Here are my 2011 favorites for lips, nails, and all things makeup related that I haven’t already covered in my previous two posts. It’s going to be pretty obvious that NYX is my favorite brand when it comes to lip products, but otherwise, there is a pretty good selection of brands. Just so that we are all clear on the rules, when I say “favorites of 2011,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the product came out in 2011, but that it has been a favorite of mine this last year. I chose one favorite and one honorable mention in each category. My favorites are all drugstore items (I’m including e.l.f., NYX, etc. in that description and I’ve included the retail price) but my honorable mentions may include high-end items. I also limited my selection to items that I had time to enjoy during the year, so anything I got in November or December is not going to be included. Just because a product isn’t listed, doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it. These products are the ones that really stood out to me this last year. I’ve reviewed many of these products, so be sure to click the provided links for more info and swatches. Here we go.
Favorite- NYX Round Lipsticks These are the absolute best lipsticks at the drugstore price point. They are creamy, long-lasting, and feel really good on the lips. And they come in about five billion shades (ok, 144). It’s a little overwhelming, actually. From nude to boldly saturated color, NYX has something for everyone. These really are a must-have. NYX Round lipsticks retail for $4.00, and can be found at Ulta or online.
Honorable mention- E.l.f. Mineral Lipsticks I did a compare/contrast review of the e.l.f. Mineral lipsticks vs. their $1 counterparts. Click over to see it and view swatches of all of the e.l.f. lipsticks that I own.
Favorite- Jordana INCOLOR Pretty Shine Lipgloss I first mentoned Jordana Pretty Shines in my September favorites. I hate to do this to you, but these are now discontinued. Jordana did a big overhaul earlier this year and replaced their Pretty Shine Lipglosses with the LOL, Lip Out Loud Super Shiny Glosses. You can still find them online, however, and the INCOLOR Pretty Shine glosses have been a huge favorite of mine this year. Not sticky, but still with some staying power, these glosses are pigmented and look great layered or alone. I haven’t tried the LOL glosses yet, but I’m hoping that they are as good because the INCOLOR Pretty Shine glosses leave pretty big shoes to fill.
Honorable mention- NYX Mega Shine Lipgloss Available in 64 high impact shades, NYX lipglosses are as awesome as their lipsticks. There is a reason that everyone loves NYX, and these glosses are a big part of that reason. NYX Mega Shine Lipglosses run about $5.50 regular price.
Favorite- Revlon Color Burst Lip Butters You’ve heard the hype, and have seen my review and my additional swatches. These are fabulous, and probably the best product of 2011. I’ve heard that some women feel like they are drying, but I think those women must be crazy. I love, love, LOVE Revlon Lip Butters. They are soft, moisturizing, and all kinds of awesome. They are pricey at $7.50 each, but there are always sales on Revlon, so snatch them up when you get the chance.
Honorable mention- NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream I know, NYX again. What can I say, they are the best brand for lip products. Neither lipstick nor lip gloss- NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream is a new kind of pout paint that goes on silky smooth and sets to a matte finish without drying lips out. NYX offers 11 shades for $6.00 each.
Favorite- Blistex Fruit Smoothies When it comes to straight up lip balm, Blistex gets it done. The Fruit Smoothies smell delicious and leave my lips soft and hydrated. A set of three is around $3-4.
Honorable mention– Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer Until the Revlon Lip Butters came around, I would use these tinted lip balms for some color when I didn’t want to deal with lipstick or gloss. They pack a fair amount of pigmentation, and those who like a minty tingle will like these a lot.
Nail Polish Brand:
Favorite- Sinful Colors You’d never guess that these polishes are only $1.99 if you didn’t already know. Sinful Colors polishes have excellent opacity, apply very evenly, and hang in with the big brands like OPI and Essie. With tons of colors to choose from, Sinful Colors delivers everything you need from a polish.
Honorable mention- China Glaze These polishes are a wonderful formula, and the only reason that they weren’t my favorites are because Sinful Colors is cheaper. The two brands actually apply very similarly.
Top Coat/Base Coat:
Favorite- Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat and Seche Clear Crystal Clear Base Coat I have no Honorable mention in this category because Seche Vite puts all other top coats and base coats to shame. I hate waiting for my nails to dry, and Seche Vite provides a glass like, smudge-proof finish in minutes. It fills in ridges and smoothes out texture. I love putting it over glitter because instead of a bumpy surface, it leaves my nails nice and smooth. Seche Vite is excellent. Prices vary by location.
Favorite- Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips I’ve mentioned these several times and posted a quickie tutorial here. I have been very pleased with these strips. If applied correctly, they last all week and I end up getting bored of them before they chip on me. They apply very easily and I can go from naked nails to finished manicure in 15 minutes, with no dry time needed. Sally Hansen has recently come out with a whole slew of new designs, not to mention their holiday specific designs, including Halloween, Christmas, and Valentines Day. Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips cost $10 a box.
Honorable mention– Nail Wheels This may seem like an odd favorite, but nail wheels are suddenly indispensable to me. My nail polish collection has grown to the point where I can’t remember what I have, so I swatch each new polish on a nail wheel and keep a list of which polishes correspond to which swatches. When I want to paint my nails, I can look at my entire polish collection in miniature and pick the swatch I want. It saves a lot of time and keeps me from going to the same polish over and over simply because I can’t remember what else I have.
Special Effect Polish:
Favorite- Flakies I’m so excited that flakies hit big in 2011 and will be even bigger in 2012. So much more sophisticated than glitter, Flakies give nails a rich luxe look. For some ideas, check out my Essie LuxEffects post here, and be on the lookout for Zoya’s new Fleck Effect Collection in stores.
Honorable mention- Essie Matte About You Topcoat Matte nails had a resurgence for a moment in 2011, but my favorite way to do them is to put a matte topcoat over a flakie polish. Absolutely phenomenal. Essie Matte About You is a good one, available at Ulta.
Favorite- E.l.f. Studio Brushes I’ve mentioned E.l.f. Studio Brushes many times in this blog, and the Powder Brush was featured in my November favorites. Don’t let the $3.00 price tag fool you, these are really good, soft brushes that will provide an expert application every time. Bonus, they are cheap enough to buy multiples if you (like me) want to extend the time between washing your brushes. 😉
Honorable mention– Goody Spin Pins These funky pins spin into your hair, giving your updo the same security that 20 bobby pins would do. They come in small and large, and in blonde and brunette to better blend in with your hair.
Favorite- Bath & Body Works “Carried Away” According to B&BW “A whimsical blend of lush raspberries, white jasmine and whipped vanilla inspired by the way love sweeps you off your feet.” Carried Away is fresh and feminine without being too floral and aged. It’s soft and romantic, and really lovely. Bath & Body Works fragrance mists are $12.50 regular price.
Honorable mention- Juicy Couture “Peace, Love, & Juicy” Celebrate the freedom of being both hippie and chic with this fragrance that brings alive the free-spirited, sixties-style vibe of Malibu!” I mentioned “Peace, Love, & Juicy” in my September favs post (linked above). I’ve been loving this scent since getting it for my birthday in July.
Favorite– Bright Orange Lips I spent a few years kind of shunning lipstick, and just relied on lip balms. What really brought me back was the bright coral and orange lips of the spring and summer. My favorite combo? Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in “Orange Gina” topped with Jordana INCOLOR Pretty Shine Lipgloss in “Dazzling”.
Honorable mention– Nail Art Can you believe the advances in nail artistry this year? From Stamping to pens and stripers, nails are the new statement piece.
Most Overrated product of 2011
#1– EOS Lip Balms Everybody and their mother raved about these egg shaped lip balms. Though these smooth spheres are adorable, the balm itself isn’t very moisturizing. My lips feel dry and I want to re-apply within 10 minutes. And I don’t like that I can’t carry the balm in my pocket without looking like I have a goiter on my hip.
Honorable mention– Crackle/Shatter Polish Okay, I like the crackle polish look and own four of them myself, but enough is enough. Every time I turn around another brand is releasing a crackle STILL. Here’s a tip: if you are 10-12 months behind the bandwagon, just give it up and move on. Crackles were cool, but we really do not need to flood the market.
And that concludes my makeup related 2011 favorites. I have one more post that will include skincare and stuff like that, so stay tuned.