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.

 

 

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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.

Run & Repurchase #1

Bobbi Brown, NARS, Clinique, beauty, cosmetics

As a new(ish) grad living in New York City, I too often find myself battling between supporting my beauty habit and purchasing basic necessities such as groceries or metro cards (prioritizing – still working on it). While my practical self generally is able to keep me out of Sephora, there are a few bits in my beauty collection that I can always seems to find room in the budget for.

Here’s a selection of the tried-and-true beauty products that I’ve decided must be accessible to me at all times. The products that, should they run out, I immediately run out and repurchase.

  • Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle – I’ve professed my love for this leave-in conditioner multiple times already on Full Coverage, but I just can’t get enough. This product leaves my hair hydrated, shiny, protected, and super soft. Oh, and it also smells amazeballs. I make sure to have another bottle on its way before I’ve even finished the last one. Full review here.
  • Bobbi Brown Brow Pencil (Grey) – I’m not sure where I would be without this brow pencil. Well, actually, I do have some deeply repressed memories of barely-there brows that were apparently filled using completely the wrong color. The worst thing about the whole debacle is that I did this for years and no one said a thing. It wasn’t until a good samaritan at the Bobbi Brown counter convinced me to make the switch that all three friends I was with fell over themselves to assure me I was currently making a tragedy of my eyebrows – which has to be some sort of girl code violation. Either way, this cool-toned taupe pencil is a perfect match and I’ve been hoarding back-ups for years. I personally find it difficult to find a good, cool-toned brow pencil for blondes. Brow pencils on the whole seem to skew warm but generally there’s only one option for blondes and it’s always too golden. I will say this pencil has mixed reviews online, mostly due to the soft formula and propensity of the pencil to crumble under pressure of sharpening; however, the finish is soft enough to seem natural and with a little extra caution, the sharpening issue is mostly avoidable. While I wouldn’t recommend everyone make the switch, if you’re a fellow blonde having issues matching your eyebrows to the rest of ya, give this baby a shot. P.s. this also comes with a pencil sharpener which is absurdly useful.
  • Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial – this is another Full Coverage all-star, and oddly, my most popular review to date. This cream is absolute luxury in a pot, it’s one of the few products I’ve tried that makes an immediate and glorious difference in the appearance of my skin. While this definitely comes in at the high end price-wise on the run & repurchase list, it’s one of those luxuries I can always justify and would recommend to anyone. Full review here.
  • Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (Vanilla) – This is another product that’s earned its very own review, linked here. This is my go-to concealer for under-eye darkness and around the nose redness. The formula is creamy and blendable without being remotely heavy. It’s also an excellent product for highlighting given the inherent radiance (think down the nose or along the cupid’s bow). I do have to mention that I switch to a different concealer when it comes to concealing blemishes. Given the aforementioned brightening element, this tends to draw attention where it’s applied, not good when dealing with spots, especially raised ones.
  • Clinique Almost Lipstick (Black Honey) – I mentioned in my 2013 Year End Favorites post that I was ready to declare this little wonder my favorite lip product of all time and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to find it holding the same title next year. While this lipstick looks downright alarming in the tube, it’s actually a gorgeous sheer cranberry on the lips that can either be worn as a tinted lip balm or built up to full-on red lip drama. Did I mention this also suits everyone? Think Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but, you know, with lipstick. (..Gross?) Either way, Clinique’s created an absolute winner here, the texture is smooth, hydrating, and totally non-sticky and the slim silver tube fits easily into even the most minimalist of clutches.

I decided to leave this first list at 5 products, but rest assured there’s a lot more where that came from. Keep your eyes out for more repurchase essentials to come!

Best & Worst: Oscars 2014 Beauty

The Oscars have once again come and gone, leaving us dazzled by the gorgeous gowns, envious of the star-studded selfies, and gutted that Leo once again left the theater without a golden statue. This year, a few beauty choices caught my eye as the movie stars worked the red carpet and after parties and I decided to share my standouts.

BEST USE OF COLOR

Vanity Fair Afterparty, beauty, makeup

Rita Ora is killing it lately with her makeup – did anyone else notice her amazing purple smokey eye at the Grammys? Well Rita outdid herself at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party, sporting an unusual and gorgeous navy smokey eye with a bright yellow inner corner highlight. THAT is how you wear bright eyeshadow, friends. This might be my favorite look of the whole night.

oscars 2014, beauty, makeup

Idina Menzel (sorry, Adele Dazeem), manage to squeeze in a makeup update during her costume change for her “Let It Go” performance. She debuted some seriously cool green eyeliner on stage which worked beautifully to enhance her brown eyes and infuse some edge into her otherwise fairly safe nude gown/soft waves look.

BEST LIP

beauty, oscars 2014

Kerry Washington’s deep raisin lip is perhaps the most talked about lipstick of the night. Not only does the deep tone work beautifully with her coloring, it also pairs perfectly with her cool-toned purple gown to jazz up an otherwise boring look.

oscars 2014 beauty

Emma Watson, could that red lip be any more stunning? It goes perfectly with her effortless, edgy look and works as her sole statement accessory. A perfectly executed red lip. Hats off to you, Hermione.

BEST EYELINER

Oscars 2014 beauty

Olivia Wilde’s dramatic winged eyeliner worked in perfect harmony with her understated Valentino gown. The bold liner application is balanced by a bare under-eye while the use of white eyeliner to sharply define the wing keeps this look clean and modern.

WORST

Oscars 2014 beauty

Ok, I know I may get some heat for targeting America’s golden girl but WHAT is up with those brows, JLaw? Her sparse and un-groomed brows were especially noticeable after she smoked up her shadow for the Oscars after party. This may be because I am a firm believer in the transformative power of a defined eyebrow but I feel they ruined an otherwise stunning makeup look. Was anyone else unable to look beyond the brows?

Quickie Skincare Tip: Baby Shampoo As Eye Makeup Remover

eye makeup remover, Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo, beauty

I discovered this tip last fall when I was having eye issues and my Optometrist told me I’d have to specially clean my eye area twice a day. Theoretically I was supposed to use a fancy wash specifically formulated for eyes, but with a nudge and a wink she informed me that baby shampoo worked just as well and was wayyy cheaper. Sold.

After I began using this, I noticed that not only did it effectively clean any residual eye makeup but that it did so without leaving an oily residue, which is the worst thing about eye makeup remover, in my opinion. Here are a few more reasons why you should consider picking up a bottle of baby shampoo next time you’re in your local drugstore:

1. It’s cheap & cheerful. I know I mentioned this already but this stuff is cheap, and will last you for ages. I bought the 15 floz bottle of Johnson &  Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for $3.99 at Walgreens and it will potentially last me the rest of my natural born life. To compare, Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover is $8.49 for 5.5 floz and gets used up much more quickly. I use my humongous shampoo to fill up little travel bottles that I keep at my sink and in my shower.

2. It’s ideal for sensitive eyes. This one’s a no brainer, baby shampoo is formulated for babies – and they’re sissies. Jk but really, if babies can take it, you can too.

3. It works. This seems obvious but I feel it had to be said. While the shampoo will be thicker than your average eye makeup remover, it will not only clean away your makeup but will also help with any bacteria that’s built up in your eye area. It’s a much more thorough clean while still being gentle. It also washes off cleanly – no oily residue here. I especially like using this in the shower, no raccoon eyes for this girl.

4. It smells nice. Scent traditionally isn’t high up on my priority list when I pick up a new eye makeup remover, but it’s definitely an added bonus. Most removers are either unscented or have a vaguely chemical-y scent to them. Baby shampoo smells like flowers and fruit and, uh, clean babies? To be honest, the scent is really hard to describe but just trust me that it’s pleasant.

Next time you’re looking for an eye makeup remover to try or if you’re having issues with sensitivity, give baby shampoo a shot. Even if you end up preferring your old formula, there are still about a hundred uses for baby shampoo (brush cleaner, anyone?), and you just may decide it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Image credit: walmart.com

Scarlet Fever: Embracing Red Blush

Red Blush, MAC, NARS, NYX, makeup

Almost no blush shade looks more alarming in the pan than a bright, in-your-face red, it looks like something you’d find stashed away in a clown’s makeup kit. But before you dismiss tomato shades as too intense and retreat to the safety of a nice peachy pink, let me make my case.

Every girl should have a red blush. The whole idea of blush is to mimic a natural flush, right? To infuse color into our complexion, to make us look healthy and radiant and like we just stepped in from a brisk walk. Now think about when your cheeks are naturally flushed, what color are they? Babydoll pink? Plum? Shimmery coral? Somehow I doubt it. Chances are, they’re red, red due to the blood that’s rushed to the surface…. are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

Red blush creates the most natural and gorgeous wash of color; the key is in the application. As you might imagine, being heavy-handed with a shade like MAC’s Frankly Scarlet will leave you looking overheated at best and contagious at worst. Red blush is best used sparingly, in a sheer, barely-there wash. For the most natural effect, apply it where you would naturally flush (hint: it’s not on the apples of your cheeks). I personally apply blush in an almost straight line across the tops of my cheeks. This results in a youthful, natural glow that, as an added bonus, also helps lift the face.

The very best thing about red blush is that it works for everyone and all skin tones (we all blush red, guys). Depending on your skin’s undertones you can choose a rose-red shade like MAC’s Frankly Scarlet or something like NARS’ Exhibit A with more orange undertones. Counterintuitively, I think this shade is particularly gorgeous on fair skin (think Snow White), though pale skin types will have to use an especially light hand. It’s the perfect shade for those sneaky no-makeup makeup looks.

snow white makeup, blush, beauty

Next time you find yourself reaching for your standard peachy coral or shimmery rose, do yourself a favor and give red a shot – I promise you won’t be sorry. Here are a few of the best red blush shades on the market for inspiration:

NARS (Exhibit A) – bright, orange-toned red powder blush.

NARS Matte Multiple (Siam) – matte true red cream blush.

MAC Powder Blush (Scarlet Fever) – rose-toned matte powder blush.

Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelee (Getaway Red) – true red water-based blush.

NYX Powder Blush (Red) – very similar to MAC Frankly Scarlet, slightly more pink.