The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

models backstage with makeup

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 The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

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 The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

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…
Chanel Illusion dOmbre in Emerveille The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!…and Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in Champagne The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

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

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!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.

5. Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips

Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

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

Goody Mini Spin Pin The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!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.

7. John Frieda Luxurious Volume Anytime Volume Refresher

John Frieda Volume Refresher The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

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 The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

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

MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder Pressed The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!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.)

10. TRIA Skin Clarifying System

TRIA Skin Clarifying System The top 10 beauty products of 2011: Check out which new launches made it into my beauty hall of fame!

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?

19 Comments

Arianne
Thursday, December 29/2011 at 12:40 pm

I can’t believe I’m saying this: I haven’t tried ANY of these. However, because of your list, I just have to pick up the Giorgio Armani eyeshadows and the Crest white strips. And the mini Spin Pins. And the rest…

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Audrey
Friday, December 30/2011 at 2:55 am

oh my god, canadian beauty bloggers unite. awwwwwww. you two are my favorite!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, January 2/2012 at 3:32 pm

Aw thanks! xo

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, January 2/2012 at 3:31 pm

Haha – I want to see YOUR top 10 list then! I could prob have listed way more here but these were top of mind… :)

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Anya
Thursday, December 29/2011 at 12:49 pm

I feel like a bad blogger for not having tried any of these.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, January 2/2012 at 3:33 pm

Well… I must confess I did a FLARE story where it was *my job* to test a whole bunch of different products. (The topic was the best innovations of 2011.) Every once in a while you get an assignment where you wonder why you’re getting paid to do it… :)

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Mandie
Thursday, December 29/2011 at 1:01 pm

I love the spin pins. My hairdresser cut my long hair into an inverted bob at the beginning of the year and I’ve been growing it out since August. Luckily for me the bob made a big come-back this year, so for once I was ahead of the fashion pack. I bought some mini spin pins a couple of months ago, but I only really started using them last week, since my hair was too short to twist up. I was very impressed by how only two pins held my hair up. And since you can’t see them at all, it looks like magic.

I found out a couple of weeks ago that they sell Benefit products at one store in my city (I’m in South Africa), so I’ll definitely go check out the mascara.

The lash lacquer isn’t available here, but how do you apply it? The wand looks tiny, do you have to coat your lashes one by one, from above and below?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, January 2/2012 at 3:36 pm

Yeah, the wand looks tiny in the pic but it’s not like that in person. It’s a little brush – I just paint across my lashes and you get an automatic wow factor. Because I paint over regular mascara (and am too lazy to use a lash comb) it’s hard to paint each individual lash. I sort of swipe it back and forth across them… but I’m sure others who are more careful with their technique would get even more amazing results. It doesn’t clump things together at all, just deepens the colour and the shine.

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Mandie
Monday, January 2/2012 at 3:43 pm

Oh that makes sense. Thank you!

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Michelle (LipstickRules)
Thursday, December 29/2011 at 3:31 pm

What Arianne says…ditto for me!

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ana p
Thursday, December 29/2011 at 4:05 pm

LOVIN’ Benefit’s “They’re Real” mascara. I’m a long time lover of the original Bad Gal Lash and decided to purchase it to see it there was a difference. There is…the clumpiness that I had to work around with the Bad gal, doesn’t exisit with They’re Real. Get it ladies. I’m also a lover of vitamin C. PRAISE! Helps everything i think, even acne prone skin. Speaking of, I cannot wait to get that blue light system. Having done it at the derms office and looking online a few years back, it’s good to hear of a recommended product.
I must say Michell, I’m surprised you only listed 10! :) Hey, if you’ve got more, Please add! still loving your blog and looking forward to reading it in 2012!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, January 2/2012 at 3:40 pm

OMG I have so many more! These were just top of mind since I wrote this post during the holidays while away from my usual big stash! I need to get back to doing my weekly product vids – just been insanely swamped with magazine deadlines and a big redesign for this site that has been totally cursed and taking up all my time. :)

Right now I’m trying out a new combo of the vitamin C (SkinCeuticals) in the a.m. with Miracle10′s AHA Cream (lactic acid) and Skinceuticals sunscreen… and in the p.m. Retin A 0.025% with a Decleor rose oil on top. Oh and Clarisonic for cleansing. Will write more if/when I get results! I’m trying to tackle my freckles in a big way for 2012…

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Chelsea C
Wednesday, January 11/2012 at 10:02 pm

Hi Michelle, I live in Coquitlam BC and I have googled/searched Skinceuticals and I still don’t know where I can purchase it here in BC. Any thoughts? Or direction? Thanks and Happy New Year and Please keep up the excellent and very informative Posts!

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Kim
Friday, December 30/2011 at 1:07 am

Great list! Thanks for putting this together!

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Marina(Makeup4all)
Friday, December 30/2011 at 4:44 am

Now I want to try Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips and that MAC powder to use on others.
I am currently working on my list :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, January 2/2012 at 3:41 pm

Can’t wait to hear about your picks!

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Chelsea C
Wednesday, January 11/2012 at 10:11 pm

I over-plucked my eyebrows as a teen and have been struggling with growing those pesky hairs back for over 10 years. I have a great “threader” that keeps my brows nice and neat but they are not even and it bugs me. I was using a powder to fill in the missing spots and to extend my brow, Cliniques eyebrow powder, and although I was happy with the end results, it wouldn’t last more than a few hours. I recently discovered the Stila eyebrow pencil noted above while purchasing another awesome Stila product, the Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer, and had to give the brow pencil a go – especially when I saw that it was waterproof! Let me say I am soooo impressed. I have oily skin and it holds up all day. We had a dance party on New Years and my eye brows were still there the next day – literally. Great product. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts before the tube runs out.

Happy New Years Everyone!

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ana p
Wednesday, January 11/2012 at 10:54 pm

Hey Chelsea!

I live in Vancouver and learned you can get it at this medi-spa on Robson called eternal skin care – http://eternalskincare.ca – go to products. I haven’t tried the spa, but it’s on my list and it has great reviews on Yelp. :)
Ana

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Erica
Monday, January 23/2012 at 2:28 pm

I LOVE Spin Pins. Only thing that can whip my super long thick hair into a perfect ballerina bun.

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