YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Collection

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheers may be my go to highlighter for full face coverage, but for piecemeal highlighting of certain areas of my face, I go with the YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch collection.  The convenience of this push-pen brush applicator is great.  It is sleek and easily portable.  Who wouldn’t want to be seen pulling this out of their bag? 

I have three shades from the collection:

  1. (4.5) Luminous Sand – for medium complexions with pink undertones
  2. (5.5) Luminous Praline – for medium complexions with golden undertones
  3. (8.0) Radiant Silk – for light-medium complexions with yellow or golden undertones

I don’t think you should just go off of the shade descriptions when selecting the color(s) you want.  Had I done so, I never would have gotten the 4.5 Luminous Sand.  I swatched all of the shades and chose the ones that worked the best with my undertones and overtones. 

I like using these shades in conjunction with other concealers/foundations.  The interplay of textures and tones allows for the creation of very customized coverage.  Even the really dark shades can be used to contour or accent features.  I do not believe that you should just use color products the way it is directed.  Be creative and see all the different ways it can be used.  Get your money’s worth.  These things are expensive! 

Here are some swatches of the shades I have:

Ingredients: Water, Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Talc, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Peg/ Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Trideceth-3, Methicone, Methylparaben, Squalane. [+/- May Contain: Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77019 (Mica), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxide), Ci 77491 (Iron Oxide), Ci 77499 (Iron Oxide), Ci 77007 (Ultramarines), Ci 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), Ci 77742 (Manganese Violet), Ci 75470 (Carmine), “NF8897”].

Their portability and multiple uses make these a staple and a restock item for when I run out. 

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Summer 2012: Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush

Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush

I am a huge blush girl.  I love all blushes.  I used to be strictly a powder blush girl because I did not believe I could, or should, use cream blushes on my oily, acne-prone skin.  In the last year, I have changed my tune and have virtually only used cream and gel blushes on my skin.  My cheeks have not seen a powder blush in a very long time.  One of the interesting new releases that stormed the blogosphere were the Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blushes.

The blush itself is a little like play-doh.  You can mold it with your fingers and reshape.  The way this blush transfers color reminds me of a stamp blush because all you have to do is press down a couple of times and you get some color.  I like to firmly tap the blush with my forefinger a couple of times and swipe across my upper cheeks for a wash of color.  These are not pigmented and it sheers out.  There is, also,  a teeny bit of shimmer.  This is not the most long lasting blush out there, however, it is definitely more long lasting than a lot of other drugstore powder blushes.

The Hot Tamale has a definite winter-raspberry flushed hue.  It is blue-toned, like a red hot, actually, which I was not expecting for a product named Hot Tamale (or maybe I should have?).  The Peach Satin has a warm corally hue.  It seems kind of a dark pink peach.  The Coffee Cake is my favorite because it is kind of a bronzey sienna color with a hint of pink.  It is a great color and can be used year round, I think, to fake a healthy sun glow on the cheeks.

The swatches below was taken indoors under natural light with no flash.

These were the only three shades I was interested in.  I feel like the others were kind of boring, redundant colors that aren’t as flattering on most skintones.  The only shade which I am a bit curious about it is the Plum Wine but not curious enough to actually buy.

Decleor Aromessence Night Balm Collection

I never would have thought that adding oil, or anything waxy-like, to my oily, acne-prone skin would actually reduce oil and treat my acne.  Had it not been for an article I read about the oil cleansing method, I never would have branched out and tried essential oils and balms.  The oil cleansers I use as a pre-wash will be another post, but today I will talk about my lovely night balms from Decleor’s Aromaessence Night Balm line.

I love these night balms because they soothe, repair, eat up oil, and shockingly, completely clear out pores and shrink them.  While all of the balms I have, can do the afore mentioned at varying levels, there is a reason why I have three balms, and not just one.  Each balm does something better than the others.

1. DISSOLVES BLACKHEADS AND OIL FROM T-ZONE PORES: Decleor Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm $73.00

I use the Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm as my ultimate pimple shrinker, oil sucker.  I have slathered my skin with this stuff overnight and I have woken up with smooth, soft, non-oily skin with tiny pores.  The key is to use the right amount of the balm.  I always tend to overuse product, no matter the product, or instructions.  With this product, I literally scoop up a dime to nickel sized blob, rub my hands together, and completely butter my face.  Usually, I will slather my face with the accompanying Ylang Ylang Essential Serum before I crisco my face with the Ylang Ylang Night Balm.  This is not a day look.  I do this an hour, or so, before I go to bed and it does not stain my sheets.  I wake up the next morning and my skin looks fabulous.  Several caveats to using this product: 1) Your skin should not be dry, or sensitized to begin with.  This balms sucks up oil but doesn’t really condition as well as other balms.  2)  This should not be used in a high heat and high humidity environment.  It doesn’t work as well in the summer. 3) It is not as effective on hormonal imbalance induced acne, but it does not irritate it either. 

Ingredients: Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax , Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Coumarin

2. SOOTHES SENSITIZED SKIN FROM HARSH ACNE TREATMENTS AND DISSOLVES BLACKHEADS AND OIL FROM T-ZONE PORES: Decleor Rose D’Orient Soothing Night Balm $73.00

I use the Rose D’Orient Night Balm when I have severely ravaged my skin with glycolic acids and high strength retinoids.  This completely soothes and conditions my skin and STILL sucks up excess oil from pores and dissolves blackheads.  This stuff is amazing.  I usually slather on the Rose D’Orient Essential Serum before I use this to increase the effect.  I actually suggest usage of these night balms with the serums as it enhances the efficacy of the balms.  But the balms can work without the serums.  However, like the Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm, this should not be used in the summer and it is not as effective on hormonal imbalance induced acne.

ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax , Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Wax , Thymus Mastichina (Sweet Marjoram) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Neroli Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Tocopherol, Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol

3. ALL AROUND CONDITIONING, BRIGHTENING, PURIFYING FOR NORMAL SKINTYPES: Decleor Aromessence Baume Essential Essential Balm (Discontinued)

This is an all-purpose meant for all skintypes night balm that is meant to rebalance, purify and condition.  It doesn’t have the same purifying capabilities of the other two balms, or the soothing action of the Rose D’Orient.  It is basically a conditioning balm for more normal skin types who only need minor purifying and soothing action.  I use this the least and I probably will not repurchase because it seems a bit redundant.  However, I can use a teeny bit during the day time as a moisturizer.   I also think that Decleor no longer makes this specific balm.  My fill in for this balm will likely be the Iris Regenerating Night Balm meant for aging skin.

Ingredients: Essential Oils of Rosemary, Geranium, Chamomile, Angelica, Borage, Avocado, Red Palm Plant Oils, and Essential Waxes of Narcissus, Rose, and Cassia.

You get another bonus with these balms because they last forever!  I have had these balms for several years and I don’t foresee running out anytime soon.   This is a staple in my arsenal and I will continue to repurchase the Rose D’Orient and the Ylang Ylang Night Balms.  They are a must.

One more thing, Decleor recently repackaged their line, so I have the old packaging.  Check out Decleor’s website for the new packaging.

Summer 2012 Concealer Collection

 I only use concealers when I have acne.  When my skin is clear, I just don’t bother.  This summer my skin has not been cooperating.  Concealer has now become almost a daily requirement. 

I need multiple concealers because there isn’t one that actually matches my skintone exactly, and I do turn darker in the summer and get lighter in the Fall/Winter.  Plus, I like playing with different textures and opacity when it comes to coverage.

1. Nvey Eco Organic Erase Corrector in Medium, 0.11 oz for $31.00

This concealer was  very surprising because at first I thought it was too light for me, but it actually isn’t.  In actuality, it is very close to my skin’s natural untanned color and the undertone is a pretty good match, except it doesn’t have enough green.  🙂  However, this offers a, almost, translucent light layer of color, which tones down the red and allows my natural green undertones to come through.  It is not meant to hide ANYTHING, just a mere wash of color to de-emphasize red spots and hyperpigmentation marks.  It, also, feels like there is almost nothing on the skin.  It does complement and allow for layering of thicker textures.  This is my second compact and I will restock when it is finished.

Carthamus Tinctorius (safflower Seed Oil), Ricinus Communic (castor Seed Oil), Cetyl Alcohol (coconut Oil), Cera Alba (organic Beeswax), Simmodsian Chinesis (jojoba Seed Oil), Copernicia Cerifera (carnauba Wax), Euphorbia Cerifera (candelilla Wax), Benzyl Alcohol (natural Preservative), Salicylic Acid (natural Preservative), Sorbic Acid (natural Preservative), Daucus Carota Sativa (carrot Seed Oil), Tocopherol (vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C), Glycerin (vegetable Derived). May Contain: Ci77019 (mica), Ci77491, Ci77492, Ci77499, Ci77007 (iron Oxide), Ci77891 (titanium Dioxide).

2. Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium Bisque, $29.50 

I briefly reviewed this concealer in my 2nd post for the Summer 2012 Casual Face for Broken Out Skin $-$$.  The shade is deeper than even my tanned skintone; however, the creaminess and blendability of this cream concealer is amazing and I can make it work, which is why this my go to concealer.   I would put this around an MAC NC30-35.  It is a neutral to warm color.   It may even work for some MAC NC42, who prefer a lighter concealer to highlight features.  I love the wand and the fact that I can easily dot it on my face, and with my finger, pat, pat, pat to blend in for a better match.  It is opaque, but can be sheered out significantly and blended with other concealers and foundations.  This is my third tube and I will restock when needed.  This is my absolute favorite concealer for covering acne without looking like a mannequin.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sorbitan Isostrearate, Propylene Glycol, Ozokerite, Hexylene Glycol, Urea, Glycosaminoglycans, Honey/Mel, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silica, Chamomilla Recutita Extract/Chamomilla Recitita, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract/Centaurea Cyanis, Polydihydroxyindole, Tocopherol, Magnesium Sulfate, Disodium EDTA, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostrearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Acrylates Copolymer, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide/CI 77891, Iron Oxides/CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499, B5456/1

3. Make Up Forever Paris Professional Full Cover Concealer in Ivory (6), 0.5 oz for $32.00

This is the lightest concealer I have and it has the tackiest texture of the bunch.  I use this to lighten up too dark concealers.  This has a heavier coverage that is waterproof.  Sometimes, I will apply this first, then I apply Lancome’s Maquicomplet in Medium Bisque to cover horrendous monsters on my skin.  The texture of this should not be blended with MAC’s Pro Longwear, though, as they both have a tackier feel.  It’s like putting to heavyweights against each other.  Make Up Forever does not set as fast, and actually retains a tacky matte-creaminess to it, that MAC’s Pro Longwear, being thinner and faster drying, does not.  This product is also supposed to resist humidity and ensure even coverage, while maintaining a “matte coverage,” but like I said before it is more a tacky feel, demi-matte look.  I would argue that there is a slight sheen to the matteness, not allowing it to be a true matte.  This little tube lasts forever.  I have only purchased it once, but will likely purchase again.

Ingredients: Aqueous Emulsion of Volatile Oils with Optimized Pigment Cover, Plastic Polymers, Allantoin, Microcrystalline Cellulose Powder, Serma Sensitive.

4. MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC 30, $17.00

MAC’s Pro Longwear concealer line has great opacity and is long wearing.  However, of all the concealers I have, this is the darkest orangeist, and cannot be used on its own without significant blending and use of a yellow or beige toned concealer, or foundation, to reduce the orangeyness when it dries down.  The fast drying texture of this concealer makes it more difficult to sheer out and blend, but it is still achieveable.  The initial texture has a very slight tacky feel, when first applied, but that disappears.  The next lightest shade is NC 20 and it comes off a little pale nude-beigey peach to me with not enough yellow-beige in it.   I have to be very careful with this NC 30 shade because it is very noticeably dark for me and ORANGE when it dries down.  Also, I dislike the pump applicator.  It pumps out too much.  In general, I find MAC likes to give it’s warm-toned light-medium shades too peachy, or orangey, undertones, which I dislike.   I will not repurchase this color.  I really dislike MAC’s tendency to go PEACH/ORANGE on light-medium warm tones.  Just remembered why I stopped buying MAC foundations/concealers some years ago.  NC 20 or bust, apparently.

5. LORAC Cover Up Concealer in Light/Medium (C3), 0.15 oz for $19.00

What I especially love about this product is how small and portable it is.  What I do not like is how you have to use a brush or dip your finger in there.  A small tube would have been better.  This concealer is light (but bright) yellow-beige concealer that counteracts redness well and blends out very well.  This is similar to the Nvey Eco shadewise but with a heavy yellow feel, but with a tackier texture, but it does offer more coverage.  It is layerable with other sheer-toned concealers and illuminators.  It is not the best for blending out heavier concealers, but it  is still possible. 

Ingredients: Castor Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Talc, Paraffin, Beeswax, Carnuba Wax, Candelilla Wax, Ozokerite, Petrolatum, Propylparaben, BHT, Vegetable Oil. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, FD&C Yellow #5 Aluminum Lake.

Here are swatches of the concealers indoors with flash and natural light.

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control SPF Moisturizer and Foam Wash

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Set

I am always on the lookout for sunscreens that can be worn on oily skin.  So when I saw the new Cetaphil® DERMACONTROL™ Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30, I knew I had to try it.  I bought it along with the matching DERMACONTROL™ Oil Control Foam Wash.

1. Cetaphil® DERMACONTROL™ Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30, 4 oz. for $16.99

I needed something quick that I could slap on on my way to the gym, and on my way back from the gym in the high heat and humidity.  Everything else I had either required tint to minimize the whiteness, or felt too heavy for the high humidity.  I wanted simple.  When I am going to the gym, I don’t mind going out with my broken out skin.  If it is especially bad and inflamed, I may gently tap on some concealer only on the raised bumps to minimize the red glare, but I am not fooling anyone. I have broken out skin.

I will make this short.  The SPF moisturizer felt great on my skin.  It did not feel oily, or heavy, and it dried down to an immediate matte feel.  It also did not burn my skin like most chemical sunscreens can, if my skin is sensitized.  The final test came when I started sweating on the stationary bike, as I spun some serious serious sweat out of my body.  My face sweated rivers, but the sunscreen did not run into my eyes and burn me like other chemical sunscreens do. 

One caveat, while it feels great on oily skin, in extreme heat and high humidity, this sunscreen will feel like a stationary, floating viscose film on your skin.  I would say this sunscreen is great on normal summer days, but once the humidity is super high, matched with 90+ deegrees, this stuff will not feel pleasant.  Avoid in extreme humidity.  I don’t think there is a single chemical sunscreen that can withstand high humidity and 90+ degrees without feeling like sludge.  Go mineral sunscreen for those days.  But Cetaphil’s DermaControl Oil Control SPF Moisturizer is still a winner in my book.  Definitey a re-buy!

Update:  This sunscreen feels great during mid fall and winter.  I have been using it in the winter and it works great.  Allthough, you may want to add a light moisturizer if your skin isn’t as oily in the winter.

Ingredients: avobenzone 3%, octisalate 5%, octocrylene 7%, water, isopropyl lauroyl sarcosinate, glycerin, dimethicone, diisopropyl sebacate, silica, polymethyl methacrylate, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, sucrose tristearate, dimethiconol, pentylene glycol, polysorbate 61, sodium stearoyl glutamate, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, tocopheryl acetate, glycyrrhetinic acid, panthenol, triethanolamine, allantoin, carbomer, potassium sorabte, zine gluconate, xanthan gum, disodium EDTA, hydroxypalmitoyl sphinganine

2. Cetaphil® DERMACONTROL™ Oil Control Foam Wash, 8 oz for $11.99

The foam wash was good too, although, I am not certain of the necessity of this product.  The cleanser left an immediate refreshed but dry-matte feel to my skin which is not typical.  I normally layer on other products on my skin to prevent oiliness,and whatever else I want to prevent.  Since I have acne and I am, also, fighting post-acne marks, I need to layer other serums and moisturizers on my skin.  I think this is a great cleanser if you are not currently fighting active acne lesions and just want something quick and casual, whether at the beach, gym, post office, errands to control super oily, but clear skin…you get the idea.   I am stashing the cleanser for the days when I only need to control the oilies and not acne.  But it is a great, inexpensive drugstore cleanser.

Ingredients: water, zinc coceth sulfate, glycerin, PEG-75, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, zinc gluconate, PEG-200 hydrogenated glyceryl palmate, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil,  PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, sodium benzoate, masking fragrance, disodium EDTA

Softening Lotions

I learned about softening lotions from Asian skincare brands.  These products are not really typical for the Western market.  The most analagous product within the Western skincare market would be astringent or toner, but these have high concentrations of alcohol and have a tendancy to dry out the skin.  Lately, I have noticed more overlap as new Western skincare products start to mimic Asian skincare functionality, with the increased focus on the Asian consumer.  So there are now some American and European toners that may resemble softening lotions in functionality.

1.  Kose’s Sekkisei Lotion, 6.8 oz for $48.00 or 12.2 oz for $68.00

2. Shiseido’s White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener Enriched, 5.0 oz for $48.00

Softening lotions are meant to gently prepare the skin for further treatment after cleansing.  They have a watery texture and are meant to be used with a cotton pad.  You saturate the cotton ball, or square, and sweep it across your skin to gently exfoliate your skin, while at the same time leaving behind light hydration.  The key aspect to the lotion is that it preps your skin for further applications of other products.

My two favorite softening lotions are Kose’s Sekkisei Lotion and Shiseido’s White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener Enriched and they are both from Japanese companies with a presence in the United States.

I prefer to use the Sekkisei Lotion for when my skin requires extra exfoliation.  Sometimes, I need to use more powerful peeling agents, and it leaves my skin patchy and peeling significantly.  This lotion sweeps the (visible) loose skin away and does not burn my sensitized skin.  This is not surprising as the brand literature for this product states that it has these benefits:

  • Cools down sun/snow-burned skin
  • Anti-inflammatory for rashes

among other benefits: firming, hydrating and conditioning.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Glycerin, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Coix Lacryma, Jobi Seed Extract (Job’s Tears), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Melothria Heterophylla Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil (Wheat), Citric Acid, Di C12 15 Pareth 8 Phosphate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Citrate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Triethylhexanoin, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum) (Parfum)

Shiseido’s White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener Enriched is what I use when I require more hydration for sensitized skin, but less sweeping action because of smaller, loose skin particles.  I get soothing richer hydration from this lotion that does not feel oily or heavy.  However, if you have very dry skin, this will feel like water to you.

Ingredients: M-Tranexamic acid, Super Hydro-Synergy Complex (composed of Hydro-Wrap Vitalizing DE and Bio-Hyaluronic Acid), Erythritol, apricot extracts.

Both of these products are subtle in function and performance.  It will not give the same immediate gratification that a glycolic acid product will, or firming peptime serum will.  This is the beauty of these products.  If you have sensitized, reactive skin from harsher products, even the subtlest effect of these products will be felt.  I have purchased each of these bottles at least three times, and it is a staple that I need to have.

Summer 2012 Casual Face for Broken Out Skin ($-$$)

Last week, I gave the products I have been using this summer for casual days outside, for my very broken out and very sensitive skin, but still oily skin.  I, also, do a less expensive version of this face using more drugstore products for when my skin is not as sensitive-reactive from the acne medications I use to take on hormonal acne. 

Summer 2012 Inexpensive Casual Face for Broken Out Skin

1.  Earth Science Clarifying Herbal Astringent, 8.0 oz, $9.75

Since I am not using the super strength Tazorac to peel away the hormonal acne, I am not really peeling, or dealing with patches of lifted skin.  However, I still need to exfoliate with an appropriate lotion for oily skin.  This astringent feels soothing with hyaluronic acid, but it is still treating the oilies with sulfer, camphor, and witch hazel extract.

Ingredients: Purified water, witch hazel extract, glycerin (vegetable), apple cider vinegar, sage extract, rosemary extract, horsetail extract, cucumber extract, sea kelp extract, peppermint extract, panthenol, sulfur, camphor, sodium PCA, zinc sulfate, sorbic acid, grapefruit seed extract, allantoin, hyaluronic acid, ascorbic acid, fragrance, cellulose gum, annatto extract. Not tested on animals.  Hypo-allergenic.

2. Mychelle Pumpkin Renew Cream, 1.2 oz, $25.00

This is a great moisturizer that immediately sinks into the skin and does not make it feel oily.  This is probably the 3rd jar I have bought.  It has a great texture that allows layering underneath and above with no pilling.  But it is not enough moisture if you have dry, or peeling skin.

Ingredients: Aqua (water), caprylic/capric triglyceride (coconut), coco-caprylate/caprate (coconut), butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), glycerin (vegetable), cetearyl alcohol (coconut), cetearyl glucoside (coconut), glyceryl stearate (vegetable), dioctyl ether (coconut), rh-oligopeptide-1 (epidermal growth factor), lecithin, 0.5% glycolic acid, phenyl-n-butyl nitrone, (spin trap), cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, totarol (SCO2 totarol™), elaeis guineensis (palm) oil (tocomin®), tocotrienols, tocopherol (d-alpha), astaxanthin (bioastin®), fructooligosaccharides (d-beta) (nutraflora®), chlorophyll (L) (plant), lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, alcohol denatured (grain), eugenia caryophyllus (clove) leaf oil, cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon) leaf oil, myristica fragrans (nutmeg) kernel oil, vanilla planifolia (vanilla) oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (sweet orange) peel oil, lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower extract, lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract, phenethyl alcohol (rose), caprylyl glycol (coconut), potassium sorbate, polysorbate 20 (plant), xanthan (fermented sugar).
3. Coppertone Faces Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50, 2.0 oz., $7.99
This is by far one of the best drugstore mineral sunscreens I have ever used.  The texture is thick and matte, but dries down quickly and does not feel heavy, or oily.  Two caveats: It cannot be worn on peeling, dry skin and it is WHITE.  This is not a convenient sunscreen to use.  You cannot slap and go.  Application requires blending vigorously into the skin, which means if skin is still continuously shedding, you will only create pilling with the blending.  Also, even after when blended into the skin, it still leaves it white, but it also acts as a setting primer for additional color on top of the skin.  This is key for why I love this sunscreen.

Ingredients: Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%), Zinc Oxide (14.5%) Water, Propylene Glycol, C12 15, Alkyl Benzoate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl/PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, PEG 12 Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Ethyhexyl Palmitate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Sodium Chloride

4. Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheers in Golden Beige and Golden Bronze, 1.0 oz, $59.00

I wish I could say there was a cheaper version of this stuff, but there isn’t.  This is THE ultimate golden skintone finish mimic.  There are lots of other highlighters and shimmers, but this is the only one that can actually mimic golden fleshtone on top of white mineral sunscreen.  It is sheer, but still has a certain level of opacity to see the color.  It blends into anything and everything and you do not see any visible layers.  I have used this on too pale foundations with the right undertones, but wrong overtone of color, on top of sunscreens, and mixed with moisturizers for a bare shimmer effect.  I own the Golden BeigeGolden Bronze and the discontinued Peach, which mimics fleshtone on me amazingly well.  This does not have an oily residue, or leave a wet sheen like other liquid highlighters.  It is perfect.  Save up for this.  It is worth it and lasts a long time.  These Fluid Sheers are good for mimicking skintone from NC 20-NC 35.

5. Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium Bisque, $29.50 or MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC 30, $17.00

If you can find a drugstore concealer that works for you then you can swap it in for this.  I don’t use drugstore foundations or concealers because the brands do not do a good job of matching intermediate light-medium undertones that trend warmer without being pink, peach or orange.  This actually is on the darker side for me, even with a tan, but gently patted, it works to cover up redness and deemphasize raised bumps.  A cheaper substitute is also the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC 30MAC jumps from NC 20 to NC 30 with no NC 25 in this line for concealers, which would have been better for me.   The Lancome allows for better sheering and blending, while the MAC is more opaque, not as blendable, but stays put and dries fast.

6. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Coffee Cake, $8.49

This product stormed the beauty blogosphere.  I own only three shades and the one that completed the summer golden look was the Coffee Cake shade, which is kind of a golden sienna bronze.  Tap your finger a couple of times on the product and tap it again on your upper cheeks.

That’s it.  These are my go to Summer “Casual Face” products for broken out skin (that’s not that bad) on a lower budget.

w/ MAC NC 30 Pro Longwear Concealer

Skincare vs Makeup

Adriana Lima with no makeup and with makeup

Despite my obsession for blushes, foundations, and highlighters, I am not as big a makeup addict as I am a skincare addict.  I have seen some amazing makeup jobs on women who looked flawless, but they also looked like mannequins.  It’s like, I can tell, no matter how flawless you look, that it is because you are wearing tons of makeup Kim Kardashian style.  I am actually very impressed with women who can wear that much and still make it look so good that it just naturally becomes a part of them.  However, that is not my thing.

My real obsession lies with flawless, lit from within skin, with light washes, or strong pops, of color.  My rationale was, and still is, what is the point of spending thousands of dollars a year on creating the illusion of flawless skin with makeup, when you can spend thousands of dollars actually getting flawless skin?  My fixation with flawless skin, of course, started because of my extreme discomfort with having teen acne, which is ironic because it was never as bad as the hormonal adult acne I sometimes get now. 

Even my key makeup fixations reflect the philosophy of transparency.  Despite my skins tendency to breakout, and because of how oily it naturally is, I always prefer sheer to medium opacity foundations, lightly applied, even when I have acne.  I am only interested in completely camouflaging the WORST acne outbreaks, but minor ones, or post inflammatory marks?  I just don’t care to layer on foundation like a mask.  Let the sucker heal!  It’s a small pimple/mark for crying out loud, not the end of the world. 

Blushes are a real obsession.  Having an oblong face with round cheeks,  I rely on blush to define my features.  Plus, because my natural coloring is a light-medium yellow-green sallowness, I need it to give me some flattering color.  I never understood those beauty polls where women ranked mascara as the number one product they would take with them on a deserted island.  Blush would be mine.  ALWAYS!

Highlighters, or illuminators, are another key staple.  On a clear skin day, this, and blush would be the only color products I would wear.  Of course, I would probably layer several types because,  why do with one when you can use two or three for a distinctive ethereal color?  This is when I become a little too inspired by impressionism…

But it always comes back to the base.  Skin.

Consequently, I am always looking for new skincare products, the way some women keep looking for new makeup shades.  Some women may go into a fit because a new lipstick, or eyeshadow palette, is released.  I go into a fit if a new skincare line, or product,  is released.  Fortunately, and, sadly, for my financial health, there are ALWAYS new skincare lines being produced. 

Here is a peek at the new (to me) products I have discovered and will be trying out:

1. Remede Skin Exacting Masque, 1.7 oz for $88.00

Remede Skin Exacting Masque

 

2. Thalgo Intense Regulating Serum, 1.0 oz for $51.00

 

Thalgo Intense Regulating Serum

3. Sothys Desquacrem, 1.69 oz for $33.00

Sothys Desquacrem

International Beauty Blogs

International Flags

I love beauty blogs.  One of my favorite things to do is to find new international beauty blogs that I can read.  This is where my inability to speak 5 or 6 languages becomes frustrating.  Personally, I would love to be able to read French, German, Russian, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Mandarin/Cantonese, Korean, Japanese…and the list goes on.   So, I am very limited with the kinds of international beauty blogs I can read.   Blogs written in English, in any country, are awesome, for obvious reasons.  I can do Spanish blogs, too, but I am not as fast, or fluent, a reader, since English is my primary language.   I have even found that while I, for the life of me, cannot follow a Portuguese speaker in person, I CAN actually “read” their beauty blogs because the words are similar enough for me to translate into Spanish (and then to English!).  🙂

I do want to find more beauty blogs from Latin American countries, India, and countries from the Middle East.  So if anyone is aware of international blogs from these regions written in English or Spanish, please let me know!

Anyways, I have compiled a list of international beauty blogs that I enjoy.  The list is not exhaustive because I am always looking for new ones.  But here are some of my favorites.  They are all written in English, with three exceptions.*  They are in no particular order.  I will continue to update these as I find new ones I like.

Hope you check them out and find one that appeals to you.  I am constantly updating this page adding new ones and removing those that disappear.

  1. Front Row Beauty – Australia: http://www.frontrowbeauty.com/
  2. Ice Frost Beauty Diary – Singapore: http://icefrostdiary.com/
  3. Drivel About Frivol – Britain: http://drivelaboutfrivol.blogspot.com/
  4. British Beauty Blogger – Britain: http://www.britishbeautyblogger.com/
  5. Huda Beauty – Middle East: http://hudabeauty.com/
  6. Dia de Beaute* – Brazil: http://vogue.globo.com/diadebeaute/
  7. My Woman Stuff – Malaysia: http://www.mywomenstuff.com/
  8. Bang Bang She Shoots – Japan: http://bangbangsheshoots.blogspot.com/
  9. The Notice: A Beauty Blog – Canada: http://thenotice.net/
  10. Delicate Hummingbird – Germany: http://delicatehummingbird.blogspot.de/
  11. Anatomy of Beauty – Croatia: http://variolavera.com/
  12. Lisa Eldridge – Britain: http://lisaeldridge.com/
  13. Round Cheeks – Britain: http://roundcheeks.blogspot.com/
  14. Handbags and Fashion Rags – Britain: http://www.handbagsandfashionrags.com/
  15. Ali Beauty Blog* – Spain: http://blogali75.blogspot.com/
  16. Beauty and the Blog – Britain: http://beautyandtheblog23.blogspot.com/
  17. Adorable on your Vanity – Canada: http://www.adorableonyourvanity.com
  18. Life and Lens of Beauty Blog – Hong Kong/China: http://lifeandlensofbeauty.blogspot.com/
  19. Get Gawjus – Britain: http://www.getgawjus.com/
  20. Makeup4all – Europe: http://www.makeup4all.com/
  21. Sara Hassan’s Blog – Pakistan: http://www.sarahassansblog.com/
  22. Anatomy of Beauty – Croatia: http://variolavera.com/
  23. Sam’s Beauty Blog – Britain: http://samram1214.blogspot.com/
  24. Moda Capital* – Mexico: http://www.modacapital-blog.com/
  25. The Dalaga Project – Philippines: http://www.thedalagaproject.com/
  26. The Burgandy Book – Canada: http://theburgundybook.com/home/

Summer 2012 Casual Face for Broken Out Skin ($$-$$$)

Lately, my skin has been breaking out pretty badly around my chin and jaw line.  I rarely broke out on this side of my face until a few years ago, when I experienced my first bout of hormonal adult acne.  Since that initial outbreak, my skin is now more prone to prescription resistent acne aka cysts and tiny little flesh colored bumps on my jaw line.  I have learned that the only thing that really helps me are 8 hours of sleep, less stress, no anger (repressed anger exacerbates my acne (weird, but true), more exercise, and eating as healthy as I can, while NOT blitzkrieging my skin to oblivion with the three horseman of the acne apocalypse (Rx Retinol, Glycolic Acid, Masks) applied around the clock until my skin starts to crack.  (Yes, I have done this quite often in the past).

Coverage is very important with hormonal acne – the simple kind – especially in the summer.  When my skin is all hormonally broken out, I can’t get as elaborate with my going out face routine because it is significantly more sensitive to all chemicals, and it is also peeling.   I need gentle formulations during the day, non-pilling textures, and opacity.  

When my skin is broken out, chemical sunscreens are out.  Chemical sunscreens burn my skin because of the increased exfoliation I am putting my skin through (Tazorac is like paint stripper).  I prefer thick, but matte-ish, mineral based sunscreens.  I don’t like to wear foundation on broken out skin in the summer since it just makes me think my skin is going to break out more.   So I prefer tints or bronzers.  Plus, a little bit of color on the cheeks.

My go to products for a casual summer day, where I am not trying to impress, but don’t want to scare anyone away, while either hanging out with friends or running an errand are:

Summer 2012 Broken Out Casual “Face”

1.  Kose’s Sekkisei Lotion, 12 oz., $68.00

The increased exfoliation from Rx gels /creams means that I have patches of peeling skin and I use the Sekkisei Lotion to gently sweep them away.  Even though this lotion has alcohol in it, it does not burn my skin.  It also does not leave a heavy moisturized feeling, which I prefer in the humid summer.  But it does not dry out my skin either.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Glycerin, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Coix Lacryma, Jobi Seed Extract (Job’s Tears), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Melothria Heterophylla Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil (Wheat), Citric Acid, Di C12 15 Pareth 8 Phosphate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Citrate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Triethylhexanoin, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum) (Parfum)

2. Dr. Ci: Labo Black Basic Charcoal Gel, 2.10 oz, $52.00

I follow with Dr. Ci: Labo Black Basic Charcoal Gel, which has lactic acid, salicylic acid, and Charcoal powder.  My skin may be more sensitive and have dry patches, especially around my mouth, but it still gets oily.  I concentrate this gel heavily around my t-zone.

Ingedients: Water, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Alcohol, Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide, Octydodecanol, Triethylhexanoin, Pentylene Glycol, Charcoal Powder, Quaternium 73, Lactic Acid, Ceramide 3, Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (Extract), Glycine Soja Seed Extract (Soybean), Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Phellodendrom Amurense Bark Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Alpinia Speciosa Leaf Extract, Sanguisorba Offinaus Root Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract (Sage), Citrus Medica Limonum Fruit Extract (Lemon), Hedera Helix Extract (Ivy), Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Extract, Nasturtium Officinale, Saponaria Officinalis (Soapwart), Soluble Collagen, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Salicylic Acid, Arginine (L Arginine Hydrochloride), Capryloyl Glycine, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

3. Skin79 Super+ Beblesh Balm BB Cream Triple Function (Pink Label) SPF 25 ++

I like thickish, matte textures for my sunscreens for protection, and there is nothing better than a tinted cream WITH sunscreen.  I have been following the Asian BB cream craze for a couple of years, but I did not actually buy a BB cream until this summer.  Most of these products are made by Korean companies, so the tints are better suited for Korean skin with a pink base.  Surprisingly, some of them are quite adaptable if you are within a specific skintone range (Light-medium) and your undertones are not especially warm.  I am darker in the summer, around a NC 30 and my undertones more golden-olive, but Skin79 Super+ Beblesh Balm BB Cream Triple Function (Pink Label) SPF 25 ++ was still useable.  It has a pinkish grey tone that will require a tint on top to match my tone.  It is mportant to note that this BB cream does have a moisturizing base and it is not as matte, which is fine because my skin feels raw from the other prescription chemicals and my skin sensitivity is significantly increased.   

4. Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in Golden Beige, 1 oz., $59.00

Enter Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheers, by far the BEST, most adaptable highlighter EVER.  My favorite color is Golden Beige (but bronze works well, too) because it is like the liquid cellophane version of my skintone.  I slap this on top of most mineral sunscreens, and foundations with the right texture, and it melds and becomes imperceptible as an additional layer.

5. Edward Bess Compact Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in After Sunset, 0.05 oz., $38.00

Finally, I am a blush girl.  I love pops of pink, peaches, corals, plums, and bronze on my cheeks.  Cream blushes work best on bb cream, and avoid the muddy look that can happen with powder blushes.  I prefer to use sheer toned cream blushes that can be swatched and spread on skin once without need for more blending.  I am currently using Edward Bess Compact Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in After Sunset.  One gentle swipe on the apples of my cheeks and I am done.

That’s my quick summer face routine for casual days when my skin is pretty bad, sensitive and needs coverage.

Check back later for the less expensive version of this face.