Tuesday, March 13, 2018

HAUL | Dior Forever Undercover Foundation and Concealer Review + Addict Lacquer Stick, Rouge Dior Liquid, Abricot Base Coat First Impressions



I have been on a makeup kick because my skin is improved to the point where makeup is fun again! Lots of you have been missing my base and complexion product reviews, so I decided to swing by Bloomingdale's and test out the revamped Dior Forever Foundation Collection.  The Undercover series is a departure from previous renditions and formulas thanks to new creative director Peter Phillips, and I can confidently say I approve.


I purchased the Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer at the end of December and have worn it pretty consistently since.  It provides sheer to medium coverage and lasts a good six hours so long as there is no rubbing involved.  I think it would perform well under the eyes, but I have only tested this concealer formula on my blemishes and acne scarring which isn't exactly what it is intended for.

It's not supposed to crease or settle into fine lines in case you're curious; I know the vast majority of makeup aficionados need concealer to cover under-eye darkness.  I try to avoid it unless it's a special occasion.  I purchased 21 Linen which is my usual shade in Dior complexion products and it was surprisingly a touch too light.  It is waterproof but blends easily so I'm able to make it work.

  
The Diorskin Forever Undercover 24-Hour Full Coverage Foundation, on the other hand, runs a whole shade darker so I still matched to 21 Linen.  Because I liked the concealer, I figured I would have similar feelings about the foundation.  Indeed, I give 8 out of 10 to both products.  The color for this foundation is nearly a perfect match to my skin tone currently, but I would hesitate to call this a long-wearing foundation.  



Now I give both 8/10 because I wish the concealer provided more coverage like the old discontinued DiorSkin Star, and I wish this new foundation was better at preventing my T-Zone from looking oily by the end of the day.  That being said, I am an oddball and prefer not to have to deal with touch-ups.  The Undercover Foundation initially dries down very "dry" so-to-speak making it feel fresh and weightless even though it covers my redness well.  Oh, and you get 1.3oz instead of your standard 1oz foundation bottle. 



I do find that this Diorskin Forever Undercover 24-Hour Full Coverage Foundation looks best when worn at sheer to medium coverage because it looks most like real skin at that point.  It is positively capable of full coverage with a pea sized amount and yes, it looks shockingly smooth without looking thick or caked on whatsoever, but full coverage is just not my style any more.  

My one major issue with this new formula is that it looks oily around my nostrils after three hours and breaks down around my mouth around five to six hours.  Overall though it is an excellent water-based foundation and it performs much better than average on my very dry skin, but I recommend setting with powder and prepping trouble spots with a thicker moisturizer before application. 



While testing the foundation, I wore it alone, with concealer, and then finished with the Diorskin Forever and Ever Control Loose Powder which I was the most curious about to be honest.  I stopped packing on powder foundation and have happily moved on to loose powder now that I'm not hiding huge breakouts.

I primarily love the mess-free mesh overlay packaging.  It is sleek and practical, and the powder formula one of the lightest and most impressive that Dior has ever produced.  I've tried the Nude loose powder before but it was difficult to get a shade match and I found the shimmer too prominent.  The air-whipped texture of this new Forever and Ever loose powder, however, is right up my alley.  Plus how much cuter could the name get?



It doesn't even feel like I'm wearing powder, although my skin does look immediately velvety soft, smooth and matte without appearing dry.  The formula absorbs excess sebum and neutralizes shine so it can be used for touch-ups throughout the day as well.  

I recommend using the included kabuki for that, but I start off my day by dusting it all over my face with a big fluffy powder brush with a lot of flex.  The powder is super fine and nearly invisible so start off slowly because just like with the foundation, you don't need very much.  Out of my entire haul, I would recommend the Diorskin Forever and Ever Control Loose Powder first and foremost.  It's that good. 


Then of course I couldn't leave without perusing the overwhelmingly jaw-dropping display of colorful lip offerings.  I honed in on the brand new Addict Lacquer Stick in Underground which is a pink nude, which is a "My Lips but Better" rosy beige shade that glides on like butter.  It feels like a luxurious lip balm which makes it tempting to reapply more often.  There's an exclusive shade at Bloomingdale's called Melrose and for some reason, it is $2 less so check it out if you're looking for a pink-coral!  Dior calls this new formula liquified shine and I would say that's an appropriate description.  It's pigmented but shiny and soothing and hydrating and doesn't make my lips peel.  Win.


The Dior makeup artist recommended that I top Underground with the Delicate Satin Rouge Dior Liquid Lipstick to create a true pink nude lip when I mentioned Underground was darker than I usually gravitate toward.  It's a beautiful pairing.  There are three finishes offered in this new long-wearing liquid lipstick formula, but I told her I have extremely sensitive dry lips so she said satin was my best bet.  The pigmentation is rich and even, no feathering, and the sponge tip applicator is awesome!  I love the tiny well that deposits the perfect amount of color so I don't constantly have to dip back into the tube.  I don't know if I would purchase many more of these Rouge Dior Liquids though simply because I prefer the convenience of the Lacquer Stick.


Last but not least is the Abricot Nail Base Coat which was more of purchase driven by laziness.  I have been giving my nails a break from gel manicures, but I forgot how time consuming it was to paint my nails and wait for them to dry completely.  I'm really out of practice!  But this Abricot base coat is unique because it's hard to find one that isn't too matte or too pink.  It also hides how damaged and brittle my nails look.


I love that it makes my nails look a touch milky yet glossy and healthy and brighter!  It acts as a protective barrier for my nails and lasts about five days worn alone so long as I'm not dunking my hands in chalk or working on my car.   This will be my go-to nail product from here on out.  It makes me  well my hands — feel clean and ladylike in under two minutes and it dries almost as quickly.  One coat is all you need.



P.S. There's a free gift with any $175 Dior beauty purchase happening at Bloomingdale's right now!  It's an adorable white embossed Dior logo pouch with a sleek black star chain zipper and a sample of Capture Totale DreamSkin. 



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Saturday, March 10, 2018

REVIEW | Tom Ford Extreme Collection Eyeshadow Swatches + Lash and Brow Tint Swatches



I constantly see complaints that luxury brands don't offer enough color, but Tom Ford answered in a big way this Spring!  I can't see many being dissatisfied with the twenty eyeshadow singles and tinted mascaras released.  These are indeed ultra pigmented and long-wearing (no primer necessary whatsoever), but it's the mirrored mini-compact in sleek reflective chrome that is unique to Tom Ford's Extreme Collection that I adore.  Most swatch as well as they apply on the eyes.  I recommend using a densely packed flat brush for maximum color impact.   



I only have 16 shades but my favorites are the glitter finishes anyway and that's what I recommend because you can layer with any eyeshadow in your stash!  Some of the shades, particularly the blues and purples, are reminiscent of previous releases from quads and palettes but occasionally, repeats in single format are worth splurging on.  I absolutely love love love the glitters!


The textures are quite smooth, even for glitters which I normally apply with a clean fingertip.  The foil finishes are very vibrant, even the TFx4 shade which I always blend with a matte brown and matte orange to keep it wearable for daytime.  These eyeshadow might be intimidatingly bright but they are so easy to work with!

TFx17 is a deep turquoise glitter
TFx16 is a lavender glitter
TFx15 is a pink red glitter
TFx20 is a gold glitter
TFx19 is a slate blue silver glitter
TFx11 is an emerald green
TFx9 is an indigo with a purple duochrome
TFx8 is a beautiful teal
TFx7 is a rich royal purple
TFx6 is a cool violet
TFx3 is a bright pink
TFx10 is a charcoal black
TFx14 is a golden citron
TFx1 is a silvery grey
TFx4 is a coppery orange
TFx13 is a pink/lavender duochrome


Missing:
TFx5 is a very pretty red, which is quite trendy for eyeshadow right now!  TFx12 is a burgundy berry and TFx2 is fairly traditional gold.  TFx18 is a military green glitter that I may really need in the fall season.


The new Extreme Lash and Brow Tints are pretty interesting, although not a must-have in my book.  No smudging though!  My favorite is TFx24 because it is the most wearable. This copper bronze shade is the perfect "colorful" shade to wear year-round and it catches light beautifully.  TFx22 has a slightly pink duochrome as seen in the swatches and TFx21 is extremely pigmented, probably the most impactful color on brown eyes.  TFx23 is a gorgeous teal that I know I'm going to love wearing in the summer, the only one that made my eyes pop when I opened up the tube!


Bottom line: These Tom Ford Extreme singles are expensive eyeshadows but wow, you need at least one.
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Friday, March 2, 2018

REVIEW | Best of Chantecaille: Bio Lifting, Rose de Mai, Future Skin and more!



Mother's Day is coming up within a fortnight edit: in two months (got the M months confused, my apologies) so I figured this would be good timing to share my favorites from Chantecaille, a luxury brand adored by daughters and mothers alike for their chic packaging and focus on botanicals and natural ingredients!  I've featured their products sporadically throughout the years but I've explored a lot more of their line up recently so I wanted to share my thoughts.


My first must-have from the brand is the Future Skin Gel Foundation because it is oil-free.  It doesn't cause break outs or irritate my skin or cause congestion like blackheads.  Even though I am using severely drying acne topical treatments like Epiduo, Future Skin doesn't leave my skin looking parched.  I love that it is water-based because it is lightweight yet manages to diminish imperfections like redness with very little product.  Do try stippling instead of rubbing for best results if your complexion is sensitive.

SAND // CREAM // CAMOMILE
I currently mix Chamomile, Cream, and a tiny bit of Sand to balance out the undertones.  Chamomile is yellow-based but a couple shades too fair to wear alone, and Cream is neutral but slightly more pink (the closest match if I had to pick one).  Sand is another yellow-based shade but it's much darker than I expected so I just ordered Shea which is similar but lighter in color!  You can adjust your final complexion color with loose/compact powder and bronzer if purchasing two foundations seems like overkill.  Since Future Skin is my favorite foundation and I wear it at least a few times a week, I enjoy having multiple jars.


Now let's move on to masks!  I have always preferred sheet masks but Chantecaille produces some of the most effective rinse-off formulas.  My friend Dayna bought me the Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask last year while my skin was suffering in cold windy Portland and it is truly calming.  I struggle with stress, redness, and inflammation so this is an indispensable cream mask and it works even better than the Healing Emulsion which I bought first.  I love using this mask overnight every now and then although it performs equally well when I slather it on and let it work its magic for ten minutes before sponging off.  I know when my skin is super dehydrated because my skin absorbs most of it within five!  Since it is the heaviest mask in my collection, I limit my usage to once or twice a week.


Since I had major success with the Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask, I decided to indulge my curiosity and give the Hibiscus Smoothing Mask a try.  They look very similar in terms of packaging, but this one is meant for re-texturizing so I have been using this once a week as well.  The papaya and grapefruit extracts pair well with the glycolic acid leaving my skin feeling smoother and firmer!  I leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes and sponge it off with lukewarm water depending on how recently I exfoliated that week.  If you have sensitive and/or acne-prone skin as I do, give this gentle mask a try! 


The packaging is not travel friendly, so I'll only pack whichever is better suited for the climate I'll be in.  The Hibiscus Smoothing Mask eliminates dead skin cells so I do love it because it allows me to take a much-needed break from all the heavy duty, super intense scrubs and peels in my acne regimen.  If I had to pick one to recommend though, I would start with the Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask.  Both result in recharged glowing skin, but the Healing Mask can be used as an overnight treatment so I think you get more bang for your buck!


My latest Chantecaille obsession, however, is the Bio Lifting Series.  I raved about the Bio Lifting Fluid moisturizer in my last YouTube video on my hormonal acne skin care routines.  I recently began integrating the Bio Lifting Serum and it is a silky serum that is less expensive alternative to my Holy Grail 111SKIN.  In fact I think Chantecaille's helps my skin look firmer while the 111SKIN is more reparative.  This serum noticeably softened the appearance of my expression lines on my forehead after two weeks!  I follow the directions and press three drops' worth with clean fingertips into the skin and pat until it is fully absorbed. It smells divine, no sticky reside, absorbs quickly.  I started using the Fluid alone first but when paired with the Serum, I do find that my skin is smoother overall.  If you have textural issues from scarring, this should help!


Since I discovered it, there is no other moisturizer I would rather use than the Fluid and I only wish I could afford to use this on my body too.  Most oil-free formulas are not hydrating enough, but this gives my skin a healthy glow and hydration that actually lasts throughout the day.  I use about three or four pumps to cover my face and neck but it absorbs within seconds.  I adore the gel consistency, the pump packaging that never falters, and the formula never clogs my pores.  Yes it is expensive but the Bio Lifting Fluid is one of the best moisturizers I've used in years!


And of course we cannot discuss Chantecaille or their brand heritage and dedication to roses without including the iconic Rose de Mai, a gel-cream.  I love this during hot summer months because it works well under makeup, but I usually put this moisturizer on and then apply the Jasmin and Lily Healing Mask on top before heading to bed.  Chantecaille actually does say Rose de Mai may be used as a moisture boost under regular cream so yes is expensive if you have extra dry skin as I do.  But if you have combination or oily skin, you will love using this alone because the thinner consistency is refreshing yet balancing.  It makes my skin look dewy and feel baby soft.


Now isn't this one of the prettiest skin care boxes you've ever seen? The most recent Chantecaille addition to my skin care arsenal is the fairly new Rose de Mai Eye Lift, and the sleek on-trend rose gold packaging is gorgeous yet practical.  This gel-cream formula is very light and refreshing, so I recommend this more as a preventative first step for those in their twenties.  I still use TATCHA's Luminous Eye Serum in the morning, but I switch off between 111SKIN and this one in the evenings.  They keep my fine lines and baby crow's feet at bay brilliantly.

The pen applicator is long but it's easy to grip — place your pointer finger on top of the  transparent silicone circle then your thumb directly aligned underneath and squeeze to release the product.  Slide the ceramic tip from inner corner to outer corner to melt the gel-cream into the under eyes and gently reduce puffiness.  Don't forget the brow bone!



Ultimately I adore Chantecaille.  The older I get the more I identify with natural, so if you care about ingredients and textures, give some of my top picks a try.  I also started testing the Compact Makeup in Cashew yesterday and it is so smooth, perfect for mattifying my T-Zone.  The ultra-finely milled formula provides sheer coverage while concealing my blemishes, but the sponge applicator stored below the powder can build up coverage so that it appears more like a powder foundation than a pressed powder.


P.S. Take advantage of this quick sale to grab some goodies for 15% off!
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