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Favorite Things 2008 - The Finalists

As a girl who loves a neutral palette, 2008 took me by a complete surprise. Where I might have thought it best to leave runway trends well, at the runway, I found myself in awe of the vividly painted faces at John Galliano and the enchanted silk prints at Prada.

2008 was a year when many memorable mascaras debuted on an already cramped market. So it was no easy feat that these newcomers managed to stand out amongst the well-tested veterans. Do you remember in the beginning of the year when drugstore brands took us by a storm and said "the bigger the better" when it came to the mascara brush? And what about the innovative designs (brushes with motion) from the department store counterparts?

On the fashion front, Spring was bursting with light and fantastic fabrics, in flowing proportions. But near the end of the year, a blackout of materials and structural shapes took over. During the year, we even saw the comeback of ruffles and lace in every way and, the one-piece jumpsuit. And remember all the floral prints and tartan?

For me, the highlight of 2008 was finally being able to attend the Amsterdam International Fashion Week!

I think 2008 was even more challenging than Favorite Things 2007 in having so many products to choose from. But here it goes; my personal Favorite Things of 2008!

Category - Blusher

Center: Pure Luxe, then left & clockwise: H & M, MAC Sweetness, Everyday Minerals, MAC Stark Naked

Cheek blush by H & M in Apricot
The combination of brown, apricot and pink swirls together in a youthful shade that is natural and warm. I never fear that I am 'wearing too much blush' when I have this one on. Previous post here

Pure Luxe Cosmetics blush in Berry Sexy
This cool, grape-y shade looks as if it doesn't belong on the cheeks but it does! On medium skintones, it turns into an incredibly sophisticated and unique shade of berry. It is a hybrid of MAC Emote blush and Stark Naked. This blush seems to melt into the skin.

MAC Beauty Powder Blush in Sweetness
I almost fainted back when MAC released an entire collection of Beauty Powder Blush. In Amsterdam, the collection was shown alongside Fafi, whose blushers pale next to these. The one that caught my eye was Sweetness because of its hot fuchsia color. But the sheerness and smoothness (read: very blendable) texture of the blush keeps it from looking clownish. Instead, it is a sweet but grown-up pink. Previous post here

MAC Beauty Powder Blush in Stark Naked
Another LE Beauty Powder Blush from MAC in 2008. This one just makes one look naturally flushed without any hint of peach. The raspberry/mauve color is warmed up with fine specks of gold shimmer which disappears into the skin leaving a candlelight glow.

Everyday Minerals blush in Nick Nack
I do love mineral blushers but because of their loose powdery nature, it can be tough to find a color that goes on lightly. This comes in a no-brainer-hard-to-over-do-it shade of matte cool medium pink. I can even run out of the door while brushing this on because it is such an easy color to wear. But when I have more time, a whisper of this over the temples does miracles at brightening the complexion. Previous post here

Peter Thomas Roth
Un-wrinkle Peel Pads
These pads are heads above their Complexion Correction Pads because these ones are softer and, you can feel and see results quicker. Even though the Un-wrinkle Peel Pads are designed for daily use, I only use these twice a week. One or two swipes with a pad at night over my face, neck and the back of the hands prepare my skin for what's to follow. The 'un-wrinkle' solution (made up of 20% complex alpha, beta, gamma exfoliators & amino acids, vitamins A, C, D, E & F, chamomile, green tea extracts) feels slightly tacky and looks shiny on they skin. But after 2-5 minutes of leaving it to work, the treatment can be deactivated with a simple splash of water.

Pure Luxe Eraser powder
As a mineral foundation advocate, foundation primers are an absolute daily necessity. I searched high and low for one in 2008 and found it finally in this powder form. I love that I can apply this with a powder brush (not a brush for liquids that I have to wash daily or fingers). It smooths out imperfections without emphasizing dryness and it provides the perfect canvas for long-lasting foundation application. But use it sparingly!

Terax Crema
As this is not available where I live, I took a chance and bought a salon pump size when I was visiting Toronto. The risk of not being able to return it if I did not like it didn't matter because I heard both Naomi Campbell and Kate Beckingsale adore this. I must agree with the two beauties because I too am in love with this conditioner. It tames frizzies and puts the shine back with only 2 pumps for my long hair.

Nars Makeup Your Mind
I received this as a gift for Christmas and it is the most useful and beautiful makeup book that I have come across. This book illustrates with a transparent sheet over a before-and-after photo of a model's face, the products used and where to apply them. It will turn anyone into a Nars addict if you aren't already one!

Silk Naturals Lip Gloss - organic
I vow never to be without this one. The talented owner of this brand (which started her business online but has opened a pilot store in 2008) creates magic when she sits down to hand-make these slim sticks. The result is the most moisturizing yet comfortable lip products I have ever experienced. Since a majority of the colors are built from a sheer brownish base, they are extremely flattering and easy to wear. I still have many to sample but my favorite so far of the bunch is in Skinny Dip (previous article here).

Zelens Intensive Triple Action Eye cream
If only you splurge on one eye cream this year, it should be this one! The packed ingredients list is too large to repeat here but just to mention a few: Acetyl Tyrosine (amino acid which aids in color distribution in skin), allantoin (aids in healing), carnosine (potent anti-oxidant), coenzyme Q10 (controls oxidative DNA damage to cells), hyaluronic acid (restores vitality/hydration to skin), rosehip (powerful anti-oxidant). I find the application elegant and I use a spatula to scoop out the product every time I use it. The cream resembles apple compote but applies without a spec of grease. I feel simply spoiled every time I use it because of the packaging and, I hear that models fight over this backstage!

MAC lipstick in 3N
I found the perfect nude shade of lipstick for me in MAC's N Collection. This is the shade which had me hoarding tubes at both MAC stores in Amsterdam and bidding away on ebay. This was also the shade all over the runways, and if worn with gloss, it is perfect with dramatic eyes. More on MAC N Collection here

Weleda Cold Cream (Europe)/Everon Face Balm (North America)
When retinols and wintry dry air has me down with flakies and irritated patches, this is the cream that comes to my rescue. I have since replaced my Creme de La Mer when I found this sucker for 12 euros at a local health food store. This cream has the soothing, sleep-inducing scent of geranium and has a short list of ingredients which means it works for times when our skin just cannot tolerate a longer list. Note that the same product has different names depending on where it is purchased!

L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray
I finally bought into the hype in 2008 over this slim bottle of fine misting hairspray. Even though the smell is noticeably "hairspray", the hold is brushable. Of all the different versions, I like the flexible hold the best. Btw, did any of you see the piece written in Allure magazine about this?

Redken Velvet Gelatine (part of Redken's Urban Experiment line)
I was introduced to this during Fashion Week in July and am so glad that we met. Its soft, gel-silicon texture tames hair and softly styles it to hold it in place. The finish is slightly 'velvety' as the name implies which I find particularly modern and low-key.
Avene Micellar Lotion
You might have read my story about how I wished for this when I was in Cuba (here). This makes a great finishing toner after cleansing and before the application of skin creams. Its greaseless texture (read: feels refreshing), and cleansing power means this doubles as a light-makeup remover; sans blurry vision.

Paris Berlin Le Teint HighTech
For days when I know I will need long-lasting waterproof coverage, and that I might need to appear in flash photos, I use this instead of my mineral foundation. I discovered this fantastic foundation in Paris (More on that fantastic makeup store here and on the foundation here) and will always return for more when I am in town.

Make-up Studio Professional Make-Up
A great find for me in 2008. The company was formed by a local group of professional makeup artists and is a line which rivals that of MAC for me. Since it is from the Netherlands, their prices are slightly less than MAC. I have purchased items from the line since I first discovered them but you can see some of the items I have played with this year here.

MAC Paintpot in Soft Ocre
A basic that I never want to be without. Any eyeshadow will stick to this for the duration of the entire day. The creamy texture applies like slightly melted chocolate. It is medium skin hue with more yellow in it than pink or peach. More on MAC N Collection here

Bourjois Ombre Stretch Courleur ultra stretchable colour in brun nylon
Such a big name for a small shadow! I reach for this one quite a lot since red and orange toned eyeshadows are difficult to use on me. The cool taupe hue forms the base for a nude yet shimmery eye. The product is pigmented and has a velvety blend (never chalky) that doesn't crumble under the dip of the brush. The packaging of the shadows in this collection all come in a rectangular box that encases a medium-sized natural hair shadow brush and a wide mirror. One of few best eyeshadow picks from June 2008

I want to thank everyone who took part in Favorite Things 2008. Please take a moment and drop a hello to all these wonderful Bloggers to see what their favorite picks of 2008 are. I also want to thank Annie of Blogdorf Goodman for Favorite Things 2007. She's written an amazing piece on her favorite things of 2008 which you can find here. So please excuse me while I go ogle over everyone's lists ...

Beautiful Makeup Search

Beauty 411

Beauty Talk

Beauty Tyrant

Binary Star


For The Love of Beauty


Life Of A Ladybug

lily loves mac

Make Do Style

Miss Whoever You Are

Perfume Shrine

Platinum Blonde Life

Searching the Inner Me

Slap Of The Day

The Beauty Alchemist

The non-blonde

Urbane Girl

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)

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The Seeker said...

What a great post honey!!!
You did it so well, well now I must check the others ;)

Thank you so much for your lovely e-card and Bday wishes, dear.


Teri said...

Cleaning out my jar of sample packettes today, I have three of them for that Zelens Eye Cream - I will be digging them out pronto.

Beauty Tyrant said...

What a delightful list. The Zelens eye cream seems fabulous. Love the blush selections :)

Anonymous said...

what a great, informative post! i'll be sure to try a few of those products!

La C.

Make Do Style said...

Oh I'm impressed by the Zelens - not heard of it before and good tip about Weleda dry cream, I need it with all this cold.

This post idea was such a good one -thanks for the invite xx

Beauty411 said...

I love your list--you've given me several MAC products to hunt down. And we're in total agreement on the Zelens Eye Cream-it's fab! Must have pulled the wrong link list this am, but I caught it so now yours is on there. Thx for pulling this together! Here's to another year of great beauty discoveries!

Grayburn said...

The Seeker, it's great cause it feels almost as if we're celebrating with you...a little party of sorts! You've been such a wonderful friend to me so I thank you wholeheartedly for your support...through thick and thin!

xo Grayburn

Grayburn said...

Teri, oh I see that the SA was generous with the zelens samples! So far their products have done wonders for me so I will be looking into trying more of their products in 2009.


Grayburn said...

Beauty Tyrant, I equate finding an eye cream just as hard as finding a good mascara (like you mentioned) so I really didn't expect much from the Zelens until I dabbed some on my skin. It was just sort of hard to believe how I felt!

x Grayburn

Grayburn said...

La C,
Thanks! Can't wait to see what you like as well!

x Grayburn

Grayburn said...

Make Do Style,

I pulled the Weleda cream out just in time for the cold which has been so harsh this year! But so far since using this again, no more dry patches!

I'm so grateful for your support for FT 2008. Thanks so much for sharing your personal favorites!

x Grayburn

Grayburn said...


One can never have too many beauty powder blush from MAC :) I always thought eye creams were hopeless until I met Zelens.

Thanks again for sharing your list with us!

Beauty Alchemist said...

Great List, thnaks for doing this.

Now I want that Paris Berlin Makeup :) Don't know anyone headed to paris,but I'll keep my ears open.

Couture Carrie said...

Fun post, G! Will have to try some of these!


shopinchic said...

Oh yeah, I read that piece in Allure about Ellnet hairspray.
Its so sad that it took them
so long to sell it in the USA.
And I'm so glad they sell it
at Target!

Great post btw.

Izar said...

Hi Grayburn!

Wow, impressive list and so exciting!
Can you believe that I don't own Nick Nack yet? I mean, it's such a popular blush, well loved by everyone. I have got to try it soon! Berry Sexy look pretty too: I find I'm better off with cool shades as they resemble the color of my cheeks when I blush.

Once I get my skin sorted out, I'm definitely trying PL's eraser powder, it sound so good.

SN glosses!!! You've taken the words right out of my mouth: they truly are the perfect lippies. :)

The girls on the beauty thread I frequent are crazy about the Elnett hairspray and so are you, which means it must be a great product. Maybe I'll buy my Mum one. (I myself don't use hairspray, you see.)

Also, thank you ever so much about your post on the Avene Micellar Lotion: I really love micellar products, though I use the ones Bioderma makes, and they really are a godsend when one is trying to get rid of makeup.

Paris-Berlin foundation: haven't tried it yet, but there's a very similar store in Budapest which sells this brand (plus and Kryolan and Ben-Nye), and I guess one of my new year's resolutions is that I'll visit that place and take a good look around.

Yay, Bourjois!! Of course you know how much I love them, so it's only a matter of time before I get an e/s like that on eBay.

Thank you for this brilliant post, I enjoyed every minute of it!

Lots of love,

P.S.: Oh my god, that turned out to be a post-length comment...

' * : . b | u 3 . : * ' said...

Very drool-worthy list! I want to check out H&M's line but I don't think its in Canada yet - haven't seen it in stores.

Roxy said...

Oooo la la! You've got some fab items. I'm going to have to try Zelens soon - that cream sounds divine and the Redken styling product too. Reading everyone's lists is going to cost me big $$$ I can see it now! : )

Thanks so much for putting this together! I know it had to be exhausting and I'm so thankful you organized it for everyone. And I loved your graphic - top notch, sweet girl! xo

Bela said...

I've had such fun reading your inspiring list! Some of the products are available around here: I've made a few notes for when I next go shopping... Thanks for everything. :-)

platinum blonde said...

Great list, I have found new products I must try. P.S. I too loved the Mac N collection :) xo, Melanie

Angelina said...

When you reach your late thirties, forties and up, you’ll probably need a more potent solution to solve the variety of aging conditions that appear. Wrinkles, loss of firmness, crow’s feet and age spots are just a few of the problems you may have. You’ll have many products to choose from at every price point you can imagine.

Perfumeshrine said...

Thank you for organizing this, I know it was hard work!

Wow list, you're so organized!
A few comments:
1)Elnett has been used by not one, but three generations of women in my family. Yes, it's that good. As you say "brushable hold". I prefer the one for dry hair, as it has less alcohol than the rest.
2)the Bourjois shadow looks lovely and I am noting it down.
3)Weleda is a great quality line despite the look/price.
4)I think Terax is carried by hqhair in the UK. Don't they ship there>? Worth asking.


Grayburn said...

Beauty Alchemist,

Thanks for sharing your list with us this year. Would be alot of fun if you're in town to get it together!

x Grayburn

Grayburn said...

Izar, there is just something so sweet and fresh about nick nack...I can't wait to hear your report on that store that sells kryolan and ben nye...they have some killer palettes! Lol my comment on your post was reaching post-length as well! But I just can't help it!

Hope you had a great weekend,

Grayburn said...

' * : . b | u 3 . : * ' , yeah I think H&M have only launched the makeup line in europe. Prices are I believe equivalent to Wet'n Wild..which is very economical. Somehow this blush compact captured my heart in 2008!

x Grayburn

Grayburn said...

Roxy, thanks! I'm so glad to have everyone part of this as it was so much fun! Maybe it was selfish, but everyone's lists have really helped me put together a shopping list for when I visit the US in spring :) Can't wait to go shopping!

xo Grayburn

Grayburn said...

Bela, thanks I'm glad to be a source of inspiration for shopping! I really loved reading through yours and I can't wait to see more of your posts!

x Grayburn

Grayburn said...

platinum blonde (Melanie), I am so glad to hear that because I thought I am the one out in the cold with MAC's N collection.

xo Grayburn

Grayburn said...

Perfumeshrine, wow 3 generations of Elnett users! I imagine everyone @ x'mas with perfect hair!

Thanks for the tip about Terax! As much as I love fancy luxurious packaging, I also appreciate the no fuzz approach to Weleda. Something sort of 'pharmacy' about it :)

xo Grayburn

fashion herald said...

oh, thanks so much, i'm so trying the unwrinkle pads!

Anonymous said...

thanks for leaving such a sweet comment :)

La C.

Leigh said...

Great post! Now I have about 10 new products on my want list, hehe. Take Care.

Grayburn said...

fashion harald, oh please let me know how you like it!

x Grayburn

Grayburn said...

Leigh, my list is bulging out of the pages after I went through the tour with all the bloggers! Will be so nice to hear if any of the products work out for you!

x Grayburn