Following on from some beauty round-up posts from Mecca (see it here) and Sephora (see it here) below are some beauty finds I’ve been loving over the first half of 2019. All are new brands to me and I am super happy with each.
I was invited months ago now to a workshop with Vim & Co Pharmacy run by Perth based makeup artist Hendra who introduced me to The Ordinary foundation range. This was my first introduction to a serum foundation at all and given the low price point, I was keen to give it a try.
In general, my top two foundations of choice are Nars Sheer Glow and La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear. Both of those are in the luxury category but I have been the happiest with their formulas. I’ve tried foundations from brands like YSL, Revlon, Rimmel, Loreal, Maybelline, Napoleon Perdis, Boujois, MAC, Thin Lizzy and more with various results. Thus far, I would say on the more affordable end of the scale, Loreal and Boujois were my preferred. That is until I tried The Ordinary serum foundation!
Perth based makeup artist, Erin Maie kindly colour matched me to my perfect shade, something that let’s face it, is a tricky thing to get right at times. The Ordinary serum foundation range offers 21 shades, which is a lot more comprehensive than a lot of other beauty brands on the Australian market.
The formula is lightweight with medium coverage and a semi-matte finish. The pigments used are treated for a rich, highly-saturated effect. These pigments are suspended in The Ordinary’s proprietary spreadability system that allows pigments to look natural on the skin, resist collecting within fine lines and stay on for longer. I can’t say enough how much I love the feeling of this on my skin and the finish. I can apply in the morning and still feel fresh in the evening without noticing the foundation has slid or built up in my fine lines. As I tend to have normal to oily skin, I opt to use a primer with a more mattifying effect, so this may be a contributing factor to its longevity.
While I was at it, I also bought one of the darker shades to use as a contour. This is the first time I’ve tried using a darker foundation instead of a bronzing product to create contour and I must say, I love it. The serum foundation is perfect to apply with either a brush or beautyblender. I use one pump of the foundation for my face and seriously the tiniest drop of the dark colour to contour with. For a product that costs around $12.50 and lasts all day into night, it is highly economical.
Now I tend to reach for this every day and save my Nars and La Mer foundations for special occasions. The contouring process took a bit to get the hang of- namely how much to use (very little!), but I love how natural the finish is. I was wanting to avoid harsh stripes of bronze and almost create an airbrushed effect. Hendra created a look using an airbrush (something he is well known for) so of course, I wanted to try and re-create in my own non-expert way, the closest finish to his demonstration that I could.
HYALURONIC ACID 2% B5
While I was at the workshop, I chatted to Perth skin expert Barbara Cavalli (who I’d met on the set of an advertising shoot a while ago- we were both having a laugh being models for a day. She is adorable!!) who talked me through more skincare products that I’d heard about and read a lot about but honestly wasn’t sure where to start with. I’ve used Hyaluronic Acid before but not in a fully targeted way. I’d dabbled with low doses if you will. While I could go into the nitty-gritty of why and what Hyaluronic Acids are all about, there are so many resources out there that explain it better than I ever could, so if you aren’t sure, do a bit of research and you will find plenty.
The great thing about The Ordinary is that they cut out a lot of extra stuff that many other beauty brands build on. It’s a minimal approach that has given them a cult following worldwide. Plus, they don’t charge you an arm and a leg, which anyone can be happy about. I’m ALL TOO GUILTY for spending way too much on my beauty budget, so I appreciate cutting costs on quality items where I can.
Essentially, dehydrated and dry skin can display signs of ageing early. Proper hydration can make a massive difference to combat those early signs. Hyaluronic Acid is a molecule that naturally occurs in the body and is known for its incredible water-retention properties. One single molecule can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water! When applied as part of a skincare routine, Hyaluronic Acid provides instant hydration to plump and nourish the skin acting as a serum to lock in moisture.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a water-based formula that blends three different weights of Hyaluronic Acid with a Hyaluronic Acid Crosspolymer to provide multi-depth hydration. This means the serum not only helps to hydrate the deeper layers of the skin but also locks in existing moisture and absorbs easily into the skin. It is enriched with additional Vitamin B5, which boosts surface hydration and supports the work of the Hyaluronic Acid. I apply it after other water-based serums but before moisturiser or face oils morning and night.
Not having taken it with me over my recent overseas trip, I had a full month off of using it and I can tell you I really noticed the difference. My skin looked less plump which is not at all fun.
NIACINAMIDE 10% + ZINC 1%
As I mentioned, I have combination skin. The major area of concern is my forehead and nose which can tend to get oily. I hate that shine! Gah! Sharing this with both Barbara and Erin, they put me onto Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. I am very grateful. I’d taken zinc supplements for years particularly when my skin had acne issues in my early 20s. Applying this daily has made a huge difference in controlling that shine and dealing with too much oil.
Actually, while we were away traveling I broke out on my forehead. This hadn’t happened in a long time but I feel like a combination of the water in South Africa and not having this on hand was a contributing factor. See, can not live without!
GRANACTIVE RETIONOID 2% IN SQUALANE
This is sorta my first main foray into using a retinoid product. Again, I’d heard a lot about why I should be using it in my routine but didn’t know where to start. Dermatologists all seem to say that retinoic acid is the most potent form of retinoid available to achieve a younger-looking appearance. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty but was excited to try this out regularly.
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane is a high-performance anti-aging serum which features a water-free formula that is apparently less irritating than traditional retinoids. It targets pigmentation, wrinkles, and uneven texture which over time, achieving younger, healthier-looking skin. I add it to my skin prior to moisturiser once or twice a week. Of course, retinoids make the skin more photosensitive, so I have to make sure to use sunscreen daily!
So far, I’ve noticed the difference to my pigmentation -namely around my nose area and again my skin was doing much better using it regularly before I went away!
PHOTOGRAPHY FLUID, OPACITY 12%
This was another product I bought at the Hendra workshop. He went into so much detail about contouring, highlighting and using affordable products that get the job done in the most effortless way possible. He talked about how much people spend on things like YSL Touche Eclat (I’m guilty!) which runs out after a few clicks (true! haha). But the Photography Fluid basically takes out the middle man, you add this either as a highlighter or mix it in with foundation to create a pigmented highlight for a soft glow.
I have been applying it with either my fingertips or a light brush to the highlight points. Again, a little goes a really long way. I barely use any at all but it goes a long way making a nice soft highlighting finish. It also helps to colour correct. I’m definitely keen to try more from Niod, this was a good start so far!
BODY BLUR – LATTE
One more from the Hendra workshop- I really got a lot out of this workshop, I hope you can tell! The other product that got added to my wishlist was the Vita Liberata Beauty Blur. Unfortunately, I was feeling like I’d hit the limit of my spending so I didn’t buy this one but I was given a sample of the Body Blur. It is actually the body product that I am pretty sure they use on Victoria’s Secret models for their shoots and runway shows.
It’s kind of a skin primer and tint finisher in one, it creates a healthy warm glow that creates a soft tan. I’ve actually been using it on my face, haha I use the tiniest amount and either blend it with the dark serum foundation and apply as a contour or I just apply to warm my face up and create a soft blur. Made without parabens, harsh chemicals, added fragrance, alcohol, petrochemicals, sulphates or silicones it is vegan and delivers on light-reflecting radiance so so well.
So, needless to say, I am keen to eventually get the Beauty Blur product, but at $75 I am taking my time!
One last product, I had probably tried odds and ends from Weleda over the years but they were probably hair or body products. I heard about Skin Food from makeup artist Katie-Jane Huges on one of her live videos where she was doing makeup on Anine Bing. Both of them raved about a couple of products and Skin Food was the main one that stuck out to me.
I ordered a small 30ml to add to my beauty kit and give it a try. Less as a face moisturiser- because to be honest I have a lot I am happy with using already, but to use as a moisturising touch up. I add a tiny bit to my highlight points once or twice a day to add extra moisture and re-envoke a highlight. It’s a very rich formula and I can see why its such a cult favourite.
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SEVEN BEAUTY PRODUCTS I CAN NO LONGER LIVE WITHOUT
And that’s enough for this time around! I have been so happy with all of these products, all are new to me but I am not able to do without them. How cool is it to find not just one or two but as many as seven products that you love?! I have learned a lot this past six months about my skin and trying less heavy products on it. It’s been a bit of a journey to find some beauty alternatives.
Clearly, I love talking to beauty experts, reading up on reviews, watching live demonstrations and listening to podcasts to get to know more about what is going on in the beauty world. If you have learned about anything new you think I should try, please let me know below. Have you tried any of these? I’d love to hear your impressions.