Showing posts with label Primer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Primer. Show all posts

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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lip Primer and Lip Balms In Rotation

This post is inspired by and dedicated to my reader Gabby who sent me an e-mail last month asking if I could recommend a good lip primer for underneath lipstick. She liked the Jo Malone Vitamin E Treatment I featured a while ago, but found it didn't do much for priming the lips for lipstick. It occurred to me that there are different kinds of "lip prep." One kind of lip prep is to prime the lips for lipstick, the other kind is more of a skincare/moisture treatment.

Above shown:

I have sensitive lips that are prone to drying and peeling with many brands of lipstick (like MAC and some Chanel formulas). I use lip balm liberally on the low key makeup days, when I'm running errands, or in the evening after I've taken my makeup off. In the mornings if my lips feel dry I will prepare the lips with lip balm after washing the face and let it sit a few minutes while I do the rest of my makeup (for me lips are always last).

I like to use lip balm for lip prep in the morning, but Gabby is right, not all lip treatments are necessarily good for priming the lips for lipstick wear. A long time ago, MAC used to make a clear lipstick product called Lipmix (now they have the squeeze tube versions) that I used for a lip primer. They discontinued it but released their MAC Prep + Prime Lip ($16) which is a clear primer in a twist up tube. I like that this is color-free and really helps to smooth out the surface of the lip. It has a moisturizing feel but dries to a slightly tacky-matte feel to help lipstick and lipliner glide on easily. It also helps lip products stay put. Some lipsticks and glosses have a high shine finish or a glossy sheer formula which have a lot of slip. Those won't hold up much longer than usual with the MAC Prep + Prime, but for your regular lipstick formula and gloss, the Prep + Prime Lip helps extend the wear of my lip products and also helps it glide on better.

For lip balms, I have a lot in rotation. In this post I'll focus mainly on the clear treatments I've been loving. I prefer lip balms in stick or squeeze tube format because I find them easier to apply, but the only stick lip treatment I use these days is the Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12). One tube lasted me quite a long time, even with regular use. It's smooth and lightweight without having that waxy feel. It has a soft lightweight citrus scent which is really nice. It soothes dry lips instantly. (Also in this Hand + Lip Duo Set.) Right now I'm on my second tube.

I've been a long-time Chanel fan, but haven't always been a fan of their lip balms. The Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Balm ($50) is a newer one that they released (to replace their Hydramax). It has a really smooth and slightly hard texture. It's smooth, lightweight and moisturizing. It has a soft hint of the fragrance used in the Hydra Beauty line. I like that it comes in a sleek-looking pot. It feels nice and smooth on the lips, but for me others are more hydrating. This is something I will use this to the end, but I probably will not repurchase. It's a good one if you have normal lips. If you have lips prone to drying with lipstick use, you may need something richer.

By Terry Baume de Rose ($60) is a classic. It's the most expensive lip balm I own, but it's at the top of my list of favorites. It's soothing, hydrating and feels super luxurious. It has a soft rose scent with a slightly pink tint, but it goes on the lips clear. One pot is very large and will last you a very long time. (You can see reviews of the tinted versions here and here.)

Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm ($12) is #2 on my favorites list. It comes in a little squeeze tube and has a clear gel-like formula. It glides on easily, doesn't slip, moisturizes and feels amazing. There is a regular version as well which I also like. I prefer the Mojito one because it has a fun soft sweet lime scent without being too citrusy.

Last but not least is the Tatcha Camellia Moisturizing Lip Balm ($36, also in some holiday gift sets). It's a clear jelly-like solid with a thin layer of crushed 24K gold leaf on top. If you've ordered anything from Tatcha you know how beautiful the packaging and presentation of all their products are (even their shipping boxes are packaged and sealed beautifully). I've been using the Tatcha Lip Balm regularly. It has a lightweight refreshing scent unlike any other lip balm. The gold flakes break off the surface and add a hint of gold shimmer to the lips, but it's only on the surface. Some of mine transferred to the lid and I haven't removed it. This one feels very nice on the lips and provides instant moisture and relief to dry lips. It's a huge thumbs up from me. (Original review here.)

If I were to narrow down my top picks, the MAC Prep + Prime Lip is a definite must for me to prepare the lips for lipstick. For lip treatments, it's a three-way tie between By Terry, Malin + Goetz and Tatcha.

I hope you found this roundup helpful! I would love to hear about your favorite lip treatments, especially with the winter season approaching with dry weather, I think most of us will be in need of an extra moisture boost.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Primers and Smoothers

I've been testing out a few new primers and smoothing products and thought I'd share my favorite staple primers along with some new discoveries. I'm not typically a primer kind of person. I've found most that I've tried don't really do much to extend the wear of makeup and end up adding an extra layer of product on my face that I don't really need. I've tried dozens of primers at makeover events and from tiny sample packets. There are so may different options on the market these days it can be a bit overwhelming. Different products offer a multitude of effects. Some will smooth the overall look of your skin, add a glow, give a matte look and then there are some that are just basic primers to help the application of your foundation. I have normal and sensitive skin. For your reference I've broken down my primer picks into two main different categories:

  • Tom Ford Illuminating Primer ($72 for 1 fl oz) is one of the best glow primers I've ever tried. I tested this on numerous occasions each time I was able to visit a Tom Ford counter under both the foundation stick and liquid formula. The counters kindly made a few small samples for me to test before I caved and purchased the full size (I'm still in price shock). The Tom Ford primer is packaged with a clever twist pump dispenser. It has a soothing fresh scent with a slight herbal undertone. What I like about this one is that has a more yellow-like pearly glow which I found perfect for my needs (most I've seen have a pinkish glow). It helps extend the wear of makeup and adds a glow without making you greasy. It helps smooth the skin and adds an all over glow to prevent your makeup from looking flat. Be aware that this is on the dewy side, if you're oily I wouldn't recommend this one. I also found this one works best with the Tom Ford Foundations. See The Convenient Beauty's review.
  • NARS Pro-Prime Radiance Enhancing Primer ($34 for 1.1 oz) is the next best alternative to Tom Ford's primer at a more affordable price. It has a reflective pearl quality that is the perfect mix of opal, gold and champagne. It has SPF 15 and a little goes a long way. I find this one photographs well with a flash. It has a creamy but thin and easy to blend texture to give an all over glow without being too glowy. Lasting power is better than average for me but it won't make your makeup last all day long (you will need a touch up in the afternoon). I really like this for the effect it gives and how it helps makeup look smoother.
  • MAC Strobe Liquid ($32 for 1.7 fl oz) isn't really a traditional primer, but I like to use it as one over moisturizer and underneath liquid or powder makeup. It's another great smoothing glow product with a super thin liquid texture. It dries well to help makeup stay in place and prevents it from sliding around - but note you only need a tiny bit on the face. It's on the more glowy side so I would recommend topping with a regular powder or foundation. This one is also good for mixing in with foundations to add a glow without making you look white. It has a more opal/blueish sheen.
  • Chanel Base Lumiere Illuminating Makeup Base ($45 for 1 fl oz) is one of the most fluid primer/bases I've ever tried. (I've repurchased this multiple times.) It has a blueish violet sheen but it disppears into a clear finish on the skin. The key to using this is to make sure you use a thinner lightweight moisturizer underneath otherwise it will make the skin oily. If you're a serum + moisturizer kind of person, I would recommend skipping one of the items before using this one. I like this best with Chanel foundations as it helps prime the skin with a subtle glow and also helps extend the wear of foundation. Make sure you use as little as possible - if you overdo it it will be too heavy and feel thick on the skin.

  • Lancome Visionnaire 1-Minute Blur ($55 for 1 fl oz) is currently available at Sephora locations in the US. I received a press sample of this (hence the white lab tube). It's a skin smoother/finisher designed to smooth the skin, erase imperfections and pores. It has a creamy neutral colored texture that disappears on the skin. This video has a good visual of what this will do for the skin. I suggest testing at the store if you can, reviews indicate this is either a hit or miss. I saw a noticeable difference in my skin texture when using this and used it under a liquid foundation (tested with Chanel and NARS). I loved the results for the overall look and it truly erased any signs of pores on my face. It helped my makeup last all day long (quite impressive) well through the evening. There is a very light fragrance to this which I found on the subtle side. The only thing I didn't like about this was that I could actually feel the layer of product on my face - not necessarily a bad thing, but I tend to prefer face makeup that is more weightless and thinner in texture.
  • Clinique Superprimer Color Correcting ($27 for 1 oz) I bought this at Sephora after reading rave reviews about the Superprimers. I was a bit overwhelmed with the color options and honestly have no idea if I picked the right one for me. I decided to go with the peach color corrector since traditional white ones are often too pale and white for my olive skin. I didn't notice any color correcting quality with this one but the color matched my skin pretty well once blended. It has a thicker airy creamy texture that has a velvety feel on the skin. The result: long lasting makeup all day long from morning until late at night (around 11ish before I took it off). The peach color disappeared and gave the skin a smooth matte look. If you test any of the options at the store you will see a noticeable difference on the back of your hand. I like that the primer didn't change the color of my foundation even though it has a peach tint. I'm not sure I picked the right option, if you've tried the any of the Clinique primers I'd love to hear your thoughts.
  • Dior Pore Minimizer Skin Refining Matte Primer ($42 for 1 oz) is a primer that wins for most innovative packaging. It's a tube with a pump dispenser. I have not purchased this after testing a couple counter-made samples but wanted to share my thoughts. This offers the most matte finish that I've ever seen. It smooths the skin out similar to the Lancome but has a thicker feel on the skin (at least for me). I found this blended well on the skin and provided a lovely smooth look. There was a huge noticeable difference. I felt it was too dry for my normal/combination skin even though it didn't look dry at all. I suspect if you have skin that is on the oily side, the Dior Matte Primer will work wonders for you.
Packaging and dispenser details:

My top three picks:
  1. For the best glow, I like Tom Ford's Illuminating Primer
  2. For the price and performance I like Clinique's Superprimer
  3. For the most visible smoothing result, Lancome Visionnaire 1-Minute Blur is a winner
Do you have any favorite primers, smoothing products or glowy bases? I'd love to hear about your thoughts and experiences for what has worked on your skin tone or skin type.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Edward Bess Illuminating Eyeshadow Base

I've been eagerly waiting for the official release of Edward Bess's Illuminating Eyeshadow Base for over a year now. I was able to test a prototype at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills and was particularly impressed how it helped my eyeshadow last. As reviewed and mentioned by The Non-Blonde, the formula has probably changed, as well as the packaging, but the final product is just as amazing. Cafe Makeup showed us a preview of his eye base in action at Liz's makeover at Bergdorf Goodman. Best Things in Beauty also featured a review for Cashmere. 

Edward Bess's Illuminating Eyeshadow Base ($30 for .12 fl oz/3.5 ml) comes in three shades. I purchased the darker two in Dune, a cream medium flesh beige and Suede, a darker tan with a luminous sheen. These come in a twist tube with a built in brush applicator. Both shades work well with my medium olive toned skin (Chanel B30).

Dune has more of a matte/satin coverage while Suede is a perfect contour with shimmer. Both work equally well for me just think of Suede as a few shades deeper and more contrasted for my skintone. What these give is perfect natural coverage to the eye. While Dune seems more matte, there is an illuminating quality about it that gives my lids a flawless even glow. I've tried a number of other eye bases and have never found my perfect base. I have normal lids (neither dry or oily). I feel like most other eye primers I've tried are focused on oil control and the ones I've tried end up drying up my lids creating creases and lines even though I have no visible crease. Note I distinguish Eye Bases/Primers from Cream Eyeshadows. Primers/Eye Bases I've tried and did not love include ones from Trish McEvoy, Laura Mercier, Chanel's Concealers (which are almost always used as a base in makeovers), NARS, Urban Decay's Original Primer Potion (I do love the ones with shimmer/color for my skintype), Too Faced and probably several others that either irritated my skin or dried it out.

Back to the Edward Bess. This applies smoothly and evenly and dries at a slower rate than others which means I have more time to blend and smooth on the eye. I'm personally not a fan of twist-up brush-tipped applicators. I find they get dirty easily and I'd much rather apply with a full sized flat cream brush or my fingers. Still, the actual product is still amazing enough and the brush is fully functional for application so I can't complain. Both shades indeed are brightening/illuminating. I agree with Best Things in Beauty that these offer amazing coverage and last all day into the night without creasing or creeping. This somehow helps the eyeshadow stay fresh-looking like you just applied it hours later. Both of the ones I purchased are winners and absolute must-haves

Below, more product shots and swatches applied with different intensities:

Available now at Neiman Marcus.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF15

Over the years I've discovered a number of excellent foundation primers such as MAC Prep & Prime, Chanel Base Lumiere, Le Blanc de Chanel, Smashbox Photofinish, NARS (the original version) and Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer. I'm always on the hunt for tips and tricks that will help me achieve that flawless foundation finish. Primers are often key to achieving a natural even look. Considering the fact that I have sensitive skin, I've had quite a bit success in finding good primers from numerous brands, however, few have managed to keep my makeup looking fresh all day from morning until late afternoon. I was recently sent a sample package from Hourglass and over the past week have been putting the Veil Mineral Primer to the test. The primer comes in 2 sizes at Sephora: 0.33 oz for $17 and a larger size of 1.00 oz for $52 (both with pump dispensers). I received the smaller size to sample. The product comes in a liquid formula with a white tint. The satiny finish is supposed to smooth out the appearance of your skin, absorb oil and minimize pores. From the swatch below you can see that the product lightened my skin slightly.

The Veil Mineral Primer is described as oil free, paraben free, fragrance free, nanoparticle free, gluten free, synthetic dye free, sulfate free, phthalate free, vegan and water resistant. The ingredient listing is shown below:

I've tested this for a few days and am very pleased with the results. The liquid fluid texture makes it easy to apply as it glides on flawlessly. I found one pump sufficient to cover the entire face which provides your skin with a smooth satiny canvas. I was surprised how the Veil Mineral Primer helped the application of the foundation to achieve a truly flawless finish. I love that the box had a few tips on how to apply this product - I found these extremely helpful.

I tried this primer several different ways:

Method 1: Apply like a regular primer all over the face (over Cle de Peau moisturizer & under Guerlain Lingerie de Peau foundation) - my foundation and powder lasted all day and looked just as fresh as when I first applied it, however this made my face look pale and pasty from the white cast of the primer

Method 2: Apply all over bare face (skip moisturizer and apply Guerlain Lingerie de Peau) - same result as above, but I believe you need a moisturizer, the finish really is so satiny that without moisturizer, I personally thought this felt too dry on my skin

Method 3: Mix 1/2 and 1/2 primer and foundation (tested with Guerlain & Chanel) - the result was less white, but my foundation was lightened by a tiny bit

Method 4: Mix 1 part primer to 2 parts foundation (tested with Guerlain & Chanel) - this was the best result for me and mixing a larger proportion of foundation to about a 1/2 pump of the primer and blending with a foundation brush gave a smooth velvety looking finish and helped my foundation/powder last all day

Overall I am thoroughly impressed by the performance of this primer. After several days of using this, no breakouts, no clogged pores, no irritation, no dryness or thick feeling finish. I can't believe how well my foundation, powder and blush have been holding up in the summer humidity. I still need a touch up on the nose in the afternoon, but the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer has helped make my makeup last longer than most primers. Have you tried this primer before? Thoughts? Application tips?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ten Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. Paul & Joe Alice in Wonderland Fantasy Set - So cute, I can't help but smile everytime I look at my P&J Alice sets. I wish I could take it with me in my purse, but it's not really practical for toting around. The lipbalm goes on basically clear even though it has a pink tint. I haven't seen the new movie - anyone who has, what are your thoughts?

2. Chanel Sillage Eyeshadow - From the spring collection, this is a lovely shimmery light highlighting color. It's along the same lines of Lotus, Liberty and Island eyeshadows but has a bit more pink with slight peach to it. It gives a lovely glow to the lid.

3. Chantecaille Sel Eyeshadow - Yes, of course, I'm always loving at least one taupe shade every month. This month my favorite is Chantecaille Sel - a complex color that has shades of silver, taupe, grey, and gold making this very uniquely stunning. It looks different depending on what angle you hold the compact at. I have a hard time pulling off most silvers. Taupes I can do, but pure silvery shades end up making me look tired. On my skin Sel is more silvery but the gold in it makes it wearable for me which is a plus. I love this over Laura Mercier's Platinum Metallic Cream Eyeshadow.

4. Giorgio Armani Maestro 23 - This color replaced the original Eyeshadow #4. It's a deep navy-black with a satin finish that has a slight shimmer. There are definitely other similar colors, but I like that the Maestro 23 isn't too harsh like most blacks or navys which are typically flat matte shades. The texture makes the finish a bit softer since you can blend and layer it to the intensity you prefer.

5. Lancome Pop Petrol 014 Nail Polish - See the full review plus some other views here. Such a lovely murky steel green blue shimmer. I prefer it on the toes rather than fingers, but I've never received so many head-turns, compliments and random women coming up to me to ask "what color is that you're wearing?" just from a nail polish.

6. NARS Ophelia Lipgloss - Also from spring, this is a sheer healthy pink with shimmer. Looks lovely over the new Cruising lipstick or Tutti Frutti lipstick. (Pictured below, swatch is at the top.)

7. Chanel Maline 141 Glossimer - From the spring 2010 collection, it's on the sheer side and basically goes on clear, but I love the sparkles in this. It looks great over lipsticks to add a pretty sheen. I really like this over nudes like Chanel Como Aqualumiere and MAC Marquise D. (Pictured above, bottom swatch.)

8. Chanel Gardenia 13 Rouge Coco - This is exclusive to Neiman Marcus. It's a soft shimmery warm pink on me. I've already reviewed/featured this before, but here it is on me below again. It might be replacing my Chanel Waikiki for HG (holy grail) status.

Also check it out on Tali at The Gloss Goss here to see how it looks on a different skintone. It's gorgeous on her!

9. Chanel Caprice Blush - This came out years ago in the US and is by far the prettiest pink blush I have ever seen. I was really sad that it was discontinued but luckily I have a back up! It's like a soft pink version of Chanel Rose Bronze/Armani Blush #10 without the bronzey looking finish that these have sometimes. There's no dupe for this that I know of and I've searched hi and lo through almost every high-end brand. No luck.

10. Chanel UV Essential - For the past week, I've been using this on top of my moisturizer, underneath foundation as a primer. It's very liquid and has a thin texture so a little goes a long way. The recommended use is to apply it as the last step of your daily skincare regimen. It works really well for me to make my makeup last all day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Foundations, Primers, Concealers + Powders I Love

I wanted to thank everyone who filled out my survey! I received quite a few special requests for certain topics, I'll be covering the ones that received more frequent requests every once in a while. The first requested topic I'd like to cover includes foundations, powders, concealers and primers that I personally like.

I wrote about all the foundations I've been matched to and have purchased HERE. To clarify, these are the shades I've been matched to in both summer and winter months. I don't use all 13 foundations right now, the darker colors were swatched from nearly-empty bottles that I had neglected to toss. And, yes, my skin is very odd in that so many different colors match my skintone.

My Skintype: I have normal but sensitive skin. I react to most sunscreens. I cannot use any MAC foundation, Kiehls lotions, Trish McEvoy skincare, Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation because my skin reacts horribly to all of these. I have not tried every single foundation or brand out there, but the ones listed below are the ones I have tried, liked or repurchased. At this stage in my life (28), I don't have wrinkles, large pores, or much sun damage.

My Skin Coloring: I'm Asian and have yellow/olive undertones. I tend to tan easily - but often times I find I am in between shades for a lot of lines which makes it a challenge to find the right match, but being the foundation junkie I am, have been able to find quite a few that work with my skin-type and skin-tone. Right now, for MAC reference, I'm in-between NC30 and NC35.

How Do I Find My Matches for Color and Formula? I usually rely on the expertise of the makeup artists and sales associates I shop with. Anytime a new foundation comes out, I test them at the counter. I always request them to try on 2-3 shades along my jawline so we can both see the range, how they blend in etc. There are times when I will just match myself. If the artist isn't busy, I'll ask her to apply it all over so I can see the full effect and finish. If I'm ever unsure, I usually ask for a sample - I find it easier to get one when you make a purchase, even if it's a small one.

Current Foundations in Rotation: I typically go for sheer to medium coverage. I don't like SPF because there are some sunscreens that I get a reaction to. I also don't like the way they photograph, but these days it's almost impossible to find a foundation that doesn't have some SPF in it.

  • Chanel Teint Innocence Shell 30 Liquid ($47) & Beige 40 Compact ($56) - Sheer to Medium Coverage and photographs great. Long-lasting coverage with a slightly dewey finish. There is a very subtle iridescence in the liquid version but it's not noticeable on the skin. The texture prevents it from looking flat on your face. I also find the compact shades run a bit lighter than the liquid. These 2 are my Holy Grails of all time. (Repurchases = too many to count, but at least 4 of each)
  • NARS Oil Free in Punjab ($42) - I love the finish and color of this foundation. Right now, it's just a tad dark. I've been matched to Santa Fe since I bought Punjab, so I simply mix a lighter highlighter with Punjab. It looks oddly peachy in the tube and swatched on the hand. It can oxidize and darken on the skin if you're oily. I've heard that it makes some people break out, but I haven't had any problems. I don't think it's for everyone so definitely get a sample to try out first. (Repurchases = 0, I have yet to hit the halfway point on this one.)

  • Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer in Natural Radiance ($42) - This is a nice sheer tinted moisturizer with a visible glow. Not recommended for oily skins. I like to use this and set with a powder foundation on the good-skin days. (Repurchases = 3 times to date)

  • Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk 5.5 and 6.5 (mixed because I'm in between shades) - if you tried the Luminous Silk, loved the finish, but thought the formula was too heavy/oily, Lasting Silk is the solution to giving you the same coverage and finish, but with a more matte finish.

Current Powders in Rotation:

  • Chanel Double Perfection Powder in Tender Bisque ($50) - My Holy Grail powder foundation. Good natural coverage, long-lasting, easy to apply and great for touch-ups. I also use Medium Beige when I'm darker. (Repurchases = too many to count, probably over 10 times)

  • NARS Powder Foundation in Fiji ($45) - This is the newest powder foundation I've tried. I was a bit confused about whether this was just a pressed powder or a true powder-foundation. It seems a bit too sheer to be a powder-foundation. I like to use this to set my foundation for a flawless finish. Using this alone over moisturizer gave me a chalky look.

  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose ($34) - I like using this with a brush or puff. I love the colored powders, but unfortunately, I can only use Beige in the summer months and Ivory is way too pale.

  • Giorgio Armani Microfil 2 ($49) - Soft and sheer with a subtle glow. However, the shades in this product line are extremely limited. No. 2 is the darkest shade they currently carry. I don't know what I'm going to use from Armani when I get tan.

  • Stila Illuminating Powder Foundation 40 ($28 for refill, $14 for compact) - One of those oldies-but-goodies products. I've been using this ever since I was in high school in the late 90's. I find it's best when you use this to set liquid foundation for a flawless glow. (Repurchases = 4)
Current Primers:

I have no loyalty to one specific primer. I use something different everyday. I know it's probably a big no-no, but often times I skip moisturizer and just use a primer. I alternate between the following:

  • MAC Strobe Cream (mini size from a travel kit) - I've repurchased this numerous times. I apply it all over the face under foundation for a subtle glow. It also works when applied over foundation/powder on temples to add a very subtle highlight.

  • Chanel UV Essential ($52) - I actually love all 3 Chanel Primers. This is my most recent love. Looks white but blends out clear on the skin. It has SPF 50 and supposed to protect your skin from environmental pollutants. The only downside is the steep price for the amount of product you get. I like this, but I'm not sure that I love it enough to justify purchasing again.

  • MAC Prep + Prime Skin Without SPF ($25) - This is a silicone-based primer with subtle pearl particles to smooth and even the skin. I like this because it helps my foundation last and look smooth.

  • NARS Primer ($33, regular version) - This one contains no silicone, oil, or synthetic fragrances. I find this works the best with NARS foundations. The formula has a gel-like texture.

Current Concealers:

Concealer is a product I neglect to apply on a regular basis. For many years, I avoided concealer because I couldn't find one that didn't emphasize my lines under the eyes. Most were too thick making me look aged. I typically only use concealer under the eye and around the nose. I've yet to find a concealer that works for blemishes. I find most of them emphasize blemishes rather than conceal them. A few that I like include (do note that I've never repurchased a concealer to date):

  • Le Metier de Beaute Eye Brightener in Revive ($36) - I call this my wonder eye product. I apply this after I've put on my foundation and powder under the eyes and it evens skin tone in a full coverage powder without looking cakey or emphasizing lines. The only downside is that it comes in 2 shades. When I bought Revive it was a perfect match. I've since gotten a bit lighter and it's too dark for me now, so I will have to save it for the summer months.

  • Laura Mercier Undercover Pot UC-3 ($34) - I like that this has both the Secret Camouflage and Secret Concealer with a mini translucent powder on the bottom which makes it convenient for travel. It's sturdy enough to throw in your purse. The fact that it has 2 shades and 2 different textures makes it nice to blend and mix according to whatever you want.

  • Chanel Correcteur Perfection (Long Lasting Concealer) in Beige Ivoire 20 ($40) - Pricey, but works wonders for under the eyes and around the nose. It has medium coverage that's natural enough to blend in with the skin, but enough coverage to brighten the face.

If I had to pick just 1 brand to use powder, foundation, concealer and primer, it would hands down have to be Chanel. They have a wide variety of formulas for different skin types, ranging from sheer to full coverage. Their face products photograph really well and don't give you that whitish cast that some foundations give with high-flash photography.

Please note that these are simply the products that I like best out of ones I've tried. I haven't tried everything. I can't guarantee that you'll like any of these that I've listed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 4 of Beauty Essentials: Primers & Fix Sprays, Illuminators, Foundations

I've searched through numerous brands and formulas to find the right foundation for me. My skin is overall normal but very sensitive and prone to break-outs and reactions. This post will list what I've found to work the best for me to get a flawless but still natural glow. If you have any favorites, please share them! I'm always looking for new products to try out.

Foundations & Tinted Moisturizers (left to right):

* Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer gives a sheer glow to the face that isn't overly shimmery or sparkly. I also love her other regular and oil-free formulas, but have been loving this one recently.

* Laura Mercier Undercover Pot contains her Secret Camouflage and Secret Concealer on the top layer with a mini mirror and translucent powder on the bottom to set. It is very tiny for the price, but great for travel. Luckily there have been a few sets that I've purchased that have contained this as part of a kit, so I haven't had to spend the full retail price on it.

* Chanel Hydramax+ Active Teinte is part of the Hydramax line which "boosts the hydration process at its source, with formulas targeted precisely to meet skin's moisture needs." This is a nice lightweight tinted moisturizer that evens out the skintone and has SPF15.

* Chanel Lift Lumiere Foundation is meant for smoothing & firming, also contains SPF15. At age 28, I don't really need any smoothing or firming, but I do find it has a nice medium coverage, lasts all day, and does make the skin look very smooth.

* Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation SPF20 was made to replace their Matte Silk foundation and has a "water-based foundation provides 14-hour satin matte coverage without the coverage feel. For normal to oily skin, providing medium coverage." I had previously used their Luminous Silk Foundation and loved the full flawless coverage and finish, but found it made my skin very oily within a couple hours. The new Lasting Silk works much better for my skin. I wouldn't say it lasts a full 14 hours, but then I haven't used it with their primer or other products.

*Chanel Teint Innocence is probably my most frequently used foundation for a sheer-medium coverage that gives a natural glow. (I have gone through over 6 bottles.) This is more moist than the Lift Lumiere, but not overly so. That being said, if your skin is more on the oily side, I would avoid this one. It contains SPF12. I prefer the liquid formula, but it also comes in a cream compact foundation formula that I find heavier in texture and coverage.

* Chanel Correcteur Perfection is their newest concealer which is lightweight and gel-based. I like this for under the eyes to brighten the skin and dark circles.

Primers & Sprays (left to right):

* Laura Mercier Foundation Primer really helps the application process for foundation and powder, I like to use this over moisturizer.

* Le Blanc De Chanel is an illuminating base that primes the skin for foundation while adding a subtle glow.

* Chantecaille Rosewater is meant to "purify, tone, and hydrate skin." It is definitely refreshing, but fairly pricey. Pictured is a mini size that is often given in their gift with purchases at beauty events.

* MAC Prep & Prime Skin is a great silicone based primer that has subtle sparkle to the actual product. I like to use this sometimes instead of moisturizer.

* MAC Fix+ Rose came out with the Rose Romance collection this past year as a limited edition product, but still comes in a regular version. A must have for everyone - you can spray this on the face before foundation to moisten the skin, or after foundation & powder to set your makeup and make your face look less powdery and more fresh. I also like to spray this on my eyeshadow brushes sometimes to lightly dampen the brush to apply eyeshadows more heavily.

Illuminators (left to right): I love using liquid illuminators and mixing them with foundation to give an all over subtle glow. These are great because of the sheerness so you don't end up looking greasy. These are also great to use over foundation/powder in certain areas to highlight the eyes or temples.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer 3 & 7, MAC Strobe Cream (mini size from a travel set), Chanel Brilliance Pur Sunkissed


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