May 022015
 

Algenist Repairing Tint 3I’ve recently be testing the Algenist Repairing Tint & Radiance Moisturizer SPF 30 ($42). I’ve been reading positive things about the line from some sources that have been happy with the company’s skincare. Being more of a makeup junkie than a skincare junkie, I thought that this product would be a good entree into the line.

patented-billboard

For this San Francisco-based company, algae is the foundation of its anti-aging and moisturizing properties. According to their description, a modified and extracted variation that derives from algae forms “a patented, powerful compound that is responsible for regenerating and protecting the micro algae cell, and that this ingredient has “significant anti-aging properties, helping to rejuvenate the skin for a more youthful appearance.” Another ingredient is Microalgae Oil, which “deliver[s] superior benefits to the skin, replenishing essential moisture and nutrient loss. Microalgae Oil is clinically proven to keep skin hydrated 5x longer than untreated skin over a 24-hour period.”

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 5The Algenist tinted moisturizer incorporates these ingredients. As you probably garner from this description, this product works best for dry skin where the goal includes anti-aging.  In my view, the benefit from this tinted moisturizer happens after removal–the skin care ingredient seem to have some type of healing quality, it seems to fade darker areas and I found the sun protection worked well. The day after I used this, I notice my skin looked better. A week after, it’s looking even better, so the effects appear to be cumulative.

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 6 copyPurely as a tinted moisturizer, I prefer other lines (Nars, for example). The feel of the Algenist tinted moisturizer is a little on the heavy side. The coverage is light-to-medium, and when I attempt to build up coverage I do start to see pores (a finishing powder seems to blend these away). It’s not feather-light like some of the serums, nor as light as Chanel Aqualumiere, or Nars Tinted Moisturizer. The Algenist has a slightly-perfumed suntan-lotion scent. Generally, the finish is near matte. However, it does mix well with luminizers-I’ve worn this with a healthy dollop of NARS 413 Blkr Street Illuminizer (a beautiful, cool gold color reviewed here) for several days with very nice results.

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 4

Despite the negatives, I’m really impressed with the Algenist. The skincare properties are the best part, so as a multi-tasker it has a lot of offer. The longevity is excellent. And the skincare ingredients really did give me noticeable results–my skin feels lifted, plumper, more even, and healthier-looking. I’ve spent twice as much (or more) to get similar results, so color me impressed.
Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 1Because we are heading into summer, I went with Light/Medium, which is a touch too dark for my winter-pale MAC NC15/20 – Chanel Cameo/Ivoire skin tone.  More ingredients (click to enlarge):

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 2 copy

The Algenist Repairing Tint & Radiance Moisturizer SPF 30 comes in four shades.


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Apr 102015
 

MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream
Having previously reviewed the MAC Lightful C skincare lineI decided to round out the review by trying the MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream SPF 30 with Radiance Booster ($35/ 1.3 oz.). I tried this in shade Light-Plus, which is my match in MAC’s mineralized skin finish powder. A combination skincare/tinted cream, MAC’s Lightful C Tinted Cream promises the following benefits:

  • A correcting cream that reduces imperfections while increasing the natural radiance of your skin instantly and over time.
  • Infused with a Lightful Radiance Booster and vitamin C, it works to correct your overall complexion by reducing the appearance of pores and diminishing dark spots and hyper-pigmentation
  • SPF 30 protects against UVA/UVB rays

This product is currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

Sunday05This easily packable tube seems like an ideal summer product, with a relatively high SPF for a product that offers coverage and color correction.  I add a separate sunscreen underneath.

Sunday07In my opinion, this is a niche product for those seeking the benefits of MAC’s brightening serum, color-correcting properties particularly for sun damage, and some protection against future sun damage. On these points, the product delivers. The product comes out of the tube deeper shade than expected, with a very warm–almost orange–tint.  Orange corrects for blue so this makes some sense. Surprisingly, once applied the product seems to both color correct and lighten to stabilize to my NC15/20 shade over a few minutes. It may be that the coverage is sheer enough, but it also seems lighter on my face during the day that it does on my arm. It doesn’t look orange on my face.

Sunday06The product has excellent longevity–this goes on and stays on all day without shifting, fading, moving, or breaking down. However, it does have a thick, stiff, creamy texture, much more than traditional foundations. It’s heavier in texture and scent compared to  NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer (which fits into the same high-SPF, radiance-enhancing product niche). Although MAC promises pore-minimizing properties, I found that it had to be buffed into my skin to effectively blur pores. In fact, it looked amazing when I used the Wayne Goss buffing technique described in his short, snappy and video. I used Nars Soft Velvet Loose Powder and the Nars #23 brush. When I use these, MAC’s Lightful C Tinted Cream gives an airbrushed, long-day, all-day finish.  However, when I apply the MAC Lightful C Tinted cream without care, using fingers quickly, the thick texture its on the skin and can actually make pores look a little worse. I found that careful application is important. If you have little time, the NARS goes on much more easily. Overall, MAC’s solution feels heavier and has a sunscreen-like scent.

Sunday09Here are out-of-the tube arm swatches of MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream next to several other foundations. As you can see, it comes out of the tube quite a bit deeper than most of the foundations swatched here.

Sunday11

I’m really careful about removing long-wear products–I start with an oil cleanser, use a Clarisonic with a cleanser, and then a toner. This is really important with MAC Lightful C, because as we all know, long-wearing foundations are wonderful but no one wants to keep wearing foundation overnight to keep your pores clear.

MAC lightful C tinted cream 2aOverall, I enjoy the MAC Lightful C line. I’ve re-purchased the MAC Lightful Brightening Essence and find it effective. With seven shades in the range, it’s worth considering MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream. As I said earlier, using the Goss buffing technique makes this product really excel. However, some will not enjoy the scent, and I did have to take an extra minute (or less) to buff this in to meld the product to the skin. Here are quick counter-swatches from my local MAC (there was no Dark Plus in stock as of yet).

MAC lightful C2

NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturizer promises similar benefits–sunscreen protection at SPF 30, and gradual skin brightening–and has a lighter texture, less noticeable scent, and greater shade range. After blogging over this period of time, I’ve found that foundations, skincare, and tinted creams are highly subject to personal preference. I happy to see MAC’s offering, it’s well-priced, delivers on its promises, and properly applied looks absolutely wonderful. Ingredients:

mac lightful c ingredients

MAC Lightful C Tinted Cream is currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

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My Thoughts: Estee Lauder Enlighten Skincare

 CC Cream, Estee Lauder, Skin care  Comments Off on My Thoughts: Estee Lauder Enlighten Skincare
Jan 082015
 

Estee Lauders Enlighten8 f
Before the holidays, I became obsessed with trying Estee Lauder’s new Enlighten products. I found very few blogger reviews (except for Pixiwoo‘s rave for the EE Skintone Corrector). Estee Lauder’s Enlighten series includes three items– the Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum ($62), the Enlighten Even Effect Skintone Corrector ($40) and the Enlighten Even Skintone Correcting Creme ($55). I’ve been using these three items for about two and one-half weeks. The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.

I want to preface my review by noting that, at the same time, I switched to Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Toner ($42) and Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective White Skin Brightening Exfoliator ($29) as part of my daily cleansing routine. Because these are used to address the very same concern, I want to let you know that.

Estee Lauders Enlighten1The Estee Lauder Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum is the cornerstone of the system. Despite the name designating this as  “Night Serum,” Estee Lauder’s website recommends using both day and night. The line says that this takes four weeks to see results (actually, they say “If you could see your skin 4 weeks from now, you’d start tonight.”) Personally, I used this serum only at night topped with the moisturizing Correcting Creme.

ee serum1

It’s lightweight, easily absorbed, and has a gentle scent that fades. The serum is easy to forget once it’s applied–it really does seem to disappear into my skin. The ingredient list is here.

Estee Lauders Enlighten2

The second item is the Estee Lauder Correcting Creme. I didn’t buy this at first, because I thought that it would be very heavy. I did grab it the evening before I started the regime, because I felt that to fully assess the system I had to try it all together. I’ve used this night and day.

Estee Lauders Enlighten4Although the creme wasn’t quite as heavy as I feared, the Correcting Creme is on the very rich side. There is a strong perfumed scent. This feels a little old school.

Estee Lauders Enlighten3Compared to some other moisturizers that I’ve tried, this isn’t one that I’d necessarily re-purchase. Nonetheless, the results that I’m getting from the whole system might persuade me otherwise.

Estee Lauders Enlighten5

Finally, Estee Lauder has created an “EE Creme” (groan! that name!) that works with the other products. This comes in three colors only–I used 01 Light (its also sold in Medium and Dark). As luck would have it, Light seemed to work fine for my warm, fair skin. Unsurprisingly, it runs warm (I’m not sure how this would play on cool skin tones). Essentially, this feels like a tinted moisturizer that builds almost to medium coverage. The finish is very, very glowy (get ready to powder down if you have oily skin). I’ve mostly worn this by itself, the formula has something that optically blurs discolorations. That part works. Whenever I wore it, any areas of skin discolorations were significantly less apparent without a heavy or mask-like overall coverage. It’s nice to be able to see a touch of skin, have sheer coverage, and mimize discolorations at the same time. This EE cream can be worn under foundation if you prefer to add a different finish–I’ve done this several times, and it seems to work well. The optical blurring properties continue to work, even under another product.This product is listed as SPF 30 (and its ingredient list is here).

Estee Lauders Enlighten7

Above is a heavy swatch comparison with Estee Lauder Enlighten in #01 Light, against Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 20 Beige.  As you can see, the Chanel 20 Beige is actually slightly warmer.

The Enlighten EE creme photographs well for casual pictures (Pixioo was right on about that!), but I personally find it too dewy for more formal pictures. Worn alone, my forehead is glowy all day (morning to night) unless I powder it down. Applying the iPhone and white collar shirt test, I don’t seem to be getting huge transfer (it’s not perfect). The longevity of coverage and correction is quite good. This feels slightly on the heavy side; it’s not cake batter time but it isn’t weightless either. The weight is especially noticeable if you layer it up for more coverage. It’s scented (sort of sunscreen-ish), but it fades eventually.

MAC CC products

Unlike MAC’s CC correctors, which are spot-color-correctors , Estee’s EE cream is actually foundation-like and attacks all imperfections in a single product–redness, darkness, blue discoloration. As I said earlier, this aspect of the product does work on me. Of course, you can supplement its effect even more with a color corrector or concealer.

My verdict so far on the system as a whole is a positive. I don’t want to gush over the line or create false hopes–there are downsides to the formulations as I’ve attempted to note. Note that I have added the Kiehl’s products mentioned above (which include Vitamin C) and wore this Chanel sunscreen consistently. Also, tackling discolorations can feel like a “two steps forward, one step back.” It’s a tough problem and there’s a plethora of offerings (Guerlain just began offering a new Pearl line, as one example).

My skin is without a doubt more even toned. Areas of discoloration after using this combination of products for 2 1/2 weeks has faded a good 60-7o%. Using the EE cream, it’s barely noticeable even in harsh bright light. I’m getting “did you do something different?” comments. It’s always nice to find solutions that don’t rely on hydroquinone and exfoliation as their primary actives. Estee Lauder’s Enlighten line actually feels quite gentle and hydrating and does not seem to be exfoliating at all. Indeed, when I add an at-home peel, my skin now looks really good. I should note that I don’t know how the system would work if I’d only used one or two products in the line.

My apologies for not being able to include more images (including the ingredient images) in this review. I discarded the boxes on my trip, unfortunately, and obtained these too quickly to set up a camera among the home renovation chaos that’s happening here before catching  a flight. There are so few in-depth reviews for these products at present, I thought it best to write something for those considering the line.  The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.

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Jul 242014
 

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream04Here me out. I realize that Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm ($75/1.3 oz) arguably has the won the “most cumbersome name compared to the elegance of the actual product” category. If you don’t know about the Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum moisturizer line, the first few words seem to come from the anime genre. If you do know about the line, you’ll immediate connect this product with a premier way to get incredible, effective hydration that gives the skin glow without the slightest hint of heaviness. Really, it’s a fabulous skincare line. I fall into the latter category, so I was unhesitating in pressing the “order” button on the Light shade of this beautifully formulated Guerlain BB cream. This product is actually a foolproof way to treat your skin to protection, hydration, and enough coverage for most, in a way that is both effective and elegant. Guerlain’s description (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream05

This is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream02This new Guerlain BB cream ticks a lot of boxes that many will love. It actually does deliver on the promises. The travel friendly squeeze-tube has SPF25, offers moisture that is appropriate for dry and combination skin, and gives a lovely, glowing texture to the skin. According to the line, “In a single step, your skin receives instant, long-lasting hydration, your wrinkles and fine lines are smoothed and your complexion is noticeably more even. Its subtly tinted, feather-light texture protects your skin from both UV rays and dehydration while perfecting your complexion for a naturally radiant glow.” This has been a great grab-and-go for me over the past few weeks. It gives light coverage in a single layer, and with two layers it gives light-to-medium coverage that acts like a moisturizing foundation.  Best of all, this lasts throughout the day. It doesn’t have any of the mid-afternoon breakdown that some moisturizing foundations do, giving me hours more coverage compared to YSL Touche Eclat and the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand. It looks far more natural on me than the MAC BB cream.

guerlain bb cream

By comparison, Guerlain’s Lingerie de Peau BB Cream has much thicker texture, which sometimes feels like it melds to the skin very tenaciously. The Guerlain Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty has a much creamier texture. I was surprised to find that both gave about roughly equal long wear times, even in a humid climate.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream 22

There are two potential drawbacks to Guerlain’s Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty BB Cream. Fortunately, neither are deal-breakers for me, given the benefits of the product, but I’m going to mention them. First off, this is scented with a famous Guerlain rose-aqua flower scent. It’s noticeable for a half hour or so. Because I love this about French beauty products, I don’t mind drinking it in. Also, there are only two shades of this product available.  Two.  The Light is perfect for my NC15/20, Chanel Ivoire warm skin tone (emphasis on warm, I think this Light is on the warmer side).  It would probably be fine down to NC25 or so.  Beyond this, I would look at the darker shade, or head to a counter to try these out.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream12

Overall, I love the Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm for the following reasons:

  • Great texture
  • Makes my skin look great
  • Skin care benefits, including the Super Aqua-Serum which I love
  • Light texture
  • Long lasting
  • SPF 25 (yes, you should supplement with a standard sunscreen)
  • Great coverage, which is buildable
  • Generous 1.3 ounce size, perfect for travel
  • Easy, foolproof application if the shade is in your range

Speaking of shades, here are some quick swatches:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8

Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm ($75/1.3 oz) is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Ingredient (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream06

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Mar 082014
 

Armani CC Cream07

For the past several days, I’ve been using the new Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminessence CC Cream (available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Barneys and Saks)($50/ 1 oz.). This series, just released in eight (8) shades, provides glowing and moisturizing medium-to-light coverage.

Armani CC Cream01

According to Armani, there are skin care benefits in the formula:

A good night sleep in a cream. Luminessence CC Cream is a color control bright moisturizer with SPF 35. It features a triple technology on skincare for its energizing and antioxidant complex, color for its pinky “rose glow” pigments and light for its liquid mirror technology. Apply once and the skin looks as rested as a good night’s sleep.

According to the product insert, the point of this product is to use 1) the product’s color to correct and even skin tone, 2) the formula to deliver moisture, antioxidants and sunscreen protection, and 3) luminzers to impart a soft glow. Essentially, the coverage is medium toward light with one pass (and buildable on problem areas). You can trust that Armani knows how to create a buildable foundation. In my opinion, the line is one of the best at developing formulas that can be layered and this Armani Luminessence CC Cream is no exception. The product comes in an easily packable squeeze tube.

Armani CC Cream09

I used this product as my foundation, although it could be used as a color-correcting, moisturizing base. Those who want more coverage might consider using a powder foundation over this formula to increase both the coverage and overall wear time. On application, you will immediately notice a dewy glow. I powder down my forehead right away with a finishing powder. The overall effect is youthful. Here’s a quick swatch on a portion of my arm that shows you the dewiness in very bright sun. I think you can see that it creates a pretty satin sheen without any sparkle:

Friday late13

Armani Luminessence CC Cream is genius at delivering all-day moisture. I’m not sure of the magic that Armani puts in the formula, but my skin looked young, moisturized, and perfected. With a touch of layering, the product evens out my dark patches and small acne scars to invisibility. The enclosed literature suggests that it’s nice to put a little more around any areas that you want to photoshop–the labial folds, for example. The effect makes me look rested, younger, and my skin looks moisturized and softer.

Armani CC Cream14

As with many moisturizing formulas, Armani Luminessence CC Cream is not a true long-wear formula. After about the eighth or ninth hour, I started to notice some imperfections peeking through. Fortunately, this can be easily refreshed with a concealer (Armani’s Maestro Concealer is wonderful, but any will do).

Armani CC Cream11

What was surprising is how good my skin felt after removal. There are a few CC Creams that deliver is in the skincare department, and Armani is one of the top of the list. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised–bathing my skin all day in Armani sounds luxurious and it is.  It’s lovely to see a company deliver on the technology that has been promised. Armani is not kidding around.  If this product is meant to get customer’s interested in Armani’s skin care range, it is working (at least for me).

Friday late06a

The Nordstrom sales associate that I worked with matched me to Shade #4 which is a bit darker than my usual. As we are heading toward spring and summer (really, I promise!), and my arms typically pick up some color during that season, I didn’t fight back very hard. For the record, during the makeover we used a highlighter on my upper cheek and it was not too much. That’s the thing about lines like Armani–they are never too much. Packaging (click to enlarge:

Armani CC Cream05

And more of the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Armani CC Cream06

Overall, Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Control Bright Moisturizer successfully delivers on its mission to deliver skin that looks awake and alive. I love that it has a decent SPF level, and the moisturizer seems extraordinarily effective. The color corrective properties provide both medium-to- light coverage and mask color variations well. No breakouts or clogging pores. This is designed to works best on skin that benefits from a moisturizing formula, although my combination skin loved it.  I needed a powder-down and concealer refresh after about the eight-hour mark, although your own mileage may vary.  So far, one of the best–I’m loving this one.

Available at Neiman Marcus, NordstromBarneys and Saks

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Jun 092013
 

Chanel CC Cream first look11a

I’ve been using Chanel CC Cream ($55) for the past several days since posting my original “first look” here. As promised, here are a few of my thoughts.  Along with these, here are more comparison swatches of the Chanel CC Cream in 20 Beige with Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige 20, Guerlain BB Beauty Booster in Light, and Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector in Medium:

Chanel CC Cream 2nd1

 

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Jun 052013
 

Chanel CC Cream first look09a

This is a first look at the Chanel CC Cream ($55/ 1.0 oz.), which has just become available to certain Chanel boutiques across the U.S. This will soon be available where ever Chanel is sold. Although this has been released internationally for some months, this is the first tube that I’ve seen in person. I was so excited to experience this product, so I thought that I can’t be the only one. I’m posting this quick overview of pictures so that you can see it with me.

Edit/updated:  My in-depth review has now been posted here.

Chanel CC Cream first look02

As far as I know, this is just released in one shade–20 Beige–at least so far. There are five primary attributes of the product:

  • Anti-aging:  Includes Rejuvencia, an active ingredient derived from marine micro-organisms to stimulate the natural production of collagen to prevent the appearance of aging.
  • Moisturizing:  Contains hyaluronic acid to help maintain skin hydration levels.
  • Soothes: Uses cornflower water to comfort skin.
  • Sun protection:  Broad spectrum SPF 30 helps to block UVA and UVB rays using physical protection.
  • Covers and perfects: essentially, has coverage in the nature of a sheer foundation

Chanel CC Cream first look11a

 Here’s the product literature (in English) (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look15

 The packaging is a travel-friendly squeeze tube:

Chanel CC Cream first look14

 The Chanel CC Cream in 20 Beige runs fair and warm. Here is a comparison with Chanel CC Cream, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Beige Rose (which is much pinker/cooler), Chanel Lift Lumiere in Ivoire (14) (similar, but with a bit more coverage), MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 (more coverage, lighter), and Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska (darker).

Chanel CC Cream first look20

Here is the active sunscreen agent, titanium dioxide 12%:

Chanel CC Cream first look05

The additional ingredients (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look08

Additional packaging information:

Chanel CC Cream first look07a

I asked the Chanel cosmetic specialist, who was in the boutique for the weekend, whether the product had any color-reducing properties (for example, the Smashbox CC Cream advertises that it will help fade acne scars and discolorations). In other words–does this product correct permanently with skincare ingredients, or does it “correct” by covering up?  The Chanel representative said that this product is not advertised to actually correct discolorations permanently, but that it could be used with the Chanel Le Blanc line (which is designed for those purposes).

hope you enjoyed this first look. I’ll post again in a few days once I’ve had more of a chance to test this out.

Available with free ship and return at Nordstrom.com, and other Chanel sources.

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