Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 1

I’m so happy (and relieved!) to be able to announce my picks for best brands and products of 2009. Because it is much easier to coordinate with just one person (myself!) than it is with thousands, I do have more categories than the Readers’ Choice Awards does. (Can you just imagine having to nominate products for 40+ categories? Exactly!) I also breakdown each award into best high-end winner and budget-friendly winner. For each award, the winning brand/product gets a brief description of why, and where appropriate, a link to any in-depth review.

Part 1 focuses on some of the biggest awards I give out each year — they’re the best of the best, creme de la creme — these products are some of the absolute best released in 2009.

Best Brand of the Year (High-end): Guerlain

Guerlain won me over this year with their beautiful limited edition collections along with their permanent range. I always find “Best Brand” to be an extremely difficult category to choose a winner for, but I felt like taking my experience with the brand throughout the year was the best way to go about figuring it out. Between the ultra luxe and lovely Rouge Gs to their silky soft blushes to the cult-favorite Meteorites, Guerlain just impressed me. Many of my latest and greatest holy grail products are by Guerlain (Gems Rouge G lipstick and Parure Gold Foundation, just to name two). You can read all of our Guerlain coverage here.

Best Brand of the Year (Budget): Maybelline

Maybelline showed me why they’re a worthwhile, budget-friendly brand this year. They’re incredibly reliable, and I just don’t run into too many products within the line that are just devastating. They make one of my favorite drugstore mascaras (Full ‘n Soft), as well as an excellent line of affordable lipstick and lipgloss (Color Sensational). You can read all of our Maybelline coverage here.

Find out who won Best New Product, Most Surprisingly Amazing Product, Most Disappointing Product, Best Seasonal Collections, and the Best and Worst of MAC!

Best New Product of 2009 (High-end): Chanel Rouge Allure Laque

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque ($36.00) took it home this year. Seriously, did you think I’d be picking anything else? I’m pretty sure the majority of you had this one pegged. They’re like liquid lipstick, except completely made out of awesomeness. They’re creamy and moisturizing while they still cling to lips. I’ll tell you right now that Dragon is my favorite shade out of the bunch with Santal close behind. I recommend that everyone, at the very least (!), visit their local Chanel counter just to try it out. You can read my full reviews on all the Rouge Allure Laque shades here.

Best New Product of 2009 (Budget): L’Oreal HIP Chrome Eyeliner

L’Oreal HiP Color Chrome Eyeliner ($10.00) are ultra metallic, totally chrome-d out eyeliners. It’s available in four shades (at least right now; readers mentioned there have been other shades previously released). They hold up quite well on my lower lash line, and they really knocked my socks off. They’re fun, easy to use, and so, so soft. They reminded me a lot of Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, except with a wicked metallic finish. I’m wearing them here, and you can read my full review here.

Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2009 (High-end): Stila All Doll’d Up Palette

Stila for Barbie All Doll’d Up Palette ($28.00) took me by complete surprise when it released during the fall of 2009. I was absolutely not expecting to fall in love with it or even be particularly impressed. I just figured it’d be decent to good, but instead, it was absolutely excellent. From the price to the quality of the products inside, this palette was exceptionally well-done. You can see me wearing it here and here, plus read my full review here.

Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2009 (Budget): Aveeno Positively Ageless Warming Scrub

Aveeno Positively Ageless Warming Scrub ($9.29) is a fun, warming scrub that gets the job done with no frills, just results. Even though I’ve always enjoyed Aveeno products, I don’t always turn to them for my day-to-day regimen. Their Warming Scrub is something I keep in my shower and use once or twice a week. It’s a nice, gentle facial scrub that warms up when it comes into contact with water. You can read my full review here.

Most Disappointing Product of 2009 (High-end): Chanel Les Folies Noir Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Les Folies Noir Eyeshadow Quad ($60.00) was beyond disappointing — it was devastating (as far as one can be truly devastated by a beauty product–let’s not get too carried away). The Noirs Obscurs Collection just seemed so dark, dramatic, and intense, but the eyeshadows were poorly pigmented, not nearly as soft as Chanel often is, and the colors looked chalky and uneven. You can read my full review here.

Most Disappointing Product of 2009 (Budget): L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara

L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara ($7.95) was a mascara I really looked forward to trying, because L’Oreal’s Voluminous performed so well in the past. Unfortunately, upon trying it, it was just not a great mascara. It did everything poorly (although it lengthened well); clumped quickly, dried too fast (which contributed to the clumping problem), and just didn’t add enough length or thickness to make this a go-to mascara. You can read my full review here.

Best Spring 2009 Collection: Guerlain Exotic Paradise Collection

Guerlain Exotic Paradise Collection was my favorite spring collections, because it was fun, perfect for spring, and the quality of the products released was high. I will say that I wasn’t over the moon for any spring collections, but this was the best of what was released. (It was good, don’t get me wrong!) The eyeshadow quad was definitely a favorite for me, but the glosses were pretty fun, too — who doesn’t want to pull out a green gloss (that’s wearable)?

Best Summer 2009 Collection: Dior Cristal Collection

Dior Cristal Collection was particularly memorable for its Electric Lights Quint (lots of blues with a standout royal purple) and the Pop Diamond Skin Shimmer (I am a fiend for those!). I felt like there was a coherent theme within the launch, and I really liked how you could wear the new products together–they coordinated in a way that isn’t always apparent with other collections.

Best Fall 2009 Collection: Bobbi Brown Ivy League Collection

Bobbi Brown Ivy League Collection was a very basic launch, but it released products that worked really well. The new Creamy Eye Pencil was creamy, soft, and had some great shades (Caviar and Hunter). Though the Lip Crayons weren’t as memorable, Forest Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner and Bash Metallic Eyeshadow were enough to get me on board with Bobbi during the fall. (Though I must also say she knocked it out of the park with her Chrome eyeshadows for holiday!)

Best Holiday 2009 Collection: Guerlain Imperiale Collection

Guerlain’s Imperiale Collection was the right mix of easy-to-wear shades and fun, sparkling finishes. It was beautifully packaged and everything worked together. I might even say that Imperiale was not just my favorite holiday launch, but my favorite launch of the year–it was that good. Lovely lipsticks, silky eyeshadows, and gorgeous highlighters!

Best MAC Collection of 2009: Makeup Art Cosmetics

Makeup Art Cosmetics was my favorite launch by MAC this year, but I will admit that I had a tough time deciding–and it wasn’t so much because there were so many standout collections to choose from. There were several contenders on my radar: Blonde, Brunette, Redhead, Naked Honey, Sugarsweet, and Makeup Art Cosmetics. I ended up going with Makeup Art Cosmetics, because I feel like it hit the mark the best out of the ones I was considering. It had a good mix of quality and shade range. I think the last two collections I really loved by MAC were in summer of ’08 — Neo Sci Fi and Cool Heat.

Worst MAC Collection of 2009: In High Def

In High Def felt like a holdover collection, rather than answering the call of consumers for HD products. I know that this was MAC’s way of saying, “Look, we’ve had HD-ready products in our line forever, so we’re just going to make it easy for you by putting them together in a ‘collection,'” but it was just boring in the end.

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36 thoughts on “2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 1

  1. Anitacska

    I agree with you on a lot of these, especially Guerlain being the best high end brand (you know what a big fan I am), and the Imperial collection being the best holiday collection! :) My favourite Mac launch was definitely Colour Craft if nothing else, just the MSFs alone, and I think Dior’s holiday collection is well worth mentioning too as it’ s so gorgeous with all the pinks and purples.

    • Picking a MAC collection was pretty rough this year. I kept wanting to choose Neo Sci Fi, and I was like, “THAT WAS 2008!”

      Dior’s holiday collection was definitely pretty :)

  2. Lulee

    “They’re like liquid lipstick, except completely made out of awesomeness.”

    LOL that i pretty much how i would describe the CRALs too

  3. Sixx

    I got both Ming & Santal for Xmas, but I’m sad to say they barely last 2 hours on my lips. & w/drinking only. They transfer like lipgloss. So disappointing for such an expensive & highly raved product. :(

    • I hope you return them (even though they’re a gift), since you’re not satisfied with them! Ming and Santal last a solid four to six hours on me (and do make it through drinking and eating), though the glossiness will fade a bit if I’m eating. I’ve found that those two have the least staying power, as the lightest, though.

      • Sixx

        I’m so jealous how does it last so long on you? The product stays “wet” the whole time so I have no idea how it could last that long…but that’s just always my luck. I do like the colors but just not the staying power..

        • Ever since I started wearing lipstick and gloss, I stopped smooshing my lips together, I drink differently (I place my tongue against my glass instead of my lips… it’s… weird, I guess, lol), and I make sure to enunciate my words (less lip smackin’). It’s all kind of second-nature – I don’t even think about it – but that’s what I do.

  4. These are just your choices, right? Not the ones we voted for?

  5. Christina

    I’ve never tried Guerlain, but you’re sure making me want to!

  6. Sigh, poor Chanel Les Noirs Folies Quad. It was so awful. It was so hard to work with and the colors didn’t work together.

    I agree with High Def being the worst. It was so blah. Had they used the title for Studio Sculpt foundation or another new foundation, I think it would’ve been more interesting.

    I wasn’t totally loving Makeup Art Cosmetics as much as you. There were a few products from it that were excellent.

    • Tell me about it!

      I guess I should have realized that, at the end of the day, four ultra dark colors like that do not a good quad make!

      I would have loved them to do a High Def collection that really focused on products for everything – not just a repromotion of existing products. I can understand that F&B is already HD ready, which is fine – but what about some sculpting products? Maybe glosses or highlighters for HD?

  7. Yes the Chanel Rouge laque lipsticks are THE BEST!!! I’m on my way to Macy’s in a bit to buy Dynastie lol.

  8. viva

    There’s a buy 2/get 2 free at Ulta right now on L’Oreal HIP stuff so I really stocked up on the chrome eyeliners. FYI. :)

  9. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Shefali Shefali

    I agree with you on most of these, especially your choice for MAC collections. And I especially agree with you on the last great MAC collections – Cool Heat and Neo Sci-Fi. Since then, I have not seen one MAC collection where I felt like I wanted everything. I think 2009 was a really underwhelming year for MAC and they need to up their game big time. I have been a loyal MAC follower for over 10 years, and this is the first year that my eyes wandered into other brands (Urban Decay, Stila, Cargo, LORAC, Tarte, and even ELF) where I felt like the products were better.

    • I agree with ya, Shefali! 2009 wasn’t terrible, but it just wasn’t great, for MAC collections. There are certainly some standout products overall, but none of the collections really hit home for me this year.

      How have you been? Happy holidays!

  10. I agree with you on the worst MAC collection. In High Def was sooooooooooo boring!

  11. Luisafer

    The product I know, can agree with the decision =O)

  12. Jennifer

    Maybelline really stepped up there game. A couple years ago I tried their products and really didn’t like them, especially since their mascaras always irritated my eyes. Now I really love their eyeshadows and lipsticks. I still haven’t tried their mascaras yet because I’m scared they’ll still bother my eyes, but I’ll try one eventually. :)

  13. Estella Iris

    “as far as one can be truly devastated by a beauty product–let’s not get too carried away”

    LOL! That made me laugh…:D Anyway…I agree w/ u on alot of the list…esp about the In High Def collection, i love the products themselves, but the whole collection was just boring and slapped together…And i was rly hoping that MAC would introduce some innovative new product :(

  14. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jen JEN

    COOL HEAT is one of my favorite collections of all time by MAC!

  15. Andrea

    I definitely agree with Guerlain as top brand!! And yes, I too thought High Def was pretty sad!

  16. amelia

    what’s with all the guerlain? what about chanel? they got my highend vote. that were on FIRE this year!