Saturday, April 12, 2014

first impressions: bareminerals bareskin pure brightening serum foundation

Like many people, bareMinerals Original was one of the first foundations I ever used. I couldn't even count how many I went through in high school and college. Next was the Matte formula, which I tried but never really liked since I prefer a more natural finish. Then came the READY formula. While I readily embraced the READY mineral veil, I did not fall in love with the foundation version. The main reason was the finish, it was somewhere between the Original & Matte versions, and overall seemed to have heavier feel. I did get the brush and went through most of one of the compacts, and even got a second in a lighter shade when I lost my tan. However, around that time I started experimenting with liquid foundations and my powders were eventually set aside.

Now bareMinerals has finally come out with the inevitable liquid foundation, bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation. I advance ordered through QVC back in February, seemed to be a great deal with both the brush and foundation for $39.96 (currently they have the same set for $43.96). I eagerly waited for it to arrive, and to my delight it showed up earlier than expected on Wednesday.

Before I get into my thoughts, here is the description from QVC's website:

This unique, lightweight, ultra-thin, skin-perfecting fluid delivers adjustable coverage and a flawless finish, while also providing skin care benefits. The mineral infusion is formulated with ingredients that help deliver a noticeably brighter, more youthful appearance. And it's formulated without water, oil, silicone, parabens, or fragrance.

The new Perfecting Face Brush has a specially engineered reservoir that holds the fluid formula, while the longer, surrounding bristles smooth out the finish upon application.

How do I use it: SHAKE well to combine the ingredients. DROP one to two drops of foundation into the reservoir of the Perfecting Face Brush. BUFF gently onto skin in circular motions. Start in the center of face and work your away around the complexion.

For desired, adjustable coverage, only use up to two drops at a time on the brush.

Two drops = sheer coverage.
Four drops = medium coverage.
Six drops = full coverage.

First up, the color I selected, Bare Ivory, is a little too light for me right now. That's the unfortunate problem with ordering something like this online. It would have been perfect for me in the middle of winter, but it's been pretty sunny here in So Cal recently and I've started getting a slight tan. I'm going to exchange it for the next "golden" shade up, probably Bare Beige or Bare Nude. One thing I do really like is that they specifically have "golden" shades. I always found their powders to run a little  to the pink side.

I have used this for only three days, so keep in mind that these opinions are definitely first impressions. I would normally wait much longer to post a foundation review, but I was too excited about the idea of a bareMinerals liquid to wait!

The "reservoir" brush seems a little gimmicky to me, but it is a nice smaller size and very soft. I have always liked the shorter handles of bareMinerals brushes as well, and have never had any shedding issues. I haven't tried any other brushes yet, but it think my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush would probably work just as well. It definitely needs a "buffing" style brush though, as I have found buffing is really one of the keys to using this, similar to the powders.

The packaging for the foundation is very small and simple. The bottle is smaller than I expected, and it's a little difficult to squeeze which helps to control the amount that comes out. It has some sort of ball or mechanism inside to help when you shake, which apparently is a very important step since the packaging says "shake well" multiple times.

The finish of this foundation has a definite glow. A tinted "Serum" is a great description, because this is different from any foundation / tinted moisturizer / BB cream that I've ever used. It takes some experimentation. The first two days, I kept trying to use way too much. I figured there was no way that 2-6 drops would be enough for my whole face, especially since this is silicone free. I also kept using it over moisturizer and primer, like I normally would use any other foundation. The problem I ran into was that it never dried down. I felt like I had a thin greasy layer on my face that just sat there. So finally, this morning, I decided to try skipping my moisturizer and primer, and really using only the suggested 2 drops at a time tapped all over and then buffed like crazy. I used only two drops for each half of my face (four total). The results are amazing, it evened out the tone and my skin feels so soft and moisturized without feeling greasy at all. My advice would be that less is more with this foundation! It seems to work well with their Mineral Veil (a long time favorite) as well, I just tapped it lightly over my T-zone to set any concealer.

While not necessarily a negative, the biggest disappointment I have with this foundation is that it is sheer coverage. Maybe medium coverage at best. It may tone down blemishes, but do not expect it to cover everything. They should not call this buildable or full coverage, from my experience if you build to full coverage, you are using too much.

The best part about this is really the skin care aspect. As mentioned earlier, I have only been using this for three days, but when I wash my face at night it really does seem to have a nice "brightening" effect. Usually by that time my skin is dry and tired, but it seems like bareMinerals has really come through on the promised skin care benefits. Perhaps this is due in part to being formulated without silicones or parabens.

I look forward to using this throughout summer as a light foundation option, however I will not be giving up my full coverage foundations any time soon!

Swatches in the sun and indoors, blended on the left side. You can really see how other than the color, it is almost invisible.

Here are some random shade comparisons also. I have included the only two bareMinerals foundations I currently own, as well as my current go to NARS foundation.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

lazy sunday

I thought it was about time to do a "favorites" post, and what better day to start than Sunday?

First up, a nice big cup of French press coffee with some delicious fresh strawberries. I grew up on the central coast with strawberry stands everywhere, and they are one of my all time favorites. Strawberries are usually sweetest and juiciest when you can get them fresh and local. I was excited to find these in the little green baskets at Whole Foods yesterday.

Current makeup favorites:

This tube of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard is my second, and it's running low. Already have a third tube waiting from my trip to TMSLA!

My new Maybelline Color Tattoo in Sleek and Spice is quickly becoming a new favorite, it's a great base under everything.

I regret waiting so long to pick up the Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer brush, this thing is amazing. It just takes a few taps over my NARS concealer for it to disappear along with my spots and redness. I may need to get the foundation version now.

Spring makes me want to wear bright lipstick, an although I have been experimenting with orange recently, I still keep going back to Clinique's bright and easy wearing pink Chubby Stick in Pudgy Peony.

One of my newest favorites was sent to me for review. I've found myself constantly reaching for Lord and Berry's Luxury Eyeliner in "In the Black", forgot how easy pencil liners are! I have trouble with the extra creamy eyeliners like Urban Decay 24/7 because they end up getting in my eyes and sticking to my contact lenses, giving me blurry vision. I haven't had any problems with this one, even on my water line. Full review coming soon...

New purchases:

I finally caved and got a pump for my NARS Sheer Glow foundation. Hoping now I will use it more often. I wish NARS wouldn't make you buy extra things for their products so often.

I was also running low on my current mascara, so I decided with the Sephora sale to splurge and get Guerlain's Maxi Lash. Hopefully it's worth it!

What are your favorite things right now?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

runway crayon lip pencils by lord & berry

My first thought when I saw the "RUNWAY" display at CVS was the magazine (Carrie Diaries anyone?!). Then I saw the tiny print at the bottom, "by Lord & Berry", and knew they were coming home with me. Curiously, I have no idea how much they actually cost. The CVS employees were totally confused at the register because they wouldn't scan, so they made up a price... go figure.

The other interesting thing was that they had testers out, which seems to be becoming more popular recently in drugstores. Good idea in theory, but in reality without sales associate supervision it becomes a filthy mess. For the drugstore, I prefer the safety seal style packaging where you can see the color, because then you know that no one has touched it.

I picked up four different colors, Naturelle, Lust, Orange, and Cherry. All four have a very similar texture, although Lust and Orange seem to emphasize dry lips more than the other two. The formula reminds me a lot of the NARS satin lip pencils, they are very thin and comfortable feeling and last 3-4 hours for me. They are not noticeably drying or moisturizing. Cherry wears the longest with a slight staining effect, which is to be expected from a darker color. There was a great selection of lighter nude and pink colors in the display, so if that is your thing you should definitely check them out. Everything was a cream, no shimmer. Overall, these are sophisticated and refined lipsticks at a drugstore price point.

I contacted Lord & Berry to get more information on this US launch, and they let me know that Runway is their mass market niche brand and it is fully made in Italy / Europe. Lord & Berry is a boutique makeup brand that specializes in catwalks, and Runway is along the same concept, however on a branding level for US drugstores. They hope this test with CVS will be successful so that they can move forward. I do as well, I would love to see Lord & Berry come to the US!