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

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)

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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.

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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.


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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.


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


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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.
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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)
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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:

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Ingredients:


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.

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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:


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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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide


The latest foundation innovation from Laura Mercier is her new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation. She's well known for her "Flawless Face" concept which includes four easy steps to achieving the most natural and smooth complexion for your skin type. The main steps include Prime, Cover, Conceal and Set. I used to use the Tinted Moisturizer religiously many years ago when I was in college with near-perfect skin. These days my face needs more than sheer coverage. I have some acne scars and areas I need medium to full coverage, but I still want something that looks natural. The new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide offers medium to full coverage that looks like skin. It comes in 24 different shade options with a multitude of undertones which made me very excited.

I had an appointment with a Laura Mercier artist last month to tested the new Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide. The artist swatched several shades of the foundation along my jawline and on other areas of my face to find a good match. The foundation comes in a sleek tube that requires shaking to mix the formula inside. It's very fluid but blends nicely on the skin to give medium coverage. If you try this at the counter, you will need to smooth it out with a finger to see how it wears on your skin - the color adjusts as you blend. I was matched to Honey. The foundation is designed to offer 12 hours of wear. It's described as humidity-proof, sweat-proof, water resistant, oil-free, non-comedogenic, non-greasy and non-drying. It's formulated to be suitable for all skin types (including sensitive skin). I found that it worked well with my sensitive acne-prone skin.


Since it had been a while since I had used any of the Laura Mercier foundations, the artist walked me through the Flawless Face process as a refresher.
  1. After cleansing and moisturizing my face, she used the Radiance Primer to prep the skin. There are multiple types of primers. My main concern was that I wanted a medium to full coverage foundation but didn't want it to look too matte. The Radiance Primer was suggested to give a glow-from-within look.
  2. Next she followed with a thin layer of the Tinted Moisturizer in Sand. For good skin days she recommended the Tinted Moisturizer all over and then using a more pigmented foundation on areas I needed more coverage. She used the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Honey on the forehead and cheeks for more coverage.
  3. For spot coverage and under the eye brightening, she mixed the two shades of the Secret Camouflage Concealer in SC-3. Concealer was set under the eyes with the Secret Brightening Powder.
  4. The final step was to set with the Loose Setting Powder in Translucent (a classic that I've never stopped using).

At home, the same Flawless Face look was easy for me to replicate. I added some color to the cheeks for a natural glow with the Matte Radiance Baked Bronze Powder in Bronze 02. For the eyes, I've been layering the cream shadow Caviar Stick Eye Colors. Three easy-to-use colors for a classic no-fuss look include Rosegold, Amethyst and Tuxedo. Rosegold highlights the entire lid naturally Amethyst gives a nice medium contour and is layer able for a natural or smokey look. Tuxedo doubles as a smokey liner. All the shades are blendable and layer well together. For the lips, a thin layer of the Lip Glacé in Pink Pop brightens the face with a sheer wash of color.


Above: Radiance Foundation Primer, Spiced Rose Creme Lip Color, Tinted Moisturizer in Sand, Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Honey, Lip Glace in Orchid, Bare Baby, Pink Pop and Nectar, Matte Radiance Baked Powder 02, Secret Brightening Powder and Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold


What I used at home for a flawless face with a very natural look:






I've been really pleased with the way the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide foundation in Honey wears.  At first swatch I thought it would be too warm but it blends in flawlessly with my skin. The warmth in it adds a bit of color to my face but is still an exact match. It has a thin fluid texture but isn't too runny as long as you shake the bottle properly before use. It blends easily onto the skin and covers dark spots and uneven areas quite well while still looking natural. I've been using the fingers to apply or a damp sponge and the coverage is quite nice. Those sensitive to fragrance will be happy to know that there is no detectable scent in this foundation. As a plus, it photographs well with a flash. Lasting power is quite good when set with the Translucent powder, I was able to get 10 to 12 hours of wear each time I tested without any touch ups required mid-day.

Have you tried the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide foundation? What shade do you wear? If you haven't tested it, I highly recommend you give it a look the next time you're at the counter.

Shop the post:





Special thanks to Laura Mercier for sponsoring this post. For more information, refer to my Disclosures page.

Monday, September 29, 2014

NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation


The latest from NARS is the All Day Luminous Powder Foundation ($48 for 0.42 oz/12 g). It's a super lightweight powder foundation that comes in 15 different shades. I was sent the shade Punjab (Medium 1) for review which is a good match for my medium with olive/golden tones. NARS also sent a press sample of the new Powder Foundation Sponge puff ($6.00) which can be used to roll or pat the product onto the face. For reference, I use the Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Punjab (swatches here) and the Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland (swatched here). The Powder Foundation in Punjab seems to be slightly lighter than the Cream Compact version but it warms up on the skin to adjust nicely without oxidizing or darkening as the day goes on. The description from NARS:

NARS Cosmetics introduces All Day Luminous Powder Foundation. Silky and ultrafine to the touch, this medium buildable foundation offers versatile coverage and shine control with broad spectrum SPF 24 that lasts up to 12-hours. NARS exclusive Light Reflecting Complex™ optimizes light reflection to enhance skin’s translucency while Luminosity Enhancing Technology – a blend of 17 amino acids, Vitamin C derivative and Marine Fennel – promotes cell renewal and helps reduce the look of hyper-pigmentation and wrinkles.

The NARS powder foundation comes in a square mirrored compact. It has a compartment at the bottom for a square sponge. The sponge itself is interesting because it has two different textures, one is more fluffy and velvety like a puff, the other side is a spongey texture. I prefer the spongey side because it picks up more product and applies smoothly on the face. I tested the separate round puff as well and found it gave more coverage with a buffed-looking finish to the face.


I am extremely picky when it comes to powder foundation. Many end up looking heavy or cakey, emphasize pores or dry patches or even end up breaking me out. I have tested quite a few and my current top two picks include Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation in Warm 100 and Chanel Double Perfection Lumiere Powder Foundation in 20 or 30 Beige depending on how dark/tan I am. Although powder foundations are often designed to be worn alone instead of a liquid/cream foundation, I almost always use my powder foundations over liquids or tinted moisturizer as a setting powder. Both the Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel have this beautiful soft velvety finish that blends very nicely on the skin. They both cover imperfections, stay put, look natural and don't darken. The NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation by comparison is quite a bit lighter in texture while still offering medium buildable coverage. I like that you can control the coverage easily.

A quick look at the packaging:



On the nails, Louboutin Miss Loubi


I tested the NARS several ways, alone and then also on top of different foundations. I also tested it with the sponge and also with a brush.

When used alone I found it performed really well with just moisturizer and primer. Right now, my current skin prep routine includes a layer of SK-II Cellumination Cream Illuminating Moisturizer or By Terry Cellularose Nutri Baume as moisturizer followed by a primer like the NARS Light Optimizing Primer. As a standalone foundation, I found it covered the skin nicely and evened out the complexion. There was no caking or seeping into pores. It is incredibly lightweight so you don't feel like you have anything on your face. I found it amazing at how it gave my skin a luminous glow even though there is no hint of shimmer in the powder itself. I found it did last all day from around 7:30 am through 7:00 pm without any touchups required. I found it applied best with the square sponge that comes in the compact or with the round puff you can purchase separately.

Over foundation it looked equally nice. I tested it over the NARS Radiant Cream Compact, Tinted Moisturizer and also over Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide. It applied smoothly with a fluffy brush over other foundations. With the sponge I found it was a bit too heavy-looking with the powder foundation + foundation combination. I do think your skin needs to be well-prepped and moisturized for smooth application, although I find this to be the case with any powder foundation in general.

Close up of the powder surface, it has a very soft silky texture:



Swatches:



Swatch comparisons:



After testing this for a few weeks I give this a huge thumbs up. There's no detectable scent and it's huge for me that I didn't get any breakouts or irritation or clogged pores from using this (many powder foundations don't work for my sensitive skin). Right now Punjab is the perfect match, it looks a bit peachy in the compact but it applies good on my olive skin. I like that it has enough yellow undertone so it doesn't turn pinkish on me. If you have olive or golden skin tones you know the pain of finding awesome formulas that don't match the skin color because they are too pink or warm. Bottom line it does last all day and it has a lovely soft luminous silky looking finish.

The NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation is currently available at NARS Boutiques, narscosmetics.com, Nordstrom and Sephora. The Powder Foundation retails for $48 and the round Powder Foundation Sponge retails separately for $6.



The powder foundation and puff was provided courtesy of NARS for review consideration. 
 

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