Monday, April 28, 2014

Foundations for Spring/Summer 2014: Shu Uemura, Shiseido, Guerlain and Chanel

Welcome back, lovelies! Thanks to everyone who participated in the Essence giveaway. The winner is @tinadelro from the Philippines! Tina's package is on the way by mail this morning, but stay tuned for a SUMMER giveaway to celebrate my favourite season. I've already started collecting pieces to form a new package. ;-) And now, back to regularly scheduled makeuppy talk.

With the change of season, it's inevitable that we beauty fanatics look for a shift in our skin and makeup routine. Spring sunshine illuminates both flaws and heavy makeup that weren't as noticeable during winter's dimmer days. I've always been obsessed with complexion, but I try to limit the number of foundations in my stash to three at most and usually succeed in completely finishing them rather than tossing due to expiry. But about a month ago, I felt a terrible itch to try something new. So, like a good beauty blogger, I got my shopping elbows out and went a-hunting.

Foundations

Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation (Shade match: O40 Natural Fair Ochre) - After discovering that the Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation doesn't provide enough coverage for my battle-scarred cheeks, I figured the next level coverage foundation from Shiseido would be actually "perfect" and kept an eye out for the Perfect Refining Foundation. Luckily, the two foundations keep the same shade numbers/names, and O40 in PRF turned out to be an exact colour match for my skin. It did an excellent job of covering up acne scars, which I was very pleased with. But it did look a bit flat and not entirely skin-like. I decided to roam the mall with the sample on my face to see how it wore, but it came off the second I hit Shu Uemura at The Bay and tested the Lightbulb Foundation. And in light of the fact that hot summer months are approaching, I wonder if maybe I should test out Shiseido's sunscreen foundations instead. I think the stick comes in just one or two shades while a liquid version with SPF 42 is offered with a wider range. (Confirmed by a Shiseido sales associate: the stick comes in one sheer light beige colour and the liquid sunscreen foundations have been discontinued in Canada. First, it wasn't very popular -- hello, it is winter for 8 months out of 12 here in Canada. Second, something about it expiring faster. Hmmm.)

CAD$42 at The Bay, CAD$49 at Sephora. <--- !!! 
(I tested this at Shoppers Drug Mart at the Eaton Centre for forgot to note the price.)

Shu Uemura Lightbulb Foundation (Shade match: 764 Medium Light Beige) - I read a lot of reviews about this -- mostly raves. But strangely, I wasn't very curious about it until I got to the Shu Uemura counter and got suckered in by the adorable white sponge that it comes with. I was actually on my way to CHANEL to test the Perfection Lumiere Velvet and never made it there because Lightbulb got me good. It covers everything and makes you glow like the elves from Lord of the Rings. I bought it on the spot without even walking around the shop for an hour like I normally do when testing expensive foundations. In hindsight, I think it made me look shiny within an hour and definitely won't work as a summer foundation in heat and humidity. I haven't opened my box yet because of this and am contemplating returning it or keeping it sealed until fall when the weather turns cooler again. (For a complete and very detailed review on this foundation, check out Maggie's post here. I won't be reviewing it for another few months, probably.) (Um, couldn't wait and busted it out yesterday. Two things: the shade is already too light for me, and it wore off my oily nose in ugly patches after a few hours. Definitely saving it for fall/winter. Or just wear it on the cheeks only.)

CAD$66 at ShuUemura.ca. I redeemed HBC points at The Bay to get $20 off.

Guerlain Terracotta Joli Teint Foundation (Shade match: Natural) - After getting over my intense desire for the Meteorite pearls (too shimmery), I became focused on Guerlain's bronzers instead. Their foundation wasn't even on my mind until I started swatching everything at the counter at Sephora during the VIB sale week. The new Joli Teint runs darker than the usual shade ranges, making it perfect for early summer when you become too dark for your winter foundation, and it has a beautifully smooth satiny-matte finish and an intoxicating tropical scent. I'm not one to fall for scented face products, but in this case, I am completely smitten. Coverage is about medium, and I'm not super impressed with how it looks, but the way it feels on the skin and that gorgeous scent... ugh. The shade also sits perfectly between my winter and late summer foundations to carry me through transition months. I'm again torn and unsure whether to keep it or not. I've been testing it from the sample jar and the box remains unopened. I'm going to buy the new Terracotta perfume instead and return this one. (I finally got to sniff it yesterday at The Bay and it was divine. It's not available for sale until the second week of May though.)

CAD$63 at Sephora, slightly cheaper at other places I think. I got 15% off during the VIB sale, but what the heck, Sephora.


And, of course, everyone's new favourite foundation: CHANEL Perfection Lumiere Velvet. I ended up testing this second-hand while my friend was getting matched for a shade. Here in Canada, we seem to have a limited range of shades (Beige 10-50 and Beige Rose 22 at The Bay), and the colours were rather too beige/pink for my friend's more yellowy-olive skin tone. I found that rather surprising, given Perfection Lumiere Velvet's high coverage and think it's a real shame that we don't get the more yellowed shades here. While its impressive coverage literally blurs out every blemish and scar, not having an exact shade match makes the face definitely mask-like, especially when trying to match the face to the neck. I also found that the finish looks quite powdery while it apparently feels quite lightweight --  it didn't look skin-like from a close view, but I bet it photographs and films fantastically. Lasting power is superb, as my friend and I shopped and ate throughout the day and it didn't show the slightest hint of budging or melting on her combination skin even after 4-5 hours of constant movement. Liv of blushnglow has a very different view of this product, however -- definitely check out her review if you're thinking of purchasing this foundation.

CAD$48 at The Bay. I'd be tempted if I thought there was a shade match for me.

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There are basically three types of foundations in my world: lightweight but too sheer, good coverage but flat, and good coverage but melty. For a makeup lover, I'd say that it's worth having one of each in the arsenal, depending on what kind of looks you want to create. But there is no single perfect foundation that will cover while looking skin-like and last all day without touching up and powdering. If there is, I've yet to find it. A part of me thinks that for someone with combination or oily skin, it's better to buy a flat foundation that covers well and add luminosity and definition with finishing powders, highlighters and contourers. I'd hate to cover up the beautiful glow of the Shu Uemura Lightbulb with powders, but there's no way that my skin can wear it all day without constant blotting and powdering. Yet the greedy makeup geek within wants it all. Frankly, I could more than make do with the Almay, L'Oreal, Rimmel and Garnier for summer, using self-tanners and bronzers to match deepening tans -- but that wasn't why I set upon this whole foundation excursion in the first place, was it? And to be honest, I LOVE THE HUNT. Even if I find my new holy grail foundation, I probably won't ever stop looking.

Are you a monogamous foundation lover, or do you prefer to mix things up?

41 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, the never-ending hunt for the perfect foundation. I currently have something like 8 in my arsenal -- ridiculous, although to be fair some of them are for different times of the year and obviously different levels of coverage. I do find that if I wear a mattifying moisturiser underneath a more glowy foundation seems to work out the best. At the moment I'm really liking Olay's day lotion for oily skin, although the Estee Lauder one that I used to use was pretty good as well (at like triple the price). And the Hourglass Mineral Veil primer is awesome but I so can't afford that right now -- have scraped my sample pot clean.

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    1. You, my dear, are a true beauty fiend! I love it. :D

      In the case of Shu Lightbulb, I did pair it with a mattifying primer but it didn't seem to have helped at all. I actually have Shu Uemura UV Under Base which wears like iron, so I should actually try those together and see if using two products from the same brand helps the matter.

      I gotta say, I miss Hourglass Veil Mineral a lot. It's just one of the best.

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    2. Duuuude I got nothing on you, O Great Blush Fiend (and enabler)! I feel like being in NZ is really limiting me in terms of becoming a true addict, though the grad student status also contributes somewhat...

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    3. Lol, we're all limited in various ways, I suppose. And now I want to know how many blushes you have!

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  2. Until recently, I could care less about foundation. But now that my skin looks crappy with all the scarring I have from the hormonal acne, I'm more interested - but I still really prefer the look of 'bare skin' so I know what you mean about finding that perfect balance! Powdery finishes aren't my thing, although my trusty Hourglass Immaculate foundation has been getting me through the rough times exceptionally well. I just wish it had a bit more luminosity to it. I've been mixing it with my Burberry Fresh Glow on the areas that don't need as much coverage and that's doing the trick for the most part. Sometimes it seems like foundation is best suited for either those who already have great skin (so the more sheer, skin-like formulas are perfect) or for those who want full coverage and that more matte look. If you find one, I hope you review it TOOT SWEET (I'm helping the cause LOL)!

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    1. LOL toot sweet! Sorry to hear about skin woes. They are THE WORST. I have a few fresh breakouts right now and they are red and sore and ugly. UGH.

      I really dislike foundations with a powdery finish, so I'm asking for quite a lot when demanding high coverage, longevity and satin finish. I had high hopes for Hourglass Immaculate given how much I love the rest of their products, but sadly I didn't make out with it as well as you have. And goddamn, Burberry beauty is no longer here in Toronto. :(

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  3. Oh, I'm so unfaithful when it comes to foundation. I'm having an affair with Shiseido Sheer and Perfect at the moment. I am glad that you and Larie enabled me for this! :) The sunscreen liquid foundation wears like iron but the finish is on the flat side, imho. (It is great for what it is but you're not missing out much since it's been discontinued in Canada and all..)
    I am pretty sure the new Lightbulb foundation from Shu is very similar to Face Architect Illuminating, which I have. I totally agree with you. This covers everything while adding the most beautiful glow but it is a little melty. This is my favorite winter foundation, though. :)
    Thanks for this collective reviews! I won't go near a Chanel counter for foundation anytime soon. Their color offering is just not for me. ;-/

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    1. I wish my skin was good enough to wear Sheer & Perfect. :*(

      Thanks for the details on the sunscreen foundations! A part of me wants to not bother with foundations at all and just wear sunscreen and healthy skin care. Buttttttttt.... I went makeupless yesterday and it was horrible. LOL

      I did once find a good Vitalumiere shade match and really wanted to get it, but that too was quite melty although it gave an amazing glow as well. I feel like the discontinuing Perfection Lumiere was perhaps my ideal foundation. Ah well.

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  4. I'm with Lena - I'm pretty unfaithful now, hahaha. I used to go through the same product over and over, but there are now so many possibilities! And since I'm not as young as I was, my skin changes more with the seasons (plus, I moved out of a single-climate-weather place).

    My Shiseido SA told me that the Sheer and Refining foundation is eventually being replaced with the Sheer and Perfect, btw. Haven't confirmed that with anyone else, but it sort of makes sense since they are intended for the same target group.

    My recent discovery is Dr. Jart's BB creams...the coverage is excellent for a BB cream and the finish is super dewy. Not sure about oil control because that isn't one of my concerns, but I think a powder would set it. The only problem is the shade range - it's a little ashy on me (the detox one - gonna try another one soon) so I think probably too pale for you, but there are medium shades available that might work.

    Thanks for the reviews, though. I should do another survey foundation review again soon, but it's so much work :P The new Velvet Chanel thing hasn't intrigued me (mostly because I don't have oily skin and velvet foundations tend to cake up like crazy on me). If you were my shade, I'd send over my NARS stuff - the TM and the Sheer Glow are both too much coverage for me atm.

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    1. I think Sheer and Refining cleared out of here a long time ago - I don't recall seeing it anywhere. Now that I've tried 2 out of 3 Shiseido foundations, maybe the untried Lifting one is maybe a good fit? I think that's for older ladies, but I find that sometimes the line-fillers make for good acne pock mark fillers as well. >_<

      I was going to ask you about Dr. Jart actually, but BBs are kind of complicated in their own weird way. O__o Thanks for thinking of me with the NARS, but I hate that their foundations don't come with a pump. Grudge still stands. LOL

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    2. Oops, I meant Perfect and Refining - the one in the black bottle that you have up there.

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    3. Seriously? They're two completely different foundations though. I hate when they do that!

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  5. i love when brands carry the same shading and numbering through their different formulas. why would you mix it up and just confuse your customers. (and also, whats with the price difference b/w the bay and sephora...)

    hmm i was really hopin to try out the chanel too but not having a color match is a major downer. and the powdery look.. damn. was sort of hoping it might be HG but maybe i'll still go and see it in store...

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    1. I think the system is designed so the formulators don't get confused, lol. It doesn't help the consumers but at least we're not getting shades that are all jumbled up. :)

      A lot of reviews say the Chanel has a natural finish, but it sure didn't look like it to me. At the end of the day, you have to go and try it first hand. It may not have looked like that on my friend, but the result might be completely different for you.

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  6. Monogamy doesn't really exist in the makeup world, riiiight? :p

    I have and really like Perfection Lumiere Velvet. Pretty sure this is going to be my go-to till winter comes. I have a sample packet of Joli Teint that I haven't opened yet. I did swatch it the other day and find it a bit too dark though. Maybe I should man up and test it on my face soon anyways, since the inside of my arm is much paler!

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    1. Hahaha, maybe it's better that way. :D

      I read your comment on Larie's post that your Joli Teint is the same shade as mine, Natural. It's definitely too dark for me right now but it's lighter than some of the other darker bases currently in my stash. I figure I can wear it in about two months after some more time in the sun. You can always bust it out for a day when you want an additional glow. It'd look awesome with all the corals. ;)

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  7. I'm afraid I don't do make up monogamy. I do agree with you about a flat finish being better for oily skin. That's what I go for in summer generally and why I like MUFE HD and Double Wear Light. I got the Velvet foundation in 20 Beige (whoever thought that describing people as beige was good?) and so far so good although I think I might need to get 30 for proper summer.

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    1. I remember the days when MUFE HD was too slick for me, lol. I used to use the Mat Velvet + and it would still go shiny. Maybe I should try MUFE HD again now that I'm slightly drier.

      Shade names for base products are hell. I do feel for the people who have to sit there and try to come up with something that won't offend entire groups of people. Lipsticks are so much easier!

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  8. Liz, thanks for the mention! :) I so wanted to love PLV. I've been using Vitalumiere Aqua for ages and absolutely love that foundation. I guess once you find a perfect one it's hard to settle for less.

    Have you tried Nars Sheer Matte and Lancome Teint Miracle? Nars will be my next purchase but I can't makeup my mind between a Glow and a Matte one. Lancome TM is another one of my favourites which I planned to get. But now you got me interested in Shu Uemura, it sounds like it would be a good match for dry skin.

    Looks like my monogamous days are over! xx

    Liv

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    1. Yours was the first dissenting opinion on Chanel PLV so I had to link it! Very helpful. :) A friend recommended Vitalumiere Aqua to me a long time ago but I knew it wouldn't have enough coverage. I'm inclined to give it another shot though.

      I haven't used any NARS bases yet, and I used to rely on Lancôme a long time ago with various foundations that are now discontinued. An old holy grail was the Adaptive liquid foundation - I was broken hearted when they stopped making that. I've also really liked Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation and am contemplating a one last hurrah before they reformulate that later in the summer.

      If you read Maggie's review on the Shu, be sure to note the part about it catching on flaky patches. For a generally awesome foundation, it also behaves strangely in a lot of ways.

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    2. I've read it, thanks! I'll get a sample first for sure. Lancome TM has been (quietly) reformulated recently, it has a better coverage now. I didn't like it at first (I tend to like light and sheer foundations) but after trying it with a real techniques expert brush I feel in love. It has everything - it's light enough, has great coverage, beautiful glow and a bunch of shades to chose from.

      I'm not that familiar with Laura Mercier (yet!), there's too many brands out there and too little time to enjoy them all :)))

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    3. I'm a little reluctant to go back to Lancôme, because I spent a large chunk of my life using only their products. Like you say, too many brands and too little time! I guess we'll see. Thanks for the feedback! :)

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  9. Yes! The hunt is definitely half (or more!) of the fun for me :) Great post. I really wish we had Shu counters here, I want to test out the Lightbulb foundation, but don't want to buy blind.

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    1. Yes! I know a lot of people find the testings and swatchings tiring, but frankly, it energizes me. LOL

      It's too bad that Shu counters shut down in the US. We're definitely not the same shade, but I could send you a sample of the Lightbulb if you wanted to test the texture at least. :)

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  10. Whoa! I love foundation posts, and this is an epic one. I really need to look into Shiseido foundations. I think I've kind of been intimidated by their packaging because I can't see the shades and guesstimate my match (I dislike having SAs match me because I've had bad experiences and then end up feeling pressured to buy). I've heard good things about them though, although now I can't remember exactly which formula it was...maybe it was the Perfect Refining one you tried.

    I read some reviews on the Shu one when it was released and decided it wouldn't work for me. It sounds like your assessment kind of confirmed it too. I wanted to try Perfection Lumiere Velvet, but I suspected the sad shade range would be an issue. ANNOYING.

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    1. I've had some bad experiences with SAs, but now I have no qualms about correcting them or putting them on standby while I roam the stores/streets for better lighting to make sure the shades match. I've also met some really great and patient SAs who also don't want to deal with complaints and returns in the future, so it can really go either way at the counter. I like asking them to put one shade on half of my face and a different shade on the other half, so that I can see for sure which is better! I think sometimes on a slow day, they're bored as well and don't mind you coming by just to ask Qs or test things without buying. (Obviously they'd rather that you buy but you hold the purse strings!)

      I was hoping that this round of testing would kill the urge to acquire more, but I think that it's only fuelled me for MORE. So... maybe something better for the both of us in the near future?! ;)

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  11. Ahh! I just picked up the Joli Teint, and the feel is AMAZING. I haven't worn it yet though. I'm sad the Shu slides off for you, but considering the amount of oil in it, not too surprised. :(

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    1. I probably shouldn't have bought it, but I'm determined to find a way to make that thing work. Think it'd work better paired with the UV Under Base?

      Despite saying that I'm going to return it, I'm still feeling torn on Joli Teint. It's one smooooooooth foundation.

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  12. The Chanel sounds great, but I already know they don't make foundations light enough for me :( I mean, no one at the department store does, but for Chanel prices, I don't want to have to mix in white to make it match! I definitely opt for plenty of coverage and flat finish, adding back luminosity with other products, because my oil slick of a face makes anything else impractical for all-day wear. During the summer, though, I'm more willing to just do concealer and mineral makeup as concession to sweatiness (delightful, I know). If there were more foundations in my color, I would definitely try to expand my stash, but my skin is also super reactive and hates lots of stuff and I have enough trouble trying to keep it from exploding in acne without adding different base products.

    But anyways! I loved reading your thoughts on these. Thank you for sharing! And giving me an excuse to rant about foundation, ha.

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    1. That's too bad about the Chanel colour option, because I was really impressed by how it completely refused to budge or even show a lick of shine. Why must they make us so sad?!?

      I'm also kind of dreading the summer heat and sweat buildup on the face, but I went makeupless yesterday and it was NOT pretty. I got yelled at by a derm for it, but I'm all for slapping on the base even through the humidity and all that fun stuff. LOL rants welcome here anytime!

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  13. To begin with, the Guerlain fragrance is already available at The Bay here - I actually sniffed the bottle yesterday & found it a bit too cloying & floral for my taste, but I will go back & test it on my skin cause I really want to like it! I did pick up the LE bronzer, which is to die for gorgeous!

    The foundations.... (and you are impressively thorough - love that!), I was sent 2 Lightbulb shades to test and while neither was an exact match (1 was pretty decent, the other way off), I found the coverage too much for me - have more testing to do before I pronounce myself and I hope they work out, cause I'm a huge shu fan.

    The CHANEL, is by far one of my fave foundations ever - very close in love to the Armani Maestro for me. You're right that it can look a little powdery once it dries down fully (although totally weightless in feeling AND budge proof) - the trick is to lightly buff it in ... works like a charm! As to the colour, I was surprised that #30 wasn't yellower-based and actually has a slight pink tint but you know what? It actually work well with my skin tone (I can't wear any foundation with pink it it) and serves to keep the colour from appearing flat. It actually brightens my face. Still, I know that CHANEL shades vary with each product, even if they're in the same category, which makes for mega confusion and frustration.

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    1. Really? The Bay associate told me on Sunday that it wasn't launching until closer to Mother's Day. She was willing to let me buy it but I wanted to let it sit on my skin first. It's quite heady and more powerfully floral than any of my current perfumes. I was originally gunning for that bronzer/blush but the shades aren't *quite* what I had in mind although it looks beautiful.

      Can't wait for your Shu review! I'm really enjoying the resurgence of the brand lately. I assume you have the Gelato tints as well? It was fun playing with the shades. :)

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  14. Have you tried doing a more matte foundation just on your t zone and the dewier ones everywhere else? I think I saw a video where Lisa Eldridge did that once, amazing. I always seem to go back to my NARS sheer glow or covergirl 3 in 1. Recently picked up the new Bobbi brown stick though and it's pretty awesome. A little melty though by the end of the day.

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    1. I have, and that's sort of what I'm doing now/will keep on doing. It's a bit of a pain, but since I have all the options ready... would be silly not to!

      I hear so many great things about that CG 3-in-1 but the brand has never stirred my interest. And now I wish I had taken the time to swatch that BB stick but I thought it too would be melty on me.

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  15. As usual your research impresses me - I need to go on a makeup hunting expedition with you! I feel like a bit of a dunce when it comes to foundation because I've only really consistently used it in recent years to cover pigmentation. I seasonally swing between powder formulations in warmer weather then move to tinted moisturisers and BB creams mostly when it gets cooler.

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    1. Yes! If you ever come here (or I go there), we'll storm all the counters! :D

      You're no dunce and obviously lucky not to have to rely too much on covering up. I like powders in the summer and have one SilkyGirl left, but I thought that maybe my skin wasn't so oily that I could get away with different formulations this season. Nope.

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  16. I was so excited to see you've reviewed the new Chanel foundation, since I've been very tempted by it lately. I am very disappointed to hear that the shades would probably be a little too pink for me, but maybe I'll still go ahead and pass by a counter eventually.

    The few base makeup options I have are all dewy and I have become more interested in matte bases. Like you said, for combo skin, it's probably best to use a matte foundation and add back some "glow" by highlighting and contouring. Especially with the coming summer, everything just seems to melt off my face!

    I must admit I dislike shopping for foundation for the sheer work it requires -- trying the shade on, etc. I think I am anxious about having a SA remove my makeup or something.

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    1. I hear enough favourable things about the CHANEL that I think it's totally worth it for you to get matched at a counter! You never know. As for makeup removing anxiety, I go to counters with bare face sometimes when I know there won't be a crowd. Or I go with my end-of-day face and let them wipe it all off first. :)

      It's still cool and sometimes even cold here, but winter is definitely over and nothing seems to stay put on my T-zone lately either. I think I need the Hourglass primers back. :-/

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  17. I think foundation is really the only make-up item that I'm monogamous with, but I think this is mostly due to using powder foundations only. I find that if you want full coverage that looks skin-like but also somehow keeps you relatively matte, you need to rely on a more radiant primer (MAC's Prep + Prime Natural Radiance is one example) and buff that high coverage, flat foundation on top. My skin is so oily that my foundation (MAC Studio Fix Powder + MAC Blot Powder) looks "skin-like" and "dewy" after a couple hours even though everything I use is MATTE MATTE MATTE. But I kinda like it this way. People always ask me what I'm wearing on my skin 'cause it looks so "natural and glowy." :P

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    1. I used to be like that, but lately my skin is weird. Nothing seems right and it's a pain trying to use 10 different things to cover all the different concerns. You'll have to walk me through MAC's Prep + Prime things as I've been curious.

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  18. Everyone needs to stop with that Chanel foundation! LOL
    I really have no excuse to buy another foundation right now, especially since I still have plenty of Vitalumiere Aqua left, but this one is so tempting for me! I used to be very loyal to my couple of foundations that I really loved, but lately I've been experimenting. Reinvented the wheel the other day by "discovering" Revlon's Colorstay along with finally giving into the BeautyBlender :)

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