Friday, September 29, 2017

TOM FORD Lip Color in 47 Cary and 01 Katherine (Boys and Girls)

I love lipstick. It comes in all sorts of colors, sizes and formulas at varying price points too. There's one for every 'want'. There are pricier lip colors though, a purchase of which requires more thought on my part. And then I got a sample of TOM FORD's Ultra-Rich Lip Color in Le Mépris. It was a delectable formula in a color that I would really rather not wear (orange) but that sample was what finally got me to have a look at TOM FORD lipstick, even when I had dismissed it as simply too expensive in the past. Instead of going for one color in full-size, I decided to split my spendings on two of the clutch-size tubes so I could try out one of the old 'boys' and take home one of the new 'girls'.

Left: clutch-size, Right: deluxe sample size

I'm going to start off with (01) Katherine and also show you the tube of the Le Mépris sample. I've heard people refer to the "clutch-size" lipsticks as basically sample size and it's really not (see the photo above for the difference in the size of the tube). The clutch-size ones are definitely smaller than the full-size tubes but the deluxe sample is smaller still. Putting the price in perspective, the clutch-size is really about 2/3 of the full-size tube content-wise and it's priced accordingly.

I'm certain that I've mentioned once or twice that I collect lipstick named Catherine. This one is spelled a little differently but I don't mind. This is the prettiest one I've owned yet. The TOM FORD Ultra-Rich Lip Color in Katherine is a very wearable nude beige in the most uber-creamy formula ever. It swipes smoothly and covers the lips in saturated color with just one pass. It's the same formula as Le Mépris and it's so lovely that it makes me kind of just forget that the little tube is $36.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Soap & Glory Lipsticks

I remembered to write this post after watching my now 4 year old daughter play with four tubes of Soap & Glory lipstick all day long yesterday. I had three pink ones and a red one and she commandeered them for the entire day, refusing to give them back to me. If you've wondered about the enduring appeal of Sleeping Beauty, I will tell you what it is: it's the pink dress! Mine seems to be going on an extended run of that pink phase, just loves everything pink. I was told by a Disney cast member that when they "graduate" from this pink phase, the usual extension is a purple phase. I need to make sure I stow all my purple eyeshadow then.

Anyway, the first lipstick I got of this foursome was really an impulse buy. This happens to me frequently when I run out of the house carrying just the bare minimum and I realize, well, I don't have any lipstick! So I'm at Target and I just pick up some inexpensive thing to wear for the day. Buyer beware however, there are no testers and people just pop the tubes open like they were testers. Ugh. Half the stock on the shelves were opened and used! These have a sticker seal so if the seal is broken, don't buy. I bought Pink Up, Girl first but felt that it was too light so I bought Tom & Cherry but wasn't feeling the red. I found Pommie Girl at another store and that's become my favorite one. Rosy Chic was out of stock at every store I went to so I ordered it online and it's my second favorite.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Guerlain Foundation Primers (comparison and review)

Within brands, it is not uncommon to find several different face primers. I had been using Laura Mercier for years but find that only two of them are staples for me: the hydrating one and the LM Primer Protect with SPF 30. HOURGLASS offers their No. 28 Primer Serum in a travel size and I find that works very well for me when the weather gets really cold. The rest of the year, I'm up for trying other things. Usually when I try a new foundation, I like to see what primer the brand recommends for use with it. With Guerlain launching the new Lingerie de Peau Aqua Nude, I thought it fitting to update my Guerlain primer game as well.

Guerlain currently has three primers: the Météorites Base Perfecting Pearls, the L'Or Pure Radiance Face Primer and the newest one, the Blurring Active Primer. If you recall my talking about a trip to Florida where I got sucked into a huge purchase at the Guerlain store, I bought a full-size bottle of the new primer and a full-size bottle of the Météorites Base which I heard had been reformulated. I had tried a sample of it in the past and didn't like it because it was drying and left me patchy. I sincerely feel that the reformulation is better. It gives you the most subtle bit of a glow so if you like that in a makeup base, know that this is one of those types of primers. It's scented like Météorites pearls and you can see these pearls through the clear bottle. When you pump the product out, the pearls dissolve into the liquid and you get what appears to be a shimmery, slightly pinkish liquid. It looks quite the same as the old primer that I reviewed. I don't find that it makes my face pink or changes the color of my foundation and this time around, it didn't become abnormally patchy or dry either. However, at least once, a flattened chunk of the pink pearls actually came out with the primer's clear liquid base. I wiped it off with a tissue, no big deal. But really, I'm not sure that this primer does anything for me. In a lot of ways, it's similar to the Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in Nude Radiance. But for a reason that I can't exactly pinpoint, I think I like the Burberry one a little better.

For the same amount of money, I could buy myself a full-size bottle of Guerlain's L'Or Makeup Base. When I ordered my bottle of the Lingerie de Peau Aqua Nude foundation, I received the deluxe sample of the L'Or Pure Radiance Face Primer. It applies as beautifully as the Météorites base, smooth without being tacky but also without that strange slimy silicone feel that other primers have (I'm looking at you, YSL). It even has a slight cooling feel to it which I quite enjoyed in the summer. I can't be certain that it's filling in fine lines as it's supposed to do (forehead lines, laugh lines, undereye wrinkles, yep, I've got 'em) but as long as it isn't emphasizing them and not sucking the moisture out of my skin, I'm in. This has a more refined finish than the Météorites base. As far as preserving my makeup goes, I think that it does a slightly better job as well.

Now about those chunks of gold glitter... I don't know. If I pump it on to my fingers and apply to my face straightaway, I don't really notice where the gold glitter goes. But if I pump it on to the back of my hand and apply the primer with a foundation brush, some of the gold glitter gets left behind on my hand. They don't dissolve. They just sit there. I don't really see it unless I'm looking for it but I know it's there and as a woman in my 40s, I'm just not sure how I feel about gold glitter on my face. Pure gold glitter, that's what they claim. Hmmm.

As for the Guerlain Blurring Active Base, in my initial testing, I actually thought that I liked it the least because it is kind of sticky when you apply it. I feel like I end up using more product because it doesn't spread out as easily and I'm just not a fan of the way it applies. Now this one really smells like violets, that signature Météorites scent. Personally, I like that but I know it can be overwhelming for some. The Blurring Active Base comes in a squeeze tube and not a bottle with a pump like the other two. However, what really sets this one apart from the other two Guerlain primers is that it's a matte primer. This is the one that they would recommend for oily skin, as it supposedly has oil-absorbing properties. This kind of scared me at first because I have dry skin and I can get flaky patches here and there. But I've been working on modifying my skincare to take care of that and this new La Roche Posay regimen that I'm using seems to be working. So I decided that I would try this primer again and I think that I hit upon a really good combination of products that made this my top choice of the three primers in the end.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Photo ID makeup (+ NARS Audacious Lipstick in Apoline)

My local Sephora at the King of Prussia Mall moved to a new location last Friday. I ended up there two days in a row, first last Friday, just to scope out the party and then again early on Saturday morning for the Rouge event. It was timed well for me because I could get part of my makeup done before heading out to the DMV to get my picture taken. I could certainly have done the makeup myself but I like to be out there a few times a year to see what products associates would recommend and to see if I can learn something new. As it happened, there was quite a bit to be learned that day...

I approached an associate whose makeup looked close enough to what I wanted to achieve for myself that day and said that I wanted to try some NARS foundation. I told her up front that I was headed out to the DMV after, so I wanted something that would look nice for that picture. After working the color IQ machine on me, she sat me down on one of their new makeup stations and went to grab some foundation. As frequently happens, the color IQ machine recommended shades that are too dark for me but she was able to remedy that. She recommended the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, saying that it looks great in pictures, matching me with the shade Ceylan. But first, she primed my skin with the latest primer from Smashbox, the Photo Finish Primerizer, which she explained was a moisturizer and primer in one. Thus, it was great for dry skin.

Primer and Foundation were both applied with this brush

After we applied these two products on half my face, we took a nice long look in their beautiful new lighted mirror. I was left speechless at how bad the whole thing looked, with the foundation clinging to dry spots I didn't even know I had. Everything looked like a splotchy mess. The gracious associate immediately came to the save and said, if I didn't like it, we could try something else. She started describing a Natasha Denona foundation to me but I said that I wasn't sure I wanted to try that brand and suggested HOURGLASS instead.

When she came back, she had with her basically the only HOURGLASS foundation that I had actually tried before, the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick. I had been hoping to try something new but the clock was ticking and this was a chance for me to see if she could find me the correct shade. I had Ivory and it was not right for me so we went with Buff. She used the NARS concealer in custard under my eyes and set my foundation with the Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation in 117, which according to her, suits quite a lot of people. I have 118 and I'm aware that it's bit dark for me. The 117 looked good.

She swept some Too Faced Chocolate Soleil to warm up my complexion and added the Anastasia Beverly Hills Blush Trio in Pink Passion all mixed together on my cheeks. She finished off the look with a dusting of a Bobbi Brown highlighter whose name I forget. I actually kind of wish she hadn't gone in with the Bobbi Brown because I very much liked the way she applied my blush and bronzer but I know that these Bobbi Brown highlighters are not for me. Whenever I looked in the mirror, I could see how shimmery my cheek was and it really bothered me. Too much shimmer! But at least in pictures, it wasn't really visible. And now I have a reason to bust out that old Chocolate Soleil sample I've had sitting in a box forever.

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, the matte finish is great!

I bought the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Apoline, which I chose over Anna and Audrey, and I was very happy to get to try this line with a color that I love. It really is a very nice lipstick. The pigment is rich, kind of like the Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color, and it feels very comfortable on. I like it better than the brand's original lipstick formula. The color was also long-lasting, considering that I didn't wear any kind of lip primer beforehand. I just kind of slapped it on in the store before I put on my eye makeup. It looked great for hours.

the cap has a magnetic closure 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hot, Humid and Rainy? What Makeup to Wear (+ New Guerlain)

I'm back! Literally, I have just gotten back from Florida where it was hot, humid and rainy for most of my trip. They're prepping for another hurricane and my heart goes out to everyone affected by it (which is really all of us, it seems). While it may appear counterintuitive to post this now, when summer vacation is over and the kids are back in school, I do this in part so I can remember what works and doesn't work for when we take another trip some place where it's alternately scorching and then rainy.

Patrolling any theme park with a small child or two is a lot like having a baby. There are moments of pain and joy, and lots of sweat (or rain). Calls to mind the lady who prepared her makeup for pictures during her delivery (genius!) and posted them online. When you're going to be outdoors for hours in unpredictable conditions, and I don't just mean the weather, you have to be in that same frame of mind.

A vacation is NOT the time to experiment with skincare. Whenever you travel, you deal with changes in the air and the water that you use. Your hair and skin has to cope with that. Not even considering that you may not be eating properly either, don't let your skin have to deal with new products too! I packed the things that I normally use for cleansing and moisturizing when I'm at home, along with additional sunscreen products for body use. I kept up my nightly Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II and Revitalizing Supreme+ Creme which is probably the bare minimum that I do for evening skincare and something I've stuck to over the last year.

What makeup to pack? Our trip was a family vacation and since there were pictures to be taken, I made it a priority to make my brows look right. I highly recommend the Burberry Effortless Eyebrow Definer (reviewed here). This is the most efficient product that I've found to do my brows. It's easy to use and it looks incredibly natural, not drawn in. I would happily trade in every other brow product I own now for this one. May they never discontinue it. If they did, I would be front and center at the protest line (or maybe I'll hoard a lifetime supply before it's gone). Thankfully, there is a LOT of product in each pencil. Even with regular use, I don't think it will need to be replaced often. But don't quote me on that just yet. Still waiting to see when I use this one up.

Slap on some eye makeup or wear sunglasses in all your pictures. I have small eyes and I need to them to look open. I start with the Sephora Collection Lid & Liner Primer which I apply all over my lid with an eyeshadow brush. I've mentioned buying this item before (in this post here) and I've been using it constantly now, just like I would a favorite beige eyeshadow for a lid wash and/or under the brow. Then I apply some budge proof eyeliner. On some days, I went solely with the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Underground and some waterproof mascara. I layer two of them for the best effect and the two that I brought with me performed flawlessly (L'Oreal Lash Paradise and Maybelline Lash Stiletto, both in the waterproof version). Despite my clothes being drenched, my shoes soaked and my hair in a frizz, my eye makeup remained pristine. Score! On days when I wanted more definition, I added some black liquid eyeliner. My go-to for over a decade has been Lancome's Artliner applied in dots and dashes to the upper lash line only. Once or twice I noticed that it can lightly migrate towards the tear duct or the outer corner of the eye but I've used this liquid liner for years and when I need something I can rely on, it's my choice.

For lips, I stuck it out with tinted lip balm, rotating between the Clarins Lip Balm Perfector in Rosewood (see my swatches here) and the Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Poppy that I bought in Sephora at Disney Springs. I tried wearing lipstick, but with the constant drinking, it started to get pointless. Going with a natural makeup look, a lighter lip seemed the proper way to go anyway.

Above and below, Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Poppy