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!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Get Sunkissed Without the Risk: Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil ($52.00 for 1.7 oz.)

Josie Maran has created Bronzing Argan Oil to keep you get that sunkissed look without the sun. It’s a lightweight moisturizer that can be used all over–your body, face, and even hair. I like it on legs over all else, but the “bronze shimmer” is subtle enough to be used on the face. It’s really a natural glow, a bit bronzing but more brightening, than anything else, too. It has an earthy orange-y citrus scent, which I do like more than the scent of Josie Maran’s original Argan Oil. It’s worked so far on my acne-prone skin without incident (yay!), and I think those of you who have great skin already, this is a nice way to enhance it without covering anything up, too.

Ingredients: Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Silica, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil May Also Contain:Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide.

Josie Maran’s products are formulated to be more organic and natural. Her Argan Oil products contain 100% Organic Argan Oil. It’s Earth Month, so for those looking to go be a little more natural in their beauty regimens might want to check out Josie Maran’s line of products. I like that the Josie Maran website offers detailed information about ingredients, packaging, and a great symbol key to put it all in perspective.

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Get Sunkissed Without the Risk: Try Clinique

Clinique Sun SPF 30 Face Cream 9$17.50 for 1.7 oz.) is a newly launched product by Clinique as part of their suncare line. It uses “SolarSmart” technology, which is meant to stabilize high-level protection against aging and burning effects from both UVA and UVB rays. There are solar-activated antioxidants to help prevent visible damage to the skin.

Okay, so sounds like there are some fancy schmancy ingredients in this product, right? I can’t really tell you about preventing aging or skin damage (how am I going to know? it’s usually on such a micro-level, you can’t see any visible damage for years!), but I do want to tell you about how it feels, applies, and works as a facial sunscreen, because that’s really why I wanted to try it! It’s a fairly thick cream, but you actually don’t use very much when you go to apply it. I do find that on normal to dry skin, you may want to use your normal moisturizer in conjunction, rather than instead of. With oilier skin, you may find that just this is perfect.

With SPF 30, this face cream is a good choice for everyday wear. You get good coverage for both UVA and UVB. It’s a blend of avobenzone (broad spectrum UVA), ethylhexylsalicylate and homosalate (UVB abosrbers), oxybenzone (broad spectrum UVA & UVB), and octrocrylene (UVB and short UVA). It is always a good idea to look for a sunscreen with ingredients that protect you from both the UVA and the UVB spectrums. (Check out our Sunscreen 101 post, so you know which ingredients do what!)

The packaging is sleek and fun–the yellow is perfect for summer–and the tube technology means less exposure to light and dirty fingers. The product itself feels lightweight when applied, and it doesn’t have any greasy or oily feel either (very important!). It takes makeup well, and it doesn’t leave a whitish cast when it’s dry. It didn’t cause me to breakout, and I seemed pretty sweat-resistant, too. I like the price tag, because I feel a tube should last me at least a month of daily wear, perhaps even a little longer.

Anyone else try out Clinique’s new Suncare line?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

MAC Cleanse Off Oil ($21.00 for 150ml) is my new best friend. When I heard my favorite MAC girls gushing and I mean, GUSHING!, over Cleanse Off Oil via Twitter all during Fashion Week, I knew I had to try it for myself. Despite being a huge MAC fan and collector, I must admit I tend to overlook their skincare, though I’ve been pretty happy with the skincare products I’ve tried by them (hello, Volcanic Ash Exfoliator!).

The description off of MAC’s website lists Cleanse Off Oil as, “An industry-strength oil-based makeup remover that’s gentle on the skin. Botanically formulated with oils of olive fruit, evening primrose and jojoba seed and absolutely 100% mineral-oil free. Massages onto the skin to loosen all makeup, including waterproof mascara. Emulsifies into a lotion-type liquid with water: rinses off easily, no tissues required—and no residue! Protects with vitamin E. Skin softening and conditioning.”

Nick Gavrelis, VP of Product Development for MAC, tells us that Cleanse Off Oil was originally developed for their Asian Markets as a quick, makeup removing oil that “quickly and thoroughly dissolves all traces of make-up, cleanses and conditions skin and can be emulsified in contact with water then rinsed off completely.” He tell us the best way to apply it is to massage it to “blend well” with your makeup. Then, simply rinse off with lukewarm, as “emulsifying” the oil with water.

Cleanse Off Oil is designed remove all makeup, including waterproof mascaras. It contains several different oils (including jojoba, rose hip, olive, and evening primrose), while being mineral oil-free, all working together to really break down your makeup. I have to tell you that I think Cleanse Off Oil might actually be one of the reasons my skin is on the up and up lately. It really does clean and break down makeup, whether it’s fluidline or foundation, and it rinses away with water.

I’ve tried the Oil Cleansing Method using a mixture of olive oil and another oil (I’m blanking on which one), but I didn’t love the way it felt on my face. It was just too thick, too oily–it felt like it even when I had rinsed it off. Cleanse Off Oil feels like a very thin oil when you initially massage it into your face, but any oiliness goes away as soon as you rinse it away. My skin felt clean and soft, but it didn’t have that stripped feel that some cleansers can leave. It is SUPERB in removing makeup from eyes to lashes to lips — it’s better than my go-to eye makeup remover Bi-Facil. I recommend everyone check this product out! Try it with Liquid Last Liner to be truly amazed :)

When I asked MAC Senior Artist Tiffany Johnston why she can’t get enough of the Cleanse Off Oil, this is what she said:

“I LOVE this product! I use it to breakdown and remove all my makeup (including airbrush and waterproof makeup), I also use it on my bodypainting brushes. It brings my dual fibre brushes back to white! I also use it to shave my legs!”

So now I am off to see if I can get some of my slightly-stained white-bristled brushes back to their original state! Wish me luck!

Who else knows the joys of Cleanse Off Oil? (Anyone not impressed by it?)

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Get Sunkissed Without the Risk: Best Bronzers for Over $30

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Powdericon ($65.00) contains four shades that go from light to dark. They can be used together, swirled, or alone for personalization, which is definitely nice. The compact is large enough where you can feasibly use one or two shades alone, rather than all four. What I love about this bronzer is it feels silky and smooth, very finely milled. It feels weightless, and it looks very, very natural. It has a subtle shimmer sheen when applied, but the shimmer isn’t overly so. It falls into the category of “sophisticated” shimmer–the kind that doesn’t accentuate facial flaws.

Guerlain Terracotta Mineral Loose Powdericon ($65.00) is a sheer-to-medium buildable, loose bronzer. It’s new for the spring/summer season, and included with the bronzer pot is a miniature kabuki brush. It is available in three shades: Light, Medium, and Dark. Light is probably going to be too light for most; this shade is most suitable for those who want just the faintest (and I mean faintest!) hint of color on them–perhaps as an allover powder vs. where the sun hits. Medium is a more universal shade that doesn’t go on glowing orange. It didn’t feel like there was any shimmer in it to me, and I did find it fairly blendable. The biggest downside is that it can get messy. Being a loose powder means that you may find a cloud of bronzer poof when you open the container, and you may get more powder than you’d like on your brush.

Dior Bronze Collagen Activ Bronzericon ($48.00) is a new bronzer from Dior that is designed to help smooth and fill fine lines. It’s not just makeup, it’s makeup with skincare ingredients in it. The bronzer also has SPF25, which is nice, though not necessary (I’m already going to wear SPF all over my face, so my bronzer doesn’t have to have it). The new bronzer comes in four shades: Healthy Tan, Honey Tan, Amber Tan, and Spicy Tan. It’s near matte in finish, and it gives you a glowy, sunkissed look that looks very natural–no orange glow here. I found this particular bronzer very blendable upon application, and it felt softer and less powdery, too.

What’s your favorite bronzer?