The panel: Praise you
It's the last Panel of the year, and it's also time to look back at what we believe were the best cosmetics of 2010. This is the time of year when everyone wants to look their very best, so this week's top five are the products that we promise will do what they claim to do.
Not only are these products we have tried and tested, they're also the ones we have continued to use after the trial period was over -- and we have even been bothered to buy them again.
Maybe you're looking to drop a hint as to what you'd like in your Christmas stocking, or maybe you reckon you deserve a present from yourself, but these five would make a nice addition to any self-respecting make-up bag and would give the rest of your products a little boost to boot.
It's better to invest in one quality, new product, we believe, than in many of the seasonal palettes, which always seem to include a couple of dud items you'll never use. These five are practical, but pretty -- perfect for the times we live in, and the season we're celebrating.
Best Overall 2010
Benefit Stay Don't Stray, €27, selected departments stores nationwide
This eye-make-up base rates as our best overall cosmetic discovery of 2010, due to its ability to make whatever you put over it look better and brighter, and last longer. Eyeshadow colours go on true and stay that way, and last and last. "I've tried a few different bases under eye make-up before," said a panellist, "but they either make the skin look very dry or just don't make the shadow stick. This is a little miracle, and it also improves my application skills immeasurably."
Best Eyes 2010
Clinique High Lengths Mascara, €19, Clinique counters nationwide
This mascara proved a firm favourite once you get past the unconvincing-looking "willow wand". You need a lighter touch than with a conventional mascara brush, but the effect is what the mascara promises: an even coating, nice separation and length, and a lash look that's very clean. "This has become my staple everyday mascara," said a panellist. "It's so tempting and easy to buy a different, new, miracle-promising mascara every time, but I replaced this one when it ran out. A first."
Best Nails 2010
Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish, €5.23, available nationwide
This nail polish sells itself both on how quickly one can apply it and how speedily it dries -- one minute and one second, respectively -- but it's the ease of application that made it a winner with us. The trademarked Xpress brush is shorter and wider than a regular brush, and one stroke does the job perfectly, even for the clumsiest among us. "I don't know why every nail polish doesn't come with a brush like this," said a panellist. "It makes a doddle of a fiddly job, and it has pushed aside my more expensive polishes."
Best Lips 2010
Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle, €25.50, Chanel counters nationwide
The new line of lipsticks from Chanel is a winner in terms of finish and feel, and this colour works for everyone. As worn by Vanessa Paradis in the ads for Rouge Coco, it's the colour you wish your lips were naturally. "It's a bit nothing in the tube, but it makes an impact," said a panellist. "Not too pink, not too brown; it's the bold nude I've been looking for."
Best Cheeks 2010
Clarins Instant Blush, €22, Clarins counters nationwide
First impressions of this little pot of pink stuff is that it's all wrong, but, in reality, it works. A pot of what looks like pink lipbalm, it goes on the cheeks like Vaseline, but then settles into a flush that varies in tone from person to person. "I found this a cute alternative to the usual powder blush," said one panellist. "A nice glow and, to my relief, the tackiness settles into a sheen rather than shine."
Pictured, from left: Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle; Clarins Instant Blush; Benefit Stay Don't Stray; Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish; Clinique High Lengths Mascara