I think Becca calls this a "rosy nude" because calling it a "sheer rose/pink/brown/peach/apricot/beige" would be confusing. It's a chameleon-like color that fills that MLBB need for many people, I'd think, and it's a notch "more" than Estella and Gisella, Becca's two lighter lipsticks. Chameleon-like? Well, on my moderately pigmented lips, this looks like a warm peachy-pink in daylight and most incandescent light -- and it's therefore very flattering on my warm, NC10-15, Becca Sand skin. In fluorescent light, though, it pulls pink, and then I don't love it quite so much on myself. Be aware that the Becca sheer lipsticks do allow your own lip color to show through, so I'd say it's hard to judge how this will look from a product photo or a hand swatch -- or even on someone else's lips. The texture is creamy and moist and the scent is creme brulee, as others have noted. The Becca lipsticks are sheerer, glossier and a bit more moisturizing than the Lipstick Queen Saints, for instance. In texture -- though not scent -- they are most like the Laura Mercier Stickglosses in my collection. This makes them runners-up to my favorite lipsticks, the Chantecaille Lip Chics, but still very good sheer lipsticks. I got Vendela during an Apothica sale; with MrRebates, I paid less than $16, rather than the $24 suggested retail. The LM stickglosses retail for $20. I'm thinking the Becca is a little overpriced, but deals abound at e-tailers.
Moisturizers -Eucerin - Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Creme
Sarasotagirl 11/24/2010 2:50:00 PM
One of those rare circumstances in which a very affordable product works just as well as much pricier ones. Gotta love that. I have been using this for two years, especially in the winter or whenever my skin becomes over-dry from Renova. (I am a DSPW in the Baumann skin-typing system, though not hugely sensitive.) I use it as a eye cream daily under makeup and as a night cream over any serum or treatment. I find this very soothing, very easily absorbed and non-greasy. It never touches off any reactions for me. A tub lasts nearly a winter for me, and at only about $12 at Walgreen's (cheaper if you wait for a sale), it leaves me plenty of pennies for the rest of my skincare regimen.
Liquid -Becca - Luminous Skin Color sheer foundation
Sarasotagirl 11/6/2010 4:07:00 PM
The foundation equivalent of the magically perfect thong: Works under everything, is entirely invisible, so comfortable you forget it's on ... and yet essential to making you look your best. Somehow, in my recent two-year trek through foundations, I've tried about 75 different formulas. (Yes.) I've tried theatrical brands and just about everything in the department stores and Sephora and Ulta and CVS. I've ordered things that I saw mentioned once here. I've ordered things I saw on YT vids and on QVC. I've tried creams, gels, mousses, liquids, cakes, powders and MMU. I'm sure I've missed a few products, but I can say I've done my homework. What was I looking for? Something that would make my pale, dry, nearly 50 years old, melasma-bedeviled face look good. Not perfect. Not 35 (though I would accept that!). But healthy, youthful, glowing, even-textured, GOOD. And I wanted it to look good for a whole day. I found things that looked good for a few hours, at most, before needing some serious respackling. I found things that covered every spot but accentuated my pores and flakes and looked like Makeup. I found things that could be made to look good and last ... but that took many minutes of patient sheering out and buffing. And I found several foundations (I'll list them at the end) that worked well under SOME circumstances: with the right primer, when my skin was the right combination of dryness/oiliness, when the moon was the right amount of full. But no real HG. Finally, I broke down and tried Becca LSC. I had to order it on-line, so I made a guess that my NC10-15 skin would use the second-lightest, neutral shade, Sand. I hated spending $42 on it. But it has kicked 75 other foundations to the curb. I do NOT use this alone, except for the most low-maintenance, no-makeup days. I use it over sunscreen, which I've allowed to set. (This has sunscreen, but the PPD is not high enough for someone as prone to melasma as I am.) Then I use concealer under my eyes (Laura Mercier's Secret Concealer, a true HG) and a sheer stick foundation around my nose and on the worst of my melasma (Px AnyWear, RIP). I sheer that out with a damp sponge. I do the rest of my makeup and then set the stick foundation only with powder, either RCMA no-color or Stila's Illuminating Powder Foundation (10 watts). The LSC doesn't seem to need powder on my skin. By itself, the LSC does exactly what its name implies, and not a thing more. It gives my skin a very slightly luminous hint of color. It is truly "better than bare." My skintone is evened. But the makeup is undetectable. The texture is similar to MAC's F&B, MUFE's F&B or Face Atelier's Ultra Foundation, but the finish is even more natural. That is what I love about it -- the texture of my skin looks youthful and natural, even though the pigmentation isn't perfect. And then this is what makes it an HG: It looks the same no matter what sunscreen or primer I use it over AND ... any foundation or concealer or blush I want to layer over it looks great. Nothing gets too thick or too sticky, nothing separates or melts off. It plays nicely with everything. I can put it on without thinking, knowing that it will work. (The also-rans: Alima Satin Matte MMU (best over greasy sunscreens in summer); Bobbi Brown tinted moisturizing balm (a little dark, even in Alabaster, and best when my skin is very, very dry); Tarte Smooth Operator (reformulated and now a bit "tacky," therefore not good with concealer), Stila IPF (best used very sheerly; too matte and drying otherwise); Graftobian Hi-Def (very good as a concealer or when I want a perfect finish for a special occasion; too much work for daily wear).)
Perfectly lined, sexy eyes in three seconds. I have and use liquid, cake, pencil, gel and cream eyeliners of every variety and darn near every brand, including some that have been extinct almost as long as the dinosaurs. All give different results, and after 30+ years of lining my eyes, I'm an expert at using all of them. But this loose kohl is the fastest. most dependable, easiest and most flattering of all. You've all seen the YT vid on how to apply this. I get my best result by applying, then keeping my eyes shut for another 10-15 seconds before opening them. That seems to cut down the fallout -- both onto the eye and onto the cheek -- dramatically. I get a defined lashline that is carpool-appropriate. But if I want to smoke it out, I can do that, by applying a second time and using a bit of a smudge brush. Mirage is a dark, neutral brown, as others have noted. I'm pale, green/blue-eyed and over 40, and yet Mirage is not too dark for everyday use. I have absolutely no problems with my eyes burning from this -- the particles are fine, but that seems to make this MORE comfortable for me than more shimmery kohls. Yes, this is 3.5 times as expensive, per gram, than the L'Oreal HiP loose kohls (which I also have and use). But it's about 10 times better: more precise, more lasting, better applicator, better pigmentation. Do what I do -- buy a year's supply at the Sephora FF sale.
Moisturizers -Cerave - Facial Moisturizing Lotion - PM
Sarasotagirl 6/7/2010 9:59:00 AM
This, in combination with LRP Anthelios SPF 15 moisturizer, has finally faded my stubborn melasma. I'd thrown a couple of different prescription hydroquinone products at it -- no change. I'd been using Renova and Vitamin C serums for years -- no change (to the melasma; that combo does wonders for skin texture and fine lines). I'd used different ss -- no change. But this one-two punch, I swear, is finally making a difference after about 8 weeks' use. Maybe the credit goes to the more UVA-protective sunscreen. But I think at least some must go to the niacinamide in the CeraVe PM. At any rate, the CeraVe is definitely making my skin more able to tolerate the Renova; I'm getting much less flakiness and stinging from the tretinoin. That alone makes this reasonably priced moisturizer a winner in my book. One note: It did take a few weeks before I was seeing benefits from the CeraVe. Don't give up after only a week or two.
If you're in the States and unable/unwilling to pay to have Euro UVA/UVB-protective sunscreens shipped to you, this LRP is your best bet for a facial sunscreen. At $30 for 100 ml, it's expensive compared to Neutrogena and other drugstore sunscreens -- but the UVA protection is better. I prefer Bioderma's Euro ss for when I have the $$ (they cost roughly twice as much as this LRP), because they're even more protective, but this does fine when I need to economize and want to keep my skin unsplotched. With daily use of this and nightly use of CeraVe PM and Renova, I'm finally seeing a little fading of my stubborn melasma. A few caveats: This has avobenzone; if you're sensitive, stay away. I find it stings mightily if I get it in my eyes, more than some others I've tried. And it does leave a shiny finish -- on the plus side, this is so moisturizing that I can finally wear MMU. A light dusting of Alima's mattifies this very well and provides coverage that doesn't melt. In fact, I'd say the ONLY foundation I like over it is MMU; liquid foundations simply become an oil slick, especially in summer. YMMV.
Eye Primer -Tarte - Lifted™ Natural Eye Primer with Firmitol™
Sarasotagirl 4/3/2010 11:38:00 PM
I'd like to give this 4.5 lippies ... it doesn't hold color for quite as long or as vibrantly as UDPP (though long enough for most days), so half a lippie off for that. But it is *much* silkier and less drying than UDPP, so it suits my needs better. Just as lip plumpers don't really make your lips bigger but make them smoother, this product doesn't lift anything. What it does seem to do is make the eyelid a little less "textured," so that shadows go on more smoothly. This is all to the good. I can use some powder shadows again that had begun to look crepe-y. It also is *slightly* tinted a peachy beige, which does help to camouflage redness. I still use a color neutralizing base shadow (like MAC's Soft Ochre Paint Pot) over it, though. But here's my favorite off-label use: As an undereye concealer. The peachiness helps counteract the blue veins I have there, and the smoothing power of it helps with fine lines. It also doesn't crease for me. Keep in mind that I'm NC10 or so, so the pale color works for me. If you're darker, you might want to experiment with layering your regular concealer over it -- I suspect that the holding power of Lifted will keep it looking fresh. I haven't come to the end of my tube yet, though I've been using it for a couple of weeks, so I don't know whether I'll have to cut the tube open to get to the last of the product. This tube is cylindrical, unlike UDPP, so I suspect that digging out the last of the product will be simpler. UPDATED: The cap cracked and crumbled within a month, meaning that I had to scoop the stuff out and transfer it to a small sample jar to prevent it from drying out. That pretty much defeats the point of the doe-foot applicator. They really should invest in a slightly better grade of plastic for the packaging.
Treatments -La Roche Posay - La Roche Posay Active C for dry skin
Sarasotagirl 3/16/2010 10:50:00 AM
Seems that this is a product that works best for a very specific group -- and apparently I am one of them. I love this for the luminosity and "juiciness" it gives my skin when I pair it with every other night use of Renova. The Renova alone improves the surface texture of my skin and reduces wrinkles, but only the combo with LRP makes my skin really glow. Please note: I have dry skin with a tendency to flakiness from the Renova use. I am *not* acne-prone; very few products are comedogenic for me. That might be why my skin likes the moisturizing base in this. I haven't noticed any clogged pores, and I don't use any particularly strong cleanser or manual exfoliation with it. I am not particularly sensitive, except to some chemical sunscreens and to some essential oils -- nothing in this irritates my skin. In fact, it's soothing. I have fine lines, some enlarged pores and melasma; the LRP helps with the first two, I think, but does little for the melasma. (I've tried most of the prescription hydroquinone products with little result. My melasma seems very difficult to lighten.) If you see yourself in my description, then the Active C for dry skin might be great for you. They do make a second formula for normal/combo skin.
An excellent all-physical sunscreen, as long as you are at least NC/NW15 or so. At that point, the neutral beige tint will probably match your skin or be fine with a sheer foundation over it. For NC10 me, it's a little bit too dark, but not as much as I expected.
These shadows are "soft" in both senses of the word: The pigmentation is subtle and they are among the most buttery -- but also among the most crumbly -- shadows I've tried. Try these only if you're looking for very subtle looks and don't feel you have the skills or time for serious blending. I bought six of these during HauteLook's sale for less than $5 each, particularly nice because they're the 36 mm pan size like Ulta or Chantecaille shadows: Bittersweet: Not a dark chocolate, but a near-black with an undertone that is almost blue-green Warm Grey: A matte putty color, more gray than tan. Taupe: A medium matte warm brown, akin to Bobbi Brown Taupe. Butter: A matte yellow ochre, more golden even than MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre. Really warm-toned. Blossom: A peach pink with very subtle shimmer. My second favorite. Moonlight: A neutral champagne color with very subtle shimmer. My favorite. The shimmer colors are very subtle, like some of Chantecaille's shadows, so they're friendly to mature or crepey eyelids. The pigmentation is also, as I said, subtle, which means that these are washes or crease colors you barely need to blend -- it's just about impossible to get a dark, defined line with any except maybe Bittersweet. But here's my biggest disappointment: These broke and crumbled during depotting more than any brand I've come near. The pans themselves are easy to get out of the pots with alcohol or mild heating with a flat iron. That isn't the issue. But shifting or prying or otherwise pushing on the pan cracked the three colors I did depot before I quit. I was able to re-press Butter with some success; Moonlight keeps re-cracking. And yet another downside: These are scented rose, strongly enough that they gave me a headache. It took many days of leaving the shadows open before the scent dissipated enough that I could use them. This might all be moot; Alison Raffaele's products are getting harder to find, so I have no idea what the plans for the company or these shadows are. If you can get these at a good price, want subtle shadows and don't intend to depot, they're very lovely in texture. But if you're looking for matte colors in the 36mm pans, try La Femme ($3) or Ben Nye (~ $6) first. And if you're looking for elegant shimmers, look to Chantecaille pans ($21 for pan only) or LORAC (the standard MAC size, but only $5 on clearance on LORAC's website). I think you'll be happier overall.
My go-to sheer MLBB lipstick/gloss. (For reference, I'm NC10, neutral-to-warm, with moderately pigmented lips.) This lives in my coat pocket so I can put it on all the time. One warning: The swatch on LM's website -- as well as some product photos -- make this look like a yellow-beige. It isn't; it's a muted peachy nude that still has a leetle pink in it. In other words, a neutral color for warm-toned folks. It's not brown-brown. To compare: This is a little less pink and bright than LQ Saint Nude and a little deeper in color than Chante Sari Rose, the two similar lippies that I tried before. It's close to BB Heather Mauve (which is a little pinker and opaque) or Brown (ditto) on my lips, a very neutral yet warm color. The StickGlosses are sheer and, well, glossy, as described below. They're slightly fruit-scented, much less than, say, Sephora's lipsticks have been. Very moisturizing, and wear is about the same as sheer, glossy lipsticks by other brands -- notably better than Clinique's Buttershines, though. UPDATE, 1/2011: I've moved on to the Becca sheer lip tints for my everyday, MLBB lippies (Gisella, Vendela and Laelia all do the trick in slightly different tones). I prefer the undertones of those, but mostly I prefer the scent -- creme brulee -- to the fruity scent of the Stickglosses. The Becca lipsticks are about $8 a gram vs. the $6 a gram of the LM's.
I bought this in Dark *and* in Light -- I skipped Medium because of the reviews that said it was red-toned. My brows are dark neutral brown, though I am pale (NC10 or so), and my hair and eyes are medium. I like to maintain the definition of having a strong brow, but I don't want to overwhelm my face. Here's the deal: The wax part of the Light kit is a medium warm brown (though not very red) and the powder part is a medium taupe, far more neutral. The wax part of the Dark kit is a dark neutral brown and the powder part is a warm brown. I suppose the folks at e.l.f. wanted to give maximum flexibility at each level -- you could mix the wax and powder to get the warmth you need. However, I use the neutral wax of the Dark kit -- sparingly -- to color just those hairs that are insulting me by growing in white. I use the powder part of the Light kit to fill in any sparse spaces. That works, but I think mixing the two textures is a little clumsy for every day; I prefer the waxy-powder texture of the Anastasia brow powders and I find the colors easier to mix. But if you want a decent brow kit for $3, e.l.f.'s is it.
As good as UDPP? Well, different. It's got much more silicone "slip," so it's closer to using something like Smashbox primer on your eyelids. That means that it's much easier to blend shadows over it than UDPP (in my experience, anyway). OTOH, I don't get quite the lasting power that I get with UDPP, which is bulletproof on my dry lids. OTOOH, it doesn't dry my lids out. Other pluses: It's $3. And the packaging is not as riddonkulous as UDPP's. What I'd really like this to be is a bit more opaque. This is a sheer, peachy tone that doesn't camouflage any of my discoloration -- I have to use an all-over powder shadow. I haven't tried LM Eye Basics or Trish McEvoy's similar product -- that's my next stop.
I've played with this brush for some time, and I've found a couple of uses for which it seems indispensable. 1. This is the best brush I've found for lining eyes with powder shadow (which I usually do over cake or gel eyeliner). The brush is stiffer than other eyeliner brushes, both filbert-shaped or flat, without being at all scratchy. You can put down a dense line of color that isn't harsh. 2. It's also wonderful for "cutting in" the crease to add extra definition. I'll use a pencil-type crease brush (one from the Essence of Beauty crease duo, FWIW) to put a diffuse line of color into the crease and under the orbital ridge. Then I'll use the Eye Definer to add a second, darker color in a fairly narrow line right at the crease. Then I blend. The result gives me just that little extra bit of definition to really shape the eye. I've tried this technique with many other brushes -- filbert-shaped, round, flat, pencil, etc. -- but the Eye Definer manages that subtle line best of all. I do often take whatever's left on the brush (which is nearly always a taupe or brown) and smudge it into my brows for a little more definition. One of my top five or so brushes. Wouldn't want to go without.
This is an OK foundation brush, but not a great one. It's paddle-shaped and synthetic, so I find it works best with mousse-like creams -- it tends to streak very fluid liquid foundations and it tends to trowel on stiff cream foundations. (I prefer a skunk for the more liquid foundations and a goat-hair fluff brush for truly stiff creams.) If a foundation is "in-between," it will do a decent job of applying an even layer without too much streaking. I paid $15 for this during Sephora's half-price liquidation of Cargo merchandise. I wouldn't pay $30 -- there are other brands of foundation brushes at that price point that have better flex and finer bristles, even if synthetic.