Archive for December, 2010

People with acne prone skin are forever searching for the best powder foundation. We want something that will conceal any current acne or old acne scars, but still look natural. Below, I have listed my own favorites plus some other top-rated powder foundations that I’m going to try for myself. I made a note of a couple that made me break out also, even though they are highly rated. Those foundations may work well for some people. They just didn’t work for me.

My personal top picks that I have tried:

Bare Minerals Matte Foundation:

This mineral powder foundation is a consistent winner of beauty awards and is the most popular mineral makeup out there. I like the Matte formula because it doesn’t contain bismuth oxychloride, which can make some people break out and gives a shinier finish. If you need extra coverage, you’ll want to use the bare mineral multi tasking concealer first. You can even use the concealer, then the foundation, then more concealer if you are having a really bad day!

Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation
– Brand New!

I was so excited when I heard that Korres was now selling a mineral foundation. I fell in love with their products about a year ago and, while the product selection is limited, they are all natural and high quality. I used their Wild Rose liquid foundation for a while, but it can be a little too shiny for me at times. Their mineral powder foundation is definitely less matte than the Bare Minerals, which is a big plus when your skin is feeling a little dry. I haven’t been using it long enough to give a full review for my own skin, but the Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation is topping the charts everywhere. If you find the Bare Mineral matte foundation too dry looking, then you should definitely try the new Korres one.

Tarte Provocateur Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation

Tarte’s pressed mineral powder is my go-to compact when my skin doesn’t need as much coverage and I just want a very natural look. I put on a little concealer where needed, use the sponge to dab on the powder, and the look is about as natural as you can get. This is an all-natural product, so it’s great for sensitive skin. As with the Korres products, the colors are a little limited. I was lucky that I found one that perfectly matched my skin tone.

Benefit Hello Flawless Compact Powder Foundation

If Tarte is the one I go to for lighter coverage, Benefit’s Hello Flawless is the compact powder foundation I use when my skin is having a tough day. When you use the sponge that comes with it, the coverage is phenomenal. There is also a brush you can use when you want light coverage, but I find it fairly useless. If I want some straight powder on my face, I go with the Tarte pressed powder or the new Korres mineral foundation. Benefit’s Hello Flawless has also been great for me in the summer when my skin is a little more oily.

Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder

Well, by now you guessed that I like Korres makeup.  The Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder gives more moderate coverage, somewhere between Hello Flawless and Tarte’s compact powder. It is another all natural powder foundation and gives a slightly more dewy finish to the ones by Tarte and Benefit. I have only one complaint here. The shades are very limited and I am in between two of them. I love the consistency, but I can only use it in the summer, when I have a little more color.

Also top-rated, but I haven’t tried them all:

Lancome Dual Finish Powder Foundation

I used to use this foundation for years and love the feel of it. The only problem I have now is that I can’t find a color that matches my skin tone. What happened? Either my skin got lighter or they changed the formula. It is not an unscented makeup, but that never bothered me in the past. If only they had a shade that matched my skin, I would buy this again in a second.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

MAC Studio Fix is reported as being good for oily skin. I haven’t tried it myself, but many people love it. They said it is lightweight, but covers well. However, there are a few others who say it was too heavy and chalky and clogged their pores. Go figure! MAC’s Studio Fix powder foundation has very high ratings at most online stores, so if you are a MAC user then it would probably be great for you. Otherwise, make sure you go to a physical store and try it out first. At the minimum, make sure you can return it online.

Laura Mercier Powder Foundation

This one is a little pricey, but a consistent winner among users. It is best for summer months or if you have oily skin year-round. Buildable coverage and no break-outs reported, based on reading about a million reviews on the web! The downside is that it is not an all-natural, fragrance-free makeup. If you have very sensitive skin, you could have a problem.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Duo Mat Powder Foundation

Many people rate this as the best powder foundation ever. I guess I will have to try it next. Make Up Forever has an amazing line of cosmetics, including one of the best eyeliners on the market, so their foundation should be great also. The quick take from reviewers is that it is non-drying, has buildable coverage, and a natural finish. Good for oily skin.

Top rated, but made me break out:

Philosophy: The Supernatural. I tried this foundation after reading some great reviews. What a disaster! My face broke out right away and the makeup went straight back to the store.

Everyday Minerals. I really don’t understand why this mineral makeup didn’t agree with my skin. However, both my daughter and I broke out within a day or two. It just goes to show that just reading the ingredients is not enough. What works well for one person doesn’t necessarily work well for another, even if they have similar skin types.

Anything with chemical sunscreen. I use this as my first rule in picking out foundation. Anything that has a chemical sunscreen in it makes me break out. It is best to use a mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin first, then primer, then concealer and foundation. If you won’t be in the sun much, a mineral powder foundation with sunscreen is fine.

One last parting tip for you. Always use a primer before applying your foundation and it will go on smoother, look more natural, and last longer. As I’ve mentioned before, Tarte’s Clean Slate is my favorite primer that doesn’t make my skin break out.

Have any favorites not mentioned here? Please leave a comment and let everyone know.

Basic Makeup Products and Essentials

For those of you just starting out with makeup, or who want to try something new, I have put together a select list of some basic makeup products and essentials. These will be very helpful for anyone who has decided to gain access to the video tutorials from University of Makeup that teach you how to apply makeup.  I have picked out a few good MAC makeup essentials along with a few basic makeup kits containing eyeshadows, brushes, and concealers. These are professional kits that makeup artists often use because of the wide range of colors. Take a look and click through the product links to find out more or to look at other colors (full disclosure: these are my affiliate links).


If you want to learn how to apply makeup, there’s no substitute for visual examples and step-by-step instructions. I’ve learned most of my own makeup techniques from years of experimenting with different makeup, time spent getting makeovers at department stores, and reading about different methods in beauty magazines. However, I recently was introduced to a program by the University of Makeup which provides video tutorials for every type of makeup technique you can think of.

The tutorials from the University of Makeup help you learn how to apply makeup like professionals, whether you want a natural day look, fashionable celebrity look, or the look of a dramatic photo shoot. I’ve been trying out several of the tutorials so far and have been extremely impressed with the quality of the video and clear explanations of technique. Here is the promo video they did to give an overview:

In the most basic course, My Makeup Course, you get lifetime access to 37 step-by-step video tutorials that take you through absolutely everything. You will learn how to take care of your skin and prepare it for makeup. You then learn things like how to select the right color foundation, which makeup brushes you need, how to use concealer, apply eyeshadows and blushes. You name it. The Full Makeup Course, which consists of 67 videos, will teach you how to become a professional makeup artist. You even receive a professional makeup artist certificate at the end! All of the videos can be watched on your computer or downloaded.

Here are just a few of the tips I’ve learned so far:

  • Use green concealer to cover red pimples and veins BEFORE applying foundation
  • If you wear glasses and are near-sighted (like me), use darker eyeshadow colors and focus on the crease and outer corners
  • To make small eyes look bigger – apply highlighter eyeshadow on the lids, a soft color in the crease and upwards, and only use eyeliner on the lower lid

One thing I love about the course is that you don’t have to buy a specific brand of makeup. Many video tutorials I’ve seen in the past are meant for a certain brand and are often produced by that makeup company. While these tutorials do show you what makeup they are using, you can apply the techniques with anything you have in your cosmetics drawer. However, the majority of makeup and brushes they use in the videos is by MAC, along with a few other brands. I love MAC makeup, so I’ve even been considering splurging a little over the holidays on a couple of the items in the video. After all, who couldn’t use another eyeshadow or lipstick?

When I first looked at the long list of makeup tutorials, I realized that it would take me hours to look at all of them. I assumed that this would involve some kind of monthly membership that would be way too expensive. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the price was just a flat fee for lifetime membership. The price for My Makeup Course is only $99, which is a lot cheaper than a lifetime of makeup tips from beauty magazines! However, the Full Makeup Course has quite a few more video tutorials and is probably worth the extra money if you really love to play around with makeup. In that course, you get all the tutorials about working with different types of faces and features (such as narrow foreheads, wide eyes, and different noses).

So, what are the downsides of this course? Well, the only real one is the lack of a list of makeup used in each tutorial. The company told me that they are currently working on putting together a list of makeup for each video, so that should be solved in the near future. In the meantime, I just look carefully at the types of makeup used. Then I pick a few from my drawer to experiment with. You can also pick up a few basics from the local cosmetics store and return anything you don’t like. To help you, I’ve put together a list of a some basic makeup products and tools you can use to get started.

Note: Since I first wrote this review, the University of Makeup has opened up their extensive online makeup store to all members at a 10% discount over the general public. They even offer FREE worldwide shipping! I don’t know any makeup store that does that!!!

– Sharyn

P.S. For all you MAC makeup lovers out there, the University of Makeup store sells loads of MAC cosmetics – all with free international shipping!

Makeup Course

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