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

Lisa’s three latest brush finds for beautiful eyes

Senna Double Eye Brush

I have become rather brush crazy lately.  I am obsessing about putting together the absolutely perfect arsenal of brushes my Dream Home Brush Set and the perfect arsenal for my Dream Travel Brush Set.  In my quest for brush set perfection, I have discovered some really amazing tools that make makeup application quicker and easier.

I absolutely adore the Double Eye Makeup Brush ($25) by Senna.  This is a six-inch brush that has two natural hair bristles with a rounded edge.

Double Eye - larger side

Pictured above is the larger sized end.  This is great for an all-over wash application, and it’s terrific for packing color on the lid.  It works well with all types of shadows from cream to loose pigments.

Double Eye - smaller end

Pictured above is the smaller sized end, which fits my lid just perfectly.  You can’t really tell in this picture, probably the one at the top of the post does a better job of showing how this end has a slightly different shape, almost coming to a point.  I know everyone’s eye shape is different, but for me this exactly fits and makes application a total breeze.  I especially love this one with loose pigments, it’s fabulous for picking up lots of color and packing it on.

I usually don’t like dual ended brushes because I can’t store them upright in my canister, but I just avoid that issue by storing this puppy in a flat case.

Hakuhodo 212 brush

Next on my list of flipping fabulous brushes is the Hakuhodo 212 Highlight Brush Round ($30).  Marcia gave this to me for my birthday, and I think I love this brush more than any other in my collection.  This is known as the ‘highlighter brush’, and it can be used for blush as well.  But honestly, as a girl who never liked ‘coloring in the lines’ I rarely use this brush on my cheeks. It reminded me of a Francesco Guerrera brush Marcia gave me for my 40th birthday that I loved for smoothing out and blending my eyeshadow, so I tried the 212 for that – and have used it for that purpose every single day since.

212 up close and personal

It has an oval-shaped, super soft head with goat hair bristles.  You don’t wash this brush, you just wipe it off after each use.  One sweep across your freshly applied eyeshadow and everything blends like it was airbrushed on.  This is a real winner!

London Brush Co. Angled Lip #2/A

And my third pick is the London Brush Co. Angled Lip #2/A brush ($20).  As with my Hakuhodo brush, I rarely use this one for it’s intended purpose.  Yep, it’s a mighty fine lip brush – but it’s even better for gel lining the eyes, especially for thicker lines like this:

It’s reminiscent of my other favorite eyeliner brush from Smashbox, the Arced Liner Brush #21 ($20), pictured here:

The London Brush Co. 2/A has a thicker handle with a more pronounced bend.  The brush head is also thicker and flatter.

2A from above

The brush bristles are pure European Sable, which is perfect for emollient products like lipsticks and gel eyeliner.

2A underneath

The bent angle makes it extremely easy to line the eyes quickly and cleanly.

2A side view

I use my Smashbox liner for thin, precise lines, and the London Brush Co. 2/A for thicker, fuller lines and for winging out my eyeliner.

eye look using all three brushes

As always these days, my eye look (using Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Eyeshadows) was inspired by one of the best bloggers out there, Olivia from Into the Palette.

I am putting these three fantastic brushes into my ‘Dream Travel Brush Set’ because really, the three brushes serve at least 7 functions.  The Senna Double Eye obviously has two different brush heads on one brush for an effective eyeshadow application, the Hakuhodo 212 works as a highlighter brush, a blush brush, and a blender brush; and the London Brush Co. 2/A brush is excellent for both lips and for lining the eyes.

My ‘Dream Travel Brush Set’ has three fabulous brushes so far…what other brushes should I add to complete the set??  – Lisa

*all products purchased by/gifted to me except Senna which was a pr sample

Los Angeles 2011 IMATS overview

Ah, the IMATS…every beauty product loving junkies heaven on earth.  Marcia and I attended the June 2011 IMATS in Los Angeles, and we had a truly amazing experience.

There is nothing quite like a makeup artist trade show.  Everywhere you look there are models walking around in the most fantastic special effect makeup, ranging from the whimsical to the downright scary.

Master classes and demonstrations happen throughout, like this one put on by Rebecca Prior for Napoleon Perdis.

Many of the models are basically nude, but thanks to the amazing skill and techniques used by the artists, they all looked fully clothed!

One of my first discoveries was the Dex Cosmetics line.  Pictured above is Dex himself, giving lucky attendees makeovers.  I got myself one after seeing the magic he performed on our hostess Patty, and the end result was exquisite.  I am going to do a separate post just about Dex and his fabulous line.

Everywhere you look, there’s a sea of beautiful products, for example these new HD foundations by Ben Nye Cosmetics.

There were artists to consult with and get tips from at every booth, like Corrie Sorenson here.  She helped me with some Ben Nye choices, as well as giving me great information about the Norcostco Pro MUA Program.

The booths ranged from small lines that I hadn’t heard of before to selections from larger stores like Naimies and Frends.  Here’s just a few false eyelash selections from Naimies.

I loved this one – it was just perfect for roaming through the IMATS!

One of the first lines I was sure to check out was Senna Cosmetics.  I am completely addicted to their brow sets, and here is the latest with sleek new packaging.

And here is a display with the newest collection.  Eugenia Weston herself was there doing eyebrows, along with our good friend and Senna artist the beautiful Allison.

We were all drooling over the different brush collections from Royal and Langnickel, London Brush, and Hakuhodo.

I was also drooling over the camouflage mini palettes at the Kryolan booth, which are super pigmented foundations/concealers.  One palette gives you enough color options to be able to cover just about any imperfection imaginable.

And I loved loved loved the Professional Eye Shadow Set with gorgeous, highly pigmented colors.  These can be used as blushes as well, they are extremely versatile. 

I ended up getting a concealer/loose powder set, which is fantastic.  I’ll be doing a full post on this later.

We went to some informative classes, like this one with Nancy Crossley and Beauty So Clean.  Happy birthday again Nancy!!  Marcia is going to be reviewing this line, it has absolute must-have products that you won’t be able to live without, trust me.

I got to see some really amazing, cutting edge lines like Heidi D.  Here is Heidi herself, isn’t she gorgeous??  So is her line of cosmetics.

Heidi D. focuses on the products that give you a wonderful, summery look – here you can see color coordinated bronzers and lip products.  She has other great products for eyes, face, and also perfumes.  The packaging of her products is just to die for, a little goth and very girly.

Buzz was big about the mineral powders from Youngblood – they have the smoothest, most gorgeous finish ever.

And that is just a small example of what we found there – with over 100 vender booths, there was more than four of us could explore over two days!!  Look for some great review posts in the next few weeks on brands we found in LA such as Inglot, MakeUp ForEver, Napoleon Perdis, London Brush, Beauty So Clean, Wundercover, Dex Cosmetics, Youngblood, Three Custom Color, Beauty Is Life, Royal and Langnickel brushes, Glamcor, Myrobelle, Koh Gen Do, Embryolisse, and more!!  – Lisa