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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Creating the Perfect Canvas: Foundation Before and Afters!

A couple of months ago I felt to the urge to hunt for a new foundation. I've been using and loving Revlon ColourStay liquid foundation for years, but still get that "grass is greener" feeling once in a while- there must be a better, more luxurious, ultra-miraculous foundation out there somewhere! 

On my quest, I was lucky enough to score a myriad of samples. Since my skin is so picky, samples are a godsend. If my face doesn't like it, I'm not stuck with an expensive, non-returnable bottle of makeup. Never a fun predicament. 

While in the process of this thrilling hunt, I thought I'd take a moment to photograph and review each of the foundations I tried, since I know reviews can be super informative for others on a foundation pursuit of their own. And what's more fun than before and afters!? 

For each foundation below, I've taken a photo of my bare skin (eek!) with a bit of moisturizer on top (Marcelle MultiDefense Oil Free Lotion). I should also note that I applied all of these foundations with my fingers rather than a brush. While some formulas may have applied more evenly with a brush, I wanted to keep my application method consistent!
My skin was experiencing a minor breakout at the time, which makes the "before" pictures somewhat cringe-worthy (at least for me); the upside, though, was that if my skin were totally clear at the time, it would be a lot more difficult to gauge the coverage these foundations have to offer. After each "before" shot is a photo of me wearing the foundation only, followed by a picture of me wearing the foundation in the context of a completed makeup look. 

I hope everyone finds these to be informative- let's get to it! 

1) Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup 

  • The Promise: "See no makeup. Feel no makeup. First-ever IntuiTone™ technology guarantees your true-to-life shade and keeps it real in every light. Fresh, flawless, radiant. Ultra light, ultra breathable, oil-free. It will change how you feel about makeup forever. In long-lasting shades for every beautiful skintone. Weightless, buildable coverage. Air-infused with every shake. Blends so perfectly for the look and feel of bare skin-only better. Lasts all day. Controls excess oil. Won't clog pores." (from

Wow- that's a mouthful! Essentially this foundation touts lightweight, undetectable coverage that is suitable for all skin types while still working to hide minor flaws.


Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup, Shade 1N1

  • Shade: 1N1 (lightest in the neutral colour range)
  • Colour Match: Perfect! Not too yellow or pink, light or dark. Became invisible on my skin.
  • Application: Smooth application, melts into skin, dewy finish. Took a while to "set" into skin, but did become less moist after several minutes.
  • Coverage: Light to moderate, buildable
  • Wear: To be honest, I didn't give this foundation a fair shake in terms of assessing its long-wear potential. I applied it a couple of hours before going to the gym, then proceeded to sweat and wash it off. My sense, however, was that this wouldn't have gone the distance on my combination-oily skin. The finish was a bit too dewy.
  • Verdict: Overall, this foundation offered natural looking coverage and the shade I was given was an excellent match for my skin tone. This might be a suitable option for someone with normal to dry near-perfect skin, but was not quite right for me!

2) Chanel Perfection Lumiere Liquid Foundation 

  • The Promise: "PERFECTION LUMIÈRE controls every detail of a perfect complexion to offer a tailor-made result... Its light, fluid texture glides on seamlessly with adjustable yet lightweight coverage for perfect results. The skin-embracing texture becomes one with the face, following its every movement. Its Perfect Skin Affinity complex ensures a second-skin effect and perfect foundation hold for 15 hours. Its universal shades are easy to wear, so that each woman can find her ideal colour. The result: “Multi-faceted” radiance, colour, comfort and matte finish. Perfect correction of all types of imperfections: redness and dark spots, complexion evenness. Optimal radiance created by the patented Perfect Light Control complex for an even, luminous complexion all day long" (from

An even bigger mouthful! For a high-end foundation with all of these promises, my expectations were quite high. I was definitely intrigued by the claim of lightweight coverage and a flawless finish. Could it be possible? 


Chanel Perfection Lumiere, Shade 10 Beige

  • Shade: Beige 10 (lightest of the neutral shades)
  • Colour Match: A touch too dark/yellow (as you can tell from the middle photo), but luckily did not oxidize further (darken or orange) over the course of the day. This might be a better shade for summer time when I'm slightly more tanned.
  • Application: Thin texture, a bit more effort to blend, dried quickly to a powdery finish.
  • Coverage: Moderate to full
  • Wear:  Left me relatively shine-free for 8 hours- no blotting! Settled into dry patches somewhat, but it didn't highlight pores or cake up
  • The Verdict: Impressed with the wear and the coverage (albeit slightly heavy-feeling), but there was nothing unique or luxurious enought about this to be worth the money (more than $50 CAD)! 

3) DiorSkin Forver Flawless Perfection Wear Makeup

  • The Promise: "A liquid foundation that provides SPF 25 protection and a flawless, second-skin finish. Infused with Dior's smart skin-shaping Skincare Essence, this formula becomes one with the skin for a flawless complexion all day long. The soft and velvety fluid melts weightlessly into the skin for an ultra-smooth, even complexion and visibly perfect skin day after day." (From

I was drawn to this Dior offering for similar reasons as the Chanel foundation above- the promise of a lightweight texture combined with long-wear and flawless coverage is like music to my ears! 


Dior Skin Forver Liquid Foundation, Shade 010 Ivory

  • Shade: 010 Ivory (the lightest colour offering)
  • Colour Match: Quite good! The photos make it appear slightly orange on my NC15-20 skin, but I did not detect this in real life.
  • Coverage: Moderate to full
  • Application: Smooth, easy to blend, velvet finish that soon dries down to semi-matte.
  • Wear: The shade didn't oxidize, but my face was quite shiny after 6 hours. Also felt rather heavy on my skin by the end of the day.
  • The Verdict: Great formula, coverage, and colour match, but not enough oil control! The eventual heavy feel was also a turn off.

4) Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation

  • The Promise: "Innovative, oil-free gel foundation with refreshing, lightweight texture. Light-reflective circular pigment provides adjustable coverage. Contains 60% charged water and seaweed. Protective field prevents water evaporation, blocks environmental oxidation" (from

This was certainly the most expensive foundation that I tried (thank goodness again for samples!) and the one that surprised me most! Read on... :)

Chantecaille Future Skin in Alabaster

Under artificial light

  • Shade:  Alabaster (third lightest shade, neutral undertone)
  • Colour Match: Slightly pale on my NC15-20 skin, but setting powder and a touch of bronzer remedied this!
  • Application: Creamy liquid that melts into skin with a watery feel. More glowy than dewy; didn't take long to set.
  • Coverage: Light to moderate, buildable. Concealer definitely needed on blemishes, redness, and other discolourations
  • Wear: Started to fade and cling to dry spots slightly after 6 hours, but no shine! Faded "gracefully". (i.e., did not get blotchy or spotty, and did not oxidize throughout the course of the day).
  • The Verdict:  I kind of fell in love with this foundation. Because my skin struggles with breakouts and redness, my comfort zone has always been with fuller-coverage foundations. This is the first light-coverage base I've tried that gives my skin a healthy glow without quickly fading or a greasy finish. My sense is that it might not hold up to Toronto's hot, humid summer weather, but if I have a few dollars to spare when the colder months arrive, I might eventually pick this up!

5) Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Liquid Foundation

  • The Promise: "A shine controlling, oil-free, water-resistant, complete coverage liquid foundation. Hides imperfections, evens out skintone, and mattifies with a non-oily, perfectly powdered finish. The result is flawless and lasts for hours." (From

This foundation has been a best-seller for oily-skinned gals for quite some time, so I thought I'd finaly give it a shot! Some have touted this as a more sophisticated version of my old standby, Revlon Colourstay, which propelled me further to try this!

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Liquid Foundation #25

  • Shade: #25 (#20 would have been a more ideal match, but Sephora was out of that shade at the time)
  • Colour Match: Too pinky/grey-ish on my NC15-20 skin, which you can tell from the photos (wish I could have tried #20!). Setting powder and bronzer helped this, though!
  • Application: Thick liquid that dries down to a powdery finish- somewhere between semi-matte and matte. Sets quickly.
  • Coverage: Moderate to full; barely needed concealer over top!
  • Wear: Several hours shine-free, but gets slightly cakey and heavy by the end of the day (which may be hard to avoid with fuller-coverage foundations). 
  • The Verdict: Overall, there was a lot to like about this foundation- particularly the excellent coverage and oil control. Despite the aforementioned claims, however, this still did not surpass Revlon ColourStay in my books. The application may have been to blame (using a brush may have sheered things out a bit), but I did not appreciate how heavy and mask-like this began to feel as the hours passed.

Phew! So that was an incredibly long post! I wont extend it any further, except to say that this quest only reiterated that the grass isn't always greener- Revlon ColourStay still reigns supreme in my books. The process of testing these foundations was still fun, though, and if I win the lottery come winter (or, let's face it, just get a big enough hankering), Chantecaille Future Skin may make an appearance in my makeup bag :)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Luxebox, May Edition

As it is nearly July, I thought it was about time I reviewed my May LuxeBox! When my package arrived late last month, I was intrigued to find two boxes inside. The black one was typical, while the white one, labelled "Bath and Body," was something new.

I opened the curious white one first, of course (the suspense was killing me! what lovely bath goodies would be inside?), to find two items:

When I laid eyes on the contents, I was pretty disappointed. Both items were from Olay, which is a highly accessible, affordable brand- hardly luxe!

The specific products were a tiny (7 mL) tube of Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex and a full-sized Venus & Olay razor.  The only upside was that I have been quite tempted to try a "razor and soap in one" product ever since their inception years ago. So at least I'll finally have a shot at that!

Next, I tackled the black box. As always, it featured a brochure outlining the products inside as well as a few coupons and special offers.

Here is a picture of the entire contents:

My initial reaction? Lots of small packets and very few substantial items! On closer inspection, here what was inside:

1) Two packets (only one shown) of Goldwell Rich Repair shampoo and conditioner

2) Orlane Anti-Fatigue Absolu Repairing Night Cream (3.5 mL)

3) A mini Cargo Lash Activator Duo (featuring a Lash Activator Night and a Lash Activator Mascara).

4) Sample tubes of a brand new fragrance, Paco Rabanne Black XS L'Exces (For Him and For Her)

Overall, I had very mixed feelings about May's LuxeBox offerings. My largest complaints were that everything was rather tiny and that the special "Bath and Body" feature didn't live up to my hopes (Olay, really??). On the upside, I am a fan of Cargo cosmetics, and am actually quite eager to test out their Lash Activator products (future blog review, perhaps?). I received their Lash Activator Mascara Primer in the  March edition of LuxeBox (which you can view here), so I'm curious about what these three products could do for my lashes. Also, I've already tested the Paco Rabanne perfume (the For Her option) and it is quite lovely. Fragrance samples are always hit or miss, but I'm quite please with this one!

Despite some promising elements to the May LuxeBox, my intention to continue with the program is definitely wavering. The products offered are generally quite small and the brands included are too often generic and inexpensive. I'm officially giving LuxeBox one more month to wow me- if they disappoint, I'm on to bigger and better things!

The June edition should be arriving in a few days, so I will keep you all posted!

Do any of you subscribe to LuxeBox or other monthly beauty samples services? What are your thoughts??

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Smoky Purrrples: The Hello Kitty Parisienne Palette

If you didn't know this about me already, I'm sure you could glean from the title of this post that I'm always up for a good cat pun. I'm also a sucker for cute packaging and purple eyeshadow, so my interest was piqued when I found the Hello Kitty Parisienne Eyeshadow and Blush Palette on sale at Sephora for only $14 CAD earlier this spring. It originally retailed for about $35, so I was thrilled at the bargain!

It came in a cheery sky blue box with gilded designs and, of course, a Hello Kitty face etched on the front:

The palette itself is equally lovely. Shaped like the iconic kitty herself, it is adorned with cartoons of Parisian sights and tastes (Notre Dame! the Eiffel Tower! bonbons!) and soft pastel colours. It even has a bow!

Amazingly, this relatively small palette  houses 4 eyeshadows and 1 blush. The top layer features the eyeshadows: a mid-tone periwinkle, a shimmery yellow-gold, a lilac purple, and a deep chocolate brown:

The second layer is home to a generously-sized blush- a cheery cotton candy pink!

And here is a look that I put together using all of the shades from the palette. The palette makes me feel incredibly playful and feminine, so hopefully this look embodies that coy, girly spirit:

Overall, this is a fun palette to use. The texture of the eyeshadow is slightly chalky, though the formula is incredibly long-lasting. It stayed put all day (with the help of my trusty Urban Decay Primer Potion)! Also, the blush is slightly too cool-toned for my neutral-warm MAC NC15-20 skin, but that is not the blush's fault! It is nicely pigmented- not too sheer, not to dense.

While I probably would not have paid full price for this, I'm still thankful that I was able to snatch this up for quite a steal! It may not be a palette I reach for on a regular basis, but it will definitely be a go-to when I'm feeling particularly gla-meow-ous (sorry, guys ;)

Cheers, xoxo

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ringing in the Heat with Chanel Summer 2012

As the heat and humidity emerge, so do the numerous summer cosmetics collections. While several brands presented interesting offerings this season, one that particularly caught my eye was Chanel's. Awash with corals, nudes, bronzes, and beiges, the Chanel Summer 2012 cosmetics collection oozes warmth and sophistication.

Promo Picture for the Chanel Summer 2012 cosmetics collection

Despite my ongoing admiration for and attraction to this collection, my trip to the Chanel counter a few weeks ago was on a bit of a whim. I discussed the new products with a lovely saleswoman who took the time to play with a few of the products on my face. The shades and textures were to die for, and I walked out with two products, Luminous Bronzing Powder in Sable Rose and Le Vernis Nail Colour in Holiday.

My Chanel Summer 2012 Haul: Le Vernis Nail Colour in Holiday and Luminous Bronzing Powder in Sable Rose

I'd been lusting over Holiday for some time, ever since Lisa Eldridge reviewed it here in the context of a gorgeous photo display of her favourite summer holiday items. It is a bold, creamy orange with just a hint of red and no shimmer.

Chanel Holiday Nail Colour (Summer 2012)

Chanel released two Luminous Bronzing Powders this summer and Sable Rose is, well, the rosier of the two. It features seven strips of complementary shimmery shades, ranging from ivory to bronze, with warm pinky tones tossed into the mix.

Chanel Sable Rose Luminous Bronzing Powder (Summer 2012)


Here are some pictures of Holiday on my nails. It is the perfect summer shade, right up there with my favourite O.P.I. Cajun Shrimp (which you can see here). I applied 2-3 coats of polish to obtain maximum colour payoff:

Chanel Holiday on nails, in natural sunlight

And here are a few pictures of me wearing the Sable Rose Luminous Bronzing Powder. My photos don't completely capture the depth and shimmer that this product offers, but hopefully you can get a decent idea.

In the first, I am wearing all of the shades of the product swirled together  and applied with a big stippling brush (the Sigma 187) to create a warm glow across my cheekbones, forehead, nose and chin.


In this photo, I've used the two lighter stripes (a semi-matte ivory and a shimmery yellow gold) to highlight the tops of my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose. I've also concentrated the rosy shades a bit more on the apples of my cheeks.

And here are some pictures of the final look I created, incorporating Sable Rose. Despite the pink tones in it, it's not quite rosy enough to work as a blush and bronzer in one. So I added a touch of Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Blissful to the apples of my cheeks for an added pop of colour.

Overall, I find Sable Rose to be quite versatile. It's a product that could add subtle to more dramatic warmth and shimmer (it is quite buildable) to just about any look. I'm in love!

Overall, I'm super satisfied with my Chanel Summer 2012 selections. A bit hard on my wallet? Absolutely. Summer staples that will get plenty of wear? Definitely!

Thanks for reading, everyone! xoxo