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. …
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.
If you have dehydrated skin like me, you’ll love hydrating toners (if you haven’t already collected a massive stash!). These watery products contain humectants which hold onto water and slow down evaporation. Confusingly, they aren’t always labelled as toners – you’ll also find them called essences, waters and lotions, and while there are minor differences in texture and performance, they’re all pretty much the same category. I apply these before or after actives, and I haven’t really found a big difference in the effect either way.
After applying the toner, you can seal the watery concoction in with something heavier on top, like a moisturiser containing emollients and occlusives. This method of layering has done wonders for keeping my skin hydrated and bouncy.
Since my last set of hydrating toner reviews, I’ve tried out some more hydrating toners: Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner, Shu Uemura Tsuya Skin Refining Vita-Glow Lotion [Moist], Clinelle PureSWISS Hydracalm Lotion and A’kin Hydrating Mist Toner.
Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner
Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner ($21.99 USD for 180 mL, Amazon, Wishtrend) is a cult product in the K-beauty community. After Wishtrend sent me this to try, I can see why! It’s super hydrating but doesn’t feel heavy, and because it’s so light it’s very easy to integrate into a routine. As well lots of humectants (butylene glycol, betaine, sodium hyaluronate, dimethyl sulfone, natto gum), it has some caprylic/capric triglyceride, a purified form of coconut oil. In terms of actives, there’s Centella asiatica extract which promotes healing, and licorice root extract which is anti-inflammatory and fades hyperpigmentation. Natto gum can also work as an antioxidant. Dimethyl sulfone can potentially reduce sebum and reduce inflammation, but there isn’t much evidence so it’s more of a bonus.
Shu Uemura Tsuya Skin Refining Vita-Glow Lotion [Moist]
Shu Uemura Tsuya Skin Refining Vita-Glow Lotion [Moist] ($72 AUD for 150 mL) is a glycerin and butylene glycol rich toner. There are a few unusual ingredients as well, like bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane and methyl gluceth-10, which soften and hydrate skin. There are a bunch of actives at low concentrations too, like salicylic acid, adenosine and hyaluronic acid.
There’s alcohol in this, which would normally run the risk of being dehydrating. But I haven’t had any issues with it at all. It’s far enough down the ingredients list, and it’s overwhelmed with enough humectants that it doesn’t seem to make a difference. The alcohol is very slightly noticeable smell-wise, but I suspect it may actually be beneficial in helping the humectants penetrate deeper into the skin. There’s also a “Fresh” version available that I’ll be trying out over summer.
Cleansing oils are a great compromise between convenience and oil cleansing. I’ve tried a bunch more from Dermalogica, Shu Uemura, Hylamide, Erno Laszlo and Simple since my last review, so here are my thoughts.
Cleansing Oils vs Oil Cleansing
First, what’s the difference between cleansing oils and oil cleansing? Simply swapping the two words around makes a big difference!
Cleansing oils are oils that contain surfactants (emulsifiers) – in other words, they’re much like a mixture of oil and soap. When you apply them to your skin they act like oils, but when you add water, the soap part helps the oil dissolve in the water and rinse off your skin (they’ll look a bit milky at this stage – that’s the tiny oil droplets hanging out in the water!).
Both methods are great for removing makeup and sunscreen. However, cleansing oils are generally easier to rinse off, since the surfactant is already mixed thoroughly in the oil. I’d still recommend double cleansing by following the cleansing oil with a cleanser (exception: if you weren’t wearing anything too heavy on your skin to begin with, and the cleansing oil is compatible with your skin). Even though cleansing oils should theoretically come off when you rinse with water, sometimes they aren’t formulated with quite enough surfactants for complete removal. There are tons of reports of cleansing oils breaking people out, so it’s a good idea to test it on a small area of skin before using it too liberally before a big event!
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.
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.
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.
I’ve always been a bit lazy with my makeup routine because I really, really like sleep. I’m the least morning person who’s ever morninged, so I’m only willing to sacrifice 15 minutes for makeup, max.
But I also really enjoy playing with makeup, so cramming in a bunch of products is also necessary! My current makeup routine has expanded to the following, which I’m pretty proud of because it stays nice-looking despite the Australian summer and my oily-ass skin.
Pre-makeup: Wash face with water, apply sunscreen (I’m currently using Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 30 Mattifying, my previous fave was Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence). Use Pixi 24K Eye Elixir on puffy bags if I feel particularly nasty (the cold rollerball is almost as good as a coffee).
1. Klara Cosmetics Reset Glow and NIOD Photography Fluid Opacity 12% mixed together as a glowy primer with a little Shu Uemura Face Architect mixed in if my skin is being naughty. I’ve also started trying Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone as well. Since my skin is quite oily I used to avoid any sort of illuminator to cut down on shine, so applying it all over is a bit of a radical departure. I’ve found that if I put it all over with a sponge and cover it up with powder later, it works really well to make my skin look glowy and healthy without making it look greasy. Here’s what the three illuminators look like alone. From left to right: Klara, Becca, NIOD.