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.

Make Up For Ever 108 Large Foundation Brush

I’ve had a thing for Make Up For Ever brushes lately and didn’t hesitate to purchase the 108 Large Foundation Brush. Previously, I wrote about the Foundation Kabuki Brush, so it’s probably safe to say that I’m on a major foundation kick as well! While the brushes aren’t limited to being used with the MUFE HD Invisible Cover Foundation, I find that having a good foundation brush around can really make or break the effects of any foundation.

The MUFE 108 Large Foundation Brush is described to be “a large flat and rounded brush to quickly and evenly apply foundation.” As a multi-purpose foundation brush, it can be “used to apply and blend all kinds of foundation quickly on large areas. Its large, rounded shape and straight bristles are ideal for a high coverage, even foundation result. It can be used with liquid and cream foundations.” Since I don’t use cream foundations, I can’t speak to its performance with cream formulation; however, I can definitely say that this is foundation brush NEED if you’re a fan of liquid foundations.

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Essentially, with this brush, you will never have to worry about streaking. It seems that this brush will always apply the foundation evenly and smoothly. Because the bristles are fanned out in a way to cover a large area, it only takes a few sweeps along your cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. The bristles are firm and soft, which sounds odd. But the compactness of the bristles allows the the brush to be perfectly firm, but soft enough to follow the contours of the face. It’s also super soft so it feels quite pleasant on the skin.

As with my MUFE Foundation Kabuki Brush, this brush takes a long time to dry. However, the up-side is that foundation/product doesn’t get clumpy and goopy within the bristles. It seems that no matter the product, brand, or formulation, the foundation applies thin, even, and perfect. The wide paddle shape of the brush allows the foundation to applied quickly, so I think that’s really important for this review. Sometimes I don’t want to use my Beauty Blender because it takes SO long to wet it and pat the foundation in all over my face.

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Another thing I noticed is that when wanting additional coverage, just dab more foundation onto the desired area and use this brush to pat. You’ll get additional coverage, but the brush will apply it evenly without getting cakey. I think having a good foundation brush is an important part of applying foundation correctly. In the end, it will always be about how the foundation eventually looks on the skin.

While the formulation and texture of the product is essential — and that varies from person to person — the tool that you use to apply the foundation can make a big difference too. I recommend this brush if a traditional foundation brush isn’t for you and you’re looking for a thinner and lighter application.

Retails for $36.00 USD.

Make up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N52

If you’ve stopped by your local Sephora as of late, you may have noticed that Make Up For Ever has re-vamped some of their staple items and launched some new colors. I picked up the Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N52 after browsing through some of MUFE’s new shades, and this has been my favorite color to wear since. Lipsticks in this range are “ultra-creamy…with a translucent soft, shiny finish…enriched with nourishing properties.”

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Rouge Artist Natural lipsticks “keeps lips hydrated for eight hours after application. Its incredibly smooth texture glides on effortlessly for ultimate comfort while also leaving the lips supple and moisturized. Formulated with mother-of-pearl and colorful pigments, Rouge Artist Natural’s translucent shine adds a natural sheen to the lips.” This lipstick is available in an array of fresh, luminous shades with two finishes: satin and pearly.

The formula is very comfortable on the lips — very smooth and light, but with very good pigmentation that is reasonable and not overpowering. It’s buttery soft upon application, yet wears evenly and nicely without fading ugly or collecting in weird places on the lips. There’s a wide range of colors to choose from, and I think they’re worth exploring since the formula and texture of these lipsticks are quite amazing.

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The color N52 is new and is a nude-peachy-pink shade that is very flattering. It doesn’t blank out your lips, but it’s also not overly pink either. On my skintone, I find that a nudey-peach color that has hints of pink in it is a more flattering nude. Nudes that are heavy in beige or flesh-colored pigment looks like concealer on the lips, so i definitely try to avoid that, lol. I think N52 is a great nude color to own since it’s the nice kind of nude. I think it will pair well with looks both for a night out and for a casual/natural look too.

Made in France.
Retails for $20.00 USD.

REVIEW: Diorskin Star Studio Foundation SPF 30 in 010

You can’t deny the hype surrounding the new Diorskin Star Studio Foundation and I tried to not fall into the craziness. “Inspired by the professional illuminating techniques and expertise of its makeup artists, Dior invented Diorskin Star, its first brightening foundation.” Rumor has it that this foundation is a dewier, more natural version, of the Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation reviewed here in this post. I’ll try it out and writ a comparison post in the near future.

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The Diorskin Star foundation is described to be a “weightless, fluid formula [that] is capable of recreating the spectacular and perfecting light of Dior’s studios. It uses a new generation of hollow silica beads to capture and diffuse light in a correcting halo with no shine.” It uses the “color-filter pigments” to “neutralize color imbalances to recreate the perfect light. Anti light-trapping skincare ingredients help reduce the appearance of dark areas, pigment spots and redness.” The concept of this foundation sounds almost too perfect to be true, which is why my expectations were extremely high for this foundation. I’ve been sort of on the fence with Dior foundations in general, and felt that for the money, other foundations performed better.

However, I’m very surprised with the performance of this foundation because it really wakes up your complexion and instantly gives your skin a more luminous and even finish/look. The formula is light and runny, much like the MUFE Invisible Cover Foundation. The texture is lightweight and appears to blend seamlessly very quickly. The finish is a barely-there effect — like skin, only better. Much like the effects of a CC cream, this foundation color corrects extremely well. While blending, you can see pigmentation and redness instantly correct (all the while feeling light on the skin).

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I chose the shade 010 Ivory, just like I have in the past with other Dior foundations. The pinky-peach undertones are perfect for my fair skin. Coverage is medium but certainly buildable; and, for a sheerer effect, I like to use the Beauty Blender sponge. It lasts very well on the skin — especially in humidity and through sweat; oil-control is pretty good for a long-wear foundation. For me, an added bonus is the SPF 30 in this foundation. While I wouldn’t solely rely on this foundation for sun protection, an SPF of 30 is quite high for foundations in the United States. I like that my complexion looks so clear with this foundation. So far, I’m very pleased with the foundation and will continue to wear it through this month. There is a sense of dewiness/glowiness without looking or feeling oily or cakey, so that’s a major plus for me. I recommend this foundation and I think it’s definitely worth checking out!

Retails for $50.00 USD.
Made in France.

REVIEW: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

As some of you may have noticed by now, Target now carries some staple Laneige products. The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask recently has joined my skincare collection. For me, this product is consistent re-purchase item for me and I’ve been using it for nearly a decade. As an original sleeping mask kind-of product, I’ve always had to purchase this in Korea or order from an international eBay seller. It’s convenient that now I can get this at my local Target.

As you might’ve guessed, I’m on a major sleeping mask kick right now so I hope this post is still just as helpful. Most recently, I posted a review on the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask; check out other sleeping mask posts: Fresh Rose Face Mask & Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Overnight Repair Mask, Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask, and the Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask. For other popular mask posts, consider reviews about the Glam Glow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment, Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment, Glam Glow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment, and the Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mask.

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The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask functions as a sleeping mask that recharges dehydrated skin overnight. As a mask with highly concentrated, ionized mineral water and ceramides, it delivers intensive doses of moisture to stressed, parched skin. “Aromatic Sleepscent — orange flower, rose and sandalwood — relaxes and rejuvenates while apricot and chestnut extracts brighten and purify fatigued skin. The result: skin looks and feels radiant, refreshed. Wake up to soft, glowing skin with Water Sleeping Mask.”

Much like all sleeping masks, this mask is designed to be applied as the step in you night time skin care routine. I apply it on top of my final step for the night, which is my night cream. I let it absorb for a few minutes and can feel the product working right away. The light gel texture is water-like and absorbs easily; the scent is light and lingers, but it doesn’t really bother me.

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Out of all the sleeping masks I own, I’d say that this is the best for restoring radiance and moisture to the skin. That’s by I’ve re-purchased it over the last ten years! It’s a great emergency mask too — especially for when your skin really needs something extra overnight. I recommend this product and find that the convenience of buying this at Target has now changed my life! :)

Made in Korea.
Retails for $23.00 USD.

Benefit Majorette Blush

Newly released from Benefit Cosmetics is the Majorette Blush, and it’s marketed as “cream to powder blush” that is a “peppy booster blush that amplifies cheeks.” I’ve been waiting for its release since I began to see it appear in some beauty blogs over the summer, and I was thrilled to see that my local Sephora had them in stock! There are no other colors available; in fact, “Majorette” is the color of the product as well. In the future, I hope that Benefit will release additional colors because the formula and texture of this blush is fantastic.

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Benefit released this blush as a way to “amp up your flush.” This cream-to-powder blush is powdery soft; almost bouncy in texture and lightweight on the skin. The product is subtly scented with peach and pomegranate, which is no surprise for Benefit’s products. The “spirited pink-peach shade can be smudged onto cheeks alone, or underneath your favorite powder blush for an instant glow.” At first glance, the blush looks like a typical powder blush. The creaminess of it is unusual — as I previously stated, it’s quite bouncy. A little bit goes a long ways, so I’m satisfied with the pigmentation.

I like to apply this blush with my finger tips and then blending the edges with the Real Techniques dome-shaped brush from the Core Collection. However, the product lingers on my fingers so sometimes when I’m not in the mood to deal with the messy, I’ll directly use the brush to dab into the product before lightly applying it on my cheeks.

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The peachy-pink hue is pretty and transfers lightly and naturally onto my skin. It gives a subtle and glowy flush without looking too much, which I like in blushes. As the directions stated, this is great to layer underneath other blushes as well; but for the ultimate glowy look, I like to wear this on its own with a dewy finish foundation. I like this blush and I think the formula and texture are great. I hope that there will be additional colors to follow. My only gripe is that the packaging is huge and bulky; and, it takes up way too much space in my makeup bag — not to mention, it doesn’t even fit inside my Muji makeup drawers, LOL. I recommend this blush and I think you’ll really like it, especially if applying cream blushes has been a horrible experience for you. The blush applies easily like a powder blush and blends beautifully.

Retails for $28.00 USD.
Made in USA.

MAC Mineralize Blush in “Just a Wisp”

I am not one to be all that interested MAC face products, even though I test my luck with them from time to time because of their blushes! I’ve noticed that the mineralize products’ packaging have been re-vamped and look way better. I don’t think the formula of the products have been altered though. I got the MAC Mineralize Blush in “Just a Wisp” when I recently visited the MAC store; and, it was because I was drawn to the glowy, icey-pink color!

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The MAC Mineralize Blushes are blushes that are “baked minerals refined into a powder blush formula to provide exceptionally sheer and lightweight application.” The color/pigmentation is intense, so don’t be deceived by the pretty colors and feather-light texture. “Colour builds lightly, layer after layer, without heavy coverage…[and] veils and enhances the cheekbones with a luminous, pearlized shimmer.”

The texture is super light and powdery, so the downside is that sometimes they can be a little chalky. But, in general, this may just depends on the color that you choose. Pigmentation is superb and there’s some fall out, so it’s important to tap off the excess before applying the product to your cheeks.

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The color “Just a Wisp” is an icey, cool-toned, baby-doll pink. The glow-factor is intense in this blush, but that’s the whole reason why I bought it to begin with. The glimmer in this blush isn’t necessarily chinky glitter or anything like that. But, with this blush, you can definitely skip the highlighter as long as you use a light hand. The MUA suggested layering this blush over other blushes to up the glowiness, and it totally works in conjunction with more matte/semi-matte shades. I think the color “Just a Wisp” is pretty and is unique for me since I tend to like rosier and less intense pinks. The Mineralize Blushes may be worth looking into; and, so far, I’m really enjoying my purchase.

Retails for $27.00 USD.
Item contains 3.5 g. / 0.11 US oz.
Made in Italy.

REVIEW: Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation

I’m really late to the Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation game, but I’m finally experiencing what the big deal is about with this foundation. As an “oil-free medium-to-full-coverage liquid foundation that covers skin imperfections flawlessly while remaining invisible on-screen and in real life,” this foundation’s concept of being both invisible and HD is quite extraordinary. This foundation claims to “create a soft-focus effect, which is designed to meet the coverage concerns of those in the spotlight. It leaves your complexion with such a flawless finish, [and] it can withstand bright or harsh lighting” as well.

I chose the shade 115 Ivory which is for light skin with pink undertones. I thought about 110 but decided while I like some pink tones in my foundation, it was way more pink than I needed. I find that 115 is a great match for me since it’s both light in color with pink undertones. The formula and texture of this foundation is really light and runny — which is surprising for a foundation that is such high coverage. A little bit goes a long way, so it’s absolutely possible to adjust the coverage levels depending on what your skin needs. I need less than half a pump since I apply this lightly to the skin.

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I’ve used both a synthetic buffing brush and a regular foundation brush to apply this. However, I like using a damp Beauty Blender to apply this foundation sheer and even. The formula instantly cancels out redness and pigmentation, while evening out the skintone amazingly. There’s a hint of glow and radiance without looking glittery or shimmery, so the formula really helps the finish appear natural on the skin.

Coverage is adjustable and the formula is easy to worth with and blend. I think it’s a great foundation for special occasions and for every day use since the texture and appearance of this foundation is natural. While it’s great at covering pigmentation, discoloration, and redness, I find that it’s not as good as some of my BB/CC creams in covering pores and filling in lines. It’s very smooth and flawless on the skin with decent oil control after powdering, so it’s a very customizable product for sure. Without powdering, oil breaks through for me after about 4 hours of wear so I need to blot. I also think the wide range of colors available can be helpful for those who are “in between” shades.

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I recommend this foundation and I can understand why there’s a cult following. My only gripe is that the pump gets clogged easily and product will goop around the opening. I have to be extra careful to wipe off any excess before putting the cap on, or the leftover foundation will cake around the opening. A suggestion is to set your t-zone with a translucent setting powder because my combo skin gets oil within a few hours of wear with this foundation. If you haven’t already tried this foundation, I’d say give it a go and you’ll be satisfied with the results. In the future, I’m planning on experimenting with using this foundation as a mixing agent. I’ve read that combining the HD Invisible Cover Foundation with other formulas works wonders as well.

Retails for $42.00 USD.
Made in France.
Item contains 1.01 fl. oz.