Archive for category Powder
A couple weeks ago I received Make Up For Ever’s HD Complexion Starter Kit ($89CAD), and I have been giving it the good ol’ college try over the Holidays to see how it performed. Each product in the kit is designed to create a ‘soft focus’ effect, so that imperfections are concealed and blurred so they’re less visible. You may remember that I reviewed the Wild and Chic Best Of Make Up For Ever set back in November, which included the HD Microfinish Powder and the HD Microperfecting Primer – both are in the Complexion Starter kit, along with a great Kabuki brush, and your matching HD Invisible Cover Foundation shade, which you choose yourself. As I have never tried the HD foundation, I was unsure which shade to choose. I sent a photo of myself to the MUFE color experts, and they chose my shade, #155 (a medium beige), based on that. Happily, the shade matches (that’s what I call impressive!). Excitingly, they’ve also launched an interactive shade finder tool so that you can find your perfect shade in a similar fashion: www.hd.makeupforeverusa.com/shadefinder. This was created due to the fact that so many women are afraid to buy foundation online for the first time because they don’t know what shade they are – been there, SO done that! I’ve read conflicting reviews online about the HD Foundation, so I was a bit apprehensive initially. While some people swear by it, others seemed to swear…at it, truth be told. Being the good little beauty addict that I am, I made sure to read all about how to use it before moving ahead, as I find sometimes *but not always!* poor reviews can be due to incorrect use of a product (“It said to leave it on for 10 minutes, so I left it on for 30 and it burnt my face! This product SUX!!”). The recommended process is to start with a dime-size dollop of primer, smoothing it gently all over your face with your fingers or a sponge in a downward motion. Once it sets (in a few minutes), apply the HD foundation, again with fingers or a brush – only a small amount is needed to cover the entire face. Lastly, apply a small amount of the HD powder all-over with the kabuki brush. Of course, you can use any of these products separately but obviously will get the best effect with all three. I tried very hard to take photos of my face wearing this foundation, but unfortunately once again, my photography skills (and my camera’s abilities) fell short and it just wouldn’t showcase the foundation and the coverage properly. Also, as my skin is relatively clear of blemishes or other marks that needs coverage, it’s hard to display it’s effectiveness well.
Barring these shortcomings, here are my thoughts: After reading several reviews in which people complained it made their skin look oily, I thought the culprit could be using too much product – as it’s clearly specified that only a small amount is necessary. I personally found that it did NOT make my skin oily at all, and in fact made the two dry patches I have on my forehead a touch dry, if anything. Additionally, using the HD primer, which nourishes and moisturizes, helped to balance my skin so that the foundation wore better – which helped smooth over rough patches and create a better canvas for foundation. The difference maker of the three products though, is still the HD powder (and now the kabuki brush – oh my goodness this brush is AWESOME!) – instantly my skin looks flawless – poreless and smooth. I know some people are nervous about this product, but I still find it’s very effective and has become a staple in my every day routine. And I haven’t had ANY mishaps with visible whiteness showing up in photos!Ultimately, I feel that these products can yield wonderful results – if you’re willing to take the time to use them properly. Not that it takes more time, necessarily, but just learning how to use them and then adhering to the process makes for an infinitely better experience. Of course, if you don’t want to have to fuss and just want to throw on a foundation and go, then this might not be the system for you – and that’s perfectly legitimate. But if you’re looking for a flawless finish, I definitely recommend at least trying this regime out – I think it’s worth a chance!
Have you tried any of the MUFE HD products? What are your own feelings on them – love ‘em or hate ‘em? Are you willing to spend a bit of time in order to look your best?
*The products in this post were provided to me by the PR company/brand.
I had a hard time coming up with the title for this post, as to state I have a NARS collection sounds like I should have a HUGE stash, and in fact I don’t – but out of all the cosmetic brands I own, I have more NARS makeup than any other, so that constitutes as a collection, right? Anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you!Modest, to some I’m sure. In any case, I definitely feel that NARS is the brand that gets most of my money on a consistent basis. I’m pretty much a devotee and I’m certain my relatively small assemblage will continue to grow until it is no longer ‘modest.’ I’m OK with that!
Earlier in the week, several of my fave blogs wrote on one of their own collections – of blushes. As I am becoming something of a blush enthusiast myself, I read these posts eagerly with a mixture of interest and envy. While their numbers were all near the 30 range, a quick look in my train case revealed that I have a measly 8 blushes – a fair number if one is to be realistic, but clearly I am nowhere near a true aficionado yet! Anyway, to the point: half of my blush collection is made up of NARS shades (plus 3 of my 4 highlighters). While there is something like, 31 shades of NARS blush, I have had an idea percolating in my head that I want to start a collection of just NARS blushes – I know having 4 hardly makes a dent, but it’s something to work towards right?
Anyway, again, getting back on track – here are my NARS blushes, or 1/2 of my blush stash:Starting with the most exciting, as well as my first NARS blush if you can believe it – WOW, take a look at Taj Mahal! When I was first breaking into higher-end cosmetics, I wanted to buy really interesting, one of a kind products you couldn’t replicate at the drugstore. Case In Point: Taj Mahal is a fiery orange with high shimmer. It looks terrifying, not only to the shade but the formulation, but it’s actually quite beautiful on the right skintone. I limit this to the Summer months as it just feels that way to me, though the shimmer probably would do wonders for Winter-pallid skin. It can show up rather noticeably in sunshine so a light hand and some major buffing is necessary, but the resulting look is well worth it.My next blush purchase from NARS was the lovely Torrid, which the SA noted would be my version of the award-winning ‘Orgasm,’ which was too light for my skin. I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this blush, especially in Spring and Summer. It’s a lovely peachy-pink shade that really goes with just about anything, but I like to switch it up (but of course). Very flattering and girly on, and the shimmer really doesn’t even factor into it when all’s said and done. Another winner.I snagged Turkish Red, a discontinued NARS cream blush, through a swap, and at first I was not impressed. I wanted a red blush to give me that ‘cold weather flush,’ but I found it just looked silly once on. However, I gave it another shot and made sure to keep a light hand (I use my MAC #130, which is why you see pock-marks in the blush), and now I find myself reaching for this shade again and again – it almost gives me a two-in-one look where I look like I got some sun, as well as was out in the cold. Really pretty effect.After reading the infamous ‘blush posts,’ I confess I pretty much ran out to Sephora and picked up Sin, in order to make myself feel better. Also, I had just finished a blush (which is kind of amazing) and figured I was allowed to buy a replacement of sorts. I’ve owned this blush now for a total of 26 hours, and already I can say with certainty that this is my favorite of all my blushes (all 8), hands down. Wowza, this blush was made for my brown-olive skintone! An MUA-er noted that this shade works well for olive skin as it “swallows up the purple” – sound strange, but considering some reviews I’ve heard find it produces a bruise-like effect, it seems accurate, as on my skin it looks absolutely wonderful. It turns out to be more of a neutral pink-mauve and is ridiculously flattering and perfect for Winter. I haven’t been this excited about a makeup item in a really long time – I woke up this morning and was so happy just to know that I’ll get to wear it again! So, so sad, but ultimately true.
NARS blush retails for $29CAD.
Next, we have almost my entire collection of highlighters, courtesy of NARS. First, my fun Summer purchase, one of the coveted illuminators in Laguna (reviewed here). I didn’t get as much use out of this as I’d hoped, mostly because I’m lazy and an extra step wasn’t always in the cards. Still a great product though and I’m hoping I’ll start pulling it out more this coming year.I received this from the Sephora rep after the luncheon I attended back in May. It’s a lovely bronzed shade of highlight, that could be used in place of bronzer for fairer skins – for me it’s really just a highlight with a touch of bronzed effect. I can use this year-round, which I like, and the texture is so smooth and not at all greasy. This is my first full-sized Multiple and it has me considering buying another down the road (they retail for $46 CAD).I hounded people on MUA to get this product, one of The Multiples in South Beach. I wanted it so bad and no one wanted to swap for it with me – until finally someone approached me for a swap and had this deluxe sample in her swap list. Shortly thereafter I received the Laguna Multiple from my Sephora luncheon, and didn’t have as much need for this. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a sample, but the texture on this is so smooshy, it’s quite irritating. I can’t apply this directly to the face, but have to use my fingers because otherwise it’ll deposit way too much product and ball up on my skin. So, needless to say I’m glad this is just a small portion of product – though the shade and look of it is quite lovely. Sort of like warm rose-gold.
Moving right along…NARS eye shadows!I bought this Habanera Eyeshadow Duo without first trying it on or even really swatching it, which was a mistake. I was going by the awesome photos on MUA, but sadly, on me this duo falls flat. The metallic ice blue shade is far too much on my darker skin, and the pretty plummy shimmer has poor color payoff that makes me sad. I have this up for swap now, which hurts my heart a bit as it was my first NARS eyeshadow purchase – and I hate to part with a NARS product, regardless – but it’s gotta go. I never used it, and it could be receiving some mad love elsewhere, so…Ohhh, how badly I wanted this Rajasthan duo from last year’s Fall collection!! As soon as it landed on counters I scooped it up, and I’m still very pleased with the purchase. The golden metallic shade is very subtle but really, really gorgeous; the dark blackened-teal shade is mysterious and adds depth to any look. Its texture is a bit more stiff than the gold shade, but it isn’t usually a problem. Overall, a solid combo which you can make work a variety of ways.The lovely Grand Palais duo from this past Spring collection. Previously reviewed here. I don’t use this as much as I’d like, but I still get great pleasure from it, especially the taupe side, and I think this adds two new shades to my eyeshadow collection, that I might not have purchased otherwise. Soft and lovely!
NARS eyeshadow duos retail for $38CAD.
My one lipgloss from the brand:I posted a swatch of Wonder back in the Summer after I received it also at the Sephora luncheon. Great shade of tomato red-orange. My first and only NARS gloss ever, and I really love everything about it – the texture, the opacity, the shade. Eventually I’ll pick up another from the line (they retail for $28CAD), but at this point I have too many to entertain buying any more at the moment!
And the basics:I totally forgot to include the Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base in the group shot, oops! Too late now (literally – it’s almost midnight)! I discussed the awesomeness of the base in my Best Of post – really stellar product that works wonders for keeping your eye makeup in place. Go check it out!I also just extolled the virtues of the Sheer Glow foundation in my last post – this shade in Syracuse is an insane match for my skin, it blows my mind a little bit. Definitely get to your nearest NARS counter and at least try this formula out, it’s worth a look!As much as I love loose powder for it’s long-lasting ability – as in, you don’t have to buy it very often because it lasts forever! – I also hate it for the same reason. I thrive on change, and MAN do I ever want to change to a different powder than this one! This is the shade Mountain, and that’s another thing I’m totally over – powders with shades, rather than just an overall translucent one. I won’t make that mistake again. In the meantime, I swear I’ve only used a third of this product, and I’ve had it for probably two years!! It really just needs to get be finished already. Absolutely nothing wrong with the product, it sets makeup well and looks natural, but I’m just done with it now. I want something new, damnit!! (The loose powders retail for $42CAD)
So that’s my collection – nothing too crazy but I like just about all of it and I feel that it was all money very well spent. I’d like to try some of the new Longwear Eyeliners, and the Larger than Life mascaras, as well as continue to pick up a new blush every so often. NARS to me is like the upscale, less gimmicky version of MAC, which suits me to a tee.
What do you think of my collection? And of NARS in general?
Wild & Chic Best Of Make Up For Ever Kit, Part One: HD Microperfecting Primer and Microfinish Powder
For the past couple weeks, the number one post on my blog has been the launch info and overview of MUFE’s new ‘Wild & Chic Best Of’ kit. Alright already, I get the hint!! To date, I feel I’ve sufficiently tested at least two of the products enough that I feel good about giving a full review for each. I thought it made sense to begin at the beginning; meaning, with the two products you’ll likely apply first – the enormously popular HD Microfinish Powder, and the HD Microperfecting Primer.
From what I can recall, the whole ‘HD’ – or ‘High Definition’ – craze started with Make Up For Ever. I can remember when their HD foundation, and this powder, came out, the blogosphere (and magazines, too!), nearly went into a tailspin. HD products were initially designed for on-screen celebs who feared that High Def. resolution would reveal their imperfections to the world. Quickly, it shifted into the ‘real world,’ because who doesn’t want to look airbrushed and perfect all the time?
How it works, is it helps create a ‘soft focus’ effect on the skin, so that it looks its best, particularly on camera and film. Make Up For Ever seems to have really cornered the market in this arena, as along with the powder and primer, they also have an HD foundation and concealer to really make the skin look flawless. I have yet to try these products, but the foundation is another product that seems to be a must-try.
So, first, the primer. We need more primers on the market like we need holes in our heads – there are SO many out there now!! And, worse, so many that just don’t deliver on their promises. MUFE actually has seven different HD primers, each for a specific concern; the one in the ‘Wild & Chic’ kit is simply 0 Neutral – the basic, translucent version. The first thing I noticed about this primer is the texture – it’s not silicone-y feelings like many primers I’ve tried, and it doesn’t feel thick or like it’s smothering the skin, like some others. It feels just like a thin fluid, that absorbs on the skin within a minute, and leaves absolutely no residue feeling, no whitish cast…almost like it was never there at all. Hands down, I like this aspect of the primer best – I don’t feel like I have to wait ages for it to set before I continue on with my makeup application. I don’t know how they managed this, as the second ingredient is dimethicone, but manage they do!
In terms of it’s efficacy, it works quite well. My makeup stayed put throughout the day, notably my blush, which is a feat as that’s usually the first thing to disappear. I’m not sure how it would hold up against heavier makeup application, as I generally only wear a dab of foundation, if at all. The texture being as it is, I question whether it’s enough for a full-face of makeup – but for someone like me who wears less, it’s absolutely perfect. It’s not drying, and neither does it cause any breakouts (it’s oil-free). It’s just all kinds of awesome.The Microfinish Powder, as I mentioned, gets some major attention in the beauty world. 100% mineral silica, this powder softens the look of imperfections, sets makeup, and slightly mattifies the skin for a satin look. I’ve always had an issue with the way powders tend to make the face look flat and dull – I always opt for cream blushes if I can help it, and I usually only use powders under my eyes to set my concealer, and through my t-zone. With this powder, its unnecessary to be so careful – I can use it all over my face to set my makeup, yet it still allows me to have a glow to the skin without looking dusty. And it really does mattify – I can wear this all day and only need to blot *maybe* if it’s been a warmer day, or if I’ve gone out for a run. However, there is a trick to using this product. Using a normal powder brush doesn’t really work – the powder is too finely milled and light that it merely flies around without really getting picked up on the brush. I’ve been using my dense bronzer brush to apply it, and this works much better to actually pick up the product, as well as deposit it securely on my face. I press it into the skin and this keeps my skin shine-free for nearly the whole day. Talc-free, I find this powder does not dry out my skin at all.
Another thing to be cautious of is applying too much. We’ve all seen those pictures of Nicole Kidman and the like who wore too much powder and it showed up in a major way on camera. All you need for this product is a light hand, and you get perfect results.
So….I guess you know my verdict on these two items – win, and win!! I have been having a hard time committing to a routine in which primer is used on the regular, because I just felt like it was clogging my skin and more of a detriment than anything else – I always saw primer as a ‘special use’ product, and not something I’d consider for my every day process. Well, my mind has been changed. This primer is just so ridiculously lightweight, I can’t imagine it ever causing and issue. Same goes for the powder – its so light and applies so sheerly, it doesn’t feel like putting anything at all on my skin. The two of these combined make for a very powerful duo, and one I’m willing to commit to. My poor ol’ NARS loose powder is feeling very lonely these days :S
If you’re considering either of these products, I definitely recommend trying them out – grab a sample of each from your local Sephora, or better yet, invest in the ‘Best Of’ kit and get deluxe sample sizes of both, plus some other goodies! I think they’re both worth a good look!
*These products were sent to me for consideration by the company/PR*