So, this is the best/worst I've discovered in 2009.
Best Face Primer: Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Complexion Primer $30 for 30ml
One of my 1337 products, it smooths over the skin, blurring pores and hiding imperfections, and makes my foundation blend perfectly over the top. It feels velvety, on, and creates the perfect canvas. I usually managed to screw up my primer and make my foundation mess up, but that's never, ever happened with this primer. I think it might just be idiot-proof.
Worst Face Primer: Urban Decay Brightening Complexion Primer $30 for 30ml
This isn't terrible, it just isn't for me. From reviews I've read it seems like people are either pore perfecting, or brightening - so if you didn't like one, try the other. I'm personally not a fan of dewy-look primers/foundations, I prefer a matte non-chalky finish, and this just made me feel greasy and shiny.
Best Eye Primer: Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy $7.50 for 10ml
There aren't enough internets in the entire world for me to award this. It's not technically a primer, it's more glue, for your eyes. Or your lips, or your cheeks, or whatever. It sticks stuff to them. Sparkles, glitter, eyeshadow. It's amazing. You get the vibrancy of wet application without foiling. Hell, if looks better than if I apply wet, and it's a lot easier and faster, and less messy
Worst Eye Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer $20 for 2.5ml
Yet another 'not awful' product, I've tested this primer, the Urban Decay Primer Potion, MAC Painterly Paint Pot, and the Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, and soon I'll get my hands on some Too Faced Shadow Insurance, too. Of everything I've tried, this is my least favourite. It does exactly the same job UDPP does, but it's a hell of a lot more expensive (UDPP is $17 for 10ml vs $20 for 2.5ml!) and it's really dark in colour. It's lighter than a Painterly Paint Pot, just, but doesn't have that opaque pigmentation and smooth finish, it's just like liquid which goes obviously orange on me. Not keen.
Best Mascara: Bourjois Liner Effect Mascara £8.25 for 10ml
There's a reason why this is listed in virtually every EOTD I do. It can be difficult to use at first, I remember getting it everywhere and jabbing myself in the eye, but over a good primer and with practice, it's fantastic. Fans my lashes out, curls, lifts, lengthens. I don't notice the eyeliner effect much, but I love what it does to both my upper and lower lashes, so this is a longtime favourite.
Worst Mascara: Clinique High Impact Mascara £14.50 for 8ml
This is actually a really good mascara. Great length, volume, separation, little bit of curl, absolutely no clumping. A great all-rounder. The downside is that it makes my eyes burn. I've never had an allergic reaction to any cosmetic, so I was pretty astounded that wearing this makes me feel like I just squirted lemon juice in my eye. I even (stupidly) tried it again, to make sure it definitely was that - and yep. I didn't get it in my eye, I didn't poke myself in the eye with the wand, I didn't apply it differently to usual... it just stings my eyes to hell.
Best Eyeshadow - Bright: Aromaleigh Rocks! Sonic Eyeshadow $6.50 for 1.2g
Have I ranted about these enough, yet? Yes? Okay. I own over 500 eyeshadows, including pure wholesale dyes and mica, and Aromaleigh make the brightest non-neon eyeshadows I've ever seen. The brightest ones that actually show up on your skin. If you dig brights, go buy some. Read my [review here] and see the [EOTD here].
Oh, and buy "Dominion" from the Rocks collection, too - I bought it just because the name reminded me of Star Trek, and it completely surprised me. Amazing colour.
Worst Eyeshadow - Bright: About Face Velvet Eyeshadow $4.50 for less than 1g
Lime Crime narrowly avoids this category, because they get their own, later on. So instead, it's the About Face/The She Space Velvet eyeshadows. They're not matte, but don't have high sheen/sparkle. Not only is the website utterly perplexing with a cart system which makes you type the name of the colour into a box and add, one at a time, the product photos are terrible, inaccurate, and the colour descriptions are completely fictional.
This colour, "Slightly Insane" was described as "True lime green" and not marked as sheer.
I can't fathom why About Face has such a large following, I know I'll never order from them again. I tried to use my About Face eyeshadows in an EOTD to post with a review, and they were so sheer, so clumpy and generally useless that I gave up, and didn't even bother to finish it. I took it all off and did this EOTD instead.
Best Eyeshadow - Complex: Fyrinnae Arcane Magic Eyeshadow $5.95 for 3g
Swoon swoon swoon. These are actual colour-changing eyeshadows, the pigment in them is one developed by NASA, and they change colour the closer they get to an artificial light source, like a lamp. It's down to light bouncing off them at micro-angles, and the reflection causes the shade to change. I'm butchering an e-mail one of the Fyrinnae chaps sent me horribly, but in essence, they're actually colour changing, rather than just duo-chrome. They're amazing. And they're just as beautiful as all Fyrinnae eyeshadows, but more complex and unique - incredible!
Worst Eyeshadow - Complex: Archetype Cosmetics Eyeshadow $3.45 for 1.2g
I should preface by saying that Archetype eyeshadows are beautiful, and incredibly well priced. Samples are just $0.25, which is incredible. Look, look how pretty they are. And then weep.
probably never get them (check the comments!). Ever. Well, you might, in a few months, if you're lucky. Archetype have incredible unique products, at an amazing price, and unfortunately, no level of service whatsoever. You'll never, ever get a reply to any e-mails you send them - mine actually failed and got returned as it said the e-mail address wasn't working. It also just looks really unprofessional - the company e-mail is someone's personal gmail account, and the same with their PayPal address. If you want to get in touch, you have to try and phone the owner at her part-time job. This is a company that ought to be on Etsy, not have a standalone website masquerading as a viable, professional business.
Best Palette: NYX 96 Colour Lip Palette £19.99
This was a surprise Christmas present from my brother, and I love it! I don't know if it's because I'm applying them with a brush, but the palette colours seem to go on smoother and creamier than their stick-lipsticks (which I own over 30 of).
Worst Palette: Collection 2000 Poptastic Eye Palette £3.99
I'm surprised to read good reviews of this. I picked it up excited by all the bright colours, and then was disappointed that it seems really sheer. I grabbed a few for friends, too, before swatching, so now I feel like a bum for giving them something crappy. Nice colours and all, just rubbish pigmentation.
Best Lipstick: Barry M Lip Paint £4.25
MAC make my favourite lipsticks, generally, but I love the colour of the Barry M Lip Paint in Baby Pink 100. It's this incredible pale pink - the one I'm wearing in this EOTD. It's a shade I've yet to find anywhere else, and although the Barry M Lip Paints don't have the same thick, smoothing effect on my lips that MAC lipsticks do, they're still pretty good for the price, and I love the colour.
Worst Lipstick: Lime Crime Candyfuture Lipsticks $16 for 3.5g
It's not an utterly terrible lipstick, which surprised me. The packaging is great, but the lipstick itself is a generic stock formula, thick, drying, and shows up every imperfection in my lips. They're extremely pigmented, and have great opacity, but they also stain your lips. I found two duplicates for Great Pink Planet (Stargazer 119 and MAC Saint Germain) which were so close, I couldn't tell them apart, forgot which was which and had to re-swatch.
Best Lipgloss: Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss £12.50 for 7ml
The ones I've tried weren't really 'glossy', but thick, sticky, pigmented and oh-so opaque. I love MAC glosses, but for bright colours and pigmentation, I go for Illamasqua Intense glosses everytime. Apply thinly for a sheer tint, or thicker for opaque coverage, and even when they wear off, you've still got a little coverage, like a lip stain.
Worst Lipgloss: Lancome Juicy Tubes £13.50 for 15ml
I don't understand why people like these so much, I really don't. They're £13.50! That's more than a MAC gloss, and for that you get something which is sheer, if not completely clear. Why would anyone need to own more than one clear gloss? They taste nice? Great, so does a 25p packet of mints.
Best Foundation: Estée Lauder Double Wear £24 for 30ml
Foundation which could survive a small natural disaster. It's long-wearing, it has excellent coverage, and with the right technique it blends in gorgeously. I wear the lightest cool shade, Shell, which is still a little dark, but I like the formula so much I won't switch to anything else.
Worst Foundation: MAC Studio Fix Fluid £19 for 30ml
I really didn't like this. I wore NC15, and even that was too dark for me. I'd kind've expect with the number of shades MAC has, for them to have something lighter, but no. It was orange, thin, it didn't blend or wear well, uck uck uck. Never again.
Best Concealer: Bobbi Brown Corrector £16 for 1.7g
Pink-based, pale enough for me, thick, opaque, creamy, blends over liquid or powder. Generally fabulous. It's expensive, but it lasts for 3-4 months and when I run out, I really notice myself missing it. Read the [review here].
Worst Concealer: None
Since I found my holy grail, 1337 concealer, I haven't tried anything else this year.
Best Finishing Powder: Purely Cosmetics Diamond Perfect Finish Powder $18.50 for 6g
I rambled on about it for over 2000 words, so it's a fair bet that I like it. Read the [review here] if you want to see why.
Worst Finishing Powder: Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder $30 for 10g
It does the job well, but it's pure silica powder. The same pure silica powder you can buy from any wholesaler for under $4 an ounce, as opposed to over $80 an ounce in a tiny jar. One ingredient does not a finished product make.
Best Blush: MAC Mineralize Blush in Love Rock (Limited Edition)
Specifically Love Rock, it's hard to find cool pink blush to suit pale, pink-undertoned skin, and bizarrely this shimmery mineralized blush is the most natural looking one I've ever found.
Worst Blush: None
I've never found a blush I thought was bad, just colours that were too warm for me.
Best Eyeliner - Pencil: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil $17 for 1.2g
It's soft enough for the waterline, but you can stick it in the freezer for a couple of minutes to sharpen it. It'll fade a little over time, and rub off your waterline - virtually everything does - but it has the best sticking power out of everything I've tried, goes on incredibly easily, and it's a lovely black black.
Worst Eyeliner - Pencil: Body Shop Eye Definer $11 for 1.2g
Too hard, too grey rather than black, no staying power. Just generally a bit all-round crap, when you consider $6 more can get you the Urban Decay variety.
Best Cleanser: Clinique Liquid Facial Soap $15 for 200ml
Love this stuff! It's gentle, has the consistency of liquid soap so it's really easy to use, it leaves my skin feeling soft and not stripped, but it's really effective at getting rid of make-up, even tough eyeliner/mascara, and it's not too expensive.
Worst Cleanser: None
I can't think of anything terrible, save for supermarket cleansers/wipes, which I don't feel deserve to be compared to Clinique.
Best Haircare: Clynol Color + Care Reflex Shampoo £6.50 for 250ml
This shampoo is designed for white/silver/platinum-blonde hair, because it's purple. I mean it's... purple! It has purple dye in it, which neutralises yellow tones. Y'know what else it's great for? Purple hair. Which is what I have. So yeah, love this, it's nice to see a salon-exclusive brand which is actually encouraging alternative hair colours instead of the usual four thousand shades of ash blonde.
Worst Haircare: Sunsilk Silky & Straight Shampoo £1-2.50 for 200ml
It isn't really fair to compare drugstore/salon shampoo, but this stuff was crap. It just glued my hair together in a giant ball of ick. No thanks.
Best Problemsolver: Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector £12.50 for 15ml
Although I'm tempted to mark it down for forcing me to spell "minimise" with a "z", this stuff is great. I bought it to use as an all-over face primer, and didn't like it. Then I discovered I could use it on top of my finished foundation/powder etc for a touch-up on my nose, where my pores are the worst. It's great for when my make-up's worn off throughout the day, blurs the pores out and stops my nose from looking quite so ridiculous.
Worst Problemsolver: Yves Saint Laurent Touché Eclat £23 for 2.5ml
It's not terrible, it's a pretty good highlighter, but in my experience this wore off extremely quickly, and it's not very opaque, so it's only good on moderate under-eye circles, etc. If you need anything heavy-duty, this won't do the trick, and it wears off too quickly for my liking, and for its price-tag/hype.
Best Brush: GOSH Flat Eyeshadow Brush £7
I can't say enough good things about this brush, and I've said a lot of good things about this brush. I own 4, now, because I use them so often. I like it more than my MAC 239, but it does the same job. Just a bit better, a bit softer, and easier to clean. You can [win one here] and read my full [review here].
Worst Brush: GOSH Light Weight Duo Fibre Brush £13
As MAC 187 dupes go, it's really good. Right size, shape, does the job. The downside is that it sheds. It sheds from first use to last use, whether you wash it and dry it properly or not. Considering I apply liquid foundation with it, that's a problem for me. I'm constantly picking off fibres that get stuck to my face. Every single time I use it. It's a lot cheaper than the MAC variant, but honestly, I'd rather I shelled out £29 and just got the 187 to begin with.
Best Overall Product: Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy $7.50 for 10ml
For allll the reasons I said above. This is a really hard category, but the epoxy has totally changed the way I do my make-up, for the better. I get the same results without foiling now, which means it saves time, easier blending, easier brush-cleaning, etc etc. It's incredibly cheap at $7.50 for 10ml, and I wouldn't even consider doing my make-up without it, now. Fans of even more theatrical make-up can use it on their lips, too, or cheeks, whatever, for sticking glitter and other sparkly wonders. Everyone needs to own this, it's the best 1337 product I've ever found.
Worst Overall Product: Lime Crime "Magic" Eye Dusts $12 for 0.14oz
They're not eyeshadows, they're ingredients. They're ingredients you can buy from a wholesaler 24x cheaper. That's not 25% cheaper, i.e. a quarter, that's twenty-four times cheaper. And it's exactly the same. The colours are fucking the same. I've gone on about this enough. Check this post for an updated list of confirmed Lime Crime & wholesale mica matches.
Best Bargain: Fyrinnae Eyeshadow $5.25 for 3g
Whilst not as cheap as, say, Archetype, with Fyrinnae you get the most incredible eyeshadows, all made by two of the nicest guys in the world, in their lab, fantastic customer service, and added geekiness. The amounts are generous, shipping is incredibly cheap, $3.50 international or free, anywhere in the world, for orders over $20. Samples are $1.75, but you get 1/4 teaspoon, which is huge - that's the amount most places give you for face powder samples, and they all come in jars, rather than plastic baggies. Did I mention they're completely gorgeous?
This was a tricky one. It was basically between Lime Crime "Magic" Dusts and this powder, both of which contain simply base ingredients which can be bought cheaply from wholesalers. Lime Crime's "eyeshadows" are pure mica, with whatever additions the wholesaler adds (tin oxide, iron oxide, titanium oxide - usually a combination of one or more of those) and the MUFE HD powder is pure silica. To work out which was, technically, the biggest rip-off, I did some math.
I'm pretty sucky at math, so if I ballsed it up, please let me know.
Lime Crime "Magic" Dusts -
From Lime Crime:
$12 for 0.14oz
(1/0.14oz = 7.142857142857143)
7.142857142857143 x $12 =
$85.71 per ounce
From TKB Trading (wholesaler): $3.50 per ounce
($85.71/$3.50 = 24.48857142857143)
24.48857142857143 x more expensive from Lime Crime than from TKB.
Make Up For Ever Microfinish HD Powder -
From Make Up For Ever:
$30 for 10g = $3 per 1g
Metric to Imperial conversion:
1g = 0.035 oz / 1oz = 28.35g
28.35g x $3 =
$85.05 per ounce
From TKB Trading (wholesaler):
$3.45 per ounce
($85.05/$3.45 = 24.65217391304348)
24.65217391304348 x more expensive from Make Up For Ever than from TKB.
Worst Brand: Lime Crime
Self-explanatory, really, unless you're new. I maintain that they sell repackaged mica at an obscene mark-up, lie about it, and accuse wholesalers of copying them, as well as employing dodgy tactics to hide bad reviews, threaten bloggers, and do things like their blogazine advertising page claiming they get 140,000 visitors a month, when stats from Compete.com have it at under 13,000, typos and errors in ingredients lists, and mixing up the terms "weight" and "volume" (the "Magic" dusts are measured by weight, not volume. They used to contain 0.07oz, now they're 0.14oz, but the website says they're now "double the volume"). Read [more here].
Best Brand: Fyrinnae
Best most definitely saved for last. I can't even fully articulate how much I love Fyrinnae. Given that I adore Aromaleigh and Purely Cosmetics, too, and I'm pretty Sassy-partial, this is the hardest category of all. But Fyrinnae clinches it. I gave them a negative review in the past, when I was young and stupid, and didn't know any better. Phyrra told me they were great, and I didn't listen. I should have listened. My re-discovery of Fyrinnae is akin to my discovery that Calculator has a copy feature. All that time wasted! Aaaghhh!
They have some utterly incredible products, eyeshadows that look so good I want to eat them on toast (but I probably shouldn't), their sample sizes are huge, they have free worldwide shipping for orders over $20, no minimum order, just $3/3.50 shipping for orders below $20, they send free samples - and, and they actually check your order and your previous orders, to make sure you get things that you'll like (i.e. something similar to what you're ordering, or complementing colours) and something you haven't already got. They make products that no one else is making, like their Pixie Epoxy, Arcane Magic eyeshadows and their Lip Lustres, and ahhohmygodjustgofreakingbuyfromthemalready. Oh, and everything they make is vegan, and they make charitable contributions, too.
I also love that it's run by two men (less of this "woman owned business" crap, please. If we praise a business simply for being run by a woman, aren't we just perpetuating the stereotype that women are somehow less capable of running a business? Why do they get special praise for doing so, unless it's harder for them? Let's support gender-equality instead, whether you're making make-up or just wearing it), who make it all themselves in their lab, understand chemistry, and are massive geeks. The website and products are littered with references to sci-fi, fantasy, games, Japanese bands, mythology, etc, etc. It's a make-up-loving-geek treasure-trove.
I'm in love. I'm doodling 'Fyrinnae' in little heart-shapes on my books and everything.
...And yes, that is a very obscure Sonic reference in the title. Suck it, Nintendo.