Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer

This "skin enhancer" is unlike anything I've ever tried before.  It's supposed to be an all-in-one magic pot of foundation and concealer goodness.  Of course I needed to try this.

Here is what it claims to do (from Sephora):

"What it is:
A waterproof makeup enhancer for the face that provides sheer and complete coverage and hydrates the skin. 

What it does:
Cover all your bases with The Sensual Skin Enhancer. This all-in-one, waterproof formula delivers complete coverage when used as a concealer, highlighter, an allover foundation, or to contour your features. Infused with jojoba and honey, it works to hydrate the skin, and it is formulated with minerals that support the skin and is sweat proof and transfer resistant for full coverage and long-lasting wear."

Price: Retails for $48 for 0.63 oz.

Packaging: Comes in very small jar (think eye cream sized).  The product itself is very, very thick.  If you were to turn the jar upside down, the product wouldn't budge or go anywhere.  I do wish it was somehow packaged differently so that I wouldn't have to stick my finger in it each time, but because the product is so dense and thick, there is really no other way that would work.  I can see how people may opt for using a spatula of some sort to scoop out product.  However, the product is so intensely concentrated that I have not really needed to dig my finger in or anything.  The lightest touch of my finger on the surface of the product picks up more than enough.  If I'm using it as concealer, I literally need a pinhead-sized dot and I'm good to go.  If I'm wearing it as foundation, I also barely dab my finger on the surface, picking up about half of a pea-size (for full-coverage).

Can we just oooooh and ahhhhh at the pretty box for a second?

Application: This absolutely needs to be applied with a damp Beauty Blender or sponge.  There is no other way to apply evenly on the skin.  Using a brush would probably create a splotchy mess.

Finish: This foundation sets to a demi-matte finish.

Color: I picked up the shade SX06, which is a great match for my NC25 skin.  It runs very yellow, which for me is a good thing.  I would only recommend this shade for those that want/need an extremely strong yellow undertone.

SX06 on NC25 skin
Coverage: Surprisingly, this product is absolutely versatile and can be used at an endless range of coverage levels.  As concealer, it is the fullest coverage out there - just take a pinhead-sized dot and dab dab dab.  The warmth of your fingers will melt it into your skin.  As foundation, you can really customize the coverage, which a bit of patience.  I usually go for full coverage, so I would just take my time and bump it into my skin with a damp beauty blender.  For heavier coverage, I would stop blending as soon as I sheered it out to the coverage I desire.  However, if you continue blending with a damp sponge it continues to sheer out.  Just stop blending when you get to your desired coverage level.  I thought that because the product is so thick and dense, there would be no way to wear this other than full coverage.  Not so.

Final thoughts: I think this product is pretty amazing.  The versatility of it gives you so many options for wearing, and the color match is phenomenal.  I think this is great for makeup artists to have in a kit, but just as great for makeup fanatics like myself to have.  I am a big fan.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: Lancôme Lip Lover

With the warmer weather and sun this time of year, I much prefer a low-maintenance lip.  Gone are the days of perfectly applied, creamy, opaque lips.  Hello to sheer color, plump and healthy lips.

Lancôme's Lip Lover caught my eye as being something that I could just swipe on and go.  I'm not usually a big fan of gloss, but I really wanted to give this a try.  Quite honestly, the packaging is so gorgeous and adorable, and I am a complete sucker for pretty packaging.

Here are the claims for this gloss (from Lancôme):

"A dewy intense lip color that creates shine and color without sacrificing moisture. Captivating color intensity combines with the hydration of a balm in this new three-in-one elixir formula. The balmy base provides up to eight hours of moisture while a smoothing layer reduces the appearance of fine lines and creates a dewy shine. Finally, the saturated pigments provide the ultimate in color pop."

Price: Retails for $23.50 for 0.14 oz.

Packaging: Comes in sleek and adorable silver tube.  There is a small, clear window on the front of the tube that shows the color of the gloss.  It has a small button that you push to release the wand.  When you are done with application, just pop the wand back into the tube, and push down.  You'll hear a very satisfying "click," telling you that your gloss is safe and secure.

Application: The applicator on the wand is a small, narrow doe foot applicator, with a slightly pointed tip.  I find the shape of this applicator to work really nicely in applying the gloss exactly where you want it to go.

Finish: This gloss has a nice, shiny finish.  It does not feel sticky, but does feel slightly tacky on the lips.

Color: I picked up the shade 357 Bouquet Final.  It is a very pretty berry pink.  It does have very, very slight microshimmer when swatched heavily, but once blended out the shimmer is undetectable on the lips.

357 Boquet Final on NC25 skin
Coverage: 357 Bouquet Final gives your lips a translucent wash of color.  It is sheer in the sense that the color is not creamy/milky or opaque in any way, but it does pack quite a bit of color on the lips.  You can apply it more heavily for more intense color, or you can dab it on and sheer it out for just a wash of color.  I have worn it both ways and enjoy both application methods.

Final thoughts: I think this is a splurge item that, for most people, would be something that is a nice little treat, but it is not by any means unique enough to be a must-have item.  The packaging is gorgeous and so satisfying to use.  And as far as glosses go, this isn't sticky and is quite comfortable to wear on the lips.  But $23.50 is a steep price to pay for something that isn't outstanding or different enough to justify purchasing.

Review: MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation

There wasn't a big fuss made about the release of this new foundation, which was surprising to me since it claims to be, basically, the perfect foundation for my needs.

Here are the claims (from Nordstrom):

"MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation is a tenacious waterproof formula that can be used as a foundation or concealer, wearing for an unprecedented 24 hours. Neither rain nor tears can budge this oil-free, watertight product that actually repels moisture from the surface of the face. It blends seamlessly on your skin with medium to full weightless coverage and a natural satin finish."

Wow! Flawless coverage, waterproof, 24-hour wear?  Sign me up.

Price: Retails for $32 for 0.85 oz.

Packaging: Comes in a nice squeeze tube with screw on cap.

Application: As with most heavier coverage foundations, I prefer to apply this with a damp Beauty Blender.  I find that it gives the best, most even finish.

Finish: This foundation sets to a demi-matte finish.

Color: I picked up the shade NC25, which is my regular shade.  I had read that this line from MAC tends to run a bit light, and I have to agree.  I think NC30 would probably have been a more accurate color match, but I can make NC25 work, too.

NC25 on NC25 skin
Coverage: Surprisingly, the initial application gives a light-medium coverage.  Since it was being sold as a full coverage foundation that you can also use as concealer, I expected it to be heavily pigmented with a thicker consistency.  Not so.  It has a smooth gel-like feel, and it does not feel thick or heavy in the least.  I applied a light second layer to build up the coverage, and I was only able to get it to a medium at best.  I'm not quite sure how people are achieving full coverage, which is what I've been reading.  I have quite severe hyperpigmentation and acne scarring that I need to cover, and I could definitely still see the discoloration through the foundation, even after a second layer was applied.

Final thoughts: If you are purchasing this foundation for a truly full coverage, flawless finish and you have a lot of discoloration to cover, as I do, I would pass on this.  I think for someone with fairly good skin to begin with, this would be a nice everyday foundation since it feels nice and evens out the skin nicely.  However, it does not cover as well as it claims.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review: L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation

I don't usually gravitate towards drugstore foundations because I find it difficult to color match without having testers.  I also find it difficult to find shades that are yellow enough for my NC25, very yellow skin.

I decided to give the L'Oreal Infallible foundation a try because I kept hearing about how the colors of this foundation tend to lean quite yellow.  Okay, sold.

Here are the claims for this foundation (from L'Oreal):

"Achieve a matte finish that won’t fall flat with this air-light, longwearing liquid formula. Lightweight and creamy, foundation goes on smooth with a demi-matte finish that lasts up to 24 hours—hiding imperfections for a smooth, clear complexion."

Price: Retails for $12.99 for 1 oz.

Packaging: Comes in a nice squeeze tube with screw on cap.  The see-through part of the bottle can be misleading, though.  It isn't very true-to-color, as they all look very similar and quite dark through the bottle.

Application: As with most heavier coverage foundations, I prefer to apply this with a damp Beauty Blender.  I find that it gives the best, most even finish.

Finish: This foundation dries to a lovely velvety matte finish.  However, the longer I wore the foundation the more I felt it drying my skin out.  I have combo skin - oily in the T-zone and normal elsewhere.  But I could feel this foundation sucking out all of the moisture from my skin the longer it sat on my face.  I did pull out my favorite Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray to try and help with the dryness, and it totally did the trick.  My skin no longer felt dry and uncomfortable.  I sprayed once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and that was enough to make my face feel great for the rest of the day.

Color: I picked up the shade Golden Beige 104 for my NC25 skin.  The color matches me very well.  It has enough yellow in it to match with the rest of my skin, which is surprising because I usually don't experience such luck with drugstore foundations.

104 Golden Beige on NC25 skin
Coverage: The initial application gives solid medium coverage.  You can definitely add a bit more product to build to near-full coverage.

Final thoughts: I am impressed with this foundation, being at a drugstore price point.  The color was surprising to me, as I usually have a hard time finding a drugstore foundation with enough yellow in it.  It wore well throughout the day (with the exception of the initial drying sensation), and by the end of the evening my face still looked perfect.  The foundation did not move or fade in the slightest.  I think this would be an amazing choice for those with very oily skin.  And if you have combo skin like I do, you may find that a hydrating spray is necessary to wear comfortably.  However, I do not think this would be suitable for dry skin, as it will suck out moisture from your skin and will most likely accentuate dry areas.

Review: Estée Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover

I am always on the search for the newest and greatest full-coverage foundation.  There are some days that I just want a lighter face, with just enough coverage to even out my scarring and discoloration.  And other days that I want to my face to look picture-perfect.

Here are the claims of this foundation (from Estée Lauder):

"12-hour wear. Natural-looking. Long-wearing.

This soothing liquid-creme makeup is designed to camouflage all skin imperfections, including surgical and acne scars, tattoos, birthmarks, sun spots and varicose veins. Helps protect with SPF 15."

Price: Retails for $37 for 1 oz.

Packaging: Classic Estée Lauder vibe.  Comes in a sturdy dark blue squeeze tube with gold screw on cap.

Application: As with most thicker, heavier foundations, using a damp Beauty Blender works well to create a flawless canvas.  Because this foundation dries quickly, you really need the extra moisture from a damp Beauty Blender in order to apply evenly.

Finish: The finish for this foundation is absolutely matte.  It dries after just a few seconds, so you must work quickly when applying this foundation.

Color: I picked up the shade 2W2 Rattan for my NC25 skin.  I find it to be a shade or two too dark even for my slightly tanned skin at the moment, but it was the closest match because of its strong yellow undertone.  The shade one step lighter is neutral-toned instead of warm-toned, which comes out too pink/grey on my skin.  Had the formula been easier to blend, the color would have been more workable.  However, there are only 8 shades to choose from, so I can imagine that many people will have a hard time finding their perfect color match.

2W2 Rattan on NC25 skin
 Coverage: I have tried foundations that claim to be "full-coverage," but I have yet to find one that does what it claims.  Until now.  This foundation is truly maximum coverage.  It will hide anything that you need to conceal - acne, scars, uneven skin tone, veins, etc.

Final thoughts: I am quite pleased with this foundation for the most part.  The coverage is outstanding and really does cover beautifully.  However, due to the limited shade selection, this is a foundation that I can only use as a color-correcting product, or to add extra coverage to existing foundations that I already have that match my skin color better. Had there been a better color match, I would be much more inclined to reach for this more regularly as a stand-alone product.