Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light. Worst Primer that I’m Buying Again.

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This stuff is terrible and amazing in equal parts.  I got a small sample over a year ago and liked it so much that I bought the full-size tube to the tune of $44.00 for the ounce of product.  I got it home and started using it like my life depended on it, and that’s when I started to notice the problems that the sample size didn’t give me time to realize.

This stuff is genuinely amazing, and I have no clue how it works.  I don’t want to know.  I just know that it does, and that’s all I care about.  It not only blurs imperfections and pores, but it also plays with the way light hits your face.  When I use this, my entire face looks as though redness and hyperpigmentation are run through a filter.  On days when my skin lookes good and I didn’t feel like bothering with foundation, I’ve just put this on and walked out the door.  I’ve never used a primer that works like this one, and it’s unbelievable what it does to my face.  It really is like walking around with a filter on.

I get the same wear time from this that I get with Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, which is to say that my makeup lasts twelve hours–at least.  Wear time isn’t a problem at all.

The only problem with this is that it is very drying.  This is the reason I’ve gone back and forth on whether to buy another full-size of this.  I mean it’s DRYING.  I can wear this every day in the summer when my skin produces a bit more oil, as I found out over the course of the last few months, but I absolutely cannot wear it daily in the winter.  I can get three days a week at best.  When I tried using it every day in the winter, my face became so dry and so tight that it was almost painful.  I have normal skin.  This isn’t usually a problem for me.  On the upside, this made the tube last longer, but should I really be spending $44.00 on something I can’t wear every single day?

The answer is a resounding yes.  I’m willing to deal with the failings of this so that I can enjoy the benefits of it on the days that I do wear it.  It’s one of the best primers that I’ve ever used, and if I could use it daily, it would easily beat out every other one I’ve ever tried including my favored Photo Finish.  What I’m not willing to do is pay full price for it.  I’m getting it in the VIB sale going on now.

If you’ve not tried this I beg you to seek out a sample, especially if you have oily skin.  You might actually be able to wear it every day.  It comes in other shades if mood light isn’t your thing.  Mood Light has a pinkish tone to it.  Luminous Light is a champagne color, and Dim Light is more beige.  They all play with lighting differently, and I imagine the other two are just as game-changing as this one.

Yes, forty-four bucks is a ton of money to plop down for a primer, but I’ve genuinely never used something like this.  It’s one of the most amazing makeup products I’ve ever used, period.

Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer:  I love you.  I need you.

–Jackie

Sephora Play: The Beauty Remedy Edition.

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A few days ago, when I was taking the train into work on day three of yet another six day stretch, I checked my email, and had gotten one from Sephora announcing a new luxe Play box.  I jumped on it becuase I liked the last one so well.  Do I need this?  Strictly speaking, no.  Does it make me feel better about the fact that I am working like a crazy person and have no time off and am utterly exhausted and cranky?  Oh, hell yes.  I have one more six-day week ahead, and then a friend of mine arrives in town and I am taking some much-needed time off to hang out with her.

The theme of this box is “The Remedy Edition,” so it is filled with products that purport to be good for your skin.  There were two variations of this box, and four of the six products were in each of them, so it’s of no real benefit to purchase both, and Sephora was kind enough to list the brands contained in each box on their website.  I ordered the second edition variation because I knew the first edition box contined something from SK-II and was worried it would be their skin essence again.  I’m currently going through a terrible time testing it out already, and I loathe the way that it smells.  I think it smells like sweaty feet and I find it to be generally vile and revolting, and I’m getting a few tiny breakouts in places I don’t usually get breakouts.  I wasn’t going to take a chance on getting another bottle of it.  The second box variation that I ordered contained a YSL primer and an AmorePacific essence, so I figured that box would be the safer bet.

As you can tell from the photo above, Sephora messed up.  They sent me the other box.  When I first opened it, I saw figuratively saw red for a couple of minutes because it wasn’t the one that I wanted, and by this time both box variations were sold out.  I resolved to call and complain, and likely will still do that after I finish this blog post, but I eventually settled down and have grown to like this one.  SK-II essence is nowhere to be seen, and, truth be told, I’m still on the hunt for a good eye cream, so I guess this is an okay screw up on Sephora’s part.  I could have done without two jars of moisturizer, but that’s a strange complaint.  Can one ever really have too much moisturizer around?

I also bought this as much for the container it comes in as I did for the products inside.  This is an almost perfect travel case for a light packer.  It’s a hard shell square container that looks like a CD case that people about my age will remember carting around in junior high and high school.  There’s a pouch to tuck things into on one side and open real estate on the other.  This box is actually sturdy, and I can’t wait to use it.

But anyway, people are here for product descriptions, so here we go!

Giorgio Armani Beauty Ecstasy Shine 400 Lipstick:  This is a super moisturizing lipstick in a bright red (good thing I just got rid of a bunch of red shades since I got new one to add to the collection) that really impressed me with its staying power.  This box was delivered yesterday while I was at work, so I swatched everything after I got home last night.  While I wiped most of the color off before I went to bed, there was still a red stain on the back of my hand when I woke up nine hours later.  There’s still a small bit left as I type this, and I’ve taken a shower.  I’ll cop to being quite stunned by that.  I needed three coats to achieve an opaque look when I swatched this, and a single coat is pretty sheer, which I happen to like.  There’s some versitility in it, and it can take me from day to night.  It is considerably more shiny than a traditional cream lipstick but not as much as a gloss.  A 0.10 ounce tube retails for $38.00.  There’s 0.05 ounces in the sample, so that’s $14.00 of product.

Tatcha The Silk Cream:  I’ve only ever tried the enzyme powder from this brand, and I absolutely love it, so I’m looking forward to this one.  It’s going to be hard to top my newfound love for AmorePacific’s Rejunvenating Creme, though.  This bills itself as a firming moisturizer.  I tried it out last night, and it feels really nice and absorbs quickly enough.  A little goes a very long way.  I had to have used less than a quarter-size amount for my entire face.  This retails for $120.00 for 1.7 ounces (The sample size is 0.34 ounces, so that translates to a $24.00 value), which is a much less bitter pill to swallow when compared to the price of the AmorePacific cream I so dearly love, so I’m kind of hoping this one blows me out of the water with its effectiveness.  I’m also impressed with the sturdiness of the packaging on this sample.  It’s got some real heft to it.

Givenchy Le Rouge Perfecto Beautifying Lip Balm:  They’re not kidding when they describe this as a translucent pink balm.  It’s basically Chap Stick, but I’m not complaining about that.  I’m going to throw it in my purse and use it as such.  In fact, I’m wearing it now.  It feels like a nice, moisturizing lip balm, and it sort of enhances the natural pink color of my lips.  It looks very natural.  This is the kind of balm that is supposed to react with your body chemistry to create a perfect color just for you.  As best I can tell, it works as described.  It also claims to plump, but, that’s a total lie.  It doesn’t tingle, and my lips look the exact same as they did before I put this on.  This stuff retails for $36.00 for 0.07 ounces.  The sample is 0.04 ounces, so that’s $20.57 of product.  I don’t care how well this works, there’s no lip balm in the world worth that much money.  Not with the way that I go through lip balm.  This is a nice one, though.

SK-II R.N.A. Power Eye Cream Radical New Age: I know this brand has a cult-like devotion from people because of its essence, but I just don’t get it.  I mean, I hate that stuff.  I’m always on the lookout for a good eye cream, though, so I’m not angry (anymore) that Sephora messed up and sent me the wrong box.  This lacks the offensive smell of the SK-II Essence.  It contains Pitera–a byproduct of the fermentation of a special kind of yeast–like everything else in the line.  It’s also wildly expensive like everything else in the line.  It’s expensive to the tune of $135.00 for 0.4 ounces.  There’s 0.08 ounces of product here, so that works out to $27.00 of product.  I can’t imagine it blowing my mind enough for me to buy a full-size of this, but I did use it last night, and it feels lovely going on.  I’m adding it to the routine until the sample is gone, so here’s hoping it works.  I’ve been working like a madman and getting nowhere near enough sleep, so my dark circles are a little worse than usual, and I actually have a little bit in the way of bags under my eyes right now, so this stuff has something to work on.  Let’s hope it’s the miracle worker it claims to be.

La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream:  People swear by La Mer products, but I’ve never tried them.  I’ve never thought my skin needed something that intensive.  I’m still relatively young, and my skin looks great.  There’s no wrinkles and only the smallest of fine lines are just beginning.  This will be my first experience with La Mer.  It feels very creamy, and it absorbed faster than the Tatcha Silk Cream when I tried it out, so I’m hopeful it is something I end up liking.  It’s only slightly more expensive than the AmorePacific’s Rejuvenating Cream, so if I find it works better, I’ll be a La Mer convert.  In all honesty, I do hope this works well.  This brand has been around for so long, and people love it so much that I would hate to not like it.  Skin care is very personal, though, so we shall see.  A full-size jar is 1.7 ounces and retails for $170.00, so that means there’s $24.00 of product in this 0.24 ounce sample.

Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin Pure Perfume:  I seriously think I like every single perfume in this line.  At least, I like every single one that I’ve smelled, and that’s most of them.  Sud Magnolia is my favorite, but these are all long lasting on my skin and smell so fresh that it’s impossible for me to wear any of these and not find myself smelling my wrist throughout the day.  This one is no different.  It smells like bergamont at first and then dries down to smell mostly of cedar with hints of sandalwood and vailla on me.  It’s sweet and woody, and I am in love.  This is $250.00 for 3.3 ounces.  Yeah, that’s crazy expensive, but I strongly believe that you get what you pay for with perfume.  There’s 0.14 ounces in this sample, so that amounts to $10.61 of product.

Sephora has been doing these special boxes for about a year now, and I passed on the first one.  I’m not sure why I did that.  Overall, I now think that they are a great value and give me a chance to try out a ton of high-end products I would never try otherwise.  I mean, I’m not going to go out and drop $170.00 on La Mer cream without ever trying it out, but I will shell out the dough if I already know it works.  I know Sephora gets all kind of heat from people in the review section for items like this, but I really believe that if you just sit down and do the math, you are getting a fair deal.  If you have no intention of buying any of these, that’s fine.  You still get a good opportunity to try out some obscenely expensive makeup and skincare items.  If you’re like me, and could actually see yourself using some of these in a full-size, it’s the best opportunity you have to try them in a size that will allow you to determine if they actually work for you or not.  I can’t recommend these boxes enough.

I hope this was helpful for anyone who has been on the fence about trying out these luxury boxes from Sephora.  Like I just said, I can’t recommend them enough, and really do believe they are a perfectly fair deal.  That’s why I bought it even though I don’t need it.  This set me back $21.78 with tax, so that brings my yearly Sephora spending total to $1,033.01.

–Jackie

Sephora Play October 2017.

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Hey there, everyone.  I’m first going to start with a bit of a programming note.  Work has been crazy for the last few weeks, and shows no sign of slowing down for, at least, another two weeks, so posting may become a bit infrequent.  I’m working somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty hours per week, and what little downtime I have that isn’t spent sleeping is divided equally between trying to keep my apartment clean and sitting on the sofa doing nothing.  I generally spend one of my weekend days typing and saving all of my posts for the coming week.  Given that I’ve been working six day weeks and will be for the forseeable future, my lone day of free time will likely go to blankly staring at the television from my sofa and doing things that require as little of my cognitive ability as possible.  I’m a weird type of person, and I keep hand-written notes on all of the products I try out, and I really don’t feel like plowing through them until I get a chance to rest and restore for a few days.

Now, onto this month’s box!

I think all of the box variations for October were centered around products for your complexion, so (thankfully) mine was void of any hair products.  I love all of the products that came in mine.  A couple of them, I have tried before, and  the others I had been eyeing for a long time but had never committed to purchasing.  I’ve not done any serious wear tests on any of the products in this box, but I have formed a few first impressions.  Here it goes.

Urban Decay Optical Illusion Complexion Primer:  I was really excited when Urban Decay rolled out face primers because their shadow primer is the best I’ve ever used.  That excitement dissipated, however, when the reviews for them started to roll in, and most said they were okay, at best.  I never bought any to try out, so I’m really excited to get some.  This stuff feels really thick, and it does fill in pores and smooth things out a little.  In truth, it feels like it may be a little bit too heavy for me, and I hope it doesn’t clog my pores and make me breakout, but I’m going to use it because I love trying out different primers.  I can’t speak for how long it will make my makeup last, but I’m curious to find out if it really does work.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation:  I wish this box had arrived a week earlier because I bought the Hourglass Foundation stick.  I’ve always wanted to try out this foundation, but was hesitant to do so because SO MANY foundations break me out, so I’ve sort of always stuck to my go to from Dior.  I know people rave about this product from MUFE, but I’ve just never committed.  Sephora sample sizes don’t last long enough to determine if I will get breakouts from a foundation, and by the time I know if I will get a breakout, it’s usually too late or I’m too unmotivated to return the product.  This is a great sample size that will probably last me close to a month if not more.  I’m wearing it today, and I a nice medium coverage that builds up, looks natural, and feels lightweight on my face.  In truth, if this doesn’t cause breakouts, this appears to be a great foundation.  Thanks, Sephora, for sending this one to everyone.

Tarte Fainforest of the sea 4-in-1 Setting Mist:  This says it’s a primer, setting spray, hydrating mist, and skin refresher.  I’ve used it before, and, for me at least, it does two of those four things.  I had pretty poor luck using it as a primer.  It was just okay as a setting spray.  I did love it as a skin refresher and mist when my skin just felt tired and tight.  I kept it in the fridge, and a quick spritz left my skin feeling calm and moisturized.  I loved using it when my skin felt out of sorts, but not enough to buy it again.  I’ll use this spritzer, but it’s probably not going to change my mind on purchasing this.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Skin Booster:  I’m a little unsure how to use this, so I’m being unusually dependent on instructions from the company on this guy.  Sephora says it’s a “skin-perfecting serum that plumps, smooths, and hydrates your skin for flawless makeup application.”  I like the feel of serums, but typically use them at night before I go to bed, so the use issue just stems from my accepting that I put it on before makeup application and not before I crawl in bed at night.  It’s got hyaluronic acid and argan oil in it, so I fully expect it to do what it claims and plump up skin and make me look like I might have actually gotten some sleep the night before.

Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Scrub:  I’ve used this before, and I feel like it could almost be used interchangeably with ExfoliKate.  They work the same way, and both work well.  With this one, you rub it on your face for minute or so to physically exfoliate then let it sit for another few minutes for a chemical exfoliation.  I feel like you need the slightest bit more of the Dr. Brandt than ExfoliKate, but it’s still a pretty negligible amount to achieve results.  It works well, I like it, and I’m almost out of ExfoliKate.  This one will go in the shower when I do finally run out of the Somerville stuff.

Tory Burch Bel Azur:  This is my favorite of the Tory Burch perfumes, but I feel toward it the same way that I feel like other Tory Burch perfumes.  They smell nice, but a bit generic.  This one is citrusy, and there’s vetiver and bergamont in it, and really does remind me of the South of France and the Mediterranean.  This one doesn’t smell bad, and I’ll keep it around for a handy purse spray, but, for my money, there are better options out there.

This brings my yearly total to Sephora to $1,011.23.

Anyway, I’m off to eat cheese balls and Swedish meatballs at the seventies-themed cocktail bar up the street from my apartment before going home to binge on The Wire.  Speaking of that show, I realize I’m fifteen years late, but where have I been?  It is so well done, and I can’t recommend it enough!  Have a great day, lovelies!

–Jackie

ABH Subculture and ABA Prism Palettes. Congrats on the Promotion, Chicklet.

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I have been working like CRAZY the last couple of weeks.  When I say that I’ve been working like crazy, I mean I’ve worked eleven of the last twelve days and have logged WELL over 100 hours of actual time spent at work.  I’m exhausted, I’m cranky, and I’ve never been more thankful to have two days off than I am right now.  Everything has taken a back seat to work and sleep.  Basically, I wake up, I go to work, I come home, I crash.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I missed my three-year wedding anniversary last week.  My best friend was in town over the weekend, and we didn’t even see one another, and he was staying at my apartment.  Today is my first day off in what seems like forever, and I’m spending it blogging and drinking lots of coffee at my local coffee shop.  Later I’m probably going to take myself for a pizza date and maybe a fancy cocktail at the bar next door to my coffee shop.

Somewhere in all the chaos of the last couple of weeks, I got a promotion.  I had one day off, spent it sleeping and making a vain attempt at cleaning my apartment, and when I got back to work the next day, I got called into the office and promoted.  I’m a chef now.  The cooks have to call me chef (actually, I don’t let them because I think that sounds weird).  This is a pretty good cap to a year that started off really shitty, if I’m totally honest.  I also like the timing.  My old boss is out promoting his new cookbook that I wrote, and it comes out in the next few days.  My finances took a huge hit writing that, and he was such an a**h*le about the entire process (and about the thousands of dollars I’m convinced he wasn’t going to pay me for the work), that I can’t help but remark on the timing of everything that just happened.  I’m excited for the promotion, and I celebrated with a reward purchase of two eyeshadow palettes I sure didn’t need but definitely feel like I’ve earned.

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Yes, I bought Prism and Subculture.  I knew I wanted Prism as soon as I saw it.  I mean, seriously.  Just look at Throne and Osiris.  I was on the fence about Subculture, but since I’ve always tapped my brush into shadows and not swirled it around like a person who just wants to waste product and get powder everywhere, I went for it.  I know people either love or hate that palette, and I happen to love the way the mattes look in it.  These two look like they will complement each other nicely, and, hey, I just worked 100+ hours and got a promotion.

As far as Prism is concerned, the quality is what you expect from Anastasia Beverly Hills.  The metallics in the palette feel almost like a gel when you touch them.  The mattes are a little bit chalky, but they still blend out nicely, and there is a ton of pigment in the majority of the shades.  Sphere is the most chalky of the bunch, but it’s still workable.  It’s a neon, and there’s a ton of white in it, but you’ll still need a white base under it to see the full intensity.  I think it will look brilliant as an inner corner highlight or underneath the eye.  The only real dud is obsidian.  They’re saying it’s black, but it’s certainly not the blackest black I’ve used, and it’s a little patchy when swatched to be honest.  It’s certainly not a deal-breaker, as I have many different blacks in my collection.  Swatches on me and descriptions from the website are below.  Ignore my burn scars.  I’m not a cutter–just a cook.

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Left to right:  Lucid (duo chrome white gold with pink reflect), Eden (ultra-matte coral pink), Unity (ultra-matte nude ochre), Sphinx (metallic warm bronze), Osiris (duo chrome midnight violet with red reflect), Sphere (ultra-matte electric green yellow), Obsidian (ultra-matte deep black), Dimension (duo chrome silver grey with pink reflect), Parallel (ultra-matte truffle), Pyramid (metallic yellow gold with green reflect), Throne (duo chrome blackened blue-green with multicolor reflect), Saturn (ultra-matte terracotta), Eternal (metallic violet copper), Lure (ultra-matte ashy lilac)

Now, here’s what I have to add to the descriptions:  Eden is your standard peachy pink shade.  Sphinx is a super creamy bronze with purple shimmer.  Obsidian, as I said earlier, is more grey than black.  Dimension is a very sheer silver with a pinkish-purple shift that I think will look amazing on my green eyes.  Pyramid is a true gold with green shimmer.  Throne (my favorite) is a green with a black base and multicolor shimmer.  Eternal is a copper with almost the same purple shimmer as Sphinx.

For anyone who owns Modern Renaissance and has touched the shade Vermeer, then you know how the metallics in here feel.  Texture-wise, this palette is very similar to Modern Renaissance, so I anticipate that it will be much easier to work with than Subculture.

Speaking of Subculture, here are the swatches on my arm and descriptions from the interwebs:

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Left to right: Cube (duo chrome pink pearl), Dawn (ultra-matte sand), Destiny (ultra-matte sage green), Adorn (metallic bronze), All Star (ultra-matte vintage wine), Mercury (ultra-matte slate grey), Axis (ultra-matte blue-green), Roxy (ultra matte muted coral), Electric (duo chrome lime-gold), Fudge (ultra-matte warm bronze), New Wave (ultra-matte citron orange), Untamed (ultra-matte tarnished green), Edge (ultra-matte gold mustard), Rowdy (ultra-matte blackened purple)

Cube is the almost nonexistent shimmery shade on the far left that is closest to my wrist.  It has potential as a topper, but not much otherwise for me.  Overall, I find the descriptions of these shades to be very true to my results.  These behave almost like a softly pressed pigment.  The blues and greens in Subculture are very intense.  Axis stained my arm and made for some difficult removal.  Untamed and Rowdy were not far behind it in that respect.

The color payoff in Subculture is superior to that in Prism, but Prism is by no means bad.  If anything the shades have more slip to them and blend easier than those in Subculture.  The colors in Subculture do not seem to be firmly pressed in the pans, and even just moving my fingers around to pick up color for swatches dislodged quite a bit more product than was necessary before I got the hang of how to handle the eyeshadow.  I don’t know how travel-friendly these would be, and I don’t intend to find out.  It seems like a good drop could shatter them.

(Edit:Two days after typing up my initial draft, I wore several shades in Subculture for a night out. Here’s my takeaway of eight hours of wear over UD Primer Potion. A VERY light hand yielded intense color payoff.  A working knowledge of color theory is a must when dealing with these colors.  I used Axis and All Star beside one another and and was very careful to not mix them lest become a muddy gray brown color. Rowdy on top of All Star works fine. That lightened All Star and the shade became an orange-ish pink. Cube actually made a cool highlight when light hit it.  I didn’t find the shadow itself to be difficult to work with, but I went in knowing if I barely tapped a brush into a pan, I would have plenty of product for my needs. My big beef with the palette is the shadow began to wear off along the crease of my eye.  This doesn’t generally happen to me. By the time I got home I had a semi-circular line on each lid where the shadow had just disappeared from. Everything else looked fine.)

I know some people are saying that these palettes look the same, but I honestly don’t see it.  I’ll concede that Roxy and Eden are dupes for one another.  So are Fudge and Parallel, but those are neutrals, so who really cares.  As far as everything else, the undertones look different to me, and the shimmers in some similar-looking shades are quite different when worn.  I don’t think these palettes look the same, but I do think they were designed to play really well with one another.

Here are side by sides of all the possible dupes I could think of in the palettes:

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Left to right:  Eden (Prism), Roxy (Subculture), Unity (Prism), Dawn (Subculture), Sphinx (Prism), Eternal (Prism), Adorn (Subculture), Parallel (Prism), Fudge (Subculture)

Eden and Roxy are virtually identical, but Roxy is more intense.  Unity and Dawn look similar in the pan, but Dawn shows up more mustard than Unity.  Sphinx and Adorn are similar, but Adorn has more gold in it, and Sphinx is more purple.  Parallel and Fudge are basically the same, but, like I said, it’s a brown neutral.  Who cares.

Here’s a shot of all the shades side by side:

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Top (left to right):  Lucid, Eden, Unity, Sphinx, Osiris, Sphere, Obsidian, Dimension, Parallel, Pyramid, Throne, Saturn, Eternal, Lure
Bottom (left to right):  Cube, Dawn, Destiny, Adorn, All Star, Mercury, Axis, Roxy, Electric, Fudge, New Wave, Untamed, Edge, Rowdy

I will say that I love the shade range and color variety here but hate the layout of these palettes, but that’s neither here nor there for me since I’m going to depot them anyway.  I’ll just put them in a Z-palette in a way that inspires me, but each is cohesive if you think about it with some color theory in your reasoning.  I just hope the shades in Subculture don’t shatter when I try to remove them from the palette.  I use an induction burner to depot my shadows, and the method is pretty idiot proof, so if anyone is curious, you can read about how I do it by clicking here.

I certainly don’t think that anyone needs BOTH of these.  They’re $42.00 each, and if only one of them is speaking to you, just buy one.  The cost of this purchase with tax was $91.46 bringing my yearly Sephora total to $1,000.34.  That’s still not enough to reach VIB Rouge status because Sephora doesn’t include tax in their calculations like I’ve been doing.  I didn’t set out to reach VIB Rouge again this year, but at this point, I’m so close that I’ll just buy the Hourglass primer that I’m out of and one or two other things and be there.  Yeah, that’s a ton of money, but I have to reiterate that I spent nearly four times that amount at Sephora last year.  I’m still calling this exercise a win, and now I’m off to play with my new array of shadows.

–Jackie

The Foundation Purchase that Turned into a Mini Haul.

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I’ve been getting low on foundation for some time now, and I’ve been going back and forth on what kind I should buy.  I’ve used Diorskin Nude since 2008 or so, and it’s amazing.  It works extremely well, doesn’t break me out, and I always come back to it after I try anything new.  The coverage I get from it is medium but buildable, it looks natural, and it lasts all day on me.

My skin has decided to be unusually cooperative for the last couple of months, so I’ve not had many acne scars or discoloration I’ve had to worry about.  I started using tinted moisturizers for work (I favor Tarteguard) because I see no point in wearing foundation to work when it costs fifty bucks for a bottle, my skin already looks good, and I’m just going to sweat off whatever foundation I came in with by the end of the night.

I got a sample of the Vanish foundation stick from Hourglass in a Play box a couple of months ago and was blown away by how good it was.  To my pleasant surprise, the shade they sent was a perfect match for my skin, so I’ve been using it to death.  The coverage I get from this foundation is extremely full, yet so natural-looking and so lightweight when it’s blended that I can’t understand how it works.  I used the sample all over my face, blended it out with a brush, and went back in to use it as a concealer under my eyes and around my chin.  It works as a concealer yet looks completely natural.  It’s bizarre.  To be sure, there were a couple of cons, so I went back and forth on deciding between Vanish and Diorskin Nude for a month before I took the plunge and cheated on my old, faithful foundation.

To be quite honest, this stuff ain’t cheap.  It’s $46.00 for a quarter ounce versus $50.00 for an ounce of my usual from Dior, but given how full the coverage is, a little should go a long way.  I also refuse to wear this to work because it HAS to be set with powder, and I don’t wear powder to work.  I find it gets a little slippy on me, otherwise, so I’m just going to stick to Tarteguard for work and Hourglass for my days off.  That will buy an even longer product life.

Part of what also influenced my decision is that Sephora online was running a limited time special and threw in a mini of the Veil Mineral Primer for only a few bucks more than the foundation stick.  A mini of this retails for $19.00, and I got both for $52.00.  I’ve tried it before and hated it at first, but after the second deluxe sample I’ve gotten of it, I think I kind of like it.  The mini version here should give me enough product to form an actual opinion on this.  Like everything from Hourglass, a full-size isn’t cheap.  It’s $54.00 for an ounce, and I already love their Ambient Light primers, so I doubt I’ll commit to a full-size of Veil.

I also bought the mini version of a hair tool I’ve been looking at for months.  I’ve wanted the Amika straightening brush since I saw it ages ago, but couldn’t commit.  The mini one popped up in Sephora’s “Just Arrived” section, and I jumped on it.  I figured if this works decently, I may just buy the full-sized one.  It was $35.00.  There’s a review of it coming in the next few days.  It’s changed my life, and I love it.

I also used 100 points for an UD Naked Skin liquid highlighter in the shade Sin.  I’ve heard mixed reviews on the highlighters, so I’m happy to get a smaller size to try, and Sin is one of my favorite shades of all time from the brand.

I rarely get the 500 point rewards because I think most of them are marginally okay, at best, but I decided to spring for one from Boscia:

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It has a number of products that I’ve already used and knew that I liked and the Charcoal Pore Pudding that I’ve had my eye on for some time.

Included in the reward are the following items:
–Luminizing Black Mask (love it)
–Thermal Black Cleanser (love it)
–Porefecting White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer (like it)
–Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel (love it)
–Charcoal Pore Pudding (new to me)

I’ve already taken a hard dive into using the things in the reward box, so I’ll post reviews as I finish them up.

The total for this online shopping trip was $94.73, so that brings my yearly total to $908.88.

–Jackie

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Simply the Best.

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There’s a reason why everyone uses this stuff:  you’re going to be hard -pressed to find anything better than it is.

When I set my makeup with this, it doesn’t budge.  Primer, foundation, concealer, and this, and I am good, quite literally, all day.  My foundation doesn’t settle, and until temperatures start to creep toward the high eighties, it doesn’t melt off.  I don’t know what’s in this jar, but it’s magical.  It also keeps me matte most of of they day like other powders just can’t.  I don’t joke when I say I stay matte for almost nine hours on days with good weather.

It lasts forever, too.  That jar in the picture was bought in April 2015, and it lasted until August 2017.  If you don’t bake (and I don’t), the plastic on the jar will weaken before the product inside is gone.  At least that’s what happened to mine.  I dropped it on the floor a few months back, and the side of the screw top broke off.  A few weeks later, another piece just fell off.  I was thankful that the jar was almost finished by this point.

It takes almost no powder to set your makeup.  I tap a little bit into the cap, swirl a powder brush around in it, tap the excess back into the cap, and tap the brush across my forehead.  I repeat the process for each cheek, and that’s all I need.  Going crazy with this powder is also ill-advised.  You’ll end up looking ghostly if you’re not careful, and flashback in photos is pretty much a given.

And speaking about tapping product into the cap, this stuff is super finely milled, so you’ll end up with half the jar in the top of the cap if it happens to get turned sideways in your travel bag.  The best way I have found to combat this is to not remove the little plastic film covering the holes through which the powder is dispensed.  I take a safety pin or needle or any sharp, pointy object and break the film over half of the holes.  Then I either run the needle around the holes to enlarge them or use a hair pin.  Yeah, it takes a little bit more work to get the product out of the jar when you need it, but you don’t end up with a giant mess in the cap when you’re not expecting it, and given how little product it takes to actually set your makeup, you’re not out THAT much more effort.

I currently don’t own another of these powders, and I’m missing it greatly.  I bought a travel size of the Kat von D setting powder to try out, and I swore I would use it all before I bought another one of the LM powders, but I just don’t know if I can keep that promise.  The Kat von D isn’t bad by any means, but I just like this one better.  I feel like it keeps me more matte.

If you’ve never tried it, go out and get a travel size at $23.00 for a third of an ounce.  Given it’s lifespan, that will last you at least six months and you’ll have plently of time to form an opinion about it.  Then go out and buy the full-size for $38.00 for an ounce.  Yes, that’s quite a bit of pocket change for a jar of powder, but it lasts forever, and it’s totally worth it.  They’re even making it for darker skin tones now, so everyone is covered.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder:  Yes, I love it, and yes, I need it.

–Jackie

Sephora LashCraft Length & Volume Mascara. I Just Don’t Get It.

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I got this in a Play box six months ago, so it’s time to toss it even though there is a good bit of product left in the tube.  The actual formula for this mascara is amazing.  It is really long wearing and doesn’t smudge and is super black and may be one of the better formulas I’ve ever come across.  It’s on par with the wear time you get from tube mascaras like Blinc.  It doesn’t budge until you want it gone.  It’s quite affordable, too.  The full-size is twelve dollars.  There are drugstore mascaras that cost more than this.

I will never buy this, however, because of one glaring problem–the damn wand.  It’s rounded on two sides like a normal mascara brush and flat on the other two.  At first I hoped this would be a good way to get at my outer lashes a bit more easily.  The first few times I used this, it worked great.  I got excellent volume and decent length with minimal clumping.  Once it started to dry out, it was all downhill.  The flat edges of the wand hold onto clumps and deposit them on my lashes or water line, depending on how the wand is turned in relation to my eye.  Cleaning the brush with a tissue or paper towel helps to a degree, but the clumps are still there.  Turning the brush to try and keep the clumps away from my lashes just gets annoying.  It would grab groups of lashes and clump them together and just generally started to look terrible.  This was after only seven weeks of air exposure.  Mascaras are supposed to last six months.

This formula for this is so good that I thought about buying disposable mascara wands and just using those, but I shouldn’t have to do that.  Just redesign the wand, Sephora!  It’s a real piece of junk.  If you just want to play around with it and try to get it to work, go for it, but don’t get your hopes up.

Don’t buy this!  Seriously, don’t but this.  If the day ever comes that Sephora redesigns the wand, run, don’t walk to Sephora and try it out.  I’m not kidding when I say that the formula is amazing.

Sephora LashCraft Length & Volume Mascara:  I don’t need this.  I’m not going to buy it.

–Jackie