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

Visiting the Mediterranean with Vasanti Cosmetics

Vasanti Cosmetics has a beautiful collection out called the Mediterranean Fall Collection.  The collection includes a lipstick, a lip gloss, and a duo eyeshadow.  I won the arm wrestling match with Marcia and was absolutely thrilled to try the lipstick and the lip gloss.

Before I get into the review, just a few words about Vasanti:  if you haven’t yet, you really must try this line!  Vasanti Cosmetics is a Canadian line available in stores in Canada and online for the rest of us.   I have reviewed some Vasanti products in the past, and I have to say that the Vasanti Eye Wonder ($42) is one of the best eye creams I have ever tried, and the Moon Dust Shimmer Powder ($14) is something I never even put away because I use it so often.  You can see my review of these items here, and Marcia reviewed some other lip colors here.

Vasanti Lipstick

The lipstick in the Mediterranean Collection is an Ultra Luxe Lipstick with Peptide Technology named Greece ($15).  It’s a wonderfully neutral color that is somewhere between a pink and a purple. 

Vasanti Greece Lipstick

It’s a bit on the cool side, but I think it would work beautifully for most skin tones.  It’s the perfect amount of color – not too light, and not too deep.  The lipstick formula is excellent.  It’s emollient without being too slick, so it has good staying power.  It also has Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, which according to Vasanti  ‘helps to increase lip volume, reduce the appearance of fines lines and smooths the lips surface (clinical trials of this peptide show results within 28 days of use).’  It also has loads of anti-oxidants in it, so this is a lipstick that is good for you.  It has no discernible fragrance and no taste.

Vasanti Lip Shine

Along with the lipstick, there is a complimentary lip gloss called Vitamin E Infused Lip Shine in Aegean Sea ($15). 

Vasanti Aegean Sea Lip Shine

Aegean Sea is a plummy-pink with shimmer. 

Aegean Sea Lip Shine wand

 It’s gorgeous over the Greece lipstick and wonderful on its own.  The Vitamin E is a great anti-oxidant, and the lip gloss is nicely moisturizing and not the least bit sticky.  Below is a swatch of Aegean Sea Lip Shine:

Vasanti Aegean Sea Lip Shine swatch

And here is a swatch of both Greece lipstick and Aegean Sea Lip Shine:

Top swatch is Aegean Sea Lip Shine, bottom swatch is Greece Lipstick

These are two absolutely gorgeous, wearable, moisturizing lip products.  They each look great by themselves, and are a fabulous combination worn together.  If you haven’t tried out Vasanti Cosmetics yet, this is a fantastic place to start.  – Lisa

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.


  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.


  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

Vasanti Eyes

Oh my, I absolutely adore the Vasanti line.  It has some extremely terrific, user-friendly, and effective products – I just want more and more!!  Marcia reviewed lip products from Vasanti yesterday here.  Usually, we don’t review the same line two days in a row, but this is such an interesting line I thought it deserved to be in the spotlight yet again!   I have tested out eye products from Vasanti, and I couldn’t be happier.

You know, if you want a great eye look, you need to start with healthy, well-moisturized skin.  That’s where Eye Wonder ($42) comes in.

My goodness, this is the most lovely eye cream I have come across in a long, long time.  It combats wrinkles, it takes away puffiness, and it lightens dark circles.  You don’t need much, just a tiny bit, so it lasts forever.  Even better, you see real results in three weeks.  This is eye cream that works.  It really works.  I use this under my eyes and on my eyelids twice a day, and I also put it on my other areas prone to wrinkles.  I keep mine in the fridge, because the coolness of the cream helps to combat morning puffiness, and it also helps the moisturizer’s key ingredients stay fresh.   Here is what I have noticed since I started using this:  I have run into several people I knew in high school.  Every single one took a double take, looked puzzled, and then said, “You look EXACTLY like you did in high school.  No, really.  EXACTLY.  How did you do that??”  Ummm…well, I have to say, the Eye Wonder helped.  Buy this.  It’s terrific.  I would gladly pay three times as much for it.

Once you have your skin taken care of, the next item to consider is concealer.  Vasanti has that covered (oh, ok, pretty bad pun!!).

This is their Liquid Cover Up Oil-Free Foundation and Concealer ($23), it has a small brush with nylon bristles.  As the name implies, it can be used as both a foundation and a concealer.

After consulting with the fabulous people at Vasanti, we decided the correct color for my MAC NW23 skin would be V2.  Here is a swatch below.  I definitely recommend contacting them to figure out your color match first, I had guessed a color that would have been way too dark for me.

This concealer is light and blendable, but it’s got great pigmentation so it covers imperfections well.  I found it did not sink into fine lines, and it gave a natural look to the skin.  I like it as a foundation, but I find myself reaching for it more as a concealer for some reason.

Next up for eyes – the Shimmer Powder ($14).  I love, love, love mineral pigments, and Vasanti’s is terrific.  It’s shimmery enough to make my heart go pitter-patter, and not so shimmery as to make me look like a drag queen.

This color is Moon Dust.  It’s a gorgeous shimmering champagne.

I swatched it on my arm, the top swatch is wet, the bottom swatch is dry.  I have deep-set, hooded eyes, so my lids scream for a lighter, somewhat shimmery color.  Moon Dust is just perfect, it goes on super smooth and has great staying power with a good eye primer (I like Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy myself – shout out to Olivia from the Unknown Beauty Blog for introducing me to this great stuff!!).

Then, to finish out my Vasanti eye look, I used the Magic Liner ($20).  This is a thin eyeliner wand with a clear liquid on it that  instantly transforms any powder eyeshadow into a long-lasting liquid eyeliner.

It took me a while to get the hang of this.  What I discovered is that you need to use a highly pigmented, very dark eye color to get a great liquid line.  The Magic Liner doesn’t really deepen the color, even though it gets the color wet, so the darker you go the better.  Also, the more pigmented the eyeshadow, the better your results.  I got amazing results with the darker colors in my Kevyn Aucoin palettes, as well as with my Trish McEvoy definer shadows.

Here is a pic with the shimmer eyeshadow on the lids, and for the liner I used the darkest color in my Kevyn Aucoin Palette #2.  I also used my Vasanti concealer.

Here is the eye look with open eyes.  The mascara I used was Maybelline the Colossal Volum’ Express.I think you can get a better idea of the Magic Liner in this picture.  The fine tip brush gives a very exact, thin line that looks neat and classic.

The upshot is, I think Vasanti is a fabulous line for eye products.  Do yourself a favor and check this one out – great products, reasonable prices, and beautiful results.  You can find Vasanti in drugstores in Canada, as well as online here. – Lisa

Eye Wonder Ingredients:

  1. Dermican: a tetra-peptide that promotes restructuring of the skin, thickens and firms to improve the appearance of dark circles causes by thinning skin
  2. Eurol BT: a natural olive extract that inhibits tyrosinase production, lightens and brightens dark circles caused by increased melanin production
  3. Haloxyl: a peptide that reinforces the structure of the skin and reduces the appearance of dark under eye circles caused by weakened and broken blood vessels and capillaries
  4. Eyeliss: helps prevent and reduce undereye puffiness by increasing lymphatic circulation as well as reducing inflammation
  5. Matrixyl 3000: One of the most effective peptides in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, restructures and repairs the extracellular matrix.
  6. Phytelene 773: a blend of marine algaes with hydrating and anti-aging properties

Shimmer Powder ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: Mica, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
[+/- (May Contain): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140:1), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090:2), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288),Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Manganese Violet (CI 77742),Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163),Carmine (CI 75470)

Discovering Vasanti lips

There’s a reason research has shown that between 800 and 900 MILLION lipsticks are bought each year. Lipstick is the perfect pick me up. Even when money is tight women often feel the need to put on a product that makes them feel better and lipstick is the winner. It comes in every price imaginable and a gazillion different shades. If you are like me though, you probably have a lot of variations of the same color. It can be hard to break out of our lip paradigm but do we really care?

We may be drawn to the same shades over and over so the distinction can be by switching to a different brand. Today’s new brand is Vasanti, an amazing Canadian cosmetic company. It was started by 3 women who wanted to embrace inclusivity for all women with lightweight, easy to use products. My friend and guest blogger Ammie is actually the person that introduced me to Vasanti several years ago. She had ordered a few things and couldn’t stop raving about them. Therefore on her second order I had her add in an eyeshadow palette for me. I’m surprised you couldn’t hear us squealing when we got these and starting wearing them. But I digress since this review is about the terrific lipsticks I received from Vasanti.

Ultra Luxe Lipstick ($15) is an amazing formula. It was formulated to plump, hydrate and smooth using the latest peptide technology. It’s loaded with botanicals like mango seed and pomegranate oil. The lipstick goes on so smoothly. You can go on a mini-vacation wearing these lipsticks – from Aruba to Zimbabwe! I went to Sweden which fits me since it’s a neutral country. Sweden is described as a perfect Nude Pink but I think it has much more color than that. I wouldn’t describe this as nude. It’s much richer than that. It adds a nice rosy pink hue to my lips. It brightens me up while still being light enough to remain in my comfort zone.

The absolutely perfect lipgloss for Sweden (though the lipstick is great on its own) is Flores. Vasanti’s lipglosses ($15) are infused with Vitamin E. They are so soft on my lips; the moisturization on these is terrific. They aren’t sticky feeling, they just feel like you’ve bathed your lips in the most hydrating product. Flores is described as a pretty shimmering pink – what a sweet description. Pretty it is, shimmery but not sparkly it is, pink it is too. These come in 10 gorgeous looking shades. It adds just the right amount of gloss to my lipstick without overpowering it.

Last but not least of the lip products I’ve got is Tahiti Tinted Lipbalm ($15). Tahiti is described as a sheer pale pink with a touch of coral. This tinted lipbalm is the perfect everyday product for me. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a lipstick eater. I rarely pay attention most days to the fact that my lipstick is gone. I like the simplicity of Tahiti since I can apply it without even looking. My lips are lightly shaded in — and moisturized at the same time. This contains mango and shea butters which you know are like a miracle for your lips. I’ve been wearing this almost daily since I got it. It adds color to my lips but it’s light enough for everyday and comfortable feeling on my lips.

If you are one of those women that contributed to the 800 million lipsticks plus that were sold then you are on the right track to cosmetic happiness but you won’t be truly fulfilled until you’ve had the opportunity to try a lip product from Vasanti. This is a brand you’ll love discovering. — Marcia