What I’m Using: December 2018

It’s December! It’s party season! Aren’t you so excited?! All the dressing up, all the food, all the calendared events, all the traveling, all the extraverting, all the schedule maneuvering, all the multiple-party-consulting … oh wait. Maybe you want to hide under a blanket for a month. With a bag over your head. While wearing earplugs. In a cave.

Well, no matter what kind of mood you’re in this season, you must be sure to indulge in our generation’s latest coping mechanism for existential dread some “self care” to ensure that your makeup is properly on fleek and your skin is properly slaying and your hair is properly on point. NO PROBLEM.

But seriously have fun. Getting ready for parties is fun. Here’s what I’m using this month to help.

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The new skincare staple: Honest Beauty Organic Facial Oil

New fave ritual- Wash face, spray on toner, maybe add essence, and finish with this face oil (particularly if I’m prepping for makeup). It’s THEE BEST if you’re in a colder and/or drier climate. There’s something very assuring about patting an oil on to your face that you know won’t just be cheaply absorbed in four seconds flat. Also, this one is yummy because it’s actually USDA-certified organic and not just like “Oh I’m natural and kinda green I swear!” like so many products out there. Hydrating, luxurious, and completely clean- oooohh.

The thing that made an actual difference: Ouai Memory Mist

I frequently wash my hair in the evening. I’ll let it air-dry while watching the billionth episode of Forensic Files late at night but unless I want it to look like the rabid child of Jane and Tarzan the next morning, I have to be sure to put some waves in it that evening with a curling iron. However, I used to run into the problem of putting those waves in my hair at night only to have them go wonky and flat after a night’s sleep (which, is an obvious and very first-world problem). Enter Ouai Memory Mist, which not only claims to protect hair against extreme heat but also to maintain its texture and shape from whence you styled it (‘whence’ … very likely I’m misusing the term).

Well, I’ve used the Memory Mist about six times now and it actually works. I spray it on my hair in sections and then find that my hair really does look relatively the same the next morning. Not an easy thing to pull of, especially after a night’s sleep. In the past there has always been need for touch-ups the morning after waving my hair, but maybe four out of the six times I’ve used this stuff, I’ve just shaken my hair a bit and walked out the door. Wild.

The use-for-every-color liner: Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Liner in Toast

In November and December, I have a stereotypical tendency to do more lip-forward looks with a wine- or red-hued lip. However, I’ve never liked using red liner with red lipstick because few things drive me crazier than that lipstick fading and leaving behind a weird red outline. Makes me feel clowny and like I’m some Edward Scissorhands extra. This lip liner is not only cheap, but it’s also a peachy nude that will do the job of keeping lipstick from running without leaving behind a weird lip line should that lipstick fade. It would probably work for a majority of lip shades. Also, it’s a great color to use all over the lips should you fancy that. I actually think I bought it because I saw it used on Gigi Hadid and I thought it looked good. I know. I’m a sell-out.

The canvas: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Èclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation SPF 22

I’ve run out of my BareMinerals Complexion Rescue, and that stuff was the real business. So, in the meantime, I’ve got this to go through. I like it– I’m not loving it –but it’s making me more creative in experimenting with different methods of foundation application. So for instance, I’ll use a much thinner layer and apply with a beauty blender, or I’ll mix in a bit of liquid highlighter (NARSxCharlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint) for a luminous finish. I think they changed the formula so it’s not quite the perfect foundation it used to be, but I’m still an overall satisfied customer. And it smells nice!

Bonus! The recipe: kale chicken pesto pizza

Spread Trader Joe’s Pesto all Genovese all over Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Dump Trader Joe’s mozzarella cheese all over that. Cover in fresh chopped curly kale with a little olive oil (do NOT use the bagged Trader Joe’s pre-chopped kale- they can’t do everything right and it smells like the Plague). Add cooked chicken (maybe precooked in Italian herbs and balsamic hmmm?). Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes … maybe a lot if you’ve got firemouth like me. Stick in oven at 375-F for 15-ish minutes. Take out. Shove in your face. Get self-righteous about eating kale.

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Vid Tutorial: Beauty Blender For Beginners

So, what difference can a twenty-dollar sponge honestly make with foundation application?

In my honest opinion, a lot.

For a long time the BeautyBlender sounded very gimmicky to me.  I mean, couldn’t I just go buy the pink knock-off sponges at CVS?  Well, you can, but the BeautyBlender is soft, silky, washable, and reusable.  It’s meant to handle a lot of work, and it is not the same as your typical drugstore sponge.  The results when it comes to foundation application are true to the hype, and I believe this tool works better than foundation brushes!  I purchased one perhaps a month ago and I have to tell you that I haven’t picked up a foundation brush since.

So, here’s a quick how-to on applying foundation with a BeautyBlender (along with a bonus how-to on Glossier’s BoyBrow).  Enjoy!  xo, MR

Laying The Foundation

I’ve been really into liquid foundation lately.  I know that may seem like a no-brainer for a makeup junkie, but it’s taken me a long time to come around to it.  I’ve only just begun to truly appreciate it.  I remember the first bottle of nice-ish foundation I ever purchased was from The Body Shop, and I wore it for my wedding day underneath my favored BareMinerals Original powder foundation.  Beyond a special occasion like that, I’ve rarely worn it until just recently.

Foundation didn’t have a lot of appeal to me when I was first getting into makeup.  I think I grew up watching a lot of girls cover their faces in MAC StudioFix or something like that old CoverGirl AquaSmooth compact foundation, and then they’d reapply throughout the day with the same sponge that they’d been using for a couple months.  Holy bacteria Batman.  I remember my high school geometry teacher calling out a girl in class once when she had her makeup out for reapplication.  The funny thing, however, was that she didn’t give her a hard time for having makeup out in class- she gave her a hard time for reusing that dirty old sponge that was in the compact, rather than a fluffy brush that you can clean regularly.  I remember seeing a couple powder brushes make their appearance in geometry after that.

The formulas couldn’t have helped either.  So many foundation formulas have been loaded with cheap petrochemicals that essentially clog your pores, disabling them from releasing oil and sealing them to a fate of breakouts (though foundation may certainly not be the only cause of one’s acne).  And you hardly knew better as an eighteen-year-old!  Growing up, the range of formula types was limited, even within the high-end brands.  It seemed that every kind of foundation was meant only for full-coverage. That ever-popular MAC StudioFix among high schoolers?  Oh man.  The number one ingredient in that stuff is talc, which means that you’re basically caking baby powder on to your face with the help of a bunch of slippery silicones.  The only truly inventive type of foundation that I remember noticing were those with salicylic acid in them, meant to help clear acne.  Beyond that, the textures were all the same- a dense, creamy substance with little to no dimension.  Which makes sense of why so many of our faces in high school looked like they were covered in pancake batter.

However, the foundation formulas we’re seeing today are more innovative than ever.  The line between skincare and makeup is continuing to be blurred, and the ingredients are thankfully increasing in quality.  Those formulated to cast a beautiful, pearly glow all over your skin thanks to light-giving pigments, those meant to provide “high definition” coverage that looks flawless on camera, those fused with skin-healing serum to moisturize and make you shine, those formulated with all kinds of exciting natural ingredients, and those meant to be virtually undetectable- there are so many incredible options now.

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I feel like two things have been responsible for this revolution- the first being the advent of high-definition television, and the second being the rise of BareMinerals.  Regarding the latter, it seemed like BareMinerals taught us all of sudden that we could have really amazing makeup without all the extra petro crap in it, along with our fresh pressed watermelon juice and free range eggs.  The former set all kinds of celebrities and makeup artists to the drawing board, in desperate need of makeup that concealed the flaws now being exposed on HD TV in reality shows and on the news.  And so from there, we gained two great innovations- mineral makeup and high definition makeup.

The creativity surrounding foundation these days seems to be limitless.  I see new formulas showing up on Instagram, in magazines, and on blogs constantly.  Some particular standouts seem to be the following: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation, Too Faced Born This Way Foundation, Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation, Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation, Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation, Glossier Skin Perfecting Tint, and MakeUpForEver Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation.  Many of these unique, high-end formulas have been immediately followed up with drugstore versions, such as Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation as an answer to the Armani, and Revlon PhotoReady Airbrush Effect Makeup as an affordable response to the MakeUpForEver HD formula.  The trends are undeniable.

A few personal favorites that I’ve tried on brides or myself and have loved include the aforementioned MakeUpForEver (my current favorite for my own face, and the first I ever used on a bride), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation, Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Foundation, the aforementioned Tarte, and Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation (the ideal for my own face, but currently too expensive and no reason to buy yet).  I like Lancome’s Teint Miracle too, but the shade I own it in is now officially too light.  Looks like I’m going to have to wait until the dead of winter to wear it, or mix it with something else.

I’ve always loved using BareMinerals Original, but I’ve begun to notice that it’s doing something a little funny to the texture of my skin.  It’s now seeping into my pores and fine lines, and I’m finding that some liquid foundation formulas these days give more of a healthy look to my face.  The original powder formula formula is making me look and feel a tad dry even with a primer, and that’s not something I need in a Chicago winter.  I prefer the brand’s Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream now, and I’m enjoying experimenting with the liquid formulas I have (which only amounts to three, honestly).

Any formulas you particularly love?  Or hate?  I’m so impressed by the excellent variety of foundations out there these days, I’d try them all if I could!  xo, MR

Face paint. But so much better.

I’ve never been a big fan of liquid foundation.  Perhaps that’s because it’s always come with this stigma of being “face paint”, as in, if you wear it on a somewhat-regular-to-regular basis, that means you wear a lot of makeup and you “paint” your face.  You know, a painted lady?  And I’ve always been scared of wearing too much makeup.  Maybe I’ve felt that “a light dusting of powder” seemed more modest as compared to a “light smear of foundation”.  I don’t know.  Thought vomit.

But I suppose this idea of foundation used to be pretty justifiable.  I mean, I remember looking at the drugstore formulas back in the early 2000’s and thinking Wow … Can I ever wear this stuff without looking like I dipped my face in wet terracotta?  And then just let it dry and have myself buried with thousands of ancient Chinese soldiers with the rest of the terracotta folk?!  No ma’am, I’m not trying to look like Lucy Ricardo when she tries to make a literal bust of herself (see season 2, episode 15 “Lucy Becomes a Sculptress”).  And then of course, there’s always been the issue of shade range when it comes to foundation.  OHHHHH the shade range.  Not only have makeup companies needed to seriously step-up their git-along when it comes to shade range for darker skin tones (because no, not every so-called “Eastern” woman can be covered by one shade, usually called something awkward like “clay” … I mean for real?), but I feel like just within the past five years have manufacturers begun considering things like “neutral”, “cool”, and “warm” tones in foundation shades.  Yes, because “eggshell”, “orange”, and “orange 2.0” just doesn’t quite cover it.

Now, I shouldn’t talk too much smack because it does take work and some Jaeger-level technology to develop a truly excellent color range for something like foundation, and so this post is more meant to praise than criticize.  I think the work has finally paid off!  Hail Science.

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So, as you regular readers know, I’m a big believer in BareMinerals.  And I continue to use it (in it’s original powder formula), but there’s something about a powder formula that, with as mineral-y and sheer as they can make ’em now, I believe detracts from a skin’s glow.  Now, I am all about glowing skin.  I like the dewy, fresh, translucent, just-washed look, and I feel today about matte skin the way I felt about foundation at all a decade ago – It’s just too much.  It doesn’t sit well with my psyche, which is a problem, because many women prefer a matte finish and I need to be able to willingly accommodate that desire.  And what’s more, matte skin, lips, and nails are huge for this coming fall season, and so of course, being the sucker that I am, you know I’ll be wanting to play along.  Heck, I’m already armed with Urban Decay’s Surreal Skin Mineral Makeup in a shine-free, perfectly matched shade.

So autumn trends aside, I decided to start looking out for a regular-use foundation line that provided light-to-medium coverage with a natural, non-mattifying finish.  And I wanted a high-quality one with plenty of shades to choose from.  I’d heard wonders about the new Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation.  I literally squealed when I swiped a bit of it on my wrist because it felt like silk.  Oh, they easily could rename the stuff “Silky Baby’s Butt Makeup by Giorgio Armani”.  But priced at sixty-five bucks, I just couldn’t stomach it.  How about their Luminous Silk Foundation?  It gets rave reviews, but it still costs sixty.  Chanel’s well-reputed Perfection Lumiere?  Still over fifty.  So what other lines are there?  Hmmm …

I then thought of Lancome’s Teint Idole line that debuted perhaps a couple years ago, with Julia Roberts as the spokesmodel.  I also thought of the eight-dollar reward I had for Ulta, and my curiosity was piqued.  I headed over to Ulta and plopped myself down in the makeup artists’s chair in the Lancome section.  Not only was the Teint Idole priced at forty-five, but the shade range was overwhelming.  It’s divided into four “intensities”: Ivoire, Buff, Bisque, and Suede.  These intensity levels are then broken down into different shades and tones, so every complex variation of skin color is covered.  However, I realized that the Teint Idole was a full-coverage, mattifying foundation that gave off no shine.  Not what I was looking for.

Lancome’s Teint Miracle, however, worked some sheer magic on my skin.  My skin felt soft and hydrated with just enough coverage to give a dewy, evening-out effect.  As so many good foundation reviews will say, I didn’t feel like I was wearing “makeup”.  It took a very small amount of the product to reach a satisfactory level of coverage, too.  And as for the price, well, the price wasn’t wrong, in that it still felt like an investment but not something shameful and unnecessary.  I can’t hang with the Maestro when he’s asking for all my mo-nay!

I will note though that my Lancome shade is the tiniest bit lighter than my current skin tone (thanks to the summer sun), and so I’m putting off using it for the next month or so.  I’m currently mixing my Boscia B.B. cream with Weleda’s ultra-moisturizing Skin Food for an incredibly rich, sheer bit of coverage that my skin just drinks up.  I mix a dab of each product on my hand (even parts) and rub it evenly on my face for a delicious glow that makes me look awake and refreshed.

So this is what I have for now, and while foundation may not be a primary concern of yours in this God-awful September humidity that we’re experiencing in Orange County, it’s something to keep on your radar nonetheless.  Fall is coming (and, did I mention Fashion Month has commenced?!), and we’re well on our way to an abundance of dark, cozy nights with plenty of opportunities for mysterious, not-too-perfect smokey eyes, oxblood lips, and evened-out, flawless skin.  Let’s get this heat over with.  xo, MR