Dr.Hauschka Translucent Make-Up

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In my quest to clean up my beauty routine, I find that skincare has been easier than makeup. I think the key is that with skincare, we’re looking for results that ultimately benefit our skin which clean and green products provide but with makeup we’re mostly looking for the short term performance results, as long as our skin doesn’t get a bad reaction, I think a lot of us would opt for that holy grail non-green foundation over the alternative. My holy grail foundation at the end of the day is the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation which gives that elusive barely perceptible your-skin-but-better look. It’s been challenging trying to find a cleaner formulated product as most foundations tend to be thicker/heavier and don’t wear as well throughout the day.

Enter Dr.Hauschka’s Translucent Make-up, a sheer coverage liquid foundation that simply enhances skins natural healthy complexion for a radiant, dewy glow. The pigment makeup is quite tinted, and I ended up using the lightest 00-shade even though I typically need one or two shades above the lightest with normal foundations.

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Despite a strong pigment, the coverage is very sheer so I wouldn’t recommend this as a foundation for those of you looking for something more concealing. I noticed that the formula applies very creamy and you only need a little. The scent is subtle but wonderful, not at all synthetic like most fragrances in foundations tend to be.

It’s rare for a cleanly formulated foundation to be light and high performance but thats exactly how I would describe this. Once it is applied onto skin, it feels very similar to a light tinted moisturizer in that your skin just feels very nourished without the feeling of added ‘weight’ that a lot of foundations can give. I truly felt that my skin could breathe under this. The results are subtle since this is a sheer coverage but it does what it says which is: enhance skin’s natural radiance and blend uneven pigmentation. I found that my skin looked refined, smoothed out, and had a natural luster without looking like I had makeup on my face. This is definitely something I will use regularly perhaps even in place of the Koh Gen Do foundation that I am so fond of.

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Now let’s discuss the clean formula – this product isn’t 100% clean by purist standards, it contains alcohol (does not specify if this is grain based which is much gentler), some fragrance enhancers that could potentially by irritants such as limonene and geraniol, titanium dioxide which some people have sensitivities to, and a sulfate.

Now onto the good part: this foundation is jam packed with nurturing essential oils including Macademia Seed, Avocado, Jojoba Seed, and Apricot Kernel, there are also botanical extracts including Carrot Root and Woundwort. The creamy texture is provided by shea butter, rose flower wax, and beeswax. These are all wonderfully rich ingredients that take care of the skin. You will rarely see this many good ingredients listed on the back of a foundation so I think it offsets the iffy-ingredients. If you don’t have any sensitivities to the ingredients, I definitely suggest you give this a try.

Dr.Hauschka Transculent Make-Up

(Reg. $36.95, Currently on-sale for $29.56 until 3/31)

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Sunday Brunch Makeup: Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 & Shiseido Bronzer

I notice that on weekends when I typically meet friends for a casual brunch, I tend to do my most common beauty routine: casual made-up. Not so casual that I’m going out sans makeup, but not making an event out of it either. Today I decided to combine the Boscia BB Cream with Shiseido Bronzer.

The Boscia BB Cream is a “self-adjusting” cream that blends into the wearers skin tone. It comes with a decent SPF 27 PA++ Protection which is more than enough for going out for a bite during the fall/winter seasons. It is also oil-free which is good because most mainstream products that aren’t oil free, are using mineral oils or petrol derivatives and not the skin healthy botanical oils we love.

The BB Cream craze started in South Korea when actresses used it post-surgery to simultaneously cover scarring while healing skin. Since then, these creams have been adapted for mainstream audiences looking for a lighter, more natural feeling foundation that can also improve skin. I have to say though, no BB cream sold in the US is really a competition for the great Asian brands (such as Lioele Water Drop BB Cream, Missha, Etude, and Hanskin which are priced at Garnier price points but give results that beat those that cost 5 times as much). Boscia is a Japanese brand, so I thought maybe they could carry the Asian technology over using a slightly cleaner formulation that most of their Asian counterparts do not have. 

The formula is a PEG/Silicone powerhouse which is to be expected with most BB Creams. Upon wearing it the first couple of times I have to say that it did feel significantly lighter than wearing foundation but I noticed my skin tone was “off” it always looked a little orange and dark. It also isn’t as moisturizing as the packaging claimed so I have to put a lot of it on my skin.

The SPF 27 comes from Titanium Dioxide which isn’t everyone’s favorite (Zinc derivatives seem to be the preferred option). The back also says it diminishes the appearance of pores which I did not find to be true – it honestly didn’t seem to do anything for them, but because there was not hydration, pores tend to end up looking  slightly larger.

I don’t think I will repurchase this again, but if you’d like to try, it is available at Sephora for $38.

 

The Shiseido Bronzer is actually a very under the radar product from the beauty brand known for its complexion products. I was surprised to discover it as I was looking for a subtle, natural bronzer that wouldn’t look obvious, streaky, or orange. I decided to give Shiseido a try not only due to great reviews online but also because despite my apathy for their skincare products, Shiseido is renowned for their light makeup. 

The Bronzer comes with its own brush but honestly, don’t bother with it – it is way too thin and small to be used seriously, I think of it more as a bonus travel tool in case you can’t pack another brush (I apply mine with the Sigma F15 Brush). I found the pigment to be significant but VERY blendable and natural. It is that perfect balance between naturally subtle and effective to give you that fresh golden glow as though you just came back from a vacation. There are 3 shades to choose from, I use Shade 2, they recommend Shade 2 for most people unless you’re at either ends of the spectrum. There is no shimmer to this formula which was a big deal for me as a lot tend to sparkle under natural light for what ever reason. 

I was so surprised at how light this bronzer felt, it doesn’t add any weight to my face at all but it does give an instant glow and smoothing effect to my face. I don’t even need to use a finishing powder because this is enough to give that nice polish. I cannot say enough good things about this product – it isn’t clean but the performance is just amazing. It stays on all day, doesn’t oxidize, isn’t orange, does not impact skin hydration, and looks natural. One piece of advice is that because it is so buildable but subtle, don’t keep applying until you see a difference, start with a light touch and then view yourself from a distance. You’ll notice the true natural sun-kissed effect better that way. Surprisingly, this product isn’t available at Neiman Marcus, but it is sold from our higher end sister-store, Bergdorf Goodman for $35, which isn’t cheap but is right in line with similar offerings from Laura Mercier, Stila, Lancome. In terms of performance, I’ve been using this bronzer more than the more expensive bronzers I have from Chantecaille and Le Metier Beaute.

Reader E-Mail: Full Coverage Foundation Recommendation

Hello Beauty Idealist,

I have regular breakouts and lots of redness. I currently use Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Foundation but I think it may be making my skin worse. Help! How can I hide my acne without giving myself even more acne?!

Sincerely,
Damned if you Do

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I LOVE receiving e-mails and having conversations with everyone. I can definitely relate to your situation, it truly is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario! On the one hand a product like Make Up For Ever HD’s foundation truly does give full coverage for problem skin but on the other hand it is known to exacerbate the situation for many people. The ingredients list for MUFHD is a who’s who of skin irritants: silicones, PEG, petrols, parfum, etc. It is also just a really heavy product so while it hides a lot, your skin is also masked which isn’t healthy as skin needs to be able to breathe. While we’re on this page, you probably want to skip MAC Studio Fix as well.

To be honest with you, I’ve tried a lot of foundations from clean brands to varying levels of success but if your skin was anything like what mine was like when my skin was really bad, none of them will really work to cover everything. I can only give you the information I have, but I hope it is enough to help you make a clear decision on which product to try next, good luck!

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation
($42, Sephora)

I’m sure we all are aware Laura Mercier isn’t a natural brand nor does it really try to be, but compared to MUFHD, it is substantially ‘lighter’ on the skin. The concentrations of silicones are slightly less than MUFHD while there are some ‘good’ things like Tea extracts. The primary reason it is on this list is because it provides long lasting coverage and really does conceal acne marks without making you feel like you have a heavy mask like foundation on your face. I think this might be a nice product to use sparingly and saved for major events where you only need to have this on for a few hours at most.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation 
($38, Sephora

Not a product a purist site like No More Dirty Looks would get behind, but if you’re okay buying Make Up For Ever HD, this is a cleaner, better, formulated product. There are still ‘bad’ ingredients like silicones, PEGs, and phenoxyethanol, but it is free of parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrance, and phthalates which are SO COMMON in most mainstream products. This is also cruelty free, just wanted to point that out since with mainstream products, a lot are unable to get this seal.

The best part of this foundation is that you only need a tiny dab of the clay-cream hybrid for medium coverage. My recommendation for full coverage is to first apply a thin layer with your fingers. Then use a foundation brush like Shiseido’s Foundation Brush (reviewed here) or Tarte’s own Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation brush to buff and distribute another layer for that flawless full coverage. This works to give skin full coverage while still maintaining a ‘natural’ not caked on appearance. Tarte’s foundation also feels lighter than MUFHD which at times can feel like a mask. In cooler weather, I found that I was able to wear the Tarte foundation for a full day without oxidation, while in warmer temperature sometimes I found that it did ‘melt’ off my face after about 6-8 hours. Overall a good, cleaner alternative.

 RMS Un-Coverup
($36, Spirit Beauty Lounge

This is a very cleanly formulated product that most pure-natural beauty lovers consider a cult product. It works as a concealer but I found that it is more a concealer-foundation hybrid. You can cover it over the areas that you think need a boost and it gives a wonderful degree of natural coverage. The formula is a nice creamy texture but for blemish prone skin, definitely ask for samples before buying because some people do say that it makes skin oily. I think the coconut oil and beeswax won’t do your skin any favors but if you are mainly looking for something clean – do look into this product, it might work for you.

Nvey Eco Creme Deluxe Flawless Foundation
($60, Spirit Beauty Lounge

At $60, I know this is quite a splurge, but this might be ever so slightly more suitable for your skin. There is also coconut oil and beeswax in here, but I think the concentration is less than RMS’s Un-Coverup product. You can really adjust the coverage with this foundation. For full coverage, apply with a foundation brush, add in concealer, then use a pressed powder puff to gently pat on another layer. The cream is a matte finish so it will not make you appear oily. I’ve been using this for the past two weeks and I have to say that it didn’t really un-balance my skin or give me breakouts. I did get the initial one or two bumps when I try new beauty products since my skin is still very prone to breaking out but they have since disappeared without turning into anything serious.

Vapour Organics Atmosphere Luminous Foundation
($34, Spirit Beauty Lounge

If there is any clean product that can compete with the silicone filled synthetic mainstream foundations in terms of performance, it is this Vapour Organics Foundation. It gives decent coverage without looking cakey. The only caution you should take is around any fine lines or creases as it can accentuate them (as can all stick foundations). The wear time for this foundation isn’t as long as all day foundations but thats because the formula is so pure, the good news is that re-applying is a breeze. The only ingredient in here that could be not bad for acne prone skin is the beeswax, but that is listed lower on the ingredients list than the other products on this list so there is less of it. I think of all foundations on the list, it might be the lightest coverage so some acne marks might still be visible, so I would suggest trying it out first and if you want slightly more coverage just use a concealer such as RMS’ Un-Coverup.
 

Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush – Best Brush Ever?

Nothing makes me happier than finding that ‘perfect’ product and my brush addiction is a testament to that statement.. where other women might collect shoes, I collect brushes – if it is a different texture, color, use, hair type, cut, weight, etc. I will find an excuse to buy it! Of all the brushes I have, the last thing I need is another foundation brush but after reading lots of rave reviews on the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush, I could not resist falling for this stunningly angular marvel.

The brush is marketed as a mix between Japanese brush expertise and Shiseido’s own technology, as such the 100% synthetic brush (which is extremely soft) can be used with creams and powders. The brush is a blunt edge that is slanted which helps the bristles not only pick up the foundation but also buff in the product evenly and precisely for a flawless finish. The maximize control, the brush handle is shorter than regular brushes at around 4.5 inches long – which makes it perfect for taking on the go. The size may not be to everyone’s liking, but I found it easy to maneuver across my face and control.

For people who like REALLY light applications, one thing to note is that you will need smaller amounts of foundation as this really gets product onto your skin. The first few times I used this with the Koh Gen Do foundation, I got ‘medium’ coverage when I really want that ‘natural-light’ coverage. This might not be the best brush to use if you like to ‘build up’ product from a subtle light layer. I learned to adjust the amount I pumped out and all was right again, as a bonus I now get more mileage out of my foundation!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed myself picking up this brush over my Tom Ford and Chanel foundation brush because it applies so fast and easily once you get used to it. Due to its shape, cleaning it is a slightly more difficult as you can’t just ‘swirl’ the gunk off. The brush is very dense and picks up foundation so well that it is a little hard to move when you clean it so be sure to be on top of cleaning it before product accumulates.

I’ve been saving the BEST part of this product for last… it retails for $30! I know this is hardly ‘economical’ but compared to it’s counterparts and the league it is in performance wise, this is such a great price point! The brush is high quality and will last long enough to make it a legitimate investment. I would say, if you can afford $30 foundation, you should definitely take the plunge on this brush!

$30, at Bergdorf Goodman

Product Review: Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF15

I’ve written about Koh Gen Do’s Aqua Foundation on this blog before, but I wanted to dedicate a post to it as this has been my go-to summer foundation. I was first turned onto this through Emily Weiss of Intothegloss (watch the beautifully shot video here). I loved how buttery the texture looked and I loved even more how it blended in with the skin. I am not crazy about foundations that are too obvious or cakey, and I usually don’t take advice from beauty representatives who apply so much makeup you can’t really see their true skin- I feel like they have something to hide.

When I went to my local Barneys to try this product, I noticed these gorgeous girls stop by to pick up this foundation. They all had bright, even toned skin that looked natural and it was only after chatting with them that I learned they had Koh Gen Do on. The seemless, translucent, but improved skin effect is definitely what I want in my foundation. You know that Dolly Parton saying, “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap?”- I feel like with beauty, “it takes a lot of money to look this natural”. 

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Koh Gen Do is a Japanese cosmetics line that does both beauty and skincare. This foundation is said to have the perfect ratio (water, emollients, powder) to impart a glow that only healthy, moisturized skin can give off. In addition to this skin technology, they also use pure mineral water that balances ions on skin, and also delivers nutrients. Although many foundations claim to feature skin benefits, I feel like this actually kind of does what it says.

When I applied 2 pumps of this product to my face (the Rep advised using KGD’s own rubberized sponges) using just my hands, I noticed how quick it blended in without drying. It felt so light, almost like a light tinted moisturizer. Even at $62 a bottle, I knew I had to get it.

In my regular use, I’ve noticed that although it is a very light, near sheer foundation, it greatly improves the subtle look of skin to give you a glow that only comes from being well rested. My skin just looks healthier while maintaining a very natural appearance. In the summer heat, I’ve noticed the light texture is especially favorable as it doesn’t melt off or get messy over my face. It also did not dry or make my skin oily which some foundations do (Lancome Teint Idole dries me out so much). Although this isn’t a full coverage foundation, it does last for a substantial amount of time, if you aren’t too active, you can easily get 6-7 hours out of it which is perfect for dinner and a night out.

Additional tip: The women at Barneys recommended using KGD’s Oriental Plants Skin Lotion Spray to help set the foundation and impart dewiness. I agree that using a mist takes the foundation to another level but the Oriental Plants Skin Lotion Spray had too many not-clean ingredients for me as well as lots of alcohol derivatives. I substituted that for YULI’s Panacea Elixir which uses organic and wild grown botanicals and flower hydrosols. Not only did it do the job of imparting dewiness, but it also literally makes my skin better with its fresh, bioactives. And at $36 for 3oz versus $22 for 1.7oz, I was getting a better deal for a better, cleaner formulated product.