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In person, I like a natural finish – not quite semi-matte but not dewy. What I’ve been doing these days is mixing in an illuminating primer/liquid highlighter (been reaching for Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter) when I apply my foundation and then setting the perimeter of my face but going in with a lighter hand or using an illuminating setting powder (like Hourglass Diffused Light or Wet ‘n’ Wild Reserve Your Cabana) on some areas to keep them less matte. For photos, I prefer semi-matte to matte as I find it looks smoother overall and just go in with a setting powder all-over (usually Laura Mercier’s Loose Setting Powder).

— Christine

Tough as someone who naturally cycles through products at warp speed and significantly more often than most, LOL! There are products I’ve been using for a couple of years, but I really wanted to share ones that I’ve been wearing for as long as I can recall, really. Here are some that come to mind: Guerlain Rouge Gs (since first swipe, really), Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners, Urban Decay Eyeshadow, Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes, Tom Ford Nude Dip Eyeshadow Quad, Marc Jacobs Highliners, Sephora Contour Eye Pencils, shu uemura Cleansing Oil, Cle de Peau Concealer, Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, Wet ‘n’ Wild Reserve Your Cabana, Surratt Artistique Blush, Clinique Cheek Pops.

— Christine
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I’m the worst! It usually takes me a dozen or more wears to determine if I just like a foundation. I can usually tell if I don’t like one within a few wears because there’s something in the application or how it sits on the face from the get-go that isn’t working for me. Otherwise, I’ve too often experienced a foundation that looks great the first few times then looks terrible the next time and then cycles through, so I find I need to really go through a lot of wears and combinations of products to get to the point where I feel like, “yeah, this works most of the time.” I’m also indoors a lot so sometimes that I like ends up being not-so-long-wearing when tested under more extreme conditions (e.g. monsoon humidity).

— Christine

A part of me hates concealer because the only area that I see “aging” over time is underneath my eyes as my fine lines multiply and become more prominent, and my under eye bags get darker and more noticeable. I like to test concealer in terms of covering up unevenness or blemishes on my skin as well as underneath my eyes, as I do find that the areas can require different types of concealer–there are some that multi-task but often I’ll want something a bit lighter under my eyes and something that matches my complexion more spot-on for the rest of my face.

I test concealer with and without foundation underneath it, with and without powder, and I try an assortment of powders — some more brightening/luminous ones along with more mattifying/typical translucent powders. I’ll test application using brushes, fingertips, and sponges. I want it to be relatively easy to apply with high coverage that doesn’t look or feel heavy/caked on, and it should give me at least half a day without getting all in my fine lines.

— Christine

There are certain products that I think a lot can be said from limited testing, but I think that, at a minimum, products have to be applied as intended in order to determine pigmentation, whether it’s buildable, blendable, how it sits on the area, whether it gets patchy or fades initially, is there fallout, and so forth. If someone normally wears eyeshadow primer, I don’t know that longevity tests are game-changing since most eyeshadow performs very well over primer.

However, for other products, like foundation or lip color (as two examples), how it wears/breaks down is critical, whether it’s drying/hydrating, and so on are all things that can’t be known without at least wearing once. I also think that it’s more important to limit just how much new is incorporated, e.g. new primer, new foundation, new concealer, and powder together makes it harder to see what’s doing what and where compared to using one’s go-tos and then a new powder.

— Christine