Best of the Year 2012: Lisa’s picks



It’s the new year, so you know what that means – a bunch of people with hangovers and a ton of ‘Best of 2012’ lists!  Beauty Info Zone is jumping right into the pool with our own lists.  Here are my personal picks for Best of the Year 2012, stay tuned for Marcia’s choices tomorrow. 

Shimmer, color, extensions, scents…it’s all here!  I have much to be grateful for, much to be thankful for, and here is my big virtual hug to all the products and product lines that brought me so much joy in 2012.


Best new (to me anyway) cosmetics lines



Christina Choi lipgloss

Christina Choi – beautiful lip glosses, gorgeous eye shadows (love the duo with a coordinating cake liner), plus so much more.  I am very, very excited about this line.

in my Z Palette

My gorgeous Makeup Geek eyeshadows in my Z Palette

Makeup Geek – love the lipsticks, and the eyeshadows are truly the bomb.  If you don’t have any yet, they should be first on your list of new purchases for 2013.

Best old (to me anyway) cosmetics lines


Le Metier

Le Metier eyes

Le Metier de Beaute – 2012 was a Le Metier year for me, from fantastic makeovers to awesome facials to workhorse products that I can’t do without. 

Bye Bye Pores powder and puff

Bye Bye Pores powder and puff

It Cosmetics – I am constantly amazed by this line.  There hasn’t been ONE thing that I didn’t love.  I think I look forward to new products from It Cosmetics more than from any other line because they never, ever disappoint.

Dan Read Icy Lilac eyeshadow

Dan Read Icy Lilac eyeshadow

Dan Read Cosmetics –  another line that never lets me down.  I always have my Dan Read Silver Screen Series foundation with me – in fact, on Christmas Day I bought myself another one as a Christmas gift to myself.  I also love the eyeshadows, they are fantastic.   Dan Read is on my ‘best of’ list every single year.  He rocks – and so does his cosmetics line.

Make Up For Ever Iconic Red

Make Up For Ever Iconic Red

Make Up For Ever – did you watch Syfy’s Face Off this past season?  I think it was the best ever thanks to Make Up For Ever.  Dany Sanz is brilliant, and I love all of her creations, particularly the Aqua Rouge lip colors.

Best skin care


reviva-primerReviva Labs – I have probably tried 15 different things from this line and I love everything. I think that is amazing. My absolute favorites are the Makeup Primer, Hyalauronic Acid Serum, and the Willard Water.

cooling metal tip applicator

Love the StriVectin cooling metal tip applicator – and if you look closely, you can see my camera reflected in it!!

 StriVectin – oh boy do I love the 360 Tightening Eye Serum – it’s a great serum with the best applicator ever.

Jewelweed Topical Mist close upCreation Pharm – this is a terrific organic line with intriguing products. I still use the Jewelweed Topical Mist every day. I am probably on my 20th bottle.  If you look close, I do believe that is my photo of my fingers holding the Jewelweed bottle on their website!!!

Love my Kleraderm

Love my Kleraderm

Kleraderm – one of the very best skin care lines there is.  I have used it for years and will always be a ‘Kleranet’.  I have an appointment for a facial with Joanne Recchia-Kallabat in a few days and I am so geeked.  She gives a $200 facial for just $20, plus I will be finding out about the latest new products – and I will be sure to share!

Best brushes


Domed Shadow Brush

Real Techniques Domed Shadow Brush

Real Techniques (Pixie Woo) Domed Shadow Brush – this is by far the very best eyeshadow crease brush I have ever used.  I say thank you for this every day.

212 up close and personal

212 up close and personal

Hakuhodo 212 – the supreme brush for blending eyeshadow.  If you don’t have this — you need it.

Best hair care


I will never be without this hairspray

I will never be without this hairspray

Unite – the Go365 Hairspray is the primo hairspray ever. Period.

Cristopher Glossing Shampoo

Cristophe Glossing Shampoo

Cristophe  – the Glossing Shampoo and Conditioner never fail to make my hair super soft, shiny, and bouncy.

Leonor Greyl makes for a good hair day!!

Leonor Greyl makes for a good hair day!!

Leonor Greyl – gorgeous products that smell amazing.  So many of her hair products are cult favorites, and for good reason!

Biggest personal influences in 2012


soft waves

Soft waves?  No problem!

Verge One – I would say that two lines dramatically changed my daily appearance in 2012.  The first is Verge One.  Their ‘texture wands’ have completely changed the way I wear my hair.  Now pretty much every day I am curly or wavy, and I love it.  The texture wands are truly fabulous finds for which I am extremely grateful!

More lashes = love!

More lashes = love!

Novalash – the second line that dramatically changed my daily appearance in 2012 is Novalash.  I had what I thought were nicely dramatic eyelashes thanks to Latisse…and then I found Novalash.  WOW.  My lashes are huge and beautiful and easy to care for every single day.  This is a ‘get down on my knees and say THANK YOU‘ find!!

Most fun


Everything is better on a stick!

Everything is better on a stick!

Lush – Reflecting back on 2012, I remember so many awesome, entertaining products from Lush.  Seriously, everything they make is not only useful and practical, it’s also a blast. 


Who knew blue hair could be so fun?

HairUWear – another surprising super fun discovery for me this year were hair extensions.  I adore the ones I have tried from HairUWear, whether they are lively and funky bright colors or seriously hair-enhancing extensions.  Absolute enjoyment that reminded me I need to step outside my comfort zone to make new discoveries.

My top product picks


OCC Skin:  Conceal Y series

OCC Skin: Conceal Y series

OCC Airbrush Foundation and Conceal Concealer – two of the best finds of 2012.  The foundation is a fantastic water-based foundation that works with every application technique, it looks totally natural and wears like iron.  And the concealer is nothing short of amazing – it’s the perfect concealer times twenty. 


Tarte Magic blush really is magic!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushfirst-rate blushes with lots of different shades and perfect pigment.  This is a blush that will keep you blushing all day long.

Lisa Hoffman bracelet2

Lisa Hoffman Fragrance Jewelry – so gorgeous, clever and unique!  One of my favorite fragrances of all time is Lisa’s Tuscan Fig, and to be able to have that inside beautiful jewelry?  Fantastic.

Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara

Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara

Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara – this is the best mascara I have ever found for my lower lashes.  It’s pretty amazing.

Tarte concealer top

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Waterproof Concealer – another pick from Tarte.  This concealer is creamy long-lasting goodness that saved my eyes this fall when they were going crazy with allergies.  It’s a total winner.

My perfect tube of 3Lab Perfect BB Cream

My perfect tube of 3Lab Perfect BB Cream

3lab Perfect BB Cream – my very first BB cream and the best one out there.  Yes, it’s expensive – but it’s also worth every single penny.

CV Skinlabs bottle

CV Skinlabs – sunburns, bug bites, hives, rashes, it’s all so much easier to live through with Rescue + Relief Spray.  I have a bottle of this in my refrigerator at all times.

Skin Chemists Wrinkle Killer

Skin Chemists Wrinkle Killer

Skin Chemists Wrinkle Killer – the snake serum is far more than a marketing ploy. This stuff works. If you want less wrinkles in 2013, get yourself some Wrinkle Killer.

If 2013 is even close to as good as 2012 was, then we have a LOT to look forward to.  2012 was chock full of great discoveries, wonderful ‘old faithfuls’, tons of joy and nothing to complain about.  Life is good!  – Lisa

Dan Read Cosmetics eyeshadows and blush from another perspective

If you had a friend that couldn’t stop talking about something, wouldn’t you want to try it out? That’s why I’ve borrowed (aka stolen) 3 eyeshadows from my blog partner Lisa. I hear about Dan Read eyeshadows from her over and over. I finally couldn’t take it and dared her to show me. She lent me 3 eyeshadows named Desert Sand, Pewter and Slate. If she didn’t know where to find me, she’d never see these again though.

Dan Read eyeshadows are what Lisa has touted them as being. Going by these three I’d say they are a perfect formula for just about anyone, but especially for those that don’t need shimmer, sparkle or glitter in their lives. I always use an eyeshadow primer with Dan Read eyeshadows or they’d fade on me but I believe in eyeshadow primers for 95% of shadows anyway. Dan Read has two types of eyeshadows – matte and pearl. The eyeshadows I’ve tried are Slate (close to charcoal gray matte), Desert Sand (a light sandy pearl) and Pewter (cool toned taupe with a slight purple undertone, pearl). Each shadow is $16.25.

Desert Sand (also called just Desert) is the easiest shade to wear of the three. It’s the perfect neutral for me. The pearl finish gives it just that little bit of extra light. I wear this all over my lid or just on the browbone.

Dan Read Cosmetics Desert Sand Eyeshadow

Desert Sand swatch

Pewter is the one Lisa better forget about. I swooned when she let me borrow it. It’s the kind of shade I love wearing either in combination with other shadows or all by itself as a lid color. It’s got a cool base and I see just a touch of purple to it. The pearl finish stands out more on Pewter than it does on Desert. It’s got a beautiful sheen to it.

Dan Read Pewter Eyeshadow

Dan Read Pewter swatch

Slate looks more charcoal than it applies on me, it’s a medium gray shade when applied dry; it’s darker applied wet. It’s the only one I tried with a matte finish. It goes on as smoothly as the other two. I have used it as eyeshadow and also as eyeliner. I like to use an eyeshadow fixative if I’m going to use shadows as liner and when I do with Slate, it goes on quickly and smoothly and lasts the day.

Dan Read Cosmetics Slate Eyeshadow

Slate swatch

Wearing all three eyeshadows with Slate as eyeliner

Just to show you I’m not only about eyeshadows, there’s also DR’s gorgeous blushes ($21.50). The one I have is Toasty Peach and it’s as close to a perfect shade for me as I can get. The website describes this as a warm, delicate peach tone for the Soft Ivory, Natural, and Olive Fawn series foundations. I wear Soft Ivory foundation from Dan Read so it was a great choice for me. Toasty Peach is reminiscent of a Sunday Riley blush I recently reviewed with raves. The finish of Toasty Peach isn’t glowy though, it’s more natural looking. It’s the color that’s often recommended to me by makeup artists wanting to give me a very natural look. It’s the perfect shade too for anyone with rosacea since it counteracts the redness in cheeks.

Dan Read Toasty Peach Blush

Dan Read Toasty Peach Blush swatch

Dan Read Cosmetics Toasty Peach ingredients

Dan Read Cosmetics have kept their status as a Beauty Info Zone favorite. There is no animal testing unless you can Dan himself as an animal; to quote his website: “Dan says he’s the only animal this makeup is tested on!” I have to hand it to both Lisa and Dan for convincing me about the terrific quality of this niche line. — Marcia

*blush is a PR sample, eyeshadows were “borrowed” from Lisa’s collection

Dan Read Spring Color FOD

I love how beautiful the world becomes once spring is in full swing.  I saw this flower in my garden the other day, and it was my inspiration for my Dan Read Cosmetics spring face of the day.

My inspiration

Pastel eyeshadows are perfect for spring, and some of my favorite pastel eyeshadows are by Dan Read Cosmetics.  Two of my favorite colors are Champagne and Icy Lilac.  I paired them together and came up with this spring face of the day.

Dan Read Red Neutralizer

First, I started with my Dan Read Red Neutralizer ($15.75).  It’s a fabulous concealer, it completely eliminates any red and blue under the eyes and around the nose.

Red Neutralizer swatch

Used with the totally amazing Dan Read foundation, your skin looks completely flawless yet natural at the same time.

Dan Read Champagne eyeshadow

Champagne Eyeshadow ($16.25) looks rather white in the above picture, but it definitely has some yellow in it.  It’s slightly shimmery, so it’s fantastic on the mobile lid for really opening up the eyes.

Champagne eyeshadow swatch

See the yellow in it?  Yellow does wonders to brighten up your spring look.  And when you add in lilac…watch out!

Dan Read Icy Lilac eyeshadow

Pictured above is Icy Lilac Eyeshadow ($16.25), which in my humble opinion is one of the most beautiful eyeshadows EVER.  It’s complex, shimmery yet not over the top, and it looks fantastic on.

Icy Lilac swatch

Just look at that gorgeousness!!!  The lilac is just bright enough, and the pink and champagne shimmers help it to pair perfectly with Champagne.

Champagne and Icy Lilac eyes


My DRC spring eyes closed


front view


Dan Read eyes wide open

After I did my eyes, I thought I would pair them with a deeper blush to play up my cheeks.  I went with Redwood Blush ($21.50), a warm red with golden shimmer.  This blush isn’t child’s play, let me tell you – use a light hand because it is heavily pigmented.

Dan Read Redwood Blush

I find the quality to be very similar to Nars.  The blush lasts all day, and you truly need just a touch to get a warm, beautiful glow that looks great on medium to dark skin.

Redwood swatch

See all the fabulous shimmer?  Yet when applied, the shimmer isn’t obvious.  It sort of melts into the skin and becomes luminous.

My Dan Read spring FOD

I loved how it turned out – my eyes popped with the champagne and lilac pastels, and the warm red blush definitely balanced out the look.  If you haven’t tried Dan Read Cosmetics yet, I urge you to do so pronto.  DRC has fantastic products at great prices, with some awesome spring colors.  – Lisa

* pr samples


Click and vote for Dan Read Cosmetics in the Alive – New York 2012 Contest

Those of you who read the BIZ faithfully know that we are HUGE fans of Dan Read Cosmetics, the creation  of Dan Read, international makeup artist.

Dan Read, owner of Dan Read Cosmetics

Check out our article about Dan here.  His line is nothing short of amazing, especially his foundation.  Just check out these before and after pictures:

Dan is in the running for first place in the Alive – New York 2012 contest, which is the largest celebrity health even and awards show in New York City.  Come on BIZ readers, let’s show our support by voting for Dan!  Just click here:

Dan Read Cosmetics never lets me down, I get some great FOD’s from this line.  So let’s show a little love and get clicking!  – Lisa

Dan Read Cosmetics FOD for an evening out - false eyelashes and all!

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

One more day to enter our Dan Read Cosmetics giveaway – and a DRC lipstick review

Our Dan Read Cosmetics giveaway ends tomorrow, so hurry up and enter HERE.  The winner will have a phone consultation with Dan himself, and will be able to pick her own shades for a foundation, blush, 3 eyeshadows, and a lipstick.

One item you get to choose is a lipstick, so I thought I would give you some options.  Dan’s lipsticks are terrific.  They are creamy, long-lasting, and come in gorgeous colors.  I haven’t tried any of the matte lipsticks, all the ones I have are pearl.  I am definitely going to try some of the matte ones next. 

Here are some of my top picks:

Dan Read Ingenue lipstick

Dan Read Ingenue lipstick applied

One of my biggest favorites is the Ingenue lipstick ($16).  It’s a beautiful sort of coppery red with slight golden shimmer. 

Dan Read Cosmetics Supple Pink lipstick applied

Another favorite is Supple Pink.  I like this one by itself for a nude lip, or I often wear it over matte lipstick.  It is a beautiful light pearlized peachy-pink.

Dan Read Cosmetics Rosey Peach lipstick

Dan Read Cosmetics Rosey Peach lipstick applied

Another great choice is Rosey Peach.  This is just a gorgeous pearlized salmon color that is stunning on.

Dan Read Cosmetics Pink Ice lipstick

Dan Read Cosmetics Pink Ice lipstick applied

And one more that I am always reaching for is Pink Ice.  It is such a pretty light pearly pink.  The pearl is perfect, it doesn’t look frosty.

If you are the lucky winner of the Dan Read giveaway, these are some lipsticks to consider when making your choices.  And if you aren’t, I definitely recommend including some lipsticks in with your next order.  They are long-lasting yet creamy, and the color choices are beautiful.  – Lisa

Enter to WIN a whole new look from Dan Read Cosmetics

Response has been terrific to our interview with Dan Read of Dan Read Cosmetics.  Not only is his cosmetics line fascinating, his life is too – who would have imagined anyone could go from being a drummer in an ’80’s rock band to the head of a cosmetics company? 

We have some great news – Dan is offering an amazing giveaway for our subscribers.  The winner of this fabulous prize will get a complete customized look with colors specially chosen by Dan himself! 

Dan Read Silver Screen Series Foundation

Included is a phone consult with Dan, and products including foundation, blush, lipstick, and three eyeshadows all hand-picked by Dan to perfectly suit the skin tone and preferences of the winner.  The colors will be chosen during your phone consult. 

It’s easy to enter.  Here’s all you need to do:

1. Be a Beauty Info Zone subscriber.  This contest is open to ALL of our subscribers, including our fabulous international readers!

2. Take a look at the Dan Read Cosmetics website.  Leave a comment on this post about which  products/colors you might pick if you win.

3. Email us at [email protected] to identify your comment.
Label the email ‘Dan Read’.

4. For extra entries:

a) Follow Beauty Info Zone on Facebook and comment that you entered.
You can do this daily if you’d like more entries.

b)  Follow Dan Read Cosmetics on Facebook and comment that you entered.

c)  Post this contest on your own Facebook page for an additional entry.

d) Retweet this giveaway on your  Twitter page.
Contest ends Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST. 

This is a great giveaway, and an amazing opportunity to “meet” Dan Read.  Best of luck to everyone!!  – Lisa and Marcia