Here's a little review of a Sunday evening for you all - i fully intended to write this a bit earlier, but i am a lazy slug today. However, i took the first photos quite early and then gave the products all day on my face so i could take periodic pictures for the sake of being thorough.
Because i CARE.
Right - so anyway, i did a few things here today with my makeup, but this is entry is going to concentrate mostly on the skin products as opposed to my fabulous eye-makeup - which i'll address in detail tomorrow, which is Monday, which means my makeup will be un-exciting and ill-executed, if history is any indication.
Lately i've been on a serious skincare kick - which, for me, includes the primer and foundation (or lack thereof) i use. In fact, i generally avoid full-on foundation when i'm trying to give my skin extra care, and tend to stick to tinted moisturizers/BB creams. But then i decide my skin is disgusting and needs the heaviest foundation i can find in order to hide it...
It's a problem. I'm sick.
These days, however, i'm mostly wearing my Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer and Veil Mineral Primer. Well, in reverse order, really. Obviously one puts on the primer first.
I told you i was tired!
I just recently started wearing primers on my face again (i know - the horror), and started out with one of the very originals back in the day - Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.
I ran out about a year ago and never bothered to replace it, but in the interim there have been so many new primers that have come out that i have a lot of catching up to do.
One of my favourites is Mister Mat by Givenchy, because it can be put on under AND over one's foundation - a MUST for people like me who get super-oily in the summer.
I much prefer slicking that on over my makeup as opposed to just constantly piling on powder, because gross.
But in terms of actual skincare, i look for something a bit more nourishing when it's not 95 degrees out, because due to recent flare-ups of my auto-immune issues, stress and the weird weather, my skin's been taking a beating.
It's somehow become this weird combination of oily AND dry - like, simultaneously - on my T-Zone in particular. My pores have been looking like moon-craters, and my face is even redder than usual. My cheeks are generally just dry. To combat this, i began a pretty intense retinol regimen at night, then during the day i use my own Sandalwood and Evening Primrose moisturizer to rehydrate gently. I'm currently in the market for a new eye-cream, but have been using Chantecaille Nano-Gold (a generous sample which has lasted weeks and weeks).
I wanted to try out the Hourglass Mineral Primer because i read it helped with all of these issues, from oiliness to redness and flaking, as well as helping to blur fine lines. Being the Sephora-Beast that i am, the Beauty Advisors are used to seeing me lurking around, trying everything out, laying out a load of cash on a regular basis. So, getting samples is generally a snap.
I do always advise getting samples of anything that's going to go on your entire face for hours at a stretch to see how you react. Primers are no exception, since they all do different things and contain a plethora of different ingredients. For instance, the Hourglass Veil does contain silicones, so if you tend to be sensitive to those, beware.
I'm lucky and don't get so much as a bump with the stuff - after giving it a fair go, i can say that i really, really like this product, and will definitely be repurchasing it - and i imagine that in the Winter, over a good hydrating serum, this primer is going to be AMAZING.
Before i tell you all about how amazing it is, we must first talk about when i went into Sephora recently, where i became acquainted with these products to begin with.
A bit stressed, a bit sickly, definitely more than a bit tired, i was bemoaning my "horrendous" skin to the Beauty Advisors there (my intention, i recall, was to pick up a heavier foundation to create the appropriate air-brushed mask) - and i was taken aback by their no-nonsense response:
"You're crazy," they told me.
The original BA, a lovely man my age who had FLAWLESS skin, yanked another girl over to confirm his diagnosis. "You have amazing skin! You don't need a heavy foundation. I can't believe you're not wearing foundation NOW. Get over here and sit down."
Thus reprimanded, i sat. I had walked in there with a bare face, mind you. I was convinced the entire staff was going to swoop down upon me with a sandblaster and their lightest shade of spackle.
The girl who ended up helping me, Angela i believe her name was, proceeded to show me that the stuff i already suspected would work for me on good skin days did, indeed, work perfectly on my "horrendous" skin days as well. I just needed someone ELSE to convince me, and talk me out of buying that super-heavy full-coverage foundation.
Just to be safe regarding the colour i'd previously picked out for myself online for the tinted moisturizer, Angela held up this Star Trek-looking device to various areas of my face, suggesting that most of us aren't as pale as we think we are.
She looked at her monitor, then matched the tinted moisturizer to my skin.
"Except for you - you're exactly as pale as you think you are."
Thank you very much.
First, clearly horrified by my admission of a shameful lack of primer at home, she smoothed the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer over my face - using just the teensiest amount to cover my skin. She made me look in the mirror. Even i had to admit that, under the strong makeup-lights, my skin already looked much better.
First off, it feels like silk going onto the skin - it's quite liquid and runny (which took getting used to for a gel-primer girl like me), and needs shaking up a bit before applying; it's rather opaque and milky-looking, which helps with the redness, i'm assuming.
Immediately after applying this stuff, my skin looked, well, like it had a lovely veil over all the little imperfections; pores seemed to shrink, the little fine lines blurred, and my redness was just gone. I can see wearing this stuff solo with just a bit of loose powder over the top and calling it done, on a good-skin day.
While it isn't a matte primer per se, it does help to tamp down the oil overall (it's an oil-free formula) - at least for me. On days when it's super-hot and humid, i definitely need blotting papers, powder or my trusty Givenchy Mister Mat to dab atop the shiny bits after a short while. But in 90 degree, humid weather, that's just unavoidable. However, on cooler days when it's only in the mid-70's, i catch myself breaking out the powder compact and realizing i don't need it after all. Which is really fantastic.
Where this stuff really shines (or not, more to the point - but rather glows) is underneath Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer, which is what Angela chose for me and my apparently NOT so horrendous skin. In point of fact, it looked like i had positively flawless skin when she combined the pair - the fairest shade, Ivory, was a perfect match - and i most definitely do NOT need a foundation over it. A dab of concealer under the eyes and on any blemishes if needed, and i was done.
This is about an hour or so after the original application (pardon the sunglasses-mark on my face), and you have to understand that it is HOT, i am not feeling great, and i haven't retouched with powder. Note that the finish is a bit satiny, certainly not matte. In the Winter months, this combo is going to be bloody fantastic.
In the Summer, it definitely needs a bit of finishing powder. But even despite the heat, i'm not a complete oily mess, i'm just a bit shiny on the T-zone.
After a bit of powder, it gets even better:
In this photo, there is no concealer around my nose, which has quite a bit of redness. This blurs it out to an acceptable level, i think.
So let's talk a little bit about the Illusion Tinted Moisturizer.
It's most definitely NOT a foundation - but those who need full coverage will certainly benefit from wearing this under their foundation because it's tinted but not opaque, very moisturizing, has, like the primer, an SPF of 15 and will set the base for a perfectly flawless, full-coverage face if need be.
But for those of you like me who dislike the full-face-of-foundation look (even though i go through spates of being convinced i need a Geisha mask in order to be fit for human eyes) and prefer a natural look, this is perfect.
It has a bit more coverage than your average tinted moisturizer, i think, but is far from heavy or opaque-looking.
Angela bounced it on with a slightly dampened Beauty Blender and within seconds, my skin looked satiny, natural, pretty. Like my skin on its best days, 10 years ago and before stress/illness began to take its toll on me.
After she finished, complete with a bit of Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer (which i am in love with and must purchase as soon as i run out of my current concealer) under my eyes and around the nostrils, i looked pretty damn good.
Still, i grabbed the concealer when she was done and started patting a bit onto the teensy zit on the bridge of my nose:
"What ARE you doing?" she asked me, clearly confused.
"There's a horrific red zit on my nose - i'm just...covering it up a bit more..."
"Girl...the only person who can see that is YOU!" she replied, laughing at me.
The only caution i have is that a little of this tinted moisturizer definitely goes a long way.
At home, the first time i used it myself with my flat-stippling brush, i put the usual amount i would use as if i were wearing a foundation and it looked a bit too heavy - in the way that a non-heavy foundation can look when you cake on too much because you really should be using a full-coverage foundation.
Other than that caveat (which is hardly a bad thing - this stuff will last you forever), these products are fantastic. With the tinted moisturizer applied over the primer, i can actually get a good, non-streaky finish just using my fingers, which is nice for when i'm feeling extra-lazy. They feel great on my skin, and the colour of the TM is a perfect match for my uber-pale, Tubercular Irish Wastrel skin.
Me with the invisible horrific zit
I absolutely love the beautiful, natural finish the Veil Mineral Primer and Illusion Tinted Moisturizer lends my skin! I don't feel overly-make up, my skin is neither too oily nor too matte. The redness and slight flakiness i'm experiencing from a combination of strong retinols, dehydration and fatigue is gone - which is pretty amazing, believe me.
It not only looks great and natural, when i take it off at night my skin feels and looks better. Smoother, calmer and hydrated but not oily.
It's just perfect.
It's the Dynamic Duo of skin-beauty.
Thanks for reading, and come back tomorrow for more about the eye-makeup i work in this review!
The Painted Lily