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Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation ($62.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a lightweight foundation with buildable coverage and a natural finish. Giorgio Armani Beauty really pushes that it is about getting the least amount of product with the most amount of bang; it’s supposed to “[look] invisible and [make] skin appear luminous.” It’s available in twelve shades. The brand says #2, 3, and 4 are best for fair skin tones; #4.5, 5, 5.5, 6.5, 7, and 8 for medium complexions; and #10, 11.5, and 12 for darker skin tones.

I’ve used up an entire bottle of #5.5, having first used it around late November/early December, and recently finished it about a week ago. It usually takes me quite awhile to really determine if I love or just like a foundation. #5.5 is slightly light on me (but forgiving enough to be worn), while #7 is definitely too dark.  There are some I fall in love with right away; others I never want to wear again, but usually I fall in the middle and waffle. Maestro had a unique texture (to me), because it almost felt like a silicone primer and foundation in one; it has that velvety-smooth, mostly matte finish and feel once applied to the skin. The actual texture is thin and very liquid, so it is easy to apply a very sheer layer of coverage or build up without getting too much coverage (if undesired). It feels a bit like a dry oil, so synthetic brushes, sponges, and fingertips tended to be best for application in my experience. It is lightly scented with something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it; I did not notice the scent when applied or as I wore it, but it’s not scent-free in the bottle.

The brand recommends applying three drops in the palm of your hand, though I’m not certain what constitutes a drop, because you can fill the entire stem with product and really get all of it out, or you can do small squeezes and get small drops out. Three drops arhalf of what I need, and a whole stem-full is more than enough–so don’t be afraid if you’re bewildered and find yourself needing more than three drops! I’m not keen on the droplet applicator. I’d rather a pump or an open bottle, as the cap with the stem attached to it wobbles around if you just want to get some directly out of the bottle, so you can get bits of foundation on the surface it’s lying on. Dropping it directly on the face was also a 50/50 proposition where it would dribble down my face and land on my shirt. So, most of the time, I filled the stem and then squeezed it on the back of my hand. I would have much preferred a pump, though. I haven’t traveled with mine at all, but I have heard some people have had issues with the packaging surviving travel.

The coverage is light to light-medium, with almost medium coverage possible with layering, but overall, light to light-medium coverage, and it had a semi-matte finish. It wasn’t a totally flat, dull matte finish, but it was still quite matte. Between the finish and texture, I felt this was most appropriate for normal to oily skin. On drier skin, especially if you have any visible signs dryness, it can accentuate dry patches or flakiness. I only experienced this when my normal-to-dry skin was at its driest and did not find it a problem for most of the time I wore it. The other thing to note is that when I did have some visible dry patches, while initially accentuated, after twenty to thirty minutes, they were less noticeable than they were initially, so there appeared to be some hydration coming from the formula itself. It has alcohol denat. as the fourth ingredient, which is drying in high concentrations (it is often used as an antiseptic and a solvent), but in my experience, appeared to be offset by the other ingredients as my skin did not get drier, so your mileage may vary and consider your skin and what it is/isn’t affected by (note: I am not a chemist, esthetician, or scientist!).

It’s a comfortable, long-wearing foundation, too, and you don’t always get supreme comfort with a longer-wearing product (which are often tight-feeling). With Maestro, it typically lasts me between eight and ten hours, without a primer or setting powder. With setting or finishing powder, the wear is usually more consistent and closer to ten hours with no patchiness or visible fading. Maestro photographs very well for me, and it performed well at evening out the complexion, hiding mild to moderate post-acne marks or scars, and refraining from settling into fine lines.  I would not recommend using this as your sole source of SPF; you’re not going to get the protection needed based on amount applied.


Active Ingredient: Octinoxate 3%

Cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone, isododecane, alcohol denat, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, phenyl trimethicone, acrylates/polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate copolymer, peg-10 dimethicone, disteardimonium hectorite, fragrance, nelumbium speciosum flower extract, limonene, benzyl salicylate, synthetic fluorphlogopite, linalool, benzyl alcohol, propylene carbonate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, disodium stearoyl glutamate, water, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower oil, butylphenyl methylpropional, aluminium hydroxide, hexyl cinnamal; may contain: iron oxides, titanium dioxide

Giorgio Armani   Maestro Foundation

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Inglot 18SS, 27P, 32T Eye Brushes Reviews & Photos

Inglot 27P Eye Brush
Inglot 27P Eye Brush

Inglot 18SS Eye Brush ($21.00) is made out of “squirrel substitute” (I honestly have no idea what that means, but it is listed as a natural brush) and can be used for “eye modeling” and “smoky eye[s].” It’s a dense, dome-shaped brush that’s stiff. The brush head is 9mm tall, 8mm wide, and 8mm in depth. The brush head is like a like a cynlinder with a domed edge, and it’s not too small, not too big, but it is wider and larger than your typical pencil brush. I find that that’s the way I use it most–as a stiffer crease brush to deposit more color. I actually liked it a lot with cream eyeshadows, as it applied them well with good opacity, while still fitting in the crease. Most of the time, it is soft while used, but if I’m doing short, but firm, taps, then there’s a few bristles that feel slightly sharp.

27P Eye Brush ($21.00) is a paddle-shaped brush with a slightly domed and tapered edge. The brush head is 16mm across, 17mm tall, and 6mm thick. The bristles are made out of pony hair, and Inglot simply describes the brush as “multi-functional.” It’s a very large eye brush, so it will lend itself best for things like laying down a wash of color, lightly patting on a primer or base, or as a more precise face brush. I found it most useful to pat on pressed powder underneath the eyes or to really apply highlighter precisely (but blend with something else). The brush felt soft, and it retained its shape after several washes.

32T Eye Brush ($14.00) is made out of Taklon (synthetic) bristles, and it is designed to be used with gel eyeliner or for precise lining. It is a very small brush at a mere 6mm tall, 4mm wide, and 2mm thick. It’s a flat, firm brush that comes to a tapered point. If you have smaller eyes and need something to apply cream or gel products, this might be useful. I don’t have Duraline, but I could see how this would be useful, as Duraline is a liquid product that “transforms any powder into an intense, easy to apply liquid,” so this would work well for mixing.

All three brushes are particular, and whether any of them are useful is going to be down to personal preference. The only one that I might continue reaching for is 32T to apply cream products on the very inner lid, and then possibly the 27P for setting concealer (but I often use a fluffier, more feathery brush for that).

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Essie Fall 2013 Collection — For the Twill of It

Summer’s over and its truly time to get back to business, the business of fashion. Every autumn, New York City becomes a flutter with Fashion Week – full of fun, phenomenal inspiration. Everything from the oil slicks on the Manhattan streets after a thunderstorm, to the schoolgirls and boys filling the streets in their pleated navy skirts and blue-black blazers – serve as a muse for the essie 2013 fall collection.

  • For the Twill of It Compelling rich maple with reflective olive shimmer
  • Twin Sweater Set Vibrant red crimson
  • Vested Interest Tweedy, woolen gray teal
  • After School Boy Blazer Academy blue
  • Cashmere Bathrobe True flannel gray
  • The Lace is On Glistening, jewel-toned pearlescent fuchsia

Availability: $8.00 each, now @ Nordstrom; September 2013 wherever Essie is sold

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YSL Gris Underground (38) & Beige Gallerie (39) La Laque Coutures

YSL Gris Underground (38) La Laque Couture
YSL Gris Underground (38) La Laque Couture

YSL Gris Underground (38) La Laque Couture ($25.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “cloud of grey.” It’s gray, blue, lavender; a muted, grayed cornflower blue to me. Very cloudy, very fall. It was opaque in two coats, and the consistency was just slightly on the thicker side, so the drying time seemed longer than average.  It applied fairly easily, particularly because it has a wider brush that enables better coverage in a single stroke so it minimizes unevenness. The formula isn’t forgiving if the prior coat is only partially dry, so make sure to allow enough time between coats for drying.  Essie Rock the Boat is lighter, slightly less gray. NARS Galathee is much grayer. See comparison swatches.

Beige Gallerie (39) La Laque Couture ($25.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “concrete beige.” It’s a light-medium beige with neutral gray undertones and a cream finish. It was mostly opaque in two coats, and the consistency was slightly on the thin side. Like Gris Underground, give the first coat plenty of time to dry to avoid dragging/pulling. MAC Quiet Time is warmer. MAC Endless Night is similar. Chanel Frenzy is a smidgen grayer and sheerer. See comparison swatches.

YSL La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer Gris Underground (38)
YSL La Laque Couture Nail Lacquer Beige Gallerie (39)

New! Giorgio Armani Beauty Launches Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick

With Rouge Ecstasy, the Giorgio Armani laboratories push the boundaries of the exceptional even further with the first “CC” lipstick, an incomparable skincare lipstick that combines high-impact color with the ultimate comfort of a moisturizing balm.

Rouge Ecstasy is a unique, multi-purpose lipstick. It offers the comfort and softness of a balm combined with exceptional color intensity. This velvety soft, everyday lipstick coats the lips in saturated, ultra-luminous shades with impeccable hold.

The lips are repaired and beautifully enhanced day after day, hydrated and adorned in fresh vibrant colors with a perfectly defined outline.

Ultimately it is the quintessence of a lipstick, balm and lip pencil all in one.

Beiges & Browns

  • 100 Androgino
  • 102 Essenza
  • 203 Code
  • 204 Caffé
  • 200 Mineral
  • 201 Cashmere
  • 103 Incognito
  • 202 Milano
  • 104 Skin
  • 105 Ambiguous
  • 306 Amber
  • 508 Daybreak

Reds & Purples

  • 400 Four Hundred
  • 401 Hot
  • 402 Teatro
  • 403 Downtown
  • 600 Mania
  • 601 Attitude
  • 602 Night Viper
  • 510 Dolci

Corals & Pinks

  • 300 Pop
  • 301 Gio
  • 502 Scarlatto
  • 503 Diva
  • 302 Tokyo
  • 303 Dragée
  • 504 Flesh
  • 505 Orchid
  • 304 Heat
  • 305 Brick
  • 506 Blush
  • 507 Lotus
  • 500 Eccentrico
  • 307 Tangerine
  • 509 Boudoir
  • 501 Peony

Availability: $34.00 each; now at Giorgio Armani Beauty (officially September 2013 at all other Giorgio Armani Beauty counters/retailers)

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How to Contour & Highlight with Cream Foundation

Before Contouring / After Contouring with NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

Contouring with cream foundation is an easy way to achieve seamless, blended contours and highlights because you’re using products designed to work together in order to create a canvas that transitions from shadow to skin to highlight beautifully. Highlighting and contouring bring back definition and shape to the face, especially after you’ve created a beautiful, flawless blank canvas with your foundation. Because foundations are one color, and depending on the coverage, they can leave the face looking flat and shapeless.

More of us are familiar with highlighters–shimmering powders and creams patted along the high planes of the face to reflect light–but contouring can be a more difficult and daunting task. The best part about makeup, though, is freedom of choice; you can go as defined as you’d like, so you don’t have to go for a dramatic contour and highlight but something subtle that just defines and helps lift the face. I’ve tried to show a more dramatic contour (but you could go further and make it even more dramatic) so that you can clearly see the differences before and after.

Don’t be afraid if you’re new to contouring!  Uzo, NARS International Lead Stylist, recommends beginners to use cream foundations for contouring “because they are easier to blend” as “powders in an unskilled hand can make contouring look harsh and un-blended while liquids don’t give enough definition. It is not about having a stripe of darker, un-diffused color along the sides of the face but subtly blended dimension that defines the cheekbones (and jaw line).”

With the full range of NARS Radiant Cream CompactAdvertisement at my disposal, I matched my skin tone match to Santa Fe, which is described as a “medium with peachy undertone,” and it is categorized as “Medium 2.” This is the product I used to create the blank canvas (as my regular foundation) to even out my skin color and cover any blemishes and imperfections.

Find your shade match using our NARS + Temptalia Foundation Matrix–just enter your current foundation and out pops your new shade match!

To highlight, I chose Siberia. Generally, your highlight shade should be two to four shades lighter than your actual skin color. To contour, I used Cadiz along with Benares. I opted for two, because I wanted a subtler contour on areas like my nose and eyes, but I wanted a deeper, more dramatic contour for slimming and defining my cheekbones and jawline. Generally, you will want to select a shade that is two to four shades darker than your natural complexion and opt for a shade that has similar undertones to your skin tone or one that is more neutral.

Now, get the step-by-step! 

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