foundation

Review: Classified Cosmetics ERA FACE Spray On Foundation

… the best thing to come out of a can since Easy-Cheese.

I admit that I was slightly terrified by the spray foundation concept. It just seemed like there was so much that could go wrong. Like Homer Simpson’s makeup gun invention:

Homer: Now, this next one’s for the ladies. How many times have you gals been late for a high-powered business meeting, only to realize you’re not wearing make-up?

Marge: That’s every woman’s nightmare.

Homer: That’s why I invented this revolutionary make-up gun. It’s for the woman who only has four-fifths of a second to get ready. Close your eyes, Marge.

[Homer fires the make-up gun, which appears to be a shotgun with some containers of liquid attached, into Marge's face. After the cloud of dust vanishes, she ends up with way too much on]

Homer: Now you’re ready for a night on the town. [holds up a mirror]

Marge: [gasps] Homer! You’ve got it set on “whore!”

Homer: [adjusts a setting] Okay, this time try to keep your nostrils closed.

[Homer points the gun at her, but she pushes it away from her face. A vaguely face-shaped blotch of make-up stains the wall]

Homer: Oh, look what you did. Now I have to go get my cold-cream gun.

Lisa: Dad, women won’t like being shot in the face.

Homer: Women will like what I tell them to like!

(script excerpt via wrongtown; image via goulcher)

 

Well, fortunately, this product performs somewhat better than that. Actually, a great deal better than that.

When push comes to shove, I’m not entirely sure there’s all that much difference between spray and liquid foundation. The directions for ERA say to shake well (*really* well), then to hold the can about 8 inches from your face and apply in an S pattern: across the forehead, diagonally down across the nose and the center of your face, and then round your chin up to the other side. Then they tell you you are supposed to buff it into the skin in order to set it and make it water-resistant. (I’ve tried buffing with a BeautyBlender and with my fingers, and I think that my fingers give slightly better coverage since they don’t absorb any of the foundation. I’ll try a brush also and see what happens.) So in other words, it’s not the spray equivalent of “set it and forget it.” If you have ever been inside a spray tan booth, well, this is NOT like that. In a spray tan booth, because there are multiple jets shooting a very fine mist, you get even coverage in a pretty foolproof way. Spray foundation is not yet so foolproof. The more you do it, the easier it will be, but the first time I did it I was decidedly blotchy. There is definitely a learning curve! If you don’t want to spray it directly onto your face, you can spray it into your palm or some other container and then apply with a brush, so it becomes exactly like a liquid foundation.

The product is oil-free and easily wipes off of eyebrows and hair (though they do advise that you cover your hair with something before use; I’ve never done this and haven’t had any trouble yet). They also advise that you can leave the foundation that landed on your closed eyelids as an eyelid primer (you will want to buff out any irregular patches that came from squinching your eyelids shut) and any that ended up on your lips as a lip primer. If you don’t wipe it off your lips right away, it will act as a nude lip primer whether you want it to or not, just so you know. I’m wearing it today, and it made my orange lip gloss almost colorless on my lips. It’s since worn off, after eating and drinking, but I was surprised by exactly how opaque it was on my lips.

In terms of weartime, it starts to look a little faded after about 5 or 6 hours. I haven’t yet worn it on a day when I had to be on display from dawn to dusk, so I don’t know about its extended wear. Coverage is medium. One day I would like to see if I can build it up to full coverage by putting it on, letting the first layer set, and then applying a second layer.

One of the things I’m most impressed with, though, is its shade matching. Most foundations are too yellow on me (second verse, same as the first), but this one is great. There are 10 shades, and there is a helpful “automatch” feature on the site that will allow you to tell it what color you are in another brand’s foundation and it will find you the corresponding ERA shade. Mine is R2 (“pale, light, rose-undertoned skin”) and I’m an NW20 in MAC. It blends perfectly. Seamlessly. Flawlessly. Wait till you see the hand swatches!

ERA will set you back $55, which is not cheap; however, you do get 2.25 oz of product for the money, and since most foundations come in 1 or 1.7-oz. containers, it’s a better bargain than it may first appear. So long as you like it, of course. I got mine at half off through a Good Morning America promotion, which made it considerably less painful for my removable wallet.

Photos and swatches!

Impressive height, eh? Unfortunately, half of it’s just lid. Why? I don’t know. Here’s how it really looks:

 

Hand swatch — when first applied, very wet:

During the blending/drying process:

After product has been fully blended and is dry:

 

You can’t even tell I have it on. Pretty darn awesome.

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ERA FACE Spray On Foundation: $55 for 2.25 oz.

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair.

Purchase again? At full price? Mmmmmaybe. I’m not sorry to have tried it, though, and I’ll definitely use it up.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)


 

 

Review: BareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation

Part of the ongoing Foxalicious Fundamentals: Foundation series!

By now, of course, BareMinerals is the grandmama of mineral foundations.

“Back in my day, we didn’t have mineral foundations. If we wanted to have minerals on our faces, we’d go roll around in the dirt!”

“Back in my day, we didn’t have these hoity-toity kabuki brushes. If you couldn’t put it on with a trowel, we didn’t want it!”

“Back in my day, we didn’t have swirl, tap, and buff. Stop, drop, and roll was good enough for us!”

Since then, other mineral makeup companies have come on the scene, each with their own twist on the idea (talc-free, bismuth-free, organic, fair-trade, genetically enhanced, and what-have-you). But unless you have sensitivities to certain minerals, BareMinerals is still an excellent choice for a mineral powder foundation. This is particularly true for their most recent offering, a matte SPF 15 powder foundation.

The original, more “dewy” BareMinerals foundation is still available, but I always found it to be a touch too oily for me. I know it seems weird that a powder can produce an oily effect, but nevertheless. Because the foundation left skin with a slight shine or “glow,” BareMinerals also developed and offered Mineral Veil, a mostly translucent matte setting powder that would reduce the shine left from the foundation and leave a soft-focus finish.

Now that there’s a new matte SPF 15 version out, I thought I would pick some up to try as a summer foundation. I’m pleased to report that although shade selection can be surprisingly difficult — given how many shades there are, you’d think that everyone would fit neatly into one category or another, but no such luck — the texture and wearlength of the product are quite good and I think this will work very well a a summer powder foundation.

For my NW20 skin, I had a hard time finding the right color match, since most of the shades lean a bit more yellow than I can comfortably wear. So (as often happens) I ended up buying two shades and mixing them together: “Fair” and “Medium.” I chose these shades after some pretty extensive swatching at the store; I’m pretty sure that by the time I left, both of my arms were totally covered with slightly mottled shades of pink, yellow, and beige.

The powder is milled much more finely than my favorite drugstore mineral makeup brand (L’Oreal Bare Naturale), so it both feels smoother on the face and is easier to apply to moisturized skin without globs of powder sticking to where the brush first hits your skin and then being impossible to remove afterwards. I always wear it over a well-moisturized face, and I don’t find it drying, which I was worried about. It lasts well and removes easily at the end of the day.

I also have to note a major improvement in their packaging: the jar’s traditional sifter top now features a rotating window, which you can turn when not in use so that the product doesn’t sift itself out of the sifter top and then get all over your hands when you unwittingly open it up the next time. Little protrusions in the underside of the rotating top also line up with the sifter holes to prevent leakage of product between the two layers of plastic. This is a great improvement!

All told, this gets a thumbs-up from me if you like mineral powder foundations but didn’t like the dewiness of the original formulation. Some people are allergic to certain minerals, though — bismuth is a prime culprit — so you may want to see if you can get a sample via Sephora or (as one of our regulars recently reminded me) pick up a few samples from eBay to test for both color and skin sensitivity.

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BareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Foundation: $28

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good. If you have to buy two and mix them, I’d wait for a sale.

Purchase again? Probably.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: MAC Mineralize SPF 15 Foundation (Cream)

Part of the ongoing Foxalicious Fundamentals: Foundation series!

It’s kind of unfair, I suppose, to lead off with the foundation I’m liking the most at the moment, but there it is. I have been on a little bit of a MAC kick lately, I admit; I never used to buy MAC products (I’m not a big fan of ultra-hype and teenage fangirls), but since I started picking them up at my local-ish CCO, where you can play with the products in a quiet environment without being surrounded by rock music, black-clad hipsters, and a sales-pressure atmosphere, I’ve come to like them enough to actually deal with the in-store annoyances, so now I’m trying out a bunch of their products. Don’t worry, this is not going to become a MAC-fangirl blog; there are plenty of things I still don’t like about them, such as the fact that they seem to be putting out a new “collection” about every two weeks, many of which are merely repackaging of existing permanent items, and … well, no need to go on a tirade.

Regardless of your opinions on their music, hipsters, and sales atmosphere, MAC has established a major footprint in an incredibly important but previously underappreciated corner of the market: skin tone typing for the purpose of buying foundation. They have a system of identifying both the lightness/darkness and pink/yellow tendencies of your skin that has become a universal language in discussing foundations (both their own and those of other companies) and other products. Example: “If I’m an NC35 in MAC, what shade would I be in Revlon PhotoReady?” or “I’m an NW15; should I be wearing warm or cool brown eyeshadows?”

So if nothing else, it’s definitely worth it to stop by your local MAC store or counter (in many department stores) and get color-matched, so that you know your MAC number. There are two parts to the system: letters and numbers. The numbers are fairly intuitive, with the lower ones for paler skin and the higher ones for darker skin, and they range from 15 to 55. The letters indicate whether you are warmer- or cooler-toned, and this is a little more confusing for many people. In the rest of the world, if you have yellow undertones to your skin, you are considered to be “warm.” If you have pink undertones, you are considered to be “cool.” The MAC system is the reverse; it’s based on an artist’s color wheel, in which red-pink is a warmer color than yellow-olive. So, skin with pink undertones is “warm” and skin with yellow/olive undertones is “cool.” Skin tones are indicated by letters thusly:

NW: pinker skin

NC: yellower skin

There are also just plain N’s and C’s, but most people will end up being an NW or an NC. As all skin tones have some yellow in them, there is no plain “W” foundation shade, since no one is all pink and no yellow. If it helps, you can think of an NW as Not Warm, and an NC as Not Cool, if you want to keep your definitions of “warm” and “cool” consistent.

I am light-skinned with a complexion that tilts just slightly towards pink. I am an NW20.

Once you know your shade, you can also match it to MAC concealers and powders, since they follow the same typing system, and you can use it to figure out a comparable shade in other foundation lines. (I guarantee you that if you go to Sephora and say, “I’m an NW20 in MAC; can you recommend an appropriate shade in NARS?” they will be able to tell you, even though Sephora does not sell MAC products.)

So. On to the actual product! The Mineralize SPF 15 Foundation is a cream foundation that is one of MAC’s newer products. It comes with a little applicator pad, but like most applicators that come packaged with cosmetics products, this can be deposited directly into the trash. I apply with a foundation brush, over primer (I’m still using Too Faced’s Primed and Poreless facial primer), and blend the areas around my nose, inner eye, etc., with my fingers. It provides a medium to medium-full level of coverage, which is great for me. I can add extra coverage of blemishes or random skin flaws with concealer, and it’s significantly reduced the amount of undereye concealer I need to use. To set the foundation, I use a light buffing of MUFE HD powder.

This foundation does last all day on me, although by the end of the evening I can see some dry patches. This is the most moisturizing of the MAC foundations I tried, and I do moisturize well before application, so I’m not sure what could be done to lessen the effect. But because I only become dry at the very end of the evening, I’m not disappointed with the results. Some people do report that MAC foundations break them out, but I haven’t had any trouble with this. It removes cleanly with my Clarisonic, cleanser, and toner. There is usually a tiny bit of color on the cotton ball when I’m done with the toner, so it doesn’t quite all come off with the Clarisonic, but the toner does take off the remainder. I have also slept in it (do not tell the makeup police) and I haven’t had any trouble. I don’t recommend sleeping in makeup, but everyone falls off the wagon now and then.

Swatch, showing color at its most concentrated at left, then blending out to meet skin tone. (Remember that your/my arm is not the same skin tone as your/my face, too, so colors may appear a bit different.)

Links:

Foxalicious Fundamentals — Foundation 101

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MAC Mineralize SPF 15 Foundation (cream): $32.00 (By the way, MAC foundation swatches on the website are not very reliable color-wise. If you know your number, just go with that and don’t worry about what the swatch looks like. They’re pretty bad.)

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair, but we’ll see how long it lasts. I may have to come back and revise that.

Purchase again? Surely.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)


Foxalicious Fundamentals: Foundation 101

Ah, foundation. Agony, ecstasy, blessing, curse, best of times, worst of times, FTW, FAIL.

(FTW is “for the win,” for those of you who aren’t up on your Lolcats terminology.)

I think that for some women, “foundation” is what they think of when they think of makeup. “I don’t wear makeup” often means “I don’t wear foundation.” And a lot of women who “don’t wear makeup” are resistant to foundations because they perceive that it will be fake-looking, or heavy, or chalky, or oily, or drying, or the wrong shade, or will wear off, melt off, slide off, or rub off, or, conversely, that they will have to scrub it off, peel it off, or chip it off with a hammer and chisel.

Guess what? All of those things could happen! But they won’t, since you’re going to do a lot of trying before buying and familiarizing yourself with different brands, formulations, and tools.

Do I really need to wear a foundation?

Almost everyone benefits from some sort of allover product to even out facial skin tone. It can be as sheer as a tinted moisturizer or powder (which will also be part of this series), or as full-coverage as a stick foundation or cream. Even within one kind of formulation, there will be a variety of degrees of coverage and moisturization: although in general creams are thicker than liquids, in practice you may well find some creams that blend out very sheerly on the face and some liquids that grab the skin and hang on for dear life. This is why testing is required!

Many foundations today also come with SPF ingredients, some with SPF ratings as high as 50. While a standalone sunscreen is always a good idea, a little bit of extra protection in a foundation can’t hurt (unless, of course, you’re allergic or sensitive to some of the sunscreen ingredients).

I just don’t want to feel like I’m putting on my mother’s makeup!

Foundations have come a long, long way since your mother wore them. Most of them are now so finely formulated that you can’t feel them on your face, so you won’t have the feeling you’re wearing a mask or that your skin is getting stretched or dried. (If you do, you have the wrong foundation.) The best cover up minor imperfections (redness, minor acne scars, unevenness of tone) while also giving you a slightly dewy, glowing, satiny canvas on which to apply other products. The very very matte look is out, so if you are dry-skinned, stay away from the mattifying foundations. Oily-skinned folks can find foundations that absorb oil without turning your face into a clay mask, and all skin types can find products to give them a “MSBB” (My Skin But Better) natural radiance.

Foundations scare me. When you put on foundation, you cross the line between looking “natural” and looking “made-up.”

Not necessarily. And you don’t have to use foundation on your whole face. If you have redness on your nose and cheeks, but the rest of your skin is glowy and fabulous all by itself, then just apply it where you need it and blend it out.

Isn’t it goopy and a pain to apply? Don’t you have to be “good at makeup” to do it right? What if I do it wrong?

It’s not really about technique per se, although of course there are helpful tips and tricks. You have to figure out what tools you need for the foundation you have, and learn how to use them, that’s all. Powder foundations will obviously require a brush of some sort. Liquid foundations can be applied with your fingers (goopiest method), with a sponge (less goopy, but the sponge eats a lot of the foundation), or with a brush (least goopy, but often requires you to go over it afterwards with fingers or sponge and blend out the edges). Same for creams. Stick foundations are usually applied directly to the face and then blended out with a brush or sponge, but those are also usually for more oily skin types, which take better to that kind of application method than dry skins do.

I’ll talk about specific tools when I get to particular types of foundations.

I don’t want to be one of those people with a visible makeup line at her neck.

OK, so don’t be. Ensuring that this doesn’t happen has two parts: 1. (most important) Make sure you have the right color foundation! and 2.) always blend over the jawline and into the neck to be sure you don’t have a line. See? Easy peasy.

Is it going to cost me an arm and a leg?

Foundations come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and costs. There are a few good drugstore foundations. There are many good mid-range foundations. There are also many high-end foundations, some of which are great and some of which are not worth the car payment it takes to buy them.

Over the next several weeks I’m going to be reviewing several different foundations for you. I’ve already done the L’Oreal Bare Naturale powder mineral foundation, but I have some liquids, creams, and tinted moisturizers to review. My dry skin has not done well with stick foundations in the past, so I don’t own any, but if any of you Vixens have experience with stick foundations you’d like to share, I’m all ears.

So, stay tuned! Further fundamental foundation foxaliciousness to come!