Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Primer Pioneer

The Laura Mercier Mineral Foundation Primer was a product I was talked into buying by the extremely pushy blonde saleslady at Brisbane's Laura Mercier counter. Prior to this I had only experimented with Face of Australia's Face Base Primer and the Australis Matte Out mattifying primer stick and neither had really enthused me but seeing as I use the Laura Mercier Mineral Powders as my go-to daily foundation I decided if I was going to get a primer, I should try the corresponding formula.

The tube says it's a liquid to powder formula; it's not. It needs to be worked into the skin and dries down to a slightly dewy finish. It's moisturising, not tacky and it hasn't broken me out. It does the job and lays down a smooth canvas for foundation but I don't find it particularly mattifying or glowy, which I don't mind. Combination skin is tough to please and you can't win 'em all. Blotting to remove excess moisture and blotting the t-zone midway through the day is something of a habit for me, even with the inclusion of rosehip oil and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo in my skincare routine. The water-based formula works better for acne-prone skin because silicones in primers like the Smashbox Photo Finish and Benefit Porefessional can clog pores if not removed properly (no, non-comodogenic on the label means absolute squat if you don't cleanse sufficiently). But I'm happy with this, and on days I need my makeup to last longer I swap this into the morning routine and swap moisturiser out. Rae Morris deems both day cream and primer unnecessary, and it can be almost counterproductive because makeup could slip right off. 
At $25 for 30mL and $49 for 50mL, it isn't much more expensive than the Bourjois primer ($21) that I had contemplated buying instead. Seeing as Laura Mercier are credited with being the inventors of primer, I'm of the belief 'why not?' when it comes to trying one of them out. Between Foundation Primer, Oil-Free, Radiance, Radiance Bronze, SPF30 PA+++, Hydrating and this Mineral formula, I'm sure one of them could work for you. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Favourites

I've been MIA from the blog for the past couple of months, with things to do and people to meet but I've still got a few stand-out products and recovering from breakouts has kept the makeup-wearing ball rolling. China proved to be a good trip and we saw some gorgeous scenery, especially on our short stay at a tea plantation mountain. I'm still loving products that I posted about at the end of November, like the Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rejuvenating Cream and Dove Summer Glow. December, January and February proceeded to demonstrate how difficult my skin can be, but I'm slowly pinpointing the causes for unhappy skin and seeking to remedy it.

Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Lush Nectarine
This blush is my go-to for summer days. Usually applied with a fluffy brush like the Ecotools or Real Techniques Blush Brushes, it strikes a good balance of peach, pink and barely-noticeable golden shimmer.

Holika Holika Jewel-Light Waterproof Eyeliner in 01 Black
I think I've found a HG eyeliner in this pencil because it's the only pencil liner I've tried that doesn't need a primer. It's dark and inky and long lasting and the only point of contention I can find with it is the ridiculous plastic material from which it's made. I don't know how I'm going to sharpen it.

Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright
I rarely have breakouts that don't leave a scar behind, which is why I've been using this underneath my usual La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo to combat scarring. Alone, Effaclar Duo doesn't do much to help hyperpigmentation (though the company did just release a boosted version that's meant to help with that) but Pepta-Bright does seem to have been alleviating the darkness left behind by some of the newer blemishes in the few weeks I've been using it.

Etude House Proof 10 eye primer

I retired the Australis eyeshadow primer and swapped it out of my collection for this Korean one bought from eBay, which has proven to have great priming power and overbearing packaging. The length of the handle is ridiculous and the packaging could do with a revamp but it's a good basic primer. It doesn't help already-long-wearing eyeliners like the Holika Holika but it improves the wear time and intensity of eyeshadows, which is absolutely necessary on me and my smudge-prone skin.

Stella McCartney Stella EDP
Stella is the favourite of my current perfumes- it's floral and rosy- and has a certain complexity that sets it apart from the waves of white florals and sweet 'n' fruity spritzes. I've been loving Lush's Lust solid perfume because it's a gorgeous white floral as well, but Stella is a star that's really been shining these past few weeks.

Ben Nye Final Seal Matte Makeup Spray (featured here)

This is the first makeup-setting spray I've tried and I haven't been disappointed. The polymer-bonding powers would be more effective with a finer, mistier spray nozzle but it still works fantastically and keeps makeup in place for 14-hour days, even without face primer. I bought it from a tiny Hub Makeup store tucked away in the lesser-known Adelaide Street Arcade, and I strongly suggest checking it out if you're in Brisbane because industry brands like Lime Crime, Ben Nye, Temptu and Gorgeous Cosmetics aren't easily found in local shops.

The skincare front has been quite the testing ground for genuinely helpful products. I've been using a combination of clarifying face masks, cleansers and resorting to a teen-acne solution to combat my sleep-deprivation- and unbalanced-diet-caused breakouts.

Benzac AC 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide acne gel
Not even my teenage self resorted to benzoyl peroxide acne gel but I bought it last year and it's come in handy to clear up small bumps that crop up inexplicably. It may be worth upping the dosage to 5% or 10% if my skin doesn't clear up but for now this lower concentration is doing just fine.

REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
I've used this cleanser for the past 2.5 months and it's been helpful at healing acne but hasn't done much to prevent it. I've taken to using it in conjunction with the Dove cleanser as the first step, because while it clarifies the skin, it does little else. REN recommends massaging it into the skin for 2 minutes, which is longer than I'm used to but has become somewhat therapeutic. Together the neutralising clay cleanser and pH neutral Dove cleanser help to balance out my skin and give it a proper cleanse each night.

Dove Cleanser & Toner in One
This is an oldie but a goodie- featuring many times on the blog in the previous year. Dove has since discontinued and reformulated their cleansers but this used to be readily available for a measly $6.50 and works remarkably well as a pH neutral cleanser that can also remove makeup.