Saturday, April 30, 2016

Loving Lately - April 2016

April has been a lotta carting myself to and from my folks' and it wound down with a great little weekend venture to Prince Edward County, the cutest, sleepiest interpretation of wine country I could possibly imagine. 

I spent a beautiful sunny day with 6 of my dear friends walking from one winery to the next (not a small feat, we covered about 20,000 steps that day) and taking in the scenery. Below is a pano snap from the patio steps of the Drake Devonshire, where we brunched before taking off for the vines:

Product-wise, there were some key items that I found myself packing repeatedly every time I was taking off for a couple nights at a time (or pouting if I forgot them), so onto the good stuff! 

How did raspberry extract wind up as "framboos"? A mild bastardization of the French term for raspberries, but onto the product itself. I've had this in my possession for a little over a year, but didn't really get into it until this past month. I'm sure I gave it a very fast trial run last year and cast aside before becoming infatuated with acid-laced everything in the last few months. The price tag on this stuff is so not desirable, but the fact is it works. Now, 12% glycolic acid is no joke, so if your skin is at all sensitive, steer clear, but if you mess with acids or retinols on the reg, this will be a great addition to your p.m. routine to prevent pores from clogging and keep skin in check overall (read: hi, smooth texture and brighter tone). Also: as usual, this is your reminder to wear SPF daily when playing with acids like this one. It doesn't have to be a scorcher out there to get sunburned when walking to and from your daily destinations.

Let's square this away right now - have you ever seen brow tools as adorable as these lil cuties in this Chanel brow palette? Teeny, tiny and surprisingly functional! Upon first use, I deemed the powders a little stiff and the pigmentation felt okay; I looked a little closer and recognized that the formula looked akin to the Chanel La Ligne de Chanel Professional Liner Duo, a wet/dry cake liner. I dampened an angled brush and wet a corner of each powder pan and felt like I'd basically unlocked some sort of marvellous secret to good brows. Yes, really. I would liken the wet application of this brow duo to the effect of a brow pen (along the lines of Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour, but less green in undertone). I love the effect of this brow powder when dampened because it's so natural-looking, which is something I felt I'd been struggling with as of late. I feel like I'm going to take a century to use this palette up, so that's certainly a plus when I think about how often I burn through brow products.

I'm not a huge fan of most silicone-based blurring products. This probably stems from my 2005 misadventure of Smashbox Photofinish Primer that usually just left me with a horribly heavy sensation on my skin. I've held most primers at a distance since then, usually relying on sunscreen as a mattifying primer of sorts (Chanel UV Essentiel being my go-to). I received a deluxe sample stick of this product with a Sephora order in March and have been testing it out on occasion after getting past my aversion to silicone-heavy products. What I like about this product is that while this is obviously a silicone-fueled formula, it doesn't feel heavy on the skin. It's really lightweight with oil absorption properties that are helpful through the T-zone. It blurs pores without suffocating skin the way some blurring products can, so I definitely like keeping this stick around for slapdash priming or touch-ups. 

I've been using a half-moon Ecotools brush for setting makeup with loose (Laura Mercier Translucent Powder) or pressed (Rimmel Stay Matte) powder for probably 5 years... until this collection of Featherweight brushes launched at Sephora. This powder brush is massive, reminiscent of Marc Jacobs Beauty's Bronzer Brush #12 in shape and size, but with a marginally friendlier price point. It's incredibly soft on the skin and, like all kickass brushes these days, is 100% synthetic. Washing this beast can be a bit of a concerted effort - when is washing making brushes not? - but it lays down powder beautifully and is a dream for setting makeup, bronzing or blending for a seamless look.

There's been a boatload of hype around this foundation since it launched last fall, but I didn't really explore its potential until recently. The formula is known for being pigmented as hell, with only a dot or two being required for medium to (very!) buildable coverage. After sampling a few shades and getting a feel for the formula, I was impressed with the overall performance. I love that I could add a bit more in areas where I needed it while really sheering it out in areas that I didn't. It's best for combo to oily skin - dry skin needs to be primed to high heaven and/or doused with moisturizer if delving into this foundation, as it can cling to dry patches. Finding a good colour match was a bit of a doozie with the variety of undertones available, but overall, the shade range is geared towards light, medium and medium-deep skintones with a handful of shades for deeper skintones. I find it's best buffed into the skin with a flat-top brush (Sigma F80 is where it's at), but plenty of people love applying this with a beautyblender, so that's always an option for sheering out the coverage. Give it a whirl if you're into switching up how much coverage you want on a regular basis, because this stuff is dope for that exact purpose.
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