New things are not always the best, but these best things are new to me. | theNotice’s favourite finds of 2012

I wrote a year-end retrospective, but then it was a thousand words, so I’m breaking it up. Here’s the good stuff (the other post is boring) —

High-end mascaras really are better.

Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara, Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes, YSL Shocking

They just… are. They’re more likely to smell like roses than turpentine (thank you, Lancôme, that was actually really cool), and while the brushes look like they’re going to perform the same way, they just — I find that they do actually tend to perform better.

(Tend to.)

Not in all cases, but the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill formula makes one hell of an argument for department-store brands.

Fresh Sugar lip balm, Fresh Sugar Rose lip balm

The world’s cats were right. Living inside a box can be cool, too. 

The hugely popular Fresh Sugar Lip Balms? Yeah, I don’t hate them. I mean, I don’t adore them–in the lip balm category, that’s probably reserved for my fanatical love of Clinique Chubby Sticks and Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15,–but I’m really enjoying the minis I picked up over the summer through the Sephora Beauty Insider program.

It kind of makes me feel like I have an anti-individualistic robot-brain, but they’re pretty tasty, you guys. It’s kind of worth it.

Clinique Chubby Stick + Intense

…but it’s awesome outside of it, too. 

Like when it comes to media consumption. Better Off Ted was my cancelled-programming find of the year — think two seasons of absolutely hilarious weirdos with the added bonus of fake science.

In the beauty department: unscented shampoo makes my day on an actually-daily basis. I’m crazy about Curelle Hydra and Riche (a shampoo and a conditioner, respectively), which does an amazing job of cleansing without stripping, and without interfering with any of the other scents you’re wearing. They’re completely lacking in the website department, though.

(Literally: they do not have one. It’s mind-boggling.)

Best fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner find

And two new radio play loves: Cabin Pressure (hello, Benedict Cumberbatch as Martin Crieff), and Undone — I cannot even begin to tell you how smitten I am with the alternate-reality London of Undone. Absolute perfection.

Though nothing competes with alternate realities (oh my god Fringe is going to be over, hold me), Ghost Cousin was a pretty substantial find of the year for me, too.

Mentioned first here, Landscape of Animals still makes me think of winter light just as it begins to turn buttery around the edges; a wonderfully unexpected afternoon without any responsibilities and absolutely no need to keep track of time as it passes.

With playful, weightless lyrics and just enough percussion and piano to ground each track, I still feel (even months later) as if I’ve found exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for.

Ghost Cousin - Landscape of Animals

And, last but not at all least…

Colour is not necessarily a terrible thing.

Admittedly, I don’t wear a lot of it, but I had a lot of fun with some very unexpected products this year. The bold-but-desaturated vibe of most vampy lip looks really gets me, as do most oxblood products and subtle stains.

! Korres Raspberry Liquid Lipstick

When you’re going a little brighter or bolder than usual, though, it’s good to have a few colours on hand that absolutely are not going to budge. I have a huge (recent) soft spot for the Korres Raspberry Liquid Lipstick line — they don’t have nearly enough subdued shades (think darker tones and mauvey bases), but the product itself is fantastic. No bleeding or patchiness, and most importantly–as long as you remove any and all excess product--zero kiss transfer.

For a shade as bright as this one (I’ve been testing out 28 Berry), that’s a pretty impressive feat.

What were your favourite finds of 2012?

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  • Laura H.

    I'm so happy somebody else loves the Korres Liquid Lipsticks ! I lucked out one time at Winners and got a set of three for only $12 ! Try Natural Pink if you haven't, it's definitely more muted than the others.

    • Thanks for the heads-up, Laura! I'll definitely see if I can get my hands on a tube — I've been wanting a more muted one of these :)

      (And holy crap, what a great find. ! )

  • Sadly, I think the liquid lipsticks have been discontinued. They've been slowly but surely disappearing from every place where they were sold.
    My recent post making faces :: new year's yves

    • I'm suspecting as much, too, Kate :( It's too bad — they were/are such a great product!

  • I love high end mascaras when I get them as part of a kit, but I hate buying them separately. I find that most of them don't do that much better for me than my beloved CG Lashblast and there is something terribly depressing about shelling out $20 for something I will have to toss in 3 months. However, high end blushes and eyeshadows are SOOO worth it. That was my big discovery this year.

    • They so, so are! I find myself largely incapable of buying drugstore eyeshadows — there are some really great ones out there (Physicians Formula, NYX, and Wet 'n Wild constantly make the cut), but most of them are absolutely terrible.

      (The Maybelline Colour Tattoo & L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadows are pretty impressive too, though, while we're on the topic! Definitely worth trying :p)

  • Drugstore mascaras, after having tried so many I couldn't agree more! It would have been nice to find a good one by they do nothing for me. Now I'm tempted by BB lip balm. *sigh* :D
    My recent post Getting skincare as a gift! Proceede with caution!

    • Oh my god, the Bobbi Brown lip balm is so good. When you break it down to the cost per oz, the price is actually really decent, too!

  • Lily @ChloeAsh

    I love reading what works for others. I have yet to try Korres but I've been reading so much about it lately. I'm getting curious… On another note, Lancome mascaras don't work on me. Diorshow mascaras do though :-)

    My recent post Starting 2013 With A Wishlist. I’m Greedy Like That.

    • But they smell so good! :p (Seriously, I am hugely swayed by well-fragranced mascaras. I have no idea why, because it makes zero sense when you consider all of my other preferences, but — mascaras that smell awesome get me every. single. time.)

  • mostlysunnybunny

    I'm with you all the way on Eyes to Kill! It doesn't work too easily for my bottom lashes, but on my upper lashes that thing is the bomb! For my lower lashes my favorite is Diorshow New Look. I have very recently found a happy medium between the two in Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum mascara though. My tiny tube has been really well-loved. Maybe I should finally blog about it LOL
    My recent post All (Bow) Tied-Up: Dior Chérie Bow Rose Poudré Swatch/Review

    • I know! ;aslkdfgh Such an amazing formula.

      I'll have to keep the Hourglass in mind — let me know when you finally get that post up! ;) :P

  • Bonnieee

    favorite finds of 2012 this year would be…:
    LINER – physicians formula eye booster. it stays on for a decent amount of time & I can go swimming without worrying that I'll come out of the pool with racoon eyes!
    MASCARA – Fresh supernova. just the right amount of volume, separation and length.
    CHEEKS – taste amazonian blush in exposed. I lovelovelove this! Just the right amount of colour!

    I didn't find any lip or foundation products that I absolutely fell over heels for this year =(

    • Ha! I've owned Supernova in the past, and I hated it :p It looked lovely on the lashes, but smudged up a storm!

      What have you tried recently for lips, Bonnie? There are a few great products that I stumbled across over the last year, but I'm pretty sure none of them were particularly new releases.

  • toyarosie

    Oooh, loving the unscented hair products – to order do you just have to email Curelle? They obviously need a webpage, WTF?

    I'm with you about going for products 'in' the box as well as 'out' – I just say, go for whatever you'd like to try and make your own opinions about them! I'm not sold on high-end mascara yet…which is funny since I haven't used a drugstore one in AGES. Maybe that's why – I don't feel I can make an educated opinion just yet :)

    My faves this year have been the Hourglass Immaculate foundation (and No. 28 primer!), Illamasqua's Unrequited blush, and MUFE's Aqua Rouge #8 and Rouge Artist Natural #N46. It takes a lot for me to declare undying love for anything, so even having a list with four items is a pretty big deal!

    • I know, right? >.< My sister & I pick ours up at Planet Organic, but I think they're mainly a Western Canada thing. Try your local organic grocers for other options, though! :)

      I'll have to check out those four, seeing as they get such a rave review on your part! ;) Still haven't gotten around to giving any Rouge Artist Natural shades a try, though I've been meaning to for months.