sample is also available. Makeup Artist’s Choice (MUAC) is online-exclusive and ships worldwide.


Kuramoto Bijin’s Komeyu, which I wrote about its full-page review back in October 2015, is another product that has made way into my beauty essentials. The scent/odour-free beauty oil has no “junk” (just pure cold-pressed Japanese rice bran and germ oil) and it’s naturally packed full of nourishing and antioxidative goodness. I mix a drop or 2 with my moisturiser if my skin needs the extra boost, use it straight as an undereye treatment, or smooth a few drops to the ends of my hair. It’s my go-to beauty oil! You can find it on Amazon USA for US$16.59+ HERE.


I have a rekindled love affair with Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup this year. It lasts for ages and ages — it’s like glue! As it has high coverage, it’s best applied very sparingly —unless you actually want a heavily made-up look. I usually mix it with a face-finishing product (generally a moisturising primer or sheer BB/CC cream) to create a perfect customised base. (I have absolutely no qualms with its pump-less, screw cap packaging. I tightly cover the opening with my clean thumb then give the bottle a good shake. I use the foundation that gets on the finger for the whole face. Super quick and completely mess-free!) The finish is beautiful and it doesn’t slide, dry-up or sit in the creases. Brilliant stuff! 30ml bottle is US$39.50.


I’ve gone through countless tubes of Biore Skin Care Facial Foam in Moisture (2016 Formula)I use this as a face and body wash. I can’t find anything I don’t like about it — fresh, non-aggravating washing that leaves no feeling of dryness or tightness after rinsing even when the skin is slightly dry and flaky. It’s also ridiculously affordable. A big 130g tube costs less than ¥300 HERE from Amazon Japan! You can also find it from Amazon USA HERE.


It’s ashamed Dr. Ci:Labo products aren’t more readily available in stores (even in Japan) as they’re fantastic! Stores usually only stock the current best-sellers, so once summer is over, “off-season” gems like UV & White Moisture Milk (2016 Formula) are next to impossible to find in-person — ordering directly from its official online store is your best bet. You might have remembered it being featured in my annual SPF50+ PA++++ sunscreen round-up I did early this year — do take a look if you haven’t (its ingredients are there). It gives brilliant water/sweat/sebum-resistant protection against UV rays and air pollutants while imparting a soft-focus finish that works beautifully on normal skin. 60ml bottle is ¥3,780.

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7 Comments on My Top Beauty Picks of 2016

  1. How did you discover it was safe to leave chemical peels on overnight? I’ve never heard of anyone doing that before.

    Even if I had resilient skin, I would be terrified of applying it to my skin at night and waking up with a chemical burn! Did you seek the advice of a dermatologist or esthetician beforehand, or did you experiment on your own?

    • Mandelic acid is the mildest so that worry hasn’t once crossed my mind. For me, it was just a natural course of progression since I’ve never experienced any immediate sensation or side effects with it. Most chemical peels (except for glycolic) will self-neutralise after a few minutes — they don’t keep working.

        • I don’t use glycolic acid but it’s not a good idea. Glycolic acid is non-self-neutralising (the only one) so it will continue to exfoliate as long as it is on the skin.

  2. It looks like Japanese women are not big fans of AHAs, BHAs and other acids. Is that correct? They don’t have a large selection of products having those acids.

  3. The ingredients of the Dr. Ci:Labo sunscreen are amazing. I love that it includes some vitamin c derivatives as LAA breaks me out. It’s pretty pricey though for the size.. I may order it just to try anyways! Thanks for posting your 2016 best of list!

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