Thursday, March 10, 2011

fundamentals...a primer.

Primer helps your make-up to last longer, smooths fine lines, and fills in pores, giving you a seemingly marble visage. This is very important if you like to sport a perfect deadly pale look as I do. Primer has been by far one of the hardest components of my make-up kit to find a healthy version of. I have tried almost every one Sephora has to offer. My favorite product was Smashboxes Photo Finish, but it's filled with all sorts of beasty ingredients. I loved how it made my skin feel though, and it filled every little crack and crevice like spackle! Here are some of the products I tried on my pilgrimage to primer perfection...

Bare Escentuals Prime Time Oil Control Foundation Primer
  • Price: $21 for 1oz.
  • Can be found at or
  • First impressions: Yay it doesn't have silicone!
  • Cons: Pricey for just an ounce. Isn't as silky or smooth as products with silicones.
  • Pros: It has witch hazel and other anti acneic ingredients.
Prime time worked fairly well. I could still see some imperfections after I applied my powder however.

    Korres Vitamin E/Silicone Free Face Primer
    • Price: $28 for 1.01oz.
    • Can be found at and
    • First impression: I like the minimalist packaging.
    • Cons: Takes a long time to rub in. Felt almost soapy.
    • Pros: Is silicone free.
    Overall this primer took some getting used to. It seemed to froth up on my skin almost like soap and took a good while to rub in completely. I gave it several tries. but it didn't manage to impress.

     Korres Quercetin and Oak Age Reversing Primer

    • Price: $33 for 1.01 oz.
    • Can be found at and
    • First impression: Felt a little silkier than the regular primer.
    • Cons: Didn't help foundation glide on.
    • Pros: Is silicone free.
    The texture of this primer made me hope it would be better than Korres original formula. Once I put it on and got it all rubbed in it went sticky and my foundation wouldn't glide on how I like. I tried it on another occasion and got a little better result. Still not worth the price for such mediocre performance.

     Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector

    • Price: $54
    • Can be found at
    • First impression: Pricey!
    • Cons: The price.
    • Pros: Feels just like Photo Finish!! Comes in a few different shades.
    This primer is so silky! It smooths without feeling as heavy as my beloved Photo Finish. This was an unexpected bonus, especially when layering so many products as I do to get my palest pale when going out. So pleased to have found something just as good as, if not better than, Smashbox and without all the crap!

    Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Instant Skin Perfector

    • Price: $44
    • Can be found at
    • First Impression: A convenient stick form!
    • Cons: A little harder to blend than the cream form.
    • Pros: Can apply stick directly to face.
    Haven't much negative to say about the stick form of this primer other than I have a little more trouble blending it on my nose. I'm sure some practice will eliminate any issues.

      Wednesday, March 9, 2011


      Let's visit another one of the fundamentals shall we? Moisturizers. A good moisturizer is going to set the stage for make-up magic. Your skin will be ready for whatever you want to slather on it, as long as it's healthy, after it has been properly fed. Remember, you want to look dead, not actually be dead. Moisturizers come in so many forms it can be absolutely daunting trying to find one that you like which works best with your skin type. I can't possibly speak on them all, so I'll just go through some of what I've tried for my specific needs as I test them.

      I have oily to combination skin that can become sensitive if fooled with too much, especially around my nose, and unfortunate occasional blemishes. Pretty standard I suppose. I am fair with more neutral undertones. I abhor the sun. I realize this is a goth cliche, but if I could somehow develop albinism or vitiligo and live out the remainder of my life by moonlight, I would do so gladly. So you can expect that I value a day moisturizer which includes good sun protection! A good one helps you protect your pale without all the nasties like:
      • 4-Methyl-Benzylidencamphor (4-MBC)
      • Oxybenzone Benzophenone-3
      • Octyl-methoyl-cinnamates (OMC)
      • Octyl-Dimethyl-Para-Amino-Benzoic Acid (OD-PABA)
      • Homosalate(HMS)

      Josie Maran Protect Daily Sun Protection SPF 40+
      • Price: $14 for .5 oz or $34 for 2oz
      • Can be found at and
      • First impressions: I love the glass bottle! 
      • Cons: Is somewhat thick, you need to really rub this in to avoid a coated in zinc oxide look.
      • Pros: High SPF. No discernible fragrance that I could detect.
      Redundant name aside, I found this product to be fine. It was thick and took some work to get it all absorbed, but it helped my powder stick nicely. I would continue to use this in a pinch, as it has a high level of spf and is reasonably healthful when compared to other facial sunscreens. I am fairly light, so it's possible "chalkiness" doesn't bother me, in fact I find it to be a plus when making myself up to go out.

       Josie Maran Argan Sun Protection for Body Spf 30+

      • Price: $24 for 4 oz.
      • Can be found at and
      • First impressions: Alright, it's for the body, but lets try it on my face.
      • Cons: Only spf 30.
      • Pros: More product for the $.
       On my continued quest for the perfect combination of high spf, non greasiness, and value I came across another Josie Maran product. The formulation is designed for the body, but I figured I would give it a try since it's a much better value than the other from her line. I found it to be slightly too greasy for my face and so back to the spf 40...

      Super by Dr. Nicholas Perricone Daylight Savings Spf 25 Moisturizer
      • Price: $38 for 1 oz.
      • Found at
      • First impressions: Smells like lemonade!!!
      • Cons: Ingredients could be a little better.
      • Pros: Very sheer texture. 

      I wanted this one to work out so badly! I loved almost everything about it! It was perfectly light on the skin, no greasiness or chalkiness, and it smelled of lemonade. I could certainly deal with the slight lack of spf for all these other benefits...Then I did more research on cosmetic ingredients and the magic was ruined. Oh the curse of knowledge! I discovered new beasties like phenoxyethanol, ethoxylated compounds, and dimethyl MEA. All of which were in what I thought was the perfect daytime moisturizer.