At times, I break from the higher-priced foundations and like to try something more affordable at the drugstore. I consider Rimmel to be one of the better brands on the market today, so buying "Match Perfection" wasn't an issue. Although it didn't suit my needs entirely, there were certain things I liked about it. In terms of color selection, MP offers a wide range of shades that would be most beneficial for those with medium skin tones. I tried two shades - Nude and Soft Beige. Soft Beige, considered one of the light/fair shades, suited my skin quite nice. It was a luminescent, creamy beige that did a fine job at mirroring my natural, light-medium toned skin color. The Nude shade was a bit deeper, more yellowish-beige, much like the color of my skin when I tan. Both shades were flattering and had a soft, semi-matte luminescent finish. The shades can be a bit overly beige at times, which sometimes can result in a "flatness," but the added shimmer tried it's best to counter this effect. The "shimmer effect" is excellent, adding a nice, healthy sheen to the face, without magnifying pores or imperfections. The coverage was surprisingly good. With out concealer, many blemishes were covered nicely. Pores and redness were easily smoothed over and neutralized. Depending on how you apply, MP offers light-to-medium coverage. It you choose to layer it, solid medium coverage is what you get. As many have already stated, this isn't a foundation that remains on the face for long periods of time. It gets oily easily, can smear, and will wear off in the heat, and doesn't stand up to sweat. If it's something you want to last on the skin, apply an oil-controlling primer beforehand to extend the wear. Match Perfection does what it claims: it has flattering shades, looks natural, makes you polished, blends seamlessly into the skin, and adds a natural radiance. And if it "wearing off" on you is an issue, you can experiment with different primers and make MP suit your needs.
Cleansers -Avalon Organics Botanicals - Vitamin C Facial Cleanser
J_cool 2/28/2012 5:43:00 PM
Initially, I was using FANCL's Washing Powder, and although it was excellent, it was on the pricey side. What attracted me to Avalon's Vitamin C Gel Cleanser was that it was sulfate-free and had a good concentration of Vitamin C which helps to boost collagen production and banish skins marks. After a 1/3 of product used, I can say that Avalon Organics Botanicals Vitamin C Cleanser is one of the better products I implemented into my skin care in the last couple years. For some one with sensitive skin prone to both oiliness and dryness, most cleansers on the market are harsh and often irritatating to my face. I look for mild, "sulfate-free" formulations. I also have moderate acne on my cheeks. After a week of using Avalon, my skin felt more softer and looked much clearer. My previous facial powder cleanser didn't do much for my acne, but Avalon's cleanser help to brighten and clear my complexion. The lather was wonderfully rich and foaming and smoothed nicely over my face. It rinsed clean, left zero residue and left my skin feeling great. And the scent was magical, like creamy-orange deliciousness! It smells so good, you can almost taste it! I use it in conjuction with a facial cleansing oil from Origins, which removes my makeup and sunscreen. I can't say that this cleanser, alone, is strong enough to remove the "12-hour" foundation I wear, but it doesn't leave my skin parched, tight, uncomfortable, and/or irritated. So I can safely assume that this cleanser is, most definitely, mild. If you're looking for a solid, basic, calming cleanser with high-grade ingrendients that addresses problematic and/or sensitive skin issues, try Avalon's Vitamin C. It is truly a mild formulation. Has extracts of green tea and chamomile and Allantoin to further soothe and comfort your skin. NO artificial scents/fragrances or colors.
Wanted to try an affordable, domestic cleansing oil for some time but usually end up purchasing cleansing oils from Japan. Although they are highly effective and a real treat to use, they are definitely on the pricey side. I came across Origins' Clean Energy Cleansing Oil and was thrilled to find out that it was manufactured under Estee Lauder and that it followed a philosophy of using natural, high-quality ingredients with regards to skin sensitivities and concerns. Because I use a tough, water-proof sunscreen, I need something that will easily lift it off along with a long-lasting make-up base. Once massaged into the skin, CECO melts away the foundation, the mascara, the bronzer. The oil is transformed when water is added and a rich, milk-like lather ensues, which rinses nearly clean. My skin felt soft and pampered and refreshed after the rinse, not to mention nicely fragrant. I would recommend using an additional cleanser if you want the skin to be thoroughly cleansed. The cleansing oil is considered a pre-cleanse that rids the skin of deep impurities, excessive makeup, residue, and anything that bonds to the skin ("long-wearing" eye, skin, cheek makeup). Origins passed the test in effectively ridding the skin of stubborn product and makeup. CECO is an infusion of dozens of oils that include, but are not limited to: olive oil, sesame oil, sage oil, lemon oil, orange oil, lavender oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, rosemary oil, et cetera. Chock-full of nutrient-rich oils, I feel that not only am I giving my face a deep, gentle cleanse, but also feeding it some really good stuff to help tonify and strengthen it. Some cleansing oils tend to make me itchy, dry, and give that stripped, "tight-feeling." CECO didn't have that effect. If anything, it left my skin feeling moisturized and balanced. However, after every oil-cleanse, I follow with an additional facial wash. I find it suitable for those with skin sensitivities and those with inflammation issues. It has a soothing, calming effect probably due to the aromatherapeutic properties of it's many featured oils. The value of the oil is great considering how much you get. It was roughly $25 for a 6.7 ounce. I was paying about double the amount for a Japanese cleansing oil that had only 4 ounces of product. It is better than or just as effective of any of the cleansing oils I tried in the past (FANCL, Bobbi Brown, DHC, Shiseido, Clinique, Kanebo), but I get more product, a multitude of oils (as opposed to just ONE oil), a more fragrant washing experience, and a cheaper price tag. If you're looking for a gentle cleansing oil that dissolves heavy makeup and anything water-proof, that is also fortifying to the skin and it's many needs, I recommend Origins' Clean Energy Cleansing Oil - it's great! I would suggest to every one that the packaging is t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e and must have a pump. I accidentally spilled mine once... :/
Primer/ Corrector -Make Up For Ever - UV Prime SPF50
J_cool 7/19/2011 8:34:00 PM
While browsing Sephora in search of a strong, waterproof facial sunscreen that would address skin oiliness and further refine the skin, I came across Make Up For Ever's latest contribution to the sun protection market: UV Prime SPF 50. Knowing how reputable a brand Make Up Forever is and how it's products have yielded impressive results in the past, I snatched up a tube of the stuff. The consistency of the UV Primer is like a gel-cream, white in color, somewhat runny in texture and easy to spread due to it's emollient properties. After setting, the product leaves a slightly whitish cast and noticeable sparkle. Keep in mind, though, that it does NOT dry matte, but leaves a dewy, satin finish. Regarding it's priming capabilities in terms of foundation application, I found that it offered some slip and that my makeup sat comfortably on top of it. It offered a hint of glow to my overall look, though it did nothing to make my larger pores less noticeable. As for the 50 SPF, it's great. I live in a dry climate with searing temperatures, and UV Prime protected my face from the heat and rays, even while sweating. I just felt it. I honestly couldn't feel much of the sun's intense heat with the sunscreen on my face, which would mean that UV Prime is stable, heavy-duty sun protection. I have rather sensitive skin and UV prime did nothing to irritate my skin, acne, or eyes. Sunscreens on the US market never fail to leave my eyes bloodshot and painfully itchy. This has not caused any reaction of the kind, regardless of how much I applied. Though this is where the praise ends. As mentioned earlier, this sunscreen is not matte. Within an hour of application, UV Prime gets greasier and greasier and eventually starts to slip.... and takes ALL of your makeup along with it! I tried powder on top and I tried it without moisturizer and I even tried it with an additional primer underneath (!!), and still, it failed to keep my makeup intact. It gets awfully shiny as well. By the end of the day, don't be surprised it your face is *sparkling* - literally. Funny as it may sound, the sparkling effect isn't flattering or funny to those like myself with larger pores, it just makes them 10x more apparent. The packaging says that it increases skin's moisture by 100% at the four-hour mark, though it really should say that your skin will look as if petroleum jelly was smeared all over it. Why this product is considered a primer is beyond me, it clearly is more of a moisturizer than a primer. It really boils down to UV Prime being an excellent sun protector and a horrible primer. With all the "time-released" emollients in this, I wonder what foundation would last? Exactly what foundation is made to compliment UV Prime? Is it developed for those with very dry skin? The idea of using it under your base and powders, especially if you're oily/combo, is, dare I say, "anti-makeup." And that's why I chose to rate this formulation very low. UV Prime is not cheap, it is $30 for an ounce. There are quality SSs out there for 1/2 the price, try something from Japan. If oiliness is an issue, Japanese sunscreens are ideal, because they are developed to withstand humid, tropical climates. They are usually very mild and have a low alcohol content that helps to refine pores.
I was surprised to see this seemingly upscale foundation at my drugstore with no visible name or brand, just numbers. It served as a mystery to me, because it featured no claims, no promises, nothing to woo me. Could it be that good? Intrigued, I approached the set of bottles and small sample vials and found that it was Maybelline's latest foundation formula: "Fit Me" foundation. I smoothed a sample on my skin and found that it looked quite flattering and seemed to have a bit of glow and proper coverage. I snatched up 220 ( a creamy medium beige with noticeable hints of yellow) and went home. In terms of coverage, it's comparable to a heavy tinted moisturizer - nothing too opaque, nor too light. It does a nice job of evening the skin and offering a healthy glow. I'd say that this is a light-medium foundation. Only one layer looks nice. If I were to try and "build" up with the coverage, it would smear and get pretty messy, which brings me to why I wouldn't recommend this foundation to those seeking matte/semi-matte/satin, long-lasting, "performance" foundations. "Fit Me" provides a smooth, radiant finish, however, it does get overly oily and will eventually fade and come off on to anything it comes into contact with within... one hour... maybe two. If you are oily and dare to try it, use a primer underneath, because this will bring attention to pores. If you like something that lasts, this isn't it. Although it offers a nice glow to the face, the colors are a wee bit flat and and seem to flatter those with beige undertones. There are some foundations that start off fresh, pigmented, bright and true to color, but eventually get muddy and dull. This is one of them. If I were to recommend this to some one, it would be one who desires light-medium coverage, has normal-dry skin, and who doesn't care whether the foundation can last for hours on end. For someone oily and who wants coverage and performance wear, I'd definitely pass this one up. Maybelline's "Superstay Foundation" is the one to consider over this if you want like a more polished look. This befits some one seeking a semi-transparent, "fresh makeup look," wanting only a bit of glow and to blur minor imperfections.
Is it possible to like the packaging of the product more than the product, itself? Well, yes. Definitely. "Curl Up & Die" does curl lashes, it does coat them richly, and has a decent color selection, but it could be sooo much better. Only the utmost creative line would name a mascara "Catfight" - a deep, rich, chocolate-ty brown color that really flattered my dark eyes nicely. The color, however, is where the raves for "Catfight" end. The formula is rather drippy, as it smeared under my eyes during application, like a skid-mark. The brush picks up A LOT of wet product and is way too skinny and long to work with - hardly functional at all. It's messy, very messy. When I wiped the excess off the brush, a thick, dark glob was left on the tissue. It sets nicely... after about two-three minutes(!!). But it doesn't smudge or give the dreaded raccoon eye effect, even in the hottest weather. It's long-lasting, I guess you could say. Maybe Hard Candy spent too much $$ on the packaging, marketing aspect because the designs are really cool and creative. I particularly like the innovative, eco-friendly paper/plastic-like tube container, the artwork, the color themes, and the fun names. In fact, I was thinking of returning it, but I'll keep it for the cute packaging(!). It's a sub-par mascara at best. There are a ton of mascaras out there, especially at the drugstore, that are more functional, easier to use, lasting, and give great results... and for cheap. "Curl Up & Die" was rather pricey.
Forget the "24 hour long wear" claim boasted by the ads, it is a 6-8 hour foundation at best! Aside from that, Maybelline's Super Stay foundation is quite the foundation, even better than the more higher-end brands. If you're looking for a solid medium coverage foundation that covers nicely and mimics the appearance of smooth, soft skin, AND if you're on a budget, try it out! The color selection presented is great for medium-toned people, probably the best I seen in a drugstore. If you have yellow tones, or better yet, neutral (peachy) tones, then you struck gold. I used Nude and it is, by far, one of the better drugstore foundation colors I've tried to date: a nice balance of warm peachy and cool yellow tones that would flatter that "hard to match" NC-25-30 complexion. Kudos to Maybelline for researching and developing wearable shades (esp. ones for medium skin). The colors they developed recently are very impressive. The finish of this foundation is akin to MAC's Studio Fix Fluid Foundation. Really. Once it sets, it is smooth and soft, even softening lines and pores. I really adore the finish of this foundation. Because it dries matte and could possibly appear flat, it would be best to add blush and/or bronzer to add some dimension to the face, as this foundation covers very well with very little. However, as many have already said, it will eventually start to get oily and smudge. I would suggest using a primer underneath to avoid this for as long as possible. With (silicone) primer, expect 6-8 hours of decent wear. With out primer, probably 2-3 hours of foundation wear is all you'll get, especially if you have combo and/or oily skin. It would be best to remove this foundation with an oil-based cleanser. Like Double Wear or Color Stay, this foundation bonds to the skin, I guess you could say. I haven;t had any noticeable skin issues that surfaced with the use of this foundation (such as acne). The oil cleanser removal method probably helps to prevent that. Lastly, the price! Probably the best thing about Super Stay. It's... super cheap... The finish is comparable to Double Wear with out the dryness, the flakiness and overly matte look... looks as polished as Studio Fix Fluid, but functions waaay better. Yet, there could be some improvements, but for the price and availability and color selection, it's a respectable foundation and one to def. try if you like fuller coverage foundations.
DHC is hit or miss for me when it comes to their facial care products. This is definitely a miss. At first, when I used my sample, I really loved the liquid texture, the way it seemingly melted into my skin, and the way my skin felt after application: very smooth and soft and calm. Unfortunately, like the other DHC toners/lotions I have tried in the past, it left a nasty film on my face that was still there even after cleansing (with an oil-based cleanser). This led to scales on my face, lots of dry patches, itchiness, and breakouts - after just 3 nights of using it! It required a couple weeks of gentle exfoliating and moisture treatments for my skin return to normalcy. I use a prescription retinoid daily, so maybe my skin is a bit sensitive to the ingredients in Olive Leaf Lotion, nonetheless, it really ravaged my complexion. It really has some binding ingredients in it, I suppose, which probably isn't best for congested, sensitive, acne-prone skin. I say exercise caution before while using it. I don't mean to bash DHC, I do love their skin "booster" line. I am very fond of the Olive Leaf Extract, but their toners are way to harsh and, to my knowledge, not allergy-tested, as I've experienced pretty bad skin reactions. I had this same reaction to Water-Based Moisture and a Torafugu Collagen Lotion (exclusive to DHC Japan).
Greasy. Has tons of "masking" glitter shards in it which only serve to highlight pores and scars and any sort of indention on the face. Sets OK, but wears off throughout the day, even with a silicone primer. Has medium coverage (for the first couple hours, anyway). Colors are pretty good, but it's hardly functional and downright disappointing. If you would like a true HD foundation, look in Make Up For Ever's line of HD makeup. it's sort of expensive, but it's much, much more flattering to the face than PhotoReady.
Wow! DHC’s Olive Leaf Extract is truly a great find. If you find that you have a problematic, “stubborn” complexion, one that can’t seem to get much relief from any type of topical, definitely try this out! Even since adolescence, my skin has been giving me problems, whether it’d be cystic acne, excessive oiliness, itchiness, redness, and even cases of peeling. It’s been a difficult journey, but I found that cosmetics from Japan - particularly ones from FANCL, DHC and Kose’ - have helped my skin to improve tremendously. Now my skin isn’t that much of a hassle. It feels balanced, calm, and strengthened, with much less oiliness. It’s also a lot clearer. Of course, I still get breakouts and the occasional parched feeling, but things are much better. I use a prescription retinoid 5 times a week, and that causes my skin to become sensitive at times, and even a bit blotchy. However, it’s the thing that keeps breakouts at bay. I found that DHC’s Olive Leaf Extract counters the slight irritation of the retinoid and, along with my current skin regimen, helps my skin to feel MUCH more healthier and happier. Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the product, some may even say it resembles water, but make no mistake, this is strong medicine for your face. It’s liquidy, water-like texture allows for it be be better absorbed deep into the skin. Once applied, it absorbs instantly and leaves the skin soft and smooth, nothing tacky or residual or waxy (:p). I must say that I cannot stand any type of moisturizer or serum that leaves any type of film on my face, especially when I cleanse my face at night and find that the product will “ball off” of my face when I massage in my face wash. Such moisturizers really just cause my face congestion and, eventually, breakouts. I much prefer the gentle, water-like tonics the Japanese seem to have perfected for moisturizing the skin. OLE has no fillers, just pure product. There’s only four ingredients, and the olive leaf extract is at the forefront. Olive leaves have sky-high antioxidant levels, much higher than green tea leaves, plus they have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, as some one here had already mentioned. That’s pretty much all I know about the olive leaf. I could be skeptical about the whole thing, but my skin tells otherwise. I apply it once during the day, after I clean and moisturize and before makeup application. At night, after I remove everything, my face just “glows.” The first time I used this was as a sample. After I had it on all night and washed it off in the morning, my skin looked so alive, it was so clear and smooth and bright. I stood there, mystified. Very rarely does any type of product give me such benefits. Because I’m constantly under retinoid therapy (.025%), my skin can sometimes feel a little raw and blotchy. It’s constantly being gently exfoliated, so I need to pamper my skin as much as I can. For a couple of months, before I incorporated OLE into my daily regimen, my skin was feeling tight, ruddy, and would start to lightly peel in some spots. I was having a “dry spell,” as I like to call it. It happens once a year to me, and it’s awful. My skin gets flakey, has lots of dry spots, and is just cranky. I usually buy an expensive serum and exfoliant and things seem to calm down. But none have given me the type of results I get with OLE, ever (!). OLE feels like it moisturizes into the deepest dermal layer of the face and repairs everything up to the surface. My skin feels so good, so soft and “spongy.” It feels nourished and supple, even a bit more firm. What can I say, it’s like “a vitamin drip for the face.” Since using it, redness has faded significantly, roughness is gone, itchiness has subsided, skin is more clear and smooth and soft to the touch. I no longer get rough spots, and bad flakiness has yet to occur. The very night I used this, the flaking stopped overnight. My oiliness is under control, too, which makes my larger pores look more refined. I really recommend this to you if you have problem skin, or highly sensitive/reactive skin, or if your undergoing some sort of exfoliative therapy (like Retin-A, for example). It synergizes great with what you got on hand. It works great under my daily non-DHC skin lotion (and seems to even boost it’s capabilities) and mineral sunscreen and makeup. Never causes a problem, no irritation, doesn’t counter the effects of other products - it’s a versatile product, in other words. The only qualm I have with OLE is the price. It’s $45 for an ounce. I use it everyday and one bottle lasts a little under a month. I wish there were 2 ounces, or even 1.5, but for what it does, I don’t (or shouldn’t) mind the semi-expensive price tag. I imagine a product with similar effects would cost $100+. Maybe I’ll cut back to using it every other day. I read some where online that some one uses it for a month and her skin is good for the rest of the year, and when her skin acts up later in the next year, she just incorporates it back into her regimen and her skin is good again. In any case, it’s something I’ll continue to use over and over again.
Produces such a wonderful, realistic bronzed effect, but I found with continued use that it really dried my skin out and also gave me breakouts. It's very pigmented, smooth, long-lasting, and blendable, but it can cause an allergic reaction. I would have returned it, but when I dropped it on the hard floor, the product easily broke into a million pieces. It is one of the best looking bronzers out there, but I wouldn't recommend it to the more sensitive skin types.
Brows -Anastasia Of Beverly Hills - Anastasia Brow Powder
J_cool 9/23/2009 10:37:00 PM
Ahhhh... perfection. If you can't seem to find anything that compliments your brow hair color or nicely creates the illusion of brow hair, then you must try this. I tried a lot of drugstore brow fillers and they were mostly failures. If you got some $$ to burn or if you really obsess over your brows (like I do) and want nothing less than outstanding, try Anastasia Brow Powder. The coloring system here is so thoroughly researched and perfected that I can say they have a color for virtually every one. I have very difficult to match "ashy" brown brows. Most brows sticks and/or powders I've tried are too red, too black, too heavy, too waxy. The medium ash color works wonders for me. It looks *just* like my natural brow hair, nothing fake about it. The colors are quite unflattering in the pan, a very blah grey and a darker charcoal, but they work so well with my natural brow color - it's almost scary. The texture of the powder is so smooth and blends on the skin wonderfully. It's not messy and does not flake during application. It's smooth texture allows for a very precise application - your brows look natural, clean, yet noticeably defined (and refined : )). The pigment is very rich and withstands a lot of activity. After a sweaty jog, I don't really notice anything wrong with my brows, everything is kept in place. Even after a long day, my brows still look pretty good. It's formula allows for versatility. You can go easy with the powder and add just a wash of color and soft lines to make brows naturally full, or you can use a more heavy hand to sculpt a more dramatic look. Although it's pricey, it's worth every penny! I bought mine months ago and have yet to even see the bottom of the pan! The packaging is adorable yet functional - I dropped it several times on hard flooring and the product never cracked. However, because it's so compact, it's kinda hard to find. I panic when I can't find it in the morning! It's so essential. I love it!
I've had tons of face washes over the years and was never satisfied (or even content) with any of them. They were either too filmy, too drying, too smelly, too harsh... you get the idea. FANCL Washing Powder (for dry skin) is the rare exception, being that it is the only cleanser to leave my skin calm, clean, soft, and balanced. Since using this product, along with the Mild Cleansing Oil, my skin has improved tremendously. Just about everything I was using up to this point made my skin itchy, parched, or had caused breakouts or tenderness - not FANCL, not ever. It's really no surprise, considering that it was formulated by a Japanese chemist who, after seeing the damage Western cosmetics were doing to his wife's sensitive skin, carefully formulated unique, gentle, yet thorough cleansing products. WP isn't really the type of cleaner designed for DEEP cleaning or for removing makeup. It's more of a light wash, kinda for use in the morning and to follow the use of a cleansing oil. If you don't wear makeup and if your skin isn't too dirty, then it can be used alone as a light, refreshing cleanse. However, just because it's light doesn't mean that it skimps on it's cleansing abilities, it's quite thorough; even when my skin is oily after I wake up, the WP just whisks it away and leaves everything fresh and silky smooth. It also contains amino acids which removes dead skin-cell buildup from the face. Because it's a powder and free from harsh, high-foaming agents (SLS, ALS), FANCL WP produces a milky, sweet smelling lather that glides over the skin. When rinsed off, the skin feels refreshed and balanced and soft to the touch - never filmy or taunt. In the two to three years that I've been using this, I've never had that "tight feeling." It's really gentle. In fact, I use a prescription retinoid daily, and the WP has yet to aggravate my skin, which is under constant exfoliation. However, the Washing Powder LIGHT really aggravated my skin and dried it out, made it itchy. I don't recommend that version for sensitive skin - use the WP for dry skin (blue cap). Being that the cleanser is a powder, it is best to keep it away from humidity, or else it will cake and form crumbs. Close the lid right after pouring and don't open it in the shower, that should keep the caking to a minimum. I really wish that FANCL would address this problem, because every bottle I buy seems to form some sort of "powder crust" on the opening/spout after continued use. For sensitive skin, or for stressed skin, I recommend FANCL Washing Powder (for dry skin). It is really a unique, researched product in that it's ingredients are way different from anything on the shelves at the local drugstore. The foaming agents aren't overly strong or stripping, but manage to be both effective and gentle. It also contains ingredients like serine and allantoin and rice powder, all of which help to greatly soothe and refine the skin. I honestly believe that it can help to repair and restore and balance your skin. I had some serious skin issues and virtually all of them have been alleviated due to the use of FANCL and other Japanese Skin care products. 90% of Western skin care products don't agree with my skin; the prolonged use of such products are probably the reason why I developed skin problems in the first place.
Liquid -Shiseido - Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42 PA+++
J_cool 9/15/2009 8:54:00 PM
Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42 PA +++ COVERAGE: Provides EXCELLENT medium coverage. If I could compare it to another foundation with similar opacity, it would be Estee' Lauder's Double Wear Liquid Foundation. There's really no need to apply concealer with this, as this covers most imperfections. You can easily apply more to achieve fuller coverage, but it's probably best to apply lightly, because it may start to look quite heavy. BLENDABILITY: This formula is light and a bit runny, but it is highly blendable and dries to a soft, semi-matte finish that I just love. For the formula being so runny, it covers so well with so little. COLOR SELECTION I tried 30 and 40. The 30 shade would probably suit a light/medium yellow-toned person (NC20), while the 40 shade is more of a slightly warm, peachy tone that I found to suit my skin's color best. The 30 shade was a bit too light, while the 40 suited me just fine, although I would prefer it to be more of a yellow tone than peach. The 50 shade, from what I hear, is more yellow/golden and would complement a more olive complexion (NC30, perhaps?). I didn't try that shade, however. The coloring system seems to cater toward the very fair to the deeper medium shades. Darker complexions may have difficulty finding a decent shade. PERFORMANCE The foundation does last for a long time (8hrs), however, it does make the skin oily. The oiliness, however, doesn't fade the foundation, which is strange. The makeup has strong bonding properties and it will stay if if prime your face well and then powder lightly. If you don't do the priming and finishing, then the foundation will get noticibly greasy quite fast, like within an hour or two. Keep blotting papers around for this one. SKIN REACTION This is what prevented me from wearing this foundation again, ever. I'm very anal about removing everything from my face at the end of the day. I made sure my face was squeaky clean after wearing the Sun Protection foundation. Because it is one of the foundations of the skin-bonding variety, I used a cleansing oil, a face wash, and a toner lotion. Although it is time-consuming, this regimen really cleanses my skin and keeps me free from breakouts and congestion. But even with this regimen, this foundation just ravaged my skin. With prolonged use, I had fat, puffy, sore breakouts, redness, and excessive oiliness. Wow, no foundation I tried (and I tried hundreds) has given me such a reaction. The only culprit I can think that caused this was an ingredient in the foundation called tournmaline, which is a crystal of sorts that is rich in minerals for the skin. All I know is that exfoliants, especially harsh, jagged, rough ones, really inflame my skin and break me out. Tournmaline, being a crystal, would probably be similar to an exfoliant and could have really irritated my face. It's just a theory, though. While the foundation looks nice, covers immensely, and feels light, I can't sacrifice the health of my skin. If I continued to use this, then I'd start to scar. I can't recommend it to oily skin types or sensitive skin types. I'd say sample it for a week or two, and if you like it and find that it doesn't hurt your skin, then try it out.
Never has a foundation truly melded with my natural skin tone until I tried Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF15 in Beige. Believe me, I've never been 100% satisfied w/ the color of *any* foundation. But sadly, as much as I loved the initial look of this foundation, it came short on so many important levels that even it's beautiful color match couldn't save it. However, just because it's not right for me doesn't mean it's disposable. Many could benefit from it - really! COVERAGE / TEXTURE : it's very liquidy and spreadable, almost serum-like, yet it nicely blends away redness and moderate post-acne markings; it certainly evens skin tone and leaves you with a fresh, super-smooth glowy base that feels/looks semi-matte. It is highly buildable and can easily achieve excellent medium coverage, perhaps even full. I have pretty bad skin as of late and BBSF really smoothed things over nicely (without concealer). COLORS : Wow, the color selection represented here is astonishing, that is, if your naturally yellow toned. There is a multitude of warm-hued shades to be found here that will especially compliment those difficult-to-match ethnic skin tones. Brown believes that, like, 98% of ALL skin tones have some degree of yellow, so most bases in her line, from the lightest to the deepest, have yellow undertones; she believes this approach flatters most skin tones and brings an added naturalness to the face. I couldn’t agree more! And for the very cool, fairest of skin tones, she has the shade “00.” It has a pink undertone. So far, so good. But this is where a foundation, for me, anyway, can go from a “10” right down to a “3.” PERFORMANCE : On some one with oily skin, BBSF evaporates off the face within a few hours. At the one-and-a-half hour mark, the skin becomes increasingly greasy. Later, significant color fading sets in. Three hours after application, the face is completely shiny, virtually naked, with pores more pronounced. I didn’t try it with a primer, but I did set it with Bobbi Brown’s loose powder. I really don’t think a primer would’ve helped, because I’ve read reviews about others who experienced meltdown regardless of preparation. It looks *brilliant* right after application and shorty thereafter, but on oily skin it performs very, very poorly. Tragic. The box recommends BBSF for drier skin types. I agree, wholeheartedly. PRICE : The foundation retails for $50. $$$. Very expensive. Make Up Forever has a similar formula in their HD line. And it’s cheaper. Consider getting a sample of of BBSF first, especially if you have oily/combo skin. BBSF just wasn’t meant for me. The formula isn’t long-lasting - at all!! I was in an air-conditioned room the entire time it was on, and, yet, it still managed to dissapear on my fairly oily skin; it actually somehow turned into a greasy, super-sheer tinted moisturizer on me! I didn’t notice severe oxidation, even when it was at it’s oiliest. So that’s another plus, I suppose. The coverage was very good, as was the color. However, for such an expensive foundation, I expected it at least to have decent “lastability” and remain somewhat matte on the skin. If you’re skin is rather DRY, though, this could be a godsend - give it a shot! It feels light as air, not heavy at all. Had it remained matte and stayed put, then I would have ended my foundation odyssey that very day!