Two things landed almost simultaneously on my lap last December: the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta Healthy Glow Powder and the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in ‘Icon’. Both are beautiful, solid products. Still, the fickle senses and scents can play a part on loving or leaving them.
The Guerlain Crazy Terracotta Healthy Glow Powder barely show up on me (around MAC NC 30 shade, which I try to aim for NC 25 to match my fairer neck). In the picture above, it was used all over the face lightly, and on the cheeks heavily. It does give that healthy glow when used as an all over face powder – the bonne mine, in Guerlain-speak. But? A little sun and my own facial oil secretion actually lead to said glow. Now that I have a little tan, the thing barely shows up on my skin. The terracotta scent is also a nuisance; I do not find it enjoyable, unlike the scent Guerlain puts in the other makeup.
The Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in ‘Icon’, however, was a revelation. I now understand the glowing reviews for these. The opacity, brightness, clarity of color, the lasting power (oh the lasting power!) are top notch. They are expensive at $28 especially at current exchange rates, but worth the price. I plan to pick up another or two. Hourglass is probably the makeup brand foremost on my radar nowadays; they have really solid, useful products.
A makeup addict’s search for more exciting, more effective, overall BETTER makeup is never-ending. But for a few years now, I am at a zen in terms of foundation. These are my three favorites, in order of preference.
1. Guerlain Parure Gold Rejuvenating Gold Radiance Foundation
I first bought this at a 50% off event, and boy am I glad I did! it was truly love at first use, I’m now about halfway my second bottle after only about 3 years or slightly more. This foundation gives a level of coverage that is believably luminous (not over-luminous), has amazing oil control, relatively good shade match (#02, Beige Clair, in my case), not fussy in terms of application (brush, sponge, fingers, all work as well), gives a little sun protection (SPF 15), relatively moisturizing (or at least not drying), has a nice fragrance (I am a fan of the scents Guerlain puts in its makeup), and has some skincare benefits. The downside is the price, of course, upward of $80, therefore I don’t use it as much as I’d like (which is, every time, budget permitting).
Unfortunately, the love story is destined to be short. Guerlain has discontinued this foundation. I have another back up, but considering I have another year or so with my current one, and with the backup another 2 years or so, I’ve decided that unless I find one at a very good price, I’ll need to let go. If you still want to give it a try, do it now as once supply diminishes, I guarantee you’ll find this selling on Ebay for hundreds of moolah.
2. Cover Girl Smoothers AquaSmooth Compact Foundation
The name is a mouthful, but this foundation is worthy of a big name. It’s relatively flying off radar, and I discovered this quite by accident, at an impoverished Cover Girl makeup counter. The only tester that wasn’t icky to try was this one, which seemed newly opened at the time. Swatching it on my arm, I loved how it is solid in the compact, liquid to the touch and application, and dries powdery on the skin. Magical. I have been a convert ever since. The pros: the magic of form changing (solid and compact for travel; liquid-y for ease of application, powder as the preferred finish); has some sun protection (SPF 15), matte finish, cheap (about $9). I grab this most often in my current stash of, I think, more than 10 foundations.
The shade with this one is a bit tricky though. Online stores and swatches don’t really reflect the real color, and it is darker in the pan than in real life. I use soft honey; it is slightly darker than my neck and chest area but is a good match for my face. Fortunately my favorite bases has a whitish cast, so it’s perfect. I keep two shades of this, actually, the other is buff beige. They both go well together especially if I have the time to contour and all that jazz. But really, mainly I’m keeping both just because I can.
I can’t really think of a con for this one. I wish the packaging could be a bit simpler, but there’s probably no way to do that, and the sponge provided is actually pretty decent quality. So if this got discontinued? I will hoard and hoard and hoard.
3. Kat von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation
I already love the Kat von D eyeshadow palettes, so when the Pink Sith recommended this foundation, I purchased it at the first opportunity of a Sephora sale. And? It is everything she says it is, and more! The coverage is AMAZING! It’s like liquid pigment. Just a drop, and scars, darkness, redness, unevenness, etc, are covered. This wasn’t an instant love, but one that grows as we get to know each other better and go out more. Actually for me, this is the foundation that garners most of those “you look nice today” comments.
I use shade M54, and it’s less yellow than I’d like, but not glaringly so especially on days when I stay mainly indoors. With careful application (in layers and using the Beauty Blender sponge), I can actually achieve something akin to perfect skin with this. Which is scary, really. It’s so far from the truth that I don’t ever try that outside.
I just ordered another shade during the last Sephora 20% off (M62, which should be more yellow); but I would gladly buy full price ($34 at Sephora). The downside for me is, believe it or not, too much and too good coverage if I’m not careful. Yes indeed, a nice con. Plus, no SPF.
So there you go, my little roundup of 3 favorite foundations that put me in foundation zen. I still try this and that, because the world revolves and innovations get made everyday, so I don’t want to miss a good thing. But if right now I have to choose one? Or Two? Or Three? In a heart beat! Actually, I don’t even have a fourth favorite as everything else can be lumped under ‘not favorite’, pretty far down the list from these three.
This old dog is no stranger to new tricks, and here is a couple she’s learning to do recently.
Doing away with makeup layers
As Cara said, it’s curious the way we put on makeup: layer on top of layer, on top of another layer. Primer, then foundation, contour/highlight powder, color (blush/eyeshadow), etc. So any patch of your facial skin could well have 6 or more layers of products on (including moisturizer, sunblock, finishing powder, etc).
What is the alternative? I’ve seen Lisa Eldrige do it, and Cara has developed a system for it. It is the precise application of makeup only where it is needed. For example, if that is an area where you contour, go ahead and put the contour color directly (whether it is a foundation in a darker shade, or a contour powder, or others). Where you need to highlight? But directly the highlight color (instead of foundation, then highlight color). This is not really an easy approach when you’re used to the conventional layering of products, and to be effective you really need to know where to put what, when.
I’ve been trying this method for a few weeks now, and the result is…. ok. It takes me more than twice the time needed for the conventional method, but I do see that I need less product.I n the picture below, I used this method by placing a primer around the nose and cheek area (Sue Devitt Microquatic Blue Anti-Aging SPF30 Protection Primer applied with fingers); then a sweep of a darker shade foundation to contour the cheeks, jawline, side of nose and temples (Guerlain Parure Extreme Foundation liquid shade 24 Dore Moyen applied with Illamasqua’s funky Blush Up Brush and blended with Real Techniques Expert Face Brush). I then followed with a foundation shade similar to my skin to areas not covered by the darker shade (Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation compact in 02 Beige Clair applied with the Sonia Kashuk Buffng Brush which I forgot to take a picture off). I then buffed the seams with the Real Techniques Expert Face blush. Voila!
With practice, I can see myself perfecting this technique and hopefully cutting down the application time.
Doing away with shampoo
A couple of years ago I had my hair straightened using the smoothing method. The effect surprisingly lasted until now at the bottom end of my now very long (down to the waist) hair. Add to this, I swim regularly, so the hair is often exposed to chlorine. It’s no wonder my hair is coarse and dry at the moment. No significant split ends are in sight, though, so I’m inclined to keeping its length for now. But what to do about the dry bits?
I have read for years about people forgoing shampooing. Clearly SLS in my favorite shampoo is drying, so I tried to do without at one time, using only a conditioner to clean my scalp (with vigorous rubbing). The result? The scalp actually feels clean, and the hair is not as dry. So I experimented with forgoing shampoo for at least 3 washing cycles, and it was surprisingly easy to do — I did not unbearably miss my shampoo. My hair is less dry, and I have a little bit more workout in the shower, doing the vigorous rubbing. The scalp gets slightly oilier faster compared to using shampoos, but that was the main difference, which I can live with. So I have since done away with shampoo except on days when I go swimming.
I’ve used various stuffs in lieu of shampoo: hair masks/creams, conditioners, facial cleansing oils. The verdict: they are all as good at cleansing the scalps. The key is actually your mechanical rubbing to loosen dirt and oils. However, runny conditioners that slightly lather are better at cleansing the hair itself. Creams (e.g. hair masks) are better if you dislike having something runny going down your back while cleaning your head. After I clean my hair, I usually make a bun of it, place it atop my head, and continue lathering and cleansing my body. Once that’s done, I flip my hair down and rinse the hair away from my already clean body.
So, what radical beauty change have you made recently?
I don’t really use concealers to conceal; I haven’t got the patience for micro-concealing. A good foundation that evenly covers everything, and that would be a wrap for me, in terms of coverage. Sometimes I would do some under-eye dark circle concealment, but that’s once in a blue moon.
I do, however, understand that concealers can be good stuff. I haven’t tried a lot of concealers, but the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer gets high raves online that it’s hard to give it a miss. I first tried it in ‘pure beige’, using it as a foundation. It was really good, though the shade is a bit dark for me, but the tone is right. I next tried ‘creamy beige’ and it’s such a good match as a foundation that I am keeping it in my personal arsenal.
What I like about this product: its price (cheap!); its creamy texture that blends well and gets along with other liquid makeup (foundation, tinted moisturizer, sunblock) so I can use it to tint, lighten or darken them; and it’s portable size. I can hardly think of a con except for its brush applicator tip, which will need to be cleaned once in a while.
My favorite way to apply the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal as foundation is to use the Beauty Blender sponge. You can build coverage from sheer to medium; I guess you can do full coverage but I think it will look a bit heavy as this product is thick. Applying with a brush also works if you thin this product first (with your facial serum, moisturizers or other creamy liquids), but if you’re aiming at getting full coverage, take care since the buffing may make your skin feel raw. I found that using my toners as a mixture with this product will not work, as this stuff is very creamy, and substances that are too watery can’t blend well with it. Ditto with spritzing my face first, which can lead to streaky results.
The L.A. Pro Conceal comes in 18 shades and it can be mind boggling to pick a shade. I can only find one complete set of swatches on the internet, so here’s an additional reference by yours truly. In the picture above, I swatched all 18 shades, and also included three of my foundations as comparison (Tarte Maracuja Miracle foundation in ‘light’, Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation in 02 ‘Beige Clair’, and MAC Studio Fix Fluid in ‘NC40’ which i use on other darker people). Note I am yellow-toned around MAC NC 25-30.
If you’re still not sure which shade to get, you can get a couple of colors, one light and one dark in the color family that you need, and mix them up as needed. Below a few results of mixing some of the shades.
I have four of these exorbitantly expensive Guerlain Rouge G lipsticks. [Don’t judge! They were bought on sale, mkay?]. I’ll do a separate blog post on them eventually, but this article is on the possibility of refilling them.
There have been rumors for many years that Guerlain will be making refills for these Rouge G lipsticks, which they should since the case is too luxe to not be re-used. So I thought to myself that by design, these lipsticks should be easy to replace. I fiddled a little on one, and off came a tube. It is then easily inserted back in. I tried swapping the tubes amongst my Rouge Gs and they are interchangeable. As always, click on the pictures to enlarge.
So bottom line, technically you can replace them, though I haven’t tried it yet with the Guerlain Rouge G refills and testers being sold on Ebay and elsewhere. If you’ve tried it, let me know how that worked for you.