Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Favorite Liquid Foundation!

tarte Amazonian Clay Full-Coverage Foundation SPF 15

I'm really happy with my Everyday Minerals powder foundation, and I plan on using it for a long time. However, since the weather has turned cold, my skin has gotten pretty dry, so I was looking for a liquid foundation that would:

- give me full coverage
- not cake or streak easily
- stay put throughout the day

I've tried out a few, including those by Kiss My Face and Origins, but I wasn't really happy with them. When I saw this foundation on qvc.com I decided to try it out.

My first thought was - wow, this is thick. However, it doesn't feel thick on my face. There isn't that feeling from wearing foundation throughout the day. I think it could be that the clay is soaking up any excess oil I have. Or, maybe it feels so good because I started using a primer again.

This foundation also has excellent coverage. Instead of applying more foundation to problem areas, I only need one layer over my full face and I'm good to go. If I really want to make sure I have a perfect finish, I'll use a powder foundation over this, but one could easily go without that extra step.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full-Coverage Foundation feels and looks great. :)

UPDATE: It looks like this is now available on tarte's website here. The packaging and name are slightly different, but it appears to be the same foundation. However, QVC offers a lower price plus a brush.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush

These blushes are made with Amazonian Clay - clay that is collected from the Amazon River.

The Amazon River is located in South America and is the second longest river in the world. It is approximately 4,000 miles long and cuts through a tropical rainforest. According to Tarte, as the river flows, it accumulates highly nutritious plant and fruit extracts. At the end of the river, in the basin, clay collects and is imparted with these beneficial nutrients. Tarte uses clay from the basin because this clay has the highest nutrient concentration. After being gathered, the clay is naturally baked by the sun and then milled for use in Tarte products.

Tarte says that this clay has been shown to:
- remove surface oil to mattify skin
- hydrate dry skin
- nourish all skin types
- give skin an overall smooth and even appearance
- reduce the appearance of dryness
- reduce the appearance of flakiness
- improve the appearance of skin clarity
- improve the appearance of skin texture

The formulation of this blush is great. It has enough pigment that I don't have to apply multiple layers to achieve good color payoff. At the same time, I don't have to worry about this blush being too garish - it imparts the perfect amount of color.

My favorite shade is "Exposed." Though it appears brown or tan in the pan, it comes off as a warm pink on the face. I feel sophisticated and pretty when I wear this blush. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow - The Truth

After reading and watching reviews of the new BareMinerals "Ready" products, I got really excited. I have a bunch of loose mineral eye shadows that have good ingredients, but I find them more difficult to use than mineral foundation - because the container/lid it smaller, I end up wasting a lot of product. All the reviews lauded the Ready eyeshadows' pigmentation and butteriness. Also, the eye shadows include a special "SeaNutritive Mineral Complex" that contains powerful antioxidants, cold-pressed borage oil, caffeine, and cucumber. The Complex was formulated to provide anti-aging benefits without any: parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan. Finally, a pressed eyeshadow with good ingredients!

I got a quad in "The Truth." Included shades: Serendipitous (delicate peach), Magnetism (brushed taupe), Fate (light mocha glaze), and Apropos (twinkling espresso).

I like the packaging. Very clean-looking. The material is similar to the one that NARS uses. I know that that can pick up some dirt/dust because of the rubbery texture, but the texture also allows you to get a good grip while applying the makeup.

From top left, clockwise: Serendipitous, Magnetism, Fate, Apropos
I love these eyeshadows! Here's a look using the quad that I wore to work:

I used Seredipitous all over my lid, up to my eyebrows. I put Magnetism in the crease, and Fate on the outer third of the lid to darken it up. (In person the colors make more of an impact.) I think this quad is really wearable for the day, but could also be used at night if you were to use the darker shades to do a smokey eye.

With these eye shadows, I only need to touch the brush to the shadows to pick up a lot of pigment. They're also incredibly easy to blend. They stay really well over a primer. I think I may get some more!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Green or Unclean: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Whenever I get a zit, I want it to go away quickly. I used to use spot treatments by Neutrogena and Clearasil, but when I was looking at the ingredient list I was surprised how many ingredients there were in such a small product. When I found Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion, I was happy to see a shorter list.

Ingredients: Isopropyl Alcohol, Deionized Water (Aqua), Calamine, Camphor, Colloidal Sulfur, Salicylic Acid,Glycerine, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Talc

This has a Skin Deep Rating of 3
These seemed like much better ingredients than other acne spot treatments. I was surprised to see that the ingredient with the highest Skin Deep Rating was salicylic acid. I've been using products with salicylic acid since I was fifteen, so I'm not so concerned that I'll throw this stuff out, but I will look into this ingredient more and figure out how I feel about it.

The Drying Lotion promises to shrink whiteheads "virtually overnight." It has interesting instructions. The "lotion" looks like a solution with a precipitate at the bottom. At night, after cleansing, toning and moisturizing, you apply some of the lotion to the whitehead. You have to take care to not mix up the solution and only apply the pink sediment to your skin. I think this does help dry out whiteheads, but over a couple of days, not overnight. It performs about the same, or perhaps a little less well than other spot treatments that I use. I have some tea tree oil that I like to use on a more regular basis, and only break out the Drying Lotion when I have a particularly stubborn spot.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is greener than other spot treatments, but not effective enough to warrant a re-purchase.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blissoma Product Review Program

Blissoma, a natural body care and candle company, has begun a Product Review Program. Every month, they choose a bunch of people to test Blissoma products and review them. This month 50 samples were sent out. The products may be new or existing formulations. If you're chosen as a tester and give your feedback on the product, you get a discount on your next purchase as a thank you. =D

 I was chosen as a tester for November's product - the Awake Morning Facial Moisturizer.

Blissoma Awake moisturizer
According to Blissoma's website, Awake is a lightweight day moisturizer that is supposed to firm, brighten, and give antioxidant protection. It is formulated from a combination of brightening and tonic herbs that "creates a lively complexion for you while building protection from the inside out." The ingredients include organic red raspberry seed oil (which offers natural Vitamin E), a blend of essential fatty acids,and Tamanu oil. These ingredients are traditionally known forth their ability to heal sun damage. Witch hazel, lemon balm, and eyebright firm and mattify. Organic Horsetail and Heather Flowers offer natural concentrations of the flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and contributes to proper collagen synthesis. Blissoma makes products in small batches with freshly prepared botanical ingredients.

I can't wait to try it out! I'll post a review in two weeks.

If you'd like to sign-up to be a potential tester, go to Blissoma's Facebook page. Once chosen, you'll receive an email with instructions on how to get your review to the company.


At first, I really did not enjoy this sample. It was very watery and felt more like a water-based serum than a moisturizer.

So, I put it aside and didn't think about it for a couple months. When I tried it again the consistency had changed to that of a very think serum. (I have no clue why this happened... maybe it separated during shipping?) I actually like it a lot - it's moisturizing but it doesn't leave any wet spots on the face where less moisture is needed. It sinks in quickly - I am able to apply my mineral foundation a couple minutes after applying this. I also really like the scent. I'm glad I gave this another try!

~ Susan

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ingredient Information

I like to check the Skin Deep Ratings of products before I buy them, but in order to do so I need the list of ingredients. Unfortunately, a lot of companies don't provide the ingredient lists for their products online. Here are a couple of websites that I turn to when that information isn't listed on the company's site:


This website is run by Paula Begoun and gives research-supported reviews of cosmetic products. Paula is big on identifying skin-irritants, which, regretfully, include many natural ingredients. Each review examines the product's claim and gives Paula's professional opinion on whether or not it is warranted.


This is an online community for beauty consumers. Create an account, and you can read consumer reviews posted by other users, post on the message boards, and arrange swaps. The review page of an individual product often contains the product's ingredient list. The ingredients are added by people like you and me, so there are spelling errors sometimes, but I can usually figure out what it's supposed to say.

Once I have the ingredients, I see what Skin Deep has to say. If I want to do a little bit more reading, I'll google the ingredient or search for it on Stephanie's Chemical Database