Friday, November 21, 2014

BECCA Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème in Sand and Cashmere

I was looking for something at ulta.com to bump my purchase up to the free shipping threshold, and came upon the sample set from BECCA.  Featuring a travel sized Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal and two Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème samples in Sand and Cashmere, I figured why not?  The travel sized Shimmering Skin Perfector is regularly priced at $19, so there's a bit of savings in there as well.
The Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème line from Becca is a full coverage foundation that features a balance of 21% pure pigment and 22% water to conceal imperfections, redness, hyperpigmentation and the like with a lightweight cream. 
It's definitely got the pigment thing down and does a good job of covering the above mentioned issues without looking overly cakey or obvious.  I say overly, because anytime you are dealing with lots of pigmentation, it's a fine line between coverage and the dreaded mask like effect.  On the plus side, I found it easy to apply with a brush, although there was a bit of pore settling that needed more careful smoothing out. 
Opal Shimmering Skin Perfector
The finish is semi-matte, and I also experimented combining the Opal Illuminating Skin Perfector with the foundation as well.  I've done comparisons of the powder vs. cream versions before, which you can see here.
Wearing Cashmere with Sand as a concealer
Cashmere (neutral beige, neutral undertones) was the better match for my complexion, but I did use Sand (pale beige, yellow/golden undertones) as a concealer in the above picture.  Wear time was a respectable 8 hours on my oily skin before breakdown was starting to be an issue. 
Cashmere + Sand + Opal blended
Above is a blend of Cashmere, Sand and Opal together.  I would probably go with a slightly smaller dab of Opal next time (I used a healthy pea sized amount), as I felt like I need to powder my face to tone down the shimmer a bit.  Final thoughts:  I like the foundation, but not sure I like it enough to spend $44 for it.  On days I need more coverage it's definitely a good option, but I feel like Revlon's Colorstay Whipped Creme (review here) is a good full coverage option for my oily skin, at about 1/4 of the cost.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No Makeup Makeup Work Look

This was my second attempt at a No Makeup Makeup look (you can see my first here).  I wanted to look a bit more polished yet still au naturale, which I think I achieved.
In lieu of foundation, I went with Skin79's Super+ BB cream (review here).  It did a good job of smoothing out my skin and minimizing redness/dark spots.  I used Estee Lauder's Double Wear Blush-On Glow BB Highlighter in 1C (Cool) to conceal dark spots and as a highlighter on eyes, nose, and cupid's bow.  I set everything withLe Métier de Beauté's Peau Vierge pressed powder.
I primed my eyes with Urban Decay's champagne shimmer Sin eye primer, and then used Pur Mineral's Soul Mattes shadows Confidante, Companion, and Adore to lightly contour and highlight (swatches and review here).  To add a bit of definition along my upper and lower lash lines, I used Estee Lauder's Blackened Cocoa Pure Color Intense Kajal eyeliner pencil and then smudged Sidekick from Soul Mattes over it.  Brows were done with Giorgio Armani's Eye & Brow Maestro in medium brown, review here.
Blush is Pur Minerals Pink Powder, review to come soon.  Le Métier de Beauté's lip kaleidscope Gemini Kiss (review here) provided soft pink lips.  I need to use that palette more, it's really nice.
Overall, I'm pleased with how this came out!  I'm just back from the American Public Health Association's conference in New Orleans, where I learned lots of stuff, co-presented a paper, and ate lots of good food :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No Makeup Makeup Weekend Look

I look better with makeup, I just do.  Even when I was a teenager with the glow that comes with youth, I can remember someone asking me if I was sick one time when I was out and about sans makeup.  However, my skin has been looking better than usual for some reason the past few days  (thoughts on that below), so I decided to experiment with a few no makeup looks to see what works best for me. Today is my running errands FOTD (face of the day), and tomorrow I'll show you the slightly more polished work FOTD.
Going without foundation is a bit scary for me, given my skin's sun damage and sebaceous hyperplasia, not to mention blemishes.  However, since my skin was looking fairly decent, I went with Clinique's City Block, a tinted SPF25 with translucent coverage.  I used Estee Lauder's Double Wear Brush-On Glow Highlighter in 1C Light (Cool) on the inner edges and under my eyes, along the bridge of my nose, and cupid's bow.  Good stuff, I'll review it soon.
I topped off with Le Metier de Beaute's Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Pressed Powder ($75) in shade 2 to cut down on the dewiness factor, given my oily skin.  On my brows, I'm wearing the Inika Blonde Bombshell brow pencil, which does indeed lean blonde.  It's the lightest brow shade I have, but helps to define and fill in my brows.  Good product, and I'm about two-thirds through mine. 
For a bit of gleam on my eyes, I used a touch of Urban Decay's shimmery champagne Sin eye primer.  Mascara is Estee Lauder's Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume in black, a favorite formula for both the deep black color and lack of clumpiness.   I finished with Hourglasses's Ambient Lighting powder palette, dusting Dim Light all over, highlighting with Incandescent Light, and dusting Radiant Light on my cheeks.
For my lips, I lined and filled in with Urban Decay's Glide-On lip pencil in Naked,  a slightly darker than my lips but better color.  It's really nice - very pigmented and smooth, plus comfortable to wear. In the center of my lips I dabbed a bit of Covergirl's Give Me Guava, a sheer peachy gold.  By the way, Give Me Guava is an almost but not quite dupe for Chantecaille's Lucky, which I adore.  Well here, you look:
Final thoughts:  Going for a no makeup makeup look is no less time consuming than a regular makeup look.  I may have cut down a few minutes given the lack of eyeshadow and foundation, but still.

Regarding my skin looking better, I'm thinking it's a factor of several things:
  • Regular exfoliation
  • Use of products containing retinol and/or peptides
  • Yoga:  I recently developed the painful tight hip muscle condition known as Piriformis syndrome, which has forced me back into my yoga practice.  I enjoy yoga, but now it's become a necessity.  All those twisty moves are good for your inner organs as well as your muscles, so maybe that's contributing.
  • Use of skin serums.  I slathered on Complexion Conserve Remedy Reserve Serum Saturday afternoon, and it was Sunday when I was like "boy, my skin look good".  Ingredients: castor oil*, carrot seed oil*, rose otto, soy oil*, vitamin e (* indicates certified organic ingredient). 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pür Minerals Soul Mattes Eyeshadow Palette

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I love a good matte shadow, but finding those that perform well is not always easy.  When I saw the Soul Mattes palette ($32) with it's emphasis on pink/rosy shades, I thought it looked like a nice addition to round out my matte collection.  Soul Mattes  is my first venture into Pür Minerals territory, and it turns out to have been a very good buy!
Everything about this palette is quality, from the outer envelope packaging, to the metal container, to the brush, to the shadows themselves.  The 8 shadow companions (their phrasing, not mine) in this cruelty-free palette are:
  • Sweetheart (pale pink)
  • Companion (vanilla)
  • Adore (puce)
  • Better Half (raspberry)
  • Alter Ego (plum)
  • Sidekick (mocha)
  • BFF (cinnamon)
  • Confidant (tea rose)
My favorite way to wear matte shadows is over a cream shadow base, usually one with some shimmer to it.  The matte shadows tone down the shimmer, but the cream base keeps the matte shadows from looking flat.  I also love matte shadows for transitioning color in the crease.  The paler shades in this palette worked well as brow shades or to minimize discolorations and brighten my eye area.
These shadows are talc free, which I think helps cut down on the chalky/powdery effect that many matte shadows have.  Worn over primer, I got a good 7-8 hours of wear on my oily lids before I noticed fading/creasing.  Overall, I'm quite impressed with this palette!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chocolate Suede 24/7 Color Tattoo by Maybelline

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
My love affair with Maybelline's 24/7 Color Tattoo cream shadows continues, although the intensity of my affection for each of them varies in intensity.  Fortunately, Chocolate Suede from the Leather collection lands on the stronger side of the affection spectrum.
Chocolate Suede can create a deep smoky brown eye or it can go a bit more subtle as an eyeliner.  My biggest issue was blending, as the darkness of the color made it difficult to transition into softer colors.  While up close shots make it look patchy, it doesn't really appear that way from normal distances.
Chocolate Suede wore for a solid 8 hours before I started to notice fading/disintegration.  I've got extremely oily lids, so that's pretty decent for me. 
At about $6 each, I'll continue to buy these as long as Maybelline continues to release them :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Big Apple Tinted Lip Balm by Cailyn Cosmetics

Disclaimer:  I won this in a contest.
First of all, "tinted lip balm" is a bit of a misnomer for this highly pigmented lip color.  Lip balm to me evokes images of something that is emollient and moisturizing, which I did not find with Big Apple.  What I did find was an easy to wear, superbly pigmented, weightless, long wearing ruby red lip color.
The brush pulls out of the top of the container, and while small, works well to both line and fill the lips.  The texture of Big Apple is rather dense/stiff without being heavy, and is formulated with color stabilized pigments for long lasting wear.  Big Apple does leave behind a stain, and the arm swatch has been hanging in there for almost 3 days now.  That's after a shower.  Impressive.
You can go from a sheer wash of color to full on intensity with Big Apple.  I'll all about matte finishes these days, and this one was smooth and did not emphasize my lip lines.  It feels dry on but I did not notice it adversely affecting my lips, but then again I did not wear it for multiple days in a row.  I definitely would not call it moisturizing, however.
Lighter application
 I liked Big Apple ($19) enough that I got another one in, you guessed it, coral:-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mood Exposure Ambient Lighting Blush by Hourglass

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I think the Ambient Lighting blushes ($35) are something you either get, or you don't.  Or more likely, it's a matter of personal preference/skin chemistry/complexion color/yada yada yada.  Personally, I love them, which is way I picked up my third one in the form of Mood Exposure.  Approximately 2 weeks or so before Hourglass released their Ambient Lighting Blush palette, which also contains Mood Exposure plus two other colors.  Palms face.
Yeah, I ended up getting the blush palette too, I like them that much.  But that's okay, as each blush is slightly different depending on the ratio of the soft plum blush to the Mood Light powder combined with it.  The full sized compact I received has more of the plum blush, whereas the smaller Mood Exposure in the blush palette has more of the Mood Light powder.  It did make a slight difference in the color intensity between the two.
Mood Exposure is described as a soft plum, but it leans distinctly warmer in tone to me.  Perhaps if you combined the orange pulp of a plum with the skin, that would capture the color better :-)  Regardless, I've been reaching for this blush a lot, as the skin enhancing soft glow and excellent wear on my oily skin continues to impress me.
In fact, the Ambient Lighting Blushes have joined Estee Lauder Pure Color blushes as my favorites.  I hope they release more colors!