First Impression – Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation 

With my last Sephora order, something unexpected happened – I actually received a foundation sample that was (gasp) pale enough to work for me!  That product was Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid ($45).  The sample card had many shades to try, so if you get a chance to grab one of these, you may want to do so!

What Sephora has to say about the product:

What it is:
A revolutionary medium-to-full coverage skin care foundation fluid powered by 100 percent pure argan oil and nutrient-rich pigments for vibrant, glowing skin.

What it is formulated to do:
Activate your skin’s vitality with Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid. Like a fresh squeezed juice, Vibrancy utilizes a revolutionary cold-pressed process that preserves the powerful, hand-selected ingredients for the freshest, most effective skin care foundation. Vibrancy energizes your skin with the essential nutrients it craves and is designed to interact and adapt to the movements of your skin with delicate fluidity for a radiant, dimensional finish. The breathable, lightweight, medium-to-full coverage formula features a powerful blend of moisture-enhancing ingredients that help soothe, smooth, and restore skin’s luminosity.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
This product is dermatologist tested and clinically proven to hydrate and smooth even the most sensitive skin. Find your ideal shade with confidence. First identify your undertones: R is for rosey undertones, G is for golden undertones, and RG is for neutral or rose gold undertones. Next, you’ll choose the depth of your shade, with 5 being the most fair and 85 being the most rich.

Research results:
In a clinical study after 4 weeks:
– 100% of subjects experienced a significant increase of skin moisture by 106%
– 98% of subjects experienced a significant increase of skin smoothness and softness by 111%

In a consumer study:
– 100% said that their past feelings about foundation improved after experiencing Vibrancy
– 93% agreed Vibrancy helped visibly calm their skin condition, specifically scarring, inflammation, and rosacea

My take:

When first applying this to my skin, I loved the light neutral shade of RG5; however as I was applying this to my face and blending in with my fingers I noticed two odd things:  It felt somehow very heavy, but did not provide full coverage.  I definitely had to go in with concealer around my nose and on my acne scars, but I do with most foundations.  I would call this medium coverage at best.  This foundation feels very oily, which I suppose makes sense since is is an argan oil foundation.  However, it really doesn’t seem to say anywhere in the description that is is for extremely dry skin, which is the only type skin I could really see benefiting from this type of texture.  It is extremely dewy, almost moreso than MAC Face and Body foundation, but feels more heavy than that and has more coverage.  I set it here with MAC Invisible Set Powder for a little mattifying and in hopes that it would keep it on my face!

And then…OH NO!  Complete and utter meltdown in only FOUR HOURS.  Now, I have somewhat combo skin, but it’s combination leaning on the drier side, so this just floored me!  Look at the breakdown around the nose where my glasses were.  The coverage around my nose and mouth is basically gone and my redness is showing.  My chin is a greasy, hot mess!  OH.  Oh hell no.


I feel like this foundation could really only work for someone with super dry and dehydrated skin, especially in colder or dry climates.  However, there is nothing in the description that says that this is for very dry skin.  It does mention increased hydration, but that’s it, really.  I feel like a better description of what type of skin this is for would be beneficial in helping customers chose.  I also feel that calling this full coverage is really stretching. All in all, I’ll not be shelling out $45 on this, especially knowing a humid and hot NC summer is around the corner!

Have you tried any new foundations lately?  What did you think?

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Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush Review – Beautiful Colors, Easy Depotting 

I have a review today on this chilly Saturday!  I have recently obtained 3 Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes.  The first one was Fearless, a pinky coral blush I obtained in a swap (brand new!) on an Ipsy group on Facebook (hey thanks, friend!).  The next one I got  was Dollface, which I bought for a complete steal on eBay.  At that point I knew that these blushes worked incredibly well on my super fair, combination, acne prone skin, so I did something I rarely do and splurged on the full priced limited edition shade, Celebrated (I usually do not buy limited edition shades because I get so mad when I cannot repurchase them).

From the Sephora website:

What it is:
A long-wearing, solar-baked blush that lasts up to 12 hours.

What it does:
Infused with natural clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon River and naturally baked by the sun, this nutrient-rich blush benefits all skin types for a fade-free flawless finish that lasts an amazing 12 hours. Inspired by tarte’s bestselling shades of cheek stains and lip tints, the colors range from soft to vivid to suit a wide variety of skintones. For oily skin types, Amazonian clay minimizes oil in and around pores to balance skin and keep product in place. Those with dry skin will benefit from the clay’s nourishing and hydrating properties, which naturally restore skin’s moisture. Combination skin types can rely on its ability to zero in on skin concerns and deliver benefits to restore complexion harmony. The result: Blush that wears better, longer, and truer.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
This product is free of petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, GMOs, and triclosan.

Ok, WOW, those are some crazy claims.  Here’s my take…I don’t think anything can be really moisturizing and oil controlling at the same time.  I have 3 matte shades and I find them, well, mattifying.  I get shiny throughout the day and if I touch up with these (which is not necessary as the color really does stay all day), it does take down oil and shine!  I would say these are great for normal to oily skin.  If you’re super dry, you may find that you would want to stick to liquid or cream blushes, of course.  I don’t think they have found the magical moisturizing powder formula (is there such a thing?).  As for ingredients harvested from the Amazon and dried in the sun…really?  I’m just not even touching that.  For Pete’s sake, Tarte.  I do find it interesting that there are lots of non-natural ingredients in here, but we’re supposed to buy the product based on what’s *not* in the product.  Wow, that’s some marketing!  But hey, I’m glad it doesn’t contain hand sanitizer ingredients!  LOL!

Ok, let’s get to something about this product that I LOVE, the packaging.  First of all, the compacts match the product inside.  If you’re in a hurry, you don’t need to fumble around, just grab what you’re looking for based on color.

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(Tarte Fearless, Celebrated, Dollface)

Now, here’s what I love even more.  As an ex-makeup artist, I got used to using palettes.  I have most of my powder products in palettes as it’s just easier for me.  These blushes are actually made for popping out of the compact easily and popping into palettes if you want to, without having to de-pot them with heat or sharp objects and possibly ruining your product!  There is a hole in the back of the compact to push a pin through, but I have found that you can just tap the compact into your hand with a little force and the pan will come out…be careful, you don’t want to drop and break the precious!  The AMAZING thing they have thought of is the big magnet in the compact so you can *put the pan back in* any time you want to travel with the blush in the compact.  So, for example I’m going out of town next week and will take just one of these with me and will pop it out of my palette and into the compact and away I will go.

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OMG seriously?!  THANK YOU, TARTE!

When I’m not traveling, I can have them all in my Z-palette (I love the lavender one).

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(Top row: Tarte Dollface, Tarte Fearless, Tarte Celebrated, MAC Pink Swoon, Bottom Row: MAC Full of Joy, MAC Well Dressed, MAC Unconventional, La Femme Misty Plum, La Femme Scarlet)

And now, photos of me wearing each Tarte blush!  I have found these particular shades to work well on my NW10 skin, apply easily, blend out well, and wear well for 8+ hours, though I usually don’t wear my makeup for 12 hours.

Tarte Celebrated:

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Celebrated is the softest of the softest nudes.  This is the blush I reach for when I want my blush soft and “foolproof.”  It’s listed as a pink nude, but it goes peachy on me.  I adore this like I cannot even tell you.  It is one of the most pale-friendly blushes I’ve ever found.

Tarte Dollface:

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Dollface is a very cool toned blue based pink. It looks beautiful on pale skin, but has enough color to look great on medium skin as well.  It blends out beautifully and can be worn with a number of lip colors.  I rocked it with red lipstick yesterday and it looked oh so retro.

Tarte Fearless:

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Fearless is a coral pink that is more pink than orange, which means I can actually wear it.  Fearless is everything I wanted MAC Fleur Power to be, which was too deep and too orange for my fair, pink skin. This is a super fun spring and summer color!

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In summary – will Tarte overcome my beloved MAC as my favorite blush?  Hmm, Tarte blushes are $29 and MAC pro blush pans are $17, so probably not.  However, the packaging is superior in being able to re-use the compacts (although you can Back To MAC the compacts at MAC if you do not want them).  I would say the quality is similar, so it is just up to you as to what you want out of your blush, as well as finding your perfect color!  For me, finding pale girl friendly blushes is really difficult – I have been putting that palette together for a looooooong time.

What are your favorite blushes?  Do you wear powder blushes, liquid, cream?  Have you tried Tarte?  Let me know in the comments!

NYX Ombre Blush Review – Mauve Me

When I fist saw the NYX Ombre Blushes, I got pretty excited!  My first thought was that these may be an affordable version of an earlier limited edition MAC offering. 

From the NYX website:

“Treat your cheeks to a radiant flush of color with our Ombré Blush, a new gradient blush inspired by the ombré trend. This must-have formula features two silky colors blended into one perfectly coordinated shade combo. (It’s like they were meant for each other.)”

My excitement turned to doubt when I saw the INTENSE color selection.  I have incredibly fair skin and realized that most of the shades were going to be “too rich for my blood.”  One shade stood out as a possibility that might work for me, though, and that was “Mauve Me.”  I thought, “Well, at $10 for an enormous blush, let’s give it a shot,” and ordered it from Ulta.  I’m SO glad I did, because this particular shade of mauve is my jam!  Check it out:

  
I love that ombre fade!  There’s a nice mirror inside, as well. 

  
The compact is nice and sleek.  

Here’s how it looks on my skin (around a MAC NW10, for reference):

  
(Worn with MAC “Syrup” lipstick.)

  
(Worn with Kat Von D “Lovecraft” lipstick.)

I have been using my MAC 116 blush brush and sweeping from the light color into the deep color in the pan, then applying the blush in a swirling motion on my cheeks.  The color is a lovely satin (very lightly shimmery, NOT frosty yet not matte), a healthy glowy type finish that I tend to get from MAC Mineralize blushes.  Not bad!  I’m not wearing any highlighter in this photo.  

NYX Ombre Blushes come in 8 shades and retail for $10.00 USD.  Have you tried them? 

Makeup of the Day

  
I bet you didn’t know my hair was this long. I’ve had it short since 2001, the longest it ever gets is about this length. When I dyed it recently, I couldn’t get all of the black out, but due to some stroke of luck I got enough out that it dyes burgundy when I hit it with the fuchsia dye I use (SpecialFX Virgin Rose).

Eyes: Stila eyeshadows in Porcelain, Coffee and Bronze, Rimmel Soft Kohl eyeliner in Stormy Grey, City Color Be Bold mascara in Black

Lips: MAC lipliner in Spice, NYX lipstick in Thalia

Face: Wet n Wild Fergie Centerstage Mattifying Powder in Pedestal

Fragrance: Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs “Nemesis”

Makeup of the Day

  
I went out to see one of my fave bands tonight so I got a dressed up.

Eyes: Urban Decay eyeshadows in Kinky, Mushroom, Asphalt and Blackout, NYX grey pencil eyeliner, Urban Decay Perversion mascara

Lips: Rimmel Provocalips lip paint in Little Minx

Face:  MAC StudioFix powder NW10

Fragrance: Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs Voodoo

  
Then, I met their lead singer and fangirled him about his day job. Like one does.

Drugstore Makeup for Pale Skin!

Hallooooo!  If you have truly pale skin (and no, I don’t mean the drug store’s orangey-beige version of “Ivory”), you have probably done countless online searches trying to come up with foundation, concealer, and powder options, both high end and drug store.  Drug store options seem to be the most impossible, but after loads of searching, I’ve found a few options.  Actually, my entire face today is drugstore, and I’ll post a list of what I’m wearing below! 

For reference, in MAC terms, I would be around an N10, shade wise.  I usually settle for NW10 since I lean more cool, but honestly I would prefer a perfectly neutral base.  Studio Fix Fluid in NW10 works fine for me.  Cover FX does have an N10 shade that is fairly perfect for me, but both these lines are pretty pricey and I wanted another option!

What I have on today is Rimmel Match Perfection in 010 Light Porcelain.  Unfortunately, if you’re in the United Stares, you’ll have to order this shade online, as it’s only available in the UK.  American Match Perfection starts at an ivory shade that is rather dark and super pink!  The Light Porcelain is beautifully neutral.  This is a sheer to medium buildable foundation with a satin finish.  This shade is also available in the UK in a few other formulas such as Lasting Finish, which is a heavier coverage, but sadly breaks me out.  I have no issues with this one.  I got this on Amazon for around $10 USD. 

The concealer I’ve used today is a new one to me and I’m praying it won’t break me out, because it looks pretty nice!  This is NYX Gotcha Covered in Ivory.  I saw a Youtuber say this was “really light” and had to try it for $6 USD.  It’s a full coverage cream concealer in a tube.  What a I like about this for under eyes is it has a bit of a peachy-salmon tone, great for correcting dark circles!  I’ve yet to determine if this creases or causes breakouts, so watch this space.  I set this with powder immediately today and it looked bomb.  Which brings me to…

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Pressed Powder in Translucent 100!  This is a wonderful, finely milled pressed powder that mattifies oil and sets foundation like nobodies business.  Don’t let the white color fool you – this is basically invisible on the skin, at least if you’re fair like me!  It has a nice sponge and a mirror so it’s good on the go.  Don’t want to shell out for MAC Blot?  Don’t have to!  This product is around $6 at the drug store. 

Here’s my finished look.  You like? 

  
I also have on Wet N Wild’s Comfort Zone palette and I used Rimmel’s “Tower of Mauve” lipstick on the lips and as a cream blush!

Do you have any drug store favorites? 

Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen – FIRST IMPRESSION

Well that’s a mouth full, isn’t it?

I got a sample of Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer with my last Sephora order.  I’m so pale that usually when I get a sample card of foundation stuff, I chuck it immediately; however, when I glanced at this, I noticed the “fair” shade was actually pretty fair.  I did just glance at the card, though, and I mistakenly thought this was a typical BB cream.  So, I sat down to do my makeup with this and just went a-slappin’ this all over my face.

As I’m applying this, I’m thinking, “Uh.  What.  This feels like a primer.  With silicone.  And silica.  And it feels WEIRD.  What…….the…………HECK?” Yet, it has color to it.  The fair color oddly matches my skin tone, which is around a MAC N10 or NW10, which is crazy because that never happens.  The strange thing about it is that Tarte claims you can wear this alone as a BB cream/tinted moisturizer type thing, or under foundation.  I’m here to tell you that as a BB cream or tinted moisturizer, it has basically no coverage and a completely weird finish.  I did attempt to wear this by itself with just a bit of concealer (NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer) and the lame thing about that was, it didn’t play nice with the concealer…I feel like primers are supposed to make blending easier, but this made it harder to move the product around.  ANYWAY, as I was applying it, I looked at the sample card a little better and was like, “OHHHHH, you can use this as a primer, too.”  But the other thing about this primer is, it didn’t really seem to fill pores or blur fine lines, so I’m not sure why I would.  My Tarte Clean Slate Poreless primer does that in spades!

This product also has an SPF of 30 and the sample size has about the amount you would need for a full face to get that SPF…except there’s no way you could use that full amount without being a hot mess.  So, you’re not going to get the full amount of sun protection claimed when using this product.  You’re about to see where I’m going with this, but first, let’s see what the claims are on the Sephora website:

Indulge your skin with this powerful multitasker that works as a primer, moisturizer, light foundation, antiaging treatment, and sunscreen to give you a youthful-looking glow. Worn alone or as the perfect base for makeup, this 12-hour, age-defying, oil-free primer offers light-to-medium, buildable coverage that helps even skintone and other skin imperfections while diffusing light to minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pores. The creamy, silky formula goes on smooth and blends easily, leaving you with a natural-looking, flawless finish with a broad-spectrum, chemical-free SPF 30 that offers ideal protection from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays.

What else you need to know:
Beauty Balms or BB Creams were originally developed as a perfect post-procedure cream used to treat, hydrate, prime, protect, and camouflage the skin. Great for all skin types including those with sensitive skin, these versatile “five-in-one” formulas are designed to do it all: treat with high levels of active skincare ingredients; moisturize and smooth dehydrated skin; prime and perfect skin’s surface; camouflage and color correct the skintone; and protect skin from the sun with SPF. They can be used as a last step for their skincare benefits or used on their own as an instant beautifier.

This product is powered by tripleB complex, a proprietary blend of natural diamond dust, plants, and lipoamino acids that diffuses light and minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pores while improving the appearance of skin luminosity.

Research results:
In a consumer panel study:
– 100% of women immediately saw an improvement in the surface texture of skin for smoother makeup application
– 97% of women saw and felt smoother, softer skin
– 91% of women said fine lines appeared minimized
– 94% of women said pores appeared less visible after 4 weeks

Pretty hefty claims for a primer!

In conclusion, basically I have a beef with BB creams in general that are trying to be all things at once, and that is that they usually fail to do any of those things well.  Skipping steps may seem faster, but you’re going to lose out in the end – lose out on sun protection, coverage, the actual function of a good primer, and the skin care benefits you’d get from a great skin care regimen.  Products that claim to “do it all” rarely can.  Since this is a first impression, I cannot speak to the results over time, but I can say that it did not blur fine lines or fill pores and it did not hydrate my skin and I was not able to use enough to get good sun protection and the coverage was slim to none.  I have yet to try it underneath a foundation, but I can tell from the consistency I probably don’t need to…no need to fix what isn’t broken.  I’ll stick with my great skincare (including antioxidant serum, high SPF, and a badass primer) and take that extra 5 minutes to use seperate products rather than trying to use one product that’s trying to be all things.

For reference, here’s me wearing the product just after applying.  It’s hard to tell about the coverage, because I did go in and spot conceal because I just couldn’t stand it, LOL!  It didn’t really control oil and I did have to blot after about 2 hours.

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Your mileage may vary with this one, but I’m going to say DEFINITELY get a sample before shelling out $36 for 1 ounce!

Have any of you found an all-in-one product like this that actually works for you?