2011 Editor’s Choice Awards – Part 5: Skincare, Body Care, Hair Care
This is the last and final section–all about skincare, body care, and hair care products. There were definitely some new favorites this year, but this section had several categories where the product I awarded last year is still the best product I’ve tried.
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)
See more awards for skincare, body care, and hair care!
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)
Best Makeup Remover (High-end)
Lancome Bi-Facil is a 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)
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.