Showing posts with label Foundation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Foundation. Show all posts

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tom Ford Beauty Face Collection: Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Tom Ford has added more items to their face product lineup and as usual everything is on point. Items have been introduced "to perfect, highlight and define the face’s natural features for a balanced and flawless finish." There have been quite a few new foundation launches this season and the one from Tom Ford is one that I was most anxious to try out. The collection includes the following new launches:

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Face Collection Foundation and Shimmer Shots

Up first are the Fiber Brow Gels. I received two to try out in Espresso and Chestnut. It has tiny fibers to help fill in the brows and as a low-maintenance brow girl I find it perfect. It fills in brows, grooms and tints them all in one product. Espresso is my best match although I usually go lighter. At the counter the reps said Espresso is my shade. I did try Chestnut since the Tom Ford Beauty team was kind enough to send one, it can work for me since my hair color has a natural reddish undertone. My brows however do not have any red so sometimes reddish powders or pencils colors can look off. Since this coats the hairs I find it gives it a natural tint and looks good.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel Chestnut Espresso

I haven't tried too many other tinted brow gels, but by comparison the Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel is larger in packaging and brush size which makes it easier to use compared to the Glossier Boy Brow. I know many of you love the Boy Brow. I think it's good especially for the price, but the size makes it hard for me to hold sometimes even though I have very small hands and fingers. The Tom Ford brush is slightly larger and has a more angled shape which makes application a lot easier. Compared to By Terry's Brow Mascara I find the fibers in the Tom Ford to have more substance. I would say it has a chunkier texture/consistency which sounds odd and almost unappealing, but it fills in brows more while the By Terry grooms and tints but doesn't fill in the brows like the Tom Ford one does.

I give the Fiber Brow Gel a thumbs up. I have bought and used the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor which is an excellent product. I prefer skinny fine-tipped brow pencils so this one hasn't been used as much as my Diorshow Brow Styler Pencil.

Next are the Shimmer Shots which I think are genius. Sometimes names are everything and whoever named the product and colors for this launch deserves a bonus because they are both just perfect. I've loved every highlighter I've tried from Tom Ford and the Shimmer Shots are gorgeous additions to their line. Spin Spin Sugar is a champagne color with a slight gold sheen and Lust for Life is coppery bronze. Both blend in beautifully for a natural glow where you apply. I've tried it under foundation, on top of powder/foundation to highlight, and on the eyes.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shots swatched

By comparison to a few other Tom Ford highlighters, the Skin Illuminating Powder Duo in Moodlight (reviewed here) is more frosty in finish. Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust (reviewed here) is more peachy and also sheerer in finish with a more dewy finish.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Moodlight, Shimmer Shots and Fire Lust

More comparisons because so many of you have asked. I think the Tom Ford Shimmer Shots are must-haves, even though I have a lot of liquid highlighters. They have the perfect amount of shimmer and the finish is visible but natural. 

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Shimmer Shot comparisons

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (review here)
NARS Illuminator in 413 BLKR (review here)
Estee Edit Beam Team Bronze (review here)
Soleil Tan de Chanel in Sunkissed
Estee Edit Flash Illuminator in Sun Light and Night Light (review here)
Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Candlelight (review here)

Last but not least is the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. When I heard this was launching my first concern that it might be too thick. I've had good experiences with Tom Ford foundations in the past. I am usually either Bisque or Natural but at the counter I found the next shade up Sable to be a good match for me (although the girls at the counter disagreed and said it would be too olive for my skin). Note the numbers for the names have changed and I was told this happened across all formulas. The shades with the corresponding names are still the same, so if you usually wear Natural, you're still Natural - just the number underneath has changed. I bought Sable at the counter because I found it more olive. Samples of Bisque and Natural arrived as those are my usual colors.

Formula wise this is one of the best full coverage cream foundations I've tried. As one who is olive/golden/yellow I appreciate that Tom Ford consistently launches colors that are not pink in undertone. Formula is highly concentrated and opaque but doesn't look fake or flat like many full coverage foundations can. It has a slight matte finish but manages to look fresh and radiant at the same time. When I use this I find that I do not need concealer under the eyes. Lasting power is excellent and stays put all day. No irritation from this, no oxidizing, no budging. I do think that you need to prep the skin properly though - if you have dry skin with any dry patches or flakes any full coverage foundation can emphasize dry areas. I make sure I have a well moisturized base, but a tiny spot on my forehead, one on each cheek and one dab on my chin, then use a damp beauty blender to work the foundation into the skin.

There's no detectable scent and it photographs well with a flash.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Review

The colors I have now are Bisque 5.5 (which used to be 4), Natural 6.0 (which used to be 5) and Sable 6.5 (which used to be 6). Swatches below straight from the tube and then blended.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable
The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer Bisque Natural Sable

Both Bisque and Sable work for me. Natural is warmer and too dark for my skin right now. They do adjust slightly and warm up to the skin once on but they don't oxidize too much. I asked my husband what he thought about Bisque and Sable. I had one on each side and he couldn't tell the difference from the front. I turned my head to each side and he said that Bisque was a better match.

Below are swatch comparisons to the Traceless Foundation Stick in Bisque and Natural along with the Traceless Perfecting Foundation formulas I have. For those who aren't familiar with Tom Ford Foundations wondering about the colors, Natural in the stick is lighter than Bisque stick (as mentioned in this post too).

By comparison, the Traceless Perfecting Foundation is lighter in texture but can feel heavier on the face. Some have commented it looks flat on the skin - I often mix in a bit of shimmer luminizer in it. Coverage is full but not as full as the Waterproof formula.

The Stick Foundation is full coverage and one I cannot wear all over the face because of how opaque and thick it is so I often use it to layer on top of other foundations if I need more coverage. The Waterproof formula offers more natural looking coverage.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches

Swatch comparisons to the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz (I mix the shades) and also the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundations in NC25, NC30, NC35 and NC37 (my best matches are NC25 or NC37). I'm forever in between shades.

The Beauty Look Book - Tom Ford Foundation Swatches vs NARS and MAC

Some thoughts on other foundation formulas by comparison that I have tried:
  • Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil-Free Photo Foundation (reviewed here) is one I used to have but no longer own. Formula wise the Laura Mercier was more opaque and slightly thicker in finish. I find in her line I am often in between shades and the dry down of this one darkened a bit and had a tendency to look flat if I used too much.
  • Cle de Peau Radiant Cream Foundation was one I tested at the counter. I went to the store fully intending to purchase this but sometimes a bad store experience can ruin the fun. Rant aside, I tried both O30 (too pink) and O40 (too dark) on my face and as I could not find a good match I decided to pass. Formula-wise it's excellent but at the $100+ price tag I need an exact match in order to buy.
  • Cle de Peau Silk Cream Foundation is one I used to use in O30 and was told it's been discontinued. This was one of the best formulas I've ever tried but the texture was more moisturizing and is slightly heavier than the Tom Ford. The formula while not hydrating, gave me a more dewy finish.
  • La Mer Soft Fluid Foundation is also a new formula that I had high hopes for. I acquired a small sample at the counter and found my best shade to be Beige. This one is more fluid and lighter in coverage. It also has the Miracle Broth skincare element included. I absolutely love this formula but Beige pulls slightly pink on my skin so since I cannot find a yellow/golden enough match this will be a pass for me unless I get a lot lighter this winter and can find another color.
  • Armani Crema Nuda is one I don't think I can really compare because the finish and concept is completely different in the sense that it's sheerer and more like a BB/CC cream rather than a foundation/concealer like the Tom Ford one is.
  • If you try the Tom Ford and find it too thick or heavy I would suggest you maybe try the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD instead which offers sheerer coverage by comparison but still medium to full coverage.
Bottom line lots to love with these new launches. I highly recommend the foundation if you're in the market for a good full-coverage but natural looking foundation. Many can look flat if you use all over the face but this one does not. If you own a lot of highlighters you may find the Shimmer Shots similar to what you already own. I think both are winners and the shimmer is very pretty but not overly frosty.

By now you can find the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel at all Tom Ford Beauty counters. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Tom Ford.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Press samples of The Face Collection Waterproof Foundation in Bisque + Natural, Shimmer Shots and Fiber Brow Gel provided courtesy of Tom Ford.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation

Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation

My love for Anastasia Beverly Hills continues with two new launches in the Master Palette by Mario ($45 for .7g/0.2 oz x 12 shadows) and Stick Foundation in Warm Natural and Golden ($25 for 9 g/0.32 oz). I bought all three from Sephora - the palette is something I ordered sight unseen. For the foundation I spent some time in store swatching colors but they did not have all the testers or colors for sale. Luckily they had the colors that matched my skintone range so I was able to find something that matched. For a line that I feel is very much on the trendy side I've been fortunate to find some really great products that are still suitable for my conservative makeup taste. Pigment and formulas are versatile, rich in pigmented and shimmer, but still easy to blend out for a less sharp look. As much as I love new makeup trends I will not bake my face, strobe heavily, use the heavy contour method or have my highlighter "on fleek" as the young ones say these days. So for my fellow conservative makeup lovers - I think you might be able to find some really good products that are easy to wear even if you feel like you're not the trendy type.

Up first is the Master Palette by Mario. This is the first eyeshadow palette I've bought from Anastasia Beverly Hills. After a few years of accumulating several palettes in my early days of makeup exploration I found many sat unused in my makeup drawers if I did not love all the colors. So I made myself a self-imposed rule that if there were 2-3 shades I did not like I told myself "don't buy it." I did try to stick with it and for quite a few years I was able to resist a lot of palettes. In recent years palettes have been more tempting and my resolve weakened. In this case there were 2 shades I didn't really like which included the olive and navy teal - but seeing swatches online made me decide to cave and I'm glad I did.

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario review

This is one of the more trendy palettes I own. The shimmer is noticeable and on the scale of shimmer intensity I would say it's pretty high but I can still wear all the colors. The pigment is medium but buildable to full coverage. There are a few matte shades which also have excellent coverage. The shades are easy to blend and layer. Texture is soft so there is some fallout when applying on the eyes but I have yet to find a powder shadow that doesn't have some level of fall out. Once on the eyes the colors stay put - no smudging, fading or creeping. I like that they apply well with or without a base (at least for me).

Colors include:
  • Hollywood is a pale shimmery gold
  • NYC is a warm coppery bronze shimmer
    Kim is a warm tan shimmer with orange tones
  • Muse is a reddish pink shimmer
  • Marina is a shimmering champagne mauve
  • Claudia is a deep greyed navy shimmer
  • Lula is a matte cool brown
  • Isabel is a matte burnt orange
  • Violeta is a warm deep brown
  • 5th Ave is a shimmering pale frosted gold
  • Bronx is a shimmering olive
  • Paris is a shimmering bronze
In terms of how to wear this palette I often get overwhelmed with this many options - but I really like this one. I've tried every single color in combinations of 3-4 shades and every time the look is just really pretty. Unfortunately I don't have any eye looks for you as I'm still trying to figure out how to photograph warm shades on the eyes.

The brush is easy to use and the shape is good for blending and lid application - quality isn't the best as I feel it's not as soft as I'm used to, but it's functional and works.

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario review

A few more close ups:

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario review

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario Swatches

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario Swatches

Next up are the Stick Foundations. These offer medium-full to full coverage. Picking a color was a bit tricky in store as there is a wide range and they aren't displayed in sequential order. There are handy face photos with models to help narrow down your shade. My exact match is Warm Natural but with full coverage foundations often times an exact match can make the face look a bit flat. I picked up Golden as well which matches my tanned body so I use two shades and blend.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation in Warm Natural and Golden - The Beauty Look Book

I would say the finish pulls more on the matte side and for me - I don't like matte finish foundations because I find they emphasize fine lines and crevices. Especially around the mouth where lines form when you smile - full coverage mattes tend to creep into those lines and age my face. The one from Anastasia Beverly Hills does not emphasize lines but if you have dry skin or skin that tends to pull dry you will probably find it too drying for all over the face. I think it still can be used for extra coverage if you like to layer foundations. To date my favorite foundation stick is still the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation (review soon but you can see it in action on my face in this post here).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation in Warm Natural and Golden swatched

Foundation Stick Swatches Lancome, Make Up For Ever, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Hourglass, Tom Ford

Shown above:
To find your match if you're looking online or want to know where to start I recommend visiting their Stick Foundation Pinterest Page where they have lots of swatches, face charts and more. Here are a few that helped me. Based on these my best guess was Natural, Warm Natural and Golden and I think it was pretty accurate:

One last look:

The Beauty Look Book - Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation

Bottom line winners in my book and even though some of you have pointed out the line is overpriced as items are made in China, I still find quality and performance to be quite good. I've found them priced reasonably although many of you may be correct in your assessment that they are priced higher than they should be considering where the product is made. I still find what I've tried to be solid performers. Update: I took a closer look at the eyeshadow palette, shadows are made in USA and brush is made in PRC. Foundation sticks say made in PRC.

For other reviews you can always click the tag/label at the bottom of each post to find other features. I'll link the ones I've done below for reference.

I bought the Master Palette by Mario and Stick Foundation at Sephora. You can also find the line at Ulta Beauty, Macy's and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Armani Beauty Prima Skincare, Crema Nuda and Him/Her Lip Care

Armani Beauty - The Beauty Look Book

I've been testing out some items from Armani Beauty in skincare and just purchased a newly packaged foundation from the line. After a few misses over the spring I've been very nervous to test anything even though I've used many items from their line for over a decade. I used their Crema Nera cream in the original version for quite some time and absolutely loved it (I believe it's since been reformulated or repackaged). I have three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line that I've been testing for a few months now, the new travel-size Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream and additional thoughts on the Him/Her Lip Care.

Up first are three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line. This line was designed to keep the glow in your morning makeup look fresh and stay put all day long and the three items that first launched really do work. They smooth the skin, give it a very natural glow without the greasy feel and work well with my makeup (all brands including NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hourglass).

Armani Prima Skincare Review

I'm one who finds that my face makeup does indeed disappear or absorb into the skin and requires a little touch up mid-day. Foundation and powder usually stay put pretty well but I hate layers of product on my face so while I've tried and liked a lot of primers, I don't think I've ever found one I absolutely love. Something is always wrong with primers I test, either it just doesn't do anything for the foundation I wear, isn't compatible with my skincare, causes an allergic reaction or it works but has that silicone feel that I really don't like.

The Armani team sent three items over the summer and after a few bad skin reactions to their Maestro Glow Foundation and UV Primer I was terrified of trying these. I waited several weeks before being brave enough to test them and reminded myself that I had used a number of serums and creams from the line before and had great success with them. (I stopped repurchasing because of the high price points.) I'm glad I did. Thoughts on each.

Armani Prima Skincare Review

Glow-On Moisturizing Balm is a moisturizer that is designed to give skin a natural glow, plump and smooth the skin. It does all the things it claims and has a very unique texture. It's hydrating but has a very lightweight texture, almost airy and dries to a semi-matte finish. There is a very slight scent to it but it's pleasant and disappears within a few minutes. For me it has enough hydration to use in place of moisturizer. I have normal combination skin and find it is odd that it gives skin a glow yet has a matte looking effect. Kinda like how Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks are luminous mattes. For me this is what I had hoped the Natasha Denona Face Glow Primer Hydrating Underbase to be (which turned out to be a bit too rich for my skintype).

If you're more on the oily side or normal for that matter and find foundation disappears within hours the Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector is the best makeup primer I have ever tried. It smooths out the skin and really does make foundation look fresh longer. I have not tested it in hot humid weather but I wish I had this a year ago during our summer trip to Europe to try. Last year there were days in Paris and Rome where I just gave up on wearing any makeup because the heat and humidity caused everything to slide off within minutes. In warm California weather the Day-Long Skin Perfector really does smooth the skin and prime it well for your base makeup. It has a lightweight texture that glides onto the skin. I use it over my moisturizers (La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream, La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer etc.) and it's compatible with all of them. I have small but noticeable-to-me sized pores and this works well to smooth them out. It's supposed to help absorb excess oil and it does help to keep the shine at bay for me.

The Lip and Eye Contour was featured earlier this week and works to smooth out lips and give them a slightly plumped effect. I have not tried it on the eyes yet. It does indeed smooth out the lip and help prime them for lip color. It does come at a very steep price tag. It's a nice one that I like but given the price I do not know if it's something I will repurchase once used up. It does smooth out lip lines and I suspect it will do the same for eyes. With the eye area and skincare I've tried a number of items (still testing quite a few). I feel like eye creams are hard to test because they take so much time to see results. If you've tried this on the eye area let me know what you thought.

Up next are the Him/Her Lip Care tinted shades in 2, 3 and 5. These were also featured in this week's lip basics roundup so I won't recap the full review. A few of you asked for lip swatches even though I felt they all looked pretty much the same and sheer on my lips. I have pigmented lips but they do seem to be darker on some days compared to others. I managed to get lip swatches on a day where my lips were on the lighter side. I swatched them heavily so you could see the color but I normally would not wear them this thick on the lips. They have a nice moisturizing balmy feel. They aren't lightweight and you can feel them once on the lip area. If you need something weightless these will be too heavy for you. I also swatched all the colors at the counter for reference.

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Shades I bought, 2 is peachy, 3 is a lilac, 5 is a plum:

On the skin is MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation shade NC37:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

All the options, swatched at the counter:

Armani Him/Her Lip Care - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream which now comes in a travel sized version with a pump. When the original version came out in the large tub with a $200 price tag my jaw literally dropped and I told myself "I can't check it out, I just can't do it." The most I've spent on a foundation before was for Cle de Peau and I did love it but never repurchased. When I saw a travel size of the Crema Nuda for $120 pop up online I was also debating the new Cle de Peau Beaute Radiant Cream Foundation which is $125. It turned out to be too pink for me (I tried O30 too pink and O40 was too dark) and at the price tag I needed an exact or pretty exact match so I passed.

Armani Beauty Crema Nuda Review - The Beauty Look Book

Before trying the Crema Nuda I did reach out to a few beauty friends asking if they tried it. One confirmed it was good but the original price was too much. I went to investigate and a quick hand swatch had me worried because I thought I'd be in between shades. #3 looked very pink and peach when blended on my hand and #4 was clearly too dark. A kind associate gave me samples to try and said to give it whirl on my skin because they blended out differently on the face because of the unique texture.

Armani Crema Nuda packaging

I had a serious OMG moment when I tried #3. It did indeed look a bit peachy-pink at first swipe but a beauty blender smoothed it out and after a minute it adjusted to a perfect match. I've never tried anything that made my skin look so blurred and smooth as the Crema Nuda. I do wish that it came in the same shades as the Luminous Silk because the colors in that line are perfect for my skin undertone but formula is too rich. At any rate, the Crema Nuda works for my normal combination skin even though I thought it would be too moisturizing and heavy. It looks very natural with medium coverage. I do still need to layer on a bit of concealer on spots and under eyes but it's pretty near perfect.

I thought I had mini samples of all the shades but turns out I'm missing the darkest one #6. But for reference here are the colors I did get samples of at the counter. There is a new one #4.5 which once it sets looks darker than #4 even though they look pretty close with a fresh swatch.

Armani Crema Nuda foundation swatches

Here is how Armani Crema Nuda #3 looks on my face with a bit of Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder #2 to set (no concealer or other foundations added to the mix). On the lips is Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick.

Armani Crema Nuda #3

A few comparison swatches for reference. As I've mentioned in a few recent posts I went to investigate what my MAC shade was because so many of you have asked. In the past years I've been anywhere from NC30, NC35, NC40, C3 and C4 depending on how tan I was. I stopped using the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation because I found I was severely allergic - this was in my college days that I stopped which was over 10 years ago. I was also allergic to their Face and Body and a number of other formulas. Since then many years have gone by and I don't know if the foundations have been reformulated but I did give the Studio Fluid Fix Foundation a try.

The girls at the store said I was an NC35 but I felt NC37 was a better match (in this formula it's a bit lighter and less olive). I bought both so I could test and swatch them for you. As my skin gets lighter though I suspect I might be able to pull off NC30 - but I'll have to investigate further. I still promise to have my base foundation and concealer roundup as soon as possible.

For now here are some swatch comparisons for reference, Set #1:

Set #2:

At the $120 price tag it's still very expensive but easier for me to justify compared to $200. Plus I really like that it comes in a pump and wears well on my skin. Color options in the Crema Nuda line are limited but since it's not a full covearage foundation I do think the shades are more forgiving. If you try it I do suggest letting the color sit on the skin as it won't oxidize but it will adjust.

Bottom line, lots to love from the line. I'm slowly rediscovering bits - I used to be a die hard fan until they started reformulating everything and I'm still upset they discontinued some of the most amazing blush colors and the original formula. I know some will say the new one is better but I stocked up on some of the originals because in my mind those were the best on the market for a long long time.

For the skincare items, I like the Day-Long Skin Perfector the best. Even though it's the best primer I've used I still don't use it everyday simply because it's an extra step I just am too lazy for on most days. When I do use it though it does not let me down. I highly recommend it.

Have you tried any of the Armani Prima skincare line? Or the Crema Nuda? I just saw they added more to the Prima skincare line but have yet to investigate. If you have any skincare favorites from the line let me know - it's been years since I used their serums and creams. I suspect what I used to use no longer exists as new products have most likely taken their place.

Prima items provided courtesy of Armani for review. Other items purchased by me from Nordstrom.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Estée Edit Skin Glowing Balm Makeup with Pink Peony

Today's post wraps up my reviews of what I've been testing from the Estée Edit line. The Skin Glowing Balm Makeup with Pink Peony ($36 for 1 fl oz/30 ml) is described as a tinted moisturizer that gives a hint of coverage for naturally glowing skin. It comes in 12 shades right now and I have all 12 swatched to share today. The finish is very sheer and feels like a moisturizer balm with a very very tiny hint of color. It's described as being good for dry to normal skin. I found it lightly hydrating on my normal to combination skin. Since it is very sheer I would say this is best for those who don't need any coverage and just want a natural glow to let your skin show through. If you have teen or college age daughters or nieces who are getting into makeup and you want to treat them to a nice base product that is natural and youthful looking I think this is a great option. For me I need noticeable coverage, even if it's natural. The most natural I can go is with the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint or Becca Aqua Luminous Foundations. The Estée Edit Skin Glowing Balm is too sheer for me, even as just a base. Since it is so sheer the colors are forgiving on the skin. I could get away with wearing three of the shades.

These come in the same packaging with a pump as the Flash Illuminators. For the Skin Glowing Balms if you look closely at the bottles you will see a natural sheen and shimmer in the product. These have a slightly sweet makeup smell, almost like vintage lipstick, but it's not strong or overpowering. After a few minutes the scent fades.

I tested a few colors and found it acted like a natural looking moisturizer. It didn't get greasy as the day progressed but since the product is so sheer I couldn't really tell if it faded or stayed put color-wise. Even though these are like moisturizers I do think you need a regular moisturizer or serum on the skin first, it didn't blend well on my bare skin. If you're worried about the moisturizer on top of moisturizer being too heavy, you don't need to with this one. It's pretty lightweight even though you can feel the hydration.

A look at all the shades, swatched in numerical order from light to dark:

With a flash:

Without flash:

The three shades I could get away with, swatched heavy and then blended, my best match is 300 Wheat but all three disappear completely on my skin once blended:

Some swatch comparisons to other foundations (you can click for larger viewing):

For me they're too sheer. My skin is nowhere near perfect. I have a lot of acne scars that are fading but still product to cover up. If you have near perfect skin and like that barely there glow and just need a bit of evening out then you'll like these. Or if you have dry skin and like to layer products this will work as a base for medium to full coverage products. In any event I at least hope the swatches help you find a shade match if this has been something on your radar!

On a foundation/base note few of you have asked for a shade update on the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick - I picked up Nude as one shade darker than Warm Ivory and I'm in between shades (Sand was way too dark). I'll have my current foundation and base roundup for warm weather in the next week now that I've finished my testing for the season (at least for now).

You can find the Estee Edit Skin Glowing Balms online and in stores at Sephora. A few of my readers have noted that the line is also available in the UK at Selfridges. Have you tried anything from the Estée Edit line yet?

Skin Glowing Balms were provided for review consideration.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush Review

Hourglass just launched a new foundation called the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick ($46 for .25 oz/7.2 g) which is a new product described as having the full coverage of a concealer, fluid texture like that of a liquid, and weightless feel like a powder. It's a concentrated formula that combines foundation and concealer in one that you can build for full coverage but looks natural on the skin. Also launched with 26 shades of foundation include the Vanish Foundation Brush ($46) designed to buff and blend the new foundation formula to flawless smooth perfection. Both have launched at Sephora, Nordstrom, Hourglass Cosmetics and is currently on pre-order at Barney's New York.

I received two shades in Ivory and Warm Ivory to test out based on the note that I currently use NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz mixed together. When I first saw both shades and swatched them I suspected they would both be on the light side for my skintone, but Warm Ivory warms up to give an exact match for me right now. The chart above breaks down the color options and ranges. I would say the sequence of names is accurate from light to dark, but the color swatches are not. For me Warm Ivory is definitely darker than Ivory but the card makes it look like the opposite.

First a look at the foundation. These come in compact triangle-shaped twist up sticks designed for precise application. I tested both shades out and found both work well for a good match which surprised me because they looked really light compared to other foundations I use. I tried it three different ways. Here's the before and after with Warm Ivory swiped and then buffed. In these photos I put around 3-4 swipes per side of the face and then buffed it out with the brush.

Method 1: Apply all over the face with 4 swipes per side over Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and set with NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab. The result was an oily mess within a couple of hours although I was outdoors for lunch in 85 degree weather on a hot day with mild humidity. This usually happens with all foundation sticks on my skin though if I use them all over the face.

Method 2: Apply on top of AmorePacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra Gel + Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, then set with NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab. I have not really used the Hourglass Primer a lot because I feel it's best suited for more oily/combo skintypes compared to mine. I have accumulated quite a few minis and a friend recommended I try it for summer. She was right, it extends the wear of foundation especially in warmer weather. This combination lasted all day, even through being outdoors in the afternoon for a few hours. By evening, makeup was a tiny bit dewy on the nose, but it stayed put without any creasing, melting or budging.

Method 3: Apply a light base such as any of my regular foundations all over, I tried it with my NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints. Moisturizers used on separate days included the Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (primers skipped on these days). Use the Hourglass Vanish Foundation stick like I use most of my foundation sticks along the T zone and areas I need more coverage and buff in. Then set with powder. This method also worked well in terms of lasting power.

A look at the product itself with swatches, Ivory next to Warm Ivory. In the tubes they look yellow/olive toned pre-swatching. Once you swatch they appear a bit more neutral.

Comparisons to two other foundation sticks:
  • Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation is currently my favorite stick foundation of choice. I had planned a summer base roundup and then samples of two foundation formulas arrived so I wanted to put those to the test before doing my roundup. This so far is the best full coverage foundation I've tried that covers dark spots but still looks natural. My shade match is 123. Initially I was matched to 128 (as seen in this story here) but I can change skin color quickly if I'm outdoors for an extended time (or lose it as well) so I alternate between the two.
    • The MUFE stick offers more coverage but has a more emollient texture (not greasy though). Product is also larger at 12.5 g.
  • Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick for many years was my go-to for foundation sticks (original review here). I've gone between two shades, 4 Bisque and 5 Natural. To this day I still think this is an exceptional product - but I cannot wear this all over the face. The best way for me to use this is on top of regular foundation on areas I need coverage. For my skintype which is normal combination, the all over the face method results in a very dewy mess within a couple of hours - with or without any primer. Coverage is smooth and easy to build for a flawless finish. A little goes a long way - it has a foundation makeup scent that is hard to describe almost like cardboard or paper that I've found in some foundations and for some reason I find really soothing. A single stick has lasted me well over a year and the product did not go bad.
    • For the TF vs Hourglass, the Tom Ford is probably better suited for normal to dry skin types, it is more dewy in finish, feels slightly thicker but not too thick, it also has more product at 15 g.

Sticks swatched side by side, note my arm is not the same shade as my face. Right now the MUFE 123 matches perfectly. Hourglass Vanish in Warm Ivory blends out to a more matte finish compared to the others.

A closer look at the twist design of the stick:

One more shade of swatches with NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in St. Moritz (darker option) and Groenland (lighter option):

A quick note on the brush. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to use. It reminds me of my Marc Jacobs The Face II Brush (full review on foundation brushes I love here) in the sense that it's angled to match the contour of the face. The Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush is more compact, has a smaller head, but just as soft and a bit easier to move along the face because it's slightly less dense. It's super soft and fits in my hand perfectly. I haven't tested it with liquid foundations but I have with the other foundation sticks - it's amazing. I highly recommend it.

Overall thoughts:

  • The Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick does indeed offer a seamless smooth finish. It's easy to blend and does not look cakey, nor does it emphasize pores. 
  • Coverage is medium to full depending how much you layer. It does a good job at smoothing out dark spots or under eye circles, but I still prefer spot touch ups on blemishes and under eye with other concealers. (My favorites rounded up here.)
  • Lasting power will depend on your skin type and what products you use underneath. If you can normally wear foundation sticks all over the face without any issues this will probably work the same for you. I have never been able to wear a foundation stick all over the face with the exception of the MUFE Ultra HD Foundation Stick.
  • Best ways for me to wear the Hourglass Vanish Foundation stick was over the Mineral Veil Primer or over areas after applying regular foundation.
  • On color matching, I suspect based on the online stock swatches and chart that Sand might be a better match for me on my more tan days now that it's summer, but Warm Ivory works for a very good match - no tweaking required. Even though this is a full coverage product and I do recommend finding a match as close as possible, there is a natural quality to the finish that makes it forgiving even if it's not a 100% match. Warm Ivory swiped on my skin looks about 1-2 shades too light but as with most foundations you need to blend it out to see if it works. It matches my face to my neck well. I will check out the shades in store later this week though - if Sand is a better match I will let you know.

That wraps up my review of the latest from Hourglass. You can find both the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Hourglass Cosmetics right now. For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale there is an Hourglass GWP going on (featured in this post).

Have you tried the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick yet? It launched online last week - so if any of you have ordered or tested let me know! If not, have you tried other Hourglass Foundations? Which ones?

Both the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick and Foundation Brush provided for review consideration.


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