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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Favourites of 2011


I have been mulling over my standout products from the year that has gone by - 2011. I hope everyone had a great New Year's eve!

Skin care wise, I mourn the one cruelly taken from shelves worldwide: Nivea Fluid. This had been my standby, my trusty cheap n' effective stalwart moisturiser. The closest I can find now is La Roche Posay Effaclar K, which seems promising so far - although I am now on a Clinique routine, so I'll be interested to see how that compares. But enough pessimism; let this post be one for rejoicing! [Ed- might have let a few disgruntled comments in at the end.]

The best skincare find is my Origins £35 eye cream.



I blogged about this earlier and can now say decisively that it has managed to cure some of the fine lines. Hurrah! I would prefer it to be around the £20 mark, but I think it is worth it. I'm currently testing a Clinique one, but I have set the bar so high, I'm already considering my Origins backup...

Another excellent skincare item is Clinique's All About Lips (12ml, £16.)

It is unlike other lip balms, as in fact there is nothing oily or even emollient about it - in fact it actually seems rather odd putting a standard thick white cream on your lips. But - it sinks in and smoothes chapped lips ever so delicately. I believe it has fruit acids and gently exfoliates as it soothes. And, it really does allow your lipstick to adhere better too.

Hair-wise, the absolute godsend has been those Innova Repair capsules.

My hairdresser was amazed to see me come in with growing, healthy hair. Often she has sent me packing, refusing to dye my hair because it is so weak. (I wash and blow-dry my hair mercilessly using powerful salon-grade supplies without the technical know-how.) I have blogged about this great product here.

Now onto the makeup! My surprise find is Michael Todd. I bought these simply because they were on sale, yet they have become firm favourites that I reach for everyday. The concealer (I use shade Cornsilk) is one of the best I have ever tried.


I wish I had bought the entire stock load! Excellent lasting power, coverage, and I even like the pot packaging as it screws tight enough to keep the product fresh. It also contains vitamins A and E. You get a lot of product in there (10g) and it is lasting very well, despite such regular use. I also love Bone lipstick, a pale pinked nude which blanks my pigmented lips prior to another colour, or delivers a flattering nude 'mod' lip.

It is a lot like MAC Fleshpot but somewhat peachier, almost a cross between Myth and Fleshpot (pinker than Myth) but the texture is far superior and less drying. Also, I love the short stubby retro 80s packaging! (So out of date that it's trendy!) Besides, 'Fleshpot' reminds me of serial murderers who become cannibals along the 'continuum of violence'.

MAC Stone lip liner is also worth the hype.

You can use a good ashy brown eyebrow pencil to achieve the same effect. However, I have yet to find a good ashy brown in drugstore version (more on that in a moment) so you may as well just get this one. Just very daintily draw along the outskirts of your lip line: it does work to give the illusion of plumper lips! - Thanks Nicola Pixiwoo!

I have Louise Young to thank for recommending Kryolan TV Paint stick in shade 'AL', an ashy greyed brown that in the same way, perfectly mimics natural shadow and allows me to somewhat soften Le Nose.


My MUD Book (reviewed here) has helped me perfect a technique (drawing a narrowing triangle.) The book does caution though, that nothing can be done to help a profile. Oh well, it's a start.

After recklessly assuming gel liners are all created equal, nothing could be further from the truth. MAC Blacktrack is simply the original and best.

Even Blitz and Glitz, a more interesting and less dramatic black fluidline from MAC, does not last quite so long and essentially lacks the resolute refusal to smudge.

Similarly key to defying the rules of makeup fading, Stila Beach Tint has been a great find.

I apply it under my blusher and it acts as a magnet to keep my rosy cheeks - rosy. There is after all, nothing worse than being confronted by your sallow faced reflection, is there?

Youngblood Liquid Mineral Foundation has been a pleasure to use.

When my skin is looking its best, I adore the light coverage this gives and the faith I have that it acts as skin care with all its infused sea minerals. I use shade Pebble and although a little yellow, it does not oxidise, so I can control it with a little pink-toned powder (MAC Pretty Baby.)

I have really enjoyed my Guerlain eye shadow palette.

Yes it seemed a crime to wreck its beautiful almost jewellery-like design, but the colours do not disappoint: it was worth defacing. The orange is pure and rich; the browns are both very classic; the navy is a subtle inky shade which works with the brown or with the orange. I like that this doesn't waste time on a highlighter (we all have a million of those bland shades) and instead offers you the option of a brown smokey eye or an adventurous orange and blue eye, or a mixture thereof.

I went away over Christmas and took my Trish McEvoy Emergency Eye card (I always wonder what a 'normal person' would make of it if they saw the palette and only caught sight of the name. "What hideous trauma is this that needs an emergency card at all times?? Oh, I see.") The card holds a fantastic and readily available eyebrow shade, perfect for my brows, '
Natural eye definer/ Brow shaper'. I would use it daily but far simpler to pencil them in; I have taken to using Estee Lauder's Automatic brow Duo, a refillable eyebrow pencil in 'Soft Brown'. My Clarins favourite is Chatain, but I've had trouble finding it - so this is a great replacement and very recommended.


I took my Bare Minerals Bare Escentuals brush kit on a long weekend and wondered if I would miss any of my brushes...

The stunning gold sparkle never fails to cheer one's day, and the brushes themselves were all I needed. The Kabuki brush is a particular favourite. Soft, durable, and well designed for easy and neat application.

Illamasqua's Theatre of the Nameless was a collection brimming over with excellent items. (I reviewed this here.) My favourites are the pigments in Berber and Beguile, and the precision ink liner in Havoc. Havoc is a very striking aubergine shade with just the right depth. It stays shiny and deep for hours; I like to wear it alone so it really stands out. What I love about both Beguile pigment and Havoc liner, is that they look very natural and prim: Beguile makes a very usable every day highlighter as the glitter is so very fine - but in the light - it glimmers lurid green! Havoc looks like any black liner, until you notice it is in fact red blooded! I just love that subversion of a classic.


Probably the overall 2011 winner is .... L'Oreal 4D mascara.

(I reviewed this here.) I have a feeling this may actually be my main mascara from now on. It never smudges, and it is buildable and deep black. I highly recommend it, and I usually hate drugstore mascaras for one reason or another.

So just a final word on some disappointments...

Guerlain Black Frida - nothing special and not worth the price. Their Parure de Nuit highlighter this year also was a step down from their brilliant Serie Noire blusher. Their Terra Inca Sublime radiant powder was also a let down for me, as it was way too golden and warm - so unflattering. Chanel nail polish in Black Pearl chipped almost the instant it was applied. MAC creme d'nude has such a legion of fans, yet on me it is very underwhelming and sheer. Rimmel Nude Delight was too orange for a nude, and the smell was the furthest thing from 'delight'.

But, all in all, another great makeup year! Let's hope 2012 holds some good makeup treats.


...Please share your makeup finds and fails below?