Game Changers

Throughout our cosmetics lives, we delight in the moments where we find our holy grail products. The best mascara, the greatest concealer, the perfect shade of foundation. This is one of the main reasons the beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar business; we’re all constantly on the search for the next best thing.

Over the past year, I’ve come across some products that were game changers for me, products I’ve used every day since I bought them and will never be without.

While I’ve tried some great things that are certainly now part of my beauty arsenal, most of the time they become part of a rotation rather than a staple. The products/techniques below are ones I won’t soon forget.

  • beautyblender
  • corrector
  • nude liner
  • mixing foundation

Each of these probably deserves its own review, but I’ll give you a quick run down as they are important enough to be in my every day lineup.

beautyblender: While to some it may be simply a makeup sponge, and an overpriced one at that, I will tell you that it’s worth every penny.

To use it properly, run the sponge under water and squeeze out the excess. When the sponge is damp, you can roll or bounce foundation onto your skin. The result is a flawless, airbrushed finish. It’s unlike any other applicator I’ve ever tried.

The egg shape allows for seamless blending in every area of your skin, including around the nose and under the eyes. It can sheer out full coverage foundation on your good skin days, and still make full coverage foundations look natural on not-so-good skin days.

The beautyblender is sold at Sephora and Nordstrom, among other online retailers, for $20. If you take care of it and wash it regularly, it will last you a long time. If you frequent and have products on your wish list, they are holding a promotion giving you a free beautyblender and mini cleanser when you spend $40, plus they offer free shipping on orders over $25. That offer is good until 4/30/13.

Corrector: There are all sorts of products labeled as “correctors” when it comes to cosmetics; essentially every product can be viewed as a corrector in some way, can’t it? Although I prefer to think of them as enhancers.

The corrector I’m referring to here is for under eye circles. For those who are plagued with blue tones peeking out under your eyes in the morning, look no further than Pixie, Bobbi Brown and Armani who all offer orange or peach based “correctors” to counteract those colors.

At first, I thought this was just another ploy to get us to buy another product we don’t really need. Au contraire.

I am a firm believer in correcting before concealing, especially if I skip a day. It’s a noticeable difference. If you just conceal, you will still get a slight shadow peeking out, making you look made up but still tired; no one wants that. If you first correct the blue tones, THEN go over with concealer, you will have a smooth and even canvas making you look bright-eyed and awake.

Nude liner: This is so essential that I never leave the house without it. It’s an instant brightener for your eyes, literally. I have used Stila’s Topaz and Tarte’s EmphasEYES Inner Rim brightener, and the latter is my favorite. I use it on the lower lash line (waterline) where some women tend to put black. Black closes off the eyes, making them appear smaller. When you use a flesh or nude color liner, it makes your eyes appear bigger and brighter. It also conceals any redness you may have from lack of sleep or stress. It’s a quick fix to swipe on and go!

Mixing foundations: As someone with very fair skin, finding the right shade of foundation is somewhat of a challenge. Not to mention the formula, although we have a lot more choices than we used to. I usually just look immediately to the far left, where the lightest foundation in a line sits.

While the foundation may be the lightest shade offered, it might lean golden or pink. I prefer foundations with neutral undertones, and this isn’t always easy to achieve.

So I decided to play artist and start mixing colors until I found the right one.

Luckily for me, this shade is reached by combining two inexpensive foundations, the price of which together is less than one high-end bottle. I mix Maybelline’s Fit Me foundation in 110 (golden) with Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Moose foundation in Porcelain Ivory (pink).

The two together provide a natural, satin finish that is a dead on match for my skin tone. If you find yourself in a similar situation, think outside the box a little bit and start mixing.

There are also lines like Illamasqua, sold at Sephora, that offer a white mixing base that serves to lighten any shade of foundation.


Hopefully you find these as helpful as I do! What are some of your holy grail products?





Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless: Foundation Fail

I’ve been wanting to try out a crème foundation lately, for the mere facts that application is fast and easy and they’re supposed to be hydrating. I didn’t want to run out and spend $50 on one if I wasn’t sure I’d like the formula, so I started browsing the aisles at Target and came across a collaboration between Covergirl and Olay. I picked up the Simply Ageless foundation which is supposed to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and is infused with a skin care serum that is visible in the pan, but not on your face. It can cost anywhere from $11-$13 depending on where you buy it and if you have a coupon. The plastic pan contains 12 grams of product and it is unscented. It’s not exactly travel friendly, as the crème is contained in one side, and the other side twists off to reveal a sponge for application. The sponge isn’t terrible, but it will give you heavy coverage so keep that in mind.

I want to tell you I loved this product. I want to tell you it was everything I was looking for and more. But I won’t. Because I hated it. I still hate it and will forever glare at it as I walk by any Covergirl display ever. It’s really too bad, because in terms of the smoothness of the cream and the color I loved it. It matches my very fair skin perfectly and doesn’t oxidize throughout the day. I got shade 205, the lightest they produce. It’s quite emollient and blends flawlessly into the skin. However, some ingredient, and I don’t know which one, wreaked havoc on my skin. Keep in mind that my skin is pretty sensitive, so if you don’t have that problem this foundation could very well work for you. But after my experience, I will be staying far away from this one.

I wore it for one day, about 8 hours or so, and I thought it wore quite well. The coverage is medium-full depending on how much is applied. It’s easy to get heavy-handed with crème products but try to avoid it because the end result will be a cakey mess. A few hours into the wear time, my skin began to feel itchy. I looked in the mirror and noticed little red marks on my skin accompanied by a blemish. RED FLAG. As someone who prefers flawless skin, I was mortified. And furious.

I went back to my normal liquid foundation and my skin calmed down within a few days, but I won’t be trying that again. I’m assuming it was the Olay anti-aging serum in the product that caused my skin irritation, but I’m not 100% sure. If you have sensitive skin, proceed with caution. Or not at all.

Product Fail: Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam

When I saw promotional photos for Maybelline’s new Dream Nude Airfoam foundation I couldn’t wait to try it. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon of air brushed looking makeup, with Maybelline and Revlon leading the pack.

I’m usually a big fan of Maybelline foundation, as the color range is usually a good match for my skin tone. I’m always the lightest shade offered in almost any foundation, and this one was no exception. I picked up the Dream Nude Airfoam in 110 Porcelain Ivory (I’m the same shade in Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Mousse which I love). I wish I could tell you that I loved this foundation because positive reviews are much more fun…but no fun here.

This product was a major disappointment for me. As far as pigmentation and coverage, this foundation offers neither. The product dispenses rather quickly out of the aerosol can, which needs a good shake before application. It comes out just like the name implies, a foam. When applied to the skin, it blends out into almost nothing. I was left with a very dry feeling which was the only indication that there was anything on my face. The foundation is oil-free, and from what I remember there was no detectable fragrance. The product has since been returned, to give you an idea of how much I didn’t care for it.

Revlon’s version, PhotoReady Airbrush Mousse Makeup is much better in terms of coverage. It dispenses out of the can the same way…so you can’t really control how much product you’re getting. I found that one pump can cover your whole face and then some so it’s a bit wasteful. I recommend pumping the foundation onto the back of your hand and then applying it with a stippling brush to pat it into your skin. It blends relatively easily and my color match was good, but I was still left with a very dry feeling. For reference my skin is relatively normal, slightly more dry this time of year.

All in all I do think the concept of airfoam makeup is an interesting one, and if the formulas can be improved I can see them being great sellers. For now, though, I’d stick with liquid, cream, or mineral powders of your choice.