Friday, 28 September 2012

BB Cream Breakdown

I've been on the lookout for a great tinted moisturizer, bb cream, or light foundation. Because I'm a scientist, I get really nerdy about researching products. Here's the fruit of my labor for BB creams:

BB Cream Breakdown

Now, I've never used any of these help me make a decision! Here's my breakdown...sites used for reviews are,, and

In no particular order:

1. Smashbox Camera Ready
  • Cost; Size; Cost/Oz: $39; 1 oz; $39
  • SPF: 35 (UVA/UVB)
  • Sephora Rating/Reviews: 4.1/5. Pros: lightweight, covers well, not much color range. Cons: costly, can be streaky, greasy for some
  • Makeupalley Rating/Reviews: 3.7/5. Pros: Yellower tone than most BBs, little goes a long way, multitasking, natural, moisturizing,. Cons: oxidizes throughout the day to an orangey tint, limited color range, costly.

2. Dr. Jart+ Premium
  • Cost; Size; Cost/Oz: $39, 1.4, $27.8
  • SPF: 45 PA+++, UVA/UVB, chemical-free
  • Sephora Rating/Reviews: 4.3. Pros: Lightweight, good coverage, evens skin tone, multitasker that works like it claims, eliminates need for other products. Cons: can cause breakouts in some, slight oxidation with time in fair skin.
  • Makeupalley Rating/Reviews: 3.8. Pros: Physical sunscreen only (not chemical), good coverage but still natural, readers with rosacea didn't find it irritating. Cons: may cause breakouts, needs cream under to glide well, high SPF means it's thick, color can be too chalky/grey/pink/orange on some--recommend sampling first.
  • EDIT: After doing this post I sampled this BB at Sephora...I wear Nars Finland Tinted Moisturizer and bareMinerals in Fairly Light and this wasn't too grey or pink on me, coverage was great--but not too thick--and I loved everything about it EXCEPT that it has a tacky texture that never went away. If this wouldn't bother you (or maybe if you used a powder to set) this is a great option for people whose skin matches well!

3. Clinique Age Defense
  • Cost; Size; Cost/Oz: $37, 1.4, $26.4
  • SPF: 30
  • Sephora Rating/Reviews: 4. Pros: great coverage, long-lasting, color stays true, full to medium coverage. Cons: only 3 colors (all light), heavier than other BBs, doesn't spread easily, causes breakouts in some, sunscreen scent
  • Makeupalley Rating/Reviews: 3.4. Pros: long-lasting, improves skin, acts as primer, Cons: poor color range, drying.
  • EDIT: I tried this and at first thought it was great. I put it on with a foundation brush, which was too streaky, but it blended nicely with my fingers and had a soft, smooth finish. A couple hours later, though, and all my dry spots became really glaringly obvious and the product kind of just sat on my skin--didn't sink in at all. This would probably be a great cream for people with oilier skin--but my slightly dry skin did not love it.

4. Bobbi Brown
  • Cost; Size; Cost/Oz: $42; 1.3 oz; $32.3
  • SPF: 35 UVA/UVB
  • Nordstrom Rating/Reviews: 10/13 (3.8/5). Pros: evens skin tone, buildable coverage, doesn't settle into wrinkles, hydrates, evens tone, no need for other moisturizer/primer, doesn't oxidize. Cons: Catches on dry skin, dries out quickly, too oily for oily skin
  • Makeupalley Rating/Reviews: 3.9. Pros: natural finish, hydrating, good creamy texture and coverage. Cons: sensitive skin may react to it, need to use fingers, average shine control, tone may be too yellow for some

5. Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse
  • Cost; Size; Cost/Oz: $34, 1.7, $20
  • SPF: 25 PA++
  • Sephora Rating/Reviews: 4. Pros: Great for dry skin, glides like moisturizer, dewy look, evens tone, great coverage, lightweight. Cons: some may break out, longevity is average, limited color choices
  • Makeupalley Rating/Reviews: 3.8. Pros: dewy, natural finish, helps skin, skin feels soft. Cons: some will breakout, only one shade, contains parabens
  • EDIT: Some tout this as a miracle cream, and after trying it I'd have to agree. It truly is a miracle that one product can make my pores appear larger, my oily spots oilier, my dry spots dryer, and my normally non-sensitive skin break out immediately. I put this on half my face as a test and was astounded by how awful this looked and felt--this, like the Premium version, went on tacky and stayed that way. I honestly can't imagine how it got such great ratings because I can't think of a single skin type that would benefit from it. Awful.

6. Too Faced Tinted Beauty
  • Cost; Size; Cost/Oz: $32, 1.5, $22.6
  • SPF: 20, chemical-free, UVA/UVB
  • Sephora Rating/Reviews: 4.2. Pros: oil-free, smooths imperfections, no need for primer, sheer coverage, evens tone. Cons: poor color palette, oily feel, contains parabens
  • Makeupalley Rating/Reviews: 3.6. Pros: good for those with dry skin, glowing skin, has lighter shades, doesn't accentuate dry patches. Cons: coverage of a tinted moisturizer rather than BB, too moisturizing for some, silicones can clog pores, color is 'off' on some, not good for oily skin

7. Stila Stay All Day 10 in 1
  • Cost; Size; Cost/Oz: $38, 1.5, $25.3
  • SPF: none
  • Sephora Rating/Reviews: 3.9 Pros: Glowy skin but not shiny, covers pores, doesn't stay too liquidy on skin, evens skin tone. Cons: only one color, waxy feel, too sheer, distinct scent
  • Makeupalley Rating/Reviews: 4 (9 reviews only). Pros: good as primer, skin feels soft, evens tone. Cons: too sheer
  • EDIT: I agree with all of the above critiques. It does feel unbelievably soft on my skin, but it's a bit hard to put on and the color was too dark for me (they don't have multiple shades). Another negative is no SPF. Otherwise, I liked this product a lot.

  • Most/least expensive per ounce: Smashbox Camera Ready/Dr Jart+ Water Fuse
  • Best/worst SPF: Dr. Jart+ Premium/Stila Stay All Day 10 in 1 (with none; Too Faced is lowest of those with sunscreen)
  • Highest/lowest Sephora rating: Dr. Jart+Premium/Bobbi Brown (but used Nordstrom scale instead of Sephora)
  • Highest/lowest Makeupalley rating: Bobbi Brown (Stila came in first but with only 9 reviews)/Clinique Age Defense

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Birchbox Review

Recently I signed up for a monthly subscription to Birchbox. This program send "monthly deliveries of high-end beauty and lifestyle samples from top brands." Then, if you like the products they serve up, you can buy the full-size product at their website, and each purchase wracks up Birchbox points. After so many points, you can cash them in for free products!

I figured, for $10/month, it would be a fun way to experiment with products that I'd normally shy away from due to their full-size price alone. 

So what did the Birchbox's September box serve up?

Cute little box with tissue paper wrapping.

Inside I found:
1. Kate Spade New York Twirl perfume sample
2. Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
3. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Linen
4. Birchbox and Color Club Custom Collection in Tweet Me
5. La FRESH Eco Beauty Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover
6. Mighty Leaf Tea Pouches


A sample pack with:
1. Matrix Total Results Curl Boucles
2. Dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution
3. Dermalogica Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover
4. Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
5. Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque

So what's my verdict on Birchbox?
Perfume smelled yummy. Enzymatic face rejuvenator works well but is a little rough on my skin. Nail polish works well but I'd had rather had any of the other colors--this was a little too neon for me. Matte moisture tint evened out the tone of my skin but wasn't really that moisturizing. I'm in love with Dermalogica's daily exfoliant, so maybe I'm biased, but the hydrating masque worked well and I've yet to try any of the other samples!

My takeaway is this:  obviously not every product will work for you in each Birchbox, but it WILL open your eyes to new products you may not have heard of. I will say that it's a nice little luxury and made me feel a bit pampered...which, to me, is worth the $10 per month! I'm excited to see what next month brings!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Wedding Weekend

I'm at the age where, one by one, all my friends are getting married. Although I plan to marry my honey one day, it's far, far into our future. But that doesn't mean I don't think about what my wedding may one day look like! Here's one iteration I've dreamt up....lots of florals, flowy dresses, relaxed haristyles, natural makeup, and rustic chic accents.

Floral Wedding

What does your current dream wedding look like?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Beauty Regimen

I always think it's interesting to learn about other people's beauty regimens, so today I thought I'd post mine!

I have traditionally been very very very low-maintenance--if I blow-dried my hair all the way and put on mascara it was a good day. However, since starting my new job I've obviously had to step up my game on the beauty front. Turns out wet hair isn't professional...

Anyway, here are my go-to products for daily skincare and makeup.

Skin care regimen

1. Vasante BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. Ok have to admit, I've only used this once, right after I got a sample in my Birchbox. But call me crazy, I think my face really did look brighter, and it's definitely smoother! The crystals in it are a bit rough so I only plan to use it every 2-3 days, but I like it so far.
2. Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen: I use this at night before I go to bed, or if I don't wear my tinted moisturizer. It's light, scentless, and doesn't feel greasy.
3. Neutrogena Naturals puryifying pore scrub: This is lots more gentle than the Vasante, but still feels like it gets my face clean. I use it at night before the moisturizer.
4. Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant. I just started using this product as well--I use it in the shower every morning. You shake the powder into your wet hand and rub it into a creamy paste. It has mechanical and chemical exfoliation, but it's really gentle. I've noticed a nice difference in my skin since I started using it, both in how soft it now is and also it appears less blotchy or dry.
Makeup Regimen

Until I made this post I didn't realize what an Almay/Maybelline junky I am!
1. Almay eyeliner: just the right amount of smudginess, in a couple different colors.
2. Almay Smart Shade concealer: comes out of the tube white then transforms into my skin color...what IS this magic? The concept is actually cooler than the product--I'm on the lookout for a new concealer that covers a bit longer/is longer lasting.
3. Almay Get Up and Grow mascara: loooove this. Actually makes my lashes look longer, yet still very natural. Highly recommend.
4. Almay Liquid Eyeliner: I've tried lots of liquid liners and keep coming back to this one. The tip is perfect for precise application and easy to use. It stays put where you want it to but easily washes off and doesn't get into my eyelashes too much. Love it!
5.Maybelline Dream Blush BB Cream: while I'm not convinced that BB creams (no matter the brand) actually are better than regular tinted moisturizer, I enjoy the light coverage of this one and feel like it has a good level of moisturizing. Tube is fairly small for the price though.
6. Maybelline Dream Bouncy blush: I actually don't use this one but couldn't find the Dream Mousse Blush that I do use and adore. Hope they haven't gotten rid of it! The mousse blush is easily blendable and comes in several lovely colors.

What About These?

And then there are the products I don't actually use, but would love your opinions on.
1. Clarisonic Mia: I've heard lots of great things about the Clarisonic. Anyone know if it's worth it for normal to dry skin? I've only ever seen recommendations from people with oily skin...
2. Dermalogica sheer tint: I tried a sample of this and liked it but have a hard time swallowing the price tag....anyone know of a better/cheaper alternative? Anyone actually discovered a BB cream that's worth the hype? Or another tinted moisturizer?
3. Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint: I actually got a sample of the Matte Tint and didn't think it was anything special when I put it on, but later in the day I noticed that my skin looked better than usual in the mirror. I've heard good things about the luminizing version (I prefer dewy looking skin to matte), so maybe I'll have to bite the bullet on this one...

Please send in your suggestions for favorite products--I'm always on the lookout for my 'holy grail' product!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Lindsay Cowles on Spoonflower?!

Stop everything and go to Lindsay Cowles' Spoonflower site. I literally have no words for this gorgeousness, so just check it out:

There's plenty more where that came from. I'm literally designing whole rooms in my head around gorgeous!