Krista Robyn's beauty blog - makeup tutorials - health and wellness blog

Top Beauty Products of 2011

It’s that time again! I chose my top favorite beauty products for the year, as I do every year, and this time around I have safe skincare and makeup in mind.  I will now be labeling products that I review with key ingredients, safe or unsafe, because I care about the well-being of my readers and friends! Let’s get on with the list! Be sure to scroll down to leave a comment about your favorites!

Face: Foundation & Powder

This was a hard choice this year. After going to France in May, my view on makeup and skincare was a bit skewed since I found the Yves Rocher store at the train station. I wanted everything and believed there was nothing better. I came back down to Earth and realized that there is still some other stuff to try and I found more favorites!

Beauty Society Foundation in DazzlingBeauty Society Liquid Foundation in “Dazzling” – Beauty Society is not a very well-known line, but it definitely should be. All of my skincare comes from this line! If you knew what it took for me to actually obtain this foundation, you would not be very happy! I ordered the product in July and did not receive it until October because it was on back order. It is probably the best foundation I’ve ever used in the 22 years I’ve been using liquid foundation. Well worth the wait for its arrival!  No parabens! Here is the description on the Beauty Society website.. you should be impressed: Formulated with an unheard of 10 anti-aging ingredients including the hottest ingredient in anti-aging, Apple Stem Cell Technology. This oil-free, color correcting, flawless,long wearing liquid makeup is beautiful and extremely beneficial for your skin, Contains Apple Stem Cells, Vitamins A, C, & E, Ceraminds, Co-Q-10, white tea, biotin, bisabolol and phytosphingosine this product will forever be your favorite liquid foundation.

Keep in mind that I have extremely acne-prone skin and I have to be careful what I apply on it. This foundation is thick and concentrated, so it works well when mixed with a tinted moisturizer or lighter foundation. I like to use my fingertips to blend the makeup and warm it up into my skin. I love this stuff to death! Even when the product was on back order, Beauty Society was kind enough to keep in touch with me to let me know they were sorry for the delay. When the shipment arrived, I had a bonus vial of the Success Oil perfume, which I really love! (Comes in a nice glass pump bottle)

To order Beauty Society (online only!) , please use this link to view my friend’s Beauty Society store!

Jane Iredale Liquid MineralsHonorable Mention: Jane Iredale Liquid Minerals

This gel type foundation with Algae, Willow Bark and other natural agents has been a long-time favorite of mine, but it is very lightweight, so a thicker foundation or powder foundation may be needed for those who need extra coverage. For those lucky enough to have nice skin, but just need an even tone, this is great worn alone. I prefer to use fingers or flat-top foundation brush when applying to break the product up.  I notice a difference in my skin after using both the B.S. foundation mentioned above along with this Jane Iredale mineral foundation.. there were fine lines on my face at some point a few months ago, which I suspect was only dehydrated skin, but those are gone and I don’t want to find them again for many, many years to come!

Jane Iredale Amazing Base Mineral PowderBest Powder Foundation: Jane Iredale Amazing Base

Yup.. Iredale once again! Actually, a lot of things on this list will be from Jane Iredale, so I might start sounding a little irritating. I’ve gone through three jars of this in about a year, and I do use the product several times during the day, so I’d say this is a pretty good deal.

This is an incredible loose mineral foundation with UVA/UVB broad-spectrum sun protection. It provides exceptional coverage of any distraction including redness and brown spots. (Yes, freckles, too!) Free of oil, talc, dyes and parabens! Ideal for those who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea! UVA/UVB SPF 20 gives broad-spectrum sun protection, which is really important. You should also know that this foundation is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. I really don’t know of any other foundation that has that type of stamp of approval on it.

Jane Iredale products are available to try at some Planet Beauty stores, and available online at and Nordstroms.

Maybelline Dream Matte PowderHonorable Mention: Maybelline Dream Matte Pressed Powder

Unfortunately, I love this stuff but the ingredients are horrible. Five different parabens, including the biggie, Methylparaben. Parabens are known to cause cancer… I have creams from health stores that contain parabens that also have a warning label on them about cancer, so these ingredients can appear on products that also contain natural ingredients. I try to stay far, far away from parabens, but it is very hard to avoid. When I am out of this product, I will not purchase again. Though the subject of parabens is controversial, it is said through several sources that studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin may react with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage. Why am I awarding this product with an honorable mention? It looks great, wears fantastic and the price is awesome.

Ingredients: Talc, Nylon-12, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Magnesium Stearate, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Methylparaben, Triisocetyl Citrate, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben. May contain: Mica, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide.

Face: Primer

Jane Iredale Absence PrimerBest Face Primer: Jane Iredale Absence Oil Control Primer

If your foundation tends to change its color later in the day, it is because of the secretion of oil. To keep oily skin under control in a natural way, try the Jane Absence oil control primer! The scent of the product is beautiful to begin with and the application process is in itself very relaxing.

Ingredients: Ethyl Macadamiate, Mica (CI 77019), Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Dimethicone, Ozokerite, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla Cera) Wax (Candelilla), Hydrated Silica, Silicone Powder, Boron Nitrate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch (Wheat), Tribehenin, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract (Kelp), Punica Granatum Extract (Pomegranate), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Syringa Vulgaris Extract (Lilac), Stearic Acid, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Bisabolol (L-Alpha).

Eye Shadow Base

Eyeshadow Primer Potion - Eden Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – Eden

An eye prep product that provides smoother, longer-lasting, and absolutely crease-proof eyeshadow—and is now offered in a very-wearable, tawny, matte hue.

Why I love it: If Journey could write a song about this product, it would go something like this: Oh, Eden, our love holds on HOLDS ON, HOLDS ON! I basically pushed my original Primer Potion aside and made room for this gem. This works beyond my expectations! This is a Krista Dior award winner two years in a row!

Eye Care

Immortal Eyes
Beauty Society Immortal Eyes

If you’re like me, you complain about small-sized eye creams that are way too expensive. After purchasing the Immortal Eyes cream, 1 oz., from Beauty Society, I have not tried anything else on my eyes! Combats wrinkles, sun damage and sagging with results in 28 days… so they claim…but I definitely noticed tighter eyes with smoother skin. The product contains time-released ceramides, peptides and high concentrations of Vitamins A, C, E and CoQ10. The high-quality ingredients in this eye cream make it a winner in my book! When you’re done with the bottle, you don’t throw it away, you order the refill! Awesome. $49.50 for the product, $42 for the product refill!


Yves Rocher Extra Volume MascaraYves Rocher Extra-Volume Mascara

On my trip to France, I bought this mascara at a train station in the lovely Yves Rocher store. I was in LOVE with this and used it throughout my trip and continued to love it back at home until it was all gone! I absolutely love this mascara and I need a new tube! Luckily, I can purchase it online from the New York headquarters and Y.R. gives you so many free gifts that it makes Clinique look stingy. I bought a lot of Christmas gifts through their mail-order catalog as well, which was full of discounts. My birthday month discount was insane. I love this brand!

Brow Product

NYX Brow PencilI’ve flip-flopped my hair color around so much this year that it makes most people dizzy. I went from Platinum Blonde to Burgundy, to Copper to a True Red. I’ve had to adjust my eyebrow shades accordingly! I have very sparse eyebrows, so I need product on them or I can’t leave the house. There are a few products I’ve tried this year and loved:

NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil : If you’re looking for an inexpensive product with excellent quality, this is your perfect match! The product swivels up out of the plastic pencil, so no sharpening is required. The product is also a flat shape so you can achieve thinner lines if desired. It wears very well and I’ve ordered two more in darker shades to use on clients and for myself as I need one shade darker for the new hair color.

MAC Penultimate Brow Marker: For the sophisticated Chola, this pen is a dream come true! Ha! This pen gives you a very natural look without the “clown brows” look that most people associate with eyebrow markers. This is one of my most favorite brow products of all-time and I really do hope this product becomes available in more shades.

Color Line

Beauty Society PaletteI’ve purchased a lot of makeup this year (and received many blogger perks and gifts!) and I’ll have to say that I’ve been very impressed with both  Stila and Beauty Society‘s color quality and selections (photo on left), and work well for easy everyday wear. I am also a huge fan of Make Up For Ever for when I need something dramatic for the weekends or photos. These are my go-to brands for daily use! My favorite product from these lines would have to be the Bamboo Palette from Beauty Society, complete with an eyeshadow quad smokey eye kit, bronzer and blush. I used this palette for my bridal clients as well as myself on a daily basis. The bamboo compact is refillable and very durable. I find it easy to throw in my bag when I go on trips..although I wish it had an area for a lip product!

Another makeup palette that I love is the Sephora Makeup Studio Blockbuster kit. The quality of Sephora’s products has improved, and it really made an impact on the value of this kit. The eyeshadows are superb as well as the lip products included. Everything in this kit is pretty great except the brushes are useless except for the lip brush. Great makeup artist kit or for someone who needs a fresh new start!

Hair Products

GHD Gold Flat RonFlat Iron:  Hands down, the GHD Gold Professional 1 inch flat iron is the best of the best. I still love my Angelique flat iron, but since I’ve been doing curls on extensions these days, the GHD works best for that and anything else I need to do.

Hana Professional Hair DryerHair Dryer:  The HANAair Professional Hair Dryer.. thanks to the folks at for sending me this wonderful dryer and MANY free gifts for my readers! This HANA hair dryer has to be the best dryer I’ve ever owned. I didn’t know how powerful a dryer could be until I used this for the first time. I have hair extensions and I cannot leave my hair damp, so this dryer has made it possible for me to completely dry my hair in minutes with no damp areas left. Please check out the site for the sale price and read the rave reviews on this dryer as well.

Hair Serum:  I heard that Rusk products are only available at places like Cosmo Prof., where you need a license to enter the premises. I went into the store with a friend and found a really great product by Rusk called Rusk Thermal Serum.  It doesn’t leave my hair / extensions greasy and it does provide thermal protection.

Shampoo:  The best shampoo I’ve used this year is the Coloure Clarifying Shampoo (in the green bottle). I can’t find this shampoo for purchase on the internet, but I get mine from Planet Beauty stores at my local mall. It really cleanses the scalp and leaves your hair feeling fresh for a few days. I only use this once per week as it does strip your hair of dye.. but since I get heavy build-up, I feel it is well worth it to use this shampoo to get rid of the waxy texture that builds up on my extensions.

Conditioner : I’ve ready many articles this year and last about how drugstore conditioners are still “okay” for your hair. I strongly disagree with this. Ingredients are very important to me, and most of the conditioners that I’ve been reading about that are well under the $10 dollar range have made my hair feel great for ONE day and then my hair starts to get a dull look to it from the waxy buildup that attracted dirt and crap from the environment. My scalp becomes nasty and waxy with a thick film on it when I use Aveeno’s new line of conditioners. The bathtub even has a ring around it with a waxy, foamy substance. SO, I am sticking to my expensive but worth-it favorite, Pureology Nanoworks Conditioner.  It doesn’t put fake waxy stuff on it, it just moisturizes it mildly for frequent use.

Treatment : I use a deep conditioner a few times per week… and I’m not sure how long I’ve been using this stuff, maybe over 10 years. Thing is, you can’t just buy this off of the shelf. My mom has been dying her hair for many years with L’Oreal Preference dye (honestly, I wouldn’t put that dye on my head, but she loves it) but she doesn’t like the tube of conditioner that comes with the dye, so I have inherited many tubes of the conditioner, which is thick, nourishing and sooooo good. The ingredients.. eh, I haven’t looked at them to be honest! I emailed L’Oreal to ask what the conditioner was and if I could purchase it separately and they haven’t answered me back at all on that!

Hair Dye: I went from white platinum blonde to bright vibrant red in 2011. I recently had my hair dyed by a stylist in San Jose with Joico Vero Hair Dye. Not sure what color she applied, but I plan on going to Cosmo Prof. soon and checking out more colors. The color was vibrant, rich and lasted for a pretty long time through many washes. Note that Joico dyes can be purchased at a professional store only and on ebay/Amazon.

 Nail Color

Le Chat Perfect Match Nail ColorLeChat Perfect Match UV Gel Nail Color… nails down my favorite nail color! It was first used on me in a cheap nail salon, but when they charged me $20 just for the UV color, I was shocked. I went ahead and bought my own UV lamp on ebay (36 WATT UV Acrylic Shellac & Gel Polish Nail Dryer) at only $24. The entire line is great and I believe in order for the system to work well, you have to use all of the items in conjuncture with each other. Here is what I purchased on ebay as well:

These products deserve their own post here because it is a little more advanced than just applying a regular nail laquer. There are steps involved that are important for application. When done right, your nail color should last 2+ weeks without chipping. You must have the UV light in order to cure the UV Gel colors. The products are a little expensive, but worth it in the end when you are able to quickly change your own colors at home without an appointment. Here is a great YouTube video from LeChat on how to use the products. See the links below on how to prep, apply and remove the colors:

Le Chat Perfect Match Tutorial Part 1 : Prepping the Nails

Le Chat Perfect Match Tutorial Part 2 : Application

Le Chat Perfect Match Tutorial Part 3: French Manicure

Le Chat Perfect Match Tutorial Part 4: Removing the Color


Well, that is it for 2011… on to 2012 later! Spring colors are popping up everywhere and I’m dying to get my hands on them! Comment below on your thoughts regarding my picks for last year’s faves!


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Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger
I am Krista, the author of I started a career as a pro makeup artist in 2001 for Benefit Cosmetics in the San Francisco bay area, and transitioned in 2006 to pursue jobs in the Silicon Valley. I am currently working as an editor in the media industry, where I contribute to original content that includes beauty articles. I am occasionally doing freelance makeup jobs, but spend most of my time working on improving my health and wellbeing. I have Hashimoto's and PCOS, and plan on contributing articles that touch on these areas, as well as weight loss and Paleo Diet recipes.

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