Friday, December 24th, 2010

Becca Concealer
Becca Compact Concealer

Quick Review: Becca Compact Concealer

Becca Compact Concealer ($38.00 for 0.10 oz.) is an item I picked up when HauteLook had a Becca sale, so I was guessing on my shade… and I guessed wrong. Becca has quite the impressive shade range–I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many for concealer in particular–and the shade I chose was Toffee. It has stronger yellow and orange undertones, and in general, it was a couple of shades too dark for me (for reference, my arm is about NC20 or a little lighter).

The Compact includes two different formulas; one side offers medium-coverage while the other side offers full-coverage. It definitely is opaque and very creamy, but it is a thicker formula overall. It works best when warmed up between fingers and patted on, because then you can work out the consistency and get a more even application without over-applying the product. I found it would crease a little bit if I wore it thick, but if blended out to a thin layer (which is still plenty pigmented), it didn’t crease at all. One compact will surely last quite awhile, but the $38 price tag is daunting.

I wasn’t able to do a full test on this product nor provide before/after photos as it a completely wrong match for me.

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It seems like a decent concealer, but it may be a better concealer if you need a very opaque one — because this is definitely one of the fuller coverage ones I’ve tried.

AVAILABILITY: Becca

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Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Benefit The Porefessional
Benefit The Porefessional

Quick Review: Benefit The Porefessional

Benefit The Porefessional ($28.00 for 0.75 oz.) is supposed to minimize the appearance of pores. It is a translucent balm that you can apply under or over makeup. Benefit says when applying it under makeup, to apply to clean, lightly moisturized skin, then pat on problem areas and blend with fingertips. For over makeup, pat on lightly over makeup and blend. (Doesn’t sound so different, eh?)

Please note that I did not test this on the face for an extended period of time, due to a sensitivity to dimethicone (second ingredient in The Porefessional). I only applied it to see whether my pores looked minimized. I left it on the back of my hand, and the effect lasted noticeably for four hours.

Porefessional seems to apply a soft focus lens over your skin, which gives it the appearance of a softer, smoother, and less-pore-filled. I wouldn’t say my pores vanish instantly, but they are definitely minimized, which is the goal. It is similar to MAC’s Prep + Prime Line Filler as well as bears some resemblance to face primers in general. It has a silkier texture, though, and it helps to mattify the skin as well. The product works to give skin a little help by minimizing textural issues, which pores can sometimes contribute to. It works pretty well, and it did a nice job of disguising some of the pores on the side of my nose.

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For those who don’t already use a face primer on a regular basis, Porefessional may be a nice way to supplement your foundation by softening the look of pores.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, December 12th, 2010

NARS Sheer Glow
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

Light Coverage, Soft Glow with NARS

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation ($42.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is touted as a “satin-finish foundation with sheer and buildable coverage.” It is also supposed to have “skincare benefits” when used regularly to “improve skin brightness, radiance and texture.” It is recommended for normal to dry skin types.

It is a light coverage foundation which can be built to light-medium coverage–definitely no more coverage than medium coverage at most. I wouldn’t describe it as sheer really; and if you have near perfect skin but are looking for a sheer all-over foundation option, I would keep looking. You could consider using it where and as needed, too, but for flawless or almost flawless skin, I recommend a tinted moisturizer over this, because I think this would be overkill.

I get about four to six hours of really great wear with this formula, but it does start to wane by the eighth hour. I think a little blot powder or pressed powder at lunch time helps to keep it working all day–I just wouldn’t describe it as a long-wearing foundation. Like most foundations, though, if you have drier skin, it may last longer than you. I’m normal-to-dry, and it’s at the eight hour point that I notice I look a lil’ oily and less even overall (a sign foundation is fading, disappearing, etc.). Oilier skin types are better off trying Sheer Matte, though, because the wear doesn’t last all day long, even on normal skin, and there is still an inherent dewiness from the finish that may accentuate oily skin in a not-so-flawless kind of way.

The consistency is thick without being goopy but not so thin that it applies too sheerly. I always apply it by using a concealer brush and dotting my face with the foundation, and then I take a foundation brush (MAC 109) spritzed with water to blend out the foundation to cover my entire face. The formula doesn’t dry down right away, so you have a lot of time to blend it in, and it seems a touch tacky after a few minutes, but it finishes its dry down after five minutes or so and completely settles by ten.

I was worried this was going to be too dewy for my liking. I prefer a matte or semi-matte finish in my foundations, and I was actually going to try Sheer Matte, but NARS sent over Sheer Glow–but the funny part is I didn’t even realize it was Sheer Glow until several uses later when I looked at the bottom of the jar for the shade name! It is a semi-satin, semi-matte kind of finish. There is a soft glow that emanates from the finish but it is subtle and natural. I didn’t feel like I looked shiny or oily at all after applying it, which can sometimes be the case with satin or natural finish foundations.

Overall, I really liked this foundation, and it’s something I reach for often enough. It photographs well (no SPF), and it evens out the skin quite beautifully. There is enough coverage for my skin concerns (some acne, slight unevenness in tone), and it blends really well. I’ve never had it look cakey or too much, and it does not feel heavy on the skin. I wish it wore longer, though, because that would make this a slam dunk foundation. I also would prefer if it came with a pump rather than as a $5 extra you can purchase. As a high-end, $42 foundation, I would expect an included pump.

If you need help finding your shade, I recommend The Foundation Matrix, which is actually how I found mine (Punjab)!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I would recommend this for very dry to normal skin types who need light to light-medium coverage. If you tend to need medium or heavy coverage, I don’t think you would get enough coverage out of this foundation. Similarly, I think it has too much coverage if you are really looking for something ultra sheer.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Friday, November 19th, 2010

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Temptalia Staples: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($34.00 for 1.0 oz.) has been a long-time favorite for me — it’s been my go-to setting powder since I first started using it. It’s been used in over 70 posts!

The one I hav been using is actually a smaller size included in one of Laura Mercier’s gift sets or travel kits (can’t remember), but it was 0.33 oz., whereas the full-size version (which is pictured in this post) is a full 1 oz. It took me six months of regular usage to go through it, so I imagine a full-size should last at least a year with daily use or a year and a half with 3-4 uses a week. I just picked up the full-size during Sephora’s F&F sale last month.

I love it because it sets my makeup, keeps it in place throughout the day, and helps minimize oiliness. It never looks powdery, and it never looks obvious–it has a silky smooth texture as it is a finely milled loose powder that disappears on the skin. The soft, featherweight texture means it never feels heavy over foundation.  I like using this with MAC’s 134 brush and dusting all over after finishing foundation and blush.

The only area this product could improve on is working longer than six hours – I do find a hint of oiliness starts to peek through by hour seven or eight, and I’m normal-to-dry, so I imagine that very oily skin types may find they need a touch-up after three or so hours.

P.S. — I recommend only peeling back (or cutting) half of the label, because you don’t need that many holes exposed to get a good amount of product.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s fabulous on dry and normal skin types, but it may not produce as stellar results on the oiliest of skin types. I fully recommend giving it a shot, though – one of my staples!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom and Sephora

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

MAC Sheer Mystery Powder
MAC Sheer Mystery Powder

MAC Marcel Wanders: MAC Sheer Mystery Powder

MAC Sheer Mystery Powder ($60.00 for 0.56 oz.) is described as “an ultra-fine, super sheer, and very sophisticated pressed powder … “Mysteriously” silky-soft in texture, glides on to give skin a velvety matte, slightly luminous and altogether flawless finish.”  There are only two shades available:  Light and Medium Plus.  They used to release a shade called Dark Secret, which was more appropriate for darker skin tones.

I only picked up Medium Plus, so I only have a swatch of that one, but hopefully it will be helpful enough to show you the texture and look of it.  I would recommend Light for NC/NW15s and 20s, possibly 25s if you are definitely NC/NW25.  I would recommend Medium Plus for NC/NW30s and 35s.  I think it would be too light for any shades higher than NC/NW35.

The formula itself is a very finely milled, silky smooth powder that applies incredibly sheer.  It is best used as a setting or finishing powder, because it does not offer coverage, but it will set your foundation or help to mattify skin.  It is not completely matte in finish, but it is semi-matte.  I like it, and I think it’s a good pressed powder, but it’s not the best one I’ve ever tried.  I don’t know if it’s that much better than MAC’s Blot or Select Sheer Powders, you know?  I do like that it looks very natural, and it’s practically impossible to overdo.  It doesn’t look powdery on the skin, even on drier areas of mine.

The compact itself shares the same multifaceted look as the perfume pendant, but unlike the pendant, it is made out of hard plastic, rather than metal.  It feels very lightweight when held, which makes it appropriate for traveling but less so if you want that luxury feel.  In the past, this powder has always been housed in a heavier, sturdier compact.  It will hold fingerprints like nobody’s business, though.

I know the price tag always scares people every time MAC repromotes it, but keep in mind, it comes with a refill–each pan is 0.28 oz. for a total of 0.56 oz. for your $60.  However, on that note, MAC’s Select Sheer/Pressed will set you back $22 for 0.42 oz., while the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural retails for $26 for 0.35 oz.  After perusing through a variety of pressed powders from high-end brands, it seems like 0.28 to 0.35 oz. is the norm with prices ranging from $30 to 35.  This is certainly not a steal of a deal, but it’s like you’re paying an extra $15 to 20 for the packaging and product (since it’s not available outside of the pricier compacts).

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 are light or medium in skin tone, you may find a match here.  If you have ultra dry skin, you may want to skip the powder, but for slightly dry to slightly oily skin, it should work out.

AVAILABILITY: MAC on November 24th

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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

The Mysterious Case of Tired Face

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer ($16.50 for 0.30 fl. oz.) has been a product I’ve felt compelled to test for the past two weeks straight. I don’t like to review a product until I have a good handle on how I feel about it, and I’m not big on reviewing anything that I’m waffling over.

Admittedly, I’ve been sleeping a lot less and not nearly as well as I usually do, which is good news for concealer-testing purposes, given that my under eye circles are more prevalent this week than they normally are! Often when I’m running on low sleep, I suffer from a phenomenon I’ve named TIREDFACE. The primary symptom is tightness around the eye area (at least for me). So, one of the things I’ve had going on has been this feeling of tightness when I’ve been wearing this concealer, and I wasn’t sure whether it was due to the concealer itself or more to the exhaustion. For about three days, I wore concealer under one eye and none under the other. The concealer does contribute to some of the feeling of tightness.

The concealer does last a miraculous twelve hours, though, without creasing or budging. It is a very dry product, and if you have a lot of dryness around the areas you’re trying to conceal, I think this may emphasize those areas rather than hide them. I felt like it pulled a little underneath my eyes (which is where I used it most of the time), which is why I felt that tightness despite no discernible dryness in the area.  It conceals good, though for the heaviest of dark circles, it may not be enough, and it’s difficult to layer this product for additional coverage due to its fast drying time.

It has a creamy feel when dispensed, and it’s not too thick–there’s a good consistency to it, but it dries quickly, so you’ll have to work just as quickly. I actually recommend doing one eye at a time, because if you don’t move fast enough, it can be difficult to blend out! I also liked using a flat concealer brush like the 195 for application; the 217 seemed to sheer it out too much. I have noticed that it will settle a little into fine lines if you don’t blend out the area first. Once you’ve blended it out, though, it won’t creep back in.

I originally tried this in NC30, but it’s definitely a little on the orange side. I received a sample of NC20, so I figured I might as well give that a shot, though I’m ultimately thinking that NC25 or even NW25 might be the best match for me (I am NC25). NC20 seemed like a pretty good match, but next time I’m at the counter, I’m going to grab samples of NC25 and NW25 to see if either of those is a better match.

I was incredibly frustrated by the inclusion of a pump that–wait for it–pumps out enough to cover half your face in concealer. If the technology is not available to create a pump that easily distributes just enough for the product’s purpose, why use something inferior? It is certainly possible to get just the right amount out, but after two weeks of use, I couldn’t do so consistently. Sometimes I got just enough, sometimes a nice blob that went down the sink. If you’re having pump troubles like I have had, I recommend pumping once or twice into a small sampling jar. No need to pump it all into there, just whatever excess–that way you can go back and use that during the week and not let it go to waste.

All in all, this concealer does last all day long for me. It doesn’t crease later on during the day, and this is a big deal for a lot of us. I do feel a little tightness around my under eye when I wear this, though, so I probably won’t wear this every day.  It’s definitely worth trying out for its long-wearing prowess–but if you can, grab a sample, so you can find your shade and decide if you like it without having to purchase from the get-go.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have really dry skin that you’re looking to use this concealer on, I think this may be too drying and end up just looking cakey on you.  The wear of this is fantastic, and the coverage is good for light to moderate under eye circles or blemishes.  If you have really heavy under eye circles, this might not be enough coverage.  Overall, it’s worth a try, particularly if you’re able to grab a sample.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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