Thursday, April 7, 2011

Foundation Fairy Lookin' Merry: Liquid Assets


Heading into Spring and Summer, we all need a little SPF boost to our LIquid Assests!

Full Disclosure: I have, in the past, been a Beauty Control consultant and am currently one for Mary Kay. I do it solely for the discount and do not sell for profit, the same way I also hold discount/membership cards for Sephora, Ulta, Peninsula Beauty and Sally retail cosmetic and aesthetics shops. I strive to give fair reviews of all products used in this blog, and pay for everything out of my pocket. If ever a product is given without purchase by a shop, Independent Consultant of a direct marketed brand, or manufacturer, this will be *explicitly* stated at the beginning of the review and the product will be highlighted as such.

For most of my life I’ve shied away from foundation, and the reason, as I’ve intimated before is Growing Up in the 80’s. There was Pancake. And Cornsilk. Foundation was known simply as Makeup and was always Full Coverage and usually finished with a layer of powder as well. Great for Big Hair/ Frosted Lipstick/ Acid Wash/ Fringe Jacket/ Headin’ for the Bon Jovi Concert nights, but every day starting in high school? Seventeen magazine said this was The Way.

My problem is I’ve always been a hot tamale. I am so warm that when we head back to the UK for Christmas, I usually wear a long-sleeve t-shirt and a zippy fleece jacket. Maybe with a scarf, in 25 degrees F. Which I have to strip off the second I step into a building or Tube station or I boil like a nuclear reactor. Immediately. So I am constantly warm and usually at least a bit....shiny. Not oily, but quite moist, causing any makeup on my face to disperse in an instant.

However, hitting 35 meant the onset of adult acne, plus my usually sensitive skin became even more sensitive. I used to be a Winter Wonder Girl, then suddenly could NOT get enough sunny daylight hours, and with the purchase of a cheery-coloured summer wardrobe I am no longer such a steamy tamale. So now I need some non-comedogenic coverage with SPF protection. Proactive cured the acne, so I’m left with the normal trial of shade and coverage determination.

So begin with Skin Type: I have sensitive skin, am very very pale with luminescent, pink/peach undertone delicate skin. I am directly half-Irish/half-Sicilian, so I have reddish gin blossom cheeks, deep dark eye pooches and some small café spots along the hairline to cover.

I need a very fair, comfortably light-to-medium-weight foundation that will stay put reasonably well in warm weather. Check yourself out in your bathroom mirror and note these same types of things, then step outside, and finally take a mirror to your office or the mall and (yes, you'll feel a little silly, but this is SCIENCE) so you've checked your mug in the three types of environments you're in most often.

Usually, one is admonished to hold the package against the inner wrist, but my Top Tip: Hold it first closer to your inner elbow, you outer arm at the elbow, then against the back of your hand. I find I get a better idea of the range of colours on my face depending on exposure to the sun, etc. All are poured on the back of the hand in small amounts, applied in dots to small areas of the face then evened out with a standard foundation brush, as yours should be for best results. Brushes are inexpensive, available at all drugstores and specialty retailers, and are really the best way to get the light, even application you want. Fun-fun-fun!

Actually it is, these days. Way more fun than it used to be. Manufacturers are far more sensitive to the needs of skin type, ethnicity, coverage preference and approachability. In this post, Round One will cover Liquid Foundations, featuring Maybelline, Mary Kay, Cover Girl, and Neutrogena. Points given out of 5.

Maybelline Fit Me System:

The other day, I posted, apropos of just about nothing in the preceding blog, a photo and a promise to geek right the heck out about something cool, if really brilliantly devised systems to make life easier make your tiny toes tingle. So voy-OLA!


The system starts with the foundations, which are divided into Light, Medium and Deep. This is where I am really pleased that cosmetics companies have seemed to step away from Orange Face. It used to be that there was one Pale White Face, one Dark Brown Face and 7 Orange Faces. Not anymore. While I was getting bold by reaching all the way to the end of the Light range, I noticed that not even the Deep ranges had the old junky russety fall-back shades anymore, and that there are way more choices for realistic ethnic skin tones.

Each level has a pull-out shade finder which, again, I urge you to use against both the inner and outer arm. Once you find your shade, use that number to find the corresponding concealer, powder (if you prefer to liquid, not as an additional layer), blush and bronzer. If, say, you want one of each to play with, you will spend a whopping $35 for an entire look. Add one of their reduxed eyeshadow sets featuring section placement stamped on each colour (‘base’, ‘lid’, ‘crease’), one lipstick and their classic pink tube of unbeatable mascara and you’re set for round about $50.00. Total.

First, I just dissolve into Pink Tickled-ness in the presence of a well-designed, thoroughly researched system for *anything*. I LOVE this thing--it looks GREAT! Second, it WORKS. I keep threatening to send GingerMan to use the system and make a basic-look purchase to bring home for me to use. When my hair is a summery orange, people mistake us as siblings so I figured letting a neophyte loose to find his way would net nearly the same result I did:

Maybelline Fit Me Liquid Foundation SPF 18: I chose shade 115, so slightly rosy, and took the matching concealer to compare under-eye coverage. I will review the powder foundation in Round Two Reviews. Love. LOVE. It was pretty easy to find a shade with real confidence. The larger, sparely marked clear jar packaging seems to be leading an industry trend that allows the buyer to just lay the whole thing against any part of the body to compare colour. I found a mirror at the cosmetics counter and held jars up to my face. Brilliant. Second only to striping on the face. Makeup is light-medium viscosity, applies evenly and brushes straight into my deep eye sockets and over the dark circle-y pooches. I compared just foundation on the left to concealer plus foundation on the right and while the left was a good, natural coverage, the right was a polished, even coverage without crepe-y-ness or harking back to the Pancake 80’s. The formulations settle smoothly with a matte finish. Stays put over a very active day. Good old Maybelline keeps becoming Good New Maybelline and they will always hold a warm place in my heart. For those fighting unemployment or re-entering the Professional Realm: This will get you a polished look for the best price in the drug store or any specialty retailer, with the confidence that you’re wearing the right stuff. Top Pick 4.5 out of 5.

Mary Kay Timewise Luminous- and Matte-Wear Liquid Foundations:

Because you will meet with a Mary Kay consultant to purchase these, you will sample from the 23 shades and 2 finish choices to find your combination with confidence. If you get home and wear it a few days and don’t like it, the Mary Kay company promise is total satisfaction, so ring her up and she’ll fix ya right up. I’ve tested both the Luminous and Matte finishes, and used the MK Foundation Primer underneath. MK foundations long ago had a reputation for being spackle, but these new formulations are medium viscosity and comfortable. The Timewise Luminous Wear is recommended for Dry-Normal skin and has only a slightly brightening, silky finish. The Timewise Matte Wear is for Combination-Oily, likewise lightweight and very smooth almost immediately after application. They really stay put through the day as well. I tried this in both the Ivory 6 and 7 as well as Beige 3 which was toastier. I find the Mary Kay range of shading is remarkably well rounded and leaves a lot of room to find your perfect shade, I was really surprised. Direct Sale only, a Great Buy: Luminous-Wear 4 out of 5; Matte-Wear 4 out of 5. Find your local consultant at the Mary Kay website.

CoverGirl-- CoverGirl-Olay and CoverGirl NatureLuxe Foundations:

CG-Olay: “Simply Ageless, SPF 22: This makeup is a solid compact swirled with a white stripe of Olay complex that seems to keep Ellen Degeneres looking pretty darn good. I defaulted to the lightest shade, 205/ Ivory. It is a nearly neutral porcelain colour with a hint of pink undertone and no yellow undertone. It applied smoothly in one pass, filled well under the eye and over the cheek rosiness. It looks pretty sheer, but through the day I felt it brushed off and would need freshening up more than once, so I would give it 2.75 out of 5, but it’s a bit difficult to judge the shade from the package.

CG NatureLuxeTouched By Nature SPF 10 Liquid Silk Foundation: This formula comes in a pretty white and clear tube with green leaves exuding nature and health, but it’s essentially just a specialty side-line marketed to the Environmental Sensibility. There’s enough open area to get a feel for the colour, and against the outer arm, I took a leap and went for shade 305, darker than usual. It turned out to be nicely rosy and warm but not overboard. This is a light-medium coverage foundation, but not as silky-smooth in overall finish as some of the other contenders. 2.75 out of 5.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup SPF 55 HelioPlex Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB:

First, the name sounds quite Scientific and Impressive. HelioPlex means that all the same sunblocks are formulated to be somewhat more stable than before, but are basically the same effective sunblocks as ever. Apply and Re-apply as per usual when relied upon as actual out-of-doors sun protection. As we approach Sun Season, I purchased the Neutrogena for this reason, and as such, was delighted upon opening the compact that a) It is a lovely compact; and b) There Is. No. Smell. You will notice that *I* noticed first what a lovely compact it is. And then that I noticed I noticed because I did not note any smell. At all. A HUGE accomplishment for a high-SPF product for the face! As for make-up qualities? I again defaulted to Classic Ivory 10 with some deliberation, as two Walgreens were out of Nude 40. Should have read the road sign on that one. The Ivory 10 is not bad, and not exactly chalky, but is a bit too pale even for me and is actually the yellowest of all the Ivories. It works for me, but I would probably choose the Nude 40 if I did it again. It is a solid compact, has a creme-to-powder finish and feels light-weight, covering decently over the cheeks, but looks powdery under the eyes. Since it was just last week, I’m thinking of testing Walgreen’s return policy on this as it’s only slightly used. 3.5 out of 5 for overall finish in a high-SPF product.

Almay SmartShade Makeup SPF 15

One of the white-from-the-tube-adjusts-to-your-colouring foundations. Very runny, very sheer and I have tried this twice and been disappointed both times. It fails to cover the red, freckles, under-eye circles or brown spots at all. I have tried the Light and Medium shades and they both turned the same shade of yellow. Complete failure. 0 out of 5.

Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation SPF 15

On par with the Maybelline for drugstore finds. Same medium viscosity, light-medium coverage, same smooth, day-long comfortable wear. Shades range fewer and warmer, with more yellow and toasty undertones and are packaged in the same minimally printed large glass bottle for easy colour viewing. With it’s Smart-Tone Technology, even though the 120 Ivory looked the slightest bit, well, orangier, than almost any other brand’s Ivory, when applied it is a delightfully rosy Ivory. Seems for once an intuitive shade makeup might live up to the promise. 4 out of 5.


There’s Round One, Liquid Foundations. Round Two is Mineral Powder Foundations, so back at ya soon, powder puffs!

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