This Is Gold: Hourglass’ Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in Golden || Review

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is obscenely priced at £42 for 0.25oz of product. It is also unbelievably good and you only need the tiniest amount of product, so I’m going to go ahead and say that in my opinion it is worth the price tag.DSC08986Vanish boasts the “coverage of a concealer, the weightlessness of a powder, and the fluidity of a liquid,” all in a convenient stick form. Stick foundations have never really appealed to me because they tend to be thick in texture and difficult to blend, but Vanish is nothing like other stick foundations — it really does blend like a liquid. That would have been impressive in and of itself, but it also feels as light as the finest of powders when it sets, while also providing the heavy-duty coverage of a spot concealer.

I’m having a difficult time not sounding like an ad as I write about this product, but what can I say? The blurb is actually accurate. 

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The New Elizbeth Arden Eight Hour All-Over Miracle OIL + An Impulse Buy My Grandmother Would Be Proud of

I love, love, love the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. I professed that love in a post I put up a couple of years ago and have been through several tubes of the stuff since. I was about to restock mine at Boots when I got sucked into trying out the shiny and *new* Eight Hour All-Over Miracle OIL, instead.DSC06399The oil (priced at £29.00 for 100mL) is the newest addition to the vast Eight Hour line and is a multi-purpose dry oil that you can use on your face, hair, and all over your body. As it is a dry oil, it is meant to sink in much faster than its heavier sister, the Eight Hour Cream. It smells nothing like the cream (this is slightly floral, the cream slightly medicinal — the original scent at least) and it pretty much behaves nothing like the cream. I thought I would be able to replace the cream with this, but that just isn’t the case.

I only found exactly one use for this multi-purpose oil in my life: as a hair oil. I can’t use it on my face because the scent irritates my skin and as a hand cream, it doesn’t last long. In fact, my hands felt a lot drier when I was using the oil.  Weird. Anyway, it’s saving grace is that it’s a damn good hair oil. I still need a new Eight Hour Cream though!

Right, on to more positive things!DSC06397I also got sucked into buying a new foundation that day. There was some promo that knocked £7 off any Elizabeth Arden base, so I picked out the Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin 24 Hr Foundation (£28.00), which is a medium coverage, oil-free, and low SPF base that’s great for combo-oily skin types.

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Create Your Own Base With Cover FX’s Custom Cover Drops (G50)

I first heard of the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops (44.00 USD) when Tati (GlamlifeGuru on YouTube) did a first impressions video about the product in April. There is seriously no way anyone can watch that video and walk away from it not wanting the Custom Cover Drops. Tati’s skin looked flawless, the product seemed like such a novel idea, and I was just completely sold.

I picked up a bottle for myself at Sephora when I visited the U.S. in May and since then I have been these magical, innovative, revolutionary drops consistently.
DSC03435The Custom Cover Drops are essentially concentrated pigments that you can mix in with other bases, moisturisers, or even sunblocks, to achieve the level of coverage you want. The Cover FX website describes the product as follows:

Custom Cover Drops can be mixed with anything liquid to add coverage – moisturizers, serums, oils, primers, foundations and tinted moisturizers that are water, oil or silicone-based. These revolutionary drops feature our Flash Fusion Technology™ formula, so as soon as you drop, the solution flashes off leaving behind the pigment that weightlessly transforms your favorite beauty product into the sheerest tint all the way to a total coverage foundation, depending on how many drops you add. The pigments are coated with Lecithin, which is biochemically similar to the skin, to ensure ease of blending and the smoothest application. With unprecedented control, you are free to customize coverage like never before.

What a freakin’ amazing idea, right? The website instructs that 1 Drop = Sheer Coverage, 2 Drops = Medium Coverage, 3 Drops = Full Coverage, and 4 Drops = Total Coverage.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 2.29.37 PMThe product comes in an impressive range of 24 different shades. I asked a sales assistant at Sephora to help me find the right shade and just because their colour IQ system couldn’t suggest a shade for me, she gave up. Uhm. K. So I picked out a shade for myself. Good thing I know my skin well enough!

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Goodbye To A Great: L’Oreal Lucent Magique Foundation

Some days are good, some days are bad, and some days are semi-good with overtones of suckiness. Today was that weird blend of sucky and good. There’s never really an explanation for those sorts of things… they just happen. I can’t wait for another day to come and erase this one, but (again for reasons unknown) these are usually the days that stick with you no matter how hard you try to shake ’em off.

At least life’s always interesting, eh?

P1190124Do you know what else is “interesting” (i.e. an absolute mystery)? Awesome products being discontinued.

When I reviewed the L’Oreal Lucent Magique foundation in the past, my feelings toward it were pretty lukewarm. I explained that it made an excellent summer foundation, but it was so-so at other points in the year. Well, I was wrong. At the time I only had G7 (my summer shade) and the moment I got my hands on G4 (next shade lighter), I was happy as could be. This foundation is lightweight, luminous, and photographs well despite having an SPF of 24. AND NOW THEY’RE DISCONTINUING IT.

Ugh. I don’t think Lucent Magique was ever as wildly popular as Mat Magique is now… and I blame everyone who is obsessed with matte skin for this travesty.

If you are a fellow fan of this foundation, you can get the remaining stock at 50% off (around 400 Php). I got myself another G7 and will probably be buying G4 again when I come across it.

Navigating MAC’s Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation Shade Range: My Personal Journey

MACSF6The Range

Anyone who isn’t a MAC makeup artist is going to be slightly overwhelmed when first faced with the Studio Fix Powder Plus shade range. The naming system involves a combination of letters and numbers that denote undertone and depth respectively. While most popular brands stick with relatively simple descriptive shade names, MAC, being a pro brand, uses a system that allows them to be precise in their description of a wide selection of shades. The numbers increase with depth and that’s about the easiest part to explain. When you get to the letter designations for undertones, it gets slightly more confusing:

C- “Cool ” – best for yellow/golden/olive skin
NC- “Neutral Cool” – best for golden beige skin
N- “Neutral” – beige skin
NW- “Neutral Warm” – pinky beige skin
W- “Warm” – best for pinkish skin

Looks pretty straightforward, but you may have noticed that although “NC” stands for “Neutral Cool” the NC shades are geared toward women with warm, golden skin tones. The same goes for the “NW” shades applying to cool skin instead of warm. The reason behind that has something to do with the colour wheel and colour theory. I don’t fully understand it so I won’t attempt an explanation, but I read on someone else’s blog that it helps to think of NC as “not cool” and NW as “not warm.” A former MAC makeup artist, Sharon Farrel, explains it all much more clearly in this useful post. 
Studio-Fix-Powder-Plus (1)This little chart is also from Sharon’s blog. I take no credit for it and it’s missing some shades, but wanted to include it here to give you a visual of the Studio Fix Powder Plus range. It is one of MACs most well-known and loved products, so most people who take an interest in makeup will probably check it out at least once in their lives. Many also use their MAC shade match from the Studio Fix range to describe their foundation colour in casual conversation.

Note that the shades don’t translate exactly across formulas–even the Studio Fix Fluid foundation (which is meant to simply be the liquid version of this) behaves differently. Other foundations from MAC (Matchmaster, Face and Body, Studio Sculpt, etc.) make use of different naming systems altogether, which can make finding a good match a dizzying affair. This post will solely be about the Studio Fix Powder Plus foundation and my experience finding a shade match.

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Dulce et Utile: Pressed Powder Foundations

I’m curious: How long does it take to put your face on in the morning? I used to dedicate a whole hour to makeup, and that excludes the time I need to get dressed, fix my hair, and ready my things. And when I say “I used to” that points back to just about three months ago. I now make it a point to get all of that done in under an hour (sometimes I can be ready in 20-30 minutes, which used to be unthinkable for me) and surprisingly I don’t feel rushed at all. I’m happy to have the extra time to do other things… like read or exercise or meditate. Or nap. I’m not saying I don’t like taking my time when I do makeup–I still do, but I save that for when I’m in the mood to really play or if there’s a special occasion.

I’m not really sure what sparked the change. You’d think that with all this time on my hands after leaving school I would be taking all the time in the world to play around with makeup. Instead I find myself craving a simpler, less-cluttered approach to everything in my life–not just makeup. This coincides with a renewed love for yoga (been dabbling in Vinyasa and Ashtanga instead of just Bikram/hot yoga) and although that has been a factor for sure, I was moving towards a more fuss-free makeup philosophy even before that, I think. But anyway, what I wanted to talk about today is a foundation form that has helped me cut down on makeup application time: pressed powder. P1170465

Clockwise from left: Ellana Minerals Pressed Powder Foundation*, MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation, and Maybelline White Super Fresh Powder Foundation

I had forgotten just how easy applying foundation is when all you need are a large powder brush and a compact of pressed powder foundation. You can adjust coverage by using a fluffy brush for light coverage, a brush with more densely-packed bristles for medium coverage, and a kabuki brush for full-on, heavy coverage. Sponges can be eliminated from the picture completely. The fact that these powder foundations are pressed eliminates the mess that loose powders almost inevitably create and they are also easy to travel with. I don’t think I even have to explain how these are more convenient than liquid foundations.

If you have combination or oily skin, powder foundations are an obvious bet. If you have dry skin, I can see why you might have apprehensions, but priming your skin properly before applying powder foundations helps a great deal. Even with my combination skin, I still prefer to prime beforehand (usually with sunblock, but also with primers before evening makeup) so that the powder goes on as even as possible. There are also powders on the market that actually moisturise these days. It sounds crazy, but I’ve come across one (a BRTC compact) that really did more than just not dry out my skin–it was nourishing it. And then of course there are usual oil-control powders. Loads of those to choose from, my oily-skinned friends!

There isn’t any particular pressed powder foundation that I wanted to highlight in this post. I suppose I just wanted to bring attention to a form that I myself had forgotten for a while and that others might have too. Using powder foundations has helped me save so much time getting ready for my day and I haven’t had to sacrifice my options when it comes to coverage or even finish. Plus I can easily pop my compact into my bag for touch-ups. Can’t think of much else to ask for, really.

What are your favourite foundation formulas? Liquid? Cream? Loose powder? Pressed? No need to debate about the pros and cons of each form as they all have their time and place for sure. It all comes down to personal preference and I for one think that that is where it really gets interesting. Yeah? I say more power to the powders, baby!

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Maybelline White Super Fresh Launch & First Impressions

A week ago Maybelline hosted a luncheon to announce the launch of their newest foundation: White Super Fresh (299.00 Php)*. The formula is an Asia-exclusive as it was created with our hot, humid weather in mind. It’s been dubbed the “no touchup powder foundation” because unlike other foundations that just melt off over the course of the day, this one is meant to stay put and stay fresh for 12 hours.

Whenever a foundation claims to last that long my interests are piqued, so I was glad to be able to attend the launch and get to know and understand the product a little better. P1170409White Super Fresh won’t be available until February 28, but let me tell you now that it’s something you’ll want to mark your calendars for. At the launch, press and bloggers got to play with some samples and discover what makes it different–why it’s going to live up to its claims. 

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Getting To Know Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation

P1160985At 2,250.00 Php, the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide is one of the pricier foundations that I own — it comes second only to my beloved Koh Gen Doh Aqua Foundation (2,750.00 Php). The bar was set high for this product not just because of the hefty price but also because Laura Mercier is one of my favourite makeup brands ever. Like, ever. Here’s what the Flawless Fluide claims to do: 
P1160976
The description is short, but LM has packed many a promise into that little space on the back of the box. Most of it is what any good foundation should do, but the part that says “perfect for all ages, all skin-tones, all skin-types” kind of makes me pull back and say: Reaaaally, now? Unfortunately I am of one age, one skin-type, and one skin-tone, so you’ll have to look to other reviews to confirm if the foundation works for all kinds of women. For now you’ll have to settle for this 24-year-old, combination-skin-typed, and medium-olive-skin-toned girl’s opinion.

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Review: Urban Decay NAKED Skin Foundation

It’s very rare that I give an unfavorable review. Products that disappoint me usually just disappear into the back of a drawer or gather dust in some remote corner of my dresser. I really should start writing about them, though, as I myself find it useful when I read negative reviews of a product online. I don’t think it’s worth revisiting most of the products that have disappointed me (maybe just an eyeshadow duo from a certain brand I love… we’ll see), but this particular foundation is something I almost have to talk about because it’s Urban Decay and because I made considerable efforts to get my hands on it. I’ll be as objective as I can be in reviewing this, but this is unavoidably based on personal experiences and preferences. UDNS1The Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation ($39.00) is meant to give “coverage without compromise.” It comes in an impressive range of 18 different shades that cover the lightest porcelain to the darkest ebony, keeping both pink and yellow (cool and warm) undertones in mind. UD says: “Our weightless formula blurs imperfections for a flawless finish that feels invisible, but looks professionally retouched.”

So as a consumer, you can expect an airbrushed finish without that heavy foundation feel. It’s supposed to give a demi-matte (so it’s suppose to look natural) finish with a buildable coverage. Temptalia gave this foundation a rating of A… do I agree? 

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A Long-Overdue Review: L’Oreal’s Lucent Magique Foundation

It’s interesting how foundation preferences can change throughout the year. This Lucent Magique foundation was my go-to and absolute fave during the summer months, and I even used it often enough to finish up a whole bottle. Yup, I’m on my second one of these! I like it that much. If I had reviewed it at the height of summer, I would have gone on a rambling rave about how amazing it is–how it makes my skin glow, enhances a tan, and wears excellently. Right now though, with the weather cooling down and my skin losing its tan, It’s still really nice but I’m not feeling it as much as I did before.
LLM2I’m thinking it may be because I don’t have a tan anymore (i.e. I’m still dark but there’s less warmth in my skin). The shade I have is G7 (golden undertone) and it’s the darkest in the range. It’s now a little too orangey on my skin, so maybe I need to try the next lighter shade, G4. I would totally go out and buy it, if not for my makeup ban. And I suppose it’s just as well, because I’ve been very happy using my Clinique CC Cream on a daily basis. I also think I may not like it as much lately because the finish of the Lucent Magique foundation really is more summery. What I look for these days is a demi-matte finish, not a glowing beach-y sheen (gorgeous in its own time and place).

But anyway, allow me to tell you a little bit about this foundation. It might not be for me at the moment, but it is probably still a great bet for people with dry skin. Here’s why:
LLM4The L’Oreal Lucent Magique Light-Infusing foundation (845.00 Php) creates a glow like no other foundation that I’ver ever tried before.

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