Reason to smile: the 10th annual list of best beauty buys, as selected by SELF readers. Happy primping!
By Eleanor Langston
Back in 1999... Bill Clinton was president, Britney Spears released her first hit, "...Baby One More Time," and SELF kicked off its first Healthy Beauty Awards, using only 100 testers to select 63 standouts.
Fast-forward to 2009... SELF tracked down each of the 1,443 beautifiers that debuted during the past year, then shipped them off to 1,370 readers. That dedicated team scored each product on scent, texture, ease of use, packaging and, most important, effectiveness.
The result... The 86 top finds-one for each category-are all in this handy guide, designed to save you time and money. We also created icons (below) to help you spot bargains and luxe picks. Take this list on your next shopping trip and any beauty-buying confusion will be history.
Whatever your skin type, these champs will help you achieve complexion perfection.
C.O. Bigelow Vitamin Boost Cream Cleanser, $10
Readers raved about this wash, which is packed with nourishing vitamins A, C and E. "I usually have to put on moisturizer right after cleansing, but the rinse left my skin moist and glowing," one user praised.
Chanel Précision Lotion Douceur Gentle Hydrating Toner, $45
This dirt dissolver, which counts on protective wax from tulip trees to stave off damaging pollutants, won over testers: "My skin felt cleaner and immediately looked clearer."
Huiles & Baumes Face Soft Exfoliating, $42
Rice powder gives this nonscratchy slougher the "ideal amount of grit" to wipe out dead skin cells. "It polished even the roughest zones, and it smells like fresh rose petals," one reviewer marveled.
Best All-Around Moisturizer
La Mer The Hydrating Infusion, $95
"The mist penetrated quickly and softened my dry skin without irritating oilier areas," one recruit said. The gellike formula uses algae and sea minerals to reveal more radiance.
Best Eye Cream
Roc Multi-Correxion Eye Treatment, $25
Retinol helps rev collagen, while vitamin C brightens dark circles. "After a few days, I could use less concealer and my eyes looked less tired," a user said.
Best Antiaging Eye Cream
Murad Intensive Wrinkle Reducer for Eyes, $90
With repairing peptides and plumping hyaluronic acid, it "reduced fine lines and wrinkles significantly in only a couple of days."
Best Depuffing Eye Cream
Bioré Enliven Cooling Eye Gel, $10
Testers gave high marks to this "espresso shot for eyes," which relies on sugar beets to deflate bags. "It's like a 10-minute eye lift," one cheered.
Kinerase HydraBoost Intensive Treatment, $75 "It left my skin bright and soft," one reader said of this hyaluronic acid gel, which you apply pre-moisturizer. "A tiny drop is all you need."
Best Night Cream
Elizabeth Arden Intervene Stress Recovery Night Cream, $50
Red clover extract helps firm skin in this "light, super potent moisturizer." A convert said, "I woke up, and my face felt like satin."
Best Antiaging Treatment
Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Pro Deep Wrinkle Roller, $17
Testers loved the "easy to use" applicator, which delivers a "silky" blend that fights wrinkles with sugar from beech trees. "Lines faded in two weeks."
Ahava Intensive Hydration Mask, $28
"My winter skin was so dry it hurt, but this mask calmed it instantly," one tester said of this leave-on, which restores moisture with calcium and potassium. "Where can I get more?!"
Best Pore Minimizer
DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer, $85
This gel, loaded with a vitamin and peptide complex to increase cell turnover, impressed recruits by smoothing and softening skin. "It made my face look and feel younger and more refreshed."
Best At-Home Peel
Lierac Paris Comfort Peel, $52
Fans gave this exfoliant an A-plus for evening out skin tone. "My pores looked smaller, and I had zero irritation," one said of the treatment, which employs glycolic and salicylic acids to exfoliate. Another pro: "It wipes out wrinkles."
Best Acne Treatment
Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion, $39
Pimple erasers can be harsh, but this "nondrying" benzoyl peroxide-driven healer contains soothing sesame seed extract to ban inflammation. "Zits on my hairline were gone in three days," one user said.
Best Makeup Remover
Clean & Clear Makeup Dissolving Facial Cleansing Wipes, $6
"They thoroughly removed dirt and mascara in one 20-second step-without making my sensitive skin act up," one voter noted. "You get 25 per pack, so you can't beat the price!"
MORE FROM SELF:
- Melt fat fast! Shape up and shed pounds with our super easy plan.
- Diet survival guide: Proven tips and tools for get-slim success!
- Healthy Beauty Awards: 86 top buys for skin, hair and makeup
- Subscribe to Self for less than $1 an issue. Get a FREE Healthy Recipe Book download!