Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ Foundation: The Rundown

Liquid makeup foundation has always had a tough road to hoe when it comes to my super oily skin.  Most begin to slide off like a Picasso painting within an hour or so and you can forget it if the temperatures and humidity soar like they do in Florida.  There is only one liquid foundation I’ve found holds up quite well with my oily skin regardless of the heat and humidity and that is the Velvet Mat+ foundation by Make Up For Ever.

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade

Available in 16 shades, Make Up For Ever bills this as foundation as a full-coverage, mattifying, water resistant (read: holds up to sweat).   Great for combination to oily skin, this full coverage formula mattifies with a velvety finish.  With a  formula that is very buildable, it is also very good at concealing light blemishes when blended using a brush.  I use shade #75 (Coffee–Deep skin w/ Beige undertones) of this foundation.

MUFE Mat Velvet+ in Shade #75 (set using MUFE Pro Prime Powder foundation in #174 Neutral Saffron)

MUFE Mat Velvet+ in Shade #75 (set using MUFE Pro Prime Powder foundation in #174 Neutral Saffron)

As i am constantly battling shiny skin, this foundation is amazing at giving me that matte look I like. FYI–I am not, nor have I ever been, down with the ‘dewy’ look. It doesn’t take a lot of product to cover the entire face and while the formula does oxidize on the face a bit, the finish is still beautiful.  You can apply it with your fingers but I find using a fluid makeup brush provides a gorgeous ‘airbrushed’ finish with this foundation.  As a bonus, this formula is GREAT for sensitive skins! I’ve never had an allergic reaction to this foundation. There are a few downsides to this foundation but they’ve never been dealbreakers for me.  First, while is is definitely water-resistant, oily skins will need to set this formula with a powder.  Even in high-humidity in Florida, this foundation holds up very well for about four hours.  After that, if you’re an oily girl you will need your powder compact nearby.  Unfortunately there is no sunscreen in this product so if you value your skin as I do, you will need to use some SPF on your face.   My biggest peeve with this formula is that there is NO option for dark skin with red undertones.  Some cosmetic companies need to realize that not all dark-skinned women have yellow to beige undertones.

From left: MUFE Velvet Mat + Foundation in #75, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in New Guinea

From left: MUFE Velvet Mat + Foundation in #75, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in New Guinea

While I really do like how Velvet Mat+ performs on my skin, NARS Sheer Matte foundation in New Guinea is a better color match for me. I use both foundations interchangably during the winter months.  This foundation is also used a lot for bridal makeup.  However if you do have super oily-skin as I do, make sure someone’s got a compact of Make Up For Ever Pro Finish powder foundation for a quick touch up. Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ Foundation is available exclusively at Sephora stores and Sephora.com and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade (Ingredients)

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade (Ingredients)

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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.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, Face Cleanser and Lip Therapy: The Rundown

Picture it—I had just got diagnosed from my doctor with a severe allergic rash around my lips due to my use of the EOS lip balm.  I am allergic to petroleum, paraffin, mineral oil AND beeswax so what is a sensitive skin gal like me to do? First Aid Beauty’s products to the rescue!

First Aid Beauty products--a sensitive skin gal's best friend

First Aid Beauty products–a sensitive skin gal’s best friend

 

Exclusive to Sephora stores, First Aid Beauty products are billed as, “allergy-tested and free of parabens, fragrance, and harsh chemicals, and perfect for even the most sensitive skin” .  For someone like me who is practically allergic to air this product line seemed custom made for me. I picked up the Ultra Repair Cream, Cream Cleanser and Lip Therapy products and over the past two months me and this troika have become  BFFs in caring for my sensitive skin.

First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream is a medium-weight cream that is a creamy white color with a trace of scent.  It goes on very smooth, is almost immediately soothing and my skin absorbed it quickly.  It is perfect for a quick blast of moisture if you skin is very itchy.  I did try it on my peorial dermatitis around my lips and unfortunately it stung for a little while–ouch! So while it is good for moisturizing eczema-irritated skin, if you have peorial dermatitis I would advise staying away from it.   This is a very nice hand cream to put on before bedtime.   It isn’t as nice smelling as my L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream but it gets the job done–especially if you have sensitive skin.

I did test a sample of the Ultra Repair Cream Concentrate which is a solid yet pliable balm with no discernable scent. A little goes a very long way to provide lasting moisture to the skin. On my peorial dermatitis the balm stung a little but the feeling went away within a minute or so.   As my skin healed further the stinging sensation upon application went away but as I am sensitive to beeswax (which is in this product) it started to irritate my skin so I discontinued using it. Very disappointed as it is a very moisturizing balm to use.

First Aid Beauty’s Cream Cleanser is a pearly white cream cleanser has a trace of a scent and you only  need a small bit to clean your entire face. It made quick work of dissolving my foundation, concealer and my sweatproof eye makeup but my mascara hung on a little afterwards.  As gentle as it is, it did dry out my peorial dermatitis where it was uncomfortably dry but I don’t see this happening with simple ezcema. I like to use this cleanser to remove the rest of my makeup off of my face after I’ve used a makeup remover especially for eyes.

Last but definitely not least, First Aid Beauty’s Lip Therapy is my holy grail when it comes to lip balms. Free of petroleum, paraffin, mineral oil and beeswax, this yellowish creamy balm contains soothing shea butter and jojoba oil among other soothing ingredients.  This balm kept my lips moisturized very nicely overnight and I was pleasantly surprised to find out it soothed my peorial dermatitis  without any stinging.

The Ultra Repair Cream 2oz and Lip Therapy retail for $12 USD each while the 5oz Face Cleanser retails for $20 USD. First Aid Beauty products are sold at Sephora stores, Sephora.com, QVC.com and at FirstAidBeauty.com

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.