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making faces :: the fifth annual shrunken head awards for achievement in beauty

yes folks, it's time!!

this is the post where we look back on all the pretty, pretty powders and potions that came out in the previous year and where i get to share my opinion on which were the best. this year felt like a particularly long one in beauty terms, simply because a lot of lesser known brands seemed to be upping their game and there were a lot of new, different products out of some more familiar brands. i didn't get to nearly everything that arrived, as evidenced by the fact that i sort of accidentally discovered urban decay's new glosses at the very end of the year. seems like that should've been an obvious one.

some of you may be wondering "what the hell is with the shrunken head???" that's a valid question and i'll answer it by quoting what i said last year:

if you're not familiar with the shrunken heads, it's a tradition that i inaugurated in honour of the fact that beauty is fleeting [all the more reason to remember it] and reflecting on the year in beauty is also a way to preserve it. [get it? preserve? why are you backing away from me like that?]

what can i say? i like to do things a little bit differently...

so let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? [what does that expression even mean? why are the brass tacks different than any other tacks? and in case you haven't noticed, tacks aren't an important part of anyone's work, so why should they be synonymous with getting down to business?]

category one :: formulas

best new complexion product [liquid, cream, or gel] :: dior cheek and lip glow

as gimmicky as this product seemed, i cannot argue with how beautiful it looks. the colour and finish it gives my skin is everything. that perfect pink flush of youth that looks natural, assuming it was natural to look like your skin was made from fresh rose petals. 


when is a powder a cream? when yves st. laurent makes it one, i guess. this soft cream-to-powder formula is like magic on the skin and it's less a "bronzer" than a "touched by sunlight like you normally only see in heavily retouched photos". 

best new product [powder, loose or pressed] :: guerlain jolie teint terracotta healthy glow blush/ bronze powder duo

fuck you for making me type all that, guerlain, but bravo on putting out a perfect product for people who are shy of using your iconic bronzers. these are subtle powders in four shades, deep enough to work as a colour enhancer on a deep skin tone and light enough to work for the palest ladies. it's not a true duo, because the sliver of coral isn't large enough to use alone unless you fancy applying it with an eyeliner brush, but the inclusion of a bit of colour keeps the powder from turning muddy when applied. two bronzers in my best of the year? 2015 was weird.

best new eye product :: giorgio armani eye tints

my only real makeup regret for the year was that i didn't manage to buy all of these, because they are that amazing. from super sparkly to nearly matte, there are some spectacular colours that grip onto lids and hang tight all day. 

best new lip product :: giorgio armani ecstasy lacquer

it's a gloss! it's a lipstick! who gives a shit what it is when it's this awesome? this is really armani's take on something like the yves st. laurent glossy stains. they're a little more forgiving and don't last quite as long, but damn if they aren't just the most gorgeous thing i've seen all year. molto bene, giorgio.

category two :: collections

best spring collection :: giorgio armani fuchsia maharajah/ eye tints [also here]

these were one hell of a one-two punch to get the year started and almost made me forget everything else that came out. i'm very happy to see that three of the four lipsticks in "fuchsia maharajah" have been made permanent [and they've even introduced "maharajah" in the rouge d'armani sheer formula, making it the only colour besides their signature red "400" to be available across the board]. i've already spoken about the innovative eye tints, but in terms of a spring offering, they did offer a softer, shimmering balance to the bold, satiny lips. 

best summer collection :: yves st. laurent les sahariennes

hm. that's 2/2 on north african-inspired collections for this year. this was just such a lovely, warm, lusty collection that didn't lean too heavily on cocoa-butter bronze skin [although it had that option] and dovetailed nicely with the relaunch of their single eyeshadows. 

best fall collection :: chanel les automnales

you can put whatever spin you want on it, but what people love about colour in the fall is the colour you actually get to see in the fall. earthy, tarnished, at once colourful and muted, this collection is the best thing chanel has come out with in years. 

best holiday collection :: ...

i have to say it: there was not one holiday collection that really excited me this year. there were several individual items that interested me, but too much of what was out there just seemed to be the sort of thing that we've seen done a lot. nars' partnership with steven klein yielded some lovely packaging and great individual products, but it didn't seem like there was anything bringing it together. it was just a nice assortment. burberry had some truly lovely products and would have gotten my vote for best of the year, except that it was the same collection they released last year. perhaps it's time to abandon the idea of a holiday colour collection and just have some really wonderful gifting options available? 

category three :: best of the best [individual items]

best eyeshadow [single] :: giorgio armani "rose ashes"

you never forget your first love? the first eye tint that i purchased [technically purchased at the very end of 2014!] remains my very favourite with its mix of peach, gold and pink tones. not a neutral, but quiet enough to fit anywhere. 


burberry revamped their entire eyeshadow line this year and not everyone was thrilled about it, but this stands out as one of the most beautiful grey shadows i've seen in my life. i like that it leans warm rather than cool, while remaining grey and not taupe. i especially love the satin finish- more than matte but well less than shimmer- that tends to wake the eyes up without making them look puffy.  

best eyeshadow palette :: makeup forever 15 shadow palette

i understand what people mean when they say "less is more", but sometimes, more is more. this was a smorgasbord of a palette, but there were so many winners in it [including one that can/ is meant to function as a blush] that you could fall in and disappear for weeks, never surfacing to show some love to your other eyeshadow palettes. nothing else came close for me. 


guess i said all there is to say on this earlier. pure love. 


it's debatable whether this is a pure highlighter or a blush that also highlights, but on me it's definitely a blush and i would have felt badly if i didn't at least mention this stunning, original colour in my best of the year. 


again, one i talked about earlier and may angels dance upon your pillow and sing you sweet songs, yves st. laurent, for making this a permanent product. you get more money, we get more beautiful cream/ powder magic. everybody wins


i'm cheating a bit here, because this has been available as part of charlotte tilbury's line since it launched in 2013, but the line only became available in canada this past year. and i don't think that there is any product that has seen as much use as this in my collection in the last part of this year. it is perfection. it sculpts, warms, brightens, blurs... everything. 


it's almost a lipstick, but it's really more of a gloss. it's also a stunning vampy red-purple-brown shade with a slight lustre to it that makes the lips look plump and kissable, even if they also look like they might want to bite into your jugular. the fact that it's a gloss means that it's a good way to dip your toes into the vampy pool without getting too intense. 


one can never have enough deep red glosses, however, if one could, this would be one of the ones i'd recommend keeping. another winner from my favourite gloss formula on the market right now. 


one of the reasons that fuchsia shades are so popular is because they are so damn flattering on a variety of skin tones. this one is just perfection, leaning red enough that it won't look harsh against warmer skin tones, saturated enough that even very dark-skinned ladies can wear it, and in a formula that loves you as much as you love it. in the depths of winter, this remains one of the only lipstick formulas i can wear, which makes me happy that shades like this exist to brighten those long, dark days. 

category four :: the big one

last year's was a difficult choice for me, but this year, it seemed somewhat easier. that's because one brand brought out a couple of truly exquisite, original products alongside a couple of inspired seasonal collections. 

brand of the year :: giorgio armani 

bravo, giorgio! bravo!
yes, the runway collections were a highly suspicious way to gouge extra money out of consumers, but so much of what they did was so lovely that it made my beauty-loving heart flutter. that's actually a little unhealthy, but the fluttering does feel exciting. 

and as is tradition, i will close this post by sharing my 2015 new year's eve look, which incorporates the pantone colour of the year [for last year], marsala. a lot of people found this colour ugly after the bright, bold colours of the previous few years- radiant orchid, emerald green, tangerine tango- but i think it was a nice shift towards something more muted, sullied and rich. i'm far less enamoured of this year's dual choice of pastels. 

it's also possible that i liked marsala because it's a shade that occurs a lot in my makeup collection and has for quite some time. all of a sudden omg i'm on trend!!! 

i decided not to go for all-out glamour, but rather to honour the more subdued nature of marsala. here's what occurred: 


the base ::
urban decay naked skin foundation "1.0"
diorskin nude hydrating perfecting concealer "001"
hourglass mineral veil primer
nars smudgeproof eyeshadow primer
guerlain pressed meteorites 02 "clair"

the eyes ::
colour pop super shock e/s "acorn"
armani eyes to kill e/s "lust red"
le metier de beauté e/s "crucible"
mac satin e/s "vanilla"
urban decay 24/7 eyeliner "perversion"
guerlain cils d'enfer mascara

the cheeks ::
nars blush "seduction"
charlotte tilbury filmstar bronze and glow "light/ medium"

the lips ::
rouge dior l/s "continental"

and now, although the sidewalks are coated with snow and the temperatures remain below zero, we're starting to see spring collections appear at counters, with more to follow soon. makeup waits for no woman. 

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