Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Tinted Moisturizing Balm with SPF 25 Review, Photos

Bobbi Brown EXTRA SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm ($50.00 for 1 oz.) is a thick tinted moisturizer that comes in a glass pot with a black screw-on lid. It’s available in eight shades: Alabaster (lightest), Extra Light Tint, Light Tint, Light to Medium Tint, Medium Tint, Medium to Dark Tint, Dark Tint, and Deep Tint.

It is described as, “A lightweight foundation alternative for dry, dehydrated skin, this formula is ultra-rich, and blends easily, giving skin a dewy look with light coverage. SPF 25 helps protect skin against damaging UVA/B rays. Dermatologist tested.”

Bobbi Brown also has a SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer (not so thick) that retails for $40.00 for 1.7 oz. (but I haven’t tried it myself beyond squeezing a drop or two out in-store, so I can’t give you direct comparisons). According to the Bobbi Brown website, though, the SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer is ideal for Normal to Dry skin types, whereas the SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizing Balm is recommended for drier skin types.

EXTRA feels like a cream and looks like one, too, in the jar, but you have to remember that it’s a tinted moisturizer and not use it as a cream–seriously, if you use it as a cream, you’ll end up with far more product than you need! Whether you use fingers or a brush (or a clean spatula, whatever!), you really don’t need more than a pea-sized application to cover the entire face with a sheer, lightweight layer of tinted moisturizer. It also has a lovely lemon-y citrus scent that’s dreamy (very tarte, not sweet).

This tinted moisturizer does have a distinct dewy finish; it was too dewy for my taste by itself, so I had to set with powder to minimize some of the dewiness–then it was just fine for everyday wear. It’s also definitely a sheer coverage product; I’ve tried some tinted moisturizers where coverage is a bit more than sheer (more like a light coverage foundation), but EXTRA is sheer. It’s like “your skin but better,” because it’s not going to hide too many skin imperfections, but it will help even out your skin tone. This is, though, the very nature of tinted moisturizers, to be sure!

When I’m on a good skin kick, EXTRA is just enough for me to wear on a daily basis, even with full makeup elsewhere (eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, etc.). With the dryness of the winter season, my skin is definitely more normal-to-dry, so EXTRA is just moisturizing enough to help keep my skin hydrated throughout the day. I do, though, tend to use a moisturizer in the morning, because I often shower in the morning but not apply makeup until a few hours later. I don’t find it too heavy, though, doing that double-duty moisturizing.

I do think this may be a little too rich for those with normal or normal-to-oily skin types, just because it such a thick, rich cream-type tinted moisturizer. I would recommend trying a sample to see if it works with your skin type. Most tinted moisturizers feel more like a lotion or a thickened liquid foundation, but this feels just like a face cream, so it does feel quite nice when applied to skin. I would also recommend waiting five to ten minutes for it to dry a bit before layering any makeup on top (like blush or bronzer).

Bottom Line: I like it a lot, but I’m more of a matte-finish kind of gal, so the dewy finish is just not my style. I did receive several compliments from readers when I wore it in some looks this past month–some saying it looked better than my usual tinted moisturizer (Kiehl’s, lately). It’s a good tinted moisturizer for those with drier skin who are only looking for sheer coverage to help even out skin tone. It is also significantly pricier than Bobbi Brown’s regular Tinted Moisturizer–EXTRA costs $10 more and you get about 35-40% less. To be fair, a pot of EXTRA is going to last you at least a few months since you need so little per application, though.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for a more hydrating tinted moisturizer, Bobbi Brown’s EXTRA may be the one to quench your skin’s thirst!

Availability: Bobbi Brown

See more photos of me wearing this tinted moisturizer! Continue reading →

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


Wearing Guerlain Parure Gold Liquid Foundation

Guerlain Parure Gold Fluid Foundation ($78.00 for 1 oz.) is a recently released liquid foundation by Guerlain that’s designed to add a bit of a glow to skin with medium coverage. The product itself is also supposed to have a bit of skincare in it, as Guerlain says it should, restor[e] luster and revitaliz[e] skin in the long term, thanks to the exclusive double-sided Gold Radiance Pigment” along with “the regenerating properties of Myrrh Oil, and the lifting and smoothing properties of Peptides, long-term results include the diminishment of fine lines and smoother, softer skin.”

First, as I feel it’s necessary to do in any reviews relating to a product with anti-aging properties, I’m 23. I’m still in my so-called youth, so I don’t have too many signs of aging yet (thankfully), and I think it’s important to note that. It’s a lot harder to see a measurable change when there are few areas that might even get changed. I have some fine lines around my eyes, but these tend to be exacerbated if I don’t drink enough water or get enough sleep. Personally, I don’t seek out anti-aging products in my skincare regimen at this time. I feel the best regimen is preventative care vs. reversal care, for me, and at this stage in my life.

I’m just not going to be able to give you much insight on whether this product actually diminishes your fine lines with much substance. I will say my skin has never looked better since using it, and I do feel like my skin has a healthier look when it’s au natural. I used to be a little more self conscious about going out nekkid faced, but after using this pretty consistently (I did/do alternate with tinted moisturizer), I like the way my skin looks. With most things, it’s easy to create causal links that may not really be there–skin is so faceted, so it could be a change in hormones, better diet, getting sick (seriously, my skin never looked better!), etc.

What’s more important to me is how well it acts as a foundation, and it that area, I can definitely tell you, from my experience, that it excels. It’s a great lightweight, medium-coverage liquid foundation that makes skin look smoother, softer, and very, very natural. It’s not heavy, never gets cakey, and is so easy to smooth onto skin. I don’t normally like foundations that purport to give you a “glow,” because it tends to translate to oiliness for me. I’m normal-to-dry, and typically, “glowy” foundations make me look oily, which is so not my thing. Parure Gold doesn’t. It really does give you that natural glow. Just that little, “Oh, did you cut your hair?” kind of glow that people don’t attribute to your foundation. It feels like heaven on, and it hasn’t broken me out after using it for these past few months (always a good thing!).

Application: I always apply my liquid foundation in the same manner: apply the foundation in spots all over my face with a concealer brush, then I spritz a fluffy brush (I’m loving MAC 109 for liquid) with plain ol’ water. I then work the foundation out and all over my skin and the brush both applies and blends at the same time. If that was confusing, I did do a video tutorial for applying foundation with the 109 brush. I use this method with Guerlain’s foundation, because it stretches out the product (I just find it’s so easy to overwear foundation, and the water stretches it out and gives you a more natural look where you can go back and apply more in the areas you need it) and makes it incredibly easy to blend and smooth onto the skin.

It has the traditional sort of perfume-y scent of most Guerlain skincare/face products, though, which may be something those who are more sensitive to perfumes and scents can’t tolerate. The price tag is another obstacle for some, as it is considerably pricey at $78 per ounce. I’ve sinced swapped this for my previous find DiorSkin Nude Liquid Foundation, which was also a bit more expensive at $45 per ounce. I imagine the price hike is attributable to the skincare properties in the foundation itself (which isn’t a bad idea, considering you often wear foundation for eight hours or more).

It is available in six shades: #02 Beige Clair, #03 Beige Naturel, #04 Beige Moyen, #05 Beige Intense, #06 Beige Profond, and #13 Rose Naturel. The shade I’m currently using is #03 Beige Naturel, which I think matches my skintone quite well (I’m around NC25/NC30 in MAC foundation, for reference). The packaging does hold some fingerprints, which can make the product itself look messy, but it comes with a pump, and I use one to do my whole face.

Bottom Line: For a splurge foundation, Guerlain Parure Gold Liquid Foundation gives amazing coverage, feels lovely on, and looks even more amazing. I’ve loved it enough to have stuck with it for the past two or three months, and it’s my go-to for liquid foundation. I do wear a lot of tinted moisturizer, just because if I’m not doing a full face of makeup, tinted moisturizer is all I need (but to be honest, I do go bare-faced quite often). The only real drawback (to me) of the product is the price tag.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  A stellar liquid foundation that covers well, feels like nothing on, and looks fantastic — if you can get past the price tag, there’s a lot of great things to say about this foundation!

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks

See more photos of me wearing this foundationContinue reading →

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($40.00 for 1.01 oz.) is easily one of the more famous products produced by the brand. It is designed to create a “soft focus” effect when used while providing medium-to-full coverage for a flawless look. It is touted as an oil-free liquid foundation that works to make you look your best in even the harshest lighting.

Funny enough, I’ve had this foundation for a few months now, and I didn’t like enough to actually use it more than a handful of times after I initially purchased it as a local Sephora. To me, it didn’t do anything that my MAC Studio Fix Fluid wasn’t already doing. (Studio Fix Fluid is a good deal cheaper — $26.00 for 1.0 oz.!) In the spirit of 30 Days of Make Up For Ever, though, I figured I should give it another shot! For reference, the shade I was matched with and own is #140, which is described as “soft beige, for medium skin with dark yellow undertones.” In MAC, I am typically NC30. There are twenty-five shades available, so there is a good range of skin tones covered.

Read on for the review! Continue reading →

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Breakfast with Benefit: One Hot Minute

This morning, I drove up to San Francisco to have a little breakfast at the Benefit Boutique with the Benefit Team. In attendance were a few other local bloggers (hey, there aren’t that many of us Bay Area bloggers!), like my girl Karen of Makeup & Beauty Blog, Lilan of The Daily Cookie, and Sonja of The Coveted. Benefit was hosting an event exclusively for bloggers to preview One Hot Minute–their newest addition to their line-up.

Benefit One Hot Minute ($30.00) is one of the newest products to be launched by Benefit this summer. Called the “Sexy-in-Seconds-Face-Powder,” it’s all about getting an easy, all over natural glow/finish in no time flat. Available exclusively at Sephora in July (and then available at counters in September), One Hot Minute is an extremely fine milled, loose powder meant for all skin tones. At the breakfast event, each of us bloggers got a little makeover a la Benefit, and of course, it featured the new product! (And you can see a full-face photo of me included in this post!)

I’ve always been a sucker for Benefit’s packaging, because it’s cute with a vintage edge and a modern twist. Plus, my first ever makeup haul was Benefit back in high school, so I always get a bit nostalgic when I use Benefit, too. One Hot Minute comes in a copper tin, and it includes a small, almost miniature-sized fan brush (but it’s a bit curvier — reminds me of a peacock spreading his tail). There is also a “sifter guard” to help keep your powder intact. Benefit makeup artists recommended using their fantail brush ($22.00) if you’re not on-the-go, but the included brush will do for touch-ups. (I always prefer to use my own brushes, because I like brushes with handles for more control!)

One Hot Minute is a silky powder that gives you a “luminous” finish, which is really that subtle, natural glow we’re all after. It’s not shimmery, shiny, or glittery. It really just gives you a very soft, subtle sheen and enhances your natural skin tone. It is also really quite universal, because the lovely Erin of Benefit is far fairer than I, and she was rockin’ One Hot Minute. Karen of MBB is also significantly deeper in skin tone than myself, and she worked it, too. I was surprised, because the powder does look colored initially, but it really isn’t since we’re all wearing the same product. Benefit describes it as a “loose rose-gold finishing powder… for a gaze-at-me-glow.”

(Oh, by the way, Benefit is giving you 20% off — but you can only use the code once per customer — for a few days! Just use code MAKEUP20, good through May 29th.)

You can see for yourself how it looks like when applied — see photos, swatches, and more! Continue reading →

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Korres Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 ($28.00 for 1 oz.) is a lightweight, tinted moisturizer. (I think the name of the product does a pretty good job of describing the product, yeah?) It’s a sheer, barely-dewy foundation that is an easy, on-the-go product. I typically use brushes/sponges to apply my foundation, but with tinted moisturizers, I tend to use my hands, as it’s the easiest method. Korres’ tinted moisturizer is incredibly thin, and it applies easily, but I find I need to apply quickly or else it dries down before I’m done.

I really liked the way the foundation makes my skin look, and I’m actually impressed that a tinted moisturizer could actually provide as much coverage as this one does. I do have post acne marks and the like, so I do have a few things I like to minimize/conceal, and Korres’ tinted moisturizer gives me a pretty even skin tone with no fuss. The product is designed to give you a medium coverage, and it definitely does so, but it feels extremely light. It feels lighter than a moisturizer, actually.

My only complaint about the tinted moisturizer is that it isn’t very moisturizing. It isn’t drying, but it doesn’t pack enough in the hydration department. I prefer to use my regular moisturizer first, let it dry, and then apply the tinted moisturizer. I have normal/combo skin, so I’m not usually super dry and rarely do I start off the day oily, so perhaps those with really oily skin would find this a great lightweight moisturizer, too.

Korres’ Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturizer has the benefits of SPF30 (octinoxate, avobenzone), sheer to medium coverage, quick application, quick drying time, and it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. It is also water-resistant with a “sweat-proof tint.” I’d say it’s pretty resistant, as it does almost feel like a tinted primer sometimes. I can’t say I’ve gone swimming in this yet, but it does wear well all day for me under regular conditions. For those concerned about ingredients, Korres doesn’t use parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petro-chemicals, propylene glycols, ethanoomines, GMOs, or synthetic dyes.

Availability: Sephora.com, Korres.com

Has anyone else tried this?

Photos of the foundation onContinue reading →

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Diorskin Nudeicon ($45.00) is one of Dior’s newer foundations. It’s a liquid foundation that’s designed to be extremely lightweight–actually described as “weightless”–with a slightly dewy finish. According to Dior, it uses “[a] unique blend of 100% natural mineral pigments and Dior’s innovative Mineralized Water.” I don’t really know what that means, and I’m a skeptic and interpret most of that as marketing jargon.

Too Long, Don’t Want to Read?

Cliff Notes: MAC Studio Fix Fluid has been my holy grail foundation since SFF launched, which must have been about four or so years ago, at least. So for any foundation to displace my SFF has to be just that good.

Diorskin Nude comes in shades that range from Ivory to Light Beige to Medium Beige to Honey Beige to Dark Beige to Dark Brown. For those unfamiliar with Dior’s colors/numbering system for the Nude foundation, I thought I’d give you a little summary since I didn’t know myself. For reference, I’m currently about NC25 or so in MAC foundations (I used to be NC30, and somehow I got lighter… whole ‘nother story!). I tried about six different shades in Nude before finally settling on one, which is Linen #021.

The system of numbers starts with #010 and goesup to #070. #010 is the lightest, and it is neutral (no yellow, pink, or peach undertones). All numbers ending in a zero reflect neutral undertones. All numbers ending with a one (like #021) reflect shades with yellow undertones (warm/olive toned). All numbers ending with a two (like #022) reflect shades with pink undertones (cool toned). All numbers ending with a three (like #023) reflect shades with peach undertones (warm/not olive). Diorskin Nude has a good shade range for light to medium toned skin, with several options for deeper skintones, but only if you don’t find your skin has pink or peach undertones.

I’ve been struggling to find a foundation that matches my neck for some time now. For whatever reason, my neck is lighter than my face, and the rule of thumb is you should match your face to your neck… whether it is lighter or darker. It’s always easier to go darker than lighter! Nude feels nearly weightless as marketed, and the coverage is still there. It feels surprisingly thin and watery (but not like, ew, separated watery) while still providing me with decent coverage. I’d say it’s light-to-medium coverage, and you can definitely build it up to medium coverage on areas you need to.

Read the rest of this way-too-detailed-review! Continue reading →