Posted by: Chelsea Novak | February 18, 2003

Chelsea’s Best Beauty Buys Blog

In light of my fall out with the most recent In Style Best Beauty Buys article, I figured I should put my money where I mouth is. This isn’t to say that I don’t agree with In Style on many counts, but I think they made some mistakes (it’s hard saying that…). Some things on their list I’ve never had access to (but someday I will get my chance at Bobbi Brown, Stila and Trish McEvoy). Also there are some product categories I haven’t had any experience with (though I will someday when I’m making people up professionally), like foundations for dark or dry skin, products for curly hair, etc. Sorry. So I’m going to tell it like it is, or at least tell it like I would if I were making the call.


Best Shampoo

Bumble and Bumble. Hands down the best. Pick up some of the Sunday shampoo as well for weekly clarifying.

Best Conditioner

Aveda Brilliant Conditioner. Makes hair feel so soft. Only use 2 times a week to avoid weighing down hair.

Best colour amplfiying Shampoo

The folks at Aveda know what they’re doing. Back in the days when I used to colour my hair, using their colour shampoos I could punch up or tone down my colour. For bright blond try Blue Mulva, for light brown or to chill out some overly blond highlights get some Clove, redheads or those who wish to enhance their red should wash with Madder Root and to darken your dark slap some Black Mulva on your head. The shampoos are slightly drying so be sure to use a conditioning treatment at least once a week.

Best Inexpensive Shampoo & Conditioner

You should all know this by now. Pantene (Green for sleek hair, Purple for Body – the Blue is way too heavy)

Best Styling Product

Thermasilk styling mouse (so wanted to write moose), maximum hold.

Best Hair Spray (natural hold)

Clinique natural hold hairspray. Keeps things in order without helmet head. Best for styles with movement. The smell won’t choke you either (don’t go inhaling it on purpose silly).

Best Shine Product

Redken gloss on. A light finishing product that adds shine without weight.

Best Anti-stink-Get-Another-Good-Day-Out-of-Your-Hair Product

Aveda Brilliant damage control. Spray a little on your hair to extend your hair one day further. Be sparing. Use a little more and blow dry to boost blow out. Smells SO good.

Best Brush

I haven’t been able to get my hands on a Mason Pearson Brush (someday) but so far the best brush I’ve known was made by Aveda (Paddle Brush). Durable bristles, soothing on the scalp, nice finish. Worth all $50 dollars.

Best Curlers

Con-air hot rollers with foam. Great shape, no pain, really light. You have no idea how happy I will be to see my curlers when I unpack all my things in storage.


Best Cleanser (for oily skin)

Cetaphil. Dermatologist Recommended, nice price, ugly bottle. Runner up: Clinique cleansing bar, comes in 4 varieties from sensitive to dry. Hypoallergenic too!

Best Toner (for oily skin)

Can you tell I’m an advocate of the 3-step? Seriously though Clinique Toner is simple and effective. Smells awful, but does the job. Also comes in serval intensities.

Best Moisturizer (for oily skin)

Clinique Dramatically Different. I use the oil free version, which helps. It’s light and the company claims that a bottle is sold every 4 mintues somewhere in the world.

Best Blemish Killer

Mario Badescu Pink Lotion. Note that it only works if you don’t pick. Leave the evil be, put on the pink stuff and watch it vanish overnight. Love this stuff.

Best Eye Cream

Neutrogena Healthy Skin eye cream with AHA. Great for getting those starting wrinkles. Can be used under make up, works best if patted on instead of rubbed in.

Best Anti-wrinkle Night Cream

La Prarie. Better for older skins. Only availble in Europe. Very pricey. Full of fish eggs.

Best Anti-wrinkle Night Cream you can afford

Stop your grousing, you can use Biotherme night cream.

Best Eye Make-up Remover

Chamomile Eye Make-up Remover from The Body Shop. Super gentle and effective.

Best Make-up Remover

Nivea Make-up remover. Was introduced to this by M’s stepmother. Gentle, leaves no residue and easy on the wallet.

Best Body Lotion

Sometimes it’s the simple things that are best. A big ol’ bottle of Lubriderm will keep you soft through even the driest of winter months.

Best Hand Cream

It could be that the smell makes me think of my childhood and playing in my mother’s garden, but I think more than that it’s my very soft hands. I love Mario Badescu’s Hand Creme with Vitamin E.

Best Foot Cream

I’ve spent my whole dry and cracked, nasty footed life looking for this product. Time I used to have to spend exfoliating and pumicing my feet can now be spent reading, eating or saving the world as I have discovered Dr. Sholl’s Foot Softening Lotion. Use it nightly and enjoy your happy feet.


Best Lipstick

Chanel. This could be a personal bias as MAC has more shades and is pretty damn good too. There’s just something so extravagant about the smell and feeling of Chanel lipsticks. Makes you feel beautiful.

Best Lipliner

MAC. Everyone raves about the Spice lipliner. Going through my liners the other day I found that of my two MAC liners, nither were Spice, but both are fantastic.

Best Lipgloss

MAC Lipglass. Super shiny, but very sticky. Great on it’s own or over colour.

Most universally flattering shade

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It’s light and it looks different, but good on everyone I’ve seen it wearing it.

Best Lip Blam

Such a hard choice to make, as I’m a bit of a lip blam junkie. Pratically speaking it would be Labello. For a touch of colour, pick up the Cherry or Rose varieties and enhance the natural look. To keeps looking and feeling supple, also try Aveda Lip Saver. Pricey at over $8 a tube, but total luxury for your lips. Guys can use it too and not feel like their masculinity is threatened.


Best Eye Liner

Hands down, without a doubt leaving everyone in it’s wake is Chanel Eye Definer. I’ve been asked by friends, people on the street, assistants at the dentist’s office what I use on my eyes. Can be put on thick to look like liquid or light to be natural. More than worth every penny. Truly intense colour from a pencil and it comes with its own adorable sharpener.

Best Mascara

The debate of the ages. If there’s one thing I collect almost as much as lip blam it’s mascara. There are several products worthy of mention. Unless you’re a total mascara hound your best bet it to buy Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. The formula is great, and it’s price won’t make you cringe when you have to throw it out after two months (yes, that’s right after two months. Eye infections… no fun). If you’re a fiend like me, try one of these: L’Oreal Intensifque (basically the same forumla as Great Lash with a much better brush  – try the black it’s fabu), MAC Pro Lash (dramatic lashy goodness, but put it on with care, can clump if you’re clumsy and it takes a little while to get off) and my favourite Lancome Flextencils (long, curly, great brush, goes on really smoothly, makes me look good — I like that).

Best Eye Shadow

MAC has the best colours. Ranging from natural to totally insane, (Why I bought bright green eyeshadow I’ll never know, but it is an amazing colour none the less) these shadows are easy to work with and last like you wish crushes did.

Best Brow Pencil

If you’ve seen my brows you’ll know that I don’t actually use brow pencil, so I feel like a bit of a fraud giving advice on this one. However, having been around several browless wonders it seems that Maybelline Brow Definer (comes in a red pencil) is the way to go.

Best Eyelash Curler

These things freak most people out, myself included. I’m more inclined to spend more on a curling mascara than use an eyelash curler. That said, I do own one from Revlonand it has never really hurt me. Thank you Mr. Eyelash curler.


Best Foundation for Oily Pale Skin

I’m actually off foundation for awhile. I realized a ways back, that when I get older and my skin starts to pigment and get all freaky, I’ll be slathering the stuff on every day. So until then, I’m a strictly concealer and pressed power (to get that silly shine out of the way) kind of girl. I’m going to let my youthful radience shine through until it’s only my state of mine.  However, I still have to attend “events” where ful make-up is de rigeur, so on those days I use and love MAC Studio Fix It’s a powder, it’s a cream, it’s a compact… it’s everything really.

Best Pressed Powder

Chanel Pressed Power kills the shine, lets that which is good about your skin come through, feels light and has a really classic case (which conveniently has the letter C on it…).

Best Concealer

If you ever want to see a young woman freak out and act like a junkie in desperate need of a fix, come into my home and take my little tubs of MAC concealer away from me. Then you’ll see what hysterical really is. On my list of needs, it’s right below food some days. Use your 4th finger to apply under the eyes, nose and lips, then use a concealer brush to manage spots and discolouration.

Best Highlighting Stick

If you’re going the foundation route, you’ll need to use a highlighting stick to give your face some dynamics. Make-up is meant to look like your face, not like you’re a bad painting. Full foundation requires that you highlight some areas so that when light hits your face you look normal and not oddly monotone. So go out and buy a NARS highlighting stick. Now.

Best Bush

If we’re talking powder blush and I think we’re talking power blush, we should talk about MAC powder blush. Of course, I’d rather talk about cream blush, which I’m currenly all “Yay” for as not only it is great blush, but in a pinch you can use it on your lips, sparingly on your eyes and, of course, on your cheeks. You should carry some Clarin’s Multi-Blush in your emergency kit. You’ll thank me for it later.

Best Brushes

I’m putting this in the face category. If you’ve got $250 to invest, get yourself to MAC and pick up some brushes. Like any project, this first thing you need are the right tools. The basic brushes to have at your fingertips are a lip/concealer brush, an eyeshadow brush, a blush brush, an eyebrow brush/eyelash comb and a big soft loose power brush. A cheaper set that I’ve had some sucess with you is from The Body Shop, but stay away from the eyebrow brush/lash comb. It has a habit of shedding, falling apart and generally pissing me off.


Best Nail Polish

Maybe it’s all the amazing colours, how it goes on and stays on so well or maybe it’s the totally fantastic names (last time I was buying I picked up “It’s my Prague-ative” and “Red Red Rhine”) but OPI is simply the best nail polish out there.

Best Nail Polish Colour That I’m currently Obsessed With

From the Chanel Spring collection, it’s an intense hot pink called Kabuki. Perfect for giving some life to the toes.

Best Nail Polish Remover

Cutex. It’s really that simple.

Best Nail File

It’s called a manicurist. Go see one.

As I’m always trying to learn more about beauty products, if you have had any “Oh wow” experiences or have a favourite product of your own, click on the “me” button above and tell me about it.



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