Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thoughts on decluttering, reusing makeup containers, and *actually* using samples

Hello friends! I have talked about my decluttering / simplifying / no-buy journey several times on my blog (see here, here, and here), but today I want to share how it's going and talk about finding creative ways to use what you have.

First up: an update on my decluttering progress & no buy. I pretty much stopped decluttering / simplifying my collection within the last three months because I was satisfied with the state of my collection. Everything I own is something I use and enjoy. Some items only come out to play  seasonally or in certain moods, but that's a-okay by me.

I went about a year-ish on a very minimal purchase streak (an informal no-buy if you will) but I feel like that phase is also over. I no longer think about trying to force myself not to buy or limiting my urge to purchase, I am more naturally skeptical and inclined to ask myself if I *really* *actually* want it. I have purchased a few things lately that I have loved - a sunscreen replacement, a few eyeshadow singles from Essence, a new mascara - but nothing over the top.

I'm on my second year of not making Sephora VIB or Ulta platinum - it felt nice to pass the anniversary of not making the cut. I have also been continuing to reform my social media habits - I don't follow any beauty related stuff on snapchat, pretty much quit instagram, and have continued reforming my youtube subscriptions. I am down to two nail polishes plus a top coat, my favorite red and my favorite nude, which is a HUGE improvement from my previous collection of ~25 polishes. I have also been nurturing my reading and baking habits. I am pleased to announce my currant almond scone habit is still going strong :)

Let's talk about reusing what you have - quite a few of my everyday favorites are items with recycled packaging. If you love a product's packaging, keep on using it, even if you declutter the product inside. Some examples:

- I finally used up my Chanel loose powder. I absolutely love the jar and didn't want to toss it, so instead I filled it up with another powder. My favorite pressed translucent powder is the Essence All About Matt, but they tend to break around the edge when there is pan showing in the middle. I smashed up the powder ring around the edge of the compact and now am finishing it up as a loose powder.

- My tiny Laura Mercier translucent loose powder sample was hard to get face brush in, so it is being used up in my empty Urban Decay loose finishing powder container.

- I used up an Anastasia Beverly Hills clear brow gel (which is fantastic!), and I kept the brush out. I washed off the residue with Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, and it is now my brow spoolie brush.

- Instead of buying a lash comb, I use old mascara wands. My current favorites are the discontinued Maybelline One By One brush and a L'Oreal wand (voluminous million lashes if I remember correctly?). I didn't like either mascara formula, but I kept the brushes to use for separating my lashes and combing out clumps.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Before & after: Tarte rainforest of the sea foundation in porcelain - pale dry skin review & swatches

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea is supposed to be a 12 hour lightweight, water based, full coverage formula with SPF 15. When the new lightest shade Porcelain came out, I was excited to give it a try. I usually try to get foundation samples at Sephora because my skin is sensitive and acne prone, but the dropper format is unhygenic for getting samples.

After trying it for the past few weeks, it is definitely a lightweight fluid, but I don't think it is full coverage. I would rate it a light-medium coverage - building serious coverage would require quite a few layers. I get light coverage with one dropper and medium with three. I could see someone using up 5-6 droppers full of foundation to get maximum possible coverage with this one. The dropper system gets messy, so I wouldn't advise traveling with this.


  1. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation, shade 2
  2. L'Oreal True Match foundation, shade N1 Soft Ivory neutral
  3. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation, shade Porcelain
  4. NARS Sheer Glow foundation, shade Siberia
  5. Giorgio Armani Power Fabric foundation, shade 1
  6. It Cosmetics CC Cream, shade Fair
  7. SKIN79 Green BB cream (Skin79 BB cream in the green bottle is much lighter than the VIP Gold, Original, Diamond or Hot Pink)
  8. Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer, shade Fair Neutral
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation before & after

As always, no editing of any kind. I think foundation reviews should show what skin actually looks like to give you an accurate idea of what the product could do for you. I took these in natural light standing in front of a window. Feel free to zoom in :)

Before 1: Bare skin. I moisturized with the Clinique DDMG, a gel moisturizer that sinks in quickly and doesn't leave the skin feeling tacky. No primer, no sunscreen.

After 1: Tarte rainforest of the sea in porcelain (the lightest shade) 2 thin layers. For each layer I patted in a thin amount of product with my fingers and then blended with a damp real techniques sponge. No powder, concealer, or any other products used. I see a big improvement with general tone correction - look at the area beside my nose and jaw. This foundation leaves a matte finish, but my skin doesn't look dead or flat. It would look more natural if I had used a more emollient moisturizer or a hydrating primer.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review & comparison swatches: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric longwear high cover foundation shade 1

I recently went to Sephora looking for a new foundation and the SA recommended a sample of the new Giorgio Armani Power Fabric foundation. I was matched to shade 1, which is the lightest shade in the range and is meant for pink undertones. One my all time favorite foundations is Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk - I have shade 2, but it is a little too dark and yellow for me in the winter.


As always, I take swatch pictures in natural light and don't edit the photos at all except to add labels. I like to swatch heavily to show the differences in shade - worn sheerly, all of these work on me. I have fair skin with netural undertones.

Left to right: Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer in Fair Neutral, Giorgio Armani Power Fabric foundation in shade 1, Tarte Rainforest of  the Sea foundation in Porcelain (the new lightest shade), and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation in shade 2. Please do note that my bottle of Luminous Silk is about 2 years old and running low - I think it oxidized a little since it was new.

For more foundation swatches: I have a full review of Luminous Silk shade 2 here, comparison swatches of more light foundations here, and comparison swatches of light BB/CC creams here.

As you can see in the swatch pictures, Power Fabric shade 1 is very light and has a peach undertone. It swatches and wears lighter than it looks in the container - it seems like it has a white base, which reminds me of very light nude peach lipsticks. Power Fabric is much more opaque than Luminous Silk, so be sure to color match well or this foundation will be a disaster.

If Power Fabric shade 1 matches you well, you would probably also be suited to Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer in Fair Neutral. I find Power Fabric to be a shade too light and too peachy for my skin - Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in porcelain is a much better match for me.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face - review & ingredients

I recently purchased the new Clinique SPF 30 mineral sunscreen fluid for face and am excited to share my thoughts on it. My previous favorite sunscreen was discontinued (big glare to Paula's Choice) and I have been trying a ton of sunscreen formulas this year. I enjoy the Clinique DDMG and DDML moisturizers, but have hesitated buying Clinique sunscreens in the past because they tend not to publish full ingredients lists online. I decided to go for it anyway, and I'm glad I did!

Clinique Sunscreen Ingredients

Unlike many other liquid mineral sunscreens, the Clinique mineral sunscreen fluid formula isn't loaded with alcohol or fragrance. I have very sensitive skin and it is very difficult to find a sunscreen formula that wears well under makeup that isn't greasy, gritty, heavily scented, or alcohol heavy. I am prone to eczema, acne, and redness, and have dry skin. My skin also reacts poorly to chemical sunscreens. 

If you have normal skin, you may want to also consider Japanese and Korean sunscreens. Asian sunscreen formulas often do a great job of being lightweight, easily blendable, and generally having more elegant formulas and advanced ingredients than American counterpart formulas. Unfortunately for me, they often are loaded with alcohol and irritants. If you don't have irritable skin, you may also want to try a sample of the Shiseido urban environment spf 42 fluid sunscreen, which has an elegant lightweight formula and a matte finish.

The Clinique mineral sunscreen fluid for face ticks off the ingredient boxes for me neatly: a combination of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, water based, dimethicone and other silicones for easy blending, emollients and skin conditioning agents friendly to dry skin. Most importantly, it doesn't sting around the eyes, make my skin burn or itch, blends in easily, and doesn't leave a chalky white cast. Clinique also claims this is oil free if that is important to you.

Clinique Sunscreen Texture

Just as the name suggests, the mineral sunscreen fluid for face is a fluid. I have had an issue before with fluid sunscreen formulas feeling gritty or prone to separation, but this is a well mixed smooth texture. I find it very easy to apply, but I dump the product into the palm of my hand instead of on the back of my hand because it is so runny.

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