Monday, September 20, 2010

Allure Magazine's 2010 Best of Beauty:
A Pro's Commentary

It's the list heard 'round the world; Allure’s annual Best of Beauty issue (October 2010) is the issue to beat all issues. Now considered a major industry accolade, this list of over 200 skincare, cosmetic and hair care products is meant to represent the best of the best; “handpicked and field-tested" by the magazine's editors.

Even after more than a decade in the beauty industry, I still run to this issue to see what other beauty pros choose. I picture magazine beauty editors with towering skyscraper stacks of product on their desks; they have access to the best, newest, most exclusive products out there. Every year this single issue contributes vastly to my ongoing list of “must try” pretties and potions, yet I also find myself shaking my head over some of the so-called “best”. This year, I thought I’d share some of my most noteworthy commentary with you, and maybe throw in a few suggestions myself!

Allure’s Best Eye Shadow (Color): Nars Daphne.

I know Nars has a great reputation, and some of their colors are to die for, but when it comes down to it, I’m not a believer. I have several shades (to be fair, I don’t own Daphne) and find that regardless of which base I use or how I apply, the vibrant out-of-the-pan shade fades (even sometimes becomes muddy) on my eye before I’ve even finished applying my mascara.

If you’re looking for a great vibrant purple, I suggest Sugarpill’s Poison Plum. It’s not a dead-on dupe; Daphne appears to be slightly more of a blue-based violet. Sugarpill's Poison Plum has a tad more red and also has a tiny bit of microglitter in it, but reads on the eyes as a matte. Oh, and it's half the price!

Poison Plum shown in the crease, shown
w/ Sugarpill Buttercupcake and Decora

Another great option is the purple shade in Sleek’s Acid iDivine Palette. While it does have some of the same fading issues as the Nars shadows, you can pick up an entire 12 shade Sleek palette for less than half what a single Nars shadow costs, so it's hard to go wrong there. In fact, if we’re giving awards out for shadow color, I’d give a nod to the entire Acid palette- how many of you have run into an honest-to-blog neon eyeshadow before? Sleek’s Acid palette has 4 shades so bright I had problems photographing them without a glare!

The purple I'm talking about is bottom left, but do
you see the 4 in the middle? Bicycle reflector bright!

Allure’s Best Lengthening Mascara: CoverGirl LashBlast Length

I’m so glad Allure doesn’t split the mascara into prestige and mass categories- I want to know which mascara is the best, and I couldn’t care less if I have to go to a drugstore or Saks to pick it up.

While I wasn’t as fond of the original LashBlast as everyone else seemed to be, the lengthening formula is one of my favorites. It gives great length and definition, doesn't flake or smudge, and I literally can not get this stuff to clump- even when I try!

Allure’s Best Brow Groomer: Clarins Eyebrow Kit Pro Palette

I’ve never tried Allure’s top choice, and I wouldn’t mention anything if I hadn’t found a holy-grail brow product this year: MAC’s Penultimate Brow Marker. This fine-line liquid pen comes in one universal shade that works for most hair colors. It fills and creates a great shape, without looking overly done or drawn on. Best of all, it stays on all day. The one caveat: last I knew, it was limited edition, so perhaps after my back-ups run dry I’ll try Allure’s recommendation.

I have this product in the shade Joy, a pretty peach that goes a bit more coral on my naturally pink lips. One of my go-to lip products, it applies smoothly and feels like butter on my lips. However, I don’t think stain is an accurate description- while it may leave a bit of color behind after the balm wears off, it certainly doesn’t linger with the color intensity it’s first applied with.

Allure’s Best Dry Shampoo: Tresemmé FreshStart Waterless Foam Shampoo

As if I psychically knew this would be included in Allure’s list, I actually just picked this up last week on a whim. I grabbed it because I noticed it was designed for dry to normal and curly hair, and that’s me.

It felt odd applying a wet mousse to my my hair while it was dry, and it was a bit awkward trying to work it into my roots without getting the rest of my hair wet. It did dry faster than I expected and my hair was a tiny bit cleaner than before use, but this stuff wasn’t nearly as effective as my current favorite: Batiste Dry Shampoo.

Who hasn’t tried this stuff? haven’t? I say skip it. Not that it’s a bad product, but it’s way overpriced considering it’s pure silica. MUFE charges $30 for .35 oz of a product that can be bought from online wholesalers for less than $5.00 for an entire ounce! There is some controversy that claims that the two products are not the same and that wholesale silica microspheres aren't safe, but personally I just think this is marketing rhetoric. The type of silica used in cosmetics is silica microspheres. The type of silica that causes lung disease is crystalline silica. Not the same stuff.

Aside from the price, I feel like the MUFE powder can look chalky if not blended well, and doesn't seem special in terms of finish or coverage.

Allure's Best for Sensitive Skin: Kinerase Cream

I've written about Kinerase in the past, and while it wasn't a review per sé, it gives you some insight on my opinions of the product. I actually have used Kinerase Cream, and wasn't a big fan (as a matter of fact, about 1/3 of the tube sits, unused, in my medicine cabinet). I didn't notice a thing in terms of fine line or spot reduction, and despised the chalky white film the product left on my skin. When I get down to brass tacks about it, the cream didn't even moisturize enough for my dry skin, so I was forced to move on to another product.

My current favorites for my own sensitive skin? CeraVe Cream is what I turn to when my skin is so irritated that everything else hurts. The bulky 16oz container doesn't pretend to be luxurious, but the cream itself soothes and moisturizes my skin into submission. This cream uses a patented time release technology that delivers moisturizers throughout the day. It not only hydrates, but helps skin attract and retain moisture, and helps to rebuild the skin's protective barrier. (BTW, I'm currently testing CeraVe's newest moisturizer, an AM version with SPF and anti-aging superstar niacinamide- review to follow, you can be sure!)

I'm also a big fan of Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum (though, Olay, could you have picked a more redundant name?) and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Both work as nice moisture boosters and provide great anti-oxidant protection. Lauder's ANR has a ton of the moisture magnet hyaluronic acid, while Olay's Regenerist boasts wrinkle fighting peptides and niacinamide.

Allure's Best Tweezers: Tweezerman Slant Tweezers
The platinum standard. Enough said. If you don't have a pair, go get some, NOW. Yes, they're $20, but they'll be the last pair of tweezers you'll ever have to buy (Literally. Tweezerman offers free lifetime sharpening.) Fair warning: do not be tempted to get the point tweezers, they're deadly!

So, that's it...there's my red-carpet blah-blah about what I think the best and brightest are (and aren't). There's a good chance you'll disagree with me on some points, or have your own opinions on some of the other 224 products featured in the issue. So...go grab the October Allure and come back to weigh in!

Some recommended products featured in this post were initially submitted for review consideration by a representative of the company. What does this mean? I may not have paid for it. My commitment is to you, my readers, and myself (it's called integrity, I like to have it). I can assure you that the opinions expressed on OutInAPout are my own, based on my own research and experience; I am not paid in any way nor is the final outcome of the post in any way influenced by the featured company.


Phyrra said...

I'm in agreement with you, I LOVE Poison Plum.
Honestly I love all the pressed shadows from Sugarpill.

I like the Lash Blast Luxe, the Lash Blast Fusion and Lash Blast Volume. They all work wel for me.

Also, I love Batiste dry shampoo too! I've tried a few but that's the best on my hair.

*jen said...

Thank goodness someone else in the industry thinks the MUFE Hi-Def powder isn't all it's cracked up to be. I have a version by ELF and it's pretty much the same, with the issues you noted. The girls at my Sephora think I'm an idiot because I returned my MUFE. Whatever.

Jennie said...

I had the same reaction to Tresseme Fresh Start, but the one that resembles hair spray. At first I thought it smelled good until I sprayed a little bit more in my hair. Good gracious, it made me want to pass out from all the fumes...and my hair looked worse than it started.

Anonymous said...

I bought that MUFE powder and was so mad it only contained Silica! Seriously - $30 for a jar of silica?! What a ripoff. After that little incident, I started reading labels much more closely. I did really like the way the powder made my skin look flawless, but it didn't make my oily skin go away, as the lady at Sephora swore it would. A couple of weeks ago I got the Mattify Ultra Powder online, after reading a ton of great reviews for it. Man this stuff is AMAZING!! It makes my face look totally flawless, stops me from getting shiny until noon, it's clear like the MUFE, and only cost me 14 bucks. Silica is one of the ingredients - but one of many, so you're not just buying a big jar of silica! Anyways, I absolutely love this Mattify powder, and if I had the choice would give it an Allure award.

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