Saturday, April 21, 2018

REVIEW: Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint

I bought the Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint a couple of months ago with the expectation that summer would be on its way. Well, we're almost finished with April and it's not even 50° Farenheit outside, so this ended up being a bit premature; it's still cool enough for me to wear a regular foundation without feeling like I'm sweating under it, and I'm not outside enough to warrant daily sunscreen use. Yet I've worn this tinted sunscreen quite a bit in April because I like it despite its foibles.

What foibles, you ask? Well, there are several, but the most egregious is the packaging. Philosophy dumps their Skin Tint in a jar with a plastic cover, and while that jar might fit with their brand aesthetic, it's a giant mess. A lot of the product sticks to that lid and seeps around the edges; opening and closing it always leads to Skin Tint smeared on your fingers, no matter how careful you are. You could get rid of that little plastic cover once you've scraped all of the product off of it, but I wouldn't recommend it, because then you'll have an even bigger mess--you can see the product that's gotten on the lid even though I've used the cover.

At this price point ($39 for 1oz), I think a tube would be easier to control and still reasonably attractive. Be kind to us, Philosophy; most of us still own at least one white shirt or beige bag we'd like to keep stain-free.

Natural light on top, fill flash in the middle, ring light on the bottom. From left to right: Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint in 2.5 Ivory, Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation in 110 Porcelain, Buxom Show Some Skin Foundation in Tickle the Ivory, The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.0N.

The shade range is another puzzler. On the Sephora website, 2.5 Ivory looks to be the lightest shade; the little color square is quite light and yellow, and of course, it's the lowest number. I was damn shocked when I opened the jar, though, because the product looks much darker and more beige. It's lighter on the skin, but it still is darker than the online swatches suggest, and it has a peachier undertone than what I'm used to seeing. I'd peg it at a MAC NC/NW15 at the lightest.

Also, while the color squares make 2.5 Ivory and 3.5 Sand look very different in terms of depth, the swatch pictures make 3.5 look lighter. Let me demonstrate:

To be clear, I swatched 3.5 Sand in a Sephora in JC Penny's, and it could be darker than 2.5 Ivory. But I honestly couldn't tell in the store lighting, and these swatches on the Sephora website just add to my confusion. What gives, Philosophy? Am I using the right shade? Why are the shades on the website so different from what's in the pot? And while I'm asking questions, what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? (Oh, God, I really am 30 now, aren't I?)

On the bright side, the shades range from light to dark. They could definitely use more variety in their undertones, though, especially since this isn't quite as sheer and shade flexible as you might think. This also oxidizes, getting about a half shade darker roughly 15-20 minutes after initial application.

Despite the fact that the Philosophy Skin Tint is much darker than what I normally go for, I've been able to wear it because I've started self tanning my neck and I'm using less product now. When I first tested this tint (above left), I used a bit more than ¼ teaspoon, which made it look a heavier and dryer than it should, and it also made my un-tanned neck seem even lighter by comparison. These past two weeks (above right), I used a little less, and combined with the self tanning I've done on my neck, I got a pretty good match.

Now, it is generally recommended that you use ¼ teaspoon of sunscreen or a "nickle-size dollop" on your face. As my dermatologist pointed out, however, one size does not fit all; people have different face shapes and sizes, some formulas are easier to spread evenly than others, etc. As somebody with a relatively small face who keeps a ¼ teaspoon on her desk just to measure product amounts, I think that the slightly-less-than-a-fourth-teaspoon, closer-to-a-penny-size of product I apply is fine for me if I wear a hat and only get incidental exposure. You might apply more because you have a larger face or want more coverage, or you might apply even less for a barely-there finish. Just keep in mind that you may not be getting complete sun protection.

Philosophy calls this a "whipped water-gel makeup and skincare hybrid," and I think that's a fair assessment. While it looks like it will be quite rich and thick in the jar, it actually has a bit of a "fluffy," airy texture, and it feels smooth and weightless on the skin. It's very easy to blend with both fingers and a Beauty Blender; a brush gave me some streaking. Again, I have found that a penny size amount works best on my skin; it gives me a smooth, even application with light coverage that doesn't cling to dry patches or majorly emphasize fine lines. You can build this to a light-medium sort of coverage, but if you have dry skin, more product will mean more clinging.

One of the best things about this tinted sunscreen is that it also works well on dehydrated skin. I did look a bit dryer and more matte on the most dehydrated parts of my face at the end of the day, but it wasn't my usual "shriveled prune, dusty cabinet" sort of look. Because it's not mattifying, though, I'd hesitate to recommend it to truly oily skin. Combination skinned folks will definitely want to use a mattifying primer or some powder on their oily spots to cut back on shine.

From left to right: 15 minutes after application, 3 hours of wear, 7 hours of wear. The day went from cloudy to sunny in between pictures 1 and 2, hence those differences in lighting; picture 3 was taken at night with no natural light.

I found this tint comfortable for a full day's wear. It was totally weightless and never itched or burned. I definitely got shinier on the oily parts of my face, namely my nose, but the product didn't really break up or get patchy. (I am wearing powder in my t-zone in the above photos, but I found the wear to be roughly the same with or without powder.)

It photographs well in natural light and in artificial or studio lighting, but it does turn a little white in flash photography. I will gladly wear it to my friends' upcoming daytime summer wedding, but I certainly won't wear it for a night on the town. It also seems to have a sort of "skin blurring" effect, probably because there's a decent amount of silicone in the formula.

The verdict: I love the Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint way more than I expected. I can see it becoming my go-to summer base, thanks to its lightweight texture, ease of application, and SPF protection. But no product with packaging this shitty can earn 5 stars from me. Work on that container and the shade range, Philosophy, and then we'll re-assess your value.

RATING: 4 out of 5
I purchase Philosophy products from Sephora.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

VIDEO: First Impressions - By Terry, Marc Jacobs, YSL

 (To watch in full screen, start the video, then click the "YouTube" icon.)

It's my thirtieth birthday, so I'm going to do some truly glamorous stuff, aka work from home and test out some new makeup. Today, we're trying a selection of luxury products that I got on the cheap: By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder, Marc Jacobs Dew Drops highlighter, and YSL The Shock mascara. As always, I'll keep using these products over the next few months and will give you more complete thoughts in a follow-up post.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Moderate Stash: Highlighters

Despite the fact that I'm borderline obsessed with highlighter, I don't write about it much. It's been over three years since my last collection post. Maybe I'm just too busy trying foundations and raving about lipsticks; regardless, I've done my highlighter stash a disservice, and that must be rectified.

Now, when I announced on Instagram that I was writing this post, I received some wonderful recommendations from followers, like "Tell us how long they last." Part of the problem, though, is that...I don't generally have a problem with my highlighters fading. This is partially because I use creams and liquids exclusively, and they're more likely to "stick" to your skin, and partially because my skin is uber-dry, so makeup clings to it. That said, I'm going to do my very best to give you a useful description of the finish, color, wear, packaging, and purpose of all of these highlighters.

Please note that this information was accurate at the time of this post. Prices change, new shades are created, old shades are discontinued, formulas are altered, etc. I mean, damn, MAC lipsticks weren't even $15 when I bought my first one, and now they've crept up to $18, fifty cents more per tube at a time. Time is a great thickener of things products.

Lastly, my birthday is coming up next week! If you've enjoyed my blog and want to show your appreciation, please consider (but don't feel required to) leave me a "tip" on Ko-Fi. I donate all of the tips to charity; right now, my charity of choice is Pro Literacy. If that's not in the cards for you right now, no problem! I love "happy birthday" comments and emails as well. :)

MAC Strobe Cream in Pinklite

Cost: $34 for 1.7oz, $12 for 1oz
Formula: Lotion
Packaging: Squeeze tube.
Other Shades: Goldlite, Peachlite, Redlite, Silverlite (1oz size only available in Pinklite)
Finish: Natural
Color: Faintly pink and opalescent.
Description: I've gone through at least three of the travel size Strobe Cream tubes, and now that they've expanded the shade range, I can see me emptying dozens more. This is actually a luminous moisturizer, and you can absolutely use it in that capacity if you don't mind the shine and need just a bit of hydration. Because of the thin lotion texture, it appears incredibly natural and seamless on the skin and gives you that no-makeup-makeup, "I slept really well" look. I usually use this as a highlighter on foundation-free days for work (left photo), or I mix it in to my foundation and use a dab more on top of my cheekbones for a soft glow (right photo). Note: the travel size tubes are actually cheaper by the ounce, but as of right now, you can only get them in the original Pinklite shade.
Purchase: MAC Cosmetics

ELF Beautifully Bare Targeted Natural Glow Stick in Morning Dew

Cost: $4 for 0.08oz
Formula: Oil Stick
Packaging: Twist up stick.
Other Shades: Pink Pearl Glow, Champagne Glow
Finish: Wet
Color: Clear
Description: I was pretty bummed when I realized the Ciate Dewy Stix contained some of my no-no ingredients, then thrilled when The Critical Babe mentioned this much cheaper product as an alternative. While the other two shades are a bit garish and sparkly, Morning Dew is completely clear and gives you a "wet skin" look in seconds. That's not shocking when you look at the ingredients and feel this product on your skin: it's an actual oil stick, not a traditional highlighter. This means it will look super glossy and gorgeous without being sparkly, but it will also stay tacky on your face and may seriously clog some people. Also, while $4 is a great price, you're not getting a ton of product here, so keep that in mind if you plan on using this highlighter regularly.
Purchase: ELF Cosmetics

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz

Cost: $22 for 0.19oz
Formula: Cream Stick
Packaging: Twist up stick.
Other Shades: Topaz, Moonstone
Finish: Glossy; can look wet in some lights.
Color: Very Pale Champagne
Description:  Like the ELF Beautifully Bare Targeted Natural Glow Stick, this is an oil-laden highlighter in stick form. I refer to it as a "cream stick," though, because it has a smoother, less oily texture and a bit of fine shimmer in it for a dash of color. (It still stays sticky on the skin.) That might sound unattractive, but I love the ease of this highlighter, which I can swipe on and blend out in less than a minute. The mixture of smooth oils and barely-there color make it ideal for photographs, where it catches the light will still looking incredibly natural. This is probably my personal favorite Glossier product. I have tried the other two shades, and while Moonstone was a bit meh to me, I really liked Topaz. It's just too warm and dark for my skintone.
Purchase: Glossier

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand in Spotlight

Cost: $38 for 0.4oz
Formula: Liquid
Packaging: Squeeze tube with a sponge tip applicator and on/off mechanism.
Other Shades: none
Finish: Glossy; slightly metallic when layered.
Color: Champagne
Description: The cost of Charlotte Tilbury products generally makes me want to die, but because this one was a decent size and everybody was bragging on it, I decided to throw my Nordstrom gift card at it. I'm glad I did,  because I totally get the hype! It's a champagne-colored highlight with fine shimmer that gives you a light-catching, slightly glossy look; you can layer on a little extra and get a more metallic shine, but it's never going to be overdone. Now, is it as wet-looking as something like the ELF stick? No, but the benefit of the Charlotte Tilbury is that the liquid formula actually dries down. This means you can use it around your eyes as well. (Peep it on the inner corners of my eyes in the right photo.) I also like that the tube has a little on/off mechanism to prevent the highlighter from seeping out in your luggage or your handbag. The sole downside for me is that this is the only shade available, and because it is more golden, I have to use it on a full face of makeup to make it "fit."
Purchase: Nordstrom

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl

Cost: $41 for 1.7oz, $19 for 0.68oz
Formula: Liquid
Packaging: Airless pump for full size, squeeze tube for travel size.
Other Shades: Moonstone, Opal, Topaz, Rose Gold, Champagne Pop, Prosecco Pop (0.68oz size only available in Moonstone and Opal)
Finish: Ranges from natural to metallic, depending on how much product you use.
Color: White
Description: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector is the OG "WOW THAT LIQUID HIGHLIGHTER" product, and it's still a tough one to beat. While it's costly, you get a ton of product, and the littlest dot goes a long way. Apply a small amount with a flat brush for a natural look, or layer it on with your fingers for that metallic "Instagram Glow." This is definitely a shimmery highlighter, but at least in the shades I've tried (Pearl and Moonstone), it's a very refined shimmer. Still, I'm not a fan of mixing this in to my foundation; it's just too shiny. The "Pop" shades purportedly contain chunkier glitter. Also, be aware that this formula contains sunscreen ingredients that some people find sensitizing. I've had my tube of Shimmering Skin Perfector since college and it's still almost half full, so I will be getting rid of it at the end of the year to be safe. If they ever make Pearl available in the easier-to-finish travel size, I will absolutely repurchase it.
Purchase: Sephora

Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Mars

Cost: $28 for 1oz, $14 for 0.25oz
Formula: Cream Stick
Packaging: Twist up stick.
Other Shades: Supernova, Stardust
Finish: Shimmery
Color: Peach glow with faint purple shimmer.
Description: I wanted this highlighter in its original lavender shade, Supernova, for quite a while, but when I swatched them in my local Sephora, I realized that Mars looked much prettier and more refined. The peach base almost blends in to my skintone, leaving me with some shine and a bit of purple shimmer that's only visible when you're very close to me. In other words, this is sparkly and far from natural, but it isn't outright glittery. The texture of this cream stick is a little more powdery than the Glossier or ELF products, and it dries down more on my skin. It's not a shade I reach for regularly, since I tend to prefer "natural" or "glossy" to "shimmery," but it's damned pretty and works well for nights out. Note: while the 1oz size of this is technically a much better value, that's a ton of highlighter to finish up, and I'm not sure most people could manage it. I definitely encourage you to get the minis instead.
Purchase: Sephora

Monday, April 9, 2018

I made a new Excel inventory (and you can, too).

I am far from an Excel wizard. Rather, I'm the person who constantly opens Excel by accident when she's really trying to update a PowerPoint for class, leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth as I wait for the program to load so I can immediately close it again. To be fair, I've only met a couple of people I would call actual Excel wizards, and they had a lot of classes on the program so they could use it for business or accounting purposes. I've only ever used it for gradebooks and other basic record keeping, so...not as much column calculating there.

That said, Excel can create really easy to read makeup inventories for you, even if you're not that tech savvy. Heck, I've even used it to track spending. You just have to know how to fiddle with the templates a little.

To find this template, I started a new Excel file, then searched for "inventory." While there are lots of lovely options, this "Home Inventory" with green accents really appealed to me and looked like it would the easiest thing to modify. After all, normal people document what's in their house for insurance purposes. Weirdos like me document the exorbitant number of lipsticks they've collected over the past few years.

Now we have to remove the stuff we don't need. This is pretty easy, actually: you just left click at the top left corner of the columns/rows you want to remove, hold down shift, then click on the bottom right corner. You should see it highlight the area you've selected. Let go of shift, then press delete to erase the text. If you don't want that actual space taken up, you can right click on the highlighted area and choose "Delete..."; you just might have to fiddle with four "Shift" and "Move" options it gives you.

Learn to love the undo button (the arrow at the top of the Excel toolbar) and the save button, by the way, because if you're new to this, you'll do what I do and mess up frequently.

I did the same thing with any columns I didn't want, like "Purchase Price"--I thought the value bars on the "Estimated Current Value" column were cooler and more helpful. (Mostly cooler.) Just select the column, right click, choose "Delete," "Table Columns."

Quick reminder: columns are vertical, rows are horizontal. I'm not trying to be insulting by writing that. It's something I actually have to pause and think about for a second every damn time, and maybe you're the same way.

Now let's talk about inserting rows. There's apparently a super easy keyboard way to do this, but I suck at doing it, sooooo we're gonna right click. Go to the far left side of the spreadsheet and click on one of the gray number boxes; any one will do as long as it is next to a row in your inventory. Right click and select "Insert." This should create a new row above the one you had selected.

From here on out, it's just a matter of renaming things and filling out the spreadsheet. The nice thing about this template is it will create a new, easily selectable, yellow category box you put in that "Room/Area" drop down box. I ended up with just four categories because that's what works for me, but you could create as many as you wanted.

This template also calculates a "total value" if you plug everything in to that column. Mine made me die a little inside, since I can imagine what else I would get for $1500+. That said, it's also less than I thought I'd own, so...progress?

If you don't like this template, fiddle with the others! I actually tried two others before I settled on this one. And if you're one of those fantastic Excel wizards, we'd love any of your tips and tricks for optimizing our inventory-making experiences.

Even if you're one of those normal people who inventories their house instead of their beauty products. It's okay. We still like you.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Try This: Create New Lip Colors

I know super huge, macro lip shots freak some people out, but I think it's worth it if it can save us some money. Obviously, lipstick is my weakness, and when I see a blogger wearing an incredible new shade or a makeup artist showcasing a formula with a unique finish, I want to rush out and buy another tube pronto. But the truth of the matter is that I don't have a ton of money to buy new products, and I don't really need them, anyway. When I look at my collection of over a dozen lipsticks, assorted balms, and various pencils, I realize I can make most colors with a bit of mixing.

Take this first lip as an example. Lisa Eldridge did a video showcasing a variety of bright-but-not-stark lip looks, and I was weirdly attracted to this sort of "popsicle"variation. (I say "weirdly" not because it's an odd look, but because glossy isn't usually my style.) I stopped myself from buying a new Korean lipstick and tried mixing shades instead. I used Portrait Peach for the overall color and some Fenty Freckle Fiesta for a bit more depth, and I layered Fresh Sugar Caramel Lip Balm under and over to create that more sheer, shiny finish. Boom: no new lipstick required!

Pencils are also an excellent mixing tool. Using them just around the edges of your mouth is a great way to get a clean shape, create depth, and prevent feathering, but it can also alter the shade of the lipstick on top. Rodin So Mod is a bit too milky and pastel for me to wear on its own, so I always use a dash of NYX Nude Pink around the edges to keep my mouth from disappearing. If you cover your entire lips in the darker, more peach liner, then So Mod becomes a less pastel, but still milky and mod-ish shade. I love this look so much, I've finally decided to let go of MAC Faux lipstick. (It's in the same color family, just more purple and muted, which isn't as flattering on my skintone.)

Granted, this only works if you have a small collection of lip products to begin with. If you only own a couple of lipsticks or a single pencil, your options might be more limited. Yet with one gloss, six pencils, and sixteen lipsticks, my collection is not huge by blogger standards, and I can still come up with a range of new colors. Even if you only have two lip products, it's worth smearing them together to see what you can get.

Also, a word of advice on matte liquid lipsticks: you can still blend most of them. You'll just have to move quicker. Some people do one color on their top lip and another on their bottom, then rub their lips together, but I find that a lot of modern liqui-mattes dry too quickly for this, and it can mess up the lip line. You can try dabbing a bit of each shade on the back of your hand, then blending them together and applying them with a lip brush for precision.