Creme of the Crop

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We waded through a wave of new beauty products and picked our favorites to get you through the summer doldrums.

-- Holly E. Thomas and Michelle Thomas

1. MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish powder in Triple Fusion ($27 at MAC stores and

HT: Every summer, I fall in love with a different highlighting powder. This option yields a flattering, rosy bronze glow on cheekbones, decolletage and collarbones.

MT: Highlighting powders: meh. But this shimmering three-shade version is subtle and pretty.

2. Clinique Sun SPF 45 Targeted Protection sunscreen stick ($17.50 at department stores and

HT: I use a face moisturizer with SPF religiously, but sporting a pixie-like crop means I have to protect my ears, too. This little gem makes for an easy application.

MT: Eight. That's how many products are in my purse in case of beauty-related emergencies. So obviously I love that this sunscreen stick is portable.

3. Peaches & Boo Boo Save My Feet lotion ($20 at

HT: I slicked this stuff on twice -- before slipping into my Chucks for a few hours of walking, and on a workday with my most uncomfortable peep-toe pumps. After a full day in each pair, I was blissfully blister-free.

MT: My blister-prone boss adores this one. I'm headed straight for it before the next time I step out in five-inch strappy sandals.

4. L'Oreal EverPure Moisture shampoo and conditioner (about $7 at mass retailers and

HT: I love that the line is vegan, and it's an eco-friendly option at a drugstore price.

MT: I've had little luck with color-preserving paraben- and sulfate-free shampoos -- they usually make my locks feel limp -- but this one makes my hair feel soft, clean and volumized.

5. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau FraƮche Skinscent ($52 at department stores)

HT: This light splash dabbles in Hawaiian Tropic territory but ups the sophistication factor with notes of bergamot, coconut and vetiver.

MT: Yum. Smells like summer nights at the beach.

6. Kiehl's Marvelous Mineral mascara ($16.50 at Kiehl's (3110 M St. NW, 202-333-5101) and

HT: My mom is somewhat of a mascara connoisseur, and she recently asked if I'd started wearing false eyelashes. The reason? Kiehl's lightweight, high-impact formula.

MT: I second Holly's mom. The day I noticed her full, lush lashes was the day I vowed to start wearing this mascara. Now it's my go-to, because it plumps my sparse lashes and stays smudge-free for almost as long as its waterproof cousins.

7. Stila 24 Karat lip gloss in Vintage Merlot ($15 on sale at Sephora stores and

HT: The inclusion of gold leaf might delight tweens everywhere, but in practice, the gloss has a subtle shimmer.

MT: Stila's glittering gloss is neither gritty nor sticky, and the deep berry shade is flattering.

8. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish in Coral Rush ($4.95 at mass retailers)

HT: The super-wide, curved brush took some getting used to, but it covers each nail in two strokes, max. That, plus it dries in 60 seconds.

MT: One coat is all this polish requires, and it leaves a bright shock of coral-y pink. Easy peasy.

9. H2O Plus Sunless Tan Body lotion ($28 at

HT: We've been streaked, spotted and mottled by self-tanners in the past, but this one restored my faith in the faux tan. It took a bit of blending, yes, but it left behind a deep, rich color that faded naturally.

MT: I was skeptical because I had trouble blending in this formula's dark tint. But after washing it off I was left with a streak-free, natural-looking tan.

10. Shaveworks The Cool Fix after-shave lotion ($25 at Sephora stores and

HT: I love that it doesn't sting my delicate skin, like some of its counterparts.

MT: The gel-lotion consistency is soothing, and it really does prevent bumps.

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