Friday, December 29, 2006

My Favorite Things for 2006

2006 has been full of beauty discoveries. Of course, I also started my blogging journey this year, which made the experience more interesting. My experiments with color and scent have an audience now, witnessing both Holy Grail discoveries, as well as what happens when I don't wash my hair for four days (in the name of science) or when I try on a fragrance that turns my stomach just before having one mojito too many.

Without further ado, here's my list of Favorite Things for 2006 (in no particular order):

1. Secret de Vie by Lancome

The magic orb holds a cream that is officially targeting an audience older than me (you'll find it on their site under solutions for wrinkles and dermo-creases). I'll go out on a limb here and say that it probably doesn't erase wrinkles. However, it's an amazing active cream that really restores and nourishes the skin. It promises instant, visible results and in the case of my 30-something skin it is delivering just that. I've been using it since early fall, from the first sign that my skin gave about being unhappy with the change of weather. That first sign was also the last, because SdV has done wonders. No redness, flakiness or any other kind of irritation. It feels great, smells wonderfully, doesn't clog pores and actually seems to be helping with healing if the occasional breakout appears. It costs a pretty penny and is well worth it.
My original post about SdV is here.

2. Besame Cosmetics makeup in general and lip glaze in particular

Pretty is as pretty does, and in the case of this small and relatively unknown California-based company, it's not just the gorgeous, retro-glam packaging of the products. Inside the gold and red vials, tubes and compacts there is some serious beauty and exceptional quality. The latest product that was launched is the lip glaze, which for me takes the cake. The combination of pretty colors, delicious smell, impressive staying power and, most important, pampering and soothing my sensitive lips, is the best one I came across so far. It can only improve if it came in more colors.
My reviews of Besame products are here.

3. Shea Butter and Dead Sea Salt Scrub from Maryam's Soap Nook

The fact that a body scrub is even on my list of favorites should be telling. After all, this is "just" the stuff that you rub on your body to remove dead skin flakes and wash it away. Some scrubs are better than others, some smell really nice, but how much notice do you really take of them? This product makes a big difference in the way my skin looks and feels. It does the work and then some. The salt is packed into a rich cream of shea butter and several oils. The result is that my skin is not only smoother but also softer and never dry. It's a homespun product in a humble packaging that is far superior to the expensive stuff that's sold in fancy stores and spas.

4. Gris Clair by Serge Lutens

It took me a while (and a change in weather) to fall in love with this scent, and I still like it much better on my husband than on myself, so I'm listing it as my favorite men fragrance for 2006. What's in it? Mostly lavender with a touch of iris, smoke sweetened with maybe a hint of vanilla. It's understated and sophisticated in its quiet way, and the somewhat earthy drydown is breathtakingly beautiful. Or, is it handsome? The only problem is the staying power, or lack of it. It's lovely, but gone too soon.

5. Urban Decay eye shadow primer potion

It's my most recent discovery and it makes a lot of difference in the way my eye makeup behaves. I'm not entirely sure that it was only launched in 2006, but since primers of all kinds have become a mainstream essential this year, I'll regard it as such. An extra 30 seconds of applying makeup resulting in eye shadows that not only last and last (and last), but also look brighter and better.
Here's my original review.

6. Lorac Snake Charmer palette

This seems to be the year of palettes, especially the limited edition ones. People were doing crazy things to score Bobbi Brown's Chocolate palette (so much hype over brown eye shadow, albeit pretty), Chanel charged an arm, a leg and your firstborn for their Coromandels compact that looks like a work of art, but isn't the most practical thing ever. The Snake Charmer palette is the one I reach for most often. The blush gives a healthy glow (though it requires a very light hand, as it's quite bright and very pigmented) that I love when wearing warm colors. The four eye shadows also pack a lot of color and quite a bit of non-glittery shimmer. The colors are neutral but they give a beautiful evening look. They never flaked or creased on me, even before I started using a primer underneath them, and their texture is excellent and easy to apply.
Here's what I wrote about this palette months ago.

7. Niche Perfumes

Yes, I know that I discovered the world beyong  Calvin and Ralph long ago, and some of the greatest have been around since the late 1970s, but this was the year I binged. Hard. I can't pick just one scent or even one perfume house. I wish I knew about Serge Lutens' exclusive non-export line before I was in Paris and could have picked a bell jar or two (or three). In the mean time, I've fallen in love with so many  L' Artisan, Andy Tauer, Regina Harris, Mazzolari, Sage Machado, Keiko Mecheri and many others. But most notable this year was the nearly religious experience I had at the JAR boutique of Bergdorf. You don't look at fragrance the same way after you smell and try on these unique scents.

8. Tom Ford Black Orchid

Back to the world of mainstream (albeit luxury) perfumes. I know that some bloggers were disappointed with this one, as they expected something very edgy. I didn't have many expectations, as I've always been a bit suspicious of Ford, who is more than a little misogynistic. It took me a few tries to really learn to appreciate this scent, to make it mine and to enjoy it as much as I do now. It's not a Serge Lutens, but it's almost Lutenic (did I just coin a phrase?) in the experience and complexity. I love its elegance and Old World charm. It might not be the mystery lady in a black cape, vanishing into the night. But it is a black dress (not necessarily a little one) and silk stockings scent. How many of those are created these days?
More can be found here.

9. Dallas blush/bronzer by Benefit

This was the color that made my summer. A plummish bronze or a brownish plum was the best and easiest fake tan I came across. It takes a much lighter hand in the winter, but it still works beautifully.
Here's my first rave about it.

10. Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion

Another recent discovery that has become an important part of my routine. It can be used in several ways, but to me it works best as a super moisturizing but completely non-greasy hand cream. It's the one I keep on my desk and use while typing, without leaving any sticky residue in my wake.
Here's my original post.

Worth mentioning are my perennial favorites. Most of those I've been using for years and still reach for them on a nearly daily basis. Here they are.

Please visit my fellow bloggers who are also taking part in this end of the year tradition and listing their own favorites:

  • Afrobella

  • All About The Pretty

  • Aromascope

  • Beauty Addict

  • Beauty Blogging Junkie

  • Beauty by Nadine

  • Beautiful Makeup Search & Beauty Blog

  • Beauty Hatchery

  • Beauty Jones

  • Blogdorf Goodman

  • Bois de Jasmin

  • BonBons in the Bath

  • Brain Trapped in Girl's Body

  • Capital Hill Barbie

  • C'est Chic

  • Coquette

  • Crazy Jay Blue

  • eBeautyDaily

  • Girl's Handbook

  • Hautemommastuff

  • Koneko's *Mostly* Beauty Diary!

  • Legerdenez

  • Makeup Bag

  • Monkeyposh

  • My Muse

  • No one knows why the wolf laughs

  • Now Smell This

  • Perfume Smellin' Things

  • Peppermint Patty's Perfume Posse

  • Platinum Blonde Life

  • Product Girl

  • Scentzilla!

  • She'll Be Feverish After So Much Thinking

  • Slap of the Day

  • The Customer Is Always Right

  • The Daily Obsession

  • The Great She Elephant

  • The Life of a Ladybug

  • Urbane Girl

  • Victoria's Own

  • A special thank you to Annie from Blogdorf Goodman who organized this project.
    Happy New Year!


    1. Hurray! Another fan of Black Orchid! I think there are just two of us :-)
      Thank you for your wonderful list and Happy New Year!

    2. I almost list the Urban Decay primer, but wanted to keep my list to ten. So many choices!

    3. Great list!!!!!

      I thought that the Jar boutique was a very magical place. I fell so in love with Diamond Waters. Bolt of Lightening also haunted me.
      I flirted with including it on my best of 2006 list but I was so tired last night.
      I am offically pooped. I am taking a day off from blogging on Sunday. LOL

      Thanks for participating G and have a lovely New Year!!!!

    4. You make me want to try the Urban Decay primer. I might have to pick it up today. I'm also going to try Besame products.

    5. I love your list. I have to check out the Besame cosmetics you mentioned. :) Happy New Year!

    6. Gris Clair is so lovely, I agree. (I get pretty good staying power from it, though. Anything with vanilla seems to latch onto my skin well.)

      The Beseme line is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I've gotta order some samples (haven't spotted the line sold anywhere local in a b&m store, unfortunately.)

      That Maryam salt scrub is awesome - I loved it, too. Have you happen to have tried any of the other scrubs besides the Lemongrass, Lime and Ginger (it's the one I tried, too)? What did you think of them?

    7. Your list is full of things for me to try ASAP. Thank you! I like Black Orchid, too, by the way. I smelled it on a recent trip to SF while in my favorite old coffee store. That was a lovely mix -- the strange and elegant Black Orchid laced with freshly roasted Flor de Cana beans!
      Happy New Year.

    8. Those Besame products are mentioned everywhere. I need to get hold of them somehow.

      I wish I could agree with you about Gris Clair: I adore most of SL's creations but I really don't like lavender much (except the real thing) and this one was a bit too masculine for my taste. Jicky is the only lavender scent I love (it was my very first grown-up perfume).

      Anyway, it's a great list. :-)

      Happy New Year!

    9. I love Lutenic, will have to add that to my vocabulary :-)

    10. I love the Dallas blush/bronzer by Benefit and have to admit that when I start missing the summer I put it on!

    11. Great list!!! I'm quite curious about the Urban Decay primer now...hmm, I'm going to see if a Sephora SA will help me snag a sample to try. Eyeshadow fading is one of the few makeup problems I haven't solved yet...

    12. Great list! I am going to have to finally break down and try some Besame products. And I *love* Lutenic. :-)
      Happy new year!

    13. The Urban Decay Primer is the bomb! Not to mention the purple packaging which sent me right over the edge! Oh and Jar --- yes I discovered Golconda via sample this year. I passed on the chance to enter the boutique when I was there last year. Not a mistake I intend to repeat. I will own that lovely and expierence the others someday. I liked the Tom Ford too. Great List, Happy New Year! - Victoria

    14. Love your list! We have lots in common...primer potion, Dallas blush and black orchid are great!

      Thanks for the recommendations!

    15. That's it! I will finally give in to trying something from Maryam's Soap Nook - everyone seems to love it!

    16. I love your list, I definitely agree with quite a bit of it. I hoard UD Primer Potion like it's about to be discontinued. :)

      Happy New Year!

    17. Columbina- I'm always happy to see another Black Orchid fan. There are so very few of us around.

      Erika- Keeping the list to ten was hard for me as well. Too many good products were left out.

      Annie- Thanks again for all the work you put into this. I was considering including Diamond Water on the list, but I tried to only talk about new products. Maybe we should add a ctegory for greatest fragrance moment of the year, or something like that.

      Toya- I hope you enjoy the products. I can't praise them high enough.

      Boisdejasmin- all those lists were fabulous. So many things that now I must try. And, of course, I loved yours.

      Coquette and Patty- Try their sample program. It's a great way to figure out exactly what works for you.

    18. Katie- Besame is only available at very few stores, so ordering samples online is the best way to go.
      As for Maryam's scrubs, I only tried this one, so not sure about other scents.

      Cait- SF, good coffee and a great perfume... hard to get more fabulous than that.

      Bela- I have yet to smell Jicky (hides face in shame). I'll get to it, I promise.

      nowsmellthis- Glad that you liked it :-) It was either that or Lutenesque.

      Dinah- I think of Dallas as the color of summer.

      thedailyobsession- I hope that with this primer the fading problem is a goner.

    19. elle- You can't go wrong with their glosses.

      Victoria- The Jar experience is wonderful.I was a bit nervous beforehand, but I'm so gald that I went through it. I'll have to do it again soon. I want to try Golconda again. And maybe I'll be brave enough to try on that dirty, dirty FTY. I wonder how bad it'll be on my skin.

      Gretchen- Yes, or lists did have a lot in common. We'll have to see if it's the same next year :-)

      beauty chick- Other than the salts, I also recommend the body butter. I just tried the unscented today and it's amazing.

      Carla- I'm amazed ashamed of myself for not discovering the potion much earlier.

    20. Love your list!

      JAR scared me. It excited me. It made me laugh.
      I ended up spending like 2 hours there literally. They man working there became my fast friend. We are from the same state and we talked for ever.

      I MUST try the Urban Decay Primer. It is getting a lot of nods on these lists. I also love the Lorac Snake Charmer Palette.

      Have a GREAT New Year!


    I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

    Related Posts Widget