May 112014
 

Chanel Perfection Velvet08I’ve been testing the new Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation ($45/ 1 ounce), which I love 1,000 times more than the similarly-packaged Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. The finish of this is not matte, but rather a soft satin. The finish is light and buildable to a solid medium. The lasting power is a solid ten hours. Chanel Pefection Lumiere Velvet is a step forward for Chanel’s foundation line.

Chanel Perfection Velvet07Rated at SPF 15, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet’s sunscreen is modest and not a substitute for a separate, and necessary, sunscreen. Lately, I’ve been using Chanel’s sunscreen. Both of these products play very well together.

Chanel Perfection Velvet05The discreet square bottle is lightweight, well-designed to shake-shake-shake, and very travel-friendly.

Chanel Perfection Velvet10My Chanel Cameo/Ivoire (MAC NC15) skintone was matched to B20, which is slightly warm but works very well. My apologies for no comparison swatches on this one–I’ll be living on the road for a while and I’m blogging under less than ideal conditions.

Chanel Perfection Velvetc1After a few minutes to settle in, the finish is gorgeous. Here she is wearing Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in B20 with Dior Fluid Stick in Pandore, Nars Lost Coast eyeshadow duo, and Nars Olympia Contour Blush. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):
Chanel Perfection Velvet03

Overall:  Love, love, love.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is available at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s.

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Apr 022014
 

Clarins Everlasting Foundation03

Sometimes I think that French brands are under-rated to U.S. buyers. I remember that in the past, I’d been very impressed with some Clarins complexion products. Recently, I went foundation sampling at my local Clarins counter to look at some foundations. My sample of the Clarins Skin Illusion foundation looked amazing on my skin for the first several hours. It gave me medium coverage, a perfect finish, with just a barest touch of skin-like glow. However, I noticed that my samples allowed about 6-8 hours of perfection. With that experience in mind, I wanted to try Clarins long-wear foundation, the Clarins Everlasting Foundation ($39 each).

Clarins Everlasting Foundation01

If you don’t mind, I’m going to sketch out some quick thoughts on this one. I’m finding these days that unless I type something out quickly, the posts aren’t posted as frequently as I’d like them to be. Perhaps right now, the perfect is the enemy of the “getting it done.” My testing was done with a layer of Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base ($37) (each available colors, on various different days).

Clarins Everlasting Foundation04

 

First of all, this foundation provide all-day matte coverage. The matte effect persisted for 15 hour days despite the fact that: 1) I was using a glowy primer; and 2) I have combination skin that usually gets breakthrough “glow” around 2 p.m.  I mean, it has truly been a while since any foundation that I have tried more than delivered on its promises. Truly impressive lasting power.

Clarins Everlasting Foundation05

The coverage is medium-to-full. If you have discoloration or marks, Clarins Everlasting can easily be built up to cover almost anything. As a matte, I didn’t find the texture forgiving, but it didn’t accentuate any problems either. The color is high-pigment, so I didn’t get any heavy foundation look when applied.

Clarins Everlasting Foundation06

 

Clarins Everlasting has a handy, sanitary pump dispenser.The packaging is gorgeous–a frosted glass looks wonderful on your counter (although is not travel-friendly). Ingredient lists (click to enlarge):

Clarins Everlasting Foundation10

Clarins Everlasting Foundation08

Overall, if you are looking for a long-wearing matte foundation, Clarins Everlasting is an excellent choice.  My local counter carries little sample packets so that you can test the color range–perhaps yours does too. If so, please take advantage because with a higher coverage foundation the match with your natural skin tone becomes quite important, in my experience.

On a final note, I ultimately concluded that Clarins Everlasting wasn’t not an ideal foundation for me because I prefer s foundation with a slight sheen. For a matte look, I’m still happy with the Burberry Velvet. Nonetheless, I thought it valuable to pass along my experience in case this one might suit you perfectly.

Available at Nordstrom and Macy’s.

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Feb 182014
 

Shu The Lightbulb Foundation01

Shu Uemura has released The Lightbulb Foundation in the U.S. ($55) (online only). This foundation is said to provide a “multi-glow oil complex” for a natural glow with high coverage.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation3

The foundations comes packed with a lightbulb-shaped sponge for application.  The round, wide end is designed to encourage a glowing finish. You are supposed to use the wide end with a tapping motion to set a glow on the cheeks and down the center of the face.  The narrow end is a “glow controller.”  This smaller pointed side is said to be good for buffing the foundation into the skin to provide a more satin texture. As an aside, I used this sponge for a few trials, and it worked well. I also used a sponge from my Chanel powder foundation compact, and I got good results with that as well

Shu Lightbulb Foundation2

I concur with Shu’s description the this foundation is high coverage, and gives a lit-from within glow. The glow is not the same glow that you get when you add a liquid luminizer to a standard foundation. Instead, the foundation seems to provide a healthy, lit-from-within look that is somehow in the pigment of the foundation even when matted down to a satin finish. There’s definitely some kind of magic in this formula. Here is the pointed, narrow end of The Lightbulb sponge, which comes to a gentle cone point at the end.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation1

The heavy coverage comes at a price, however. This is not a “lightweight” foundation–I definitely felt it on my skin throughout the day. It doesn’t feel like it completely dries down.  I certainly recommend powdering this down, not only to tame the glow but also to minimize its transferability.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation4 copy

I should note that, like many modern foundations, Shu The Lightbulb takes a while to settle onto my skin. I gave it a good 15-20 minutes until this somewhat thick product really spread and settled.  Until then, I could see pores that I didn’t know I had, and it looked a bit mask-like. If this happens, don’t panic. Maybe do your nails or answer some emails, give it some time to warm to your skin. It changes quite a bit during the first half-hour. Below, you can see that the pump bottle is a nice touch.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation5

 I also had problems with Shu’s The Lightbulb wearing well throughout the day. It’s not advertised as a long-wearing foundation.  Without a base or primer, I got breakthrough glow by 10:00 a.m. on my combination skin. By the end of the day, there were several of my skin flaws showing through the foundation that I had applied at about 7 a.m. that day. Ingredient list:

Shu The Lightbulb Foundation03

With the  Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer and topped with the Guerlain Meteorites powder, I had a vastly different experience. Of course, I got the same high coverage and lit-from-within glow as before. However, I did not get breakthrough glow until very late in the day.  Also, the high coverage lasted well into the evening without any movement.  I really loved the look of the Shu The Lightbulb Foundation with this combination. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I should note that the Lightbulb foundation still felt a bit heavy compared to the some of the super-lightweight feeling foundations that I’ve tried in the past. In other words, despite the vastly improved longevity, I still could feel the Lightbulb foundation on. Some don’t mind that, but some do and so I wanted to let you know my experience.

Shu Lightbulb Swatches1

I ordered Shu The Lightbulb in 774, which runs toward yellow. Something told me that I should have gone with the more neutral 574, but that one was out of the stock on the day that I ordered. As you can see, Shu 774 is much yellower than MAC NC 15, and certainly yellower than NARS Sheer Glow in Deauville. For the record, Shu’s number system is as follows:  the first digit tells you how pink or yellow the foundation is: 1 is the most pink; 9 is the most yellow; 5 is neutral.  The second digit refers to how dark or light the shade is (the higher the number, the lighter the shade).

Overall, I think this foundation is going to be a bit controversial. In addition to the online-only aspect for U.S. buyers, I think that some will love the coverage and look.  For me, a good primer was necessary to ensure longevity. The dry-down issue is going to be a factor for some, as well as the overall feel of the foundation. I will say that, set properly with a good primer and powder, this gives fantastic coverage and the texture (once it settles in) does give an outstanding look. As ever, these are just one beauty blogger’s thoughts, and so you experiences might certainly vary.

In the U.S., Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Foundation is available online only at Shu Uemera’s website.

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Dec 302013
 

Bess black sea foundation comparison02

This review is an accompaniment to The Beauty Lookbook’s extensive look at Edward Bess Black Sea Mousse Foundation. This was sold in a set with a foundation brush exclusively on QVC.com, and sold out very quickly. I’m hoping that it will be offered again, either on QVC or in another venue. This foundation is unusual in a few respects, and so I thought it was worth posting a few words in case it becomes available again (I don’t have any formal word either way).

Bess black sea foundation comparison04

Because her review is so comprehensive, I won’t repeat everything that Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book has already said.  As Sabrina notes, she was gifted all three shades of the foundation. Kind soul that she is, and I mean that sincerely, she in turn gifted the lightest one in 01 Fair to me so that I could try it out. I’m so glad that she did because I’ve never encountered such a full coverage foundation before which feels like absolutely nothing on my skin.

Bess black sea foundation comparison10

This foundation is idea for imperfect skin, as it has anti-aging benefits. No concealers required with this formula. It covers absolutely everything, but aside from a refreshing feeling when it is first applied, it becomes quite weightless. It gave me a beautiful satin finish which lasted all day. I got a bit of breakthrough glow in the afternoon, but not nearly as much as some foundations. By the way, the included brush is a full-sized, synthetic fibre, gorgeous foundation brush that is right up there with Chanel and other premium brands.

Bess black sea foundation comparison07

Brush from the side, pictured below, to show you that this brush knows how to get into all of the contours of the face.

Bess black sea foundation comparison08

I applaud Edward Bess for including the brush. The first time I tried the foundation, I used my usual finger-application technique. Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this beautiful brush sitting on my counter saying “hint, hint, don’t you want to buff that in a bit more?” I found that using a brush to do so really gave me a much better, poreless textures. The brush was also useful for getting an invisible edge near my hairline.  So my advice is, use the brush if only to buff it in.  Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Edward bess black sea ingredients Although Fair 01 looks a little dark in the pot, and a little deep in my arm swatch, it really seemed to color adjust to my actual skin tone when applied to my face.

Bess black sea foundation comparison1

Overall, I believe there are a lot of individuals who are looking for a very natural, very lightweight high coverage foundation. Most high coverage foundations look (and feel) like a mask. Edward Bess’ Black Sea Mousse foundation gives high coverage without the need to build up the product, and looked very skin like. The fact that it has skincare ingredients is a nice plus, although I’ll continue to use my regular routine. If applied carefully, this could go to medium and even light coverage if you use very very little because it spreads so nicely.  If this becomes available again, it’s worth checking out if these are the criteria which you have for a great, long wearing foundation. If you do get it, don’t follow my example–use your brush! 

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Dec 272013
 

Tom Ford Stick Foundation1

I’ve been using the Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation ($78./0.5 oz) occasionally for the past year. I purchased this last January, where I got into an arm-wrestling match over my color. You can see swatches of all shades helpfully here at The Beauty Professor. I ultimately settled on #3 Fawn, although this is on the deeper side for my Chanel Cameo/MAC NC15/20 skin tone. I had just returned from a sunnier climate, and I suppose my neck and body were a bit deeper then. The reason that I mention this is that stick foundations tend to be higher coverage, and we all know what that means. The more coverage you get, the more the color match matters, and the less forgiveness you have if there is a mis-match.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation3

The rather massive and gorgeous packaging holds 1/2 ounce of product. Although this is less than a typical bottle of liquid, you do not need much of this foundation to get medium coverage (more will give you full coverage). I’m an old hand with stick foundations, all the way back to the Chanel stick foundations of the 1990′s, so my application is a bit fearless.  First of all, the formula is very, very emollient and yet long-wearing. This rather miraculous combination of attributes allows you to have controllable, all-day coverage.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation5

Your application technique matters very much with this foundation. I have read reviews that describe this coverage as “heavy” and “too much.” It is true that it is a real challenge to get light coverage with this stick foundation. On light coverage days, I opt for another foundation choice and can use this as a concealer (if at all). For medium coverage, I dot this very lightly on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. The formula is very emollient, and as your skin and fingers warm the product it is very easy to spread over my face to get medium coverage. The product can be built up over any problem areas for more coverage. The effect is beautiful. It dries down, and makes my skin look gorgeous and very Tom-Ford-fabulous. It gives just enough of a sheen to look moisturized and youthful, and stops well short of looking even the slightest touch oily.  Although this looks amazing on my combination skin, those with drier skin will truly adore this slight sheen effect.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation4

I tend to use this when I’m looking forward to a formal event, whether a meeting, all-day conference, or evening event with a strong lip.  The wear time is phenomenal. This foundation does not break down, period. I do not get breakthough-glow on my combination skin, it just does not quit. So if you are looking for a luxury look that lasts all day, Tom Ford is your man.

Long Wearing Foundations11

As you can see, Tom Ford #3 Fawn is a little deeper and warmer than a few others in my foundation stock.

Same comparisons in different light:

Long Wearing Foundations09

Overall, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation gives a beautiful effect to make my skin look far better than it actually is. I understand that the foundation does not promise skin care benefits, it just makes my skin look fabulous. So I apply my skin care and sunscreen underneath. As with all stick foundations, removal is important to fully cleanse the skin and remove all traces of the product. I use an oil remover (currently, Shiseido), a Clarisonic with a cleanser, and a toner.  I need these to fully remove my sunscreen, so this is not a variation from my usual routine.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation2

 Like a perfect pair of pumps, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation makes me look fabulous, well-dressed, and comfortable without concern for breakdown or breakouts. When I’m getting ready for an event, I’m happy to have Tom Ford along for the (usually overly long) day.

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