Thursday, December 31st, 2009

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 4 — Lips, Nails, & Tools

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’d love to hear your thoughts — what are your favorites?  Tell me in the comments!

Part 4 focuses on my favorite products to use on the lips, nails, and the best tools — from lipstick to nail lacquer to brushes. These were not restricted to new products in 2009; any brand, any product, from any time can win.

Best Lipgloss (High-end): Guerlain KissKiss Gloss

Guerlain KissKiss Gloss ($29.00) has this amazing smooth texture and ridiculous sparkle. It’s like shimmering, glittering goodness on the lips. I love the shade range, and I find these glosses easy to wear and feel like jelly on the lips. They’re non-sticky in texture, but they do have a sweet fragrance for a scent (which I know is a point of contention for some!). I also find this to be one of the few glosses I can wear alone and still feel like my lips are moisturized at the end of the day. I highly recommend Crystal Pearl, Amethyst Pearl, Fraise a Croquer, and Rose Florida. I will say that finding a good gloss isn’t as hard as you’d think — Guerlain is my #1, but it’s followed closely by Chanel Glossimers and YSL Golden Gloss. The packaging of KissKiss Gloss is lovely, as well – like you feel as if you’re getting something luxe. You can read my full review here.

Best Lipgloss (Budget): NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss

NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss ($5.00) come in an extensive range of shades – from clear to gold to red to brown. If you’ve ever wanted to try a certain shade, NYX probably has it. It’s a great non-sticky lipgloss that has a very smooth finish and lots of sparkle and glossy sheen. They’re not the longest wearing gloss (about two hours), but they feel really good and many shades are quite pigmented for such a budget-friendly lip gloss. You can read my full review here.

Best Lipstick (High-end): Chanel Rouge Allure Laque

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) are 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 review here.

Best Lipstick (Budget): Maybelline Color Sensational

Maybelline ColorSensational Lipcolor ($8.29) are smooth, creamy lipsticks that go on evenly and look fantastic. They have a lot of wearable shades, and the packaging feels and looks pretty nice for a budget brand. They have kind of a synthetic sweet scent, but it’s not too strong and not noticeable once you’ve applied the color.

Check out the winners for Best Lip Treatment, Lip Balm, Nail Lacquer (plus Base and Top Coats), Brushes, and Tool!

Best Lip Treatment (High-end): Sara Happ The Lip Scrub

Sara Happ The Lip Scrubicon ($24.00) is a deliciously scented sugar-based lip scrub that exfoliates well without tearing. It always leaves my lips smooth and soft — totally necessary when you take way zoomed in photos of your lips on the regular! Since I originally discovered it, they’ve expanded it into several more flavor varieties: Vanilla Bean, Peppermint, Cinnamon Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Almond Creme.

Best Lip Treatment (Budget): Jojoba oil + sugar

Jojoba oil and sugar make for an excellent at-home lip scrub that’s budget-friendly without skimping on effectiveness. I like jojoba oil better than olive oil (just feels better overall to me), but you could use whatever you have on hand.

Best Lip Balm (High-end): Philosophy Kiss Me Intense Lip Therapy

Philosophy Kiss Me Intense Lip Therapy ($20.00) is a thick, slightly glossy lip balm in a pot. It’s ridiculously moisturizing and really keeps lips protected throughout the day. I love using this at night to keep my lips hydrated and looking smooth. Love, love, love this stuff. I am on my second pot! You can read my full review here.

Best Lip Balm (Budget): Yes to Carrots Lip Butter

Yes To Carrots Lip Butter ($3.69) are very moisturizing lip balms in a tube. My favorite flavor is Citrus, personally, but I haven’t run into any I dislike. I always make sure I have a few of these stashed around the house and my purse. I don’t feel like I have to reapply this all the time, which is really nice. You can read my full review here.

Best Nail Lacquer: China Glaze

China Glaze is most definitely my pick for nail lacquer. I love their formulas (particularly for their shimmers and glitters), but what I love more is their shade range. They just make so many of my all-time favorite shades (Ruby Pumps, Emerald Sparkle, and For Audrey)! You can see many of my reviews here.

Best Top Coat: Seche Vite

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat ($9.99) is an amazing top coat to give you better, longer wear with a nice, glossy look. I love the thickness of the formula, and I like that it keeps drying time down, too.

Best Base Coat: Zoya Anchor

Zoya Anchor Basecoat ($8.00) is an absolute must-have in my household. I keep a few bottles of these on hand at all times, because it really helps keep my nail polish on lockdown. I’ve used it with all sorts of brands and have always gotten long-wearing manicures out of it. You can also pick it up as part of Zoya’s Color Lock System — also an amazing product.

Best Makeup Brushes (High-end): MAC Cosmetics

MAC Cosmetics Brushes are easy to use, feel soft to the touch, and last forever (okay, a very long time, at the very least!) if you take good care of them. I love that MAC has a huge variety of brushes to choose from (though tough on those with a “collect ‘em all” mentality…), but what I like is that they’re really durable and well-made. I own just about all of the existing permanent brushes available, and I haven’t run into any poorly made brushes yet. You can read reviews on all of MAC’s eye brushes here and their face brushes here.

Best Makeup Brushes (Budget): Sonia Kashuk

Sonia Kashuk Brushes are a great budget-friendly alternative for quality brushes. She always has sets available, sometimes in ultra-cute pouches and bags, which are even more cost-effective. They’re soft, shaped well, and there is a good variety of tools available. You can read a full review here.

Best Beauty Tool (High-end): Clarisonic

Clarisonic Skincare Brush ($195.00) is one of those products you don’t think you’d ever really need or be won over by, but it really is an incredible tool. If you like exfoliating your face, I think you’d like this. When I tried it out, I just didn’t think it’d be worth the $195 price tag, but I love it and use it nearly everyday. An absolutely excellent tool! You can read my full review here. (Also, the MIA is every bit as lovely — just lacking two speeds — and goes for $149.)

Best Beauty Tool (Budget): Tweezerman Slanted Tweezers

Tweezerman Stainless Steel Slant Tweezers ($20.00) are a staple in my household! I have three or four pairs — one in my bathroom, at my desk, and in my bedroom. There’s probably another floating around somewhere! (I misplace things all the time, which is why I often have multiples of certain products!) They’re just so good at grabbing even the tiniest out-of-place brow hairs. They’re comfortable to hold, close together tightly, and the slant makes it even easier to use. It’s not just the best budget-friendly tool to have, but it’s really a must-have, period.

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26 thoughts on “2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 4 — Lips, Nails, & Tools

  1. I feel like the ecoTools brushes are better than the Sonia Kashuk, though I like the SK ones.

    • I haven’t seen any EcoTools near me, so I haven’t been able to try them really! (I think maybe one brush at some point? I don’t remember.) Maybe next year :)

      • I’ve been able to find them at Target and Walgreens by me, but I also purchased them from Makeup Masala’s Makeup Mix Shop. I really like the 6 piece eye brush set (so much I bought 2) and the 5 piece brush set (as one of those brushes I use for a crease and blending brush). They’re super soft, and they don’t get scratchy/worn down after several washes. Unfortunately some of my Sonia Kashuk have gotten a bit scratchy after several washes. I wash my brushes after every use in Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap. My MAC brushes are great because they never get scratchy either, but I actually prefer my EcoTools brushes to the MAC ones. Oh, and Medusa’s Makeup brushes aren’t bad, either. EcoTools is finally getting more variety with their brushes with the new 6 piece eye brush set, so hopefully more people will give them a chance :)

  2. Camille

    I must sound like a MAC hater… But I prefer MUFE brushes. I find the quality to be a lot better… They are a little more pricey than MAC brushes though. I threw away all my MAC brushes for MUFE brushes… Except my 219… I can’t seem to find a brush like the 219.

    Eco Tool brushes are a lot softer than SK’s but I think they need a bigger variety to compete. I actually thought I was going to see SIGMA brushes up here!

  3. Stephanie

    I really tried hard to love the Maybelline Color Sensational line but the lipsticks smell awful to me. It turns me off so much but the colors are pretty. I bought two in a BOGO and keep them in my purse for lipstick emergencies. OH and FYI I splurged and got 2 Chanel Rouque Allure Laque …Dragon (you are so right about this color, a must have) and I also bought the bright pink one in Phoenix. I will agree with you on the Chanel stuff, the best thing I’ve tried since MAC lip lacquers (which I truly loved, my favorite is Rainbeau).
    Thanks for all your hard work!

    • On the four or five I have, the scent is noticeably synthetic, but it’s not too overpowering (at least for me), thankfully! I tried some L’Oreal lipsticks, but the scent drove me batty.

      I’m very happy, though, that you are enjoying Rouge Allure Laque!! :D

  4. Cherie

    I love, love, love Tweezerman Slanted Tweezers!!!!

  5. Adriana

    what about a liquid lipstick from revlon, have u tried it?

  6. Adriana

    and yes, OMG!! Guerlain Lipgloss is amazing! i bought PERLE DE LUNE, is so cool! i fell in love with it
    I wear it with a coat on my regular lipstick, it gives a creamy, soft with sparkles finish! i love it! but is sad… was LE :(

  7. You forgot polish remover!

    • I didn’t test enough to judge, lol! I’ve been using Zoya’s ALL YEAR LONG! (I love it, but since I haven’t tried anything else, it’s not exactly subjective.)

  8. *neena*

    Do you know where I can find Zoya polishes? They sound great! I’d love to find a store that carries them instead of buying online.

  9. I bought the Chanel rouge laque whatever lipstick in Dynastie as I said I would and I LOVE IT! Ever since you did the swatches I’ve been wanting one! Thank God not all the colors look good on me! And I picked up the exceptionale mascara because I loved the sample I had. Just what I needed… to get addicted to Chanel! AHHH!

  10. I would agree about China Glaze being the best nail lacquer brand for 2009. But I think my opinion will be different in 2010! I am starting to love Zoya and Nubar more and more!

  11. Ahhh, I also think EcoTools tops SK’s brushes, you really have to try them soon!! But I agree they need a bigger range (ESP EYE BRUSHES!!!) but their face brushes are TOPS!

  12. Rosie

    I am loving my MIA and find that my Mario Badescu stuff is working a lot better now and the Lush Cosmetic Warrior mask really helped with spots from old acne and I really think the MIA is helping all these products to do their job more efficiently.

  13. Nathalie

    How about a lip primer? Which is a good one? None of my lipsticks last long. I’ve tried MAC, Chanel, Dior, and NARS and none of them can hold on to my lips.