It's nearly the end of the year, so why not a best-of list?
I contemplated doing a top ten "new things" and a top ten "all-time favorites" but I settled on just ten total items. This is a mix of things that were new to me in 2011 and things I've loved for a long time.
Naturally, I could compile a top ten nail color list, and I still might, though it will probably be a top 20 because it's very hard to choose and I have...um, a lot of nail polish.
In no particular order:
1. Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser
I've raved about this in a couple of other posts, but it's by far one of my favorite discoveries ever. Truly, my face is noticeably softer and clearer. Available online from many sites, including drugstore.com.
2. Chanel Topkapi
I wrestled with whether or not to get this and then when I bit the bullet, it was out of stock. Luckily Chanel.com restocked and I ended up with what may be one of the most perfect shimmery taupe eye shadows around. I super dig the gold, too, and I will cry a very bitter single tear when this gorgeous palette is gone. Limited edition, of course. You can try eBay but this sells for about $100.
3. Coloresse Smooth Shampoo
This is a Sally Beauty exclusive and it works as well for me as Aveda Dry Remedy conditioner, at a fraction of the price. Available at Sally Beauty in stores and online.
4. Murad Energizing Pomegranate Lip Therapy SPF 15
Like the Avene cleanser, this is one of those happy accidents where I received a sample and fell in love with the product. Somewhere between a balm and a gloss, this product has a pleasant mild fruit scent and feels light, not sticky or goopy. I usually use it before bed and then first thing in the morning, while I'm putting my makeup on. Nice and moisturizing. Available online from several sites, I bought mine at aveyou.com.
5. Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Flared
Wow that is a mouthful of a name for mascara, but: recommend. I am actually a huge fan of the whole The Falsies line, including the regular stuff and the Black Drama version, but OMG do not use the waterproof unless you want to have to chisel your mascara off every night. Available pretty much everywhere, I usually buy mine at CVS.
6. MAC Viva Glam Cyndi
As much as it seems pointless to include things that are discontinued and increasingly hard to find even on eBay (and inflated to 3x the original price when you do find it there), I really do love this lipstick. It's red, but not heavy handed or overly bright - just pretty and flattering and easy to wear. Which is probably why it sold out quickly and why not many people are willing to give it up for less than $40. Limited edition; try eBay if you must have it.
7. L'Oreal Paris Project Runway Sultry Raven's Blush
Ugh, so this is also a limited edition item that was released this fall with the Colors Take Flight collection. But I have to mention it here because it's my favorite blush and I wear it nearly every single day. It's really a foolproof color and great for every day. Sadly I can't find this online anywhere (okay, I found one on eBay, tragically overpriced) but it's possible you could find one languishing at a drugstore or discount store somewhere. I got mine at Rite Aid.
8. Cover Girl Lipslicks Lip Gloss in Hipster
I've talked about this before, it's probably one of my favorite products of all time. Cheap and available just about anywhere; I've purchased at CVS, Target and lots of other places.
9. Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat
This is the top coat I reach for most often, and I'm bummed it doesn't work for me with Zoya, Chanel and certain other brands. But for most everything it works great and looks amazing. I find that it dries very quickly on me and that I can get back to my regular activities in fairly short order. Available in-store at CVS and Sally and probably several other places as well.
10. Smith's Rosebud Salve
At around $6, this is a huge beauty bargain. It's versatile, portable and suitable for both men and women. I use it primarily as a lip balm and cuticle treatment, but you can also use it on rough dry skin and for a dozen other things. I have bought this at Sephora, but you can order it online at drugstore.com and probably lots of other places.
Honorable Mention: Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle
I would have included this above if there weren't already four lip products on the list! I'm not sure if these are limited edition; I sure hope they aren't because they are amazing. Pink Truffle is my favorite of the three colors I bought and I already picked up a backup. I have found these at Rite Aid and CVS. A great bargain for about $8.