Because I'm so fickle when it comes to cosmetic products, it's a rarity I can call anything a holy grail item. But it would be a disgrace to Laura Mercier if I didn't categorize this loose powder of hers as such - it is THAT good.
My fair to medium skin, NC25, is quite yellow toned (and a perfect match to Real Sand), and combination to oily (and where I do get oily, it's a bad situation). During the humid heat waves of summer in my southern Ontario city, I need a powder that will stay put and protect my base despite constant blotting. This is that powder.
I love that there are very few ingredients in this. I love that it's a mineral powder. I hate that it can get messy, but I love the sifter, so I can somewhat control how much powder comes out when I tip it over. But most of all, I love that I can wear this over my liquid foundation as a setting powder, as well as on its own - and STILL have decent coverage.
Sure, it's a little pricey, but it's so worth it, as a little goes a long way and there's a lot of product in the container. Definitely not the most travel friendly thing out there, but it's such an important part of my regimen that I will gladly Scotch tape this baby and stick it in a Ziploc just to keep it safe and with me wherever I may travel.
I'd been meaning to order some of these online - but I found them just a few days ago at Shoppers Drug Mart for $12. I was overjoyed! I never call anything nifty, but these definitely are.
These are small, bullet shaped; there's a tiny hole at the bottom of the tube. You simply remove the spray cover off your perfume of choice, line up the hole to the opening of the perfume, and pump - several pumps later, you've got approximately .13 oz of perfume in the tube. These are so convenient as they're small enough to fit even in a tiny purse (just slightly longer than your average lipstick), and they're aircraft approved.
After Shiseido changed the formulation of their popular mascara base, which has been my favorite for years, I went in search for something that would be similar to their original. What I want most from my mascara base is the ability hold my curl, which I painstakingly do every morning for my stick straight Asian lashes - that to me is far more important than length or volume. So based on reviews, I bought this. I wish I'd kept the box.
It certainly helps to lengthen, but the thin, nearly watery, white formula flattens my lashes right out. Its saving grace, however, is that it dries fairly quickly - at least faster than the Shiseido - and is not sticky, so I can curl my lashes again before applying my mascara. I really don't like to curl my lashes after I've applied product, though, so I'm really just clutching at something in order to be able to keep using this stuff.
All in all, I'm not a fan, and I'll go back to Shiseido, even though the quality of the new formula is subpar to the original.
I just stumbled upon reviews for this new Stila foundation, and although at the time there were only a handful, the raves for it were so crystal clear I rushed out to buy it. I am so, so pleased.
Here's what Stila says about this product:
•Swirled with an advanced emolient system •Unique multi-mineral complex •Contains potent antioxidants & skin soothing chamomile •Helps diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles •Helps hydrate & balance •Helps minimize pores & control oil •High definition, high performance •Weightless, medium coverage
It all seems to be true (although I can't speak for the diminishing of fine lines and wrinkles - I don't have them at this point). My skin is oily but dehydrated, and it loves this stuff. It feels cool on contact, and makes my face look soft and natural, matte without looking flat. It covers small imperfections decently (but won't cover major redness or scarring). It does keep the oilies at bay, which is a struggle for any foundation that meets my skin.
Right now I'm topping this with Cargo Blu Ray powder, and the finish is absolutely divine. For reference, I'm NC25, and I match Light perfectly. My one gripe, perhaps, is that it doesn't seem to stay perfect as long as my other favorite, Lancome Teint Miracle - I'm up at 6 and my face is done by 6:30; if I'm wearing Teint Miracle, by 8 pm my makeup still looks fairly fresh. Not so much with this, but that's a lot to ask for any foundation.
I never thought I'd find blotting papers as much as my Shiseido papers, which I've been faithful to for years. Yes, there IS a difference between blotting sheets - some, like MAC's and Clean and Clear, actually make me feel oilier. Others are powdered, like Palladio, and add too much product to the face, when the whole point of blotting sheets, to me, is just removing oil without disturbing existing makeup and without adding another layer of product (although having said that, Palladio is two-sided, and if you get the side without the powder, you'll be okay).
I gave these Boscia papers a chance only because I needed another $10 to get free shipping on Sephora. Luckiest $10 (or $13 CAD) I've ever spent! I was spending $19 on Shiseido's 100 count, and these are cheaper, and dare I say it, better. They remove oil just as well, and the sheets are considerably larger. I'm a convert!
Makeup Brushes -MAC - #168 Large Angled Contour Brush
maliastyle 5/26/2011 10:22:00 AM
I love this brush so much. After using a multitude of other brushes for powder blush, including the 129, I converted permanently to this once I tried it. It's extremely soft, and very dense, and picks up the perfect amount of pigment. It also distributes color evenly. I've heard this can be used to apply liquid foundation - that's going to be something I'll have to try! $38 CDN, which seems steep, but given the lasting power of all my MAC brushes (some I've had for over a decade), it's absolutely worth it.
Sure, it's overpriced. That's certainly what turned me off all these years from buying this. But when I started using it, I realized I couldn't do without it.
I don't agree that this is just "glorified water." With glycerin (and caffeine), it definitely does more than what I used to use to set my makeup before, which was Avene's thermal spring water spray (now THAT was just plain ol' water). Fix+ takes away any of that chalky, powdery finish I might get with my setting powders, and blends it in with my base, giving me that soft, natural, velvety look. It doesn't make me greasy, but if it does for you, perhaps try spraying it from a longer distance - when I spray too closely, I spray too much, and my face can feel sticky, and then, yes, greasy.
Others have found a multitude of uses for this, but I really just like it for that one purpose. In the heat, it's lovely to have, especially if stored in the fridge - it's a nice relief for the skin, and feels like it "resets" my makeup.
Tinted Moisturizer -Stila - Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer
maliastyle 5/24/2011 7:57:00 PM
I bought this in Shade 01 at Winners here in Canada for under $20; I don't think I would have even picked it up from the shelf if it carried its original $42 price tag. I'm not that in love with tinted moisturizers.
But I'm glad that at 50% off regular price, I took a chance. This isn't a tinted moisturizer at all, in my opinion, because it doesn't exactly offer moisture or hydration, nor does it provide any kind of coverage at all, which I expect of tinted moisturizers (even if it's very, very slight - I do require that my skin gets evened out even just a teensy bit). No, this Stila doesn't do either of those things.
What it does do is something so, so much better.
I already get moisture from my moisturizer. I get my tint from my lightweight foundation, Lancome Teint Miracle. But what has remained elusive to me all these makeup wearing years is THAT GLOW. That J.Lo glow I've been after since what feels like the beginning of time (or at the very least, the girl's career). I couldn't even fully obtain it from MAC's Strobe Cream, which seems to have impressed every makeup artist I've come across since its release. But this, oh this! I've finally got IT. The glow.
Since there's virtually no color, it can adapt to many a skintone, I believe. I'm NC25 and Shade 01 works very well for me. I use a half pump of my Teint Miracle, and then a drop of this product and mix. I apply it all over using a stippling brush, and lo and behold, my skin looks even and luminous, without looking at all greasy or shiny. It's just amazing.
I find it even more miraculous that my sensitive, combination to oily skin can stand this without breaking out. I'm not an oil slick within an hour, either. I don't have to blot any more than usual. Really, I can't sing the praises of this enough.
This is, in my small but growing polish collection, the strangest, most interesting shade - it looks like an unassuming light grey/beige in the bottle, but morphs into a unique, green/gray/off white shade. The formula is better than most Essies I've got - it self levels, first of all, which is not a usual Essie trait. It doesn't take forever to dry, but it's certainly not quick, either. It takes three coats for opacity, but ensure each coat is absolutely dry before you apply the next, because it otherwise gets tacky and hard to even out. Other than the need for unusually careful application, I've got no complaints about Playa Del Platinum. It's definitely a neat shade to have in any polish drawer.
I so wish this looked on me the way it looked on certain bloggers who led me to buy this shade. This nude pink doesn't look pretty on me at all - my lips seem to cancel out the pink, bringing out a lot of brown, and I end up looking, at worst, like a corpse, and at best, like I've mistaken my concealer for lipstick. It's also so much more drying than all of my other lipsticks, including other MAC Satin shades, and even with a healthy helping of lip balm underneath just leaves my lips feeling cracked and dry within an hour.
I fully second the reviewer's praises below me - Tenderling's perfect nude pink mix gives me just enough color but doesn't enhance any ruddiness I might be experiencing (I'm a very golden NC25 with problematic redness and unevenness). For those accustomed to very vivid, pigmented blushes, Tenderling may be a bit of an adjustment blush - this doesn't deliver much more than a natural flush would, so it's not at all obvious you're wearing blush (which is the point, yes?). It's not even the kind of color one would obtain after running in the cold, or after a rather embarrassing moment. Admittedly, I feel like I have to pack lots of this on just to get that perfect color - it is a Sheertone, after all - but once I do obtain enough pigment on my skin, it's just clean, fresh, and very pretty.
Now, I've tried hard to be an Essie fan, because it's so accessible, and the colors, while not always edgy or groundbreaking, are classic and to wear. However, texture and consistency isn't always, well, consistent, so I steer clear of Essie most of the time.
Having said that, sometimes a color jumps out at you that you must have. Essie's done that for me in Jazz. And it's done it again, this time in Sew Psyched.
No idea why it's called Sew Psyched. Yes, I'm psyched about this shade, but a khaki green/gray doesn't make me think of sewing. The color seems to change depending on the light; in natural light it definitely is green with a gray cast, in my office's fluorescent lighting it's an even deeper green that looks mossy, and at home, in my living room, where the light is softer, it looks gray with a heavy dose of army green.
Now, about the application. This particular Essie is actually self-evening, and it's totally opaque in two coats. It also seems to dry a little faster - other Essie shades I've had still aren't fully dry in an hour, and I get sheet marks if I apply too close to bedtime (and by too close I mean an hour, an hour and a half). This, however, is rock hard and smooth, with an absolutely impressive wear time. I get about a week with it, and it's still shiny at the end.
I freaking LOVE this color. $11.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart.
I am madly in love with this foundation - even more so than Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. While I love V.A., Teint Miracle, in my experience, is the superior product.
First of all, for reference, I have yellow-toned, NC25, combination to oily skin that is prone to redness and the occasional flakiness. It is also sensitive, and tends to "eat" foundation.
In Teint Miracle, my absolute perfect match is Bisque 4 W. It is the most luxurious, satiny foundation I have ever put on my face - and I have tried plenty, from NARS to Armani to Revlon to Stila. I read an editor's take on this magazine that month that you can really see the before and after results as you're putting on this foundation, and she's right - as you're stippling it on the skin (my preferred method of application) you can just see how even your skin your getting, as if the lighting in the room is magically being adjusted. It's never masky or cakey or artificial - just lovely.
While it really lasts throughout the day, even on my oily skin, it's not difficult to take it off at the end of the day, like some longwearing bases available on the market. It's also got this miraculous ability to look glowy, without being shiny; semi-matte without looking flat or dry. It just looks like your skin, but better, yet it's not as sheer or lightweight as a tinted moisturizer. It's just divine.
Last, the packaging is so pretty - like a bottle of fragrance. I love that it's a pump (I use less than a full pump at a time) so I'm not making a wasteful mess every morning.
At about $42 CAD, this is an incredible investment and a wonderful addition to my makeup routine.
Moisturizers -Equate - Complete Beauty Lotion with SPF 15 - Sensitive Skin
maliastyle 4/28/2011 10:18:00 AM
The branding and packaging for this in Canada is different than that found in US Walmarts. In Canada, this is merchandised right beside Olay in the same way that generic painkillers are placed alongside Tylenol or Advil, and is not branded Complete Beauty Lotion with SPF 15 - Sensitive Skin, but rather just simply Equate Moisturizing Lotion - Sensitive Skin SPF 15. It contains 3% zinc and 6% octinaxate, which were the winning ingredients in the discontinued Oil of Olay sensitive skin moisturizer that has been so loved by acne sufferers and sensitive skinned folk for so many years. While Olay listened to their American consumers and brought back that product, Canadian customers were not as lucky - that particular item, now marketed as the "classic gentle formula," has not returned to our shelves.
Well, thank goodness for Equate. Manufactured in good old Ontario, this stuff has been a godsend for me. I'd been suffering from redness and patchy, flaky skin (which I believe now is a bout of facial seborrheic dermatitis) and this saved me (alongside doctor-prescribed Diprosone liquid once a week, a topical corticosteroid). My skin is now baby soft and back to normal. I attribute the disappearance of the redness to this product's zinc content - zinc is a well known anti-inflammatory and I'm a huge, grateful fan.
So, for Canadian girls who still lament the loss of Oil of Olay's discontinued, original sensitive skin moisturizer, do yourself a favor and get thee to a Walmart and plop down $6 for this. You'll be overjoyed.
Great starter browbone or lid color - I agree with the previous reviewer's description that this is a wonderful oyster shade. I've had this in my kit for years, and while I don't reach for it as often as I do Ricepaper as a browbone color, I like having it around. It suits a multitude of skintones and can even be used as a highlighter on the cheeks.