2009 Editor’s Choice Awards — Part 1
I’m so happy (and relieved!) to be able to announce my picks for best brands and products of 2009. Because it is much easier to coordinate with just one person (myself!) than it is with thousands, I do have more categories than the Readers’ Choice Awards does. (Can you just imagine having to nominate products for 40+ categories? Exactly!) I also breakdown each award into 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.
Part 1 focuses on some of the biggest awards I give out each year — they’re the best of the best, creme de la creme — these products are some of the absolute best released in 2009.
Best Brand of the Year (High-end): Guerlain
Guerlain won me over this year with their beautiful limited edition collections along with their permanent range. I always find “Best Brand” to be an extremely difficult category to choose a winner for, but I felt like taking my experience with the brand throughout the year was the best way to go about figuring it out. Between the ultra luxe and lovely Rouge Gs to their silky soft blushes to the cult-favorite Meteorites, Guerlain just impressed me. Many of my latest and greatest holy grail products are by Guerlain (Gems Rouge G lipstick and Parure Gold Foundation, just to name two). You can read all of our Guerlain coverage here.
Best Brand of the Year (Budget): Maybelline
Maybelline showed me why they’re a worthwhile, budget-friendly brand this year. They’re incredibly reliable, and I just don’t run into too many products within the line that are just devastating. They make one of my favorite drugstore mascaras (Full ‘n Soft), as well as an excellent line of affordable lipstick and lipgloss (Color Sensational). You can read all of our Maybelline coverage here.
Find out who won Best New Product, Most Surprisingly Amazing Product, Most Disappointing Product, Best Seasonal Collections, and the Best and Worst of MAC!
Best New Product of 2009 (High-end): Chanel Rouge Allure Laque
Chanel Rouge Allure Laque ($36.00) took it home this year. Seriously, did you think I’d be picking anything else? I’m pretty sure the majority of you had this one pegged. They’re 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 reviews on all the Rouge Allure Laque shades here.
Best New Product of 2009 (Budget): L’Oreal HIP Chrome Eyeliner
L’Oreal HiP Color Chrome Eyeliner ($10.00) are ultra metallic, totally chrome-d out eyeliners. It’s available in four shades (at least right now; readers mentioned there have been other shades previously released). They hold up quite well on my lower lash line, and they really knocked my socks off. They’re fun, easy to use, and so, so soft. They reminded me a lot of Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, except with a wicked metallic finish. I’m wearing them here, and you can read my full review here.
Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2009 (High-end): Stila All Doll’d Up Palette
Stila for Barbie All Doll’d Up Palette ($28.00) took me by complete surprise when it released during the fall of 2009. I was absolutely not expecting to fall in love with it or even be particularly impressed. I just figured it’d be decent to good, but instead, it was absolutely excellent. From the price to the quality of the products inside, this palette was exceptionally well-done. You can see me wearing it here and here, plus read my full review here.
Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2009 (Budget): Aveeno Positively Ageless Warming Scrub
Aveeno Positively Ageless Warming Scrub ($9.29) is a fun, warming scrub that gets the job done with no frills, just results. Even though I’ve always enjoyed Aveeno products, I don’t always turn to them for my day-to-day regimen. Their Warming Scrub is something I keep in my shower and use once or twice a week. It’s a nice, gentle facial scrub that warms up when it comes into contact with water. You can read my full review here.
Most Disappointing Product of 2009 (High-end): Chanel Les Folies Noir Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Les Folies Noir Eyeshadow Quad ($60.00) was beyond disappointing — it was devastating (as far as one can be truly devastated by a beauty product–let’s not get too carried away). The Noirs Obscurs Collection just seemed so dark, dramatic, and intense, but the eyeshadows were poorly pigmented, not nearly as soft as Chanel often is, and the colors looked chalky and uneven. You can read my full review here.
Most Disappointing Product of 2009 (Budget): L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara
L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara ($7.95) was a mascara I really looked forward to trying, because L’Oreal’s Voluminous performed so well in the past. Unfortunately, upon trying it, it was just not a great mascara. It did everything poorly (although it lengthened well); clumped quickly, dried too fast (which contributed to the clumping problem), and just didn’t add enough length or thickness to make this a go-to mascara. You can read my full review here.
Best Spring 2009 Collection: Guerlain Exotic Paradise Collection
Guerlain Exotic Paradise Collection was my favorite spring collections, because it was fun, perfect for spring, and the quality of the products released was high. I will say that I wasn’t over the moon for any spring collections, but this was the best of what was released. (It was good, don’t get me wrong!) The eyeshadow quad was definitely a favorite for me, but the glosses were pretty fun, too — who doesn’t want to pull out a green gloss (that’s wearable)?
Best Summer 2009 Collection: Dior Cristal Collection
Dior Cristal Collection was particularly memorable for its Electric Lights Quint (lots of blues with a standout royal purple) and the Pop Diamond Skin Shimmer (I am a fiend for those!). I felt like there was a coherent theme within the launch, and I really liked how you could wear the new products together–they coordinated in a way that isn’t always apparent with other collections.
Best Fall 2009 Collection: Bobbi Brown Ivy League Collection
Bobbi Brown Ivy League Collection was a very basic launch, but it released products that worked really well. The new Creamy Eye Pencil was creamy, soft, and had some great shades (Caviar and Hunter). Though the Lip Crayons weren’t as memorable, Forest Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner and Bash Metallic Eyeshadow were enough to get me on board with Bobbi during the fall. (Though I must also say she knocked it out of the park with her Chrome eyeshadows for holiday!)
Best Holiday 2009 Collection: Guerlain Imperiale Collection
Guerlain’s Imperiale Collection was the right mix of easy-to-wear shades and fun, sparkling finishes. It was beautifully packaged and everything worked together. I might even say that Imperiale was not just my favorite holiday launch, but my favorite launch of the year–it was that good. Lovely lipsticks, silky eyeshadows, and gorgeous highlighters!
Best MAC Collection of 2009: Makeup Art Cosmetics
Makeup Art Cosmetics was my favorite launch by MAC this year, but I will admit that I had a tough time deciding–and it wasn’t so much because there were so many standout collections to choose from. There were several contenders on my radar: Blonde, Brunette, Redhead, Naked Honey, Sugarsweet, and Makeup Art Cosmetics. I ended up going with Makeup Art Cosmetics, because I feel like it hit the mark the best out of the ones I was considering. It had a good mix of quality and shade range. I think the last two collections I really loved by MAC were in summer of ’08 — Neo Sci Fi and Cool Heat.
Worst MAC Collection of 2009: In High Def
In High Def felt like a holdover collection, rather than answering the call of consumers for HD products. I know that this was MAC’s way of saying, “Look, we’ve had HD-ready products in our line forever, so we’re just going to make it easy for you by putting them together in a ‘collection,'” but it was just boring in the end.