Drugstore Haul and Product Review: Hits & Misses

I got an email yesterday from CVS saying I had extrabucks that were about to expire. For those not familiar, you earn extrabucks when you buy things at CVS and it’s basically like a voucher. Free money?! Drugstore spree time. Wheeeeeeeeeee

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Ok so when I got home I decided to just try out the new things I have, as well as some other items I’ve obtained recently. First up I applied some TooFaced Hangover Primer and NARS eyeshadow primer, then I put some of my new Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation.

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I gave a sample of this a pretty good go before I bought it so I was already pretty happy with it. It’s not too matte, not too glowy (though the Hangover primer does make it a little more glowy) but has a satin finish. It’s a good every day medium coverage foundation. Obviously not drugstore but it’s a recent purchase and I didn’t buy any foundation today.

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All looking okay so far, let’s continue.

I had heard good things about the Maybelline Better Skin corrector/concealer from a few beauty youtubers so I grabbed it today in the shade “light”.

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I applied it under my eyes, between my brows, on some blemishes, on my chin, above my cupid’s bow and at the sides of my nose/nostril area – don’t we all get that bit of redness? I was really pleased with how easily this product blended out using the Real Techniques contour brush.

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Not bad! Ok, next up is the Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless powder in 220/Natural Beige, applied with another new purchase – the Real Techniques Powder Brush. Recently it occurred to me that the RT Blush Brush is actually great for blush so I stopped using it for powder. This left a powder-brush shaped hole, so I picked this little number up today.

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Decent color match, I decided to see how it wore before I made any snap judgments. And look, the truth is, I don’t love it. I feel like my pores are actually emphasised (picture later) rather than made ‘less’ and I got shiny pretty fast. I don’t want to immediatly dismiss it though, I’m going to try it with a pore-minimising primer and see how that goes before I throw it in the trash. The brush is lovely and exactly what I wanted – soft and loose but still dense enough to pick up enough product to make a difference.

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Next I applied the deluxe sample size of Tarte’s Park Ave Princess bronzer with my ELF Complexion Brush.

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I like this brush because it is paddle shaped so it’s great for applying bronzer to the cheekbones, temples and forehead areas and for blending out as well.

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This bronzer is okay. It’s got nothing on the MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural so I probably won’t reach for it too often but it will be a good one to keep in my handbag or travel makeup kit.

The above photo also has my brows done with this sexy little number – the NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Ash Brown. This is a FANTASTIC dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. GREAT product!

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Onto eyes. As mentioned earlier I already applied some primer, and this primer is tried and true. Today I bought the Rimmel ScandalEyes Eyeshadow Stick in Naughty Navy.

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I’m really into navy at the moment, even more than usual! Ok, on it goes.

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First impressions: it applies really easily, but the pigmentation isn’t great and it’s quite hard to get a smooth appearance. Also I noticed as soon as I blinked, even after letting the product dry for a good 30 seconds, it got all messed up.

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I decided to put some of my trusty L’Oreal Infallible shadow on in All Night Blue just to set the eyeshadow stick.

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Marginally better but I sorta don’t think there’s any saving this eye crayon, it’s just really bad. Glad it was cheap. Not impressed.

I picked up the Rimmel Exaggerage Full Colour Lip Liner in Obsession, a dark wine color. I already have EastEnd Snob in this product which I really love so I was keen to grab another one. The lipliner went on nicely as expected. I then applied Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Black Cherry.

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It’s pretty nice, I like that it applies nice and smoothly and doesn’t pull the lips around like some more matte lipsticks can. This isn’t matte as you can see, which is a fun change for me. But it is a smidge patchy. It requires a few coats. I found it to wear well though and it stayed comfortable so this is a winner. The slightly melon-ish smell really doesn’t do it for me but it definitely fades very quickly so that’s a bonus. This will be a great product for winter because it doesn’t dry out the lips.

In brighter light:

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So that’s the finished look. I wanted to add a closer-up photo of the eye and inner-cheek area to highlight the products I found problematic.

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Yeahhhh… not great. Check out those pores. Who were they testing the “poreless” aspect of this powder on, exactly? And what good is a “waterproof” eye crayon when it sets like this?

But the lipstick is lovely, the brow crayon ROCKS and the concealer is great too.

I also bought a set of the Sally Hansen MiracleGel polish, in Teal Twin with the top coat. I applied it and it’s nice. Is it a gel-like finish? Frick no. No, nope, not at all. It’s precisely and exactly like a normal nail polish with a shiny top coat. Meh.

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It’s fine. But it’s not gel. It’s just not!

Ok team that’s it from me today. Have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing!

Love+++
F&V

Makeup Startup: Concealer Lowdown – How to Use it and Mini Reviews

Welcome to another Makeup Startup post, dear readers. Before I get started, let me tell you, this one was actually a lot harder than I expected to write. Formulating a post about concealers really forced me to confront my face’s flaws, for lack of a better word..

It really reminded me that it’s important to be as clear as possible about the fact that this is all optional. Faces are beautiful, no matter what. Your face is beautiful, my face is beautiful, everyone’s face is a beautiful and good face. Everyone’s skin is good skin. However, of course there are times when we want to look our best. Or perhaps we have been kept awake all night by a snoring French Bulldog that we are dogsitting, and we want to look a little less tired than we actually are. JUST AN EXAMPLE. Or maybe we just have areas of our face that are more red than others, and it makes our whole makeup application look more flawless if we pay a little more attention to those areas. Whatever the reason, concealer is the solution to these problems.

Foundation’s purpose is not to cover all our flaws. This is something I’ve been learning for the first time just recently. It’s really just to even out skintone and for those of us who have amazing skin, maybe that makes you look flawless all by itself. If so, congratulations!

So for today’s demonstration I used a light to medium coverage foundation, the Sephora Teint Infusion Ethereal Natural Finish Foundation in the shade 16 (linen), $24 from Sephora. It’s a sample I picked up recently and lemme tell you it’s pretty darn nice. Anyway, I applied a light layer with a buffing brush to create even more of a light finish. Here’s a before and after.

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Before

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After – sorry about the light changes, it’s another semi-overcast day in VT!

So as you can see, a light layer of a light to medium foundation evens things out a bit but doesn’t cover up all the flaws that are on my face. Let’s talk about those for a minute. Check out my amazing Paint diagram!

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A lot of things~

We all have these things. Well, the melasma maybe not, it’s a weird hormonal pigmentation on the face, usually under the eyes. It gets worse when I’m on my period, and is a result of extra oestrogen.. to the point that it gets called “the mask of pregnancy” – women often suffer from it while they’re pregnant. Anyway, the other things we all suffer from. I feel that they all require different treatment and different concealers. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to use them, it’s just my recommendation from what I have learned. Here’s my concealer collection:

FullSizeRender_2You do not need all of these things.

Concealers come in different types. The quick rundown is that some of them are just matte coverup types, they have a high pigment content and are generally a cream consistency. Some are brightening because they contain tiny reflective pigments, these are best under the eyes or on parts you wish to highlight (popular areas are down the middle of the nose, between the eyebrows and the center of the chin). Some are color correcting, so they might be green, salmon-pink or even blue. I want to start with those because when I’m really putting my best effort into concealing, this is what I start with.

For this, I use my beloved, trusty Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage palette ($49 from Adore Beauty in Australia and $34 from Sephora in the USA).

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As you can see, one side is a pinky-salmon toned (looks more brown in the pic) shade, and the other side is more yellow/neutral toned. The salmon-pink color is best for people with bad dark circles most of the time, because it cancels out the blueish tones of under-eye darkness. Using a color correcting concealer means you don’t have to slather on as much product to cover up the dark circles! Hooray! This product is especially great because you get 2 concealers in one. You can mix these by rubbing your ring finger in one then the other, or put on one at a time. That’s what I do. I pat the salmon color in the areas where I’m the most blue/dark-circley. I then pat a bit of the yellow color, using the same finger, in the area a little lower which helps to cover the melasma a little better. To brighten, I use a few dabs of something like the NARS Radiant Creamy concealer in Vanilla or Custard (sometimes both, one is a smidge too light and one is about right, but it’s fine to go a little lighter under the eyes).

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Seriously good shit right here.

These are on the pricey side too, $29 from Sephora and $40 from Mecca, but they are absolutely magic concealers for the under eye area and any other areas you want to brighten. This is what I used on this side of my face in the under-eye area. For a good drugstore dupe, check out the Maybelline Fit Me concealers which are around $18 at Priceline.

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I’m not aware of any dupes for the Laura Mercier product, none that are cheaper anyway. I know Bobbi Brown does a color corrector as well (the salmon shade is called “bisque”, I think) but I doubt it’s cheaper. However this does not mean that there aren’t any dupes. I’ve just relied on the LM for so long that I have never really had to look! If you know of one, do let me know! Anyway, after I’ve applied both those things, I use a soft, round, small brush (like the Real Techniques contour brush which I feel would be terrible for contour, or the ELF small stippling brush or its MAC equivalent) to blend it all in so it looks seamless. Then I IMMEDIATELY set the area with some powder. I do this one eye at a time, because I really feel that one of the keys to not creasing in the under-eye area is to set as quickly as you can. A yellow-toned powder is best for this, I use the Besame brightening vanilla powder, but the Kat Von D contour palette has a good yellow in it as well. You could use any old powder though, it doesn’t have to be yellow, translucent is fine too. Here’s the finished result (one eye only obviously, the other eye is just after foundation).

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Mugshot face v important

So as you can see, it’s not ~~~flawless~~~ but you know, that’s not really how I roll. I still like to look like somewhere in between undead and actually dead. I see these girls with these bright, glittery, super-flat and perfect under-eye area and it honestly looks a little weird and unnatural to me. I don’t mind having a bit of stuff still showing it’s nbd I’m a human I am tired sometimes and under-eye bags are a perfectly natural and normal part of ageing that really can’t be reversed so whatever!

On the other side, I used a bit of a drugstore favorite of mine – the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer (in light-medium).

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Seriously good.

I smoosh this one straight from the sponge into around the same area/s that I’d put the LM concealer. If I was putting this onto a pimple (I don’t normally do that, only if I’m in a hurry and don’t want to change products), I use a brush just to be a bit more hygienic. I give the sponge a spray with alcohol every so often too. Even though this can mean the product is wasted a bit, it’s a good idea for hygiene reasons.

For this side, I used the Maybelline Fit Me concealer instead of the NARS like I used on the other side. You can also use something like the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Full Coverage concealer ($28 at Sephora, $36 at Mecca) for this task. In fact that is a great all-rounder concealer because it doesn’t have any reflective particles in it but is still fairly brightening. I really like this concealer a lot! But I elected to use the other Maybelline one today. I remembered to take a picture of the “setup” this time.

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Application setup and post-application

Note: this side actually looks better but that’s a trick of the light – I’m faced more towards the window with the side I just did. They look about the same when I look in the mirror. But you can make up your own mind at the end I suppose!

So with anything else, like pimples or healing pimples which leave pigmentation behind, or redness around the nose, you want to use a non-reflective concealer. For this, I like the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer ($20 at MAC USA, $32 at MAC Au) a lot.

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It’s really pigmented and therefore has great coverage. I hate the packaging though! You only need a tiny little bit and it’s impossible to get out a little bit in my experience. I also love the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($32 from Sephora, $46 from Media Makeup Store in Australia).

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Pricey but lasts a very, very long time, way longer than its expiry date unless you’re using it to cover your whole face probably!

So here’s the bad news. If you have a large, raised, swollen pimple, there’s not a whole lot you can do to cover it. Because it’s gonna cast a shadow, however small, which brings attention to it. You can lessen the redness though. For that, Lisa Eldridge has a great “scribble” technique tutorial that shows the technique to a more exacting level than I do. What I do is normally put a little bit of the concealer onto the back of my hand then I use my fingertip to smear out the concealer a little bit so it’s not in a blob, then I take a little bit on my fingertip or a tiny brush like the Real Techniques detailer brush (or even a clean lip or eyeliner brush) and dot it onto the affected area. I then use my fingertip to blend out the edges of the concealer so it blends into the foundation. Try not to smear it around – you want to use patting/dotting motions. I know Lisa uses a brush but tbqh I just couldn’t be bothered, you know? Anyway, I use the same concealer around the edges of my nose where I get some redness as well, and sometimes around the edges of my lips if that area is looking a bit sallow.

Anyway, now that that’s done, this is the finished result.

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Before & after foundation & concealer application

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And the side-view..

So if you wanted to powder, now would be a good time. Remember to use a big, fluffy, SOFT brush to apply your powder so that you aren’t moving your concealer around and ruining your hard work. I usually do a bit more of a “patting” motion with the brush rather than a swishing/buffing motion in the areas I’ve placed concealer.

I hope this has been helpful and that I’ve addressed the questions about concealer that may or may not have been on your minds! Let me know if there’s any major parts I’ve missed.

Thanks for reading! Remember to follow me on instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates about posts as they go up.

Love+++
F&V