Showing posts with label Powder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Powder. Show all posts

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Favorite Setting Powders: Pressed and Loose


I've discussed foundations, primers and tinted moisturizers on this blog but haven't done a roundup on my favorite beauty powders. One of the keys to making my foundation or tinted moisturizer last is to use a good setting powder to make everything stay put. I've rounded up my favorites for my sensitive medium-toned skin.

Finding a good powder can take time and a lot of testing. Just like foundation, some colored powders look good once you apply it but can end up darkening after a few hours. Others might be too matte and make your face look completely flat. Then there are powders that are too heavy and can end up looking cakey on your skin or feel like it just sits on your skin.

When it comes to setting powders, I like both translucent kinds and ones with medium to medium-full coverage. If a powder is tinted but too sheer, I find it can look too powdery on the skin and I'd rather just stick with something that is translucent.



Translucent Loose Powders

I have two favorites for translucent loose powder that I've repurchased several times over. First is the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder which is an oil-free loose powder. It has a silky texture and colorless finish. The powder itself looks white but it doesn't make you look pale or turn the skin white. At my darkest, I am a Chanel B40 and this works when I have a tan. It's lightweight but you can definitely see a soft transformation on your face once you apply it. This one sets foundation really well without looking too powdery or cakey. It's also good for my sensitive skin, doesn't irritate my face or emphasize pores.

My next favorite is the NARS Light Reflecting Loose Powder. This is another colorless powder that has contains what NARS calls a Light Reflecting Complex which optimizes light-reflection on the skin. It doesn't add any visible shimmer or glow but it sets the makeup really well and once applied it melts into the skin and photographs really well. It does help to blur any lines or pores but won't make them disappear completely. This gives a slightly more matte finish to the face compared to the Laura Mercier but it doesn't make the skin look flat.

Loose Powders - Tinted

I've tried and used up a number of loose powders including Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Laura Mercier (Mineral), Becca and Clinique. Loose powder is one of those things where I use up entirely even if I don't 100% love it as long as it doesn't irritate or break out my skin. For me it's challenging to find a tinted loose powder that has enough color or coverage. So many darken or look so powdery on the skin. Laura Mercier made several Loose Powders in Ivory and Beige but it appears they have been discontinued. I am hoping it makes a comeback or is simply being repackaged because Beige was one of the best loose powders I've used. The Laura Mercier Mineral Loose Powder is another alternative I've used before, it has a pearl finish similar to other mineral powders. In terms of loose mineral powders, the Laura Mercier is the best one I've tried, but it's a bit heavy for my personal preference.

My all time favorite loose powder is Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Natural Lighting Powder. It comes in one shade that will suit fair to medium skin tones. I do hope they add more colors in the future because this one is really good. It's made of an ultra-fine pearl powder formula that works to set foundation and add a bit of coverage to even out the skin. The soft pearls particles cover pores and balance skin surfaces for a natural glow. The shimmer in this one is visible but it's not over the top and it won't make your face look shimmery.

Powder Foundation

I typically prefer powder foundation to set my liquid foundation. I know you might think it sounds too heavy, but I've really loved the way dusting powder foundation with a brush over liquids gives a flawless canvas to work with. Those who have seen me in person usually can't tell I'm wearing foundation (which is always a good thing because you don't want it to look super obvious). My all time favorite used to be Chanel Double Perfection Powder but they've reformulated it several times and I've found that I am sometimes in between colors. Right now I'm in between Beige 20 and 30. If you can find a good color match this is a really good silky smooth powder that adds the perfect amount of medium coverage. Using a sponge will add more coverage but I prefer applying this one with a brush. It's a good touch up powder too for mid-day. It won't cake if you touch up your nose or forehead.

My current favorite is the Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation in Warm 100. I have alternated between Warm and Tan depending on how dark my skin is, but 100 has been my exact match for a long time. This one covers perfectly and flawlessly. It won't irritate or break out my super sensitive skin (MAC and Bobbi Brown always break me out). It has a soft velvety finish that doesn't cake, darken or look overdone while still giving you a decent amount of coverage to even out the skin.

Pressed Powder

I've avoided regular pressed powders for a long time because so many just don't look good on my skin. They look like they sit on the face or alter the color of my foundation. I've found three that are phenomenal. The Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powders are among my favorite. (Review + swatches here). #20 is my match for an all over dusting powder. #30 and #40 are good for subtle contouring or adding color for warmth. These are ultra smooth powders that have a sheer to medium finish that just melts into the skin. I dust with a powder brush to set powder and it gives a sheer smooth finish.

The Charlotte Tilbury Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder is as good as pressed powders get. I saw this one applied on my friend at the Nordstrom Charlotte Tilbury counter at the grove. My friend already had some tinted moisturizer on, she just needed a touch up. I watched her skin transform into this amazing airbrushed finish that looked amazingly natural. It evens out the skin but won't alter the color of your foundation (as long as you get a good match). The only downside is the color selection is pretty limited and there's a big jump in between the three colors. I use #2 Medium and am a Chanel B30 in foundation. My friend is a Chanel B10 in foundation and was matched to #1 Fair.

Tom Ford Translucent Finishing Powder is another really good pressed powder. I've had this one applied on my face numbers times at the Tom Ford counter and it took me a long time before I was willing to splurge on this one (it's $77, yes ouch!). My match is Ivory Fawn which looks light in the compact but it has a sheer enough finish to be quite forgiving (I use the Traceless Perfecting in Bisque 4). The only downside (other than the ridiculous price tag) is the color selection is limited. There is a huge gap between Ivory Fawn and Sahara Dusk which is the next shade up. If you are either fair or tan you will have better luck finding a match compared to those of us with medium skin. Once I get tan in the summer, I will be in that gap.

For translucent pressed powders, I've found most end up looking and feeling too powdery on my skin. The only one I've tried and loved is the NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Powder which performs the same way on me as the loose version. It sets the foundation with a sheer finish and gives the skin a slightly matte looking finish. I prefer the loose version because I find it lasts longer on my skin compared to the pressed.





I hope you found this roundup of setting powders helpful! As always I'd love to hear from you what your favorites are. Do you have any tried and true powders? Do you prefer loose or pressed?


Friday, March 6, 2015

Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15


For spring Marc Jacobs Beauty released three contouring duos called the #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder ($49 each for 0.31 oz each side) along with the Shape and Contour Blush Brush No. 15 ($38). I've put these to the test for a few weeks now and can say that I am extremely impressed. The contouring duos are finely milled powders with a buttery soft texture that melt into the skin. They give a natural contour with medium buildable coverage. Both shades blend flawlessly into the skin without looking cakey, powdery or fake. There is enough color for the shades to be visible on the face but they are soft enough that you won't be left with any harsh edges.

Top to bottom, Dream Filter, Mirage Filter and Hi Fi Filter

When it comes to contouring I am usually not a fan. I find most powders or creams are good for photographs but in real life I simply find it too harsh (no matter how much I blend). I prefer a soft tan powder or bronzer applied in a 3-shape motion around the edges of my face from temples to chin to create soft dimension. I have friends who are very much into the contouring right now and their biggest challenges they have with contouring include powders darken too much after a few hours or they just end up looking too harsh. If you're not a contour pro and want something that will define and highlight, the Marc Jacobs #Instamarc duos are the solution to give a goof-proof contour that looks natural and flawless.

Each color has one highlight shade that naturally highlights in a non-shimmery way, and one contouring shade that helps add definition and dimension. Both sides melt into the skin and blend easily. The lighter colors help soften any harsh edges. There are three different colors, all three seem to be designed for the light to medium skin color spectrum:

Dream Filter is pink-toned described as a soft pink / medium bronze
Mirage Filter is cool-toned described as light gold / light bronze
Hi Fi Filter is the darkest with neutral tones described as warm peach / deep bronze


Dream Filter is a soft neutral pink. It resembles NARS Paloma Contour Blush which is more pink (the Marc Jacobs is more neutral and softer). On my skin this is the most natural. Both shades have a satiny finish. They look like mattes in the pan and on the face, but there appears to be a very slight satiny sheen which gives these dimension on the face. If you're afraid of shimmer, no need to worry, there is no shimmer on the face. On the flip side if you don't like mattes, these aren't your typical matte powders. They won't make the face look flat.


On my medium olive toned skin, Mirage Filter has the sharpest contrast since it has cool-tones. I was worried the light gold/yellow side would be too yellow, but it blends into the skin beautifully without making the skin look sallow. The darker contour side is what I think of when it comes to traditional contour, it's a cool-toned tan with a very slight hint of grey undertone.


Hi Fi Filter is the darkest option but on the skin it's the most neutral in tone. This one warms up the skin nicely. It's the warmest option so if you prefer warm tones on your skin, this is a good one.


Swatches:



Comparisons to some other contouring products and bronzers, below you can see how large the Marc Jacobs compacts are:


  • Chanel Les Beiges #40 (review here) is quite a bit warmer than any of the Marc Jacobs contouring duos, this one is good to add depth and warmth all over the face
  • MAC Emote (discontinued) is darker and cooler toned compared to any of the Marc Jacobs duos, it's also a full matte with no satiny sheen or texture
  • NARS Paloma Contour Blush (reviewed here) is a pinker darker version of Marc Jacobs Dream Filter, the texture is similar in that it's also buttery soft and easy to blend
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (review here and here) is warmer and significantly more blowy than any other bronzer or contour duo I've used without being orangey
  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer (worn here) is a really good warm bronzer, swatches below make it look orangey by comparison, but on the skin it's not orangey at all


In addition to the three powders, Marc Jacobs released a brush designed for contouring called The Shape Contour and Blush Brush #15. It's ultra soft with an extremely sturdy handle. This is the first brush I've tried from Marc Jacobs and I thought due to the synthetic material it would be somewhat problematic to use. The bristles are extremely soft but dense and work surprisingly well to pick up quite a bit of powder. It blends product nicely on the face and is soft enough for sensitive skin so there's no poking, tugging or harsh feeling if you blend.


These are definitely worth looking into. Do note that they swatch much better on the face than they do on the hands. On the hands swatched with fingers they can look a bit chalky. Once you apply with a brush on the face you will be surprised at how smooth they look. The above swatches show that these are on the neutral-cool side compared to some warm bronzers, so if you prefer warmer tones you may want to stick with your regular powder bronzer. Also if you can't do satiny mattes at all these will be a skip, although I will say you should still give these a look. They don't look flat, cakey and don't emphasize pores.

You don't need all three although I do like each one for different purposes. My top two picks are Dream Filter #20 and Hi Fi Filter #60. Mirage Filter is sharper on my skin because of the cool undertones, it works but I prefer something with a bit more warmth.

The #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powders retail for $49 each and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15 retails for $38. Both available now at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty. (PS right now there is a promo code for 2 minis with any $50+ order online at marcjacobsbeauty.com using code SPRING).

Have you tried these yet? If you're a contouring fan what's your favorite contour?

The Marc Jacobs contour duos and brush were provided courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sneak Peek: Marc Jacobs Beauty Spring 2015 New Nudes, (P)Outliner and #Instamarc


Here's a quick sneak peek at some new items from Marc Jacobs Beauty to which I have two words: nude perfection. In addition to the 20 shades of the Le Marc Lip Cremes released earlier this month, Marc Jacobs also has released a collection of items for lips and cheeks with a nude theme. The new spring items this season:

(P)Outliner Longwear Lip Pencil ($24 each)
  • Nude(ist) 300 - cafe au lait
  • Prim(rose) 304 - cocoa spice
  • Honey(bun) 302 - rosy nude
#Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder ($49 each)
  • Dream Filter 20 - soft pink/ medium bronze
  • Mirage Filter 40 - light gold/ light bronze
  • Hi Fi Filter 60 - warm peach/ deep bronze
New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel ($30 each)
  • Strange Magic 102 - warm nude pink
  • Have We Met? 108 - shimmering warm pink
  • Understudy 114 - terracotta pink
  • Eat Cake 150 - rosy nude
  • Role Play 110 - dusty rose
  • Anais 146 - spiced ginger
  • Moody Margot 106 - brownish nude
The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15 ($38)

I will say right now that when they call the lip liners "longwearing" it's no joke. They last a ridiculously long time and are ultra creamy with super rich pigment. Some of the New Nudes Sheer Lip Gels appear to be repromotes/repackaged shades of the original Lip Gels. I'll do a swatch comparison of the original vs new of the shades I have to see how close (or how different) they are. Also shown above is the Style Eye-Con 3 in The Ingenue 102 which isn't new but fit the nude theme so I've featured it above.

All available now online and in stores at Marc Jacobs Beauty and Sephora

Items above sent courtesy of Marc Jacobs for review consideration.

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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial & Sculpting Powders


I'm a newbie to the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line. I used to use his Celestial Powder in Candlelight a long time ago when it came in the large compact packaging and liked it for a soft glow, but after using it up never really explored much of the line. Recently I decided to give the brand a closer look. I ordered both of The Celestial Powders ($44 each for 3.1g/0.11 oz) in Starlight and Candlelight and The Sculpting Powder ($44 for 3.1g/0.11 oz) in Medium.


The Celestial Powders are small compacts of finely milled shimmery powders. Candlelight is a soft champagne color with a very smooth shimmer. In the pan it's neutral and almost has a slight yellow/gold tinge. On my olive/medium skin it pulls more cool-toned. The shimmer is apparent but very natural. It does give a lovely glow and I know it's reached cult status for many. For me it makes a lovely highlight and also can double as a shadow, but my heart still belongs to Hourglass Luminous Light as my favorite for a light powder highlighter. I favor the Hourglass because it glows more and the color is more luminous on my specific skin tone. If you want a cooler-toned or neutral champagne highlighter that glows but won't emphasize pores and is on the subtle side, this is a good option.


above, Candlelight
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The Celestial Powder in Starlight is a soft warm pink highlighter with a medium level shimmer. On me this one has more visible shimmer and frost on the skin but the color is darker than your traditional highlighter. It has a lovely medium but soft pink base mixed with a hint of silver sheen. This one is just so beautiful on the skin. I don't think I have anything like it. It's hard to find a light to medium pink shimmer that isn't too dark or light. The shimmer in this one is more visible but not frosty.


above, Starlight
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The Sculpting Powder in Medium has been one of the most-raved about contouring powders. I am not a contouring kind of person. I think the contouring process can result in really good photographs but in person/real life I find it often looks overdone and fake. That being said I am all for a subtle contour that looks natural. Medium is a medium color that is a neutral grey/taupe/tan. There's no orange undertone and no shimmer. It's pulls neutral-cool and is very finely milled. On my skin it blended beautifully with a very soft but layerable texture. The only problem for me is that I found it too grey and too brown. For contouring I need something softer or warmer, but I think I'm in the minority - I know many prefer the opposite wanting something cooler with good pigment.


above, Medium
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Some comparisons below to some other shades for reference:


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Luminous Light (review)
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (glow portion, review)
Armani Fluid Sheer #2
NARS Illuminator in Adelaide (review)
NARS Multiple St. Lucia (review)


Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (bronze portion, review)
NARS Contour Duo in Paloma (review)
Dolce & Gabbana Blush in Tan (review)
MAC Sheertone Blush in Tenderling

After testing these products I feel all three are very good and of high quality. The powders are smooth and blend nicely on the skin without streaking of fall out. The texture melds beautifully with the natural skin texture and they lasted all day without fading. I also found that the three powders photograph phenomenally well especially with a flash. In real life however, I found The Celestial Powder in Candlelight and The Sculpting Powder in Medium didn't fit what I was looking for, mainly because of how these worked with my skin tone. Candlelight is a bit too cool for me, Medium is a bit too dark and brown for my medium/olive Chanel B30/Tom Ford Bisque 04 skin. The price of these powders is on the steep side for the amount of product given. I think Starlight is worth the price tag for the unique color and formula. For the others, I'm not so sure.

You can find Kevyn Aucoin at a number of retailers. I bought my items from Nordstrom. Also online at Neiman Marcus, Beautylish, Net-A-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman.

Do you have any Kevyn Aucoin favorites? What do you recommend that I check out from the line?

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.

 

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