Makeup as Skin Care

Guerlain Rouge G lipstick
Guerlain Rouge G lipsticks (which tout hyaluronic acid and mango butter for hydration)

When someone mentions a must-do about beauty and skincare, I immediately roll my eyes. Yes, it’s a wonder these eyes haven’t popped out due to so much eye-rolling. But Renees’s list of 5 Skin Care Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes* did not result in such eye movements. I’ve been reading Renee’s tips for many years now. She’s an esthetician to the stars (well, I only mention it because performing artists need to look their best at all times), with non-nonsense and rational approach to skin care and to basic biology, and this list is a classic Renee.

You can read the list of 5 mistakes you probably make (none of which I make, ha!) but want to draw on the most interesting point she makes, and that is makeup as skin care. This is somewhat my approach to makeup to0, nowadays, especially as technology evolved and enabled active ingredients to stay stable. In the article, Renee mentions foundation as skincare, and I find that is true, especially with the higher-end makeup line. Another are lip products, touting hydration, sunscreen and even wrinkle-fighting.

Ironically, people are now flocking to ‘natural’ products, and they’re missing out on these technological advances in makeup (and skincare) products. Not to mention that most people think ‘natural’ is non-chemical (honey, they’re ALL chemicals; it’s a matter of being organic or synthetic, and further mistake is in thinking that organic is safer  – well, not if you ask these regulators). Of course, knowing which is which, and what ingredients benefit you according to your needs, will need you to know about … ingredients! No surprises there.

*Information courtesy of, a website with skin care tips, products based on nine skin types and advice from skin care expert and celebrity esthetician, Renée Rouleau.”

NOTW: When What I Really, Really Want is Guerlain ‘Blue Ocean’

collage guerlain blue oceanAlas, I don’t have it. So off to the lab I went, and concocted my own version using what’s in my stash. It’s a lot of trial and error (the end result is a base of For Audrey with a little bit of others mixed in), and my craving for Blue Ocean is a bit under control, for now.


In the process, somehow I craved for more pastels, so on with Essie ‘Turks and Caicos’, which I haven’t worn for the longest time. Now I’m sated with pastels, and craving something dark, maybe a navy…..

notw turks and caicos essie (2)

Review: Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream

bourjois 123 cc creamI’ve waxed lyrical about the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream in a previous post. It really is a versatile thing. The picture above shows this multitasking miracle in action, providing believable coverage and a finished professional look with a dusting of my current favorite loose powder, Guerlain’s Les Voilettes loose powder. It’s a current favorite day-to-day look that’s very quick to do; I use the shade Rose Beige.

Review: Guerlain Les Voilettes Translucent Loose Powder Mattifying Veil

guerlain les voilettes loose powder2

I’ve been wanting to try Guerlain Les Voilettes powder for the longest time, but can not make my mind up whether to try the compact or loose powder version. One day  just went on to purchase the Les Voilettes Translucent Loose Powder Mattifying Veil in medium to quench a shopping hunger after much deliberation and research. I’ve ceased to bring a compact powder every day to reduce the strain of a heavy handbag on my posture. So loose powder is more useful for daily use.

The Les Voilettes Translucent Loose Powder Mattifying Veil in medium is not completely sheer, as there is some coverage from the yellow-toned color. The powder is finely textured, and fragranced with the Guerlain violet scent. It mattifies without making the skin look flat – the finish is very natural. You need very little product to take the shine off and look polished, and on my oily skin, the skin is kept matte longer.

The packaging is very bulky, but this is not an issue since I don’t plan on carting it on travels. The sifter is standard, and just a light opening in the sifter cover is enough to yield lots of powder. A puff comes with it, and it’s very soft and fluffy. Compared to the very popular Chanel Universal loose powder (I use no 30), I prefer the Guerlain Les Voilettes loose powder which gives higher coverage and superior oil control. In the picture below, I used Les Voilettes atop MAC Prep+Prime BB cream only. The lipstick is Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Nude-ist.guerlain les voilettes loose powder




Review and Swatches: Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Compact Powder

Guerlain Crazy meteorites compacts2Guerlain is releasing a meteorites compact for Spring 2015 (limited edition?). There’s not much info on it yet  though it’s likely cheaper than their Voyage Mythic meteorites compact (permanent). Now here’s the thing. I’m a user of the meteorites pearls for years and years, but never bothered to get the compact version because I thought it would be redundant (not to mention the Voyage is hella expensive). BUT I splurged on last year’s Crazy meteorites compact holiday edition, and lemme tell ya, I love it so much I bought another one as back-up!

What are the pros over the pearls? The compact is great for travel and on-the-go application. The scent is nice especially on the stank airplane next to dudes. I can’t say it will be true for other meteorites compacts but the Crazy compact has very good oil control property. It’s expensive but I think the value is there. I have used mine for one year and I think I’m only halfway down the compact.

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Compact swatches
Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Compact swatches

Don’t be like me. Get yourself one of those meteorites compacts, especially if you’re already loving the pearls. Spring 2015 is not too far away – save your money and start peeling your eyes for its arrival cause it will sell out fast. If you’re not yet a user of the meteorites pearls, and are thinking about trying a meteorites, I say go for the compact first IF you can get a hand at the cheaper Non-Voyage version. I guess you can get the Voyage Mythic refill but it’s going to be a hassle to find a casing for it, no?

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Compact (right: unused)
Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Compact. Left is the used one. The brown splotches are because recently I used my foundation brush over it.

Review and Swatches: Guerlain Parure Gold, Parure Extreme and Tenue de Perfection foundations

Guerlain foundations (left to right): Parure Gold, Tenue de Perfection, Parure Extreme
Guerlain foundations (left to right): Parure Gold, Tenue de Perfection, Parure Extreme

As mentioned previously, Guerlain Parure Gold foundation (number 02, Beige Clair) is my favorite foundation ever. Some blogs mentioned it will be discontinued, so I scrambled to find an alternative (after making sure I hoard another bottle).

It turns out that Parure Gold is not discontinued, and I have this straight from Guerlain France. They might in the future, but not now. But I scrambled already, and amongst the newer Guerlain line-up, these are closest to what Parure Gold offers, i.e. long-lasting and full coverage finish: Parure Extreme Luminous Extreme Wear Foundation SPF 25 and Tenue de Perfection Timeproof Foundation SPF20/PA++. Here are my thoughts.

Coverage. All are similarly long-lasting. I do not find a difference amongst all.

Oil control. Parure Gold wins. Tenue de Pefection and Parure Extreme have about the same level of oil control.

Texture. Parure Extreme is a little bit more runny. Also, Parure Extreme and Tenue de Perfection set more quickly compared to Parure Gold.

Shade: As you can see, even the same number yield different shades; heck even the same type in the same number in different forms (liquid vs powder) yield a different shade; note Parure Gold number 02 in liquid and powder. I actually have this in 03 with the actual compact, but have not been able to find it, and I’m afraid I must have misplaced it somewhere during my travels. Actually, I am not sure at first whether this refill is 02 or 03, but having swatched them together, I’m sure now it is 02, which is too light for my face but works well for highlighting and contouring. Number 03 is the better match shade-wise though slightly redder than the 02 liquid, if I remember correctly.

Anyway, let’s go through the shade one by one (see the comparison shade below).

Parure Gold No. 02 liquid, my HG, is too dark compared to my neck, but since my makeup bases of choice have white casts, it works out ok. I’ve also tried this in No. 03 (samples) but it is darker and redder.

Tenue de Perfection No 02 Beige Clair actually comes very close to my neck shade, although not green and yellow enough. I also bought the Tenue de Perfection No. 23 because this actually matches my tanned skin quiet nicely (I bought it while I had a tan from a week-long coastal trip). I got No. 23 over the purported yellow-based No. 32 (Ambre Clair) because 23 is actually MORE yellow, bordering on orange, and I thought would be a great shade to mix with the Tenue de Perfection No. 02.

Parure Extreme No. 24 is actually for my sister when I make her up, it matches nicely, and really not as dark as the swatch when buffed on skin. I also like to use this as a contouring shade, it works really, really well for me in this respect. I don’t contour with it often though as it is time consuming to do with liquid foundations. I’m not sure why I bought Parure Extreme No. 23 – it has become quite confusing, this matter of foundations.

So, bottom line. Since Parure Gold is not actually discontinued (yet), I should really extricate myself from this confusion, so I will be continuing with this one, in No. 02. Parure Extreme 24 is also a keeper, for my sister and for my contouring purpose. Parure Gold 02 compact too, for contouring. Everything else may need to be relegated to better homes.

Click to enlarge: Guerlain foundations (left to right): Parure Gold, Tenue de Perfection, Parure Extreme
Click to enlarge! Guerlain foundations Parure Gold, Tenue de Perfection, Parure Extreme compared with MAC BB Cream and Studio Fix Fluid



Review and swatches: Cargo ‘Key Largo’ blush and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream

Cargo Key Largo powder blush and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream
Cargo Key Largo powder blush and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream

I’ve been loving a couple of new makeup lately, the Cargo ‘Key Largo’ powder blush (didn’t these used to be called beach blush?) and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream (the liquid version).

The Cargo blushes have achieve legendary status amongst beauty addicts and the beauty blogosphere, but I wasn’t too impressed with my first one that I did not bother to buy another. But a recent Hautelook sale brought me ‘Key Largo’ which looks absolutely ravishing online that I must have it. It does not disappoint although time will tell if I am keeping this, as I have several blushes already yielding the same color when applied on the cheeks.

I am also not a fan of BB creams in general for various reasons that evolved over the many years of observing the BB cream hype. I still think ‘BB Cream’ as a marketing jargon rather than a functional product category but I’ve found myself not as averse to them as previously. In my mind, however, they are tinted moisturizers.

With that said, I tried the MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream (the liquid version, not the compact) at a MAC counter recently. It was in the early evening after a tiring full day of left-brain activity. My makeup has faded here and there, and I let the beauty associate put the bb cream on my face (shade medium plus, applied with the MAC 130 brush, which I’m now contemplating to get). Voila, my face was instantly brightened  and smoothed. Alas, I went away with a tube, and have been using it almost exclusively for more than a week.

I use the shade medium plus, and it matches my facial skin tone relatively well although it is slightly darker compared to my neck. However, two of my favorite face primers/bases have a slight white cast, so he end result is good. What I like most about the MAC Prep+prime BB is the oil control, which is excellent amongst tinted moisturizers and foundations I’ve ever tried. Shade comparison with other foundations is below.

Comparison swatches
Comparison swatches

The coverage is sheer but buildable to medium, and the finish is quite natural. The strange thing is that I’m able to coax stellar performance out of my tub of Chanel Universal Loose Powder when used with this BB cream, which I have not been able to do by pairing it with other foundations/bb creams. Until now, I’ve  been one of those people quite puzzled by the hype surrounding this  powder, but now I understand – the powder does set and prolong makeup.

I am currently trying out Paula’s Choice Resist Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel, so my skin is  bit raw and plenty red. But below you can find the evolution from bare skin, to a layer of the MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream (applied with a skunk brush), two layers, and the finished result with the Cargo Key Largo Blush and Chanel Universal Loose Powder (in shade 30). It is quite a natural yet sufficiently polished everyday-look for me, which takes less than 10 minutes to achieve (including a smudged taupe smokey eye).

Left to right: bare face with a swipe of MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream; with one layer; with two layers.
Left to right: bare face with a swipe of MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream; with one layer; with two layers.


Done! With Cargo Key Largo powder blush and Chanel Universal Powder shade 30
Done! With Cargo Key Largo powder blush and Chanel Universal Powder shade 30