Lisa’s Top Picks of 2011 Part One

I believe it is important to celebrate and give thanks for everything that brings joy to my life.  2011 was a great year, so many things to celebrate!  Not only did Marcia and I get a beautiful new look for our website in 2011, I also discovered many beauty products that I truly love.  I already wrote about the top five cosmetics lines that were brand new for me in 2011 here.

Illuminare Beyond Black Everlasting Eyeliner

In this post, I am detailing my favorite color items for the year, as well as recognizing some of my favorite people.  I tried to be a good girl like Marcia and do a ‘top ten’…or even a ‘top eleven’ for 2011.  But I just wasn’t able to pare it down that far.  “Restraint” has rarely been a word used to describe me, in fact my reputation is a little more along the lines of ‘excess’.  So this is a long post, with lots of pictures…and tons of great recommendations.  (Geez, it was so long I had to break it into two different posts. There’s just so much to celebrate!)  My next post on Saturday will list my favorite skin care, body care, and miscellaneous items.

Here goes, let’s start with my favorite color products of 2011.

Favorite foundation:

My favorite foundation discovery of 2011 is the Dan Read Cosmetics Silver Screen Shimmer Foundation, and my favorite foundation of all time is the matte version.

dan read foundation

Dan Read Cosmetics FOD

To put it simply, nothing else makes my skin look as good.

Favorite blush:

My most favorite blushes of 2011 are the It Cosmetics Vitality Cheek Flush Powder Blush Stains.  The colors are gorgeous and have more pigment than I have EVER encountered, even blowing Nars blush out of the water.

Favorite loose powder:

Once again, It Cosmetics stole my heart with their Bye Bye Pores loose powder.  It’s the very first jar of loose powder I have actually finished!

Favorite concealer:

Wow, I guess 2011 was an It Cosmetics year for me.  The Bye Bye Undereye Concealer continued to be a fabulous choice for covering those pesky blue shades under my very tired eyes.

And I also found that the Full Cover Concealer by Make Up For Ever was perfect for me.  Great coverage, easy to apply, and no mineral oil to dry out the delicate under eye area.

Favorite eyeshadows:

My most favorite Dan Read Cosmetics eyeshadow – Cameo

I love many things from the Dan Read Cosmetics line, and this year I really got into their eyeshadows.  These are real finds – bigger pans than MAC, with terrific pigmentation, texture, and colors.

Ellis Faas eyes

I also loved my Ellis Faas eyeshadows.  The different textures are so much fun to play with, and the colors are amazing.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Eyeshadow eyes

The new Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Eyeshadows impressed the heck out me – finally, cream eyeshadows that don’t fade or crease on my oily eyelids!!

Vasanti eyes

My favorite loose pigment eyeshadow was by far the Vasanti Shimmer Powder, pictured above in Moon Dust.  Isn’t it a gorgeous color??  I never even put the jar away, it’s always front and center on my vanity because I use it so often.

Inglot eyeshadow look

I can’t neglect to mention Inglot eyeshadows.  Super affordable, amazing array of colors, fabulous pigmentation…what more could a girl ask for, except for maybe even more Inglot eyeshadows for my stash???

Favorite eyeshadow palettes

I definitely found some fantastic eyeshadow palettes this past year, but the one I reach for most is my Kryolan Variety 3 Compact Eyeshadow Palette.  It has everything I need to create a perfect neutral eye look.

Favorite eye liners:

Liquid eyeliners can be tricky, but this past year I discovered Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners and now I use them all the time.  The sturdy brush makes them so easy to apply, and the color is extremely rich and complex.  I love #6 (iridescent navy blue) the most.

My favorite pencils liners are the Tarte emphasEYES aqua gel eyeliner pencils.  They need no sharpening, and they have wonderful color and staying power, even on the waterline.

My favorite cake eyeliner was by far the Face Stockholm Cake Eyeliner in Navy.

Eyes with Face Stockholm Navy Cake Eyeliner

Cake eyeliner is fantastic for tightlining, and the Face Stockholm Navy is a true navy blue that works equally well on the waterline.

Favorite mascara:

I tried lots of great mascaras last year, but the winner was Dior Extase.

Dior Extase Mascara applied

It makes my lashes super long, super thick, and doesn’t smudge.  Plus you gotta love a mascara wand that looks like a medieval torture device.

Favorite lips:

Kryolan Sunrise lip gloss swatch

My favorite lip gloss was the Kryolan High Gloss Brilliant Lip Shine in Sunrise.  It’s just the perfect color for me, and I love the texture and feel of it.

Favorite Brows:

Youngblood Cosmetics Brow Artiste has everything I need for beautifully groomed brows in just seconds.

Youngblood Cosmetics Brow Artiste

I love this set.

Favorite Brush:

My favorite brush this past year was Cargo’s Magic Brush.

Cargo Magic Brush

I felt just like Goldilocks when I realized this brush was not too big, and not too small, but JUST RIGHT.  If I had to choose just one brush, this would be it.

Favorite makeup artist:

It was such a treat to meet Ulrike Bege at the Kryolan City Store in Chicago, and even more of a treat to get a mini-makeover and color advice from her.

She knows her stuff and is just the nicest, sweetest person ever.

Favorite web designer:

As I am sure you have noticed, Beauty Info Zone has a gorgeous new look.  It’s totally thanks to the amazing custom blog design by Cynthia, owner of NW Designs.  Marcia and I saw Cynthia’s designs when we were in Chicago and knew immediately she was the one for us.

She designed our new logo, redid our blog, vastly improved our Facebook and Twitter pages, and put up with a million questions and our general helplessness regarding computer matters.  If you are looking for a website design or redesign, or need a logo or business cards, trust me you want Cynthia!!!

Favorite writing partner:

Why, Marcia of course!  I wish I had the words to really describe Marcia and give you the full picture of just how amazing she is.  Whatever I write seems to fall short, but I am going to give it a shot anyway.

Marcia has the biggest heart of anyone I know.  She always thinks of everyone else, her kindness and thoughtfulness is pretty amazing.  She quietly and bravely suffered through me driving in Chicago, even when I stopped dead in the middle of a five-way intersection and yelled, ‘What the &*%#@!!!!”  She is extremely patient with me and my bazillion activities that leave me way overextended.  She has the best sense of humor, just about every day she says something that has me doubled over with laughter.  Marcia truly defines the word ‘friend’.  Thank you Marcia for yet another year of fabulous fun, I love being your blogging partner and I love you dearly!!!   – Lisa

Side by Side with Cargo Cosmetics

Beauty Info Zone has done several reviews for Cargo Cosmetics. It’s a great brand that doesn’t get quite enough attention in our opinion. We can list so many items though that we highly recommend. Just as an example Lisa went a little bit big time nuts over their Magic Brush and created lemmings galore for the brush. Marcia on the other hand couldn’t stop raving about Cargo blushes with their amazing pigmentation.

Today we’re taking a slightly different road with Cargo and talking about how they help us create a perfect finish to our faces. Cargo has some great foundations, concealers, primers and powders. Today you’ll get your beauty info about two of these products.

Marcia’s side:

I had the opportunity to use Cargo OneBase™, one of Cargo’s biggest sellers worldwide. This is a two in one product since it’s both concealer and foundation depending on your particular needs.  It’s recommended to be used as a concealer wherever you have small imperfections that you want to subtly conceal. It can be used under your eyes, around your nose, or around your lips to spot conceal. There’s a very slight glow to it so I especially like it under my eyes to brighten them up later in the day when I don’t want to reapply makeup but I do want to freshen up. It comes in 7 shades so you don’t have to worry that you won’t find one that will be perfect for you.

image from cargocosmetics.com

Cargo OneBase

I mentioned that Cargo OneBase™ is also a foundation. It’s a lightweight foundation so it’s not going to give you heavy duty coverage. It’s not a tinted moisturizer though, it has more coverage than that. I like this kind of coverage when it’s warm or slightly cool out because it allows my skin to breathe without being too covered up. While I’m not using it at home in the dead of winter as a foundation, I’m still using it as a concealer.

Cargo OneBase wand applicator

Cargo OneBase in 1N swatched

There are two aspects of Cargo OneBase™ that really stand out for me – there’s no fragrance (thank you Cargo!!!) and the first ingredient is water. I prefer a water based formula when the weather is warmer since it won’t slide off my face in an ugly oily pool of color. I’m happy to take my Cargo with me wherever I go! — Marcia

Lisa’s Side:

Cargo High Definition Mattifier

While Cargo is known for terrific color products, I think the High Definition Mattifier ($28) is a hidden treasure in this line.  I use this by itself on no makeup days to keep shine away, and it works great under makeup as well.  I have a very, very shiny nose, as well as oil issues on my chin and forehead.  I find I certainly do blot less when I use this, although it doesn’t stop the need for blotting altogether. And, of course, I love the hygenic squeeze tube.

Cargo High Definition Mattifier swatch

At first, I was taken aback by the brown color of this mattifier.  However, the color completely disappears when it’s smoothed into my skin.  The formula has a very silky texture that goes on wet but dries quickly when applied.  Below is the swatch above smoothed onto my hand.

You can see how it leaves no color, and it evens out skin texture.  It makes pores far less noticeable.  This product is even perfect for men who don’t want to wear makeup but also want better looking skin, really it’s great for anyone except the extremely oily.  Whether you are traveling somewhere exotic or just running around town, this can certainly be your go-to mattifying primer.  – Lisa

Ingredients:

Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate,
Retinyl Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl  Lairoyl Glutamate, Isoproplyparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Bht, +/- : CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/CI 77492/CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride).

 

*pr samples

Cargo Contour Palette – review and swatches

As much as I love makeup and as much as I play with it, contouring isn’t something that comes easy for me. So when I was sent Cargo’s Contour Palette I will admit I was a little intimidated. Cargo couldn’t have made this any easier for me or for you though. There are 3 shades that work perfectly together plus they are nice enough to spell out what each one is used for.  At the top is a highlighter, next is blush and on the bottom is the actual contour color. This is available in two shades – Monaco for warm skin tones and Malibu for cool skin tones.

image of Malibu Contour Palette from cargocosmetics.com

 

image of Monaco Contour palette from dermstore.com


The colors in this are matte which is best for contouring. The idea of contouring is to change the look of your features but not in an obvious way. You want subtlety unless you are someone like Lindsay Lohan at a court date. Cargo’s three matte shades give you the subtleness you need for the job. Plus they are pretty to boot.

Malibu Contour palette

Cargo is nice enough to give us simple directions on the back so that even those of us who don’t normally contour know exactly what to do and how to use the palette. I’m not one to keep my products in the box so having this information on the very back is the best. I have a Contour brush from Real Techniques that is the perfect size for the job. I use a very very light hand when applying the contour and blush. I don’t know if I’m doing it right but I prefer to put on the contour first, then the blush on the apple of my cheek and last the highlight shade. Then I take the brush with the highlight shade remnants on it and blend, paying particular attention to the edges  to soften the look.

Cargo Malibu Contour palette swatches

The shades in Malibu are a light cool toned cream, a true pink and a mauve brown. None of the colors swatch darkly on my fingers but the brush seems to pick them up easily. I’m surprised at how long lasting the colors are in this palette. I still have blush and contour at the end of the day. I’ve only used the contour shade a few times along my chin and the contouring works there just as well. I use an even lighter hand along my chin line than I do on my face since I think you can make contouring look too obvious if you aren’t careful.

swatches for Malibu

the contour shade

It’s nice to have an easy means to do a job that the counters work magic with and be able to do it myself. This is a palette I’d travel with too since I can use the blush even when I don’t feel like contouring. There’s a full size mirror too that’s very handy to have. Check out the Cargo Contour Palette to bring out the professional artist in yourself. — Marcia

Side by Side – 10 top color items for 2011

Beauty Info Zone hasn’t done any top 10 lists lately and we’re way overdue. It was super hard to pick out of all the reviews we’ve done and narrow it down to only 10 products each so if we cheat a little, don’t be mad. We’ve both reviewed so many products that we reach for all the time. Here’s what’s standing out to Marcia and Lisa’s Top Ten for the first half of 2011.

MARCIA’S LIST:

  1. Rouge Bunny Rouge: Oh how I love my Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadows. Here are two reviews that I’ve written about them. There will be more to come! Start with my first RBR post and then read this post.
  2. Illamasqua nail polish: I love my nail polishes and I have used so many that have won my heart. But Illamasqua are the ones I’m lusting after.
  3. Face Stockholm: All the Face Stockholm products I’ve tried have been absolutely wonderful but if I have to pick one to live with forever after it would be the Rio cream blush.
  4. Billion Dollar Brows: Here’s where I cheated. I know I said 10 items but I use the BDB brow powder and tweezers every single day so I have to include them both. I would be lost without these now. 
  5. Tarte Inner Rim Brightener: Another product I use every single day; I even have two since I don’t want to be without this.
  6. Le Métier de Beaute’ Fresh Creme Tints: I have all of these and I love them to pieces. I’m a cream girl/lady/woman and these are so creamy. They double as blush and lip tints.
  7. Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes: Cheating again, more Tarte but I can’t help it. These are the longest lasting powder blushes I’ve ever tried. Every color is fabulous too.
  8. Armani Intense Eyes to Kill eyeshadows:  These are unique on the market and I love using them. I’m so sad I didn’t buy more which means I will be buying more!
  9. Face Atelier Lip Putty: I picked this over all the other great Face Atelier products because I use it constantly. It’s the best product I own to prime my lips.
  10. Dan Read foundation: I know Lisa is going to mention this but the more I thought about the list, the more I realized I couldn’t write my top ten without it.

LISA’S LIST:

  1. Dan Read eyeshadows:  Everything about Dan Read makes me happy, especially his foundation, but I’m in an eyeshadow kind of mood lately and these have won my heart.
  2. Vasanti Eye Products: Every single eye product that I use from Vasanti is wonderful. Eye Wonder is a fabulous eye cream and Vasanti’s Moon Dust Shimmer Powder is amazing.
  3. OCC pigments:  I have always loved pigments and my collection is huge. OCC pigments stand out though because they are top notch and I love them all but Artifact is the very best. 
  4. Cargo eyeshadow palettes: I’m obviously on an eyeshadow kick lately and Cargo started this kick. Once I tried their palettes I became more obsessed with eyes than ever. Cool Neutral has gotten me through many work days because I know that even if I wake up late I’ll end up with a polished eye.
  5. Unii palettes: I’m in love with the amazing colors of Unii palettes. They bring a smile to the face of this serial depotter. Anyone who likes their eyeshadows and blushes in palette form needs a collection of these.
  6. Cargo Magic Brush: This is the brush I choose if I can only have one brush. It’s so soft and does such a magical job on my face.
  7. Face Stockholm color correcting foundation: I’ve been amazed with the Matte Foundation in Lilac. I never thought something like this would work but oh my goodness, it’s a fabulous addition to your foundations.
  8. Face Stockholm blush: Shambella matte blush has been my most used blush lately. The quality is terrific, so incredibly smooth and easy to blend.
  9. Illuminare eyeliner: I never thought that I’d fall so in love with an eyeliner but Illuminare Beyond Black has stolen my heart.
  10. Illuminare foundation: Illuminare makes several formulas of foundation and I refuse to pick a favorite; I can’t help but love Extra Coverage foundation/concealer and Mattifying Mineral foundation. Add in their Fast Application Pad and you have perfection.

We hope you’ve gotten to the end of this very long article. We each could have done a list of 20 but we have to stop at some point. We will be following up with another Side by Side with our top 10 on other types of products.

Did we hit any of your favorites in this list? — Marcia and Lisa

Take a trip to Cargo Cosmetics

From the first time I saw Cargo years ago I’ve been crazy about their blushes and even now when I think about the brand that’s the first item I think about. I’ve had many Cargo blushes over the years although at the moment I have four since I rotate things in and out of my collection. I currently own Catalina, Louisiana and Big Easy. I also own the discontinued shade of Gotham. The most terrific news about Cargo blushes is that they’ve brought back lots of their previously discontinued shades. There are 16 gorgeous shades of single tone blushes ($26). They are housed in Cargo’s terrific tins and they are huge! 

Catalina is described as a cotton candy pink but it’s not as bright on as it sounds. For me this is a blush I can comfortably wear any day since it’s flattering to my fair cool tone skin. Depending on which brush I choose I can make this soft or vibrant.


Louisiana is considered to be a sheer pink infused with a light bronze. What I especially love about Louisiana is that it has an almost iridescence to it, it just seems to glow in a special way. When I wear Louisiana I really like to buff it onto my cheeks to bring out the illumination.

Top is Catalina, bottom is Louisiana


Big Easy was gone for a long time so I’m happy to see it back on the Cargo website. Big Easy is sheer pink with gold and red undertones. Even though both Louisiana and Big Easy start with a sheer pink base the blushes are totally different. Big Easy is brighter while Louisiana is a little more muted. Gotham (to my eye) has more of a coral base with red undertones. All 4 of these are top notch long lasting blushes. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a Cargo blush.

Another terrific product from Cargo are blu_ray™ Gloss with TimeStrip® Technology($24). Not only are the 7 glosses gorgeous colors but the Time Strip Technology is amazing. It’s a strip that you put into the top of the gloss when you first use it and it helps you monitor the freshness of the gloss. They recommend that you use the gloss approximately 9 months to keep it at its freshest.



While I just have one in Halifax I know I’d like more. Halifax is a light peachy pink which is a shade I love. When I say light though, I mean light. When I first apply Halifax on bare lips it only looks like a pretty shine but because it’s a plumping lipgloss that tingles it brings out the natural color in my lips to its fullest potential. If I want more color then I wear it over a lipstick. My raves for this gloss are mostly because it’s so moisturizing. There’s no stickiness to it. While the minty tingle does last for a while (maybe half an hour), my lips feel moisturized the entire time I’m wearing the gloss. Cargo states how these glosses fill in lines and Halifax really does. My lips look fuller when I’m wearing it.

There’s a lot to love about Cargo including their blushes and lipglosses and they continue to come out with new products to entice us. Their blu-ray products for high definition filming are excellent for everyone, film stars or not. Their newest fun items like their Safari Kit are filled with wonderful products at a great price. Check out Cargo either online or at Ulta. It’s a trip you’ll want to take. — Marcia

Photos were either taken by reviewer or from Cargocosmetics.com

Cargo Magic

Two of my favorite things in life:   cosmetics and magic.  No wonder I get so geeked up when I find ‘holy grails’, cosmetic items that do such magically miraculous things I cannot imagine life without them!  Marcia just posted about some magic she recently discovered, and now it’s my turn.  I have found two totally magical items, and they come from Cargo Cosmetics.  If you haven’t tried anything from this line yet, I have one question for you:  WHY?? Every single thing I have tried has been a true winner.  Here are two of my most favorites:

This is Cargo’s blu_ray Activating Face Primer ($32).  Ok, you all know I am a total primer nut anyway (who else could do a Top Ten Primer list, and feel bad that some really great primers were left off of it??)  I have tried so many primers, though, that my expectations are pretty high.  And this is a primer to love, that’s for sure.

So what is magical about this primer?  Several things.  It has no silicones or parabens, for one.  The formulation is actually geared toward not only priming the skin for makeup, but also for reducing the look of wrinkles.  I can always use a little – or a lot – of that.  My favorite thing about this primer, though, is that it really and truly reduces shine.  I HATE a shiny nose, and my nose always gets shiny throughout the day.  When I use this primer, no matter what foundation I use, I blot less than half the time I normally would.  The blu_ray Activating Face Primer has a thin texture that spreads easily.  It’s somewhat wet when first applied, and quickly dries down to a satin finish.  In fact, Cargo even recommends using this in place of foundation if you’d like.   I’m not one to go without foundation, but I do reach for this primer day after day.

My other favorite totally magic product from Cargo is the aptly named Magic Brush ($34).  It seems like there is NOTHING this brush can’t do!!  It is the perfect all-purpose brush.  In fact, if something truly tragic and horrible happened and I could only have ONE makeup brush…this is the one I would choose.

It is the perfect size, not too big or too small.  The bristles are the exact right amount of firmness, yet they are whisper soft on your skin.  And I don’t know how or why, but this brush makes every single powder product look PERFECT on your skin.

Product wipes right off of it easily, so you can use it to first even out your foundation, then to apply bronzer, then some loose powder, then powder blush, then a little highlighter…and everything looks amazing.  Cargo’s Magic Brush is most definitely something to add to your brush collection.

Really, Cargo Cosmetics is a terrific line that continues to impress the heck out of me.  Check it out, especially the primer and the Magic Brush.  We can all use a little more magic in our lives!  – Lisa

Disclosure:  Products were PR samples.  Opinions expressed were 100% mine.

Cargo Eyes

Recently, Marcia reviewed the Cargo Essential Palette in Smoky Grey.  Today, I am going to give you the low down on my preferred Essential Palette.  My favorite is the one in Cool Neutral ($32).

This is an eyeshadow palette with some heft!!  The best thing about this palette – and all Cargo products, really – is that it’s fool-proof.  No matter what your level of ability, it is almost impossible to screw things up.

Not only are the different colors labeled within the product itself, it also comes with an overlay that illustrates where to put each color.

The colors are very rich with great pigmentation.  As you can see, the brow color is cool vanilla with a tiny bit of shimmer, the lid color is a neutral tan that is light and cool enough to make the eyes really pop (especially for those of us with deep-set eyes), the crease color is a slightly shimmery taupe, and the outer corner color is a beautiful deep brown with a touch of shimmer.  None of the colors are extremely flat, and none of them are super shimmery.  All the colors add up to a sophisticated, easy to wear daytime look that can be amped up enough to also make a smoky, evening eye look.

And I highly, highly, highly recommend the Smoky Eye Brush ($32).

Oh my gosh, I cannot believe how much I love this brush.  I don’t know if I am just uncoordinated or what, but I have always has problems doing the outer corner of my lid so that it looks good.  This brush makes it so easy!!!  I want to jump up and down and YELL, “YOU NEED THIS BRUSH!!!”  But that might get me hauled off to a place for people in need a ‘nice long rest’, so instead I will just type it in bold letters.

Look at the shape – it rests perfectly in your palm, and the other side is flat, so it doesn’t bump up against your face.  The brush itself is flat, and smudges out eyeshadow just perfectly.  The overall size is great, it gives you control and makes application a total breeze.  I use this brush every single day.  It should go right at the top of your wish list.

To finish off an eye look, consider checking out the blu_ray concealer ($28).  This reminds me of Ellis Faas products in that it has a sponge tip, and you twist the applicator for product to come through the sponge.

This concealer not only covers up flaws, but it also fights wrinkles – yay!  It has something in it called Visilox, which is an alternative to Botox, so it helps to smooth out your fine lines.  I have it in light/medium, which looks like this:

I find that it does a great job of covering imperfections, it has a medium coverage.  It doesn’t settle into fine lines, and it really lasts longer than most liquid concealers.  What I love the most is that it doesn’t just cover, it also brightens, and without looking fake.  At my age, I need something that doesn’t emphasize wrinkles by being to dry, and doesn’t call attention to my dark circles by being too obvious.  This concealer really fits the bill.

I used to recommend Trish McEvoy for great basics, easy to use items that were perfect for those starting out as well as serious collectors.  I have to say now Cargo tops my recommendation list.  It’s a great line that continues to impress me.  – Lisa

Disclosure:  Items reviewed were PR samples