Mom Knows Best Beauty Awards

In this first-ever special for Parents, we bring you the ultimate list of mom-beauty must-haves.

By Tracy Perez

Moms demand a lot from their beauty buys. In addition to living up to label claims, the goods need to be easy to use and offer exceptional value. We asked more than 200 women with kids under 10 to test nearly 250 recently launched makeup, hair, and skin-care products. We also had a group of eight beauty pros (all busy moms themselves) weigh in on the nominees. Happy shopping!

Hair Helpers
Survey says: These shampoos, conditioners, and stylers meet your needs the most.

1. Best Curl Enhancer: Aveda Be Curly Style-Prep "It's the only product I've tried that kept my curls bouncy after undoing a ponytail," said one of our curly-haired Parents staffers, Amanda Kingloff. $24;

2. Best Straightener: It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin
A true multitasker: Moms loved how this product provided -- you guessed it -- ten benefits, including heat protection, smoothing, and shine. $20; for retailers.

3. Best Deep Conditioner: Redken Nature's Rescue Cooling Deep Conditioner
In addition to providing a powerful dose of moisture, this deep conditioner scored high marks from our judges for its calming scent and invigorating sensation on the scalp. $17; for retailers

4. Best Volumizing Shampoo: Biolage Volumathérapie Full-Lift Volumizing Shampoo
New moms experiencing postpregnancy hair loss especially appreciated this bodifying shampoo. $15; for retailers

5. Best All-Around Conditioner: Nexxus ProMend Split End Binding Daily Conditioner
Moms reported Nexxus's new repair line to be a major breakthrough in the fight against split ends. $14;

6. Best Frizz-Taming Product: Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Smoothing Cream
Every tester of this styler said it kept its promise of 24-hour frizz control. $4;

7. Best At-Home Hair Coloring Product: Kelly Van Gogh Master Blend Multi-Dimensional Luxury Hair Colour
This ammonia-free coloring kit delivers on its claim of 100 percent gray coverage. Plus, "it's easy to use because the tools aren't cumbersome," said expert tester Jenn Falik, creator of beauty/fashion site $49;

8. Best Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair: Pantene Color Preserve Shine Shampoo
Testers raved about how well this shampoo kept their color looking like new at such an affordable price. $7;

9. Best Moisturizing Shampoo: Fekkai Advanced Essential Shea Shampoo
"The scent is luxurious but not overly powerful, and it improved my hair's manageability," said expert tester Amy Tara Koch, author of Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy Into the Ultimate Style Statement. $24;

Body Guards
Dryness, scars, stretch marks. These are just some of your mommy skin problems. Check out the products that testers recommend as the top solutions.

1. Best Body Wash: Dove VisibleCare Renewing Crème Body Wash
"This body wash is a terrific dual-purpose product that can help busy moms simplify their beauty regimen," said expert tester Anne Chapas, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. "The formula cleanses and moisturizes at the same time." $7;

2. Best Body Lotion: Jergens Overnight Repair Nightly Restoring Moisturizer
Expert tester Ava Shamban, M.D., a dermatologist in Santa Monica, California and author of Heal Your Skin, concurred with the results of a clinical study previously done on this moisturizer that showed an 85 percent improvement in skin texture after four days of use. $7;

3. Best Baby Lotion You Like for Yourself: California Baby Calendula Cream
Chemical-free and safe to use on even the most sensitive of baby skin, this cream came out on top for moms' use too because of its ultra-rich texture and calming lavender scent. $14 for 2 oz.;

4. Best Sunscreen: Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect Lotion Sunscreen
Testers loved that this lotion, available in SPF 20 and SPF 40, is packed with light-reflecting particles that leave a sexy sheen on skin. Bonus points were awarded for how smoothly it went on and the tropical scent. $10;

5. Best Stretch Mark Cream: Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy
With a patented blend of botanical ingredients, this stretch-mark remedy promises to show optimal results in 12 weeks with daily use, but many mom testers were happy to report they started seeing a difference much sooner. Amber, of Ashland, Ohio, exclaimed, "I applied it evenly to my one-year-postpartum C-section tummy, and it visibly lightened both the stretch marks and the scar!" $38;

Makeup Masters
No surprise: Moms gave the highest votes to products that help them look refreshed.

1. Best Mascara: Avon SuperMagnify Mascara
The small brush promises zero clumps and grabs every lash for maximum definition. Colleen, of Wescosville, Pennsylvania, raved, "At the end of the day when I was fading, my eyes still looked wide awake." $9;

2. Best Foundation: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup SPF 55 With Helioplex
When it comes to sun protection and disguising flaws, this foundation's got you covered. Peggy, of Redwood City, California, said, "The cream formula made it easy to apply, and it felt very light on my skin." $13;

3. Best Undereye Concealer: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lift and Firm Concealer
Moms loved the enlivening effect of this concealer, which boosts collagen production. $20;

4. Best Long-Wear Lipstick: MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme
This lipstick lived up to its promise of eliminating the need for retouches while keeping lips hydrated. $16;

5. Best Tinted Moisturizer: Philosophy Hope in a Tinted Moisturizer
Available in eight shades, this tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 received high marks for its sheer finish and clever pump dispenser. $38;

6. Best New Nail Product: Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil
This product prevents painful hangnails from forming, thanks to its unique combination of cottonseed and soybean oils. "It's super-moisturizing, which makes it easy to push back the cuticle when giving yourself a manicure," said expert tester Rachel Gangemi, a makeup artist at Valery Joseph Salon, in New York City. $8;

7. Best Lip Gloss: NP Set Luscious Lip Shine
Insanely hydrating, thanks to shea and jojoba seed oil, this gloss (which comes in four shades) also earned praise for its shine factor. $15;

8. Best Eyeshadow: Bare Escentuals Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadow in Mutt
This was a winner for both its bronzed-taupe all-occasion hue and no-fade formula. $17;

9. Best Blush: Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush
"Just looking at this blush makes me smile," said expert tester Kathy Miller-Kramer, a beauty writer and fashion entrepreneur. She adds, "I love the range of shimmery tones." $12;

10. Best Eyeliner: Revlon Grow Luscious Lash Liner
Not only do the conditioning ingredients (aloe, vitamin E, chamomile) help this liner glide on like silk, they're meant to support healthy lash growth. One tester cited an additional benefit -- it stayed put through her workout! $9;

Face Savers
These lotions and potions prevailed for taking away the stress and grime of the day.

1. Best Eye Cream: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex
Through a patented technology, this cream claims to instantly soften fine lines and make eyes appear brighter. "I felt like I'd gotten weeks of sleep back after using it," said expert tester Nuy Cho, founder of $50;

2. Best Skin-Brightening Product: Lumene Vitamin C+ Bright Skin Radiance Nectar
This lightweight serum's hero ingredient, arctic cloudberry nectar, works like a detoxifier to make skin look brighter. Testers also reported a reduction in facial redness. $22;

3. Best Face Wash: Mama Mio Clean Slate High Protein Aloe-Rich Cleanser
This paraben-free cleanser scored high marks for its ability to gently yet effectively clean the face and neck using natural extracts such as aloe-vera leaf juice. $32;

4. Best Night Cream: Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir
Containing glycolic acid, this serum promises to deliver the same glowing results as a professional light chemical peel when used every night for two weeks. "I like this serum because it feels like silk and leaves skin glowing," said expert tester Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., a dermatologist in Washington, D.C. $24;

5. Best Makeup Remover: Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh Brightening Facial Towelettes
One mom tester raved that just one of these towelettes quickly took off every trace of her makeup, even the heavy stuff on her eyes. $8;

6. Best Daytime Moisturizer: L'Oréal Paris Youth Code Day Lotion SPF 30
Anna, of Ashburn, Virginia, said she loves how this lotion "puts a nice shimmer on my skin. I can even wear it with a little mascara and skip makeup for the day." $22;


This article first appeared in Parents magazine.