Recommendations on Foundation, Concealers, and Brushes

I wrote this for a friend via email. Here are some of my recommendations regarding foundation, under-eye concealer, and brushes:
Under-Eye concealer:
  • Lancome Effacernes (You can get this for a cheaper price at the Aurora Outlet, Lancome Designer Frangrances Outlet store):
  • Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit:  (this is in the new packaging. You can actually find the old version for a much lower price at Aurora Outlet, in the Cosmetic Company Store).
Foundations:
  • Full coverage: Laura Mercier Silk Creme (LM foundations): LM foundations are among the best. They are a pricey, but still a bit cheaper than the designer ones such as Armani, Chanel and Burberry. My favorite is the Silk Creme. I find this to work really well with my combination skin, and it seriously covers everything. Very flawfless finish.
  • Light to Medium Coverage: Chanel Vitalumiere AquaJemma Kidd Light as Air: Both foundations are incredibly light weight and feels like nothing on your face. However, they give very natural finish and gives the “your skin, but better” look. I would recommend these for everyday wear, or just for times when you don’t need serious full coverage. The JK is slightly cheaper than Chanel, but is currently only available online for US customers. Chanel can be found at any Chanel counter. They are both last 8+ hours on me.
  • Tinted moisturizers: Clinique Moisture Surge TintLaura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer: LM TM is a perennial favorite and gives one of the best coverages in the TM category. Clinique is more moisturizing, and is a new item that came out this year. Clinique does not cover as well, but is still very a solid TM. Clinique is more affordable. Both have SPF and are good for everyday wear or more casual occasions.

Brushes:

  • MAC $$$: good overall quality.  Don’t by their kits, the quality does not warrant the price. Get the individual brushes if you are willing to splurge.
  • Laura Mercier $$$: also expensive and amazing quality.
  • Sephora Pro Airbrush Collection: This collection of brushes really live up to their names; they truly give the airbrush finish. My favorites are the Foundation Airbbrush #55 and Pro Concealer #57. The latter is hands down the best concealer brush I’ve ever used. It does wonders for the under-eye area and works well around the nose area as well.
  • Sigma brushes: these are considered cheaper MAC dupes. They are all around good quality brushes. My favorites are their Sigmax brushes (these are NOT MAC dupes, they are unique to Sigma). My favorite is F80 flat top kabuki. It gives a flawless airbrushed finish to any foundation you use, and I especially love using this with thicker foundations like LM Silk Creme. Unlike most foundation brushes, this also does not eat up your foundation (which is good when you are paying $$$ for a bottle).

Skincare:

  • Micellar cleansers: if you haven’t tried these, you need to. They are a staple in french skincare, and will make washing your face a breeze. These are liquid cleansers that do not require water or rinsing. Use them like toners, and you will cleanse and tone in one step. Very gentle and works great even on sensitive skin types. I like ones from Vichy, Lancome, and Caudalie. Lancome and Caudalie are available in Sephora. Vichy is available online and in select CVS stores.
  • Sunscreen for the face: I started using the Shiseido Sun Protection Cream for Face this summer and have really liked it. It’s very creamy, not sticky at all, packed with good for your skin ingredients, and acts as a wonderful base for your make up as well. Highly recommended. Shiseido also makes a few other sunscreens. I recommend going to a Shiseido counter and trying them out (or ask for samples!).

Lust for Nars

I finally caved in and ordered the Nars Love Set. It includes the legendary Nars Orgasm blush, a lip gloss and the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. It’s pretty much the most perfect Nars set (or make up set for that matter) that I’ve ever seen. Just about every girl has heard about the infamous Orgasm and I’ve tried it multiple times at Sephora but could never bring myself to spend $26 on a blush (though I spend $24 on a lipstick – don’t ask me about the logic behind that). The Nars lip glosses won me over when I received a sample duo from Sephora – they are simply amazing. And I’ve been dying to try the lip pencils since they were launched earlier this year. All in all, this has to be one of the most anticipated purchases I’ve made. Can you tell, I’m beyond excited 🙂

The Love Set by Nars

The French know what they are talking about

Stumbled upon two articles discussing the secret to French women aging beautifully. Since I’m already in my early 20’s, it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about this…at least from the prevention perspective. Below I have copied the “10 Ways Age Like a French Woman” with links two these two articles, enjoy!

1 Look out for No. 1: “Frenchwomen are more elegant, more aware of their femininity,” says Dr. Michel Soussaline, a Paris plastic surgeon. “They simply take care of themselves better.”

2 Keep it natural: Heavy makeup emphasizes wrinkles and pores. A little blush, mascara and lip color are all most Frenchwomen use. They spend a lot on skin care and beauty products, but not always on the most expensive brands.

3 No soap: They use lotions and hydrating creams for the face (and body), often applied with a cosmetics sponge that provides enough abrasiveness to remove dead cells but not hurt delicate skin.

4 The wonder of water: Frenchwomen swear by cold-water rinses – after face-cleaning, shampoo or shower. They say it improves circulation, bringing all-important oxygen to the skin cells.

5 Diet: Women of a certain age maintain their weight by eating carefully: fresh, never-processed, foods, especially fruits and vegetables, in small portions. If they do put on the kilos, they take them off immediately — with the aid of pills or other treatments.

6 Exercise: Why? Go to a spa instead.

7 The doctor is in: Frenchwomen love their dermatologists. As one friend put it, why take a chance with over-the-counter skin remedies, when doctors can provide treatments that really work. Besides, the visits are largely covered by the French medical system.

8 The surgeon is in: If Frenchwomen opt for cosmetic surgery, the objective is to look like themselves – not someone 20 years younger.

9 The look: Paris, like New York, is becoming very informal, but Frenchwomen never try to dress like their daughters. Accessories count: good jewelry, fantastic shoes or boots, and a scarf casually wrapped to conceal those neck wattles. And since Frenchwomen tend to have great legs (with help from varicose vein treatments), they wear more skirts and dresses than their American counterparts.

10 Ways To Aging Like French Women

Aging Gracefully, the French way