2013 felt somewhat less monumental than its predecessor when it comes to beauty products. It has something to do with the fact that my biggest skincare loves from 2012 still reign supreme for me, despite (or because) having tested many other options in the closing year. As I started working on this post I did it with less enthusiasm than last year, but going over my notes and files I realized that there's quite a bit to celebrate and acknowledge. Not 100% of my top picks are 2013 launches but I only discovered them this year, so they're part of the list.
My top 12 makeup discoveries:
- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. This range of finishing powders is innovative, beautiful, and challenges Guerlain as best in category (perhaps why Guerlain felt compelled to reformulate their Meteorite Pearls).
- Chanel Le Blush Creme de Chanel. An excellent cream-to-powder formula in gorgeous colors and superb longevity.
- Ellis Faas Hot Lips. There were many great lipsticks this year, but nothing as innovative and beautiful as this velvet finish intense colors.
- Pixi Beauty- Endless Silky Eye Pen. It's actually a range of pencils, but forget about the name. Rich and complex colors that perform beautifully and put to shame eyeliners from top luxury brands.
- Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette. Probably the most fun item I got to play with this year. Some of the colors are a bit out there, but the concept was irresistible.
- NARS Blkr 413 Multiple. There's a reason The Multiple has maintained its cult status for years, and this color is one of the best in the line.
- Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencils. Quick, easy, and the colors are excellent. This brand deserves a lot more attention and hype.
- Chanel Lash Curler. This was my last purchase of the year and I have to thank a sharp-eyed reader who alerted me that the curler was back in stock. Simply the best I've tried so far.
- Dior Bonne Etoile eye shadow quint. The most beautiful palette this year, stunning colors, exquisite textures.
- NARS Satin Lip Pencils. The lab people at NARS have been doing some much needed work on new lip product formulas. These pencils were one of the best examples of their success.
- Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo. I used up the first one so quickly I had to buy my second within a couple of months, and I'm not even a nude lip person. It's become my base lip product under various glosses.
- Lancome Black Lapis Le Crayon Khol. The classic formula in a new(ish) color that might just become my signature.
My top six skin and body care discoveries:
- Hummingbird Ranch Propolis Cream. I know I've been going on and on about this $8 gem but I can't help it. Cuts, scrapes, allergy reactions, and nasty breakouts-- it cures them all.
- Jason 84% Aloe Vera Hand & Body Lotion. A skin saver if there ever was one.
- Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. Actually, Elemis in general. This brand has been one of my biggest discoveries of the year as I bought and repurchased several items. The cleansing balm is probably my my favorite and makes even a late-night makeup removal into a satisfying ritual no matter how tired I might be.
- Aftelier Ancient Resins Hair & Body Elixir. The scent is phenomenal, of course, and the performance is fit for kings (and for Leonard Cohen).
- Aroma M Camellia Hair Oil. Wonderful nourishment for thick hair. Keeps my curls happy and calms my scalp.
- Providence Perfume Company Beauty Elixir. DIY manicures have never been so much fun. This oil banished all my other cuticle treatments to the bottom drawer.
The last three items above seem to point towards an interesting trend: indie perfumers who start formulating high quality and all-natural cosmetic products. These oils smell heavenly, but it's the quality ingredients and visible effect that made them must-have for me.
|Christmas shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, 1962, via myvintagevogue.com|
Other points of interest:
- The much-anticipated Marc Jacobs beauty line was perhaps the most significant new launch of 2013. There was a lot of media hype and a pre-sale that cleaned out the stock (Marc Jacobs is a Sephora exclusive). The packaging is very pretty, modern, and chic. The colors are dazzling. However, the formulas leave a lot to be desired and feel like stuff that could have been on the market ten years ago. I have a strong feeling that most of the investment in developing Marc Jacobs Beauty went into the packaging, so it's a case of style over substance.
- Fashion-inspired makeup collections are nothing new. The two major ones of 2013 were very different from each other: Alber Elbaz for Lancome turned out to be a simple repackaging of existing Lancome products and colors and some of the items looked a bit cheap. I see it as a missed opportunity for greatness. Elbaz is such a great talent and seems like a truly nice and inspiring man. I wish we had gotten his real and personal take on beauty and makeup. NARS Guy Bourdin collection brought us new lipstick formulas and a wide selection of colors. Not everyone was happy with NARS for choosing the controversial and ill-reputed fashion photographer as the inspiration. Bourdin was famous for objectifying women and his treatment of models and of the women in his personal life was questionable at best. However, the late photographer has always inspired Francois Nars (Exhibit A that was repromoted with the current collection has been part of the regular line for as long as I remember), so there's nothing really new about it. Bottom line is that the makeup was great, the packaging magnificent, and while I dearly wish Mr. Nars had some nicer icons to inspire him, I can't complain as I've been buying his stuff for the last 12 years or so.
- My biggest on-going disappointment has been Bobbi Brown. I wrote a full post about it back in May and it seemed to resonate with many of you. Subsequent collections and new releases from Bobbi Brown kept going in the same direction. I just bought a couple of items from the regular permanent line, but other than that every visit to the counter ended up with nothing in my shopping bag. Neither Katie Holmes nor Old Hollywood helped any, and no amount of shimmer can cover the fact that one of my favorite brands in the known universe has jumped the shark.
- Let's end it on a positive note. Rouge Bunny Rouge has been expanding and is coming to New York. While there were some technical issues delaying the big day, Twisted Lily in Brooklyn expects to have a fully functioning RBR makeup counter in early February.
How was your year? What did you discover and what disappointed you? Who and what inspired you?
Thank you for reading and being here year after year. I wish you a fresh start and all of the very best in the coming year- health, love, happiness, and kittens!
Top photo: Vogue Paris, December 1971.