SPF Recommendations

Hi there, I’ve been following your blog for awhile and love the honest reviews. But I need help! I’ve been looking for a good, non-greasy SPF that’s suitable for wearing under liquid foundation. Even so-called light formulas seem to slide off my face halfway through the day. I want to protect my skin but I want to look normal while doing it. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

I wish I had the answer but when it comes to sunscreens, I have a bit of a Goldilocks problem. The recommended sunscreen is physical rather than chemical but physical blocks always seem heavier and leave a white cast while the chemical blocks are more fluid and absorbable. With some physical sunscreens, because it’s so heavy or thick, my skin tends to get congested but chemical blocks sometimes irritate my apparently super-sensitive skin so it really depends on specific brands.

As for the ‘slide off’ your face issue, have you tried those waterproof sunscreens? I haven’t really had this issue, but I do remember using my boyfriends Jack Black Water Resistant SPF when I went swimming and that stuff stayed ON. The only reason I don’t use it regularly is because it makes my skin feel dry. 

I’ve used Sunday Riley’s Cashmere SPF 30 to good results and I like the iconicShiseido SPF bottles to layer under makeup because they’re so fluid. For something more natural and clean, I like the 100% Pure Argan Oil Moisturizer and the Coola Sunscreens. I’ve also been dabbing with more multitasking products and I’ve been using the Omorovicza Complexion Enhancer SPF 15 which is kind of like a tinted moisturizer. I know that soon REN is launching a BB Cream with SPF15  as well so I’m excited to try that.

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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.

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

Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Correcting Serum

Shiseido is one of the oldest beauty companies in the world and existed in Japan since 1872. It is particularly successful because it has successfully infiltrated nearly every mainstream upper market retail store and has legions of diehard fans who swear by their beauty and their skincare products. The success of Shiseido has led them to create an even higher end line – Clea de Peau, and opened the doors for other asian brands, AmorePacific, Sulwahsoo, etc. This brand is kind of the opposite of what I like, the high-end avant niche, this is much more mainstream, and it isn’t known for being clean.

I received a bottle of their Super Correcting Serum at a beauty event our store held, and the first thing I noticed was how beautiful the bottle was. Shiny, futuristic, and streamlined are the words that pop into my head when describing it. The product itself is a “time fighting serum that delivers revolutionary solutions to counteract wrinkles, sagging, and dullness.” Immediate results are promised, and the star of the product, the Bio-Corrective Complex is said to promote production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Lofty promises.

Upon first use, I could tell this was formulated to appeal to a more mature set. The fragrance in this is dictionary “old lady fancy cream” smell. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not a fan of synthetic fragrance, it doesn’t really do anything and makes me think a lot of time was wasted trying to tune the smell, which to me really doesn’t matter for a skincare product. Upon application, I immediately recognized the ‘slick’ feeling and sure enough – this product is a silicone powerhouse! 

water, dimethicone, glycerin, butylene glycol, dimethicone crosspolymer, betaine, talc, polysorbate 20, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, silica, alumina, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), PEG-150, polyvinyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, mica, alanine, trisodium EDTA, tocopheryl acetate, sodium citrate, fragrance, sodium metaphosphate, serine, potassium hydroxide, citric acid, sodium metabisulfite, alpha-isomethyl ionone, benzyl benzoate, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, hexyl cinnamal, limonene, linalool, citronellol, geraniol, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, butylphenyl methylpropional, syzygium jambos leaf extract, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) flower extract

Of the top 5 ingredients, 2 are silicones. Judging from this list, it seems this is a product that mainly uses silicones and synthetic humectants to ‘smooth’ skin. This must be why they are promising immediate results, since silicones act right away to smooth fine lines — but the moment they are washed off, your lines are back! Also,  notice how high ‘fragrance’ is listed, not cool.

I’m disappointed this product took so many shortcuts to deliver at best temporary results after the high praise it gave itself. After 14 days of use, I couldn’t bother using it anymore. It didn’t break me out (although it made my eyes water a little – so that isn’t good), but it really did not do anything good for my skin besides make it feel clogged with all the silicones. At $80 for 30mL, I cannot recommend this product.