Summer 2018 Favourites

Posted on July 30, 2018 under Favourites

I hardly ever do favourites posts, mostly because I don’t try nearly the volume of products necessary to make that tenable on a regular basis. I think occasional seasonal roundups work for my purposes, though the last one I did was back in the fall of 2016. Here is the warm-weather answer to that, then!

Like many others, in the summer months I opt for a lighter base. This is now my second summer regularly using The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N, which doesn’t work too well for my skin in winter but looks beautifully natural in summer. To pair with this lighter base, I’ve really been enjoying Bourjois Radiance Reveal Concealer in Ivory. True to its name, it has a natural, radiant finish, but its peachy undertone does wonders in brightening up my dark undereye area. To give it a bit more coverage and lasting-power (and to make it a tad lighter), I usually mix in a little bit of Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer in C1. Mixing concealers is a new and slightly finnicky trick in my repertoire, but I can’t fault the results.

Here’s the Bourjois concealer on its own (on the right, obviously) for comparison’s sake:

When mixed with the Makeup Revolution concealer, it’s not quite as dewy as it appears in this picture. I do prefer that look slightly, but I think the results of Radiance Reveal on its own are lovely: natural, luminous, and surprisingly effective for such a comfortable, emollient, lightweight formula.

Back in May I used some Optimum points to pick up the Clinique Blush Pop in Peach Pop, my first taste of this well-loved formula. Though I find the clear plastic packaging a bit cheap-looking, I can’t deny that this is a beautiful buildable, long-lasting blush. Like a basic bitch, I love peach in the summer, so I’ve used this very frequently over the past few months. When I want a more vibrant blush, I use my trusty Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat, a lovely red-coral. Between those two blushes (well, and the always-appropriate Hourglass Mood Exposure, of course), I’ve scarcely touched anything else.

My eyelids eat cream formulas after the six-hour mark, and I always have the best results with powder shadow over a good primer. So colour me surprised that the Stila Shimmer and Glow Liquid Eyeshadows truly stay put on my eyes all day. In the heat of a humid Toronto summer, these shadows are quick and easy to apply and completely bulletproof. I picked up the shades Kitten (Stila’s classic champagne) and Jezebel (a rose gold) in May, and I’ve been using them… basically all the time. I do really like the Glitter and Glow shadows, too, but they’re a bit prone to fallout, while the high-impact, metallic Shimmer and Glows are not.

Here’s how Kitten looks on my eye, with a matte brown powder shadow in the crease:

And Jezebel, with some similar crease shadow action (and mascara smudges):

And a swatch gif, so you can see how beautiful these guys really are:

In the summer I gravitate towards my impossibly bright lipsticks, all of which are in the same basic colour family. Marc Jacobs So Sofia, a purchase made almost exactly a year ago as summer wound to a close, has seen a lot of use. So has Revlon Fire and Ice, a truly classic shade which lives its best life in the summer months. New-to-me is NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, a shade popularized by Taylor Swift several years ago. In the wake of 1989 (which was a damn catchy pop album, sue me), I coveted the colour but could never pull the trigger; when a family friend gifted it to me last month, I was predictably ecstatic. On Swift, Dragon Girl is a bright, fiery red; on me, it’s noticeably more pink, though still as delightfully vibrant. Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Romantic is a long, long, longtime favourite – it’s a beautiful sheer, warm red that’s never too much. (They still make this shade, too, though most of the Balm Stains are long gone.) After a long period of gravitating more towards neutral lipsticks, I’m back to my best self with my bold colours.

L-R: Marc Jacobs So Sofia, Revlon Fire and Ice, NARS Dragon Girl, Revlon Romantic

I arrived back in Canada at the end of May after eight months in the UK, and I found that my hands were suddenly very dry in this climate. Though I have a pretty dry face and very dry arms and legs, my hands have always self-regulated pretty well. But apparently the change in climate was too much, so I had to turn to The Chemistry Brand HA3 Hand Hydrator. This is a super effective, hyaluronic-based hand cream with a light whipped texture. The reason I like it enough to talk about on my blog is that it sinks in incredibly quickly without compromising its efficacy. I cannot stand feeling like there’s anything on my hands; I want to wash them immediately. A lot of hand creams are like nails on a chalkboard to me, but not this one. It also has a very peppy zesty scent which I enjoy.

I also really enjoy The Chemistry Brand Hyaluronic Body Mist for a hit of moisture between body lotion applications. It’s especially nice to have something so quick and easy to apply in the summer, when the heat can induce lethargy. Sometimes it seems altogether too much to rub cream all over my body, but a quick mist is within my capability. This product definitely isn’t a substitute for an actual body lotion (at least not for my dry skin!), but it’s a great interim product.

In the non-makeup realm, I would probably be dead without the Invisibobble knockoffs I got at Primark back in the winter. I’m growing out my blonde (as you have no doubt been able to surmise from my photos over the past year and a half), and I have a few months to go before I can chop it all off. My hair is longer than I like it, and since it’s very thick and abundant it’s just far too much to have on my neck in the summer. I’ve been putting it up in a high ponytail or topknot almost every day, and these little coiled hair ties do an amazing job at keeping my hair comfortably in place. I definitely don’t think you should pay for the brand name version, but if you can find cheap knockoffs they are great for keeping thick, unruly hair at bay.

And, before I go, one summery miss: Avène High Protection SPF50+ Emulsion. This sunscreen has a pleasant texture (if a bit thicker than other facial sunscreens by brands like La Roche-Posay and Vichy) and user-friendly packaging, and seems truly effective if my perpetually-fair face is anything to go by. Unfortunately, it leaves such a white cast. When I’m going to work this isn’t an issue as I put foundation on top anyway, but I often leave my house without makeup but still want to be protected from the sun. It’s a bummer, because I do like the product otherwise, and the pump/squeeze-tube hybrid packaging is always welcome in my home. When I’m out of this I’ll be looking to another brand for my face sunscreen needs.

And that’s what I’ve been putting on my face this summer! It’s a nice mixture of new discoveries and old favourites.

Review: Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer

Posted on May 10, 2018 under Reviews

Hi, have you been on the internet ever? If so, you’ve probably heard of the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer, because it’s been getting a lot of hype as a dupe for perennial YouTuber favourite Tarte Shape Tape. (Notably, MUR is an extremely low-cost drugstore brand and they managed to launch with eighteen shades, whereas Shape Tape has fourteen after a shade range expansion.)

Concealer is the type of product that I find horribly boring. It’s solely utilitarian, really – I just need it to cover up my dark circles and the occasional zit. That’s just not very exciting, you know?

However, sometimes products get so much hype that you just feel the need to throw your hat in the ring. Though I’ve been getting away with my Primark concealer over the past few months the slight shade mismatch was starting to bother me, so I thought I’d take advantage of that and pick up the Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer. Except you know that it’s not possible to just casually stroll into Superdrug to “pick up” a concealer that has blown up on the internet, as I found in mid-March when I went to three different stores in Glasgow City Centre to find them completely picked over. It was even sold out online, so I set up a restock alert and jumped on it the moment I got the email. I can definitely say I have never done that for a concealer before, so the hype has surely penetrated my consciousness.

Personally I can’t help but feel that the Shape Tape comparisons are partially just due to the similarities in packaging. (I mean, people still say that Maybelline Fit Me is a dupe for NARS Radiant Creamy even though they’re nothing alike. The sway of packaging is strong!) I will tell you right now that I have never tried Shape Tape, so I will not be able to bust this myth nor to verify it. I’m just going to tell you if I think this concealer is good.

Shade Range

As I noted, this concealer launched with a lot more shades than your average drugstore concealer, which is great and commendable and definitely a trend that I hope all brands will continue to adopt. It has some shades that are legitimately dark, but of course lighter shades are represented more. However, this shade range is a lot better than basically any drugstore brands and a lot of mid-range and high end brands. The shades are labelled with C and then a number, but I don’t believe this C refers to undertone as I don’t find that all of the shades are cool. The foundations are similarly labelled with an F, so I think the C just stands for “Concealer,” which is admittedly confusing when it’s fairly engrained that C = Cool. Don’t let that throw you off! The lightest shade in this range, C1, is legitimately very pale, along the same lines as NARS Chantilly.

Unfortunately I don’t still own Chantilly to swatch for you, but here it is with some other base products:

L-R: Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer in C1, Maybelline Master Conceal in Fair, The Ordinary Serum Foundation in N1.1, IT Cosmetics CC Cream in Fair

I think this a pretty neutral concealer – pink base products look all kinds of wrong on me and this doesn’t jump out as remotely pink. If anything, it has a hint of yellow.

This is a tad light for me, but C2 would have definitely been too dark, so I deal with this burden I am forced to bear. If you’re a YouTuber you probably think this is my perfect colour since you’re supposed to go lighter under your eyes. That has never looked extremely flattering on me, but it’s fine. I’ll live.

I also think it’s worth noting that you are probably not going to find the full shade range instore. Maybe if you live in a racially diverse part of the UK? But I live in Glasgow, which, as Scotland’s most racially diverse city, is 88% white, so they’re not putting that shit out on shelves. You have to order it online, and if you have a Health and Beauty Card Superdrug’s free shipping threshold is only £10, so it’s not the end of the world, but it’s also not the greatest thing to happen to makeup shelf space.

(Note: After I wrote the bulk of this post I was in a Superdrug in Brighton and they only stocked a few shades as well. Didn’t think to check while in London, though!)

Packaging

This is attractive packaging for the drugstore. The tube is short and thick, and the rose gold cap and label add a nice touch. It’s sturdy and the cap has a satisfying springy closure. Now I will state the obvious: this doefoot is huge, everyone. I mean, come on, this is the foot of a moose. (A female moose is called a cow, incidentally, and that is not a fact that Canadians come equipped with, it is something that I just Googled because I was hoping there would be a pleasing symmetry in deer and moose nomenclature, which there is not.)

Here is this giant moose woman foot compared to a normal-sized doefoot. YES. It is large. I don’t find it unwieldy by any means; it still fits underneath my eye just fine. I enjoy the way the doefoot is actually constructed, because it has a little well that the product sits in, ready to be brushed on your face:

Application and Finish

In terms of actually applying this product, I find that the aforementioned well holds quite a bit of product and that a little goes a long way. I know we say that about a lot of products, but it’s actually the case in this instance. It’s not that it’s so pigmented and high coverage; it’s just that it’s very spreadable. A quick dab under each eye and I’m good to go! This would probably be way too much product to apply directly to a blemish, but I don’t do that anyway. You may know that I am in principle very against doefoot applicators because I don’t like the concept of putting something on a bacteria-laden zit, sticking it into a dark, moist tube, and then applying that zit-contaminated concealer onto my face at a later date. So I never, ever, ever apply directly from the doefoot to blemishes, and instead just tap a little onto my finger and apply it to my face like that. (Fingers are underrated makeup application tools!)

Speaking of fingers, usually I end up blending out my undereye concealer with my fingers because I don’t find brushes blend efficiently and even the pointy end of a sponge is too big to really get into the inner corner of my eye. However, I have tested it with a small brush and a sponge and those methods are perfectly fine. I’d go for a sponge over a brush, however.

Here’s how much product I apply to one eye:

That’s really just a small tap of the wand underneath my eye, and even that is a pretty generous amount. “A little goes a long way” is cliché, but this really is a spreadable formula that makes a relatively large impact with a small amount of product.

A fact I have picked up about Tarte Shape Tape over the eighteen months of nonstop attention it has received is that it is extremely thick and full coverage. I don’t think MUR Conceal and Define is an extremely thick or full coverage concealer. It is of a normal viscosity, in my opinion. If you’ve tried NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, that is what I’d consider thick. This one is nowhere near that level. It’s probably close to full-coverage, but it’s not, like, an industrial-strength concealer. Here, see for yourself:

On the left, my undereye without concealer; on the right, I’ve applied one layer of Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer. You can see that it’s obviously covered a lot of the darkness, but some is still peeking through. Personally I think using a lighter undereye concealer can unflatteringly emphasize dark circles more than using one that matches perfectly, which I do think comes into play here a bit. The starkness of the light colour mixed with the purple of my undereye creates an almost grey tinge in some lights, which is why I generally prefer something with a bit more of a salmony undertone or that’s at least closer to my actual skin colour. This look is certainly preferable to going without concealer, but it’s not the perfect colour.

Here’s a close-up of how it looks:

I think you can see that around the outer corner of my eye it appears a little bit dry. All but the most emollient of concealers look like that under my eye, so that’s not unique to this product. I don’t think this is the most flattering concealer on planet Earth for the undereyes, but I think it’s fine. If your undereye area is quite dry, it may not be so fine, since it does have a pretty matte finish.

More before and after pictures:

Note the blemishes! The one that’s higher up is a semi-healed cystic zit that is in the exact spot that I always get cystic zits. I don’t know why the divine powers insist on punishing me like this, because that shit is actually really painful. The one lower down is a normal zit, and newer, and in a spot that is typical of stress breakouts for me. (By the time you’re reading this I will have no reason to be stressed, but at the time of photographing and writing I have two weeks to write 13,000 words worth of assignments, read hundreds of pages of film theory, and also write all the blog posts you are reading while I’m on vacation.)

And after concealer:

I am very impressed with the number this concealer did on that cystic zit, actually, because normally my zits repel concealer, to the point where I pretty much only bother with putting it under my eyes. The cheek zit did not fare as well, but it was also fresher, and I find that the newer the zit the less likely concealer is to do anything at all. Now you know a lot about my zits.

This concealer has a pretty matte finish, which is not super ideal for under my eyes but which isn’t patently terrible either. If you have very dry undereyes, you might avoid this one. My undereyes are pretty normal, usually.

Wear

This concealer does get visibly dryer throughout the day and it creases a tiny bit. This may not happen if I powdered it, but then it would look dryer, wouldn’t it? Tradeoffs! Here’s how it looked at the beginning of the day:

And here is how it fared after eight hours of wear:

You can see that my undereyes appear a bit dryer at this point, but that’s also an extreme closeup. I mean, my actual eye is not as big as it’s appearing on your screen. When I look at myself in the mirror I don’t think “Oh my god it’s old Crusty Eyes!” I just think it looks like my concealer is not the most fresh it ever has been. On the plus side, there is a surprising lack of creasing.

Overall Thoughts

I wish this concealer had a slightly more natural finish and also that it came in a shade that was a little bit better-suited to my needs and desires, but that’s okay. I’m not going to repurchase this because I think I need to put more emollient products under my eyes from now on, but as a semi-matte concealer with solid coverage I think this delivers. It looks nice, it covers what I want it to cover, and it wears perfectly adequately. Oh, and it’s £4. Is it so earth-shatteringly good that it’s worth all the YouTube hype and the countless hours (okay, uh, maybe one hour?) I spent hunting it down? No. But it’s good. And it’s £4.

The Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer goes for £4 ($7.18 CAD) for 0.11 fl oz/3.4 mL of product. That’s £36.36/$65.27 per fl oz or £1.18/$2.11 per mL. By comparison, Tarte Shape Tape is £22 for 0.33 fl oz, which is £66.67 per fl oz.

Inventory: Foundation, Concealer, Primer, and Powder

Posted on June 22, 2017 under Inventory

Okay, I’ll be frank with you right off the bat. I have four foundations and that stresses me out. Up until, like, six months ago, I was a strictly one foundation kind of gal. I went through a bottle every six months and liked to feel like I could use my product up before it went bad. But then a lot of things happened and I ended up buying more foundation than I ever needed. But my concealer, primer, and powder is under control, so there’s that.

Primer

The only primer I have a deluxe sample size of the Paul and Joe Illuminating Primer. Usually I use it mixed into foundation instead of as a primer. It’s alright, but I won’t repurchase it or a similar product when I run out. So far I haven’t found a primer that does a damn thing for me!

Foundation

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia: I have always maintained that this is a finnicky foundation which gives a very nice finish on my skin. However, in the last month or so my skin has stopped liking this product as much. I’m not sure why – I’m not any dryer than normal. I have been liking it mixed with other foundations, though, so that’s how I’m soldiering on with it. I’m sad, though, that some unknown force abruptly changed how this foundation worked for me, because it was going well for a good while.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation in 110: This is a thin, watery formula that dries to a matte, powder finish. Though I’m normal to dry, this works decently on my skin. I don’t know that somebody who is truly dry would enjoy it very much. What I really like about this is the shade: it’s more yellow-toned than pink (which can be hard to find in fair foundations) and it’s the palest foundation I own. It’s definitely the best shade match I’ve found at the drugstore. I think this is a really great affordable foundation option for those with normal to combination skin. It’s not amazing, but in a world where L’Oreal wants me to pay $22 for their foundation I’m down to spend $10.99 on this one. (It goes on sale for $5.99 and $6.99 frequently, too!)

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation in Y210: I am a big fan of this foundation. It gives a medium, natural-looking coverage and it works on my skin throughout the year. I don’t have to fuss with it or mix it to make it work; I can apply it with my hands, multiple brushes, and a sponge; it’s just a no brainer for me. The shade Y210 is my best foundation match out of anything I’ve ever tried.

The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation in 1.1N: I appreciate this foundation quite a lot. Because of its lightweight texture it’s great for casual, minimal makeup days. It applies easily just like the MUFE Ultra HD. It feels comfortable on the skin and it’s a good colour match for me, too. Staying power isn’t excellent, so I keep this one on reserve for times when I don’t have a full day of wear ahead of me.

Recycling this picture from my Serum Foundation review, for reference:

L-R: The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in Y215, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in R210 (my old shade), NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia, and Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless in 110. This picture is slightly underexposed.

Concealer

NYX Color Correcting Palette: I bought this because I needed a good salmon-toned corrector to help conceal my eyebrows for Halloween. It did the job, but I don’t really care for the product otherwise. The salmon colour does actually do a great job hiding undereye circles, but it creases quickly and doesn’t layer well under concealer. I’ve used the green a few times too on angry red blemishes and I just felt like I had to layer on more concealer on top to get rid of the green cast.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly: I’m not really sure about the name of this concealer, because I get a distinctly matte finish. It covers and brightens my undereyes like nothing else, but it does look quite dry after a few hours of wear. It’s a touch too light to use on the rest of my face. I’m glad I indulged my curiosity, because I know that I will not require a $36 concealer every 6 months.

Maybelline Master Conceal in Fair: I really like this concealer; it has good coverage, it’s blendable, and it lasts well on my skin. It works underneath my eyes and on zits. The colour is slightly pinker than my skintone, but once it’s blended in the discrepancy is not noticeable. I also really like the squeeze-tube packaging; I hate using doe-foot applicators on my blemishes because I think it’s unsanitary and just plain gross.

Powder

This loose powder bears absolutely no clues as to its origin, but I think it’s quite nice. I like to use this with my more satin-to-matte foundations and just dust it loosely across my t-zone. When I want to really set and mattify I use the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Translucent. I don’t go through powder quickly so it’ll be some time before I’m done this one; I’ve had it for around a year at this point with no sign of pan at all. I think it’s a pretty nice powder, but I’ll move on when I do finally use it up. I’d like to use something a bit creamier and with sturdier packaging. The Stay Matte packaging could not be worse if Rimmel tried.

I have a feeling I’ll be halving my foundation collection before I move in September, but I think in terms of the other categories of base products I’m doing pretty well. My next inventory post will be something a bit more interesting; I just wanted to get this boring one out of the way!