Here's a run-down of the things that I've used repeatedly in the past week or two! I'm on a drive to rotate through older makeup that I love but have neglected for awhile, and mix them in with newer things I'm testing for the purposes of review.
The It Cosmetics CC+ Oil-Free Matte SPF40 I've reviewed. I do enjoy it, but I don't consider it a long-wear or oil-control foundation technically. It's a more lasting, less dewy alternative to a BB/daily foundation with great coverage and skin benefits. And I like it very much for day wear, but if I need to look perfected or it's a special occasion, I would still reach for other foundations.
|Ye Old Chocolate Bar
My Chocolate Bar is so old it doesn't have the shade names printed on. Ironically I LOVED this when it first launched. A lot more than the Naked palettes. But I featured it a couple of times and then never used it after that. That's the thing about neutral palettes; we love them but they are the easiest to set aside when newer things launch because they are so easily substituted.
So I decided to give it a workout for a week.
|A selection of lip shades I've been rotating between lately
Mattes are it for me. Liquid more than sticks, surprisingly. And it's taken me years to finally find out which formulas I like and how to wear them in a way that don't make me want to claw my lips off.
I have very dry lips and small lips besides, so thick, heavy liquid lips can be the worst thing to apply. Don't want shriveled, shrunken, "butt-hole" lips. So I stick with traditional matte lipsticks and creams that are not transfer-proof. But I learnt that very lightweight liquid formulas that can be sheered out look great and don't give me dried prune lips. Formulas that fit what I want include YSL Tatouage Couture (closest to perfect for my tastes), Huda Beauty, NARS Power Matte Pigments, Bourjois Rouge Edition liquids, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Potions and Etude House's new Matte Chic Lip Lacquers.
I have found these to not crack after drying, and if you're light-handed, don't look excessively wrinkly.
|Clockwise from top-left: Etude House Wendy Brown BR401, Cle de Peau Beaute Lip Cashmere 104 & 105, YSL Tatouage Couture #8, Huda Beauty Icon
As for the rest of the face, it's mostly old loves that I feel I should make more of a dent in. I'm on a mission to hit pan on some of these - the mini Benefit Hoola bronzer and MAC Well Dressed blush in particular.
And it's actually much harder than you'd think! I have light skin and I can't go very heavy-handed without looking crazy. I literally need the tiniest amount of Hoola for daily contouring and I would never apply half as much contouring and blush or highlight as you see on the average Youtuber or Instagrammer, because my makeup needs to look good in real life, real lighting. I'm not just doing it for the camera.
So I've used that MAC blush at least 3-4 times a week for years and there is a significant dip but I haven't hit pan.
I was just gushing about Natasha Denona's new Super Glow highlighters on IG this past week, for that gleaming, wet look. But for daily life I've actually been using the subtlest highlighter of them all. Kevyn Aucoin's Candlelight.
This is the OG mother of all champagne highlighters, back before we called highlighters "strobing" and nobody wanted more than a subtle gleam on the high points of their face. When I dug my old pan out and put it on, I suddenly remembered why it was so popular.
|Old-school highlighter subtlety; Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight
This is pre-2010 highlighting. It's not about being showing off trendy makeup. It isn't blingy. You can't build it up or be "visible from the moon". There is no "wet look" or sparkle. There isn't even very noticeable metallic pearl.
You look like you have great bone structure. Not makeup.
It also does not emphasize texture the way current highlighters tend to. If you have mature skin or some texture, or just love soft-focus sophistication where people compliment your skin and not your makeup, you may want to check this product out.
And as for powders, I'm trying to use up my Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder cos I love the thing but have 3 unopened jars in my drawers (my own purchase plus subsequent PR gifts). I'm not worried cos unopened mineral based powders without glycerin or moisture content can be stored definitely, but I am terrible at using up loose powders cos I get lazy and just use pressed ones to set my face, so I decided I should give them some love since they ARE fantastic anyway.
As for the Diorskin Nude Air Pressed Powder, it's a very silky, lightweight texture that doesn't sit heavy or look cakey on the skin, so I like to go over certain areas of my face where I want additional coverage or evening out.
|Scent classic: Bvlgari Omnia - the original
Scent wise, I have been gravitating towards two. Bvlgari's original Omnia. Not the super-popular Omnia Crystalline or any of the later (and quite beautiful) spin-offs. The original has that same gorgeous airy translucence based around tea, but it has a trace of exoticism and depth because it has a spiced black tea note that adds a hint of almost-smokiness, and a slight whiff of something almost creamy (a secret white chocolate note). Not enough for the whole thing to be "sweet". It's as clean and sophisticated as skin-like as most of the other Bvlgari scents, but this girl has a little baddie in her.
I'm terrified of it being gone forever. It's already a bit hard to find aside from random discount stores and online sources like FragranceX.com.
A newer obsession is Juliette Has A Gun "Not A Perfume". I received a little decant in the form of an engraved silver bullet (see image with the blush) at a recent Sephora Press Day, and initially thought "mehhh" when a brand rep sprayed it on me, explaining that it was made up of a single synthetic ambergris note called Cetalox. She said it transformed on every skin and became a personal scent after working with your chemistry. I sniffed it and shrugged internally, but half an hour later I kept sniffing my arm and wondering WHAT that gorgeous soft smell was and why I didn't remember spraying it on earlier.
Then I remembered that it was "Not a Perfume" and that it had somehow changed and warmed up on my skin after some time. Ambergris is a very difficult note to explain and it is not related to "amber", a term used to describe sweet balsamic vanillic notes in oriental perfumes. It's a little woody, a little skin-like, a little musky.
I haven't had the opportunity to smell pure ambergris because of its rarity so I can't really tell you how alike or far from it Cetalox is, but I love it all on its own. But because my perfume collection is massive at this point, I'm not letting myself buy the full-size bottle until I actually finish the decant. That would prove to myself that it's real love and not a temporary obsession, haha.