Facial Sprays: Prep, Prime, Hydrate and Refresh

A few people lately have asked in my various makeup groups about the Smashbox Primer Water, so I thought I’d do a post, not just about that but other facial sprays I use.

I love the feeling of a nice, cooling facial spray. It has been hot here (not for long!) so it’s been a lovely refreshing way to freshen my dull, sometimes cakey looking long-wear foundation after a good few hours of wear.

But what do the different sprays do? Let’s talk about it.

The First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist is something that I like to spray on between cleansing and moisturizing.

2015-09-13 13.00.12 HDR

I hate to apply moisturizer on a dry face, it just doesn’t feel nice and the spray helps the product to spread a little better. So it’s more of a skincare item than specifically a prep or fix spray. It feels nice and it’s got some decent skincare ingredients, and nothing irritating or more than level 1 comedogenic (I’m extremely acne prone and it hasn’t broken me out at all). There’s a slightly more comedogenic ingredient but it’s so far down the list that its amount is irrelevant.

I’ve probably used half of it and I only bought it maybe 3 weeks ago? So it’s not super great value IMO. That’s probably my only complaint.

You can pick this little beauty up at Sephora for $16 in the USA or  AU$17.40 from BeautyBay (which will ship to Australia).

The Smashbox Primer Water is interesting. I’ll admit: I wasn’t really that interested when it was announced. Primer water? Give me a break. What a fucking rort! I wasn’t even a little bit tempted. But then people whose opinions I respect started saying it was pretty great and because I’m a massive sheep I bought some.

2015-09-13 12.59.35 HDR

And you know what? I like it! I like to use it on top of a pore-refining primer to add some grip and moisture before I put foundation on. This product contains glycerin (well, it contains glycol and they are incredibly similar). The great thing about glycerin is that it is sticky! I know that sounds bad, but actually that’s exactly what we are looking for in primers, particularly oil-absorbing primers. Now, is this a miracle amazing revolutionary product? No – it’s probably only marginally better than a normal toner (and PC Beautypedia backs that up), but it’s pretty nice and does a good job, and you can use it as a setting spray allegedly as well (the girl in Sephora told me that, I’ve never done it myself). I also like that this is a “quick” primer if I want one, if I’m running out of time to do the full “dot and blend” primer routine. It gives another layer of oil-absorbing ingredients that your skin’s natural oils have to fight through to get to your makeup and oxidize it. So it does a great job for me. If you are someone who is very sensitive to fragrances you might want to be careful with this one, though. It’s not overly fragranced but it does contain potentially irritating fragrance.

A tip I heard just today (thanks Kelly!) is to press the product into your skin in the areas where you get most oily, for a little bit more oil absorption. I look forward to trying this tip!

You can get it for $16 to $32 (pick up a travel size if you’re not sure!) at Sephora or for $47 for the full size at Mecca in Australia.

MAC Fix+ is “the” prep and fix spray. It’s the original and let’s be honest, the best. It’s an amazing multi-purpose product.

2015-09-13 12.59.59 HDR

The spray mechanism is FANTASTIC, much better than any other non-aerosol facial spray I’ve ever used. It’s a very, very fine mist that really does enable one to have quite a lot of control over the spray direction. Its second ingredient is glycerin so that’s a definite plus as well. It contains a decent blend of small amounts of antioxidants etc. But it really is the spray mechanism that’s the star of the show.

I love to use this to refresh my makeup after a long day of makeup-wearing, say if I don’t want to take my makeup off and re-apply before going out at night. It works like a treat because it’s not a heavy spray. It can be used as a fixing spray too.

This is also available in a mini, which I keep in my handbag. It’s the perfect size for that purpose. You can pick up the full size from MAC Cosmetics for $22 or the mini for $10, and in Australia you can get the full size for $27 or the mini for $15.

The final product I’m going to talk about is one I have mixed feelings about. It’s the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray.

2015-09-13 12.59.16 HDR

Ok so here’s the thing. This product shouldn’t really work. I mean, its second ingredient is alcohol. That’s not good. I always avoid alcohol. But I have been using this product for awhile and it seems to do the job and doesn’t break me out. I think this is because by the time you spray it on your face there’s quite a few layers between it and your skin, so it doesn’t get close enough to be irritating.

The mixed feeling comes from the fact that I’m not sure that this does any better job than a similar product, or even just a toner spray. So when this one is out, I won’t be buying another. I’m going to switch to just using Fix+ to see if it does a similar job.

In saying that, this is an EXTREMELY popular product that does work. But the ingredient list is a bit scary so be aware of that. In the US you can get this for $14 for a travel/trial size or $30 for the full size (select the other size), in Australia for $44 for the full size or the mini for $22. I would strongly recommend trying the smaller size first. It’s a pricey product and if it sucks (and you don’t like returning things), you may regret the purchase. Sidenote: there are other types of sprays in this product line that may suit better but I don’t feel that there’s a big difference, ingredients wise. Just something to keep in mind.

I’d love to hear what you guys think about these products, or if you’ve tried any similar ones!

Love++
F&V

Think Your Tube of Gunk is All Gone? THINK AGAIN.

Sorry for the clickbaity title but guys, I have to share something with you.

The other day I noticed that my tube of NARS Pro-Prime eye primer was getting low. I would put the applicator in and not much would come out. I added it sadly to my Sephora “likes” in preparation for my next order (sadly because it’s kinda pricey). Then I was watching a video that ViviannaDoesMakeup did in which she admitted to using the breadknife to saw her tube in half and get the remainder depotted into a little travel container. I thought, hey why not, if there’s a smudge or two left that’ll save me some dough.

The tube looks like this:

306217b8d88de8b893b6b58463319562
Image from Pinterest

It’s about the size of a large lip gloss tube, and to be fair it has lasted me ages and I use it every time I wear makeup (most days) so I think that’s fine.

Off I went to saw away with my breadknife (sorry, husband) and lo and behold there was HEAPS left. I filled an entire small travel container. FILLED IT. I just used the actual applicator to scoop it out and put it in the jar. LOOK.

FullSizeRender

There’s like a year’s worth of products in there. AT LEAST. You only need a tiny bit!

I’m so happy that I can save my dollars for quite a long time, but I’m kinda cranky that such an expensive product has such garbage packaging. How many people have tossed their tube of this when it was half full?

Anyway, that’s a pro tip from me to you. Happy nearly-Friday!

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.

FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender
Before

FullSizeRender_4 FullSizeRender_3
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!

IMG_8227
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).

FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender

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).

FullSizeRender_2
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.

FullSizeRender_4

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).

FullSizeRender_1
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).

FullSizeRender_1
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.

FullSizeRender_4 FullSizeRender_3
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.

FullSizeRender_3

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).

FullSizeRender

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.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender_1
Before & after foundation & concealer application

FullSizeRender_4 FullSizeRender_2
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

Makeup Startup: Face Base-ics [Higher End Brands]

I had weirdly put off this post, and I think I have figured out why. It’s all part of my stupid “I am not worthy of opinions about makeup what do I know!?” thing. And the stakes are higher here, because if one of you guys takes my advice and buys one of these then you spent LOTS OF MONEY AND WHAT IF IT SUCKS OH GOD

Anyway that’s ridiculous and stupid, you guys know what works for you and what doesn’t, and if you don’t maybe this will actually help! Or you can take it back. Probably. YOU DO YOU, BOO!

Buying foundation at places like Sephora, Mecca or department stores where it’s going to be more than $30 is scary to me. What if it sucks? What am I going to do with it?! Well the good news is that lots of places have amazing returns policies these days, I know Mecca and Sephora do, anyway. Not sure about department stores. And they usually have great sample policies too, they’ll give you a decent sized sample so you can try a few. Like the sample haul I recently obtained from Sephora, for example…

IMG_8117
Thanks, Holly at Sephora in JCPenney West Lebanon!

Anyway, on with the post. Here’s my collection.

IMG_8112

It’s not super extensive really, compared to the drugstore one, because of aforementioned nervousness. As always there’s lots of high coverage, matte finishes but not all…

Note: I’m going to include some brushes in these photos, I’ll try to match the foundation to its best applicator.

First up, the newest foundation from a favorite makeup brand of mine – NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation.

IMG_8114

I wasn’t really planning on buying this, because when I read “luminous” I lose interest immediately. I’m oily. I don’t need any more luminous-ness. Or do I?! Lately I’m being divested of that opinion a little bit, as luminous products become more “sophisticated, subtle glow” and less “terrifying greasy disco ball”. Anyway, point of the story, I do not think this product is very luminous. When the lady at Mecca in Sydney put it on me I was like “… dude this isn’t glowy at all” and she agreed wholeheartedly. I think NARS is kinda bad with naming their foundations on the whole. You can see that I have a sample of NARS Sheer Glow that I’m getting through at the moment. It’s not sheer or too glowy really, I love it and I’m pretty sure it’ll be my next purchase. One of the main things I think has always held me back from NARS foundation purchases is that they have not previously had a pump on the packaging. ADLW does! When I discovered this, I knew it had to be mine after I saw how beautiful it was on my skin. I was a weirdly different shade than I would have thought (Vallauris, described as medium with pink undertones) – much darker, and honestly every time I apply it I freak out but once it settles, it looks fine and it looks especially nice in photographs. Observe my “day of freaking out that I really had bought a too-dark shade” on instagram, including a before & after (at top):

IMG_8118

IMG_8119 IMG_8120 IMG_8121
NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation demo pictures

Looks pretty nice, and I do think it’s quite full coverage as described. You’re meant to be able to achieve full coverage with one drop but I don’t really know what that means. Of my whole face? Ummmm

I still need to use at least a pump of this, a bit more depending on what I’m using to apply. Speaking of which: I really like to use a dense brush to apply this. I know that some would say using a dense brush creates too much coverage but for me that’s not really a thing, and this foundation doesn’t lend itself to cakiness unless you truly slather it on, I don’t recommend doing this obviously. The Sigma F88 Angled Flat Kabuki is perfect for this. The angle of the brush means that there’s a slightly pointed end to it which is great for getting into the corners of the eye area and the nose. I do not feel that this foundation requires any powder, maybe a tiny bit to set concealer and in the t-zone.

Important tip! Shake the everloving CRAP out of this product before applying it. Shake it for about twice as long as you think you should!

I think this is a great foundation for all skin types, even those who have dry skin, if full coverage is something you strive for. You don’t need much to achieve good coverage. The packaging is nice and sturdy, it’s heavy matte glass so not amazing for travel but it comes with a pump so that’s great, good job NARS! Now make it so we don’t have to buy a separate pump with the others, please and thank you, that’s really obnoxious. Nobody wants a gross, messy open-necked bottle what are we meant to do, pour it out? Stick a q-tip in there? Idk. Anyway, you can grab this sexy little number from Sephora in the USA for $48 or in Australia for $70 from Mecca. Yep – it’s up there in price! But it is a luxe brand that I trust, so I’m down.

Speaking of luxe and trusted brands, here’s the next gem – Chanel Mat Lumiere foundation.

IMG_8113

I bought this on a very special day (actually, exactly a year ago today in Australia!) from Terry White Chemists in Stockland. The Chanel lady did my makeup and I really liked how matte and flawless my makeup looked!

FullSizeRender(1)
Bronzer man. It’s a thing.

However. I think she did do quite a bit of bronzing on top of the foundation and as such, I ended up buying too light a shade. I still wear it when I want to look ~ethereal~ and flawless because the coverage is NO JOKE. It is FULL ON. But you know me, I’m into that!

FullSizeRender
Uhhh yes.. Needs bronzer.. like.. a lot of it..

I have this weird thing with expensive foundation where I don’t wear it very often in case I waste it. How stupid is that! It’ll go off before I use it all which is such a shame, and I’m vowing right now to bronze up and use it more often. It’s not really great for every day, but I can mix it with some moisturizer or something probably. I need to use it!

I like to apply this with a damp Real Techniques Complexion Sponge, but if you have a Beauty Blender that’d do a great job too (determined to pick up one of those soon!). I just think that because of the high coverage, a sponge does a great job of making the finish a little more natural, blended and flawless and not cakey. You use these sponges by soaking the sponge through completely then squeezing out as much liquid as possible, then “pressing / dabbing” the foundation on, don’t wipe it around with the sponge. Vintageortacky does a great tutorial about foundation sponges, I recommend checking it out if you’re interested! Once again I do not feel this foundation requires powdering apart from essential areas.

Weirdly this is no longer available in the USA. I think it might have been superseded by the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet which is $47 from Nordstrom and available obviously wherever you can get Chanel makeup. In Australia you can pick up the Mat Lumiere from David Jones for $72 and the Perfection Lumiere Velvet (which I have not tried, but have heard amazing things about) for $77 also from DJs and Myer as well of course, whichever you prefer. I wear shade 20 (clair) in this one.

Another relatively recent (last 6 months) foundation purchase is the DiorSkin Forever Foundation.

IMG_8115

I went to the Dior counter in Brisbane Myer to try the Star foundation but the SA talked me out of it and convinced me to try this one. She was totally right (I still want to try the Star one day!), this is a great foundation for me. This was really my first foray into not just buying the super palest shade imaginable. I thought it was too dark, but when I put it on I really liked that it looked natural and not washed out, even though the coverage was quite good. Again it was a situation where I turned to my pretties on instagram to confirm that I was in fact wearing a shade that suited me for the first time in … ok for the first time ever.

IMG_8122
Me, not being a ghost/zombie

The finish is matte but not dull. It’s a really nice everyday foundation for those of us who like a little bit more coverage. It sits really comfortably on the skin and doesn’t go cakey or settle too much into pores (though for me this is an inevitable result of any makeup application, that’s just the way it is). It’s not as full coverage as the Chanel or the NARS, and it is easier to blend than both. This is a great all-rounder foundation. I apply it with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which is dense enough to give a good amount of coverage whilst being soft enough to blend easily and quickly. I use a little powder to set in the t-zone and any areas I’ve applied concealer.

This one is $77 in Australia at David Jones and $50 at Sephora in the USA, making it the priciest of the bunch but well worth it IMO! I wear shade 20.

Finally, a new one that I recently picked up when I returned two sub-par products to Sephora. It’s the BareMinerals Complexion Perfector gel-cream foundation.

IMG_8116

I was looking for something that would be more of a light-medium coverage as well as something with a bit of hydration, and to be honest I argued with Holly at Sephora in JCP about BareMinerals. It has never been a brand that appealed to me all that much, and I’ve already discussed my “wtf even IS mineral makeup” thing in a previous post. Regardless, she talked me into trying it and wouldn’t you know it? I loved it. It’s the exact amount of coverage I wanted, and it doesn’t leave my skin feeling cakey or dehydrated or overly oily. Good job BareMinerals! I mined insta again for some examples of this one being worn:

IMG_8123 IMG_8124
Can we talk about my Simpsons-character hair in pic 2? lmao

I like to apply this one with the best all-rounder daytime makeup brush I have – the Real Techniques buffing brush, but for a bit of extra coverage I like to “pat” it in with the RT sculpting brush which is what I did in the first picture (second picture is with the buffing brush and is a lighter coverage obviously).

This foundation is meant to be good for those of us who struggle with blemishes and other complexion issues. I can’t make any judgment one way or the other with that, I’ve only worn it a handful of times and I’m in a transition phase with skincare so it’s hard for me to tell what’s helping and what isn’t at the moment. Sorry!

This one is the most reasonably priced by far. You can pick it up from Sephora for $29 or Mecca in Australia for $38. Bargain!

I hope this was helpful! I will be posting about concealer tomorrow, do let me know if you have any questions or things you’d like me to specifically address in that post.

Love+++
F&V

Beauty: May Favorites

May was a pretty good month for makeup really, I started my new job and started working on neutral, natural looks for every day wear. I thought I’d get sick of wearing makeup to work every day in about 3 days but I’m still loving it. I think for me just as I’m learning a new role it adds a little bit to my confidence and gives me an opportunity to try new stuff as well. Win win! Will I continue to wear makeup every day forever? Probably definitely not. I’ve also bought a few things that have really impressed me so let’s just crack on with it shall we?

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

I heard good things about this makeup from a few different bloggers, and god knows and you ALL know that I love a good matte finish because I’m oily AF. And it has NOT disappointed me. I really, really love it. It’s a definite matte finish and it’s a medium to high coverage, I’d say high coverage. I don’t feel like it is too cakey on my skin but to be really honest with you I find that hard to avoid so others might feel that it’s a little cakey. If you are the kind of person who likes a very light to medium coverage foundation then take my opinions with a grain of salt on foundation, ok? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I have very uneven skintone, huge pores and scars and blemishes so coverage is my main goal. Fair warning!

FullSizeRender

Anyway I apply this (my shade is 101 shell beige) with either the Real Techniques buffing brush or Expert Face Brush. One thing I’ll say about this is that for better or worse it dries pretty fast so I have been doing my face in sections. The shade range is a little strange, admittedly. The shades tend towards yellow, it’s really only the two lighter shades (101 shell beige and 102 classic ivory) that have any pink tone to them at all. I picked up totally the wrong shade the first time because the yellow undertone was quite strong so I took it back to CVS and changed it over for this one. Much better. I’ve also been mixing this with my NARS Luminous Weightless Full Coverage foundation which gives a great effect, it just takes the edge off the matte-ness. That’s a trick I learned from YouTube beauty personality MannyMUA (marred by controversy as he currently is, I still like some of the things he does in his tutorials).

Unfortunately this one isn’t available in Australia yet. I hope they pick up their game because it’s really very good! I got it at CVS and it was around $15. If you’ve seen any of my instagram pictures in the last few weeks I can basically guarantee I’ve been wearing this foundation unless otherwise indicated.

MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural

So the people who let me talk their ears off about makeup will know that I’ve been trying to work out how to use bronzer for about a year now. I don’t get it. I bought the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil bronzer because I thought well, I’m pale and it’s for pale people so hooray! But I think it’s actually a smidge pale for me so I still didn’t get it. But THIS!.. this….

FullSizeRender_3FullSizeRender_1

Last month I went to Burlington (the largest city in Vermont) to do some training with my work. I went to MAC and asked them to please for the love of god teach me how to use it. I explained what I’d tried already and what my problems were and the amazing girl at MAC was SO HELPFUL! She told me that what I should try was something like the Mineralize SkinFinish Natural in a deeper skin tone than my own, because it’s mostly matte but has a tiiiiiny sheen to it so it won’t make me look muddy or like I’ve rolled around in a pan of brownies. She put it on in a C-shape from above my temples to along my cheekbones and I absolutely loved the effect. I went back and bought it the next day. She also used a brush I wouldn’t have expected, kind of a flat paddle brush and she used the flat side of it so that was interesting. I didn’t buy the brush but I took note of what it looked like and bought an ELF equivalent which is fine (the Complexion Brush for those who are interested).

I took the bronzer home (the next day, actually) and have been playing with it and wearing it every so often and even though it’s still a learning curve I’m loving it!

You can get this from MAC in Australia and in the USA (shop online at the official site or in store only, accept no shoddy substitutes guys, don’t take the risk some of those fakes are very well done). It’s $32 here and $49 in Australia (!).

IMG_7321
Dat glow~

Stila Eyes are the Window – Soul palette

I bought this from Mecca online in Australia the day I put Luuka on the plane to go to America. It was a bad day. Mama needed something shiny. And boy, did this ever not disappoint. Look at it! It’s so beautiful! Ugh I love it.

FullSizeRender_1

I loved that this had a good range of neutral, natural shades in both warm and cool tones. I have been trying to learn more natural looks because in the past with eyeshadows I’ve always been like “OOOH A BRIGHT BLUE YES I WILL DEFINITELY USE THAT EVERY SINGLE DAY” which is so stupid. So I loved the look of this! And I wasn’t disappointed (mostly). Here’s the inside of the palette:

FullSizeRender_2

There’s 5 matte shadows and the rest are shimmery with one that I’d call a “glitter”. More on that later. To be honest, the mattes were a tiny bit disappointing. Not that they’re BAD per se, they just don’t go on as smoothly as some other matte shadows that I own. Here’s some swatches. Please keep in mind that I swatched these on my arm so yeah there are some teeny hairs there that you prob won’t have on your lids 🙂

FullSizeRender(1)
Top to bottom: light (hard to see), individual, being, heart, essence

So you can see what I mean, they’re a little chunky but I was strict with my swatching here, I just did two repeats of putting color on my fingertip and wiping it once on my arm. So I could have blended them a bit better but I wanted to be realistic. I still use them though, just not as often as the shimmery shades because CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THEM FOR A MINUTE. PLEASE. LOOK AT THEM.

FullSizeRender(2)
Top to bottom: kitten, affection, character, thought, peace, vitality, substance

Come ON! They’re so nice. I even feel like the swatches don’t do them justice. I love these eyeshadows. A few of my online friends had been going on about kitten for ages but I was like ‘who cares it’s a pale pearly shimmer meh’ until I got it and hooooly jeebus it’s really amazing, especially as an inner-corner highlight, it just wakes the eye up so much. It’s glorious. You may be able to tell that there’s one notably disappointing shade here, it’s called “character”. This shade if I’m honest is total garbage. That is actually three swipes of colour, the one exception, because it’s soooo pale and not pigmented at all. I don’t know why it’s even there. In the palette, it’s the right side on the second line so you would think it’d be really dark like it looks in the pan. The glitter in it (the one “glitter” shade) is also really chunky so yeah I just don’t like it but the rest are gorgeous and I use them all the time! “Thought” is also absolutely beautiful.

This is a great palette. In the USA it retails for about $49 (Sephora) and in Australia from Mecca it’s $72. A big investment but it’s wonderful and if you are in the market for a neutrals palette but don’t want totally matte shades I’d give it a look.

L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1

Not really interested in paying that much? Well if you’re in the USA this is a pretty good alternative (not yet avail in Australia, sorry, though as always I’m happy to post). This is a new product from L’Oreal and I think it’s great, it’s what I use most days for work.

FullSizeRender_3FullSizeRender_4

There are only three matte shades in this palette but they are great:

FullSizeRender(3)

Much easier to blend than the Stila mattes actually, but not quite as pigmented. They’re nice. They’re not named, but on the back they are numbered and the back of the palette also has a diagram of four different looks and how to create them with the palette which is cool and handy!

The shimmers, again, are even better. There’s 7 shimmer shades and they’re all gorgeous.

FullSizeRender(4)
The top two shades are kinda hard to see, sorry!

They’re sheeny without being glittery and they’re well pigmented so you don’t have to dig your brush in too much to get enough color to work with. They blend easily and there’s a mix of cool and warm colors, though I do think that this palette leans more warm.

I think that if you have been umming and ahhing over any of the Naked palettes by Urban Decay (as I did) but were baulking at the price, this is a good alternative though of course not a perfect dupe as the colors are different from all of the Naked palettes. This is a great all rounder palette. It set me back about $19 from CVS.

Rimmel Exaggerate lip liner in East End Snob

I wont’ go on too much about this one it’s pretty basic, it’s just a great nude-pink lipliner which was missing from my collection. I had bright pinks and red pinks and nudes but no nude pinks. A YouTuber said it’s a great dupe for the much coveted Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and though I don’t own that particular product (I wish), I can see where they’re coming from.

IMG_7465

If you are like me and you have pigmented lips, then this is a great nude for you to line your lips or even overdraw them a little bit if that’s what you’re into. In the picture above I’m wearing it under a really similar shade – NARS Audacious lipstick in “Anita”.

In Australia you can get this for about $12 from Priceline and I got this one here in the USA from Walgreens for $6. Bargain mate.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless primer

So my favorite beauty YouTuber, vintageortacky, has been raving about this for ages now. I had a few primers to get through but I finally ran out of them so I invested whilst I was in Burlington. Holy god have mercy it is FANTASTIC.

FullSizeRender_2

The first time I used it I thought it was a tiny bit .. sticky? Oily? I don’t know, but I was scared. It reminds me of a stickier Benefit POREfessional. But it went on nicely and made my foundation go on nicely as well. It wasn’t until I took a selfie after my makeup was done that I basically lost my mind. MY FACE WAS SO SMOOTH. I couldn’t see any of my scars or any big pores or .. anything. It’s seriously amazing. Check it!

FullSizeRender(5)
It’s not JUST the light, it’s because of the primer.

This. Primer. Is. Life. It has a slight tint and it says it can be used alone but I call bullshit, I don’t think that’s a thing and the product is a little sticky so I think that’d be weird. Probably don’t do that. It’s so good though! It’s like spakfilla (is this an Australian product?) – you put it on the wall to fill in any of the holes and dents and blemishes then you paint over the top and it’s all flawless and amazing ughhhhhhhhhh I lov it

It’s $39 from Mecca in Australia and $30 from Sephora here in the USA.

That’s it for May. I have a few plans for blog posts and I’m trying to do at least two a week while things are quiet and I’m on BudgetWatch. Let me know if there’s something you’d like to see on the blog or if you have questions/concerns etc.

Thanks for reading!

Love+++
F&V