2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 2 — The Eyes
Each award is broken down into a 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. These awards are given out by me based on my personal experience with the products. Readers’ Choice Awards are completely separate
I would LOVE to hear what you think about my picks — any of these your favorites, too? The very opposite of your favorite? Tell me in the comments!
Part 2 focuses on my favorite products to use on the eyes — from eyeshadow to eyeliner to mascara. These were not restricted to new products in 2009; any brand, any product, from any time can win.
Best Pencil Eyeliner (High-end): Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil ($17.00) are soft, smooth, and come in a variety of colors. They’re vibrant with rich pigmentation, and they glide on so smoothly. I love how long-wearing they are on my lower lash line. The color range and the softness of the pencil itself really make this one a huge winner in my book. You can read my full review here.
Best Pencil Eyeliner (Budget): L’Oreal HiP Chrome Eyeliner
L’Oreal HiP Color Chrome Eyeliner ($10.00) are some of the richest eyeliners I’ve tried. Black Shock is easily one of the deepest blacks I’ve come across in a pencil form. I love the metallic finish of these, and I find them to be very much like Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners. I do hope to see more of these from L’Oreal HiP in the upcoming year. You can read my full review here.
Best Gel Eyeliner (High-end): MAC Fluidline
MAC Fluidline ($15.00) is an excellent gel eyeliner that is easy to work with, doesn’t budge or smudge throughout the day, and has a decent color selection. (They used to have more, and MAC used to regularly release limited edition shades, but it’s been a minute since that’s happened.) I just find Fluidline to be the best of both worlds — smooth and creamy without being too wet nor too dry that it creates drag.
Best Gel Eyeliner (Budget): Sonia Kashuk Gel Eyeliner
Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long-wear Gel Eyeliner ($8.99) are a great budget-friendly alternative for grabbing yourself a gel eyeliner. They’re creamy, long-lasting, and easy to use. The only downside is that there are only three shades available (a vibrant blue, cocoa brown, and black). You can read my full review here.
Best Liquid Eyeliner (High-end): MAC Penultimate
MAC Penultimate Eye Liner ($16.50) is an easy-use liquid liner in a felt-tip pen delivery system. The pointed felt tip edge really helps to make it easier to use, stabilize, and get a rich, even line across the upper lash line. You can read my full review here and see me use it in a look here.
Best Liquid Eyeliner (Budget): Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLiner Liquid Liner
Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLiner Liquid Eyeliner ($2.99) are easily some of the better liquid liners on the market, but they’re also ridiculously affordable. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at liquid liner, I totally recommend grabbing a few MegaLiners to play with. The Turquoise shade has always been one of my favorites!
Check out the Best & Worst Mascaras, Best Eyeshadows, False Eyelashes, Bases, and Palettes!
Best Mascara (High-end): Chanel Exceptionnel
Chanel Exceptionnel Mascara ($30.00) gives me long, dramatic lashes that are thick, full, and oh-so-black. It’s as close as I’ve gotten to my dream mascara! I love how black my lashes look, and the length it gives me is incredible. But not only does it give me dramatic length, it thickens, too — I often find a mascara can lengthen, but not thicken or vice versa. Rarely do you get both done well in a single mascara! If $30 is a bit steep for you, my second favorite is still MAC Plushlash, which yields similar results, though just slightly less dramatic results — but it’s also half the price. You can read my full review here.
Best Mascara (Budget): Maybelline Full ‘n Soft
Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Mascara ($6.59) has been a long-time favorite for me. It gives me lush looking lashes without effort. It has a nice black pigmentation (Very Black is my favorite shade) while being a very, very clump-free formula–even when you pile it on as I often do. You can see me wearing it here.
Worst Mascara (High-end): Dior DiorShow
Dior DiorShow Mascara ($24.00) was just one of those very anticipated, much-loved-by-everyone-else products I was hoping to fall in love with, but couldn’t because it smudged and flaked horribly. Even though I felt like I saw good results (nice length, some thickening, decent volume), having black flakes and smudges after an hour just isn’t very sexy. I don’t have many mascaras that flake on me, but this one was one of the worst.
Worst Mascara (Budget): Maybelline Great Lash
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($4.99) is a really poor performing mascara. It might even be one of the worst mascaras I’ve ever used. It’s alsoa huge let-down, because it consistently wins awards in magazines and yet it really is nothing to write home about. (Well, no, you may write home to tell your best pal never to waste her $5 on it!) It doesn’t do much to lashes, and I found it a particularly dry and clump formula overall.
Best False Eyelashes (High-end): shu uemura
shu uemura False Eyelashes has a wide variety in false eyelashes; from the eccentric to the avant garde to the natural. They’re beautiful, soft, and really well-designed. Some of the more wearable/everyday kind of lashes are more affordable than the couture lashes.
Best False Eyelashes (Budget): Revlon
Revlon Fantasy Lengths Eyelashes ($4.00) are affordable false eyelashes that get the job done. I like that every pair you purchase comes with either a self-adhesive strip or a mini tube of glue (which will give you more glue than you need).
Best Eyeshadow Base (High-end): MAC Paint Pots
MAC Paint Pot ($16.50) is an excellent product to layer underneath your eyeshadows to give you bolder, truer color that lasts all day without fading or creasing. (Of course, as with all beauty products, your mileage may vary!) I know some prefer to use a combination of Urban Decay’s Primer Potion and MAC Paint Pots, but I just need to lay down a Paint Pot, and I’m good to go. My favorite is Soft Ochre, because it has a matte finish, so it can be incredibly versatile. If you’re cooler-toned, I recommend Painterly for the same reason; I’ve just found that Soft Ochre works better on warm skin tones while Painterly works better on cool skin tones.
Best Eyeshadow Base (Budget): NYX Eyeshadow Base
NYX Eyeshadow Base ($6.00) is a short and sweet product in three different shades (White, Pearl, and Skin Tone). I find Pearl is nice under more shimmery shades, but Skin Tone is good in a variety of situations, so it’s more versatile. It does a good job of extending the wear of your eyeshadow and giving you a base for the color to grab onto and look true to form.
Best Eyeshadow (High-end): MAC Eyeshadow
MAC Eye Shadow ($14.50) is an amazing product at the end of the day. MAC has a huge range of well-pigmented, easy-to-use shades in their permanent line-up, and I think the permanent range is often overlooked with the sheer amount of limited edition shades MAC releases on a yearly basis. Even if you’ve been a little disappointed in the quality of limited edition shades, you’re really missing out if you don’t check out their permanent line of shades. No matter what brand I try, I always come back to my MAC eyeshadows. They’re just so easy to use, come in so many different shades and textures, it’s hard to stay away for long. I also love that you can use palettes or pots, depending on your preference.
Best Eyeshadow (Budget): Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow
Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow ($6.99 to $14.99) is a brand that I find incredibly reliable. Reliability in beauty is actually a really good thing, because there’s a consistency of quality across the brand that makes it easier to try new shades or products without fear of disappointment. Sonia Kashuk has pigmented bright colors, but there are also some lovely neutrals in the range as well.
Best Cream Eyeshadow (High-end): Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow
Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19.00) are creamy, smooth eyeshadows that can be used as a base, liner, or worn alone or mixed together. I absolutely love the shade range–there are lots of shades that are perfect for everyday, but then there are a few “fun” shades, too. The packaging is cute and functional, and the product itself is amazing. You can read my full review here.
Best Cream Eyeshadow (Budget): Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaEyes Cream Eyeshadow
Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaEyes Cream Eyeshadow is a quick-drying cream shadow that stays in place once you’ve applied it. It appears to have been discontinued this year, unfortunately. I was originally going to give out the award to another product, but I just didn’t feel like there was another one that rivaled this. I hope Wet ‘n’ Wild brings it back or calls it something else but is virtually the same product.
Best Eyeshadow Palette (High-end): Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palettes
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palettes are some of the best around. They always have a good selection of shades and the quality is consistent across the board. You may find one or two out of ten or twelve shadows isn’t your favorite, but the majority are soft, buttery eyeshadows with rich pigmentation.
Best Eyeshadow Palette (Budget): NYX Eyeshadow Palettes
NYX Color Palettes ($9.00) are surprisingly well pigmented for such an affordable palette. They have both five and ten-color palettes, and the quality is decent in them. Sometimes you get a few chalkier shades, but they’re some of the best I’ve seen at such a low price point.
Best Eyelash Curler (High-end): shu uemura Eyelash Curler
shu uemura Eyelash Curler ($19.00) is easily my favorite curler, and it has been since I first had it. I used to have a Revlon one, and I didn’t even realize that an eyelash curler could really have levels of quality. Shu’s is easy to use, works well, and it lasts awhile. The only thing I wish they did was sell replacement curling pads, since it would be more cost-effective (for us!) and more environmentally-friendly (for everyone!). I know shu recommends replacing the entire curler after about two years or so (because the springs weaken, supposedly), but I’ve had mine for longer and couldn’t tell you I’ve noticed a thing!
Best Eyelash Curler (Budget): e.l.f. Mechanical Eyelash Curler
e.l.f. professional Mechanical Eyelash Curler ($1.49) also gets the job done, no matter how tight your budget. (Seriously, $1.49!) It’s handy, easy-to-use, and gives lashes a nice curl. It’s not quite as comfortable use as shu’s, but you’re not using it for long, anyway.