Best of 2011: Beauty Edition
In addition to pondering the wonder and beauty of music, I sat down to consider what I loved most in the beauty world this past year. Not all of these products will be new to this year – many of them are just new to me. And in some cases, we have old tried and true favourites. Either way, this is a list of things that have found a permanent place in my 2011 routine.
In any makeup brand, there are going to be things that are phenomenal, and things that just leave you feeling heartbroken and confused. I love e.l.f., but some of the products are utter crap. I love MAC, but the collections this year have been extremely boring and, I’ve heard, lacking in quality. Wet n’ Wild make fantastic polishes, but I just cannot understand the obsession with their eyeshadows (save for the Comfort Zone palette, which is ten kinds of awesome). But the one brand that I can purchase anything in and pretty much know that I’ll love it is Urban Decay. Primers, shadows, glosses, you name it. The only thing that I’ll hold against this brand is the lipsticks. I’ve yet to find one that I really love. I’ll leave the lipsticks to MAC, I guess.
I’ve had a long love affair with Rimmel Professional Liquid Eyeliner, because of the pinpoint-fine brush applicator. Many of the new eyeliners this year featured a felt-tip applicator, which I just shook my head at. I don’t get the appeal. But Urban Decay, see, they get it. They know that brushes are the bomb – and they did theirs right. Even more fine than Rimmel, the Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner applicator can achieve the finest line I’ve ever drawn, with a slick, black, easy to control eyeliner formula. It dries down with patent-leather shine, and will not move for anything. When swatched on my hand, that bugger lasted through multiple washes, overnight, and halfway through the next day. Amazeballs. I’m so not one to pay a lot for an eyeliner, but this one? Well worth it.
This one may not have made the list, were it not for the debut MyGlam Glam Bag, in which I received a deluxe sample of the product. I’ll be honest and say I’ve never much cared for mascara. I only wear it when necessary, to complete a look. This one, however, I find myself wearing almost constantly. It achieves great length and deep color (the only two qualities I really care about), and does offer a fair amount of volume and curl without looking too thick and fake. I’ve never had a problem with flaking or smudging: once it’s on, it’s on. Of all the things I received in that GlamBag, this was the only one that I rushed out to buy a full size of (that I didn’t already have. ILY UD).
I made an order from Morgana Cryptoria during their Black Friday sale. Being a balm junkie, I couldn’t resist stocking up on copious amounts of tinted lip balm. And I have been wearing these regularly ever since they arrived. They are closer to a lipstick than a balm in texture, but they do offer phenomenal moisturization. And the colours! The colours!! The payoff of these are simply amazing. My personal favourite shades are Eternal and Twist of Fate for daily wear, but the more adventurous offerings are equally beautiful.
As far as straight-up, no frills, practical lip balm goes, I can’t help but love Madd Style‘s formula. They have enough slip and shine to have the appearance of a gloss, but are solid, pocketable, and incredibly moisturizing. I also quite like that each fragrance has a different shimmer-level. Some are entirely shimmerless for older or more masculine lips (Green Tea would be a great one for guys), and some are packed with so much shimmer that it truly looks like a gloss rather than a balm. I personally prefer grabbing highly shimmery scents, just because. I’ve already blasted through my first tube, working on my second, and have a third one on its way as we speak. Woot!
Can I tell you guys a secret? I hate lipgloss. I know, I’m a horrible, sad excuse for a female. I find them to either be too sticky or too greasy, and I just don’t understand the purpose of “a subtle wash of colour”. If you’re going to put colour on your lips, use a damn lipstick (or Morgana Cryptoria Tinted Lip Balm, as it were!). But once again, Urban Decay broke my bitter hate against gloss. Lip Junkie glosses are neither sticky nor greasy, but somewhere in between. The colour impact is definitely worthwhile in some of the shades, and the colour does actually stay around for a fair stretch of time. And let’s not forget that vanilla-mint flavor, and subtle plumping tingle (which I actually wierdly love). This is another item I wouldn’t pay full price for, but the ones I’ve swapped and grabbed on sale are forever favourites.
This was not a foundation year for me. Instead, I turned tinted moisturizers, so I could get my moisturizing, sun protection, and coverage all in one go. As such, this category is going to a tinted moisturizer. I did manage to try a few this year, but my favourite by far is Urban Decay Urban Defense. It is a fairly thick tinted moisturizer, which puts it on the no-list of some people, but I actually like that about it. And oh yeah, it actually moisturizes, which some tinted moisturizers tend to forget to do. I can pop this on and top it with a powder without getting that icky dry-feeling, as I have done with other tints. And it does offer fairly good coverage. I do still spot-conceal, or set it with a powder foundation if I’m having a weird “MUST LOOK PERFECT!!” sort of day, but it gives me just what I want and expect.
Rockabetty Beauty Pinup Complexion Enhancer is made of 100% pure angel farts. The powder is ultra-soft, ultra-fine, and offers the perfect amount of glow. You could, if you so desire, use it all over your face or mix it in your foundation to acheive that “dewy” look, but I’m happy to just add some shine to my cheekbone and cupid’s bow.
This one is a bit of a surprise entry, because I never really intended to pick this up. It was a bonus with the Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Powder Foundation. I didn’t think I’d use it, say, ever. Maybe swap it for something else. But I tried it and… well heck, it was perfect. It is completely matte, so it is perfect for contouring, and it’s also quite smooth and creamy. The brush that comes with it is also surprisingly worthwhile, as you can use it throw on a good contour on the hollows of your cheeks and blend it down quite well. And blend it does, rather beautifully. So… accidental entry, it is, but it is quite a happy one.
So as you may (or may not) know, I work in fragrance. Body, home, auto – you name it, I smell it. It would make perfect sense if I selected a fragrance from my workplace for this position, and believe me, “Country Chic” is one of my new favourites that I wore the devil out of back in the spring. But I selected “Solanum” by One Hand Washes the Other because it was so unexpectedly wonderful – and I wore the devil out of this one in the Fall and early Winter, too. I almost didn’t buy this because it was described as having notes of “rotting pumpkin”, which is not at all psychologically appealing. However, it was included as a sample with another order, and I fell head over heels for it. It’s a surprisingly sweet fragrance, almost foody, with a hint of spice and – yes – squishy pumpkin (my brain still can’t say “rotting”, I’m sorry!). Soon after my sample arrived, I made another order just to get a full size solid scent stick. I hope this one comes back next year, so I can buy a vial of perfume oil, as well!
Come on, how could this not show up here? I absolutely love Urban Decay’s eyeshadow formula, so when I saw previews of this, I knew I’d be buying it. And the shadows are everything you’d expect and more. It is the perfect balance of neutrals and brights, with some interesting duochromes and the best freaking matte black I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. While I am somewhat disappointed that some of the “new and exclusive” shades here have already been repromoted to death (Midnight 15… stop it), that doesn’t mean I love the shades any less. And the packaging, well, hello. I use the little velvet box on my vanity to hold various tools, and I totally love the idea that I can pop out the tray and use the casing itself as a jewelry or trinket box. This one was, without a doubt, Urban Decay’s best release of the year.