The Top 10 Beauty Products of 2011

Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!
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Michelle Villett
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Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!
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Sads! Our lives are flying by and 2011 is almost over. Besides being a time for ignoring the gym, eating monstrous quantities of sugar and sporting pajamas as day-wear, this last week of the year is traditionally a time of reflection—a time to look back AND forward.

So yes, it's almost time for our New Year's beauty resolutions again. (Eeks! Don't make me read that post and realize how much I fell off the wagon.) But first! It's equally important that we pay tribute to the prodz that rocked our world in 2011. Or at least, MY world. Here are 10 newbies that found a permanent home in my rotation—it's time to get on board if you haven't already discovered their talents...

1. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF

SkinCeuticals-Phloretin-CF

Ever since I wrote a story for FASHION earlier this year I've been a little bit obsessed with antioxidants. (I interviewed three top anti-aging docs—Perricone, Weil and Murad—and all of them were all over vitamin C as a topical.) They didn't specifically mention any brand names, but this hard-working serum has to be one of the best investments. New to Canada (if not the U.S.), it contains vitamin C along with ferulic acid and phloretin (a polyphenol). What does it do? Oh, just protect you from free radical damage while correcting hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone and dullness. SIGN ME UP.

2. Hourglass Film Noir

Hourglass-Film-Noir-Lash-Lacquer

I believe this is my third time mentioning this new lash product, and it probably won't be the last. It's not a mascara—it's a lash lacquer, which means you apply it as your last step, like a topcoat for your lashes. I'm seriously blown away by how dark and glossy it makes your lashes. Definitely a new evening essential.

3. A tie between Chanel Illusion d'Ombre Eyeshadow...
...and Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Chanel-Illusion-dOmbre-in-Emerveille
Giorgio-Armani-Eyes-to-Kill-Intense-Eyeshadow-in-Champagne

Wowza! These two luxury brands totally impressed me with their eyeshadow launches this year. As you may recall, I'm a huge fan of eyeshadow-in-a-pot, especially when it's also a) in a shimmery nude shade, and b) long-wearing and crease-resistant. Both of these brands tick off my boxes with these shades, although the lines have tons of other colour options to choose from too. It's the lack of creasing, smearing and flaking that has made these a daily staple.

4. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour

I never used to fill in my brows, just because I didn't have the right tools. (Hard to believe, I know.) Eyeshadow pencils were either too dark or not fine-tipped enough, and with eyeshadow powder I could never seem to achieve a natural effect. Plus, both could smear and a smeared eyebrow is scary in a way that eyeliner could never be. AMIRITE? That's why I love this new launch from Stila so much. Not only do you get a totally natural-looking effect with the tiny tip (like a felt-tip pen), but it's the first one I've seen that's actually waterproof. Prayers answered.

Stila-Stay-All-Day-Waterproof-Brow-Colour

5. Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips

Crest-3D-White-2-Hour-Express-Whitestrips

So many of us are non-compliant with Whitestrips. Everything starts out great, but having to wear the things for 30 minutes a day on day 8, 9, 10... well, you start to forget or become too busy, and there goes the schedule. Thank goodness Crest have come out with a quickie version that does the same thing, except in just two hours. TWO HOURS! It's the closest thing you can get to a professional treatment at home. (The difference is a thicker layer of peroxide than is in normal Whitestrips.) I'm a tray user but I tried these and my dentist couldn't even tell the difference.

6. Goody Mini Spin Pin

The Spin Pin is amazing—but for a fine-haired girl, the MINI Spin Pin is like a blessing from the hair gods. Those of us without the volume or thickness to hold up normal hair accessories can actually use this guy to twist our wimpy locks into quite serviceable top knots, chignons and side buns. And they actually stay put far longer than normal bobby pins. I channeled Lucy Liu for a wedding this summer and to my surprise the side bun held up the entire time.

Goody-Mini-Spin-Pin

7. John Frieda Luxurious Volume Anytime Volume Refresher

John-Frieda-Volume-Refresher

I've long been singing the praises of dry shampoo, but with the realization that it was only because I am blonde that it works for me. This year saw the debut of a brand new category: the colourless dry shampoo, which is perfect for blondes and non-blondes alike because it doesn't give you that ashy grey residue. I believe John Frieda's was the first—I use it all the time because it also gives you a bit of a volume boost.

8. Benefit They're Real! Mascara

Benefit-Theyre-Real-mascara-review

Did you know that this is the number one prestige mascara in Canada right now? There's a reason for it: you totally get volume and length without the clumpiness. I'm fussy about my mascaras and it takes a lot to impress, but I used this one for a steady three months and it held up extremely well. Elizabeth is also a fan!

9. M.A.C Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Pressed Powder

Y'all know how I recommend translucent powders instead of tinted ones, right? They give a MUCH more natural effect, as long as you apply extremely sparingly and only in the spots where you get shiny. Problem is, they're messy—the loose powder gets all over the place. Enter M.A.C's pressed version, which is perfectly portable in a handy compact that you can pop in your purse. (Just bring along a retractable brush, because it doesn't come with one.)

MAC-Prep+Prime-Transparent-Finishing-Powder-Pressed

10. TRIA Skin Clarifying System

TRIA-Skin-Clarifying-System

Light therapy sessions can set you back hundreds of dollars at the derm's. This is an at-home alternative that I've had great results from. The blue light safely eliminates bacteria while healing existing blemishes and correcting uneven skin tone. You're supposed to use it all over your face for just five minutes a day, although I've had good results on an as-needed basis (it made blemishes look less angry and heal more quickly). The only downside is that you have to buy replacement cartridges—boo!

Tell me:

Have you tried any of these picks yet?
What are YOUR fave prodz of 2011?
Did Santa bring you anything exciting?