I’m excited to share my first beauty haul of the year! I’ve been testing out some new products that recently launched at Nordstrom and I’ve partnered with them today to share my thoughts plus a new year beauty look. Nordstrom is truly one of my favorite places to shop for beauty – I’m constantly checking their New Arrivals page alongside their Gift With Purchase section. I hope you find today’s haul post helpful! Everything featured in this post are items I purchased myself.
Charlotte Tilbury Queen of Glow
One of the newest launches from Charlotte Tilbury is her Queen of Glow Eyeshadow Palette. There were several limited-edition quads over the holiday but I found them too warm for my complexion. Queen of Glow has a better mix of golds and champagnes for my complexion without the red tones. There are 3 shimmers and 1 matte. All the colors are ultra pigmented, smooth and long-lasting. I think it’s gorgeous!
I also ordered her Magic Vanish! Color Corrector in Medium which isn’t new, but new to me. It has a brightening peachy look to it and it’s super opaque. I found it a good color for my medium olive tone skin – a tiny little dab on the fingers patted under the eyes conceals any darkness and it blends without caking. Do note that a little goes a very long way so you don’t need a lot. I use this instead of concealer on days I need extra coverage or brightening. It’s very peach in color – it doesn’t match the skin. The colors are designed to counter darkness and pigment in the skin.
New NARS Blushes
above left: Orgasm X, right: Tempted
There are some new blushes from NARS this season. I wanted to order all of them but limited myself to 2 colors in Orgasm X and Tempted. Orgasm X is a deeper brighter version of Orgasm and has that peachy gold shimmer to it. It’s quite opaque but easy to blend. Tempted is a pretty soft nude shimmer, on my medium olive skin it looks like a neutral highlighter with a bit of depth. It makes my skin glow! If you’re fair and are looking for a good nude blush to wear, I highly recommend looking into this one!
Wearing Tempted + Orgasm X mixed together
New from Bobbi Brown
For the lips I picked up some of the new Bobbi Brown Crushed Oil-Infused Glosses in In the Buff (soft nude pink, one I’m wearing in this post), New Romantic (soft mauve) and Wild Card (bright coral peach). They’re sheer so the color is subtle. They feel wonderfully smooth with a cushiony feel and glide on the lips nicely. I find them hydrating but not heavy.
YSL lip love
YSL also launched a new formula called Rouge Volupte Rock N Shine and as a huge fan of the original Rouge Volutpe Shines I knew I had to try some of the new ones. These have a silvery shimmer in the center in the shape of a star. The shimmer is visible and noticeable making the overall color look a bit lighter and more shimmery than what you see in the tube. 1 Nude Solo is a pale nude pink, 3 Pink Flow is a soft baby pink, 10 Pink Bass is a deeper rose pink. They’re glossy with a high shine finish. Pigment is sheer-medium.
NARS Tinted Glow Boosters
Last but not least is my first look at the NARS Tinted Glow Boosters. There are four shades total and I picked up the two middle shades in Simos (medium) and Tangsi (medium-dark). My foundation match in their Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation is usually Vanuatu, but I’ve lost my tan this season and wear Punjab. My best concealer match is still the Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger. The Tinted Glow Boosters sheer glowy skin-toned bases with a very slight shimmer to them. The shimmer is very subtle and almost disappears on the skin.
I’m the closest match to Simos right now, but I tan very easily and to add a bit more color I’ll mix in a few pumps of Tangsi to blend all over.
Below left, one pump of Simos (top) and one pump of Tangsi (bottom)
Below right on the face, Simos
You can use these a number of ways but I like it best mixing Simos and Tangsi together then applying with a beautyblender all over like you would a sheer foundation. It offers minimal coverage and glow, almost like a tinted moisturizer without the moisturizer aspect.
Bobbi Brown launched a new lip formula called the Crushed Liquid Lip Balm ($26 each for 6 ml/.2 fl oz). These are saturated balm-like colors with a liquid lipstick kind of vibe. There are 14 color options with neutrals, bolds and brights. They’re very comfortable on the lips with a moisturizing but lightweight feel. The Crushed Liquid Lips are scented just like her regular lipsticks – it’s a little fruity with a lipstick scent mixed together. Finish has a soft shine cream with medium to full coverage. Everything applies smoothly and all the colors are very wearable for any kind of occasion or mood. There were only two shades I felt was a little streaky because of the contrast to my lip but it smooths out with a little extra blending. Lychee Baby and Cool Beets needed a little more blending but they weren’t too high maintenance.
I love everything about these. I love the packaging where you can see the actual color from the tube. The applicators are really cute too with a beveled tip sponge – it’s not your typical sponge tip, I think the design is really well made.
Colors and swatches below. I feel like the reds look really similar on me:
Lychee Baby is a soft peachy nude, this one requires a little blending but you’ll see in the lip swatches it smooths out, I thought it would be too pale for me but it’s not!
Hippy Shake is a pale cool mauve pink
Juicy Date is the perfect pinky brown cream
Give A Fig is a pinkish fig pink
Peach and Quiet is a medium bright pink peach
Mango Mood is a bright coral red
Main Squeeze is a bright pinkish red
Cherry Crush is a bold deep red cherry
Big Apple is a bright red
Bitter Sweet is a mauve plum with blue tones
In A Jam is a berry mauve plum with neutral tones
Smoothie Move is a brown pink
Haute Cocoa is a cocoa brown
Cool Beets is a dark purple in the tube, it applies more like a berry stain, this one also requires a little blending, I think it would be flawless over a matching lip liner pencil
All swatched on bare lips, the colors cover the lip entirely. They don’t bleed or migrate.
I tried hard to find one downside and was hard pressed to find any. Lasting power isn’t like a liquid lipstick since it has a balmy feel. You will have to reapply but I found they stayed put well for a few hours. They adhere better to the lips compared to a stick balm like the Chanel Rouge Coco Shines or YSL Volupte Shines. I think these have a solid A+. I mixed Lychee Baby and Juicy Date together for a perfect neutral. I’m not sure that I could pick a favorite, but when I tested these I started from light to deep. I was impressed with every single color.
Below wearing Lychee Baby with new hair highlights! It’s been three months since my first appointment and I went in for something different and a little bit lighter. Makeup worn:
Bobbi Brown has two new limited-edition Bobbi Brown Nude on Nude Eyeshadow Palettes ($59 each, made in USA) and they’re exclusive to Nordstrom. I’ve been eyeing these for months as they launched first in Asia and I was almost convinced we would not receive them in the US but we did! There is a pink version called Rosy Nudes and a medium bronzey version called Bronzed Nudes. Both are beautiful for a neutral with a twist eye look. If you’re one who doesn’t wear a lot of eyeshadow, are just getting into makeup, or want something easy to wear every day both are great options. I particularly appreciate neutrals these days because the warm red copper orange trend for eyes is still going very strong. As pretty as they are on many complexions, I often find them difficult to pull off.
Pigment is good on these palettes. It’s soft and sheer to medium. Color is truly natural but buildable. If you want intense pigment these palettes are going to be too natural looking for you. I find using an emollient cream shadow as a base helps the color show up better. I really love the Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes as my base. I don’t have oily lids so I can use a creamy base as my shadow base all over the lids without it getting greasy looking by afternoon.
How cute are the compacts?
A look at both in direct sunlight so you can see the shimmers better:
Rosy Nudes has pink nude options. There are mattes, shimmers and sparkles in the palette. There are variations of soft pink nudes and shimmers mixed in with a set of deeper tones for crease and definition. Each palette has a small pamphlet inside with combination ideas with step by step application instructions – so if you’re confused on how to apply shadow, it’s a good starting point. I don’t have a go-to technique, sometimes I start light to dark, other times I start with a medium color and then build and blend from there.
White Smoke – pale matte powder pink
Watercolor Pink – shimmery soft peachy pink
Nudest – light matte pink
Sunrise Glow – shimmery champagne pink peach
Nude – nude pink matte
Dusk – shimmery rosy shimmer
Milk Chocolate – sheer matte cool brown
Tan – matte tan
Chocolate Smoke – sparkling light brown
Rich Caviar – deep plum brown
Bronzed Nudes is my favorite of the two. It has the perfect neutral bronze tan shades to create a natural everyday eye. I’ve been reaching for this one more frequently. It’s one I can see myself wearing year round.
Bone – matte sheer beige
Golden Glow – soft shimmering gold beige
Frappe – matte tan
Pink Copper – sparkling light copper
Burnt Amber – shimmering tan
Buff – warm beige matte
Copper Chocolate – shimmering warm bronze brown taupe
Chocolate Truffle – shimmering taupe
Milk Chocolate – sheer cool matte brown
Black Chocolate – matte blackened brown
Pigment is good on these palettes but it’s soft with natural-medium coverage. Color is truly natural but buildable. If you want intense pigment these palettes are going to be too natural looking for you. I find using an emollient cream shadow as a base helps the color show up better. They layer well together but if you have dry lids I recommend using something to moisten the skin a tiny bit.
Below wearing Bronzed Nudes along with the following:
Overall nice easy to wear colors. I still think the Urban Decay Naked2 Palette is probably one of the best everyday neutral palettes I’ve found, but using it everyday can get boring real fast for me. These Bobbi Brown ones offer a nice variety and I think they’re a great way to start if you’re just getting into shadows.
Given that there are so many options out there a few thoughts on some other palettes I’ve tried recently:
Natasha Denona’s Camel Palette is a lot more pigmented and runs more camel/tan. These Bobbi Brown palettes are softer in color with pink or bronzey options.
NARS Mojave Eyeshadow Quad is easier to use with only 4 shades, it pulls more neutral with more pigment. I’ll be reviewing the new NARS singles and duo formula in the next week!
Bottom line I really love the Bronzed Nudes. All the shades are colors I gravitate towards. I have a soft spot for Pink Copper which I wish was made in full size. Both palettes are nice basic staples that you can wear without having to think about how to wear them. All this said she has launched quite a few nude palettes in the past. I haven’t kept track of them in quite some time so you might want to shop your stash if you own any of her eyeshadows. I keep swatching the Nude Drama Palette every time I go into Sephora but haven’t caved on it yet.
You can find the Nude on Nude Eyeshadow Palettes in Bronzed Nudes and Rosy Nudes Palettes available now at Nordstrom. They just started Triple Points today for card members and refreshed their Gift With Purchase page. I have a whole cart full of things I’ve been wanting to try and have to narrow down/edit my picks.
Bobbi Brown Nude Palettes provided for review. Other Press Samples featured indicated with a *.
I have a new updated mascara roundup. I’ve been trying a few new formulas and have some hits and some misses. The humidity in Florida is pretty high and the sun feels a million times stronger here than it did in San Diego. Finding one that holds up to the humidity has been a process.
Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara is a formula I had purchased from a duo over last holiday. I had it sitting in the box waiting for my other tubes to get used up. I was pleasantly surprised because the reviews with this were mixed. It had zero clumping, defined lashes, volumized, coated evenly, held the curl and had no smudging. For me this is a hit.
Sisley-Paris So Intense Mascara is one I tried from the Nordstrom Color Twist Set (review here). Huge hit with this one even though the comb is so tiny it looks like it won’t grab lashes. It allows you to get right at the base without touching the skin. This usually isn’t a big deal for me if the mascara is good because a quick clean up with a Q-tip fixes it after application. However this one makes application easier. It volumizes, holds curl and doesn’t smudge.
L’Oreal Lash Paradise Waterproof is the first drugstore mascara I’ve actually liked. I’ve tried dozens and end up throwing them all away after 2 uses because they either dry to a grey looking black, smudge or don’t hold the curl. This literally was WOW with the first try. It’s everything I want in a mascara – volume, definition and holds the curl. I absolutely love the waterproof version because there is zero smudging. Blackest Black is the color I tried and it’s a true rich black. It does take more work to remove at the end of the day but is completely worth it. Huge hit.
Tom Ford Waterproof Extreme Mascara has to be mentioned again even though it’s not new to me because it’s my favorite waterproof mascara. No smudging, holds the curl, volumizes – huge thumbs up. I’ve repurchased this one the most in the past year.
Chanel Le Volume Waterproof is another classic. The regular Le Volume is good, but I prefer the Waterproof version because it holds up better in the humidity. This is one of the few rubberized applicators I like – most other brands just don’t do it for me. A classic one for me.
Dior Pump N Volume Mascara was a big miss. The first application was decent for volume, holding the curl and having a true rich black color. Every application after that was a clumping disaster – even when I removed excess from the tube by cleaning it. When there’s buildup, every once in a while I’ll take the wand and run it in between a folded piece of paper. It’s just like you would do with a tissue or paper towel but using paper makes it so those cotton fibers from tissue won’t get caught in the bristles. The volume on this one is really good and there are quite a few rave reviews on this one, if it didn’t clump all the time it would be perfect.
Serge Lutens Comb Mascara is another miss for me. I had such high hopes for this one as it came highly recommended and the online reviews on the formula were stellar. It has a similar applicator to the Sisley-Paris one. For some reason this Serge Lutens one made my lashes look spidery. It took a while to dry and smudged with a few blinks. After it dried down it had decent staying power but didn’t hold the curl and didn’t have as rich of a black finish as other ones. It wasn’t the worst but there are much better formulas for me out there.
For makeup removal longer lasting formulas and waterproof ones are going to be more difficult to remove in the evenings. Most of these I have to use a multi-step process to take them off in the evenings. Regardless of whether I double cleanse with a cleansing oil or cleansing water, I always use a cotton pad and soak it with eyemakeup remover first. My favorite formula used to be the Chanel Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover but these days I’ve found it’s just ok. Some of the longer lasting formulas don’t come off anymore with this one and I don’t know if the formula of the makeup remover has changed or if I’m simply finding formulas with better lasting power. Some thing goes for the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. It used to be a long-time go to but my last bottle didn’t perform as well as I remember it did in past years. My current go-to is the Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover (available in this value set from Nordstrom here and here). For cotton I’ve tried a number of brands but my favorites are from Chanel and Sephora.
If I had to pick one mascara to use for the rest of the summer that would be a hard choice. I would be able to narrow it down to three: Sisley-Paris, L’Oreal and Tom Ford.
What are your favorite mascaras for the summertime?
For summer Bobbi Brown launched a few mini collections and my favorite one is the Peace, Love and Beach. In this collection are three new Highlighting Powders ($48 each for 0.28 oz/8g), three Eyeshadow Trios ($40 each for 0.25 oz/7.2 g) and two Nail Colors ($16 each). I picked up all of the highlighters in Sunrise Glow, Sunkissed Glow and Tawny Glow and the Love Eye Shadow Trio. At the time I bought these there was a little Beach GWP going on at the counter so I stocked up on a couple glosses as well and was able to try a couple of the Beach body items from the gift.
Up first is the Love Eye Shadow Trio which is the neutral taupe option. At first glance this reminded me of the Tom Ford She Wolf Trio launched a few years ago. Once I compared them at home I found the Bobbi Brown version to be warmer or more on the neutral side. You get a shimmering dark bronze, a glitter silvery taupe and a lovely beige taupe tan shimmer. It’s literally my taupe palette dream come true. I’ve also swatched it next to the Tom Ford Young Adonis Cream Powder Duo for reference (review here).
Texture is smooth for all three. The middle glitter color does have some chunky texture to it because it’s a glitter but it’s very smooth and adheres well to the lids. I had minimal fallout when applying and the shadows stayed put all day long.
Next are the three new Highlighting Powders. I had last year’s versions but never got around to reviewing them. They are really lovely highlighters that have the perfect in between shimmer of subtle and high frost. You can layer for more intensity but applied with a soft hand alone or over blush gives one of the prettiest glows I’ve ever seen. This year’s colors have a similar vibe to last year’s. I’ve swatched them side by side in case you already own them. As a quick note you can find Afternoon Glow in this Nordstrom Set. You can find Telluride and Afternoon Glow individually at Neiman Marcus. These were limited-edition so I don’t think those will be around for long.
New shades are limited-edition as well. This year’s shades are Sunrise Glow a soft warm pink, Sunkissed Glow the perfect subtle bronze shimmer and Tawny Glow a cool-toned mauve shimmer. Each one is just perfect – texture is ultra smooth and they have an almost creamy texture but are definitely powders. Lasting power is impressive and they stayed put for hours. I like to use these on the eyes as well.
Two looks with the Love Eye Shadow Trio. For the cheeks, on the left is Sunkissed Glow, on the right is Sunrise Glow. I applied them with a light hand alone (just over my foundation/base).
Last but not least a couple thoughts on the Beach items. Bobbi Brown’s Beach scent is one of the best beachy scents I’ve ever smelled. It is fairly strong so I’ve never splurged on the perfume. It has a blend of jasmine, white florals, mandarin and sea spray. The Body Lotion is quite amazing – it’s smooth and soft and transports me to vacation mode (full size here). The Shower Gel is also lovely, but right now it appears you can only find it in the Beach Collection Set. I would have bought the shower gel separately if I could find it but the set seems to be a good deal and I’m seriously considering it especially for the last few weeks of summer. This was part of the GWP I got below:
Bottom line not really a full color collection, but it has some great options. I’m 100% in love with everything I purchased. When I was at the counter there was a makeover event going on – the highlighters were being applied on women of various ages, 30’s, 40s and 50’s (by my guess) and they looked pretty wearable and naturally glowy on all of them. If you don’t mind glitters the trio is really pretty. I’m almost tempted to get a backup. There’s a pretty beige neutral nail polish I was tempted by, but I swatched it on the counter and it was a bit too warm for my current skintone shade.
Happy Thursday! Quick roundup post today of some things I’ve been loving lately. Summer is in full swing here and the humidity levels here in Florida keep rising. I’ve experienced summer thunderstorms for the first time and so much here is completely new to me as I’ve lived in Southern California for most of my life. Even with the heat, we’ve been loving the sunshine and seeing real weather although lately we’ve stayed indoors to avoid sweating from the heat. At this point in my life fall fashion is something I cannot even start to think of and there are times I wonder if I will ever wear a leather jacket again while in Florida. Seven things I’ve been loving lately:
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger is the best for me these days with this warm weather. It works for under eyes and redness. The creamy texture melds well with my skin and blends easily with other foundations. For my under eye area it definitely works to give a brightening effect and I like that it doesn’t crease as long as I set it with a good powder. Swatches of Custard, Macadamia and Ginger here.
Sisley-Paris So Intense Mascara in Deep Black is just so amazing. I bought it from the Nordstrom Sale reviewed here. I love it for the thickening and deep black color it has. No smudging and it holds the curl. It has the tiniest comb I think I’ve ever seen but it allows me to get the lashes right at the base without touching the skin around the eye area.
Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara is another winner. I had a tube I bought from a set a while ago still sitting in the box. I was waiting for my other mascaras to hit the 3 month mark to toss them and try some new formulas. This one has no smudging. It lengthens, holds the curl, defines and doesn’t clump. Huge thumbs up.
Replica Beach Walk Dry Body Oil Spray is summer in a bottle! A little goes a long way and even with a lot of spritzing I’ve barely made a dent in this one. The spritzer dispenses the perfect amount of product and sprays it evenly. I use a couple sprays on each leg to cover them entirely. It smells like the perfect beachy vacation. Compared to the perfume this one is almost identical, the oil just has a slightly salty scent to it making it more beach like. It’s just perfect for warm weather.
Tatcha The Body Mist (Limited-Edition) is a new lightweight hydrating body spray. It smells like the Indigo line with a lightweight feel. I’ve used face mists before for moisture but haven’t really explored body mists unless they are oils. This one has a cooling feel and nice lightweight finish. The scent has a calming effect and I love the way it absorbs into the skin in a light way. I wish it weren’t limited-edition as I’d probably like to restock when this is finished, unfortunately by that time it will probably not be around anymore.
Sisley-Paris White Ginger Contouring Oil for Legs is one of the most luxurious and most expensive body products I own. I tried this in a sample packet from one of the subscription boxes, fell in love and ordered the full size. The sample packet lasted several days for both legs. I found it had enough uses for me to decide I needed it. At $190 per bottle this is insanely expensive but it feels amazing on the legs and has an energizing feel. Right after I ordered one, the Sisley team sent one in a press package so now I’m double stocked on this. I don’t know how this works in terms of the contouring effects – there are quite a few body creams and lotion on the market that claim to have this effect. I feel like you would have to use this for months to notice results. For me the finish, scent and feel is enough to justify the price. It’s the best silky feeling oil I’ve used on the legs ever. It is emollient but it does absorb into the skin after a few minutes. If you’re looking for an oil with a dry down, this may be too emollient for you.
Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil is something I’ve rediscovered. I’ve been experimenting with the Shu Uemura cleansing oils again and will do a roundup review of all of them in a couple weeks. Right now I’ve been loving the Balancing One as it’s designed for sensitive skin and for me it leaves the skin clean and soft and removes all traces of makeup. There is also a new one called nutri:nectar cleansing oil in emulsion which has a thicker almost gel-like texture so it won’t run into the eyes like most fluid oils. It’s very gentle and effective. A more detailed review to follow on both – but these days double cleansing and starting with a cleansing oil for me is a must. The Shu Uemura team is offering Beauty Look Book readers a promo of 5 deluxe samples and free shipping on orders $50+ with code BLBXSHU (samples include mini laque supreme rd01, mini maxi:hydrability essence-in cream, sakura-rose-petal-mask, ultime8 cleansing oil mini, nutri nectar sample) – promo is valid online at both Shu Uemura USA and Shu Uemura Canada.
Don’t forget there’s still a few more days to enter my Charlotte Tilbury giveaway. Coming up next are reviews on new launches from Chanel and Bobbi Brown. What are you loving right now? Any favorite body care products you rely on during the summer months?
Press samples include the Tatcha Body Mist, Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils and Sisley-Paris Ginger Contour Oil.
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 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.
I have tried the Diorskin Forever Makeup Primer and it’s quite good. I’m just not really a primer kind of person but do think this one is one of the better ones I’ve tested.
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.
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.
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.
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:
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is my all around go-to for everything, spots, under eyes, red areas. It’s creamy and blends in seamlessly with the skin. Coverage is medium but can be built up. It never looks fake or cakey and stays put as long as I set it with powder.
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.
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.