2011 Editor's Choice Awards - Part 3: Cheeks/Face

2011 Editor’s Choice Awards – Part 3: Cheeks/Face

Next up, we’ll focus on the cheeks–from blushes to highlighters–and face products, like foundations, primers, and concealers.

Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (High-end)

Meteorites impart this lit-from-within glow without frost, glitter, or even really traditional shimmer. It’s such a micro-fine shimmer that it doesn’t look like you’re really wearing anything, even though you know you are. What edged it over Dior’s SkinShimmers is that they’re more versatile; you can use one with any blush, all over, or just on specific areas. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Dior DiorSkin Shimmer (2009)


The Highlighter Mosaic Powder has a soft texture and doesn’t prove too frosty or shimmery; it’s more shimmer-sheen and should work for several skin tones.

Best Cheek/Face Highlighter (Budget)

Past Winners: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips (2009)

Best Everyday Blush (High-end)

Sugarbomb is still a product I always find myself reaching for, regularly pack for overnight trips or weekend getaways, and have to slap my hand away from so I don’t use it so often! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Benefit Sugarbomb (2009)

Best Everyday Blush (Budget)

Santa Rose is this darkened brownish pink–think MAC Blushbaby but pinker–that works well to give a hint of color without going overboard.

Past Winners: Milani Luminous Blush (2009)

See more winners for blush, foundation, and concealer!

Best Cream Blush (High-end)

The HD Blush line has enough shade variation to give you natural colors plus some revved up shades, but the formula is really fantastic. Richly pigmented, creamy, and they dry down quickly (but not too quickly) so they don’t leave behind any tackiness. They’re blendable and a little goes a long way! (See my review here.)

Past Winners: MAC Blushcreme (2009)

Best Cream Blush (Budget)

Revlon Cream Blushes are easy-to-use creamy, smooth blushes that add just a subtle hint of color to cheeks. The end result is very natural, yet you’ll notice you have more color on your cheeks. The compact is kind of cute, with a little pop-out mirror for on-the-go application. (Personally, I use a stippling brush with creamy blushes, so it’s not actually so practical for me!) One piece of advice, though, what you see in the pan is not quite what you get — so don’t let the color in the pan intimidate you!

Past Winners: Revlon Cream Blush (2009)

Best Powder Blush (High-end)

Rock & Republic’s Blushes have such a silky smooth texture with rich pigmentation, they are hard to resist. The finishes are so flattering–more sheen than shimmer.

Past Winners: Guerlain Blush 4 Eclat (2009)

Best Powder Blush (Budget)

Rimmel’s Blushes come in flattering, rather universally-appealing shades with a soft powder texture and nice pigmentation.  The finishes are nice without being too much.

Past Winners: CoverGirl Cheekers (2009)

Best Bronzer (High-end)

Such a subtle but noticeable way to bronze–soft, silky smooth finely-milled powder that applies delicately and naturally.

Past Winners: Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel (2009)

Best Bronzer (Budget)

Rimmel Natural Bronzer is a smooth, mostly matte bronzer that works well on a variety of skin tones (though on the palest skin tones, you may find it to appear orange if you don’t use a light hand). It’s soft and looks very natural on skin.

Past Winners: Rimmel Natural Bronzer (2009)

Best Face Primer

Korres Face Primer is an amazing primer that doesn’t use silicone as a base ingredient, so those who are breakout-prone with silicone primers may enjoy this one in particular. It’s a very lightweight primer that goes on quickly, dries down, and looks matte. It’s actually something you can wear alone or underneath foundation. My mom even loves the way it makes her skin feel and look (and she’s not into makeup). (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Korres Silicone-Free Primer (2009)

Best Concealer (High-end)

Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer (is a very creamy and emollient concealer that works really well to camouflage those nasty under eye circles. This concealer really does conceal with a vengeance, because it’s a very thick, creamy product that fully covers whatever you need it to cover.

Past Winners: Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer (2009)

Best Concealer (Budget)

This is a double-ended product for highlighting and concealing, but the concealer does a really nice job providing enough opacity to cover darker under eye circles. It has a nice creamy consistency that makes it easy to blend out the color.

Past Winners: L’Oreal Visible Lift Under Eye (2009)

Best Liquid Foundation (High-end)

Guerlain Parure Gold Fluid Foundation is an excellent lightweight, medium-coverage liquid foundation that makes skin look smoother, softer, and very natural. It has a subtle dewiness to it, but trust me, that’s not code for oiliness. (I very rarely like any foundation that’s “dewy,” because it just looks like I’m oily!) It’s so comfortable to wear; you don’t feel it on at all. (See my review here.)

Past Winners: Guerlain Parure Gold (2009)

Best Liquid Foundation (Budget)

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Foundation is a natural-looking liquid foundation that feels lightweight and provides medium coverage. It looks really good on, but there are a few areas where it could be improved (primarily, scent — has kind of a cheap, chemical scent). It’s one of the better drugstore foundations I’ve tried in the past few years, though, because ultimately, it looks natural and gives good coverage without being too heavy and lasts for hours!

Past Winners: Revlon ColorStay Foundation (2009)

Best Powder Foundation (High-end)

What I love about Clinique’s Almost Makeup Powder is that it doesn’t feel or look like you’re wearing powder foundation. It’s soft, lightweight, and provides light to medium coverage without looking caked on.

Best Powder Foundation (Budget)

PureStay has a soft, smooth texture and gives light-medium to medium coverage without being powdery. I like that you can achieve more coverage without having to upgrade to a liquid or cream-based foundation.

Best Cream Foundation (High-end)

This is one of my go-to foundations for when I need to look FLAWLESS. It provides medium to full coverage, and I love that there is a lighter and darker side, because it allows for really great color matching.

Best Cream Foundation (Budget)

It’s a very emollient, creamy foundation that gives medium coverage. A little goes a long way, so I recommend going for less at first, to ensure you don’t over-apply!

Best Setting Powder (High-end)

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder is a lightweight loose powder that is perfect for setting makeup. It helps keep makeup in place for hours on end, and I fully recommend the Translucent “shade.” I found it truly was translucent and never made me look powdery or chalky.

Past Winners: Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder (2009)

Best Setting Powder (Budget)

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Loose Powder is an incredibly lightweight loose powder that helps to set your makeup. It helps keep oil at bay (at least, for longer) and your makeup in place while you wear it. I wish they had a translucent version, but they have three shades — fair, light, and medium.

Past Winners: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Loose Powder (2009)

Best Tinted Moisturizer (High-end)

Kiehl’s Tinted Moisturizer provides light-to-medium coverage, a slightly dewy finish, and a very spreadable base. It will take about five minutes to dry down, but it really does moisturize as well as even out the skin tone. I reach for this all the time.

Past Winners: Korres Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturizer

Best Tinted Moisturizer (Budget)

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer is an affordable tinted moisturizer that holds up well during the summer and leaves skin looking naturally dewy. It also contains SPF 20, which is a nice bonus. I know it also has “retinol treatment” in it, but I couldn’t tell you if it’s effective or not.

Past Winners: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer

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I recently purchased the Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer and I have some problems with it settling into the fine lines under my eyes. Do you have any suggestions to help with this? I think it’s a good concealer but I don’t find myself reaching for it because of the creasing. Thank you!

Do you use the colorstay foundation for oily skin or dry? Mine is for oily skin but I’m beginning to think there must be a difference between the two or I just have a dodgy one, cos mine is SO thick and definitely not medium coverage, its definitely full. It also looks really cakey and there’s no way I can wear a primer under its cos it just won’t rub in.

Benefit Sugarbomb is great and Revlon Colorstay is the only foundation I’ll use. I’ve been wearing it for years and people always think I have perfect skin when I have it on. They don’t seem to realize that I’m wearing makeup. The shade Buff matches my skin tone perfectly.

between Halle and posts and comments I’m now super interested in testing revlon’s foundations. wish I knew what shades though. isn’t their packaging most opaque? & I never see testers. 🙁

I’ll just have to check it out. I thought at least some were completely opaque & the color names make it hard to tell how light/dark & undertone (htf light warm without going too yellow)

my walmart & drugstores generally only have testers on new items not stuff that’s been out awhile. I assume for shelf space. I’ll try hitting a larger city and see if I have better luck. foundation is tricky because it’s both color & skintype & coverage. I’m willing to pay for results (within reason), but I’ve yet to find anything I like as much as my old (DC’d) foundation in any price range. Be funny if it turned out to be Revlon.

thank you!

I think you should make a printable version, like a PDF file. I know that is extra work for you and you already do an amazing job but it makes it even more awesome. I always print your lists off, it is better than the yearly overview by Allure in my opinion. You’re awesome :D!

Christine – Have you ever done a review on the Eve Pearl concealer and foundation? I can’t find it and I missed it if you did 😛 The concealer has an AMAZING texture but I find the color range is limiting and a little “off” for me personally. The foundations were worse – Texture great – Colors are all very yellow though.

Do you prefer the original, loose pearls versions of Guerlain’s Meteorites, or the newer pressed compact versions? I’ve been toying with the idea of splurging on these forever it seems, but I can’t decide between the two!

For just highlighting cheeks, the loose ones – because they have more shimmer. For an all-over powder, then the pressed ones!

Thanks, Christine! I think I’ll spring for the pressed version then. I’ve been using Physician’s Formula’s Face Brightener as a subtle, glowy allover face powder, but I think it may have been discontinued recently. So sad! I’ve heard such great things about Guerlain’s version, though, so it seems like it’s worth the investment.

Although I like the Revlon cream blush, I prefer the ELF Studio blushes because they are cheaper and they come in a larger variety of shades.

thanks for the props to Maybelline double-ended, it doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Your sugarbomb post didn’t include a face pic, maybe you can edit in one next time you use it in a look or else a look already posted where you wore it? would love to hear your pros/cons with korres/kiehl’s TM. I can’t use silicone primers much either, love Korres products but Lorac and Fresh rose & twilight primers are also great silicone free options (there’s a $10 set at sephora with a trial size of the r&t primers if it’s not sold out–they’re perfect size for travel too) must look at the eve’s foundation, nothing is more imp than foundation. (oh btw have you ever tried the MUFE HD in 8 or 11? I could be wrong but I really think you’d love them. IMO very different from the other shades.)

You can click the tag “benefit sugarbomb” – it’s been used in a million looks 🙂

I’m not sure if I’ve tried either of those blushes – I’d have to double check the names! Thanks for the suggestions!

wow totally shoud have thought of that one myself. sorry!

8 is PDA, it’s the 3rd shade in your traincase. goes on very natural, not quite how it looks in the bottle. http://karlasugar.net/2010/03/make-up-for-ever-hd-microfinish-blush/mufe-hd-blush/

#11 is mistaken identity http://karlasugar.net/2010/04/make-up-for-ever-hd-microfinish-blush-2/mufe-hd-blush-8-14/

I had a sample of 11 and it was beautiful but deeper. I bought 8 as a splurge and it looks incredibly natural on. I’m NW15 in studio sculpt or linen in EL DW, very light w def yellow undertones but NC doesn’t look good, NW15 is an exact match to my skin even unblended.


hey 🙂 could u temme which shade is best suited for (medium fair) Asian skins as far as the NYX NYX HIGHLIGHTER MOSAIC POWDER is concerned? This is my first buy for a face highlighter and i want the ARAB shiny cheek look.

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