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The 50 Best and Game Changing Beauty Products We Tried in 2020

These have changed our beauty routines for the better, and now, it's time for them to change yours.

by Nicole Arcano | Nov 20, 2020

This year, we searched for the game changing products that have changed Filipinas' beauty routines better in terms of innovative formulas, cutting-edge technology, good value, inclusivity, or eco-consciousness.

2020 wasn't the best—actually, scratch that, it might be one of the worst years we've had in a long, long time. We don't think we need to delve into why, because the last thing all of us need right now is even more bad news. That said, it is important to acknowledge our privilege to be reading (and for me, writing) this right now, when the country is still in the midst of getting back on its feet. We all have our part to play in its healing, and we hope the role you've chosen gives you peace of mind, and you aren't forgetting to take care of yourself either.

Because now more than ever, self-care feels less of an indulgence than it is a necessary crutch for motivation to shoulder on. Whether it's ordering take-out, working out, or just catching up on some extra hours of sleep, the small act of taking some time out of your day to do something good for yourself never hurts. And if like us, one of the ways you are able to give yourself a little love lies in your beauty routine, we've done our annual task of rounding up the best skincare, hair, makeup, and fragrances that we encountered this year.

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Preview Best of Beauty 2020: Game Changers

This 2020, we're kicking it old school with a curated list that have been approved by the Preview team and our trusted contributors. We tried over 200 products, but instead of simply picking ones that performed the best, we carefully picked out the ones that upgraded our beauty routines best in terms of innovative formulas, cutting-edge technology, good value, inclusivity, or eco-consciousness. In short, we looked for the game changers that would, hopefully, make yours better, too. We also added two new categories: Innovations and Best of Local Beauty, to honor the products that blew us away with their ingenuity and of course, celebrate the excellence in the local industry today.

See all 50 of them below:

Skincare BodyHairMakeup: BaseMakeup: Eyes & LipsFragranceInnovationsLocal Beauty

Best Skincare


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Best Deep Cleanser: Senka Perfect Whip Collagen-In

Sebum, excess makeup, and other impurities are no match for this face wash with a satisfyingly rich foam. Infused with amino acids and collagen, it's your one-way ticket to a swift deep cleansing routine without that tight after-feel.


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Best Mild Cleanser: Acwell 5.5 PH Balancing Micro Cleansing Foam

This low pH cleanser is perfect for those with sensitive skin or anyone who prefers a gentle cleanse. It contains licorice root extract and allantoin, which helps soothe and hydrate your skin as you wash.


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Best Makeup Remover: Pond's Cleansing Balm

We're all about double cleansing, and this product will break down everything including waterproof makeup with its blend of oils in a matter of seconds. It won't break the bank either, which is always a plus.


Best Mask: Kora Organics Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask

With a combination of physical and chemical exfoliants, this wash-off mask delivers smoother skin after the first use and all the uses thereafter. Adding it to your night time routine for a relaxing bedtime ritual.

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Best Hydrating Serum: Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum

Saying that this serum feels like a tall glass of water for the face would be no exaggeration. It leaves the skin looking healthier and more refreshed, and its lightweight gel formula sinks right in—perfect for our humid weather.

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Best Brightening Serum: Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Serum

True to its name, this serum gives a potent dose of niacinamide and regenerative ingredients derived from peony, white lily, jasmine, and longoza from the Dior gardens. In a matter of days, it smoothes, firms, and brightens the skin for a healthy, radiant glow.

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Best Anti-Aging Serum: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

The 2020 version of the Advanced Night Repair promises faster repair and a youth-generating power that it absolutely delivers. It gives an instant plumping effect, too, and absorbs in record time while still providing long-lasting hydration.

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Best Hydrating Moisturizer: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream

Hyaluronic acid is everywhere in skincare, but this moisturizer takes it to a new level with a 30% hyaluronic acid complex that draws water into the skin, and pentavitin that allows up to 72 hours of hydration. In short, it's a luxurious hug of plumpness that'll have you waking up to supple skin every time.

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Best Anti-Aging Moisturizer: Shiseido Vital Perfection Uplifting and Firming Cream

You can think of this cream as a gradual Instagram filter. It firms the skin a matter of days and prolongs that effect with a cutting-edge KURENAI-TruLift Complex and ReNeura Technology that are exclusive to Shiseido.

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Best Eye Treatment: La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Lift

This luxurious eye treatment remedies tired-looking eyes by evening out your skin tone, diminishing fine lines, and visibly lifting the skin. Once pumped out of the bottle, it releases gold caviar beads and a tinted gel-cream emulsion from separate chambers that blend smoothly to become a light veil on the eyes.

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Best Acne Treatment: Oxecure Acne Clear Power Mud

It might be a small, unassuming packet, but this spot treatment stands out for having a formula that works double time. Not only does it zap acne with 2% salicylic acid, it simultaneous helps fade dark spots with niacinamide, too.

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Best Sunscreen: Anessa Perfect UV Skincare Gel SPF50+ PA++++

The beauty of this sunscreen lies in its impressive fusion of a water-resistant formula, a high SPF, and a gel texture that's so light you'll forget that it's on your skin in the first place.

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Best Body Products


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Best Body Cleanser: Cetaphil Brightness Reveal Body Wash

This product is a step up from your usual body wash in that it has a gentle, hypoallergenic formula that also brightens the skin with the help of sea daffodil extract and niacinamide.


Best Treatment: Belo Armpit Perfecting Kit

When you can't go to your derm for a laser treatment, this two-step kit makes DIY-ing more even-toned underarms possible. It includes a Tyrosinase Inhibitor and the Belo Illuminating Cream, that work together to lighten dark spots with ingredients like kojic acid, vitamin C, alpha arbutin, and liquorice.

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Best Body Moisturizer: Kora Organics Noni Glow Body Oil

If the greasy reputation body oils get turns you off, then prepare to be impressed by this product's fast-absorbing formula that'll make you skin glow instead of leaving an uncomfortable film. Another plus? The convenient pump packaging that minimizes mess.

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Best in Dental Care: Close Up All Around Fresh Cool Mint

When it comes to toothpaste, we love it simple but with a kick. This minty one happens to be exactly that, providing a deep, anti-bacterial cleanse that finishes off with a refreshing minty feel that freshens you right up.

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Best Hair Products


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Best Shampoo: Aveda Nutriplenish Shampoo (Deep Moisture)

Washing colored hair doesn't feel as threatening when it's with this vegan shampoo that's free of harsh sulfate cleansers and silicones. It also replenishes with plant-derived butters and oils, so your strands feel softer and look shinier the more you use it.


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Best Solid Shampoo: Human Nature Natural Shampoo Bar in Zesty Vanilla Delight

The creamy lather and delightful citrus and vanilla scent of this shampoo bar won't make you regret making the switch. Your locks will feel as soft as it would with a nourishing liquid formula but with less waste than usual.


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Best Conditioner for Damaged Hair: Dove Amino Restore 1 Minute Serum Conditioner

This conditioner helps revive damaged or color-treated hair with a serum formula infused with amino acids. It beats heavy-duty hair masking when it comes to saving time, because it does its magic all in one minute.


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Best Conditioner for Dry Hair: Cream Silk Rich Organic Power Fusion Rich Moisture

Cream Silk brings the luxe feel of a spa treatment to your home with this conditioner powered by rich organic balms and natural oils like rose, sunflower, and coconut that moisturize, soften, and prevent fizz. Did we mention that it smells amazing, too?


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Best Base Makeup


Best Matte Foundation: Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation

If you have a concern with matte foundation, we're pretty sure this product has solved it. Because aside from not having an overly-matte feel, it provides a skin-like medium to full coverage and impressive all day wear. It also features technology that prevents oxidation, so your match among the 34 shades stays on-point.

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Best Natural Finish Foundation: Loreal True Match Foundation

For a formula so packed with skincare like vitamin E, pro-vitamin B5, and SPF, this semi-matte foundation will last you even through the longest and hottest days and still look freshly-applied.


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Best Powder Foundation: Shiseido Synchro Skin Powder Foundation 

Though it feels odd to call a powder foundation creamy, the way this product seamlessly blends into the skin makes for an apt description. That said, it still gives a true matte finish minus the cakiness and with all the breathability.


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Best Setting Powder: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Honey

This world-famous setting powder is no stranger to our best of beauty lists, and it's making yet another appearance for the launch of the shade Honey, which is the perfect match for medium skin tones. You won't have to worry about taking photos with flash again.


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Best Highlighter: Pond's Instabright Glow Up Cream in Golden Sunshine

Swiping this bronze shimmer on the high points of your face will give you a natural, dewy glow that looks like your own and can rival the most high-end of highlighters.


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Best Liquid Blush: Ever Bilena Blush Rush

The roller ball applicator on this pigmented liquid blush makes applying an already blendable formula even easier. The only challenge is picking a shade, because each one is perfect for achieving a just-pinched flush.


Best Cream Blush: MAC Glowplay Blush in Heat Index

The standout quality of this blush may be the bouncy, mochi-like surface, but we also love it for the sheer, buildable texture and that's almost impossible to overapply.

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Best Multi-Use Product: BLK Face Stack Multi Pot in Room Service

You know this product was made with travel in mind because of the slim magnetic compact that comes complete with a mirror. It also blew us away with its easy-to-blend texture that you can effortlessly apply on your eyes, cheeks, and lips with just your fingers.

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Best Eye & Lip Makeup


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Best Cream Eyeshadow: EB Advance Shadow Stick in Sapphire

This stick glides on like butter on the skin, and once it sets, it's on your lids until you decide to remove it (with an oil-based product, preferably). Its stunning blue hue and subtle shimmer makes it almost too easy to create a statement eye.


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Best Powder Eyeshadow: NARS Powerchrome Loose Eye Pigment

Brushes are optional for this high-impact pressed pigment. Really, you can just dip your finger into the pot to get your dose of glitter and pack the product on your lids for some gorgeous shine that'll bring you back to the disco era.


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Best Mascara: L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara Waterproof

The your-lashes-but-better look is effortless with this volumizing and lengthening mascara. It coats every lash with ease, and after a minute or so, it locks in the ultra-black pigment and holds your curl for hours on end.


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Best Brow Product: Browhaus Eyebrow Powertool

This triple-ended brow product has everything you need for flawless arches in one. It has a smooth, angled pencil for outlining, a soft powder to help you fill in the gaps, and a spoolie brush to blend everything out.


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Best Brow Gel: Benefit 24hr Brow Setter

If it's that brushed-up, model brow vibe you're after, then this is the brow gel you need in your collection. The formula will hold the look like hairspray would minus the crunchiness, and the fact that it's clear guarantees that it'll never make a mess.


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Best Liquid Lipstick: L'oreal Rouge Signature in I Lead

This product is true cross between a tint and a liquid lipstick, being pigmented enough to achieve full color but also light and long-wearing enough to feel like nothing on the lips and last through a meal.


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Best Bullet Lipstick: K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Lasting Lip Tint Stick

Our expectations for hydrating lipsticks' wear-time isn't usually the highest, so the way this nourishing formula can stay on for long hours and keep dry lips hydrated was the most pleasant surprise.


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Best Fragrances


Best Floral Fruity Scent: Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Shine

The youthfulness of Dolce Shine is its ultimate charm. It's light, fresh, and undeniably fruity, so you'd be torn between wearing it daily or saving it for a day when you need a pick-me-up.

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Best Citrus Scent: Chanel Les Eaux Paris Riviera

We've never been to the French Riviera, but if it's as charming and luxurious as this scent, it's officially on our travel bucketlist. Though it's categorized as a citrus, the duo of Sicilian orange and neroli in it is romantic and refreshing rather than zesty.

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Best Floral Scent: Tom Ford Rose Prick

Creating a true rose scent that doesn't scream granny's dresser is a true feat in our book, and that's what made us fall in love with Rose Prick. We'd describe this as a spicy, warm, neo-rose that smells like what receiving a dozen of the flower from someone special must feel.

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Best Musk Scent: Narciso Rodriguez for Her Pure Musc

They weren't joking when they named this fragrance, because it's one of the most straightforward clean, musk scents we've encountred. The splash of floral is more than welcome though, its subtlety much appreciated.

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Best Innovations


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Hair Styling: Dyson Corrale

The Corrale is a straightener, but as one would expect from Dyson, it's not just your average straightener. Thanks to the flexible copper alloy plates, it glides smoothly over the hair and neatly gathers each section, so instead of increasing the heat, you can achieve shiny locks with less. Another perk? The iron can be used cord-free for up to 30 minutes for on-the-go- styling!


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Hair Care: Aveda Foam Reset Hydrating Hair Cleanser

If shampoo, dry shampoo, and hair mousse had a baby, it would be this product. It's a "rinseless hydrating hair cleanser," which you can simply massage on day two (or three) hair to refresh your locks and scalp without having ever to go to the sink.


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Body Care: Dove Dry Serum Intensive Renew for Minimizing Underarm Pores

Underarm skincare is a thing, and this serum-deodorant will surely shorten yours. Because aside from keeping your skin dry and sweat-free, it helps target concerns like visible underarm pores and dark spots with ingredients like collagen, vitamin B3, E, and omega 6.


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Skincare Device: Love K-derma LED Light Mask

The quarantine has drastically trimmed our visits to our derm, so we don't blame you for wanting to recreate the experience at home. If you're missing your LED treatments, this device from Love K-derma has seven types of 10-minute LED light treatments that addresses just about any basic skin concern you have. Though it doesn't exactly replace an appointment with your doctor, it's a worthy supplement for a daily skin boost.


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Best of Local Beauty


Skincare: Celeteque DermoScience Age Spot Erasing Serum

Retinol products are a rare find at local drugstores, but Celeteque recently changed that with the launch of this serum. For under a thousand bucks, you're getting a skin-renewing retinol-infused formula that helps fade dark spots and maintain smooth, youthful skin.

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Skincare: Ellana Even Skin Pore-Refining Serum

Mineral makeup brand Ellana have literally stepped up their skincare game this year. They've launched a full line of serums for different skin types, and their formulations rival that of the buzziest brands online. Our pick from the bunch is the Even Skin Pore-Refining Serum, which does exactly what it's called with 7% niacinamide and 1% zinc.

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Makeup: Careline Wow Brow Liner

There's no shame in being a go-big-or-go-home type of person with your brow products. In fact, we encourage it if that's how you'll achieve your dream arches. And in case you're looking for a product that'll give you the perks of both an ultra-slim pencil and a draw-and-go angled one, this dual-ended liner from Careline is a winner.

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Makeup: EB Advance Power Paint Multi-Use Color Cream

When we say you only need a pea-sized amount of this product, we mean it. It's incredibly pigmented, and that tiny dot can already add a vibrant hue on both of your cheeks (or eyes, and lips!). Not to mention that it adheres to the skin really well, so well that you won't find the need to touch up!

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Makeup: Colourette Colourtint

We can't have a list of local beauty gems without the Colourtint, which is arguably one of the best multi-use tint formulas we've tried regardless of geographical source. It's water-light, with color payoff that will blow you away, and speaking of colors, you have endless options in their massive shade range that was made by Filipinas for Filipinas.

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Makeup: Skinpotions Glowdust Powder

This loose powder will set and finish your base makeup without that flat-matte look. Instead, it'll give you a natural, lit-from-within look that'll tempt you to skip highlighter. It comes in three shades for Filipina skin tones, so you can choose how you want to glow!

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Makeup: Happy Skin Lip Mallow

Happy Skin took everything we love about liquid lipsticks and powder matte bullets and mashed them together into this velvety-soft liquid lipstick. It's a gorgeous cloudy matte with equally gorgeous shades that instantly shot up in our list of all-time favorites when it launched.

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Produced by Nicole Arcano

Art by Bacs Arcebal

Product Testing by Isha Valles, Steph Sison, Marj Ramos-Clemente, Maura Rodriguez, Nicole Morales, Nikki Santiago-Rivera, Nicole Arcano

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