Makeup and Beauty Blog

Beauty product reviews, makeup tips and news from your friendly neighborhood beauty addict.

Archive for March, 2007

Product Review – Sephora FACE Eye Makeup Remover

Posted by Karen on March 30, 2007

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Product: Sephora FACE Eye Makeup Remover
Use: To remove eye makeup
Price: $8.00 for a 4.22 oz bottle
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: C

After trying a ton of different eye makeup removers (including Lancome Bi-Facial; Clinque Take The Day Off, Rinse Off and Naturally Gentle eye makeup removers; Nuxe Démaquillante Make-Up Remover and Maybelline Expert Eyes Eye Makeup Remover, just to name a few), I finally found my holy grail with Sephora’s FACE Eye Makeup remover. Well, it was my favorite eye makeup remover until Sephora changed the bottle to this new one with the black cap. Not only is the new bottle is smaller than the old one, they’ve also increased the price. Now you pay more of your hard earned money but get less product – boo!

Along with the bottle change came a formula change. I find the new formula doesn’t work as well as the old one at removing long-wearing and waterproof mascaras and eyeliners. With the old formula, it was just a few quick splashes on the cotton ball and everything was off easily. Now, I have to use so much on a cotton ball – I have to practically get it soaking – just to take off regular eye makeup.

Some things haven’t changed – it still doesn’t sting my eyes (a big plus) and it has the same gentle rose smell. However, the bottle that’s sitting in my cabinet will be my last. Back to the drawing board for me!

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Kate Spade Adrienne Wallet in Classic Noel Print

Posted by Karen on March 30, 2007

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I know it’s not really makeup or beauty related but I just had to share my friend Christine’s new Kate Spade Adrienne wallet.

It’s super cute in person, and will fit all of your credit cards and perhaps even a lip liner or two!

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MAC Balloonacy

Posted by Karen on March 30, 2007

A look from MAC’s Balloonacy Collection

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I’ve been lagging with posting an entry on MAC’s Balloonacy collection because I’m just not into it. I zipped by the MAC counter today to check out the colors and I wasn’t moved at all. I’m especially not crazy about the above-pictured look, which appears to be the only Balloonacy look featured on the website. Soooo not a fan of the panda eyes, orange lips and crazy top-hat hair.

But hey … if you can pull this off more power to ya!

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Foundation Quest 2007 – Laura Mercier Flawless Face Products: Oil-Free Foundation Primer, Oil-Free Foundation, Silk Crème Foundation, Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer and Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Posted by Karen on March 26, 2007

Foundation Quest – 17 years and counting
After 17 years of makeup wearing, I’m still trying to find a foundation that works for me. I’ve spent a good chunk o’ change on my quest to find the perfect foundation (aka Foundation Quest) and unfortunately much of it was spent on foundations that were too dark, too yellow or too pimple-causing. Is it too much to hope for a miracle foundation that that evens out my skin tone, doesn’t feel cake-y after a few hours and keeps me zit-free?

Why I keep trying to find the perfect foundation
Despite all of the disappointing attempts, I’m determined to find something that works because the perfect foundation does so much in achieving the look of a “finished” face. These days, I’m especially eager because I’ve noticed that as I’m getting older my skin is changing – it’s less oily, uneven in color, and I have fine lines and freckles. The minimal amount of makeup I can get away with on a day-to-day basis is changing, so I’m a woman on a mission!

Why I don’t wear MAC Foundations
You might be wondering why isn’t this self-professed MAC junkie using foundation from her favorite makeup line. I’ve used MAC foundations in the past – Select SPF 15 and Select Tint 15 – and they just don’t work for me. They’re too yellow and they break me out. Select SPF 15 gave me cystic acne along my jawline, which took almost a year to get rid of, and Select Tint felt heavy and oily on my skin. You can see why I don’t like to go there any more.

What happened during my last failed Foundation Quest attempt
The last time I bought foundation was during a trip to Disneyland in August, when I went makeup crazy at the Sephora in Downtown Disney because they carried the Paul & Joe line. The Sephora closest to me in SF doesn’t carry Paul & Joe, and I was totally suckered in by the cute packaging. The Sephora makeup artist matched me with Protective Fluid Foundation in the 05 Fonce color, which I happily purchased along with the Protective Foundation Primer SPF 30. When I made it back home after the trip and tried out the products, I was really disappointed because the primer cast an ashy tint on my skin and the foundation was too yellow in natural light. I don’t know what happened – I think my need to believe that this foundation was THE ONE sent me into a Paul & Joe makeup induced trance! I threw the products into the Makeup-I’ll-Never-Use-Pile and decided to do more research when the itch to go on Foundation Quest hit again.

Makeup artist tips I found digging around the web
This time around I did a bit more preliminary research. I found that many makeup artists suggest that you should try to get away with as sheer coverage as possible, and the formula you choose should vary with your skin type and age. I knew I wanted to find a sheer-to-medium formula that I could build up for more coverage if I had to take pictures. After some more digging, I zeroed in on two lines: Georgio Armani and Laura Mercier. Since there isn’t a Georgio Armani counter nearby, I decided to head up to the Nordstrom’s in Corte Madera to hit the Laura Mercier counter.

I was really interested in trying Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Foundation because a few years ago it was rated as one of InStyle’s beauty favorites. And after checking out the website, I became really excited about the type of makeup looks that were shown. The makeup pictures showed pretty, sophisticated and modern makeup – great looking skin, with tasteful use of color on the eyes, lips and cheeks. It wasn’t as basic as Bobbi Brown (which bores me) yet not as “out there” as MAC can be sometimes.

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A Look From Laura Mercier Eyes Wide Collection

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A Look From Laura Mercier Starstruck Collection

What’s the big deal with Laura Mercier foundation

Laura Mercier pioneered the look of the “Flawless Face,” which uses multiple products to create the look of beautiful skin. So what is the Laura Mercier flawless face? The website says:

Laura Mercier believes that a beautiful look begins with great looking skin, and has developed key products for the face that allows every woman to achieve an incredibly even, smooth – yet natural-looking complexion.

“Before applying any colour, I always create a fresh canvas – a flawless finish. Making your skin look perfect is the first and most important thing you can do to achieve a truly great look. The key is to enhance your natural beauty – whether you use all products together one day, or just a little Secret Camouflage and Setting Powder when you are on the go.”
– Laura Mercier

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These are the products that her line uses to get this look:

Step 1: Foundation Primer
Step 2: Foundation
Step 3: Secret Brightener
Step 4: Concealers
Step 5: Secret brightening Powder
Step 6: Setting Powder
Step 7: Secret Finish

Well, I know myself pretty well and I there’s no way for me to have enough time in the day to do all of these steps, so I decided to go try the foundation primer, foundation and the powder.

What my counter visit was like and my plan of attack
I got to the counter early on a Thursday, wearing minimal eye makeup (filled in brows and concealer) and nothing else. My plan this time around was to tell the salesperson up front what my foundation problems were: nothing too yellow, too heavy or too dark.

What happens when the makeup artist hasn’t had coffee or sleep
I should’ve been alarmed when I realized that I might’ve caught the makeup artist at a bad time. She was very helpful, but was acting forgetful (and slightly crazy), like her coffee hadn’t kicked in or she didn’t have enough sleep. I know how it feels to be ambushed by clients first thing in the morning before your caffeine starts working its magic, so honestly, so I didn’t think it was a big deal – I thought she nice, but a little out of it.

I told her I wanted to try the Oil Free formulation, and immediately she tried to talk me out of it and said that the Silk Crème formula was the best foundation that they had. The Silk Crème formula comes in a tube. The consistency of the foundation is like a mousse (looks almost like you could eat it!) than a cream. It’s easy to blend, contains no SPF (which is good for picture taking) and offers sheer-to-heavy coverage, depending on how you apply it. She put the color Hazelnut Beige on my chin and had me go to the entrance doors to check out the color in the natural light. I felt like the formula was really great but the color was just slightly off. Because Hazelnut Beige was the darkest Silk Crème formula available, she then pulled out some of the Oil-Free colors, which has a wider selection of colors.

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Silk Creme Foundation

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Oil Free Foundation

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Oil Free Foundation Primer

She cleaned off my face again and added foundation primer, which smelled good and felt cooling on my skin. Laura Mercier makes three versions of the Foundation Primer, Regular, Oil-Free and Hydrating. Foundation primer helps to smooth out your skin so that the foundation adheres to a smooth surface to give your foundation a more finished, even look.

The MA put on the Regular version of the primer on my face, and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t the formula I wanted to buy until I looked closely at the tube, so I made a point to tell her that I wanted to purchase the Oil-Free version. “Oh sure, okay,” she replied.

She then pulled out three Oil-Free colors and proceeded to put the wrong color foundation on my face. I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but she was halfway done when she stopped and stepped back and said, “Opps, that’s my fault. I put the wrong color on you.” She wiped it all off and we started all over again. She then put on what I think might have been Suntan Beige (it was all a blur of beige foundation stimulus), using a wet sponge to work the foundation into the skin.

(Side note: I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining about experience but honestly I think the MA was really nice but just really spaced out.)

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Translucent Setting Powder

She then finished with Translucent Setting Powder and applied all over my face it with a large, soft puff in a slight rolling motion. The powder is made out of “Fine French Cashmere Talc,” she explained and is colorless because Laura Mercier believes that the color should come from the foundation, not from powder. I love powders, but I’m not usually a fan of translucent powders, because on me they rarely are translucent, and deposit a white/grey cast on my skin.

But when she had me check out the results in the natural light my previous ideas about translucent powders changed because my skin looked great. This powder gives a soft-focus quality to my skin and I didn’t notice a grey cast at all. Plus, the color of the foundation looked just right. I happily handed over my credit card and then went skipping off with what I thought was the Oil-Free Foundation Primer, the Oil-Free Foundation, the Translucent Setting Powder and a sample of the Silk Crème Foundation in Hazelnut Beige (I liked the formulation so much wanted to try the color again in other light situations.) When I got in the car I checked out the results in the rearview mirror was really happy.

What happened when I got home

Immediately when I got home I took a picture:

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Me wearing the Foundation Primer, Oil-Free Foundation and Translucent Loose Setting Powder

After I took this pic I opened up my Nordstrom bag to open up my goodies and realized that she had totally given me the wrong products. I ended up with the Regular version of the Foundation Primer and an Oil-Free Foundation that was at least 2 shades to light for me. I thought, hmmm… well, maybe this is the color that she intended to give me. I had to rush off to work, so I didn’t really think about it again until I checked my makeup at the end of the day. The color she put on me changed – it looked like it was darker than it was in the morning, and there was a significant difference between the color of my face and the color of my neck. I wasn’t as sold on it as I was earlier in the day.

Later on that night I tried the lighter color to see if it was indeed the color she intended to give me. The texture made it hard to blend and work with. It has a gel-like consistency, and you really have to work it in with a damp sponge to get it to blend. Just for fun I built it up see if it still looked good with heavier coverage. When I saw the results in the mirror I knew that she had definitely given me the wrong color – my skin looked ashy and grey. Sigh. Well, it’s a good thing I like to go to the mall, because I didn’t really mind going back to return the stuff.

What happened upon my return
When I returned the next morning there was another makeup artist there, and she took one look at the color of the foundation and said, “Uh, this is the wrong color. The makeup artist you worked with yesterday is really good – I can’t imagine her giving you this color on purpose. Did she mix it with another color? Or add a bronzer? There’s no way that this is your color.”

She kept asking me what color I may have originally been matched with and for the life of me I couldn’t remember. After trying two more Oil-Free shades – Golden Beige (too yellow and light) and Sunset Beige (too dark) she convinced me to try the Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer. She matched me with Almond shade. When I looked at the color in the natural light it looked pretty good, and she said that if I wanted lighter coverage I could apply it with a dry sponge and if I wanted to build up the coverage I could use my fingers. At least it will be easier to work than the Oil Free, and on days when I’m in a hurry I can just slap a quick layer on. I ended up getting the Almond Shade and a tube of the Oil-Free Foundation Primer, and I took this picture when I got home:

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Me wearing Oil-Free Foundation Primer, Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer and Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Week-long test
This week I tried both the Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer in Almond and the Silk Crème sample in Hazelnut Beige on alternating days. The Tinted Moisturizer is really easy to get to apply – I used both the MAC 190 Foundation brush and Rite Aid makeup wedges. After, I used my MAC 180 Buffer Brush to apply the Translucent setting powder.

Pros and cons of the Tinted Moisturizer

I’ve noticed that if I put too much TM on my skin, the products start to feel too heavy on my skin after a few hours. I also still feel like Almond shade is a touch too dark and too pink when I build it up. It’s probably not currently noticeable to anyone else but me (in fact, I got a few complements this weekend from friends), but I’m still not 100% sold on it. I’m going to keep trying it for the next few days, to see if it breaks me out and if I can master the application so that it doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. If my skin stays clear may just keep the Almond for summer, when I tend to get more tan because when I’m running around outside.

Pros and cons of the Silk Crème Foundation
I was really surprised to find that I liked the Silk Crème Foundaiton. I initially thought the coverage would be too heavy, but it goes on surprisingly sheer with a wet sponge, and looks really natural. It doesn’t contain any sunscreen, which is actually a plus for me – I currently don’t own a foundation that is appropriate for picture taking, and foundations without sunscreen (Titanium Dioxide) are supposed to be better for photos because they don’t leave a white cast on your skin. Turns out the Silk Crème is closer to my skin tone than I initially thought and I liked how it seemed to cover just enough to even out my color – it also doesn’t feel heavy after a few hours. I’m going to keep trying the sample out for the next few days and if I like still like it when I finish I might also buy a tube!

What I think about the products so far
All in all, despite all of the confusion with the mixed-up products I like this line so far. I like the colors and the textures of the products and they seem to be high quality. And I haven’t broken out (knock on wood), which is a plus. I have realized that I probably won’t ever find a color that will match my skin absolutely perfectly, but I can get pretty close.

Laura Mercier makeup event on Friday!

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Laura Mercier Peaches and Creme Collection

This Friday, I’ll get to try more Laura Mercier products because I signed up for a free makeup lesson with a “Laura Mercier Specially Trained Premier Artist.” Laura Mercier is releasing new products under the “Peaches and Crème” line, which includes two new Stickgloss shades, one Crème Cheek Colour and a new Peach Mosaic Shimmer Block. I’ve never tried any of these, but I’m especially looking forward to the Stickgloss and the Crème Cheek Color. I’ll probably pick up the tube of Silk Crème foundation then, and probably with a few more goodies. I can’t wait!

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Garnier Skin Products Finally In The U.S.

Posted by Karen on March 22, 2007

Garnier Regenerating Eye Moisturizer
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Garnier Purifying Wet Cleansing Cloths
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I was wandering around Long’s yesterday and found that Garnier has some new skin products available for the face. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m going to pick up the Regenerating Eye Moisturizer and the Purifying Wet Cleansing Cloths when my next paycheck comes in. I’m really excited that Garnier has finally released some skin products here. I went to England in 2005 and while I was in a Boot’s store I randomly purchased a bottle of Garnier’s Body Cocoon Lotion, which isn’t available in the US. I kid you not – it was possibly the best lotion I’ve ever tried . It smelled light, absorbed easily and provided excellent moisture. I hope that they roll out body products in the future. I’ve been jonesing for this lotion for two years!!!

Garnier’s Body Cocoon – Possibly The Most Awesome Lotion Ever
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Barbie Loves Mac Tee – Hooray!

Posted by Karen on March 22, 2007

Karen-Barbie-Tee

It FINALLY came yesterday. Hooray!

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Drug Store Skin Care – Queen Helen Mint Julep Masque

Posted by Karen on March 15, 2007

Queen Helen Mint Julep Masque

Product: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque
Use: To exfoliate or purify acne-prone skin
Price: About $3.50 for an 8oz tube
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: A+++++++++++

Before I started writing this entry I slathered on a thick layer of this green, minty, clay mask and as I’m waiting for it to dry I can feel all of the gunk being sucked out of my pores. This really is the raddest mask ever, and it’s a must-have in any acne-prone person’s routine.

What it does
The tube says that Mint Julep Masque “helps dry up acne pimples, rinse away blackheads, and shrink enlarged pores.” And for once, I think the marketing folks weren’t just trying to sell hope in a jar (or tube), because this stuff works. Granted, I didn’t witness any miraculous skin revelation after using this once – I’ve had this in my skin routine for about two years, and I think with consistent use this product really helps to keep my skin clear. As the mask dries I can feel my skin tightening up and after I wash it off I can see all of the whiteheads that are brought to the surface. Gross, I know, but strangely fascinating.

How I use it
I use this mask once a week, right after I get out of the shower when my pores are opened up. I slather on a thick, even amount and avoid the eye area. Then I walk around the house with the scary green mask and try to scare my husband or any other person in the vicinity, ha ha ha! Actually, I’ll let the mask dry as I do other stuff like put on lotion, iron clothes, etc., and after 15-20 minutes I rinse it off with just water and follow up with a toner.

Cons
While this mask is great for oily and acne-prone faces, it might be too harsh if you tend to dry out easily. Also, the packaging is not cute at all. And I’ve noticed that if I have a tube for a few months, the mask consistency gets thicker and harder to manipulate out of the tube.

Pros

Still, you can’t be the cheap price and the effectiveness of this product for acne-control. I’ve shelled out many dollars for high-end at-home masks from Dermalogica, DDF and other brands and nothing compares to this stuff. Try it, use it, love it!

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Five Minute Makeup Tutorial And Lazy Day, Gym And Minimal Makeup Essentials

Posted by Karen on March 14, 2007

Lazy Day Makeup Essentials

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; you gotta try harder as you get older.

This motto occurred to me after I first got engaged. I was in the bathroom at work one day putting on makeup when I told one of my coworkers – let’s call her Jane. I liked Jane, she was nice and smiled more often than other dour-faced people I encountered on a daily basis. After I told her I just got engaged, she pointed at my makeup stash and said, “Why bother putting on all that stuff? You don’t have to try anymore because already got a man.”

Whoa – now that I was out of the dating game it was time to chop off my locks into a mom haircut, ditch the smoky eye look and pursue a life lycra-infused leisure wear? What she said freaked me out. I know, I know … I don’t have to equate getting hitched and birthing babes with totally giving up on trying to look put-together, but as I get older truth be told I find myself getting lazy. I keep reminding myself to not give up on keeping up the beauty routine because my godmother, who has plenty o’ children and grandchildren to spare, is pushing 70 and she still gets her hair done, puts on makeup and coordinates her accessories with her outfits. And she looks *good*! She is one of my style heroes and I hope to be as rocking as she is when I’m her age.

While my godmother is the antithesis of lazy style, we all know that you can’t always go out wearing a full face of makeup. There’s laundry to wash, drafts to edit and sleep to be had. But when you leave the house to run that quick errand or hit the gym you want to make the effort to still look good, right? So in the spirit of “trying harder” I’ve developed a minimal makeup/lazy day makeup/workout makeup routine.

(And yes, I can admit that I have to put on a little makeup before I work out. If that makes me vain I don’t care – at least I don’t have to stare at my under eye circles when I’m lifting weights or dancing, ugh.)

My routine takes five minutes, less if I decide to skip a step or two at the end. I’ve done this routine in the car, out in the middle of the forest (yes, I wear makeup when I attempt to camp) and at the beach. It’s the bare minimum I need to look put together. Try it on your lazy days, or if you’ve just got to run out to the grocery store and don’t want to go full on foundation, powder, etc.

Step 1: First I apply concealer (I’m currently using Make Up Forever’s Lift Concealer) underneath and in the inner corner of my eyes with MAC’s 252 Large Shader Brush to cover up any dark circles. If I’m in a hurry skip the brush and just use my fingers – I just make sure to wash my hands first or use Purell.

Step 2: I then curl my lashes with MAC’s eyelash curler to open up my eyes. I skip the mascara because it’s something that I just can’t do in a hurry. Plus I don’t want to have to take the time to clean up any mistakes.

Step 3: Next I apply color to my eyebrows to fill them out and give them definition. In the cheat sheet above, I put a picture of MAC’s Brow Shader, but I use MAC Eyeshadow in the color Concrete (a dark brown) with the 266 Brush. I don’t like to fill in my brows with anything darker than brown, otherwise I think it looks to harsh.

Step 4: I then apply cream blush to the apples of my cheeks and blend upwards into the hairline with my fingers. I use Paula Dorf’s Cheek Cream in Cha Cha, a very pretty hot pink that at first looks a little scary in the pan. Once I put it on the color tones down gives the perfect pink flush.

Step 5: Last I blot my forehead, nose and any other oily areas with a piece of Shiseido Blotting Papers.

Voila, I’m done! If I have a little extra time I’ll throw some gloss on, and if I’m feeling ambitious I might replace the Blotting Papers for powder. It all depends on how late I am, ha ha ha!

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I Want These MAC Brushes!

Posted by Karen on March 13, 2007

mac brush lust

I LOVE LOVE LOVE MAC brushes. I can’t get enough of them, and I always find a reason to justify getting just one more brush. And just ’cause I can, here’s the list of all of the MAC brushes I’m jonesing for!

So … what’s on your brush lust list?

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MAC Select Moisturecover Review – The Search For The Perfect Concealer Continues

Posted by Karen on March 13, 2007

Mac Select Moisturecover Concealer

Product: MAC Select Moisturecover concealer in NW 25
Use: To cover dark circles
Price: $15.50 for a tube
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B

This weekend I finally picked up some MAC concealer – Select Moisturecover in NW 25.

Select Moisturecover is the latest addition to my concealer arsenal. I’m a concealer junkie, and currently I’m rotating Make Up Forever’s Lift Concealer in Dark Beige 2 with Biotherm’s Forget It Concealer in 30.

I decided to try using a pink-toned concealer because at the MAC seminar I attended a few weeks ago, the instructor told us that most people (even those with yellow undertones) should wear a pink-based concealer underneath their eyes. Also, in this month’s Allure there’s a brief feature on Bobbi Brown, and she suggests wearing a pink-based concealer underneath a yellow-based concealer.

I really like the color of Select Moisturecover concealer on my skin. I was afraid that the pink tones would make it look obvious, but the pink tones really seem to cancel out the dark circles. It has a good consistency – not too thick, not too thin – and I like the doe foot applicator. Plus, when I blend it in with the 252 Large Shader Brush it looks great!

However, the looking great part doesn’t seem to last long. Unlike Biotherm or Make Up Forever’s concealers, which don’t budge and can last throughout a sweaty dance class, within a few hours I Select Moisturecover starts to slip off my face. Ugh! My concealer quest continues.

The fact that I can make it work when I layer one of my other concealers over it saves this concealer from a lower rating. I plan on keeping it because I like the color so much.

If your skin isn’t as oily as mine you might really like this concealer. And if you’ve got dark circles then you might want to try a pink-toned concealer, I think it really works wonders.

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