Expert-Approved: Winners of the 2015 “I Recommend” Beauty Awards

“What products do you recommend the most?” We popped this question to a panel of industry insider readers across Canada—including beauty advisors, pro makeup artists, beauty editors and bloggers. Here, the winners in this year’s “I Recommend” Beauty Awards, and why the experts say they rule.

 

SKINCARE

 
(Photography and styling, throughout: Erik Putz)

(Photography and styling, throughout: Erik Putz)

 

CLEANSER (MASS)
1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $16–$20.
Mild enough for babies, this soap-free gel can be used with or without water. “Great for makeup removal and gentle for all skin types.”

CLEANSER (PRESTIGE)
2. Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser, $60.
This moisturizing cleanser detoxes skin, prepping it for other anti-aging ingredients. “Has a light exfoliant and leaves skin looking radiant!”

CLEANSER (DERMOCOSMETIC)
3. Bioderma Sensibio H2O, $7–$27.
A backstage beauty staple, this no-rinse micellar water removes makeup and oil with ease. “Leaves skin perfectly balanced and comforted.”

MOISTURIZER (MASS)
4. Neutrogena Moisture Oil-Free for Sensitive Skin, $14–$17.
This calming lotion for irritable complexions is free of oils, dyes, fragrances and alcohol. “Very lightweight and doesn’t clog pores.”

MOISTURIZER (PRESTIGE)
5. Biotherm Aquasource, $49.
This refreshing gel hydrates for up to 48 hours without any greasy residue. “The scent is divine.”

MOISTURIZER (DERMOCOSMETIC)
6. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light, $40.
This silky cream packs hyaluronic acid, red algae extract and a patented barrier-forming active. “Never greasy, it adds just the right amount of cooling moisture.”

EXFOLIATOR (MASS)
7. St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Exfoliating Scrub, $5.
Ingredients like apricot, cornmeal and walnut slough away dead skin cells. “You can’t go wrong with this classic.”

EXFOLIATOR (PRESTIGE)
8. Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula, $25.
This sandy-textured cream gently polishes skin and helps minimize the look of fine lines. “Worth the price and works wonderfully.”

 
 
 

MASK OR PEEL (MASS)
1. Bio-Beauté by Nuxe Vitamin-Rich Detox Mask, $27.
Transforming from gel to oil to milky emulsion, this mask detoxes with myrtle leaf extract and clarifies with citrus essential oils. “It’s the total sensorial experience!”

MASK OR PEEL (PRESTIGE)
2. Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalizing Mask, $44.
This peel-off mask exfoliates with alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, while protecting skin with Cabernet grapeseed extract. “Leaves you looking like you’ve just had a facial.”

MASK OR PEEL (DERMOCOSMETIC)
3. Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ Mask, $20.
This acne fighter draws out impurities with clay and can be used as an exfoliating cleanser. “I like to include it in my customers’ baskets as a mask for problematic skin.”

ANTI-AGING PRODUCT (MASS)
4. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $40.
Made with an amino-peptide and vitamin B3 complex, this rich cream promises to help lift and sculpt the face. “It immediately firms, smoothes and hydrates skin.”

ANTI-AGING PRODUCT (PRESTIGE)
5. Prevage Anti-Aging Moisture Lotion SPF 30, $160. This antioxidant-rich lotion promises to even out skin tone and smooth fine lines while providing sun protection. “A very nice product with a great texture.”

ANTI-AGING PRODUCT (DERMOCOSMETIC)
6. Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10, $57–$75.
A naturally derived plant sugar helps slow signs of aging, and hyaluronic acid plumps skin fast. “You see improvement in as little as 10 minutes.”

ACNE TREATMENT
7. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Global Action Acne Treatment, $25. Salicylic acid unclogs pores to tame breakouts, and niacinamide (vitamin B3) reduces inflammation. “Kicks butt compared to other treatments on the market.”

ROSACEA/SENSITIVE SKINCARE
8. La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense, $34.
This serum calms on contact, while providing long-term relief for reactive skin. “I have seen this change lives!”

 
 
 

FACIAL BEAUTY GADGET
1. Clarisonic Mia, $145.
Based on sonic tech, this brush sweeps dirt and oil out of pores for a seriously deep clean. “Skin’s texture is radically improved with use.”

FACIAL SUNSCREEN
2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 60, $28. This thin sunscreen melts into skin, leaving behind a matte veil of SPF. “Great under makeup.”

LIP BALM (MASS)
3. Maybelline Baby Lips, $5.
This budget-friendly bloggers’ favourite comes in a myriad sheer hues. “Wonderful shades, hydration and SPF.”

LIP BALM (PRESTIGE)
4.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Lip Repair Balm, $28. More emollient than the original cream, this balm delivers long-lasting moisture and a subtle sheen. “The healing ingredients soothe chapped lips.”

EYE CREAM (MASS)
5. Marcelle Hydra C Eye Contour Gel-Cream, $23.
Made with caffeine and cucumber extract, this cream tames bags and dark circles. “Quick and easy to apply.”

EYE CREAM (PRESTIGE)
6. Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate, $84.
Ideal for more mature skin, this cream treats signs of aging around the entire eye area. “The creamy texture doesn’t clog pores. Very hydrating and lifting.”

EYE CREAM (DERMOCOSMETIC)
7. La Roche-Posay Redermic [C] Eyes, $43.
Gentle on sensitive skin, this satiny gel features proven anti-agers like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. “Helps stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles.”

 

BODY & NAIL CARE

 
 

BODY SUNSCREEN
1. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 60, $13–$16.
This lotion provides broad-spectrum, water-resistant protection without a heavy feel. “A great, non-sticky sunscreen.”

BODY WASH
2. Dove Body Wash, $5–$8.
Available in a variety of fragrances (like coconut and jasmine), this body wash does its job without overdrying. “Leaves skin feeling soft.”

BODY MOISTURIZER
3. Biotherm Lait Corporel Anti-Drying Body Milk, $29.
This silky fluid leaves skin delicately scented with its energizing citrus fragrance. “Fast-absorbing, with no greasy residue.”

SELF-TANNER
4. St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, $40–$52.
This tinted mousse dries in 60 seconds, with streak-free results. “It doesn’t smell and the colour is very natural.”

FIRMING OR ANTI-CELLULITE
5. Vichy CelluDestock Night Time, $53.
This overnight treatment features Adipo-stim (a complex that breaks down fat cells) combined with 5 percent caffeine. “Helps fight cellulite while you sleep—who doesn’t want that?”

HAIR REMOVAL
6. Silk’n Flash & Go, $199.
This hand-held gadget uses proprietary HPL (Home Pulsed Light) technology to zap hair permanently. “You get professional results, but it’s still affordable.”

NAIL STRENGTHENER
7. Witchcraft Rock Hard Nail Hardener, $10.
Used alone or as a topcoat, this treatment reinforces tips against chipping and splitting. “Whenever nails are weak, use this for a few days.”

NAIL POLISH (CLASSIC)
8. Essie Nail Polish, $10.
The fashion set’s go-to for new nail hues, this polish comes in hundreds of shades, from ladylike pinks to notice-me neons. “They go on beautifully.”

NAIL POLISH (INNOVATIVE)
9. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $12.
This lacquer replicates the shine and staying power of salon gel, but goes on (and comes off) like regular polish. “You don’t need a lamp to get an amazing gel look.”

 

MAKEUP

 
 

PRIMER (MASS)  
1. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser, $11.
Like an Instagram filter in a tube, this is a hybrid primer/“blur” product with a matte finish. “Helps smooth the complexion and erases the look of pores.”

PRIMER (PRESTIGE)
2. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, $44
. This velvety silicone primer was developed for makeup arists prepping famous faces for their close-ups. “The gold standard of primers.”

FOUNDATION (MASS)
3. L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation, $17.
Light-diffusing micro-fine pearls hide imperfections, while vitamins B and E nourish skin. “Great shade selection; finish is natural and doesn’t cake.”

FOUNDATION (PRESTIGE)
4. Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lift and Firm Makeup SPF 15, $51.
This moisturizing foundation boasts the lifting and firming benefits of the brand’s ceramide skincare. “Semi-matte coverage stays in place all day.”

BB / CC CREAM
5. Marcelle BB Cream, $23.
Recognized by the Canadian Dermatology Association for its irritant-free formula, this BB improves skin’s appearance, texture and condition. “The colours are so easy to match to my clients’ skin tones.”

CONCEALER (MASS)
6. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $10.
With lightweight pigments in a translucent base, this concealer hides imperfections without adding a mask-like layer to skin. “Double-dab for fuller coverage.”

CONCEALER (PRESTIGE)
7. Lancôme Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer, $34.
This hydrating liquid gives full coverage, while also protecting skin with antioxidants. “Never looks cakey, doesn’t dry out under the eye area and lasts all day.”

 
 
 

EYESHADOW (MASS)
1. Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, $14. Packing a dozen neutrals, this eyeshadow collection offers palette play without a hefty price tag. “Great assortment to provide looks from basic to smoky, for day or night.”

EYESHADOW (PRESTIGE)
2. Stila Eye Shadow, $23.
This super-blendable, pigmented shadow comes in countless hues and finishes. “Beautiful, smooth texture that goes on flawlessly and stays put.”

BROW ENHANCER (MASS)
3. Maybelline Eye Studio Brow Drama, $12. Available in three shades, this brow mascara goes on clump-free, thanks to its ball-shaped brush. “Very effective for building up brows and holding them in place.”

BROW ENHANCER (PRESTIGE)
4. Benefit Gimme Brow, $30.
This fibre gel clings to hairs and skin to bulk up brows. “It has changed the lives of fair-haired, over-tweezed and elderly customers.”

LIP GLOSS (MASS)
5. Revlon Ultra HD Lip Lacquer, $12. This gloss is available in 15 shades and formulated with a gel technology instead of tacky wax. “Has great colour payoff and lasts a long time.”

LIP GLOSS (PRESTIGE)
6. Lancôme Lip Lover, $30. Blurring the lines between gloss and balm, it gives long-wearing colour and shine. “Feels moisturizing without being sticky.”

LIPSTICK (MASS)
7. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, $10.
This silk-enriched formula goes on buttery smooth and comes in over 60 shades. “A classic! Long-lasting.”

LIPSTICK (PRESTIGE)
8. Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Lipstick, $24.

This made-in-Canada lipstick hydrates as it plumps with a vegetable complex rich in amino acids. “Lots of colour in a lightweight formula that lasts.”

 
 
 

MASCARA (MASS)
1. L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes, $11.
The tube’s design prevents product from overloading the brush, preventing clumps at the source. “Lashes look so thick, and eyes pop.”

MASCARA (PRESTIGE)
2. Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, $31.
This lengthening mascara magnifies even tiny lashes. “Love the brush. The little spike at the tip helps remove any clumps.”

CONTOURING (MASS)
3. Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free Foundation, $11. While not marketed as a sculpting product, these sticks blend easily and fit the contours of the face. “Works well for a super price.”

CONTOURING (PRESTIGE)
4. Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit, $52.
This three-shade palette comes with an angled brush and a mini how-to guide. “Great, especially for contouring fair skin.”

BLUSH (MASS)
5. Revlon Powder Blush, $12.
This classic blush comes in eight flattering shades that won’t fade by lunchtime. “Excellent pigment, so you don’t need a lot of product.”

BLUSH (PRESTIGE)
6. Lancôme Blush Subtil, $41.
This powder gives an all-day rosy, matte glow, without drying cheeks out. “I like their colour selection and formula.”

 

HAIRCARE

 
 

SHAMPOO/CONDITIONER
1. Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo and Conditioner, $28 each.
The olive oil in this range helps give lacklustre locks a shiny new lease on life. “Silky and smells terrific.”

ANTI-FRIZZ PRODUCT
2. John Frieda Frizz Ease Straight Fixation Styling Crème, $11.
This intensive cream protects hair from heat damage, while softening and moisturizing hair for up to 24 hours. “A little goes a long way.”

HAIR COLOUR
3. L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème Hair Colour, $13.
This DIY kit includes pre- and post-dye treatments, and the non-drip colour cream is mess-free to apply. “Great coverage and perfect for making hair shiny.”

HAIRSPRAY
4. L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray, $15.
A cult classic, this spray sets styles without stiffness or stickiness. “It gives lift, creates a strong hold, and there’s no flaky residue.”

 

MEN’S GROOMING

 
 

MEN’S CLEANSER
1. Biotherm AquaPower Oligo-Thermal Fresh Gel Ultra Cleansing, $29.
This energizing face wash lightly exfoliates, while protecting the face’s moisture barrier with vitamins and sugars. “Gel-to-foam texture. Fresh feeling.”

MEN’S MOISTURIZER
2. Biotherm AquaPower Oligo-Thermal Care Ultra Moisturising, $33.
Infused with thermal spa water, this gel cream sinks in quickly to hydrate without a greasy residue. “Great for tired or dull skin.”

MEN’S EYE CREAM
3. ClarinsMen Line-Control Eye Balm, $42.
Formulated with extract of paracress (a flowering herb), this matte balm keeps crow’s feet and puffy eyes at bay. “Hydrating enough to diminish fine lines, but doesn’t sit on the surface of skin.”

MEN’S RAZOR
4. Gillette Fusion ProGlide Manual Razor with FlexBall Technology, $14.
The five blades give a seriously close shave, and a precision trimmer keeps edges clean. “Gets the spots other razors miss.”

MEN’S SHAVE GEL
5. Biotherm AquaPower D-Sensitive Shaving Foam, $23.
This foam nixes fragrance, soap and parabens to minimize irritation. “Perfect for women as well as men.”

 

FRAGRANCE

 
 

MEN’S FRAGRANCE (ICONIC)
1. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Giò Eau de Toilette, $99, 100 mL.
Crisp citrus blends with notes of jasmine and rosemary in this go-to for gents of any age. “This has been a top seller for almost 20 years.”

WOMEN’S FRAGRANCE (ICONIC)
2. Chanel N°5 Eau de Parfum, $150, 100 mL.
Making a splash since 1921, this was the first perfume from the house of Chanel. “Classic and sexy, but not overpowering.”

MEN’S FRAGRANCE (NEW)
3. Paco Rabanne Invictus Eau de Toilette, $88, 100 mL. This bold, woody eau was also a winner in this year’s Canadian Fragrance Awards. “Has the essence of an iconic scent. Yummy.”

WOMEN’S FRAGRANCE (NEW)
4. Lancôme La Nuit Trésor Eau de Parfum, $95, 50 mL. A modern remixing of the original Trésor, this parfum pairs damask rose with Tahitian vanilla orchid. “It’s perfect! Sweet, floral and feminine.”

 
HAVE YOUR SAY! If you’re a beauty advisor in Canada, join our Beauty Advisory Panel. Expert members are invited to vote in our annual “I Recommend” Beauty Awards and Canadian Fragrance Awards.
 

This article was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Cosmetics magazine. For more, download our iPad edition.