Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Check out list of winners, runner-ups, and other nominees here!

With new brands and products coming out fast and furious, the competition gets tougher and tougher each year. Brands need to stay on their toes if they want to hold the attention of the beauty community. This year is exemplary of that as cosmetic and award-winning giant MAC lost some key categories, such as Best Brand of the Year, and new-for-2011 Tarte Amazonian 12-Hour Clay Blush made impressive inroads against long-time favorite NARS Blush.

The products on the shortlists are all good products overall; readers wouldn’t have nominated them in droves if they weren’t. Sometimes our favorites don’t win, and sometimes they don’t make the ballot, but maybe they will next year. There are always a few surprise nominations and winners. I always look forward to the shortlists, because it gives me an opportunity to see what readers are loving and try out products I haven’t tried before.

Nominations certainly show a trend of who is going to win what. If a product doesn’t make it onto the shortlist, it doesn’t make the ballot, which means voters will vote for the best of what is listed (and some will vote other, which is what we encourage unsure voters to do).

However, the amount of nominations does not always indicate who is going to win. For instance, in Best New Product of 2011, Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette won with a fair lead ahead of competitors, but it was third in nominations (and the third place winner led the nominations by double the second nomination leader). The same trend occurred in Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2011! With some of these year-based categories, I suspect that many of us forget what debuted during the year but the shortlist reminds us.

The most controversial category remains the Best Indie Brand of 2011, because the term “indie” seems hard to capture. How small is “indie”? How wide can distribution be if it’s “indie”? In my beauty bubble, I could tell you I hear about Sugarpill and Inglot much more than theBalm, but theBalm used to be in Sephora, though it’s still a very small company that’s not part of any large conglomerate; its founder is its owner who still creates and develops the colors and product stories. Inglot is primarily available online and in a few boutiques around the country but did recently get space in Macy’s. Is “indie” an objective standard or is it subjective? Is it a certain type of spirit or does it boil down to numbers? And if so, how can we judge that aspect when profits are carefully guarded?

I know it sounds cliche, but every vote counts–there are categories that don’t get decided until the last minutes of the voting period.  Sometimes the difference is as little as a single vote.  There are definitely some categories with huge winners that aren’t going anywhere and leap out in front from the get-go, but there are others where two or three products will jockey for first until the last few days when finally a clear winner comes forward.

Thank you for all of your nominations and voting! :)

Check out list of winners, runner-ups, and other nominees here!

Next year’s awards will see several categories cut. The following categories are up for removal based on high number of individual nominations and small majorities/high “Other” votes: Best Face Exfoliator, Best Facial Cleanser, Best Daytime Moisturizer, Best Evening Moisturizer, Best Body Moisturizer, Best Body Scrub, Best Shampoo, and Best Conditioner.  It’s not unsurprising, and I’ve been considering removing these categories for a couple of years now, as skincare and hair care are very individual.  If you really think any of these should stay, please weigh in with a comment!

Are there any additional categories you’d like to see in the future?

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107 thoughts on “2012 Readers’ Choice Awards – Check ’em out!

  1. I would like to see them stay :) Whenever I’m in need of a new skincare product, I’ll search “Temptalia Best Facial Cleanser” or “Best evening moisturizer” :)

  2. Survey certainly highlights who are Temptalia’s audience….just an observation…not positive or negative…..the makeup brands dont branch out very far.

    • Maureen

      For real. Naked 2 Palette? What a shocker. It was certainly the most popular purchase of the year, but I highly doubt it was the “best.”

    • Nadia

      I’m with you both. I don’t put any stock in these awards.

      • I’m sorry you feel that way – know that a lot of work goes into it and that we do everything we can to make it a resource for others.

      • It’s s peoples choice awards the fact that Naked 2 Palette JUST came out brought it to the forefront of peoples minds but it did half as well as last years NAKED palette and there was only 3% difference between that and the Tarte Amazonian 12-Hour Clay Blush in terms of placement. ^_^

  3. shelly

    I think if the skincare and hair categories aren’t as popular as the makeup ones, you shouldn’t keep them. I think they can go.

  4. Leah

    I think the skincare and hair categories can go, I think I voted “other” on all of them. I’m curious, how many people voted?

  5. Emily

    I’m neutral on whether they should stay or go – I didn’t vote for or nominate any skincare / haircare products, but having the categories around doesn’t bother me.

  6. Alex

    I think they should go. It is easier to standardize makeup because we are all expecting the same results from most of those products. For example, an eyeshadow needs to be blendable, pigmented, and have staying power on everyone’s standards no matter your skin type. A skin care product, on the other hand, will perform differently and is expected to perform differently depending on your skin or hair type. You can’t hold a cleanser meant for oily skin against a cleanser meant for dry skin because the person that needs the cleanser for dry skin won’t like the way the oily skin cleaser works on them. It is too hard to standardize to make an objective decision on. Hope that ramble made sense! Basically, I think those catagories should go or be broken down even further into more specific categories and then people should excercise judgement on what they are elligible to vote on. But then again thats just adding more work for you so yeah, just scrap them!

    • Yeah, right now it takes 5-10 hours per category to compile nominations! And even getting nominations for this many categories can be tough – it’s a lot of work for each reader to go through, so ideally, I’d like to narrow down the categories rather than expand (but I’m willing to remove some and replace with something else)!

      Thanks, Alex!

  7. Kathy

    Shouldn’t it be Reader’s Choice 2011? All the new products mentioned came out in 2011 and when mentioning previous winners, it stops at 2010. Just wondering.

    • For whatever reason, award shows and the like always go with the year they’re presented, even though they’re giving awards to what happened the previous year. We did the same to be consistent with other awards, so it wouldn’t like an outdated award!

      • Lilastar

        I guess a change in the name could help. Instead of calling it the “Reader’s Choice 2011″ it could be called “the 4th (or whatever year it is) Reder’s Choice Awards”

        • I prefer the year so it’s less confusing – it’s easiest to figure out what is the most recent :) Not looking to change the name, since we have already established it this way!

  8. Julia

    Although makeup and nail polish is based a lot on personal influence, I think that the skincare is much more personal, and based on your own skin type as well as preferences. It may make sense to expand the section (best cleanser for oily skin, dry skin, best physical vs chemical face exfoliant, etc.) or just get rid of it, if it’s not harnessing as much participation.

  9. Again I’m the nae-sayer this year about the Best indie brand. Inglot like NYX is just to large and almost an international brand with multiple store to call them Indie. They in the same realm selling realm as MAC and Make Up For Ever now (but both are owned by parent brands I realism) and I just don’t see them as being a independent brand anymore when you growth past a certain number of employes.

    I always feel like this should really go to a small start up or just a small company that does give the bigger backed brands a run for the money. Don’t get me wrong I <3 Inglot in a big way for their eye products but all the runners up need credit more.

    • Could you explain what your definition is? I would be very surprised if either NYX, Inglot, OR MUFE were even close to MAC in terms of dollar sales. What is that # of employees that you’re not allowed to exceed? I always thought “indie” was more of a spirit/culture/attitude myself but there seems to be potentially more elements. I don’t think any of the companies mentioned, except perhaps MAC (or at least the ELC family in sum) provide any financial data (and not sure about employee data) so how can we verify what is or is not true? theBalm is actually a small company from what I understand in working with them this past year but at what point is it too much? A company is too successful that they can’t be considered indie? And then what are they? Sell outs? That’s what I keep hearing. I’d love to hear more of your input, because I need a tangible definition that can be conveyed to all readers during the nomination process.

      I will probably pull the category completely next year, though, since nobody can come to agreement on what it is in a way that can be explained and conveyed to readers. I think that’s probably the best decision! :) Thanks for helping me come to that conclusion!

      • S.

        I agree with Warpaint and Unicorns. Brands with multiple store in different continents shouldn’t be considered “Indie”. I understand your point, Christine, but indie, for me, consists in an independent company, with limited number of employees and the owners deeply involved in the direct production. We can’t compare Inglot, The Balm and NYX with Fyrinnae and Shiro.

        • I’m just looking for a precise definition – what is limited number of employees? What do you mean by owners involved? How do you know that the owners of the companies you listed in your comment aren’t involved? I know for a fact that theBalm’s founder and owner is very involved in the creation, conceptualization, and development of the products. I don’t personally know about the other ones, and I don’t know what sales they do or how many employees they have. I’d just love to get your input on how to figure it all out.

          I couldn’t tell you my definition of indie – but I’ve been trying for years to tease out a definition from readers like yourself but haven’t been able to come up with something that I can relay to the readers during the nomination process. Because while some consider Fyrinnae indie, I have readers who say it’s not – so who do I believe and how can we come to an agreement?

          I am really trying to figure it out, and after a couple of years of the drama, I’m just tired of trying. I ask questions not because I believe or don’t believe one way or the other but to get people to clarify their points and what they do or do not consider “indie” and why.

          • Agree withe the dollar value being graded is hard to judge by that. But I take is out of the equation as it’s not a way to judge the scope of a brand but rather a way to see how effect they are at it. :) you can still be small a turn a mighty profit.

            A lot of indie brands are I consider Local Gorwn without using the aid of another brand (like Sephora) to help launch them.

            Yaby, Eve Pearl, OCC, Sugarpill, Mehron, Ben Nye, Kryolan, Graftobean, La Femme are higher end/ photo-ready indie brands that make for a good example of indie.

            Alot of Mineral makeup companies and pigment companies like Cult Nail Polish, Fyrinnae, Glamour Doll Eyes, Shiro Cosmetics are in this category.

            Sigma excels at selling them self in social media to generate awareness and as still locally own created and distributed despite their globe reach.

            TheBalm uses Sephora and TGmax to spread they line and use there meida nad means to get out there. Lime Crime is now in department stores in the UK as well. the same way Anna Sui makeup uses Department to promo the boutique feel to the line.

            Also size has as much to do with local as both NYX and Inglot have global distributors and/or free standing store. The more locations you have the larger the business is and the more employees under your umbrella.

            I use the Indie idea seen in record labels. I see them going out and really adverting themselves without a big record contract and even take in on the artist own to direct how the music is being manufactured.

            It’s hard to rain in the term indie brand if you only have one criteria for it.

            For NYX they do work they buts off but their reach has made them an internationally recognized brand and the use of local resellers in drugstore will have increase they brand sales and scope to battle it out with L’Oreal and ELC parents.

            I think we can maybe keep this category on but make a note that these are the small brand worries in a big bad market. 😉 Think of them as small biness that have a a global reach through online awareness, this is also how Indie Bands survive.

            • I think one of the examples that can really confuddle it all is theBalm, actually – because they’re actually no longer distributed by Sephora (and haven’t been for several months now). I believe that some products are still available for sale online, but it’s just the residual stock – they’ve been removed from actual stores and none of the newer items have been launched at Sephora. They’re primarily distributed online now, I think, with it popping up at TJ Maxx. I don’t know how many employees they have, but meeting with them during a recent event, it sounded like a very small, tight-knit company. Definitely not a 1-2 kind of company but certainly not a lot. Would the loss of Sephora but gain of TJ Maxx make it mainstream? And like you mentioned Lime Crime – I remember hearing they were going to be in Urban Outfitters, which isn’t really a traditional cosmetic outlet, but does that qualify that it’s now mainstream? So it is a big brand? Because I don’t think even those small brands could compete against mainstream brands (which I consider to have an extremely wide distribution footprint – like 100s of doors, not just 5 boutiques–it’s the brands with counters at Nordstroms, ones you’ll find with a displayer at every drugstore).

              Similarly, I’d say brands like Ben Nye and Kryolan seem like they have quite a few employees — I visited Kryolan’s small-scale production facility several years ago, and they have a very large operation (especially globally) with significant global distribution. I would never have thought (myself) to consider them “indie” as far as thinking of a small business. Isn’t La Femme a wholesaler that slaps private labels on their products (in addition to their generic range)? That doesn’t seem to jive with the idea about indie, I guess.

              NYX is now at Nordstrom (at least online), but prior to that, I know that I could not find NYX locally at all – the only place to buy was online (one thing I tend to associate with “indie” brands is lack of accessibility).

              So is Lime Crime no longer “indie” because it is in department stores and the UK? What about “indie” brands that sell internationally?

              My big issue is that readers have to control the process, not me – so that’s why having a clear definition to help readers nominate appropriately is so critical. I don’t want to put one foot into the nomination process to eliminate a brand/product that receives enough nominations to make it on the shortlist because it doesn’t fall into my idea of “indie,” you know? Like it isn’t fair for me to come in and eliminate what hundreds of people wrote in as what they thought was “indie.” It’s one thing if there are clear criteria (it doesn’t have to be one), so I can say that “NYX was eliminated because they are carried at a major retailer like Nordstrom,” but another to say, “Well, it doesn’t seem indie to ME!”

              I want readers to really be the force behind the awards, which is why I don’t and never did interfere with what brands were listed as indie. The only criteria I could, at the very least, pull back on is independently owned – aka not owned by a big house like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, etc. – which was never an issue. However, niche brands like Le Metier de Beaute, which is a very, very small company that is now available in more doors and at high-end department stores, do get nominations (not enough to be short listed generally).

            • emily

              hmmm, i see how it’s a really tough call on how to define indie. I guess if I had to define it, I’d say that an indie company was both a) only available online (no physical stores anywhere – it’s okay to have a booth at a makeup show though), and b) had a maximum of say, 15 employees – which i recognize is a TOTALLY arbitrary number – but you have to draw the line somewhere, you know?

              That would exclude Thebalm, Inglot, and NYX, which I personally think is fair, since they are widely available in-store. I realize that they aren’t available in that many stores for people living in certain areas of the country, but some boutiques carry Thebalm, there are several Inglot stores, and NYX is everywhere. This is totally different from something like Shiro (my personal favorite) or Fyrinnae.

              I will completely understand if you eliminate the category – I understand that you don’t want to be drawn into the drama that is line-drawing – but those are my personal lines. Sold in stores = not indie. Too many employees = not indie. And I realize that that means some companies will go from indie to non-indie over the years; that’s cool with me – it’s like a graduation.

            • So then a brand like OCC is not indie? And brands that are sold in local boutiques and stores (I know that several Etsy body care brands manage to work out local distribution at stores) are also out? Even if they’re made by one or two people? How can one verify that something isn’t being run by 15 or more people? That’s also part of the problem – verification. You don’t see any company, even “indie,” releasing the majority of their private information. What about a brand that’s run by 2-3 people but is sold in a single store? Or what if it’s only sold online, but through a retailer like Neiman Marcus? (Maybe luxury brands are small and online-only as well.)

              What makes it the employee count that transform the nature of the business? I am simply curious. :)

            • emily

              OCC doesn’t seem like an indie brand to me – maybe they were, once, but they have more mainstream distribution now.

              I think it’s really a question of line- drawing. And some of the lines are going to be arbitrary, because that’s the way line drawing works.

              That’s an interesting point about the luxury brands too! Hmm – have to think about that one.

            • If it’s an arbitrary line, which means I have to be the judge and jury of it – then the category is most definitely not something that is suitable for these awards! Thanks so much!

            • I feel bad though as this is a way to expose alot of indie brands to your readers that are not use to indie makeup. I actually got started with indei brands when getting more into makeup.

              and speacking of lines….. lol

    • Caitlin

      I think that the less readily available, the more “indie” it is. Inglot only have a handful of boutiques(which most of us don’t live near!) and other than that are just online. NYX, on the other hand you can find at any Ulta and apparently Nordstrom(WTF, btw?). I think if it’s more readily available then it’s no longer “indie” (i.e, target, walmart, ulta, sephora). Whether they have 3 employees or 100 shouldn’t make a difference. Just my two cents.

  10. joyce

    I’d be fine with cutting the skincare/haircare categories, since your site focuses primarily on cosmetics anyway.

    Definitely agree with Revlon as best budget brand – I never looked into the line much before this year, but it’s pretty nice and the Lip Butters are amazing!

  11. Chelsea

    I’d love to see a favorite fragrance category!

  12. Janine

    Thanks for putting this list together! I voted for my favorites, and I see some popular products won that I haven’t tried, but now want to! (And I also wanted to let you know that your picture in the “best body butter” category wasn’t of The Body Shop body butter, but of Bath & Body works.) Oops! :)

  13. Dana

    Psst…you have a Bath & Body Works body butter pictured where it should be a Body Shop one :)

    I think that all the categories deserve to stay — makeup is also a very subjective topic, really, and even though there are a lot of “write-in” nominees, most of the winners are the same old standbys like MAC and Urban Decay — the most popular brands. Any Reader’s Choice poll is really mainly to see what is most popular among a particular group, not necessarily what is ultimately the “best quality” — so I don’t really see any reason to deep-six those categories. :)

  14. Deb

    Maybe the Indie category could be redefined. I do not see Inglot and TheBalm as “indie” in the same way as as Sugarpill and Fyrinnae are. Inglot has a flagship store in NYC, as well as other stores and counters in Macys. TheBalm used to be carried in Sephora. I buy from indie brands (as well as major brands) and I see a difference. Thanks.

    • Could you define “indie” for me in a way that everyone could understand? The definition of “I know it when I see it” is not helpful for readers.

      • Kacee

        I always thought indie meant like independent companies. Like occ, inglot, thebalm, etc. because they aren’t owned by another company (I.e. Estée Lauder & Mac. Lancôme & loreal. And urban decay & hard candy.) I’ve never been able to understand the full meaning of it though either Christine!

      • Deb

        My point of view is that an “indie” brand is independently owned and operated, many times a small business, not widely distributed in a department store or Sephora (some local distribution or niche distribution), ran their own way, regardless of trends. I know that my view is subjective, because I have to admit Illmasqua is indie in concept for being in Sephora. Maybe defining the category as “independent” (to me more concept-driven, wide open) not “indie”, (a term that has a connotation attached to many people as a small/independently run business) could be considered. Thanks for listening.

  15. Pawsha

    These winners just made me laugh. LOL

  16. Kayla

    the skin care and hair care categories should stay imo, as long as people vote for things worth voting for. i personally find skin and hair care more interesting and important than makeup so i was quite excited that they were included until i saw pantene and herbel essences being promoted as good hair care. worst things you could ever use in your hair. keep the categories, incorporate skin and hair care into the site, and hope real brands are mentioned next time.

    • I’ve had really good experiences with both Pantene and Herbal Essences :/ I used them on and off for 5-10 years, LOL! What makes them the worst? For me, the worst are sulfate-free shampoos – they leave my hair dry, cause it to fall out more (I have a TON of hair, so what I consider normal may be a lot to someone with less hair, lol!), and make it frizzier.

      • Katie

        I think this is precisely why skin and hair should be eliminated. Sulfate-free stuff has changed my life. My hair was so annoyingly frizzy and has almost completely changed since I switched to sulfate-free.

        I agree with everyone who has said there are just too many variables with skin and hair to evaluate products as being “the best.” The best facial cleanser for me probably won’t work for most people…whereas the best, most pigmented and long-lasting eyeshadow will probably work for almost all.

      • Shattered

        I don’t really know about Herbal Essences (aside from the fact that I use their hairspray because I avoid aerosols, CFCs and all), but Pantene is not good for the hair. It’s loaded with a lot of waxes, a lot of crap. My sister is a licensed stylist and is quite educated on hair product ingredients, and she would cut my arms off to keep me from reaching for Pantene.

        • I just wonder specifically what it does to hair that makes it bad :) It’s like that one person you know who’s grandma used such and such product that’s supposedly the worst thing for your skin but has the best skin ever, you know? I am just curious about what specific damage it causes.

          • Laura

            I used to use Pantene and it was so full of crap that it clogged my skin up and caused cysts to form on my head! Very painful and unpleasant. When I went to my GP about them she immediately said “Let me guess, you use Pantene, right?” Apparently she sees this problem fairly regularly from people who use it.

      • Maureen

        I only use sulfate-free because it brassifies the crap out of my hair color! Lol, definitely a good example of how we have completely different needs. I suggest these categories for shampoo and conditioner: Drugstore, Color-care, Organic, Black/Ethnic (I don’t know if there’s a more p.c. term for this), and Professional/High-end.

        • Maureen

          *I mean I only use sulfate-free because sulfates make my hair brassy

        • We’re definitely not looking to expand on any of the categories up for removal – we are staying at 40 or less categories total (we are at 42) :) Thank you!

          • Maureen

            I do also want to clarify that I meant like, “Best X Product” and not X Shampoo, X Conditioner, Y Shampoo, Y Conditioner, etc.

            Either way, I love seeing the hair stuff. n_n

      • kayla

        basically what others have said, it’s the ingredients that make them awful. they’re loaded with harsh detergents, heavy waxes and silicones, drying alcohols, and cheap fillers. there’s nothing in them that actually benefit the hair in any way. while i agree sulfate-free shampoos are a hit and miss, i think that’s why these kinds of categories should be included. people who do know about hair/skin and have had luck with products can share that with others. makeup performes differently for different people the same way hair and skin products do. also how you take care of your skin can have a huge impact on how your makeup applies and what you use. i think they have a lot of potential and should stay. if the work is too much, ask someone who’s educated in these areas to help. i’m sure there’s plenty of willing people, myself included. :)

        • I don’t screen readers’ nominations – that’s the whole point: readers make the decisions, not me. I wouldn’t invite others to reject nominations for the same reason! Thanks for your suggestions!

  17. Katie

    I’m surprised with OPI. Sometimes I think people put it down because its all they can remember off the top of their head :-/ There were so many other good collections from other companies this year. OPI was so blah this year. That ugly Texas collection is still sitting practically untouched at my Ulta. The Pirates of the Caribbean one too…its like they won’t go away!

  18. Ana

    I would like to see a perfume category : D

  19. AnGeLwInGz

    I’d like to see the skin and hair categories stay, but they need to be more broken down into sub-categories (that’s only if you have the time and energy to do it!) For example dry skin, dry hair, oily skin, oily hair, etc… I’d never vote for a super thick moisturizing cream for my oily skin.
    A new category I’d like to suggest is best season of color themes.

  20. Dana

    Good job Christine and Shaun! Thanks for taking the time to gather, organize and compile all the information and present it in a clear and meaningful way.

    I don’t know what indie means either. Is it like 2 sisters making eyeshadows in their kitchen and selling it to their friends? LOL Or is it any company that’s not owned by powerhouses like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal? Or is it a brand that’s just not “mainstream” that many people may not have heard of, which is relative anyway. Who knows? Maybe it would be best to pull the category and save yourself the stress of reading any negative comments about semantics.

    • Thanks, Dana!

      It is definitely a term that needs some clarification!

      • Lilastar

        Just thought of something… what about instead of calling it best “indie” brand you call it best “independent” brand… Just a thought.

        • I don’t know if that’s really just wordplay, since technically, “indie” is short for independent – so I don’t know if you’d really lose the confusion over it. If you went with the actual word and went on to define it as any independently-owned brand, then that’s one thing. Though I think the spirit of the award is definitely recognize a brand that isn’t widely known or may fly under the radar – but there are fairly big brands out there that may qualify because they’re not owned by major houses as well.

  21. Mandy

    Christine, would love to see Best Cream Foundation added as a category, thanks!

  22. Irys

    I think I would define an indie brand as one that:
    – doesn’t have large physical stores with multiple branches
    – isn’t carried by major cosmetics retailers (e.g. Sephora, Ulta)
    – isn’t sold in department stores (e.g. Macy’s, Nordstrom)
    – isn’t carried by major retailers (e.g. Target, TJ Maxx, Walmart)
    – isn’t sold in major drugstores (e.g. Walgreens, CVS)

  23. Shattered

    Personally, I don’t consider Inglot as indie. They have freestanding stores all over the world, they sell in Macy’s…they may be smaller than, say, Nars, but indie? Just because they haven’t had a presence in the US for very long doesn’t mean they’re not well established.

    Frankly, it’s no better than last year’s indie brand of the year winner, NYX. NYX, who has their own website, sells in Ulta stores and on Ulta’s website, and sells at other websites like Cherry Culture.

    If you want to discuss general attitude and feel rather than availability, personally I place Inglot in the “comes off as slightly snobby and the price markup is ridiculous” category with companies like Chanel. NYX, in that regard, is no different than Wet N Wild (and Wet N Wild has been much more progressive and outgoing than NYX has over the last year).

    On a slightly more positive note, I am glad to see that MAC didn’t get best brand this year, because I think those of us who have been using it longer (or used to use it years ago) have noticed how they’ve been dropping the ball!

    • Could you elaborate on how Inglot is comparable to Chanel? And I don’t mean about the “snobbiness” you mentioned since that has no bearing on the discussion here. The price point of Inglot is lower than the majority of mid-to-high-end brands like MAC, UD, etc. $5 eyeshadow? How on earth is that similar to Chanel? Cosmetics, in general, have a hideous markup, whether you buy from L’Oreal or Chanel. An indie brand has to be progressive and outgoing? Trying to follow your logic but am struggling – would appreciate if you could clarify!

      There are “indie” brands that have been around for 10-15 years – that is what well-established typically conjures up – so then time is a factor, too?

      Readers voted on it – I would not disparage my readers for voting on what they felt best embodied the term to them. If the few people chiming in here can’t quite agree, who am I to judge thousands of readers who nominated those on the shortlist and say that their definition is wrong?

  24. Julia

    An idea– maybe instead of indie brand call the category “lesser known brand” and specify this means smaller independent companies, or brands that are only available online. That may help with the confusion of what indie exactly means.

    • Lesser known is definitely very relative – I think you may get an even more mixed bag of brands – say a brand like Edward Bess, which is carried at a major retailer but very, very niche. And if it can only be available online, then brands like OCC do not count? What about a brand that sells at local stores? I know there are several brands that sell at local farmers’ markets or have placement in local shops and the like.

      • Maureen

        What about “indie” for undoubtedly small brands like Shiro; and “alternative” for sort of counter-culture brands like Lime Crime, Sugarpill, or even organic brands?

        • How would you define either of those, though? Why counter-culture? Given the discussion today, I am undoubtedly removing it period. Would you really say organic is counter-culture when organic is the biggest buzz word? Every brand wants to have something natural, organic, etc. right now! (Huge problem for uneducated consumers.) So then I have to research each nomination to ensure it is counter-culture? I really prefer to have as little to do, subjectively, with the nomination and voting process. I watch for some things – like whether a product was released in the right year (e.g. a product like UDPP could not win for best new product) but that has an objective basis.

          • Maureen

            ‘Counter culture’ usually means hippie or goth. Or, in makeup, possibly also “geek” brands. I meant it that way, not in a ‘direct rejection of popular makeup practices’ kind of way.

          • Esme

            Organic is a buzz word, but that doesn’t mean that anyone ever talks about actual natural make-up lines- at least, I haven’t seen a mention of Dr. Hauschka or any other *truly* natural brand on this or any other popular make-up blog. I don’t like the term “counter culture”, but organic and natural make-up probably is! Organic means grown without pesticides- thats it, and half the time when people use that word, they are swapping it for “natural”. Tarte is a good example of a company that positions itself as a “natural” make-up brand, but is not- they merely use random natural ingredients. Not that its the discussion at all, but I wish natural and organic make-up lines got more airtime on makeup blogs in general- however, those companies don’t come out with new products constantly.

  25. Quinctia

    Have you considered eliminating the two-step process and just compiling what you were using as nominations as the actual ballot?

    If you’re spending all the time tallying up the initial votes cast, why not use those as votes? I think that if there are significantly different results from people voting the shortlist than there were in what people nominated, you’re getting a lot of folks just picking one off the list instead of voting for what they truly thought was the best.

    • Hi Qunctia,

      Not nearly as many people nominate as people vote – because not everyone wants to spend that much time filling in the form. For some categories, people forget, too – like it’s easy to forget what products came out in a given year. But primarily, very few people want to take the time to nominate. There is an OTHER choice for every category and a lot of people vote in the other category (about as much as the % of nominations that were not included in the shortlist), so I think that goes to show that most people are actually abstaining for voting for a default by choosing an other :)

  26. Mairyn

    I’d like to see best face exfoliant/facial cleanser/daytime moisturiser/night-time moisturiser stay, but I reckon the body scrub, body moisturiser and best shampoo/conditioner could definitely go.

  27. Julia

    What about re-naming the indie category to “most underrated brand”? That would allow readers to nominate and vote for the brand that they feel should have received more internet buzz over the past year, based on the quality of the products, whether it is a brand run by a huge corporation or by a few women (or men!) working out of their kitchen.

    On the flipside, it would be neat to also see a “most overrated brand” category. For me, that would definitely be MAC this year, mostly because I am so disappointed that they continue to churn out lackluster collections month after month.

  28. mya

    “Runner-ups were Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer with 108%”

    i think that percentage is a lil high

  29. natalie

    I think an award for “best collection” would be fun! My pick for last year would have been definitely Chanel fall 2011.

  30. Okay, for my thoughts on the whole “indie” thing. I think you should just cut it. I think a lot of the readers of Temptalia haven’t heard of a lot of the brands, and indie really is one of those things that you can’t really describe. It is more of something you judge based on experience. Which, again, isn’t helpful to readers who aren’t familiar with the world of indie. I don’t think it’s something that has a concrete definition, it really is one of those things where you know it if you see it. For that reason, I don’t really think it should stay. It just creates a drama vortex. XD

    • Thank you for your insight, Theresa! What I’ve always gotten out from all the debates on indie is so much of it is “I know it when I see it!” but our visions are all a little different! LOL!

  31. Madeline

    I agree with everyone who said that the skincare/haircare stuff can go- it’s so individual that it’s hard to quantify just one product as “the best”.

    And as far as indie brands, if there’s so much controversy over it, why did so many people vote for the brands in question?

  32. Carmen

    I’d like to see you keep Best Facial Cleanser and Best Daytime Moisturizer.

  33. Miss J

    I think you should cut the indie category. When I saw that, I didn’t know how that was being defined in relation to cosmetic brands, so I skipped nominating. Maybe best newer (not a word, whoops!) brand or brand that deserves more recognition. Something not so loaded and doesn’t need to be defined so much.

    As for the skin and hair categories, I didn’t nominate because I am constantly changing to new products, and have not found something I use as a regular staple or something I always go back to using. I also think it’s even more personal preference based since skin and hair types play a lot into what people would pick. I still like seeing the winners, but I wouldn’t miss the categories, either.

    As for new categories: Best nail polish remover? Best nail treatment? Best overall collection of the year? Best makeup remover for eyes/face? Most hyped product that disappointed? Just thoughts if you want to replace a category or if others are interested in those.

    Thank you Christine (and others who work on the blog) for your dedication. :)

    • Thank you for your input, Miss J! :)

      Totally nothing wrong with people not nominating or not voting for certain categories, but it’s definitely something that garners a huge variety of nominations since it is so personal.

      We do have Best Makeup Remover, though :) We removed all negative categories a few years ago!

      • Miss J

        Oh yeah, Neutrogena! Haha, spaced out that, sorry. I totally understand eliminating negative categories for the reader’s choice. Maybe a category for product that garnered the most buzz, so the negative aspect is left out, and it would just be a category for the most anticipated product for the year.

  34. Kelly B

    I really hope you let them stay…those are all categories I can’t find a holy grail or even a repeated purchase item and reading other people’s ideas really help me to compile a list of products to try…even though the list doesn’t have obvious top products knowing the options is very helpful before spending money.

  35. Iris

    I really enjoy hearing about skincare …I’d say leave it on. especially since most tutorials and reviews i find, are about makeup products, or collections, or new products. But, what I would love to know more about is products to use on clients: such as foundation palettes, concealer/corrector palettes, lipgloss palettes, mascara wands etc. And as for the current nominations/awards. I really appreciate the fact that there are drugstore/budget nominations and winners as well :)

  36. Mahnaz Jansson

    Hi Christine!

    You wrote that theBalm used to be in Sephora. I still see theBalm’s products at Sephora/, although it seems that Sephora does not carry everything has to offer. Does this mean however, that Sephora is no longer going to stock theBalm products? I hope I haven’t missed anything! Yikes!Thanks

  37. Mahnaz Jansson

    I am sorry Christine. I have read some of the other threads and now see where you have elaborated on theBalm’s issue. So I now have an answer. Thank you. Thank you.

  38. Christine isn’t there a way to use the copter thing you use for comps to tally votes in order to save you time?!? Xx thanks for all the hard work!

    • The votes are tallied automatically – the nominations are write-ins, which are compiled manually. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misspellings, some write brand then product, others right product then brand, some don’t write one or the other and I have to figure it out, etc.

  39. I agree that the Skincare/Haircare should be taken out. There’s too much variation in people’s needs to just keep them in small categories like that. They could probably benefit from their own awards, really. (Not a suggestion, just an observation.)

  40. Luka

    I wish I could talk with the people who voted for Opi as the best nail polish and let them know how much better other brands are in terms of formula.

    • Quinctia

      Totally depends on the finish, sometimes, the experience you have with a polish. I only have a couple OPIs, but they apply as well as other brands I have that apply very well.

  41. Kimberly

    I have to disagree with a couple of the winners. I’ve always found mac lip glasses very sticky. NYX Cosmetics mega shine lip glosses have become my favorite, especially because of the price point. I also never had good results with the EOS lip balms. To me they smelled great but didn’t give me any moisture. Jack Black lip balm is by far my favorite and I will continue to use it until I find something that trumps it.

    Christine, you do amazing work here at Temptalia. I check the website almost every day and I think the quality of your blog is outstanding. I have found so many products because of this blog and I wouldn’t have tried jack black lip balm if I hadn’t heard you rave about it so many times. I utilize the foundation matrix every time I purchase a foundation. Thank you Christine & all who contribute to Temptalia!

  42. Cat

    I think having a “Most Underrated Brand” would be a great idea.

    I like the categories that you’re considering getting rid of. Even if you just listed the top three ones that got the most votes I’d still end up with great recommendations. I kind of regard the whole readers choice awards regardless of who “wins” as a great resource for recommendations.

  43. julia

    “HIGH END” – ummmm – I know Dior, Chanel and Dolce and Gabanna beat out some of these by far!!!!

  44. Hope

    Thank you for doing this as always, Christine! Readers shouldn’t complain about the results, it’s the READERS choice awards, after all. I don’t agree with all the decisions but I enjoy seeing what people use and like. Anyway, I’m glad Revlon and Wet ‘n Wild got some attention. I love the lip butters and eyeshadow palettes, especially for the prices.

  45. beachgal

    Always love to see these totals come in. UD seems to have really picked up a lot of fans among the Temp. readers.

    • beachgal

      I would like to see a category added for
      1)best spf (body)
      2)best spf (face)
      2)best tinted moisturizer/foundation with spf
      3)best dry shampoo
      4)a separate tally (which I think you have done in the past and may still be coming) that goes through the main color hues with with top 3 winners for each color hue in polishes – ie. Greens, Aquas, Blue, – or do it by putting down some of the notable collection released in a calendar year and have readers vote on which was the best collection – which was the best shade in that collection.
      5)best neck cream
      6)best eye cream
      7)best lip balm with spf
      8)best anti-aging treatment
      9)best hand/nail care/treatment product (might be 2 categories)
      10)Do away with best indie category
      11)somehow lessen the over all lean of the categories toward makeup – trim down categories so it’s a little more even between skin care and makeup.
      12)try to give categories to spf products since spf needs to be used, & this forum is a great teaching tool for something as important as spf is to health.

  46. Kaffeen

    I would like the Best Face Exfoliator, Best Facial Cleanser, Best Daytime Moisturizer, and Best Evening Moisturizer categories to stay. I really like looking not just at the winner but the runner-ups and other nominees because I’m always trying to find something different, better than what I’m already using to try!