Foundation for Fair Skin: NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia

Posted on November 30, 2016 under Reviews

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia

I’ll let you in on something: I decided not to return the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation after all. It looks really nice when applied with a damp sponge, and the colour match is great. I waffled on this one for awhile, but ultimately laziness prevailed because I didn’t have it in me to make my second trek to the Eaton Centre in a week to return it. (Torontonians will understand the mental and physical fortitude it takes to make this trip.) Hey, I’m just being honest about the kind of person I am. (The kind who is too lazy to get on the streetcar for twenty minutes. Whatever, I put off making an exchange at Topshop until the literal last day because I loathe the Eaton Centre so deeply.)

In between my review of the Magic Foundation and my decision not to return it, I did something silly: I purchased another foundation (with Optimum points). Yes, I, the person who has steadfastly refused to own more than one foundation at a time, now own three. I ended up picking up NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, which I chose over Sheer Glow because it swatched better on the back of my hand. Solid decision-making skills.

It’s probably no surprise that I got the lightest shade in the range, Siberia, which is a fair, cool yellow. Between this and the Magic Foundation I’m coming to realize that cool yellows are actually a better match for me than pink-based colours as I’d previously thought. Anyway, I know that finding fair foundation can be a struggle, and it’s worth explicitly noting that these undertones are definitely yellow, so if you’re definitely not yellow, I’d watch out for that.

The texture of this foundation is very interesting to me. It’s thin and watery, which is my preferred texture. Whereas the Magic Foundation stays in a stiff peak when pumped out, the All Day Luminous Weightless foundation begins to spread on the back of my hand immediately. It’s even more watery than some of my favourites, MUFE Ultra HD and Revlon Nearly Naked (RIP). One pump delivers very little product; while I’m normally a one-pump kinda gal when it comes to foundation (seriously, how do YouTubers apply like four pumps of product to ONE face?), I need two pumps of this to cover my entire face.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia texture

One pump of NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation after it’s spread out a little on the back of my hand. Like I said, not much comes out.

That said, this foundation is very spreadable. I’ve never noticed that particular quality in a foundation before, but here you can see the part of my face that I’ve managed to cover by dipping my blending sponge into the product a single time:

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia half on

In case you can’t tell, that’s my left cheek (right in the picture) and my chin. With the tiniest amount of product! Two pumps of this gives me enough to cover my whole face one and go over a few select areas where I prefer slightly more coverage.

The “weightless” part of the name definitely holds true for me: this foundation not only looks thin, it feels thin. I’m not someone who’s super sensitive to the feeling of product on my skin, but this is one of the least noticeable foundations I’ve tried in terms of sensory issues. It’s not tacky to the touch like Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H.

I also think it’s pretty luminous. Here’s the finish I get with it after lightly dusting loose powder all over my face:

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia on the skin

By the way, in this picture all I have on besides the foundation is brow product. On this particular day I opted not to use concealer on my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation because I thought the foundation did a good job covering it.

One of the first times I wore this out of the house during the testing phase, I went to a Shoppers Beauty Boutique and the woman working there said my skin looked beautiful and glowy and asked what I was wearing, so that’s nice! Despite its luminosity, this foundation feels like it sets quickly and well, which brings me to the last point in its (long, adjective-filled) name.

Does the All Day Luminous Weightless foundation actually last all day? Well, I guess that depends on how you define “all day”. In my experience it reaches the eight hour mark very admirably. After that it breaks down a bit on my nose, which happens to literally every foundation I’ve ever tried because my nose is the only place on my body that produces oil. However, it does wear really well overall; as I always mention, I put my foundations through a lot because I work retail and usually have my makeup on for a good 10+ hours – which includes a lot of running around – before washing it off. So, it basically lasts as long as I would wear it, which is technically “all day”, but not, say, a full 24 hours, which the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner does. Semantics, I know.

Here’s an “after” shot I took the other day – this was after only about 5 hours of wear because I was starting to lose my light (I HATE WINTER!!!), but those 5 hours did include the aforementioned Eaton Centre trip, which had me sweating like a pig because they really crank up the heating in there. (Yet another reason not to go there.)

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia wear

Random black cheek flakes notwithstanding, I think it’s done a good job here, and I can confirm that it basically looks like this at the end of the day minus my nose. I mean, my nose is still there, but the foundation isn’t. (Also, sorry about the lighting. Like I said, the sun was already starting to set and I’m still learning how to use my new camera!)

Now, this is not a super easy-peasy, slap it on and go product. As with the Magic Foundation, I’ve found that the All Day Luminous Weightless foundation far in a way does best with a damp sponge. On a brush it does make my forehead look pretty dry. Again, someone with combo/oily skin might not have this problem, but I’m assuming that a luminous foundation is formulated more for dryer skin types. I also find it looks better when set lightly with a loose powder as opposed to a thicker pressed powder such as Rimmel Stay Matte.

So, yes, this foundation is a bit fussy. And the reason I really liked MUFE Ultra HD is that it wasn’t fussy. It looks good applied any which way (with basically any brush, with a damp sponge, with my fingers) and it can be set with anything. But ultimately I like the finish and lasting power of the All Day Luminous Weightless foundation better, so it’s kind of a toss-up.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia packaging

One thing I will say is that I fucking hate the rubberized cap. I know this is a common complaint with NARS products, but it gets messy so quickly, as you can see in the above picture. The first time I opened this foundation I accidentally untwisted the entire cap and foundation flew out everywhere (including my wall and jeans) and got all over the lid and now it is forever ugly. Sigh. At least it has a pump, though.

For those of you who were waiting, breath baited, for a really up-close picture of my chronically crusty nose, rejoice, for here it is:

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia nose

This foundation doesn’t glide over it perfectly, but it also doesn’t really make it look any worse (at least when applied with a damp sponge), so that’s fine. I’m not expecting miracles here, people; nothing can conquer the nose crust except a lot of oil.

Finally, a side-by-side comparison of my face with nothing on it but brows and moisturizer and my face with only foundation and brows:

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia before and after

There’s definitely a difference, and I think the finish is lovely. I’d recommend this if you want a medium-coverage, luminous but now dewy, fairly natural-looking foundation. If you have dry skin you’ll want to really understand that it is fussy (though worth the fuss, if fussy isn’t a total dealbreaker for you). If you’re on the combo to oily side you might get on with this foundation regardless of the name because it does wear well, but obviously I only have experience with my own dry skin.

As a bonus, I also picked up the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly (an even paler cool yellow). I don’t use it on blemishes because it’s too light for that (a novel problem!) and because I think putting a doe-foot applicator straight onto a zit and then back into the tube to fester with zit bacteria for months is gross, but it looks great under the eyes:

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly

Concealer under the right eye and nothing under the left. Obviously.

Is it worth $35 CAD? I don’t know, because that’s a lot of money and I haven’t really run it through the ringer yet. But I like it.

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation retails for $59 CAD for 1oz/30mL of product, which obviously works out to $59 per oz or $1.97 per mL. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer retails for $35 CAD for 0.22 oz/6mL of product, making it $159.09 per oz or $5.83 per mL. Both can be purchased at Sephora, Murale, or NARS counters.

Review: NYX HD Blush in Taupe

Posted on May 26, 2016 under Reviews

NYX HD Blush in Taupe

If you’re at all plugged into the “pale person” side of beauty blogging, you will have heard that NYX Blush in Taupe is a must-have for contouring on fair skin. I’ve wanted to try it since I got into makeup about three years ago, but NYX has been historically pretty hard for Canadians to get their hands on. NYX finally arrived in Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix in the new year, which made grabbing this supposed holy grail product a lot less of a hassle. (Previously I’d asked my mom to grab it for me while she was in New York, but she couldn’t track it down. She did get me the Jumbo Pencil in Milk, though, another 2013 beauty blogging favourite.)

Now, NYX has since reformulated their blushes: they are now the HD blushes, and various bloggers and vloggers have deconstructed the differences. (And, yes, they are different.) This is not about that, because all I have is the new version, the HD Blush in Taupe. It was my first NYX purchase at Pharmaprix, because I was really excited about trying it and because my beloved Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow was looking a little worse for the wear. (My only other NYX purchases were from Rexall back in summer 2013, both lip products and both long destashed. Since then I’ve also gained one of the Liquid Suedes, which I’m not entirely sold on. NYX is not batting 1000 for me here, let’s just put it that way.)

NYX HD Blush in Taupe vs Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow

I used the HD Blush in Taupe for about a month straight, but ultimately I have gone back to Hollow. Basically, I find it to be darker and a bit too pigmented. Intensely pigmented cheek products are not usually my favourite thing – especially when it comes to a contour product. I’m not into Instagram contouring at all and just like to add a bit light definition under my cheekbones, which means I want a product that is easy to build and blend. And that’s Taupe’s other downside: I don’t think that it’s super blendable. More often than not when I used it, I came away feeling that it was a bit too heavy and slightly muddy.

NYX HD Blush in Taupe Swatch

NYX HD Blush in Taupe compared to Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. This is with one swirl of my finger in the pan. You can see that Taupe is much more pigmented, as well as pinker and darker, whereas Hollow is lighter and slightly yellow-toned.

I don’t think that NYX HD Blush in Taupe is an unusable product by any means. I just think it would work better on someone marginally darker than me, and probably someone who likes a stronger contour than me.

By comparison, here it is (fully blended out) on the left with my favourite contour, Illamasqua Hollow, on the right.

NYX HD Blush in Taupe vs Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow on the face

Yes, I know that looks harsh. I promise I didn’t do it on purpose. I lightly tapped my brush in the product and spent a considerable amount of time trying to blend Taupe out. A strong contour in this colour would be better suited to someone darker than me; regardless, I’m not really into that look on myself, anyway. Though Hollow is quite a bit pricier and basically inaccessible for the Canadian market (I had to get mine when I was in Scotland), it really does it for me and I think it’s much better-suited to truly fair skintones.

I wish I’d been able to get my hands on the old Taupe back when it existed – it seems that pale people get along with it slightly better than with the HD Blush in Taupe, and looking at side-by-side comparisons of the two the colour does look more suited to my skin. But such is life; at the very least, this purchase taught me that I really do love Illamasqua Hollow and that I don’t need to experiment with other contours. (I’ll just need to replace Hollow at some point, because it is a cream, and, um, you can see that picture.)

Foundation for Fair Skin: Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation in 010

Posted on January 20, 2016 under Reviews

rimmel-lasting-finish-header

Those of you who are fair will understand the particular pain of trying to find a foundation. It’s not really about finding the right undertone or deciding between two shades which are nearly identical – it’s about finding one that’s light enough in the first place. And when I say I’m fair, I really mean pale. (Fair is the polite term, isn’t it? Well, I’m just pale. Ghostly. The barest step up from white as a sheet.) So many beauty gurus on YouTube are always talking about how fair they are – and then use a foundation shade that’s one or two away from the lightest in a range. When the lightest in that same range is too dark for me, I have to call bullshit on these people who think they’re so pale!

I’m pale. I have trouble with foundation. I work in cosmetics and have access to a wealth of foundations to swatch and try on my face on any given day. The vast majority of the foundations we have in the store are too dark for me. “Ivory”, “Porcelain”, and “Alabaster” are all very promising words – but most end up disappointing me.

So, my bar is set pretty low. If I can find a foundation that is fair and that doesn’t look like a completely different colour from my neck, I’m overjoyed – undertones be damned. I make due with what I can get, you know?

One day at work, I really looked at the Rimmel display, saw the Lasting Finish 25H foundation, and thought, “Wow, those foundations are pale.” In fact, the two lightest shades that I swatched – 010 and 091 – were both what I would classify as very fair. 010, Light Porcelain, has a cooler undertone, and 091, Light Ivory, is a bit warmer and slightly darker – so there’s something for the cool and warm amongst us pale people. I’m neutral leaning cool, so I went with 010.

rimmel-lasting-finish-010-091-comparison

010 on the left, 091 on the right.

How does it look?

rimmel-lasting-finish-before-and-after

I adjusted the colours in these images slightly to bring them truer to life, but otherwise no retouching has been done. In the image labelled “No makeup”, I do not have anything on my face, even moisturizer. You can see that although I have a few blemishes, my skin has not been acting up lately. I’m looking for a bit of coverage around the chin, a general evenness of skin, and a nice finish. In the image on the right, I have used exactly one pump of the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation all over my face. I built it up slightly around my chin, but for the most part what you’re seeing is one layer. (I also did my eyebrows, because that’s always my first step!)

Shall we zoom in?

rimmel-lasting-finish-before-and-after-close

So, some things we can clearly note here:

1) It does a pretty good job of covering – that chin zit is about as covered as it’s going to get, and some of the freckles that I just now realized I have are much less visible if not completely covered. I haven’t had too much trouble with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or redness at the bottom of my cheeks recently, but those are both things I struggle with often. This foundation does a good job with the PIH; not quite as well with the redness, though it is buildable and does as well as anything else I’ve used.

2) I wouldn’t say it has a terribly dewy finish, and it’s obviously not matte. I’d put it somewhere between a dewy and satin finish. It does make my dry winter skin look a bit more lively, but I think it would be suitable for normal and possibly combination skin.

3) That said, you can see that it does slightly cling to the dry patches around my nose, which are a perpetual bother for me, year-round. These days my skin is more on the normal side, but those damn nose flakes never leave me, even in the depths of summer!

What does it (claim to) do?

Rimmel claims that the Lasting Finish 25H foundation is full-coverage. I would classify it as medium to full buildable coverage; it’s definitely not full with one layer, and you can see “imperfections” peeking through in my comparisons. One layer is perfect for my preferences, but it can be built up for a flawless finish.

Rimmel also claims that it “blends flawlessly, seamlessly, instantly and easily into the skin“, which I would agree with. I’ve gone through three or four bottles of Revlon Nearly Naked, which I love, but this blends a lot more smoothly than that. It also has a thicker, less watery texture than Nearly Naked, so perhaps that’s why. I’ve applied it with my hands, a buffing brush, and a knockoff beautyblender, and I feel like it works with all three methods. I think it performs marginally less well with a damp sponge, perhaps due to its sticky texture, but it’s still absolutely usable with that method.

Another claim: “Sweat, heat, humidity and transfer proof for up to 25 hours.” The 25 hour claim is one of those ridiculous cosmetics marketing things that we all know is silly. I can’t think of a time when I’d wear foundation for 25 hours – my skin is crawling just thinking about it. And it’s such an odd number; it’s as if they looked at products claiming 24 hours and thought they’d (literally) one-up them. Anyway, you all know that this stuff does not last 25 hours. I wore this working retail all through the Christmas rush, which meant running around for eight hours a day. Generally, my foundation is on for about ten to eleven hours on a workday. I put it through a lot. The Lasting Finish 25H foundation lasts well, it really does. I find that it breaks down on my nose by the end of the day (but so does every foundation), and it never looks as flawless as it does just after application. That said, it looks better at the end of a workday than any other foundation I’ve used, and most people aren’t looking closely enough at me to notice anything particularly off. So the 25 hour claim is clearly ridiculous, but I would say that it does have strong lasting power.

This foundation has the classic Rimmel foundation scent, which is sort of citrus-y in an artificial way. I don’t like it much, and I think the idea of heavily fragranced makeup products is just plain bizarre – but I don’t notice the scent after application.

It also leaves a sticky feeling immediately after application, although powder does away with most of it. After an hour or so of wear it’s meshed with my skin enough that it doesn’t feel sticky. But if you’re particularly sensitive to texture, you may not like this – it does feel like there’s something on your face when you touch it with your hands.

rimmel-lasting-finish-pump

On the positive side, I love that it comes with a pump! After two years straight using Revlon Nearly Naked and ColorStay exclusively, I got used to the no-pump struggle. But I must say, it feels damn good to have a pump. I don’t know why that isn’t standard for foundations. I’d gladly pay a few extra bucks per bottle for that particular luxury.

Let’s get to the most important negative: Rimmel’s shade range is painfully limited, and really only encompasses very fair to tan skin tones (and, indeed, this is symptomatic of the beauty industry’s general refusal to create products for women of colour), and that’s a downside that I want to address. I try very hard to mainly support companies who offer a wide colour range of foundations, because in 2015 I think it’s ridiculous and offensive not to. As annoying as it is for me to find foundation in a shade that matches me, I am not in any way trying to equate my experience with the complete erasure of women of colour that so many brands enact. I do slowly see brands bringing out more and more colours in their foundation ranges, but by this point there’s no excuse for the companies that haven’t. I’d like to see Rimmel follow in the footsteps of brands like L’Oréal, NARS, Bobbi Brown, and Lancôme (which is also owned by L’Oréal).

All that said, as someone who can wear a shade from the Lasting Finish 25H foundation range, I’m a fan. I think it leaves a nice finish, lasts well, and offers good coverage. This foundation doesn’t feel like settling just because it’s my colour – it’s my colour and I like it.

The Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation retails for approximately $10.99 CAD at drugstores for 1 fl oz/30mL, putting it at $10.99 per oz or $0.37 per mL.