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Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick- a cream foundation worth trying

Let me preface this post by saying that I’m not a fan of cream foundations. I’ve tried offerings from various brands in the past but have always found them to be too heavy and quite hard to manipulate on the skin. I wasn’t looking to try this foundation and I wouldn’t have tried it if the girl at the Tom Ford counter hadn’t given me a sample when I was purchasing something else. I told her my issues with cream foundations but she was insistent that the Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation was different.

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What Tom Ford says:
An essential tool in Tom Ford’s makeup regimen. Rich in hydrants, this foundation stick’s unique cream formula creates a flawless and smooth finish. Portable and precise, it achieves versatility of sheer, medium or full coverage, always beautifully natural and undetectable. Or, when used as a concealer, it swiftly diminishes imperfections.

What I say:
Texture:
This foundation stick is actually really different to other cream foundations I’ve tried in the past. The thing that really differentiates it is that it seems thick when you first take some out of the container but, as you start to work with it, it becomes very emollient and almost liquid-like. This foundation has a lot of slip to it and feels smooth and weightless when applied.

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Coverage:
Even though it’s advertised that a sheer coverage is possible with this, I feel like this is definitely a medium to full coverage foundation. As you can see it evens my skin tone and goes a long way to covering the imperfections on my face. With the right application, it could also be used as a concealer and some people apparently use it under the eye. I personally think it’s too thick for the under eye but that’s personal preference.

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Finish:
This foundation definitely has a very dewy look for a cream foundation and maybe that’s because of all the ‘hydrants’. It has quite a long dry down time but it doesn’t seem to oxidise on the skin which is a plus. It does seem ‘traceless’ from a distance but I feel like the pigments aren’t as fine as with liquid foundations so it doesn’t give that second skin look that I like and, to me, it’s noticeable on the skin.

Maybe I just haven’t found the right application method yet but so far I’ve tried various brushes, fingers and sponges and the effect still isn’t what I like in a foundation.

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Wear time:
I have combination skin with a tendency to get very shiny across the centre of my face. This foundation stays on my skin if the conditions are right but, for the most part, it’s a battle to get it to stay on throughout the day. The main reason is because the foundation sits on top of my skin rather than really melding with it so, once I start to get oily, it just comes right off.

It was a pretty mild day when I took these pictures so there were no major issues but I’ve worn it on days when the weather was quite high and this just came right off. I set this foundation with powder and then didn’t blot or touch up during the day and you can see how shiny I looked by the end of the day. The foundation wore off on my nose and chin and looks patchy because of that.

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Colour:

One of the issues I have with cream foundations is that, as they’re usually thicker, the colour match has to be pretty perfect or the effect becomes mask like. The shades that I got given were ( I think) Praline and Toffee. One is too dark and the other too light but I can get a pretty good match if I mix the both.

I compared them to some other foundations in my collection below. There is a lot of variation in the shades but most of them still work on my skin tone. The only one that I struggle to use on my skin tone is the Kevyn Aucoin one as it’s very thick and opaque and ends up looking too light and gives me that mask effect I talked about.

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From Left to right: Tom Ford Praline, Mixed, Tom Ford Toffee, Prolongwear nc42, Make Up For Ever HD Foundation 153, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX11, Illamasqua Skin Base #12, Estee Lauder Doublewear 5W1 Warm Bronze

Final thoughts:

I think this is the best cream foundation that I’ve tried and it’s probably something that I would have loved a few years ago when I was obsessed with heavier coverage foundations. Now, I prefer foundations which are light to medium coverage which have more fluidity to them so I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this myself but I would recommend it.

This is definitely better for those with normal to dry skins though so I would pass if you have oily skin, otherwise be prepared to touch up throughout the day.

The price is probably thing that will eventually make most of you decide whether to get it or not and at $110AUD/$78USD this foundation isn’t cheap and is priced above most high end foundations. I think this is a luxurious foundation and if you’re looking to splurge, it’s worth looking at.

What do you think of this product? Have you tried it?

Beautiful skin in a bottle: Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid Foundation

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I started the year with a resolution that I was going to stop buying so much makeup and start shopping my stash. Unfortunately that resolution lasted about a week until I got properly introduced to Burberry makeup and there’s just no going back. I haven’t been this into a brand in… well ever! I really love how the whole range focuses on naturally enhanced beauty with very chic colour choices. It also doesn’t hurt that the Burberry girl at the Melbourne city store was so lovely and helpful (thanks Ashley!). So far I haven’t tried any part of the Burberry range that I haven’t loved but my absolute favourite item so far has to be the Sheer Luminous Fluid Foundation.

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First of all, just take a look at that bottle! Everything in the Burberry range exudes elegance and is just made to be displayed on your dressing table.

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The bottle comes with a pump that releases the perfect amount of product.

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It comes with a twist lock mechanism which comes in really handy (and saves your carpet) for all those times you don’t put the lid back on and the bottle falls on the floor…

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My only issue with the packaging is how much of a fingerprint magnet it is! The beautiful metal with the Burberry check starts to look dirty after just one use but it’s nothing that a little wipe down doesn’t fix.

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There are 13 shades available and , while I can’t speak to the lighter shades, I think Burberry did a pretty commendable job with their shades choices in the darker shades. The shades on the darker end of the spectrum have a good amount of yellow in them and I think there are an impressive amount of shades available (although the jump from shade 12 to 13 seems to be quite big). Check out Karlasugar’s post for swatches of all shades. Here’s a comparison with some other foundations in my collection. Click to see it bigger.

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I picked this up in the shade Trench 10 and I have to say that this is a pretty perfect colour match for my skin tone. This doesn’t pull ashy on me and, if anything,  is slightly more warm toned than my complexion. The texture is really beautiful and a little goes a long way. The coverage is medium build-able and the finish is a natural skin finish that leans slightly dewy. I have normal/combination skin and I get oily across my cheeks and t-zone by the afternoon when I wear this all day but if I touch up half way through the day with a little powder, this lasts really well.

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What I love about this foundation (apart from pretty much everything) is how weightless this feels on the skin. I honestly don’t feel like I’m wearing foundation and I feel like it gives a very natural but quite perfected look to the skin. I also love how this photographs and haven’t found any issues with flash back. I’ve worn this without any setting powder and found that, while it did wear away throughout the day, the texture and shade match meant that my skin didn’t look patchy. I prefer to set it with a dusting of MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural (although the Burberry Powder foundation may or may not be making it’s way to me right now… I know I have a problem!) or some translucent powder.

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This final photo is how the foundation looks when I’ve done my whole face. This has definitely become my go to foundation during the day. The only thing not to love so much is the price. This product sells for a little over $70AUD for 30ml but I think it’s worth it for the quality of the product. If you’re looking for a new foundation and don’t mind splurging, I highly recommend this one.

Have you tried this foundation? What are your thoughts?

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser

I’ve realised that I probably don’t need as much coverage as I convince myself I do so I’ve been trying and loving sheer foundations and tinted moisturisers lately. That’s why, as soon as I saw the promo image above, I knew I had to try NARS new Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser.

The  product comes in nine shades and is described on the NARS site as follows:

“Your skin – almost bare, but better. This advanced, oil-free formula provides a translucent veil of color and sun protection while helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots in just four weeks. Infused with lush, naturally derived botanicals and ingredients to immediately helps thirsty skin feel hydrated. Kopara from French Polynesia and mineral rich seawater revive and re-mineralize skin for a softer, smoother, and brighter natural glow. Skin is transported.

NARS also describes this product as being non-comedogenic which means that it won’t block pores and cause acne. However, this moisturiser does have dimethicone as a primary ingredient which is a silicone which may lead to break outs if you have sensitive or acne prone skin. I wore this out today for a few hours and when I took off my makeup I had a new blemish. This could be hormonal or related to other reasons so I can’t definitively link it to the makeup. I have read reviews though where this product has apparently caused breakouts so I would suggest triailing it if you have sensitive skin.

NARS also states that this product will help reduce hyperpigmentation after 4 weeks of use making it similar to a BB cream. I can’t and won’t be able to tell you whether this product helps as it says over time as I don’t use this every day. I would be interested to hear your experiences though if you want to leave me a comment below.

As this product has 9 shades, hopefully you’ll be able to find a match in this range. I picked up the shade Cuba/Medium 3 which  was the 3rd darkest from memory. The shade is a pretty good colour match if just slightly warmer than my natural skin tone. The product applies really easily on to the skin (probably because of all the silicone in it) and I use both fingers and brush to apply it with good results. The finish is slightly dewy on the skin but doesn’t feel greasy. I find that my skin will get a bit oily after about 4 hours of wear. I’ve swatched the shade below and if you look at the blended out swatch, you should be able to see the very subtle shimmer running through the product which gives it the luminosity.

Here’s a comparison swatch with some other products. From left to right MAC Tinted Mosituriser in Dark, Becca Luminous Skin Colour in Bamboo, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser and MAC Face and Body in C6. As with a lot of NARS foundations, this product has strong yellow undertones.

Here’s a before and after shot to show you the coverage and finish. As a tinted moisturiser, this product is not meant to give any kind of meaningful coverage and it doesn’t. I know that should be obvious but I’ve read reviews of this product where people were disappointed at the lack of coverage. This product is only going to help even out uneven skin tone and add radiance to the skin and it does that well. On the left is my face minus any makeup and on the right I have the NARS tinted moisturiser applied.

As you can see, there isn’t a dramatic difference but it has evened out the uneven skin tone around the centre of my face and given some warmth and radiance to my skin. It doesn’t cover any of my hyperpigmentation though so I usually apply a bit of concealer to the darkest spots if I can be bothered. Most days though I just set it with my MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural and I get the perfect amount of coverage that I need.

I really like this product and I think it’s something really easy to use on those days when you don’t want a lot coverage. The gorgeous sheen through the product is an added bonus and I think it’s perfect for bringing some life back to your skin in the colder months and perfect to keep a glow during the warmer months. I purchased mine while I was in Thailand but this product sells for $42US/$79AU and is due to release later this month in Australia.

Have you tried this product? What are your thoughts on it?

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

I’ve been wanting to check out Illamasqua’s Skin Base foundation since it came out so I decided to use my birthday last week as the perfect excuse to pick up some Illamasqua goodies. I’ll be posting some of the other items from my mini haul soon.

Illamasqua describes this foundation on their website as:
“The Ultimate ‘Skin Realism’ Foundation
Inspired by the cult Asian market Beauty Balm creams, Skin Base Foundation is a brand new, refined formula unlike anything on the UK market. Easily blendable, it effortlessly creates a perfect complexion, and like the entire Illamasqua foundation range, is undetectable in a professional HD environment. Suitable for all skin types, it smoothes, softens and conditions your skin whilst providing natural, buildable coverage.”

Most of the time a brands description of its own foundation is pretty spot on but I can’t help but feel that Illamasqua got it wrong with this one! I’ve never tried any Beauty Balms since their shade range is often very limited but the description by Illamasqua had me expecting a very fluid lightweight foundation. I was expecting something that would meld with my skin and be virtually undetectable but that’s not what I found.

First up, this foundation is not watery at all despite being water based. I thought the texture would be similar to MAC Face and Body foundation since it has a similar squeeze top but this is substanitally thicker. This is actually thicker than nearly all of my liquid foundations and when I squeeze this out on to my hand and then turn my hand over, this foundation doesn’t run like other liquids.

Illamasqua describes it as being ‘easy to blend’ but I found that the thick texture is a bit difficult to work with so I find myself using more of this than I usually would with other liquids (2 ‘pumps’ versus 1). I’ve tried applying it lots of different ways but have given up on brushes for this product. Even my trusty flat top kabuki from Sigma hasn’t worked since it seems to apply too much. I’ve found that the best application method is just to use my fingers to apply since the heat from my hands warms up the product and makes it more fluid.

The picture above shows my face without foundation on the left and with Skin Base on the right. I couldn’t get the picture any bigger so click if you want a closer look. This foundation covers really well as you can see but I feel like it’s too easy to get a heavy coverage with this foundation. This is fine if that’s what you’re after but I wasn’t and so I’ve been very frustrated with the fact that I haven’t been able to find a way to get a sheer application of this. This foundation is most definitely a medium to heavy coverage foundation so I’ve had to mix it with a moisturiser or very liquid foundation to get the applciation I want.

Despite the above issues, I don’t think the foundation feels heavy on the skin. It gives you a natural satin finish but it tends more towards the dry side. I would probably skip this if you have dry skin because I’ve noticed that it can pick up on dry patches and emphasise them. I have normal to combination skin and I find that my oily areas get oily after about 3 or 4 hours of wear but it isn’t too noticeable.

I purchased my foundation online so I used the comparison shade guides provided  by Illamasqua on their site which allows you to find your shade in Skin Base by comparing it to your shade in MAC or NARS foundations. My MAC foundation shade (NC42) was noted as requiring a mix of 2 Skin base shades (10 + 12) whereas my NARS match (Syracuse) was just noted as shade 12 so I decided to try my luck.
Shade 12 is an ok shade match but just slightly too orange. Just as a side note, I went to the Illamasqua counter the other day and the MUA told me she thought I was actually a shade 14 and was surprised I had bought shade 12. This happened to me at 3 different counters at David Jones the other day with MUA’s at different brands trying to convince me that foundations that were significantly darker than my skin when swatched on my hand were my right match since ‘your hand is different to your face’. Yeah I know except that my face is not 4 times darker than my arm so the result when applied to my face would still have been really bad! Uggh, can you tell I’m a little frustrated?? This is why I just colour match myself. 

Anyway sorry for the mini rant! Above is a swatch of Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in shade 12 swatched heavily and then rubbed in. Below is a shade comparison between (from left to right) Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in Shade 12, Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in 153 and MAC Pro Longwear foundation in NC42. I would have included NARS Syracuse except I’ve run out.

In terms of this products HD properties… the only other ‘HD ready’ foundation I own is Make Up Forever’s and I love that one since it photographs fantastically in both natural light and direct flash. Skin Base foundation doesn’t contain SPF so the mask effect shouldn’t occur but I feel like, because the foundation has a heavier look, it isn’t my favourite for photos with direct flash. I, personally speaking, would skip this foundation for important events where I’ll be photographed and use it more as an everyday foundation. Below is a picture of me taken in natural light on the left and direct flash on the right.

While I don’t love this foundation, I also don’t hate it. My disappointment with this foundation comes more from having expected something similar to MAC Face and Body and receiving something more like MAC Studio Fix Fluid. If this had been marketed as a heavier coverage foundation I would have written a different review. My recommendation is to definitely try before you buy this foundation as it seems like people are split over how they feel about it.

Also, be warned that this product contains 30 ml of product so don’t expect a MAC Face and Body size bottle like I was or you’ll be sorely disappointed! This product will run you £25.00 on the Illamasqua website, $65 in Australia. It’s quite pricey in comparison with MAC foundations which will run you about $50 in Australia which is another reason I say try before you buy!

What are your thoughts on Skin Base? Have you purchased it or will you be purchasing it? Let me know below!

By the way,

Perfect match: Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

I’m always excited when I finally get to try something I’ve been hearing rave reviews about but there’s always the possibility that someone else’s rave product will be the one that lands in my ‘rant’ category. No need to worry though because Makeup Forever HD Foundation lives up to the hype (in my eyes at least) and firmly lands itself in my favourites category.

The packaging is functional and simple with a sturdy plastic bottle with the all important pump included. The pump is one of the good ones too which dispenses the right amount of product every time with one pump of product usually enough to cover my whole face.

The colour match is fantastic as well. I picked up shade 153 and it has the perfect amount of yellow in it for my complexion which makes it one of the few foundation shades I can actually wear on its own! No complex mixing combinations required here which is why I’ve been favouring it ever since I received it. Big thanks to my awesome friend for picking it up for me while she was in the US! For comparison, I’m usually an NC42 in MAC.

The foundation consistency is pretty light weight and I consider this to be a medium-buildable coverage foundation. It’s easy to get a sheer application by using less product or you can also get more coverage by applying a bit more product. 1 to 1.5 pumps is the most I’ve been using and I’ve been really happy with the result. I apply it with my trusty synthethic Flat Top Kabuki from Sigma and find that I don’t even need concealer most days.

Here’s some before and afters to show you how it covers:

This leaves a natural finish on the skin but I still set it with powder. I find that without a primer, I get oily after a few hours around my t-zone but with a primer this isn’t such a problem. I didn’t notice any obvious oxidisation with this foundation which was fantastic as foundations with more coverage tend to oxidise quite a bit on me and leave me looking orange.

I know that this claims to be ‘invisible’ looking foundation but I don’t really think that’s true. I do think the pigment particles are quite a bit finer in this foundation so the end result is more natural than some other foundations (Studio Fix I’m looking at you!) but it’s not invisible. I still really like it though and I think it’s a great every day foundation but also works well for special occassions as it photographs well.

I give this foundation a big thumbs up and highly recommend it for those looking for a new foundation. It sells for $40 in the US and $59 here is Oz which is a pretty standard price for foundations.

What are your thoughts on the MUFE HD foundation? Is it a love it or leave it item for you? Let me know below!

MAC Matchmaster Foundation: Match made in heaven?

Even though I keep telling myself that I’m going to stop using MAC foundations I still get intrigued whenever MAC releases a new foundation. The latest release is the Matchmaster foundation which is described as (From the MAC website) ‘A virtually “invisible” foundation with coverage influenced by your own skin tone. A breakthrough patented formula technology with a spectrum of 14 light to deep dark shades. Discover shade intelligence!’ and  ‘New Foundation technology using translucent pigments to enable a fully personalized finish influenced by the subtleties of your own skin’s undertone. Moisturizing demi-matte finish. Medium buildable coverage. Line-reducing soft-focus powders.’

The MUA told me that this foundation is supposed to work with your skin’s undertones to give you a perfectly ‘matched’ foundation. As soon as I heard this a ‘gimmick alert’ warning siren started going off in my mind but I thought I’d hold my judgment until giving it a go for myself. I’m sick of having a MUA try something on me and tell me ‘it’s a perfect match’ when the colour is clearly wrong so I got a sample of 3 of the 14 shades available to try at my own leisure.

The shade numbering doesn’t follow the standard MAC system of the NC’s & NW’s (because your own undertone apparently shows through) and are simply numbered from 1 to 14. I picked up a sample of shade #4, #5 and #6. I was told that as an NC42, I was most likely to be shade #5 but that some people fall in between so to try the other two as well.

Swatched below is Estee Lauder Double Wear in 5W1 Bronze, MAC Pro Longwear foundation in NC42, MAC Matchmaster foundation in shades #5, #6 and #4.

From left to right: Swatches of Shade #4, #5 and #6 when wet ( on the top) and when dry (on the bottom)

I applied shade #5 on to my face to show you how it looks. I don’t know if it’s ‘matched’ my undertone or whether it just happened to have the right amount of yellow in it for my skin tone but I think #5 was a pretty good match. I just thought it might have been a tiny bit too light in person but not so much that it’s an obvious difference. I’m really curious whether those in the NW shade range who are matched to #5 will find that it shows up with cooler undertones to match their skin. If you know the answer, please let me know below.

Even though I can’t tell you one way or the other whether this actually does what it says colour wise, I can tell you that MAC hit the nail on the head with the ‘demi-matte’ description. The texture of this foundation is really light weight which is unusual for matte finish foundations and it actually feels really good on the skin. I have normal to combination skin and I found that my skin felt really comfortable without the tightness or flaking that I associate with matte foundations.

The coverage is definitely medium buildable and in the picture above I’ve only used the equivalent of one pump. It covers my scarring quite well with minimal product so I was happy. The only thing I will say is that, as a matte foundation, if you apply too much this stuff can start to look really heavy and powdery so just exercise some caution. Like they always say, it’s easier to add more makeup if you’ve put on too little than it is to wipe away makeup if you’ve added too much.

I wore it out from 8 am to about 5 pm (about 9 hours) and it wore really well with minimal fading as you can see in the picture above. This is pretty impressive considering I only set it with a tiny bit of translucent powder. I get quite oily in my t-zone like a lot of people but I found that this foundation controlled the oil quite well so I can see this being a good option for those with oily skin.   I don’t know how this would work on people who have dry skin but generally mattes don’t really play well and something with more moisturising properties is usually better. It also has SPF 15 in it which is either a pro or a con depending on your feelings about the effectiveness of SPF in foundations.

This product is selling for $32.50 US/$59AUD for a 35ml bottle which is slightly pricier than most MAC foundations but you do get about 5ml more. I would recommend this foundation granted you can find a colour match. All in all, even if the ‘matching’ aspect might be a gimmick, this is a pretty solid release by MAC.

Have any of you tried this foundation yet? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know below.