Monday, September 30, 2013

Wet n Wild Soldier Palette Swatches - Enlisting for Beauty and Support our Troops

Nothing to disclose, I purchased the products shown.

I picked up these two Wet n Wild Soldier palettes for $2.99 each.  I figured they were good neutral shades.  I didn't realize until I got home that one palette was mislabeled on both the outside packaging and on the back of the palette.  Support our Troops is the white/black/grey palette, but labeled as Soldiers in Charms, which is a trio of green shades.

All shadows are swatched with a dampened wet/dry brush on bare skin.  Photos are inside, no flash.

Browbone shade is a soft peachy beige
Crease is a dark chocolate
Lid is a light gingerbread brown

Browbone is a cool white
Crease is a soft black
Lid is a shimmery pewter

The mascara that came with both palettes was black, but I didn't open them.  I sent them to a friend from a makeup group who's been battling eye irritation and trying to figure out what she's allergic to.  I figured she could use the mascaras and toss them if they bothered her while she's working on the bothersome ingredient in her shadows.

These are two good shades if you're looking for wearable neutrals, and at $2.99 you can't go wrong.  Thanks for looking, and hope you've found the swatches helpful.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Performance Colors Foundation Review and Swatches- Chalk, Snowie, Cool Fair, Neutral Fair

Nothing to disclose, I purchased the products shown.

I purchased samples of Performance Colors  Oil Free Light and Smooth Foundation in shades Snowie, Cool Fair, and Neutral Fair on August 1st.  I already showed you some pics of me wearing it  but without any swatches.   I apologize for not getting swatches posted sooner, but since I just received the new shade Chalk on Monday, I can show you that now too!  Photos are taken inside, no flash, unless noted.

The first is with the foundation simply applied with a brush, down my arm. 

Next I used my fingertip to gently rub the swatches down my arm, but I didn't blend them.  Also inside, no flash.

I gently fingertip blended a bit more, but not too much because I want you to be able to see the shades!

Here's an outside, indirect sunlight pic, again no flash.  I tried to get a few in direct sun but to no avail.

Here's another, and I've put some little arrows so you can get a better idea where the foundation is.  When I've got to do that, you know it's a good match! 

Lastly, an inside no flash photo taken about 5 hours later.

Here's me wearing it the first day, where you can see the match is seamless.

Size / Price:   sample size is 3g for $1, or three samples for $2.   Full size is .5 ounces for $10.

Shades:   Warm: Fair, Light, Medium-Light, Medium
Neutral: Snowie, Fair, Light, Medium-Light, Medium, Tan/Deep
Cool: Fair, Light, Medium-Light, Medium

New shades (not yet on shade chart)
The fairest of them all - Chalk
"Inbetween" - Sand (a light tone half way between neutral and warm)
Exotic skin tones - Light Honey, Light Caramel, Caramel, Bronze

Ingredients:    Methicone, Silica, Titanium dioxide, Magnesium stearate, Magnesium myristrate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclomethicone, Isoeicosane, Zinc, Dimethicone, Beeswax, Stearic Acid, Vitamin E Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol. Stearic Acid, Iron oxides, Cetearyl Alcohol and Polsorbate 60, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance (less than 1%). May contain: Iron Oxide, Magnesium Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Violet. Net weight 1/2 oz, 15 ml. Sample size 3g, 3 ml.

Sunscreen:  this foundation contains 11% titanium dioxide and 4% zinc oxide, which are ingredients I look for in my sunscreen. 

Scent:  this foundation has a vanilla with dewfruit scent.  Full sizes can be ordered unscented, but samples are only available scented.   When I did the swatches I could smell it but don't notice it once it's on my face.  I wanted to mention it though, in case anyone is scent - sensitive.

My Skin:  dry with rosacea, noticeably red cheeks, around nose, sometimes jawline.  Mature skin.  That's a nice way of saying I'm old, damnit. 

How I apply:  When I first received the samples, I applied the foundation using an Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush, which I really liked.  I bought a Beauty Blender a while back and just hadn't gotten around to it, so I finally broke it open and I can say I like it better with that.  It completely disappears and looks like I don't have anything on my face.  In the picture above it was applied with the brush.

The Feel:  It goes on so smooth and creamy, and dries to a weightless powder.  It doesn't feel greasy on my dry skin.  It blends like a dream, I've never had to do so little blending with a foundation.

The Color:  I don't have to tell you it's a fantastic color match, do I?   While I haven't worn Chalk on my face yet,  judging by the arm swatch, this will be my winter shade.  I've been wearing Snowie pretty much nonstop since I got the samples.  I am also amazed to report that I can also wear Cool Fair.  Neutral Fair is just a tiny bit yellow on me, but I use it on my cheeks and around my nose to conceal redness from my rosacea.

Coverage:  Yes!  I need only the tiniest amount on my non red areas, and it makes my skin look flawless.  On the red areas (cheeks, nose, sometimes around jawline) I put a second thin layer.  If I'm having a flare up, I'll pat a teeny amount directly onto the red and blend it ever so gently with my fingertip.  It conceals my redness very well, although it does poke through by day's end (see below for more on that). 

Staying Power:  This foundation lasts all day on me and still looks natural by the end of the day.  My face is sort of an unfair test with my rosacea, because generally by the end of the day my face is more flush, particularly if I've had coffee after dinner.  By evening, my redness starts to show, but it's more a normal level of color and not bright red cheeks.  I haven't found ANY product that can conceal my rosacea for 12 hours while still looking natural.  It also doesn't rub off my skin, or end up on my clothes, and you know I'm always wearing black.

Tweaking:  not necessary.  What's in this stuff, magic?

OverallHoly Grail!  Part of the reason I took so long to review this is because I kept waiting for something to go wrong.  It always does.  I find a foundation, fall in love, and within a few weeks I realize there's a problem.  I've been really in love with Illamasqua for so long because it gave me a great color match, but I have to say that Performance Colors just upped the bar.

I loved the Illamasqua Cream Foundation because it concealed my rosacea on its worst day with one simple swipe of the applicator.  But it was a bit heavy and tended to not look so good by days end.  I loved Skin Base til I realized it wasn't loving the area around my nose, and would be visible on my cheeks.  It would separate and not look very good by the evening.  It was great for under 8 hours, but more than that and I'd need a major touch up.   So I was cautious with this foundation.  I didn't want to fall in love and have my heart broken again.  It's been nearly 2 months now, and I'm completely confident that I can say this is it.  I have found perfection.

Thanks for looking, and I hope you've found the photos and review helpful.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September Recolor with Pravana Chromasilk Black and Manic Panic Violet Night

Nothing to disclose.

I used Pravana Chromasilk in 1N black, only about 1/4 of a tube was needed for just a root touch up.  I did the Manic Panic Violet Night the next day.  I covered it with a plastic shower cap, "baked" it under the soft bonnet dryer for about 20 minutes, left the plastic cap on for ten hours, finally rinsing it at night. 

The color can look quite different if I'm standing in direct sunlight versus indirect, so I've included pics of both. These pictures are all taken outside, no flash.  The first set are in indirect light, standing in the shade.

sun coming through the trees

full sun

You can see how the color looks very different standing in full sun versus shade.  Sorry I didn't get more direct sun photos, it's just so bright is sort of washes things out.  But I hope you've found the pictures helpful if you're looking at Violet Night, it's a really pretty shade!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 23, 2013

August Recolor with Manic Panic Violet Night

Nothing to disclose, I purchased the products.

I decided to try Violet Night for this recolor in early August.  I simply put it over the Ultra Violet / Purple Haze mix that was already in my hair.   I think I touched up the rest of my (black) hair a few days after the purple, but not sure exactly when. The left side didn't turn out as well because I didn't fully saturate some of the pieces.  Oops. 

All pics were taken outside in super bright sunlight.  First, an extreme close up!

left side - you can see the pieces I screwed up

Even with my shaky recolor, I really like the Violet Night.  It also made me realize I might want to toss a little fuchsia in there at some point, but who knows when. 

Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Own Color Match - with help!

Nothing to disclose, I purchased the products.

A few days before I went for my first Sephora color match, I'd received the Performance Colors foundation samples I'd ordered.  Phyrra had mentioned the Snowie shade and after reading her review, I knew I had to give it a try.  I was becoming disheartened with the Illamasqua Skin Base, as much as I loved it by the end of the day it was starting to separate around my nose and cheeks, which is not good.  So it was good timing, since I swore I wouldn't keep buying new foundations!

No swatches here today, just the pictures I took wearing it the first day.  I figured it was good to post them after showing you the two color matches I'd had done at Sephora.  This is what I had in mind when I went to Sephora, a foundation that matched me, wasn't obvious, yet still helped conceal my rosacea.

Right side, outside no flash, overcast day.

 I look silly with my hair pulled up but I wanted to make sure you could see my neck & shoulders clearly without hair getting in the way.  I think this match is seamless.

Left side, outside no flash.  This side of my face is always redder than the right.

Outside with flash.  Using the flash always makes me look more colorful, but also gives me a strange shiny glow on parts of my skin, like my cheekbone and nose.  Even part of my chest looks kinda yellow and shiny.  It could be my sunscreen but I didn't have any on my chest for these pics.  I'm not sure why this is, I guess it's just a not so great camera.  My old camera didn't have this issue.  I'd use that one again but my son has commandeered it.

Anyway, this is Performance Colors Light and Smooth Foundation in Snowie.  It's a neutral shade.  I also ordered samples of Neutral Fair and Cool Fair, and have worn both on my cheeks under the Snowie.  They do have concealer but I just used the foundation.   There's a new shade called Chalk which I've ordered, so I'll swatch that along with the others when it arrives.

I'm also wearing pink cream blush, although I forget which one.  I've worn the new Coral blush with this foundation once, but was quite pleased with it. 

So as many times as I keep telling myself not to get too excited over this foundation, I think it's ok to let myself be happy and say it's my new HG foundation!

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sephora Color Match - V2

Nothing to disclose.

I stopped by a different Sephora after my annual dermatologist visit earlier this week.  I wore liner, mascara, and my prescription rosacea cream, but nothing else on my face.   I snapped two quick pictures, one of each side of my face.  My skin was much more calm than my last Sephora color match, less red and blotchy.  The amount of redness in these pics are what I consider "good" rosacea days.  This is, for me, the best it gets.  On a side note, I'm anxiously awaiting the release of an anti redness medication specifically for rosacea.

Right side, outside, no flash

Left side, outside, no flash.  Since the red wasn't as bad today, you can see my freckles on this side more clearly.  They're sort of along the edge of the redness, almost a crescent shape around the apple of my cheek.

I arrived at Sephora and requested a Color IQ service, and the associates immediately set me up at the Beauty Bar with an available makeup artist.  I explained that I'd had the Color IQ match done about 6 weeks earlier and was not at all happy with the results, likely being so off due to my rosacea.

The MUA agreed that the Color IQ doesn't work on everyone, particularly if the client has a skin condition such as rosacea.  MUA's opinion was the best way to match me was visually.  MUA took a minute looking at my face, then went to select a few products.

Sadly, I don't remember the first product used!  It was in a medium sized round container, pink thick cream, moisturizer I think but might've been a primer?   The MUA and I chatted while products were applied, and the MUA told me another great product to use to conceal the redness is the Stila One Step Correct Primer, which I've used before.  I  ran out and keep forgetting to buy a new one!  I do like it, it has the green to help minimize redness, but also brightens my skin.   This Sephora location was out of stock on it, so I'll pick it up another time.

Stila One Step Correct image courtesy

MUA had three different bottles of Clinique Superbalanced makeup, and tried all three on my face before settling on Cream Chamois.  The first two were lighter, but they didn't appear to cover the redness, hence the Cream Chamois. 

I looked in the mirror after the MUA had done the right side of my face and was pretty surprised.  It looked like I had makeup on, but the color looked good.  It looked like I had normal, non red skin!  I was still anxious because I know the lighting in the store is weird, but I was optimistic.  MUA finished the left side of my face, surprisingly using hands/fingertips to apply and blend, whereas the first MUA had used brushes and sponges.

When both sides of my face were done, MUA gave me a handheld mirror and told me to walk outside the store to check the shade, and I could've kissed the MUA for that.  While I wasn't embarrassed to walk into the middle of the mall aisle with a bunch of people walking around, it was raining and there was little natural light.  I felt it looked like I had foundation on, but the match still seemed good.

The MUA then told me to hang on for some blush, which wasn't applied at the first session.  MUA came back with a Josie Maran Argan Color Stick in......CORAL.  Coral?  I was confused.  MUA explained that I shouldn't wear pink blush because it would make me look more pink/red, but the yellow tones in the coral shade would appear very natural as my face flushed naturally.  I'm kind of surprised that no one ever told me this, and felt kinda silly that I'd never though about it myself.  I'm so not a coral person.  That whole coral trend back in the spring, yeah, I ignored it.  Who knew?  MUA brushed a bit of the Coral blush on my cheeks, then blended with fingertip.  MUA also applied a bit of the blush to my lips.

Josie Maran Argan Color Stick photo courtesy

I was again surprised when I looked at the finished results, because I really liked it, even though I felt the foundation shade was darker than I'm used to.  The whole coral thing was blowing my mind.  Knowing Sephora's lighting, I wanted to wait til I could get a good look at the makeup outside in natural light before buying it.  I'd also recently received a plethora of Clinique foundation samples from a friend in a makeup group, and wanted to try them as well.

Now again, let me stress that in the store, with the Beauty Bar's lighting, the makeup looked good, although I felt it was quite obvious I had makeup on.  You know how you get used to seeing your face one way, when you see it in a different shade it's very noticeable to you, but maybe not to everyone else.

By the time I got home the rain had stopped and the sun was poking out.  The match is actually ok in some lighting, but I wouldn't buy it.  I think it's more noticeable outside, you can see where it is on my skin in the indirect light pic, and in the direct light pic I feel it's obvious, especially compared to my neck/shoulder area.  I was also disappointed to see that outside, the foundation didn't appear to make my rosacea disappear as it had in the store's lighting. 

Right side first.  Outside, no flash, indirect light

outside in direct light

Left side, outside, no flash.  This pic I think the foundation looks like a decent match, it's not as noticeable compared to the rest of me.  It looked better in the store.

outside, no flash, direct light.  I think it's much more obvious in this pic.

This would be a good color if I stayed inside all the time!  But to wear all the time, I think it's too off to settle for.  I've found better matches with other products, but it was still a worthwhile experience to get the second match done.

The second MUA did a far better consult than the first.  I felt this MUA was more knowledgeable and used the old "try it and see" with the shades before selecting one, although the store's lighting continued to be an issue.  I would be happy to visit this MUA again, even though in the end the results still aren't what I'm looking for. 

I wore the Coral blush with a different foundation and was pleased with how it looked, particularly at the end of the day when my face tends to be more flush.  I don't think I'll throw away my 3 pink Illamasqua blushes, but will definitely look at those coral shades from now on!

I know I'm a bit fussy about my foundation, but I don't think it's asking the impossible to get a perfect match.  It just involves more work, trying various brands, formulas, and shades.  I always find something I'm happy with, even if only temporarily, and even an ok match is better than the options I had 20 years ago.  I just keep my eyes out and keep trying, because you never know when that HG shade will appear.  While this one wasn't it, I think I've found it....but that's another post. 

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sephora Color IQ - V1

Nothing to disclose.

I always question my foundation, even when I think I have a good match.  Since I tend to wear shades that are slightly too yellow or ever so slightly too dark to help conceal my rosacea, I figured the technology of the Color IQ would steer me in the right direction. 

Ok, so much to my embarrassment, here's a couple of photos of me before I left the house.  While I did put on minimal eye makeup, I didn't have on foundation, concealer, power, sunscreen, or even moisturizer.  I put on my prescription rosacea medication, Avar E LS cream, and away I went.  I took quick inside, no flash photos, one of each side of my face.  Sorry these are slightly blurry. 

Right side, you can see the redness in my cheeks, along my jaw, in front of my ear, and nose, particularly on the side by and under my nostril.  If you can see the skin under my bangs you can also see some redness there too, which only happens during flare ups, and I'd had one several days prior. There's some light freckles just at the top of my cheekbone, which start under my eye and go back to the hairline.

Left side, redness in all the same areas plus, but I get more of the rosacea bumps that look like acne.  You can see the redness on my forehead a bit better here, even through my brows.  The area around my nose is a bit worse, kinda looks like I've got a cold and have been blowing my nose a thousand times.  My chin is also a little more red on this side.  I have some freckles on this side, but they're a bit darker and harder to see with all the redness.  The reddest areas are very visible, almost in a triangular shape.  I was sure there was enough "good" skin outside of this triangle to get a decent match.

My Color IQ match began, after I explained to the sales associate / MUA my concerns with my rosacea.  The MUA took three 'photos' of my skin, using the little handheld gizmo.  The first was the reddest area on my left cheek, the second along my jawline near the corner of my mouth (also red), and the third on my forehead (blotchy).  I was hoping the MUA would get an area that wasn't red, like my neck or the hollow of my cheek.

The MUA told me that with rosacea, the machine would take the three areas and "average out" my skin shade.  I wasn't too sure about this because if I was having a flare up, it would be much more red than a calm day, which could easily mean different results.

MUA also told me that one should never, and I repeat, NEVER, try to match one's neck, because our necks don't tan.  I told the MUA that none of me tans.  MUA told me to simply sweep the foundation down my neck to avoid the dreaded line of demarcation, which is something I always do.

My color number was 2R07.   Here's Sephora's chart, red arrow shows my number.  I was flabbergasted.  Was I one of those assholes who insisted on wearing too light a shade?

The shades suggested for me were all over the place, but at least they gave me a lot of options.  (thanks to Phyrra for the help with this photo!)

I'll list them in alphabetical order by company. Clinique and NARS shades varied but Dior and Sheseido were the same regardless of formula.

Amazing Cosmetics Velvet Mineral Pressed Powder Foundation in Dark Tan
Boscia BB cream (no shade name)
Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen High Protection Tint in Medium
Clinique Even Better Makeup in Cream Chamois
Clinique Even Better Compact Makeup in 06 Ivory
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Foundation in Shade 03
Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup in Shade 10
Dior Airflash Spray Foundation in Light Beige
Dior Capture Totale Foundation in Light Beige 020
Dr. Brandt BB Matte w/Signature Shinerase in Light to Medium
Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm in Light to Medium
Dr. Jart Water Fuse Beauty Balm (no shade name)
Guerlain Terracotta Skin Healthy Glow Foundation Second Skin Effect in Nude
Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer in Sand
Kat Von D Lock-It Powder Foundation in Light 48
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H in 160 Ivoire W
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Bare Radiance
NARS Powder Foundation in Barcelona
NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Vallauris
Shiseido the Makeup Dual Balancing Foundation in 140 Natural Fair Ivory
Shiseido Radiant Lifting Foundation in 140

I was disappointed that my beloved Illamasqua was not suggested for me, not even the wrong shade.

I'd used NARS previously, Sheer Glow in Siberia for a bit before deciding it wasn't right (slightly too yellow and a tad too dark)  and had once swatched Mont Blanc .   I knew immediately the darker shades would certainly not work for me.  Amazing Cosmetics Dark Tan actually made me laugh.  I have never had the word "tan" used to describe me, unless immediately preceeded by the words "lack of."

MUA applied MUFE's HD Microperfecting Primer in Green, which I'd used before.  The theory is the green will counteract the redness, but I often feel using a slightly darker concealer or foundation on those red areas works better than using green.

On the right side of my face the MUA used Clinique Superbalanced Foundation; MUA had two different shades and I'm not sure which was used.  I assume it was Cream Chamois since that's what was on the list.   I felt this side of my face looked heavier and more made up, and I immediately felt the shade was not a good match.  In the store it didn't look terrible, just wrong.  It was very dark on my red areas and didn't seem to be on my skin in other areas.  It was swept down my neck.

I have not altered the color in these photos. First is outside, no flash.

Inside no flash

The left side of my face the MUA used Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H in 160 Ivoire W, but said that I should purchase 220 Buff, which is a shade darker. 

First is outside, no flash.  If you're sitting down, stand up and walk a few feet away from your monitor and the difference between my face and my skin without makeup (chest, shoulder) is more obvious.  The MUA did sweep the foundation down my neck, in an attempt to blend and make it look natural.

Inside no flash. 

The MUA was so very nice, and I feel kinda bad about posting this, but I'm not blaming the MUA.   I think that anyone working in a store doing consults & giving shade advice needs be properly trained.  You can't always rely on technology, or what you think will work.  I expected the MUA to stop halfway through and say "you know, this isn't working. Let's try a different shade" but that didn't happen.

I feel the store's lighting is also part of the problem.  I could tell the colors weren't right in the store, but they didn't look nearly as bad as they did in natural light.  Sephora really needs to address this, IMO, but I'm not sure how to fix it, other than leaving the store & going outside with a mirror to check the shade before buying anything.   

So, as you can imagine, it was not the best experience.  I discussed my results with always lovely Phyrra, who had gone to her local Sephora for the color match the same day.  She'd also had disappointing results, although hers were a bit closer than mine.   Phyrra and I both have rosacea, and she'd also had a skin peel and was redder than usual.  We both felt our rosacea affected the results, and both decided to go for a second match at a later date.

Thanks for looking!