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Giorgio Armani

Base Makeup

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 naturally  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

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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

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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

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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 are  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.

What's In My Bag

What’s In My Bag

April 9, 2017

What's In My Bag | The Beauty Look Book

It’s been a little over a month since we moved to Florida and I cannot believe how fast time flies! I’ve been sharing snippets of our weekly explorations of Tampa on Instagram Stories and I’m touched by those who’ve sent kind words of support and even restaurant recommendations. This move has been such a huge change for me as I’ve lived in California most of my life. Living in the south is such a new and different experience but change can be good and my husband and I are loving it so far. Yesterday I shared a quick what’s in my bag video on Instagram – I received so much positive feedback I thought I’d do a post on it in case you missed it. One thing that has surprised us about Tampa is that the city seems a lot bigger and more spread out than we expected. On days (primarily weekends) where we are out and about it feels like we are out for extended periods of time and because of this I’ve found it necessary to pack an extra set of clothes in the trunk since temperatures can change a lot. I’ve also had to pack some extra things in my bag since making a quick trip home isn’t always an efficient option time-wise.

I do switch up my bag contents frequently and I don’t always carry this much with me but let’s call this my weekend out and about edition of what’s inside my bag. A look at what was inside my Neverful MM bag yesterday:

Inside My Bag Truffle Pouches | The Beauty Look Book

So up first are some tech things. By popular request I’ll be doing an updated camera post on what I use to shoot my blog photos. I did one a few years ago but have since acquired a couple more cameras. My long-time favorite was the Sony NEX-6 but it was discontinued. It has held up for a long time and I love it but unfortunately dropped it and broke the lens. It is an easy replacement but since newer models have come out, I decided to try the Sony Alpha 5100 because it has a flip screen and a slightly smaller body. Review on this soon, but first impressions are that I like the design and features of the NEX-6 a lot better because of the viewfinder, dial and option for external flash. (The current version is the Alpha 6000.) Another camera I’ve used for a long time is the Canon G16, another model that has been discontinued. The more popular version which is the closest equivalent is the G7x Mark II which has the flip screen option for vlogging or selfies.

So inside my bag yesterday I carried two cameras to test outdoors. For my Sony I have an older leather camera case, similar options here and here. For my Canon I never bought a proper case. It usually stays in good condition if I put it inside my purse alone, but since I’ve been carrying more sunscreen and mini perfumes (to reduce swelling for bug bites if I get them), I try to protect it a bit more. I’ve found the Glossier bubble pouches are a cheap quick fix for now. Also inside my bag is a Gucci Card Case, iPhone case is from Gray Malin, sunglasses are by Marc Jacobs (currently 25% off at Nordstrom).

Inside My Bag, Sony Alpha 5100, Canon G16, Gucci Card Case | The Beauty Look Book

For body, skincare and makeup, I find that pouches by Truffle are essential to keeping everything organized. I tend to prefer open totes and have found that things can get cluttered and messy without dividers. I should invest in a separate purse insert/divider but for years I’ve loved the clear pouches for almost anything and everything.

Truffle Clarity Clutch Small and Mini | The Beauty Look Book

I have an older style of the Truffle Small Clarity Clutch (older ones had the red trim, current version has a white trim) to carry hand creams, skincare and sunscreen. In this weekend’s bag I had the Molton Brown Hand Cream in Pink Pepperpod, Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (mini from this set), Fresh Sugar Sport Sunscreen (for my husband) and the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray with SPF50. I’ve still been putting a number of sunscreens to the test. I’ve found Shiseido comes highly recommended by a lot of my readers but I’ve never found a sunscreen I could convince myself to buy because the creams have a white cast. The spray version is clear and today it did a pretty good job at protecting me and by the end of the day I had no reaction or bumps like I get with most brands of sunscreen.

I also like to use the Truffle Mini Pouches because they’re more compact. Other items include the Commodity Travel Spray in Bergamot (thanks to some readers who recommended I try this brand!), Tatcha Blotting Papers, Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation (I’m still shade #4), Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade, YSL Tint-in-Balm (swatched here), Tom Ford Lip Balm (review here) and Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist (travel size).

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my bag! So many of you were so sweet on my Instastories I wanted to share it in a blog post. If there’s anything else you want to see on Instagram let me know. I’m new to taking video clips but I’m having lots of fun with it. Some quick notes on what’s coming up soon on the blog: an updated skincare routine (since my skin has become a lot drier since moving to Florida), sunscreen roundup (might be another week though), some more Tom Ford goodness (new fragrance, a look at the Paradiso Eye Duo and thoughts on one of the body sprays), thoughts on the new MAC Next to Nothing foundation and some loves in body care/home. Basically a little bit of everything!

Since moving to Tampa from San Diego, both my husband and I have experienced dryness in skin and hair. We’re not really sure what the cause is as we expected to be more oily with the heat and humidity. We’ve both been drinking plenty of water, we’ve made an effort to have as little sun exposure as possible, but this is kinda impossible in Florida, we’ve been eating healthy – if you have any insight on what could be the cause let me know in the comments. I suspect it could be the difference in water, but we’re both baffled!

Press samples featured include the Tom Ford Lip Balm, Truffle Clarity Clutch (small, older style) and Molton Brown hand cream.

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.

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On My Radar

On My Radar / New in Beauty

January 6, 2017

New Beauty Launches for Spring 2017 Diptyque Rosamundi, Chanel Le Rouge Crayon, Armani Powder Fabric, Tatcha Essence and more

Happy Friday! New beauty launches have started to trickle in and there are a few things on my radar this week. Most brands have yet to launch their spring color collections but I’m eager to see what everyone has in store for the season. Chanel launched theirs first with the Coco Codes and I’m loving everything so far.

  1. Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur ($37 each) just launched online at Chanel with eleven color options, these are jumbo crayons for the lips and are retractable, I will have a review and swatches on these in the upcoming weeks
  2. Guerlain Happy Glow Pearls ($74) and Happy Glow Blush ($54) just launched, I think there are a few additional items launching for spring but these are the only two I could find so far, they look so pretty!
  3. Giorgio Armani Powder Fabric Foundation ($64) is Armani’s latest in base launches, I’m really intrigued by this and have high hopes for it to work for my skin type, I’m not sure when it launches in stores but will be keeping my eye out to see if I can find a good color match
  4. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm ($18) comes in stick form now! I love the tube version formula in Smashed, so I ordered the stick, it arrived yesterday and the testing will start this weekend
  5. KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask ($24.99 for a 5 pack) from Violet Grey is something my bestie texted me asking, “have you tried this yet???” – I have not but the concept is intriguing so I had to order to test it out, I will definitely keep you posted! I don’t know how I feel about a sheet mask for the lips but I’m super curious!
  6. Tatcha just launched a new product called The Essence ($95) which is a resurfacing softener, when it comes to essence or softening lotions I have to say that I’m 100% confused about what they’re supposed to do, when to use them and what the difference is between the options, I’ve tried the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence which did help improve texture and softness of my skin (I got lazy and stopped using it after I used up my minis), alternatively one of my friends swears by the La Mer Treatment Lotion which is also another softener – if you have any insight on essences or lotions I would love some insight!
  7. Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets ($34) have launched in 14 shades online at Sephora and Nordstrom, I have five that I ordered and will be swatching and reviewing them as fast as I can for you
  8. beautyblender just launched their beautyblender bubble ($20) and micro.mini bubble ($18) as a Sephora exclusive to celebrate their 15th Anniversary, they sent a lovely package over the holiday and I can’t wait to use them!
  9. Diptyque launches a special-edition Rosamundi Candle ($35 to $68) for Spring 2017, review to follow soon on this beautiful launch
  10. Charlotte Tilbury launched four Quick N Easy Sets ($75 each) designed with an edited selection of beauty products to create a look in 5 minutes, I’ll have these reviewed next week and will be hosting a giveaway so stay tuned for the post and details!

Have a wonderful Friday! What’s on your beauty radar right now?

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Haircare Skincare

Best Skincare and Haircare Discoveries 2016

December 30, 2016

Best Skincare and Haircare 2016

Today I’m rounding up my top picks in skincare and haircare for the year. I discovered a lot of great items for my sensitive skin – it was a challenge to narrow it down to such an edited list. I used up quite a bit over the course of the year – to do a post listing all the items I used and repurchased in the last 12 months would be quite extensive. Part of me wanted to do a favorites roundup for every category, perhaps I’ll do one in the new year, but for now here’s are my top picks:

Haircare

Face Cleanser and Toner

  • Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion is a toner I discovered a few months ago, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin to balance and soothe, it’s available in two sizes and I bought the full size as well – wish I had discovered it sooner! Now I don’t have to spend $90 to replenish my La Mer The Tonic because I’ve found a great alternative
  • Glamglow Supercleanse Daily Clearing Cleanser (review here) is a mud to foam cleanser, it’s the best clarifying one that helps absorb excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts, in the summer I use this daily in the evenings or post-workout, during non-hot months I use this 2-3x per week
  • Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash (reviewed here) is the cleanser I reach for the most and have repurchased the most, best gentle everyday cleanser I’ve tried that doesn’t dry out the skin but still leaves it clean, I’ve tried all of her cleansers and they are all great (yes ALL of them) but this one is the best for me for daily use (my brother loves this one as well), she just launched an EradiKate Cleanser and I rarely say this these days but this is something I absolutely feel the NEED TO TRY, it’s in my shopping cart right now

Face Mask

  • Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask (reviewed here) one of my favorite purifying masks that’s still gentle
  • Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment (reviewed here) a stronger option but draws out all excess oil and helps clear up the skin, if you have broken skin or extremely sensitive skin, I’d recommend using this as a spot treatment or patch test first

Moisturizers

Night Treatments – as someone who has extra sensitive skin, I cannot use most creams with any Vitamin C or Retinol without peeling or redness, Kate Somerville is one of the best lines for me in terms of night treatments

Extras

  • Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector (reviewed here) best primer I tried this year and I’m kinda an anti-primer girl because they usually don’t do anything for my skin to extend makeup wear time
  • Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover (reviewed here) is the key product I use to keep my cuticles looking groomed and healthy, I know an updated hand and nail care post is long overdue – I’ll do a 2017 version in the new year
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade (also featured here and here) one of the best nourishing treatments, it’s so good I bought a second one to keep in my purse and one to keep at  home
  • Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (review here and here) combines hyaluronic acid and oxygen to help prevent wrinkles and give the skin a more even looking texture, this is probably the best thing I have discovered in skincare
  • Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is the best pimple treatment, the key is to use it the minute you feel something start to surface and don’t use it on open wounds or broken skin, my husband uses this and it makes me giggle when we have matching pink spots on our faces at night because it looks so ridiculous, but it works!
  • Kiehl’s Scented Hand Cream Trio 2 of 3 shown is part of a limited-edition set exclusive to Neiman Marcus, you can find the three scents available in larger sizes individually as well or in the original unscented-version
  • Lano Lips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm in Strawberry (reviewed here) is tied with the Dior Pomade for best lip balm discovery of the year
  • Lavanila Deodorant is the only deodorant I’ve used for the past two years, I don’t sweat a lot so I can’t report on that aspect, but I love that it’s natural, keeps odor away and lasts all day long for me, I’ve tried around 4 different scents by now and all of them were great, the travel-sized ones are perfect to throw in the purse or to travel with

In the upcoming year I plan to be more diligent about testing and using eye creams. I’ve gone through a few this year but did not use them on a regular basis (mainly because I was lazy). I know with the eyes, wrinkle prevention and sun protection are key so I need to stop procrastinating and start acting now! If you have any recommendations for someone who is 35 years old (me) let me know in the comments and I will be forever grateful.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I feel as though I left out quite a few good discoveries but tried to keep the list to under 30 products so I wouldn’t end up regurgitating the entire year of blog posts for hair care and skin care.

What were your 2016 favorites in skincare and hair care?

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Armani Lips

Giorgio Armani Lip Magnets Part II: 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507

December 28, 2016

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches

I featured six of the Armani Lip Magnets back in October of this year and many of you asked for more swatches of the colors that fall in the neutral zone. For those who haven’t tried these yet the Armani Lip Magnets are a unique weightless non-drying liquid lipstick that offer beautiful long lasting coverage. I’m more of a gloss or sheer lipstick kind of person for texture and finish. Even though liquid lipsticks last a lot longer most formulas tend to look dry, too opaque, flat or darken drastically on my lips. The Armani Lip Magnets are hands down the best in formula for a natural looking liquid lipstick that dries down to a soft matte finish without that dried-out look. Unfortunately for those who only wear light neutrals or nudes all the colors pull on the dark or deep side. Even the ones that fall in the “natural” category are all rather deep. The color in the tubes can look a little bit misleading in my opinion. Some of the shades look like they could be true neutrals but once you see them on the applicator and swatch you’ll find the colors are a bit on the deeper spectrum of color. Still there are some lovely shades to chose from. I’m not opposed to having a rosy lip or coral pop of color on the lips even though I tend to gravitate towards lighter neutrals. The formula is so good I think it’s definitely worth a try. I do hope Armani expands the color range into lighter territory – the formula is so unique and the perfect liquid lip texture/finish for the person who just doesn’t like the dried opaque feel or look of the traditional liquid lipstick. You can read my original review on formula in this post here. Quick take: it’s long-lasting, unscented, has a unique applicator for precise lining and the ability to fill in the lips, has full coverage, feels weightless and is non-drying.

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 naturals

I bought five more shades to review, I searched a number of websites and it appears 506 and 507 are on backorder until January at most retailers. You may still have luck finding it at your counters.

  • 503 is described as a reddish peach, on me it’s a bright coral
  • 504 is probably the lightest and most neutral out of the current lineup, but it pulls peachy and
  • 505 is a medium-bright rose pink
  • 506 is a soft natural rose (also reviewed in the original post), depending on your lip color it may pull more pink or rose, on me it’s a slightly deeper rose
  • 507 is the perfect mauve plum for me, most mauves are either too red, too grey or too purple, this one is PERFECT!

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 naturals

For skintone reference, Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation in Bisque + NARS Powder Foundation in Punjab to set worn, all lip colors swatched on bare lips, no liner or base used:

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 503

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 505

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 506

Armani Lip Magnet Swatch 507

Armani Lip Magnet Review and Swatches 503, 504, 505, 506 and 507 naturals

The Lip Magnet lip swatches lined up side by side:

Armani Lip Magnet Swatches

My favorite for color is still #506 with #507 tied for my perfect plum. Formula-wise these are among the best I’ve tried in liquid lipsticks because they have a soft matte finish, they don’t dry out the lips, they have a nourishing feel but don’t have any slip, they last a remarkably long time, they don’t budge and coverage is perfect. For those who don’t like scented lip products the fact that these are unfragranced is a huge plus. If Armani expands the formula to include a few lighter shades I would be thrilled. Bottom line a winning formula.

I hope you found these swatches helpful! You can find the Armani Lip Magnets for $38 each. There are 18 colors total at the moment. Available in stores and online at Giorgio Armani Beauty, Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.

Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

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Giorgio Armani Lip Magnets

October 24, 2016
Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Fall always seems to be a very popular season for new lip launches and Armani’s latest is the Lip Magnet ($38 each for 3.9 ml/.13 fl oz). These are long-lasting liquid lip products that have a matte finish but a slight lip gloss feel. There are eighteen colors total and I received a lovely box of six to play with. They are super pigmented, unscented, extremely long lasting and bold in color.

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Based on what I’ve seen I do think most of the shades are bold or deep, even the natural ones tend to pull a bit darker than nude or natural. The texture is very lightweight for a matte opaque finish lip product and they are not drying. Armani describes these having a “second-skin” effect with a formula that has a “gradual evaporation phenomenon” and a finish that is “four times thinner than a liquid lip color.” Lasting power is indeed excellent – they stay put and look fresh for hours after application. For someone who snacks throughout the day frequently and goes through coffee, tea and water a lot, I’m always having to reapply lip colors. These last through all kinds of eating. There’s no budging, or migrating from the lips. Some of the color will transfer to a cup or straw but for the most part the color stays true to the initial application for a long time.

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Many liquid lipsticks dry out my lips. These do not. One of the best things about the Armani Lip Magnets is the packaging. They come in short little tubes which are just so so cute. The applicator is unique compared to anything I’ve seen – they are almost like a calligraphy pen where there’s a well in the center to gather the liquid product. The ends are sponge tipped to a point for precise and smooth application.

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

The colors I have to review are primarily bold and deep shades:

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

300 is a bright peachy coral
302 is a classic warm red
400 is a deeper true red
500 is a fuschia pink
506 is a nude rose
601 is a vampy plum

Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book

Each one swatched on bare lips, for color reference I’m wearing the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation Concealer in Bisque set with NARS Powder Foundation in Punjab:

Armani Lip Magnet Lip Swatches - The Beauty Look Book

If you like bold lip colors I think you’ll find a lot to love with the Armani Lip Magnets. As a nude lip lover 506 is the lightest and most natural color I received to try out. These are currently exclusive online to Giorgio Armani Beauty and also available at Sephora but are expected to launch at all other counters in the next couple weeks so I have not been able to see if there are any other light/natural shades to pick from. 506 pulls more rose and deep on my lips compared to what I see in the tube which makes for a good fall neutral. By comparison to a few other matte-finish, liquid lipsticks or velvet-finish lip products:
  • Chanel Rouge Allure Ink is sheerer and lightweight in texture, most of the colors pull extremely bright with the exception of Amoureux (swatched here), the Armani Lip Magnets are bold but not garish and have a more classic glamourous feel which I think are easier to wear
  • YSL Vinyl Cream Lip Stain (three swatched here) are for the most part bright and bold like the Armani Lip Magnets but the YSL has more of a cream almost gel-like finish with a sheen, Armani has a more matte finish and more coverage
  • Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks (two swatched here) are also thicker with an almost flat-looking finish
  • Diorific Matte Velvet Color Lip and Cheek Fluids (reviewed here) have a slightly thicker almost cushiony feel to the lips with a more natural sheen
Armani Lip Magnet - The Beauty Look Book
On the nails Chanel Gitane
My favorite of course is 506, but I also like the look of 300. The formula and packaging are both on point. As a nude lip lover I am hoping there might be one or two more neutrals to choose from. All eighteen shades are available now online at Giorgio Armani Beauty, Sephora and for pre-order at Barneys New York. I expect they will launch at Armani counters and in other stores by early November which is just around the corner. $38 each.

Have you seen or tried these yet? If yes, which colors?

Armani Lip Magnets provided courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty for review.