REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

It seems that 1-minute is all we have for a decent mask! Much like the Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask reviewed here in this post, the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial is another similar (but more expensive) product. This is described to be a “transforming treatment that instantly revitalizes and visibly rejuvenates the skin” in 1 minute.

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The description of this product suggests that the “potent water-activated vitamin C [allows] this one-minute facial [to] give immediate spa facial results, leaving skin firm, toned, and smoothed.” It claims to reduce signs of fatigue, photo-aging, and skin imperfections.” Skin is promised to “instantly glow with renewed health and radiance.” REN’s “breakthrough technology locks 10 percent vitamin C in a silica/glyceride matrix to maximize effectiveness. Stabilized vitamin C supports natural collagen synthesis, improves skin elasticity, and evens out skintone while boswellic acid relaxes muscles and fights facial fatigue, diminishing appearance of lines and wrinkles. Lastly, magnesium energizes the complexion and boosts radiance for a glowing complexion.”

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In order to use this product properly, apply generously to face and neck after you’ve cleansed your skin and dried it. Add a small amount of warm water with your fingertips and massage to “activate.” It’s a lot like exfoliating, so massage and leave the product on your skin for one minute. Then, rinse.

The only problem is that you need to squeeze out a whole lot of product to get results. The product doesn’t spread easily because it leaves some areas of your skin uncovered, so you have to apply a lot of product. It seems that you’ll go through the tube pretty fast, so for the price, it’s very expensive since a little bit of product doesn’t go a long ways. :( Another issue is that it’s a very concentrated product, and the product description mentions this by suggesting to use it every 3 days. Also, I’ve noticed when I leave the mask on for longer (like, 5-10 minutes) there’s a tingling sensation that can feel a little like burning. I think as long as you use it like it’s suggested, it should be okay.

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I think the product works really well, and it really does brighten and tighten the skin since it’s an intense exfoliator. I like leaving the product on and then rinsing as the description states, but it seems like I’m going to go through product in a month! I really like the product, but there are other exfoliators out there that do the same thing. Basically, this is just a stronger exfoliator. The Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask is basically the same product for half the price; and, the concept is pretty much the same.

Made in the UK.
Retails for $48.00 USD.

Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in “Deep Brown”

I was actually quite excited about the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara. I saw press-release pictures for a few weeks now and was waiting patiently until my local Ulta began to carry them. I’ve read mixed reviews about the product, and with my new obsession for brow products, you can see why I’ve been attracted to this product! Recent posts about eyebrow mascaras are here: Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel and Benefit Gimme Brow (Medium/Deep) + Brow Mascara Comparisons. As you can see, eyebrow mascaras have been an important part of my eyebrow routine.

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In all honesty, I don’t really like this product and I’ve definitely used better. Not that my expectations were all that high, but I was still really looking forward to the product. The formula is clumpy and can get gunky on the brow hairs, so it’s actually a bit difficult trying to manipulate the brush and get it to do what you want it to do. Also, the color isn’t deposited well onto the brow hairs, so for that reason, it doesn’t distribute evenly without getting gunky. The shade I chose is “Deep Brown” and it leans on the cool-side. I pair this with an eyebrow pencil to adjust the tone, but either way, this is difficult to work with.

As Maybelline’s first brow mascara, I’m surprised with the poor design of the product. The”first-ever Sculpting Ball Brush” is huge; and, the ball at the end doesn’t help either. If you have tons and tons of brow hairs, this brush may be useful in combing through the hairs and placing them. But, with normal brows that are not too thin but decently “hairy,” the brush is a nightmare to work with. Even with the uneven distribution, the main problem is that the brush is so big you get the gel on your skin and it gets messy. Also, I’ve found that these kinds of products are only really good for when you actually have eyebrow hairs to maintain/control. If not, you may have better luck with eyebrow pencils, clear gels, or eyebrows powders.

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For the most part, I just don’t have the patience to slowly and carefully apply this product onto my brows and then clean up after it. I find that previous brow mascaras I’ve tried and reviewed are better since the brush is designed to work with brow hairs. I’ve used this product a few times but it’s been a hassle; and, I don’t find that I want to continue using it since it takes so much work. At least with the Benefit Gimme Brow and the Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel the brush is easy to work with and it deposits color onto the brow. Even so, at least you can tame and brush your brow hairs too so that’s useful.

Unfortunately, I don’t recommend this product. It’s better to save yourself the $8 and put it towards a product that is both user-friendly and design-friendly. Even in a pinch, any of Maybelline’s Define-A-Brow eyebrow pencils would suffice since it’s a good dupe for the MAC brow pencils. If anything, the Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara is great, affordable alternative if you’re really in the need of an eyebrow gel.

Retails for $7.99 USD.
Made in USA.

Nude Skincare Purify Deep Cleansing Mask

Awhile ago when I was on my mask kick, I reviewed the Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Overnight Repair Mask, and it quickly became one of my favorite overnight masks. When the Nude Skincare Purify Deep Cleansing Mask was released, I knew that I just had to give this mask a try too. As a “purifying clay mousse mask that removes impurities to reveal glowing skin,” this is a lot like the Glam Glow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment.

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It seems that many brands are coming out “quick fix” masks — meaning, they promise to deliver miraculous results in 10 mins or less. While I always tend to leave my masks on longer than the suggested time, it’s nice to know that you can rely on “quick fix masks” to help when your skin needs it most. The Nude Skincare Purify Deep Cleansing Mask is a “powerful purifying clay mousse with buriti seed [that] absorbs excess oil and gently exfoliates to help refine pores.” It contains “French clay [that] removes impurities while omega fatty acids and sea fennel deliver the perfect balance of nutrients.” This mask is designed for all skin types, and it promises to reveal glowing skin in as little as 10 minutes.

The concept of this mask is much like the Glam Glow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment: basically, after you’ve removed your makeup in the evening, you apply this mask to dry skin. Leave on for 10-15 mins. Then, when it’s dried, you wet your face and massage the dried mask. This loosens the ‘particles’ of the mask, which will exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin. Rinse with warm water, dry your face, and then move onto your nighttime skin care routine.

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I like this mask a lot, but it’s definitely not a mask you use every night. It’s a good maintaining routine for your skin; so, once or twice a week, or whenever your skin is feeling/looking congested, this mask would be a great way to really kick start your skin. The added benefit of exfoliation will help your skin care products sink in better, since your skin will be able to drink it up after you’ve sloughed off the dead skin cells. The only down side is that you have to use big scoops (with your finger) to really apply the product evenly onto all areas of your face — thus, I see it dwindling away in a matter of weeks (if used regularly). For me, since my cheeks are rather sensitive, I like to concentrate this mask on my t-zone (chin, nose, forehead) since those are the areas that are most oily/congested.

Retails for $48.00 USD.
Made in France.

REVIEW: Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer SPF 35

I haven’t been using many foundations as of late because I’ve been really into BB/CC creams. I’m not sure what kick-started this, but it’s definitely mainly because I’ve been on a major skincare kick lately. While I can’t report on any real skin problems, my main concern recently has been due to weather changes, traveling, and recovering from bronchitis. My skin has been on the dry, dull side rather than its usual sensitive, normal self. I’ve been using BB/CC creams to aid my skin, and in doing so, I’ve found a new favorite! The Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer SPF 35 has been my CC cream of choice because it provides light coverage, a great flow, and a natural finish.

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The Luminessence CC Cream is a “color control bright moisturizer with SPF 35. It features a triple technology on skincare for its energizing and antioxidant complex, color for its pinky “rose glow” pigments and light for its liquid mirror technology.” The texture of the product is light and airy, but it’s creamy too — allowing it to blend easily, absorb, and dry down to a semi-matte finish. While Armani promises that “the skin looks as rested as a good night’s sleep,” I can agree that it provides a healthy looking glow that may mimic such high claims.

There are 7 shades in total, which is impressive since BB/CC creams come in very limiting shades. I chose shade 1 and it’s the perfect pinky-toned beige color for fair skins. It blends so wonderfully and so effortlessly, so it’s an easy product to use. Coverage is very light, but that’s expected since this isn’t a high-coverage foundation. This CC cream is great for traveling, lounging at home, the gym, and on the weekends when you don’t want to mess with makeup.

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I like this CC cream because it’s so great at evening out my skin tone and minimizes my pores almost instantly. I apply this and add some blush and I’m ready to go! The high SPF is a bonus, but as always, I like to apply a layer of sunscreen regardless. I recommend the Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer since it really does act like a skincare product and makeup base at the same time. I think if that’s what you’re looking for, this CC cream may win!

Made in France.
Retails for $50.00 USD.

NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation SPF 24 in “Siberia”

I’ve literally been waiting ages for the release of the NARS All Day Luminous Powder Foundation, and I was super happy to be able to get mine when they became available. As a “12-hour wear, lightweight powder foundation with SPF 24 and natural, buildable coverage,” it sounds like the most perfect powder, so my expectations were high as well. With that, I was a little hesitant too since I’m quite picky about powder foundation formulas and textures. The look I try to go for almost daily is a healthy, translucent, dewy complexion so naturalness is a big factor.

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This powder foundation functions with the “ease of a powder and glides on skin like velvet, while offering medium coverage that does not mask.” The “modern, lightweight formula offers a smooth finish and protects from harmful rays with SPF 24.” It’s considered to be “sweatproof, with lasting color in hot and humid conditions, it can be applied with both a wet and dry sponge for versatile coverage.” As with most powder/powder foundations, you lift the pan with the product in it to reveal a sponge. I almost always like to sweep on powders/powder foundations with a large, fluffy brush, so for me, the sponge will likely go unused.

The formula of this product is really light and airy, and sweeps on easily without looking or feeling cakey. I was surprised how natural it looked even in daylight — with no dry patches catching anywhere and with no creasing around my nose and mouth area. The coverage certainly seems buildable, but I like to layer a light dusting of the powder. As a setting powder, this is great with pretty good oil-controlling abilities and not settling into pores. It doesn’t look or feel gross on top of liquid foundation/BB cream/CC cream, so that’s a major bonus as well. As a powder foundation, it’s light and provides nice coverage. On good skin days, some concealer and this has been doing the trick for me so I’m very happy about that.

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I chose the shade “Siberia,” which is the lightest shade available. While my foundation shade has been “Mont Blanc,” it seems that the powders run in-between shades since they don’t correlate with every foundation shade in the liquid formulas. As a Light 1 shade, “Siberia” is a “light with neutral balance of pink/yellow undertones” so it falls right where it needs to for my skintone. I love this product for smoothing the surface of my skin and evening out my skintone — which is pretty fabulous for a powder product. Since it feels so feels lightweight on the skin, I’d recommend it for those who prefer products that leaves skin with a natural finish.

Made in USA.
Retails for $48.00 USD.

Favorite Sunscreens At the Moment

I’m a suncreen wearer all year-round. I never skip a day even if I’m not wearing that much makeup; and, even if I know I’m not going to be outdoors for a long period of time. While in the summer months I pay extra attention to sunscreen application, I try to stick with light, watery textured sunscreens since I like to layer my products on top. Nothing is worse than sticky or greasy sunscreen residue when you’re trying to apply makeup!

Right now, these are my favorite sunscreens at the moment. Unfortunately, they are difficult to in the US so I order mine on eBay since they are either a Japanese brand or a Korean brand. I prefer Asian sunscreen formulation for the texture and high SPF coverage. There are plenty of sunscreens readily available at drugstores and department stores in the US. Formulas I’ve liked in the past are: Clarins UV Plus HP Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen Multi-Protection, Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 For Face, and the Chanel UV Essentiel Complete Sunscreen UV Protection Anti-Pollution.

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Pictured here from left to right:
Tony Moly My Sunny Powdery Finish Sun Milk SPF 47 (Made in Korea)
Biore UV Aqua Rich Whitening Watery Sunscreen SPF 50+ (Made in Japan)
Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence SPF 50+ (Made in Japan)
Nature Republic Power Lasting California Aloe Sunblock SPF 50 (Made in Korea)

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Tony Moly My Sunny Powdery Finish Sun Milk SPF 47
This sunscreen is a general go-to/favorite that is easy to apply and travel with. It’s thin and light but provides excellent sun protection. The slight pink tint to it helps with neutralizing skin redness, so it doubles as a primer. It dries down matte, absorbs quickly, yet keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day. It’s perfect for under makeup or on no makeup days, but it doesn’t hold up well in high sweat and water atmospheres, so skip this as an option if you’re going to the beach/pool.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Whitening Watery Sunscreen SPF 50+
While I can’t say that this sunscreen has any “whitening properties,” the light and watery texture is cooling and easy to apply. It dries matte almost instantly, but even though that’s a good thing, it’s often hard to apply less emollient foundations because of this. The formula produces the least amount of oil throughout the day, so it’s ideal for hot months for sure. A little bit goes a long ways and I always have one of these on hand since it takes no time to apply and absorb.

Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence SPF 50+
This essence-type sunscreen is really, really water light. It’s super easy to apply and absorbs fairly quickly; however, it does leave a bit of a film on the skin. While it’s slightly tacky on the surface, it’s great for applying foundation directly after because of this. I tend to reach for this only when I’m in the mood for this kind of texture. You have to be careful with how well you blend this. If you’re not paying attention, there will be white-ish streaks left on your face.

Nature Republic Power Lasting California Aloe Sunblock SPF 50
This sunscreen is the most nourishing on my skin. It’s hydrating and gives my skin a subtle glow even before makeup. However, it also tends to make me oily pretty quick, so I have to blot more frequently when I’m wearing this product. I think this formula will be best for the colder months since it’s a creamier type. When I wear mineral or powder foundations, I like to apply this as my choice of sunscreen because the finish of the makeup looks and feels so fresh and moisturizing.

What are you favorite sunscreens?

Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel

Ok, I’m not sure how many brow gel one needs in their life, but I just had to have the new Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel. As a “tinted brow gel with colored clay that enhances, defines, and shapes brows,” I was a bit wary at first because there’s only three color choices. However, the shade “Rich Brown” turned out to be the perfect dark, warm brown that doesn’t lean too gray or too orange-y.

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So the wand is really special because it’s super tiny, thin, and has bristles that are tightly compact. The wand applicator “features tiny, hair-like bristles to create precise, filled-in brows.” It catches all the brow hairs without getting product onto the skin, which is a common problem I have with nearly all brow gels like this. The “infused colored clay” and an “exclusive peptide blend” allows the color to hold onto the hairs without getting sticky or too hard. It’s nice that the “gel formula naturally conditions and smooths the brows, reducing surface oil to lock in pigment for up to 12 hours.” This product is waterproof and removes easily with regular eye makeup remover.

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So far, I really like this for the wand. It really brushes my brow hairs into place, but in a natural way — not slicked back or stuck down on the skin. The pigment is nice and I like how the product isn’t just laid on real thick. I still like to fill in sparse areas of my brow with a brow pencil; however, for the hairs itself I think this product is really great. As for all the fancy clay ingredients…it sounds nice, but I can’t say it’s made drastic changes in how my eyebrow grows. I think it does condition, however, but my brows feel so soft at the end of the night when I’m removing my makeup.

Other brow gel related posts are here: NARS Brow Gel in “Kinshasa” and Benefit Gimme Brow (Medium/Deep) + Brow Mascara Comparisons.

Retails for $21.00 USD.

September 2014 Favorites

Fall is my favorite season even though you can’t tell that it’s a different season here in Texas. While it’s slightly cooler than it was in the summer months, I find that most of my routine products stay the same, and others will remain on rotation so they get used up. I’ve noticed, however, that my skin has been on the drier side which is a bit unusual for me. I’ve had to focus a lot this month on putting back moisture into the skin to help it look and feel healthy and glowy.

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Clarins Beauty Flash Balm
Not surprisingly, skin prep is important; and, I’ve found that this product is essential for when my skin transitions. As a “balm that instantly moisturizes, brightens, and tightens facial contours so skin looks rested and relaxed,” this “ultimate pick-me-up” is perfect for mornings when my skin needs something extra but I don’t have time for a mask or other treatments. Before makeup application, I apply this to my forehead and cheeks for an instant boost. No matter what, this product helps my skin look healthy and bright naturally; and, my skin feel comfortable and hydrated all day.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
As a goodie but staple oldie, this TM is still one of my faves. This is a “lightweight tinted moisturizer that evens skintone and provides a translucent veil of protection.” It provides nice, even coverage that is sheer but not too sheer. It’s brightening and helps my skin look better in a natural way. The texture is light and smooth and blends so easily. For mornings when I can’t be bothered, this is an easy product to use. It’s also great for travel as well since it’s so low-maintenance with great results.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in “Opal”
Pictured here is the travel-size version of the shade “Opal,” which is a golden pearl shade that is perfect on its own or mixed in with your base makeup. Depending on my mood, I’ll apply this along my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose; or, I’ll mix it with my NARS TM for a light, glowy effect that doesn’t interfere with coverage or pigmentation. A little bit goes a long ways with this product, so use a light hand. As a “sheer crème-liquid that perfects skin with light-reflecting pearls for a soft, natural glow,” this product makes the most difference in the condition and appearance of your skin — yet, it’s so light and subtle it doesn’t even look like anything.

Benefit Majorette
This has been a recent favorite of mine. It is a “peppy booster blush that amplifies cheeks” that is the perfect cream-to-powder blush. It’s smooth and creamy, but isn’t sticky or messy to apply. It looks like powder once applied and feels amazing on the cheeks. The shade looks like a dark orange-red, but really, it’s a “spirited pink-peach shade” that looks perfect on my skintone everyday. Despite its creamy texture, it’s so easy to apply with a small synthetic buffing brush.

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Benefit Lollitint
I’ve been using the Benefit Lollitint on my lips as a candy-orchid lip tint. It’s a subtle orchid-purpley color that mixes well with my original lip shade. It stays put for hours but can be a bit drying. I apply some lip balm underneath and it’s no big deal after that. I like this for fall because it isn’t peachy or pink like many summer/spring shades; and, it’s not a dark, vampy shade either since I don’t tend to think those “traditional fall” colors do much for my skin color. If you’re looking for a fall alternative that isn’t a dark berry tone, give this a go!

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer
No surprise here, but I’m still relying on my Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer for under-eye concealing. I’ve re-purchased this many times, so there’s nothing more refreshing than busting out a fresh product, lol. This product is a must-have for me; and, I feel that when I don’t use this I can tell a huge difference. The sponge-tip is perfect for under-eye application, and then I use my finger to blend lightly as well. This doesn’t smudge or cake under the eyes so that’s a bonus!

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Lip Balm #1 – Mango
Lip balms are a must not matter what the season is. Currently, my favorite lip balm on rotation is the Kiehl’s Since 1851 Lip Balm #1 in the Mango flaored and it is to DIE for, lol. The scent is lovely and the texture isn’t too thick and goopy. It moisturizes and hydrates perfectly without getting gross on the lips. It’s also great underneath lip colors and lip glosses so that’s excellent as well. The opening for this lip balm is just a teeny hole so it’s a little inconvenient to have to apply the product with my fingers. I leave this in my makeup bag at home so it doesn’t get un-hygienic.

What are your current favorites?

Dr. Jart+ Renewalist Melting Cream

I’ve been re-vamping my morning moisturizing routine with the cooler weather upon us. I haven’t found much since I’m quite picky about not feeling or looking greasy; and, I like to reserve creams to night time use only. I feel like I’ve found a “hidden gem” with the Dr. Jart+ Renewalist Melting Cream, so I’m really excited about this post! This is a unique cream because it is described to be a “brightening, soothing, antiaging moisturizer with a unique, sorbet-like texture.” It looks heavy and thick, but I promise looks can be deceiving.

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The “sorbet-like texture” of this cream is probably the reason why this is so good. With a tiny scoop of the product, you warm the product onto the skin and the cream just melts in seamlessly. It totally disappears into the skin and feels light and absorbs fast. “This lightweight, powerful facial cream quickly melts into skin for an intensive boost,” and that’s why it’s perfect for the mornings before makeup application. The “patented platol white-c complex brightens dull skin for a lustrous glow,” so it acts as a perfect pick-me-up kind of product without being too much. It feels divine on the skin since it contains “antiaging nutrients, exotic oils, and antioxidants [to] improve moisture and elasticity levels.” Your skin will feel perfectly hydrated and refreshed after application; and, best of all I can apply sunscreen and makeup right after without feeling heavy.

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You’ll love the silky texture this cream leaves behind — it feels like you’ve just applied primer. My makeup applies SO smooth, it’s not even funny. And, best of all, I feel that it provides my skin with a glow that seems so natural and healthy. The scent is light — almost citrusy — and that’s probably also why it feels so refreshing on the skin as well. My only gripe is that this cream is teeny tiny. At less than an ounce with about 1/2-1 scoop of the spatula, this product will likely be used up quickly. I recommend this cream if this sounds like something that your skin would enjoy. It seems to be good for normal to combo skin, so keep that in mind as well!

Made in Korea.
Retails for $38.00 USD.
Item contains 0.88 oz.

REVIEW: Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation

I feel like I’ve been writing about foundations so much lately, but as a foundation junkie, I think I’m obligated to report back as soon as possible with these kinds of updates! As of late, I’ve been on a major foundation kick — and truthfully, it’s because I haven’t been enjoying anything that I already have. Perhaps it’s because the weather is changing or my skin is changing — now that I’m approaching my 30s — who knows. LOL. Today’s post is about the Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation, and I have to say, I think I’m liking this the best right now.

As you know, my recent foundation posts have been the Diorskin Star Studio Foundation and the Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation. Also, posts about the VDL Beauty Metal Cushion Foundation and the Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Powder Foundation are related to base makeup as well.

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The Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation is “high resistance makeup [that] is inspired by extreme backstage conditions.” This “revolutionary new water-based foundation” promises to provide sun protection, “14-hour satin matte coverage without the coverage feel,” and resistance to external factors such as humidity and sweat. The texture of this foundation is more runny than I thought; and, even lighter than the Luminous Silk Foundation. Its thin consistency doesn’t compromise the coverage, and it feels light and airy on the skin. Without the traditional, thick-feeling of high-coverage foundation, this is ideal for special occasions or when you know you’re going to be in makeup for hours into the night!

This foundation is good for normal to oily skin and provides medium coverage. It dries down semi-matte with very little glow, so I like to wear it with a highlighter. Lately, I’ve been liking it mixed in with liquid highlighter since this foundation can look “too perfect” on the skin for me.

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I purchased shade 2, which is the lightest shade available and matches my current skintone well. My other Armani favorites are the Giorgio Armani Face Fabric Foundation, the Micro-fil Loose Powder, and the Maestro Fusion Foundation. I’ve tried the Luminous Silk Foundation two other times in two other shades, but wanted to try the Lasting Silk Foundation this time around.

So far, I really like it for its long-wearing abilities. It wears nicely on the skin without looking heavy or oily. It’s smooth and light on the skin so I don’t feel like I’ve got a ton of product on my face. Between this foundation and the others I’ve written about the last few weeks, I think I prefer this one and the MUFE HD Foundation. This foundation is expensive and so I know that can be a deal-breaker for many. While I recommend it, it’s not a life-changing foundation for me. In fact, if I had to choose between this and the MUFE HD Foundation, I think I’d choose the MUFE HD Foundation for its glowiness.

Retails for $62.00 USD.
Made in France.