Monday, August 26th, 2013

Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer
Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer

Guerlain Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer ($71.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to “camouflage blemishes and discoloration” with “pearlescent extracts to capture and reflect light and blur the appearance of fine lines.” Guerlain says that it can be used under makeup or on its own (after moisturizer). It’s an illuminating or radiance-enhancing primer that gives skin a more luminous finish without being shiny (or even dewy).  It extends the wear of my foundation by an hour and a half to two hours, which just means everything looks better for longer.  The consistency is lightweight and so easy to spread and blend out on the skin, so it really does look good and feel good when worn over moisturizer without any foundation on top, and it can also be mixed in with tinted moisturizer easily.

After reviewing Les Ors, which was a limited edition primer for summer, many readers asked how it compared to the one of the permanent primers (there are two!), so here I am with a review! The biggest–and most obvious–difference is in the tint or color. This one is pink-based, so it’s more neutral and doesn’t really tint the skin, only adds very, very fine pearl all-over the skin. Les Ors is distinctly peachy, so on very fair skin, it could add a slight tint as well as radiance. The glow is slightly warmer, even on my medium complexion, as compared to the Meteorites primer. Both are lightweight with gel consistencies that absorb quickly and dry down without any shininess. The finish is decidedly luminous–not sparkly, glittery, or even shimmery–so it enhances the natural look of the skin rather than emphasizing pores or imperfections. They’re both the same price and size, and there was no visible difference on my skin tone, but on very fair or really cool/warm complexions, there might be a more perceptible difference.

The Glossover


Meteorites Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer


The finish is decidedly luminous--not sparkly, glittery, or even shimmery--so it enhances the natural look of the skin rather than emphasizing pores or imperfections. It extends the wear of my foundation by an hour and a half to two hours, which just means everything looks better for longer.











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Monday, July 15th, 2013

Guerlain Les Ors Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Primer
Guerlain Les Ors Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Primer

Guerlain Les Ors Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Primer ($71.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “sheer, luxurious makeup base” that utilizes gold pearls to brighten, illuminate, and help set makeup (but it can also be worn alone, if so desired). It’s ever-so-slightly peach-tinted with white, pink, and gold micro-shimmer (or pearl, if you like).

Products like this are hard to review, and they are always difficult for me to convey their true effect, because it gets lost in photos–in the sense that with softened, diffused lighting, I’m already getting the benefit of having nice lighting to begin with. I find in the horrors of everyday lighting that varies from room to room, place to place, the improvement is much more marked. There’s absolutely a difference, as the skin has a softer, smoother appearance that’s slightly brighter–fresher in a way–and any foundation I’ve tried it over lasts an extra hour and a half to two hours (I’ve tried this with Guerlain’s own Parure Gold, Parure de Lumiere, and Lingerie de Peau; as well as Make Up For Ever HD and Giorgio Armani Maestro). As a bonus, this seems to slightly minimize bits of redness that I get around my nose and on my cheeks.

Unlike a lot of primers on the market, though this has silicone-based ingredients in it, it doesn’t have that velvety, silicone-like feel, but it still does a great job of holding makeup in place. It’s also nice on its own, because it doesn’t have a matte, flat finish. It’s not a liquid highlighter by any means, and it works all-over the face because the pearl is barely-there. The texture is thin, water-like (but a bit thicker than pure water), and easy to spread and blend out on the skin. It dries down in thirty seconds or so. I’ve worn it alone a few times, and I’ve mixed it with my moisturizer and applied it that way. The only thing I’d say is that if you’re already using a slew of excellent smoothing products (like foundation, setting and/or finishing powders), at some point you’re just not going to get skin that looks any more than it already does. For instance, using pressed Meteorites gives me a similar radiance, but the primer extends wear of my base makeup more so than the powder does alone.

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Monday, May 27th, 2013

Illamasqua Hydra Veil  Rehydrating Gel
Illamasqua Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel

Illamasqua Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel ($40.00 for 1.0 oz.) is a cross between a primer and a moisturizer, so perhaps it’s best categorized as a moisturizing primer, as it is not a skincare product (e.g. no long-term hydration benefits are claimed). It’s really supposed to help by providing instant hydration, smooth the skin, and prolong the wear of your base makeup.

It has a thick, jelly-like consistency that looks and feels that way. It jiggles in the pot and is just slightly less solid in comparison to Jell-o. It comes with a small, spoon spatula that hooks to the interior lid for more hygenic removal of the product. Once you disturb the surface of the product, it can look crumbly, but it reforms and looks pristine the next time you open it. You don’t need a lot, but it did seem like a small quantity when I first opened up the jar, though one ounce is about average for a primer. It feels cool when applied, and it spreads easily and doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. It absorbs and dries down quickly. I’ve been using a flat foundation brush (MAC’s 190) to apply and spread it over the skin after my moisturizer but prior to foundation.

One thing I noticed was that sometimes it did give me a light stinging sensation some of the time that I used the product. I’ve used it for a week now, and out of those seven tries, I’d say three of those times had a mild stinging sensation on the drier areas of my face for about thirty seconds or less (in contrast, when I applied it to Shaun’s face, and he didn’t experience any stinging at all, and he has an oilier skin type). It did leave behind a smoother surface, and my foundations (I tried MUFE HD, Guerlain Lingerie de Peau, Kiehl’s Tinted Moisturizer, and Giorgio Armani Maestro) seemed to apply better than they would over the skin alone but not dramatically improved over dry patches.  For me, I didn’t notice particularly better or prolonged wear out of my foundations–an extra half hour at best but nothing dramatic.

I had really hoped for a life-changing product with Hydra Veil, because I often get dry patches along the tops of my cheeks and around my nose, so having an added boost prior to applying foundation can go a long way to giving me a more flawless finish.   It was the product I was most excited for in the new collection, but it wasn’t a good fit for my skin type.


Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG-240/HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Niacinamide, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Alcohol, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Phosphate, Fragrance, Methylisothiazolinone, Acmella Oleracea Extract, Potassium Laurate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, BHT, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Sodium Chloride, Tocopherol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene.

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Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm
Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

More of a Base than a BB Cream

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm ($34.00 for 1.18 oz.) is described as a “beauty balm that minimizes pores, lines, wrinkles, and redness instantly” plus “significantly firmer, more-lifted skin in eight weeks.” This is really not a tinted moisturizer, sheer foundation, or the like; the coverage is described as “translucent” once it dries down. Instead of tinting, it’s supposed to “[diffuse] light with high-tech pigments.”

Muse has an excellent write-up for this, and the best takeaway from her review is, “Put aside what you know about traditional Asian BB Creams because this is not a BB Cream formula that would be comparable to those.” She is my personal go-to for all things BB Cream, because she’s tried them extensively (and not just what we see in the states as marketed as BB Creams!).

Straight out of the tube, it looks like a light-medium peachy-beige; definitely warm-toned, and almost orange-y. Blended out, it matched my forearm (about NC20), and when I applied it to my face, matched me there–well, more like you couldn’t really see it. It kind of looks, feels, and acts more like a primer than anything else when I used it. The way it looks is my skin just a little better–yes, everything is just a bit softened overall. There’s no real coverage, so any redness, spots, and the like doesn’t really get evened out or covered, but otherwise, it definitely minimizes the look of “pores, lines, [and] wrinkles,” just as described (but misses on redness, at least for me). I can’t weigh in re: “firmer, more-lifted skin,” since I haven’t used it for eight weeks and won’t be doing so.

The texture is lightweight, creamy, and thin (but not runny). It didn’t feel tacky on the skin, and it was easy to blend, but I found it spread best in small areas, rather than in larger areas, because it dried down quickly. I did feel like I needed to apply a fair amount to cover my entire face in the product, not because I was trying to achieve coverage (as in covering up my skin), but as a result of the quick-to-dry texture that just wouldn’t really spread from say, forehead to nose or chin. It is also mint-scented; I didn’t notice it when I wore it, but when I swatched it on my arm, and then put my nose to my arm, I could definitely smell it–so depending on how sensitive you are to scents, you may or may not notice it.

If you have good skin naturally, it might be worth checking out if you’re looking to diffuse the look of lines and pores. On its own, the diffusing effect seemed to last for six to seven hours.  It feels and acts a bit like a primer, but when I wore it as a primer, it didn’t extend the wear of my foundation/blush, and I felt like it made blending my foundation on top of it more difficult (not by a lot, just noticeably a different application experience). On my end, because my biggest skin concern is evening out my skin tone (and if I’m going to wear a face product, I want a little coverage otherwise I’ll just go bare-faced), I haven’t found a way that I’d personally incorporate it into my routine.

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Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 ($52.00 for 1 oz.) is a “mineral-based, water-resistant primer with SPF 15 that neutralizes the skin, minimizes shine, and creates a smooth, uniform canvas.” It is also supposed to “[absorb] exess oils and [minimize] the appearance of pores.” This primer uses a mix of titanium dioxide (2.45%) and zinc oxide (4.20%) to provide the SPF content. As a result, you may get a white cast, particularly in pictures, as these are physical blockers (which work by reflecting), as opposed to chemical ones (which work by absorbing). I have worn it in photos on the blog, but primarily in ones without flash, which is where you would worry most about what kind of sunscreen agent you had on.

It has a thin consistency that appears white when pumped out of the container. One pump tends to be sufficient coverage for me. I use either a flat face brush or my fingertips (cleaned, of course!) to apply all over my face, and then I let it dry down for about five minutes. There’s a slightly oily feel initially–it almost feels like a moisturizer–that dries down to a more powdery feel that looks satin-like in finish. It does give my skin a “smooth” feeling from the silicones. The primer doesn’t pill, though, which I do appreciate, as that has been an issue in the past with silicone-heavy primers.

It has been a very long time (years) since I’ve tried a face primer with this many silicones in it. I’ve worn this numerous times over the past couple of months, and I haven’t had any extra breakouts as a result. I’ve certainly had acne before, after, and during the previous months, but the level is as much (or as little) as is “normal” for me. Previously, it seemed like I had a sensitivity to silicone-based products, which meant that I had to limit how many products I wore each day that had silicone–e.g. avoid silicone-based primers, because they appear to have a lot more silicones as compared to a blush, moisturizer, or foundation, since there are usually a few in the beginning of the ingredients’ lists.

I’m not a doctor, and no dermatologist ever evaluated/tested my skin in relationship to silicones. The last time I saw a dermatologist, she told me to never wear makeup and that wearing any makeup was causing all of my acne (so I never returned to her!). After that, my general doctor prescribed me Differin, which has greatly decreased my acne. I decided to give Hourglass’ primer a chance, because I saw a lot of readers rave about it!

Mineral Veil makes everything else I layer on top of my skin look noticeably better. I think that “smooth canvas” enables foundation to apply and settle better against the skin. I used this a lot during the winter when my skin was drier, because I did have a few flaking areas (particularly around the nose), and it helped to smooth and almost hydrate those areas. It didn’t do much to minimize pores, but it certainly helped add longevity to my face products.

Typically, when I would wear this under a foundation, it would prolong the wear by an hour and a half to two and a half hours–and as a result, my blush stayed on better and for longer as well. Though I have normal-to-dry skin, I do get a little oily around my t-zone after six to eight hours of wearing full makeup. This really did help combat that and staved it off until eight to ten hours.

The biggest downside to this product is that it’s very pricey! I’d recommend trying the smaller version (0.33 oz.), which is a more palatable $18. It’s a great way to test out the product over a longer period of time to get a feel for whether it’s suitable for your skin type and needs. It’s one of my favorite primers, but I can readily admit that my “big picture” view on primers is limited, as I haven’t tested many in the past few years because I’ve wanted to stay away from silicone-based ones! I may open this up a bit more in the future, but no promises–it will be a very slow, gradual introduction to see how my skin reacts!

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Friday, June 3rd, 2011

MAC Beauty Balm

MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35

MAC Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35 ($30.00 for 1 fl. oz.) is described as a “lightly tinted in a nearly sheer beige tone to work on an array of complexions, it creamily re-texturizes the skin and then goes on to excel at being a face primer with high everyday UVA/UVB SPF 35 defense.”

First things first, I have no experience using BB Creams as they are known elsewhere in the world, so I urge you to check out Musings of a Muse’s review on this as well as her informative post on what BB Creams are. She pretty much sums them as one major multi-tasking face product that imparts skincare benefits, along with concealing/foundation and moisturizing qualities.  On its face, MAC isn’t marketing this as a “true” BB Cream from what I can gather, because it’s designed to work best as a face primer–not as a tinted moisturizer, moisturizer, foundation, concealer, etc.

It’s a soft, sheer shade of yellowed beige with soft shimmer-sheen. It’s not something I could wear alone at all, because it just looked a bit too light on me (I am NC25/NC30 for reference). When I layered Kiehl’s Tinted Moisturizer over it, it became something I could use. It seems more like an illuminating primer to me; something like MAC Strobe Cream but yellow-based and with a significantly different texture (not as thick or heavy, thinner, not quite as shimmery).

It works well as a primer; it helped keep my makeup looking fresher longer (ten hours) and always felt lightweight. I only tested this product for two days (not back-to-back), though, because it does have dimethicone as the second ingredient in it, which I am more-often-than-not sensitive to, but for readers, I wanted to give it a shot. I didn’t experience any breakouts, but I deliberately tested it on two occasions but with a week between each try.

The packaging is interesting, because it has a very long, needle-nose applicator that squeezes out the merest amount.  For a product you wear all over your face, it seems too precise.  It’s by no means a deal-breaker, since I would rather squeeze out more than have half the tube squirt out, but I thought it was interesting.

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