2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 3 — The Cheeks & Face
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
What were your favorites? Would love to hear them — tell me in the comments!
Part 3 focuses on my favorite products to use on the cheeks and face — from blush to foundation to primer. These were not restricted to new products in 2009; any brand, any product, from any time can win.
Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (High-end): Dior DiorSkin Shimmer
Dior DiorSkin Shimmer ($43.00) are beautiful highlighters that just add a subtle sheen to skin that’s glow-y and natural. It’s not glitter, it’s not even quite shimmer — it’s so smooth and refined. I love these over blush or even alone for a very natural, soft look. They’re like instant wake-ups for the face — I have every single shade to date (which, lucky for my bank account, isn’t too many), but I love Amber Diamond and Rose Diamond the most. You can read my full review here or see one of my favorites, Amber Diamond, in action here.
Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (Budget): Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips
Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips ($7.00) are fun, affordable shimmery strips of colors that help add sheen and shimmer to your cheek bones. I like that there are a lot of different versions to choose from, though I am partial to Healthy Glow myself.
Best Everyday Blush (High-end): Benefit Sugarbomb
Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb ($28.00) is one of my newest finds and now my best friend. It has the lovely texture and subtle shimmer of my favorite Dior DiorSkin Shimmers but with more color punch (Skin Shimmers are designed to be highlighters, so they’re not supposed to have a ton of color, FYI!). Sugarbomb is that great mix of peach, pink, and GLOW! This is a product I could easily wear everyday (and I wear it so often!). You can see me wearing it in these looks or read my full review here.
Best Everyday Blush (Budget): Milani Luminous Blush
Milani Luminous Blush ($3.49) is a pretty peachy-pink with light shimmer. If you haven’t already heard, Luminous has been a long-time affordable version of the famous NARS Orgasm Blush. It’s not so peach that it’s overly warm, but it’s not so pink that it gets too cool. Love that it works on both warm and cool skin tones.
Best Cream Blush (High-end): MAC Blushcreme
MAC Blushcreme ($18.50) is one of my favorite products to use in the summer, because it layers really well under powder (blush or just setting powder). Blushcremes are creamy, soft, and look very natural on the skin, because it’s almost as if they just melt into the skin. I love, love Posey and Liliscent.
Best Cream Blush (Budget): Revlon Cream Blush
Revlon Cream Blush ($10.00) are easy-to-use creamy, smooth blushes that add just a subtle hint of color to cheeks. The end result is very natural, yet you’ll notice you have more color on your cheeks. The compact is kind of cute, with a little pop-out mirror for on-the-go application. (Personally, I use a stippling brush with creamy blushes, so it’s not actually so practical for me!) One piece of advice, though, what you see in the pan is not quite what you get — so don’t let the color in the pan intimidate you!
Best Powder Blush (High-end): Guerlain Blush 4 Eclat
Guerlain ‘Blush 4 Eclats’ Sculpting Blush ($49.00) is a four-colored blush available in six different variations. They’re ridiculously smooth, soft powder blushes that look natural and have just a subtle sheen that translates to a natural glow kind of look.
Best Powder Blush (Budget): CoverGirl Cheekers Blush
CoverGirl Cheekers Blush ($4.50) are single-shade powder blushes that come in a variety of shades ranging from pink to peach to plum. Colors go subtly and have a tendency to be soft shades rather than deep and intense, lending themselves to a very natural look.
There’s more — best in bronzers, primers, concealers, powders, foundations, and tinted moisturizers…
Best Bronzer (High-end): Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel
Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel ($50.00) is a subtly shimmered bronzing powder that goes on natural and doesn’t turn orange. It’s just very easy to use and feels and looks lightweight. I’m not a huge fan of bronzer, period, but Chanel made me give bronzer another chance this year.
Best Bronzer (Budget): Rimmel Natural Bronzer
Rimmel Natural Bronzer ($6.00) is a smooth, mostly matte bronzer that works well on a variety of skin tones (though on the palest skin tones, you may find it to appear orange if you don’t use a light hand). It’s soft and looks very natural on skin.
Best Primer (Face) (High-end): Korres Silicone-Free Primer
Korres Face Primer ($28.00) is an amazing primer that doesn’t use silicone as a base ingredient, so those who are breakout-prone with silicone primers may enjoy this one in particular. It’s a very lightweight primer that goes on quickly, dries down, and looks matte. It’s actually something you can wear alone or underneath foundation. My mom even loves the way it makes her skin feel and look (and she’s not into makeup). You can read my full review here.
Best Primer (Face) (Budget): None
No picks from me this year, because I have yet to come across a budget primer that’s really knocked me off my feet. I wouldn’t want to choose a winner that’s more winner-by-default, you know?
Best Concealer (High-end): Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer
Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer ($35.00) is a very creamy and emollient concealer that works really well to camouflage those nasty under eye circles. This concealer really does conceal with a vengeance, because it’s a very thick, creamy product that fully covers whatever you need it to cover.
Best Concealer (Budget): L’Oreal Visible Lift Under Eye
L’Oreal Visible Lift Under Eye Concealer ($11.95) comes in a handy click-type dispenser and applies easily to the under eye area. One of my favorite high-end concealers is the famous YSL Touche Eclat, but with the click-type delivery system, it goes bad quick — which makes it a very expensive product over the long run, just because you have to replace it often. Visible Lift is very similar to Touche Eclat, but it’s much more affordable!
Best Foundation (High-end): Guerlain Parure Gold
Guerlain Parure Gold Fluid Foundation ($78.00) is an excellent lightweight, medium-coverage liquid foundation that makes skin look smoother, softer, and very natural. It has a subtle dewiness to it, but trust me, that’s not code for oiliness. (I very rarely like any foundation that’s “dewy,” because it just looks like I’m oily!) It’s so comfortable to wear; you don’t feel it on at all. You can read my full review here.
Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation ($12.99) is a natural-looking liquid foundation that feels lightweight and provides medium coverage. It looks really good on, but there are a few areas where it could be improved (primarily, scent — has kind of a cheap, chemical scent). It’s one of the better drugstore foundations I’ve tried in the past few years, though, because ultimately, it looks natural and gives good coverage without being too heavy and lasts for hours!
Best Loose Powder (High-end): Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder
Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder ($34.00) is a lightweight loose powder that is perfect for setting makeup. It helps keep makeup in place for hours on end, and I fully recommend the Translucent “shade.” I found it truly was translucent and never made me look powdery or chalky.
Best Loose Powder (Budget): Neutrogena Healthy Skin Loose Powder
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Loose Powder ($12.19) is an incredibly lightweight loose powder that helps to set your makeup. It helps keep oil at bay (at least, for longer) and your makeup in place while you wear it. I wish they had a translucent version, but they have three shades — fair, light, and medium.
Best Tinted Moisturizer (High-end): Korres Tinted Moisturizer
Korres Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturiser SPF 30 ($28.00) is a lightweight, light to medium coverage tinted moisturizer. What I like about it is you can layer it for more buildable coverage, which isn’t something you can always do with a tinted moisturizer. It’s also water-resistant and holds up through the summer heat. It has a very matte appearance, which is also really great for warmer months. I only wish they’d put out more shades.
Best Tinted Moisturizer (Budget): Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer ($11.49) is an affordable tinted moisturizer that holds up well during the summer and leaves skin looking naturally dewy. It also contains SPF 20, which is a nice bonus. I know it also has “retinol treatment” in it, but I couldn’t tell you if it’s effective or not. For the price tag, I can’t imagine it packs the potency of Retin-A or anything like that, though!