Showing posts with label Concealer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Concealer. Show all posts

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer

Make Up For Ever just launched a new product to their Ultra HD range called the Ultra HD Concealer ($27 each for 7 ml/0.23 oz). These are designed to conceal the under eye area described as "invisible, luminous and comfortable" and are made to correct and conceal dark circles while blurring fine lines and wrinkles. Make Up For Ever kindly sent over the shades for me to test out. They do not disappoint. According to Make Up For Ever these contain:
  • Lamellar structure pigments that reflect and diffuse light, erasing under eye shadows and blurring imperfections
  • An anti-dark circle complex comprised of green algae and amino acids to help conceal and correct cobined with a radiance booster comprised of an Asian berry extract that helps stimulate collagen production to brighten and smooth skin
  • A 3D elastomer gel to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines

There are 10 colors in total that are split into two color families R (peach) and Y (yellow):

Color Correct: neutralize dark circles with a peach shade:
R20: Light Skintones
R22: Light to Medium Skintones
R30: Medium Skintones
R32: Medium to Tan Skintones
R40: Tan Skintones 

Conceal: brighten and awaken undereye area:
Y21: Light Skintones
Y23: Light to Medium Skintones
Y31: Medium Skintones
Y33: Medium to Tan Skintones
Y41: Tan Skintones 

Onto my testing and thoughts. These come in a thin squeeze tube without any sponge tip applicator. They are really easy to apply on the face, you can use a brush or sponge to blend, but I like to dab two tiny dots of product under each eye straight from the tube and then blend with the fingers.

On the nails, Louboutin Miss Loubi

On colors, I'm yellow and olive in undertone and in general often have a hard time finding a good match for under eye concealers. Most are either too pink, too light, or too dark. I know many like to go one shade lighter for under the eye to brighten and counter dark circles, but often times that "1 shade lighter" is just too light. An exact match is ideal, but many tend to warm up and oxidize slightly making colors too dark for me. I'm not one who likes to mix colors. Last year I was lucky to discover quite a few new formulas and color matches. Concealer roundup from last fall in this post here (with lots of swatches from Surratt, Urban Decay, YSL, Charlotte Tilbury and more).

For the under eye area I have been using the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher #3, Bare Minerals Bareskin Concealer in Medium Golden and Urban Decay Naked Skin in Medium Neutral. My other favorite NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger is still too light for me at the moment but I adore the formula.

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer has made the cut to join my top picks. It's an incredible concealer for under eyes. It's described as invisible because once you blend it into the skin it doesn't look like you have makeup on, but at the same time it really does conceal and cover up dark circles. My initial thoughts were that I would find a match in the Y family. Y33 is a pretty good match, but I actually like the ones with peach tones because it brightens the face and neutralizes dark circles better. I can get away with either R30 or R32. These add just the right amount of brightness under the eye without too much contrast. They do warm up but don't oxidize as much as the ones from Urban Decay.

I don't have under eye wrinkles yet but some full coverage foundations or cream concealers can emphasize fine lines. The Ultra HD concealer blends in with the skin for a smooth looking blurred skin look. Lasting power is quite good - it lasts all day without budging, creasing, or fading. I do set with a powder though (some favorites in this post here).

I've been a fan of the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealers as well, alternating between colors 7 and 8. These are a lot thicker in texture - many find it too thick for under the eye (I found it was ok, but yes it can feel a little thick). The Ultra HD Concealer is thinner in texture but still very creamy and very concentrated. You get less than half the product with the new Ultra HD formula but a tiny bit goes a long long way.

Swatches plus two sets of comparisons:

My best matches in the Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer range are Y33, R30 and R32. Swatch comparisons to some other concealer shades I use (or have used when I have been lighter) and a few foundation swatches to help. As you can see below there is a lot less product with the Ultra HD Line (7 ml/0.23 fl oz) compared to the Full Cover Concealer (15 ml/0.5 fl oz). The Ultra HD is more concentrated though so a little bit goes a longer way compared to the Full Cover formula.

Two sets of swatches comparison below with prices and product sizing included for reference to save you time from having to look it all up (prices as of 1/10/2016):

The entire Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer ($27 each for 7 ml/0.23 oz) lineup compared to:

Bottom line, definitely worth checking out if you're searching for an under eye concealer. The colors do seem to be limited but what impressed me was the fact that they included several that I think will work for super fair skintones. I know a few of my fellow beauty lovers have fair skin and find it challenging to find something light enough for their skintones. For tan to deep skin tones, you might be able to try either of the two darkest colors, but for now I suspect Charlotte Tilbury, MAC and NARS will still be the best bet for having a wider color selection available for those with deeper skintones. I feel lucky to have found 3 that work for my under eye area. I give this a huge thumbs up.

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers ($27 each) are available now at Sephora and Make Up For Ever. Have you checked these out yet? If yes, please share what color(s) you picked out and your foundation or concealer shades in other lines to help others who can't swatch in person to find their match :)

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers and Foundation were provided as courtesy press samples for review. All opinions my own.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Best of Urban Decay Cosmetics

Urban Decay Nordstrom The Beauty Look Book

If I were stuck on a desert island and could only have one makeup palette with me, it would be any of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. I've been such a huge fan of Urban Decay for years and out of all the makeup I've bought, tried and tested, the Naked2 and Naked3 Eyeshadow Palettes are hands down my favorites - ever. I've done quite a few reviews on each palette in the past but I don't think I've ever rounded them all up in one post. Today I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share my favorites from the line along with swatches and thoughts on their latest launch the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette.

The Naked, Naked2, Naked3 and Naked Smoky Palettes all have a mix of beautiful neutrals. Each palette offers a diverse range of colors and textures ranging from matte, shimmer, frost, glitter and satin. The texture of the shadows are amazingly smooth, rich and super easy to blend. They last all day on my lids - although some of the glitter shades will have some fallout. I would say Naked has the most diverse range of neutrals from light, medium to dark. It has a split mix of warm and cool shades. Naked2 is the most neutral option with colors that will make any taupe lover go crazy. It has 2 of my favorite colors in YDK and Suspect (also available individually). Naked3 is the rosy pink neutral option, as one who rarely wears pink eye shadow, it was a huge surprise to me at how wearable the colors in this one are. The colors are absolutely perfect. The latest Naked palette is the Naked Smoky which I adore but is hit or miss for many. It's the darkest and most dramatic mix of neutrals - the texture of the shadows is slightly harder than the other palettes, but I find pigment to still be excellent and easy to blend.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Urban Decay Naked Palettes swatched

The best matte eyeshadow palettes on the market are the Urban Decay Naked Basics and Naked2 Basics. I passed on the Naked Basics one for the longest time because I thought the colors would be too light for my skintone. Thanks to the extra push from my readers, I bought it and have been really happy. I don't usually like matte shadows because I find they are either too sheer or too intense. Sheer ones just don't show up on my skin, intense ones are too powdery or creamy and make my lids look wrinkled. The ones from Urban Decay are the perfect texture to just melt into the skin but at the same time the pigment shows up really well. The colors are easy to blend with each other. I like using these alone or mixed with shimmer colors. If I had to pick one, I would say Naked2 Basics is my favorite for my medium olive-toned skin, but both are really good.
Urban Decay Naked Basics and Naked2 Basics

The 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencils come in a wide range of colors. I of course prefer the neutrals (there are tons of options in this range), but there are lots of bold brights and shimmers that are really fun. I always have Bourbon on hand, I have a few actually. One is a mini from a holiday set, and I also have the full size. It's a shimmering dark chocolate brown. Rockstar is a classic deep plum. I like that it's deep but not so dark that it looks black. The Naked Double-Ended Pencils are nice to have for travel because you get 2 shades in one stick.

If you've used Urban Decay for a long time, you are probably aware of the lipstick changes over the years. The formulas have changed numerous times (they used to have their glosses in a squeeze tube, anyone remember Midnight Cowboy?). Right now three current lip formulas I like include the Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss, Revolution Hi-Color Lipgloss and Revolution Lipstick.

The Ultra Nourishing Lipglosses are cushiony shiny glosses. They are on the sheer side, so many of them end up looking very similar once on the lips with slight variations. My favorite is Naked because it has the prettiest sheen and shimmer that makes the lips look full but not too full.

The Revolution High-Color Lipgloss is a rich pigment gloss that is almost like a liquid lipstick. The two neutrals in the line are Kinky and Liar, I almost bought both but they are really similar. Liar is deeper and more pink, while Kinky is more beige and peachy.

For the lipsticks, I've only bought one formula. There are three formulas of lipstick. The Revolution Lipstick is the classic version which offers creamy pigmented coverage with a bit of a sheen. Lasting power is really good. There is also the Revolution Sheer Lipstick and Revolution Matte Lipstick as well which I haven't tested on my lips, but when swatching them in store, the sheers are just that - sheer. The mattes are full coverage velvets.

For the face, the Naked Skin products have often received high ratings and raves. I have tried two items and really like them. The Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation is a smooth powder that gives natural medium to full coverage. I use the shade Medium Light Warm. I like to use it to set liquid foundation or for mid-day touch ups on the T-zone. As a foundation it lasts pretty long and looks very natural. I like that it doesn't cake even if you use the sponge. The Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer is a great concealer for both under eye and spot coverage. It's full coverage without looking cakey. My match is Medium Neutral and I like how it really covers but blends well into the skin so it looks like your skin.

Swatches of all the concealer shades:

Last but not least, the latest from Urban Decay is a celebrity collaboration. They just launched the UD x Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette (limited-edition). Being a fan of both, I knew had to buy it even though at first glance there were 2 shades I thought might be questionable. Here's a quick snapshot below to show you the size/scale of the packaging compared to the other palettes. It has 15 eyeshadows in a large mirrored compact (Naked palettes have 6 to 12 shades). I love the little detailing on the mirror.

UD x Gwen Stefani Palette

The 15 shades are mostly neutral with 3 colors that offer a bit of pop. There is a good mix of matte, shimmer and satin with one glittery shade and two colors that are on the sparkly side. I've been playing with this for only a few days but initial thoughts are thumbs up.

UD x Gwen Stefani Palette

Descriptions of the colors in the UD x Gwen Stefani Palette:
  • Blondie is a shimmering pale cool-toned cream
  • Bathwater is a frosted yellow champagne
  • Skimp is a satiny soft pale cream with pink tones
  • Steady is a shimmering beige pink
  • Punk is a matte warm brown
  • Baby is a shimmering neutral mauve pink taupe
  • Anaheim is a matte fawn beige
  • Stark is a matte warm beige
  • Zone is a matte tan
  • Serious is a satiny grey brown with shimmer, goes on more matte
  • Pop is a glitter champagne sparkle
  • Harajuku is a cool-toned blue based pink shimmer
  • Danger is a sparkling bright navy
  • 1987 is a sparkling gold
  • Blackout is a matte black
Pigment on all the colors is really good. There is some fallout with a few of the shimmering sparkles like Harajuku, 1987 and Baby, but once on the lids they stay put. The only color I wasn't thrilled with is Pop mainly because it has crazy fall out with the glittery chunks unless you pat on the lids with a finger (over cream shadow to help it stick). I thought Danger would be a mess but it actually stayed put and didn't fall all over the face when I applied with a detail brush. I thought Harajuku would give me a pink-eye look but it's actually a very wearable pink.

Quick eye look with six colors layered and blended. The camera flash washed out the colors but I included a snapshot of the colors lined up together I used to help show the mix:

That rounds up my favorites from Urban Decay. There are a lot of single shadows that fall in the shimmer neutral category that are staples in my weekly makeup routine but the palettes are so much more convenient to use. Many times I find palettes have a few shades that I don't like but with the Naked ones, I like every color in every palette.

If you're looking for a versatile palette, you can't go wrong the Naked Palettes. My top 3 favorites are Naked2, Naked3 and Naked2 Basics - they are good for everyday, great for travel and have enough color to create a look for evening or special occasions. The colors are timeless and you can wear them any time of year.

Do you have any Urban Decay favorites? I'm curious about the Naked Skin Foundation, Loose Powder and Afterglow Blush - if you have any thoughts please let me know, I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Thanks to Nordstrom for teaming up to sponsor this post. As always, all opinions my own.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Concealer Rotation - Fall Edition

Today I have a roundup of concealers I've been putting to the test. It's been a year since I last did a concealer rotation. Since my summer trip to Europe back in June I've gotten a few shades darker than normal so my go-to favorites Clé de Peau Beauté in Almond and NARS Ginger no longer matched my skin. Several months ago one of my friends asked me about my favorite concealers which include Clé de Peau Beauté, NARS and Edward Bess. Those three brands also happen to be her favorites but she wanted to try something new and so began my hunt for something new that would perform as well if not better than my tried and true. This post has been several months in the making. It took me weeks of testing and swatching with several trips to the counter to find matches. Finding a shade can be tricky depending on what you want to conceal. Also some oxidize in color so a swatch of color that is an exact match might turn out to be too dark after it sets.

I put five new-to-me concealers to the test from Charlotte Tilbury, Bare Minerals, Urban Decay, Make Up For Ever and Chanel. In addition I've added a feature on the Surratt Surreal Skin Concealer (I bought this last spring but never reviewed it) and I've included the Clé de Peau Beauté and YSL Touche Éclat for swatches in the roundup. Most brands have more than one type of concealer formula. I looked for ones with a creamy texture that blended easily on the skin without emphasizing lines. I prefer medium to full coverage with a smooth looking finish. Ideally I would like something with 100% full coverage but finding an exact match is tricky and I often find full coverage concealers too thick.

Below from left to right:
  • Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Concealer ($50 for 0.06 oz) in #5 is the most expensive concealer I've tried in the per oz sense. It comes in a twist up stick form and has sheer to medium coverage. I found 5 to be a good match but the coverage is minimal and texture is on the dry side. If you have oily skin or find that you only need a tiny bit of brightening/coverage this one is good, but I wasn't thrilled with it. I will use it to the end though.
  • Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($70 for 5 g/.17 oz) in Almond is one of my all time favorite concealers. It's extremely pricey but well worth the splurge. It covers under the eye really well, doesn't cake, lasts all day and blends really well. The trick is to warm it up with the fingers to apply. If you apply it cold and straight from the tube, it can look thick. A little goes a long way and my tube has lasted forever without going bad (one lasted 2 years).
  • Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick ($35 for 3.5 ml/0.12 fl oz) in #3 is a new concealer to me. It's one that's been on my radar for a long time but I'm usually not a fan of click-type brushes because they seem so unsanitary to me. This is my new favorite. It conceals and brightens dark circles like magic. It blends into a creamy smooth finish. It stays put although you do need to set with powder. It works wonders on spots as well. This has a skincare element to hydrate and plump the skin. I'm in love.
  • YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch Concealer ($42 for 0.1 oz) in 5.5 is a classic I've been using on and off. I found it worked under the eyes to brighten and conceal but in a very natural minimal way. Coverage is sheer to medium. If you don't have a lot you need to cover under the eyes and need just a tad of brightening this is good. For me as I get older I find I need and prefer more coverage (I'm 34 right now). For spot coverage this doesn't do much.
  • Bare Minerals bareSkin Concealer ($20 for 6 ml/0.20 fl oz) in Medium-Golden and Tan were both pleasant surprises. I say they surprised me because the color range look liked it skipped my match. Medium-Golden is my current match for under eyes. It covers smoothly and has a thinner texture making it feel truly weightless. Under the eyes it makes the skin look smooth. There's no caking or emphasizing of lines. It is on the creamy side so if you have super oily skin it might be too dewy for you. It has a slight glow without looking too glowy that makes the face look younger with brightness. It held up well in the high 80 degree heat for me (I set it with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder).
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($28 for 5 ml/0.16 fl oz) in Medium Neutral and Med-Dark Warm is something that is raved about by so many. I was matched in store to Med-Dark Warm. It's one that is a perfect match on my skin but darkens after 5 minutes. In store I tried both the Medium Neutral and Med-Dark Warm, one on each side. The artist who matched me said she thought the darker one was better. I'm actually in between shades for under eyes. I prefer the lighter option for the eye area and the darker one for spot cover. Texture is thin but creamy. It lasts all day without caking, creasing, fading or drying out. I would say the color selection is pretty limited and the colors do oxidize. If you can test this in store - see how it wears throughout the day before picking a color.
  • Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($32 for 15 ml/0.5 fl oz) in 7 and 8 are two shades I picked up from Sephora. I also tested these, one on each side. The artist said she thought 8 was better. The product does darken slightly, but not as much as the Urban Decay. I bought 8 originally and asked my husband what he thought. He thought it looked like an exact match but I felt it made my face look sallow and tired (for under eyes). I ordered 7 which I found to be better for under the eyes and which will be a good match for other areas as I lose my tan. 8 works perfectly for spot coverage. If you want something that covers spots really well and looks seamless by blending into the skin this one is really quite amazing.
  • Chanel Correcteur Perfection Concealer ($42 for 7.5 g/0.26 oz) in 30 Beige is something I gave a try recently. Chanel concealers seem to have gone through several reformulations over the years. I've never really been a huge fan but it's mainly because I'm always matched to colors that are way too pale for what I should be wearing. I know everyone has their own take on how to match concealer, but I really don't like having my under eye area 2-3 shades lighter than the rest of my face. In this case I'm again, in between shades. I bought 30 although I really should have passed on this one. The consistency and coverage is really good. Right now 30 is just the slightest bit too dark for under eyes but 20 is definitely too light.

Swatched side by side:

I spent hours researching concealer shades and swatches before going to the counter. Even if a makeup artist offers to match me, I still like to test multiple shades to see how they compare. Half the time I'm mis-matched and researching swatches ahead of time helps me know what to look for. I was able to swatch most of the shades side by side for reference. The only line I skipped was Make Up For Ever because the 3 stores I went to each were missing testers of multiple shades.

Surratt Beauty concealers come in a small twist up tube, there are currently eight shades, each color has a number as the name:

Cle de Peau Beaute comes in a twist-up tube, there are currently 6 shades:

Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher comes in a brush wand style, you twist the base to click up product (similar to Stila Lip Glazes), there are 10 shades available:

YSL Touche Eclat (unit was missing 1.5) comes with a brush tip that dispenses product when you push the base, there are 10 shades available at Sephora. Some other retailers also have shade #6. The colors swatched side by side seem odd because they don't appear to go from lightest to darkest. Even after doing a lot of research, making sense of the options, colors and undertones can still be confusing. I took a photo of the display and double checked each pen to make sure they were in the correct slot before swatching in numerical order:

Bare Mienrals bareSkin Concealer comes in a wand with a sponge tip applicator, there are six colors currently available:

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer comes with a sponge tip applicator in a tube, there are eight shades available, I like that they have neutral and warm options in some of the shades:

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer comes in a squeeze tube, the formula is really concentrated so a little goes a long way, unfortunately none of the stores I visited had testers of all the colors so I wasn't able to swatch all the shades. There are 12 shades available, but they some skip numbers, it goes from 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 to 20.

Chanel Correcteur Perfection comes in a long tube with a sponge tip applicator. This one wins for the prettiest packaging, there are six shades available:

In terms of applying concealer, these days I like to use the fingers to pat and blend. If you prefer tools, three tools I really like are the Sephora Hakuhodo Concealer Brush, Chanel #10 and beautyblender (previous reviews linked for reference).

In testing a number of different brands of concealer I have indeed found a few new favorites. To sum up my thoughts:
  • My top two favorites for under eye are the Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher and Bare Minerals bareSkin concealers, they brighten the face, cover dark circles really well and both last all day on me
  • Best spot cover product is the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin wins for best multi-purpose concealer, but shades darken/oxidize and color selection is pretty limited
  • Surratt Beauty was the most disappointing for me, mainly because it didn't have the coverage I was looking for and texture is on the dry side
  • Chanel would win if the color selection was more diverse (I'm in between shades, and based on my swatches I suspect many of you will fall in between shades or outside of the range completely)
If I had to recommend you check out only one, the Charlotte Tilbury wins for new ones that I've tested, but my heart still belongs to Cle de Peau Beaute. The NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is still a formula that I really like for under the eye and spot treatment, but after looking at all the colors I found the next shades up from Ginger to be either too pink or too dark. (Café Makeup has an amazing post with swatches of all the NARS concealer shades swatched here.)

In case you're new to any of these brands, I've listed some of the retailers where you can find the following brands:
What's your go-to concealer right now? As always I would love to hear about your favorites or what you've been testing right now. Do you use the same for under eye and spots? Or do you have different colors/brands you use?

The Bare Minerals concealers were provided as press samples for review consideration.
All others purchased by me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Mini Sephora + Nordstrom Beauty Haul

I did a haul last week at Sephora and Nordstrom, both stores are dangerous for the wallet but oh so fun. I had four items on my shopping list and as usual, ended up with more than I intended. These days I prefer to shop online more than in store because it's easier, more convenient and saves time, but every now and then it's fun to go see things in person.

From Nordstrom at MAC I picked up the Viva Glam Miley Cyrus II Lipglass. The first one from last year really surprised me - I fell in love with it even though it's packed with lots of sparkle. Last year's (which is still available) was a sparkling hot sheer pink (swatched here). This year's version is a bright sheer coral that's also sparkly but super pretty. I don't usually like high-sparkle glosses but I highly recommend checking out both. I also picked up a Cremesheen Pearl Lipstick in Koi Coral for a friend. It's so pretty I think I need to pick up one for myself.

Sephora has the cutest new shopping bags, although I still see the older glossy bags around. After seeing the October Beauty Insider 250 Perk for Bite Beauty on Instagram, I went to the store to track it down since it hasn't popped up online yet. This month's color is Kir Royale which is a deep wine berry plum color. It's available individually as the Luminous Creme Lipstick. It's a brighter color than it looks in the tube - but I'm trying to be braver in wearing bolder lip colors for fall.

Here are quick swatches of the Bite Beauty Kir Royale and MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus II:

Burberry Beauty finally launched at Sephora and one near me received items in store! I've had the Fresh Glow Luminous Highlighting Pen and Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes on my radar since August. I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy both. I opted for the Medium No. 01 Contour shade (the lighter option). I haven't played with them yet except to swatch them in store on the hand but I'll have a review soon. In the meantime you can see the Medium Contour Pen in action in this lovely video from RaeView on her YouTube Channel in her Tutorial | London Fashion Week GRWM, Burberry SS16 Makeup. Both the Highlighting and Contour Pen are also applied by Wendy Rowe in the Burberry Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Make-up Tutorial | Sephora video too. They look super easy to use and apply for contouring-challenged people like me.

Sheet masks have been on my radar over the past few months. I'm still smitten with Tatcha and Kiehl's but decided to try some others. Dr. Jart+ Brightening Infusion Hydrogel Mask has mixed reviews but there were single sheets available in store so I decided to pick one up to try it. If you've tried any of Dr. Jart+ masks let me know what you think!

Last but not least, I've been on the hunt for a new concealer. I did a favorites roundup last year on my tried and true and while there's nothing wrong with the ones I use, I've been wanting something new. I've been testing and swatching several over the past few months in store. It's taken me a while to decide on some. I'll have a more detailed roundup on the best ones for spots versus under eyes. Two additions are the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer (I picked up Medium Neutral) and the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer (I ordered 8 online and also picked up 7 last week).

If you have Beauty Insider Points to redeem I think the October Beauty Insider 250 Point Perk for Bite Beauty is worth trying to track down. I suspect it will launch online like the others did (I passed on the pink and coral ones). You can get the lipstick individually, but the gloss is super pretty. I highly recommend it - it's such a pretty color for fall.

Have you hauled anything recently? Would love to hear about any new beauty picks!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Concealers In Rotation

For years I've stuck to concealers from two lines: Clé de Peau Beauté and By Terry. I've never had much need for concealer but my skin changed this year. These slightly dark circles under the eyes started to appear and I've needed a lot more coverage in certain areas of the face with scars and blemishes. Both of my go-to concealers still work really well for me, but I've been experimenting more with other brands and products. I thought I'd share a round up of the ones I have in rotation right now plus what tools I use.

My personal preference for blending concealer is for rounded brushes made of synthetic materials. My most reached-for tools include the MAC 252, Chanel Concealer Brush #10 and Trish McEvoy Medium Laydown #40. All of them are about the same medium size which works best for me. I've tried smaller detail brushes during makeovers and while they are good for precise application, I usually find larger brushes for cream products work better for me. They blend concealers well and also double as cream shadow brushes. Some days I will use fingers or a sponge, but my preference these days is for the brush.

Concealers I use right now:

  • Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Almond is my current skin tone match. The Cle de Peau Beaute concealer is the best stick formula I've tried. It covers the skin very well but looks natural. It works well under the eye area when dabbed on with fingers to warm up the product and doesn't look cakey. The color selection is limited but they recently added two shades (all shades swatched here). This is one of the best I've tried, it's pricey but performs well and a tube will last you a very long time.
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Ginger are new discoveries for me. I've had several of the older formulas in gift with purchase compacts in the past but wasn't impressed with the formula so I never thought to try the new formulas. A NARS artist recommended I try this during a makeover when I asked for a foundation with full coverage. She suggested the Radiant Creamy Concealer and it really does cover incredibly well and blends out to have a soft velvety looking finish. It comes with a sponge wand tip. I use both Custard and Ginger and mix them depending on what area of the face I am trying to cover. I've found this to live up to all the hype.
  • Edward Bess Extreme Cover Cream is a full coverage creamy concealer in a pot. This one is definitely the most creamy that I've tried. It's also the most pigmented but blends nicely to cover areas completely. Since the pigment is really intense, I recommend using only a tiny bit, otherwise it will be too heavy. The container is tiny but the formula packs a punch so it will last a very long time. All the shades swatched and review here. The color selection is a bit limited, but Medium is a good match for me. This one has a slightly dewy finish but does not get oily as the day wears on.
  • By Terry Touche Veloutée in Beige #3 is a highlighting concealer in a click pen type of packaging. This one gives a brightening effect even though the color Beige matches my skin tone exactly. I like it best under the eyes to cover dark circles and brighten the skin. It's also good on days you have a bit of redness around the nose. This one has a smooth medium coverage and dries to a semi-matte but natural finish.

Swatches of the shades below (with Clé de Peau Beige for reference):

If you ask me to recommend just one concealer, I would say that I think picking a good one depends on where you want to use it and what you want it to do: eyes, spots, cover completely or brighten? For me, a concealer for under the eye won't necessarily be suitable for spot coverage along the jawline or cheeks.

For under the under eye area, I look for colors that either brighten or have a bit of warmth. Many artists want to go lighter than my skintone to "brighten" the area, but it really just ends up looking ashy if it's too pale. If they insist on using one that is 1-2x lighter than I think they should I usually ask them to try 2 shades on me just to make sure I can see it for myself. I think all the concealers I listed above will work for under the eyes because they have a good blendable formula, but my favorite for under the eye area is the By Terry Touche Veloutee. It has a slightly sheerer coverage compared to the others which prevents the area from looking flat.

For cover up on spots or acne scars, the Edward Bess will give the most opaque coverage followed by the NARS and then Clé de Peau Beauté.

My top two picks include the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Clé de Peau Beauté, but there are a few downsides. If you test the NARS concealers at the counter or store, you may find it difficult to find an exact match and might be in between colors (like myself). When it comes to foundations, powders and concealers I want to find an exact match, but it's not always possible. There are times I have to buy two shades to mix which can get pricey. If I can't find a almost exact match for concealer, I will skip it all together, but I've made an exception for the NARS. I found the price of the NARS reasonable and the formula is really amazing so I did not mind splurging on 2 tubes to mix colors. The downside for the Clé de Peau Beauté is also a limited color selection and price of $70 is very steep. That being said, I do think if you can find a good match I do think formula is well worth the price. A tube should last well over a year even if you use it on a regular basis as a spot cover. 

I hope you found this round up helpful! Do you have a favorite concealer?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Edward Bess Black Sea Extreme Cover Cream

I have quite a few things to share with you from Edward Bess. Mark your calendars for this Friday evening because he will have his first 1 hour show on QVC September 5th at 9 PM EST. There will quite a few new items he will be featuring during his show and I'm thrilled to be able to share some of them with you as a preview.

First up is his Black Sea Extreme Cover Cream with Expert Retouch Brush. This was initially launched earlier at the beginning of the year on QVC (video segment still available online). It's one of those things I dove into immediately and fell in love with, I should have reviewed it months ago, it's been on my to-do list for quite some time. The Extreme Cover Cream is a full coverage creamy concealer with intense but blendable pigment. They are packaged in small pots with a twist off cap that locks into place to seal the product completely. There is also a brush included. These cover up areas on the face flawlessly and completely. The texture is on the medium-to-thick side so blending is key, but it is very easy to blend. You only need a little bit to get full coverage. No packing on needed.

Rouge Louboutin on the nails

Below is the Light shade shown with the brush, you can see the pots are quite small with a medium-sized brush that has a wide head and flat tip:

The Extreme Cover Cream comes in four shades: Light, Medium, Tan and Deep. I was worried I wouldn't find a good match due to the limited shade selection, but Medium is a perfect match for me.

Swatched with a small concealer brush, one swipe each shade shows how rich the pigment is:

Here are the ingredients:

Close up of the Medium shade I use to show the texture:

I like the way the brush works to blend the product but since the pots are on the small side and pigment is really intense, I prefer to apply with a smaller concealer brush (like Chanel #10) and then blend out with a Beauty Blender. I know many of my readers are experts on different concealers and know a lot more than I do. I am super picky with concealers, the ones I've tried during makeovers or received mini GWPs of often disappoint. They either disappear completely on my skin once blended or look cakey. Until this year I have never really had a need for extensive concealer use. For several years, I have exclusively used two: Clé de Peau Beauté and By Terry Touche Veloutée. This year is the year my skin has acted up and had all sorts of flare ups and issues. So I've started using the concealers more. I've been using Edward Bess's Extreme Cover Cream since around March for times I really need full coverage.

It's ultra creamy and pigmented so I only need a little. It has an emollient texture that makes it blend flawlessly. I always set with a powder and find it stays put all day without budging, but the key is to not use too much. It covers imperfections completely and is also good under the eye (it doesn't cake but you need to make sure you set it with powder).

For reference, swatches of Light and Medium next to a few other foundations and concealers I own:

It's bottom line love. It blends out perfectly on my medium olive skin and gives full coverage to areas when I need it. It does have a smooth finish (which is a must for me) although if you have skin texture issues, your skin's texture will still show through underneath. I only use this on spots that need extra coverage and it layers very nicely over foundation. Since it's extremely intense I won't use a lot under the eyes, just an extra tiny dab on days I need evening out is all I need. The shade selection is limited, so you may not fall under the four color options. I hope Edward will expand the shade offerings eventually. The brush is nicely made and also works well to blend out cream products, but it's a bit large for me for this particular cream. For concealer I prefer using a smaller detail brush.

You can find the Edward Bess Black Sea Extreme Cover Cream now on QVC. There is a video from February's QVC segment to show it's applied. I hope it makes another appearance on Friday's show too!

The Extreme Cover Cream was provided by Edward Bess for review consideration. 


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