I started to write my regular ‘Fave Product of the Month’ post, but realized that 2011 is nearing it’s close, and there are many other products I’d like to write about before the year comes to an end. Since December is looking like a crazy-busy month for me (and likely most of us!), I figured I’d do the Top Ten post now, rather than later, where it might get put on the backburner and come 2012, I’ll have never done it (case in point – this post has been in the works for three days and I’m just getting it out now!). And so – in ten separate categories, here are my personal fave products of 2011:
1) Primer: While I have been impressed by both MUFE’s HD Primer, and the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, my true fave of the bunch is NARS’ Smudgeproof Eyelid Primer. I have been a faithful devotee to UD’s Primer Potion for a couple years, but found it somewhat drying and could make certain shadow formulations too intense (metallic, in particular). NARS’ version is colorless, blending seamlessly into the skin, and feels like nothing on. It doesn’t change the color or intensity of my shadows/liners, but they wear infinitely better and longer with this applied first. A must-have if you want your eye products to last all day, or for a night of dancing. Absolutely no negatives on this one! $29CAD.
2) Foundation/Concealer: I’ve tried my fair share of concealers this year, and none of them have really lived up to my hopes. However, my NARS Sheer Glow foundation (reviewed here) surpassed any dreams I had – while I don’t *need* too much coverage, I like a nice wearing foundation that gives my skin a natural, flawless look without too much fuss. This formula in the shade Syracuse matches my skin to a T. I worried that this might be too heavy for my oilier skin, but it’s proven not to be the case – rather, it’s improved the look of my skin and kept it hydrated during cold, windy days and nights. I wouldn’t choose this in the warmer months, as I prefer something very sheer and lightweight, but for Fall and Winter, this is an definite go-to for me. $55CAD.
3) Eyeshadow: This is a toss-up for me, because different shadows do different things. For a basic, dress up or down shadow, I’d reach for Urban Decay’s Smog in a heart beat. This bronze-y/brown shadow is close enough to my skintone to be natural looking, but metallic enough to be perfect for a special evening or event. Not to mention that most of UD’s shadows ($20CAD) feel like absolute butter (this one being no exception) – it’s a smooth, evenly pigmented formula that wears really well.
Following close behind, another versatile shadow I have is Chanel’s Emerveille (reviewed here). Worn all over the lid, it’s very subtle but the beautiful shimmer in it is far from boring. It’s makes a truly fabulous highlight for inner eye and brow bone, and is terribly easy to apply with a finger or dense brush. I’ll never get bored of this shadow! $37CAD and worth every penny.
4) Eyeliner: Though I really adore MUFE’s Aqua Liners, particularly #14 (a gorgeous, multi-colored shimmer liquid liner with a charcoal base – $26CAD), my heart is forever taken by Illamasqua’s Havoc Precision Ink Liner. OMG. Seriously, I gaze at this liner lovingly and sigh. It’s so unusual and yet so ridiculously amazing and flattering – that combination of pretty yet unique is hard to find, and oh-so-covetable. And the wear on this baby is outta this world! C’mon, if I can sleep with this on and wake up without nary a budge or smudge? Yeah, that’s kind of awesome. $27CAD.
5) Lippie: I actually thought at first that I didn’t have anything of note in this category, but then I took a look and realized I was forgetting two gems – Buxom’s Big and Healthy Lip Stick in Sydney, and MAC’s Dare You lipstick. I know….I have two products in this category too – seems I’m not so good at making decisions, eh? Regardless, both of these should be mentioned anyway, because one came out this year and the other didn’t, so we’ll leave the latter as an honorable mention (since I’m also having difficulties chosing products from the right timeframe!). Also, both are classics that every gal should have in her lippie wardrobe – maybe not these specific shades, but as a general rule
And so. My first choice is a nude lippie, which is a great staple color to own, particularly as it pairs very well with the more intense eye makeup looks I tend to wear. As some of you may know, I was on the hunt for a great nude shade – and I found perfection in Sydney. Not too pink/peach/beige or otherwise, this just mutes my lips enough so that my eyes take centre stage. A touch of gloss on top (because it’s fairly matte), and I’m ready to go ($23CAD).Runner-up notable lippie is MAC’s Dare You ($17.50CAD), which you’ll be happy to hear is a permanent shade, and is also one very sexy deep red. For my complexion, and taking into consideration my fuller lips, this is the perfect shade of red for me as it’s classic, stand-out, yet demure enough that it isn’t aggressively in your face. As much as I love the bright lips look that’s so popular right now, it just doesn’t work for me, sadly. Or least I haven’t figured out how, yet. In the interim, this makes me feel powerful and beautiful, and requires very little else on the face. I’m completely sold!
6) Nail Polish: I’ve tried and worn a plethora of polishes this year, more so than any other in my (relatively) short 29 years. It’s extremely hard – nay, impossible - to narrow it down to only one shade that was above all others, but if it must be done…I’d pick Chanel’s Peridot ($27CAD). Are you surprized? I think not :P It just captivated me so completely over all the other new offerings this year. To be fair, there were some serious runners up, Essie’s Power Clutch ($11CAD)being among them. Also, some shades that were not necessarily released this year – Illamasqua’s Baptiste ($22CAD), and butter London’s Snog ($18CAD), could even unsurp Peridot, but in keeping with my faves of 2011 – Peridot takes the prize. Slam and…DUNK.
7) Face (Skincare) Product: Even though I’ve been singing praises for Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum, and I’m loving the effects on my skin, I have to give this one away to Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate (or Night Moisturizer, depending on the season – $47 and $51.50CAD, respectively). This product takes care of it all – clogged pores, acne, flakiness, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin texture – the nature of the exfoliation really handles most problems that can crop up with your skin. I certainly notice a difference in my skin when I’m “off the blue stuff” (as my Mom would say). I lied – this also is a repeat product in my stash, though I get this one for free :) If I had to buy it with my own hard earned cash though, I would. It’s really the workhorse in my skincare regime.
8) Body Product: My body care routine is terribly boring, unfortunately – wash, moisturize, repeat; that’s about it. But, due to the simplicity of my regime, I absolutely needed to find products that would be effective. There are a million and one moisturizers out there, half of which I can’t use because of their fragrance; the others are either not moisturizing enough, or so occlusive that they make my skin sticky and bumping (due to clogged pores). Aveeno’s Eczema Care Cream ($10.49CAD) is a miracle in a tube – it keeps my skin hydrated all day, but doesn’t make me greasy and leaves my skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom. I never thought I’d see the day where I was buying a product hand over fist, repeatedly – SO not my style! But, here it is, I’ve become devoted to a product – call me a convert
9) Hair Product: Sadly, my hair care system isn’t much more interesting than my body care – there’s not a whole lot you can do with this curly mop! However, there is one product that has been my standby for the last year or so (though…also not released this year, dang!) – TIGI’s Foxy Curls Curl Contour Cream ($19CAD). Smells like skittles (mmmm), and makes my curls soft and springy, but never stiff, crunchy or sticky. I really love this styling lotion, and it lasts AGES – probably about 8 months start to finish, which is crazy – particularly for my hair as it EATS product. Sadly…due to my new fear of fragrance, when this is finished, it’s finished – I’m too nervous to keep using it for fear that it’s affecting my skin in some detrimental way. We had a great run though, and I highly recommend trying it out if you have curly hair or waves that need a little boost!
10) Fragrance: Despite my avoidance of fragranced products, I actually don’t have any issue wearing fragrance itself – I guess because it’s placed in specific spots rather than all over. Sadly, the product that wins this category for me is not yet something I own (nor was it released in 2011)…but Prada’s Infusion d’Iris perfume is AH-MA-ZING!! and therefore well worth mentioning, despite the fact that it was launched in 2007 (LOL). This is SO not my usual choice for fragrance – I’m typically into very gourmand scents, ones that smell like food, like Hanae Mori’s Butterfly, but every so often a scent like this will take hold of me, and won’t let go until I give in and buy a bottle. I have a sample of this, which I wear for only special occasions and which has lasted for a lot longer than I expected it to – but it’s nearing it’s end, which means I’ll have to bite the bullet and invest the better part of $100 just to have a small bottle of it (which is all I ever buy for fragrance because I never wear the same one twice). This woody floral boasts notes of mandarin, vetiver, and cedarwood, which compliment the Iris Pallida perfectly. By the end of 2011, I WILL have my very own bottle…and won’t I be smelling sweet
I feel like I’m missing some products that surely deserve major love and attention, but at this very moment I can’t think of what they might be!! What I am thinking of though, is to add one more additional category – my favorite BLOGS of 2011. There are some amazingly wonderful reads out there and I think they deserve props for doing what they do so darn well. Most of these are well-known and likely will come of no surprize, but nonetheless they bring me immense reading pleasure. So, here are my five absolute must-read-every-day faves:
Beauty Editor – Though I’m not entirely a fan of the shorthand words that are in heavy rotation on the blog (its totes about the prodz!), I am LOVING the in-depth posts that don’t scrimp on information about the latest makeup trends, skincare innovations, or celebrity styles. I devour each and every post from start to finish, and I always leave with much more knowledge than I started with. I feel like I am getting insider knowledge every time I visit the page. A definite must-read if you want to learn as well as look!
Beauty Reductionista – Best.Idea.Ever. for a blog – beauty reduction! As cosmetic junkies, we all know what it’s like to have just too much - and Liz lets us join in on her journey towards reducing her stash and quelling ever-present lemmings that never go away. Of course, sometimes she indulges, and that just makes her human – there are so many pretty things out there, how do you resist!? Liz infuses her posts with hilarity and insight, which make for a powerful combination and a terrific read. She recognizes her weaknesses but never gives up on her quest, and I admire her tenacity every day. It helps keep ME on the straight and narrow too!
Ommorphia Beauty Bar – OK, I mean, who comes up with an amazing blog name like this in the first place?!? Sheesh. From the very first time I stumbled upon this blog I knew it was something special. Not only are her photos (and nails!) first-rate, but she injects a little something extra into each post – you know she’s not just firing them off without putting in a lot of time and effort into each one. She oozes kindness and this positive energy that you can feel right through the blogosphere. Looking for swatches of the latest nail polishes to hit the streets? Eugenia has got you covered. Go! Now!!
Cafe Makeup (and The Beauty Look Book) – I tied these two together because when I think of one, I can’t help but think of the other. The ladies of these blogs are absolutely some of the classiest I’ve come across – their taste is impeccable and the cosmetics stash they each have is to be seriously revered. To spend a day at their vanity (or wherever they store their collection) would be akin to Scrooge McDuck swimming in his sea of money – pure bliss. The infinite number of high-end products they own is something I look up to – quality all the way. I appreciate their genuine admiration of the very beautiful nature of cosmetics in general – to them, it seems more about the experience of the product itself, and not just the prestige of owning the more luxurious items of the beauty world.
She Cooks, He Eats – This is somewhat off-topic as the nature of this blog is food- rather than beauty-related, but I just can’t help but be continuously drawn to Kat’s delicious pictures of either her own current culinary pursuits or of possible gastronomic adventures to be taken. I am left drooling at the sight of cake batter pancakes, or five different types of nachoes (yum!!), and I just enjoy the simple, down-to-Earth (yet far from boring) approach she takes to relating her passion to her readers. As someone who is just beginning to take a real interest in having fun in the kitchen, Kat’s blog appeared on my radar at just the perfect moment.
I’m sure that I appear biased toward these blogs, but truly – each one of them is something I look forward to reading each and every day, and I feel that they all take a truly unique, and fabulous approach to the task which I love. I measure my own blogging path against these ladies, and only hope that I can provide my readers which half as much awesomeness as they do. I’ll keep trying!
So there are my faves of 2011, whether they were created in 2011 or prior, they’re what have been rocking my world this year. I’d love to hear what some of your own favorites are – I’m always in the market for new inspiration!