The Foundation Purchase that Turned into a Mini Haul.


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:


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.


Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil. I Don’t Technically NEED This.


Okay, I suppose I should be honest about this.  I’m going to buy it regardless of whether I lie to myself and you or not.

I use frizz serum pretty much daily.  If I leave my house on a humid day without any in, I’ll start to look like a poodle within minutes, so frizz serum has been a staple in my life since, and I kid you not, sixth grade.  I’ve used a lot of them.

The first was good old Frizz-Ease that was all the rage in the mid-nineties.  After that I moved onto trying various others, but none of them really stood out as anything exceptional.  They all basically feel like an oil that coats your hair and keeps it from going too crazy when the humidity goes up.  I finally settled on one from L’oreal, and I’ve used it for the last four or five years.  It’s cheap, I get a ton of product, and it lasts forever.  I need only two or three bottles a year.

This stuff doesn’t work any better than my L’oreal, and that one doesn’t work any better than Frizz-ease or any other frizz serum I’ve tried, and it’s stupifying to me that I’m seriously entertaining buying it when a 3.4 ounce bottle costs $38.00.  I mean, there’s a smaller 0.85 ounce option available for $20.00, but why not just go all in.  It’s way cheaper.

The only reason I’ll buy this when my L’oreal serum runs out, which will likely happen some time in December or early January, is the SMELL.  I know I’ve said this every single time I’ve finished anything by Living Proof, but I wish they would bottle this smell as a perfume.  I dearly love it.  It’s so fresh and citrusy and just generally wonderful.

I don’t mind supporting the company, either.  Overall, their products do exactly what they claim to do.  Sure, they’re expensive, but I find with this you truly get what you pay for.  I don’t spend a ton of money on shampoo because my oily hair necessitates that I wash it daily, but every so often I splurge, and their shampoos and conditioners are fantastic.  And there’s that SMELL.  They make my hair manageable and soft.  Yeah, there are a few dud products in their line, but the vast majority of the time, I know I’m going to get a product that performs when I shell out the cash.

I feel like their shampoos, conditioners, and styling products (especially the Night Cap Overnight Perfector) genuinely outperform anything else on the market that I’ve tried.  I can’t say the same for this.  It works as well as any other frizz serum I’ve used, but it’s not noticeably better.

My thick hair requires an amount the size of a quarter.  This works great when I use a dryer and a flat iron on my hair, but I still need extra curl cream or wave spray when I let it air dry.  My hair gets REALLY frizzy when I do nothing with it, and it’s been that way since I was a child.  If it’s not humid out, this keeps my hair looking sleek and smooth all day.  On a hot summer day in the city in August, not so much.  As soon as I start to sweat, my hair begins to frizz, but this helps control it more than if I used nothing at all.  It eventually reaches a point where the frizz doesn’t get any worse, but that’s generally when my hair starts to get obviously sweaty and begins to gross me out.

The honest truth of the matter is that I can say the same thing about virtually any frizz serum I’ve used over the last twenty years.  I’m going to replace the L’oreal one with this one that costs five times as much for half as much product purely because I love the way it smells, and the smell lingers in my hair.  Although, now that I just typed that last sentence and really put things into perspective, maybe I won’t shell out that kind of cash.

There you have it:  This frizz serum is great because of the way it smells, but you’re going to be hard-pressed to call it obviously better than Frizz-Ease or any other similar product.  I can’t tell you to not buy it because I’m most likely going to own it soon, but just accept that you, like me, are just buying it for the smell.

Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil:  I don’t need you, specifically, but I’m going to buy you.


Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Simply the Best.


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.


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


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.


Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil Long Wear Eyeliner. These Things Rock.


I freely admit that I’m a loyalist when it comes to Urban Decay eyeliners.  They don’t come off.  The shade range is extensive, and I just love them.  However, I bought a blue green shade of the Drama Liqui-Pencils about a year ago, and, I’m here to say, I’m slowly becoming a convert.

These may be the smoothest pencil liners I’ve ever tried.  There’s no skipping or tugging.  The colors are intense, and they do. not. fade.  Removal is hard even with eye makeup remover, but I don’t care.  They last all day, and they don’t irritate my contacts, which has started to become a problem for me over the last three years.  I can’t use certain shades from Urban Decay anymore because I’ll turn into a teary-eyed mess.  Perversion is out.  Woodstock is no more.

These are great, too, because I like the amount of time I get to work with them before they set.  I find I get about a minute, which is enough time for me to smudge one eye and move onto the other.

I adore the metallics in this range, which is why I picked up two when I was in Sephora the other day.  They were on sale, and no, I didn’t need them, but the price was just too good to pass up.  Ampoulé is the metallic purple I’ve been dreaming about (Bright purple! Pink micro-glitter!), and Forêt Enchantée is a dark green metallic with micro-glitter in it.  I can’t wait to try them out.

I have no real complaint about these liners in general.  My only minor gripe is that they can be a little difficult to sharpen if you’re using an old and/or dull pencil sharpener.  The product is really soft, and before I bought a new sharpener, my first one would just kind of break off in the sharpener before I could get a decent tip on the pencil.  That’s not something I was happy about given the $23.00 price tag on these puppies.  I replaced my sharpener on a whim one day, and the problem magically went away the next time I used my blue-green liner.  That put them right back in the running for the best liner ever.

I picked these up for $15.00 each, so with tax I spent $32.66 on my last outing.  That brings my yearly total $814.15.  I’m almost out of foundation, so I’m going to have to get some soon.  I’m quite torn between my usual one from Dior and the stick foundation from Hourglass.  Suggestions? Anyone?


Grande Lips Collagen Boosting Plumper. This works?


I’m not really one for before and after pictures.  I feel like if I can’t look in a mirror after a few months and see a noticeable difference in my face, then a product isn’t worth my time, but I almost wish that I had taken a picture before I started using this regularly.  I’m still not sure if it works, but it’s the first lip plumper I actually like.

This came in a Play box months ago, and, given my aversion to lip plumpers and glosses in general, it sat by my bed for months and months.  One night I picked it up before turning in, braced myself for the burn that I was certain would occur, and cracked open the tube.

Much to my shock, there was a slight tingle, but it went away after a few minutes.  My lips didn’t feel like they were on fire.  Something was happening, though.  This clear gloss turned the areas it touched blood-red.  It didn’t make my lips look any bigger, but it didn’t make me miserable to wear, so I left it on and went to sleep.

The next day my lips felt so moisturized.  I usually wake up with dry lips, but not after that night.  I must admit I was impressed.  The instructions say to use this twice a day for visibly fuller lips.  Now, I don’t need any help in the lip fullness department, and I don’t like wearing gloss, so I just ignored the directions and used this every night before bed until the tube ran out.  I never felt any stinging after that first night, but even as I was getting toward the bottom of the tube, it always made my lips turn red.  I put it on the back of my hand out of curiosity, and it left a red mark where the gloss had been.

Anyway, this lasted about five weeks, and by the end of it I was pretty sure my lips had a different look about them.  They didn’t look fuller around the perimeter of my mouth, to be sure, but those tiny little lines that everyone has in their lips looked smaller.  Once the tube was gone, this effect went away within a week.  I am not saying this plumped my lips in the traditional sense.  I just feel like it moisturized them so well that they looked plump because they were really well hydrated.  The hyaluronic acid in this stuff was really doing its job.  So, for once, I do wish that I had taken a photo before I started using this.

Now, do I like this enough to drop $27.00 on a tube of lip gloss to use each night before I go to sleep in an attempt to continue this experiment?  No.  As I said earlier, I don’t need any help in the plump lip department.

Here’s the takeaway on this from the perspective of someone who, on any given day, moves from loathing to outright hating plumpers:  This stuff is worth a shot if you have thin lips and have tried plumpers and been disappointed by the burning or lack of effectiveness or combination of the two.  My lips have always been super sensitive to the “tingle” in lip plumpers.  This is the ONLY one I’ve used that didn’t outright burn so badly that I removed it.  You may want to give this one a shot, but you’ll have to keep using it to see any kind of lasting effect.

Grande Lips Collagen Boosting Lip Plumper:  I think this actually works, but I don’t need it.  I’m not buying it.


Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer. I. Just. Cannot.


Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I can tolerate a lot of smells and tingles on my face for the sake of seeing if something might actually work well for me, but I just can’t with this crap.

I got it in a Sephora Play box, and I’m tossing it after seven or so uses.  There’s still a good bit of product left in the jar, but ugh.  The smell is so strong and pervasive, which is a gripe that I had with the GlamGlow Illiminating Moisturizer.  As soon as I removed the cap from this jar, the smell of cheap rose perfume filled my nostrils, and, as anyone who reads this blog knows by now, I freaking hate that smell.  I genuinely find it repulsive.  The smell lingers, too.  Rub it on your face, and you get the opportunity to smell old lady perfume each time you inhale for a breath for the next five minutes.  Sorry, but that’s not my cup of tea.

So, yeah, there’s that.  If it worked really well, I would almost be willing to tolerate the smell, but there’s one other problem that, when coupled with the noxious fumes, is a deal breaker.  This stuff stings.  No, not stings.  This stuff stright-up burns.  It makes my face burn in random places.  I pop any zits that crop up on my face, so a stinging around those areas wouldn’t really surprise me, but this crap made my whole face burn.  Forehead, cheeks, chin–everywhere.  And the stinging doesn’t go away quickly.  After ten minutes I still felt it.  At first I thought I was acclimitizing, but it didn’t go away.  Days later, this still burned when I would use it.  I can’t imagine how anyone could tolerate this.  In the garbage it goes.

And the price?  Sixty-nine dollars for two ounces!  They have to be kidding, right?  There’s no way in hell I would pay that for a moisturizer that smells like old-lady perfume and leaves me unable to tell if it actually, you know, moisturizes because my face is on fire.

No, no, no, no, no!  Spend your money elsewhere.

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer:  This is a flaming pile of sh*t.