Product Review: Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation

review, beauty, drugstore, makeup

I’ve spent the last couple weeks putting Covergirl’s Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation through its paces. This foundation has been making some serious rounds over the last few months, I’ve seen it pop up on beauty vlogs and blogs left, right and center. Between the rave reviews; full coverage, long-wearing formula; and the built-in primer I  was utterly powerless to resist.

PACKAGING

Major props to Covergirl on this one: the glass bottle is sleek and compact with….drumroll please….A PUMP. Honestly, I’m not sure why there are any foundations in existence that come without one (I’m looking at you Revlon ColorStay).

SHADE RANGE

The foundation comes in an impressive 14 shades that range from the super fair Ivory to the dark Soft Sable. As is the case with most drugstore foundation lines, the warm undertones outweigh the cool but there seems to be a shade for most everyone. Something important to note is that this foundation does oxidize: the formula turns slightly darker and warmer as it settles on the skin. True Ivory, for example, is a great match for my skin in the bottle but ultimately is slightly too yellow-toned post application.

FORMULA/FINISH

This is where this foundation truly shines. For starters, having a primer built in is pretty amazeballs. Anything that subtracts a step from my morning routine gets a gold star from me. The broad spectrum SPF 20 earns another gold star although it means you might wanna give this foundation  a miss for nighttime due to potential flashback. I also loved that this product is utterly scent free, there’s nothing worse than lathering your face up with something that smells like grandma perfume (ColorStay, once again). The formula itself is fairly thick and while it does have an impressive level of coverage, I did still need to use concealer over any hyper pigmentation. In terms of finish, this foundation is demi-matte – meaning that the finish is matte without looking overly flat or unnatural. I did find that the formula clung slightly to drier patches on my forehead and, as I mentioned above, the color will become noticeably darker as it sets which is a bummer. What really impressed me with this foundation was wear time and oil mitigation. True to their word, Covergirl delivered a foundation which is about as long wearing as they come, even without a primer. I also noticed that this formula kept me matte for hours. To give you an indication of the mind-blowing significance of that statement let me inform you that my skin falls into the extremely oily category; as in, my face has the potential to eliminate US dependence on foreign oil. This is the only non-powder product I’ve ever tried that made any significant impact on my oil levels throughout the day, and for that reason alone, I’m naming Outlast a keeper. Oh, and it doesn’t cause breakouts! Winning for everyone!

APPLICATION

It appears that most bloggers out there favor the beauty blender/sponge method of application for this foundation, but, rebel that I am, I prefer to use my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. I find a buffing brush allows me to really work this product into my skin, which is key for achieving a natural finish with heavier formulas.

FINAL VERDICT

While this foundation has definitely earned a permanent spot in my foundation line up, I don’t think I’ll be using it on a day to day basis. Perhaps snagging the correct shade will change my mind but, as of this moment, Outlast has failed at seducing me away from my beloved Urban Decay Naked Skin. While I understand that a heavier formula comes with the territory of any long-wearing foundation, it’s too intense for my daytime look, especially as humid summer draws ever closer. If, however, you’re in the market for an excellent long-wearing, shine-fighting, full-coverage foundation, this is absolutely worth a test.

$9.49/1 fl oz at most drugstores.

 

 

Product Review: L’Oréal Voluminous Power Volume 24H Mascara

review, beauty, cosmetics, drugstore

Sadly, I’ve got another bummer review for you today, and it’s no April Fool’s joke.

Which is good, or it would be the world’s lamest April Fool’s joke of all time.

On the whole, I think I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to mascara; as long as it’s doing something decent for my lashes, I’ll happily use up the tube. What I can’t stand; however, is a mascara that’s either a major fuss to apply or that gives you super cakey, over-mascaraed looking lashes. L’Oreal’s Voluminous Power Volume mascara unfortunately ticks both those boxes.

Quite frankly, there’s nothing I like about this mascara. I admit that I’ve only been using it for a few days but I’m sorely tempted to just throw it in the trash. (Don’t worry, I won’t. Still poor and everything.) Firstly, the packaging is about as boring as it comes, though that’s definitely not a deal breaker. It’s also conspicuously lacking any reference to L’Oreal, I ended up having to google the formula name to remember what brand it was – seems like shoddy marketing, though maybe they’re distancing themselves? I wouldn’t blame them. As for the wand, it’s fairly standard, full and shaped vaguely like an anorexic peanut.

The true disappointment with this product is the formula, especially when it comes to application. Usually, applying mascara is my favorite part of doing my makeup. It makes a massive difference and is traditionally pretty hard to screw up. L’Oreal has created an exception to that rule, however. For starters, the formula dries incredibly quickly on your lashes, giving you almost no time to work with them. It dries so quickly, in fact, that I work with only one eye at a time, instead of going back and forth between them as I would normally do. The second problem here is that the formula is heavy, making it almost impossible to create nicely separated lashes and giving a final result that is a far cry from natural. I also suspect that this mascara diminished my lashes’ natural curl (I happen to be pretty lucky in that department, no curler needed) so I can’t imagine it would do a good job with lashes that tend towards the straight end of the spectrum. The final straw was that the mascara started flaking almost immediately, and getting mascara bits stuck in my eye is not on my list of most comfortable feelings.

As you can imagine, this product was a total let down. L’Oreal, for the most part, has an excellent offering of drugstore mascaras (Telescopic Shocking Extensions and Voluminous being prime examples) but Power Volume 24 Hour is not one of them.  What puzzled me is that the reviews online are for the most part positive, if not gushing. While there’s a chance I picked up a bad tube, there’s no chance I’ll be picking up a second to test the theory.

Product Review: AHAVA Purifying Mud Mask

beauty, face mask, skin care, review

Ideally, every time you used a face mask it would be while wearing a fluffy robe with a hot bubble bath filling up behind you and Leonardo DiCaprio leaving desperate voicemails on your phone….back to Earth, Erin. Sometimes; however, there just isn’t time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone about my day with the best of intentions to use a mask before bed only to find myself bleary-eyed in the bathroom at midnight with barely enough stamina to use a cleanser. Even on those mornings when I wake up feeling the imminent threat of a breakout, I can’t spare fifteen minutes to sit with a clay mask – It’s a rare day I even leave time for breakfast.

So, what’s a time-strapped girl to do? Enter the AHAVA Purifying Mud Mask. This mask doesn’t take twenty minutes to do its thing, or even ten, but two. TWO. You’re practically rinsing it off before you’ve finished applying it.

The mask is a blend of Dead Sea mud and minerals which both serve to clarify and purify the skin. Horsetail extract works as a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic to soothe your skin while jojoba oil works overtime in the nourishing department. The formula is approved for sensitive skin and is allergy tested, along with being paraben and SLS/SLES free. Basically, AHAVA is winning all around on the formula front. The mask’s texture is perfect: smooth and buildable without being heavy or gunky. The scent is spa-like and subdued and utterly luxurious.

So, does speedy gonzalez work? I’d have to say yes. My skin feels clean and smooth and pampered after a go with this product and my budding breakouts seem somewhat deterred. While I wouldn’t declare this the best face mask I’ve ever used, it’s definitely the best mask I’ve used that has me out of the bathroom in less than five minutes. I would mention that the two minute time frame isn’t really a suggestion;  you can’t wander away from the bathroom as you might with another mask. Due to the purifying nature of the mud mask, you risk excessive drying if you leave it on for even a few extra minutes.

I personally use this either on those aforementioned nights when my bed is making an irresistibly persuasive case or in the mornings, right before popping in the shower. It’s an effective, pampering mask that accepts no excuses about lack of time or energy. While the bottle seems a wee bit pricey ($32/3.4 oz), a little goes a long way and I’ve had mine for months. This is the perfect face mask for the busy or narcoleptic girl looking to up their skin care game.

 

Product Review: Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect

product review, hair care, conditioner, beauty, birchbox

A few months ago, a sample-sized bottle of this leave-in conditioner arrived at my apartment courtesy of beauty addiction enabler Birchbox. Having already tried, and loved, two other leave-in conditioners I’d previously been sent, I happily whisked the sample off to my bathroom, sure it would be no exception. Sadly this time, BBox let me down.

Firstly, I’m not a huge fan of the scent. It manages to be both herbal and oddly cloying, a potent and almost medicinal combination that doesn’t appeal. What really put me off this leave-in conditioner, however, was its effect on my hair, or should I say lack thereof. As far as I can tell, this product didn’t accomplish much of anything, my hair was no softer, shinier, or at all easier to brush through. There were times I even suspected it made my tangles worse (I understand that makes zero sense). I’ll admit that my favorite leave-in, Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle, is a hard act to follow but this didn’t even come close.

What’s most puzzling to me is that the reviews online are generally incredibly positive. I can understand not everyone feels the same about the scent, that’s typically a personal preference, but I can’t account for the reviews that claim this sample bottle changed their life. As far as I can tell, the best thing about this product is that it sprays in fine, even mist and is 100% vegan. Overall, I’d say if you’re looking for a good leave-in conditioner, skip Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect and order either this number from 12 Benefits or the aforementioned gem from Beauty Protector, both of which are cheaper too.

Has anyone else given this product a try – am I the only person who wasn’t won over?

Image credit: Birchbox.com

Product Review: Yes To Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser

product review, beauty, skincare, oily skin

Sorry it’s been a while, peeps!

…is it cool if I call you peeps?

It’s been a bit hectic lately IRL for me and I’ve neglected my blog horribly. I feel terrible and I solemnly swear not to fall behind again.*

Today’s post is on a cleanser I’ve been using in the mornings for the past several months, the Yes To Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser. The Yes To line is one that I first noticed popping up in my local drugstores a couple years ago and have been steadily working my way through ever since. Their Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes currently rank as my all-time favorite cleansing wipes and the Yes To Cucumbers Eye Makeup Remover Pads are in the process of being tested as we speak. So far the only product from the brand that’s been a real let down is the Yes To Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer with SPF 30 which I picked up during my search for an affordable day cream with an SPF higher than 15. The moisturizer is a total miss, the cream is super thick and patchy and leaves you with odd white zinc spots all over your face that are nearly impossible to blend away.

The Yes To Tomatoes Facial Cleanser is a totally different story, however. I’ve been on a bit of a mission over the past six months or so to find decent drugstore cleansers that are non-foaming, gel formulas. Non-foaming because foaming cleansers disrupt your skin’s natural acid mantle which leads to excessive drying, and gel because it’s supposedly the most effective texture for oily skin types. It turns out that this is a fairly rare combination, at least in the drugstore.

The Yes To Tomatoes cleanser is not only gel-based and non-foaming but is also 96% natural and formulated without petroleum, SLS, or parabens. It’s cruelty free too! So far, so good. The active ingredients are lycopene (from tomatoes) which serves as a natural antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties; red tea, another source of antioxidants; and watermelon, which contains natural fruity acids to help exfoliate and cleanse the skin while also hydrating it.

Overall, this is a pretty great drugstore cleanser. It has a vaguely medicinal scent which, while not my favorite, is subtle and doesn’t linger. It leaves my face feeling clean and refreshed without the tight dryness I typically associate with clarifying cleansers. This definitely is the thickest of the formulas I’ve tried, the gel is oddly viscous, to the point where it was occasionally hard for my fingers to gain traction against my skin. While that did take me quite a while to come to terms with, it’s by no means a deal breaker.

The Yes To Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser is an excellent, affordable facial cleanser for anyone with oily, problematic skin or anyone looking for an effective cleanser that won’t disrupt their skin’s pH balance. While I have decided to try something new when this bottle runs out, I have a feeling I’ll come back to this cleanser many times in the future.

$9.99/3.38 0z at most drugstores.

* I advise you take that promise with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Product Review: Origins Plantscription SPF 25 Anti-Aging Oil-Free Cream

skin care, oily skin, moisturizer, day cream, product reviewBack before the sun cruelly abandoned New York to a grey and snowy winter, I went in search for a good daytime moisturizer with built-in SPF. When I spotted Origins Plantscription SPF 25 on the shelves at Sephora, I couldn’t resist. Not only is Origins one of my favorite skin care brands, but the cream was oil-free, anti-aging, and had a broad spectrum SPF higher than 15. With all my boxes checked, I whisked it straight to the checkout counter.

Having been using this cream for a number of months now, I still go back and forth about whether or not I love it. On the upside, this cream has a gorgeous, rich consistency; a lovely, subdued herbal scent; built-in SPF; beautiful packaging; and it really moisturizes the skin. On the downside, the formula is heavy: it needs at least ten minutes to sink into the skin and can leave you looking a tad shiny. For someone with oily skin like me, that makes this moisturizer a no go for the warmer months. During the winter; however, my dehydrated skin has been loving the intensity of this cream, it’s become a daily staple. The other downside is the price, at $55/1.7oz this product is a tad expensive, though it does last a number of months.

Overall, I’d say this moisturizer is better suited to dryer/normal skin types or for faces that need some extra TLC this winter. While I’ve enjoyed using it, I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing Plantscription SPF 25 any time in the near future.

Image credit: Origins.com