The Makeup Box

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Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Radiance foundation and powder

If you’re into prestige skincare, then you are probably no stranger to Shiseido’s Future Solution LX. This is the most expensive line bearing the Shiseido brand (not counting sub-brands like Cle de Peau Beaute of course), and since serum foundations have been all the range in recent years, they’ve finally brought out their own version of one.

Traditionally, foundation is treated as a necessary evil. We are told it clogs pores and causes breakouts, and some people even sell us primers claiming they are made to “protect” our skin from direct contact with foundations.

(That’s complete BS by the way. Primers add extra “slip” to the surface of your skin so your foundations blend and smooth on better instead of grabbing in areas, or they balance out your skin so that your makeup adheres to your skin surface a little better. Some add a bit of mattifying properties, some add hydration. But they mostly contain emollients and silicones; exactly the same things in your foundation - minus the pigments.) 

Well, the new generation of serum foundations are a step up from BB creams. They often contain active ingredients found in skincare ranges, so they have a small ability to treat and protect your skin. And unlike BB creams and tinted moisturizers, they mostly have very decent coverage.

Future Solution LX Total Radiance foundation (S$122) is interesting because unlike other serum foundations, it goes on and sets to a velvety matte finish without taking away any of the radiance of your skin. In fact, the pigments are designed to diffuse light so you look more even, and you have a glow - but not a shine.

Coverage:

The coverage is VERY good. Medium and buildable. Comparable to Revlon Colorstay Whipped Creme makeup - but much lighter feeling on the skin. As you rub it in, the silky emollients sink in and the solvents evaporate, leaving only pigments on the surface, and no feel of makeup on the skin. 

I had no problems building up more coverage where I needed it. If you are lazy to use a separate concealer, just dab a bit more on with your fingers where you need to hide dark circles, etc. 

It’s not high coverage enough to hide a large spot completely though. Just stick with a concealer for that.

Performance:

I saw no oxidation, and the foundation stayed on whole 12-hour days, although I can’t speak for its lasting power on oily skins of course. I would assume it doesn’t last quite as well, although I do believe it would be quite decent. If you have normal, dry or combination skins, this would work pretty well. It’s interesting because for something that looks quite matte, it has so far been able to provide hydration on my dry skin without feeling dewy or smearing off.

Cons:

Price is one thing that would be a problem. It’s not surprising that it’s $122 in Singapore, considering the price of the Future Solution LX skincare range. But this means it’s not really something I’d recommend for every single person.

Another is the jar comes with a seal over the foundation. But once the seal is gone, the foundation is fluid enough that tipping the jar means you will get foundation all under the cap, which can be messy when you uncap it. A plastic inner lid would have been helpful for this formula.

Total Radiance Powder ($102) is another interest product. It’s feathery light and ultra-fine, with no visible texture or color on the skin (the powder itself is a soft beige), but the technology used in the formula promises to balance out the skin visually.

It doesn’t contain the skincare ingredients of the foundation of course, but it has its own bag of tricks.

On dry and dull areas, it reflects light and adds a flattering smoothing effect. On oily areas, it diffuses and redistributes the oil so you “glow” instead of “shine”. This is not one of those ultra-matte powders. It adds a natural looking radiance without any pearl or shimmer. If you want something that is very matte, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

I do recommend using this with a soft face brush or a velour puff rather than the furry puff provided, as those have a tendency to load on too much powder. 

Verdict

Overall, I am very VERY impressed by these 2 products, and I do think they are worth checking out if you have the budget. I don’t usually like matte finish foundations because my skin is dry, but this one is really impressive because it feels SO light and gives such good coverage, without looking like makeup even when you look close-up.

It gives a more perfected finish that Dior Star, and is lighter and more undetectable up-close than Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide, (which doesn’t do quite as well when you try to build up more coverage). But it IS more of a luxury than either of those, so definitely get a sample if you’re interested, and don’t just shell out without testing it. 

Waxy Obsession: Sugar & Spice Gourmet Soy Candles

You might not know if you’re not following me on Dayre, but I’m a fragrance freak. And that includes home fragrance, as well as regular fragrance.

I love candles, and more recently I’ve discovered wickless wax melts, because not all candles smell good when burnt. These you can just pop in a tealight burner and they melt and release scent without touching the flame. Also, often here in Asia, you can sometimes feel like you are squeezing water out of stone trying to find any good bakery scents.

So the only option is buying from online vendors, mostly from the US. There are a handful that I really like, and I can’t claim that these are all the BEST vendors around cos I haven’t tried them all and many don’t ship internationally, but they meet the below criteria:

  1. They ship internationally. Duh.
  2. They are open most of the time. Some vendors are open intermittently, and you have to really stalk their sites and Facebook pages for months to order anything.
  3. They have ready to ship (RTS) items. Many vendors can take weeks or months to process your order. You don’t know when you will receive your order. 
  4. They are responsive and give great customer service. 
  5. They choose good fragrance oils that are compatible with and don’t distort in their wax base. Some oils don’t work well in certain waxes, and you get a metallic or plastic note, or the “bakery” scents take on a weird musky chemical smell.
  6. They have a lot of good original blends in their scent list instead of only selling the generic fragrance oil blends every other vendor has.

Sugar & Spice Gourmet Soy Candles fits all the above criteria, and I haven’t met a bad scent from them yet. It’s not that I like all their scents of course. (There are always some scents we don’t like no matter who makes them.) But I find her wax consistently high-quality and true to their scent names.

Shanna Voss, the owner, is a member of the Veteran Candle Makers Association and has always been very helpful and responsive to questions, and super kind. Her tarts throw well and are concentrated, but she doesn’t overload her wax to the point where the oils seep out and make a mess.

I melt these in my work room and sometimes the dining area or bedroom, but I’ve always been able to get away with a 1/4 of the tart. They always smell really good. Throwing the whole thing in the warmer in my apartment will probably be scent overload.

image

The scents I’ve tried from her all smell clean and true to my noise. Clean in the sense the wax doesn’t have an after-smell that changes or interferes with the fragrance. And true in the sense that if she says it’s an apple, it smells like a fresh apple, not apple juice. If she says it’s marshmallow, it smells like marshmallow, not a generic vanilla. If she says lemon, it doesn’t smell like lemon cleaning liquid.

Plus, she’s generous with her samples and it’s always fun getting mystery tarts and guessing what scents are mixed in the cups.

I have a huge order that I’m shipping to my hotel when I get to the States and there are a lot I haven’t tried but my current faves from her are:

1. Ghost Munch - caramel apple and  candy corn mostly, with some creamy bready notes

2. Marshmallow Fireside (a BBW dupe) - a sweet and smoky blend of ashy wood and sugary marshmallow

3. Macintosh Apple - exactly what it says; super fresh

4. Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cake - I received this as a sample and didn’t think I’d like it but OMG, it is good

5. Latte and Sugar Cookies - are you kidding? How can creamy latte and sugar cookies not smell good together?

6. Grapefruit and Mangosteen - fresh and mouthwatering… 

7. Red Velvet Cake - she has one of the better Red Velvets I’ve tried. It’s a nice moist buttery red velvet with a buttercream; not plastic, not fake, not too heavy on the buttercream

Some other good ones I am planning to try cos I’ve heard great stuff:

1. Zucchini Bread

2. Vanilla Sugar Waffle Cone

3. Blue Ribbon Cookies

4. Amazing Grace (a Philosophy dupe)

5. Peppermint Noel 

She isn’t the cheapest vendor around but better a slightly more expensive tart than one that smells like cheap dollar-store candles. When you get around to ordering larger bags her prices are competitive. 

My recommendation is to buy the 1.5oz tart cups first (I just checked her site and seems she’s sold out of ready-to-ship tarts at the moment) and then when you find a favorite, order the $16 tart crumbles in the 16oz bakers’ bags (they’re really chunks not little crumbles). Those last for a long time.

Swatch-Fest! Urban Decay Holiday 2014 Eyeshadow Palettes

Thought I should do this quickly before I went off on my vacation the last 2 weeks of October. (Traveling to SF and LA actually!)

The new Urban Decay Vice 3 palette, Naked 2 Basics, as well as the Shadow Box will be launched in Sephoras island-wide (Singapore) on 30 October, so this might give you an idea about which ones you’re going to save up for.

I can tell you Urban Decay’s shadows are all consistently high-quality. Not a 100% hit-rate but there are always very few duds.

Vice 3

A lot of people have been waiting impatiently for this one.

And it’s not a disappointment. For those who are new to colors, Vice 1 and 2 can be a bit intimidating. This one may seem so at first, but I’ll give you a quick trick. Just look at each column as a 4-shade palette. There are actually 3 neutral palettes in there, and 2 color palettes. All in the usual smooth pigmented formula. VERY worth the investment if you think about the fact that you get 20 new colors (each weigh a little more than half a MAC shadow at 0.8g). 

That’s 10 full size shadows. 

If that’s a little too overwhelming for you, or you just want something more compact and portable, you might want to check out The Shadow Box.

Shadow Box

This is 2014’s successor to the classic Ammo Palette. In it are 12 of UD’s regular shades. I do have to point out one dud in the collection; the matte black called Blackout isn’t the smoothest or most pigmented, but then the other 11 shades are gorgeous. 

This is a small cardboard package with 12 x 0.5g of product, which is 4 full-size MAC shadows (sorry - MAC shadows are the easiest reference cos most people more or less know their size and value).

Naked 2 Basics

Ahh… one for the neutral lovers.

Let’s face it. Matte shadows are tricky. But UD does a brilliant job at creating matte shadows that are very silky and blendable.

I love the Naked 2 Basics a heck of a lot more than the first Naked Basics which - I’ll be honest and say - has too many pale beige shades, whereas this has a better and more flattering mix of light to deep in different undertones. In my opinion anyway.

Great for beginners and those who are looking for a hard-working neutral palette or just love the velvety texture and finish of matte shadows in general.

Are you eyeing any of these in particular?

Meet Laura Mercier Global Makeup Artist Michel Coulombe in Singapore!

The very suave Michel Coulombe is in town, and if you could use a few tips on applying your base flawlessly, and learning a few tricks to bringing out your facial structure and features (couldn’t we all), you can sign up for makeup workshops to learn how the pros at Laura Mercier do it.

Michel will be running a series of workshops at Takashimaya S.C. this coming weekend, and you can sign up for group sessions or a more intimate one-on-one consultation. 

11 Oct 2014

Takashimaya MBB

Group workshops with Michel Coulombe (Laura Mercier Global Artist)

1pm3pm5.30pm7.30pm

12 Oct 2014

Takashimaya MBB

One-on-One with Michel Coulombe (Laura Mercier Global Artist)

1-hr sessions available from 10.30am – 6.30pm

To check on available slots and details, call: 6235-2786

Registration fee is $80 per person, and attendees receive a doorgift including a free full-size Caviar Eye Stick. But if you quote “makeupbox”, you get a 1-for-1 deal so you and a friend (or mommy) can attend a workshop together for free.

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide makeup

Laura Mercier - both the artist and the brand - is obsessed with perfecting the skin. Laura’s been responsible for making A-listers like Madonna, the original Supermodels, and scores of Hollywood stars like Julia Roberts and SJP look like they have naturally flawless skin on camera.

The brand made its name over a decade ago with products like tinted moisturizers, foundation primers, and that cult-favorite two-toned blemish concealer, Secret Camouflage. Long before other brands jumped on the bandwagon and these things became so mainstream.

So every time they launch a new base product, you can be sure I sit up and take note. Their latest foundation offering is Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide, a bi-phase lightweight liquid that has the texture of Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, the coverage of Make Up For Ever HD, the luminously matte, pore-minimizing finish of Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Radiance, all rolled into one. 

Texture and Coverage:

You can see in the texture shot above that it is very liquid and runny, but when you spread it out, you get a smooth and pigmented layer of coverage all over the surface of your skin.

This is a medium coverage foundation that is slightly buildable. You can use this with a sponge for lighter coverage or build up with your fingers for slightly more coverage where you need.

This already has good enough coverage to hide discolorations and even out the skin, but if you need more coverage use concealer, don’t keep layering on more and more foundation even though this is quite natural looking.

Finish and Wear:

This is an oil-free formula.

The product sets to a velvety finish. Meaning it is matte, but not powdery-matte (use a powder foundation if you want that). If you have normal to slightly dry skin, you can skip powder. 

A number of the latest-generation foundations share this very impressive texture; they feel weightless, look non-shiny but not flat, so you just look like you have very clean skin.

The bi-phase formula really sets and locks into place. Even though Laura Mercier doesn’t claim that this is a long-wear foundation, I wore it out for a 12-hour day and it stayed put without streaking or oxidizing in the heat and humidity, and I’ve also heard from people with oilier skins saying it worked very well for them. 

Recommended for:

Moderately Oily to Slightly Dry skins that need coverage for unevenness. It felt fine for me but if you are dry and live in a dry climate, this might not have sufficient moisture to stay fresh-looking all day.

I might not recommend this for extremely oily skins either, unless you have a heavy-duty oil-absorbing primer, even though I’m hearing from many people that it works very well for them. It’s just that it isn’t designed specifically as a long-wear foundation for extremely oily skins, so while it might actually work ok, I hesitate to suggest this as the best option now until I hear more feedback from you guys.

Another group of people I’d suggest this for would actually be brides!

If you have a skin type that falls between the 2 mentioned above, and need something that will stay put and look good, but not heavy and thick, grab a sample and give this a try. It doesn’t contain SPF so it will not flash back in photos. And it looks very natural as long as you get a good color match.

Cons

You need to shake the bottle. A LOT. The pigments will settle and separate from the liquid solvent, so if you don’t shake for almost a minute the first time you use it, you might get a trickle of runny silicone-y fluid when you squeeze.

Also the bottle is prone to “spouting”. Make sure you tap the bottle with the nozzle pointing up, and squeeze the sides slightly to get the air bubbles up to the tip before you open, or you could have a lot of foundation streaming out of the nozzle once you uncap it.

Lastly, this can settle in lines if you apply it thickly in areas where you have more creases or expressions (eye area and sides of nose). I recommend sticking with a light layer around those areas and just using the appropriate concealer to cover flaws.

Pricing and Availability

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide retails in Singapore for S$75 and is available in 10 shades at all counters island-wide.

P.S. Laura Mercier Global Makeup Artist Michel Coulombe is in Singapore for a few weeks so if you are keen to attend a workshop (11 Oct) or have a one-on-one session with him (12 Oct) so he can give you a lesson on applying the perfect base and enhancing your facial features, check the post after this.

Makeupbox readers get a 2-for-1 on the registration fee!

Diorskin Star Foundation Review

Dior’s latest foundation. Star, promises to provide a “professional lighting” effect on the face so your imperfections are masked and your contours look more sculpted. 

Like many of the latest-generation illuminating foundations, Star creates a glow without being shimmery or dewy, which is good for people with slightly oilier skins. 

Texture

Satin finish; feels matte and diffuses light so your pores look smaller, but it still leaves a smooth glow on the skin, like clean skin. 

Fluid and lighter in texture than Diorskin Nude, although the satin finish is slightly similar. Diorskin Nude is a bit fluffier and thicker in feel.

TIP: This foundation is very fluid and easy to apply, but it sets fast so blend quickly and make sure your brush or sponge is slightly damp.

Coverage

Medium-buildable; sheer if you use a sponge. This covers discolorations and even some of my dark circles and the best thing is that even after it is built up a bit, it still looks like skin and doesn’t feel tacky.

TIP: You can use a finger to pat on more where you need, without it looking cakey.

Lasting Power

This did not oxidize on me at all, and it lasts through my 10-12 hour days pretty well, although it does fade a bit after about 8 hours, and sooner if you’re out and about sweating up a storm.

I still don’t consider this the best foundation if you have very oily or very dry skin, but if you are combination, normal or slightly dry, this would be good. 

Other Things To Note

I did hear from a couple of people that this dried up on their skin and started looking patchy after awhile. I have dry skin and that never happened on me though.

My guess is this foundation doesn’t work with all primers or skin products. I use it with Laura Mercier’s Protect Primer with SPF30 or over my Guerlain Super Aqua Gel Creme and it’s never given me a problem, so I can’t begin to explain why the formula might be seizing up on some people. 

Verdict?

I really like this foundation as a good basic formula for slightly oily to combination and normal skin, who need a lasting foundation that isn’t powdery, heavy, or overly-matte. This does a good job of staying consistent-looking for hours (i.e. it has a smooth satiny look all the way through, instead of going on matte and then looking shiny after a few hours).

But I don’t see any sculpting effect at all. You’ll need contouring powder and a lighting crew for that. That one strange claim aside, I think it’s a great daily foundation and you like the look of Diorskin Nude foundation but find it too moisturizing, or you just want something a bit lighter feeling, try Star.

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