Happy New Year! Best Wishes for 2010!

Happy New Year!

It’s New Year’s Eve, so it’s a time for a little self-reflection, gathering with friends and family, and maybe even some fun–if we’re lucky!

It’s been a fantastic year here at Temptalia HQ, as is every year, really.  I feel so blessed with all of the success of Temptalia, and I really cannot thank you all, my dearest readers and friends, for all of your ongoing comments, feedback, participation, questions, suggestions, but most of all… your continuous support.  It is such a joy to be able to chat with you about the latest and greatest (and the not-so-greatest) beauty products.  I look forward to the year ahead of us and have high hopes for an even better year–and I hope we’ll all enjoy the ride. 

Thank you for being part of the Temptalia community and making it the most satisfying community, hobby, and project I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience! :)

I would like to wish you and your family, friends, and pets (!) the very best in 2010!

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Roundup

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Roundup

It’s been a long ride! All of the products trialed in the past few years, plus the numerous ones just in 2009 alone. I’m really pleased with the categories and winners this year — I really feel like I’m starting to get a good idea of how and what the awards should mean and look like, after three years of doing them now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my favorites, and I very much look forward to compiling and publishing the results of the Readers’ Choice Awards once voting closes (tonight, the 31st, at midnight PST!).


  • Brands with the Most Awards in 2009: MAC Cosmetics (7), Chanel (6), Guerlain (6), Neutrogena (6)
  • Total Brands Recognized:  32 (High-end), 29 (Budget), 61 (total)
  • Total Award Categories: 64
  • Total Winners: 116

Breaking Tradition: For two years in a row, I chose MAC Cosmetics as brand of the year, MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation as best foundation, and MAC Plushlash Mascara for best mascara. Three times lucky wasn’t in the card — Guerlain beat out MAC as best brand and their Parure Gold foundation topped my foundation charts this year. I’ve found a new mascara favorite in Chanel Exceptionnel.

New two-time winners (winners in both 2008 & 2009): Clarisonic as Best Beauty Tool, Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer as Best Daytime Moisturizer, Lancome Bi-Facil as Best Makeup Remover, Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner for Best Pencil Eyeliner

Previous two-time winners (winners in both 2007 and 2008): MAC Cosmetics for Best Brand, MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation for Best Foundation, MAC Plushlash Mascara for Best Mascara

Previous Awards: If you’re curious, you can check out my picks for 2008 here and here. 2007 didn’t have official Editor’s Choice Awards, but I did include my picks for every Readers’ Choice category, view those here.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Editor’s Choice Awards this year!

Too many categories or were more, specific categories helpful? Did you like the breakdown of high-end and budget winners?

P.S. – Readers’ Choice Awards voting ends December 31st, 2009 at 11:59 PST.  I’ll be doing my best to compile as quickly as possible, and hopefully I’ll have the first set of results out sometime on the 1st!

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 6 — Hair Care

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 6 — Hair Care

I think it’s important to give you quick background on my hair, because of course, that’s what I test and review based on — my hair and my experience! My hair has been shoulder-length or longer for the majority of the year. I very rarely style it or use heat on it (e.g. hair dryer, irons, curlers, etc.), and I haven’t colored my hair in three or four years (maybe more).  This leads to very fuss-free, pretty healthy hair (that could really use a hair cut) with no split ends or dryness.

Each award is broken down into a best high-end winner and budget-friendly winner. For each award, the winning brand/product gets a brief description of why, and where appropriate, a link to any in-depth review.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and your favorites!

Part 6 focuses on my favorite hair care products — from shampoo to conditioner to flat irons. These were not restricted to new products in 2009; any brand, any product, from any time can win.

Best Shampoo (High-end): LiQWD Volumizing Shampoo

LiQWD Volumizing Shampoo ($32.00) was love at first wash. OH MY GOODNESS! Look, I’m not the biggest hair expert, and I’ll always be the first to tell you that. Shampoo is shampoo to me — my hair is not fussy or particular. I’ve never had a shampoo cause my hair to fall out, get tangled, look like garbage, etc. I really, really love this stuff. I just 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. (Normally, I wash every other day.) The Volumizing Conditioner is also worth a mention, too!

Best Shampoo (Budget): Aussie Moist Shampoo

Aussie Moist Shampoo ($4.29) which really helps keep hair from getting dried out and looking very healthy. My hair always feels really soft and smooth after using this!

Best Clarifying Shampoo: Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo

Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo for Normal to Oily Hair ($3.49) 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.

Best Conditioner (High-end): Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Instant Volumizing Conditioner

Oscar Blandi Pronto Wet Instant Volumizing Conditioner ($24.00) 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. You can read my full review here.

Best Conditioner (Budget): Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner ($6.19) really helps give hair a healthy dose of moisture and keeping it silky smooth post-shower. This is a very, very moisturizing shampoo — perfect for hair that gets colored or styled on a regular basis.

Check out Best Dry Shampoo, Hair Dryer, Flat Iron, and Curling Iron!

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Bright Makeup: Fuchsia & Purple

I mentioned last look that the next one would definitely have some color, and I’d say this one certainly does!

I thought I’d show a really cool, pale pink kind of lip with this look (I’m a bit warm-toned for it, IMO, but my boyfriend adores the color — go figure), but also how a brighter pink lip can also work (even though it is heavier).  That’s what’s so fun about makeup:  you can experiment and if you don’t like it, you can change it, remove it, or play around with it.

If I had planned to wear this look out, I likely would have gone for something in-between — maybe Sweetie lipstick and Crystal Rose lipglass. I just thought it’d be cool to show you how much lip color can play a role in the overall look–plus a fun cool-toned lip combo for my cool-toned ladies (and gents!).

You will need the following…

Directions: Start by applying Soft Ochre paint pot as your eyeshadow base all over the lid and brow area with the 249. Put one drop of MAC Water-Based Mixing Medium onto a brush like the 239, and then apply Pink Pearl pigment on the lid itself as a colored base. Using the 239, apply Seedy Pearl eyeshadow on the inner third of the eyelid. Next, apply Beautiful Iris eyeshadow on the middle third of the eyelid and lightly blend with the inner corner. Darken the outer third of the lid with Stars n’ Rockets eyeshadow with the 239, gently brushing it into the lower crease. Next, define the crease by applying Fig. 1 eyeshadow with the 226. Add more depth to crease by gently tapping Passionate eyeshadow into the lower crease, just below Fig. 1. Lightly tap and brush Beautiful Iris eyeshadow directly above the crease to soften. To finish the eyeshadow look, sweep Femme-fi eyeshadow as a highlighter on the brow bone. Bring everything together by applying Urban Decay Ransom Liner on the lower lash line, blended with Beautiful Iris eyeshadow applied with the 219. Apply Penultimate eyeliner on the upper lash line, and then sweeping lashes with Studio Fix mascara.

For cheeks, apply Petalpoint blush to the apples of the cheeks and sweep upwards towards the temple with the 116 and highlight cheekbones with Rose Diamond Skin Shimmer with the 165.

For lips, apply Saint Germain lipstick first, then layer over Icescape lipglass for a pale lip. For more color, try Style Minx lipglass on top.

Check out more photos!

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2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 5 — Skincare & Bodycare

2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 5 — Skincare & Bodycare

Just a quick note about skincare:  skincare is very individual. What works on my skin may not work on yours, and what works on your skin may not work on mine!  These awards are completely based on my experience with these products.  All products have been tested on my skin for no less than two weeks but typically four to six weeks.

My skin is acne-prone, sensitive around the eyes and above the lip, normal-to-dry (drier in the winter), and I’m 23 – so I don’t have too many (hopefully not, at least) signs of aging.

Each award is broken down into a best high-end winner and budget-friendly winner. For each award, the winning brand/product gets a brief description of why, and where appropriate, a link to any in-depth review.

Share your favorites in the comments!

Part 5 focuses on my favorite skincare and body care products — from daily cleansers to evening creams to scrubs. These were not restricted to new products in 2009; any brand, any product, from any time can win.

Best Facial Cleanser (High-end): Chanel Exfoliating Mousse

Chanel Exfoliating Mousse ($45.00) is an easy, lightweight cleanser that lathers and foams just a smidgen with the lightest micro-exfoliating beads/particles. This is a product I just keep coming back to, despite trying other cleansers since I originally reviewed it. I’d also like to comment on just how much product you get for your $45 — this isn’t a cleanser you’ll be replacing every month or two. This is easily four months or more worth of product! My skin always feels clean (but not tight) and refreshed after using this. You can read my full review here.

Best Facial Cleanser (Budget): Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($7.99) is the world’s best cleanser to go to whenever my skin is out of wack. 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.

Best Daily Facial Exfoliator (High-end): Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser ($22.50) 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. It’s very cleansing, and I’ve really enjoyed using it. (I tend to use this in the morning, since I keep it in my shower!) You can read my full review here.

Best Daily Facial Exfoliator (Budget): Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub ($7.49) is a soothing cleanser with rounded exfoliating beads that leave skin feeling soft and clean. I love that it’s from Aveeno, which is one of my favorite brands for reliable, no frills, no fuss – just results products.

Check out Best Foaming Cleanser, Gel Cleanser, Makeup Remover, Wipes, Exfoliator, Cleansing Oil, Moisturizers, Creams, and many more!

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