Friday, January 1st, 2010

2009 Readers’ Choice Awards — Results — Part 2

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the winners — agree, disagree? Surprised? Thought they were a shoe-in from the get-go?

Best Beauty Tool: MAC 217 Brush

14.6% of voters just have to have MAC’s 217 Brush! shu uemura’s Eyelash Curler (10.0%) and Clarisonic (9.4%) came in second and third, respectively.

Best Lipgloss: MAC Lipglass

MAC Lipglass continues to be the favored lipgloss amongst readers with 19.8% of votes. MAC shouldn’t worry, though — its various glosses all held the top four spots in this category. MAC Dazzleglass (15.8%) and MAC Cremesheen Glass (8.9%) came in second and third, respectively. MAC Lipglass won in 2007, but MAC Dazzleglass won in 2008. But for 2009, we’re back to Lipglass!

Best Lipstick: MAC Lipstick

MAC Lipstick continues to be a strong, now three-time winner, with 46.5% of votes. YSL Rouge Volupte (9.9%) and Chanel Rogue Allure Laque (6.0%) come in a distant second and third, respectively.

Best Highlighter (Face): NARS Albatross Blush/Highlighter

NARS Albatross Blush/Highlighter is certainly a reader-favorite this year, winning with 13.0% of the vote. MAC’s limited-edition Perfect Topping Mineralize Skinfinish (11.4%) and Benefit High Beam (11.0%) came in second and third, respectively.

Best Everyday Blush: NARS Orgasm Blush

NARS Orgasm Blush (now a two-time winner) really must give you that lovely, natural glow that we all seek, because 30.2% of you thought it the perfect everyday shade. Benefit CORALista (8.3%) and MAC Dainty Mineralize Blush (7.4%) came in second and third, respectively.

Best Primer (Face): Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

With 15.8% of votes, Smashbox Photo Finish Primer managed to edge out MAC Prep & Prime (14.8%) and become a two-time winner. Coming in third was Make Up For Ever HD Primer (12.2%).

Best Foundation: Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

Now a two-timer winner, Make Up For Ever HD Foundation (11.6%) just barely beat out two incredibly strong contenders: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural (11.4%) and Revlon ColorStay (11.4%) — and yes, MAC and Revlon tied for second!

Best Tinted Moisturizer: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer picked up this award with 21.3% of the vote, with Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer (9.8%) and MAC Studio Moisture Tint (8.9%) coming in second and third, respectively.

Best Nail Polish: OPI

OPI is no doubt a reader favorite, as it received 45.6% of your votes. China Glaze (22.1%) and Essie (5.8%) came in second and third, respectively.

Best Exfoliator (Face): St. Ives Apricot Scrub

St. Ives Apricot Scrub (19.3%) wins for the second year in a row! MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator (17.0%) and Clarisonic (8.8%) came in second and third, respectively.

Best Moisturizer: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel won again this year, with 9.5% of the vote, but Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (9.3%) kept it close. Philosophy Hope in a Jar (8.9%) came in third.

Best Cleanser: Cetaphil

Cetaphil (14.6%) really, really barely won out over Philosophy Purity Made Simple (14.6%) — like it came down to just a few votes. As I watched the votes come in, they would change places regularly, but Cetaphil won it at the end of the day. Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (11.5%) came in third.

Best Makeup Remover: MAC Wipes

MAC Wipes make taking your makeup of a breeze with 14.4% of the vote. Lancome Bi-Facil (13.5%) and Neutrogena Makeup Removing Cleansing Towelettes (9.8%) came in second and third, respectively. Lancome Bi-Facil won in 2008 but must give up its crown to MAC this year.

Best Body Scrub: St. Ives Apricot Scrub

For the second year in a row, St. Ives Apricot Scrub continues to reign supreme with 17.5% of the vote. The Body Shop scrubs (11.7%) and Bath & Body Works scrubs (10.7%) came in second and third, respectively.

Best Shampoo: Herbal Essences

Herbal Essences wins our new-for-’09 category, Best Shampoo, with a mere 12.1% of the vote. Shampoo, on the whole, varied quite a bit, with 27% voting other. Pantene (11.9%) and Frederic Fekkai (6.3%) came in second and third, respectively.

Best Conditioner: Pantene

Pantene may be second in shampoo, but they’re your number one for conditioner with 12.4% of the vote. Herbal Essences (9.2%) and Kerastase Conditioning Treatment (6.3%) came in second and third, respectively. Like Best Shampoo, the vote was more scattered across the board amongst the nominees (other only received 7.8% of votes).

Friday, January 1st, 2010

2009 Readers’ Choice Awards — Results — Part 1

The results are in! It’s been a really incredible time compiling nominees and then watching the votes come in.  We had some close races in a few categories, with the difference being as little as one (or even tied!) at times.  It’s always fun to see how those turn out, because you never really know until the very last vote comes in–plus, it really shows that every vote counts and may be the one that turns the tide.

Did your favorites win?  Were you surprised by any of the winners?

Best Beauty Brand of the Year: MAC Cosmetics

With a crushing 49.0% of the vote, MAC Cosmetics picks up Best Beauty Brand of the Year. This marks MAC as a three-time winner in this category. Urban Decay (9.9%) and Make Up For Ever (7.6%) were the second and third, respectively, but it was clear MAC was, again, going to win this category by a landslide.

Best New Product of 2009: Sigma Brushes

Sigma Brushes really caught your attention this year and 14.4% of you found them the best new product of 2009. With 11.8% of votes, Chanel Rouge Allure Laques just barely edged out Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. II (11.4%) to come in second and third, respectively.

Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2009: Sigma Brushes

Sigma Brushes (15.6%) really caught a lot of you by surprise this year — but in a good way. I’m definitely going to try to give them a test during the new year, since so many of you seemed to enjoy it. MAC’s Style Black Mineralized Eyeshadows (10%) were another surprise favorite, along with Chanel Rouge Allure Laque (9.3%) and MAC Perfect Topping Mineralize Skinfinish (7.9%).

Most Disappointing Product of 2009: MAC Tri-colour Lipglass

Limited edition in nature, but still one of the bigger disappointments of the year, were MAC’s Sugarsweet Tri-colour Lipglasses — 16.9% thought so, at least. Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto (14.5%) was another product that missed the mark, with CoverGirl’s LashBlast Length Mascara (9.4%) not working out so well either.

Check out the Best/Worst MAC Collections of 2009, Mascaras, Eyeshadow Base, Eyeshadow, and Eyeliners! Continue reading →

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

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!).

Commentary

  • 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!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

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! Continue reading →

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

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! Continue reading →

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

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

Each award is broken down into a best high-end winner and budget-friendly winner. For each award, the winning brand/product gets a brief description of why, and where appropriate, a link to any in-depth review. These awards are given out by me based on my personal experience with the products. Readers’ Choice Awards are completely separate :)

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

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

Best Lipgloss (High-end): Guerlain KissKiss Gloss

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

Best Lipgloss (Budget): NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss

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

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

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) are like liquid lipstick, except completely made out of awesomeness. They’re creamy and moisturizing while they still cling to lips. I’ll tell you right now that Dragon is my favorite shade out of the bunch with Santal close behind. I recommend that everyone, at the very least (!), visit their local Chanel counter just to try it out. You can read my full review here.

Best Lipstick (Budget): Maybelline Color Sensational

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

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