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

Novalash Eyelash Extensions: an update, plus what is a ‘fill’ like?

People ask me all the time how I like my Novalash eyelashes.  The truth is, I don’t like them – I LOVE them.  I am absolutely, completely, totally addicted.  They aren’t the easiest ‘enhancement’ to have – they are expensive, and there are certain complications.  But I am willing to put up with any issues because the pros far outweigh the cons.


1.  They are expensive, maintenance is costing me about $90 a month (2 fills plus tip).

2.  The glue can be irritating to my eyelids, and it can make my lids itchy.

3.  The extensions I get are the longest, most dramatic ones, so I sometimes have problems with them sticking to my lower lashes at inconvenient times.  I am sure that it’s more problematic with the longer lashes than it is with the shorter ones.


1.  They look totally natural and make my eyes look amazing.

2.  I no longer have to wrestle with a lash curler every morning.

3.  While I can use mascara if I want, I don’t have to – and it’s really nice to have eyelashes that always look great.

4.  They do not negatively affect my natural lashes in any way.

4.  Did I mention they make my eyes look AMAZING???

More lashes = love!

I want to point out that Novalash extensions are different from what is known as ‘individuals’, which are false eyelashes that are glued to several of your natural lashes in one clump.  That type of lash enhancement is cheaper, but it also causes you to lose your natural lashes before they would normally fall out with their natural growth cycle.  I would NOT recommend that type of lash enhancement.  I have been wearing the Novalash extensions for four months now, so I have completely cycled though a normal three-month growth cycle, and I can tell you that I still have just as many natural lashes as I did when I started.  When it comes to extensions, cheaper is not better!!

I originally posted about the initial application HERE.  The first time you have a set applied is by far the most expensive.  But just like with acrylic nails, you need to have a ‘fill’ every so often to keep your lashes looking their best.  Some people can go as long as 4 weeks, most probably go every 3 weeks.  I actually like to go every 2 weeks if I can, just because then they don’t ever get thinned out.

Before the fill, no eye makeup on at all

Pictured above and below are my lashes after four weeks.  Four weeks is truly the longest you would ever want to go in between fills.  Remember, with Novalash each lash is individually applied to your natural lashes.  So as you shed your lashes throughout their normal growth cycle, your extensions go with them.

Before the fill, no eye makeup on

As you can see above, I have quite a few extensions left – but I also have natural lashes without extensions.  So they still look pretty good, but not as good as they do after the fill.

After the fill, still with no eye makeup on

Here they are after.  A fill takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how many lashes you need to have applied.  It costs anywhere from $40 to $65, also depending on the amount of work your stylist needs to do.  Just like with an initial application, your lower lashes are taped down and the stylist works from one eye to the next, gluing individual lashes to your natural lashes.

Back to my new ‘normal’!

I am so used to the extensions now that I can’t even imagine being without them.  Unless you have extremely sensitive eyes, I highly recommend Novalash extensions.  If you go to the website, they have a page where you can find a certified stylist in your area.  Find a certified stylist and go for it – I know that you will become as much of a lash addict as I am!  – Lisa

Instant lash gratification with Novalash Eyelash Extensions

One magical day a makeup artist put individual false eyelashes on me, and I realized just how fantastic my eyes could look.  Despite all my experiments with false lashes and with Latisse, I never was able to replicate that amazing look.  So I jumped at the chance to get Novalash Eyelash Extensions from  Savanna at Creations Salon in Rochester Hills, Michigan.  I did worry that the procedure might hurt.  I was also concerned that the look might be unnatural, or that the lashes would fall out unevenly and I would look silly.  But in the name of research and the quest for perfect lashes, I bravely took the plunge!

Check out my YouTube video review here:  Novalash Eyelash Extensions

Before I get into the details, here is a before and after:

Before Novalash

Pictured above is right before the Novalash treatment.  I am wearing absolutely no eye makeup.  Below is my after picture, again with absolutely no eye makeup.

What a difference!  Here is the scoop:

The initial session for Novalash Eyelash Extensions takes about two hours.  I went in with no eye makeup on.  Savanna, my stylist, taped my bottom lashes down so they wouldn’t get tangled with my upper lashes.  It looked like this:

The taping wasn’t painful, but I wished I hadn’t worn my contacts because they really dried out by the end.  I told Savanna I wanted very dramatic lashes – I figured if I was going to commit to extensions, I might as well go big!!  It’s your choice, though, you decide just how much drama you want, plus there are different color options available.  She used three different sized lashes on me, giving me a mix of long, medium, and short lashes for a dramatic but natural look.  Here’s my after picture:

After – lots of drama!!

Savanna worked from one eye to the next, using surgical grade glue to attach the extensions to each individual eyelash.  The glue doesn’t touch your eyelid, just the eyelash.  After the glue dried a bit, she would go back and separate the lashes using tweezers.  When all the extensions were attached, she had me hold a little fan up to my eyes to help dry the glue (you can just see the fan in the right corner of the above picture).

after, lots of length!

Did it hurt?  Yes, it did.  Was it bad?  No, it wasn’t.  I think that getting a bikini wax is far, far more painful.  However, if you have super sensitive eyes this might not be a good option for you.  What I found to the be the most painful was the first time I got my eyelashes wet.  You have to wait 12 to 24 hours before getting them wet so the glue dries.  When you do get them wet the first time, the residual glue comes off.  That stung like crazy for about 60 seconds.  This only happens to some people, for others it’s not an issue.  I do have some sensitivity, I have to use contact solution for sensitive eyes.  So your mileage may very in terms of sensitivity to the glue.

Here’s a before and after with my eyes open:

before, nothing special…

It makes such a difference I can’t believe it.  The lashes shed like normal lashes, so your initial treatment lasts 3 to 4 weeks before you need a ‘fill’.  Your monthly fill will run anywhere from $50 to $65.

An absolute necessity – an eyelash spoolie

One thing you definitely need is an eyelash spoolie.  Every morning and every night you need to brush through your eyelashes with a spoolie, it keeps them in place and helps with the natural shedding.  You can’t curl your eyelashes, and you don’t need to, because the extensions are already curled.  You can use eye makeup if you want, except for waterproof mascara.  I also wouldn’t use the type of mascara that ‘tubes’ your lashes.  But honestly, you don’t need mascara!

I was totally impressed by how well the lashes held up on my vacation.  We stayed right on the ocean, and I was outside in the sun, in the chlorinated pool, and in the ocean salt water.

at the pool

It was fantastic to never have to worry about eye makeup.  My eyes always looked great, and it makes such a difference.  I found the extensions truly make you look younger and less tired.

Before a date with my husband – no mascara!!

Above is a picture before the hubby and I went out to the movies.  I actually put on some eye makeup, but I still skipped mascara.   I have to tell you, my husband LOVES my lashes.  When I told him how much it would cost for upkeep, he insisted that I continue with it.  He suggested that we skip going out to dinner twice a month so I can afford the fills, and instead we have our own ‘romantic interlude’ on those nights.  He is such an opportunist.


After two weeks, my eyes looked like this:

sunning at the ocean

They really only started to shed much in the third week.  I have a separate post where I will tell you all about the ‘fill’ experience, which is much less intense than the first treatment.

My overall opinion is that the pros of the Novalash Eyelash Extensions far out way any cons.  Eyelash extensions are an investment, but I found they make as much difference as getting my hair done once a month, or getting my nails done every two weeks.  While the initial treatment is slightly painful, the lashes look dramatic yet real.  No one has any idea they are extensions, although people are always asking what kind of mascara I use.  The daily upkeep is minor, just brushing the lashes and cleaning them once a day with cleanser pads.  I love the ones from Novalash called Clean Lash.

Novalash Clean Lash

These cleanser pads are soaked in pomegranate seed extract which removes all eye makeup and conditions your eyelash extensions, extending their life.

Another necessity – Clean Lash remover pads

I am addicted to my eyelash extensions.  I can’t imagine life without them now, and I am so happy I took the plunge. If you want fantastic eyelashes, go for the immediate gratification of Novalash Eyelash Extensions.  – Lisa

*initial treatment courtesy of Novalash and Savanna at Creations Salon