Late last week I needed to be out of the house. I needed to escape and just be somewhere that wasn’t home. I know, I’m sure all of you have felt similar urges. Mine hit and so I decided that as I hadn’t run my car in a few weeks it might be a good idea to give it a bit of exercise. So I grabbed my keys and my mask and went to Target.
It has become the place with wide aisles where I can go that isn’t home.
At the time of day I went there were few people and I took great delight in moseying through aisles. I talked myself out of a few on sale seasonal items that I didn’t need and found myself strolling through the makeup. I was unable to talk myself out of picking up a new No. 7 powder. I put it in the drawer of my dressing table and am still going to try using up some other products before opening it, but I know it is there so there is the temptation to just use it. But I am goung to try to resist.
I also couldn’t resist picking up a few wet ‘n wild items.
While the eyeshadow and lipstick will wait until next week, this week I tried the Wet ‘n wild barefocus Tinted hydrator. From the outside, this product looks like it was tailor made for me. An interesting thing though, when I wnt on the wet ‘n wild website, I couldn’t find it. The wet ‘n wild link above will take you to the wet ‘n wild site. Perhaps it will be posted soon. This link will take you to Target and the actual product I am reviewing. I’m not certain why it isn’t listed on the site. Perhaps it is because they are focused on their Valentine’s collection release. (which quite frankly looks really good: The All for Love Bundle for $11.99 looks really nice actually and I may be swinging back by to look into more details. It includes one of their nail polishes and I have to say, I really like the current formula for Wet ‘n Wild nail polishes. But that is for another post.)
Let’s go over the info on the front of the package shall we?
Barefocus tinted hydrator tinted skin veil.
That’s a big check for me. I have been really enjoying tinted moisturizers from QMS to NYX Cosmetics, the tinted moisturizer has become one of the largest sections of my foundation drawer in the past year. I love the lightweight of the product and the lighter coverage, especially when I’m going out less.
Sheer to Medium coverage.
Again hitting me right in my sweet spot. I have a few full coverage products but medium is my happy place.
And then they really got me…
Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane
Those are currently two of my favorite skin care ingredients and here they are together in a sheer to medium tinted moisturizer.
And then I saw the price. Because it is wet ‘n wild, you know it is going to be relatively economical and sure enough it was being offered for $4.99. It is also clean, cruelty free and vegan. So of course, it came home with me.
I wore it as my foundation product all week and quite frankly I loved it. I wouldn’t go swapping out my regular moisturizer for it, but it didn’t dry out my skin and I am now entering the dry skin phase of my year, so I appreciated that.
When dispensed on the hand it looks exactly as you would expect a creamy foundation to look. I have to say I was cautious as I took a sniff. A while back I picked up the PhotoFocus Foundation from wet ‘n wild and although it performs beautifully the fresh paint smell of it tends to give me a headache so I don’t reach for it as much as I probably should.
I am very pleased to say that this tinted moisturizer does not have that scent. It has the light smell of foundation when you sniff the top of the tube but once dispensed it has almost no scent at all, for which I am very grateful.
Because it is a tinted moisturizer I did make a careful choice with my primer this week. Tinted moisturizers are great if you want a barely there look, however if you have large pores or blemishes, I suggest a sturdy pore filling primer to go under them.
This week I went with Urban Decay’s Optical Illusion primer and it worked like a dream. It blurred out my blemishes and pores and the tinted moisturizer did the rest. It was a winning combo. Quite frankly other than remembering to use a primer (which I would have done anyway because I love primers) there were no issues with this tinted moisturizer.
I don’t know how much benefit the hyaluronic acid and squalane were but I like thinking of them in the mix. And as the barefocus tinted hydrator from wet ‘n wild performed beautifully (and I used my regular skincare underneath) I am willing to just accept whatever extra kick they provided and keep using the product. The barefocus tinted hydrator was definitely a win for me. Since I couldn’t find it on the wet ‘n wild site, I will be sending an e-mail to them today to see if i can find out more information. I am hoping that they became distracted with Valentines day prep that they just haven’t managed to get this barefocus up on the site yet. I know that doesn’t sound all that plausible, but one can hope. I really like the formula of this and am really hoping that it isn’t discontinued or otherwise taken off the shelves. I’ll let you know if I find out anything. For now, I’m just going to poke around their Valentine’s day collection and see what I want to add to my collection.
Okay, so it is officially a tinted hydrator from tarte and not an actual foundation. This week the Tarte Maracuja Tinted Hydrator served as my foundation product. Please ignore the nails. If I wear nail polish too long they get this pinkish look to them. So when they get the look, I take off the polish and let them breath until the pink is gone I also paper them with cuticle oils and other nice things but right now my nails are in the ‘just breathe’ stage of post polish removal.
In case you are wondering about the tiny size, let me explain. This is one of IPSY’s $3 samples that you can add on to your Glam Bag each month. I actually chose this one and the tart Shape Tape Concealer that I tried a few Make Up Bags ago from the IPSY ad ons. I know it is a small sample, but it has lasted the entire week.
The reason I picked up these samples is quite simple. For a long time tarte was one of my go-to makeup brands. I occasionally branched out for Urban Decay and Mac but most of my makeup was tarte. I still use my small tarte travel palette any time I travel as I absolutely love the formula, but at this point I have only one small blush and the base tape primer in my collection left from my tarte products. Everything else I used up.
And then I started trying new products from other brands.
When I saw the Shape Tape Concealer sample and realized how long it had been since I tried tarte face products I snapped it up along with the Maracuja Tinted Hydrator. I found the concealer creased on me more than I remembered, which is probably because I have more creases. It was excellent everywhere but on my eyes and I used it up. While I had used tarte foundation before I had never used this specific product. so I came to it fresh and hoped it performed as well as their face products usually do for me.
According to tarte the Maracuja Tinted Hydrator…
delivers 12-hr hydration & wear
naturally radiant finish that looks & feels like skin
skin-loving formula delivers light-buildable coverage
helps minimize appearance of imperfections
All of those things are things I look for in a tinted moisturizer. And I have to say, it delivered on all fronts. The product went on smoothly and blended in easily. my skin drank it in and as this is the driest time of the year for my skin, I appreciated the extra moisture. It did look and feel like a better version of my skin and it lasted all day with no problems.
I found one layer of coverage was fine for me. I had no real desire to build it up as one application covered all of my skin issues beautifully. Plus as it was such a small sample I wanted as many days as possible to test it out.
I found out that it works okay on the skin without a primer beneath it. It doesn’t give me as much pore blurring as I would like. Since I love primers this wasn’t an issue. The issue came with which primers I chose. In my makeup bag this week I had a hydrating primer. While the hydrating primer might work well with a more drying foundation, it wasn’t the best with the tarte tinted moisturizer. It went on well in the morning but I was always super shiny by mid day when I used it.
When I switched to the e.l.f. poreless putty primer to see if it was the foundation or the primer that was causing the shine, it was definitely the primer and not the foundation. Because this is a tinted moisturizer and provides moisture to the skin, I needed to stay away from hydrating primers when i used it. A pore minimizing primer worked beautifully and really made the tarte tinted hydrator work so much better.
While nice on it’s own, the right primer just took this product up a notch. I very much enjoyed using this product this week and because I played around with the sample I now feel confident in ordering a full sized version of this. This shade actually worked well for me, so I will have to check to see what the shade actually is. I couldn’t find it on the tube but it should be recorded in my IPSY orders. Spending the $3 on the sample means I know my $29 won’t be wasted when I pick up the full size. It’s one of the reason I love samples. However, sadly this sample has given it’s very last drop of product in it time serving in this week’s makeup bag. And so I will have to send it on it’s way to the empties bin. But I definitely see a full size of the Tarte Maracuja Tinted Hydrator in my future.
This week for my Foundation product I used the Marcelle CC Cream that came in my Birchbox. I have used a few Marcelle products before and they have always worked really nicely for me. The two products I am most familiar with are their mascara and a moisturizer. I remember using them both and really enjoying them. The moisturizer was a sample and I remember thinking that I needed to try a full size. Then of course, I didn’t write the name down so I completely forgot about it. And now I can’t remember what I liked about it.
Sometimes, my memory is a sieve.
Anyway, to the CC Cream!
According to the product page…
A true complexion illuminator with light-reflecting gold pigments, the CC Cream Golden Glow boosts radiance instantly and gives your skin a multitude of skin care benefits, all in one product!
Offers the same benefits as the BB Cream, with more long-term skin care benefits and nourishing ingredients.Provides a healthy-glow effect with a hint of illumination, Corrects and prevents the appearance of dark spots and imperfections, Offers complete coverage, Reduces fine lines and wrinkles, Favours and improves skin elasticity, + SPF 35 Broad Spectrum, Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Paraben-free, oil-free and tested under dermatological control.
Well now, doesn’t that just sound lovely?
So, well informed I added it to my makeup bag, prepared to use it as my foundation product this week. Which I did.
At first I will admit, I was a little leery of the color. It looked as though it was going to be a little too dark for me. It says tinted cream on the tube but there is no shade color listed. Not even a light, medium or dark, so I don’t know if they just have one color and that’s it.
So with nervous fingers I dabbed it on my skin and then used my foundation brush (999 Master Blender) to blend it in. You know what? The color was fantastic. It blended into my skin well without looking as dark as I feared. It was a major relief. Especially since I had several video calls this week. On days when it is just me and the computer I am willing to bend on colors since no one will see me. This was not the week for that.
The CC Cream is thicker than I expected it to be and I really felt it when I applied it. A lot of the weight sort of disappeared once it was applied, but I always felt like I was wearing something. It is not super heavy, it is still something I would classify as lightweight, but it is not a product that feels like it disappears once it is on. I never forgot that I was actually wearing makeup. And yes, I have several foundations that do feel as though I am wearing nothing at all despite how they look on the skin.
The description claims full coverage and I am not entirely certain that is true. It certainly felt as though it was more coverage than I am accustomed to wearing, but I don’t think it actually achieves a level of full coverage. I don’t object to full coverage, but on a daily basis, it isn’t really my thing. This was more coverage than I usually wear, but not quite at the full coverage level. If you are used to full coverage products, this might not qualify.
The product is called Golden Glow and yes there is a bit of a glow to the product. It is golden in tone, which suits my skin tone, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the glow-y part. You can judge for yourself in the photos, but it made me feel like I looked a little greasy. It doesn’t actually look greasy in the photo, I’ll grant you that, but in person it was very shiny. And very golden. I know some people are all about the glow. I am just not one of them. I did apply a little matte powder to the top of it and the glow faded and I looked less shiny. And felt less inclined to sing a theme song from a James Bond movie. I will admit to humming it off and on throughout the week though.
End result, it is a glow, it is golden and it is also a glow that can be tamped down with relative ease if you so desire.
The CC Cream did correct any red spots and dark spots on my face really well. It was lovely in that aspect and I was quite pleased in the morning when I applied it. However, as the day wore on, I noticed it starting to sink into the lines around my eyes a bit more than I prefer. At the moment I am not sleeping terribly well (chronic insomnia strikes again) so I have more bags under my eyes than usual, but after noon, the CC Cream tended to emphasize them. My baby doll came into my office after the workday was done yesterday and his first comment was “wow you look tired.” Which is generally not how I like to be greeted. It didn’t help that when I passed a mirror and glanced into it, I thought I looked tired.
Other than the sinking into lines, the product performed well. The glow that I was worried about peeked through about mid-day and I dusted it off with a pat of powder, but otherwise it was fine. It is just the emphasizing of the under eye bags I couldn’t get past.
The tube I have is a trial size from a Birchbox. The tube wasn’t al the way full when it arrived. I’d say over all it was only about half full. Even though I am doing this post a little early in the week, I am getting pretty low on product. I expect that by the end of the week the tube will be empty, or nearly so. I will continue using it for the rest of the week and possibly playing around with application to see if I can eliminate the under eye emphasis, but I think that once this CC Cream runs out, I will not be adding it to my future purchases list. I will still repurchase their mascara and I will see if I can hunt down the moisturizer, but no matter what the possible skin care benefits of this CC Golden Glow Cream, I will not be purchasing a full size.
Have you ever forgotten how good a product was until you dug it out of the drawer and gave it another shot? I know I did a full review of the Ulta brand Youthful Glow Foundation Serum Drops a while back but I think this one deserves a revisit. I think it was one of the first foundations I tested out in the initial phases of my foundation trials. I liked it then, but then there was an ocean of foundation products used between. I remembered I liked it and added it into my foundation round up when I was planning my holiday/ black Friday shopping.
To be honest, I forgot about it until I pulled out the foundations for the review. I remembered I liked it and I remembered I didn’t like the fact that the screw top lid became rather messy rather quickly but that was about all.
This week I pulled it back from the depths of the drawer and decided to see if my feelings had changed any. Also I wanted to see if it was still good. I thought I might have accidentally left the cap unscrewed and wasn’t sure if it dried out. It turns out it was just a shadow and the product is fine.
The inside screw cap is just as messy as I remembered and needs to be wiped down every so often so that the product closes tightly. No matter how carefully I pulled the dropper out, some product got onto the lid. The enclosure is tight so the product is safe from air, but it does mean a bit of a mess. The mess is only on the bottle though as I haven’t had any product splash out onto the sink (or me) when i open it.
This Foundation needs to be shaken vigorously before being used, however since it is shaped like a mini-martini shaker shaking it when picking it up is almost instinctual.
Not that I shake my martinis. It tends to change the flavor of the gin slightly in ways I don’t care for so I always stir. I also always make a face at James Bond movies when he requests a shake. My baby doll says I occasionally make a sound at the screen in disapproval as well. I don’t think I do, but I’ll admit I might. I take a good martini seriously.
But you should shake this foundation shaker as though it contained a vodka based cocktail. Vigorously and without mercy.
It is an oil free product and I had no issues with it clogging my pores or causing breakouts. (It is also paraben free). The consistency is on the thinner side. I find this really nice as it is easy to get a nice thin layer of product over the skin on low makeup days. It is also able to be built up. I tend not to go above medium coverage and I never had a problem with the coverage level. Those who like more full coverage products may be a bit disappointed. Because of it’s thin consistency, if you have large pores or issues with texture, you are going to need a pore filling primer underneath. It just flows over the skin like a second skin and while it is a light product to wear, it also means it shows everything underneath (texture wise, dark/red spots it covers beautifully). So choose your primer wisely.
When I apply, I put the foundation on my hand, dab it on to my face with my finger, making sure to hit any strategic blemishes or dark spots first so they are certain to get covered as I blend the product out. Because it is somewhat thin, you need to work pretty quickly to blend it out. It’s not a race, but you don’t want to dawdle either. I used my usual foundation brush (999 Master Blender from Bdellium tools) and found it didn’t leave streaks in the product.
I then went in with my Huda Beauty Makeup sponge (I really like that one flat edge) and made sure all of the fiddly bits of my face were covered. It feels absolutely weightless on the skin and has a beautiful finish that is matte without being flat and dull.
There was a slight shininess in the t-zone after a full day of work, but that was my only issue. And that issue was taken care of with a quick pat from the No 7 compact. (more pan is showing on that and I can feel it’s days are numbered however when I was looking for it’s replacement I found out that it is now on sale usually $12.99 it is now $9.74. Plus if you sign up for their newsletter you can get 20% off so if you are looking for pressed powder you might want to look into the No. 7 perfect light pressed powder. I use the shade medium in case you were curious.).
While not exactly a drug store product, the Ulta Youthful Glow Foundation is reasonably priced. Usually it is $18 but as I am writing it this foundation is on sale at Ulta for $12. (I have no association with Ulta, I am just a customer and that sale was one I found poking around their site) Personally I think it is worth keeping around and it is a product I will replace once I finish. I will also take care not to let it get buried in the depths of the drawer again.
Buckle up my darlings, because this is a pretty long one as you might have guessed from the above photo.
I know product round ups like this are usually done at the end of the year, but I have been testing foundations for about a year and a half now and I decided that with both the Singles Sales (November 11th) and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales all kicking up a review might not be a bad thing. Not only for you, but for me as well.
While I still have foundations that I want to try out, working through some of my existing products doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I have to say, there were some I forgot about until I pulled them out of the drawer. So let’s do a quick rundown of foundations past. The links will take you to the more in depth reviews of each product. As there are around twenty products I’m covering I just wanted to keep it to the basics (sort of a foundation review cheat sheet). And yes there are some I left out. The ones on this list are the ones I liked enough to keep around. Because I was trying so many, if I didn’t like the product and knew I wasn’t going to use it, I passed it along immediately rather than keep it around so someone else could get a use out of it. These are the products I kept around.
The first one I have to mention is the Pretty Vulgar Cool AF Lava Water Foundation. Mostly because the shape of the bottle insures it will remain out on my dressing table. Which is not a hardship. It is a pretty bottle. I tried putting it in the drawer and the little birdie bent. I really liked this foundation. It was lightweight and wore well throughout the day. When using it, I would go for a water based primer rather than a silicon based one as it plays better with the water based ones.
So having covered the one foundation that is constantly out on the dressing table, let’s move into some of the drug store foundations that made the top of my list.
The Pacifica Alight Oil Free Anti Shine Clean Foundation was one of my earlier foundation trials and to be honest I forgot it was in my drawer even though I reached for it a lot in the spring. It is too tall to stand upright and rolled right to the back and hid. I may have to figure out a way to keep it out. I added it to my makeup bag this week and I have to say I also forgot how much I liked it. It was one of the better drugstore foundations. In fact it was in the top three of the drug store category. It had about a ten hour life span on it so it isn’t the best for transitioning from office to night out but for a consistent work day drugstore foundation it is in my top three.
To continue with the drugstore products, we’ll go to the Wet ‘n Wild Photofocus. This is one of those that got a lot of publicity and it is easy to see why. It does perform really well and it is one of the least expensive products I tried. The applicator is a cheap plastic wand so I would recommend either replacing it with a pump top (you can generally pick them up in the dollar store, or at least there were some there on my last visit to the dollar store. If not they can be relatively easily ordered on line) or dabbing it on your hand. Trying to use the plastic wand on the face was just a mess, at least for me. The biggest issue for me was the paint smell of the product. It is strong, really strong. I did notice however that If I used the Wet ‘n Wild foundation consistently then throughout the week the paint smell sort of aired out. If I let it sit capped for a week, the scent returned as strong as ever. Scent and wand aside, it is a good affordable product.
The Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless and the Catrice HD Liquid coverage both rank slightly higher than the Wet ‘n Wild on my personal foundation meter. I enjoyed using both and really liked the price of these products. They are good products and don’t break the bank. I also had no issues getting them to work with any of the primers I used this past year. The Maybelline Fit me was slightly better than the Catrice because occasionally I could wear it without a primer if I wanted. The instance was rare but the Maybelline looked pretty good without a primer. Better with of course, at least with my skin. My only issue with it was the fact that is was an open bottle without a dropper or pump. I am actually looking to find a pump that fits the bottle. If it does I will be a happy camper. The issue with the open top is user error to be honest. I just dispense more product than I need if I have to pour.
The NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil was fantastic to use when I wanted a very light make up day. It covered up redness and dark spots but felt light against the skin and blended really well. It was one of the best light day drug store foundation products I tried and it is one that I will consistently repurchase. It looked really good with a primer but okay without.
And then we get to E.L.F. I’m going to be honest, E.l.f. took the drugstore/affordable foundation category for me. While the tinted moisturizer I adored was discontinued and shall be mentioned no more, this left me with two e.l.f. foundations. The ELF acne Fighting Foundation and the Elf Flawless Finish Foundation. The acne fighting foundation is one that I could happily reach for every day. I could very easily see myself picking up two shades and using it year round. In fact since I am already putting in an order with elf for the holidays (I have several 12-13 year old girls on my list who are just getting into makeup so I’m putting together a little bag for each and let me tell you each of those bags is getting one of those Bite Sized Eyeshadow Palettes) I will probably be picking up a backup of the elf Acne fighting foundation.
This is not to say the flawless finish foundation is not fantastic. It is more of a conference call, speaking in public, out to dinner sort of foundation, for me anyway. I would happily reach for it then. The acne fighting foundation is just an everyday sort of product that I know I’ll go through fast.
While all of these products are ones I will be using down to the last drop and all are ones I have no problem repurchasing, for those interested in an absolute ranking, here we go. The two Elf foundations share the number one spot. I love them both and will keep both around. I just wear them for different reasons and can’t really decide between them. NYX Bare With me takes the number two spot with Pacifica coming in a very close third. Maybelline fit me comes in fourth with the Catrice HD Liquid coverage a close fifth and Wet ‘n Wild hitting at number six.
While I didn’t include it in the drug store foundations I also tried a foundation from the Ulta Brand. I used the Ulta Beauty Youthful Glow Foundation Serum Drops. It is one of those foundations you really have to remember to shake. The lid got a little messy on me. It is the curse of the screw top lid. I will say the messy didn’t stop me from using it. I would definitely repurchase this foundation. And in all fairness, since I put this in a separate category (at least mentally) from the drug store foundations, I did try out a Sephora foundation. As you can see it is no longer in my foundation drawer. I didn’t use it up. After a week, I passed it on to someone else because I knew I wasn’t going to be reaching for it. Which sort of says enough about that one.
From the drug store foundations we are going to move into the stick foundation category. There are three that I tried out and quite frankly I would purchase all three repeatedly. The Anastasia Beverly Hills stick foundation requires a little bit of warming up before it blends into the skin so what I tended to do was open it and turn it upside down, placing the product against the back of my hand for a moment while wrapping my other hand around the tube. After a few seconds it was warm enough to apply well by brushing my foundation brush across the top of the product. I ended up with a circle of foundation dotted onto my hand, but it wasn’t a lot of wasted product. And it really only took a few seconds. After that it blended beautifully into my skin. The shade I picked up is more for summer wear for me so it will be set aside and used up once my tan returns.
The Nars Velvet Matte stick is a winter shade for me so I am pleased to see it emerge from the drawer. I have enough product left in the tube that it can easily be used up this winter. It is still a little too light for me right now but soon…soooooon it will be called into use. It is a fantastic formula. It is creamy enough that I don’t have to warm it up and it stayed in place all day. I know that shouldn’t surprise me as Nars is just a fantastic brand, but this is one of my favorite products from them. To be honest, I actually like the formula of this better than the liquid foundations I’ve used in the past.
The Kristofer Buckle Triplicity stick foundation was the top of the top for me in this category. It melted beautifully into the skin with a fantastic matte finish that wasn’t too cakey or heavy. It was light and looked beautiful on the skin. This year when I found myself between foundation trials I often found myself reaching for this to fill the gap. As a consequence I am actually running quite low on this product and will need to reorder. I picked this up in one of the Kristofer Buckle Vanity kits. I had already fallen in love with their Cashmere slip lipstick and one of the vanity kits came with a lipstick, mascara, powder and this foundation stick. I think the entire kit was $28 and I thought it a great way to test out the brand. I also thought the products would be travel sized but it turned out they were all full sized products so it was a fantastic deal. I enjoyed all the products, but this foundation stick is tops.
The Kosas Tinted Face oil was the only oil foundation that I tried…well…ever actually. So I have no other oil based foundation products to compare it to. However it is a really good foundation. As it is oil thee is a bit of a shine to it, but the shine is easily powdered away. The oil is absolutely weightless and the foundation stays in place all day. The only issue I had with it was one of texture. Because it is an oil product it sort of flows onto the skin and takes up the shape of the skin below. It is perfect for a no make up look, but not so great if you have large pores or texture. With a pore filling primer underneath this worked fantastically well and was quite frankly one of my top products. And yes that means it beat out both the Kristofer Buckle and E.L.F. While it does need a primer underneath, choose your primer wisely. Oil and water don’t mix so chose a silicon based primer and make sure it is a pore filling one to give yourself the smoothest canvas possible.
I liked both of them when I used them, and I still like them enough that I have no issues continuing to use them until they are gone. They were among two of my earliest foundations to test out and quite frankly several of the ones that came after them were better. That is just the nature of the trials. It doesn’t make them bad, because nothing that actually made this list is bad. It just means they are on the bottom of the best I’ve tried.
With Wander beauty the issue is the doe foot applicator. While I appreciate that it is in the package tightly every time I pull the applicator out, the product sprays out and makes a mess. That, more than the product is why I rank it so low on this list. It falls down on packaging and not product. The product itself is still fantastic, I just don’t like the mess and get annoyed by it. If the packaging were different, this would be a different story, because it is a good product.
The Too Faced is just more dewy than I like. It is not over the top dewy but it is dewy enough that when I use it I feel the need to apply more powder to balance out the dewy. So in this case it is more of personal choice in finish. It is a good product, I am just not a dewy person.
The Ciate Extraordinary Foundation was a new one for me this year as well, and I have to say I liked the foundation. Actually this seemed to be the year of Ciate. Every time I turned around Subscription boxes were sending new Ciate products my way. I think I am one bronzer away from having an entire face of Ciate London products. Their blush is one of my favorite blush formulas actually while their primer was only so so. The foundation I would purchase again. It was a good solid foundation that didn’t look cakey or peel up around the nose and mouth. It wasn’t heavy on the skin either which I always consider a plus.
There were two Becca Foundations in my trials recently; the Becca Ultimate Coverage 24 Hr. Foundation and the Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation. I would buy the Becca Luminous Perfecting Foundation again in a heartbeat. I like the way it looked and I liked that it was buildable. I would probably not buy the Ultimate coverage foundation because it is ultimate coverage no matter how you apply it. I am just not an ultimate coverage kind of person. My wheelhouse is medium coverage. There are occasions where full coverage is necessary and I have no problems using this for full coverage necessities, but to be honest, those sort of events are few and far between right now. So for me the Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation is a Becca hit for me, but the Ultimate Coverage is a pass because I m just not going to enough events to justify repurchasing it.
Despite claiming to be full coverage I found the Yensa color + face Skin on Skin BC Foundation Full coverage to be a light medium coverage product. Which for me is well in my wheelhouse. It is part of their Super 8 line and I have to say I have been having really good luck with that line. I’ve repurchased the primer from that line at least twice and I have to force myself not to use the Yensa lip oil every day and to try reaching for other products. It is an absolutely fantastic lip oil. But we are not discussing lips (they just sort of sneak in when I’m not looking), so back to the foundation.
For extremely light weight products the Hey Honey Trick and Treat cc2 Active Moisturizing cream with Honey and Propolis and Purlisse Perfect Glow BB Cream Spf 30 are my go to products. Both I tried out in sample sized form. The Purlisse Perfect Glow I finished and now have a full sized in my dressing table. Resisting opening it until I use up a few more products has been quite difficult. I still have a week or two left in the Hey Honey trial sized tube but once it is gone a full sized replacement will definitely be ordered.
And finally, we come to the most expensive foundation on the list. I tried this in a sample packet. Koh Gen Do lets you order the samples in ranges so that you can determine your shade. I read so many raves about this and saw so many fantastic reviews that I had to try it. As it is a $77 foundation it is a little pricy so the samples were also a cost effective way to test it. After all, I didn’t want to pay $77 and be stuck with a product I hated or that was the wrong shade. And I will also confess that I was secretly hoping I hated it. Yes, I know there are much more expensive foundations out there, but the foundations I usually purchase tend to be in the $35-40 range. I did not want to fall in love with a more expensive foundation.
But I did.
The Koh Gen Do Aqua foundation was fantastic. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The only reason that I did not purchase it immediately is because I wanted to clear out some space in my foundation drawer before I did. It is one of those products where I know once I purchase the bottle I am going to use the bottle until it is gone and simply not reach for other products. Part of that is the cost. I would not want to purchase it and then let it go to waste. I also wouldn’t want other products to go to waste while I was using it. So what I am doing is watching the sales to see when the foundation does go on sale so I can plan when I want to purchase it. If you are interested I would highly recommend picking up one of their sample packets. They come in bundles with two packets for each shade in that range (Light, Medium, etc) and there is some overlap. The shade that worked best for me was the darkest shade of light which is also the lightest shade of medium. I ordered both packs to make certain (I think the sample packs are $6-8). I got two uses out of each packet. I kept a little jar with the product so that I could just squeeze the packet into the jar. Because it is a thin enough formula that was the best way not to make a mess (and to not waste product). It also let me be confident in ordering my shade.
So after a year and a half of testing foundations, these are the products that made the top of the list. They were worth remembering to me at least. While I did make some attempt at ranking them, to be fair all of them are ones I would use again, minor annoyances aside. Anything I wouldn’t use again has long since been escorted out of my dressing table. So even ‘bad’ on this list is still pretty darn good. I know I covered a lot of products her in very little detail, but the links with the products will take you to my full review of each of the products if you want more information. I figured this was already going to be a long post without adding the nitty gritty details to it, but I also figured a foundations list might be helpful for anyone looking to stock up during all of the lovely sales that are just around the corner.
This week’s foundation came from Becca. It is the Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation. This is hardly the first Becca Foundation I’ve tried so if you are thinking it is familiar, you may be thinking of the Becca Foundation I reviewed in the spring. My last one was the Ultimate Coverage 24 Hr. Foundation. This is a different foundation and it was a very different experience. But first let’s look at what this particular foundation claims to do.
A water-infused liquid foundation that delivers buildable coverage while blurring imperfections.
Yes, that is the entire description. Pretty simple description, huh?
This foundation retails for $44 and comes with a dropper dispenser rather than a pump or a wand. Personally the pump is my preference but the dropper worked well. As per usual I put the product on the back of my hand. Dabbed little dots on my face and used my 999 Master Blender perfecting brush. I know I talk a lot about it, but I really do love that brush. I think part of it is really that it has a short handle I can easily grasp for more control. But that is another story. It is a $16 brush and if you are interested the link will take you to it.
The foundation blended in well with my skin, despite the slightly lighter color. It covered all of my red spots, my dark spots, my sun spots and scars.
It did not do so well on texture. The areas where my pores are larger looked larger. I had no major bumps this week, but I’m not so sure it would be too friendly with them. The issue is that it is very light weight and it is buildable. Those are both benefits and drawbacks with texture. It is also water based. I’ve noticed that water based foundations just tend to mold themselves to the landscape of the face more.
All that basically boils down to is that this is a foundation that needs a primer underneath. With the primer underneath creating a smooth base, it was a really good foundation. This foundation made my skin look fantastic this week. I was quite pleased. Once on the face it felt like nothing. It was as weightless as it claims. It was a little on the light side for my current tone, but it is edging into the appropriate shade. In a few weeks it will be a perfect match for me. (It is the shade Porcelain in case you are wondering)
It is a medium coverage foundation. At least the way I apply it. I’m sure you could build it up to full coverage, but I don’t tend to go for full coverage that often. To be honest, I think that is why I like this more than the Becca Ultimate Coverage 24 hour foundation. That one is something I would keep for when I need to be on stage at a conference or something and only full coverage will do. For a full coverage foundation it is light weight, but you still know it is there.
This one, the Aqua luminous perfecting foundation, simply felt like absolutely nothing while providing excellent coverage. I like the fact that it is buildable for days where I have more blemishes to cover, but I also like that I can spread it out for a light-medium coverage.
This foundation will not be light coverage no matter how much you sheer it out. It will be at best light medium. Which again, suits me well. While I normally prefer matte foundations, I have to say the luminous part of this foundation didn’t bother me.
It is only luminous to have a soft glow and not a dewy look. I think it’s what you’d call a soft focus. It provided a little bit of depth to the skin and I was very happy with it. I needed to powder off the t-zone around noon, but just a quick pat and I was good. There was no peeling or wearing away around the mouth or nose either. It looked pretty much the same at the end of the day as it did at the start (with a little mid afternoon dust off with the compact). This is definitely a foundation I will be repurchasing.
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I’ll admit, the Kosas Tinted Face Oil is one of those foundations that I have been eyeing for a while. I was actually on the verge of ordering it when it came in my BoxyCharm Premium. It made me very happy to see. I think I was so attracted to this product because it was a face oil which is a type of foundation formula I haven’t played around with, and it is one of those clean beauty brands that people rave over.
So of course I wanted to give it a try.
According to the product page it is…
Comfy makeup, active skincare. A clean, light-coverage skin tint and nourishing skin elixir with a velvety finish that still looks like your skin — just way more even, healthy and balanced.
In case you are wondering, the shade I am using is the 3.5 described as fair-light with neutral undertones. There are three shades lighter than me on the scale and 12 darker. The tone suits my skin color now, which means I could probably use it both in the summer and most of the winter and then just adjust powders and bronzer to fit the shade to my skin. The fact that I could probably get away with keeping only one shade of this foundation in my dressing table is something I find really appealing.
So the first thing you have to do with this foundation is give it a shake. While there are many foundations that suggest you shake them before using this is the first I’ve ever used that sounded like a can of spray paint when I shook it. It was suprizing, but at least I know that it was in fact mixed. I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that it is n oil based product.
As you can tell from the picture of the product on my hand, it is a thinner product (hello, oil) so it does tend to drip when put on the hand. For me I always put the product on my hand and then put it on my face. If I go straight to my face then there is the tendency to apply too much, at least or me. I’d rather wipe the excess product off of my hand than deal with it on my face. Normally I then dot the product on and use my favorite foundation brush (the 999 master blender) to blend it in. then I go back with a make up sponge to reach the corners the brush might have missed.
This time because of the consistency, I added stripes to my face and then blended with my brush. It blended in like a dream. Or like oil I suppose. Which shouldn’t really surprise me. I used my brush but there were no streaks of product or missing bits that required the use of the makeup sponge. It was really quick and easy to apply and blend.
The first time I used it, I used it without a primer. As it is an oil, it did nothing in the way of pore filling. It melded with my skin like an oil would. While it covered blemishes and dark spots, it did nothing for my pores. When I added a primer this issue was immediately corrected and there were no issues with the way the product looked over a primer. I really liked the way it looked actually.
My big issue is that it is a slight bit on the shiny side. There is after all only so much mattifying an oil can do. I know there are those out there that love the dewy look. I am not one of them. I have watched a number of videos where people go for that look and my final thoughts are always, ‘Yeah, you need to powder that down.’
I know it is a look, just like adding a stripe of highlighter down the center of the nose and on the tip is a look. But the highlighter thing just makes my brain sing Christmas carols about Rudolph despite there being no red and the dewy look makes me want to hand you powder.
So having said that, even without powder, the slight shine isn’t a dewy look. It is just a slight shine. If you are matte inclined, use powder (although not a lot, very little will work) and keep your compact handy for the afternoon. If you are anything like me, you will need to touch up the t-zone a bit. Again, this foundation needs very little powder to knock off the slight shine. Despite the shine, it oddly enough isn’t greasy looking. There were a couple of days where I didn’t touch up mid-day and it was fine. A little shiny in the t-zone but not unbearably so, even for me.
And the Kosas Tinted Face Oil wore beautifully. There were no spots where the foundation wore off, crinkled, wrinkled or settled into lines. It stayed exactly where it was applied and it stayed all day. And it did live up to its very simple description. It had a very natural finish to it. I really enjoyed wearing this foundation this week. I will definitely be keeping it around and more than likely picking a fresh bottle up once this one is empty. If anything else it makes me want to pick up the Alyaka Sampler Kit for the brand even more. Just remember to shake well before opening, and check your t-zone around noon.
As you may remember last week I used the e.l.f. Tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 as my foundation product. While I adored using it, I had not yet gotten around to reviewing it. As the level of the product was dropping low I decided to try and use it up and give a review.
As you might expect from the fact that I managed to use up almost an entire container, I really liked it. Sadly when I went looking for the links so that when reading the post, you could click on the link and find more official information on the product, I found it had been discontinued.
There was great sadness.
And an excuse to run out to the drug store in search of more information and a comparable e.l.f. replacement.
The quick run turned into a bit of a quest as recent sales and restocking concerns left various makeup aisles looking like they were pillaged.
Seriously, it looked like makeup loving pirates boarded my local CVS and left no one behind to tell the tale.
My quest was finally successful at Target. Apparently, the Makeup Pirates were either distracted by the nearby Ulta or Target has cannons hidden in the giant red ball decorations out front. Here I managed to secure the e.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation. In the shade Buff in case you were wondering.
I will say I have tried the Flawless Finish Foundation earlier in the year and loved it (it is really an underrated fantastic foundation), but I wanted something a little lighter, almost on the scale of the tinted moisturizer, especially since they are not making it any more.
So product secured, let’s dive in.
Acne Fighting Foundation is full coverage and infused with salicylic acid, witch-hazel, camphor, tea tree, and soothing aloe that help fight blemishes. This lightweight formula provides coverage to help even skin tone and reduces acne redness while working to help clear your skin.
My skin has a little redness, but at the moment I don’t have much in the way of acne. Surprisingly I’ve managed to clear most everything away at the moment. Also, as I have the Flawless Finish Foundation as well as a little bit of the Tinted Moisturizer I decided to do a bit of comparison between the three products. As a warning, the Flawless foundation is way too light on me at the moment so it looks kind of strange. Especially as it is just the foundation with nothing over it to make even an attempt at blending it in.
First, on its own, the e.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation is a really good foundation. If provided good coverage, stayed in place all day without settling into fine lines and peeling up around the corners of my nose and mouth. I would call it medium coverage rather than full coverage. It was the kind of foundation that just made my skin look really good instead of making it look like I was wearing nice foundation. It is not a no makeup look, but it leans towards a more natural look than I generally associate with full coverage products.
What is kind of fun is that when compared to the other two products it falls exactly in the middle of them, coverage wise. All three feel super lightweight against the skin and are very wearable. The tinted moisturizer is the kind of product that you apply when you just want to help your skin out a little bit but don’t have any major blemishes to cover.
The acne fighting foundation provides more coverage and is a quite excellent daily foundation. You can wear it for a more natural look or use it as a base for a slightly more glam look. It is the kind of foundation you can take from the office to happy hour with only a quick stop to sparkle up your eyeshadow and maybe vamp the lips.
The Flawless Foundation is still light weight, but more full coverage and the one I’d wear when lecturing at a conference or on camera. Although, as my last two conference lectures were actually zoom calls those are more or less the same thing. In the photo the colors don’t look that different, but the lighter shade was very evident in real life.
I will be sad to see the last of the e.l.f tinted moisturizer go away, but I know that they do have a Tinted BB Cream which might take its place. I will have to check and see. The pirates left none behind so it must be ordered. For now I am going to be wearing the last of the tinted moisturizer on the weekends instead of putting it back into my dressing table so that I can use the final remnants and get rid of the empty tube. I am very happy with the acne foundation. Even though I am not currently breaking out (it comes and goes) I like the salicylic acid in the foundation as well as the Aloe. The inclusion of aloe in the moisturizer was one of the reasons I picked it up in the first place. I mean if you are going to apply a foundation, why not make it one that might actually do your skin a little good. Oh and because it is an e.l.f. product, it also does my wallet a bit of good. This acne fighting foundation at its full price is $6.
Yeah, an excellent product that only costs $6? I can see myself keeping this in stock for a long time to come.
This week I wasn’t entirely certain what I wanted to wear on my face for the week. Usually I have some notion of the items I am going to pick but the newest eyeshadow palette I had wasn’t really speaking to me. Usually I tend to align my products chosen for the makeup bag based in part on the colors in the eyeshadow palette. Without that I decided to start in the drawer where I keep my foundation products.
It is an odd time for my skin. Some of my summer shades are beginning to look slightly too dark, but my winter shades look slightly too light. It is the issue I have every October. I have the same issue in reverse in late April/early May. The seasons are changing and my tan isn’t sure it really wants to go, but isn’t committed to staying.
As I was contemplating this in between time, I saw a tube of product I actually forgot I had. At the beginning of the year I was testing foundations only occasionally. I hadn’t yet taken the deep plunge into the pool. One of the products I tried was the Elf poreless foundation (its in a glass bottle, this is not it). I found it a great foundation that was vastly underrated. It was one of those products you try and then wonder why everyone isn’t talking about it and then start second guessing yourself about because you think it is really good but no one else is saying anything.
At least that is how it felt at the time.
Unfortunately as it was winter and my skin was as white as it ever gets, I picked up the lightest shade appropriate for my skin. Very shortly after my testing, the sun decided to emerge and call me out into it, so I had to set the product aside. At the time I picked up this Elf tinted moisturizer SPF 20 with Aloe, cucumber, and vitamins A, C and E. I was hoping that it would perform as well as the now too pale product and I really liked the thought of the extra vitamins inside.
So I used it.
And used it.
But I forgot to review it. And then I moved on to summery shades and it was shoved to the back of the drawer. So this week, I pulled it out thinking, ‘I remember really liking this.’ And so into the makeup bag it went. I chose the products around it, as you will see in the upcoming Makeup bag post tomorrow (don’t worry I won’t spoil the surprise).
I also noticed that the tube felt very light in the hand. After using it this week, I realized it has maybe another week’s worth of product in the tube so I will be keeping it around a second week to use it up completely.
And then it will go on my ELF wish list. And yes I am compiling an Elf wishlist. There will be products for me and many others as stocking stuffers and filling out small gift bags for family members just starting to get into wearing makeup. But again that is a tale for another time.
As you may have guessed from the fact that this is actually the first full sized foundation product I have managed to empty this year, I really liked this product. As it’s name implies, it goes onto the skin like a moisturizer. Without a primer it sits on the skin like a moisturizer. Which means it is great for evening out tone but not so great at hiding texture. So I used the elf poreless putty primer under it and all was good.
With the primer, you could tell that I did something to my skin (as in you knew I was wearing something because my skin looked better than usual but it didn’t look like foundation). It is a light on the skin product. Both to wear and to see. It felt like a moisturizer. Because of this it stayed on all day and I had no issues with it wearing off. If I didn’t use the primer, it would settle into lines right away and stay there. This product was designed to even skin tone. If you are worried about lines, then use a primer underneath and there are no issues. This tinted moisturizer is just not going to hide those lines.
As I love primers and have many I live to use, I had no problem with this. well clearly as the tube is almost empty. If you have dark spots or red spots, this is a product you might want to look into. It didn’t obscure all my freckles, but it did cover the sun damage spots I am still working to repair. I would say it falls into the light to medium coverage category. I’m not certain if it is the aloe or the cucumber, but it smells slightly more like skin care than it does foundation. There is no paint like smell to it and it smells kind of fresh and light. The scent isn’t strong and dissipates quickly so don’t anticipate a blast of cucumber, but when sniffed, the scent leans more towards skincare than it does makeup. At least to my nose.
I do have one caveat. When I was in my local drug store a few days ago (on the way back from the Asian Grocery we did a quick stop) I checked in and this was available for $6. However, when I went to link it to the website, the product is listed as no longer available. I’m not sure if that is a temporary or permanent thing. As I did use this product all week, I’m going to let the review stand as is which is based on the notes I took throughout the week, however on the website there are two products that look like they might be compatible. I’m going to run out this afternoon and see if they can be picked up at my drug store. If they can, I will purchase them and report back. If not I will order them, wait for them to arrive and then use them and report back in. It will just take a little longer. I will also try to find out if this product was permanently discontinued or not and let you know.
This makes me a little sad. I have about a week’s worth of the elf tinted moisturizer left and I would repurchase this in a heartbeat (and because of the low cost i would pick it up in multiple shades without a flicker of remorse) but it may not be available. I’m not going to hoard it and save that last little bit for a rainy day though, even though a small part of me kind of wants to. I will use it up and send it to the empties bin. I’m trying to get better about that. Products don’t last forever so avoiding using my favorites for the day I know I really want to look good isn’t really helpful. As my long term favorite foundation being discontinued was what sent me on theis grand foundation quest to begin with, this is somewhat disheartening.
But in the end, I did enjoy using the elf tinted moisturizer this week. Hopefully I will have something to compare it to soon. And even though I really liked this product (even better than some of the pricier foundations I’ve tried this year) there are plenty of other products I have tried and liked. So I know it isn’t the only one out there for me. Knowing that actually helps me let go.
It also gives me license to pick up two new foundations to try, so it isn’t all bad.
This week I pulled a travel sized tube of the Yensa Color + Face Skin on Skin BC Foundation from my dressing table. It is one of the few remaining sample sizes left in my dressing table and it is a summer shade I want to get some use out of before my tan fades. In case you are wondering the BC part of the name stands for BB cream plus CC cream. It is listed as a full coverage foundation with eight superblocks essences and SPF40.
I recently watched a You Tube video with Wayne Goss explaining the amount of foundation you would need to wear before you actually managed to impart the SPF potential in foundation to your skin. It is very eye opening and I highly recommend watching. The basic review was you need far more product than you would ever rationally use to get the sunblock benefits so it isn’t a good idea to rely on its protection. He demonstrates it beautifully.
Which I didn’t rely on foundation spf before to be honest, so it feels like confirmation of me doing the right thing. Which is sort of unusual, but nice. I like spf in the products I layer onto my face, but I add a full on sunblock as well. So it’s nice to have the spf here, but it is more of an additional perk if it does anything.
As for the foundation itself, according to the Yensa Website …
8 BENEFITS FOR A SUPERFOOD GLOW™:
∞ Full coverage foundation
∞ SPF 40 protection
∞ Graceful aging moisturizer
∞ Built in concealer
∞ Provides brighter and even skin tone
∞ Helps minimize the appearance of pores ∞ Nourishes skin with 8 SuperBlacks Essence ∞ Blurs, imperfections, fine lines and wrinkles
Those are all things I am down for. I have to admit that I do like the fact that each shade has it’s own ingredient’s list. As you can see from the one I copied out, it is for the shade Tan Neutral, which is my summer shade and the shade I used. It is the seventh shade on the eleven spectrum range.
To be fair, I think that I will be able to use this shade more or less until Halloween. Then I would blend it with one shade lighter until the end of November and then use the one shade lighter until May, when I would gradually start blending the Tan Neutral into the Medium Gold, thus returning to Tan Neutral.
Anything lighter than the one below my current shade would be too light for me even in the deepest winter and any shade darker than Tan Medium would be far too dark for me even in the deepest of summer. While I can’t personally judge the effectiveness of the range on either darker or lighter skin tones, the shades do seem to have a great deal of flexibility in them. Currently I hover somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
With full coverage foundations, I am always a little worried that the foundation will end up coming off looking like a mask. When people wear the full mask like foundations it actually sort of creeps me out a bit. It is fine on camera, I get why you might want to look flawless on screen. And don’t get me wrong, I am working with my skin care routine to make my skin look as good naturally as I possibly can, but I still like when skin looks like skin. With the mask like appearance of some full coverage foundations I start to have Phillip K. Dick based nightmares.
Do androids dream of electric sheep?
This is not something I need to worry about just before I go to sleep.
That being said, I adore Yensa’s primer from this line and I do not mind keeping a full coverage foundation around as long as it isn’t mask like.
This was in no way mask like. It went on like a dream. It covered my dark spots and felt like a moisturizer. It covered everything I didn’t want to show but wasn’t mask like in any way. It wasn’t cakey and didn’t settle into my fine lines. It looked just as good at the end of the day as it did at the start. While it was matte in finish, which I really like, it didn’t give me dead looking skin which sometimes matte finishes can do. I didn’t have any noticeable shine by the end of the day either, which is a minor miracle given the heat. Admittedly this week is less humid than it’s been in a while, so that helped. But I didn’t have to powder my nose midday.
To be honest, I can’t find anything wrong with this foundation. The sample sized tube I used contained 10 mL of product. The tube was packed full, there was virtually no air space left in the tube when I opened it. The amount dispensed on my hand in the photo was way too much product. It was my first use and I simply squeezed out too much. I needed about half that amount to cover my face. Looking at the tube now, I estimate I have about another two weeks left of use in the tube.
The full size of this product retails for $38. I have to admit I have looked all over and I can not find the amount of product in the full size. I know from the photos it is far larger than the trial size so I’m guessing between 30 and 50 mL, but I couldn’t find anything that listed it. Either way, since you need so little, it should last a while.
And $38 is not bad for a product that works as nicely as this. I’ve certainly spent more. I can’t say I’m actually surprised by how well I like it. The primer from this line as well as the Pumpkin Turmeric 2-in-1 radiance polishing mask (and exfoliating mask) are both on my list of favorites. The mask smells so good you almost want to eat it instead of wearing it. This foundation by the way had no real scent to it at all.
Over all, I can’t really say enough good things about this foundation. I don’t generally go for full coverage, and to be honest I think I ended up only applying enough product for medium and a little extra rather than full on full coverage, but I didn’t see the point in adding more product, when this amount worked so beautifully. This is definitely making my list for products to repurchase.