Archive for October, 2010

Smashbox High Definition Healthy FX Foundation SPF 15

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 27, 2010 by sbulletforever

So it turns out that my favorite foundation ever, the MAKE UP FOREVER Face and Body Foundation made my skin break out. I mean, seriously break out. I had to spend $140 on a facial and another $30 getting my Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant to fix it. Now, my skin looks better than ever, but I’m now without a foundation. The lovely girl who did my facial at Spa Toscana (Kayla, maybe?) recommended the Smashbox Healthy FX Foundation.

It’s 1 ounce for $38, which is typical of high-end foundations, but not the best price. It contains SPF, vitamins, minerals, and other good stuff for your skin. It’s also supposed to be moisturizing all day and give you flawless results. Comes in 13 different shades ranging from Fair 0 to Dark D2.

Well, how to define this foundation? I don’t know if I love it or if it’s worthless. I discovered that I’m Fair F2, the darkest shade of fair, but it has just a touch of peach to it. I mean, it blends into my skin and doesn’t make me look freaky, but it doesn’t compliment my natural golden undertones. It kind of…fights them. Not really noticeable, but still worth noting. This means you’ll need to pair it with a powder to make it more even, and the ONLY powder that works with this is the Smashbox Halo powder.

The pump on this foundation is fabulous! I get exactly how much I want, unlike with my MAC Pro Longwear Concealer pump where pressing down means getting more concealer than you need and wasting. It’s a light foundation, and it goes on light and almost watery. You don’t get a lot of coverage, so you can’t skip concealer with this either. It evens skintone and makes me look naturally flawless, but…this foundation has its flaws.

For one, I get a super natural finish (not a supernatural one). This means my skin looks a bit shiny, like I didn’t put any makeup on at all, but I still have some coverage with it. It doesn’t aggrevate my acne at all, and I can definitely see the moisturizing benefits. No highlighting dry patches, or dealing with dry patches later in the day. It stays very well, but I have to work with this a lot to make it perfect. Absolutely needs a primer! My nose is the shiniest by the end of the day, and this foundation doesn’t cover my nose pores.

This isn’t something you can wear by itself, even if you have flawless skin. This foundation requires a primer, concealer, and powder to work. This is the least cake-like foundation ever, even beating the MUFE Face and Body Foundation that was over 70% water. And it’s very acne friendly, which is what I really need right now. It’s light, natural, and makes you look like you aren’t wearing makeup, but don’t have totally imperfect skin. It’s true camoflauge! But I can’t decide if it’s worth the hassle of primer, concealer, and Smashbox Halo powder to keep. But, until I find a foundation that’s not going to break me out, I’ll stick to this.

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Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 15, 2010 by sbulletforever

Mind you, I’ve been looking for a cheek highlighter for ages. But nothing I’ve found has worked for me! Most disappear into my skin, making them incredibly hard to see and useless. A few are so glittery/shimmery that it looks silly and cheap. But I finally tried Laura Mercier’s Shimmer Bloc and fell deeply in love.

The Shimmer Bloc comes in a compact and is baked, so it isn’t a loose formula or anything. In fact, the “shimmer” of the bloc is NOT glittery/shimmery at all! It simply is a powder with light-reflecting properties, so no looking like you’ve dipped your face in shimmer. It combines four different complimenting colors that you swirl together with your brush to acheive the perfect shade. You get .21 ounces for $38, which might seem like a steep price, but it’s worth it. The Bloc comes in 5 different shades, so I’ll review those individually.

  • Golden Mosaic Shimmer Bloc– this combines copper, bronze, gold, and golden cream. The colors combined give you a bronze shade with a hint of gold coloring. Extremely beautiful! Completely replaces any bronzer you’ve had before. The shimmer is subtle, but catches the light whether you’re in unnatural light or outside in the sun. Use a lighter hand with this, because the darker bronze shade really stands out.
  • Mosaic Shimmer Bloc– this combines gold, bronze, copper, and champagne. The colors combined give you a muted champagne glow, so the color doesn’t really stand out. I use this as a highlighter on my cheeks, since the light-reflecting properties stand out, and as a finishing powder over my entire face. It doesn’t make my skin look oily or shiny, but the powder gives it a matte, flawless and glowing finish.
  • Peach Mosaic Shimmer Bloc– combines golden pink, bronze, peach and pearl. The colors combines give you a true peachy color, which you can use as a bronzer or blush. Peach doesn’t look so great on my pale skin, so I’d recommend this color for darker skintones. Highly pigmented! Not as light and sheer as the Mosaic Shimmer Bloc, but more vibrant than the bronze Golden Mosaic (at least, I thought so). Use a lighter hand with this color.
  • Pink Mosaic Shimmer Bloc– combines light pink, warm red, brown pink and dust pink. Surprisingly, the warm red and brown pink stand out most, so this isn’t a light pink color! This is a true pink blush color, highly pigmented like the Peach Mosaic Shimmer Bloc. Apply with a light hand, and use as a blush or as a powder over your blush color. The shimmer is muted, remember, so you aren’t getting a shimmer/glitter explosion on your cheeks!
  • Orchid Mosaic Shimmer Bloc– this combines light muted plum, dark violet, light lavender and pink pearl. I thought of this as more of a pinky purple blush color. Less vibrant than the Pink and Peach Mosaic Shimmer Blocs, but still quite pigmented. I liked this better than the Pink Mosaic Shimmer Bloc as a cheek color, especially since you don’t see too many blush colors with lavender in them.

All in all, I’d say these blocs are definitely worth it. I use the Mosaic Shimmer Bloc every day as a highlighter/finisher on my face. The Golden Mosaic Shimmer Bloc is the best bronzer I’ve ever tried, beating even Benefit’s infamous Hoola Bronzer. The Peach was too much for my fair skin, and the Pink was a little too red-tinted for my taste. But the Orchid Mosaic Shimmer Bloc was a cool, charming cheek color. I could find a use for every single one of these colors, and if I had the cash I’d buy every single one!

Dior DiorShow Black Out Mascara

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 15, 2010 by sbulletforever

I’ve been using my NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara for the past year now, and it’s a true favorite of mine. Doesn’t clump/smudge/flake, and it does volumize well. But I’ve been wanting something more dramatic, so I went for the DiorShow Black Out Mascara because I know people swear by Dior mascaras.

It’s $24 for .33 ounces, which is average for top name mascara. Only a dollar less than my NARS. I first curled my lashes and then put on a coat of my DiorShow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum. Before the serum dried, I put on a solid coat of the DiorShow Black Out Mascara.

I’m so terribly disappointed! This mascara promises to be an extreme black, lenghtening mascara, and I did see noticeable length, but the color was not very dark. In fact, overtop my white-tinted Dior serum, it came out a murky gray! And it was spidery and clumpy as hell. I’ve had better luck with drugstore brands.

So skip this piece of junk. If you want length, get a mascara with fibers in it that add fake length. If you want volume, grab a volumizing mascara. Having ‘extremely black lashes’ means nothing if they’re spidery, clumpy, and thin-looking.

Tarte Smooth Operator SPF 20 vs. Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 14, 2010 by sbulletforever

I’m a big fan of the tinted moisturizer. Put some on before using your foundation and then you have healthier, glowing skin that doesn’t need so much foundation. It also puts a barrier between my acne-prone skin and my foundation. I’m going to compare really quickly two of the best-selling tinted moisturizers on the market.

Naturally, Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizers are the #1 top sellers, but their coverage is so sheer that it isn’t even worth using unless you have perfect skin. Also, it’s $40 for 1 ounce, which is silly. So people like myself who need more than just super light coverage have to turn to a fuller coverage tinted moisturizer, like the Tarte Smooth Operator ($36) or Smashbox Sheer Focus ($30).

The Tarte Smooth Operator SPF 20 is 1.7 ounces and comes in a squeeze tube, so it’s easy to get every last drop out of it. Pumps on liquid products drive me crazy because they never get all the product out! It comes in 10 different shades, but most people are either ‘Agent 04’ (light complexions with beige undertones) or ‘Agent 06’ (light complexions with yellow undertones). These shades are pretty highly pigmented for a tinted moisturizer, so it’s important to find the right shade. The tinted moisturizer itself comes out goopy, being partially thick foundation and partially liquid moisturizer. Shake that bottle well! Also, it’s hard to blend into your skin. Instead of using your fingertips, use the same brush you apply your foundation with. That will help it blend better since it’s so thick. Now, I have heard complaints about this breaking people out, which isn’t surprising considering how thick and pigmented this tinted moisturizer is. But it does add a nice glow to your skin without looking slick, though I did have some problems with excess tinted moisturizer “sliding” off my skin. Blot with this!!

The Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 is a little cheaper, but also contains 1.7 ounces. It also comes in a squeeze tube, making it easy to get every last drop. This comes in only 4 different shades, but it blends extremely well so it’ll just melt into your skintone. This has lighter coverage than the Tarte Smooth Operator, but has enough coverage to diminish red spots, slightly hide pores, and add a healthy, even glow to your skin. You don’t need a brush to apply this- it’s a thinner formula than the Tarte (but it isn’t watery) so you can just use clean fingers to apply. Oil-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free, this contains less junk ingredients than the Tarte Smooth Operator. It also has a lot of vitamins packed into it, so it actually helps clear your skin. Instead of worrying about breakouts, you can breathe easy.

In the end, I picked the Smashbox Sheer Focus. Even though I need a bit more coverage on my skin, which the Tarte provides, I preferred its smooth, even texture over the goopy, hard to blend formula of the Smooth Operator. Plus, my acne-prone skin practically purrs from all the vitamins and glow-inducing moisture in the Smashbox. I didn’t have a problem looking oily with either one, but I felt the Smashbox melted into my skin while the Tarte sort of sat on my skin like a physical barrier.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer vs. Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 13, 2010 by sbulletforever

MAC just came out with a whole new line of Pro Longwear products. I’ve never heard anything good about MAC foundations, so I was really only interested in their new concealer. The dark circles under my eyes need to be tamed, and I was hoping this long-lasting concealer would do the trick.

I’ve been using the new Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer ($20 for .27 ounces) (even though it contains talc), and it’s worked like magic on my blemishes, but fades under my eyes pretty quickly. The Pro Longwear Concealer is $16.50 for .3 ounces, so it’s a better deal in the first place. Also, MAC’s concealer comes in 15 different shades while the Too Faced comes in only 3.

When it comes to blemishes…I like the Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer best. It has this super thick, super smooth consistency so that when you apply it on a blemish, it sticks to it. It keeps it covered extremely well and keep is moisturized, so you aren’t getting that dry look with it. The Pro Longwear does work, but I feel the Absolutely Flawless Concealer gives fuller coverage and I do get the slightly dry look with the Pro Longwear. Also, when covering pores on my nose, the Absolutely Flawless did a better job.

For under the eyes, the Pro Longwear works better than the Absolutely Flawless. But better isn’t exactly great, either. I use an eye cream and then use a corrective color on my eyes before I apply the concealer. And I only use my fingers to dab and then blend the color in under my eyes (the heat from my fingers helps it blend better). But despite not looking as bad, I still have that damned darkness under my eyes. And with my new foundation giving me flawless looking skin, it truly makes those dark circles stand out!

In the end, it’s kind of a draw. For blemishes, go with the Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer. It blends extremely well, covers pores better, and gives moisture to angry, dry blemish spots. However, it won’t stay well on your under eyes, so use the Pro Longwear for long-lasting coverage. But you’ll need to combine the Pro Longwear with something else to really cover up the darkness under your eyes, because it only gives light/medium coverage by itself.

MAKE UP FOREVER Face and Body Liquid Makeup

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 13, 2010 by sbulletforever

I’ve been looking for a good, medium/full coverage foundation for a long time now. Bare Escentuals was too messy, Clinique was too cakey, Smashbox didn’t have good coverage, Cover FX was cakey (and expensive!), Dior was too light, Laura Mercier was way too light, and Urban Decay (my fav mineral makeup foundation brand) wasn’t cutting it. My face looks like junk right now from stress, hormones, the weather, and a number of other things, so UD’s light/medium coverage wasn’t quite enough.

Now, I’ve tried MUFE before. Their HD Foundation had surprisingly light coverage, which required a bit of building, which made it cakey. I think it’s only good for flawless/older skin, personally. The Mat Velvet + Foundation was better, but the smooth, velvet finish really makes it look like makeup on your skin. I was about to cave and go back to the Mat Velvet + (I save my Urban Decay for my not-so-horrible skin days) when I caught a makeup tutorial that changed my life. This lady named Eman Aziz, a fabulous makeup artist, has a blog and uploads makeup tutorials on www.youtube.com. Here is her link, btw: http://emanmakeup.blogspot.com/#uds-search-results. Anyways, I checked out her ‘how to get flawless skin’ tutorial and she recommended the ‘Face and Body Liquid Makeup’ for everyday flawlessness and immediately went out to get it.

  1. First thing you need to know: the price is right! For a good foundation (not the gunky, cakey foundation that Clinique and other similar brands sell) you’ll pay a minimum of $34 for 1 ounce of foundation. Most of the time, you’ll pay upwards of $40. With this foundation, however, you get a full 1.69 ounces for $38. And you don’t need a ton, so it’ll last you longer than most foundations will.
  2. It’s waterproof. Not ‘water resistant’ or anything like that. So you can wear this wherever you need, even out to the beach, in the pool, or outside on a hot, humid, rainy day. It won’t budge until you clean it off with soap and water. (Which is how you should clean your makeup off anyways).
  3. It’s an ultra-light, water-based gel formula made up of over 75% water. “A watery foundation? Ick!” you might be thinking. But the foundation stays a true medium/full coverage foundation! It just applies lightly, feels smooth and cool on your face, and gives you moisture! NO MORE HIGHLIGHTING DRY SKIN! You just have to shake the bottle up really well to mix it up and keep it from coming out watery.
  4. It’s transfer-resistant. As long as you blot off any excess foundation from your face/body, this isn’t going to transfer to clothes.
  5. Gives a semi-natural/semi-satin finish. Really, it looks natural but has that dewey, non-shiny look to it. Hard to tell you’re wearing makeup up-close as long as you blend it really well into your skin. Very fresh, very beautiful.
  6. It’s oil-free and talc-free. However, it does contain fragrance, which can break sensitive skin out. In order to fix this minor issue, use a layer of tinted moisturizer underneath your foundation. Not only will it give you more even skintone, meaning you need less foundation, but it creates a healthy barrier between your skin and your foundation. My favorite is the Smashbox Tinted Moisturizer because it’s healthy for you, applies lightly, and won’t make you look oily.
  7. Use the right foundation brush. I HATE the paintbrush-esque liquid foundation brushes most people use. You’re literally painting a layer onto your skin, not buffing it out and blending it well. I recommend the Sephora Collection Professional Mineral Powder Brush ($26) that can be used for any type of foundation, whether it’s loose powder, liquid foundation, creme foundation, or mineral makeup. If not, use a stippling brush (great for liquid foundations or blush/bronzer application, Sephora sells a professional one and a portable one with a cap) or the Sephora Collection I.T. Natural Foundation Brush ($36) that comes with a cap and can be used for any kind of foundation or blush.

This is, so far, my favorite liquid foundation ever! Use a tinted moisturizer under it, and use a loose powder overtop for a perfect finish. I’d recommend either MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Loose Powder or Urban Decay Surreal Skin Mineral Makeup to lightly brush overtop. Both are light and mineral, and give a hint of color. I personally think they look better than the ‘setting’ powders companies sell that have a super soft, but white-tinged finish to them.

Urban Original.com: My One and Only Shoe Store

Posted in Health and Beauty on October 11, 2010 by sbulletforever

I know, it’s not really makeup or skincare oriented, but this is important. This revolutionary website (www.urbanog.com) has changed how I buy shoes. I don’t bother browsing expensive brands or the sales at DSW or Dillards anymore because I can buy those same shoes for less than half their original price online now.

I accidentally discovered this little gem of a website last year while searching for white cowgirl boots. I was a pin-up cowgirl for Halloween, but I absolutely needed a heeled, white, knee-high boot. My search took weeks because finding such a boot was nearly impossible! But then I found Urban Original.com, and bought my beautiful boots for under $30. “They must be cheap,” you’re saying to yourself. Believe me, I thought the same thing. A year later, they have some wear and tear on them, but they’re still wearable and comfortable as hell.

What sort of shoes do they sell? All sorts. Wedges, pumps, flats, sandals, Halloween costume shoes, heels, ankle-high boots, mid-calf boots, knee-high boots, and thigh-high boots. They sell other items, but nothing worth buying. Even their costumes (Leg Avenue costumes, the best in the Halloween business) can be found cheaper at www.babygirlboutique.com and www.pinupgirlclothing.com. Babygirlboutique.com is by far the best for Halloween costumes because they always have 20% coupons they send through your e-mail and you can get great costumes for really cheap.

Whatever your shoe needs, this is the place to get them. I bought my Halloween costume shoes from them again this year ($25 classy little Mary Janes) for half of what it would have cost me somewhere else. I had a pair of thigh-high black heeled boots that I wore for years after buying them for a high school dance, and a few months ago I finally had to pitch them. While www.victoriassecret.com and other shoe stores want upwards of $100 for similar boots, I just bought a sexy, black heeled thigh-high boot from www.urbanog.com for $27.90.

It’s not a scam! I’ve seen a lot of questions posted online about whether Urban Original is a scam site, because their prices are so cheap. But I’ve bought three pairs of shoes from them in the past year, no scam or funny business at all. Just good, clean, cheap shoe fun! Whether you want a fun pair of pumps for a party, or you need a pair of shoes for your Halloween costume, or a pair of boots for a sexy look, this is the only place you ever need to look.