Friday, October 21, 2016

new lippies! haul & review

I always tell myself I don't need another lip product.  But that's not the point is it?  I feel like lip colors, more than any other makeup item, are a game changer.  Or an outfit changer actually.  Changing your lipstick color is like changing your whole outfit.  So it stands to reason you would need an entire lipstick wardrobe to be able to give yourself a whole new look every day (heck! several times a day!)  So anyway, I expanded my wardrobe with 7 new lippies over the last couple weeks.  Some I was able to try on in store but others were sealed or only available on line but I bought them anyway.  Here's the rundown of my haul; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Actually no ugly lol.

I had been meaning to try the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream for ages and ages.  I might even be the only beauty vixen left who hadn't tried it.  But I finally did and it is cool.  I chose the color Milan because it looked so pretty on one of those YouTube beauty influencers.  Every picture of it everywhere makes it look mauve but in reality it is closer to a bright pink with only mauve undertones. And this comes in tons of different colors so I'm dying to try more. As for the consistency, it is a gentle matte - not dry or harsh in any way - you can barely feel it on your lips. It is a lip cream after all.  It is not like a traditional liquid lipstick in that it doesn't dry down to 100% transfer-proof but it can be considered fairly long-wearing.  For only $5.99 I need at least half a dozen of these beauties!

I ordered two lip products from Colourpop (only available online):  the Ultra Satin Lip and the Ultra Glossy Lip.  They were only $6 each!

The Ultra Satin Lip was actually a bit similar to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream, but richer and less matte.  In fact it is shiny until it wears on your lip for a while, then eventually turns into a satin finish.  The velvety pigmentation is incredible!  There are 27 colors which you kind of have to guess at because all there is to go by are the website pics, however they seem to be accurate. The consistency is like cream lipstick in a liquid form (uses a doe foot applicator).  It will come off and smudge around if you eat or drink - but who cares - thats what lipstick is like.  I chose the color Brooklyn, a bright Geranium pink.  Fun!

The  Ultra Glossy Lip is a lip gloss.  The color I got (Tight Fit) is to die for but the formula I wasn't keen on.  I was expecting this to look super shiny and plumping when in fact it's on the dry side.  It's the driest lip gloss I have ever come across.  And it doesn't wear for too long either.  Still, it's not a total loss because like I said the color is incredible - a metallic peach with shimmer of pink, silver, and gold.  I just keep it in the easiest to reach pocket in my purse to reapply frequently and liberally.

Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks are some of the best on the market I think.  I bought a few of their Satin Finish ones the second they were released but now I want to talk about the Metallic Finish.  I just bought Big Bang, a fuchsia sparkle/glitter.  The color itself is on the sheer side so to get the full metallic effect you need to apply several layers.  Even so, it is fabulous.  I get more compliments wearing this than I do any other lipstick.  It's not creamy but it's not dry.  It's pretty comfortable and wears well; it doesn't get all smeary like some lipsticks do.  The Metallic Finish comes in 14 different shades, and I say live a little - try some sparkle in your life!

Coloured Raine Matte Lip Paint was another one I  had been wanting to try for ages.  Coloured Raine is a cool indie brand, mostly only available on line but not as inexpensive as ColourPop.  At $17 a piece you need to choose your lip shades carefully but the photos are user-friendly and fairly accurate.  I chose Mary, a burgundy matte with an unusual metal sheen. The color is exquisite! It only came out a bit darker on me than in the pic, but it is the formula I was truly disappointed in.  It was streaky and I couldn't for the life of me get a solid finish on it even with a couple layers. It just looked messy and was difficult to apply.  I really hate to bash indie brands however I did only try the one color; maybe the other colors work better.  I would say it wears about as well as an average liquid lipstick.  

A much much better liquid lipstick I bought is the Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Driver's Seat (a pinky terracotta).  I'm not the hugest fan of the usual dry liquid lipsticks but when I tried this on in the store it was actually quite nice.  The application was really luscious, smooth, and pigmented.  It never made my lips feel like they were cracking.  It lasted a long time however it is NOT transfer-resistant.  It will come off on your Starbucks coffee cup or if you kiss your lover.  It'll come off but plenty of color also remains.  It wears down to something like a stain.  But hey, no one's perfect.  I think it's worth it just so I don't have to feel discomfort.  

I am in love with my new Kat Von D Limited Edition Studded Kiss Lipstick in Lolita II!  It is the first time her regular lipstick has come out in the famous color of her liquid lipstick Lolita II.  AND the limited edition packaging is totally amped up to a gunmetal silver tube, not the usual black.  How could I resist?  The shade truly is incredible; maybe not super duper flattering on me but definitely divine.  And at first I didn't like the texture of the lipstick.  It is dry.  But strangely not cakey dry.  It is a sheer matte formula that wears for hours.  It somehow molds to my lips in the most flattering way so that it doesn't look dry.  I have come to crave the feel of it on my lips.  Sounds corny?  Maybe, but I highly suggest you run out and buy one of these limited edition lipsticks (they come in 3 colors) before they run out.

What lippies have you bought lately?

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Friday, October 14, 2016

dark rose perfumes

The rose perfumes of today are not your grandmother's rose (though there is a lot to be said for those).  What is popular with many these days is the "dark rose".  I think of a dark rose perfume as a regular rose perfume with notes of patchouli, amber, musk, or even woody notes added.  It takes rose from polite to seductive in 0.5 seconds.  It is sensual and alluring, maybe even sometimes dangerous.  It brings the scent of rose to an excitable level.  I am even excited just to be talking about them!  Here are a few of my favorites; most if not all are considered unisex, often another characteristic of the dark rose.

Juliette Has A Gun Vengeance Extreme is all about the patchouli.  Most perfumes use that as the base note but VE features it as a mid note.  Of course there is the rose too - plenty of rose.  What I love about it is the musky-cologney vibe, especially in the dry down.  But then there's the vanilla.  VE would be a tad too masculine if not for the significant vanilla presence which softens it.  It is perfect for wearing out at night - preferably to a crowded dark venue to see live music.   Juliette Has a Gun also makes a perfume called Lady Vengeance which is in a way similar, but think of Vengeance Extreme as being the edgier, subversive/not so popular sister.  And of course the packaging is wicked cool.

Etat Libre D'Orange Rossy de Palma Eau De Protection is not something people often talk about but I love it.  It is named after the famous Spanish actress Rossy De Palma and her (rose) gardens in Madrid. However this is an outrageous rose:  a spicy, peppery, balsamic rose.  It is thorny, it is sharp, and of course there is the patchouli and incense which define it as a dark rose.  I appreciate that they used incense,  not just the usual patchouli.  ELDO is a quirky brand and their quirky reason for this title of "Eau De Protection" was to make it a "perfume of protection, a refuge on the battle field of love."  So wear it day or night:  on a hot date, or an exhilarating adventure of your own.

Clinique Beyond Rose is loved by many despite its difficulty to obtain.  It's not available in stores here in the US, but hopefully someday it will come.  Until then people are satisfactorily making it a online blind buy or going to Harrod's in London if they can.  There is a dusky-resin quality, sophisticated yet mischievous.  There are notes of pepper and a hint of floral greenness, and a very dominant amber reminiscent of the Middle East.  It is lighter than most dark roses yet it retains the sex-appeal.  It is a year-round rose, meant to be sprayed lavishly, and worn by vixens of any age.

Mancera Roseaoud & Musc is my favorite dark rose.   Certainly it is the sexiest of all the roses I am listing here - I think it is because of the saffron and jasmine.  Oh, and the oud - there is nothing not sexy about oud.  It is heavy and pungent and addictive, and very much alive with all the romance of Arabia.  And this is going to sound weird but when I wear it I feel like I smell like a rich person.  It smells of wealth.  I am transported to a dimly lit lair of wooly Persian rugs, oversized and overstuffed velvet pillows, a low wooden table laid out with platters of Turkish Delight, saffron rice balls, and other finger-food delicacies.  And yes, of course, a giant urn of roses at the very peak of ripeness.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose is being written about all over the place, and with good reason.  In fact I recently blogged about it in my fantastic fall fragrances 2016 so you can get more great details about it there.   An Allure Best Of Beauty Winner, it is bringing the world of dark rose to the general population.  Is that a good thing?  Well, why not?  Nirvana Rose is luscious and delicious and lively.  The geranium and vetiver are what really make this unique.  It feels like "young" dark rose, sexy to it's core.

Montale Roses Musk took a while to grow on me because it was delicate and not as in-your-face as many dark roses are.  Now I really appreciate its restraint and refinement.  There is no grunge-factor here.   I like that here is no patchouli (nice for a change), and the jasmine makes the rose sparkle.  It's awfully pretty for a dark rose, but the light animalic musk base note still defines it as such.  To me this is a daytime scent - great for meeting friends for lunch, shopping and trying on clothes, or even going to work.  My one and only complaint about this beauty is the packaging - so unappealing!  

Have you caught on to the dark rose craze yet?

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Thursday, October 6, 2016

splurge! October 2016

If you are in the mood for something heavenly, this post is for you. Whether you actually plunk down the money for one of these beauties or just admire from afar they are thoroughly enjoyable.  I regularly make the rounds at Neiman's, Bloomies, Saks, and even Barney's just to drool.  I always come away excited to share what I have seen with you.  And I may be biased but I think all my "splurge!" posts are a lot of fun (just type splurge in the "search this blog" bar - there are plenty to read!).   See what you think of these.....

Laura Mercier Fresh Fig Wash is a shower gel to die for.  Not only is it creamy and hydrating but the scent is divine.  It's definitely very figgy but on the sweet (not overly sweet) gourmand side, not the usual dry dusky fig.  That said there is still the luscious green note that is common to all figs.  It's a bit decadent to use as a shave cream but if you are in the mood for it, it does give a smooth soft shave.  It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating on the Sephora website which is rare.  I say pick it up now - the scent is perfect for Fall!

$40 for 8 oz

Tom Ford Eyeshadow quads are ridiculously expensive, but also ridiculously gorgeous.  Definitely worthy of the occasional splurge. The smooth blendable texture and unique colors makes them worth it. They are known for their sparkly eyeshadows which you get one or two pans of in most of the quads.  Disco Dust is their most popular quad, and even though I hate to be too trendy, I just had to have it because the glitter it contains is sublime.  Disco Dust has one glitter, one metallic, one satin, and one matte color that go with virtually any skin tone or outfit.


Cire Trudon candles are a classic.  They start at $95 and can get as high as $550 for the gold ones, but at least they are quite large in size.  What is super cool about this brand is that it has been around since 1643 as a candle supplier to Louis XIV, and to this day they are all about luxury.  Also nice is that their vegetable wax is smoke-free.  All its different fragrances are decadent and unique.  A couple of my favorites are:  Balmoral a lush damp earthy green, and Byron a perfect Fall/Winter cozy woodsy spicy scent.  Simply divine! 

$95 for 9.5 oz

Hermes Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate Perfumed Bath & Shower Gel is another fabulous body wash.  It is so fabulous I just had to mention it even though I already listed a shower gel.  Of course there are other fragrances in the Hermes shower gel line but the rhubarbe is delightfully individual, complex, and refreshing.  It is fruity but not in an overpowering way.  It is not sweet like a berry, it is not sharp like a citrus.  It is pretty - a pretty fruit.  The frothy gel is clear but it comes in a vibrant red plastic bottle that is irresistible.  In fact, I would say it smells bright red like the packaging.

$43 for 6.5 oz

By Killian Playing With The Devil
is a sexy fruity musky perfume.  At least they say it is fruity but to me the fruit isn't prominent - it is just enough to lighten up all the animalic notes going on.  I would describe it as sometimes even borderlining on oriental, but a light one - nothing as intense as say Opium.  It is sophisticated yet playful.  It is Eve tempting Adam with the forbidden fruit.  And above all, it is a crowd pleaser; I can't imagine many people not liking this one.  Top notes include:  blood orange, white peach, lychee.  Mid notes include Jasmine Sambac (dirty!).  Base notes include:  Tonka Bean, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli.

$260 for 1.7 oz

Oribe Apres Beach Wave And Shine Hairspray is terrific if you use it under the right circumstances.  The optimal circumstances are for medium to thick hair, hair with at least a bit of natural wave, and always to be used sparingly.  More is not more, otherwise you will end up a grease ball.   Despite all that it can be so so lovely, though it is not even similar the the famous Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (also totally splurge-worthy).  The results are soft and subtle; not a ton of hold.  On me it smooths down frizzies while emphasizing my natural waves in an edgy-piecey way.  Day two of wearing it, after the silkiness has absorbed,  I get a bit of volume and texture.  Using it is like wearing my favorite perfume - it smells that amazing!  It's pretty damn cool - not like anything I have ever tried before.  

$39 for 8.5 oz

What do you value as splurge-worthy?

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Friday, September 30, 2016

September beauty favorites

September was kind of a crazy month and I am glad it is behind me.  The weather was nuts; first cooling off and getting me excited for Fall, then along came a huge heat wave reaching 100 degrees, and then Bam! bordering on cold today.  I also had a weird head cold that left everything feeling surreal for a couple weeks.  And the kids came back to school but I forgot to avoid my local Starbucks between 3:00 and 4:00 when they swarm in ordering what seems like 2 Frappaccinos each.  Everything just seemed off.  But there were a few good things too.  I really enjoyed these beauty items, to name a few.....

The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is only $6.99 and works just as well as the $20 Beauty Blender.  I still can't believe it!  It is amazing and I am in love.  It isn't an exact dupe though, it is shaped differently than a Beauty Blender and it is firmer in texture.  Still, it has all the right angles and makes foundation go on very smooth.  I feel like buying a dozen they are so fabulous and cheap.

Dior Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm is luxury personified.  It doesn't hydrate much more than some of the better lip balms but the texture and rose scent have me completely addicted.  The texture is hard to describe - it's kinda like a creamy silky balm - different than any other lip treatment I have tried.  And the packaging is also to die for - a substantial yet classy embossed white tub.  It was totally worth the slpurge.

Another Dior luxury I have and love is the Huile Abricot Daily Nutrative Serum for nails and cuticles.  It instantly softens and hydrates (and long term strengthens the nails) which is great but I particularly love the applicator; a brush at the end of the tube.  It only needs a gentle squeeze otherwise too much oil comes out of the brush but it's such an easy and convenient way to apply.  And I think there really is something to the apricot, although there is argan and vitamin E oil in the mix as well.

My Dermalogica The Sponge Cloth is a skin-saver.  Because of my sensitive skin I use it instead of a regular face cloth.  It is extremely soft, a sort of microfiber that is bacteria resistant so you can use it a bunch of times before throwing it the washing machine with the rest of the laundry.  I actually have a couple in rotation and they last for about a year before I have to get new ones.  It really is terrific!

I got the Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12 Hour Wear Waterproof - Flirting Game in my monthly Sephora Play subscription box and I absolutely adore it.  It's a super soft and creamy formula (not to everyone's taste, I know) that gives me a sultry look, especially when I blend it out.  And despite being so creamy it really locks on and stays put once it has dried on the skin.  This makes it fab for the waterline too.  They gave me the color Flirting Game which is described as a taupe but it goes on darker than just a plain taupe (and looks darker than in this pic).  It's  a flattering color that goes well with a ton of eye looks.

MAC Star Trek Lipglass - Warp Speed Ahead is a limited edition lipgloss celebrating Star Trek's 50th anniversary.  So cool! It's almost all gone so you better act fast, in fact I think it might be just online or behind the counter by now.  I receive so many compliments when I wear this, you wouldn't believe.  The color is a pretty magenta purple with sparkles not glitter.  When the sun hits it it looks spectacular!  I wear it either alone or layered on top of one of my darker pink lipsticks.  I should really buy a back-up before they are all gone.

So that's it for me, what were your favorites this September?

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

fantastic fall fragrances 2016

Yesterday it was 99 degrees out so with my love of irony I decided this is the perfect time to blog about perfumes suited for Fall.  You know, the brisk weather and cozy indoors.  Yeah, well eventually....
But when the time comes I've got some great stuff lined up:  perfumes that will bloom and be their best in the cool Autumn air.  I just can't wait to wear these!

Aedes de Venustas Cierge de Lune is to me the epitome of a Fall fragrance.  Warm vanilla, smoky amber, sensuous dark chocolate, and musk - yowza!  And lest it be too heavy and Wintery there is a bright note of pepper and a sharp note of something that smells fresh/herbal/floral that isn't listed in the ingredients at all.  Perfect symmetry.  I just saw the musical Phantom Of The Opera and Cierge de Lune smells how I imagine the Phantom's underground lair would smell:  smoking flaming candelabras, sheaves of parchment music arrangements, velvet and wool formal evening clothes, and deep dark hidden secrets.  Sounds fanciful?  It is.

Calvin Klein Deep Euphoria is not something I would normally think twice about, I don't care for the original Euphoria,  but the sales associate at Macy's perfume counter gave me a spritz and I fell in love. The smell reminded me of shopping at the Holidays - the abundance and the celebratory air.  It is luscious, it is pretty, it is romantic.  It has some very interesting floral notes of Black Rose, Jasmine Sambac, peony, and geranium.  Plus there is plenty of patchouli and musk.  The marketing for this perfume states "Calvin Klein women are confident, provocative and released, and Deep Euphoria woman embodies all these aspects with an additional layer of adventure." And while that's not the first thing that came to mind when I smelled it, after some thought I think it describes it aptly.

Giorgio Armani Si eau de parfum reminds me of Fall because I bought it in the Fall last year, but actually I enjoy wearing it year round.  That said, the perfume encyclopedia lists it as mostly a Fall perfume.  It is sweet but it is green and spicy, and there is a bare hint of rose.  To me it is not a bubblegum sweet but more of a dusky vanilla with a bit of berry.  It is one of my all-time favorite perfumes.  Imagine Italy if you will:  ancient buildings and art, sidewalk cafes, the couture fashion business of Milan, and a young Sophia Loren - that's Armani Si.

MIKMOI Itoh is a bit bizarre.  Or maybe unique is a better word for it.  It's very woody with lots of lovely peony.  There is  some tobacco and some oud along with the cedar which lends it its fall-like fragrance.  It is as sharp as a brisk autumn day.  This seems like something an urban young woman would wear as she stalks the city streets, wrapped in a scarf, climbing the company ladder at work.  MIKMOI is a cool inde brand for a cool independent woman.

Sarah Jessica Parker Stash is brand new on the market and causing a stir.  And it's definitely unisex, in fact on me it smells more like a men's cologne which I kinda like.  It is all about the woody amber; amber amber amber!  With that one dominant note it is not a terribly complicated perfume, yet it is irresistible.  It's smokiness makes it perfect for Fall.  Many people are comparing it to Dita Von Tees' perfume Erotique - they say it is a dupe.  I've never smelled Erotique but if it's by Dita we know it's all about sex, and SJP's Stash is also, ultimately SEXY.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose is also fairly new on the market.  It was released side-by-side with the Nirvana Bourbon perfume but I prefer the Rose.  Also good for fall, the Bourbon's not bad but there are more exciting bourbon fragrances out there I think.  However the rose is interesting; it's dark and kinda edgy.  At the same time it's green and earthy and spicy, in part thanks to the vetiver.  At times it even smells like a real live rose to me.  So why is it good for Fall?  I've always thought of Fall as a romantic season, an alluring season, even a sexy season, and this perfume embodies all that.  Plus the packaging is phenomenal.

What perfumes do you have lined up for when things finally cool down?

For more recommendations see my post autumnal equinox and perfect fall perfumes 2015 and fall fragrance recommendations 2013 (still relevant)

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Friday, September 23, 2016

an exemplary skicare regimen

This may be a bit boring for anyone who isn't into or curious about skin care but to me, an esthetician of 17 years, this post is like skincare porn.  I'll be spelling out my usual daily skincare routine and while it focuses on my own particular issues of dryness, sensitivity, and anti-aging, the steps and types of product should be translatable for most skin types.  I can't tell you how important skincare is because one day you'll wake up and think "Shit!  I wish I had been applying moisturizer to my (now sagging) neck!"  It is never too early to start!  And just remember with all of this, give each step in the regimen time to sink in, absorb, process, before going on to the next step.  It's important!  So here we go.......


Because my skin is dry and sensitive I like to just do a LIGHT CLEANSE after sleeping all night with my intensive skin treatments. I use either some gentle hydrating micellar water on a cotton pad and/or my favorite skincare wipes the Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cleansing Cloths: Brightening.  Not only do these cleanse fantastically but they have skin-enhancing ingredients like Vitamin C and black currant oil (antioxidants!) that stay on the skin.  If you have really oily or acneic skin you will need to do a deeper cleanse to kill the bacteria.

Next I apply my EYE CREAM Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm.  This is an eye cream anyone can use.  It is creamy, not terribly thick, but hydrating with sea algae for hard core anti-aging.  Terrific on wrinkles, it's not bad for de-puffing or dark circles either.

In the same step I apply a SERUM to my neck and decollete.  My skin on my face is very reactive - it doesn't do well with most serums so I concentrate those benefits on my neck and chest which need all the help they can get.  For most of you of course you'd want to put the serum on your face as well.  I very rarely buy a serum because it is so easy to come across free samples, so I use whatever is on hand - even with a tiny sample a little bit goes a long way.

The main step is my face MOISTURIZER.  During the dryer/colder months I use a heavier, more hydrating cream like  Bare Minerals Butter Drench Restorative Rich Cream which really isn't so drastic or greasy as it sounds.  I've always liked Bare Minerals skincare - it is gentle and natural yet scientifically effective, and not too pricey. And during the warmer/sweatier months I am a die-hard fan for Shisiedo Bio-Performance Advanced Super Revitalizing Cream.  I wish this was moisturizing enough for me in the Winter too because nothing makes my skin look as good as this does (think smooth as a baby's bottom).

For my neck and chest I apply a separate NECK CREAM because I neglected my neck during my 20s and 30s and I have a lot of making up to do.  There are a few good neck creams out there but they are all pretty expensive.  If you start treating your neck with just a good moisturizer and plenty of sunscreen starting at a young age you may never need to resort to such expensive measures down the road.  My current favorite neck cream is Perricone MD Firming Neck Therapy.  They make an even more high-powered (more expensive) one but it smells like fish.  And let's be real here, none of these come close to looking anything like a face lift.  It's just desperate measures folks, but I do look worse if I don't use a neck cream.

And last but very much not least is my SUNSCREEN.  I give my moisturizer tons of time to sink in before applying this in order to prevent any balling up of product.  I am always trying out new sunscreens but my priorities are that it be mineral-based,  oil-free, thin consistency, and spf 30 or preferably higher.  La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra Light Mineral Suncreen Fluid fits the bill and you can get it at CVS.  I also like to keep the Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral spf 45 powder brush in my purse because it is perfect for touching up/re-appying sunscreen while on the go (don't forget you need to apply sunscreen every 2 hours!)


If I am wearing makeup I do a PRE-CLEANSEwith Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm.  This is a terrific makeup remover for any skin type - it just melts it all away.  Then I CLEANSE with Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser Lotion which gives my face a thorough cleanse despite its gentleness.  Avene is a fantastic brand for sensitive skin - I recommend all their products.

As a TONING step I use First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads.  They are infused with a very gentle lactic and glycolic acid formula that keeps me exfoliated.

Then, as I did in the daytime, I put on my EYE CREAM and my SERUM sample on my neck and chest.  And again on my neck I use my NECK CREAM.


For my MOISTURIZER I use something a little unusual.  At night I prefer something heavy and super hydrating so I apply L'Occitane 100% Pure Shea Butter which takes forever to absorb and dry down but is totally worth it in my book for the benefits I receive from it (it feels like a thick balm).  It soothes any redness and moisturizes better than anything I have ever tired.  It is also non-comedogenic so it doesn't break me out.  Acne sufferers with dehydrated or over-treated sensitive skin would love this!

And my final step is to apply my RETINOL SERUM the Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops Type A + Jasmine.  I apply my retinol on top of my moisturizer because my skin is so sensitive, but most of you folks would want to apply it under your moisturizer.  I love these drops because they have a very light gentle formulation of retinol and some jasmine oil for hydrating.  They make my skin incredibly smooth!  I think everyone should try to fit some sort of retinol product into your night time skin care regimen - even if your skin can only tolerate it every other day.

Now of course there are exfoliators and masks which I try to do twice a week.  For that info you can check out my magnificent masks post which includes all types of masks, even exfoliating ones.

Et voila!  Perfect skin!  No - just kidding!  But I am diligent and I do have to say that it does pay off.  If it weren't for my saggy neck I would look a lot younger than I really am.  DON'T NEGLECT THE NECK!!!

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

setting powders that don't look powdery

Another, maybe even more accurate, title for this post could be "your-skin-but-better powders".    Because the powders listed below are not only sheer but do blurring and smoothing as well.  Most of my makeup-wearing life I avoided powders because I have really dry skin, but with the technology of powders today I no longer need to fear them.  And another way to keep a natural look to your powder is be sure to use a light hand and to finalize the makeup routine with a hydrating or luminizing setting spray like M.A.C. Prep + Prime Fix + or Skindinavia The Makeup Finishing Spray - Bridal.  You can also only powder areas of your face that really need it, like an oilier T zone.

Below I've listed, in order of preference from best to least, a few fantastic setting powders that anyone would love.  All of them are terrific:  some are just pricier than others, some are in a compact while other are loose, and some are translucent (clear) while others are not.  So it's really a matter of personal preference.

By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder is a miracle-worker.  Everyone who has splurged on this luxury item has done nothing but rave about it.  The secret is the minute particles of hyarulonic acid it contains, that draw moisture from the air and bind it to the skin.  This makes it fabulous for setting under eye makeup because it plumps out any undereye creases.  It is a super fine, light-as-air, white setting powder that gives an invisible but utterly flawless finish.  And actually it is a bit brightening too.  If you have dry or more mature skin, this is the best powder for you.

$60 for 10 g (aprox .35 oz)

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro Powder will give you princess skin no matter how old you are.  It is a pressed powder in a compact, that comes in three shades: Fair, Medium, and Dark.   While the coverage is fairly sheer, it is not completely translucent so it's best to pick a shade that roughly suits your skin tone.  The nano-particles diffuse light which looks specatular, and the almond oil in it hydrates the skin.   It wears well without ever settling into fine lines.  I could powder myself all day long with this and be happy as an airbrushed clam.

$45 for .28 oz

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Powder Foundation is not a heavy powder despite being labeled a "foundation".  Many people use this pressed powder as their setting powder because it is so light weight (although it does show up on the skin).  In fact the name "Silk" describes it perfectly:  this powder is truly silky, just pure silkiness.  It is a bit hydrating and gives a radiant finish that comes in eight colors, and yes, if you do layer it up it will act as a medium coverage foundation.  But whether you choose to use this sensual powder as a setting powder or as a foundation, it is an award winning product.

$62 for .31 oz

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti-Aging Finishing Powder is a translucent powder that is very forgiving.  Like the Charlotte Tilbury one, "air-brushed" is the perfect way to describe it (if you are exceedingly dry I might pick the Tilbury one over this).  However Bye Bye is way less expensive than any of the others so far.  This powder has a die-hard following, you wouldn't be able to get its fans to try anything else.  There is a loose powder version of this but because that tends to be messy I think most people prefer the convenience of this pressed one.  Another very similar product, which I have not reviewed, is the Too Faced Primed And Poreless Pressed Powder $30 so you could check that out as well.

$29 for .31 oz

Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder is a loose translucent powder that gives a matte finish with a subtle glow:  a lit-from-within look.  Good for any skin type, it has it's own unique blurring technology just like all the others have theirs.  What you get here though, is a lot of product for not a lot of money - it is definitely a savvy-shopper's friend.  Also, like all of Kat Von D's products it is vegan and cruelty-free!  I am such a fan, I've raved more about it in my August beauty favorites post.

$30 for .67 oz

Maybelline Fit Me pressed powder comes in two formulas:  Set + Smooth, and Matte + Poreless.   Even though these are at the bottom of my list they are still excellent.  While not as finely made as their more expensive counterparts, they definitely qualify for this "your skin but better" article.   As a matter of fact when I first tried the Fit Me powder it didn't even look like it was going on my skin, it wasn't until I had layered on way too much that I realized that it had been in fact giving me coverage - just very sheer coverage.  The Matte + Poreless is designed for normal to oily skin (with shine control properties) and comes in translucent, or if you want your powder to show there are 11 other shades.  The Set + Smooth does not come in translucent and is only available in 8 shades.  Also it can be a little harder to find so I would just go for the translucent in the Matte + Poreless if you're in a bind.  Both are oil-free, allergy tested, and smoothing.

$6-8 for .3 oz

Of course I've heard rumors of other non-powdery-looking powders - which one do you like?

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews