Foundation Clumping Science, and How to Fix It (with Video)

Foundation Compatibility (with Video)

You might’ve had the experience where you apply your foundation over primer/moisturiser/sunscreen etc., and then a little while later your foundation’s gone clumpy. This is foundation incompatilibility. What’s happening, and what can you do to avoid it? Let’s talk about the science behind foundation! [Note: I would recommend watching the video in addition to reading the post, if you’re usually …

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Skincare Favourites 2018 (Empties Video)

Skincare Favourites Video

Videos are coming thick and fast as I try to get rid of all the old ones with my old background! This time I review my favourite skincare products from 2018 that I liked enough to finish using, along with one foundation. Click here to watch the video. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. …

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Foundation Reviews: The Ordinary, Lancôme, Thin Lizzy

Foundation Reviews: The Ordinary, Lancôme, Thin Lizzy

Here are some reviews of foundations I’ve tried from The Ordinary, Lancome and Thin Lizzy. I actually tried them a while ago but never got around to posting about them until now! For reference, my skin is NC20 and combination oily/normal. The Ordinary Colours: Coverage and Serum Coverage and Serum are The Ordinary’s foray into make-up, and like the rest of …

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Foundation Reviews: Shu Uemura, Designer Brands, The Body Shop

Foundation Reviews: Shu Uemura, Designer Brands, The Body Shop

I’ve tried out some more foundations since my last set of foundation reviews. The foundations I’m reviewing here are Shu Uemura Lightbulb Essence Foundation, Designer Brands Luminous Hydrating Foundation and The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation.

A quick recap of my key requirements:

  • Shade: I’m quite yellow – slightly yellower than NC25 in MAC – so most foundation ranges end up pinker than I’d like.
  • Application: I use a damp sponge, and because I’m not that skilled and pretty lazy, I like my foundations to apply nicely with minimal effort.
  • Longevity: My oily skin makes most foundations slide around over the course of the day, so anything that lasts decently well is amazing.

Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Essence Foundation

Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Essence Foundation ($85 for 30 mL) arrived just as I ran out of Face Architect, which I’ve reviewed before (I never use up foundations, so this is a massive testament to how much of a HG this was for me… also a testament to how much foundation my makeup sponge eats up!). Lightbulb Essence foundation (not to be confused with the older Lightbulb Foundation) is full of skincare oils (primarily camellia seed, ginger and rice nuka oils) and acts as a sort of highly tinted facial oil. I was initially skeptical since I’m oily asf, but it gave me a fantastic glow over winter, though it tended to move around a bit over the course of the day. I’m skeptical that it’ll work in summer. I’m also a big fan of the colour range: 764 Medium Light Beige is great on me.

Foundation Reviews: Shu Uemura, Designer Brands, The Body Shop

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Foundation reviews: Shu Uemura, Estee Lauder, Bourjois, Innoxa

Foundation reviews: Shu Uemura, Estee Lauder, Bourjois, Innoxa

I’ve recently been trying out some new foundations (new for me at least), and decided it was time to share my thoughts on them. Because everyone looks for different things in foundations, here’s my criteria so you know where I’m coming from:

Shade: I want a shade that suits my skin, of course. I’m NC25 in MAC, and on the yellow side of that, so often the standard shades of foundation run a little pink on me, which is OK if it gives a perfect finish but looks a little streaky otherwise. I often use Ben Nye Banana Powder to try to counteract the pink, but it’s much easier just to get it right the first time.

Application: I’ve favoured brushes and fingers over the years, but I’ve given them up in favour of an old-school damp sponge. This gives me the smoothest finish, and helps reduce the caking up that can happen around any dry patches. My favourite shape is the house shape because it’s easy to control – it acts a bit like a fat finger (I picked this tip up from a Shu Uemura makeover I did a while ago). I’m also usually in a rush in the mornings, so applying evenly with minimal effort is non-negotiable.

Coverage: My skin is pretty decent most of the time thanks to my obsessive skincare routine, so I’m OK with any level of coverage.
Finish: I have oily skin so I prefer finishes that look slightly dewy on oily skin (i.e. matte finish on everyone else). Like everyone else, I hate cakey.

Longevity: I generally apply makeup in the morning and don’t do any touchups during the day, so ideally I’d need it to last for 10 hours. I often exercise after work as well, so if it lasts through that it gets bonus points, though I don’t generally expect it to!

Packaging: I love nice packaging, but for foundation, all I need is something that isn’t a pain to use.

Scent: I’m partial to a nice scent, but I can handle one I don’t love as long as it doesn’t linger for long.

Foundation reviews: Shu Uemura, Estee Lauder, Bourjois, Innoxa

The four foundations I’m reviewing in this post are Shu Uemura Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation, Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation and Innoxa EverLast Longwear Foundation. Here’s what I thought:

Shu Uemura Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation

Shu Uemura Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation (Amazon), was my first Shu Uemura product. I picked it up after getting a makeover done at a Shu counter (the one where I learned the damp fat finger sponge technique), and I’m not sure why I’ve never tried the brand before. Since it’s an Asian brand (albeit owned by giant multinational L’Oreal), the foundations in particular cater to Asian skin tones. It’s SPF 18 PA ++ if you’re curious, but I never rely on my foundation for sun protection since we don’t wear enough for real protection.

Retail Price: $70 AUD for 30 mL

Shade: There are 17 shades available. The shade 764 Medium Light Beige is perfect for my NC25 skin.

Application: Great with a damp sponge, but it’s also pretty good with the fingers which is a bonus!

Coverage: Face Architect has sheer to medium coverage which is great for making your skin look just a bit nicer on good skin days, but it’s quite buildable as well if your skin’s misbehaving.

Finish: The finish of this foundation is matte, but on oily skin it ends up looking slightly dewy – I don’t think it works so well on dry skin.

Longevity: It’s pretty good, especially for a foundation that doesn’t tout itself as longwear – at the end of the workday (10-ish hours post-application) my face starts looking a little patchy.

Packaging: Standard glass bottle with pump top. It’s easy to control how much to dispense.

Scent: Very faint generic floral scent, pretty non-existent.

I was using this in my every day routine for a solid 3 months before I started testing out other foundations, so it’s definitely working well for me! This is a holy grail foundation for lots of oily-skinned people. I’ve heard rumours that it’s been discontinued. Boo! Hopefully Shu Uemura replace it with a comparable product soon. Unfortunately, it does end up a little pricey for the coverage, but it looks fantastic on.

Ingredients: Sea Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Talc, Phenyl Trimethicone, Barium Sulfate, PEG-8, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-20, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Acetylated Glycol Stearate, Dipropylene Glycol, Algae Extract, Porphyridium/Zinc Ferment, Sorbitol, Magnesium Sulfate, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Lauroyl Lysine, Aluminum Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup

Estee Lauder Double Wear (Amazon) is a cult product that I’d never gotten around to trying until recently. I’ve had so many people tell me this is amazing, including some makeup artists, so I was ready to be either disappointed or suitably impressed. Turns out it was the latter!

Retail Price: $54 AUD for 30 mL

Shade: There are 21 shades available in Australia, 38 in the US. The first time I got matched to a Fresco that was way too pink, but the second time around I got a great match in 2N1 Desert Beige. There are a few very dark colours in this range as well.

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Hylamide review: HA Blur, SubQ, Pore Control & Delete and Photography Foundation

Hylamide review: HA Blur, SubQ, Pore Control & Delete and Photography Foundation

Hylamide review: HA Blur, SubQ, Pore Control & Delete and Photography Foundation

Last week I reviewed NIOD – this week I’m reviewing some products from Hylamide, another brand under the Deciem umbrella. Hylamide is a bit less pricey than NIOD, but researching the ingredients in these products was possibly more of a mammoth task than for NIOD. While NIOD tends to have more “silver bullet”, one-ingredient products, Hylamide formulas have a greater range of actives which act together to accomplish the same goal. The products I tried were SubQ Anti-Age Serum, Pore Control, HA Blur, Pore Delete and Photography Foundation.

SubQ Anti-Age Serum

SubQ Anti-Age Serum ($59.95 AUD for 30 mL) is a hydrating treatment that targets lines, wrinkles and skin texture. It contains 5 types of hyaluronic acid and a handful of peptides. Unfortunately, most of the actives don’t have independent studies, so it’s difficult to say how effective they are, but here are the claims:

  • Copper lysinate/prolinate: should help copper ions enter the skin, where it’s used in collagen production.
  • Nonapeptide-3 retino-complex: a peptide/retinol combo that’s supposed to work as well as retinol with less irritation.
  • Palmitoyl tripeptide-38: Hylamide calls this an “advanced form of Matrixyl”, a popular anti-aging peptide that can reduce the appearance of lines and even out skin texture.
  • Hyaluronic acid: non-animal-origin, two forms of very-low-molecular hyaluronic complex, a novel hyaluronic acid precursor, tamarind-derived plant hyaluronic form. I’m not entirely sure what they all are, but it sounds like they’d all act as water-holding humectants that can hydrate skin at various depths, much like the awesomely hydrating hyaluronic acid products from For Beloved One.

SubQ comes in a dropper bottle which I quite liked. It smells a little weird (like very weak beer, probably from the hydrolysed yeast extract) but it’s unnoticeable after a few minutes. The serum sinks into skin very quickly, and would be suitable to use during the day (though I only used it at night). I could definitely feel the increased hydration while using this product – my cheeks were plump and bouncy and smooth in the morning.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3, Copper Lysinate/Prolinate, Methylglucoside Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Polyglucuronic Acid, Lactobacillus/ Eriodictyon Californicum Ferment Extract, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Phospholipids, Lecithin, Salicylic Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Pore Control Booster

Pore Control Booster ($29.95 AUD for 30 mL) is a serum that’s designed to reduce oil and pores. However, instead of drying out the skin like you’d normally expect, it’s actually designed to increase skin hydration, using actives to decrease the appearance of pores and sebum instead.

Again, there’s the problem where the active ingredients aren’t substantiated by independent studies. The actives Pore Control contains are:

  • Bitter mushroom concentrate: causes pores to be less visible in number and size
  • Marine ferments: balance out shiny appearance without drying out skin
  • Pistacia lentiscus tree resin: skin looks and feels more “pure”
  • Surface balance peptides: improve skin texture without skine
  • Zinc PCA, niacinamide and panthenol: reduces shine and sebum

The best supported ingredient here is niacinamide, which has been found to reduce sebum and pore size in a few studies, though it’s far from a sure bet. Niacinamide has a whole host of benefits apart from sebum and pore reduction, and it’s ingredient number 3 in this product, so if nothing else, this is a great niacinamide serum. I didn’t notice a huge reduction in pores or sebum while using this, but my skin is quite hydrated and healthy otherwise so I’m not sure there’s much that can be done. It works really well under sunscreen and makeup, so if you’re after a daytime niacinamide product this could be a contender.

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Why Make-Up Flashback Happens and How to Avoid It


Ah, the dreaded make-up flashback! Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Miley Cyrus aren’t immune to it, even with their hordes of make-up artists:

Here’s the science behind make-up flashback, and how to avoid it.

What causes make-up flashback?

The harsh white markings are caused by silica, an ingredient in many translucent powders, particularly those labelled as “HD”. (Note: silica is not the same as silicon and silicone!) it-cosmetics-bye-bye-pores-IMG_8765 The silica used in makeup is fumed silica, a type of amorphous silica which has been processed to give it a large surface area. This means that it’s great as a microscopic sponge for soaking up oil (kind of like activated charcoal but colourless).

It’s also fantastic for diffusing light – all the tiny surfaces scatter light at different angles, giving a blurry, matte texture, making your skin look flawless on HD video (hence the HD label).

But not when direct flash comes out!

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Crop Natural Skincare Cosmetics Review


Crop Natural Skincare launched their skincare range in Coles late last year, and now they’re launching a cosmetics range. It’s surprisingly comprehensive, with 28 new products (including a brush).


Natural Mineral Pressed Blush ($24 for 10 g) – One quad, Bouquet, in a black compact with a clear window

Natural Mineral Pressed Bronzer ($24 for 10 g) – One quad, Solaire, in the same packaging

Natural Mineral Pressed Highlighter ($24 for 10 g) – One quad, Aura, in the same packaging

2 in 1 Folding Mineral Kabuki Brush ($20) – Slanted synthetic fibre brush that folds together with a magnetic closure, or folds out into a flat fan shape for contouring.


Natural Tinted Lip Balm ($16 for 2.49 g) – Comes in  Tulip (pale pink) and Berry (mauve pink), in wooden pencil form

Natural Lipstick ($18 for 3 g) – Comes in Spice (orange pink) and Plum (mauve pink), comes in black bullet packaging with Crop symbol in a matching colour


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