URBAN DECAY
Best Brand of the Year

Some of 2010′s best products came from Urban Decay: Book of Shadows: Alice in Wonderland, Book of Shadows, Vol. III, Naked Palette… I really feel like Urban Decay continually put out quality products, and I also think they expanded their core line with new product types and showed a lot of growth as a brand this past year.

Past Winners: Guerlain (2009), MAC (2007, 2008)

SUGARPILL
Best Indie Brand of the Year

Sugarpill debuted and really made such a splash in 2010, and the feedback from the blogosphere has been entirely favorable, including my own experiences with the brand. The brand has a very strong commitment to quality and their customers, and you really get a sense of how personal the line is to the creator. Something I really love is how customer feedback really does get incorporated into future products–Amy reformulated two of the Chromalusts based on feedback received and the products are better for it. (See my reviews here.)

MAKE UP FOR EVER AQUA CREAM
Best New Product of 2010 (High-end)

These are so divine, and I love how workable they are as a product. They multi-task to the extreme–eyeliner, base, cream eyeshadow, for cheeks, for lips–and the shade range is fantastic. One of things I always like to see is a broad shade range, because while it’s all well and good to have a great product, when you really love it, you can’t help but want more! (See my reviews here.)

Past Winners: Chanel Rouge Allure Laque (2009), Clarisonic (2008)

WET ‘N’ WILD COLOR ICON EYESHADOW
Best New Product of 2010 (Budget)

Wet ‘n’ Wild hit a home run with their new Color Icon Eyeshadow formula–it’s soft, smooth, and nicely pigmented and won’t empty your wallet either. With singles, trios, and palettes, you may find yourself with a whole new stash for under $20. (Review to come.)

Past Winners: L’Oreal HIP Chrome Eyeliner (2009)

ORLY COSMIC FX
Most Surprisingly Amazing Product (High-end)

Talk about some of the coolest nail polish to hit the block! I fell in love with this new formula/texture as soon as I applied the first coat. Though I’m loathe to admit it, even the promotional photos and marketing jargon had me a little excited to try them. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Stila All Doll’d Up Palette (2009)

WET ‘N’ WILD COLOR ICON EYESHADOW
Most Surprisingly Amazing Product (Budget)

See above for description — but I know that I didn’t see this product topping my favorites’ list from the get-go! (Review to come.)

Past Winners: Aveeno Positively Ageless Warming Scrub (2009)

BOBBI BROWN CABANA CORALS COLLECTION
Best Spring Collection of 2010

The Cabana Corals Collection was a really nice way to kick off spring, and I loved how they introduced corals for all skin tones. I often hear readers say that corals only work on warmer skin tones, but I think Bobbi Brown did an excellent job of making them more wearable and universally appealing. One of my favorite products from this launch was the Nectar Shimmer Brick.

Past Winners: Guerlain Exotic Paradise (2009)

MAC TO THE BEACH COLLECTION
Best Summer Collection of 2010

I really loved the summery theme of MAC’s To the Beach Collection, and I think the overall quality of the products was exceptional. Besides, who can forget when I attempted to stuff Mellan in the To the Beach Bag? Loved Sweet & PUnchy, Firecracker, Thrills, Fun Bathing, and Float on By. Oh, yeah, and this collection gave birth to the phenomena known as Marine Life.

Past Winners: Dior Cristal (2009)

NARS FALL 2010 COLLECTION
Best Fall Collection of 2010

NARS created a sophisticated collection of darker, smoldering shades just in time for autumn and did so with true skill. Strawberry Fields was a winning gloss, while Rajasthan and Tzarine are both beautiful eyeshadow duos. It’s a shame Rajasthan, being so lovely, was limited edition.

Past Winners: Bobbi Brown Ivy League (2009)

NARS HOLIDAY 2010 COLLECTION
Best Holiday Collection of 2010

For the holidays, NARS captured my attention with Etrusque Eyeshadow and Melusine Eyeshadow Duo–but they also gave me Downtown Lipgloss and Petit Monstre Lipstick. It was a nice cohesive collection with a few holiday-esque colors mixed with more wintry shades.

Past Winners: Guerlain Imperiale (2009)

URBAN DECAY 24/7 GLIDE-ON PENCIL
Best Pencil Eyeliner (High-End)

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils wear well, apply softly and smoothly, and come in a variety of colors. I love the shade range as well as the texture! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil (2008, 2009)

MILANI LIQUIF’EYE EYELINER
Best Pencil Eyeliner (Budget)

Milani’s Liquif’Eye Eyeliners have such a soft, creamy texture paired with excellent pigmentation and long-wearing prowess, they’re impossible not to love. Here’s hoping for more shades in 2011! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: L’Oreal HIP Chrome Eyeliner (2009)

MAC FLUIDLINE
Best Gel Eyeliner (High-End)

Fluidlines have that smooth, rich consistency of gel eyeliner and apply seamlessly. They don’t smudge, budge, or fade at all. I love how pigmented they are, because you can do a thick or thin line and always get great, consistent results.

Past Winners: MAC Fluidline (2009)

WET ‘N’ WILD MEGAEYES CREME LINER
Best Gel Eyeliner (Budget)

MegaEyes Creme Liners are affordable and apply smoothly with nice color pay off and no dragging or patchiness.

Past Winners: Sonia Kashuk Gel Eyeliner (2009)

MAC SUPERSLICK LIQUID EYELINER
Best Liquid Eyeliner (High-End)

The pen-type liquid liners always seem easier to use–I think it might be that the pigmentation/product is controlled, so you never end up with too much product on the liner tip. Superslick came out with a bang: lots of shades with a budge- and smudge-rpoof formula. (Granted, we also saw several other brands bring out the exact same eyeliner, but Superslick is the cheapest and has the largest color range.) (See my review here.)

Past Winners: MAC Penultimate (2009)

REVLON COLORSTAY LIQUID EYELINER
Best Liquid Eyeliner (Budget)

Tried and true, Revlon ColorStay’s Liquid Eyeliner is but a humble product found in black and brown. It doesn’t move once it dries down–stays in place and looks beautiful the entire time.

Past Winners: Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaEyes Liquid Liner (2009)

CHANEL EXCEPTIONNEL MASCARA
Best Mascara (High-end)

It’s a dramatic mascara that gives longer, thicker, more voluminous lashes–my absolute favorite, even if it comes at a price. 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 — but worth an honorable mention. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Chanel Exceptionnel (2009), MAC Plushlash (2008)

MAYBELLINE FULL ‘N SOFT MASCARA
Best Mascara (Budget)

This is one of my all-time favorite mascaras, because it consistently delivers soft, plush lashes with length and volume. Not the most dramatic mascara but a beautiful one nonetheless.

Past Winners: Maybelline Full ‘n Soft (2009)

KIEHL’S MARVELOUS MINERAL MASCARA
Best Natural Mascara (High-end)

If you want soft, natural-looking lashes, Kiehl’s delivers on all accounts while being flake-free and smudge-proof. (See my review here.)

MAYBELLINE FULL ‘N SOFT MASCARA
Best Natural Mascara (Budget)

This is one of my all-time favorite mascaras, because it consistently delivers soft, plush lashes with length and volume. Not the most dramatic mascara but a beautiful one nonetheless.

BARE ESCENTUALS BUXOM LASH MASCARA
Best Lengthening Mascara (High-end)

I’ve used Buxom Lash many times over the past several months, and I like it, but I never fall in love – why? Because it just delivers length and I always seek more in my mascara (which is why mascara can be so personal!). It is amazing for length, though; mile-high lashes, none of the clumping, and excellent separation, too.

COVERGIRL LASHBLAST MASCARA
Best Lengthening Mascara (Budget)

CoverGirl’s LashBlast–the original–is a good multi-tasking mascara, but it is particularly good at length (surprisingly better at it than it’s LashBlast Length sister!).

CHANEL INIMITABLE INTENSE MASCARA
Best Dramatic Mascara (High-end)

This mascara is all about the drama–longer, thicker, richer lashes–with ultra black pigmentation. (See my review here.)

L’OREAL TELESCOPIC MASCARA
Best Dramatic Mascara (Budget)

Telescopic delivers a nice amount of length, along with a little thickening and an excellent blackness in the color.

URBAN DECAY FALSE EYELASHES
Best False Eyelashes (High-end)

New for 2010, Urban Decay’s False Eyelashes brought a nice variety available in a nice flexible band, transparent glue, and they’re fairly easy to apply (even for the false eyelash-challenged, like myself). I really like that they include glue with each pair, and the lashes have this lightness to them that is not always found in other false eyelashes.

Past Winners: shu uemura (2009)

REVLON FALSE EYELASHES
Best False Eyelashes (Budget)

I like the variety in Revlon’s False Eyelashes line, and I also love that they have self-adhesive lashes, too (which I tried per readers’ recommendations last year!)–they’re even easier to apply than Revlon’s regular False Eyelashes. They’re good for multiple uses, too.

Past Winners: Revlon (2009)

NARS SMUDGEPROOF EYESHADOW BASE
Best Eyeshadow Base (High-end)

It’s been my go-to eyeshadow base since I first started using it! It’s nearly transparent when applied and light-as-air. I love that it helps my eyeshadow stay on all day without creasing but doesn’t mute the vibrancy, either. The matte finish also allows me to wear matte eyeshadows without changing the texture. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: MAC Paint Pot (2009), MAC Mixing Medium (2007, 2008)

NYX EYESHADOW BASE
Best Eyeshadow Base (Budget)

NYX Eyeshadow Base 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.

Past Winners: NYX Eyeshadow Base (2009)

HOURGLASS VISIONAIRE EYESHADOW
Best Eyeshadow (High-end)

The pigmentation of these eyeshadows is absolutely insane–so vibrant, so smooth. The texture is excellent; smooth, soft, buttery, and easy to blend. They have a few really unique shades within the line, though other shades are more basic (but beautiful!). I hope to see Hourglass put out new duos this year! (See my reviews here.)

Past Winners: MAC Eyeshadow (2009)

WET ‘N’ WILD COLOR ICON EYESHADOW
Best Eyeshadow (Budget)

Wet ‘n’ Wild hit a home run with their new Color Icon Eyeshadow formula–it’s soft, smooth, and nicely pigmented and won’t empty your wallet either. With singles, trios, and palettes, you may find yourself with a whole new stash for under $20. (Review to come.)

Past Winners: Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow (2009)

ILLAMASQUA PURE PIGMENT
Best Loose Eyeshadow (High-end)

Illamasqua’s Pure Pigment won me over this year with the uniqueness of their shades. They have always had a beautiful texture–so finely milled and pigmented. The packaging does drive me nuts. (See my review here.)

SUGARPILL CHROMALUST
Best Loose Eyeshadow (Budget)

Like Illamasqua, Sugarpill’s Chromalusts are very finely milled and come in a variety of shades–lots of different and unique shades with varying textures. (See my review here.)

BENEFIT CREASELESS CREAM SHADOW/LINER
Best Cream Eyeshadow (High-end)

Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner 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. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner (2009)

L’OREAL HIP CREAM SHADOW PAINT
Best Cream Eyeshadow (Budget)

These are easy to store, and I’ve always found the paint tubes to be better at staying fresh, as opposed to jars, which sometimes can dry out. Nice pigmentation, smooth, and easy to blend out.

Past Winners: Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaEyes Cream Eyeshadow (2009)

CHANEL KASKA BEIGE EYESHADOW QUAD
Best Eyeshadow Palette (High-end)

Easily one of the most flattering eyeshadow palettes on across skin tones. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Palettes (2009)

NYX NUDE ON NUDE EYESHADOW PALETTE
Best Eyeshadow Palette (Budget)

For a natural eyeshadow palette that doesn’t break the bank, Nude on Nude delivered quite well. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: NYX Eyeshadow Palettes (2009)

SHU UEMURA EYELASH CURLER
Best Eyelash Curler (High-end)

shu uemura Eyelash Curler 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. It sucks that you can only buy it online now, though.

Past Winners: shu uemura Eyelash Curler (2009)

E.L.F. MECHANICAL EYELASH CURLER
Best Eyelash Curler (Budget)

e.l.f. professional Mechanical Eyelash Curler gets the job done, no matter how tight your budget. 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.

Past Winners: e.l.f. Mechanical Eyelash Curler (2009)

TWEEZERMAN SLANTED TIP TWEEZERS
Best Tweezers

I have so many pairs of Tweezerman Slanted Tweezers around my house — everywhere! From my desk to the bathroom to my nightstand, these are a must-have for me. (See my review here.)

GUERLAIN METEORITES
Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (High-end)

Meteorites impart this lit-from-within glow without frost, glitter, or even really traditional shimmer. It’s such a micro-fine shimmer that it doesn’t look like you’re really wearing anything, even though you know you are. What edged it over Dior’s SkinShimmers is that they’re more versatile; you can use one with any blush, all over, or just on specific areas. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Dior DiorSkin Shimmer (2009)

NYX HIGHLIGHTER MOSAIC POWDER

The Highlighter Mosaic Powder has a soft texture and doesn’t prove too frosty or shimmery; it’s more shimmer-sheen and should work for several skin tones.

Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (Budget)

Past Winners: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips (2009)

BENEFIT SUGARBOMB
Best Everyday Blush (High-end)

Sugarbomb is still a product I always find myself reaching for, regularly pack for overnight trips or weekend getaways, and have to slap my hand away from so I don’t use it so often! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Benefit Sugarbomb (2009)

RIMMEL SANTA ROSE BLUSH
Best Everyday Blush (Budget)

Santa Rose is this darkened brownish pink–think MAC Blushbaby but pinker–that works well to give a hint of color without going overboard.

Past Winners: Milani Luminous Blush (2009)

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD BLUSH
Best Cream Blush (High-end)

The HD Blush line has enough shade variation to give you natural colors plus some revved up shades, but the formula is really fantastic. Richly pigmented, creamy, and they dry down quickly (but not too quickly) so they don’t leave behind any tackiness. They’re blendable and a little goes a long way! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: MAC Blushcreme (2009)

REVLON CREAM BLUSH
Best Cream Blush (Budget)

Revlon Cream Blushes 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!

Past Winners: Revlon Cream Blush (2009)

ROCK & REPUBLIC BLUSH
Best Powder Blush (High-end)

Rock & Republic’s Blushes have such a silky smooth texture with rich pigmentation, they are hard to resist. The finishes are so flattering–more sheen than shimmer.

Past Winners: Guerlain Blush 4 Eclat (2009)

RIMMEL BLUSH
Best Powder Blush (Budget)

Rimmel’s Blushes come in flattering, rather universally-appealing shades with a soft powder texture and nice pigmentation.  The finishes are nice without being too much.

Past Winners: CoverGirl Cheekers (2009)

GUERLAIN TERRACOTTA BRONZING POWDER
Best Bronzer (High-end)

Such a subtle but noticeable way to bronze–soft, silky smooth finely-milled powder that applies delicately and naturally.

Past Winners: Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel (2009)

RIMMEL NATURAL BRONZER
Best Bronzer (Budget)

Rimmel Natural Bronzer 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.

Past Winners: Rimmel Natural Bronzer (2009)

KORRES SILICONE-FREE PRIMER
Best Face Primer

Korres Face Primer 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). (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Korres Silicone-Free Primer (2009)

EVE PEARL SALMON CONCEALER
Best Concealer (High-end)

Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer (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.

Past Winners: Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer (2009)

MAYBELLINE INSTANT AGE REWIND DOUBLE FACE PERFECTOR
Best Concealer (Budget)

This is a double-ended product for highlighting and concealing, but the concealer does a really nice job providing enough opacity to cover darker under eye circles. It has a nice creamy consistency that makes it easy to blend out the color.

Past Winners: L’Oreal Visible Lift Under Eye (2009)

GUERLAIN PARURE GOLD FOUNDATION
Best Liquid Foundation (High-end)

Guerlain Parure Gold Fluid Foundation 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. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Guerlain Parure Gold (2009)

REVLON COLORSTAY FOUNDATION
Best Liquid Foundation (Budget)

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation 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!

Past Winners: Revlon ColorStay Foundation (2009)

CLINIQUE ALMOST MAKEUP POWDER
Best Powder Foundation (High-end)

What I love about Clinique’s Almost Makeup Powder is that it doesn’t feel or look like you’re wearing powder foundation. It’s soft, lightweight, and provides light to medium coverage without looking caked on.

MAYBELLINE PURESTAY FOUNDATION
Best Powder Foundation (Budget)

PureStay has a soft, smooth texture and gives light-medium to medium coverage without being powdery. I like that you can achieve more coverage without having to upgrade to a liquid or cream-based foundation.

EVE PEARL HD DUAL FOUNDATION
Best Cream Foundation (High-end)

This is one of my go-to foundations for when I need to look FLAWLESS. It provides medium to full coverage, and I love that there is a lighter and darker side, because it allows for really great color matching.

MAYBELLINE DREAM SMOOTH MOUSSE
Best Cream Foundation (Budget)

It’s a very emollient, creamy foundation that gives medium coverage. A little goes a long way, so I recommend going for less at first, to ensure you don’t over-apply!

LAURA MERCIER LOOSE SETTING POWDER
Best Setting Powder (High-end)

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder 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.

Past Winners: Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder (2009)

NEUTROGENA HEALTHY SKIN LOOSE POWDER
Best Setting Powder (Budget)

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Loose Powder 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.

Past Winners: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Loose Powder (2009)

KIEHL’S TINTED MOISTURIZER
Best Tinted Moisturizer (High-end)

Kiehl’s Tinted Moisturizer provides light-to-medium coverage, a slightly dewy finish, and a very spreadable base. It will take about five minutes to dry down, but it really does moisturize as well as even out the skin tone. I reach for this all the time.

Past Winners: Korres Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturizer

NEUTROGENA HEALTHY SKIN ENHANCER TINTED MOISTURIZER
Best Tinted Moisturizer (Budget)

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer 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.

Past Winners: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer

LE METIER DE BEAUTE LIP CREME
Best Lipgloss (High-end)

I always find this to be one of the more challenging categories to choose. I rediscovered my love for Le Metier de Beaute’s Lip Cremes this year, and they really are a fantastic gloss that doesn’t get as much recognition as I’d like–but it is expected as it is a relatively inaccessible brand (and pricey, too). So comfortable to wear, beautiful finishes and shades.(See my review here.)

Past Winners: Guerlain KissKiss Gloss (2009), Calvin Klein Light Glistening Lipgloss (2008)

REVLON SUPER LUSTROUS LIPGLOSS
Best Lipgloss (Budget)

Sheer, lightweight glosses with lots of dazzling shimmer with little to no scent (some smell synthetically sweet but subtly so while others have had no scent). It is non-sticky and lasts three to four hours on me.

Past Winners: NYX MegaShine Lipgloss (2009)

GUERLAIN ROUGE G LIPSTICK
Best Lipstick (High-end)

Rouge G delivers excellent color pay off with a full range of shades from nude to copper to red. They come in space-age packaging (though I could do without it, if it meant a price reduction!), too. The shades have such nuances to their colors, which is probably why I gravitate towards the line. (See my reviews here.)

Past Winners: Chanel Rouge Allure Laque (2009)

MAYBELLINE COLORSENSATIONAL
Best Lipstick (Budget)

Maybelline ColorSensational Lipcolor 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. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Maybelline ColorSensational (2009)

CHANEL ROUGE ALLURE LAQUE
Best Liquid Lipstick (High-end)

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque are like liquid lipstick, except completely made out of awesomeness. They’re creamy and moisturizing . STILL LOVE YOU DRAGON! (See my review here.)

NYC LIQUID LIPSTICK
Best Liquid Lipstick (Budget)

It’s a smooth lipstick/gloss hybrid with the glossiness of a gloss but the color pay off of a lipstick. The texture is creamy without being too thick nor watery, and it wears for three to four hours.

SARA HAPP THE LIP SCRUB
Best Lip Scrub (High-end)

Sara Happ The Lip Scrubicon 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! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Sara Happ The Lip Scrub (2009)

JOJOBA OIL + SUGAR
Best Lip Scrub (Budget)

If you’re on a budget, picking up a bottle of jojoba oil and mixing it with a little sugar (or brown sugar) works a treat to give lips a smoother, healthier appearance.

Past Winners: Jojoba Oil + Sugar (2009)

JACK BLACK INTENSE THERAPY LIP BALM
Best Lip Balm (High-end)

I have a secret stash of these, because I love them so. I have one in every bag and area where I spend prolonged periods of time at (desk, bed, etc.). These lip balms moisturize so, so well, and they last for hours on the lips. I put it on before bed and I can still feel some of it left when I wake up eight hours later. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Philosophy Kiss Me Intense Lip Therapy (2009)

PALMERS COCOA BUTTER FORMULA SWIVEL STICK
Best Lip Balm (Budget)

Creamy, smells of vanilla, and just works – but one interesting part about this is it’s actually a multi-tasking stick that can be used elsewhere, too. It lasts a couple of hours on lips before it needs to be re-applied.

Past Winners: Yes to Carrots Lip Butter (2009)

CHINA GLAZE
Best Nail Lacquer

China Glaze’s Nail Lacquers wear a week on me without chipping (just minor tip wear), come in a slew of shades, and always have something new on the horizon. (See my reviews here.)

Past Winners: China Glaze (2009)

SECHE VITE
Best Top Coat

If you want ultra shine, Seche Vite is perfect. It gives nails a beautiful, fresh and shiny look.

Past Winners: Seche Vite (2009)

ZOYA ANCHOR
Best Base Coat

I’m a big fan of Zoya’s Color Lock System, and I really love Anchor, which helps to keep my polish on for a week at a time.

Past Winners: Zoya Anchor (2009)

SALLY HANSEN INSTA-DRI
Best Fast-Drying Top Coat

This is a really nice quick-drying coat that cuts the drying time down infinitely while also providing the added benefit of chip-resistance.

MAC BRUSHES
Best Makeup Brushes (High-end)

MAC Brushes are soft, durable, and well-made. I love that MAC has a huge variety of brushes to choose from with different shapes, sizes, and materials. (See my eye brush reviews here, face brush reviews here.)

Past Winners: MAC Brushes (2009)

SONIA KASHUK BRUSHES
Best Makeup Brushes (Budget)

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.

Past Winners: Sonia Kashuk Brushes (2009)

CLARISONIC MIA
Best Beauty Tool (High-end)

Clarisonic MIA takes off $50 from the original Clarisonic’s price tag and sure, it doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as the original (but it really didn’t lose much), it gives greater access to a really fantastic product. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Clarisonic (2009)

EVE PEARL TRAVEL RAZOR
Best Beauty Tool (Budget)

This is an absolute must-have for any person who finds themselves with unwanted facial hair (above the lip, between the brows, peach fuzz, whatever).

Past Winners: Tweezerman Slanted Tip Tweezers (2009)

KATE SOMERVILLE GENTLE DAILY WASH
Best Facial Cleanser (High-end)

For me, it does all the cleansing that I need. It gets rid of dirt and grime and any foundation/tinted moisturizer I’ve worn that day. This won’t breakdown heavy eye/lip makeup, but in my experience, gentle cleansers rarely do as that is not what they’re designed for. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Chanel Exfoliating Mousse (2009)

CETAPHIL DAILY FACIAL CLEANSER
Best Facial Cleanser (Budget)

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is the world’s best cleanser to go to whenever my skin is out of whack. Whenever I feel like nothing’s working, I turn back to Cetaphil. It’s gentle, soothing, and great for my skin, even when it’s sensitive.

Past Winners: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (2009)

KIEHL’S RARE EARTH DEEP PORE DAILY CLEANSER
Best Daily Facial Exfoliator (High-end)

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that softly exfoliates and can be used on a daily basis. I love the lightness of this cleanser. It’s almost like a milky cleanser, because even though it lathers up, it’s not a traditional foaming lather. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser (2009)

DOVE GENTLE EXFOLIATING DAILY FACIAL CLEANSER
Best Daily Facial Exfoliator (Budget)

Dove’s tiny exfoliating beads provide gentle exfoliation hidden inside a thick, foaming cleanser that does a nice job of cleansing the skin without leaving it dry and tight.

Past Winners: Dove Gentle Exfoliating Daily Facial (2009)

FRESH SOY FACE CLEANSER
Best Foaming Facial Cleanser (High-end)

This is semi-clear gel cleanser that foams up nicely once applied to a dampened face. It seems rather no-frills to me, but it does an incredible job at cleansing away daily dirt and grime but also with makeup. It won’t get rid of your ultra long-wearing eyeliner, but it will remove most mascara and all of your foundation.

Past Winners: Philosophy Purity Made Simple (2009)

OLAY FOAMING FACE WASH
Best Foaming Facial Cleanser (Budget)

Olay’s Foaming Face Wash leaves skin feeling refreshed and clean but never tight.  It foams up quickly and is easy to work into the skin, but it doesn’t leave skin feeling dry afterward.

Past Winners: Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser (2009)

RENEE ROULEAU LUXE MINT CLEANSING GEL
Best Gel Cleanser (High-end)

I really just like the way it leaves my skin feeling, which is cooled and refreshed. It’s particularly been lovely for me as my seasonal allergies have been acting up! It was a total go-to for my mornings until I finished up the bottle.

Past Winners: Renee Rouleau AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel (2009)

L’OREAL SKIN GENESIS PORE MINIMIZING GEL CLEANSER GEL
Best Gel Cleanser (Budget)

L’Oreal Skin Genesis Pore Minimizing Gel Cleanser is a fantastic, affordable cleanser that cleans the skin and gets rid of makeup quite well, too. It has a clean floral scent that does linger a bit, but I didn’t find it irritated my skin. If you’re more of a cream type, you may want to try the Cream Cleanser — very similar, just a creamy version.

Past Winners: L’Oreal Skin Genesis Pore Minimizing Gel Cleanser (2009)

LANCOME BI-FACIL
Best Makeup Remover (High-end)

Lancome Bi-Facil is an eye makeup remover that is absolutely phenomenal at removing even the most stubborn, long-wearing makeup. This is a popular pick for makeup removers, and I have to agree with the majority on this one. It really works, and one bottle will last you ages.

Past Winners: Lancome Bi-Facil (2009)

NEUTROGENA OIL-FREE EYE MAKEUP REMOVER
Best Makeup Remover (Budget)

Neutrogena Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover is a great oil-free makeup remover that gets rid of even stubborn waterproof mascara and long-wearing eyeliner. One bottle will last you quite awhile, so there’s no need to worry about going through this stuff. Sometimes I’ll use this as a spot cleaner for brushes between uses as well. Since it’s oil-free, you don’t have to worry about any oily residue either.

Past Winners: Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover (2009)

MAC CLEANSING WIPES
Best Makeup Wipes (High-end)

MAC Cleansing Wipes are, surprisingly, a really good deal when bought in bulk and work well to remove makeup from your face, lips, and arms (if you’re a beauty blogger… you know what I mean!). These are just so excellent at removing makeup from skin, I always have a few packs under the sink.

Past Winners: MAC Cleansing Wipes (2009)

NEUTROGENA MAKEUP REMOVING CLEANSING TOWELETTES
Best Makeup Wipes (Budget)

Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes are easy-to-use makeup wipes that quickly remove dirt and makeup and leave you feeling clean. I like that this doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue, and I love that it can be used around the eyes, too (on me, I have to do so sparingly, just ’cause of how sensitive my eyes are in particular).

Past Winners: Neutrogena Makeup Removing Cleansing Towelettes (2009)

KATE SOMERVILLE EXFOLIKATE
Best Face Exfoliator (High-end)

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate is an incredibly pricey, but effective exfoliator. It really does impart this glow after you use it. For me, the regular version is just fine–never makes my face red–but if you have more sensitive skin, you may want to opt for the Sensitive version. I have repurchased this several times (though I only recently started on my second tube) since discovering it last year.

Past Winners: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate (2009)

QUEEN HELENE OATMEAL ‘N’ HONEY NATURAL FACIAL SCRUB
Best Facial Exfoliator (Budget)

This is a sweet smelling facial scrub with a very fine grit that exfoliates without leaving skin feeling stripped. A little goes a long way!

Past Winners: Biore Pore Minimizing Refining Exfoliator (2009)

SHU UEMURA CLEANSING OIL
Best Cleansing Oil (High-end)

shu uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil does an amazing job at removing my makeup, including long-wearing eyeliner and mascara. It doesn’t feel greasy or heavy, and it keeps my skin hydrated and never stripped.

Past Winners: shu uemura Cleansing Oil (2009)

JOJOBA OIL
Best Cleansing Oil (Budget)

Jojoba oil is one my favorite multitasking at-home solutions. I like jojoba oil for how effective it is at cleansing and removing both dirt and makeup, but it also leaves my skin feeling very soft and smooth. I haven’t found any commercial cleansing oil at a budget-friendly price tag yet, other than just plain ol’ jojoba oil.

Past Winners: Jojoba Oil (2009)

NARS HYDRATING FRESHENING LOTION
Best Toner (High-end)

NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion made me a believer on the magic of toners. I seriously never understood why toners were a must or why I should bother at all with one. I love, love, LOVE this product. NARS has a surprisingly strong line of skincare, actually, with Hydrating Freshening Lotion being one of my favorites. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion (2009)

LUSH TEA TREE WATER
Best Toner (Budget)

LUSH’s Tea Tree Water comes in a convenient spray bottle and smells like, well, tea tree oil–but not quite as rich as pure tea tree oil. Alcohol-free, so it does not leave skin feeling dry.

Past Winners: Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Lotion (2009)

ELLEN SIROT HAND PERFECTION COMPLETE DAY CREAM
Best Hand Cream (High-end)

Hand Perfection continues to be the best moisturizer I’ve used on my hands. It keeps them silky smooth, makes them look more even, and lasts for hours and hours without reapplication. It is worthwhile to note that Jack Black’s Hand Healer deserves an honorable mention. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Complete Day Cream (2009)

EUCERIN PLUS INTENSIVE REPAIR HAND CREAM
Best Hand Cream (Budget)

Fragrance-free, non-greasy, and quick to absorb, Eucerin has a no-frills hand cream that will keep cracked and dried skin at bay.

Past Winners: Nivea Smooth Indulgence Hand Cream (2009)

CHANEL UTLRA CORRECTION LIFT DAY CREAM SPF 15
Best Daytime Moisturizer (High-end)

It feels absolutely heavenly on skin. It’s rich, but it doesn’t have the negative characteristics often associated with heavier, richer creams. It has that rich, luxe texture that’s instantly hydrating and soothing, but it absorbs in under a minute. I’ve never encountered such a rich-in-texture cream that soaks in that quickly! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer (2009)

OLAY COMPLETE ALL DAY UV DEFENSE MOISTURE LOTION
Best Daytime Moisturizer (Budget)

Olay Complete All Day UV Defense Moisture Lotion is an old favorite. I used to use it before I ventured into higher-end skincare, but it’s something I continuously recommend to those on tighter budgets or don’t want fussy skincare. It has SPF 15 in it, which is a nice touch in a daily moisturizer, too. It hydrates without feeling greasy and can be worn easily under makeup!

Past Winners: Olay Complete All Day UV Defense Moisture Lotion (2009)

BOBBI BROWN HYDRATING GEL CREAM
Best Evening Moisturizer (High-end)

I loved this so much the entire time I tested it that I ended up finishing the jar! It’s a gel-based moisturizer, which means it has a lighter feel, even though it looks and seems like a cream, and seems more water-based. I loved how quickly it absorbed and how well hydrated it kept my skin.

Past Winners: Origins Make a Difference Ultra-Rich Rejuvenating Cream (2009)

NEUTROGENA HEALTHY SKIN ANTI-WRINKLE NIGHT CREAM
Best Evening Moisturizer (Budget)

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream is a nice creamy that doesn’t feel too rich, but it’s certainly not lightweight like a lotion. It sinks into skin quick enough that it could actually be used during the day, if you really wanted. It also has a lil’ anti-aging properties in it (Retinol, though low on the ingredient list), but I can’t speak to the effectiveness quite yet… maybe in a few years (but I’ll cross my fingers and hope for never!).

Past Winners: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream (2009)

CLARINS UV PLUS DAY HIGH PROTECTION SPF 40
Best Sunscreen (High-end)

This is a great mineral-based sunscreen (which means it doesn’t use chemical sunscreens for sun protection) that absorbs quickly, doesn’t leave a white cast, and is non-greasy.

Past Winners: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion for Face PA+++ (2009)

NEUTROGENA ULTRA SHEER DRY TOUCH
Best Sunscreen (Budget)

Neutrogena Sunblock, Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 55 is a nice, lightweight sunscreen for the face that never irritated me or made me feel greasy. It’s also available in SPF 30, SPF 45, SPF 70, and SPF 85.

Past Winners: Neutrogea Ultra Sheer Dry Touch (2009)

KATE SOMERVILLE CLEARING MASK
Best Face Mask (High-end)

It is a nice lightweight clay-based mask that has seemed to help keep my skin clearer without leaving it too dry (which some masks can do).

Past Winners: Prescriptives Instant Gratification (2009)

LUSH FRESH FACE MASKS
Best Face Mask (Budget)

LUSH Fresh Face Masks are really relaxing, soothing products. They have several different face masks to choose from, and they’re only available in-store (at least for U.S. customers). My personal favorites are A Crash Course in Skincare and Cupcake, but I do like Catastrophe Cosmetic and Brazened Honey. I kind of like to vary it up, because I have a soft spot for all of them. (See my reviews here.)

Past Winners: LUSH Fresh Face Masks (2009)

KIEHL’S GENTLE EXFOLIATING BODY SCRUB
Best Body Scrub (High-end)

Kiehl’s Gentle Exfoliating Body Scrub is a creamy, slightly lathering body scrub with extremely fine particles. It’s almost more like a body polisher (but it’s a little coarser than that), actually. I personally love, love the Lavender scent, because I find it relaxing and it always reminds me to just breathe. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Kiehl’s Gentle Exfoliating Body Scrub (2009)

LUSH OCEAN SALT
Best Body Scrub (Budget)

LUSH Ocean Salt is an exfoliator that uses both fine and coarse sea salt to exfoliate the skin. It also contains vodka and lime as well as avocado butter. This scrub leaves skin feeling incredibly clean and smooth. It smells kind of like a margarita to me, a little sour. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub (2009)

PHILOSOPHY 3-IN-1 SHOWER GEL
Best Body Wash (High-end)

These are my not-so-secret obsession. I have a total “gotta try ‘em all” mentality with these, because they’re constantly coming out with new, limited scents. I find that one big 16 oz. bottles lasts two people (me and my boyfriend) over a month, and let me tell you, the boyfriend has no concept of skimping whatsoever! I just love how often they hit the nail on the head with the scents. Pumpkin Spice for the win!

Past Winners: Philosophy 3-in-1 Shower Gel (2009)

DOVE DEEP MOISTURE BODY WASH
Best Body Wash (Budget)

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash is an affordable option for getting your body clean with lots of lather and a pleasant clean scent. I love the way my skin feels clean but not stripped after using this.

Past Winners: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash (2009)

JO MALONE BODY CREME
Best Body Moisturizer (High-end)

The Body Creme also does a bang-up job keeping my dragon-lady legs at bay, which I was surprised at as well. I just imagined that, despite enjoying Jo Malone products in the past, it wouldn’t be a truly rich and luxurious body cream, but it was and is. The texture of the Body Creme is certainly rich, but it’s creamy without being too thick or stiff. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Crabtree & Evelyn Soothing Body Lotion

LUBRIDERM ADVANCED THERAPY TRIPLE SMOOTHING BODY LOTION
Best Body Moisturizer (Budget)

Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Triple Smoothing Body Lotion is a great three-in-one kind of product. It contains AHAs which help with skin renewal by removing dead skin cells, but it also keeps skin super moisturized and therefore smooth. I like that it does live-up to its three-in-one claims. I love this as a gentle but effective moisturizer.

Past Winners: Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Triple Smoothing Body Lotion (2009)

LIQWD VOLUMIZING SHAMPOO
Best Shampoo (High-end)

LiQWD Volumizing Shampoo was love at first wash. I feel like it really cleans and gives my hair this beautiful shine and healthy look to it. Ever since I started using it, I also can get away with washing my hair every two days — if I want to. I’ve been using varous other shampoos throughout the year but always come back to this.

Past Winners: LiQWD Volumizing Shampoo (2009)

AUSSIE MOIST SHAMPOO
Best Shampoo (Budget)

Aussie Moist Shampoo helps keep my hair from getting dried out and looking very healthy. My hair always feels really soft and smooth after using this!

Past Winners: Aussie Moist Shampoo (2009)

SUAVE DAILY CLARIFYING SHAMPOO
Best Clarifying Shampoo

Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo for Normal to Oily Hair is a must in any household, because it’s great for ensuring you get all the bits of residue left behind by styling products. I don’t use too many styling products, so I don’t always need a clarifying shampoo, which is why I love how affordable this one is. Even though Suave calls it “Daily,” I’d recommend it more for once a week or less usage. There’s no high-end/budget here — only one winner. I haven’t found a high-end product that does as good of a job removing build-up as this that’s worth an award.

Past Winners: Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo (2009)

OSCAR BLANDI PRONTO WET INSTANT VOLUMIZING CONDITIONER
Best Conditioner (High-end)

Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Instant Volumizing Conditioner is a lemony-citrus sulfate-free conditioner that gave me soft, detangled locks in no time flat. Like I’ve mentioned before, my hair isn’t too fussy, but I really found myself liking the way this conditioner worked on my hair (I will also mention I liked the matching shampoo, too). One of the things I really liked about the conditioner was it made my hair seem lighter–hair stylists are always telling me “you have enough hair for two people!”–so lighter is good. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Instant Volumizing Conditioner (2009)

AUSSIE 3 MINUTE MIRACLE
Best Conditioner (Budget)

This is an excellent conditioner if you suffer from drier hair, because it is so hydrating and always helps my hair feel better if I’ve used a lot of styling tools on it. It is coconut-scented, though, which may not be everyone’s favorite scent.

Past Winners: Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Conditioner

T3 REFRESH VOLUMIZING DRY SHAMPOO
Best Dry Shampoo

T3 Refresh Volumizing Dry Shampoo was a much-loved companion when I went to Hawaii in 2008 with my family during the summer. Something about all the sun and sand at the beach makes my hair a little grimy even on the same day I’ve washed it, and I really loved that T3′s Dry Shampoo gave me a little extra oomph to keep it going for another twelve hours or day. The one I have doesn’t have any variations in it, but I guess nowadays they have ones made for light hair, medium hair, and dark hair.

Past Winners: T3 Refresh Volumizing Dry Shampoo (2009)

T3 BESPOKE LABS EVOLUTION DRYER
Best Hair Dryer (High-end)

T3 Bespoke Labs Evolution Dryer opened my eyes to a hair miracle. A HAIR MIRACLE! I seriously never knew that you could dry long hair in less than ten minutes. I thought those of with long hair were meant to suffer through hour-long, arm-killing sessions of blow drying. I was totally and utterly wrong (thank goodness!). I can dry my thick, long hair in under ten minutes with the T3. I have both the Featherweight and the Evolution, and I like all the extra settings on the Evolution. If you’re on a budget, though, the Featherweight will still get the job done!

Past Winners: T3 Bespoke Labs Evolution Dryer (2009)

INFINITI BY CONAIR PROFESSIONAL TOURMALINE IONIC STYLER
Best Hair Dryer (Budget)

Infiniti by Conair Professional Tourmaline Ionic Styler Model 213R gets hair dried quickly–and that’s really the biggest thing I look for in a hair dryer these days. Like ever since the discovery of hair dryers that can get your hair dried in less than a half hour… my life has been changed for the better!

Past Winners: Infiniti by Conair Professional Tourmaline Ionic Styler

GHD IV STYLER
Best Flat Iron (High-end)

ghd IV styler is kind of my gold standard for flat irons. It’s easy to use, very comfortable to hold, heats up quickly, and gets my hair straightened with no qualms. My hair isn’t that curly to begin with, though, so I must at least disclose that bit to you that I may not be the most strenuous tester of flat irons.

Past Winners: ghd IV styler (2009)

REMINGTON SHINE THERAPY FLAT IRON
Best Flat Iron (Budget)

Remington Shine Therapy Flat Iron is an effective flat iron that straightens hair quickly (heats up in about thirty seconds), but it also has this cool thing–a lil’ gimmicky, but whatever–where it has avocado oil “infused” into the pads that give your hair a little added moisture and shine.

Past Winners: Remington Shine Therapy Flat Iron (2009)

T3 PRO EVERTWIRL CURLING IRON
Best Curling Iron (High-end)

T3 PRO EverTwirl Curling Iron 1 1/4 Inch Barrel is easy to use, comfortable to hold, and heats up quickly. I just wish it came in more barrel sizes (or maybe I don’t, because then it’d get pricey!).

Past Winners: T3 PRO EverTwirl Curling Iron 1 1/4 Inch Barrel (2009)

HOT TOOLS PROFESSIONAL SPRING CURLING IRON
Best Curling Iron (Budget)

Hot Tools Professional Spring Curling Iron is a no-frills kind of curling iron. This gets the job done, and it does it well. Hot Tools also has a Ceramic series, but I haven’t personally tested it. I have the Spring Curling Iron in the 1 1/2″ and 3/4″ I believe – love them both. The only downside is I find a novice (like myself) has to be careful not to touch the hot parts. I’ve found that some of the higher-end irons tend to do a better job making sure iron newbies (again, like myself!) don’t kill themselves in the process.

Past Winners: Hot Tools Professional Spring Curling Iron (2009)

BUMBLE & BUMBLE SPRAY DE MODE
Best Hair Spray (High-end)

Excellent hair spray that provides hold while still providing flexibility, softness, and keeps the hold going all day (and night!) long.

TRESEMME EXTRA HOLD HAIR SPRAY
Best Hair Spray (Budget)

I’ve used this numerous times when I’ve curled my hair, and it always keeps the curls defined without making them too crunchy or sticky. The scent isn’t lovely but doesn’t last too long.

PAUL MITCHELL HOT OFF THE PRESS
Heat Protectant (High-end)

This is a total must-have if you use a lot of hot styling tools on your hair, because it really helps to fortify the hair and keep the strands from drying out or breaking–it also seems to combat frizz.

TRESEMME HAIR TAMER PROTECTIVE SPRAY
Heat Protectant (Budget)

TRESemme’s Hair Tamer helps hair to retain its softness after blow drying or styling with a curling or flat iron–my hair always seems to have a bit more bounce after using this product.