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

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Foundations

It's time for a foundation update now that we are transitioning to fall weather. I've been testing some new base formulas over the past few months. I have an assortment of foundations to share today by coverage type which I've found suitable for my normal combination skin. These days my skin is slightly oily in the T-zone with a few dry patches around the chin area as I'm working to clear up my skin. I still have super sensitive skin that reacts to a lot of foundations so if you're like me, I this roundup helps you find something new to try.

In case you have completely different skin type and foundation preferences, I highly recommend you give Nordstrom's online foundation search tool to help you find the right foundation for you. There is a quick and easy form for you to fill out where you select skin type, coverage and finish preference. This filters brands and formulas for you to check out. I highly recommend you give it a try.

I've split my fall foundation edit into three categories: Natural Coverage, Medium-to-Full Coverage and Powder Foundations. My personal foundation preference is for something that is natural looking and lightweight but also has decent coverage to even out the skin and create a flawless base. Many have asked me if it's necessary for add-ons like primers and powder. I don't think all foundations need a primer, but I'm a firm believer in setting with powder. Many times I set with a powder foundation by dusting the face with a brush. Some think it's too much to layer powder foundation on top of liquid foundation but if you layer it right, it's not too much. (More on primers and powders in a separate post.)

Up first are three new powder foundations I've been testing. If you've read The Beauty Look Book for a long time you will know that my holy grail powder foundation is the Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte Powder Foundation. My color is usually Warm 100 and has worked for me even though I've gotten darker over the summer. I decided to try a few new formulas.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Powder Foundation is indeed a high-def kind of product. It's a super pigmented and super velvety kind of powder foundation that has medium to full coverage. You can use this one wet or dry, I prefer dry with a sponge or dusted with a brush. For me trying powder foundation is tricky - as the skin warms up, powders often darken or oxidize in color. The Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation does warm up to the skin but doesn't darken. It holds up really well with minor touch ups needed on the nose for me. I use Medium Light Warm. There are a number of shade options with different undertones.

The Tom Ford Flawless Powder Foundation launched a few months ago. This is extremely pricey at $80 but the formula is amazing. With a simple base of moisturizer the sponge applies this on the skin and makes all your pores disappear. Skin appears smooth and truly flawless. It's easy to build - the texture in the compact looks and feels powdery but there is no fall out on the face and it doesn't cake. The downside (aside from the steep price tag) is the limited color selection. I'm in between Fawn and Sable. It was suggested I opt for Fawn as the closest match. I'm about 1.5 shades darker now compared to what I am most of the year. For right now I can get by with Fawn but it's a tad bit too pale. It will be perfect for winter. That being said I do hope they expand the color selection to match the liquids because this formula is incredible.

Giorgio Armani also launched a new foundation called the Luminous Silk Compact. Color selection jumps around in this one as well. I am normally anywhere from a 6, 6.5 to 7 in the Luminous Silk and Lasting Silk. The powders I saw seemed to run on the dark side. I was matched to 4 and I was super skeptical about the counter rep's matching skills because I expected to be 5.5 or 6.5. She was right. It warms up on the skin. I would say this is one of the sheerer powder foundations I've tried. If you like a super natural look this is a good one. It is very smooth and finely milled. I prefer more coverage but it's great as a setting powder or layered over a sheer foundation.

Swatches next to Chanel Double Perfection Lumiere Powder Foundation (right now I use 40 Beige) and Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte in Warm 100


Next up are some natural medium coverage foundations. Some of these are more on the sheer side but each of these will offer enough coverage to even the skin and cover minor imperfections. I have a few tried and true mixed in with a new to me formula.

Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact was featured a few weeks ago. This is the first cushion compact I've tried and my color match is Tan Gold 204. Several of you mentioned you hoped shade 102 would launch in the US and the good news is that I just noticed that it's now online at Nordstrom! The Amore Pacific Cushion Compact is the most natural looking foundation I've tried that still gives medium coverage. It melts into your face to look like skin but as you press it into your face you will see it transform into what I call your skin but better. Color selection is limited so I'm thrilled that Tan Gold is my perfect match (it warms up and adjusts within the first 2-5 minutes but doesn't darken further after it sets).

The NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is one of my holy grail base products because it's really not like a traditional tinted moisturizer. When my friends ask me for a recommendation on a foundation that's natural this is the one I recommend first. It's usually followed by a response along the lines of, "oh but I don't like tinted moisturizers, they're too sheer and greasy." I agree that most are, but this one is very different. It's more like a natural foundation with a super lightweight texture that makes the skin glow naturally. I'm usually Groenland year round but after getting a tan I've found the next shade up St. Moritz to be a better match. If you haven't tried this formula I highly recommend you do. It has the perfect natural coverage and glows without feeling too glowy and doesn't get greasy or too emollient throughout the day.

La Mer Reparative Skin Tint is something I featured over the summer. This is one of the few skincare + foundation in one kind of products that I actually like. The formula melds into the skin beautifully and offers natural medium coverage. Over time it improves the texture of the skin adding moisture without feeling heavy. The only downside is the color selection is limited and it's also very expensive but if you can find a color match it's well worth the splurge. It helps rebalance the skin and lasts all day long. If you have normal to dry skin this one is really good.

The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream was a pleasant surprise for me. I received a few press sample recently and gave it a try. I have to say it far exceeded my expectations - the concept of a gel cream didn't sound appealing to me since most gel-like foundations feel sticky and often look too dewy on my skin. This formula has thoroughly impressed me, I like it just as much as the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and the added bonus is the color selection seems better than most lines. This is a BB Cream, CC Cream and Tinted Moisturizer in one. I'm usually not a fan of BB or CC creams because I don't like the way they feel on my face. The Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue feels weightless and blends into the skin beautifully.


The final category for my fall foundation roundup is medium to full coverage formulas. This is my formula of choice since I prefer bases that cover my skin more to create an even base. All of these have been featured before on the blog, they are my tried and true.

Tom Ford makes excellent foundation. The Traceless Foundation Stick is hands down the best foundation stick I've ever tried. It's super creamy and easy to blend on the skin. It covers imperfections without looking cakey. Since it's super pigmented I recommend layering this on areas you need extra coverage instead of applying it all over the face. I love the formula but the pigment is too rich for the entire face everyday (at least for me). The Traceless Perfecting Foundation is something I use regularly. I am normally a match to Bisque 4 but right now Natural 5 is my perfect summer match.

The NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is another holy grail for full coverage foundations. This one gets mixed reviews - some love it, others hate it. It's super concentrated and a little goes a long way. It lasts all day on my normal combination skin and covers the face really really well. If I were to compare this to a lipstick, I would say this is similar to Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution. Both are more matte in finish but have this luminous quality that makes it look natural and not flat. I do think you need to prep the skin properly with a good moisturizer and primer if you have any dryness or uneven texture on the skin (I like the Dolce & Gabbana Primer or any of the ones from NARS). My shades are Santa Fe and Punjab, both of which are too light for me now. Since a little goes a long way I still have a lot of both shades and didn't want to purchase a third since I'll be losing my tan soon.

Last but not least, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is a classic staple for me. I've repurchased it several times. I alternate between Beige 30 and Beige 40 depending on my skintone. It offers medium buildable coverage and feels lightweight. Even though the name "velvet" implies a matte finish, I find it's a natural luminous matte. It doesn't look or feel heavy. In terms of foundation recommendations this one usually is #2 on my list. Many often ask, "but what about the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua? it sounds better and lighter." Both are good formulas, the Perfection Lumiere Velvet is my favorite because it covers better and has a slightly matte finish. It also lasts all day and feels weightless. The Vitalumiere Aqua is also natural looking and I know many love it. On me it feels a bit too dewy, I would say it's better suited for you if you like glowy makeup or have normal to dry skin.


If you're looking for a new foundation to try, I hope you found this roundup helpful. Finding the right foundation can take time. There are so many factors to consider from color matching, formula, finish and lasting power. As usual, I'd love to hear about your foundation favorites or new discoveries. Do you have anything that's a go-to for fall?

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions my own. Press samples include the items from Bare Minerals and Amore Pacific. All others purchased by me. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ in Tan Gold

I've been interested in cushion compacts for quite some time but never took the jump to test one until recently. I was researching and shopping for sunscreens in Sephora a few months ago and one of the associates recommended the Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compacts ($60 for 0.52 oz/15 g, plus one full-sized refill) because it had a high SPF, natural coverage and was also one of their best sellers in store. She tried two shades on me, Tan Gold 204 and Amber Gold 208. It was hard to tell with in store lighting which color was best because they both seemed to adjust to the skin and it was early summer so I wasn't sure how much of a tan I would get. I decided to wait and luckily the Amore Pacific team reached out and offered to send one for me to test. Based on my skintone description they sent Tan Gold 204 for me to try. I've been playing with it for a month and am really pleased with it.

One reason why I've been hesitant to try cushion compacts for so long is most seem to be pink in undertone. I have distinct olive/yellow undertones so I've avoided them for a long time. Amore Pacific's Color Control Cushion Compact has a limited shade selection but they have two with pink undertones and two with yellow undertones. In testing the four shades at Sephora in store, it was easy to see the difference in undertone.

Tan Gold 204 applies to a perfect match for my skin. It has very natural coverage but manages to conceal uneven areas and redness on the face. The sponge is very thin and absorbs the perfect amount of product to apply to the skin. You have to test it really see how beautifully it performs - you press it into the skin and then blend with the sponge. The finish looks like your skin but so much better. It isn't like tinted moisturizers or like other CC or BB creams (I find most disappear into my skin). The one from Amore Pacific covers completely but still manages to look natural.

The color starts out a bit light on my skin but it oxidizes to match my skin. It only darkens within the first few minutes but stays the same color throughout the day. I was really impressed with how well it holds up to the humidity and heat (it lasts all day when set with powder through 90 degree weather). When I use it pores disappear and fine lines no longer look like they are visible. There is a noticeable floral scent but it's not overpowering or irritating on the skin (for reference, it has the same strength as By Terry Rose products but is more powdery smelling compared to a straight rose).

The compact is very well designed. It comes with a mirror and a spot for the sponge. The insert is easy to pop out to replace with the extra refill. The product is in a cushion form, the foundation is soaked in a cushiony sponge. To apply, simply press the sponge into the compact and then apply to your face.

Here's a look at the compact with the insert removed:


Swatches to a few other Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact shades (I had a sample pack of the pink tones from a previous GWP) and NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland and St. Moritz (right now I'm a perfect match to St. Moritz):


-Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate: 7%
-Titanium Dioxide: 4.15% 
-Zinc Oxide: 9.8% 

Phyllostachis Bambusoides Juice, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Alcohol, Arbutin, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Aluminium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Isostearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Acrylates/Stearyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Disodium Edta, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylhexyglycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Water, Silica, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Camillia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides (Ci 77492, Ci 77491, Ci77499).

Given the limited shade selection I'm surprised but really happy to have found a good color match. I'm thoroughly impressed with how natural it looks - it's like your skin but so so much better. After testing it for about a month now I am pleased to report it evens out the skin, gives the skin a natural glow, is easy to build and lasts all day. Aside from the initial darkening/adjusting which occurs within the first 5 minutes, the color stays put and doesn't darken with sweat or heat. I love how it feels weightless and like skin on the face. I do set with a powder to make it stay put better - but I set everything with powder. I have sensitive skin but this one did not irritate my face or cause any breakouts. The price of $60 is on point and seems very reasonable especially since it comes with a full-sized refill.

Have you tried anything from Amore Pacific before? Based on the reviews online, most everything in the line seems to be very well received by beauty lovers. I'm new to the line - would love recommendations if you have any favorites! If not - do you have any favorite cushion compacts?

You can find the Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact online at Amore Pacific, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Sephora and Neiman Marcus.

The Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact was provided courtesy of Amore Pacific for review consideration. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Current Base Testing Rotation

I have a love-hate relationship with foundation these days. The summer sun is impossible to avoid here in Southern California and I've gotten a bit of color even with sunscreen. On our three weeks trip to Europe we spent a lot of time outdoors and on beaches - I got 2-3 shades darker. I've been trying to stay indoors more since I've been home so my tan is fading and I'm in that in-between stage of foundation colors. Some I have to mix to get the right match. These days I've been loving sheerer coverage formulas that are more forgiving. They have enough coverage to even the skintone but are sheer enough that you don't need a 100% exact match.

Another tricky thing about foundation is color matching at the counter. In the past several trips I've made to the beauty counters and asked about foundation, the reps have looked at my skin and asked, "do you want to be darker or lighter?" Foundation is supposed to be a close match and I understand it can't always be exact, but I can't count the times I've been mis-matched at the counter. My solution is to ask to try 2-3 shades on the jawline, side by side and decide for myself. Or just go to Sephora where I know I can shop on my own and swatch at my own leisure.

I have a roundup of some new formulas I've been trying out along with a few tried-and-true. Some formulas I've found the next shade up is too big of a jump for me to purchase. Here are swatches of all the colors shown above. More detail below by coverage type.

Sheer Coverage

Sheer coverage foundations are something I haven't been able to wear for a long time, but my skin has cleared up over the past 6 months thanks to skin resurfacing treatments like the Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Night Serum and regular use of clarifying masks from Aesop, Caudalie and Glamglow.
  • I recently received a sample of the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint ($26 for 1 fl oz) in Medium. There is a skin chart online to help determine what color will be your match. I wasn't sure what to expect - this looks like the kind of product that looks so sheer it might designed for those with near-perfect skin. I've tested this for the past month and am really pleased with it. It is truly a skin tint. It's very sheer so it's forgiving but it gives the skin that natural healthy glow. It evens out the skin and brightens. I do need to set with powder or powder foundation but it's really good. It's lightweight and lasts all day without getting greasy. No breakouts or reaction to the formula either.
  • Armani Luninessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer ($52 for 1 fl oz) has been raved about by so many. I know Armani foundations are really well-loved, I like a couple of the formulas but find the color selection very limited in the ones I like (Luminous Silk has the most options and it's one I cannot wear more than 1 hour without getting greasy-looking). When this product launched I was in between shades. Since I got a bit darker I thought it was the perfect time to try Shade 5. It's pink-based but very sheer so it adjusts to my skin without looking too pink. I do wish it was a tad bit more olive, or that they released yellow versions of this formula. It gives the skin a natural glow with sheer coverage. It's on the hydrating side so I think it's better suited for normal to dry skin. If it had a wider color selection I'd give this a rating of 8.5 out of 10 stars.
  • By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream ($86 for 1.41 fl oz) is extremely expensive but in terms of formula for CC creams, it's the best I've tried. It's very lightweight, very hydrating and sheer but buildable. It gives the skin a well-rested glow look like you just had a facial. I like that it has enough yellow in it for my skintone. Right now it's a bit light but since it's sheer I can make it work by dusting a bit of darker powder like Chanel Les Beiges 30 on top. If the next shade up was a good match I would get it, but my rep said there's a huge jump and that it would be too dark. If you have oily skin I don't think this is the product for you. For normal to dry skin it's a great one.
  • Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid ($45 for 1 fl oz) is a sheer glow product. The colors pull pink but the formula is very sheer so applying this all over gives the skin a warm glow. I like to use this as a base and then layer a heavier coverage foundation on areas that need more coverage. It gives the skin a natural healthy look.

Medium Coverage

Three medium coverage base products I've had in rotation are from La Mer, Charlotte Tilbury and NARS. This is my foundation coverage of choice. I like medium coverage to cover the entire face but something that still has a bit of transparency so if it's not an exact match it will adjust.
  • La Mer The Reparative Skin Tint ($95 for 1.4 fl oz) is the most I think I've ever spent on foundation. Color selection is limited but it's sheer to medium in coverage and adjusts to the skin after it sets. My closest match is Light Medium 3. It looks pinkish in the swatch but it blends out really nicely. The warmth gives a glow to the skin and makes it glow. When I went to the counter to try this I really appreciated the honesty of the rep who helped me. His initial thought was that I would be in between shades but was really nice and swatched two colors, one on each side. We were both surprised #3 matched. I had one of my friends with me to give a second opinion. She gave it the thumbs up so I bought it. It gives a similar glow to that of the By Terry but it has more pink undertone and it has more coverage. It has SPF 30. I hate to say it but I really love this one.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder ($45 for 1.4 fl oz) is an amazing foundation. It gives the appearance of a youthful glow with perfect medium coverage. It's thin-to-medium in texture so it feels weightless. It blends into the skin flawlessly and lasts all day long. The downside is the color selection and until now I've been in between colors. I swatched #6 and #7 above to show you the jump. If you're at the counter and look at the shades in consecutive order you may find them confusing. There's a huge jump in colors and undertones. Right now I'm a perfect match to #7 but I can tell any day I'll have to mix in a light color to adjust it. If you can find a good color match this one is amazing in formula.
  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($43 for 1.9 fl oz) has been my holy grail medium coverage tinted moisturizer for a long time. My go-to shade has been Groenland but over our trip I found St. Moritz to be a better match. I got even darker than St. Moritz however the next shade up is too dark. I still love this formula - it's the best tinted moisturizer I've tried but it doesn't have that tinted moisturizer feel. It has medium coverage and feels super lightweight. It evens out the skin and looks very natural.

Medium to Full Coverage

I have a few favorites for medium to full coverage but I can't wear all of them now with hot humid weather. There are only two that truly hold up to the heat.
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet ($47 for 1 fl oz) has never let me down. In my lightest I wear 20, I'm normally a 30, right now I'm a perfect match to 40. It's been a long-time go-to for me. It has a perfect velvet finish without looking too matte. It holds up really well in the heat and for the coverage and pigment I'm really happy it doesn't oxidize or darken.
  • Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Oil-Free Foundation ($48 for 1 fl oz) is my new favorite (tied with the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet). It's an oil-free foundation that comes in a wide selection of color undertones. I matched myself at Sephora to Golden Medium which is really yellow (I swatched 4 different colors on my face at the store). It's concentrated but fluid so you only need 1-2 pumps to cover the entire face. It's lightweight but gives medium to full coverage. It blends out nicely and is easy to layer. I don't know what took me so long to try it but it lasts all day.
  • Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation ($80 for 1 fl oz) is something I repurchased recently. I'm usually Bisque 4 but it pulls light so I went up to Natural 5. I really adore this for the coverage, color selection and finish. In hot humid weather this time of year it just feels too heavy. It holds up pretty well to the heat but on the skin if I'm outdoors I can feel it.
  • Chanel CC Cream Complete Correction Sunscreen ($55 for 1 fl oz) is another Chanel love of mine. It has a high SPF of 50 and covers the skin really well. I wore this all through spring and have been using it on and off in the summer. In 83+ degree weather it feels thick on the skin although it holds up well and looks good. I'll be saving this for cooler days. It still works on warm days I just prefer something that feels more lightweight.

Overall my top three picks for right now include the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, Marc Jacobs Genius Gel and Glossier Skintint. The La Mer follows close behind but due to the price and limited color selection I don't know how likely it is I will repurchase once I finish it up. NARS is almost always at the top of my list but I don't have a color match. Do you have a summer favorite right now? If yes, please share!

The Glossier Skintint was provided as a courtesy sample for review consideration. All others purchased by me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Foundation Rotation for Spring

This time of year many of my readers have asked for foundation recommendations as they have mentioned they need something new in their beauty wardrobe as we transition to warmer spring weather. There seem to be quite a few new foundation releases and being curious, I stopped by my local Nordstrom to check out some of the latest formulas. Right now Nordstrom has a foundation guide online with filters to help you find the best formula for you by category. You can also filter your search by price points, brand and store availability if you want to try in store. The three main categories they have include:

1) coverage - sheer / medium / full
2) finish - luminous / matte / natural
3) skin type - aging / combination / dry / normal / oily

For coverage I prefer a medium to full finish because I don't have perfect skin, although it's improved significantly over the past year. For finish I tend to prefer something luminous but not too glowy as mattes tend to make my face look flat. On skin type, I am approaching my mid-30's so anti-aging is something I am concerned with, but I prefer to look for anti-aging ingredients in skincare. Aside from aging concerns, my skin is combination and sensitive. I have a roundup of some foundations that I have in rotation right now along with thoughts on each one I've tested by coverage type. I would say all of these have a natural to luminous finish.

Full Coverage:
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Foundation (I use Sand Beige)

Medium to Full Coverage:
NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (I use Punjab, sometimes I mix in Santa Fe)
Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation (my match is Bisque 4)

Sheer to Medium Coverage:
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (Groenland)
Chanel CC Cream (30 Beige)

Sheer Coverage:
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (Sand)
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow (20 Beige and 30 Beige)


Hands down, my current favorite formulas are from NARS. The All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation offers medium to full coverage with 2-3 pumps. It's very concentrated so a little goes a long way and you need to shake the bottle before pumping out any product. I've found application works best by blending with fingers or a damp beauty blender. Having a good base for this is key. I really like the Dolce & Gabbana Primer or the NARS Pro Prime Radiance Enhancing Primers right now. For color I am closer to a NARS Punjab, but I tend to tan and lighten easily so I picked up Santa Fe to mix in for days when I feel slightly lighter.

The Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland has been a long-time staple for me. I have Alaska to show below for comparisons, but my go-to shade for a long time has been Groenland. I like this because it's not as rich as a traditional tinted moisturizer but has more of a lightweight foundation feel. It glides on the skin and covers in the most natural way melting into the skin. It gives the skin a radiant glow without looking too dewy or shiny. There is no shimmer in it but it still gives the face a  luminous look while offering an impressive amount of natural coverage. I like this set with the NARS Light Reflecting Loose Powder or Hourglass Diffused Light.


Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation is my second favorite for a medium to full coverage foundation right now. It covers really well, lasts all day and photographs nicely without giving your face a white cast. Being that it gives a fuller coverage compared to other formulas, it isn't as fluid or liquid as other formulas and feels slightly thick, but it doesn't feel heavy on the face. It lasts all day long without many touch ups required and holds up in warmer weather nicely. It is on the pricey side but I've had nothing but good experiences with this one.


Next up is Laura Mercier. The Tinted Moisturizer is a classic cult-favorite in her line but I have a love/hate relationship with this one. There have been shade extensions and although the formula is sheer and very forgiving, I feel that there are only certain times during the year when I can wear this. Spring to summer is one when I have more color and have a better color match to Sand. Due to the sheer coverage I find this is good only on the good-skin days. If you're one who only needs a light base and something to even out the skin naturally, this is a really good one.

The latest from Laura Mercier is her Silk Creme reformulations in the Oil Free and Moisturizing formulas. I tried the Oil Free at the counter since I just used up the Flawless Fluide in Honey (which a lot thinner in texture and quite fluid). For the Silk Creme, I am in between shades but the nice thing about the Silk Creme Oil Free is that it adjusts and warms up on the skin without oxidizing. These new formulas are designed to be "Photo Ready" that have a natural matte finish that is long-wearing. I found the Oil Free to be full coverage on my skin. It's ultra concentrated and a bit on the thick side but a tiny bit goes a very long way and you don't need a lot. I didn't quite see a matte finish, on me it looked a bit dewy but it did last a remarkably long time (with powder to set of course) without budging or fading. The texture does feel a bit heavier than others so you will need to experiment with application. I decided on Sand Beige for now (it has a lot of olive), although I will probably need Cashew Beige (more golden) in the summer.


Swatches Set 1 with NARS, Tom Ford and Laura Mercier:


Chanel has some new shades of the CC Cream out this season (finally!). The formula originally came in two of the lighter colors in the US. This spring/summer they've added 30 Beige and 40 Beige. The color selection is still extremely limited so I am thrilled I was able to find a match to the 30 Beige. The Chanel CC Cream is something that offers medium but buildable coverage and contains SPF 50. It is on the semi-thick side like many CC Creams but it's still has a lightweight feel. It's very hydrating but not too moisturizing which is perfect for my normal/combination skin. If you have normal to dry skin and found that the NARS foundations weren't moisturizing enough, I highly recommend you try the Chanel CC Creams - it offers a fresh glow with medium natural coverage that makes the complexion look healthy. I've swatched all three shade options below and compared it to other Chanel formulas as well.

Another favorite for me this time of year is the Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid. This one has been listed as limited-edition since it launched last year so I'm surprised it is still available. This is a glow fluid tinted foundation that has a tinted moisturizer feel. It comes with SPF 15 and has a more lightweight texture compared to the CC Cream. It's also sheerer in finish making it more forgiving in terms of color match, but they are all on the pinkish side. I am a 20 Beige right now, but I also own the 30 Beige and mix the two occasionally depending on my skin tone. Below are swatches of all the Les Beiges foundations (they skipped shade 50 for some reason). Also included are the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundations I've used in 20 Beige and 30 Beige.

Swatches Set 2:

When it comes to base makeup, I'm not particularly adventurous in trying new brands. I usually stick to the ones I like and look for new releases because of formulas, color selection and texture. I have a lot of olive and yellow in my skin so many foundations turn pinkish on me. MAC and Bobbi Brown have really good color selections but I can't wear the formulas (they irritate my skin with tiny red bumps). Armani has really good formulas but these days they often have a gap in color options and usually are missing my shade. 

Recap of what I have in rotation below (you can click the icons to shop the formulas):

If you're in search of a new foundation I hope you found this roundup helpful. Out of all the formulas my top three picks are the NARS All Day Weightless Luminous, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and the Chanel CC Cream (because I'm a huge Chanel foundation fan).

Do you have a favorite go-to foundation right now or do you switch things up this time of year?

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. As always all opinions my own. All items purchased by me. For more information, refer to my disclosures.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream

One of By Terry's latest is her new Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream ($86 for 40 g / 1.41 oz, made in France). I ordered mine from Barneys Beverly Hills store for the Love Yourself Event last month. I was matched to the color Beige No. 3 which is a good match for my medium olive toned skin right now. The Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream is like a sheer hydrating tinted moisturizer. It comes in a light iridescent pink tube and a metal pump with a cap at the end. This is extremely pricey for a foundation/tinted moisturizer but it does contain a skincare aspect which makes it more than just a regular tinted moisturizer/cc cream. Like all By Terry foundations, this one comes with the signature rose scent. There are four shades currently available, for reference Beauty Professor has swatches of all four colors.

The product description according to what is on the packaging:

This CC Cream gathers together in itself all the skincare and makeup actions in one single gesture:
  • An intense hydration thanks to the Centifolia Roses Native Cells
  • A deep glow provided by the Alba Roses Native Cells
  • A youth protection released by anti-oxidant Vitamin E
  • A natural long lasting perfection revealed by the unique CC - Color Control corrective technology
  • An absolute comfort via nutri-moistening factors
The CC Cream provides a sheer but buildable coverage. The texture is creamy but still lightweight so it melts into the skin and blends in naturally. I've tested it on the face with a foundation brush, fingers and a damp beautyblender. My favorite application method is to use this with the sponge and layer on the coverage. My skin has improved significantly over the past few months but it's no where near perfect. Even though the By Terry CC Cream is buildable to medium coverage I found that by itself it didn't give me enough coverage for my specific skin. Topping it with concealer on spots and my favorite Dolce & Gabbana powder foundation gave me just the right amount of coverage I needed.

The color is sheer enough to be forgiving and does seem to adjust/color correct after it sets. What I like about the color Beige No. 3 is that it doesn't darken or oxidize, but rather warms up just the slightest bit to look natural and match my skin tone. On the skin, once blended, it gives the face a youthful glow without looking oily, greasy or too dewy. That being said I do believe it most definitely needs to be set with some kind of powder.

For lasting power it lasts all day long on the face. However this cream is incredibly hydrating and since my skin is more normal (versus dry) I found I needed a touchup by noon in the T-zone. Still, unlike some other hydrating tinted moisturizers, it didn't slide off or look like it separated in any areas, so I was really impressed with how well it lasted.

Swatches and some comparisons:

Comparison Set 1 features some other tinted moisturizers and complexion correctors:

  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 in Groenland, this is similar in color but gives more coverage and has a less moisturizing/dewy finish, in terms of tinted moisturizers, this is my all time favorite because it's not really like a traditional tinted moisturizer but more like a lightweight sheer foundation
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Sand has a thicker texture and slightly more coverage compared to the By Terry, the By Terry melts into the skin better and feels more weightless but has a more hydrating feel
  • By Terry Cover Expert Foundation in Honey Beige 9 looks slightly pinkish next to the CC Cream but both are a good match for my skin once it's blended out, this one of course provides medium to full coverage, while the CC cream is a lot sheerer
  • Edward Bess Ultra Dewy Complexion Perfector (review here) is similar in concept to the By Terry CC cream, the EB has coverage that is slightly more buildable and a bit creamier, I have shade in Medium which is a tad too dark for me, I could probably go for the light, in my experience, the EB is the closest to the By Terry CC cream in terms of how it makes the skin glow and how it feels on the skin
  • Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Fluids are similar in coverage, but they don't have the same skincare factor, also the Chanel Les Beiges are warmer and slightly more pinkish in undertone (review + swatches here)

Comparison Set 2 features other foundations for color comparison. Since all the colors are foundations and completely different in formula, I'll only describe the color difference:



Bottom line I like how it performs for right now this time of year. It has soothing properties that helps calm the skin. It evens out the complexion with lightweight coverage and the skincare aspect has helped improve my skin complexion in terms of hydration and making it glow. I do think it's a medium-to-high maintenance kind of product if you have normal to oily skin because it is extremely hydrating. As long as you're ok with a touchup or two throughout the day then you'll be ok with this one. For evenings out it's perfect because it gives the skin a nice glow and without any daylight heat you don't have to worry so much about it getting too glowy. The By Terry CC Cream is something I know I will use up entirely, but once the warmer season approaches, it will be too hydrating and rich for my skin type (which is normal sensitive). If you're one with dry skin, I think you will really like this one. 

Have you tried the By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream? What did you think? Do you have any other By Terry favorites? If not, what's your favorite CC cream or tinted moisturizer right now?

You can find the By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream now. Available at Barneys New York, Beautylish and Space NK.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation and Soft Velvet Loose Setting Powder

This spring NARS has released some new products for the face including the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation ($48 for 1 fl oz) and the Soft Velvet Loose Setting Powder ($36 for 10 g). I've been testing these for a couple weeks now. I purchased the liquid foundation in store after swatching several of the shades. The NARS team kindly sent the powder for review with Beach as their best guess for my color match. Today I'll be sharing my thoughts on the formulas, wear time, texture and swatches with comparisons.

For quick reference, I use the foundation in Punjab and powder in Beach:

The All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is incredible. It has a lightweight fluid texture that gives you full coverage with one to two pumps. To me it has a similar texture to the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation but has a more natural looking finish that has just the right amount of glow. On me this one covers most of my scars and imperfections flawlessly. Coverage is slightly heavier than the Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation but the overall look and effect is similar to me.

In terms of wear, the new NARS foundation blends into the skin flawlessly without streaking or caking. It gives medium to full coverage and evens out the skin beautifully. For wear time, I found it lasted all day long without getting oily or glowy. I do think what you use underneath will make a difference, since this is on the luminous side, if you are oily you may want to go lighter on the moisturizer or base. For me, these days to prep the skin these days I've been using Ole Henriksen's Pure Truth Serum and Sheer Transformation Moisturizer. Sometimes I'll use primers and my current favorites are the NARS Pro-Prime and Tom Ford Illuminating. For me I find the texture of the NARS foundation is easy to blend so I find that it doesn't need a primer.

For color, I am a match to the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Punjab. I've been matched to this color in most of the formulas, it's a good medium color with olive and yellow tones. Finding something with the right mix of olive and yellow undertone is hard for me. I'm often in between shades or find that I have to mix colors. Most foundations are not yellow enough or too olive. Punjab is the perfect match for me and I was thrilled to find that the new formula's color to be an exact match. If you're similar in skin tone to me but not as olive and are a bit more pink/peach go with Santa Fe. For reference, I found the swatches of all the foundation shades on Café Makeup extremely helpful.

I have two sets of swatch comparisons below to other NARS foundations and other brands. I've reviewed most of the items below before. I'll link reviews where applicable:

  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard and Ginger (I mix them, review)
  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland (my match)
  • NARS All Day Radiant Weightless Foundation in Punjab
  • NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Punjab (review)
  • NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder in Beach
  • NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation in Punjab (review)

  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in B30 (review)
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Cream Foundation in O30 (review)
  • Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation in Bisque 04 (review
  • Dolce & Gabbana Luminous Foundation in Caramel 110 (review)

Bottom line I give the foundation a huge thumbs up. I think it's their best foundation released to date. I'm a huge fan of the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer for texture and finish but sometimes I want more coverage. The new foundation is exactly what I wanted for an amped up version of the Tinted Moisturizer. I love that there is no detectable fragrance and on me it really did last all day from morning to evening without budging or sliding.

Next on to the powder. I tested a number of NARS powders in the old formulas at makeup events (both pressed and loose). I didn't like any of them because I found they caked on my skin on top of foundation. It wasn't until NARS released the Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder that I changed my mind about their face powders. It's one of my top picks for setting powders because it doesn't alter the color of your foundation and even though the powder is white it doesn't make you look like a ghost or powdery. Given my love of the reflecting powders, I was excited to try my sample of the new Soft Velvet Loose Setting Powder in Beach. After playing with this for a few weeks, I have mixed feelings.

There are eight different colors of the loose powder. Even though I was sent Beach for review, I went to the counter to look at the shades in person to make sure it was the best color match. Eden is also very close in color but it's more pink, while Beach is more yellow. On my skin they looked almost identical, but since I prefer yellow tones, Beach is the better of the two for me.

The powder is a soft and lightweight with a very finely milled texture. It feels silky on the skin and truly weightless. When dusted over the All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation I found it set nicely if I applied while the foundation was still a bit dewy (as in it didn't set all the way). A little goes a long way so you only need a sheer wash of powder to set the entire face. The powder performed well over the NARS tinted moisturizer too creating a soft sheer matte finish.

It didn't work so well over other foundations though and I'm not entirely sure why. It caked over the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation, the Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation, Cle de Peau and also the NARS Radiant Creamy Compact Foundation. It settled into pores that seemed to be blended and covered perfectly by those foundations. My personal preference is to use the Light Reflecting Loose Powder or the All Day Luminous Powder Foundation as a setting powder. Still, I have seen some pretty good reviews on this one, if you're near a NARS counter I recommend checking it out to see how it wears on you. My experience might not be typical with this one.

Overall, huge thumbs up on the foundation, mixed thoughts on the powder. If you've tested these please share what you thought and what shade you were matched to. I know readers often need to order sight unseen and your comments on color matching are always helpful!

You can find the NARS All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation and Soft Velvet Loose Setting powder at all NARS counters now. Online at Nordstrom, SephoraSaks, Neiman Marcus and NARS.

The Soft Velvet Loose Powder was provided as a press sample for review consideration. The All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation was purchased by me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dolce & Gabbana Beauty - Primer, Foundation and Face Favorites

I've been a long time fan of Dolce & Gabbana Beauty but it has been one of those hard-to-find lines that I don't have easy access to. For years I've ordered items sight unseen over the phone but now the line has started to expand into other retailers. They are currently available at Nordstrom and I'm thrilled that one of my local counters carries the brand so I can test everything in person. Since some of you still might be new to the line or not have easy access to the brand yet, I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorites in a two-part series. Today's feature will focus on face products I've tested including their primer, several foundations and a couple blushes I really like.

Left to right, Perfect Matte Powder Foundation, Foundation Brush, Perfect Matte Liquid Foundation, Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation and Sheer Radiance Make Up Base 

The Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation ($60 for 15 g) was one of the first items I tried from the line. I have used a couple shades over the past few years, but right now my skin match is Warm 100. This product is my holy grail powder foundation. I've lost count of how many times I have repurchased this one. I usually have two on hand at any given time. I have one for home and one to keep in my purse for touch ups. It offers medium to full but very natural looking coverage. It comes with a compartment at the bottom to hold a sponge applicator. I prefer to use a brush to apply it as a setting powder, although it does offer enough coverage to use alone. I really like how it offers phenomenal coverage but doesn't look cakey, heavy or flat. The lasting power on my combination skin is very good and stays put from morning to night. I do need the occasional touch up on the nose in the afternoon, but overall it lasts very long.

I don't usually do a traditional contour for my face but do like to add a hint of a natural color for warmth or depth. Two of the best natural cheek colors include Luminous Cheek Color Blushes ($45 each for 5 g) in Caramel which is a pinky beige caramel and Tan which is an interesting grey. I like layering them together. Caramel brightens the face by adding a hint of color that looks natural but warm. Tan is one of the most unique blushes I've seen that is a grey color but earthy in undertone. I sometimes use this on the eyes as well. The texture is soft and silky without any detectable fragrance. The pigment is medium but easy to build by layering.

In terms of liquid foundations, Dolce & Gabbana has four options right now. I used to use the Perfect Luminous Creamy Foundation a number of years ago and really liked it but once I used it up never repurchased, mainly because I prefer pump or squeeze tube foundations to large pots. (I mixed Warm 100 and Soft Sand 140.) Today I have three of the liquid foundations to review and compare for you. All of them come packaged in a sturdy glass bottle with a handy pump dispenser. Based on my experience, all the formulas have a slight variation in color but they do have similarities.


The Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation ($60 for 1 fl oz) is my favorite out of all the liquid formulas. I use Caramel 110 and it is a perfect match with olive but neutral undertones. The formula has a medium liquid texture that is easy to blend and offers medium to full coverage. It evens out the skin tone and has a very subtle luminous finish. I would say this is good for normal to dry skin. It lasts all day for me and doesn't get oily or greasy as the day wears on. If you have super oily skin you may feel this is a bit too dewy for you. Dolce & Gabbana has a Foundation Brush ($41) made of synthetic material that I received as a gift with purchase many years ago. I've found it works well to apply liquid products, but I prefer to apply my foundations with a sponge like a damp Beautyblender.


The Perfect Matte Luminous Foundation ($67 for 1 fl oz) is a full coverage matte finish foundation. Out of all the foundations I've tested from Dolce & Gabbana, the matte version gives the fullest most opaque coverage, but it doesn't make the skin look flat. The formula and coverage is phenomenal, but for me the downside is I can't find an exact match in this formula. I was told that the shades in the matte formula are slightly lighter than the other foundation formulas because it warms up to the skin and adjusts as your natural oils warm up the product. Caramel 110 is a bit too light and too pink for me. On my skin it will warm up after a few minutes and if I set with a slightly darker powder or mix in a bit of a liquid bronzer it works just fine. The next two shades up are quite a jump for me. Natural Beige 120 is very olive and Warm Rose 130 is very pink. The lasting power on this is really good and it will last all day. However you do need to take extra care to remove all traces at the end of the day because it really lasts (and sticks). I wish I had a perfect match to this formula because the finish is flawless. I have been mixing my Caramel 110 with a few liquid bronzers to make it work better. I have contemplated buying the Natural Beige 120 to mix the two colors but haven't splurged yet.


The Perfect Reveal Lift Foundation ($72 for 1 fl oz) is the newest addition to the Dolce & Gabbana foundation lineup. This one is enriched with special skincare properties designed to add moisture and reveal younger-looking and natural skin. I've been testing this for a couple months now and think it is a decent foundation. The color Caramel 110 is a very good match for me. The formula on this one offers sheer to medium coverage on my skin. It does smooth out the skin and does give it a youthful appearance but I haven't noticed any changes to my skin yet. I suspect one needs to use this over a long period of time to see the skincare effects. Out of all the foundations Dolce & Gabbana has to offer, I think the Lift formula will be the most universally suitable for a wide variety of skin types. It seems to be the type that will suit normal, dry or oily skin. The coverage is medium and although it's not sheer, I do find I need a powder foundation on top to give me more coverage.


Last but not least, I have a review on the new The Primer Sheer Radiance Make Up Base. I am usually hesitant to test primers without trying a sample first, but I went ahead and ordered this sight unseen. Many of my readers have e-mailed me asking for thoughts on this. After doing some testing on this, I am very glad I ordered it. This primer has SPF 30 and comes with a pump dispenser. I like that it comes in the same size bottle as the liquid foundations for packaging consistency and easy storage. The primer is a white fluid with a medium texture. A little goes a long way and I've found I only need one pump to cover the entire face. The primer does leave a slightly white cast to my medium/olive skin, but most of my foundations have enough pigment to cover it entirely and cancel out any white cast. I am really impressed with how this primer feels and how it makes a visible difference in how foundation goes on the skin. The primer gives the skin a soft feel and preps the skin well while offering a slightly moisturizing feel. I like that it's not heavy, greasy and doesn't have that silicone feel that many primers have. I give it a huge thumbs up, however, I'm not an everyday primer kind of person. The Dolce & Gabbana foundations work so well on their own, I don't think this is an absolutely necessary step. That being said, this is one of the best primers I've tried and I do think it's definitely worth looking into. For me it's a huge plus that there is no detectable fragrance.


Here are swatches of the Dolce & Gabbana liquid foundations I have and the primer. I've added swatches of the Matte formula in 120 and 130 for reference:

A few comparison swatches to other foundations I have in rotation for reference:


My top two picks are the Perfect Matte Powder Foundation and Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation. I do like the Matte Liquid formula however color matching is essential when it comes to foundations and for me, the current color lineup doesn't have my exact match. The newest Lift formula performs well, but after a few weeks of testing, I haven't really seen any changes in my skincare to warrant the extra price (it is still a very good formula though).

I hope you found this roundup helpful! If you're in the market for a good powder foundation, I really recommend the one by Dolce & Gabbana. If you've tried any of the face products or foundations from the line, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom. All opinions my own. For more information please refer to my disclosures.


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