Product Review: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base

My mother is a fantastic cook. People request her chicken parm, they eat six slices of her pizza and they know whatever meal she puts in front of them is going to be delicious. She is not, however, a baker. I thought things that happen in the kitchen are all part of the same category, but Mammamia says she doesn’t like baking because she has to follow recipes. (We’ve got rebel blood in our family.) Substitutions, she says, work fine in cooking if you know your stuff, but you can’t go rogue with baking. (Hence her recent banana bread fiasco–turns out whole wheat flour should not replace regular flour.)

So when I see a primarily makeup company create a skincare product or vice versa, I don’t have high hopes.  Many makeup companies excel in their products–eyeshadows, lipsticks, foundations, etc.–but that doesn’t mean they understand skincare. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base.

This product is meant to be both a primer and a moisturizer. It contains shea butter and vitamins C and E. Shea butter has become very popular the past few years due to its moisturizing properties, and vitamin E is known to have a healing effect on scars and marks. Vitamin C is a winner in the anti-aging category. So that trio is impressive, especially coming from a cosmetics company.

Face Base comes in a plastic black and white jar. I have a sample size (.24 fl oz) but the full size is 1.7 oz. The packaging is simple and classy, like every other Bobbi Brown product I have seen. The lid closes tightly and stays on. My only issue with jars is that if you use your fingers to retrieve the product, you are introducing bacteria into the product. When you seal the jar, you are basically throwing a bacteria party. You remember the “warm, dark and moist” breeding ground thing from Bio 101, right? Bacteria can cause breakouts and skin irritation so especially if you are acne-prone, use a clean tool of some sort (makeup spatula, scoop, even a cotton swab) to retrieve the product.

The formula itself is–say it with me–like buttahhhh. But it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave an oily residue. To borrow a term from Lisa Eldridge, one of my makeup artist idols, this product is nourishing. It made my skin feel considerably softer. I am a combination skin gal and I tend to get more oily as we get into the warmer months, so I think this could be a little too heavy for me and others like me during the summer. It’s not the heaviest cream I’ve ever used, but anytime you see shea butter listed as an ingredient, you can assume the product is geared more towards a normal, normal-to-dry or dry skin. As a moisturizer, this product does a great job. I used it on my neck overnight several times and woke up with crazy smooth skin.

Face Base has a moderately strong grapefruit scent. That doesn’t bother me, and the scent disappears after you apply it, but if you are sensitive to scented products, this might be a turnoff. It’s not perfume-y though. It has more of a fresh scent, which I know many people like.

Primers are supposed to do one or two things. One is to prep the skin to allow for a smoother makeup application. A good primer in this sense will allow your makeup to glide on, and can give a little glow to your skin. The other priming factor is longevity. In that arena, a primer should extend the wear of your face makeup. It does that by forming a kind of protective layer between your skin and your face makeup so the oils from your skin–the culprits behind makeup fading–can’t sneak through as easily. Face Base excels in the skin prep area. My foundation sat beautifully on top of the Face Base and I did see an undeniable glow. (What’s up now, JLo?) As far as extending makeup longevity, I saw no difference. I prefer that my primers take care of both prepping the skin (although I often use moisturizer first) and extending the wear of face makeup, so this isn’t the right primer for me. Longevity is important to me because I do a lot of wedding makeup, which needs to last all damn day. Face Base might be fine as a primer for someone with dry skin, since they don’t have as much oil coming through, but I don’t consider this a good longevity primer for my oily or combination skin peeps.

There is no SPF in Face Base, so if you use it during the day, make sure to use a separate SPF. If you use it only at night, you don’t have to worry about that (unless you live in Alaska and sleep outside during the summer).

Overall, I do like this product. I think it’s great day cream and primer for anyone with dry skin (just make sure to use SPF too). For someone with combo or normal-to-oily skin, you might like this during the winter (still use SPF) or as a night cream.

Feelin’ it? You can get it at Sephora, Bobbi Brown or Bobbi Brown counters. It retails for $58. I realize that’s not cheap but I can see this being a game changer for people with normal-to-dry or dry skin who want a smoother foundation application and some glow.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

 

 

Christmas Gift Haul

Makeup wrapping paper

Every Christmas and birthday,  I receive at least one Biggie Smalls themed gift, one vodka gift and one beauty product gift. The trifecta of Allison-perfect gifts. I have of course already tried out all of the beauty product gifts I received this Christmas, so let’s talk about them.

SAMPLES

Samples are part of the game with most beauty product purchases now. Due to their size/amount of product given I can’t always get a thorough review, so these are more like first impressions. Here are the ones I got with my gifts this Christmas:

Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask.  I love Charlotte and her products but I knew this one wasn’t going to be a great fit for me. Clay masks work best on oily skin because they absorb oil. I have combination skin and have been dry dry dry lately, so I didn’t have much oil to be absorbed. The mask felt fine when it was on and was easy to wash off. My skin felt super clean after (clay also lifts impurities out of the skin) and I could see that the pores on my nose, which I noticed looked a little clogged the other day, were significantly unclogged. But my skin did feel dry and tight after, as I expected. This is probably a bomb mask for oily skin but that’s just not me right now. http://www.charlottetilbury.com/us/goddess-skin-clay-mask.html

Glossier Moisturizing Skin Primer. I have used this one before but I don’t think I have written about it. It feels great going on and it does make my foundation apply more smoothly. But as far as extending the wear of makeup, I haven’t noticed any difference. It doesn’t claim to make makeup last longer, but I think that should be a primer’s responsibility. To me, this is an excellent non-SPF moisturizer (great to wear if you are being photographed). https://www.glossier.com/#!/products/priming-moisturizer

Roses de Chloe. I don’t know much about perfume, but my nose says this one is floral and not overpowering. I think it’s a pretty daytime scent. I looked it up and it has notes of fresh cut roses, bergamot, rose essence, magnolia accord, white musk and amber if that helps with my lackluster review. http://www.sephora.com/roses-de-chloe-P384710?keyword=CHLOE%20Roses%20De%20Chlo%C3%A9%20P384710&skuId=1569326&_requestid=297052

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.NG Lipstick in Bitch Perfect. I have a Charlotte Matte Revolution Lipstick that I love, so I was excited to try this sample from her K.I.S.S.I.N.G line. It looked a little orange in the packaging, but went on pinky nude and gorgeous. I immediately texted a friend who has been on the hunt for the perfect nude and told her to check this one out. I’m normally not much of a nude lip wearer because my lips are thin and my skin is light but this had enough pink to actually work on me. It feels moisturizing and did not dry my lips out.  http://www.charlottetilbury.com/us/k-i-s-s-i-n-g-bitch-perfect.html

FULL SIZED PRODUCTS

Glossier Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve. I have been using this on my chapped lips, elbows and a small curling iron burn on my hand and it is good ish. It is unscented and not greasy, which I love. This one is going to take up residence on my nightstand. Lips, burns, elbows and cuticles could benefit from daily use. I will probably buy one when it runs out.  https://www.glossier.com/#!/products/balm-dotcom

Korres Twist Lipstick Raspberry Trio. The shades of the three lip crayons in this collection are Delight (a pale pink with a slightly frosty finish), Grace (a brown-rose pink) and Charm (a vibrant peachy pink). They are easy to apply, decently pigmented (not too sheer, not too opaque) and give a shiny finish. I really like these lip crayons for quick, polished lip looks.  Korres seems to have a new Raspberry Twist line but the colors are different. You can find the colors I have in a set with three other colors or sold individually on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/KORRES-RASPBERRY-TWIST-LIPSTICK-TRUE-COLOR-SHINY-FINISH-IN-6-SHADES-/251720161648?var=&hash=item3a9bb0d970:m:mFByaRN11rASZ9UCUbq08TA

Mr. Bean Coffee Bean Scrub. This body scrub that I was gifted contains ground coffee beans, coconut oil, vitamin E and sea salt. It smells incredible and man, does it make your skin smooth. It will temporarily stain your skin coffee color if you don’t scrub it off but you should be fine if you use exfoliating gloves. Caffeine is supposed to help with cellulite (not sure how scientifically sound that is) and any exfoliation helps with dry skin. It’s sold out on their website right now but you might be able to find it elsewhere: http://ausnz.mrbeanbodycare.com/products/mr-bean-coffee-scrub-coconut

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow in Light to Medium. I have been coveting this powder bronzer/highlighter duo since it came out. The bronzer is neither too warm nor too cool, so it can work as both a bronzer and a contour. It blends beautifully into the skin. The highlighter gives a champagne colored candlelight glow–nothing too obvious or glittery. The packaging is gorgeous and the product is, as Charlotte would say, “divine.” http://www.charlottetilbury.com/us/filmstar-bronze-and-glow.html

My Christmas was wonderful, not because of the gifts (although they were all awesome) but because of the people I was able to spend it with. I hope everyone else has had a happy, peaceful and love-filled holiday season.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That: Part 1

As a makeup artist/product junkie, I get a lot of samples. And while sometimes I can tell a lot by a sample, I often need more product to make a judgment call. So I will attempt to do sample blogs whenever I can to share what I have learned about the products. I’ll compile a bunch of mini-reviews and we’ll go from there. Sound good?

(When I went to review all of the samples that had piled up in my house, I realized the post would be too long, so I’ll have to split it up.)

Sample 1: Ole Henricksen Truth Revealed Super Creme SPF 15

I’ve never bought a full sized Ole product, but I always love trying them. This face creme is light but moisturizing and it doesn’t get sticky or leave a residue. It also smells strongly like Necco Wafers, which is odd…but not bad (at least in my book). It’s an anti-aging creme and contains collagen boosting micro algae, wrinkle fighting tripeptide-5 and omega 3 “happiness concentrate.” So maybe it’s not Necco Wafers I smell, it’s happiness. Some might say it’s the same thing (and by “some”, I mean Necco Wafer fanatics).

It’s $65 for a 1.7 oz jar, so I think this one is somewhat of a splurge for most people. But happiness (concentrate) in a jar? You can’t put a price tag on that.

Sample 2: Shiseido Refining Makeup Primer

I’m a big fan of makeup primers, especially for those with oily or seasonally oily (me, from June until October) skin. Oils from the skin are quick to break down any face makeup, but primers step up and say “Oh, no you don’t!” So if it looks like you have no face makeup on by about 2:00pm every day, you may want to try a primer.

Should you try this one? Well…I didn’t love it. The primer is pink, which I found a little strange. Pink based foundations can make the skin look mask-like or, well, pink, so the primer color concerned me. Pink is not a color corrector (like green is for redness in the skin) so I’m not sure why they chose pink. The Shiseido website said the color of the primer is flattering on every skintone but in my experience, that’s not accurate.

I applied the primer to my slightly sunkissed skin and it washed me out. It pretty much turned white and muted my tan, which I didn’t like. My skin color looked okay once I put my foundation on, but the primer did make me look a little paler than I was. The product looks like Calamine lotion, and strangely even smells like it. It feels heavy going onto the skin, which did not yield the smoothest application, but it does absorb fairly quickly. As far as length of wear, my makeup stayed on slightly longer than without a primer. It’s not a horrible product, but I can think of other primers I’d recommend first.

Sample 3: Benefit The POREfessional

This lightweight peachy-beige cream claims to minimize the appearance of pores, and it does. It’s an instant mattifier and it absorbs before you can say “I need some powder.” The formula is silky smooth and has that same scent that many Benefit products have. I can’t pinpoint it, but I know I would identify it in a blind beauty product scent test (I’m sure those happen all the time). I like this pore minimizer so much that I am going to buy the full sized one! That’s big time.

Sample 4: DDF Advanced Firming Cream

As with many anti-aging products, this cream is probably something you’d have to use for a while to see results. The product description says you will see instant anti-aging results. So I applied it, walked out to my kitchen and then back to the mirror and nope, still looked my age.

The first thing I noticed about this cream was how “natural” it smells. I go to a homeopathic/Eastern medicine doctor and this cream smelled like his office. To me, that’s a good thing. Many people who have allergies to pollen, trees, flowers, etc. also have reactions to beauty products that contain natural ingredients, but I’m not one of them. So while products like this may not be the best for some people, I like them.

The cream felt somewhat thick but absorbed quickly. No residue, no stickiness, nothing weird. And it made my skin SO SOFT. That’s the instant effect I saw/felt. I don’t know what ingredient or mix of ingredients did it, but my skin felt like silk after.

At $130 for a 1.7 oz jar, you might look young, but your bank account might look empty. Good tradeoff, says this beauty junkie.

All of these products can be purchased at Sephora.

That’s all for now! Have a beautiful day 🙂

Whaddya Mean, Tightlining?

Big L, Ebonics, tightlining
If you don’t know this song, go look it up now. Listen to it, listen to it again while you read this post, then one more time so I know you’re cool.

No matter what industry you work in, there is technical talk.  Teachers speak of IEPs, real estate agents discuss easements, carpenters talk about risers and treads, etc. Us makeup artists have our own language too…and it just happens to be the prettiest one.

Sometimes I refer to things forgetting that I’m speaking in makeupese and some people might not know what the hell I’m talking about. So I’m going to do for you what Big L did for street slang–I’m gonna school you.

Airbrush Makeup: A liquefied form of makeup applied with an airbrush machine. Can give skin a flawless look, depending on the product and application technique. It sits on top of the skin, so it’s a great option for mature/wrinkled skin.

Brush Roll: The pouch used to hold makeup brushes.

Cat Eye: An eye makeup look that is thickest and angled at the outer corners.  Not for those who want a subtle look.

Color Wash: Using one shade of eyeshadow for both eyelid and crease.

Contour: Using a dark color to make something recede.  This is how to minimize the width or length of a feature.

Crease: The space above the eyelid and under the browbone.

Cupid’s Bow: The double curve in the center of the top lip. Highlighting the skin above it makes lips look slightly fuller.

Fallout: Usually used in reference to eyeshadow. It’s any shadow that falls under the eye or onto the face.  It’s the reason why makeup artists like me do the eyes first!

Flare Lashes: Also known as clusters, these false lashes come in groups of 6-8 lashes instead of strips that are the length of the lashline.  They come in different lengths and thicknesses and can be built up.

Highlight: Using a light color to draw attention to a feature or area of the face.  Commonly used on cheekbones, brownbones, inner corners of eyes and above the Cupid’s Bow.

Illuminating: Products that say they are “illuminating” contain some kind of light reflecting particles.  Great for places you want to highlight.  Stay away from illuminating products if you have oily skin, because they can make the skin look more oily.

Kit: A makeup artist’s supply of tools and products.

Matte: Products with absolutely no shimmer or shine.

MUA: Stands for “Make Up Artist.”

Non-comedogenic: Means that the product will not clog pores.

Outer V: Used in reference to the section of the eye from the outer end of the crease to the outer end of the lashline.  Drawing a little “v” here (with the point going towards the hairline) works well with a lot of eye makeup looks.

Primer: A face, eye or lip product put on prior to foundation, eye makeup or lip color to help the products stay on longer. They also give a good base and help provide a smoother, more even surface for the products.

Tightlining: Lining the upper inside eyelid with a pencil eyeliner, usually in a black shade. This can help make top lashes look fuller.

Transfer: When a mascara or eyeliner smudges onto the eyelid, crease, or browbone before it has dried.

Sheer: Minimal coverage products that have a hint of color, so that you can still see through to the skin.

Waterline: The inside lower eyelid. Lining here with a dark color makes the look more dramatic and makes the eyes look smaller. An off-white liner here will open up the eyes.

Winged Liner: Eyeliner that extends past the end of the eye on the upper lashline and is angled upwards, giving the illusion of a lifted and elongated shape.

Hope I’ve decoded some of the mystery for you.  Please let me know if I’ve missed anything!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Wedding Makeup Do’s & Don’ts

If you live in New England and would rather just hire a pro for the job, AB Beauty is here for you. Photo: Snap! Photography
Makeup: Allison Barbera

Congratulations! The love of your life has finally popped the question. (Took them long enough, huh?) You’ve got a lot of things to decide once you start your wedding planning process, and whether or not you want to hire a makeup artist is one of them. Of course, I recommend hiring a professional who understands colors, skin types, lighting, photography, etc., but I understand that’s not always in the budget. So here are some Dos and Don’ts to help you if you decide to go it alone.

Do practice a good skincare routine, especially during the six months before your wedding. Healthy, clear skin will photograph better and will mean you don’t need as much makeup.

Don’t get a facial or have any waxing done the week of your wedding. Even if you’re not prone to breakouts or reactions, this could be the one time it happens. Red, puffy or burned skin is tough to cover, so why chance it?

Do practice your wedding makeup look several times. I suggest writing down the products/colors you use. There’s a good chance you will be nervous on the big day, so a written list will help take some pressure off.

Don’t underestimate the time you need to do your makeup. If you’re rushed, you’re more likely to mess something up and get frustrated because you don’t have enough time to fix it.

Do use a foundation. Unless you have perfect skin, you need something to even out your skintone. A lightweight foundation like MAC Face and Body lets your skin show through while giving an even finish.

Don’t use products with SPF. There is a debate about this, but many products with SPF contain zinc oxide, which can give a white cast to the skin in photographs.

Do use primers on your eyes and your skin. Primers help keep the makeup on, so you won’t have to worry as much about face and eye touchups. For an eye primer, I prefer Too Faced Shadow Insurance. For the skin, I like Laura Mercier Foundation Primer.

Don’t even consider using a non-waterproof mascara. Even if you think the Father/Daughter dance or your Maid of Honor’s toast won’t affect you, you could surprise yourself. Mascara streaks cut right through makeup, so why risk it? I use this Revlon waterproof mascara on all of my wedding clients.

Do carry oil blotting papers with you. The camera picks up shine, but oil blotting papers will get rid of it. Powder will cut shine too, but it can get cakey if you touch up too often.

Don’t go on shimmer overload. Every bride wants to look glowing, but shimmery products can translate as shine in photographs. It’s okay to put a little bit on the cheekbones, but do so with a light touch.

Do consider fake lashes. I use these flare lashes (bunches of 6-8 lashes, aka individuals) from Ardell and even five flares makes a difference. They really open up the eyes and add something special to the look. Try them before the wedding day though, or have a bridesmaid put them on for you. They can be tricky.

Hope all of you brides out there found this post helpful.

Have a beautiful day 🙂