NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: The Rundown

Dark under eye circles are the bane of my existence. No matter how much sleep I get, how much water I drink, I always wake up in the morning with dark circles like a wino. So when I come across a concealer that not only conceals, but performs under a variety of circumstances, I must sing its praises. That concealer is now known as NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer.

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My ‘holy grail ‘concealer–NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer! Shade shown in Amande

NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer comes in ten (10) shades to match a wide range of skintones.  Packaged in a slim container like their lip glosses, this creamy, buildable concealer has a doe foot applicator to aid in precise application where you need it most.  According to NARS, “Enriched with hydrating, multi-action skincare benefits and light diffusing technology, it creates a softer, smoother complexion while instantly obscuring imperfections and diminishing fine lines and signs of fatigue.” Given how well this product deals with my dark circles I must agree!

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The doe foot applicator that provides such wonderful precision in applying NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer

Because of the red undertones in my ‘cinnamon mocha latte’ skin, I usually pick a lighter color for under my eyes and lip area and a darker tone to cover my acne scars. To test this concealer I chose Amande which is described as “medium dark with olive undertones”.  From the description it seems like it wouldn’t match but indeed it does perfectly for under my eyes (to cover my acne scars I would choose the next darkest shade, Cafe). The color made quick work of banishing my dark circles and did not look overly orange against my skin tone or clash with my NARS Sheer Glow foundation in New Guinea or my Tinted Moisturizer in ‘Martinique’.   The product applies smoothy and I was able to blend it easily with a separate concealer brush. The formula is indeed buildable as NARS claims it to be so whenever I felt I needed more coverage I could easily do so.  NARS does make another concealer in stick form but I feel that formulation is best for covering darker patches of skin.

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Me wearing NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer in Amande under my eyes with NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique and Make Up For Ever ProFinish Powder in #174 (Neutral Saffron).  The little creasing you see is because  I rushed blending with my tinted moisturizer.

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The ‘Amande’ shade of NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer.

As compared to two other concealers/highlighters I own, Make Up For Ever and YSL’s Touche Eclat in #7, NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer in Amande was a much closer skin tone match. MUFE is definitely waterproof but looked ashen compared to NARS. YSL’s Touche Eclat has a wonderful formula but the color is a bit too dark for me to use as an under eye highlighter.

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From left: MUFE Full Cover Concealer in #14 (Fawn), NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Amande, YSL’s Touche Eclat in #7 (Luminous Mocha)

At $29 for .33oz this concealer is more than a bit pricey.  However, given how well it conceals my dark circles, blends perfectly with my skintone and other powders, and holds up in both subzero and 100+ degree weather, and does not give me an allergic reaction, it is more than worth the cost.  This concealer’s thick formula is amazing at banishing those dark circles and keeping them at bay without creasing or melting like a Picasso painting in 100+ heat index Florida weather.  After several hours of running around Disney World last July, this concealer held on very well and with a touch up of a little face powder I was back to looking danged near flawless.  While MUFE’s Aqua concealer is very good under humid Florida conditions, the NARS creamy concealer gave me better coverage and a better color match for my undertones. NARS Creamy Radiant concealer retails for $28 USD is available at fine retailers including NeimanMarcus.com and Sephora.com.

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Ingredient listing for NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer. After over 6 months of using this product my sensitive skin hasn’t broken out.

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Makeup Intelligence: Pro Finish Foundation from Make Up For Ever

Looks like Make Up For Ever has a brand new foundation out and in a wide range of shades!

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New for Spring 2013: Pro Finish Foundation from Make Up For Ever. FYI: The brown girl in this photo is wearing Shade #177.

Make Up For Ever’s new Pro Finish foundation looks to be direct competitor to MAC’s ubiquitous Studio Fix foundation. Available in a range of twenty-five (25) shades, it can be applied wet for a sheer finish or dry for a matte and full coverage finish. I’ve never been quite pleased with the existing powder foundation from MUFE so it is very exciting to see this new product and formula.

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MUFE Pro Finish foundation on display at Sephora. And yeah, the Rouge Artiste lipsticks are great too!

I tried applying this to my bare skin in Sephora using the new tapered foundation kabuki brush. The foundation went on flawlessly and the tapered brush expertly laid the foundation down in those challenging areas of the nose bridge and eye sockets. It was very easy to blend when dry and the resulting finish was nice and matte. I believe a sponge applicator is included with the compact but if you are prone to breakouts as I am, toss the sponge and go with the foundation brush. Even with all of the swatches I’ve shown here, my ideal shade is #175. Why this color was not included in the Deep skintone sample card is beyond me. Interesting how I am #75 in the Velvet Matte formula and #175 in Pro Finish.

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MUFE Pro Finish Foundation deep shades on sample card (available for free at Sephora)

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Swatches on NW43 skin of MUFE’s new Pro Finish Powder Foundation (w/o flash)

Definitely check out the foundation Kabuki brush. I am beyond impressed with how well it applies and blends this foundation. The bristles are soft and deliver practically mistake-proof application. This is definitely on the list to be reviewed/Florida Tested when I head to Disney World in July.

Make Up For Ever’s new Pro Finish Powder foundation is now available exclusively at Sephora stores and Sephora.com.

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NEW! MUFE Pro Finish Foundation. All swatches are on bare MAC NW43/MUFE Velvet Mat+ #75/NARS New Guinea skin.

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Swatches on NW43 skin of MUFE’s new Pro Finish Powder Foundation (w/ flash)

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MUFE Pro Finish ingredient list. Why is there NO sunscreen in this? ::sigh::

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MUFE Pro Finish foundation can be applied either wet (for sheer coverage) or dry (matte full coverage)

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MUFE’s Pro Finish Foundation for Deep Skin (free card from Sephora, w/ flash)

bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation: The Rundown

Picutre it. Hot Florida weather and the humidity making it feel like 110 in the shade. You, however, look flawless and just touch-up the powder on your face like the Southern Belle you are or aspire to be.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s true!  Presenting bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation!

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Bare Minerals READY foundation in Medium Dark and new slanted face brush

The ‘rubberized’ case is very comfortable to hold in the hand and contains approx .25 amount of product and sports a mirror inside. The powder is very easy to loosen so don’t be too aggressive with your usual ‘swirl, tap, buff’ movement as I did and wound up with powder all over my compact. If you have the slanted flat brush Bare Escentuals put out for this collection (or the Sonia Kashuk flat-top multipurpose brush from Target), tap the brush *lightly* against the
powder before applying it to the face.

As I am MAC NW 43 (NARS New Guinea and Make Up For Ever #75) I chose foundation shade in Medium Dark. Medium Deep would be my summer/Florida shade. Both shades I have used previously in the loose Matte foundation.

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The new slanted foundation brush makes applying the new READY foundation a breeze

Ready foundation builds very quickly and even for oily faces like me it provides a fresh, matte look that didn’t make my face look like a ‘ghost’. The finely-milled powder blended in with my skintone, giving me a flawless look.  I prefer to use this over the NARS Tinted Moisturizer (normal to dry skin) or Smashbox’s Camera Ready BB cream in Dark (for oily skin), but even alone it’s fabulous. I will warn that if you have strong red undertones as I do, pick a share designated for ‘Neutral’ undertones (Medium Dark, Medium Deep, etc) so you look natural and not like an extra from The Walking Dead.  If you have oily skin you *will* need to reapply this within a few hours. It isn’t a big deal and you will not need much to restore the oily spots back to matte flawlessness.  Just make sure to blot the oil off *first* with blotting paper or a tissue then reapply powder.

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Bare Escentuals READY foundation in Medium Dark over NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique. Chanel glossimer in Jalousie on lips.

Ready foundation wears extremely comfortable and I felt no tightness nor itching after application and during wear. The SPF20 sunscreen is a physical sunblock consisting of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.  There are are plenty of great skin-loving ingredients in this foundation, my favorite being jojoba esters as joboba provides moisture without irritating my sensitive skin and there are such skin comforting ingredients as meadowfoam seed oil. I prefer this to MAC’s Studio Fix (which breaks me out) and Make Up For Ever’s Duo Matte powder (no SPF in it), both of which I have used in the past.

Ready pressed powder foundation from Bare Escentuals costs $29 USD and is available at such retailers as Ulta.com, Sephora.com and Nordstrom.

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Bare Minerals READY Foundation–excellent for hot climates and sensitive skin

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (11%), Zinc Oxide (18%)

Inactive Ingredients: Boron Nitride, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Magnesium Silicate, Silica, Nylon-12, Humic Acids, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Jojoba Esters, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Lecithin, Betaine, Algae Extract, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Iron Oxides.

PowderFX Mineral SPF10 Foundation: The Rundown

Anyone who has ever had to deal with oily skin in the heat and humidity of Florida knows how invaluable powder foundation is to keeping your complexion fresh. My grandmother (whom I inherited my crazy oily skin and who had no wrinkles even at age 60) always had her handy powder compact within reach. So when I returned recently to Florida for a family vacation at Disney World, I knew I couldn’t arrive there without any. Last year I used Bare Escentuals mineral powder and while it was okay, it was messy and caused all kinds of packing problems I didn’t want a repeat of this time. And as I’d been meaning to try the color diverse and dermatologist developed Canadian beauty brand CoverFx for quite awhile, I decided to take the plunge.

CoverFX's Powder FX Mineral foundation

CoverFX’s Powder FX Mineral foundation. Perfectly milled and excellent for hot temperatures.

CoverFx SPF10 pressed powder foundation contains .42 ounces (12 grams) of product and comes in a very sleek lightweight plastic/aluminum compact complete with mirror. The physical sunscreen consists of the natural ingredients of Titanium dioxide (3.5%) and Zinc Oxide (3%). Its low profile packaging makes it easy to stash in your purse or theme park swingpack without taking up more precious space that it needs. A small sponge comes with it but if you have oily skin I would recommend tossing it. It is embossed with the CoverFx logo with plastic protector and the powder is very silky and well-pigmented.

Press shot PowderFX in B25 (the shade I bought)

The shade I chose was B25 which was a very good match for my NW43 about to go to NW45 skin in the Florida heat. My main use for this pressed powder was to finish my look and keep my oily skin at bay while using NARS Pro-Prime primer and their new Tinted Moisturizer. After using the NARS primer and tinted moisturizer in, I used the EcoTools retractable kabuki brush to blend the CoverFx powder into my skin to take the dewy shine off from the tinted moisturizer and provide a matte finish.

Because of the dense pigmentation, it is very easy to build coverage to the intensity you desire without looking ‘cakey’. CoverFX does sell a sheer touch-up powder but as I have super-oily skin I decided the foundation was a better buy for me. A unique feature about this product is that it is printed with an expiration month and date. As I go through a lot of pressed powder during the year I’d use mine up well before the expiration date. What I like is the implication as to the freshness of the product and I like that.

Florida Performance

In the morning before heading out one of the Disney theme parks, I applied the NARS Pro-Prime primer, Make Up for Ever Full Cover concealer under eyes and on acne scars, then blending in NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique, then buffed the CoverFx SPF10 foundation into my skin. The powder felt very light and I did not use much as I wanted a natural look and only needed to take the ‘dewy’ look off of my skin. My skin felt very comfortable despite the 90 degree heat during the day (and about 90 – 95% humidity). While I did sweat, my skin did not itch because of the powder nor was it irritated by the active ingredients in the sunscreen. Twice during the day I gently blotted the sweat off of my face and reapplied a light dusting of the CoverFX SPF10 powder and my complexion was refreshed quite nicely. In the evening after a shower, I again applied NARS primer first, then tinted moisturizer and concealer, then built up the color of the CoverFX SPF10 powder foundation on my skin for a more formal and flawless look. Although in the evenings I spent more time in air conditioned restaurants, my complexion still looked fresh, flawless and comfortable. I didn’t bother with touch-ups in the evening as the temperature was cooler (lot 70’s) and humidity lower at night during Easter in Florida.

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Wearing CoverFX’s PowderFx in outside Florida light over NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Polynesia (eye shadow is NARS Rated R Duo)

Because of the lower SPF in this product, the strong Florida sun rays did penetrate to darken my skin, but I’m please to say it did so very evenly. The darker shade of this powder compensated for my skin’s browning in the Florida heat. Side note: I did bring my lighter shade of NARS tinted moisturizer (Martinique) with me because it was Spring in Florida and not summer. Even when I darkened to NW45, the color adjusted flawlessly.

Final Impression

I am so impressed with the packaging, natural sunscreen, formulation and performance of this product that I expect it will replace my MAC Careblend powder as my setting/retouching powder of choice. I’m also impressed with CoverFX because it has so many deep tones to accommodate the complexions of women of color. The line seems to be inclusive of all skin tones rather than catering to a core few and this is why it personally ranks up there with the likes of NARS and MAC for me. In fact, I like this product so much it is hereby FLORIDA APPROVED! CoverFX products are available exclusively at Sephora, Sephora.com and on CoverFX.com

B Series Color for CoverFX. Love how deep the colors run!

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My Powder Fx SPF 10 pressed powder–my new favorite finishing powder.

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Back of package. Note the printed expiration date–nice!

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My well-loved Powder Fx SPF10 Mineral foundation in B25.