Loving Laura: A Slight Case of Brand Obsession

It’s very rare that a cosmetics brand can get everything right. Some have got it down when it comes to foundations (Bobbi Brown, Lancome), some have the best lipstick formulas (MAC, NARS), and others have totally covered the field with their blush selection (NARS)… but a brand’s formulas almost always falter in some area–wether it’s hit-and-miss eyeshadows *ahemNARSahem* or inconsistent products overall, depending on the collection *ahemEsteeLauder*. LL1Recently, I noticed that the number of Laura Mercier products that form a part of my makeup routine has shot up. When I say recent, I mean beginning only this year (2013).The only item pictured above that I had before 2013 is the oil-free tinted moisturizer. The radiance foundation primer, silk creme foundation, caviar eye shadow stick, and metallic creme eye colour are all new to me– and they are awesome.

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Urban Decay NAKED Skin Foundation – Match System & Drool-Fest

I first heard about the UD NAKED Skin foundation on YouTube as I was watching some coverage of IMATS in LA. The range of 18 shades was laid out at the UD booth, looking shiny and fabulous. I knew I had to have it. Not necessarily immediately, but eventually at least. Just look at it:

The main problem is that Urban Decay is not available in Manila. That’s easily remedied by generous relatives and friends from abroad who are willing to bring home a few goodies for you once in a while. So the next top problem would inevitably be shade selection. Buying foundation based on a few photos and swatches off other blogs doesn’t exactly seem too smart. Good thing the Urban Decay website has been extremely helpful in solving that problem! Using the  “Find your shade” tool, I pinpointed the exact shade out of the 18 that will suit me best!

Read on to see how it works!

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My love/hate relationship with MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

[Feb. 2015 Edit: Please see the follow-up post to this one here.)

My absolute favourite product in the entire MAC Cosmetics range is the Mineralize Skinifinish Natural powder. Their lipsticks come in second and the Studio Fix powder foundation is a close third. I’ve tried the liquid Studio Fix before and thought that was horrible, but the powder variant has its uses. It has a rather heavy coverage and it leaves you with a very matte finish, which can look a bit unnatural if caked too heavily onto your face. The compact comes with a sponge, but you can completely chuck that (or just keep it for light touch-ups) and use a large powder brush or a kabuki brush instead. Buffing Studio Fix into your skin will give you a beautiful airbush-like finish that is still heavy, but full coverage is something we all want once in a while anyway. MAC Studio Fix is not my favourite powder foundation (that “award” goes to my Shu Uemura pressed powder), but I like it enough to feel like I need to have it in my make-up collection. The one thing that really irks me about it though is that I do not have an exact shade match.

With the help of a MAC make-up artist, I first bought the shade NC42. It’s about half a shade to a full shade too dark for my coloring depending on the time of year, but even at my darkest I still get comments about being so tan when I wear this. So then I went and ordered NC40 (next to NC42 in the shade range, there is no “41” **EDIT: There is an NC41, but it is not available in the Philippines nor is it listed in the MAC website!), thinking that it should be perfect… but ohmygoodness it is much too light for me. NC 42 on the left, NC40 on the right. Doesn’t that look like a huge jump in colour? :o I would rather go slightly darker in foundation colour than too light, so I’ve barely touched my NC40 compact. If I use it at all, I use it as a highlight on the bridge of my nose and on my brow bone. If I use it all over, I get that slightly grayish tinge on my skin which is so very unflattering. NC 42 also seems to be much warmer and more yellow than NC40, even though both are in the “NC” category, meaning they should both have warm undertones. I want to love this powder. I really do. But it looks like MAC won’t let me. See how much more yellow NC42 is? The yellowness is something that I noticed a lot too when I used the liquid Studio Fix formula, and it’s not something that I like. I tend to favor neutral foundations, because even though I’m Asian, I don’t have very yellow undertones. Sadly, I may someday soon decide that MAC Studio Fix is something not worth sticking with. If/when I do decide that, I will miss the sturdy compact packaging and the smooth texture—but the absence of a perfect colour match for me is something I find very difficult to get over. I’m not so sure if this has been a review or just a rant, so I’ll end with suggestions that might be of use to other people. MAC Studio Fix might be for you, if – you are looking for a powder foundation, – MAC carries a shade that suits you well, – you like the convenience of a compact, and – you are looking for medium to full coverage with a matte finish. p.s. There is no SPF in this product.

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