Sunday, April 17, 2016

High End Foundation Wardrobe

I don't know about you, but I'm of the view that foundations are worth going high end for. If it's going to be all over your face and form the base for all your other makeup, then I'm willing to spend a bit extra if it means a superior product. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there's no shortage of affordable foundations that work brilliantly, but I just haven't tried that many (the one notable exception is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum, which is hands down the best "drugstore" foundation I've encountered). I'm currently rotating between five (yes, five) high end foundations and thought I'd dedicate a post discussing them and their relative merits and shortcomings.

l-r: YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat in B40, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 4.5, Chanel Vitalumière Aqua in B20, Dior Diorskin Nude BB Creme in 002, Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation in 013

l-r: Chanel Vitalumière Aqua in B20, Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation in 013, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 4.5, YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat in B40, Dior Diorskin Nude BB Creme in 002

My favourite of the bunch is YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat in B40 (reviewed here and featured in my 2015 favourites). This is probably in my top 3 of all foundations I've used, second only to NARS Sheer Glow. It's so instantly beautifying, melts into the skin without texture or application issues, diffuses imperfections and unevenness, gives you that airbrushed, dewy (but not oily), soft focus glow, has fairly good coverage while not masking the skin, and is particularly kind on dry skin. If I want my best chance at a good skin day, especially if I'll be photographed, I'll reach for this or Sheer Glow.

My second favourite would have to be Chanel Vitalumière Aqua in B20 (reviewed here and featured in my 2014 favourites). It's such an excellent everyday foundation, especially when your skin is in decent shape. What I love most about it is that it's probably the most transfer-proof foundation I have, possibly because it's water-based, so it really adheres to the skin and isn't easily wiped off. The finish is more on the satin side than the YSL, and coverage is light to medium, but it looks so natural and undetectable while enlivening and perfecting the skin.

Next we have Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation in 013 (review here) and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 4.5 (review here). I find these two pretty similar, with the main differences being coverage and finish. The Armani is a bit higher coverage and has a more semi-matte finish than the Koh Gen Do, which is more liquid in consistency and has a fresher, dewier, more translucent finish. Other than that, I find the two interchangeable. Both have coverage on the light side, so I tend to use 1.5 pumps rather than my usual 1. They're solid everyday foundations that feel lightweight, look natural on the skin, hold up decently and don't get too oily throughout the day, and generally perform well so long as the skin is cooperating (i.e. not going through a dry or blemish-ridden patch). As the Armani sets more matte than the Koh Gen Do, I like the effect of spritzing a hydrating mist all over to make it less dull and flat, and minimise any cakiness from powders I've placed over my foundation.

Finally, there's Dior Diorskin Nude BB Creme in 002. As I mentioned in my current makeup menu, I'm not the hugest fan of this one but I'm forcing myself to use it so it's not completely neglected. I don't know what it is about the Dior, but the slightly thicker, mousse-like texture doesn't entirely agree with my skin. It's probably targeted more for oily/combination skin than dry or dry/combo. It feels a bit tackier and heavier when applied, and doesn't give my preferred glowy finish. This one is a lot more satin, bordering on matte. It can highlight dry patches and doesn't apply as evenly as my other bases. I find fingers work the best, applying a small amount of product into the skin in sections, but usually I use a brush since it's quicker. I try to make it more serum-like and easier to blend by mixing a drop of face oil into one pump, then finishing with Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water or MAC Fix+ to give my complexion more life, dewiness and moisture.

Colour-wise, I would say I'm between NC 20 and NC 25 (probably closer to NC 25). Of the 5, the Chanel is the best colour match for me, with its beige/yellow tones. The Koh Gen Do is a touch too light, especially in the summer, and much too pink. The Armani also leans pink (or peach-toned), and is slightly dark when compared with my neck (I learned this the hard way when inspecting my face in natural daylight while waiting for the train). The YSL is also a bit darker than my natural skin colour and the colour's not perfect either, but at least not too pink (it's more golden brown/orangey, when I need yellow or neutral/beige). The Dior is yet again, pink-toned with a warm brown tint, though it does have enough yellow in it to make it work. So long as we're not scrutinising too closely, all of them match me well enough (with the exception of the Koh Gen Do, which I should have bought in 213) and most are probably my closest matches with the shades available.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Priceline 40% Off Cosmetics Haul #7

By my standards, I haven't bought makeup in a while. My last string of purchases was around the tail end of 2015 and I've been positively restrained since. So when Priceline's biannual 40% off cosmetics sale rolled around last Wednesday and Thursday, I sort of went for it. I was once again excited to get my hands on some new makeup to play around with, plus stock up on a few essentials. And for those curious, you can take a peek at my previous Priceline 40% off makeup hauls in April 2013, March 2014, November 2014, March 2015 and November 2015 (I did also buy up a storm in November 2013, but probably was too ashamed to document my excesses or something, since no post exists though I did make a few passing references to items I purchased).

The damage this time 'round, with after discount prices:

  • L'Oréal Color Riche La Palette Nude in Beige ($17.97)
  • L'Oréal Color Riche La Palette Nude in Rose ($17.97)
  • Essie Grow Stronger Base Coat ($10.77)
  • Essence Quick & Easy Sponge Nail Polish Remover ($3.69)
  • Rimmel Magnif'Eyes Double Ended Shadow + Liner in Kissed by a Rose Gold ($10.17)
  • Essence Studio Nails Nail Polish Corrector Pen ($3.33)
  • Essence Eyeliner Pen Extra Longlasting ($3.06)
  • Models Prefer Brow Highlighter ($5.99)

Total: $72.95

In my mind, it was either this whole bunch of stuff, or the Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette (notwithstanding the fact the Too Faced is $58 at Mecca Maxima and therefore a good $15 cheaper, plus basically impossible to get). I still mentally settled for having more "drugstore" products than one high end item.

Let's start off with the two most exciting additions ... the L'Oréal Color Riche La Palette Nude eyeshadow palettes in Beige and Rose. It was definitely an indulgence to have bought both, but it was more of an all or nothing situation. I didn't need either and while I would have opted for Rose if forced to pick between the two, at 40% off, I thought ... why not. I didn't want to buy one, be happy with it, then become fixated on hunting down the other palette the next day, unsatisfied until I had both.

It actually took me a while to realise these weren't the same palettes released in the US that I've heard many an American YouTuber rave about. The shades are completely different. It's super confusing. Over there, they're known by the same name (Color Riche La Palette Nude), but they're numbered 1 (the more beige option) and 2 (the pinker one). The palettes are made in the US and contain a whopping 17.5 grams of product across 10 pans. The packaging is also different — it's bigger and there's a clear window at the front so you can see the shades. The European version, released in the UK and also in Australia, has vastly streamlined packaging. It's a pretty compact unit. There's only 7 grams of product (but still 10 shades) and the palettes are made in China. I don't have the US version so I can't comment on quality/pigmentation differences, but just from online swatches and reviews, it does seem the eyeshadows in the US version have more colour payoff and vibrancy.

Onto the swatches:

L'Oréal Color Riche La Palette Nude in Beige (first half of palette)

L'Oréal Color Riche La Palette Nude in Beige (second half of palette)

L'Oréal Color Riche La Palette Nude in Rose (first half of palette)

L'Oréal Color Riche La Palette Nude in Rose (second half of palette)

Generally, the pigmentation is decent but not amazing. The Rose one is better than the Beige. Better colour selection, better pigmentation. Seriously, if you had to get just one, go with the Rose — especially if you already have Urban Decay Naked 1 or Maybelline The Nudes. I only really love the shimmery bronze in the Beige (the 8th colour across), but it's so common that I'm sure if I had a proper dig around my collection, I could find 5 dupes (or 50). The first half of the Beige palette is very light and not that pigmented, so I question how much use I'll get out of it. I also actively dislike the pale yellow gold (the fifth shade), as it's so watered down and sheer and unflattering that I can't see myself ever wanting to reach for it. It had so much potential to add something special to the palette if it were darker, more molten and reflective, or ultra sparkly with a warmer base colour.

The defining feature of these palettes are the texture of the eyeshadows and the way they apply. It's a drier texture so there's minimal fall out, which is a good thing, despite the sacrifice in colour payoff. It's not that they're not pigmented, it's that they give a more subtle, softer, hazy effect. They're hard to overdo unless you apply layers and layers and really build up the pigmentation. I suppose on occasion, extremely pigmented eyeshadows can be trickier to deal with since they require more work with blending, and can be a little too loud and OTT for the daytime. These L'Oréal palettes offer an alternative. I especially like the mattes since they're smooth, easy to blend and give an even, seamless wash of colour over the lid.

I also bought a couple of nail things. Another base coat from Essie (I'm almost done with my First Base which I was very happy with, but I wanted to try something different) and a nail polish remover pot from Essence (I was planning to get the Maybelline one again, but I figured the Essence was a third cheaper and couldn't be that much different). Out of sheer curiosity, and because it was so affordable, I purchased the Essence Studio Nails Nail Polish Corrector Pen. I've never used anything like it before, but I'm excited to try it next time I paint my nails since my existing method of cleaning up areas I've overpainted involving a toothpick and hand cream is tedious to say the least and desperately inefficient.

Finally, some more eye products. I completely disregarded everything else in this haul. No base, no cheeks, no lips. Just eyes and nails. I couldn't resist getting another Essence eyeliner (I'm using the waterproof version at the moment as detailed in my current makeup menu and learning to get along with it), because at $3, how could I go wrong. I also bought Rimmel Magnif'Eyes Double Ended Shadow + Liner in Kissed by a Rose Gold. Their ScandalEyes Shadow Stick in Bad Girl Bronze is basically one of my favourite products of all time, so I had high confidence in how good it would be. I bought it even without a tester and wasn't disappointed. This shiz is pigmented, man.

Rimmel Magnif'Eyes Double Ended Shadow + Liner in Kissed by a Rose Gold (002)

I mean, just look at it. Absolutely magnificent.

I'm becoming super lazy with my eyeshadow and heavily reliant on eyeshadow crayons/sticks to do the job, so another high performing addition is undoubtedly welcome. Especially when it's double ended with two shades — one for the lid/inner corner, one to add definition and line.

Models Prefer Brow Highlighter

I've been eyeing the Models Prefer Brow Highlighter ever since I started watching Jordan Liberty's videos a few months ago. I noticed he regularly uses Benefit High Brow to highlight the brow bone, bridge of the nose and cupid's bow. Every time he applied it on the model, it looked out-of-this-world ethereal. The Models Prefer seemed like a fairly blatant attempt to dupe High Brow, so I gave it a shot. It looks like the colour of the Models Prefer is darker and more shimmery than High Brow, which is matte and whiter/lighter. Still, I don't think I have anything like it in my whole collection, even if I have something similar colour-wise. I appreciate the ease of use, control and precision of a pencil, and the pearlescent pink gives a girly, angelic touch.
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