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Lorrin M Avatar

While some of these I think are spot on others I’m quite confused about. I fail to see how Urban Decay has been the most “innovative” brand this year, or high end for that matter. But other brands I’m excited to see like Jack Black and Bite! Thanks for all your time commitment for putting this together Christine!

Christine Avatar

These are my picks, so we don’t have to agree 🙂 Urban Decay really fleshed out their product range this year by adding new lipstick formulas, blushes, lip gloss, duochrome eyeshadows, etc. — and many of them were really, really good and high quality. They continue to put out products that I think are a little different from the average offerings, and I think they’ve done a nice job putting their twist on most things. They also seem to set more trends than they follow (e.g. now we’re seeing quite a few smoky eye kind of palettes). Not every release in 2015 was amazing, but they were more impressive to me personally.

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

I love all the UD I’ve tried in regards to quality. I’ve made a bad color choice or two but that’s on me. Also love Laura Mercier and it. Just discovered Eve Earle skincare and like it so much.

Savvy Avatar

yaaas!! Thank you so much for putting this together. Some of these I had no clue about! And I think it’s really great you put budget friendly categories in there also. I love the Lush face masks, for example. I don’t think I saw any Chanel on this list though? I know you love some of the Chanel products! I’m saving this list for future reference. Thanks Christine and Happy New Year to you!

Amanda Avatar

Personally, I feel like the “budget buys” should be more so drugstore or drugstore price range products. A $14 lip gloss isn’t really much of a budget buy in my opinion. It’s really only a budget buy if you’re shopping at Sephora.
Also, I wish you had explained why
each of the products made the list. I want to know what makes this product stand out from any other product like it because like with some of the budget buys, you can still find the same type of product at a lower price. What make this product worth the couple extra dollars?

Christine Avatar

Hi Amanda,

You can actually spend $10+ on a drugstore lip product if you are paying full price these days! This is how I’ve always divided it, because it’s not designed to be split in drugstore vs. non-drugstore, but reflects a split between more affordable brands vs. high-end. You will find that I typically separate at the $15 mark, though for foundations that might go closer to $20! I have chosen to have to distinct groups rather than three or four or five various price points (mid-end vs. high-end vs. luxury are all different price points) to ensure that each category has a healthy amount of products that compete against each other.

You can read the reviews for the products if you just click on the product 🙂 Most of them have reviews, though some things like skincare do not have full reviews.

Alison Avatar

Oh man…I keep a spreadsheet of things I want to try, and it just got a lot bigger! Thank you so much, Christine! I’ve been waiting to use my 10% off at Sephora but I think it’s time. : )

Katherine T. Avatar

Wow, what an awesome list, will definitely be studying many of the categories in detail and keeping this list handy for hauls and Sephora/Ulta sales! I noticed that Kat Von D Metal Crush shadows won in the best new HE product category. I hope she expands the color range and comes out with a value kit. Was wondering if you got the City Colors Shimmer Shadows yet? Those look and feel like dupes to me, but a lot more affordable.

Rebecca Avatar

Thank you for the great list! I was so happy to see Colour Pop in so many categories, I just discovered them this year and there is really nothing else like the products their brand offers

Evie Avatar

Christine knows her s#%* and is totally legit in my book. Reviews are top notch and I totally dig her straightforwardness across her site. I always check here first before spending my hard working mulah! Thanks so much. X)

Annette Avatar

These lists are always fun to see, especially nice when I spot a long time favorite. Always surprised to see how many favorites are stable (Aquaphor!).

Something I also noticed with the reader’s choice voting, a lot of these winners somewhat confused me, but I think it’s because there’s a weird gulf growing in the high-end side. Urban Decay/MAC compared to Tom Ford/Giorgio Armani feel so far away but then everything in between (Marc Jacobs, Hourglass, NARS) doesn’t fit neatly either. Just interesting to see!

Christine Avatar

In a perfect world, you might have more tiers like:

Under $5
Under $15
Under $30
Under $50
Over $50

But for my sanity, your sanity, and to ensure healthy competition in each area (budget vs. high-end), there’s pretty much everything from your $1 products to your low-to-mid-end pricing ($15 is the upper limit on most products, though products like foundation or skincare stretch further to say $20, plus, I consider where the brand’s pricing typically sits on the pricing spectrum) and then you have higher mid-end to luxury on the other side. MAC, 10 years ago, would have had pricing in the budget-friendly area (as it stands today, but it would have been lower 10 years ago!), but everyone has increased pricing, though MAC has gone up faster than other brands (relatively).

There is also some debate over whether MAC, Urban Decay, Too Faced, etc. are considered high-end. It seems like if you ask someone who primarily purchases Tom Ford, the answer is typically no, but for a great number of customers who aren’t buying Tom Ford, they would consider it high-end.

Anyway, the goal is to provide two great products per category at a lower and higher price point, and I ONLY give an award if the product deserves it–regardless of price–as there are some categories that I didn’t have a budget winner for simply because nothing was good enough (face primer is one that I recall off the top of my head).

Annette Avatar

LOL I think I prefer everyone’s sanity to all those tiers!

My surprise definitely doesn’t come from disagreement, more from realizing ‘oh yeah…I forget X is considered high end’ or “wow, Temptalia liked that better than [X], intriguied’. It definitely creates an interesting competition when a Tom Ford foundation can go up against a UD foundation, whereas I think the budget-buys by inherent affordability has less divide. That’s why I love perusing these lists.

Learnincurve Avatar

This list makes me sad as Europe has no colorpop – milani and wet n wild can be found with a bit of a markup, NYX and NYC are over here now in the high street, but the ebay markup on colorpop is just outrageous. 🙁

Arpita Avatar

Interesting and very honest list. I see that in recent years; newer brands are mostly taking over the place of the vintage hi end brands like Mac, Chanel, Dior, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, etc. Good to more more competition in the cosmetics field.

Mallory Avatar

Great picks! I have an great amount of respect for Urban Decay, I really think they have a lot of vision and make quality and fun products but I rarely feel compelled to buy from them. I definitely appreciate their products but I guess they just aren’t my makeup style? lol I do a lot of research before I buy and they almost always make it to the end but something else always wins out.
I really do love Colour Pop I just don’t have space for that packaging! I know it’s necessary for the type of product it is, I just have a very small vanity lol.

I definitely have a million new things I want to try this year based on that list…thanks Christine…

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

Wow, a lot to read and absorb. Some brands I totally agree with and some I wasn’t familiar.with.
I can’t imagine how much work that was to put together. Great job.
I will be getting some new toys for sure.

Emmilynn Avatar

Looking at these picks I can’t help but feel the price point between higher end and budget is getting smaller and smaller. It really feels like the budget end (with a few exceptions) have raised their prices quite a bit. But there are some good pics here.

Alisha Avatar

I understand why you categorized things where you did but I’d almost like to see a tie or runner up if your pick is Sephora (or really all of them) for low end as I too don’t consider it low end because besides price, in general accessability. Regularly you can get BOGOs and coupons too. Although I haven’t tried colour pop yet I feel it is well deserving and wanted to say I’m so happy you have taken on the challenge of reviewing all the products! You try so many products I don’t know if you knew the Revlon colorstay foundations formula changed a while back and isn’t as good as it used to be IMHO. I know it is your opinion, but I wanted to point out that any face products in jars are going to lose their potency/efficacy after being opened a few times and being exposed to the air and need to be packaged in an opaque tube or pump. Paulaschoice.com has reviews on products based on their ingredients which has helped guide me to what to put on my face that actually works and isn’t a waste of time. I know you are smart and can read labels and see if there is alcohol or witch hazel, but they offer other info that isn’t so obvious including some “natural” ingredients that should be avoided like mint (most kinds), eucalyptus, lemon, grapefruit, lavender, etc because natural isn’t always best- we don’t put poison ivy on our skin.

Alisha Avatar

I agree as far as cosmetics are concerned. She downgrades eyeliners just because they need sharpening! The only time i really pay attention to that is if foundation might have breakout prone ingredients or irritants in it. I like the breakdown of ingredients in the ingredients dictionary and have read consistent things in magazines and other sources. Some things just make sense like why use a product in a jar, irritant on your face, or deny global warming…lol

Steph Avatar

As far as makeup brushes go, how did you compare them? For the high end, I mean. Do you have several high end that you have tried? I am thinking of purchasing the Wayne Goss holiday collection, but the ones you rated highest are tempting too!

Christine Avatar

Hi Steph,

I have tried Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo, SUQQU, Tom Ford, Chanel, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Wayne Goss, Hourglass, IT Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Sephora, Tarte, NARS, bareMinerals, Too Faced, Kat Von D, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Becca, Besame, Guerlain, Rae Morris. shu uemura, Urban Decay, Louise Young. Probably a few other brands that I can’t recall.

Kam Avatar

So.. Are these products the ones that you felt were best specifically for you irregardless of blogging in the year of 2015? What you find the best? Or do the readers impact this? Also if it is for 2015 why 2016? Are all posted the next year?

Christine Avatar

These are the best, period, so long as they’re still available. Discontinued products do not make the list. These were based on everything I’ve tried through December 31st, 2015. If you look at how awards are run, typically it is the year the awards are announced for the year in the “title.” We used to do it based on the year of award (e.g. 2015), but many brands told us they could not use our seal or mention the award anywhere, because it looked old and stale – that it was completely out of step with industry standards and showed us as unprofessional. When I would look at our seal next to others, it did look stupid, since it would always be a year behind and naturally look old.

Kam Avatar

And I enjoyed it! I cannot imagine the hours you log to do this every year. It is very inspiring and the layout is pleasing to look at! I also enjoyed being able to view a few years back. 2015 really changed a lot. Or was it just ColourPop? From how they began and what your opinion counts for, I am sure ColourPop is thrilled. It was great to see them on this!

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