Category Archives: Foundation Reviews

Bobbi Brown BB Cream

The Foundation Files – Bobbi Brown BB Cream

I’ve been very naughty – I’ve been using this for nearly a YEAR without telling you about it. In fact, I’ve nearly finished the tube and I haven’t said a word. Let’s just say it’s a very rare thing for me to finish a foundation – I always switch them out for whatever new one I happen to be testing. But this one – I just keep going back to it.

The finish is perfect – it’s like a souped up tinted moisturizer. It melts into the skin, eradicating any redness or discoloration that you might have. It never looks masky and it has just the right amount of glow to look like – well, like nothing at all. Like Mother Nature really, really likes you.

I love the practical black tube which you can toss in your handbag or kit, and for a BB cream it comes in a decent range of shades – 9 in total. Like all BB foundations it covers the skin spectrum from alabaster to mahogany. (One of the many reasons I do love her range of makeup so).

I was super skeptical of BB creams when they first came out, which is why I was so late to that party – they seemed to me like a cynical rebranding of tinted moisturisers. I’m always a bit wary of new products that get released as there is a fair amount of Emperor’s New Clothes that goes into makeup. New! Shiny! Fantastic! Exactly like something that came out four years ago that we’re hoping you’ve forgotten about!  Plus the first BB creams that I tried only came in about two colours – fantastic for the two people who happen to come in those shades! The rest of us? In the too hard basket.

That is, until I tried the Bobbi Brown BB Cream for a foundation article I was writing, and I was sold, hook line and sinker. These *MAY* even make it into my kit when I do a foundation reorganize. You never know your luck in the big city.

www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com.au

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

Foundation Files: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

I’ve fallen in love with a new brand! Well actually it’s not a new brand, it’s been around for awhile. It’s called Jouer, and it’s a gorgeous natural cosmetics range from LA.

I’d been wanting to check it out since it started, (which is quite a long time as it launched in 2008!) but I never seemed to find myself near a counter in the US. And then I discovered it’s stocked by the genius website Cult Beauty. Cult Beauty is my favourite online beauty destination as it has all the MM picks such as Ellis Faas, Japonesque, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Rodin Olio Lusso, Prtty Peaushun, Stila, Sunday Riley, Priti NYC, RMS cosmetics – I could just go on, and on and on. Seriously it’s like an online treasure trove of the fabulous and hard to find.

I was in the market for a new tinted moisturiser, and this one fits perfectly with my “Green for 2013” ethos, as I pare down my personal beauty bag and find gentler, less chemical alternatives, The Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint oil-free formula is hypo-allergenic and fragrance-free and boasts Gingko Biloba, Vitamin E and Ginseng to deliver antioxidants to the skin.

I love it – it smoothes away redness (key for me as my skin gets lovely and red each morning and needs a severe talking to, in order to sort it out). It’s quite rare for me to use tinted moisturisers anymore as generally they don’t do enough of what I need them to. Yet I don’t want to commit on a daily basis to a full-on foundation, if you know what I mean.

But this guy – well it has optical reflections so it seems to bathe your skin in tiny little candles, and it’s super moisturizing yet has an oil-free finish. I’m not sure how they pull that trick off, but it’s perfect for my awesome dehydrated yet oily skin (thanks God – just what every girl wishes for).

In typical tinted moisturiser style it only comes in five shades, which tend to favour the fairer-complected (for my darker complected readers I encourage you as always to check out the foundation ranges of Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown and Becca).

And if you’re a bit of a Sweaty Betty – aren’t we all, from time to time? I discovered it also comes also in a Matte version, which would be ideal for the summer months when your glow becomes an oil slick you could see from space.

I’m planning to “jouer” a lot more with “Jouer”.

www.cultbeauty.co.uk

Christine Zilber, Founder & Director of Jouer talks about the brand

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint

The Foundation Files: Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint

I didn’t think that Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser could ever be superseded, but I have to tell you, it has. I had firmly removed myself from the tinted moisturiser category, finding that much as I loved it on younger skin than mine for work, it just didn’t offer enough coverage for my skin now (although I was a faithful personal devotee for many years).Enter Liz Earle’s Sheer Skin Tint, the incredible cult skincare brand’s first (and I hope not last) foray into colour. This has knocked my socks off, quite frankly. It’s super rich and moisturizing, with shea butter, Vitamin E and avocado – so not dissimilar to their Superskin moisturiser which I use religiously in the colder months. It glides on with the tiniest amount of product and spreads perfectly and evenly, as if your skin was supermodel perfect underneath (even if that’s far from the truth). It’s just rich and buttery and delicious, and the coverage it provides is significant for a tinted moisturiser. More importantly, the coverage is undetectable. It stays all day and when you clean your face at night it’s still coming off on the cotton pad or towel. This is all-day coverage with more guts than it’s chemical counterparts.

The only drawback with it is the shade range which only comes in three tones. This I’m sure will be increased in future, as great skin lovers come in all shades of the skin spectrum. Also as it comes in only three colours you might find you are somewhere in between and need to blend two together – I’m a Bare 01 but only just and as I get subtly darker over the summer (it’s impossible to prevent, even if you use Wednesday Adams as your role model with regards to sunscreen, like I do) I will probably end up wearing a mix of my current one and the next step up. Oh, did I mention that it has an SPF of 15? So for those who dislike wearing separate sunscreen, that part is done for you. Love a multi-tasking product!

And for my oily ladies – please do try this before you buy as it’s super glowy due to being very emollient, and if you’re already channeling the greasies I think it will be too rich for you. I would try Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Tinted Moisturiser instead.

So if you’re in the market for natural, perfect skin and the product that can deliver it, Liz Earle Sheer Skin is my new top rec.

lizearle.com

 

 

The Foundation Files: Revlon Age Defy Foundation

Regular MM readers will know that I’m not generally a drugstore girl. I’m not a big cosmetics bargain hunter as I’ve tried a lot of the cheaper lines and found the pigmentation quality insufficient for my makeup work, and thus most cheaper makeup has no place in my kit, or my makeup bag.

The two exceptions to this rule are MyFace cosmetics, and Revlon. I do love a bit of Revlon (always have, ever since I used to fantastise about being one of the most Unforgettable Women in the World when becoming a woman was far in the future). I think the products are great quality, well priced, and practically and elegantly packaged. I love the work of their Creative Director, Gucci Westman, who has been working hard to make the brand more glamorous and more practical for modern women (her Multi-Use palettes are a work of genius). I also love that they were one of the first companies that banned animal testing, so they get serious kudos for that as well in my book, and I’m a fan of their new animal-friendly and beautiful Revlon faces, Olivia Wilde and Emma Stone.

So I was pretty excited when I got the chance a couple of years ago to work on the Revlon Age Defy TV commercial in London, assisting Kay Montano, who has made something of a specialty in working with the original supermodels. Not only is it an iconic makeup brand, but it starred none other than the original Aussie supermodel, Elle Macpherson. This was a woman who I used to plaster my school books with, who epitomizes outdoor Australian beauty, the ultimate girl next door (if you happen to live next door to Glamazonia).

It turns out, Elle is lovely. We swapped holiday plans with children – her, skiing in Aspen, me, bike riding with my son in Wandsworth Park. Both Australian, both working mums, we had A LOT in common, let me tell you. And if I look that good at 48, I’ll be one happy woman.

Shot by Jake Nava (of Beyonce’s Single Ladies video fame), and Kay’s makeup as immaculate as ever it was a blissful, easy day of shooting on a country estate outside London. One of those days that just doesn’t feel like work.

So when in the makeup trailer Elle told me that the Age Defy foundation was one of her favourite Revlon products and one she uses herself, I had to check it out. The makeup trailer is where you get the real deal, the behind the scenes action and the type of gossip – well let’s just say it STAYS in the makeup trailer. No PR teams, no camera crews, and no reason to say it if it ain’t true. To get a genuine celeb endorsement of a product is rarer than you think.

Age Defy is a very creamy, moisturizing foundation with a dewy finish – a little bit like an MM fave, Chanel Vitalumiere. I like to apply it with my fingers and go lightly, just where needed as I find that a heavy application can look like too much on the skin. With a light application it gives great coverage and the extra moisture that dry or older skin needs. It’s not oil-free, so if you have oily skin this wouldn’t be one for you, and I do like to give it a loose powder afterwards. It has a decent range of shades (although to be honest if you have a very deep skin tone, you won’t meet your match here. Try MAC, Illamasqua or Becca instead).

Age Defy has been developed for more ‘mature’ skins – and when you reach that age bracket, you will know about it. You want a foundation that is going to slip on the skin, and have a slight luminosity to disguise those incipient wrinkles (let’s call a spade a spade, it’s not an “expression line, it’s a wrinkle) and any discolorations that are another one of those joys of aging. I’ve tried it and liked it, and I think that if your budget is more Superdrug than Harvey Nichols, it’s a fantastic foundation in that price point. Elle MacPherson loves it and if it makes me look anything like her – Unforgettable indeed.

www.revlon.com

Here’s a Behind-the-Scenes of the Age Defy commercial I worked on with Kay:

 

 

The Foundation Files: Armani Luminous Silk

Armani Luminous Silk foundationThis was my first favourite foundation. I worked with this so much in the beginning of my career, and after a break of a few years, I’m coming back to it again.

It’s a lightweight, oil-free fluid foundation that gives good coverage without heaviness, and gives a beautiful sheen to the skin. It’s perfect for evening, or the red carpet, or if your life is more supermarket than red carpet, it works for that too!

Developed by Pat McGrath when she was the Creative Director of Armani Beauty when it first started, it very much espouses her philosophy of luminous, glowing skin. At the same time she also developed the Armani Fluid Sheers, which are luminizing liquids that were designed to be mixed in with the foundations, and they are absolutely gorgeous either on their own as a strategic highlight, or mixed in with the Luminous Silk foundation. I have a few of the Fluid Sheers but my favourite is no 2.

I like the colours that Luminous Silk comes in, as the colour range starts very pale and goes into really quite deep tones, although my one grumble with the shade range is that the shades for very dark skintones are just too red. In the States it goes up to Shade 13, and I find that anything up from 10 is very red-brown, so I hardly ever use them. (Becca is amazing for black skin, as are some of the Illamasqua deeper shades). The shade of 5 or 5.5 is so universally perfect that I go through far more bottles of that than any of the others.

I would say that it’s a slightly lighter weight foundation than Chanel Vitalumiere, and applies beautifully with a brush or sponge. The shade range is also more extensive than the other prestige beauty houses (Dior, Chanel, YSL), as it comes in 17 shades in the US.

It is an oil-free foundation, but as always if you are an oily gal do try before you buy as it can look a bit greasy if you live in a hot climate or have very oily skin.

And a big PS – the Armani Foundation brush is also awesome.

Armani Beauty has a new Creative Director, Linda Cantello, one of the most awesome of awesome makeup artists – let me tell you this lady was wielding a brush when you were in nappies, so she knows what she’s doing! The new face of the brand is the super-vixen, Megan Fox, and after a bit of a break Armani is back on my beauty radar in a big way.

See Linda’s work on the impeccably beautiful Megan Fox here:

The Foundation Files: Burberry Powder Foundation


 
I am LOVING this powder foundation. Let me say right off the bat that I have never been a powder foundation fan, but this guy has made me change my mind in a big way. It is so lightweight and sheer with super finely milled pigments, and it’s the perfect option for everyday when you just don’t have time. It is a gorgeous, heavy compact – truth be told a little too heavy for me to cart around in my handbag, but since I have a car I can just toss it in my makeup bag in the car (the car can handle its luxurious heaviness better than my shoulders.)

I don’t use powder foundations in my makeup work, as my favourite way to perfect the skin will always be liquid foundation and concealer, and when you add powder foundation on top of that it can look a bit cakey and old-fashioned – always the fear with too much powder. However my Burberry Powder Foundation (in Trench, don’t you know) is the perfect colour for my skin and provides a veil of coverage on those days when I don’t have more than 30 seconds for makeup – which does happen more often than I would like! I also do use it as light powder over Myface MyMix foundation sometimes when I’m going out at night – the Myface MyMix foundation is so light that sometimes it can do with a little coverage boost, which is when my Burberry comes into play. I apply with a soft powder brush, not a sponge as I think the sponge does rather take it dangerously close to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane territory.

Everything I have tried from the Burberry range so far is absolutely gorgeous – beautiful quality cosmetics that are very wearable for everyday, and with exquisite packaging. There is a reason why Burberry is one of the fastest growing luxury brands in the world! This range is what the Calvin Klein ranges (both times) wanted to be and never quite got right.

Whether this lovely foundation will encourage me to experiment with other powder foundations I’m not quite sure – all the others I have tried tend to be way too heavy and way too powdery in my opinion, but this one has humbled me. It just goes to show that there’s always room to change your mind.

Burberry Beauty is available from Harrods in London and will be on-counter at David Jones in Australia as of the 1st August.
www.burberry.com

 

The Foundation Files – Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation

This review has been a long-time coming since I don’t think I have ever found a long-lasting, oil-free foundation I like so much. This is for all those ladies out there who really need a foundation with some muscle to it, that can handle their oily or combination skin, whatever it throws at them. Because really, who wants to look like a disco ball two hours after they’ve left the house? Not me, that’s for sure. Usually I’m a fan of lightweight foundations (I mean, you’ve seen my reviews of Chantecaille, Vitalumiere and Myface, which is what I keep in high rotation in my kit), but they aren’t right for every skin type. What to do if you have oily skin, or just like more coverage?Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Foundation

This is when I send in my Bobbi Brown big guns, her Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation. This foundation contains sponge like powders so it will absorb oil on the skin, yet emollients lock in moisture so skin stays balanced. It’s also transfer resistant, so it’s great for hot or humid climates. Like all Bobbi’s foundations (which are legion, and all the ones I have tried are amazing), they come in a great range of tones, but they are definitely more on the yellow side. Bobbi’s foundations are more comprehensive in colour tones than most brands on the market, from Alabaster through to Walnut. However as always, do check the colour is thoroughly right for you (on your FACE please miss, not the back of your hand or your elbow or on your best friend – it’s supposed to be going on YOUR FACE).

Simply apply with a foundation brush as you would any other foundation, and all those lovely little spheres go to work, mopping up facial oll and generally keeping your complexion looking gorgeous. What I love about this foundation over other oil-free foundations is that it adheres to Bobbi’s philosophy that skin should still look like skin, even if it does have a medium to heavy weight foundation on it. So it won’t look like a scary mask, but like a prettier, fresher (matte-r!) version of yourself. It also has an SPF of 15 so it’s great to know that you have that box ticked at the start of each day.

This lasts all day, and provides flawless coverage. It definitely deals with the oil on skin better than most foundations, meaning much less powdering time. And it’s still comfortable on areas that are dry (something I know about since my skin is that lovely combo of oil and dehydration which can be so hard to deal with).

It doesn’t mean you won’t have to powder at all as you probably will at some point during the day, but you won’t be shiny after 35 seconds. I just top up with either a Laura Mercier or Bobbi Brown powder and a brush, through the T-zone.

If you struggle to find a good foundation in general I do heartily recommend you check out Bobbi’s foundations as she has most of bases covered (please excuse the shocking pun) – the most minimal coverage you can get away with, and a fantastic selection of foundations formulated for all types of skin problems. Viva Bobbi Brown!

www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com

The Foundation Files: Estee Lauder Maximum Cover

Estee Lauder Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup for Face and BodyEvery now and then I go into the Vault and have a rummage for you good people, and to remind myself what’s actually in there. And every now and then I come up with an absolute treasure – this is one of those times.

I bought this foundation aaaaaages ago in London, and for some reason it just never made it into my kit – space issues probably. So I tried it the other day and … just, wow. A tiny little bit goes a very long way, and it just melts into the skin – you hardly need to rub it in at all. It’s a heavier finish foundation than I usually like (you might have noticed my preference for fairly light, fluid and light reflective foundations before), but as I only use this foundation for spot coverage, it doesn’t matter that it’s a heavier weight.

When I started Googling Estee Lauder Maximum Cover there were rumblings on the internet that it was about to be discontinued. NOOOOO! Not after I have just re-discovered it (although to be fair I have four large tubes of it, and since one tiny dab will do your whole face, they should last me a good long while).  So I checked with Estee Lauder and you’ll all be relieved to hear that it hasn’t been discontinued, but it has been reformulated as it will now be one of the Double Wear foundations. Which makes sense as once that sucker is on it ain’t going anywhere. This has to be one of the longest wearing foundations I have ever tried, staying on through a whole day’s sweaty testing whilst I ran around and did a zillion errands. It’s actually supposed to be water proof, but I’ll be honest and say I haven’t tested it out in a beach or pool environment yet – but I will, oh I will. Perhaps that might be a good experiment for the new re-formulation of it, to see how it stacks up when faced with the elements? Oh I love to have projects!

This is really a hardcore foundation as it was originally formulated to cover birthmarks, scars, marks from acne and the like – so if this is something that you struggle to cover with regular foundation and concealer, it’s well worth checking out, as it provides SERIOUS coverage whilst still looking natural (no easy feat).

The only thing that is a downfall to this foundation is the colour range, which I think is a bit limited – five shades in all, and all very much on the pink/Caucasian side. However if this is your colouring, this is an incredible foundation. Uber makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury loves this guy and has used it extensively for years, which is why I originally tried it. I like to use it as a spot concealer, just where needed, instead of a full face of foundation. This one’s a keeper.

www.esteelauder.com.au

www.esteelauder.co.uk

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