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Best in Beauty — The All-Star Releases of 2009

This year was a trying one — a crippled economy, a seemingly never-ending war, unruly weather and dismal stories about global warming, increased joblessness, the loss of celebrity icons like Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett (not to mention promising young stars like DJ AM and Brittany Murphy), and on and on. When the ball drops at midnight, there will be tons of people telling 2009 to kick rocks on some “Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more!”

But, ladies, it wasn’t all bad — surely, in those 365 days, you accomplished some great things, shared intimate moments with your loved ones, enjoyed a fantastic meal, and let out some hearty laughs. And, if you’re a beauty lover, there were plenty of products to smile about this year — from long-lasting, smudge-proof liners to ultra potent concealers, neon eyeshadow palettes, glimmering pink glosses, and quality eyelid and lip primers.

Here, a look at some of my favorite cosmetics in 2009.


Tarte Femme Fatale Eye Palette, $44. Available at TarteCosmetics.com

Even the golden studs on the exterior of the palette make my heart skip a few beats. This ten-shade eyeshadow palette, released in the fall, makes it easier to pull off even the most complex, ’80s-inspired looks. It’s perfect for the Sasha Fierce inside all of us.


Lancome Le Vernis in Declaring Indigo, $18. Visit NeimanMarcus.com

Remember that period this year when everyone was wearing dark blue polish? Well, Lancome was among those leading the indigo insurgence with an indigo-centered collection that included this shimmering Declaring Indigo lacquer.



Chanel Quadra Eye Shadow in Bird of Paradise, $56. Visit Saks.com

The tropical colors in this eye shadow set make me daydream of a trip to Tahiti. The Bird of Paradise quad features a sea foam blue-green, safflower yellow, light coral, and a yellow-ish olive hue.

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Illamasqua Collection Items Pictures Above: Illamasqua Lipstick in Climax and Ignite, $20 each, and Illamasqua Liquid Metal in Enrapture, $24. Visit Sephora.com

Why so many different photos of so many different products, you ask? Well, that’s because it’s so incredibly difficult to select just one or two Illamasqua goodies to crown as the year’s kingpins. The line made its way into the US this year and I have to admit that I fell in love with every single product I tried. Back in September, when I covered the line’s foray into the US, I swooned over the Blaze lipstick and the Tango and Heroine eye shadows. Soon enough, I was running to Sephora and stocking up on more Illamasqua goods. I particularly love the Powder Eye Shadow in Poem, Never, Fatal, Fame, Drama and Anja, the Liquid Metal in Enrapture, and the lipstick in Underworld, Blaze, Corrupt, Climax and Ignite.


Lippmann Collection Celebrate Set, $35. Visit Nordstrom.com

Packed with plenty of sparkle, these three shades were featured in STA’s Moulin Rouge-inspired gift guide, and they really do share Satine’s show-stopping ability.

La Mer The Radiant Concealer SPF 25, $65. Visit CremedelaMer.com

Back in August, I wrote about La Mer’s Radiant Concealer and how it manages to conceal puffiness and dark circles, while also soothing the skin. Months later, I’m still swooning over the product that makes me look eternally “well-rested.”bobbi-brown-the-brights-eyeshadow-palette

Bobbi Brown Bright Lights Palette, $70. Sold out.

In the Spring (in April, to be exact), Bobbi Brown introduced its Bright Lights palette, filled with more pops of colors than a crayon box and a trunk full of Lite-Brite bulbs. I, of course, fell in love right away — and, as soon as the weather started turning a bit more summer-y, I looked to this palette to create bold, dramatic looks.

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals SPF 15 Matte Foundation, $28. Visit Sephora.com

Released in late summer, Bare Escentuals’ bareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation nourishes skin with antioxidants and minerals that promote skin cell production and minimize pore size, provides SPF protection, and delivers excellent coverage. It’s been a constant in my beauty bag since the moment I tried it and blogged about it.


Chanel Jade Nail Polish, originally $25. Sold out.

Probably the most beloved nail polish hue of the year, Chanel’s Jade triggered an absolute frenzy. It sold out in the blink of an eye and, to this day, polish lovers are scouring the web for a chance to score a bottle of their very own.

Urban Decay Lipstick in Midnight Cowboy, $22. Visit Sephora.com

Released in January, this lipstick shade is a golden champagne hue that works with almost any ensemble. It’s extremely versatile and almost universally flattering.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Collector Set, $249. Visit Sephora.com

If you’ve ever tried an Aqua Eyes liner, then you know they’re just like potato chips — you can’t have just one. These liners glide on to the lids effortlessly, depositing dynamic colors that last for hours at a time. Having a beauty lover regard the Aqua Eyes Collector set, released in time for the holidays, is akin to taking a child with a crazy sweet tooth to a Dylan’s Candy Bar empire.

Lancome Indigo Charm Eyeshadow Quad, $40. Sold out.

I’m actually bummed that I didn’t get my hands on one of these quads. I kept looking at it at the Macy’s counter, swatching the colors on the back of my hand, and daydreaming about the looks I’d create with the indigo blue, shimmering gold, and taupe-ish brown shades. Unfortunately for me, there were plenty of other people with similar daydreams and so the palette flew out of stores. And even though it didn’t make it into my personal collection, Lancome’s Indigo Charm eyeshadow quad certainly left a lasting impression.


Zoya Matte Velvet Nail Polish (in Loredana, Dovima, and Posh), $7 each. Visit Zoya.com

Matte nails were one of the biggest beauty trends this year, and Zoya was among the trailblazers with its original Matte Velvet collection, which included the dark, gunmetal color Loredana, the steel-y Dovima, and the deep red Posh.


Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation, $55. Visit KohGenDoCosmetics.com

Back in May, I tested Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Moisture Foundation, and I was floored — it was deliciously lightweight, covering up any imperfections and providing an even finish without clogging pores or giving you a cake-y look. Since then, I’ve been singing the foundation’s praises high and low.

Dior Night Butterfly 5-Colour Eyeshadow Set, $56. Visit Sephora.com

This eyeshadow set has a regal quality to it — the silky violet, plum, and lilac hues, along with the moody gray and gravelly asphalt black shades, make for an ideal wintry beauty kit.


MAC Most Popular Lipstick, $14. Visit MACcosmetics.com

A new shade introduced as part of MAC’s Colour Craft collection, this yummy purple mauve shade put me under its spell. To check out a swatch, read my original review of the collection.


Shu Uemura Painting Liners, $24 each. Visit ShuUemura-USA.com

Shu Uemura’s cream liners look a vivid in their packaging as they do on the skin, and with colors like Vivid Blue and Silver, they’re an absolute vision. Click here for swatches and more details.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin, $23. Visit Sephora.com

Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion is by far my favorite eyelid primer, and I was shocked when they managed to top themselves with a new Primer Potion in a champagne color subbed Sin. Plus, UD tinkered with the primer wand to give it a slanted tip that’s way easier to maneuver. For more of me swooning over the Primer Potion in Sin, click here.


Essie Loves Diamonds by Judith Ripka Collection (Heart My Jewels, Queen of Hearts, and Put A Ripka Ring On It), $15 each. Visit Essie.com

This sophisticated collection of nail lacquers includes one of my all-time favorite red polishes: Queen of Hearts. Check out how it looks on my nails in my original post.

NYX Cosmetics Glitter Cream Palette in Surreal, $5. Visit NYXcosmetics.com

The technicolor flash of the ’80s was an essential influence in the beauty world this year, and NYX’s Glitter Cream Palettes certainly underline that phenomenon. This summer, I heralded the arrival of glittery fun when I covered the NYX Glitter Cream Palette in Surreal.


Make Up For Ever 12 Flash Color Case, $95. Visit Sephora.com

A staple in many a professional makeup artist’s kits, the Make Up For Ever Flash Color Palette was made available to the general public in the fall — and I, along with so many other beauty lovers, did a little jig in celebration. Check out my exuberant piece here.

Cover FX Conceal FX Camouflage Concealer, $25. Visit Sephora.com

Cover FX introduced this potent concealer in the fall, and I was shocked by how much it managed to cover — I even took photos illustrating how it concealed my tattoos!. Check out the original post here.


MAC Marbleized Lipglass in Eclectic Edge, $18. Visit MACcosmetics.com

These two glosses are also part of MAC’s Colour Craft collection, which was clearly one of my favorites this year, and each features two shades swirled together to make a unique new hue. For swatches and more info, check out the original collection review.

Urban Decay Get Baked Eye Kit, $18. Visit Sephora.com

I was already high on life with Urban Decay’s Baked eye shadow, a golden bronze hue, and Flipside, a sparkling teal shade, so imagine how addicted I was to this summer’s Get Baked kit, in which UD added Twice Baked, a coppery brown shadow, and Half Baked, a coppery rose gold shade, as well as the wine-ish brown 24/7 Eye Pencil in Bourbon and a bottle of Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin.




Tarte Lifted Natural Eye Primer, $20, and Dark Circle Defense, $22. Visit Sephora.com

When used together, these two botanical-based products smooth the skin around the eyes and visibly brighten the area. The Dark Circle Defense includes honey extract, soybean extract, and vitamin E to reduce puffiness and soothe skin, while the Lifted primer not only prepares the skin for any color cosmetics, but it smooths out fine lines and wrinkles. Check out my original post for more details.


Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Lipstick in 401. Visit GiorgioArmaniBeauty-USA.com

By far one of my favorite red lipsticks among those released this fall, the Rouge D’Armani 401 paints your lips the color of a shiny new Ferrari. Check out more detes here!


Zoya Pippa Nail Polish, $7. Visit Zoya.com

This bright yellow color was one of my go-to shades over the summer. Though I originally included it in a piece on summer nail trends, this shade stood out from all the rest. Part of Zoya’s La-Di-Da collection, Pippa will make onlookers yield to your sense of style.


MAC Mineralize Eye Shadow Quad in Eccentricity, $19.50. Visit MACcosmetics.com

Part of MAC’s Colour Craft collection, which celebrates the creative genius of the makeup artist community, this eye shadow quad is among a handful of offerings that rocked my world.

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. II, $48. Sold out.

Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Vol. II set, introduced for the holiday season, is like the most magical eyeshadow kaleidoscope. I originally featured it in one of my gift guides, and I have to say: it really is a must-have for any color-loving fly girl.


MAC Makeup Art Cosmetics Fall ’09 As Seen By Maira Kalman Technakohl Liners in  Graphblack, Full of Fuchsia, Obviously Orange, and Colour Matters,  $14.50 each. No longer available.

MAC wowed me this fall, when it enlisted three different artists to interpret the colors in their extensive collection. And, since I adore unique eyeliners, I was smitten with these Technakohl Liners, part of the Fall ’09 As Seen By Maira Kalman collection. To check out swatches, click here.


Givenchy Prismissime Eyes Poetique Blue, $53. No longer available.

With its icy blues and frosty purples and pinks, this eyeshadow palette was ideal for creating a romantic, ethereal look. Part of Givenchy’s fall collection, the Prismissime Eyes Poetique Blue made me feel like an ice princess.

Cover FX MintGlaze FX, $22. Visit Sephora.com

Not only is MintGlaze FX a fantastic base for any lip color, but it soothes and moisturizes lips and freshens your breath with its cooling mint flavor.

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MAC Style Warrior Collection Items Pictured: Brave New World and Purple Rite Lipsticks, $14 each, and Vibrant Grape and Soft Force Eye Shadows, $14.50 each. Sold out.

Over the summer, MAC introduced its limited-edition Style Warrior collection, which featured cosmetics packaged in cool tubes and compacts with animal print motifs. And that was just the packaging! This was by far one of my favorite MAC collections of the year, and the four products pictured above topped my list of must-haves. For a look at the whole range of products, as well as swatches, check out my take on the collection


Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Mascara, $28. Visit Sephora.com

I absolutely adore Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes mascara, since it pumps up the volume on lashes while also separating them and giving them greater definition. So in the fall, when Givenchy released new shades of the mascara, including a Sapphire Blue and a Grey Lavender, I was over the moon.


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NARS Damage Lipstick, $24, and Mekong Eyeshadow, $22. Visit Sephora.com

NARS rarely ever leads me astray, and these two items from its fall collection reaffirmed my obsession with the brand. I love how the dusty brown Mekong shade includes ust a tad of sparkle and how the Damage lipstick adds just the slightest frosty, grape-tinged pink hue to your lips.


Smashbox Muse Artist Eye Palette, $48. No longer available.

In the Spring, Smashbox unveiled its Muse collection, which features eye shadows, eye pencils, and lip colors in soft, dusty shades. The eye palette was the leader of the pack, with ten shades ranging from a marigold yellow to a dirty pink and a grayish light blue.


Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lipsticks, $22 each. Visit EsteeLauder.com

In the past, when I tested any lipsticks billed as “long-lasting” or “smudge-proof,” I was beyond disappointed with the results — either the colors were flat and cheap-looking or they dried out my lips terribly. So, of course, I was a bit skeptical about Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lipstick collection. And boy was I wrong! If you saw my coverage of these, you might remember how delighted I was over their creaminess, the richness of the hues, and their staying power.



Bare Escentuals Buxom Lashliner, $15. Visit Sephora.com

BE’s Buxom Lashliner serves two purposes — it delivers vibrant color to lids and it features nourishing ingredients that condition lashes at the root, helping to lengthen them and to add volume and dimension.


NARS Everlasting Love Palette, $75. Visit Sephora.com

Just in time for the holidays and in celebration of its 15th anniversary, NARS released this palette featuring some its best-selling Orgasm Blush, along with four eyeshadow shades (Edie, Underworld I, Underworld II and Night Breed) to pull off a cool smoky eye and four neutral hues (Belle de Jour, Chelsea Girls, Promiscuous, and Dolce Vita) for the lips.


Givenchy Le Prisme Perles in Precious Perles, $51.50. Visit Sephora.com

This luminous eye shadow quad was inspired by a pearl of strands, and it features four frosty hues that exude that same kind of timeless elegance and sophistication.

MAC A Rose Romance Lipstick, $14. Visit MACcosmetics.com

One of the standouts in MAC’s A Rose Romance collection, released in the Spring, this lipstick is a classy pink with a warm and inviting feel. Check out my original post and the entire collection here.


Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Colors, $22 each. Visit BobbiBrownCosmetics.com

In the Spring, Bobbi Brown introduced four new shades to her Creamy Lip Color range: Retro Pink, Rose Brown, Coral Pink, and Pale Mauve. When I checked these out, I fell head over heels with the Retro Pink shade, a soft feminine pink. The colors glide on easily and add a kissable, creamy texture to your pout that’s irresistible.


Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited Pink Collection (pictured in Sheer Melon Pink, Clear Baby Pink, and Pale Pink Sparkle), $22 each. Visit ShuUemura-USA.com

I covered this collection of lip glosses in a story about Spring Beauty trends, noting that soft pink lips were a huge must-have for the season. Months later, I’m still stuck on the Gloss Unlimited Pink Collection.



MAC Dazzleglass Creme in Amorous and Luscious Spark, $18 each. Visit MACcosmetics.com

MAC’s Dazzleglass lip glosses make quite a statement with their high concentration of sparkle and shine. These two shades, Amorous and Luscious Spark, really stuck out from the pack, but the entire collection was a hit.












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