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Giorgio Armani

Base Makeup

New Base Testing from Hourglass, Armani and Kosas

April 10, 2019

Foundation Testing Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Liquid, Armani Power Fabric Balm, Kosas Tinted Face Oil Review

Finding a good makeup base is something I always get questions about and I have three newer formulas to review today. It’s taken me a while to try some of them because I’ve had several allergic reactions to product this year. Testing a number of things on my face on any given week can be tricky so I had to wait for skin to recover and retest just the foundations to check it all out. The good news is that none of these foundations caused my allergic reaction. If you have sensitive skin check the ingredients and do a patch test first. For those curious I was allergic to some of the Dr. Bronner liquid soaps that I used to wash my sponges in and a couple sunscreens I put on my face (more on the sunscreens later because I have a dedicated roundup for those). The three I’m reviewing today include:

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Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Liquid in Nude Review

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation ($56) launched earlier this year. So many of you have loved the Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick and were excited about the liquid version. It has very mixed reviews online and I also have mixed feelings. The Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid is an opaque full coverage foundation with a velvety matte finish. I feel any time a foundation is a full matte + full coverage it’s not forgiving because you need an exact match and often times it can emphasize imperfections. This is not an easy foundation to wear but it is workable if you can find a good match. The trick to applying is to use very little and buff with their Vanish Foundation Brush. Most of the time I really prefer sponges but with this one even a damp sponge will pick up too much product. Color matching was tricky for me because a lot of the shades run really yellow/olive. I consider myself yellow/golden but many of the shades are too yellow for me. My best match is Nude which you can see below blends and darkens slightly to give a perfect match right now.

It’s described as a base that doesn’t need primer, but I 100% think it needs one. It works well with the Hourglass Veil Primer and less than 1 full pump is enough to dot my face and apply all over. Once buffed and blended with their brush it covers my skin entirely. Most of my sun spots and freckles aren’t visible. It looks seamless but matte. Setting with a power is essential and the best one to use with this is their lightweight Veil Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Since it’s opaque and matte adding some other matte powders can make it look too matte.

For me it lasted all day without budging – I did need to use a primer and buff with the brush. Without a primer or applied with a sponge it started to look very cakey within a few hours.

Bare skin vs. Vanish Seamless Liquid Foundation in Nude (no concealer or powder). A few other makeup products added including the Hourglass Arch Brow Gel in Soft Brunette, L’Oreal Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara, Confession Lipstick in I Woke Up, Tee by Reformation.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Liquid in Nude Review

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Foundation Nude

Swatches of a few shades, plus Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion in Buff (to show how yellow the Hourglass colors run):

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Liquid Foundation Swatches in Warm Ivory, Nude, Sand and Beige

Ingredients from Sephora:

Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Isoamyl Laurate, Caprylyl Methicone, Mica, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Quaternium-90 Bentonite, C10-18 Triglycerides, Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax, Caprylyl Glycol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Hexylene Glycol, Jojoba Esters, Polyglycerin-3, Propylene Carbonate, Quartz, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Gluconate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Iron Oxides (Ci 77891, Ci 77492, Ci 77491), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77499).

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Kosas Tinted Face Oil

Kosas Tinted Face Oil Review Shade 6

The Kosas Tinted Face Oil ($42) has received a lot of attention from you! It’s very fluid as it is an oil so I apply straight to a sponge. Applying on the back of my hand or fingers results in a very runny drippy mess. I didn’t know what to expect from an oil as a foundation, especially living in humid Florida and having combination skin I was pretty skeptical about this. My match is Shade 6. It has surprisingly decent coverage given how sheer and fluid it is. It’s not as sheer as the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, but the Kosas is still sheer-medium. Once on the skin it will look very dewy. I have to set with a powder otherwise it’s too dewy. I like to use this on no-makeup makeup days or for the beach when I need just a little coverage. Most days I feel like I need and want coverage so for me this is not an everyday kind of product. Being an oil it’s not really budge-proof and it will require touch ups if you’re outdoors. On me it will last for hours without issue if I’m indoors for most of the day. I do need to set with a powder and a couple of touch ups are necessary. I can layer concealer on top for more coverage and it does make the skin look very nice and fresh, but I need powder otherwise it’s really too dewy for my preference.

Bare skin on the right. On the left added brows and mascara with Chanel Rouge Coco Flash in Jour but the skin has just the tinted oil on it, no concealer or powder.

Ingredients from their website:

Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Octyldodecanol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Silica, Kaolin, Mica, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Tocopherol, Limnanthen Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera (Tea) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, May Contain [+/-] Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77499, 77491, 77492)

Kosas Tinted Face Oil in Shade 6

Some swatches of shades 5, 6 and 7:

Kosas Tinted Face Oil 5, 6 and 7

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Armani Power Fabric Foundation Balm

Armani Power Fabric Balm Foundation review in 6.5

The Armani Power Fabric Foundation Balm ($64) came highly recommended by several friends. I would like to test it more but I’ve received so many questions I thought I’d give you my first impressions. Initial thoughts are that it is very good, but I think other formulas are better. It’s a solid balm foundation that has a semi-velvety matte finish. Coverage is very good. On me it’s nearly full coverage but still manages to look like skin. I ordered the color 6.5 which is a pretty good match, it pulls a little more on the neutral side versus the Luminous Silk or Power Fabric Liquid 6.5 (both are more golden). I would have preferred it to be a little more golden but it works one blended. Pros are that it makes the skin look really nice, even and smooth with good coverage. I applied with the sponge applicator it comes with and it doesn’t absorb too much product. It looks like skin but a lot better. The downsides for me are that it can emphasize dry patches or texture and after 5-6 hours or so it separates if I don’t set with a good powder. I need to experiment with different primers but with either the Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream or Drunk Elephant Polypeptide Moisturizer it looks good on the skin. I really do like the way it looks, covers and blends. All that said I prefer the liquid Power Fabric Foundation a lot more in terms of coverage and lasting power – on me it just looks better. First impressions are that it’s worth checking out. It’s a nice solid formula foundation and photographs well. I just prefer their Luminous Silk and Power Fabric Liquid for lasting power and finish and color.

Two close ups wearing the Balm Foundation on the face, no powder or concealer. On the lips is By Terry Lip Expert Shine in Bare Flirt.

Armani Power Fabric Balm Foundation in 6.5

Swatch comparisons:

Armani Luminous Silk, Power Fabric Foundation swatches 6 and 6.5 and 7

Ingredients from Nordstrom:

Cyclohexasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Isohexadecane, Polyethylene, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Arachidyl Propionate, Acrylates Crosspolymer, Lauroyl Lysine, Aluminum Hydroxide, Parfum/Fragrance, Perlite, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Linalool, [+/- May Contain Ci 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499/Iron Oxides].

Quick note on the Power Fabric Concealer. I reviewed it in a roundup earlier but I’m still really loving it! I use Shade 6.5 and it has good coverage and an easy to blend texture. It’s described as a full matte finish concealer but to me it’s not really a full matte and I find it more of a natural middle of the road finish (I consider the Cle de Peau Concealer to be a true full matte). Definitely give it a swatch at the counter as the dry down feel will vary depending on your skin type. If you need something creamy I think the best one is still the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.

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I hope you found this foundation roundup helpful! I ended up liking the one from Hourglass the best out of the three formulas but the shade range makes it challenging for me to find a good match since it pulls very yellow and colors oxidize/darken. Nude works for me now and I’m hoping Beige will work as spring/summer progresses and I tan. I try to stay covered as much as I can but there’s no avoiding the sun in Florida! The Kosas Tinted Face Oil is a nice product that gives the face that fresh dewy glow but if you have oily skin it will most likely make you look too dewy. I’m still undecided about the Armani Power Fabric Balm. I really want to 100% love it and think it’s a good one, but it did emphasize some dry patches and I feel like the Power Fabric Liquid is better in terms of how it blends and sits on my skin.

 

Kosas Tinted Face Oil and Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Liquid provided for review.

 

Sephora

Top Makeup Favorites You Can Find At Sephora

November 2, 2018

Favorite Makeup Staples from Sephora | The Beauty Look Book

I’m have Part 2 of my beauty recommendations for the second weekend of the Sephora Holiday Bonus Beauty Insider Event! This weekend continues with savings for Rouge Tier Members. This roundup focuses on my top makeup favorites for bases, cheeks, eyes and lips. You can find Part 1 Skin, Body and Hair recommendations here. Dates, codes and details:

  • Rouge get 20% Off 11/2-11/5 with code: ROUGEBONUS
  • VIB get 20% off 11/9-11/12 with code: VIBBONUS
  • Insiders/ Non-BI members get 15% off 11/16-11/19 with code: BIBONUS

Terms, conditions and exclusions listed here. I tried to narrow my absolute top picks and favorites limiting myself to under 10 per category. There are so many good products available right now, especially with holiday beauty launches. Most of these are products I consider tried and true staples but there are a few newer items I’ve tried recently I think are really worth the splurge. Products that are press samples have a * next to them.

Favorite Makeup Staples from Sephora | The Beauty Look Book

Foundations + Base:

 

Concealer:

Powders + Setting:

  • Hourglass Veil Translucent Loose Powder * is one of the new launches this year, I love this for it’s truly translucent finish (no white cast) and sheer natural matte finish.
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose * is my most-worn loose powder, I like it with either the puff or a regular powder brush.
  • Armani Neo-Nude Fusion Powder is the best all over setting pressed glow powder, doesn’t make me too shiny, just adds the perfect amount of even coverage and glow, if you’re oily you should probably opt for an all matte option though. Review here.
  • La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder is one I have gone through several of Light and Medium, it’s the best sheer natural pressed matte powder I’ve tried, although I will say I think MAC Next to Nothing Pressed is a very close dupe that’s cheaper (but they don’t carry MAC at Sephora).
  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Pressed Powder in Medium is my holy grail blurring powder, it covers and smooths imperfections, I wish it came in more shades but am happy Medium has worked for me.
  • Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray is my go-to setting spray to set makeup and help make it last longer. It’s available in a number of size options including a mini if you want to try one before splurging on the full size.

 

Eye Makeup:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Stars in Your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette is the prettiest large eyeshadow palette I think I’ve tried of the season, it rivals NARS Singapore (which is sold out everywhere as it was limited-edition), versatile for a wide range of looks – reviewed here. Swatches of the palette in this post here.
  • Urban Decay Naked2, Naked3 or Naked Cherry are great options if you’re new to shadow and don’t know where to start. Naked2 has the neutral taupes and browns, Naked3 runs more pink but still neutral, Naked Cherry * is trendy but still wearable. I reviewed Naked Cherry in this post here. There is also this pretty awesome Naked Cherry Vault in a limited-edition set available now too.
  • Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in Honeymoon is probably my favorite warm neutral, it goes with anything and everything and brightens the face with any cheek color. Nude Dip comes in close second for neutrals.
  • Pat McGrath anything wins unless you’re not a glitter fan in which case I still think her MTHRSHP Subliminal Platinum Bronze Palette is amazing (review here). I’ll have a review of her Opulence collection posted tomorrow so stay tuned!
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Sticks are my most worn shadow sticks, I don’t have oily lids so they last all day for me and don’t crease. Rosegold is my holy grail go-to shade I wear the most, followed by Copper.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Shadows are also ones I like to wear a lot, I use them alone on lazy makeup days or layered with powder on top to make them last longer.
  • Natasha Denona makes amazing eyeshadows, the pigment, intensity and complexity of her palettes are really truly beautiful. It’s hard for me to pick one but I think her Camel or 5-Pan in Color Option #2 are great ones.

Brows and Lashes:

  • Anastasia Brow Wiz * in Medium Brown has been a go-to until I discovered Dior and Hourglass, since getting highlights I’ve felt the need to change my brow color to match a bit more, Taupe and Caramel have been working great for me.
  • Diorshow Brow Styler in Univeral Brown is still my holy grail, it still works even with highlights!
  • Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel * is among my favorite tinted brow gels (in either Soft Brunette or Warm Brunette), although the Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel is also very good.
  • Surratt Lash Curler is spendy and you can find good alternatives for less, but I think it’s worth the splurge.
  • Mascara – my current favorites aren’t carried at Sephora but I’ve linked a few I’ve enjoyed in the shop the post carousel below.

 

Cheeks:

 

Lips:

 

That wraps up my top makeup picks and recommendations for things you can find during the Sephora Beauty Insider Event! Hope this helps if you’re looking for ideas. It’s always nice to have these events each year to help save on new things or to stock up on favorites. I’ll have a haul post soon and will also have another giveaway when I post the haul.

Dates, codes and details, online and in store at Sephora:

  • Rouge get 20% Off 11/2-11/5 with code: ROUGEBONUS
  • VIB get 20% off 11/9-11/12 with code: VIBBONUS
  • Insiders/ Non-BI members get 15% off 11/16-11/19 with code: BIBONUS

Let me know if you hauled anything yet! Or any fun beauty items recently if you’re not shopping the Sephora Beauty Insider Event. Always love hearing about what you end up buying!

Press samples indicated with a * next to the product listings.

 

Armani Lips

Armani Ecstasy Shine Lipstick Review + Swatches

September 5, 2017

Armani Ecstasy Shine lipstick

Armani Beauty just launched a new lipstick formula called Ecstasy Shine ($38 each for .1 oz, made in France). These are high shine lipsticks with a balmy feel with medium to rich coverage. The lighter color shades have a sheerer finish while the deeper or bright ones are one-swipe wonders on my pigmented lips. They have a finish and texture that reminds me of the first generation of sheer lipsticks Armani launched many years ago (I’m thinking around 2001-ish) but without as much slip or sheerness. Given the balm-like texture these still have some slip but they don’t disappear on my lips as quickly as some of the older Armani formulas. They feel ultra nourishing, comforting and smooth on the lips. There’s a glossy sheen and while they aren’t long-lasting like regular lipsticks or nearly as rich or long-lasting as their Lip Magnets I find they do stay put on the lips until you drink or snack. These feel so nice on the lips I don’t mind reapplying.

I have seven shades swatched:

  • 100 is a sheer light pink neutral
  • 101 is a medium pink-brown
  • 200 is a sheer brown with a hint of pink
  • 300 is a bright orange coral
  • 400 is a perfect classic bold red
  • 500 is a gorgeous sheer-medium hot pink
  • 506 is a pigmented fuchsia pink

Armani Ecstasy Shine lipstickArmani Ecstasy Shine lipstick swatches

Another look + lip swatches, foundation worn is Diorskin Forever Perfect Foundation in 21 + 31 mixed (review here).

Armani Ecstasy Shine lipstick review

Armani Ecstasy Shine lipstick swatches

I’m a sheer lipstick and lip gloss lover so these are right up my alley. To me they have more of a summer feel with the color scheme and texture but as one who really doesn’t favor matte lips I’m not complaining. The color lineup is filled with timeless classics. I need to make a trip to the counter to see if I can find a good plum shade. My favorite of course is a neutral 100. I can’t help but feel 506 is a perfect fuchsia and Armani does really good orangey-reds and classic reds. As far as I can tell there’s no detectable scent once on the lips. The lipstick in the tube has a natural kind of scent that smells like an essential oil. Something you might expect in a lip treatment or balm. Once I have it on the lips I can’t smell anything. They have a similar vibe to the YSL Rouge Volupte Shines but the Armani has a little less slip, no fruity scent, and more pigment. I love both formulas but this one from Armani feels more along lines of a classic tinted balm lipstick. Bottom line: glossy, nicely hydrating and a great color range.

You can find these at all Armani counters by now. Available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Barneys New York Giorgio Armani Beauty and all other counters. Have you tried these yet?

Armani ecstasy shine provided courtesy of Armani for review.

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 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 clear Truffle Pouches 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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