Friday, June 20th, 2008

Alima Cosmetics is an all-mineral makeup brand. In their introduction, they state that their products are free of irritants and are 100% natural, thus suitable for all skin types and shades. One of the great things about Alima is that they even have a 101 section for beginners. When you have a brand that is solely about mineral makeup, the selection is much larger–this is something I really liked. I also like that they provide ingredient lists to their products that aren’t buried within the site. Also, when you look at swatches, they have some of the better swatches I have seen overall–the colors seem fairly accurate and true-to-color.

Some products I enjoyed:

Satin Matte Foundation ($18.95) is a lightweight loose mineral foundation that gives decent coverage for a powder foundation. It also has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (which are both SPF ingredients), while the mica minimizes lines and imperfections. The finish is matte, which is makes it more suitable to normal-to-oily skinned users, but I didn’t find this too drying or even too matte that it wouldn’t work on those with slightly dry skin.

For those of you who like more traditional cosmetics and may not feel like hitching your wagon to the mineral makeup trend, there are still great ways to enjoy it that don’t include replacing your liquid foundations and foundation brushes! I really liked their Illuminating Shimmer Powders ($14.00), because they’re super finely milled highlighters that look so natural and glowy. My favorite was Nectar, described as a “luscious apricot-gold.” There’s about nine different ones to choose from–ranging from very light (Luna) to bronze (Cafe).

Need a face primer? Alima has you covered with their Balancing Primer Powder ($14.00), which helps your mineral foundation stay on better throughout the day–especially if your face gets oily.  They also have Color Balancing Powders ($14.00) to fix certain problems or cancel out pigmentation in the skin (like redness).

Other products you may be interested in: Mineral Finishing Powder ($14.00), Luminous Shimmer Blush ($14.00), Satin Matte Blush ($14.00), Pearluster Eyeshadow ($8.50), and their brushes (varies in price).

What could they improve on? Nothing really. I suppose wanting to be able to see everything in-person, before you buy, is a dream. Besides, you can get samples of just about everything for no more than $1.00, which makes trying the brand infinitely easier.

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

sukicolor is a branch of sukipure, which is a natural skincare brand (which I have good luck with in the past, so I was eager to try out their makeup line!). sukicolor fills in an area often overlooked by mineral makeup lines, which is cream-based makeup. sukicolor is “fresh finish mineral cream makeup.”

Some products I enjoyed:

Tinted Active Moisturizer SPF ($45.95) comes in two colors (Natural and Bronze), which means it may be limiting for some skintones. However, I’m medium-toned, and Bronze worked out for me. Because it is a tinted moisturizer, the color itself is still rather sheer and blendable, so you don’t end up getting a super dark foundation color or anything, if you don’t need it. suki recommends adding two pumps of this to your moisturizer, blending together before applying, for lighter skin tones.

Triple Cream Eye Definer ($41.95) has seven shades to choose from, and iti s a 3-in-1 product. These creamy balms can be used to highlight, liner, shadow, or as brow fillers. I personally used the Amber shade, and I preferred it as a liner or brow filler over other ways (only because I prefer powder shadows).

Pure Cream Stain ($40.15) also comes in seven shades ranging from the lightest (Sandstone) to the deepest (Vermillion). The shade I tried was Dahlia, a creamy reddish-brown blush/lip stain. Even being one of the darkest shades, it is still just a tint, so don’t let it scare you! I loved how creamy it was, and I liked that it didn’t go on super pigmented, because I could build it up and blend it out without worrying I needed to defuse the clown-effect of more pigmented cream blushes. (Hey, if you’ve ever worn cream blush, you know you need to get it perfect before it dries–which isn’t that much time–so buildable is preferrable over ultra pigmented.) I think I’d love to try Opal, Nectar, and Vermillion in the future. What I also like about this stain is that it is suitable and advocated to use on both the lips and cheeks, which means it does double-duty AND you can match, if that’s your thing (and it IS my thing, ha!).

Other products you may be interested in: Liquid Formula Concealer ($41.95), Rich Pigment Mascara ($33.95), & various brushes (varies).

What could they improve on? Price. There are a plethora of mineral makeup brands, albeit most of them focus on powder versus cream/liquid, but very few of them reach the price point of sukicolor. I’m completely satisfied with sukicolor quality and packaging, but I do feel that the price will put a lot of potential customers off.

Learn more at www.sukicolor.com.

Have you tried any of sukicolor’s products?  What do you think?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

IsaDora was launched in 1983 in Sweden, provides fragrance-free products that have not been tested on animals. IsaDora has their own mineral make-up branch that contains a wide range of products.

Some stand outs we found from testing:

Mineral Translucent Powder ($18.00) reminds us a lot of a traditional loose setting powder, but it is smoother and finer. It melts into your skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores to the eye (not permanently or anything – the powder basically sinks in and fills in the lines). It works incredibly well with IsaDora’s selection of mineral makeup brushes ($10-14.00).

Speaking of kabuki brushes, IsaDora’s Mineral Body Kabuki Brush ($19.00) is fantastic. It’s a huge (duh, body-sized) kabuki brush that works really well with the Mineral Body Glow ($20.00). It can be used on the face, though the size of it makes it more difficult. Mineral Body Glow is a shimmering pink body glow used mostly for highlighting.

Other products you may like: Mineral Foundation Powder ($18.00), Mineral Blush Powder ($16.00), Mineral Compact Powder ($17.00), Mineral Powder Concealer ($12.00), Mineral Eye Shadow ($10.00).

What could they improve? IsaDora’s mineral make-up line is not extensive when it comes to the color ranges of their mineral eyeshadows and blushes.

Learn more about Isadora at www.isadora.com.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

What exactly is mineral makeup?

Mineral makeup are products that contain all natural minerals found in the earth. It lacks certain ingredients like preservatives, chemicals, and dyes that are prevelant in the typical cosmetic market. With the push for eco-friendly makeup, green makeup, and simply trying to go more natural with our beauty routines, mineral makeup has really taken off.

Is it better for you?

This is still a debatable subject. It really depends just how natural or organic your makeup is, and whether or not is has been qualified by an organization to have met certain, rigorous standards. Some say that the ingredients found in mineral makeup have been used for decades in traditional makeup. Others point out the fact that there are simply less ingredients, especially known irritants and comedogenics, which make it better for the skin.

Who might like it?

  • Those with sensitive skin may find this a great alternative because many mineral makeup lines that are available have significantly less potentially irritating ingredients.
  • Those with acne-prone skin may find the lack of comedogenic ingredients a huge plus, because they don’t have to think about which of the many comedogenic ingredients are causing their breakouts. Instead, they make the switch to mineral. Of course, it will depend on the cause, type, prevalence, and an assortment of factors, on whether or not mineral makeup solves your acne issues or if it is only part of the solution.
  • Those with oilier skin may find that the wide range of mineral powders appealing. Of course, many mineral powders are milled so finely that dry skin can get away with it, and with the popularity of natural makeup, companies have started producing liquid and cream versions.
  • Those who hate the feel of foundation or powders. Mineral makeup does tend to be lighter, especially because it is such a finely milled powder product.

You’re going to have to do your homework.

If you really want it to be natural or organic or truly mineral, you have to pay attention to ingredient lists, company philosophies, and have a keen eye to see whether brands are touting themselves as approved or guaranteed or some sort of message that conveys their ingredients have undergone inspection or verification.

Watch for questionable ingredients like bismuth, which many people have skin issues with, and it is technically considered a mineral ingredient. Bismuth is a skin irritant for some, and it has been known to contribute to acne. Many products use bismuth to help add bulk to them. Like most potentially irritating ingredients, if it is listed towards the end of the ingredient list, it is likely to be a non-issue.

How do you feel about mineral makeup? Do you think it’s better for your skin as its often touted?

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation ($28.00)

The face is like a fresh canvas — Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation provides the ideal base for transforming the face into a masterpiece of color.  The consistency is lightweight and buildable, allowing women to determine their own preferred coverage level and desired color impact.  With a sweep of the brush, the multitasking powder-based foundation glides on easily, blends seamlessly and hugs the skin for long-lasting coverage.  Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation controls shine and instantly conceals minor skin imperfections, helping to create a glamorous finish like those produced by professional makeup artists.

What I liked: First, I found that Beige 2 was a good color-match for my skintone, and I always seem to have trouble finding a suitable shade when it comes to mineral makeup, so that was a pleasant surprise.  You get a nice amount for the price, and I feel like the jar would last me at least six months, if not more.  Since it is a powder, the shelf life is even better than a liquid foundation, since it is harder (almost impossible) for powders to harbor bacteria (which like wet and moist environments, e.g. liquids).  It is incredibly fine milled, making it easier to pick up and buff onto the skin. The biggest secret to mineral makeup is buffing it into the skin, rather than just placing it on it. The more you buff, the more it works into the skin and becomes “one” with it (ha!). It is a soft, buildable mineral foundation, though I would say it tops off at light-medium coverage, so those who want heavy coverage should probably still opt for heavy creams and/or liquids.

What I didn’t like: Nothing stuck out about this that made me go, “Grr!” The packaging could be a bit more sleek/aesthetically pleasing, perhaps, but I think that’s such a minor (and not to mention, superficial!) detail that can easily be overlooked. I think they should promote a buffer brush with this, just because I find that works much better than any other powder brush!  The color range only includes six shades, which makes it fairly limited in my eyes, so I’m not sure how our lightest/darkest ladies will fair in finding an appropriate match.