Browsing Category

Base Makeup

Base Makeup Chanel

Chanel Les Beiges Collection Summer 2017

July 28, 2017

Chanel Les Beiges Collection Summer 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

The Chanel Les Beiges Collection this year brings us a some new products including a new foundation formula, new brush, two new cheek colors, a natural eyeshadow palette and some repromotes. I have four items I’ve been testing this month thanks to the Chanel team and am happy to report the collection exceeded my expectations. There have been mixed reviews about this year’s launch, after testing this I do think it’s going to be a hit or miss for you depending on how natural or pigmented you like your makeup. For me it’s a hit. In today’s review:

The Les Beiges Gel Touch Healthy Glow Tint is an interesting base. If you like BB creams or dewy sheer bases you will love this one. I had expected this to be a cushion – but it’s not really cushion like. It has a soft flexible mesh top where you press a sponge into to absorb product. There was some excess that had oozed out around the edges when I opened and I swatched with my fingers and barely saw any coverage. Quick tip is to use the sponge – it’s amazing what a difference there is in application when you apply it with the sponge. I’ve been a long-time fan of the original Les Beiges Healthy Glow Colour Powder in 20 as a setting powder but subsequent Les Beiges launches have often let me down – the newer bases and tints have been tricky to work with sometimes.

Chanel Les Beiges Gel Touch Healthy Glow Tint 30 and 40 | The Beauty Look Book

The Gel Tint compact is smaller around in size compared to other Les Beiges compacts, but it’s also taller.

Chanel Les Beiges Gel Touch Healthy Glow Tint 30 and 40 | The Beauty Look Book

Swatches of 30 and 40:

Chanel Les Beiges Gel Touch Healthy Glow Tint 30 and 40 | The Beauty Look Book

Comparison swatches to the Dior Dreamskin Cushion in 30 (which looks dark but actually matches once blended out), Saturday Skin All Aglow Sunscreen Perfection Cushion in 5 Honey and 6 Goldie, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion in 25.

Chanel Les Beiges Gel Touch Healthy Glow Tint 30 and 40 vs Dior Saturday Skin Sulwhasoo | The Beauty Look Book

Coverage is sheer but still noticeable. There’s enough coverage to cover redness, even out skintone and see color on the skin. Shade-wise I wish there were more yellow-toned options. 30 looks a bit light and pink on my skin but it does adjust and darken on me – my skin is weird these days, some foundations darken quite a bit after they dry down. 40 is the right undertone but it matches when I have a tan. As mentioned in a few recent posts, if I’m out of the sun for even 2-3 days I lose my tan very quickly. Since there is sun everywhere in Florida it’s impossible to avoid the sun – so my skintone changes frequently. Long story short – I can wear either 30 or 40.

I think the Gel Touch Cushion is better suited for normal to dry skin, but even in the hot humid weather I’ve found it stayed put all day and didn’t slide off in the humidity. You do need to set with a powder – when testing this I set with the Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Powder in 20 and it helped to tone down the glow but still keep the skin looking radiant and glowy.

Next up are the two Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Sticks in 23 (sheer warm pink) and 24 (sheer apricot). Both have a very natural sheen to them and I believe 23 and 24 are new shades. I tried these when they launched a few years ago and found the pigment lacking once you blended them out on the skin. The pigment in this years’ has improved significantly – but they are still very natural looking. They have a satiny almost velvet finish so they’re not like regular creams. I found they lasted and stayed put all day.

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush | The Beauty Look Book Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush | The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Healthy Glow Natural Eyeshadow Palette. Reviews on this have been all over the place in terms of reviewing the pigment. I found all the colors performed well with good pigment – they are all sheer to medium for a soft natural eye though. If you’re looking for high impact rich pigment this is not the palette for you. For me it’s a great fool-proof everyday kind of palette. If you have dry lids or us a matte primer the shadows most likely won’t show up as well as they are very soft – try using a more emollient base and the colors will show up better. I used the Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold to prep my lids.

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Natural Eyeshadow Palette Review Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

In the palette you have a sheer beige base, a soft cool brown, a soft warm brown, a satiny charcoal brown and a shimmering champagne. Everything is soft with a diffused look to them. For the person who wants natural definition to their eyes this is just perfect.

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Natural Eyeshadow Palette Review Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Natural Eyeshadow Palette Review Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

It has a similar vibe to the Dior Eye Reviver Palette which I found way too sheer and natural for me. It also reminded me a bit of the Urban Decay Naked2 Basics so I swatched them side by side.

Dior Eye Reviver vs Chanel Les Beiges Natural Eyeshadow Palette vs Urban Decay Naked2 Basics | The Beauty Look Book

A beauty look with just the Les Beiges Gel Touch Healthy Glow Tint in 30 on the left side. On the right look:

Chanel Les Beiges

Chanel Les Beiges Collection Summer 2017 | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line I like the collection a lot more than I expected. For me the winner is the Natural Eyeshadow Palette – it’s great for everyday when you just need a little color or a fool-proof conservative palette to add definition without looking like you have a lot of makeup on. I really like this year’s launch of the Blush Sticks – the pigment is a lot better than it was a few years ago but they still look natural. For a cream they stay put for a good amount of time but that being said they’re still creams so if you’re going to be outdoors in humid weather for an extended period of time they’re not going to be budge-proof. The Gel Touch Tint is going to be hit or miss for you depending on skin tone and skin type. I think if you like moisturizing dewy bases you’ll love this. I like it more than I expected and I found a few color matches although I would prefer it to have more of a yellow/olive undertone. I did just buy the Dior Forever Perfect Cushion in 21 and Forever Undercover Concealer in 30 and 31 and I’m testing some bases from Sisley-Paris so you may want to stay tuned for those reviews.

You can find the Chanel Les Beiges collection now online at Chanel.com and at all Chanel counters. P.S. The new brushes have launched as well along with some new nail and lip colors! I’ll be reviewing some of the brushes soon – I’m currently putting them to the test.

Have you tried anything from this year’s Les Beiges collection?

Press samples include the Chanel Les Beiges Gel Tint in 30, Les Beiges Blush Sticks in 23 and 24, Les Beiges Eyeshadow Palette and Le Rouge Crayon in Beige Rose. All other items purchased by me.

 

Base Makeup Beauty Favorites

Summer Foundation and Base Edit

July 7, 2017

Best Summer Foundations for Warm Weather | The Beauty Look Book

By popular request I have a roundup of foundations and bases I’ve been testing since I’ve moved to Florida where the weather is warm, sunny and humidity levels are very noticeable. By comparison, San Diego is very dry although to me it always felt moderate and what I considered normal. We live in the Tampa Bay area and so far the humidity isn’t quite as bad as I had expected. I’m saying this because in December we drove to Key West which is extremely wet and humid feeling – so humid the air feels like you’re walking around in a sauna. Also a few years ago we took almost a month to travel throughout Europe through Italy and the Mediterranean in late June. It was so scorching hot and humid during out travels I completely gave up wearing makeup on most of the days after trying and failing. That being said, yes Florida is humid and hot and finding a makeup base that stays put, doesn’t budge and that won’t slide off has been a challenge.

To date I haven’t found any makeup base or combination of products can truly 100% last or stand up to serious humidity especially if I sweat. I’m the type of person who doesn’t break a sweat easily but since moving to Florida I start sweating if I’m outside for 5 minutes and there’s no wind or breeze. I’m rounding up what I’ve tested by formula and coverage and note what I’ve found wears the best. Even though it’s humid here the reality is that both Andrew and I are rarely outside for long consecutive hours unless we’re at the beach or a park doing touristy things. Also even on those occasions we can take a break from the heat while in the car with the AC or take a stop at a coffee shop or restaurant.

Up first are the more natural looking foundations with sheer to medium coverage. The most requested reviews I get are for BB Creams and CC creams and I am sad to say that those are products I really do not like. Most feel thick on my skin or look pink in undertone. As one with really yellow/olive skin I can’t do bases that have pink so unfortunately I will probably not review any. Also a quick note on shades – many of you have commented over the years that you’re the same shade as me. Since moving to Tampa I’ve tanned quite a bit – it’s something I can’t avoid. I also lose my tan quickly so my color changes on a weekly basis. Because of this annoying fact I have to mix colors a lot – more than I ever have.

Shown below from left to right:

  • MAC Next to Nothing Face Color is the sheerest base I’ll do. It really has a super natural tint but adheres well to the skin. I fluctuate between Medium and Medium Plus. The shades run on the pink side but since the formula is so sheer it’s really forgiving. Review and swatches of all shades here.
  • Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer with SPF15 is more like a natural foundation. It’s sheer like a tinted moisturizer but gives better coverage than most that I’ve tried. It does contain Octinoxate 7.5% and Titanium Dioxide 3% so if those cause problems for your skin you may want to skip. I had no issues with this formula for my skin. If I were still in San Diego I would probably use this more regularly – since it has a mild moisturizing quality it can get a little bit dewy. I bought mine at Nordstrom but Bobbi Brown Online has more shades available.
  • NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint is one that really surprised me. It’s hydrating but not too rich or heavy. It makes the skin glow naturallyΒ  Review and swatches of all shades here. It was limited-edition so may be hard to track down.
  • NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint with SPF 30 is one you’ll see me wearing a lot in beauty looks or lip swatches. This one has Octinoxate 7.5% and Octisalate 3% – it’s one that doesn’t irritate my skin and has a natural looking finish that isn’t too matte, just naturally velvety. I wear St. Moritz now but on my lighter wear Groenland or mix the two.
  • Diorskin Forever Foundation SPF 35 is one of the best foundation bases I’ve ever tried. The only downside is finding a match can be a bit tricky. I tested 30 and 31 first – in store I had one on each side and they both matched perfectly. When I got home and tested again I found they sometimes darkened about a 1/2 shade. 31 is more yellow while 30 is more pink so I kept 31. I went back to find the next shade down which is 21 (even though there are a lot of shades in between). 21 is the most yellow. If you’re normally my skintone go with either 21 or 25. I use both 21 and 31 mixed together to get my perfect match. For me it’s 100% worth it because this looks naturally flawless on the skin and gives me exactly the coverage I want. It also stays put the best for me. It has 3% Octinoxate and 1.75% Titanium Dioxide.

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Sheer to Medium Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

______________________________

Next up medium to full coverage foundations which is what I usually prefer. Most people, friends and family included don’t realize that I’m almost always wearing a full coverage foundation until they see me with bare skin and see all my freckles. I was active in outdoor sports while in high school and even though that was YEARS ago I still got a lot of freckles and sun spots from being outside a lot. I have tried a number of whitening/brightening treatments over the years which has helped with acne scars and dark spots but I still have a lot of freckles.

Shown left to right:

  • Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer is hands down my most-worn foundation base. It offers medium to full buildable coverage and I love everything about it. For me Tom Ford Beauty has the best foundation shades to match my skin tone. It blends easily and covers my skin exactly how I like it without getting cakey. It lasts an impressive amount of time without sliding, creasing or budging. Review + swatches here.
  • Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation is the newest one I’ve tried. I got an early sneak peek at some of the shades and given my challenge finding a match in the Candleglow version I was skeptical about this one. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a formula is for a base – if there’s no decent match, it’s going to be a no-go. I was lucky to find my match to either Buff or Dusk. Right now Dusk is the better match because it’s more olive. On a few occasions I have found I need to mix in a bit of Macadamia to lighten it just a slight amount. I am extremely impressed with this formula. You do need to blend quickly as it dries and sets in a short amount of time. Once it sets it gives a flawless finish that looks matte but not flat. This is one of the few true matte finishes I’ve tried that I like the look of. I’ve found it pretty budge-proof – this is one I wore this on the 4th of July. I applied a fresh face of makeup in the early evening before we headed downtown to scope out some firework locations. I had this on from 4:00 pm until around midnight. That evening the air wasn’t too and we were thrilled that it actually stopped raining by the time we found parking and walked a mile to downtown. After looking around the Channelside area we decided downtown was not for us so we walked back to our car and drove to Hyde Park Village for dinner. After we then walked another mile to Bayshore Boulevard to watch the fireworks. All this rambling is to explain how this formula held up. The humidity was probably the highest I’ve felt here to date – this one held up remarkably well although I did get very glowy looking, it did not slide off or budge.
  • Giorgio Armani Power Fabric is another long-lasting full coverage foundation that works well in this heat. Before I had to mix 4 and 6. Right now I’m probably 6.5 which is more golden, but I can make 6 work. If you can find a shade match this an exceptionally good one for lasting power.
  • Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick is one of my top picks for foundation sticks in this humidity. While in San Diego in my winter skintone I wore Warm Ivory. I’ve since moved up to Nude but only use this on areas I need extra coverage. It does warm up/darken a little. Right now I could probably use the next shade up but since I don’t use this all over my face I haven’t bought it yet.

Medium to Full Coverage Foundations | The Beauty Look Book

Medium to Full Coverage Foundation Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

______________________________

Next are cushions. I’ve always been interested in cushions but testers usually look pretty gross and also finding the right shade can be a challenge. Korean brands tend to run pink (at least the ones I’ve tried) but I’ve had luck with a few in the past. The best thing about the cushions is that they usually come with a refill pack so you’re getting 1 plus a backup. Right now there are 3 cushions I really like:

  • Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion is one I featured in my sunscreen story. It has SPF 50 and isn’t really a foundation but actually a skincare product. I can use this alone or as a base for other foundations. I think the swatches can be a bit misleading because you have to put this on your skin to see how it matches. 30 looks way too dark for me but because it’s sheer it blends in seamlessly with my skin.
  • Saturday Skin All Algow Sunscreen Perfecting Cushion Compact with SPF 50 is probably the best cushion I’ve tried. I ordered two shades online sight unseen. 05 Honey is my match as this darkens just a tiny bit on my skin. Color selection is pretty limited – so far I’ve only been able to find 4 total, 3 are available at Nordstrom and all 4 are available at Urban Outfitters. It offers medium to full coverage but pulls more towards the full size. It gives the skin a very natural looking glow without being too dewy. It also stays put and doesn’t budge. Active Ingredients are Octocrylene 2%, Octyle Methoxycinnamate 7%, Octyle Saliclate 4.8%, Titanium Dioxide 9%, Zinc Oxide 2%.
  • Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion has full coverage with limited shades. I bought the Brightening Version while in New York in 25 and 33 and after testing them at home was so disappointed to find they are simply too pink for my skin. I ordered the Perfecting Cushion in 25 to try instead which has fuller coverage and a better match. This darkens about one full shade on my skin. The formula is a bit on the heavy side for my preference but still holds up well in warm weather. I don’t hate this but don’t love it – I suspect it’s due to the fact that I don’t have a 100% shade match but I can make Shade 25 Deep Beige work for me.

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion | The Beauty Look Book

Cushions Dior Dreamskin Cushion, Saturday Skin All Alglow Cushion, Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

______________________________

Next are a few miscellaneous items I love for powders, concealers and a couple tools. I own a lot of loose powders but in general prefer pressed ones because they’re not as messy and easier for touch ups.

Best Pressed Powders, Concealers and Tools | The Beauty Look Book

For pressed powders:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder has one of the longest product names I think I’ve ever seen but it’s seriously THE best pressed powder I’ve tried. I saw this applied in action on my BFF at a Charlotte Tilbury event. Her foundation/base had completely worn off already and she told the artist she didn’t really want to try the foundation. The artist applied #1 on her skin and it was literally transformed into a smooth flawless canvas in front of my eyes. My shade is #2 and although I think she could add more options this one has been my go-to for at least a couple years now.
  • Armani Luminous Silk Compact Dual-Use Powder is another great setting powder. This one has more color options compared to the Charlotte Tilbury. It offers medium natural coverage and comes with a dual-sided sponge so you can either apply it for sheer or more full coverage. I use a powder brush to set my liquid foundation with this one for the most part. The sponge is something I use for touch ups. Even though I’ve darkened quite a bit I’ve still found Shade #4 to work perfectly for me.
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus is one of the few mineral powders I actually like. I tried so many when mineral powders were in – so many just looked too heavy on the skin, even after buffing it in. This one offers medium coverage and I use a brush to set my foundation. It gives an airbrushed finish but it’s not completely weightless in feel. It is a very natural looking product though and holds up well with the heat/humidity.

For concealers, I really don’t find myself using concealer a lot anymore. I simply don’t need it with good coverage foundations but my 3 most-used ones:

Concealer Swatches Cle de Peau Beaute, MUFE, NARS | The Beauty Look Book

Tools, an updated brush tool series coming up soon on the blog, but for now my two must-haves:

  • beautyblender is the best foundation application tool I’ve used. I’ve tried a number of the different colors and while technically they should all perform the same, I don’t find they do. The best ones for me are the original beautyblender (bright pink), bubble and nude. Review from a few years ago in this post here.
  • MAC Brush 140 S Synthetic Full Fan Brush is probably the best powder brush I own. It launched with the MAC Next to Nothing collection and has the perfect density and softness to pick up powder and apply it in a sweeping motion all over the face.

I wasn’t able to face swatch and photograph all the foundations, but here’s a look at two and also what my bare face looks like. With the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation in Dusk I’m just wearing the foundation (no powder to set). It was taken with a low flash and I didn’t get any white cast or flashback. Lipstick is MAC Faux.

Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation and Concealer photographs the best in my experience. This was also taken with a flash and I’m facing a sliding glass door so some natural light is on my face. Lipstick worn here is Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk (you can also see it on me when I was a shade lighter here).

Foundation Face Swatches Tom Ford and Laura Mercier | The Beauty Look Book

I hope this roundup was helpful for you! A few notes on other formulas I tested, previous favorites and why I don’t use them as much now:

  • The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer worked better for me when I was in San Diego. Right now it’s really too dewy for my skin type. It’s still a great product for sheer coverage.
  • The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is still an amazing line for the liquid and stick foundation. I used my shades up the first month I arrived here (this was back in March). Since I’ve gotten darker I haven’t had a chance to investigate other shades to find what my current match is.
  • The Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation is too luminous for me right now. Earlier in the spring or even when I was here in December it worked perfectly. Right now it’s a no-go just because I have normal/combo skin.
  • I will be testing the new Diorskin Forever and Chanel Les Beiges cushions. Will keep you posted. I have tried the Lancome Cushion but it’s really heavy in coverage – too heavy for me.
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid is one of the most full coverage foundations I’ve tried, I do like the formula but it’s a bit too opaque for me on its own. I can wear it and find it has impressive lasting power in this heat but I need to mix it with a Strobe Cream or something along those lines to sheer it out for my coverage preference.

Some final thoughts and favorites:

  • Best foundation for me is anything from Tom Ford, but right now my favorite formula is definitely the Waterproof Foundation/Concealer. I used to use Bisque. Now I alternate between Natural (more neutral) and Sable (more olive/yellow).
  • Longest lasting matte base is the new Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion. If you have normal to dry skin definitely make sure your skin is well moisturized or add a hydrating primer. Reason for this is it’s medium to full coverage and matte formulas can emphasize lines. For me this one went on flawlessly without a primer but my skin is a bit more combination with the heat/humidity.
  • My most-used concealer is from NARS.
  • Best sheer/natural looking foundation is the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint.
  • Best new discoveries this year for me are the Diorskin Forever Foundation and Saturday Skin All Aglow Cushion.
  • I really can’t pick 1 favorite powder (sorry!) – it’s tie between the Charlotte Tilbury and Armani. If you want a flawless truly airbrushed look go with the Charlotte Tilbury. However shades areΒ  limited as there are only 3 so the next best option is Armani. The Armani has sheerer coverage with a brush.
  • For other touch ups and this heat I swear by the Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers. While my in-laws were visiting we went to Orlando. All of us were sweating with the heat, humidity and thunder showers. I kinda forced them to use these – even my husband didn’t want to use it, he looked at the little square and said “there’s no way that’s going to help.” I gave them 2 each and assured them it really would help and after they tried it I was really happy to find that they did feel a lot better after using them.

Finding a good base in truly humid weather is going to be a challenge and results will definitely vary depending where you are located. Even within the Tampa Bay area humidity levels vary depending on how close I am to the coast. We live in one of the canal areas and while we aren’t directly on the bay we can see if from our house. Temperatures just a few miles inland in certain areas fluctuate and since the weather changes by the hour here so there are some times and places where it’s so hot literally nothing will truly stay put.

For those who are looking for a new base to try I hope this gave you some good ideas. If you have any you swear by let me know in the comments!

Press samples featured include the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion, MAC Next to Nothing, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer, MAC Brush 140S Brush. All others purchased by me.

Base Makeup Beauty Tools MAC

MAC Next to Nothing Face Colour and Pressed Powder

April 30, 2017

MAC Next to Nothing Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

MAC recently launched a new line of base products for a natural look with new formulas of foundation, powder and two brushes in their Next to Nothing collection. The items are designed for a natural skin-like effect to give a radiant look to the face. I’ve found that over the years MAC base and powder formulas have been hit or miss for me. I have super sensitive skin and tried their Studio Fix Powder Foundation when I was in high school and it caused severe allergic reactions on my skin. To this day I approach their powders and foundations with caution only doing a patch test first. I can safely use their primers, skincare and some foundations without any issues and was thrilled to find that the Next to Nothing line works well for my super sensitive skin.

In the collection we have:

Next to Nothing Face Colour comes in 9 shades from Light to Dark Deep, my shade is either Medium or Medium Plus. This is a super sheer tinted cream foundation that allows the skin to breathe. It’s sheer but has enough pigment to even out the skin slightly. This is what I wanted the Make Up For Ever Waterblend Foundation to be (which broke me out and felt too sticky for my skin, I suspect I had an allergic reaction to the fragrance). The effect of the MAC Next to Nothing is similar to that of the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (which I’ve re-discovered and love) but the MAC is less dewy and not as moisturizing. If you need coverage this will probably not be the foundation for you, although you can definitely use this as a good base and then take a higher coverage foundation and layer on top for a more lightweight feel. There’s no detectable scent, it comes in a glass bottle with a pump, it’s easy to blend, it’s lightweight and lasts all day. Shades do run on the pinkish side but since the formula is sheer I was lucky that they worked on my yellow olive skin.

MAC Next to Nothing Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book MAC Next to Nothing Face Colour Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

The #141 Synthetic Face Fan Brush is an odd shaped brush designed for the foundation. It performs well and gives the face a streak-free foundation application. It’s soft without being pokey but I’m still very much a sponge person when it comes to foundation application. That being said it’s a very good brush, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you try it.

Next to Nothing Powder/Pressed comes in 9 color options. I received 3 as press samples but none of them were a match so I ordered two more sight unseen in Medium Plus and Medium Dark since I’ve been getting darker since moving to Florida. My Mineralize Skinfinish Natural shade is Medium Plus and in the Next to Nothing Powder I can wear either Medium Plus or Medium Dark. Right now I’m in between shades. This is a finely milled powder that has a lightweight finish. It is very soft to the touch with an almost creamy feel. On the skin it has a more natural looking finish compared to the Mineralize Skinfinish Powder. Next to Nothing also feels just like the name implies next to nothing. There is a very tiny bit of fine pearl in the powder so it blurs the skin. For me I feel like the shades swatch a little bit on the lighter side, they look lighter in my swatches compared to what I see in the pan, but they will adjust slightly on the skin as it warms up. They do not oxidize in color on me though. I really love this powder.

MAC Next to Nothing Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book MAC Next to Nothing Powder Review and Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Compared to some of my other favorites Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Powder #2, Armani Powder Foundation #4, and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Plus. If you asked me to pick one favorite, I would not be able to. I would say the sheerest is MAC Next to Nothing, Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation is what I use to set with a brush, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural feels a bit thicker compared to other powders due to the mineral finish. The Charlotte Tilbury has the fullest coverage for me.

Pressed Powder Charlotte Tilbury, Armani, MAC | The Beauty Look Book

#140 Synthetic Full Fan Brush is THE best thing in this collection and probably the best powder brush I’ve ever tried. I’m a huge fan of flatter powder brushes because I find they are easier to dust my entire face compared to a round brush. Flat brushes can be tricky for me though – some are too dense or too floppy. This one has the perfect density, shape, size and feel. I’m going to need to order a couple more – I like to have multiples for powders on hand for blending and application.

Overall as a sensitive skin person I’m thrilled to find that both the powder and foundation worked for me and did not cause any allergic reactions. I’m typically a medium to full coverage kind of girl for base products but my skin has improved over the years so I can get away with less coverage these days. Also with the heat in Florida I feel the need to find lighter weight products that will allow my skin to breathe. It’s only the start of spring and I know it will get warmer in the upcoming months. This will be one I use frequently even if I will still need to layer.

Have you tried these yet? If you’re a natural or sheer base kind of beauty lover, what other brands/formulas do you love? You can find the MAC Next to Nothing Collection available now. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and soon at Ulta Beauty.

Β 

MAC products provided as press samples for review. Two MAC powders purchased by me.

Base Makeup NARS

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer

February 17, 2017

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS launched a new concealer called the Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($30 for 0.21 oz) and being the fan that I am of their bases I knew I had to try it. To date the Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30 for 0.22 oz) has been one of my favorites for under the eye and around the nose to help with redness and create a more brighter more awake look. Since I tan easily and also because I use a different shade under the eyes versus spot concealing, I rotate between three shades. I used to mix Custard and Ginger together for my best match. Then NARS added another color in between which is Macadamia with slight peachy tones. This one is perfect for me as I actually prefer something with the tiniest bit of peach for under eyes. The warmth helps brighten the eye are for me. For the Soft Matte Complete Concealer, I ordered the same three shades. The colors are pretty close between formulas for the ones I bought, not identical but pretty close.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Soft Matte Complete Concealer offers full-coverage finish with a soft matte look. It’s oil free, light weight yet ultra pigmented so a little goes a long way. It feels creamy and soft to the touch, almost like it has just the slightest bit of bounce. I tried it under the eyes and on a few spots using the finger to dab and blend. Under the eyes it was like an instant eye lift with a blurring effect. It didn’t cake or darken and lasted all day (I did set with powder). For spots it didn’t cover them 100%, but I would say that it still did a really good job at covering them to about 85% of the way. For the corners around the nose it works well to reduce redness.

Color-wise these look a bit dark in the pot. Also side by side I thought they all looked the same in the container. Even when swatched on the back of my hand and arm I thought they were all going to be too dark but they actually work better than I expected on the face. I love that it blends effortlessly on the skin and even though the coverage is near full it still manages to look natural on the skin. I will say that I have normal combo skin – since it’s matte and opaque I do think if you have dry under eyes it could emphasize dry patches. In this case I would just make sure you have a good primer to hydrate the eye area (I like the Marc Jacobs Coconut Primer for dry skin days).

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer

3 shades of the matte formula swatched on the face, under eye area and along jawline, on the lips is Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ludwig:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Custard was too light for me, but I put Macadamia on one side and Ginger on the other, both look like they’re a good match, right now I have a slight preference for Macdamia:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Radiant Creamy Concealer has been a long-time go-to for me. I tend to prefer something with a tiny bit of radiance because I find it blends better on my skin type and also looks more natural. Matte often looks too opaque, too matte and therefore a bit fake on the skin. For years the Radiant Creamy Concealer was one of the few I could use under the eyes no matter what condition my skin was in regardless of season and weather. I still love it.

If I had to pick one, I would say Radiant Creamy wins because of the packaging and also because I like something a bit more creamy. I’m not the biggest fan of pots because they tend to get messy. I also really don’t like matte finishes because I find they don’t work the best with my skin – they tend to emphasize pores, imperfections and look cakey. However for a matte formula the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer is seriously impressive and I do think it’s worth owning even if you have the other formulas. I found it easy to blend, but that being said if you need something with a bit more slip to blend easier, go with (or stick with) the Radiant Creamy Concealer formula.

I didn’t swatch the Radiant Creamy one on the face as it blends out slightly sheerer so it’s a bit more forgiving color-wise. When I use any of the shades, Custard, Macadamia or Ginger, it blends to match the skin really well – it looks so natural you can barely tell there’s anything on the face. I do have side by sides of the corresponding shades in both formulas. You can see the difference in finish. Colors are pretty close but I feel the Radiant Creamy formula has slightly more yellow undertones.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line a solid win. Macadamia is the best match for me, but if I need a bit of brightening I can mix in some of the Custard to lighten or brighten certain areas. Since I tan easily I suspect Ginger will be a match within the next few months and as I’m often in between shades I don’t mind owning multiple colors so I can mix them as I transition between colors. I don’t know how I feel about the pot style. I’ve avoided this type of packaging for years and a quick look at my concealer stash shows that they are literally all either wands or twist/click up pens. I also don’t like that NARS does that matte almost velvety finish packaging on their face products because it gets dirty so easily. If you get any bit of concealer or cream product on it, it’s pretty much stuck there forever (I’ve tried getting it off, but it’s near impossible). It’s not a deal breaker though and that’s just me being picky.

You can find both the Soft Matte Complete Concealer and Radiant Creamy Concealer at all counters now. I bought the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer from Sephora. It’s also available at NARS, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and all other NARS counters.

Have you tried this one yet? What did you think? If not, what are your current go-to concealers?

P.S. I’m also testing out concealer formulas from Too Faced, Tarte and will compare them to Kat Von D in the next couple of weeks.

Save

Save

Base Makeup

Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation

February 2, 2017

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Review | The Beauty Look Book

Giorgio Armani Beauty launched a new full coverage foundation this month called Power Fabric ($64 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz). It comes in 20 shades, contains SPF25 and is designed to offer full matte coverage with a velvety texture. Some of you may remember my experience with Maestro Glow so with the new Power Fabric I was a bit nervous to put this on my face. I have extremely sensitive skin that is prone to irritation with certain ingredients, in particular scented face products. I have had good experiences with other Armani formulas over the years including Lasting Silk, Maestro, Crema Nuda and a few other formulas. Luminous Silk always looked amazing on my skin but I often found it too rich for my normal/combo skin type but it didn’t irritate me. Given the fact that most of the Armani formulas I’ve tried worked well with my skin, I decided to try the new Power Fabric with an open mind and am glad to report that after a full week of testing I have no break outs, no irritation and no signs of tiny little bumps occured. For any foundation that I am allergic to, bump and redness surface pretty quickly, usually within 1 day.

Armani Power Fabric Foundation | The Beauty Look Book

I received samples of the Power Fabric which was a nice unexpected surprise, but all four colors were too light. Shade 4 was 90% close but just a tad too light. I went to my local counter to investigate and left with Shade 5 and 6. They had no testers so I took a guess based on what the bottles looked like even though the packaging has frosted glass. My perfect color is a mix of Shade 4 and 6, Shade 5 isn’t really in between as you might expect but rather a more pink version of Shade 4.

Application is really easy. I can apply smoothly with fingers, a sponge or a brush. I’ve been using the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush to buff it into the skin and it blends to a streak-free finish with hardly any effort. Coverage is full and matte without looking flat or powdery. Something many of you may not know is that I have quite a lot of freckles. I’ve found it amusing to see faux freckle tutorials and videos surface these days because I’ve always tried to cover up my freckles. I did a lot of swimming and outdoor sports in my high school days and even though it was many many years ago, I was exposed to a lot of sun. Even with sunscreen I got a lot of freckles and sun spots. The foundation covers up any uneven areas and does a pretty good job at covering darker spots. I don’t need concealer with this foundation although if you have dark under eye circles you will probably still need a dab underneath the eyes.

I love the packaging style – I think all foundations that aren’t in squeeze tubes should come with pumps. Swatches of the shades I have. 2, 3, 3.5 and 4 were sent for review. 5 and 6 purchased by me.

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Before and after application. For reference all photos are taken in natural light indoors. I do use a flash on the camera sometimes. Below on the left is my bare skin. Foundation colors shown worn include the Armani Power Fabric Shades 4 and 6 mixed together – I pump out 1 pump of each color on the back of my hand, mix with a brush and apply to the face. A little goes a long way – but you can build coverage easily without it looking cakey. Foundation brush shown is the Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush. Last photo on the right is just with foundation applied – no concealer or powder was used to set or finish.

Armani Power Fabric Foundation 4 and 6 mixed | The Beauty Look Book

Comparison swatches:

  • Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation in Light and Beige – I used to be Beige but am lighter now so use the Light shade (Beige reviewed in this post here), this formula is a lot sheerer with a natural dewy finish
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundations in NC25, NC30, NC35 and NC37 – so many of you asked me what my MAC shade was I tried to find a match, since I tan easily my skin tone can be all over the place, NC25 is just the slightest bit too light but is the closest color for me right now, NC30 is really olive on my skin, NC35 is too dark right now and NC37 is best for me when I’m just the slightest bit darker, coverage with this formula is more opaque and thicker in feel/finish compared to the Armani

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Comparison swatches set 2:

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Based on comments from some readers – many of you suspected that I had an allergic reaction to the Maestro Glow because of the high alcohol content. I took a look at the ingredients of the Power Fabric which also contains alcohol but it’s a bit lower on the list so perhaps the lower dose is why I can wear this one without any irritation.

Ingredients of the Armani Power Fabric Foundation:

Armani Power Fabric Foundation Ingredients | The Beauty Look Book

Armani Power Fabric Foundation | The Beauty Look Book

I’m in between shades and would have preferred to find an exact match with 1 color, but I really like the way it performed. A note on the shades – when you apply it does look a bit lighter than what you see because of the SPF. Let it sit for a minute and it will adjust but not so much that it oxidizes. Finding a shade can be tricky though. It’s been years since I’ve used Armani foundations so I don’t know what shade I am in others like Luminous Silk etc. I’m in between colors but right now I’m unfortunately in between colors for most brands of foundations. I’ve been out of the sun for a while now and have completely lost my tan – no tan lines anywhere now so I’m probably at the lightest I will get. The relatively cold weather (cold for Southern California) and rain has forced me to spend more time indoors compared to what I am used to. I suspect that will change once the weather warms up though.

If you have sensitive skin like me and are more savvy at understanding ingredients – I hope the box helps. If you have tried this would love to hear your thoughts. I really like it and love how much coverage it gives the skin without looking cakey. It truly lasts all day with minimal touch ups needed – I usually need a little dab of powder on the nose mid-day. Formula-wise I give it a solid thumbs up.

You can find the Armani Power Fabric Foundation at counters now. Available online at Giorgio Armani, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora and all other Armani retailers.

Power Fabric shades 2, 3, 3.5 and 4 provided as press samples. Shades 5 and 6 purchased by me.

Save

Save

Base Makeup Dior

The Perfect Base with Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation

November 30, 2016

Diorskin Air Flash

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation and am excited to team up with Dior Beauty to re-visit it this month. With the holiday season in full swing finding base makeup that covers the face entirely, photographs well with a flash, lasts a long time and still looks natural can be a challenge. I have normal to combination skin and even when I set my base with a good powder I usually find I need a quick touch up at least 2 times a day. I like a base that has visible coverage but sometimes fuller coverage foundations can feel thick or look flat. Formulas have improved across brands over the years with better lasting power, lighter textures and unique glowy finishes, but the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation is hands down among the best of bases that hits all the marks on what I want: long lasting, photographs well with flash, covers the face entirely but looks natural.

Diorskin Air Flash

The Airflash comes in an aerosol spray can and dispenses an ultra fine even layer of foundation in a mist. It gives the skin an airbrushed finish. Simply shake it for a few seconds, hold about 6 inches from the face and spray from the top down in a zig-zag motion. There can be a bit of a learning curve to figure out exactly how far to hold it from your face when you spray it – I sometimes wear a band around my hairline to keep the hair back and out of the way. After spraying I’ve blend a bit with a sponge or a brush. You can also add more on areas by spraying the product directly on the brush and patting on the face. Any tool will work but I just discovered the Backstage Buffing Brush #18 and it has the perfect density and angled shape to blend out foundation to a flawless streak-free smooth finish. For color matching, in the past I’ve been a match to the shade 300 Medium Beige, but right now I’m a better match to 201 Linen.

Diorskin Air FlashDiorskin Air Flash

Below is a closer look at the spray foundation with the Backstage Buffing Brush #18. It’s the perfect size for smoothing across the face. So many foundation buffing brushes are on the smaller side, this one has a larger head which makes it easier to swipe in larger motions.

Diorskin Airflash and Buffing Brush 18

Swatches below with the Airflash Spray Foundation in 201 (color I’m wearing in photos) and 300. Over the past few months I’ve also been using the Capture Totale Dreamskin Cushion and mix 020 and 030 – I initially thought it was a foundation but was told by a few reps that it’s actually part of their skincare line and can be used as a primer or just a regular tint. It’s swatched heavily below but the cushion is significantly lighter in coverage and very sheer. Let me know if you want a dedicated review on the cushions.

Diorskin Airflash vs Dreamskin Cushion Swatches

Below on the left is me wearing just the Airflash Foundation in 201 and a bit of the Dior Lip Glow in Lilac to prep the lips, photographed without flash. For me the Airflash has enough coverage to cover dark under eye circles most of the time. There are some days where I do need extra coverage so I’ll layer on something under the eyes or around the nose. Below you can see that with just the foundation everything looks like it’s covered. Everything as in my acne scars on the chin and freckles and sunspots on my cheeks aren’t visible.

On the right side is the base with some color added. This photograph is taken with a flash to show that the foundation doesn’t give a white glare or cast that you see with some other foundations. This makes it a great one to wear for holiday gatherings, dinners or parties. You won’t have to worry about getting holiday photos with your face looking garishly white in contrast to your neck or body.

Diorskin Airflash 201 Linen

Makeup worn is with a light hand and everything blended, products shown below as well. What I’m wearing:

Dior Beauty Holiday Glow Natural Beauty Look

Right now Dior.com has a special online promo where you can get a mini kabuki brush with any Airflash foundation purchase. The packaging is always exquisite – if you’re looking for a place that will wrap and package everything perfectly, Dior has it all covered.

Dior Holiday Packaging and Airflash GWP

Diorskin Air Flash

Bottom line I think the Diorskin Airflash is a classic. In the past few weeks I tried it without any setting powder – we’ve been having dry weather and air here (even with the rain) so my skin hasn’t been as oily as normal. I almost always set with a powder but the Airflash lasted an impressive amount of time without it. It’s one I’ll be wearing all holiday long because it performs well and truly holds up all day long. It gets extra points from me for covering my skin entirely while still looking natural.

Have you tried the Diorskin Airflash? What color do you use? If not what’s your go-to base for holiday photographs or gatherings? You can find the Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation for $62 at Dior.com.

This post was sponsored by Dior. As always all opinions my own.

Save

Save

Save

Base Makeup Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter

October 31, 2016
Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter

Laura Mercier added two new items to her Candleglow Collection with a Sheer Perfecting Powder ($38 for 9 g / 0.3 oz) and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter ($32 for 2.2 ml/ 0.07 fl oz). I received some press samples but also ordered one of the powders sight unseen online as I was unsure of what color I would be. The color options are on the small side with six powders and seven concealer shades but I will say up front the range is pretty wide – if you have medium to deep skin tone I think there’s a good chance there will be a match for you.

I reviewed her Candleglow Foundation earlier this year back in February and still find it to be a very good for giving medium natural-looking coverage with a dewy but not too dewy finish. I still am in between shades and have to mix colors (I mix Dusk and Golden, although there is a possibility there is a better match – I just haven’t had a chance to reinvestigate). The Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powders have a soft finish which makes the colors more forgiving if you don’t have a 100% exact match.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

I can use either #1 or #2 to set my foundation and I am beyond obsessed
with both. The color difference is noticeable on my face if I apply one
on each side to set. Dusted and applied to the whole face both give the
face a gorgeous flawless finish that is matte and radiant at the same
time. There are shimmer particles to the powders which are apparent with
a heavy swatch. On the face it gives a subtle glow much like the
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light or Diffused Light. I
think the colors for the Laura Mercier Candleglow powders work better
for my skintone compared to the Hourglass ones in terms of setting
powders.

Lasting power is very good and it stays put well. After a few hours I don’t look like a greaseball. It has a forgiving finish like the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour powders. #3 is too dark to set for all over the face but I can use it as a soft wearable contour to warm up the complexion.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

Swatched with a heavy hand to show the color which makes the shimmer glow more apparent. On the face when dusted with any powder brush the shimmer is softer for a very natural glow:

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder - The Beauty Look Book

Some comparisons for packaging and also color:

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder vs Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - The Beauty Look Book

To date the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder in #2 is my holy grail setting pressed powder because it really does give the skin a flawless finish, doesn’t darken and doesn’t make the face look flat. Now that I’ve tried the Laura Mercier it is now tied as my second favorite pressed setting powder. Swatches next to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders in Dim Light and Diffused Light. I added the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Bronze #2 to compare below.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder vs Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - The Beauty Look Book

Up next are the Candleglow Concealer and Highlighters. These come in a click-type of pen applicator with a puffy sponge tip. My best match is #2 which is an exact match for my under eye area. For this one, the coverage is medium in coverage under eyes and the applicator is very soft to the touch. It has a hydrating glowy feel but isn’t heavy. I have mixed feelings about this one – for my undereye area it just doesn’t offer enough coverage. Texture wise it’s good. There are few concealers I can wear under my eye area because most look super patchy or emphasize fine lines and end up making my skin look dry and aged. The Candleglow works well to covers dark circles and brightens and the fact that it has a dewy finish makes it so it feels nice and blends well and does not look dry. I just need more visible coverage so this one is not for me right now.

To use as a highlighter on the face works better for me, however given the packaging design I think layering it on the face, especially if you layer over foundation will get the applicator dirty fast. I suspect it might be easy to clean off with a bit of cleansing water and cotton pad.
If you’re one who finds you only need a little bit of extra coverage this is a nice one to check out. If you need more noticeable coverage, I’d say opt for the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealers or NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers instead.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter - The Beauty Look Book

Swatch comparisons below to MAC Prolongwear Concealer in NC35, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard, Macadamia, Ginger, Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher #3 (which is too dark for me now) and Natasha Denona Eye Light #2.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Concealer Highlighter vs NARS MAC Natasha Denona - The Beauty Look Book

Overall I’m 100% in love with the new Candleglow Sheer Setting Powders. I love the finish, the subtle barely there glow, the lasting power and color selection. They have the perfect glowy finish that won’t give you that frosted look and I really like that they are sheer and natural but not invisible. The Concealers are ok – I think finding the right concealer depends on so many factors such as skin type, coverage preference and skin tone. For me they aren’t my favorite. I don’t think they are bad, I just prefer more coverage when it comes to concealers. (Ingredients are listed on each page on Sephora.)

You can find both the Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder and Candleglow Concealer and Highlighter at Laura Mercier counters now. Online at Laura Mercier, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

Laura Mercier Candleglow Setting Powders and Candleglow Concealers provided for review consideration. Powder #3 purchased by me.