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 Fast Base Stick Foundation in F1

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.

Shade Range

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.

Packaging

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.

Wear

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?

Overall Thoughts

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.

Months worth of decluttering packed into one convenient post

Posted on May 25, 2018 under Declutter

Yay, getting rid of things! I did a pretty thorough destash before I moved in September, but decluttering is a constant process and I have found even more that needs to leave my collection. I’m going to go ahead and say that in nine months I downsized my lipstick collection by almost 50%, and I am very proud of that. More on that in a bit…

First, a few things that I left behind in Toronto when I was there over Christmas – a relatively small purge which inspired a larger round.

First, the hideously bad Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation. I mean, hideously bad if you’re me and have dry skin and don’t like full coverage. If you like full coverage and have combo or oily skin, you might like this! It really did look like shit on me, though.

I absolutely fell in love with NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation back when I first bought it in November 2016 despite its trickiness. Over time, my skin started rejecting it, and I just found that it never looked flattering. I don’t think my skin got any dryer, but something definitely changed. It’s a shame, because it really was lovely, and I only used about 1/3 of the bottle. At least I bought it with Optimum points – I’d really hate to get rid of a $60 foundation that I spent real money on. My mom has informed me that she has taken the liberty of adopting this foundation and actually enjoys it, so I feel quite happy knowing that someone is getting my Optimum points’ worth.

The Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick is a really pretty rosy highlighter, but I’m trying to cull my highlighter collection. Ultimately it has to go because I rarely use powder highlighter and it’s just a bit more dramatic than I usually go for. It’s still a nice product, though – the Boots house brands do a great job.

ColourPop Ultra Blotted Lips in Split is just not my thing, as it turns out. The lack of staying power, finnicky application, and dryness on the lips are – shockingly – not a winning combination.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Trixie was just never the colour I wanted it to be, and I found the formula too slippy for my tastes. ColourPop is just so frustrating – I’ve found a handful of really great, cost-effective products from them, but there are also a lot of duds amongst the impulse purchases I threw into my cart to meet the $50 free shipping minimum. It’s probably not worth all the wasted money and product for the few good things. Ultimately, I think I have to break up with ColourPop.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Mystery* is a really pretty plum that’s just a bit too patchy to be workable. Let’s be real – I have plenty of lipstick, there’s no use holding onto stuff that’s not quite right when I could be wearing formulas and colours I absolutely love. Out of the six of these lip pencils that Buxom sent me back in 2016, I now only have two – but I wear them constantly. That’s a lot better than having four that I neglect and two that I wear.

Lastly, the Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art 2-in-1 Cream Eyeshadow and Sparkle just never worked for me. I love my Stila and Urban Decay liquid eyeshadows, so those are the ones I’ll continue to use. I meant to do a full review of the Revlon ones, but suffice to say they’re thick and sticky to the point of being downright uncomfortable.

When I got back to Glasgow, I was in a decluttering mood, and over the past few months I’ve been combing through my collection, trying out things that had been gathering dust, and tossing more items into my declutter pile.

Some highlighters had to go! Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter is pretty, but I’ll always prefer the Glossier Haloscope in Quartz. While I do very much enjoy the formula and wow factor of the Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter in Starlight, realistically I’ll get far more wear out of my subtler highlighters. I was enchanted with the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent when I first got it, but I really do prefer cream and liquid highlights these days. This is a very pretty product and it looks practically untouched, so it’ll be nice to pass it on to a friend who will enjoy it more than I do!

I have finally accepted that I don’t wear bronzer, so it’s bye-bye to the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in Light Bronzer. I got this last winter and wore it, like, two times in the summer, and now that we’ve made it through yet another winter and it remains pretty much untouched… it’s time to admit defeat. I find the tone of this a bit too orange for my liking. The Body Shop Honey Bronzer is actually a great tone for me, and if I ever want to dip my toes back into the bronzer world again I’ll repurchase that. But I think for now I will live a bronzer-free life.

The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops were passed on from Aisling, but none of the foundations currently in my stash require adjusting and I don’t tend to purchase foundations that I won’t be able to use straight out of the bottle. Speaking of mismatched shades, I really liked the formula of the PS… My Perfect Colour Concealer in Nude Beige, but it was not, in fact, my perfect colour.

Lots of liquid lipsticks that are out the door today! Time to say goodbye to Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks in Fiore, Aria, Viola, and Beso. The first two are goners because they’re too old (though Aria is still one of the prettiest colours ever – you can kind of see it in this ancient post). Viola was just never that flattering on me, and I prefer NARS Annabella over Stila Beso if we’re talking warm reds. Other casualties were ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Tuesday and Lychee and Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit in Nice to Fuchsia. Tuesday was an obvious candidate for eradication; Lychee was yet another dud in my years-long attempt to find my perfect lilac; Nice to Fuchsia was a hype-fuelled purchase in a Kentucky Walmart that I just never fell in love with.

I have declared this many many times, but I am finally ready to officially and truthfully state that I am over liquid lipsticks. I’m not even going to say “burn my house to the ground if you see me buying another liquid lipstick,” because I don’t need any incentive other than the thought of my lips shrivelling up and dying. Also because arson is illegal so I will not encourage that behaviour. The only liquid lipsticks I have left are ColourPop Dr. M (because it is a very special colour), Stila Chianti (because I haven’t found a bullet lipstick alternative to it yet), and my two Lancôme Matte Shakers* (because they don’t look, feel, or wear like liquid lipsticks).

Other lip products that had to go: Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 017 (featured here – old; not my most flattering colour); Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Velours in Cake Pop (featured here – four years old and not something I wear very often); Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Beetroot (mini – I’m not a huge wearer of deep reds and I prefer something a bit longer-wearing for such a dramatic colour); Maybelline Color Drama Lip Pencil in Keep It Classy (too similar to other neutrals I own, though the formula is lovely).

I also got rid of that Primark glitter lip kit that made me look ill and hurt my lips, for obvious reasons.

That’s thirteen lipsticks gone in this post in addition to the twenty-four I decluttered this past summer. When I did my lipstick inventory in August, I had an overwhelming seventy lipsticks. So I have managed to reduce it by just about bang-on fifty percent, with a total of thirty-seven lipsticks in my collection. It hasn’t been this small in years! I honestly wasn’t even aiming for this; I was just throwing things I didn’t like into a declutter box for months until I suddenly realized I’d halved my collection. I didn’t wear a lot of makeup this past school year because I was only on campus three days a week and I didn’t feel like doing fancy/exciting makeup most of the time anyway. I think that made it a lot easier to get rid of things, because when I was wearing makeup at least 40% less frequently than I had been, I wanted to use things I really, truly loved on the days that I did. That meant chucking a lot of things that I only wore when I remembered about them and keeping the things that I really love. Thirty-seven lipsticks is still more than a human actually needs, but my collection has been hovering at fifty (or more…) since at least 2015. I’m not going to use this declutter as an excuse to buy 15 more lipsticks, but ridding my collection of the dead weight does give me a bit of breathing room to carefully select a new product here and there, as I did when I got a new Marc Jacobs lipstick in Copenhagen this month.

Eye things: Bella Pierre Shimmer Powder in Snowflake is a very pretty sheer white shadow, but do you think I have the patience to mess around with a loose eyeshadow? No. Of course I don’t. Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara frustrated me with its underwhelmingness.

A few truly random things: The Body Shop Sparkler All Over Shimmer, because I have no opportunity in my life to wear body glitter. Superdrug Naturally Radiant 5% Glycolic Acid, because I bought it out of desperation and I prefer an 8% glycolic that doesn’t smell weird. The Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush is certainly not essential to me. I have highlighter brushes that I prefer to bdellium tools 944.

Recently I’ve been reflecting on minimalism and decluttering. I’ve reduced my makeup purchasing significantly in 2018 (like, the only makeup products I’ve purchased – as opposed to received as a gift – are a £4 concealer in March and an £8.99 tube of mascara in April). That said, I don’t think this extremely low level of buying is going to continue on forever. I’ve come a long way in reducing my consumerist tendencies and impulse purchases, but I’m not naïve enough to think that I’m done buying makeup forever. Inevitably, I get rid of a lot of things. And I think that’s okay! A lot of these products are things that I’ve had and used for years, that I’ve managed to get a lot of mileage out of but that aren’t right for me anymore. I don’t think it’s horrific that I didn’t actually finish up my tube of Rimmel lipstick, because I used it frequently for at least four years and I got my $6.99’s worth out of it for sure. And products that I didn’t get a lot of use out of – like ColourPop Tuesday – we can chalk up to learning experiences.

I like to have a diverse makeup collection because it’s fun to try new things and to have options. But I also like to feel like everything I have is being used. So if I’m going to keep buying new makeup, I will also continue to declutter, so that my collection remains within that sweet spot. When my makeup collection first swelled to a size that I found unmanageable, I thought I could perform one big cull and be done with it. But that’s definitely not the case – as long as I’m buying new things, old things will have to leave my collection. I don’t tend to sit down and pick through my collection all at once, either. Instead, I use something, realize I don’t like it much, and throw it into a box. When the box gets full, I do a blog post and let my friends go through everything. This might be the last declutter post on here for some time since I’ve definitely trimmed the fat, but you can bank on seeing another one at some point. That’s just the nature of the beast.

By the way, I’m moving back to Toronto tomorrow, so wish me luck hauling 3 suitcases and a backpack across the world!