Best of beauty: Worth the splurge

Allure

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Eyes to Kill Mascara

(Photo: David Cook)

The pleasure of using these luxury products makes up for their hefty price tags.



Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara, $30.

Asymmetrical bristles and a volumizing formula inflate every lash.

WHAT IT IS:
A mascara that separates, lengthens, and volumizes

HOW IT LOOKS/FEELS:
The formula is remarkably non-gloppy; the dense brush has nylon bristles.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
This Best of Beauty winner doesn't clump or flake (no lash comb necessary!) and delivers full, almost fake-looking lashes.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009


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Cle de Peau Beaute Lip Gloss

(Photo: David Cook)

Clé de Peau Beauté Lip Gloss (shown here in shade N7), $48.

Deliciously rich gloss at its most sophisticated.

WHAT IT IS:
A collection of long-lasting lip glosses (shown here in N7)

HOW THEY LOOK/FEEL:
The silky glosses come in a variety of neutral and vibrant colors.

WHY WE LIKE THEM:
The smooth, unsticky formula leaves a high-gloss finish with a burst of lasting color.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012

(See more: Best cheap beauty products of 2012)



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Prada Candy Scrub

(Photo: David Cook)

Prada Candy Scrub, $75.

Vanilla-scented exfoliators smooth and sweeten skin, leaving it almost lickable.

WHAT IT IS:
A sweet-scented body scrub

WHAT IT DOES:
Exfoliates and softens skin

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Microparticles (exfoliate); glycerin, soy glycine protein, fommes officinalis, and vitamin E (moisturize)

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
This dense scrub smells like caramel and white musk and is packed with exfoliating granules.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
The scrub is grainy enough to buff away rough patches thoroughly, but it doesn't feel scratchy or leave skin pink or raw. Post shower, the body feels amazingly soft and smooth.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012



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Edward Bess Quad Royale

(Photo: David Cook)

Edward Bess Quad Royale, $45.

A just-off-the-slopes flush that's impossible to overdo.

WHAT IT IS:
A four-color powder palette

HOW IT LOOKS/FEELS:
The four shades of silky powder can be used on eyes, cheeks, or almost anywhere else on the face.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
Swirled together, the complementary shades give the face a natural, sun-kissed flush. They can also be used separately as blush, highlighter, and eye shadow for pretty, romantic look.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012



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Dr. Brandt Time Arrest Crème de Luxe

(Photo: David Cook)

Dr. Brandt Time Arrest Crème de Luxe, $200.

Antioxidants fend off UV damage while high-tech peptides undo what time has already wrought.

WHAT IT IS:
An anti-aging cream

WHAT IT DOES:
Brightens skin, improves texture and tone, and protects against free-radical damage

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Grape stem cells (antioxidant); Silpearls (silanol and pearl powder complex to brighten, hydrate, and improve collagen production); tourmaline crystals (increase microcirculation); peptides (increase collagen production); fern extracts (firm skin)

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
The off-white cream is thick, but manages to feel light on the face, despite being loaded with anti-aging ingredients. The clean, green scent is refreshing.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
The price is striking, but the payoff is, too: This cream has a mighty arsenal of ingredients to battle a range of skin foes, including fine lines, dullness, and loss of elasticity. Plus, a dab goes a long way, so you won't need to replace it too often.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012 and 2011



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La Prairie Cellular Lip Renewal Concentrate

(Photo: David Cook)

La Prairie Cellular Lip Renewal Concentrate, $105.

This orange-scented cream makes lips plusher and naturally pinker, and you don't need much (our tube lasted a year).

WHAT IT IS:
A reparative anti-aging lip treatment

WHAT IT DOES:
Gently exfoliates and hydrates the lips

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Shea butter, beeswax, raspberry seed oil, sesame seed oil, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and aloe (hydrate); retinyl palmitate and tridecyl salicylate (exfoliate)

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
It's a rich, milky white serum with a light citrus scent.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
This creamy balm goes on shiny and wet, with a tingling sensation that signals it's working. And you only need a tiny drop to make lips softer and naturally pinker, so the pricey bottle should last for over a year.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012

 

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Leonor Greyl Shampooing Reviviscence

(Photo: David Cook)

Leonor Greyl Shampooing Reviviscence, $65 for 7 oz.

A riot of oils absolutely spoil hair.

WHAT IT IS:
A repairing shampoo for severely damaged hair

WHAT IT DOES:
Reconditions and repairs damaged hair to restore strength, manageability, softness, and shine

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Barley protein, seaweed extract, hydrolyzed silk, bamboo extract, and amaranth (condition and strengthen)

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
The transparent formula works into a rich white lather with a jasmine-floral scent.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
This transformative shampoo justifies its price tag by bringing brittle hair back to life with just one wash.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012


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Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil

(Photo: David Cook)

Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil, $150.

A drop of this jasmine-scented oil makes skin gleam—we also dab it on our wrists.

WHAT IT IS:
A moisturizing facial oil

WHAT IT DOES:
Hydrates skin and gives it a dewy sheen

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Eleven essential oils (moisturizers)

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
The yellow oil feels slick to the touch and smells like rose perfume; it comes in a clear bottle with a dropper attached to the cap.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
It's a staple of many top pros. Makeup artist Brigitte Reiss-Andersen uses it "to take makeup off, to moisturize, as a massage oil. I'll even add a couple drops to my clients' foundation if I want a dewy finish. It's marvelous how fast it sinks in." Rub on a tiny drop or two (any more leaves behind a greasy residue) on cheekbones and under eyes for a beautiful, fresh glow.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012


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Prevage Day Ultra Protection Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30 PA++

(Photo: David Cook)

Prevage Day Ultra Protection Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30 PA++, $129.

Potent idebenone makes this fast-absorbing sunscreen a powerhouse.

WHAT IT IS:
An anti-aging facial moisturizer for day

WHAT IT DOES:
Hydrates skin while protecting it from sun damage and premature aging

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Idebenone (antioxidant); octinoxate, benzophenone-3, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and avobenzone (sunscreens)

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
The peachy lotion is superlightweight and has a fruity scent.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
Packed with broad-spectrum sunscreen and the potent antioxidant idebenone, this Best of Beauty winner is serious defense against sun damage—without feeling like cake frosting. Test it on a small patch of skin first, though, because some people can be sensitive to this antioxidant.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012, 2011, and 2010


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Sachajuan Volume Powder

(Photo: David Cook)

Sachajuan Volume Powder, $32.

Misting at the roots makes blowouts bouncier—even on the third day.

WHAT IT IS:
A dry shampoo

WHAT IT DOES:
Soaks up oil while adding volume

KEY INGREDIENTS:
Starches (absorb oil and volumize)

HOW IT FEELS/SMELLS/LOOKS:
The powder in this aerosol spray smells, well, powdery.

WHY WE LIKE IT:
Like an oil-blotting sheet for hair, it degreases in a flash. It even serves as a volumizer for fine hair. (Keep in mind that you need to shake the can until you hear the ball rattle inside before spraying—otherwise it comes out too powdery.)

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012



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Clarisonic Aria

(Photo: David Cook)

Clarisonic Aria, $199.

This oscillating brush leaves skin extravagantly soft—and ready to lap up anti-agers.


WHAT IT IS:
An electric facial cleansing brush

HOW IT LOOKS/FEELS:
The three-speed brush has a simple, clean design and sits neatly in a charging dock when not in use; the soft bristles won't irritate skin (it comes with a sensitive brush head).

WHY WE LIKE IT:
Recommended by an army of dermatologists, the oscillating brush gets skin significantly cleaner than old-fashioned washing, helping clear up acne, even out skin tone, and transform dull skin. After a couple weeks of use, we had radiant, glowing skin.

AWARDS:
Best of Beauty 2012




More at Allure:

The 12 Best Eye Creams

Best of Beauty 2012

The 10 Most Gorgeous Hair-Color Ideas for Brunettes

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