Posted on July 10, 2017 under Reviews
Everyone who read my foundation inventory post: Clem, didn’t you just finish saying you have too much foundation and it stresses you out?
Everyone: Then why did you buy ANOTHER FOUNDATION that you DO NOT NEED?
Me: I don’t know!!!!!!
… Yes. I am not going to make any excuses. I bought another foundation. This is my first foray into the world of stick foundations, a format which I have typically avoided because I have always assumed they would be bad for dry skin. However, I’ve heard good things about the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation from dry-skinned YouTubers such as Jessica Braun and KathleenLights, and I really wanted a long-wearing, flawless base for an upcoming wedding.
The Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation comes in 26 shades ranging from extremely fair to quite deep, with a variety of undertones represented. As is the norm with foundation, you’ll find more subtle variations in the light to medium part of the spectrum and less as you get to the darker shades. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse saying this, but this is a subtle way that people of colour are shut out in the makeup world – sure, there may be dark colours available, but they are fewer and less varied than the 900 shades of light tan that a range has.
I used my tried and true method of matching the back of my hand (which seems to work for me) and selected the shade Alabaster. The Sephora website describes it as “fair, cool undertone”, though I wouldn’t say it leans particularly pink or yellow. There is one lighter shade, Blanc, which I’d put on par with MUFE Y205. (I’m the second-lightest shade in the MUFE range as well, for reference.)
The Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation comes in a triangular tube with brown metallic packaging. It’s very consistent with the Hourglass aesthetic, which I tend to enjoy. It looks and feels expensive. I’m a sucker for nice packaging a lot of the time, but I don’t really care if foundation packaging looks pretty as long as it’s functional. The fact that I find this packaging attractive is a nice bonus but not really a factor for me one way or the other. Of course, the reflective packaging collects fingerprints quickly, but they can be wiped off for blog pictures to preserve the illusion that you aren’t crusty. (That’s more than you can say for NARS packaging, which is a magnet for dirt that you can’t get off.) The twisting mechanism is smooth. I like that the stick itself is triangular: you can use one of the corners to apply the foundation to smaller areas, like the nose.
Whereas liquid foundations almost always clock in at a standard 1 fl oz/30 mL, stick foundations seem to vary in size substantially. The MUFE one is 0.44oz, Anastasia and Maybelline are 0.32 oz, and Bobbi Brown and Lancôme are 0.31 oz. Hourglass, in typical fashion, has given us a mere 0.25 oz of product. (Um, hopefully I’ll get more than 17-20 uses out of it, which is what they promise from their $21 gel eyeliner.)
Application and Finish
This is a very emollient cream product with a lot of glide. It does eventually set on the face, but you have a bit of play time during which it’s quite malleable. I’ve tried blending it with several brushes and with a wet sponge and I prefer the sponge. Denser brushes work nicely, too, and maintain more coverage; stippling brushes aren’t the best with this formula and will leave you with streaks. I tend to like a sponge with fuller-coverage products anyway because I find that on my dryer skin I get the most natural finish that way. On me, this foundation is prone to looking a little bit heavy around my jawline if I apply too much or blend too little. For reference, my skin leans quite dry in the winter but I’m more of a normal type in the warmer months, and I don’t currently have any dry patches on my face.
This is the amount of product that I apply to get a – wait for it – seamless finish that doesn’t look heavy in the slightest:
Now, enough talk, here are some before and afters:
It seems like every time I’m set to photograph a foundation for review, my skin helpfully decides to break out so that I can show what it actually does. I’ve been fighting a really tenacious chin breakout for a few weeks now, which is super annoying but actually pretty convenient review-wise. Close-ups of the breakout before and after:
Look, Mom! I posted a huge closeup of my zits on the internet!
Here I’ve put a second layer of the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation over the breakout. I think this foundation does act pretty well as a concealer. When I’m wearing it I never put concealer over my blemishes. I don’t think it looks too heavy in this instance, either, though I don’t think I’d want to put a second layer all over my face. Obviously, you can still see the breakout, but this is how it would look if I’d used a concealer over it instead of a second layer of foundation.
The lasting power on the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation is great. What I really like about this foundation is that it seems to mesh really well with my skin’s natural oils. At the end of 10 hours of wear, my skin looks healthy and luminous; the foundation doesn’t look dry or visibly broken down, as some do on me. My nose is, of course, the ultimate test – it’s the only place foundation ever wears off fully on my face, whether I’m wearing glasses or not. I would say I make it to about the 7 hour mark with my nose makeup intact with this foundation, which is longer than any other foundation I own, including NARS All Day Luminous Weightless. If I took the time to blot I could probably stretch this a bit longer, but with busy retail days I rarely do!
Normally I like to include a photo of a full day of wear when I’m doing foundation reviews. Unfortunately my work schedule lately has not been very conducive to this: I’ve been working until midnight most nights, so I can’t get good lighting for photos (and I also want to wash my makeup off and fall into bed as soon as I get home). So you’ll just have to take my word for it, sadly!
I don’t have particularly problematic skin in general: I get hormonal breakouts around my chin (as you can see!), but otherwise my skin is pretty clear and even. I also like for my skin to look like skin, and enjoy when my moles show through. For this reason, I tend towards light to medium coverage foundations for day-to-day, and I’ll often apply it to the perimeters of my face and leave my cheeks bare. Though the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation can be sheered out somewhat (when applied sparingly and blended with a damp sponge), it’s definitely a thicker, fuller-coverage product by nature, so this won’t be a day-to-day one for me. It’s great for special events, though, and photographs beautifully. I’m also very into it for travel – you know I’m all about limiting my liquids wherever possible. It’s pricey and contains quite a small amount of product, but this is a foundation that I really feel I can rely on. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but neither is anything on this earth.
The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation retails for $56 CAD for 0.25oz, or $224 per oz, and can be purchased from Sephora.
Posted on June 27, 2017 under Reviews
This post features a press sample which I received as part of an Influenster campaign. This post is not sponsored and all opinions remain my own.
Mascara is one of those products that is indispensable yet boring. I just can’t get my self excited over mascara as a general product category. I also basically live off samples and whatever I can get from work – I’ve purchased a few luxury mascaras with Optimum points recently, but I haven’t spent actual money on mascara since 2013. I use what I have, and normally I get on with it okay because my lashes are decent to begin with. There are a few that I love, and of course if you read my blog you know that I violently hate Benefit They’re Real!, but overall it takes a lot to get me worked up over mascara one way or the other.
Despite my mascara ambivalence, I was excited for the opportunity to test out Revlon’s newest mascara, the Mega Multiplier. Although my favourite mascara is high end, I am always down to find a good drugstore mascara because I think it’s ridiculous to pay $30 for something that gets thrown out after six months. I also haven’t ever tried Revlon mascara, so why not now? Plus, I love Gwen Stefani (and thank her every day for putting Rich Girl and Luxurious into the world), so it’s cool that she’s the face of Revlon’s summer launches.
I think this is really nice packaging for the drugstore. I would say that the Revlon mascara range still looks like it belongs at the drugstore, but it’s a step above, like, CoverGirl or Maybelline Great Lash. The shape of the tube is fun (but doesn’t compromise function!) and it ties in with their oblong liquid lipsticks. And I like the contrast between the matte black and the shiny plastic of the cap. Not that important, I know, but I am a person who has an opinion on everything.
The brush isn’t anything special; it’s cone-shaped and made with natural bristles. It looks a lot like Lancôme Hypnôse Star. This type of brush has typically never given me any hassle.
If this mascara billed itself as an everyday option for subtle definition, I’d give it the green light. But, I mean, it’s called Mega Multiplier. That demands a dramatic result. And I just don’t get that. Every time I’ve applied this mascara I’ve felt like it’s barely doing anything no matter how many coats I put on. I just build, and build, and build, and the final result is still lacklustre. And that’s on lashes that are reasonably long and thick on their own! It also kills a curl pretty immediately, and on my lower lashes it smudges. Boo.
Here’s a before and after:
Curled lashes, no mascara.
After one million coats of Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara
And another angle:
I mean… what is being multiplied here? It certainly isn’t my lashes.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a before and after I took today using my Clarins Truly Waterproof mascara, which I banged on about for the second half of 2016 because it is that good.
And, because I think of everything and don’t want you to have to scroll between these two pictures, I have compiled them for you in one convenient place. Top is with Revlon Mega Multiplier, bottom is with Clarins Truly Waterproof.
I mean. We’re seeing the difference here, right? I don’t even hate how the Mega Multiplier makes my lashes look; I think it’s a nice, subtle effect, and if it weren’t for the smudging and curl murdering, I’d recommend it to those who want something very soft. But presumably someone picking up a mascara with a name like Mega Multiplier – and claims of “mega volume and extreme length” – is looking for something with a bit more oomph. Pass on this one then, I say.
Posted on June 18, 2017 under Reviews
The products featured in this post were provided to me by Lancôme for my consideration. This post is not sponsored.
Despite the fact that I’ve been telling myself to stop buying liquid lipsticks for at least a year and a half now, the Lancôme Matte Shakers launch intrigued me greatly. I almost bought one with Optimum points back in May, but resisted if only because I really don’t need more lip products anytime soon. (Uh, will that stop me from buying more? PROBABLY NOT.) So it seemed quite serendipitous when Lancôme sent over three shades of the Matte Shakers a few weeks ago.
Today I’ll only be reviewing the shades Pink Power and Kiss Me Chérie; I can tell that the blue-toned hot pink shade, Yummy Pink, won’t suit me, and so I’d rather pass it on uncontaminated to somebody who will enjoy it.
I really am over liquid lipsticks for the most part, and I’ve come to realize that I prefer traditional bullet lipsticks. But something about the Matte Shakers really interested me. I think it might be partially a case of FOMO; I was left completely out of the Juicy Shaker hype because I don’t do lip gloss, but the Matte Shakers seemed like something I could, in theory, get behind. And, of course, they were super hyped up, with several Canadian YouTubers who I generally trust raving about them. So I went into this thinking that I might actually like them.
I’m going to start off with my complaints. The packaging is super cute but definitely a bit of a gimmick. It can be hard to shake the product up properly, which is necessary to mix the pigment and oils and to coat the applicator. If you don’t shake it thoroughly enough, you might find the colour a bit sheer or streaky on your lips. I’ve found the best way to deal with the Matte Shakers is to hold them in one hand, with a finger on each end, and jiggle them back and forth, like so:
Even still, it takes a bit of effort to get a fresh one going. As for the large sponge applicator, I’m not crazy about it. It’s easier to use than I’d expected going in, but liquid lipstick really demands a precise applicator, doesn’t it? Part of why I’m so fond of my Stila minis is that the doe-foot is teeny tiny and allows for very clean application. Look, I’m not a millionaire beauty YouTuber, I’m just a regular Joe with a beauty blog, and I am not that good at applying liquid lipstick. I also have a poorly-defined lower lip line, so an applicator this large just isn’t ideal for me. It’s not the worst, and the pointed tip helps with precision, but it’s definitely my least-favourite liquid lipstick applicator. I find that I get the best application when I use a lip liner first to define the shape of my lips. (I mean, this is true for all lipstick, but borderline necessary for the Matte Shakers.)
However, I do really enjoy the formula of these: they’re comfortable and reasonably long-wearing, though not totally transfer-resistant. The formula is very thin and watery, which means that it doesn’t cake up on the lips and can take multiple layers and touch-ups. To me, these look and wear like a regular lipstick, applied in liquid form. They never dry down fully, which means you never get that crusty liquid lipstick look that’s the inherent flip side of a long-wearing formula. Even hours after application, I can rub my lips together without the dry tug that normally accompanies liquid lipstick. These definitely are not matte until they begin to wear down, so if you want a matte look then either blot or skip these all together.
In terms of application I find Pink Power a bit streaky on the first layer, but it builds beautifully to an even, opaque finish. It really stains the lips, so even if the top layer wears away you’re left with quite a pretty effect. Kiss Me Chérie is even with one layer but feathers a little bit on me after about five hours of wear, but this is almost inevitable for me with darker colours if I don’t line my lips. This one also stains, but not quite so evenly: I would want to reapply it if it wore off. I find Pink Power longer-lasting (it made it through a delicious bento box yesterday without any visible wear), whereas Kiss Me Chérie tends to wear off a little more in the center of the lips. The formula of the Matte Shakers lends itself quite well to the blotted/popsicle lip trend, as they can easily be blended out around the edges of the lips softly with a fingertip for a stained effect. (See this review for a really pretty example of this effect.)
By the way, good luck removing these fully – they will leave behind a stain:
Of course, you probably want some pictures of these on an actual face right about now…
Lancôme Matte Shaker in Pink Power
Pink Power is a vibrant fuchsia pink with a warm undertone. Back in the day this colour was my jam, and I still own an embarrassing amount of fuchsia lipstick as a residual effect of my nineteen-year-old preferences. Though my favourite lipstick colours now tend more towards berries and magentas, this is the type of fuchsia that I like: bold and warmer rather than cooler.
Lancôme Matte Shaker in Kiss Me Chérie
The Sephora website describes Kiss Me Chérie as a “brick red”, which I disagree with: it’s cool-toned and lacks the brown of a brick. I would simply call this a cool deep red. It’s a very nice colour and one that I think would be flattering on many complexions.
L-R: Pink Power, Kiss Me Chérie, a scratch that my asshole cat gave me
The adorable culprit
I think the Matte Shakers embody the type of liquid lipstick formula that the market needs more of: something which finds a middle-ground, sacrificing some wear time for comfort. I sense that a lot of consumers are returning to traditional lipstick formulas, or liquid lipsticks like the ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips which are less budge-proof but infinitely more comfortable. Despite the hype that the Matte Shakers (and Juicy Shakers) are receiving, I’m not sure that they’ll be an iconic, long-lived product in Lancôme’s line if only because the packaging is a bit gimmicky. I can see that under Lisa Eldridge’s direction, Lancôme is trying to move away from their old-lady image towards something a bit more fresh and innovative. However, in the case of the Matte Shakers, I think they sacrifice some functionality for style. The Matte Shakers are special and different, but, well, why reinvent the wheel? Lancôme has so many products that have stood the test of time (Hypnôse mascara, Artliner, Teint Idole foundation…) and I don’t know that these will end up in that category.
The Lancôme Matte Shakers retail for $29 CAD and contain 6.2 mL/0.20 fl oz of product – that’s $4.62 per mL, or $145 per fl oz. For comparison’s sake, a Stila liquid lipstick costs $31 and contains 3mL/0.10 fl oz of product, and ColourPop liquid lipsticks cost $6 (USD) and contain 3.2mL/0.11 fl oz. The Matte Shakers can be purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart, beautyboutique.ca, Sephora, Lancôme counters, and the Lancôme website.