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

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream08 This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup

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Jul 232014
 

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand3Marc Jacobs Fall ’14 collection include its fourth foundation–the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand ($45/0.59 oz.). This is a sheer, emollient foundation with buildable coverage that is packaged in an elegant, unique, fun little wand. The Smart Wand is now available in four shades at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand4

I ordered this in the shade Light 210, which runs slightly cool and light on my NC15/20 Chanel Ivoire skintone. It was certainly in a good range for me, and I don’t mind going a little lighter on my foundations. Unlike his other foundations, Marc Jacobs’ Smart Wand is designed to make  “it easy to take with you for application on the go.” Indeed, I watched a girl do her full makeup on a commuter train the other day. She had good skin, neither dry nor oily, no marks and few imperfections. As I watched her blot a too-orange powder into her lovely skin, I wished that I could have handed this to her. It would have been perfect. The Marc Jacobs Smart Wand erases pores, gives a “natural but much nicer glow,” and makes the skin look polished and perfected in the ways that celebrity skin looks.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand5

My personal experience with the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand was over five days in very humid weather, sometimes with primer and sometimes without. The strengths of this foundation are in its ease of application, amazing texture, and build able coverage.  A first pass gives very, very light coverage, much less than I get with Giorgio Armani’s Maestro serum. This really gives the impression of amazing texture to my skin. It blurs, tones down discoloration (but doesn’t erase them), and gives my skin a really pretty, natural-but-much-better sheen.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand6The Smart Wand has a noticeable scent, which I found pleasant. To put this through its paces, I made up to three additional passes with the Smart Wand to build the coverage, which it did beautifully without caking or showing pores (where are my pores? this seems to erase them). The product feels emollient and moisturizing on the skin. It does not dry down quickly, and I’m attributing this to the skin care qualities in the formula. I resisted the urge to powder it down because that will take away from its gorgeous texture. As the product description notes (this is a copy/paste from the site):

  • Moisturizer contains Coconut oil, Vitamin E and amino acids that nourish and hydrate
  • Proprietary blend of antioxidant green tea and refreshing cucumber fights free radicals while energizing the skin
  • Spherical powders with a photo luminescent diamond core work to diffuse light and blur imperfections

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand7

I must use a primer with this foundation (I used the Nars Light Optimizing). Without it, I got about four hours before I started to notice the foundation looking a little worse for wear. With a primer, I got six or seven hours. The foundation does not promise to be long-wearing, and I did not experience long wear with it either. Swatches in sun:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8 More swatches in indoor light with flash:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand9I tried a generous sample of the Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Foundation ($55/0.63 oz) for several days recently as well. I used 14 Ivory Medium, which was a pretty good match. These two foundations are completely different. The Marvelous Mousse is a nearly full coverage gel product that has a satin-matte finish. To say that a little goes a long way understates the situation. For a full-coverage foundation, the Marvelous Mousee had a really nice texture, is infused with skin care, and gives a very polished, lovely look. I think it is more coverage than I realistically need. Here is the ingredient list for the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand:

Marc Jacobs Smart WandD1
Overall, I applaud the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand because it represents a re-design of foundation completely from the customer’s perspective. There is absolutely a need for the Smart Wand–easy, fast, convenient, for those looking to add just a little celebrity glow to normal skin without adding lots of coverage. Note that the product has no SPF rating, but the ingredients state that it “may contain” titanium dioxide (perhaps the product has not yet obtained regulatory approval to list an SPF rating yet, which is common for newly-released foundations–I simply don’t know). As I noted, the wear time was a bit on the short side for me. As we all know. foundation is a very personal and individual preference, and this will not work for everyone. Nonetheless, foundation variety is the spice of life, and I’m glad to see companies thinking about the woman/man who wishes to add a touch of magic. Here’s Marc Jacobs take on this new product:

The Smart Wand is now available at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

This review contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Jun 132014
 

 

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare01

Perricone MD has a full line of No Makeup Skincare: A Revolutionary Approach to Color that provides “good for you” benefits together with foolproof and versatile application.  Although I was aware of some of these products, I was impressed to see an entire lineup that, because of its liquid format, can be mixed and blended to create naturally beautiful looks. The theme of this collection are anti-aging skincare additions, which repair, restore, and to ensure that the overall look is youthful. In addition to antioxidants, DMAE, and neuropeptides, the line is formulated with high pigment that sits lightly on the skin, which can be built up, sculpted, modified, mixed and blended to achieve a look that is healthy, natural, and with a youthful look.The items are available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare14a

I loved several of these products. However, I loved, loved, loved the products together as a set.  First, I was shocked at how quickly I could do a face with this set. It’s no brushes required. The products are essentially fool-proof once I got comfortable with the format. They blend beautifully together, and their textures are ideal for layering. They are designed for very intuitive application. Although it is easy to layer them up to increase coverage, it seems impossible to over-do them. There is a real synergy in the design and formulation for use as a set. As an overview, the line includes:

  • No Foundation Foundation Serum
  • No Foundation Foundation (2 shades)
  • No Bronzer Bronzer
  • No Blush Blush
  • No Concealer Concealer
  • No Mascara Mascara
  • No Lipstick Lipstick

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare02a

Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation ($55/ 1 ounce) is a lightweight, creamy liquid foundation that applies in a single layer for light coverage with a dewy finish. At first, some readers may find the coverage too light compared to typical foundations or BB cremes. My sense is that, with continual use, your skin will improve with the use of this and other skincare products, so that less coverage will be needed. Nonetheless, the No Foundation Foundation can be easily layered and built without caking or looking heavy. Indeed, this product is ideal for those who do not like heavy feeling products on the fact, or those who may have imperfections, slight wrinkles or the like because the lightweight, non-caking texture does not emphasize flaws. As the line is designed for those with aging skin, this is ideal. Heavy-textured foundation is rarely desirable for skin of any age. I try to use the lightest coverage that I can get away with, and concealers as necessary. For this No Foundation Foundation, the key skincare ingredients are Alpha Lipoic Acid (designed to minimize wrinkles and pores while delivering powerful antioxidant protection, and Vitamin C to correct discoloration). The product also includes non-chemical SPF30 based on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, claiming protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare15

The product comes in two shades. The lighter #1 was a pretty good match for my MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire skin tone. I would guesstimate that #2 runs at about an NC30-35. The products can be mixed to target shades in between. The Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer can be used to deepen the shade range higher than NC35. The products are dispensed through a pump.

Perricone Foundation pump1

Overall, I liked Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation. The product does have a dewy finish which does look lovely when first applied and those with drier skin will appreciate. Because my forehead gets oily throughout the day, I tended to powder this down on my forehead area, and left the other areas with a pretty sheen. Here is the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Perricone Foundation No 12
 Between this product and the Perricone MD No Foundation Serum, I found that they worked well together. On some days, I tried layering, and other others I mixed the two to get a lighter color match. Either way, they were a nice combination. If I were to be forced to commit to only one (arghhh!), I’d go with the serum because I prefer a more matte finish, and in my subjective opinion I loved the way that the serum felt on my skin. Also, the serum seemed to camouflage my pores into invisibility, really. I’m including swatches of all shades here, including Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum:

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare19I did a quick finger-blend of the swatches, above, without being very precise or careful. On the skin, a proper blending job delivers smooth and lovely results.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare21Overall, I really liked Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation. I love the way that I could mix the products to sculpt areas of my face, mix with the bronzer, and loved the all-day, highly buildable coverage. Other products from this line are reviewed here and here.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation is available at Sephora, and Perricone MD’s website.

The Perricone MD products were sent from the  company to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)

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Introducing Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare: No Foundation Foundation Serum

 Foundation, Perricone MD  Comments Off on Introducing Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare: No Foundation Foundation Serum
Jun 132014
 

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare14aPerricone MD has a full line of No Makeup Skincare: A Revolutionary Approach to Color that provides “good for you” benefits together with foolproof and versatile application.  Although I was aware of some of these products, I was impressed to see an entire lineup that, because of its liquid format, can be mixed and blended to create naturally beautiful looks. Here is the entire line (click to enlarge):

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare01The fundamental thread that goes through the entire line of products is anti-aging skincare, to repair, restore, and to ensure that the overall look is youthful. In addition to antioxidants, DMAE, and neuropeptides, the line is formulated with high pigment that sits lightly on the skin, which can be built up, sculpted, modified, mixed and blended to achieve a look that is healthy, natural, and with a youthful look.

As an overview, I loved several of these products. However, I loved, loved, loved the products together as a set.  First, I was shocked at how quickly I could do a face with this set. It’s no brushes required. The products are essentially fool-proof once I got comfortable with the format. They blend beautifully together, and their textures are ideal for layering. They are designed for very intuitive application. Although it is easy to layer them up to increase coverage, it seems impossible to over-do them. There is a real synergy in the design and formulation for use as a set. As an overview, the line includes:

  • No Foundation Foundation Serum
  • No Foundation Foundation (2 shades)
  • No Bronzer Bronzer
  • No Blush Blush
  • No Concealer Concealer
  • No Mascara Mascara
  • No Lipstick Lipstick

Perricone Foundation Serum1There were a few products that were true standouts. For me, the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum ($55) was amazing. It has a similar texture to the Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation, lightweight, layerable and very long-lasting (surprisingly so, this foundation didn’t move even on the longest days).This is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare03b

It has the most gorgeous, suede-matte texture. My pores disappeared. My face looked firmer and perfected. This still looked this good more than ten hours after application.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare04

I applied an extra layer or two to problem areas. The color is a touch on the darker side for my MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire skin tone. In order to use the product, I put a good layer on my skin so that I could soak in the product’s anti-aging neuropeptides (to create suppleness and firmness), Vitamin C (to discolorations) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (to minimize wrinkles and pores).  Then I mixed this serum foundation with Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation in shade #1 (the lightest shade) to create a shade that matches the rest of me. The serum can be mixed with the Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer to deepen its color. Like the Armani, the Perricone MD uses a dropper as the applicator.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare17

The product is rated at SPF 30 (according to Perricone MD’s website, the No Foundation Foundation Serum includes a “non-chemical, mineral-based SPF 30 with Zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays” Here is the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Perricone Foundation Serum2  I’m including swatches of all shades here, including Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum:

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare19 As you can see, the serum color is a near-match for the No Foundation Foundation in #2. I did a quick finger-blend of the swatches, above, without being very precise or careful. On the skin, a proper blending job delivers smooth and lovely results.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare21Overall, I loved the look and feel of Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation Serum. In addition to the lovely texture and buildable coverage, the product’s skincare benefits was conferring some benefits throughout the day. Additional products from this line are available here and here.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

The Perricone MD products were sent from the  company to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jun 082014
 

By terry foundation02

For the past few weeks, I’ve been using By Terry Terrybly Densiliss Foundation ($115/ 1.0 oz.). After a short adjustment, I find that I absolutely love its look and longevity.  As you likely know, By Terry is a premier French company that creates some beautiful things. By Terry Densiliss is new this year, and so I tried a few healthy-sized samples. After the first very long day, I found that my skin had a beautiful, perfected look and I invested in the full-sized version. I chose #3 in Vanilla Beige after reviewing these swatches on The Beauty Professor and based on my experience with a few sample shades.

By terry foundation06

The finish of this foundation is superb. My skin looks creamy with just the right amount of natural sheen. My pores (which aren’t very large) are minimized.  The coverage of By Terry Densiliss is hard to pin down because it is so buildable. In other words, one sheer layer is sheer, but the entire face (or any part) can accept multiple thin layers without any caking or problems.  In fact, I discovered (by trial and error) that layering is the very best way to apply this foundation. Rather than using a traditional pumpful or two, I deliberately under-apply a too-thin layer with just a partial-pump, then wait a minute until it sets. Afterwards, I add another layer or two depending on the coverage that I want. I’ve never needed to keep going, because this gives me medium coverage.

By terry foundation08

I usually don’t add a powder, although lately I’ve been adding Corol from MAC’s Pedro Lourenco Collection just for fun (it’s not necessary, but it’s a nice variation).

By terry foundation11a

As with many French companies, By Terry’s Densiliss has a slight perfume scent that fades quickly with application. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

By terry foundation01

The texture might seem a touch thick, but using the light layering technique seems to alleviate any problems in application.

By terry foundation05I’ve been impressed with the longevity of By Terry Densiliss, even in the extreme dry heat that we’ve been experiencing in California. Despite dry weather reaching near 100 over the past few weeks, my skin has not look a bit dry. In fact, it looks moisturized and youthful. I cannot say that this is 100% due to this foundation, but it is nice that the line states that this foundation “improves skin density, diminishes lines and simultaneously treats all signs of aging” with a revolutionary patented rejuvenating active ingredient with an optimal makeup correction that immediately targets surface wrinkles and provides deep-down and lasting global result.”

By terry foundation09Overall, my first weekend convinced me to get By Terry Densiliss, but the weeks that I’ve been using it have confirmed my love for it. Although this is one of the more expensive foundations on my counter, I’ve really loved the results and feel really good about the investment. This is available online at Barneys New York in all shades.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup

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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.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

 

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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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