- Beauty Journalist & proud Montrealer with a passion for beauty in all its fabulous diversity. "Beauty begins the moment you choose to be yourself" - Coco Chanel
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Filed In: Foundation
Some brands seem to fly under the radar, yet in my opinion, they also happen to release some of the most amazing products out there. Elizabeth Arden is one such brand, and apart from some pretty awesome colour cosmetics (some of their past bronzers are to die for), they also happen to make one of my absolute favourite skincare ranges, Prevage.
I’m a big fan of liquid foundation, but there’s no denying that a powdered version is simply easier to use, as well as throw in a makeup/travel bag for any on-the-go touchups. That said, powder foundations in the past have tended to feel a little heavier upon the skin, along with leaving behind a visibly powdery finish — something that I was pleasantly surprised to see was definitely NOT the case here. Bare Minerals, a brand who’s cornered the market on mineral-based cosmetics, has created BAREPRO™ Powder Foundation, a product that not only gives coverage but does so in a way that helps your skin feel good about it while doing so.
Core Coverage Brush (CAN $38.00) | An angled retractible face/powder brush with an inner dense core of softer synthetic bristles. Created to be used in conjunction with the BAREPRO foundation, this brush is effective in that regard especially for applying product to larger expanses of the face; on smaller and/or more detailed areas such as around the nose, it becomes a touch trickier to use because of its wider size. Personally, I prefer applying these foundations with a sponge such as a beauty blender or even the one included in each compact, then going in with the Core Coverage Brush to buff out any excess product and to give my skin a seamless-looking finish. My issue with this brush is that the outer ring of bristles is much stiffer than I’m used to using and when swirled over the foundation, it does kick up quite a bit of product. That said, it’s also a very useful brush to have with you for on-the-go touchups due to the fact that it’s retractible and thus hygienic — just make sure to not apply too much pressure to the pan during application.
BAREPRO™ Performance Wear Powder Foundation (CAN $36.00/each) | Created with over 90 percent vitamins and minerals as well as having been dermatologist tested, noncomedogenic, nonacnegenic and hypoallergenic, these foundations claim to provide 12 hours of crease-free wear, although to be honest, I personally rarely wear my foundation for that length of time. Still, it’s nice to know that if I did, the product would last.
Made with skin-matching mineral pigments, there are 30 shades to choose from although I noticed that they do seem to apply a touch lighter than what’s seen in the pan, so it’s definitely best to try and swatch in person before selecting a match. The fairest to the darkest complexions along with variations in between (those with pink, beige, or even yellow undertones) all seem to be covered as well, making the range truly inclusive.
Of the five shades I was kindly sent to test, two of them (Golden Nude and Pecan) are the most wearable for my skin tone, although I was able to make use of both Hazelnut and Truffle as contour/bronzer. Fair is significantly much too pale and pink-tinged for me to try and pull off — even when I tried to use it as a matte highlighter. After having played with these for several weeks now, I have come to the conclusion that they work much better on me when used as a setting-type powder over a liquid foundation; this method gives my face a truly poreless & air-brushed finish. But then again, this is purely personal and I recommend you test them out on your skin to see how you like the effect. I will say that they are very lightweight and I experience no breakouts whatsoever – a major bonus.
01 Fair | pale flesh shade with pink undertones
13 Golden Nude | light neutral nude shade
18 Pecan | warm mid-tone nude shade
25 Hazelnut | warm tan shade
29 Truffle | deep tan shade
For those with sensitive or break-out prone skin, you should definitely give these foundations a test-drive; they deliver professional looking results and you’re sure to find a colour match with such a large range. As to the brush, I’m not sold on it and find the sponge include with each foundation to be a way better method of application – but that’s also a matter of personal preference. At the end of the day, foundation is a very tricky beast to master and something that needs to be explored slowly, never rushed — but it doesn’t hurt to try something new either, since you may be pleasantly surprised to land on a new fave or interesting way of using a specific product, such as I did here. Yay! to new discoveries!
Available at Sephora
PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own
Released as part of the Giorgio Armani Holiday 2016 Collection, the limited edition Night Light Eyes and Face Palette is positively stunning. Housed in the brand’s signature black-lacquered ovoid shape, it bears Mr. Armani’s signature in gold lettering across the outer lid and comes complete with a velour carrying sleeve and two sponge-tipped applicators, but the real magic lies with the actual shades.
And I thought last year’s version was amazing; the Night Light Palette has just blown that right out of the way …
Night Light Eyes and Face Palette, limited edition (US $140.00) | All-in-one type palettes seem to be exceptionally popular around this time of year and while several have landed across my desk that I’m quite impressed with, I confess that the Night Light Palette really made my heart skip a beat … and not only because I happen to have a soft spot for A) neutrals and B) luxury beauty (shameless, I know).
Created in two tiers, the upper level houses 10 eyeshadow shades in a variety of finishes: matte, pearl, satin, and shimmer with the black hue also doubling as a liner (applied with a dampened brush for major intensity), while the bottom level holds a healthy-size Luminous Silk Powder (one of the brand’s cult-fave products) and two complimentary shades of Maestro Fusion Foundation that can easily perform double-duty as concealers. While the eyeshadows appear to be relatively warmer-leaning, there’s an excellent mix of both cool and warm tones that depending on the shades selected, can be made to work on a broad range of complexions. As to the face products, those two can cover a wide variety of skin tones as well — all dependant on how heavily or not you choose to apply them.
- champagne, shimmer
- soft gold, pearlized
- warm brown, satin shimmer
- taupe, satin shimmer
- black, matte
- gold, metallic
- bone, matte
- soft taupe, matte
- milk chocolate, matte
- deep brown, matte
The top portion holds a neutral shade of Luminous Silk Powder and can be used either alone to help even out the complexion, or applied over foundation and used as a setting/finishing powder. The texture is incredibly fine-milled and blends seamlessly into the skin, without leaving behind any obvious traces or settling into fine lines.
The two bottom Maestro Fusion Foundation shades have an ultra-creamy texture that make them ridiculously easy to use as concealer as well, with a nice slip in the formula that helps provide smooth coverage. Their emollient nature is also perfect for anyone with dry skin; those with oilier complexions may need to set them with powder — that’s where the Luminous Silk Powder (on top) can help. Due to their smaller pan size, it may be difficult to use either as a full-face foundation since I can see them running out quickly that way; one way around that is to combine the two for a customized hue and thereby extending their lifespan as well.
Face palettes can be hit or miss and sometimes I feel like brands race to get something out there without really considering what the consumer would like to see; something that’s definitely NOT the case here. Created with the same exacting attention to detail as everything else in this range, Mr. Armani is not the type to put his name upon anything that isn’t 100% exquisite, clearly evident by the level of perfection found in this Night Light Palette. Each and every eyeshadow along with the face products, perform superbly and if you’re a fan of neutrals like I am, you’ll find yourself reaching for this palette over all others. The downside is two-fold: availability and price, so if you so happen to come across this lovely, I recommend giving it a test-drive. Then go ahead and add it to the very top of your Christmas list (highlighted and with bold lettering, while you’re at it).
Available at select Giorgio Armani counters and online
PR sample/As always, all opinions are my own
For Fall 2016 Guerlain is going nude as well as back to the drawing board, set to relaunch their Lingerie de Peau Foundation by not only re-tooling the original cult-fave formula but improving on it, adding several more shades to the range as well and thus reaching a wider audience. Next on the list and designed as a perfect compliment with the foundation is a new kitten-soft Foundation Brush, its dense & velvety bristles helping to provide a melt-into-the-skin finish. Lastly, the Multi-Perfecting Concealer is the perfect finishing touch, made with a revolutionary new hybrid formula that will both correct dark circles and detract from imperfections. Flawless skin, I’m so ready for you.
Guerlain | Lingerie de Peau Foundation, The Foundation Brush & Multi-Perfecting Concealer
02N Light Lingerie de Peau Foundation (CAN $69.00) | Drawing inspiration from fine textiles, this new formula brings together natural silk and linen fibres to literally weave an imperceptible veil upon the skin’s surface, leaving behind a totally weightless yet flawless look. Also included is a Natural Perfection Skin-Fusion Texture, basically stretch fibres that will adhere to your face’s contours, ensuring a comfortable and natural hold that won’t move or crack, while the corrective pigments and powders within this Bio-fusion micro-mesh aim to give your complexion a unified appearance. As if all of the above weren’t enough, there’s also a Silk-Fusion Complex thrown into the mix, further adding to that bare-skin feel and increasing the foundation’s longevity.
Housed in a glass bottle with simple clean-cut lines (I wasn’t a fan of the original coffin-shaped bottle, truth to tell), there are 14 new shades to choose from, categorized by level of intensity and undertone: cool, neutral, warm and optimized for a broad range of complexions from fair to deep. The texture is of a medium density — neither too watery nor thick — and a little seems to go a long way, spreading easily along the skin. Delicately scented, the fragrance is actually quite pleasant and not overpowering, seeming to dissipate fairly quickly after application. Once fully blended in, the finish is phenomenal: exceptionally flawless and so lightweight, making it extremely comfortable to wear all day long. Staying power is excellent as well easily going 9+ hours without noticeably fading, merging well with my skin’s natural oils as it warms up (BONUS: I experience no settling in areas such as around the nose or between brows. Yay!). The finish is not exactly dewy nor is it matte, but close to ‘naturally radiant’ (best way I can think of describing it), and without primer underneath, I do get some shine around the 5-hour mark, but not enough to be a deal-breaker. Geared more for normal-to-combination skin types (like me), I feel that the velvety texture of this foundation should also be workable on those with drier complexions as well.
When the original Lingerie de Peau launched, the hype was pretty intense as this was one of the first ‘second-skin‘ types of foundations to be released, and so I splurged on a bottle (shade 03 Beige Natural). With an undeniably ground-breaking new finish, I remember also wishing there had been a wider colour selection. For the re-launched version, I was sent shade 02N Light (full size) and 03C Natural Cool (large sample size) to test out, neither of which is a perfect match on my still-tanned skin now when applied individually, although when combined both shades look absolutely flawless on me. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of the range, in particular 03N which I suspect will be my go-to colour.
Guerlain | Lingerie de Peau Foundation
Guerlain | Lingerie de Peau Foundation swatches
The Foundation Brush (CAN $53.00) | Made with ultra-soft synthetic fibres, this is a dense compact-headed brush created to help foundation apply effortlessly and seamlessly into the skin. The bristles are rounded from all angles which means you won’t get streaks or any harsh demarcation lines, being supple enough (and totally not floppy), to adjust to all facial contours from every angle. Housed in a protective & washable sleeve to help prevent bacteria and/or bristle damage, it’s also conveniently sized for travel.
I’ll admit that I haven’t been impressed with Guerlain brushes in the past, having found their texture usually too rough for my liking. If this Foundation Brush is the beginning of new developments with the brand, then I’d say they’re on to a good thing. Even though I usually prefer applying foundation with my fingers to start with, using this brush made the job effortless (and definitely less messy), and once everything had been thoroughly blended along, I used what was left on the brush to lightly buff everything in. The result was a smooth and even finish, as flawless as I can get my skin to appear without coming off as fake.
Guerlain | The Foundation Brush
Guerlain | The Foundation Brush
Guerlain | Multi-Perfecting Concealer
Multi-Perfecting Concealer (CAN $42.00/each)| Available in 6 shades, these concealers come in a portable tube with a unique new made-to-measure delivery system; thanks to a ‘cannula‘ (a small tube inserted at the tip), the product exits from the tube smoothly, thereby reducing product excess. The formula is also a first for the brand, combining a hybrid technology that will both help to conceal dark circles AND create an immediate soft-focus ‘blurring effect’, providing long-lasting coverage along with skincare benefits.
- 02 Light Cool – rosy undertones, good for fair – light complexions
- 03 Medium Warm – golden undertone, good for light-medium complexions
For the record, I rarely wear concealer; I have never had dark circles to contend with and now that I’ve gotten older, I find that concealer usually has the opposite effect on me by actually emphasizing all my ‘life/laugh’ lines, as opposed to hiding them. I do like the thought of adding a product there that will brighten the undereye area, and I may have just found a good match with this concealer formula. The texture is very interesting as well: creamy and just this side of thick, but with a surprisingly easy spread and once applied, seems to almost skim the surface of the skin thus filling in aforementioned lines and leaving behind a smooth finish (hallelujah) . Unscented, it also displays excellent hold without any visible caking or creasing for a solid 8+ hours, and going the extra mile by merging beautifully with foundation throughout the wearing.
Guerlain | Multi-Perfecting Concealer swatches
What Guerlain has done with bronzers, the brand now aims to do in the world of foundation and concealers: be at the top of their game. I’m not a fan of heavy coverage but I do still want a seamless & flawless finish to my foundation coupled with an imperceptible feel along my the skin (tall order, I know ∗shrugs∗), Lingerie de Peau delivers on all counts. The Foundation Brush is beautiful: it provides a wonderful application plus it’s peachy/pink …enough said. Concealers and I rarely get along, but the Multi-Perfecting version actually agrees with me (I do like smart makeup), with the 03 Medium Warm shade suiting me perfectly. I have a hunch that Guerlain has just tapped into something pretty awesome, not to mention flawless.
Pre-launch August 26 (Sephora), available October at Guerlain counters nationwide
Kindly provided by the Guerlain team for review consideration/As always, all opinions are my own
MAKE UP FOR EVER has just launched Water Blend Foundation, a product that is poised to change the way you think (and feel) about makeup. As someone who isn’t blessed with perfect skin, I have a love-hate relationship with foundation and I’m always on the hunt for that one product that will deliver a flawless finish while staying as far away from mask-like as possible. Dare I say that I just may have found my new Holy Grail?
- frosted glass bottles, caps engraved with the brand’s logo
- pump dispenser
- available in 20 shades
- coated pigments for improved colour payoff
- water-gel texture
- vegetal derived oils for effortless spreadability
- waterproof & transfer-proof
What makes this formula so unique and unlike anything I’ve come across before, is the texture: 80% of the formula is purified water that has been infused with pro-vitamin B5 to provide a continuous hydrated feel to skin, with Glycerine and Mango Butter thrown in to lock and maintain moisture throughout the wearing.
The only way to fully understand what this texture is all about is by applying it with your fingers; it actually feels like water gliding across the skin’s surface. Easy to spread (as stated, the best way is to start with your fingers, although a dense brush or beauty sponge works well too), this foundation is also buildable, however if you’re the type that prefers full-on coverage, you won’t find it here. What you’ll get instead is an excellent opacity that will provide evenness yet still allow your skin to look ‘real’. As someone who has a combination normal/oily complexion, I absolutely love how natural this makes my skin look while still managing to keep oiliness under control (remember that it’s not a mattifying foundation, so don’t expect major oil absorption) but it also has a comforting feel to the formula that will make it a great choice for those with dryer skin. BONUS: does not emphasize lines (can I have a hallelujah?)
I was sent 5 shades to test, and surprisingly all but the lightest works beautifully on my still-tanned skin. In fact, the shade I now have on constant rotation is the darkest, as it not only is a perfect match but also has the wonderful ability to even out the remnants of my tan and make my skin look glowingly flawless. The finish is not exactly dewy but definitely nowhere near matte either, falling more along the lines of healthy & natural-looking. Regarding the claims of it being waterproof and transfer-proof, all I can say is that with the 40°C weather we’ve been having here lately + insanely high humidity levels, this foundation not only passed with flying colours, but made the rest of my makeup look good as well. #testament
MAKE UP FOR EVER | Water Blend Face & Body Foundation
MAKE UP FOR EVER | Water Blend Face & Body Foundation
Y225 Marble | The lightest of the five, this has an ivory undertone with a slight golden tint and one I suspect will be an excellent shade to reach for once I’m in full Winter pastiness mode.
Y315 Sand | A light neutral hue with the barest rosy tint in the base, workable on both cool and warm complexions.
Y325 Flesh | A perfect mid-toned neutral with an excellent balance of both cool and warm undertones, and a shade I suspect will be one of those constantly sold out due to its colour versatility.
Y405 Golden Honey | Of the 5 shades, this has the most gold in the base coupled with a slight orange-y tint, and not only matches well with my still-tanned skin but is an excellent hue for those with light to medium complexions.
Y415 Almond | The obvious darkest of the five, there’s a slight rosy cast in the base that helps to keep this shade from looking ashy when applied. Of note: this colour appears lighter once buffed into the skin.
MAKE UP FOR EVER | Water Blend Face & Body Foundation swatches
MAKE UP FOR EVER | Water Blend Face & Body Foundation
MAKE UP FOR EVER | Water Blend Face & Body Foundation
To sum things up: I am absolutely head over heels and totally obsessed with Water Blend Foundation. From the feel/texture to the actual application and ending with the way my skin looks, there’s just everything to love about this product. Shade-wise, you’d think that 20 shades (versus the 40 that their Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation comes in) wouldn’t be enough, but as this texture has been designed to be slightly more sheer and skin-like, it has a certain flexibility to adapt to a broader range of complexions than something with more coverage can do. All I know, is that I absolutely love it. For real.
Available at Sephora
Flawless skin within reach/As always, all opinions are my own