MORE Beauty Awards: 2013's Big Beauty Try-On

Members of MORE's Opinionista reader panel road tested more than 500 products to come with your shopping list of must-gets this season: 38 fab finds guaranteed to make your hair gleam, your skin glow—and you gorgeous

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Skin Perfecter

Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation SPF 18 ($35;


This foundation manages to deliver the impossible: coverage that’s sheer yet flawless. The key is that the superlight formula contains something called “color noise” technology, which cancels out unwanted hues. For example, green in the foundation negates red blemishes, blue hides brown spots, and white hides blackheads. Testers were unaware of the science, but they sure liked the results. “Good color, blended well—and made my spots disappear,” reported one. “Blended well and smoothed out my complexion,” said another. “Incredibly light, and I loved that it didn’t cake in the creases around my eyes,” wrote a third.

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Bright Eyeliner

YSL Eyeliner Baby Doll In Blue Light ($34;


Jewel tones are an eye-makeup trend for fall. This liquid liner—a pretty sapphire shade—won bonus points for providing a pop of color without being too-too. “Using this was a great, subtle way to add some color without looking like a clown,” wrote one. Testers also found the product surprisingly easy to use, especially for a liquid liner. “So easy to apply—great brush,” said one. “I liked how thin the tip of the brush is; that made it easy to control the application,” said another.

Yves Saint Laurent

Skin Slougher

Ahava Facial Renewal Peel ($35;


Testers gave this gentle face-exfoliating treatment accolades for leaving dry, rough skin “clean and smooth,” without redness or stinging. “I have sensitive skin, and this didn’t irritate at all,” said one. The secret? Lactic acid, an effective but relatively mild skin slougher.

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Lip Saver

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm With Blueberry And Dark Chocolate ($4;


“This smells and tastes like a piece of expensive gourmet chocolate,” gushed one tester. It’s a darn good lip balm to boot: “Great moisturizer, long lasting”; “Never felt tacky”; “My lip condition improved while I used this.”

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Best Blush

By Terry Hyaluronic Blush In Blushberry ($42;


This gel-like blush was a two-pronged hit: It’s easy to apply and creates a natural-looking flush (the color is pink but not overly so). “Gave me rosy cheeks that seemed to radiate from within. Love, love this blush!” Another pointed out that there was “lots in the tube—it will last forever,” which amortizes the steep price tag.

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Workhorse Lotion

Roc Multi-Correxion 5-In-1 Moisturizer SPF 30 ($29;


If streamlined skin care is your goal, this is your gotta-have-it product. Created to fight lines, sagging and uneven skin tone, the daytime lotion also has SPF 30, making it all you -really need from 9 to 5. Busy test-ers appreciated the efficiency. As one put it, “I am a minimalist, and I loved the fact that this one product did it all.”

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Eye Primer

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($24;


The brand’s original Eyeshadow Primer has been a cult favorite for years because of its ability to make shadow endure; it also provides subtle coverage if your lids are red or discolored. This new incarnation boasts all the benefits of the original, plus anti-aging ingredients to smooth lines and crepey-ness. Testers liked what they saw, and this one summed it up best: “Great texture and made my eyes appear brighter on application. It also did keep my eyeshadow looking vivid and fresh longer. Brilliant product.” 

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Do-It-All Cleanser

Estée Lauder Perfectly Clean Triple-Action Cleanser ($28;


Billed as a cleanser, toner and makeup remover in one, this hardworking grime remover won kudos for being thorough but not harsh. “Gently got rid of makeup,” said one. “Left my skin clean and soft,” said another. “After using this for a few weeks, I swear my pores were smaller,” volunteered a third.

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Super Serum

Clé De Peau Beauté Le Sérum ($325;


This wrinkle- and sag-fighting serum is pricey, but testers noted that one pump’s worth covers your entire face, so the product will last you a long, long time. And that single pump works wonders, testers gushed. A few of their giddy responses: “It felt delightful going on”; “My skin felt softer after I used the product and became smoother each day I applied it”; and, finally, “The first night I used this product, I couldn’t believe how soft my skin felt. It is absolutely the best skin-care product I’ve ever used—and I’ve used a lot!”

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Hot Hue

OPI Nail Lacquer in Lost On Lombard ($9;


This polish’s garnet hue was classic enough that even trend-averse testers embraced it. “I’m not a fan of dark color, but I liked this one. I applied just one coat, which made me feel more comfortable,” said one. “Great color! I only use OPI polish and was pleased as usual,” said another. One reader summed it up as “the perfect shade for fall.”

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Stress Buster for Skin

Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask ($34;


Packed with soothing additives such as aloe vera and Frescolat (a mint-based ingredient), this treatment soothes sun- and windburn, minimizes redness related to acne and rosacea and helps heal skin after procedures such as chemical peels anddeep-laser treatments. Test-ers loved how it felt: “Refreshing,” “Nice and cool” and “This made my face feel fresh and firmer” were among the comments.

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Long-lasting Scent

Tom Ford Shanghai Lily Fragrance ($210;


One of four fragrances in the designer’s autumn homage to Asia, Atelier d’Orient, Shanghai Lily is a paradox: sensual and easy to wear. Testers were impressed by the scent’s elegance and subtle spiciness, with comments including “Clean and warm,” “Unique and exotic” and “Floral with a kick.” They also loved its staying power. “This scent lasts forever,” said one tester.

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Hair Glosser

Color Wow Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac ($18;


Testers who battle frizz, have coarse hair or like to blow their textured tresses stick-straight liked this smoothing-styler. “Controlled my frizz and seemed to make my highlights pop,” said one. “Love this product. Made my hair shiny and -manageable—and gave it vibrancy it hasn’t had in a long time,” said another.

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Lash Builder

Covergirl Flamed Out Mascara ($6;


What hooked the testers: This product provided ample volume but didn’t clump or smear (many lash-fattening formulas do). A few specifics: “Kept my lashes from clumping; loved the brush design”; “Product went on easily, was not goopy and did not cause lashes to clump”; and, finally, “Didn’t smear and made my lashes look both fuller and longer.”

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Lock Booster

Oribe Soft Dry Conditioner Spray ($35;


Described by the company as fabric softener for the hair, this shine-boosting styler helps absorb oil like a dry shampoo but leaves hair shinier and softer than most powder cleansers. Testers were hooked. “I have used many products on my hair, but this was among the best. It was so easy to apply and made a difference immediately. My hair was fluffy and felt more manageable and soft,” one summed up.

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Airy Foundation

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder ($45;


This compact powder foundation can be applied either wet (with a damp cosmetic brush or sponge) for a sheer, dewy finish or dry for slightly more coverage. Either way, the foundation is billed as über-natural—and suitable for aging skin (translation: It won’t sink into lines and pores). Readers thought it delivered on all counts. “Beautiful finish—I even received several compliments on how smooth my skin looked while I was wearing it,” recounted one. “Smooth, soft, just the right coverage. Basically perfect,” said another.

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Skin Savior

Perricone MD Photo Plasma SPF 30 ($69;


Thanks to a mineral sunscreen, this lotion is easily tolerated by all skin types, even the most sensitive. The formula is also spiked with antioxidants such as vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid and asta-xanthin (which gives the cream a peachy hue). It’s no overstatement to say readers fell in love with this product. Some of their adoring comments: “This made my skin look radiant and dewy without greasiness. In fact, my skin looked so good, I skipped foundation”; “Loved the texture of this moisturizer, and I swear it made my skin look younger.”

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Must-Have Mask

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask ($300;


The latest addition to the brand’s best-selling Caviar collection, this overnight treatment promises to transform dry, dull skin in eight hours. Testers loved the results—as well as the pampered feeling the product gave them. “This made my dehydrated skin feel like a silken canvas,” gushed one. Another has obviously become a La Prairie addict: “What a luxurious product! I loved the packaging, and it feels wonderful going on. After I used this two nights, my skin felt much softer, looked clearer and was much more hydrated. I literally woke up with glowing skin.” 

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Eye Depuffer

 H2o Plus Eye Oasis Instant Hydrating Stick ($26;


Like a triple espresso for your under-eyes, this cooling and hydrating treatment (which actually contains caffeine) boosts circulation wherever it’s swiped, shrinking eye bags and smoothing crepey skin. One tester liked it so much, she lent it to her skeptical husband, who admitted, “My eyes did feel more awake, and the puffiness went away.”

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Eye-Opening Mascara

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Big Eyes Mascara ($10;


Dual ended, this mascara has one jumbo, fluffy brush for top lashes and a tighter, narrower wand for grabbing and coating the shorter fringe on the lower lash line. Testers loved the versatility, which led one woman to reconsider her morning routine. “I rarely put mascara on my lower lashes because I end up with raccoon eyes,” she said.“But the little brush doesn’t over-deposit color, so there is less smearing.”

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Easy Lipcolor

Bareminerals Loud & Clear Lip Sheer In Amped Pink  ($16;


A goof-proof, apply-without-a-mirror formula, this sheer lip hue (testers tried it in Amped Pink) was a winner with everyone. “Loved how my lips felt while wearing it. Not too waxy or greasy, and it gave a nice sheen,” said one. “Flattering, subtle pink color,” said another.

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Hair Repair

Dove Intensive Repair Conditioner ($6;


Women with fine hair that’s dry or damaged struggle to find the right conditioner. They want something that strengthens and smooths but isn’t so packed with moisturizing ingredients that it leaves locks limp. As a result, our fine-haired test-ers went bananas for this conditioner, which helps repair hair but is unusually light. “My hair is extremely fine with a bit of  wave. It typically has no body and frizzes on the ends. I used this and put no other products in my hair. And when I dried!” exclaimed one tester. “My hair was shiny and full and looked very healthy.  I haven’t had hair like this since my twenties.” 

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Tress Tousler

Aloxxi Texturizing Spray  ($20;


Score beachy yet -polished strands with this salt-free spritz-and-go -styler. “When I used this, my husband asked if I’d been to the salon,” said one. “It was incredibly easy to use,” said another. One pointed out that unlike actual salt water, this left her hair soft: “I was surprised at how airy and light my hair felt."

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Mane Thickener

Nioxin Bodifying Foam With Pro-Thick ($16;


This volumizing mousse provides the extra oomph we loved in the ’80s, sans the stiffness we didn’t. The secret? A blend of flexible polymers (three decades ago, polymers were rigid) and light conditioners. To the testers’ happy surprise, this mousse boosted their hair’s body—and its mobility. “This made my hair feel soft and swingy, and it added long-lasting volume. It’s a vast improvement over other thickening products, which left my hair feeling sticky,” said one. Another said it was as if “the mousse goosed my hair follicles; my hair was much fuller.” And several curly-haired testers said the foam was especially good at holding and plumping their spirals—without “a gel-like crunch.”

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Standout Lip Shade

Jane Iredale PureMoist Lipstick In Kaylee ($25;


This new lip product from the popular mineral makeup line feels good, as a lip balm should, and provides as much color as a lipstick. The neutral pinky-brown shade pleased most testers. “This color was versatile enough for day or night. Plus, the texture was smooth, and my lips felt very moisturized,” said one. “Great color, and my lips felt fantastic,” seconded another. 

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Hand Healer

Nuance By Salma Hayek Brightening Hand Cream ($10;


 Our Opinionistas raved about how good this hand cream smelled, how quickly it was absorbed and how much they liked using it. “I kept the tube on my desk at work so I could reach for it throughout the day,” said one. The cream also promises to help fade age spots, a claim we couldn’t fairly test because of our deadlines (testers used the products for only several weeks; noticeable fading usually takes about three months). Even so, one tester said her skin tone looked more even.

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Multitasking Lip Tint

Fresh Sugar Cherry Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($23;


This is the third time we’ve tested a tinted Lip Treatment from Fresh—and it’s the third time the product has hit a home run with testers. There are less expensive balms, but this one functions as both a treatment and an everyday lip hue. “Loved this product. The reddish color was great and lasted a long time. The best lip product I have ever used,” said one. “Loved the scent and shade. Great conditioner and sheer color for daytime,” said another.

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Dream Cream

SK-II Essential Power Rich Cream ($250;


 Got chronically dehydrated skin? This cream is your holy grail. Packed with ingredients that moisturize and plump the skin (diminishing the appearance of both fine lines and large pores), it won raves for its rich texture and long-lasting effects. “Fabulous product, rich and very luxurious. My skin was moist and dewy for quite some time after application,” said one. 

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Lash Builder

Dior Diorshow Buildable Volume Mascara In Catwalk Black ($25;


Love the look of volumizing mascara but fear it will clump? This thinner, more buildable version of Dior’s blockbuster Diorshow Mascara is a must-get. “It was light and gave my lashes a feathered effect. I loved it!” raved one. “This was easy to apply, built my lashes out nicely and did not clump,” said another. One tester agreed, but was even more enthusiastic about the luxe rose scent: “It smelled great—like French perfume—and the rose scent stuck with me all day."

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2-in-1 Skin Corrector

Lancôme Teint Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo ($60;


A foundation that looks natural, boasts the benefits of Lancôme’s best-selling skin-tone-evening Visionnaire serum and has a concealer hidden in its cap—this blend of makeup and treatment takes multitasking to a new level. And testers appreciated the effort. “Great idea, fantastic packaging, easy to blend into skin,” said one. “Love the dual system,” said another. “Blends into skin easily and provides good coverage, without leaving you looking overly made up,” wrote a third. 

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Lash Primer

It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Black Mascara Primer ($24;


Like foundation primer, this pre-mascara product is designed to make your favorite formula go on smoothly and last longer. It also makes your lashes look longer and denser and can be used alone for a natural look. Though our testers weren’t familiarwith this kind of product, they grasped the concept immediately and were pleased with the results. “Using this before mascara made my lashes look extra long,” said one. “It boosted the fullness of my lashes in a subtle way,” said another. “This prevented my mascara from smudging and helped it last all day,” raved a third.

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Fresh Scent

Marc Jacobs Honey ($72;


This upbeat floral won raves for being “light enough for every day.” Several testers said they used it as a before-bed scent (who knew?) because the smell was subtle and comforting (key notes include green pear, honeysuckle, honey and golden vanilla). The only knock: a few found the packaging too cutesy.

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Hair Healer

Pantene Advanced + Keratin Repair Keragloss Oil Mist ($14;


Who doesn’t love gleaming hair? This shine-enhancing styler delivers that—and more. Thanks to a mix of oils, a spritz will boost hair’s moisture and prevent breakage. Testers of all hair types were pleased. “I loved that this had a superfine mist so the application was really light. Fine-haired types needn’t worry about overdoing it,” explained one.

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Nude Polish

Zoya Nail Lacquer In Flynn ($8;


While dark polish still dominates in fall and winter, nudes are quickly catching up. This particular lacquer was embraced because it flattered many skin tones and was versatile. A few remarks: “Delightful color” and “I didn’t think this color would look good on me, but it is surprisingly nice on.”

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Pout Perfector

Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour In Sheer Pink Lust ($11;


A hybrid of lip balm and lipstick, this formula (and the Sheer Pink Lust shade) was unanimously beloved. “Gorgeous color—would look good on anyone—and my lips felt so smooth and hydrated,” said one. “Just the right amount of pigment without feeling heavy,” said another.

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Antiaging Elixir

Dr. Brandt DNA Transforming Pearl Serum ($150;


Firming, wrinkle-fightingand skin-tone-evening, this serum from Fredric Brandt, MD, cosmetic dermatologist to Hollywood’s A-list, promises to meet all your anti-aging complexion needs (saving you time and money because you can skip certain other products), and it’s suitable for all skin types. Readers ranging from combo- to dry-skin types agreed. “Left my skin feeling refreshed but not at all greasy,” said one. “Soaked into my skin immediately,” said another. And, finally, “I have semidry to combination skin, and this gave plenty of moisturizing power.”

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Moisturizing Mask

Ouidad Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask  ($40;


You needn’t have curly hair to benefit from the strand-strengthening and moisturizing ingredients in this weekly mask. Most testers saw an immediate improvement—and were surprised that the rich formula hydrated yet did not weigh down their hair. A few comments: “Fantastic detangler”; “My hair has never felt softer”; and “Smells heavenly.”

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Skin Hydrator

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Glow Renewal Face Oil ($25;


Face oils, a surprisingly nongreasy way to hydrate, were until now something you could find only at department stores and beauty boutiques. But this new L’Oréal product, a cocktail of eight essential oils, is bringing all that deluxe dewiness to drugstores. For our testers, the product was a winner. A typical verdict: “This oil delivers—it eliminates dry skin and gives just a touch of shine.”


Next: Best Anti-Aging Ideas at 30, 40, 50, 60


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First Published Tue, 2013-11-19 12:54

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