Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Benefit 10 Powder ($28.00) is a combination highlighter and bronzing duo. If you’ve seen Benefit’s other powders like CORALista or Dandelion, it’s the same idea, but the powder is split in half — half is a bronzer, half is a highlighter. The highlighter is a light, milky silvery-pink with soft sheen but no real glitter particles (that’s a good thing, by the way). The bronzer is similar in texture and sheen, except it’s a peachy-bronze color with gold sheen. You can see how I used it in a look here.

10 is one of those products that takes some trial and error before you can appreciate its genius. Once you do get the hang of it, though, it is a grab-and-go kind of experience. I personally used the 168 and 169 respectively for this product, and I found it worked just right for me. I do suggest using a light hand initially, so you don’t over-do it or get a ruddy/muddy result. The highlighter is just that–a highlighter–so unless you are extremely fair, don’t go into it expecting to use it as a pink blush!

See photos and swatches! 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 →

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

LUSH Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask ($7.95) has all of the ingredients and benefits that I’d want in a face mask. There’s just one major problem — the scent! Oh, my goodness, it is a mix of garlic and tea tree oil, which are both incredibly powerful scents. The garlic is what really gets me, I think, because I’ve used tea tree oil before and don’t mind the smell. This is a mask I only want to use when my allergies are acting up, because I can’t really smell! (I’m actually using it while I write the review!)

So if you can a) handle the scent or b) can’t smell very well, you might still want to consider this mask, because it does feel amazing. Cosmetic Warrior is designed for acne-prone skin. It has garlic that acts as an antiseptic agent, tea tree as an astringent, and eggs and honey” This mask is kind of like a deep-cleansing mask that’s designed to help lift oil out of the skin. Deep cleansing kaolin and fresh grapes help get that freshly clean feeling down pat.

I will say that the scent fades a bit as the mask dries, and after using it a few times, my nose seems to have gotten used to the scent so it’s not as jarring as it was the first time I used it. I definitely suggest giving a pot a shot, and if you can use it a few times, you might find it’s well worth the five or ten minutes you breathe your mouth ;)

Just a reminder, LUSH Fresh Face Masks are only available in-store and cannot be shipped (at least not in the U.S.) due to the freshness-factor. These last about three weeks and must be in your refrigerator during that time. I like to have two masks on hand at any given time, just because I like to switch it up. I usually alternate between a mask like Cosmetic Warrior and then another mask just because (like BB Seaweed).

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 →

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum ($30.00) is my go-to for ultra hydrating spot treatment. Sometimes when I use acne treatment products, my skin dries out in certain spots, so to counteract the drying factor of many acne treatments, I always have this at the ready. I use it in conjunction with my usual moisturizer for an extra boost of hydration. I really feel like it “locks” in the moisture. According to Mario Badescu, the Hydrating Serum is good for all skin types, and it can be used as a lightweight hydrator for oily skin as well. A little goes a long way, so for me, the price tag is well worth it!