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making faces :: pretty things 2012

i was originally going to title this post "all the pretty things 2012" and then i realised just how many pretty things there were to discuss. then i was picturing what my apartment would look like if i'd actually bought all the pretty things i'd come across in the last year and how dom would feel about losing his one closet [i have two, including "the big one"- surprised?] to cosmetic storage and having to keep all of his clothes in those vacuum bags they sell on television on sunday mornings.

he probably wouldn't have been too happy.

which means that i made the right decision in just buying some of the pretty things, while still leaving room for dom to own pants. i'm a reasonable person that way.

last year, i inaugurated the "more like space preserved head awards". there was a reason that particular name had occurred to me. i think i was ruminating about the idea that beauty was skin deep and how any attempt to check would sort of mess things up and then... ok, i admit it. i don't remember, but i probably just liked the idea of giving out a severed head as an award.

but surely i shouldn't be forced to change the name just because i can't remember why i came up with it? i live in a province whose license plates are emblazoned with the words "je me souviens", which means "i remember" and no one actually knows what the phrase is referring to. clearly, that sort of amnesiac chaos comes naturally around these parts.

and so, without further ado...

eyes ::

best new shadow :: i get the sense that brands are moving more and more towards palettes, in an attempt to up the dollar spend per purchase, because individual shades seemed like a rare breed in collections this year. of the few that i did pick up, nars "lhasa" was really outstanding in term of its versatility as well as for its quality.

but 2012 was really about the palettes. i haven't yet had an opportunity to try the new, permanent ones from armani, but just looking at what was released, there's hardly room for more love to go around. [you'll find room, i'm sure -ed.] of the ones that i did pick up this year, i'll give the edge to guerlain's "turandot" by a hair over chanel's "les harmonies du soir". a very thin hair, because both of these palettes were mind-bogglingly wonderful.

best "new to me" shadow :: because i have a long way to go before i own all the eye shadows  in the world... this one goes to my very first purchase of 2012 [ok, technically a tie with a few other products], rouge bunny rouge "periwinkle cardinal". a perfect, misty cool green, the sort of shade that's all too rare. well worth the asking price.

face ::

around april, i lost track of all the foundations that were coming out. it's easier to count the companies who didn't put out a new foundation this year. i won't claim to have tried all of them [although i do keep planning on doing one big comparative foundation post with all those i have tried.]

best new foundation :: urban decay naked skin 2.0

of those that i have tried, i did develop a real crush on urban decay's new "naked skin" foundation. i grabbed it because i had run out of foundation, something which rarely happens in my house. honestly, i think i bought it because i actually started to feel sorry for urban decay. to that point, they were having a bad year. their decision to sell in china [which would have forced them to depart from their previously aggressive stance against animal testing] caused a massive backlash from longtime fans [and consumers] and turned into a public relations disaster that saw them retreat with their tail between their legs. the launch of their new foundation was almost swallowed by the controversy, but the product, seemingly, was good enough to resurrect them. of course, for their follow-up act, they were purchased by l'oreal, which likely didn't do them any good with their base either... we shall see what 2013 brings, but for now, this is a really nice product.

honourable mention :: nars and becca

honourable mentions to nars for their tinted moisturisers, which really do gift the promised radiant effect to the skin and to becca's "luminous skin colour", a lighter foundation that i've found makes my skin look like it does in my cover model dreams.

cheeks :: 

yes, i know that cheeks are part of the face, but... well... it's my blog.

best cheek product :: chanel "notorious"

if you'd told me at the beginning of the year that the blusher-type product that would have impressed me the most was a "lavender-tinged taupe"... i probably would have believed you. but if you'd told me that when i was ten... i probably still would have thought it sounded kind of cool. the point is that no one expected something as fascinating as "notorious" from classic and refined chanel, but then again, what's more classic and refined than chiseled bone structure?

i never actually got around to reviewing "notorious", since it sold out in about the length of a sneeze, but it's played a big role in my life in the few months that i've had it. the point is not to make your cheeks look taupe, but rather to give the illusion of shadow in just the right places, so that it looks like you're constantly ready for your close-up [without being an insane murderess... necessarily].

for those who missed it, chin up- i'd be shocked if it didn't come back for an encore.

honourable mention :: guerlain rose aux joues blushes

and i'd be remiss if i didn't give honourable mention to guerlain, who did exactly what i thought they should do and reinvented their blushes. the six shades that they released are an excellent start and, while i'll own that swatching them does not inspire confidence, they look amazing where it counts: on the face. they have great [adjustable] colour payoff, last incredibly well and can be applied lightly or built to full wattage. you're welcome.

best "new to me" cheek product :: edward bess "south of france"

i accidentally got two of these instead of one, which turned out to be very fortunate, because nothing has gotten more use this year than this blush- highlighter combo. it's soft, but it still does wonders to give an almost ethereal glow. pale ladies everywhere need this.

lips ::

ah, the lips... this is really where all caution is thrown to the wind with me. i absolutely adore a great lipstick, the more dramatic the better. you'd think that that would've made me flock to the thousands [not literally] of liquid lipsticks that were released this year but, strangely, there was only one that truly captured my attention- armani's. the truth is, i was happy enough to put up with chanel's formulas for a couple of products i really loved, but liquids are a real bugger to reapply. and you always need to reapply. but armani somehow managed to create a formula that sets without drying, so that it's a lot more forgiving than others. and yes, guerlain, i'll get around to trying yours this year, i promise.

in the meantime...

best new lipstick :: rouge d'armani "#408- rosewood red"

not much to say here. armani and guerlain are perpetually duking it out as my very favourite lipstick formula and this is an absolutely perfect deep, cool burgundy red. it might not have been an incredible departure, but sometimes you just have to respect a classic that's impeccably done.

honourable mention :: guerlain rouge automatique shine "lou-ling"

this is the sort of colour that you put on when you need to hide a hangover. it just instantly seems to brighten the face with its rosy tones and the gold shimmer makes it look a lot more interesting than a plain satin finish. this is a new formula for guerlain that gave me pause at first, but this xmas beauty converted me. more please.

best new lip gloss :: gloss d'armani "#510- rasperry zincite"

cool pinky-plum perfection. i wore this a ridiculous amount during the summer. i wore it right into the fall. i wore it yesterday. i have to stop myself from wearing it even more, because it's a perfect go-anywhere colour in what has become my favourite formula.

hornourable mention :: gloss d'armani "#105- greige"

that's right. another armani. this one looks flat-out scary in the tube, but it's a stunning cool neutral on the lips that was made for a smoky eye.

best "new to me" lipstick :: le metier de beaute colour core lipstick

i've fallen hard for these. they're arriving at my door in increasing numbers. people are so smitten with le metier's shadows that these seem to get completely forgotten, but the formula is wonderful and the shade selection is excellent. le metier: forget offering palettes of lip gloss that look like something a ten year old should be carrying and focus on this underrated gem in your line.

best "new to me" lip gloss :: hourglass

yes, my first foray into this was the infamous flaming rust shade "siren" with its intense metallic sheen and opaque coverage. but i've really become enamoured of "fortune" a sweet, feminine peachy pink shade that smoothes lines, gives a healthy dose of colour and looks a little more appropriate in the office. bonus: these glosses smell like cupcakes.

and now, moving onto the seasonal collections here at the more like space preserved head awards...

best spring collection :: nars
honourable mention :: mac

both these collections were solid for different reasons, but i found myself throughout the year going back to the things i picked up from nars again and again, showing that something can be seasonal without being seasonally limited. i did love mac's colourful, cheery take on summer, though- the best collection they had all year and a callback to their glory days.

best summer collection :: armani
honourable mention :: nars

this is the first year in several that mac didn't wow me with their summer collection. it seemed good, but not terribly original, whereas i absolutely loved armani's refreshing mermaid-ready look. it doesn't hurt that the collection also featured four new [two limited] shades of their eyes to kill shadows.

nars' exciting jumble of colours and textures might not have screamed "summer" to everyone, but i thought that they had a strong showing with things that were unexpected and, like their spring collection, wearable any time.

best fall collection :: ???

i puzzled over this a long time, but in the end there were too many good collections to say one was categorically the best. guerlain, nars, chanel and armani all had outstanding fall offerings in different ways and every time i think of a way that one might have the edge, it brings up arguments in favour of the others. applause all-around.

best holiday collection :: guerlain
honourable mention :: chanel

the depth of guerlain's holiday offering is just staggering. even more so if you're on a budget and have to make choices. although i didn't buy everything they had available, i believe i easily could have. there wasn't a single item that seemed undesirable and it meant something that they paid careful attention to all the details of the products: an object lesson in what a prestige beauty brand should be about.

and it's not like no one else stepped up to the plate. chanel did a stunning job, a bit more restrained but simply lovely, a real harmony of softly glimmering textures that constantly remind me of being under candlelight.

so who had the best year? consumers, probably. and people with stock in beauty companies.

but a few companies did seem to shine. i thought guerlain had a particularly outstanding year. nars were doing extremely well, but stumbled in the home stretch with their andy warhol collaboration- something that should have been the best thing released all year. armani continue to amaze with their new formulas and to strengthen their permanent collection. it's worth noting that their summer-fall "aqua" collection, featuring more eyes to kill shadows and natural lips was one of the year's most outstanding.

who had an off year? i'm sure there are large parts of it that urban decay would like to forget. i wish them the best now that they finally have owners again who come from the industry. l'oreal is contentious with reason, but they do tend to let their companies work independently, so if there are good ideas coming, they should find support and relatively few road blocks.

lastly, here's the face that said goodbye to 2012 a few nights ago. i decided to do so by featuring "tangerine tango", pantone's colour of the year [2013's colour is "emerald green"]. here's what i used. [and yes, i realise that i'm totally repeating the "double liner" look that i used the last time i posted. so sue me.]

the base ::
gosh anti-aging velvet touch primer
clarins everlasting foundation "103"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "01"
lush colour supplement "jackie oates"

the eyes ::
rouge bunny rouge e/s "bashful flamingo" [light matte peach]
inglot e/s "352" [matte peachy-white]
chanel e/s "tiger lily" [soft sparkly orange]
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt" [black patent]
mac eye kohl "fascinating" [white]
sephora + pantone e/l "tangerine tango" [bright tangerine orange]*
yves st. laurent faux cils mascara

the cheeks ::
chanel ombre contraste "notorious" [cool taupe]
nars blush "nico" [soft, pearly beige]

the lips ::
givenchy rouge interdit l/s "candide tangerine" [bright tangerine orange]*

*suggested alternates :: the sephora liner is still available and comes in a set of three [with a black and a brown]; candide tangerine = laura mercier clementine

here's to a new year of beautiful things for all of us...


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