Every year, Cosmetics magazine asks beauty experts from drug and department stores coast to coast who sell everything from mass to luxury, to share the products they recommend the most. Beauty experts won’t recommend a product unless they know from personal experience that the product delivers exceptional results. That’s why the I Recommend Awards is completely unique in comparison to other “best in beauty” awards competitions in almost every other fashion or beauty magazine.
Here are the most-recommended beauty products of 2012:
Cleanser (Mass): Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser, $8
Dermatologist-tested and formulated without soaps, this one-step cleanser removes dirt, oil and makeup.
“This cleanser boasts a gentle foaming action and rids the skin of all traces of makeup. – T.A. Edmonton, AB
Cleanser (Prestige): Biotherm Biosource Tonifying Exfoliating Cleansing Gel, $19
This gel cleanser gently exfoliates, while zinc helps with skin renewal.
“I like the pleasant aroma and how my skin feels after using this cleanser.” – K.C. Port Alberni, BC
Toner (Mass): Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner, $11
With no drying alcohol in the mix, this toner conditions the skin without stripping it of its natural moisturizers.
“It leaves dry skin completely soft. You can’t go wrong with the price.” – B.K. Burnaby, BC
Toner (Prestige): Biotherm Biosource Instant Hydration Toning Lotion, $19
This refreshing toner – enriched with thermal plankton cellular water – delivers immediate moisture.
“The toner gives skin the second step it needs to balance moisture levels.” – A.D. Toronto, ON
Moisturizer (Mass): Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15, $14
Free of fragrance and alcohol, this gentle but effective lotion keeps skin moisturized for more than 12 hours.
“Its light texture, exceptional quality and reasonable price make it a great choice.” – C.L. Trois-Rivières, QC
Moisturizer (Prestige): Biotherm Aquasource, $45
This light gel cream offers hydration five layers deep for skin that feels silky and radiates.
“This feels like a drink of water for your skin – so hydrating!” – C.M. Beamsville, ON
Masque (Mass): St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask, $8
“The mask doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin and the price point is great for the size of the bottle.” – M.B. Nanaimo, BC
Masque (Prestige): Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask, $39
With hyaluronic acid to help maintain moisture reserves, this mask leaves skin balanced and even.
“When I leave this on my face overnight, I wake up with skin that’s soft and smooth.” – J.F. Vancouver, BC
Anti-Aging (Mass): Olay Regenerist Superstructure Cream SPF 25, $40
This cream helps rebuild skin’s firmness and surface structure with the addition of UV protection.
“In addition to the great hydration the cream provided, I also like the added SPF protection.” – P.S. Hagersville, ON
Anti-Aging (Prestige): Prevage Advanced Anti-Aging Serum, $200
Delivering a blend of environmental defenders, this concentrated formula helps reduce the look of wrinkles and discolouration.
“Nothing can touch this skincare superhero’s ability to transform the skin.” – J.S. Victoria, BC
Eye Cream (Mass): Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Roller, $20
The eye roller delivers a hit of caffeine and gentle massage for a hydrated, brighter eye area.
“The roller makes it easy to apply and helps with drainage and contouring around the eye.” – G.G. Calgary, AB
Eye Cream (Prestige): Prevage Eye Ultra Protection Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 15, $120
This eye cream offers sun protection and smoothes the appearance of fine lines and crepiness.
“It has a great texture and gives excellent results. I recommend it all the time.” – M.P. Guelph, ON
Lip Balm (Mass): Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, $8
Packed with shea butter and vitamin E, this nourishing balm offers hydration and a hint of pretty pigment.
“It keeps lips feeling smooth and works great as a primer for lipstick.” – E.F. Kelowna, BC
Lip Balm (Prestige): Clarins HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm, $27
This balm intensively repairs chapped, rough lips with essential rose wax and rice oil extract.
“This keeps my lips moist and feeling smooth, even in the wintertime.” – J.B. Mitchell, ON
Face Scrub (Mass): St. Ives Apricot Scrub, $7
“The exfoliant rids my face of dead skin while being gentle at the same time.” – A.R. Edmonton, AB
Face Scrub (Prestige): Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, $36
This 4-in-1 scrub cleanses, exfoliates, detoxifies and tones to reveal fresh, radiant-looking skin.
“Your skin is left soft and glowing and the orange smell is invigorating in the morning.” – N.F. Oshawa, ON
Rosacea: La Roche-Posay Rosaliac line, $25-$33
The combination of a redness-diffusing active ingredient and ultra-hermetic packaging make this line the choice for rosacea sufferers.
“This line reduces redness and restores the skin. My customers love it.” – M.G. Banff, AB
Dark Circles: NeoStrata Anti Dark Circle Complex, $38
In addition to reducing the appearance of dark circles by up to 59% in just 5 weeks, this complex also reduces puffiness.
“ It immediately brightens under the eye area and over time, helps to diminish darkness under the eyes.” – J.V. Pickering, ON
Sensitive Skin: Avène Intolerant Skin line, $28-$32
Free of parabens, fragrance and colourants, the thermal spring water-infused product line lessens irritations and softens skin.
“The innovative packaging and super-gentle formulations make this a great line for extremely sensitive customers.” – C.M. Beamsville, ON
Natural Skin Line: Kibio $12-$59
Active ingredients, including vegetal oils and floral waters, comprise each Kibio formula for the healthiest skin.
“From the basic moisturizer to the anti-aging products, this line works really well.” – J.H. St. John’s, NL
Body Lotion: Biotherm Lait Corporel, $29
This luxurious body milk leaves skin feeling fresh while protecting its natural elasticity.
“I love this citrus-scented lotion because it moisturizes skin perfectly, absorbs immediately and is paraben-free.” – C.M. Beamsville, ON
Body Wash: Biotherm Lait de Douche, $35
An energizing scent and soap-free formula make this cleanser a must-have for the shower.
“A little bit goes a long way with this fresh and completely hydrating body wash.” – Q.R. Winnipeg, MB
Anti-Cellulite: Biotherm Celluli Laser D. Code, $79
This essential oil-infused lotion helps to reduce the look of cellulite, whether it’s behavioural or genetic.
“It really works: the lotion tightens skin and smoothes its appearance with regular use.” – B.M. Ottawa, ON
Firming Lotion: Clarins Extra-Firming Body Lotion, $60
Lemon thyme stars in this lotion, which helps to prevent loss of skin firmness and restore its natural elasticity.
“This rich cream makes your skin feel tighter each time you apply it.” – C.K. Pickering, ON
Hair Removal: Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Roll-On Wax, $14
Offering professional results with a precise roll-on applicator, this wax also boasts an entirely rinsable formula.
“It’s the easiest and most effective system for the waxing novice.” – A.M. Dartmouth, NS
Sun Block Lotion: La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 60 Cream, $28
This lotion has a comforting and hydrating texture and is adapted for those with sun sensitivity.
“The formula is non-greasy, doesn’t leave a white residue and is perfect for sensitive skin.” – F.C. Barrie, ON
Sun Block Spray: RoC Soleil Protexion Velvet Moisture Spray SPF 30, $24
Both waterproof and sweatproof, this spray contains a combination of sunscreen filters to absorb, diffuse and reflect UVA/UVB rays.
“The spray goes on light and evenly and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.” – R.W. Regina, SK
Self-Tanner: Clarins Delicious Self-Tanning Cream, $42
This caramel-tinted cream is enriched with aloe vera and cocoa butter to leave skin soft and bronzed.
“The cream leaves the best shade on your skin: a nice brown, not orange at all!” – A.G. Montreal, QC
Polish: Essie Nail Lacquer, $10
Offering a slew of shades that are on-trend and cleverly-named, these cult-classic polishes are also formaldehyde-free.
“I love Essie for its unique colours and long-lasting formula. I always look forward to their limited edition collections each season. – K.T. Halifax, NS
Polish Remover: Quo Nail Polish Remover, $4
“It quickly removes my polish and doesn’t leave my nails dried out.” – A.R. Goulds, NL
Nail Strengthener: Sally Hansen Hard As Nails, $3
Prevent cracking with this clear polish, which offers nails a smooth, chip-resistant surface.
“It makes my nails so much harder and leaves them chip-free for days.” – A.T. Edmonton, AB
Dermocosmetic Cleanser: Vichy Pureté Thermale 3 in 1 One Step Cleanser, $20
This sensitive skin cleanser removes all traces of makeup and grime, leaving skin fresh and soothed.
“It really does everything in one product. It’s portable and appealing for all skin types.” – A.F. Maple, ON
Dermocosmetic Toner: Vichy Normaderm Purifying Pore-Tightening Lotion, $20
Containing salicylic and glycolic acid to treat imperfections, this toner deep cleans while tightening pores.
“The toner helps to balance the production of oil on the face, so that your skin is smooth.” – C.K. Victoria, BC
Dermocosmetic Moisturizer: Vichy Aqualia Thermal, $36
Skin is hydrated for 24 hours with this beautifully textured lotion concentrated with thermal spa water and hyaluronic acid.
“I like that this moisturizer is paraben-free, absorbs quickly and has great tolerance for even the most sensitive skin.” – H.O. Waterloo, ON
Dermocosmetic Masque: Avène Soothing Moisture Mask, $35
This soothing treatment can be used to nourish dull, tired skin and heal hyperactive skin.
“The rich dose of moisture quenches dry, sensitive skin in just one application.” – C.M. Beamsville, ON
Dermocosmetic Anti-Aging Product: NeoStrata Wrinkle Repair, $62
This cream reduces the length of wrinkles by up to 78% and improves the tone and texture of the skin.
“The cream offers fantastic results in reducing lines and wrinkles while leaving skin completely radiant.” S.M. Calgary, AB
Dermocosmetic Eye Cream: RoC Retin-Ox Wrinkle Correxion Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, $36
The eye area looks brighter and younger-looking after using this fresh, antioxidant-rich cream.
“The retinol content really treats the lines around the eyes that we tend to notice first.” – L.R. Halifax, NS
Lip Gloss (Mass): Rimmel London Vinyl Max, $8
Its one-swipe wand, volumizing formula and range of shades make this gloss a sure bet.
“This high-shine gloss has a wide of selection of shades at a great price.” – C.S. Brampton, ON
Lip Gloss (Prestige): Lise Watier Plumpissimo Le Gloss, $20
This gloss’ plumping and moisturizing ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, leave lips lush and smooth.
“The non-sticky formula offers lots of pigment on the lips.” – S.P. Orleans, ON
Lipstick (Mass): Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, $10
This stick seals in softness and gorgeous colour with its moisturizing ingredients.
“It’s a classic lipstick with a great shade assortment and balanced hydration.” – L.F. St. John’s, NL
Lipstick (Prestige): Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand, $19
A vegetable complex in this luxurious lipstick stimulates collagen to the surface for diminished fine lines around the mouth.
“Soft and comfortable, I’ve used this lipstick for years and I still love it.” – M.T. Grand Falls, NB
Foundation (Mass): Revlon ColorStay Makeup, $19
This lightweight foundation delivers flawless coverage for 16 hours with an oil-free, SPF-infused formula.
“This medium-coverage foundation is really long-lasting – it holds on for at least 16 hours.” – C.L. Vancouver, BC
Foundation (Prestige): Lancôme Teint Miracle, $44
This creamy foundation creates a flawless base with highlighting pigments that brighten the face.
“It glides on smoothly and gives great coverage while still looking completely natural. – A.L. Langley, BC
Eyeshadow (Mass): L’Oréal Paris HIP Shadow Duo, $10
These blendable, easy-to-apply pigments are crease-resistant and long lasting.
“These highly-pigmented duos can be used wet or dry for different looks.” – K.A. Brampton, ON
Eyeshadow (Prestige): Lancôme Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette, $54
The range of pigments in this palette allows for a customizable eye look that transitions from day to night.
“The palettes offer beautiful, long-lasting colour that really blends well.” – S.I. Orleans, ON
Mascara (Mass): L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes, $11
The flexible, elastomer brush applicator thickens each and every lash for an intense, luxurious look.
“The formula creates bold lashes with mega-volume that lasts all day without flaking off.” – G.G. Mississauga, ON
Mascara (Prestige): Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara, $31
This mascara thickens lashes from root to tip with its vitamin B5-enriched formula.
“The brush applicator gives amazing volume without any clumping.” – T.R. Oshawa, ON
Blush (Mass): Revlon Powder Blush, $12
Get a streak-free finish and a pop of natural colour to your cheeks with this soft powder blush.
“This powder goes on smooth and blends nicely into the skin.” – S.B. Winnipeg, MB
Blush (Prestige): Lise Watier Ménage à Trois Blush Powder Trio, $30
One light, one medium and one opalescent shade of blush come together for multi-dimensional cheek colour.
“The blush creates a soft, luminous look on the face that’s natural and gorgeous.” – A.D. Montreal, QC
Corrective Foundation/Cover Up (Mass): Revlon PhotoReady Concealer, $12
This full-coverage concealer camouflages imperfections and dark circles with its light-reflecting pigments.
“It gives an even look and really good coverage on blemished skin.” – J.V. Quebec City, QC
Corrective Foundation/Cover Up (Prestige): Cover FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation, $39
This flexible-coverage concealer treats and soothes the skin while leaving a natural, dewy look.
“The cream covers anything and everything without looking heavy for completely flawless skin.” – P.S. Surrey, BC
Makeup Brushes: Quo Professional Brushes, $20-$45
“There is a great selection of brushes at very reasonable prices.” – C.H. Amherstview, ON
Women’s Hair Colour: L’Oréal Superior Preference, $13
Offering eight weeks of brilliant, lustrous hair colour, this product offers a shade for every woman.
“It gives great grey coverage and doesn’t fade or wash out like other products.” – T.F. Regina, SK
Shampoo: Fekkai Advanced Brilliant Glossing Shampoo, $28
This shine-release shampoo nourishes hair with olive oil throughout the day to keep them soft and lustrous.
“I love how soft my hair feels and how it protects my hair from heat damage.” – J.L Toronto, ON
Conditioner: Fekkai Advanced Brilliant Glossing Conditioner, $28
Hair is strengthened and enhanced with shine and moisture with this lightweight, olive oil-infused conditioner.
“This conditioner keeps my hair hydrated, but never leaves a residue behind.” – C.K. Ottawa, ON
Styling Product: John Frieda Frizz-Ease Original Formula Hair Serum, $15
This silk protein serum eliminates frizz, leaving hair visibly glossier and healthier-looking.
“It gets rid of frizz, static and flyaways, making my hair shiny and completely smooth.” – E.G. Vancouver, BC
MEN’S GROOMING PRODUCTS
Men’s Razor: Gillette Fusion ProGlide, $15
This razor boasts extra-thin blades and a mineral oil-infused strip for the most comfortable shave.
“These razors give the closest shave while offering great skin protection.” – C.S. Clive, AB
Men’s Cleanser: Biotherm Homme Aquapower Cleanser, $28
This luxurious mousse formula effectively rids the skin of impurities, leaving it fresh and balanced.
“This cleanser delivers a great complexion and leaves skin with a fresh feeling.” – M.A. Vancouver, BC
Men’s Moisturizer: Biotherm Homme Aquapower Moisturizer, $30
The thermal plankton extracts in this ultra-hydrating moisturizer tone to leave the skin soft and supple.
“The lotion helps with irritation and offers long-lasting hydration with a light texture.” – C.S. Regina, Saskatchewan
Men’s Shave Cream: Biotherm Homme Aquapower D-Sensitive Shaving Foam, $20
Specially formulated for sensitive skin, this soothing foam protects the skin and reinforces its natural barrier.
“A little goes a long way with this foam that doesn’t contain the dulling agents many shaving creams do.” – J.S. Victoria, BC
Men’s Eye Cream: Biotherm High Recharge Eye Shot, $25
Caffeine and vegetal extracts works together in this cooling gel to fade dark circles and relax under eye bags.
“It helps reduce under eye bags and dark circles while giving hydration to this area.” – R.M. Toronto, ON
Men’s Fragrance (Mass): Adidas Moves for Him, $37 for 50mL
This energetic fragrance includes unexpected gourmand notes, like tomato leaf, Italian parsley and black pepper.
“It’s a scent that smells fresh and clean and lasts long on the skin.” – A.D. Halifax, NS
Men’s Fragrance (Prestige): Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio, $75 for 50mL
An homage to Mr. Armani’s Mediterranean hideaway, this fragrance is an infusion of bergamot, jasmine and sea spray.
“This fragrance is still number one in my books after all these years.” – S.C. Winnipeg, MB
Women’s Fragrance (Mass): Reveal by Halle Berry, $49 for 50mL
A sparkling burst of fresh fruit and mimosa comprise this light, velvety scent.
“This fragrance has become my everyday scent – I just love it.” – I.S. Edmonton, AB
Women’s Fragrance (Prestige): Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, $97 for 50 mL
This sexy, oriental juice blends citrus top notes with jasmine and musk.
“I can’t resist the scent of a woman by with Coco Mademoiselle on.” – T.K. Toronto, ON
OVERALL MOST RECOMMENDED BRAND: Clarins
“My favourite brand is Clarins. I love their products and the message the company sends out. They are supportive in the success of women and very generous in their participation with charities. Their products are decadent, they use botanical ingredients and modern technology – all reasons why this brand is the most recommended to my customers!” – C.M. Beamsville, ON