Tuesday, May 11, 2010

To Prime or Not to Prime

     Since working at Ulta, I've discovered many new things that I've previously never tried. One of these products is facial primer. I've heard about facial primers, but I've previously been afraid to try them. Since my skin is oily, I've worried that putting on an extra layer would cause my skin to break out. Recently, one of my co-workers gave me an extra bottle of primer she had to try out.

     There are many different types of facial primers from many different brands. The purpose of facial primers is to prep the skin to receive foundation. They smooth the face out and help diminish impurities among other things. There are different formulas for mattifying, tone correcting, and even erasing fine lines.

The primer I tried was the Studio Gear Prime Objective Skin Perfecting Face Primer with SPF 20

     According to the website, this primer "helps protect the skin from the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays while priming the skin in much the same way as a painter primes a canvas. PRIME OBJECTIVE SPF 20 is a silicone based face primer that provides an effective broad-spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen while acting to “retouch”, or visually diminish, imperfections in the surface texture of the skin. PRIME OBJECTIVE SPF 20 contains a sustained release liposome system with retinol that can help promote cell turnover and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as a milk protein complex to help to balance and protect the skin from environmental stresses. The ‘skin-perfecting’ effect of this state-of the- art formula is further enhanced with optical diffusers."
     Since this primer wasn't mattifying, I was expecting much from it. I washed my face and applied my moisturizer, then applied the primer (the primer DOES NOT replace moisturizer! It does not penetrate the top layer of skin, so there are no moisturizing benefits). Once applied I was surprised by how smooth my skin felt. And it didn't feel heavy or sticky, which was my main concern. I used Bare Minerals foundation, which is a loose powder. It applied MUCH better with the primer, and I actually had to use less to get the coverage I wanted. But the real test was how the make-up would wear through the day. I worked a six hour day and checked out my makeup when I got home. What I noticed right away was how matte my face looked. After  a long day, by the time I get home, my face is incredibly shiny and the majority of my foundation has worn off. But with the primer, I had a little shine on my nose but that was it. My blush, foundation, and brightening cream were all in place. And, again, this primer wasn't even mattifying! I was incredibly happy, and I highly recommend it.

Some other primers:

Benefit "That Gal" Brightening Face Primer: Good for dull complexions.

Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primers- apricot for dark spots, green to reduce redness, and purple to counteract yellow, sallow skin.

     Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion: Pore Perfecting- Good for oily skin.

L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base- A cheaper price point than those above, also a mattifying.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Product Review: CoverGirl Smoky ShadowBlast

     The Smoky ShadowBlast is a new product from CoverGirl. They have recently come out with a few new products, along with other drugstore brands such as Maybelline and and Loreal. Because these brands are trying to compete with the higher end stuff, they have started using better ingredients and stronger pigments. And because I enjoy a deal as much as anyone else, I gave this a shot.

     The purpose of this double ended product is to achieve the smoky eye look without the muss and fuss of different colors, brushes, etc- since it is a cream shadow, it glides on easily. The lighter, rounded end is applied from the lash line all the way to the brow bone. Next, the darker, tapered end is used in the crease and as an eyeliner (the box has a diagram on the back explaining how to apply it- it tells you to put the eyeliner on the top lash line, but I also put it on the bottom- the whole point of the smoky eye is to be very dramatic).

     Starting with a primer (NOTE: you should ALWAYS use an eyeshadow primer!!! It preps the eye for color, and makes the colors more true to life. It also helps the color to last all day long. Also, as someone with really oily skin, I know it also has an added bonus- it prevents creasing.) I applied the color as described above. I actually broke off the brown end right away! Because of the shape of the tube, you have to raise the shadows up a good amount so they can be applied without the plastic part being in the way. And since they aren't very strong, it snapped right off. Not a good sign. Once applied, I was immediately disappinted by the color pay off. I used "Purple Plume", which is a pinkish-purple color used all over, with a deep brown for the crease/liner. When it was on the light shade almost matched my skin tone, and the brown color was very soft. Not very smoky at all. I went about my day and checked it after work- I put it on at about 4:00 p.m., and when I got home at 10:30 p.m. all the color was smushed into my crease- even with a primer!!! That's only a six and a half hour day, and with regards to eye-make up, that's not very long. When using powder shadows with a primer I've had my eye-make-up last upwards of 10-12 hours.

   So overall, don't waste your money on this one. The problem I've always had with cream shadows is creasing, so most of the time I don't even bother with them (Stila Smudge Pots, however, are fantastic! The are designed as a gel eyeliner, but I've worn them as an eyeshadow and have never had an issue with creasing. Also- they have some fabulous colors! If you like brighs, check out the Stila Barbie collection.) When it comes to powder, if you're worried about a stronger pigmentation, high end is the way to go. Yes, it's more money, but it's more money for a reason. The colors will alwasy be brighter and they will last longer (my all-time favorite eyeshadows- Urban Decay). If you're worried about price, CoverGirl does have a lot of powder shadows- worn with a primer, they should last a good eight hours or so, just be aware you will have to pile a lot of product on to get the desired color.

Final Grade: D+

The Beginning.

     This blog is for anyone who loves make-up, or has no idea what to do with it. Anyone who has stared at an eyelash curler and winced internally. Anyone who has ever nearly poked out an eye trying to apply eyeliner. Anyone who has spent hours and hours looking for the perfect shade of lipstick. I want to help you.

     I was recently offered a job at Ulta (which, for those of you who may not know, is a cosmetics store that carries both drugstore and high end make-up. They also have skin care, fragrance, a salon, personal care items such as blow dryers, flat irons, etc- in my mind, it's everything anyone needs to feel beautiful) as a make-up artist in the prestige department. Prestige is the higher end make-up and skin care such as Stila, Urban Decay, Too Faced, Bare Escentuals, Murad, and the like. I literally get to spend my work day playing with make-up. It's fantastic.

     Every day I get to learn new things. Whether it be application techniques, learning about the newest products, newest ingredients, it's all in a days work. And like I said before, it's probably the greatest situation I could have ever landed in.

     So with all this said, I started this blog to help those who want to learn (want to learn how to do a smoky eye? Lean what the best skincare is for your face? Which eyeliner will last the longest without melting down your face?). I will do product reviews, tutorials, anything you want. By helping you, I am helping myself to be a better artist and to be more knowledgeable.

     So go ahead, ask me anything.

"That's why I began doing makeup in the first place: I was hoping that through helping people see the beauty in themselves, I could try and find it in me."
-Kevyn Aucoin