Pitch Perfect – Must See

So you are anti-formulaic cliche high school/college comedies where the guy/girl get’s the girl/guy and there are merry ensemble quips and wit, plus fun breakout, toe-tapping acapella singing that you can jam too sung by the uncoolest of the uncool, so uncool – that it’s cool?

Well, no one is making you go see Pitch Perfect.  I guess you dislike babies and puppies – in that order – too, huh?

If you enjoy babies and puppies, then you will enjoy Pitch Perfect…no, there are no babies and puppies in this movie.  But it is too cute and hilarious.  It is in the same vein as Bring It On, and other me too cheerleader movies that followed.  Of course, Pitch Perfect may actually be better.  Actually, it is better.

Go check it out.  My high school had an acapella group and yes, the girls crushed on the harmonizing.  No, there will be no crushing on the boys in this movie.  But you will absolutely enjoy the Barden Bellas.

Yeah, this is going in my lazy weekend dvd movie collection when it comes out on dvd.


Jennifer Connelly + Shiseido

Have you all started seeing this ad of Jennifer Connelly for Shiseido in magazines yet?  This woman is 41 years old and will be 42 in december. I have seen red carpet photos of her as well, and her skin is flawless.  I love this photo.  I know that beauty ads rely on photoshopping but I still feel like this image isn’t AS photoshopped as other beauty shots. 

I love her thick eyebrows.  I love the richness of her black/brown hair and the contrast against her skin. I also love the fact that it doesn’t APPEAR that she is wearing that much makeup.  The focus is on her smooth and clear skin.

Frankly, it makes me want to go out there and buy Shiseido’s Future Solution LX and I have been aware of this range for a while.  Anything THAT expensive makes me curious to wonder what is in there.  Plus, did I mention it is a Japanese beauty company?  Maybe it’s the 80’s girl in me – but Japanese prestige products just scream quality and efficacy to me.  However, anti-aging products have never been my focus.

Now that I am getting a little “long in the tooth” – OMG – did I just say that?!  Chuckle.  Yeah, I do need to seriously start thinking about anti-aging.   Even if my skin refuses to leave adolescence behind because of acne, I do need to start thinking about skin losing firmness/slackening and wrinkles.  UGH – writing that actually made me sad.  😦  Maybe, dealing with acne isn’t so bad after all? I have dealt with it so long that getting old and wrinkles never loomed large…but, sigh…it is around the corner. Kind of scary actually.

There is nothing more obnoxious than a 20 something year old saying how they want to respect the integrity of their face and not get plastic surgery or botox because they want to “age” gracefully.  I have read enough new young thing actress say this that I roll my eyes because I know they will be the first one’s running to the needle/scalpel.  People who say stuff like that erroneously believe that age will not smack em around and that THEY will be DIFFERENT.  I used to say the same thing in my twenties and now that I am in my thirties – I say screw that.  I don’t want to look like any of those puffed, pulled, and chiseled faces in the “Housewives of…” reality shows. Shudder.  Scalpels and needes do scare me…but I can’t say what I would or wouldn’t do until wrinkles and a slack face are staring back at me.  Right now, that is the future.  Not to distant future.  But women like Jennifer Connelly, Julianne Moore, and Jennifer Lopez have entered their 40’s (or 50’s!!!) and they look so incredibly natural and fresh faced.  I do not know what they have or have not done.  But these are my “age” models I want to emulate.  None of them have the advantage of darker, or thicker skin, that ages incredibly well, even when abused.  So, I know they had to WORK to keep it this youthfu looking.  Plus – look at Julianne Moore!  On the aging spectrum – being a natural, fair skinned red head, means wrinkles are hitting you harder and faster than anyone else.  She looks better than Lindsay Lohan and she’s got 30 years on her, I think!

I know there are certain things I need to do.  I need avoid the sun like the plague.  I need to drink tons of water and eat more vegetables and fruits.  Eat less sweets – OY VE – that’s a hard one.  Especially knowing that refined processed sugars are a double whammy on the skin and waist line, but it makes me so happy!  🙂  Exercising, getting enough sleep, and stressing less are also important.  Let us not forget the ever important prescription strength retinoid – CHECK – and a vitamin c serum – CHECK!

Aside from all of that, I do need a daily topical anti-aging serum/cream.  I don’t have ANY meant for aging skin.  The Shiseido Future Solution LX is kind of pricey for me, so I will see if I can find something less expensive.  But this ad definitely reminds me that I need to get on the anti-aging wagon.

Arcona Raspberry Resurfacing Peel + Tea Tea Mask

I love the idea of peels.  I am a firm believer in exfoliation of the skin.  Exfoliation whether slow and gentle, or fast and irritating, has been what has saved my skin from being marked up by acne, texture and pigmentation wise.  I shudder at the idea of not being able to exfoliate my skin.   I have previously mentioned that I always use a prescription strength vitamin a derivative to exfoliate my skin on a nightly basis, the strength depending on my current needs, but I also like to use daily topicals.  This can get tricky though.  You have to calibrate and make sure that if you are using something strong at night, that you use something much weaker during the day, and vice versa.  I am still figuring that out as I try to new products to figure out what goes with what. 

1. Arcona Raspberry Resurfacing Peel, 2.0 oz for $68.00

I love the idea behind the Arcona brand.  Natural but strong actives.  This is great!  Except sometimes it’s a little too great!  I have tried various Arcona products in the past, and I find they are definitely strong actives.  Unfortunately, I always seem to try them when I am on a particularly bad skin period, like now, where I am using some serious strength retinoids, which is unfortunate.  I recently tried the Arcona Raspberry Resurfacing Peel and this is a wonderfully pulp textured, refreshing, tarty smelling peel.  It exfoliates and hydrates the skin, while improving skin circulation and minimizing irregular skin pigmentation.  This is a great peel if you are using a weak prescription retinoid like Differin, but it can be irritating if you are using Retin-A, and especially Tazorac.  Sadly, I was using Tazorac while I was using this and it stung the hell out of my skin.  However, I was actually quite pleased with this.  It means the actives are stronger than what was in REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, which felt like nothing at all.  I mean, check out the ingredient list – it is awesome – lactic acid, gluconic acid, malic acisd, mandelic acid, lycopeene, salicylic acid!  But it also meant that I should not be using it with Tazorac, which literally lifts my skin into dry husks.  Arcona Raspberry Resurfacing Peel is a great peel for those individuals who are NOT on retinoids, and are looking for an effective peel that will truly exfoliate their skin.  I do not feel someone with dry and sensitive skin should use this product.  But if you have normal to coarse skin, and especially if you are oily, with mild acne, then this is an awesome peel to use. 

Ingredients: Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit, Aqua (Water), L-lactic Acid, Vaccinium Macrocarpon,(Cranberry) Fruit, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Fruit, Glycerin, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit, D-gluconic Acid, Tartaric Acid, L-malic Acid, L-mandelic Acid, Papain, Bromelain, Lycopene, D-alpha-tocopherol, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum Bark Extract, Citrus Junos Peel Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Wine Extract, Salicylic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana(Witch Hazel) Water, Benzyl Alcohol, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract.

2. Arcona Tea Tree Mask, 2.0 oz for $30.00

I could not resist to try a combination tea tree AND sulfur mask meant for acne-prone skin.  YOWZA!   Well, I should have waited.  This is a bit stronger than the REN ClearCalm 3 Anti-Acne Treatment Mask, I previously reviewed.  It is not as soft and pliant, and dries slightly on the skin in a thin film.  The REN ClearCalm 3 Anti-Acne Treatment Mask never actually dries down but stays moist on the skin.  The REN mask also had a strong  aromatic scent of lavender and thyme, which I very much enjoyed.  The Arcona Tea Tree Mask has lavender, as well, but the scent is a tad herby/medicinal, but not very strong, unlike the REN mask.  I find the Arcona Tea Tree Mask a stronger active than the REN sulfur mask.  If I didn’t use retinoids, the REN version would be too weak and the Arcona version would be perfect.  But I do use retinoids, and the history of my skin, suggests that I will always have to use retinoids (plus – HELLO, ANTI-AGING anyone?!).  Arcona’s Tea Tree Mask is a great mask for those who are not on a prescription strength retinoid, who have normal to oily and mildly acneic skin.  This is probably more cost effective and gentler than most prescription strength acne medication.  But this should definitely NOT be paired with benzoyl peroxide.

I still love ARCONA!  For those of you who are looking for effective and strong active ingredients in a natural formulation, Arcona is your brand.  I actually think it would be very ideal for most men’s skin types, while women will have to be a little more careful with the non-sensitive skin product formulations.  But pay heed to the other stuff you use around it, regardless.

Ingredients: Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Sulphur, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Plant Oils), Kaolin, Bentonite, Titanium Dioxide, Melaleuca Altenafolin (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Allantoin, Lavender Extract, Geranium Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract.

Renpure Originals Brazilian Keratin Straightening Shampoo + Conditioner

My skin has always been my thing.  Consequently, my hair has fallen like dead last as to things I pay attention to.  Some people prefer to hide behind their hair for any particular reason, but I hate to hide behind it because it feels worse than just putting the problem all out there and not being nerve racked wondering if people notice.  No need to be nervous if the fact that my skin is jacked is out there (covered under some makeup, but still you really can’t hide jacked skin).

For most women hair is their thing.  It is not mine.  My hair is just there as far as I am concerned.  A huge part of it is laziness and lack of skill.  Do I really want to wield a hair dryer/curling iron? NO.  It is long, abundant, fine-textured, leans dry and frizzy at the ends.  My hair is in the awkward spot where it’s not really straight or wavy.  It’s in between hair that requires some skill and time.  I have no problem spending 20 minutes on my face.  I hate spending more than a few minutes on my hair.

But times are a changin’!  I am going to learn how to treat my hair well.  It has been neglected for far too long. 

Pre-2006, I always used shampoos and conditioners for dry, coarse damaged hair.  In my mind, my hair was dry and needed moisture.  I did not realize until I started Japanese Thermal Reconditioning  in 2002 (which I stopped in 2006) that I was using the wrong stuff.  I liked how these shampoos and conditioners made my hair feel saturated, buttery with lots of slip in the shower.  I thought this was a good thing.  But then my hair would dry hard and crispy.  I thought it was my hair.  So I would go for even heavier creams.  It just made it worse.  It was the heavy cones filling in the thin ridges in my hair and weighing it down like no other.  I then went to products meant for fine hair.  But all of these focus on volumizing, and had very little moisturizing element to it, adding stiffer, fluffy texture. I still have dry frizzy-leaning hair.  Fortunately, hair care companies have figured out there is a lot more hair texture variety in the world.  So, now I am on the hunt for the right hair care products for my hair and I have found a few promising items in the drugstore.

Renpure Originals Brazilian Keratin Straightening Shampoo and Conditoner

Before I begin as to why this set was awesome and a repurchase for now I need to tell you what I consider my “ideal” hair.  Everyone has a different idea of “great hair” because it is personal to them.  There are infinite hairtypes and ideas on what great hair is (which could mean no hair ala Amber Rose or Sinead O’Connor), are all equally valid.  My fantasy hair is FULL, VOLUMINOUS, WAVY-CURLY, equal parts SOFT, SILKY with some roughed up TEXTURE.  In two words  – RUMPLED BEDHEAD!  But who the hell wakes up looking like that! NO ONE! I have seen enough behind the scenes video to know this type of hair requires alot of product and work!  But I am schlepping my way to the lazy woman’s version! So with that….let’s get to the review.

First off, I don’t like heavy cones in my shampoos and conditioners.  I am not necessarily anti-silicone.  There are many types of silicone that are not heavy, greasy or crunchy on the hair.  For me, it is useful in smoothing the hair shaft since mine does not have a very thick coating that increases shine (the reason why asian hair is so glossy).  This has silicone quaternium-17 listed as one of the bottom ingredients and it is a water soluble silicone that is used to “condition” hair and impart shine.  It is not necessarily bad.  It is a modified form of silicone that can condition the hair and impart shine without being completely hydrophobic.  This system also utilizes coconut oil, keratin, and shea butter as additional hair shaft smoothers and conditioners. 

This is marketed as a straightening set, but I do not put much stock in marketing.  Hair care products promise a lot and deliver a little.  There is no way this bad boy is really going to “straighten” your hair.  This, however, did smooth my hair shaft without weighing it down which is what I was looking for. 

I used this set a couple of times consecutively to get a feel for how it worked with my hair.  One thing to know about my haircare habits is that I rarely blow dry my hair.  Like ever.  I let it air dry.  So first day hair is a bit poofy looking because it takes a LONG time for my hair to fully dry.  For the photos below, I let my hair air dry in a low ponytail and then wrapped it in a bun.  I got a little impatient and took down my bun before it was completely dry and took these shots, but I think it’s valuable to see my hair like this to see it’s porosity (high), texture (fine), and problem with frizziness and dryness (a lot).  One more word.  I am in a desperate need of a trim.  You can clearly see all the flyaways and some split ends.  Plus my ends are fried from the times I have used heating appliances. 

My hair tangles easily left on its own.  If I were to let me hair out for more than five minutes I develop knots and tangles.

The picture below shows the incredible smoothing power of the shampoo and conditioner.  However, the inside section of the bun is always smoother than the outside section when it is unwound. 

With Renpure Originals Brazilian Keratin Straightening Shampoo + Conditioner my hair dried softer, volumized and smoothed down, allowing my hairs natural wave to retain its shape for a bit and not become as poofy and dry down super frizzy with a crunchy feel.  Had my hair been allowed to fully dry, it would have been less poufy in the center on my hair.

A couple of things though.  I am still used to shampoos that lather really well, and I love lather.  The shampoo does not really lather and this is a good thing, even though I like lather.  Lather comes from the sulfates which is actually very drying on hair.  I also love conditioners that provide major slip in and out of the shower, when hair is wet.  This leaves no coatish, siliconey slip.  It feels thinly moisturized.   So, you will feel tempted to dump several ounces in your hair.  It won’t help.  This does need slightly more moisture to it for drier, porous hair like mine.  When I got out of the shower, I was annoyed that my wet hair did not feel slippery and easily untangible (I really should have untangled before I got in the shower).  But my hair still dried down soft, softly moisturized (but not as moisturized as I would have liked), and volumized.  I loved touching my hair. 

My hair is so fine textured, but abundant that the waves loses steam and straighten out pretty quickly. This was a good find.   I will not stop trying out other brands, but it is great to know I have a fallback, which is what this is while I try other brands. 

This may be a great find if you are trying to smooth your hair strands without weighing it down and you don’t need that MUCH moisture for your hair.  This is not a great set if you require more moisture for dry to very dry hair.  Of course, you can add that later with a fine moisturizing mist that won’t weigh down your hair.



I love discovering new beauty blogs.  For beauty blogs that I like, I read the “ABOUT” section, if there is one.  You never know what kind of interesting story is there, especially if they have a large following.   Sometimes, if a blogger has a large following, and their blog looks really professional, I will google their blog to see if they have done other stuff in the larger social media world.  This is how I discovered the purpose of giveaways as I had never entered one before.   I liked their site and I couldn’t find a darn thing about this blogger because this blogger had done so many massive giveaways and required people to promote their own giveaway that all you could find on the internets were mentions of their giveaway.  That’s when I went back to their blog to read more information about this giveaway because I thought it was strange so many other blogs were promoting it.  Well, it wasn’t strange – it was a requirement for an entry.  Just one of the many required, convoluted steps to get a chance at winning the giveaway.  I even stopped reading the instructions because it just kept dragging on with what you had to do.  Having discovered the purpose of this giveaway and seeing the large number of followers this blog had made me think – “Wow! That’s Genius!”  I also felt a little disheartened.

Now that I know that the purpose of a giveaway, depending on the requirements for winning,  is to increase follows, it makes giveaways not as much fun.  Where the hell have I been, you ask?  I don’t know.  Truthfully, I usually don’t discover blogs unless I need to look up product info, or a swatch of a product.   I can’t say I have ever followed a blog from the beginning since I usually only discover them two to three years into their blogging life.  I also usually bypass giveaway posts.  Also, um – I have other interests.  Reading beauty blogs is a small part.  Since I was never part of the blogging community before I never thought about this kind of stuff.  Why would it be interesting to me?  Well, now it is.  It is all really fascinating actually.

I read a lot of industry news regarding the impact social media is having with brand strategies and marketing.  Clearly, companies are looking for positive exposure and a proven connection between their advertising/social media dollars, or product investment, and revenue stream.  A blog with thousands of readers/followers is a great way to reach out to current and potential new customers.  I wonder if companies have ever considered whether the community they are reaching out to may be nothing more than a great big circle  of bloggers echoing.  I mean, if everyone who is following someone is themself a blogger, how valuable is the readership? 

Sure, bloggers are customers too.  But the average customer is not a beauty blogger who is obsessed with beauty products.  Considering the number of friends I have tried to convert to be beauty junkies to no avail.  They just want a simple face wash, sunscreen (for the initiated), wrinkle cream, or eye cream that they can continue to buy over and over again without thinking about it.  They don’t want ten steps, or products, they maybe want three, tops.  Unlike the average beauty blogger who usually has NO LOYALTY to a product (unless they can’t find something exceptionally better), in many cases, average  customers are brand customers for life. 

This is the prize a company is looking for.  Of course, beauty bloggers as customers shouldn’t be scoffed at either.  I mean, one beauty blogger probably provides the equivalent revenue stream of 10 average beauty customers…or more.  Seriously.  Do you know how many masks, facial cleansers, serums, blushes, foundations, I have? I have enough for half a dozen people for crying out loud.  But this is the key – am I a “life” customer?  For the majority of products I buy, no.  The revenue stream I will provide will actually be diffused to various new companies.  Only a small handful will be “life” brands for me, and some may be dependent on my current life stage.  Will I still buy anti-acne creams/lotions/serums once I no longer get acne? (Please JEEBUS tell me there is a life stage where I won’t get it!).

So, back to giveaways – I still think they are a cool idea.  I like the idea of giving something away to brighten someone’s day.  Free stuff is awesome!  Especially when it comes as a surprise.  When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure how long I would be interested in doing this.  Frankly, it’s too short a time period for me to say I can see myself doing this long term.  It hasn’t even been THREE MONTHS since I started blogging.  Whose to say that after six months I won’t stop?  For the time being, I enjoy blogging; it is providing a useful new skillset; and it is getting me to think in ways I did not before I started blogging.   It has been a positive experience for me.  Although, it is a HUGE time suck and my posts aren’t even elaborate compared to other bloggers I follow.

So, if I ever did do a giveaway, it would have to honor a special moment for this blog and I have decided it should be to reward current readers, not future ones.   You know, people who followed me because they were interested in the products I reviewed/swatched, or what not.  Why not even make it a SECRET giveaway – as in – surprise!  You won!  However, what if a person has always been a reader, and does follow the blog regularly, but has never “officially” followed it?  Well, I suppose the giveaway acts as an incentive to the reader to finally become an “official” reader.  I will be honest.  I follow tons of blogs without ever making it “official.”  What I don’t want is having a large “follower” group who could care less about my posts and just signed up for a giveaway.  I want to continue doing this blog for the right reasons, regardless of how long the life of this blog is (I have a short attention span).  🙂  I would hate to feel “compelled” to post because I had a large following even though they weren’t reading a thing.  OHNOOOOS – ‘what will my readers think! What will they do?!’ Ummmmm, I think they will be just fine and move along to another blog, just like I would.  🙂

BECCA Cosmetics Beach Tints

1. BECCA Cosmetics Beach Tint in Fig and Grapefruit, 0.24 oz for $25.00

When I picked this product up the first time I did not know how to use it.  I actually ended up tossing it away.  I was like what the hell?!  When you squeeze out the contents you may get a clear liquid before you get the actualy product.  These Beach Tints have to be shaken to mix the contents together again before it separates.  Of course, I could have just purchased an expired product?  Who knows.  When the product does come out properly it looks like more opaque waterpaints.  You have to work quickly to blend it in.  Once you start blending it becomes very sheer and dries to an immediate stain-like effect on your cheeks.  These are supposed to be waterproof, but I can’t really test that, or I am not going to.  I do not wear makeup into water! But what I think is kind of cool is that you can take a smidge of another cream blush and mix it in with this to create a creamier, more opaque, longer lasting blush on your cheeks.  I am definitely a blush addict and I have no problem looking like bozo the clown with blush.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Of course, if my acne is bad – then no.  I go subtle.  I don’t need anything flaming red on my face drawing people’s attention to it, while I am trying to cover up other smaller red bumps all over my jaw/cheeks. 

These tints are a subtle affair that work best on sheered, thin, and slightly moist textures, like Becca’s Luminour Skin Colour Ultra Sheer Foundation, or with MAC’s Cream Colour Base.  You really shouldn’t use on powdery surfaces or thick, opaque foundations. 

Here are the swatches:

Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire d’abeille, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone, Oxidized Polyethylene, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Polyethylene, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Nylon-12, Tocopheryl Acetate, SD Alcohol 40, Magnesium Stearate, Parfum (Fragrance). May contain/peut contenir [+/-]: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 22 Lake (CI 45380), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Red 36 (CI 12085).

Sephora has recently started carrying BECCA Cosmetics again (win for you!).  Check out the line!

Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer

1. Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium Bisque and Correctuer, $29.50

This concealer has been a lifesaver for me because of the horrendous adult hormonal acne I have been hit with recently.  I know I featured it in a concealer collection post, but this deserves its own post.  Honestly, I would freak out if I didn’t have a tube of this stuff on hand, which is why I ran out and got more.  Medium Bisque is the only shade you can use if you are not very fair or dark.  Lancome’s shade range for this product line is abysmal.  I have both the Medium Bisque and I recently picked up Correcteur, which is a very pale yellow, which I suppose is meant to cover red spots first and then you layer on another concealer?  Or it could be an undereye highlighter.  I don’t know.  All I know is the Lancome associate said I could use it to cover up the red first, which is what I have been doing.

If you are between a MAC NC 25-35, I am pretty sure you can use this concealer.  It is a warm medium-beige, which is darker than my skintone, but since I am trying to cover up angry red acne, it works just fine.  It is exceptionally creamy, can be sheered out when necessary, blends seamlessly with other foundations from other brands, and it stays moist – thank goodness. 

I use this sucker every day, multiple times a day and I do not skimp.  While I don’t like the applicator because it makes it difficult to get the last bit out, I like the fact that I can just hit the wand to my skin and dot it allover where I need it, without my finger touching it.

So far this is my star concealer for angry red bumps on dry irritated skin. I would love to find something closer to my skintone, as this does dry down a hint darker on its own so I have to blend in with other lighter foundations.  But it really has been uber important to me this summer. 

Updated in 10/12: Score! When I am on tazorac and my skin is peeling non-stop during the course of the day, and I cannot wear ANY foundation because the blending/rubbing lifts peeled sections of skin everywhere, I can rely on this tube of creamy concealer dotted everywhere to mimic a very light foundation cover that will not emphasize my peeling skin, but conceal it!

Here are the swatches:

Update: I went to Sephora and compared Lancôme’s Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer to Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and the pigmentation level of the Lancôme is higher and the texture is creamier.  Lancôme easily beats Nars’.  Shade wise, the Nars’ Custard is closest to Lancôme’s  Correcteur and Nars’ Ginger is closest to Medium Bisque.  However, Lancôme’s Medium Bisque has more warmth to it.  Although, Lancôme’s Medium Bisque falls somewhere between Nars’ Ginger and Caramel.

Here are Café Makeup’s swatches of Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer.

I, also, compared Lancôme’s Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer to Becca’s Radiant Skin Creamy Concealer and, once again, Lancôme beat it with higher pigmentation and a creamier feel.  Becca’s Radiant Skin Creamy Concealer, also, felt less creamy than Nars’ Radiant Creamy Concealer and seemed better suited for oilier skin types.  I actually suggest using a moisturizing product under Becca’s Radiant Skin Creamy Concealer.  Becca’s Banana is closest to Lancôme’s Correcteur and Becca’s Macadamia is closest to Medium Bisque.  However, Medium Bisque is warmer and deeper.

 I find that between Becca’s and Nars’ radiant creamy concealers that both run a bit liquid-y and less creamy than I would have expected for a concealer marketed as “creamy.”  However, both delivered  a bit more “radiance” than the Lancôme concealer.  The light-reflecting, or radiance, from these two concealers were similar to YSL’s  Touche Éclat highlighter pens.  As concealers though, I find Nars’ and Becca were kind of weak.  These are definitely more in line with YSL’s Touche Éclat with more shade variety and a teeny bit more pigment in the light-medium range, and a lot more pigment in the medium-deep range.  I actually think medium to deep toned ladies will enjoy Nars’ and Becca’s creamy concealer wands as great pigmented highlighters, since these tones often get left out in most cosmetic range.

The Foundations: Part 3

Well, blogging has opened up my eyes about my preferences for foundation shades when I can’t find a shade that is an exact match for my skintone.  I hate peachy, pink, or orange-toned foundations.  I will not wear it if it dries down with that undertone.  Sometimes, you can’t tell unless you look in the mirror after a long day in certain types of lighting.  I prefer going yellow-beige which is as close as I am going to get, even though its not perfect either. 

1. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in 4.0, 1.0 oz for $38.00

I have swatched this before as its own post, but I am showing it in a lineup.  This foundation is really interesting as I find that sometimes I have to work extra hard to get it from streaking/pulling and other times it just sets perfectly.  How this finishes on your skin really does depend on the texture of your skin and the products you have used right beneath it.  When I first started using it I was going through serious issues with acne and drying from retinoids so I was using really thick heavy  moisturizing serums.  It worked beautifully on thicker, moist products.  When I used it on dry skin with no more than a chemical sunscreen it set really quickly to my skin but I could still layer over it without issue.  But if I use a mineral sunscreen that leaves a white cast, forget it.  This “lifts” with the mineral sunscreen and becomes a little muddled because it is being blended with it.  These new “light as air” or “skin reflective” foundations are a pain in the butt to use with mineral sunscreens, which are the best sunscreens to use.

2. BECCA Cosmetics Luminous Skin Colour Ultra Sheer Foundation SPF 20 in Nude, 1.0 oz for $42.00

I have posted about this foundation before in an earlier post.  Turns out this is the best shade match for me currently.  It literally disappears into my skin and refines my skintone by making it a teensy bit more even-toned.  This actually sets to the perfect texture to work with BECCA’s cream blushes, or other cream blushes.  If you fall in the light-medium spectrum and are not very pink, peach, yellow or olive, this is a good match.  But it is incredibly sheer.  There is very little coverage other than a light enhancement of your skintone.  This is what I would use with certain types of highlighters that are not very opaque.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethylene/Va Copolymer, PVP, Cera Carnauba/Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cire de carnauba, Butylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Tribehenin, Silica, Isopropyl Lanolate, Glyceryl Stearate, Triethanolamine, PEG-32, Steareth-2, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-100 Stearate, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Disodium EDTA, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camelia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hexylene Glycol, Betaine, Hexapeptide-11, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Apigenin, Oleanolic Acid, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Quaternium-73, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Maris Sal/Sea Salt/Sel marin, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Isopropyl Myristate. May contain/peut contenir [+/-]: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Mica (CI 77019).

3. Origins Stay Tuned Balancing Face Makeup in Warm Beige, 1.0 oz for $23.00  

There are a lot of under the radar brands that never get the cool factor.  Origins, I am discovering is one of them.  It doesn’t have the cool advertisements and it is not constantly releasing on trend fashion colors.  So, it doesn’t get the blogging love other brands get like MAC or NARS.  I was very impressed with this foundation when I got it and it was what I used exclusively for one winter.  It is meant for oily-combination skin and it sets similarly to Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation line, but it is less drying.  The finish is a little like matte velvet, if that makes sense.  The shade match was also very good for me.  It did not turn orange.  For the price, it is a great foundation and more people need to check out this brand. 

4. By Terry Sheer Expert Foundation in Vanilla Beige, 1.17 oz for $65.00

I have read about this line in magazines often because the founder of this line is also the creator of YSL’s Le Touche Eclat highlighter pen.  By Terry is definitely a luxury cosmetic brand.  The prices are more than what I would feel comfortable paying for unless it was a must have product with superior qualities.  Well, this foundation definitely feels luxurious.  Honestly, it is the best textured foundation I have ever tried.  The closest would be YSL’s Teint Radiance Foundation, but this is definitely a huge improvement.  The foundation is cool, thick, creamy and blends like hydrating liquid silk on skin and it dries down to a soft but silky matte feeling.  I purchased Vanilla Beige, but it is too light with my tan, and it does not oxidize.  So, I am going to investigate to see if there is a darker shade that does not run orange and reserve the Vanilla Beige for winter.  (Update: Nope.  Honey Beige is very apricot orange and comparable to MAC’s oxidized NC 30-35).  Did I mention it has a distinct scent of roses?!  The brand literature says: “It erases imperfections, combats shine, signs of aging and adapts automatically to all types of complexions. With high-performance “zero imperfection” properties, a matt but non-drying translucent texture and a hydra-plumping comfortable feel, it smoothes away lines and brightens the face for a visibly sublime glow.”  Honestly, this foundaton was worth the splurge.  Now, I won’t be running out and buying $40 eyeshadows and eyeliners – hell no – but foundations? You really shouldn’t skimp.  What I wish By Terry had not skimped on was the packaging.  I hate these little tube things…it’s similar to Jemma Kidd’s Light As Air Foundation, but the hole isn’t as big – thank goodness. 

Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Glycerin, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Trisodium Citrate, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Dextrin Palmitate, Mica, Parfum/Fragrance, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3 Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Eugenol, Citronellol, Coumarin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Boron Nitride, Alumina, Methylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Talc, Lauroyl Lysine, Silica, Palmitic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phoenix Dactylifera (Date) Seed Extract, Silica, Dimethyl Silylate, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Prolinamidoethyl Imidazole, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Boron Oxide, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Methylparaben, May Contain (+/-):, [CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, CI 77492/Iron Oxides, CI 77491/Iron Oxides, CI 77499/Iron Oxides]. (T0123/A)

5. Origins Plantscription SPF 15 Anti-Aging Foundation in Light-Warm, 1.0z for $32.50

Another Origins number I am impressed with.  It is nice that I didn’t have to look hard for a solid foundation shade in this line.  I got stuck between the Light-Warm and the Light-Medium Warm.  I chose Light-Warm but I think I am going to have to pick up Light-Medium Warm.  (Update: Nope.  Light-Medium Warm is a medium beige orangey-red.  Comparable to MAC’s oxidized NC 35.)  The lighting in the store was HORRIBLE where I picked this up.  I mean it was literally a dark corner.  What the hell?  Anyways, this is another “treatment” foundation and as I have said before, I do not put stock on the treatment side.  I call bogus.  But as a foundation, this works really well.  This line is best for combination-dry skin, which is fine with me because of my peeling skin right now.  This does not turn orange and it sets to a soft moisturized satin-matte texture.  It also comes in a tube bottle that I can’t stand but the hole opening is small and it does not spill out product unless you squeeze the bottle.  

Honestly, more love needs to be given to Origins, or maybe Origins parent company – Estee Lauder – needs to start investing in this brand and bring it out of the shadows.  There is great stuff – for instance their Eye-Zings eyeshadows are awesome!

Here are the swatches:

Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Blushes

KA Creamy Moist Glow Cover 1

I used to pass by the Kevyn Aucoin section of Sephora (when they carried it) all the time and wonder about all those little pots.  It was at a time when I was only wearing powder blushes, and my focus was finding sunscreens and facial washes for oily, acne-prone skin.  I finally picked up a little pot of blush when I saw it on sale because Sephora was no longer carrying the line.  I picked up Nuelle but I wish I had picked them all up.  These are keepers.

KA Creamy Glow Closeup

1. Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow in Pravella, Euphoria*, Tansoleil, Liquifucshia, Nuelle (d), o.13 oz for $24.00

Euphoria and Nuelle are in the older formulation but Nuelle is more opaque and creamier than Euphoria.  The other shades are current and come in a different formulation that is sheerer and less creamy.  Pravella, Tansoleil and Liquifucshia come in the revamped container, which is a larger fliptop mirrored compact, which I prefer.  Nuelle and Euphoria, in the older formulation, are creamy, opaque, and need to be vigorously blended into the skin (less Euporia, more so Nuelle).  The other three shades are sheerer and can be built up in opacity, but I wouldn’t suggest going too strong.  The new reformulated product is similar to Illamasqua’s Cream Blusher, but I think Illamasqua’s are a teeny bit more opaque.  The Creamy Glow has a silky, glide on texture that pickes up color quickly and deposits it as quickly on the cheek.  The color is vibrant but sheered out really easily for a stained look.  With colors this bright, that is a huge advantage convenience-wise.  However, I wish they had kept the older formulation because even though it is more difficult to work with, it provided a long lasting, natural-like blush on the cheeks.  There was something incredibly painterly about the old cream texture, which I absolutely loved. 

Nuelle gives the most neutral, skin perfect flush (on light-medium skintones).  It is a pink-nude I have reviewed before in a previous post.  Tansoleil is a vibrant tan-apricot color and Liquifuschia is a vibrant neon pink, which is actually very similar to Tom Ford’s Cheek Color in Narcissist, which sells for $55.00 for 0.28 oz.  The BeautyLook Book has it swatched and reviewed herePravella is a cooler toned pink shade., which provides a very spring-like flush of color.  Do not be afraid of this shade if you are not very pale.  It works on warmer medium tones, too.  Euphoria a soft apricot-rose shade, which is very pretty and unique for a blush shade.  I do not think I see this shade too often.  Below are the swatches.

KA Creamy Moist Glow Swatches Text

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Trioctanoin, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Candelilla Wax, Microcrystalline Wax, Carnauba, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Ceresin, Grape Seed Oil, Octyldodecanol, Lauroyl Lysine, Propylparaben, Ethylcellulose, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Citric Acid. May Contain (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Carmine, Ultramarine Blue, Manganese Violet, Ferric Ferrocyanide, FD&C Yellow 5 AL Lake, D&C Red 30, FD&C Yellow 6 AL Lake, D&C Red 6, D&C Red 7 CA Lake, FD&C Blue 1 AL Lake.