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.
Posted on July 10, 2018 under Reviews
Let me tell you something. Sometimes you meet someone on the internet in 2006 and 12 years later you are still friends with them. Sometimes that person keeps a box full of their old castoff makeup that they give to you whenever you visit. Maybe there are other people like that out there with other names, but I am talking about my friend Aisling, who I met online when people still used MSN to communicate and who I have now spent enough time with in real life to consider “a friend” instead of “an internet friend”. (I have been to all of the flats she’s lived in and neither one of us has revealed ourselves to be murderers, so I think it’s real.)
Aisling is a fellow Canadian, though she now lives in Brighton, which is the most adorable seaside city that I love visiting even though it’s literally always grey and rainy when I’m there. I’ve been there four times now and the weather is always TRASH! But that’s okay, because I always get a box full of Aisling’s old makeup to go through. Also, I get to hang out with her, and she introduces me to insane British reality shows. (I firmly maintain that British reality TV is balls to the wall, and since reality TV is my main academic interest I think I’m qualified to make that statement.)
The things Aisling gives me fall into three categories. We have nice stuff that she just didn’t want (and it is this category that allowed me to discover the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes, which I fell in love with and then in turn made my mom fall in love with). We have garbage that I also do not want but that she puts in the box on the off chance that I will liberate it from its fate at the bottom of the trash can. And we have things that she hates but that I want to try anyway. Many times I also end up hating these things. Like, she warned me about Urban Decay All Nighter. I can’t say she didn’t!
One of the things Aisling passed on to me on my last (grey, drizzling) trip to Brighton was the Makeup Revolution Fast Base Stick Foundation. Aisling hated this product and told me that it looked like “crusty garbage” on her face. She very adamantly told me that she wanted me to include that phrase in this blog post, so here I am, reporting this faithfully. I am no stranger to my face looking like crusty garbage because I have dry skin and that’s the way it goes sometimes. I will cut to chase here and say that this foundation does NOT look like crusty garbage on my face, so there is hope for you too.
Like the Conceal and Define Concealer, this foundation launched with eighteen shades, which is pretty good for a drugstore range. (I see that the concealer range is now up to twenty-five shades!) The foundations are labelled with F and a number, with no indication of undertone, although MUR does claim that cool, neutral, and warm undertones are represented in this range. You can see the darkest four shades swatched in this video. As I’ve now left the UK, I can’t comment on which shades are actually sold in-store, although I know for sure that only about half of the concealer shades are stocked in Glasgow Superdrugs.
In terms of the lighter end of the spectrum, the shade F1 is fair with a grey-pink undertone. I do best with neutral or cool yellow tones, so this isn’t a perfect match for me, though it’s passable. The pink doesn’t come across quite so strongly in photographs, and it looks more seamless in my pictures here than in real life.
You can see that The Ordinary and IT Cosmetics bases have more yellow in them compared to MUR F1, which is quite a bit cooler and greyer. I do find it interesting that the shade is so different from C1 in the Conceal and Define Concealer – you’d think there’d be some consistency across base products in the same line! On MUR’s website, they recommend F1 “for fair skin with neutral undertone”, but I think you’d need to be leaning significantly pinker for this to be a perfect match. F2 is apparently “for fair skin with yellow undertone”. Looking at the swatches on Superdrug’s blog, F2 does appear to be a hair darker than F1. I think it would probably match me pretty well, but if you’re very, very fair with neutral to warm undertones, it might be too dark.
This is as far as it rolls up.
This packaging is not exactly my favoured aesthetic; I’m not a huge fan of the rose gold and nude combo, but then, I’m not a huge rose gold person in general. (Sacrilege, I know!) However, it’s certainly cute and seems to situate this foundation a step up from its £5 price point. The stick twists smoothly up and so far everything appears to be sturdy. At £5 I’m really only looking for functional packaging; the fact that it looks relatively cute (if not overly expensive or to my personal taste) is a bonus.
Both the matte plastic tube and the shiny rose gold accents will attract fingerprints, which real beauty bloggers would wipe off prior to photographing but which I leave because I’m a #normal #relatable #real person.
The Fast Base Stick Foundation contains 0.21oz or just under 6 grams of product. That’s comparable to Hourglass (0.25oz), Clinique, and NYX (both also 0.21oz), but considerably smaller than Lancôme (0.31oz), Anastasia/Tarte/Maybelline (0.32oz), and MUFE (0.44oz). However, at £5, the cost is so low that I think the slightly stingy amount of product is allowable.
Application and Finish
The Fast Base Stick Foundation can be applied with a brush on my normal-to-dry skin. I’ve been using the above pictured MUR Face Precision Oval Makeup Brush, also passed on from Aisling. (The brush is double the cost of the foundation, which seems a bit silly.) Dense, Artis-style brushes work the best with a cream formula, in my opinion – flimsy brushes are just not going to blend adequately. However, I get the best finish with a damp sponge. With a brush, I get slightly fuller coverage and a satin finish; with a sponge, I get reduced coverage and a much dewier finish, plus a more natural look overall. It’s nice that I can technically apply this foundation with a brush, but I’ll admit that I’m not likely to.
I generally associate stick foundations with thick, heavy coverage, but that’s not the case here. By my standards this is a nice medium coverage that feels surprisingly lightweight on my face. My only other foray into the world of stick foundations was last summer, with Hourglass, and that one was substantially thicker. (I ended up returning it because I just didn’t envision it as an everyday product for myself, though it did dutifully get me through my friends’ wedding.) I appreciate that this is a slightly less intense option for those of us who prefer a more natural base.
Here’s how much I apply to my face. Excuse the out-of-focus picture; I think you get the idea.
You can definitely get more coverage if you apply more (uh, duh), but I find that over time it will start to look particularly heavy in areas with multiple layers.
And here’s are some before and after shots. In the before shots, all I have on are moisturizer and sunscreen.
I think you can see that this foundation does not, in fact, look like crusty garbage on me. The water from the sponge meshes really well with the foundation to create a lovely dewy finish, though it does dry down a bit throughout the day. The coverage certainly isn’t full, but it substantially evens out the redness on my cheeks and does a decent job of covering my forehead zits.
I tend not to set this foundation with powder, and it wears pretty well over the course of a busy, active day. It looks marginally better at the end of the day if I do use a strategic dusting of loose powder, but I prefer not to use powder since I do have a dryer skin type. As I mentioned, when I’ve tried layering this foundation I don’t think it wears as nicely, but when I apply one layer it looks decent by the end of the day.
Here I am a little after six at night, after applying it around nine in the morning, working a full eight hours, and walking for forty minutes in the hot sun.
You can see that it’s worn off around my nose, which happens with basically every foundation. My nose does look, perhaps, like crusty garbage, but that is because that particular side of my nose has been dry and crusty for three months now. (The other side is unaffected. It’s very weird.) It’s a bit heavy around my chin, but it looks really nice across my cheeks.
My forehead looks incredibly shiny, but I literally took these pictures immediately after walking home from work in thirty degree weather, so that might have something to do with it. If I’d blotted before taking these pictures, my forehead would have looked similar to my cheeks. I guess I just really wanted to put a closeup of my sweaty forehead on the internet, you know?
I still prefer a nice emollient liquid foundation for its versatility: I like something that I can blend out with my fingers if I’m in a rush. But stick foundations have their upsides too, primarily how travel-friendly they are. I certainly did not think that a £5 foundation that was described so harshly to me by my trusted friend would end up satisfying me, but it really did. I’m still a bit iffy on the stick foundation format as a whole, but I find this one to be a good example of its genre.
Posted on March 11, 2018 under Reviews
When The Ordinary first launched their foundations, I was quick to snap up a bottle of the Serum, which I use regularly. The Coverage foundation didn’t interest me too much at the time, because I wasn’t sure if it would work for my skin type and I don’t tend to go for heavy coverage anyway. But back in October, my friend Aisling passed her bottle along to me, since it hadn’t worked out for her. (Lucky me, she bought hers in 1.1N, which is my match in the Serum foundation.)
As with the Serum foundation, the Coverage foundation boasts a variety of undertones but overall caters more heavily to light/medium skin tones. If you’re quite fair you may have luck with The Ordinary’s base products as the lightest shade, 1.0N, is legitimately very light. The darkest shade, 3.3N, is darker than what a lot of drugstore brands offer, but it’s still not terribly deep – and the variety of dark shades is lacking.
I find that my shade, 1.1N, is a bit darker in the Coverage than in the Serum, but both ultimately blend well into my skin. If you have a chance, it’s probably worth it to swatch this product even if you already have a match in the Serum, because the colours aren’t exactly the same.
Here are some comparison swatches:
L-R: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in 1.1N, The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N, Rimmel BB Cream in Very Light, NARS All Day Luminous Weightless in Siberia, Urban Decay All Nighter in 0.5
Do keep in mind that my inner arm is a bit lighter than my face, so the colour discrepancy isn’t always as large as it appears in swatches. This definitely isn’t my most ideal shade match of all time, but as long as I blend it well it’s fine.
The Coverage foundation comes in the same small, no frills bottle as the Serum. The bottles are durable and travel-friendly and the pump is an obvious upside. (I also find this pump smooth and responsive, which wasn’t the case for the Serum.) The black pump does collect grimy-looking foundation splatters, but, well, for under 7 bucks I’m not going to complain. It’s unremarkable packaging, but I’m not sure it would be reasonable to expect much more at this price-point.
Application and Finish
Where my winter skin started to despise the Serum foundation, I found the Coverage foundation pleasantly emollient in comparison. I started using this foundation at the beginning of November, when my skin was at its driest, and throughout the winter it’s sat decently on my skin. I like applying this foundation best with a dense brush, but it works well with a sponge or fingers as well. I don’t recommend a stippling brush or one with floppier bristles – something stiffer blends this thicker foundation much better.
I get a natural finish and a solid medium coverage out of this foundation. “Coverage” seems to be a term used relative to the sheer coverage of the Serum: it definitely has coverage, but it’s not full like UD All Nighter and products of that ilk. (Nor do I want it to be!)
Here are some before and after shots (ft. a convenient breakout):
I apologize for the lighting change – these pictures were taken on a very volatile day weather-wise, so I couldn’t get a consistent light source. I haven’t applied any concealer in these photos (including under my eyes – that’s just the foundation). I built it up a little bit over the blemishes so you can see what type of coverage you can get with some layering. Unfortunately, building it does tend to lead to a bit of a heavy look on those areas. I find that it looks fine across my forehead and cheeks, though:
I don’t normally build this foundation up past one layer, which pretty much does away with that particular issue. I hardly ever put concealer on my zits these days, anyway. Personally I’d rather my skin look like skin, even if that means a bit of discolouration from a blemish is peeking through. That’s preferable to me over the look of a very thick, heavy foundation. That said, if you do like to build your foundation up and if you have a dryer skin type, this may not be ideal for you. It works pretty well the way I usually use it, though.
The first day I tried this foundation I thought it looked really heavy on my skin by the end of the day, but since then I’ve found it wears well. I was in Brighton with limited skincare when I tried it so I assume that’s why – when I use a nice moisturizer underneath, it looks perfectly reasonable by the end of the day. I wouldn’t say it’s miraculous, but it doesn’t underperform in terms of wear time. Here’s how it looked at the end of an eight-hour day last week:
When you look at the bigger picture, it looks totally fine, I think. It looks great on the forehead and cheeks. It’s when you get really nitpicky that you can start to see the wear:
The things I post on the internet…
Yeah, that nose situation is not great. I mean, it’s not disaster-level terrible, and I always assume my nose is going to look the worst by the end of the day. But not every foundation wears off like this – it could look a lot better. Like, I’m not going to not wear it because of this (obviously, since I’ve been regularly wearing it for months now), but I might not wear it if I know I have a really long day.
(By the way, the lipstick in these pictures is Marc Jacobs So Sofia. I have desperately been trying to manifest spring through my clothes and makeup. It’s been around 9 or 10 degrees Celsius over the past few days, so maybe it’s working…)
Other Things to Note
The Coverage foundation contains Titanium Dioxide, which is a physical SPF. In Europe this is advertised as SPF 15; elsewhere SPF is not mentioned on the packaging due to different regulations. However, the titanium dioxide does mean potential for flashback. SPF 15 is also quite low, and not a substitute for an actual facial sunscreen.
Both the Serum and Coverage foundations from The Ordinary are good, but not amazing. They perform adequately and I’m happy to use them both up. But I run into the same issues with both of them: there are certain parts of my face that they tend to cling to unflatteringly (though I can mitigate that with the Coverage foundation if I just don’t build it up), and the wear is okay but not great. I do offer this review of the Coverage foundation with the caveat that I haven’t had the opportunity to test it in warmer weather, when my skin isn’t quite so finnicky. If I were short on cash and really needed foundation, I’d be happy to pick this up again – but once I use it up I’ll probably move on to something else. I’m fine with it, but I’ve used better base products.
The Ordinary Coverage Foundation costs $6.70 CAD for 1 fl oz (30 mL). It can be purchased in Deciem stores as well as online.