My Top 10 Beauty Products of 2012

What I loved this year.

Did 2012 fly by or what?! God, to be five years old again and feel like time goes by so slowly. Now that the last of the gift guides is up—the stocking stuffer one—for your last-minute shopping pleasure, I'm in deep contemplation (like this model is kinda doing, except I'm not wearing a Chanel beret and Peter Philips didn't do my makeup this morning).

Contemplating what? Oh, just my favourite new beauty products of 2012, that's all. SUCH a hard job because there were so many good ones. And believe me, even if I don't always get the chance to write about 'em here, I do a whole lotta behind-the-scenes testing—like for this magazine article. Inevitably, working on that story (which I've written for the past few years) always turns up some winners, but I also found a few of this year's faves via random store visits, PR meetings and of course... the old fashioned way (samples that turn up at my doorstep... don't hate me).

It's a tough job, but someone has to do all this "research." Here are the top 10 new beauty products that found a home in my regimen in 2012. (By no means is this an exhaustive list of the things I love... just the new launches, or at least new-to-me beauty prodz, that I discovered in the last 12 months.) Here we go!

10. Fragrance

Tom Ford Lavender Palm Eau de Parfum

I'm such a girly girl that I never imagined I'd actually wear—let alone recommend—a unisex fragrance. But such is the genius of Mr. Tom Ford. Lavender Palm is a lot of my favourite things in a bottle: the freshness of citrus and lavender, the sensuality of musk, and most importantly, this overall sense of California-esque beachiness that I can't quite put my finger on but is there nonetheless. Also, it's a little bit masculine but not too much so—in fact, one of the world's great perfumers once told me in an interview that all the best fragrances have an element of the masculine and that is what makes them stand out from the common masses. This has joined my lineup of summer favourites like Bobbi Brown Beach, Bond No. 9 Fire Island and Yves Rocher Monoï... except it's by far the most sophisticated, intriguing of the bunch. Click here to learn more and purchase.

9. Moisturizer

Russell Organics Rose Hip Oil

This is the rosehip oil I'm using right now—and no, it's not a new launch, but it's new to me. And GOD, where has it been all my life? I think my Oil Cleansing Method trauma scared me away from its goodness, because word on the street is that this stuff can break you out. Well, I have the most sensitive, finicky skin on the planet and have had zero trouble with it. In fact, I sought it out originally because after nearly a year of trying Retin-A (one of my 2012 beauty resolutions, if you remember), I decided my face wasn't happy. I might go back to it at some point, but I never really got over the constant flakiness and redness, even though I was using a super-low concentration in a cream form. Enter the rosehip oil. Apparently it contains natural vitamin A—the reason why you'd be using Retin-A in the first place—and is great for anti-aging, deep hydration and evening out skin tone. Jury's still out on the latter, but I feel like my complexion is much more calm, healthy and happy these days.

8. Mascara

There's actually a tie in this category...

Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara

Just last week I said to someone that I never allow myself to really fall in love with mascaras, since—like men and buses!—there's always another one coming along. But out of all the formulas I've tried this year, this one from Hourglass comes closest to capturing my heart. I don't know if there's anything that special about the brush, although they say it's designed for optimal separation, length, lift, blah blah blah. What I noticed a difference with is the formula itself. It's so SOFT! And SMOOTH! Which is why you don't get as much clumping as with other brands. Yet somehow it's still volumizing, which is a mystery for the ages. I also like that it's jet black instead of that faux grey-black that so many companies try to fool us with. The blacker the mascara, the more your eyes pop! Click here to learn more and purchase.

Tied with the Hourglass is another product that technically isn't quite a mascara:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

It's a clear topcoat for your lashes. Like how you put a topcoat on your nails to seal in the colour... except you know, ophthalmologically safe and all that. The reason I love it is because it solves my problem of annoyingly clumpy waterproof mascara formulas. (Seriously, they never work as well as their non-waterproof counterparts.) With this, you don't have to make any compromises because you just use your favourite mascara and then put it on top. I used it all summer long with the clumpiest of mascaras, YSL Shocking, and it didn't budge a bit even through ridiculously sweaty workout sessions with Trainer George. In the cooler months, I still use it on nights out when I want to make sure I don't have any makeup smearing underneath my eyes. Click here to learn more and purchase.

7. Beauty gadget

Emjoi Micro-Pedi

The Skincare Edit Recommends

Can I talk about Trainer George again? Ever since I started working out with him I've been running an awful lot on the treadmill... and my pedicure ladies tell me that it's why my feet have become more and more callus-prone. (Ew.) In the summer, I discovered Solevation, a gritty mat that you stick in the bottom of your tub to exfoliate your feet. But I think I like this gadget even more. It's basically a rolling buffer that you gently hold against your "problem" areas—the blue part is covered in the same gritty material that's on foot files—and it works a treat on yucky, rough feet. You could save a ton on pedicures. Click here to learn more and purchase.

6. Nail polish

Revlon Nail Enamel in Popular

As you know, I'm not a nail art girl, really (although I can def appreciate it on others). I'm not even into offbeat nail polish colours like yellow or blue or green. Nope, what I like most are shades of pink, nude, white, lavender, red and coral. The problem with the latter two—or any darker colour—is that they show the chips the most. Because my nails basically suck, on me this can happen in as little as 24 hours post-manicure—even professional ones. Luckily, I discovered something this year. I already knew that Revlon is one of the most indestructible of nail polishes... and that pale pinks are extremely chip-friendly. But I didn't realize the extent to which throwing GLITTER into the mix can extend your nail polish life cycle. This is why this shade, called Popular, is getting so much love from me this year. It lasts! And the sparkles add a little something extra that even a nail polish conservative like me can get on board with. Click here to learn more and purchase.

5. Lipstick

ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner

Meet my new favourite lipstick. I'd just about given up on this category, you see. Not just because I've been more into eye makeup lately, but because I was just getting sick of drying formulas that left my lips looking and feeling chapped and horrible. Just when I'd vowed to make the permanent switch to tinted balms, one of these guys showed up in the mail... and now I want to wear him every day. (My shade is Arabian Nights, a sheer berry red that's not pictured, but I want all of them, of course.) So many good things about this line: it's Canadian, it's organic, it goes on sheer instead of heavy, and it's as moisturizing as any lip balm, I swear.

4. Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Skin Perfector

Armani proved this year that they really are the masters—or should I say maestros—when it comes to foundation. In the 2000s, the big lust-after product was their Luminous Silk, but I'm sorry, this one blows it right out of the water. It's not a cream or a liquid, it's a pigmented oil. Except it's not oily at all; it sinks right into your skin and makes your complexion more perfect without looking like you're wearing anything. I'm not kidding: you really have to try this one to believe it, especially if you're not a "foundation person" and you hate the heaviness of traditional formulas. It's got a little less pigment than a foundation, but more than a tinted moisturizer or a BB. It's also easier to use, since you can easily blend with your fingers.

3. Eyeliner

Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool

I first discovered the Clarins version of this product, which was a limited edition that came out in the summer. Why they didn't just make it permanent is beyond me, because this thing is all sorts of amazing. Too Faced came out with theirs—a permanent one—a little before Clarins did, actually, and because I had already fallen in love with the concept, I bought the Too Faced one for my mom. (We're like that with clothes and makeup.) So it's exactly the same thing. Instead of just one point on the end of your black felt-tip eyeliner, you get THREE. Which is awesome because you can just hold the pen horizontally and press the three prongs right at the roots of your lashes to create the illusion of thickness. It really works, and you don't even look like you're wearing makeup! The thing performs like a normal liner, too, if you turn it on its side to draw with. I've used this to create thinner and more precise lines than I ever have before with makeup. Click here to learn more and purchase.

2. Serum

Consonant HydrExtreme Extreme Hydration Booster

Consonant HydrExtreme Extreme Hydration Booster

Consonant HydrExtreme Extreme Hydration Booster

I love serums so much, but SkinCeuticals has pretty much sewn up the market on them for me. I just haven't found any brand that can compare... with one exception. This guy. I was super-skeptical about the claims of longer-lasting hydration than hyaluronic acid, but the proof was in my plumper, dewier complexion. It really works! I still alternate between this and the comparable SkinCeuticals product, their Hydrating B5 Gel, and both are good products. But Consonant's definitely holds its own and then some... which is a HUGE achievement for a small, young, Canadian and natural brand, right? The texture of this is much runnier instead of gel-like, which some people may prefer, and it's also made with just two natural ingredients. Crazy! Click here to learn more and purchase.

1. Hair product

Dove Fresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo

Surprise! My favourite product of 2012 is cheap as chips (Well.ca sells it for $7.49, but I've seen it on sale for $3 or something at Shoppers). Not only is the price extremely right, but the way this performs has totally changed my hairstyling routine. It smells great and goes on clear, which is important because unless you're super-blonde or grey, you don't want to be worrying about brushing out or hiding clumps of white dry shampoo. It's also the most volumizing formula I've tried—and trust me when I say that I've tried cans and cans and cans of other dry shampoos over the years. Celebrity stylist and Dove spokesperson Mark Townsend (who does ALL THE COOL PEOPLE'S HAIR IN HOLLYWOOD) was the one who got me on to it when we met in the spring, because otherwise I might have ignored it as yet another under-performing drugstore dry shampoo. Not the case. He encouraged me to spray it on clean hair as a volumizer and texturizer intead of just using it for the usual oil-absorbing at the roots. Life. Changing. Click here to learn more and purchase.

And that's a wrap! Tell me:

Have you tried any of my 2012 faves?

What beauty products would be in YOUR top 10?

Which products are on your list to try for 2013?

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