One Brand Face: Kat Von D

Sold exclusively at Sephora, Kat Von D’s eponymous makeup line is chock full of bestsellers. From primer to mascara, her products are long-lasting and heavy duty on coverage and color. The website states:

“Created by Kat Von D, tattoo artist, TV star, and owner of High Voltage Tattoo, this inspiring makeup collection exemplifies the fusion of glamorous, old Hollywood and edgy rock ‘n’ roll. Kat’s distinct style and flawlessly crafted face reveals that she is as masterful with a makeup brush as she is with a tattoo machine. Her passion for makeup and self-expression is inked into every product she creates, from the romantic, soulful designs to the rich, highly pigmented and long-lasting formulations. Exclusively at Sephora, Kat Von D’s one-of-a-kind beauty collection allows you to indulge your creativity and unleash your
inner artist.”

After so many claims of how full coverage her foundations and concealers are—enough to cover a tattoo—and how long-lasting all of her other products are as well, I decided to buy everything needed to “flawlessly craft” my own face and see if all of the declarations are true. Below is everything I bought (photos courtesy of sephora.com), in the order in which I applied them.

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First impression: I love that the Lock-It Tattoo Foundation is in a clear pump dispenser (I’m shade M62); you can see how much you have left and the pump is easier and more sanitary than pouring liquid onto your hand and placing your fingers all over the opening. Contact with skin=bacteria. No pump = easy to spill + unsanitary + lack of control. The formula is thick, highly pigmented and full coverage; a little goes a long way, so this is actually a good value at US$34.00 because I only had to use one pump. The same is true for the Lock-It Tattoo Concealer ($US25.00–I’m shade M26) when it comes to texture and coverage. Using these two products in conjunction definitely make for a flawless face in seconds. I used my Real Techniques Buffing Brush and Expert Face Brush, respectively, to apply them. If you need to sheer the products out for less coverage, a damp beauty blender will do the trick wonderfully (I have since tried this method and loved the more natural-looking results). I didn’t use a setting powder this go-round to see how the products last throughout the day. Next, using my Real Techniques Multipurpose Brush, I applied the Everlasting Blush in Essex, a matte cool rose that’s deep enough to show on my complexion. Just in time for this review, I was able to purchase the early release of the Immortal Lash 24-hour Mascara. I wasn’t crazy about the spiral wand at first, but the formula of the mascara and the spoolie really separated and lengthened my lashes. To finish everything, I applied Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Mau5, a.k.a. BauHau5, a deep yet bright raspberry (US$19.00; The Painted Love Lipsticks come in the same colors and are the same price). Let’s see how it looked from the start of my day till the very end, no makeup touchups, photo filters or editing.

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Sitting under the infamously unflattering fluorescent office lighting at 8:00AM (left pic), I loved the way this makeup looked; this speaks volumes! Possibly a little heavy for everyday daytime wear (if a damp sponge/beauty blender isn’t used to sheer it out) the foundation looked amazing, covered all imperfections, was a perfect match for my complexion—and I’m sure many others, due to the large shade range—made me look more awake/brighter than I felt so early in the morning, and didn’t reflect a white cast from flash photography. My skin looked flawless and matte. The blush was just enough color (when applied with a light hand) to provide me with a healthy flush, and the mascara gave my lashes natural yet impactful definition. This liquid lipstick got more compliments than any other colored gloss/lipstick/lip stain I have ever worn in my life—no exaggeration (besides one of my reds)! By midday, my skin was starting to look dewy, borderline shiny, but everything was still in place; even my lips were still vibrant 3 cups of tea, a bowl of cereal, 4 glasses of water and a sandwich later. So far, the results were quite impressive, given that I didn’t use primer, set my foundation with powder or use setting spray. After a long day, all of the products endured humid conditions, my oily skin, long hours and a lot of sweating. There was a bit of foundation transfer, which was to be expected without setting it and being in steam room-like weather, and there was still a flush on my cheeks from the blush. The mascara didn’t flake, smudge or budge from my lashes and there was still a hint of color on my lips after breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee and dinner!

Although the day started with visible makeup, it became more natural as the day progressed, and that made me happy since I was at work. Kat Von D definitely has a winning line of products for women that desire a fuller coverage (I was recovering from a breakout and no one could tell), a face that’s beat to the gods all day long (yes, please), trustworthy makeup for a special event, or a night on the town with a show-stopping face (again, yes), then this is the line for you. I have since created the same face with setting powder and the results were amazing, so I know I’ll be returning to these babies again and again. As of right now, this is my favorite high end product line with all hits and no misses. Taking it all off with the makeup removing wipes was a breeze and nothing made me break out anew. Thank you, Kat, for being your wonderfully tattooed self and for loving old Hollywood glam with edge, and needing to cover up your ink once in a while, and most of all, for finding the right people to make your vision come true and put it into such pretty packaging. I applaud you all.

Now we can forever give good face.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An OMG Post

What did Plato say way back when? “Necessity is the mother of Invention?” Well, Invention, meet your other mothers: Laziness, Exasperation, and Convenience.

As you already know from previous posts (if you’re a regular The Vickylicious reader), I’ve been experimenting with different foundations since I used up a beloved jar of RCW. My latest drugstore excursion (of which there are many, thanks to having a 24-hour Duane Reade downstairs from my building) has me trying out L’Oréal Magic Nude Liquid Powder. I can tell from the colors that there isn’t going to be an exact match for me, so I buy two shades: Sun Beige 328 and Classic Tan 330. I pray to the foundation goddesses that this will be worth the investment and run home (upstairs) to my mirror.

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Liquid is right! I shake up the bottles and attempt to pour a little of each shade onto the back of my hand (my all-natural, homemade mixing palette) and I have to make sure to keep it steady so none of it will run down my arm. I can already foresee this process disrupting my morning routine, but I press on to see if the results will be worth it. Fingers crossed for tomorrow morning…

This morning… My, oh my, is it ever worth it!

This formula truly dries to a powdery smooth finish; the coverage is medium, yet buildable to a full and matte finish. I can’t stop touching my skin; it’s so soft and smooth! I just dab some concealerunder my eyes, a little blush on my cheeks, dress my lashes and go—NO setting powder needed. Oh yeah, remember I told you that I had a bad breakout recently? Well, you can’t tell with this lovely product.

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And look, I even took pics in bad office lighting so you could see its true effect and finish. The picture on the left was taken at 8:46AM and the picture on the right was taken at 3:16PM. Can you see how nothing at all has changed? Everything is still in place and just as fresh as the initial application. Again, this is without using primer, setting powder or spray. I’d say that these are pretty impressive results; possibly the best I’ve had thus far. (As always, no retouching, editing or filters are used on my photos.)

But, pray tell, what did I do about the pesky, messy process? Queue Plato and let’s rewind back to last night.

Once I saw how runny the Liquid Powder was, and knowing I would have to blend two shades of it every time–potentially creating twice the mess—I looked high and low in my kitchen for a container and stopped mid-search when a light bulb flickered in my brain. This formula is just as thin as the ones used for airbrush applications; why don’t I create my own? I went back downstairs to the drugstore in search of a travel-size spray bottle. SCORE!

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Upstairs at my sink, I poured the contents of both Liquid Powders into my new bottle.  Donning a shower cap to protect my hair, I shook up the bottle to blend the shades and product (as the directions dictated), then held my breath. Of course the spritz wasn’t as fine and light as an actual airbrush machine, but it definitely did the trick for a quick-fix home remedy. Using it this morning was simple, quick, and a lot less fuss and messiness. I blended it all in with my buffing brush.

Final answer: OMG. I am in love with this product. Lightweight with good coverage, it doesn’t oxidize and there’s little to no transfer. It doesn’t break up and I haven’t had to blot or touch up all day. I can already predict that this will take 2nd Place on my list of drugstore favorites, knocking Covergirl Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 to 3rd. Do I dare say it might become No. 1…?
Thank you, foundation goddesses. Thank you for this gift.

OH! And L’Oréal, I’d like to present to you the new [patent pending] Vickylicious shade: Suntan 329 in a travel-friendly spritzer. 😉

OMG or OHN: The Body Shop Oil-Free Foundation SPF 15

I finally used up one of my Revlon Color Stay Whipped Makeup (RCW) foundation jars from my hoarded collection, so what better time to write a foundation review? Yes, I’m itching to crack open another jar of my beloved (although discontinued) RCW, but as I said before, I’m an equal opportunity experimenter and there are many bottles/tubes/jars/compacts awaiting my brush.

After perusing my entire collection, I decided to revisit a bottle I bought several months ago and then completely forgot about: The Body Shop Oil-Free Foundation SPF 15 in 07 (For convenience, I will call it TBS). For your reference, I’m an NW35 in MAC, Toast in Revlon, and W7-Caramel Beige in L’Oreal True Match. I will test this foundation to see if the claims of the description hold true and to see how it lasts throughout the day. As in my last foundation review, no primer, setting powder or spray will be used in order to get true results, and as always, all of my photos will be unedited/un-retouched. Before the full review, below is the website’s description of this foundation line:

A range of innovative lightweight, oil free balancing foundation that provides medium to full coverage for a luxuriously smooth, matte, shine-free and healthy-looking finish. Dermatologically tested.

How to Use: Smooth evenly over a clean face using our Foundation Brush or Professional Makeup Sponge.

Overall Rating: 4.3/5 Stars (from 47 reviews)—85% would recommend it to a friend.

Before buying it ($23.00—now on sale for $5!), I had already noticed one immediate detractor: this line only comes in 5 shades. How limited! Luckily, there happened to be a shade for me. Please note that the only reason I hadn’t used this foundation until now is not because I doubted it in any way, but because this purchase was made around the time I did a serious Sephora haul (read: I still have more reviews coming for you) and truly just forgot about it. Plus, I got sidetracked when I found my discontinued RCW shade. I digress. On to the trial.

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As a reference point, take a look at my naked face on the left, fresh from a breakout. This is actually the perfect time to test a foundation’s coverage and longevity; so, here’s to looking on the bright side of stress acne! Now take a look at my face on the right, after applying one pump of TBS foundation with a Coastal Scents Bionic Buffing Brush. What is staring you in the face? A glaring white cast from the camera flash due to the SPF 15 in the formula—a major con in my book. However, since you don’t see that off camera, let’s try to get past that for the moment. Coverage is excellent and full, there’s no offensive scent. It applies with ease, has a matte finish and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. So far, so good! Let’s see if it will hold up by the day’s end.

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No dice. Major makeup meltdown. Undereye concealer? Gone. Blush? Nowhere in sight. Shine? All over.  Scars? Visible. The formula has broken up due to oiliness and has transferred like crazy. Whatever is left is sliding all over my face. The only things that still look fresh from my morning routine are my “mascara’d” lashes, which coincidentally, are the only things that don’t rely on foundation. The only positive result is that the white cast from the camera flash is gone, thanks to my oils breaking down the foundation…

NONE of the claims on the website’s description hold true. Maybe they will with some help from setting powder and spray? On to Round 2.

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There’s less shine, thanks to setting powder and spray. Setting the foundation preserved some of the white cast flashback, however it didn’t prevent the formula from breaking down. By looking closer in the mirror, I noticed breakdown started around midday. On both days, I was tempted to blot and blend in the office bathroom because I felt like everyone would be looking at me strangely, but no one seemed to notice; I even received compliments the second night when I went to an event with my girlfriend. I think it was due to it being dark outside. Go figure.

Final answer on TBS Oil-Free Foundation SPF 15: OHN (Oh, hell no)!

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This is going straight to the trash bin to make room for better formulas. If you have tried this foundation and gotten different/better results, please let me know. I’d love compare notes!

Since this didn’t work out for me, stay tuned for another review soon. Until then, keep celebrating life!

Eeks!

You’re Being Abusive. I Know It.

Not to gross you out, BUT…makeup products harbor organisms that can multiply and cause infections if you neglect to wash or discard them at proper times. This goes for tools (brushes and the like) and the cosmetics themselves. Here’s a list of the most common dirty makeup “eeks!”of which you might be guilty. Read on in order to stop abusing your makeup and your face.

Eek #1: You’re using mascara so old that you don’t remember when you bought it. – Keep your tube of mascara too long and you’re probably coating your lashes in bacteria. Bacteria naturally present in your eyes transfers to the wand and spoolie, which contaminates the tube with germs that lead to pink eye and infections like staph. Yes, your own bacteria will do this to you!

The Clean Up: While most mascaras contain preservatives that keep bacteria from growing, those preservatives only work for approximately three months. So to be safe, try to replace your mascara every quarter (about four times a year. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to!).

Eek #2: Your eyelash curler is caked with old mascara. – Quick question: Would you reuse your fork from last night’s gooey mac n’ cheese dinner without washing it first? Yeah, I didn’t think you would. Leaving your curler uncleansed will allow it to do all the nasties stated in Eek #1.

The Clean Up: Clean your lash curler with an alcohol or disinfecting wife after each use. There are also replacement sponges you can purchase.

*Bonus: On top of saving your eyes, a clean lash curler will save your lashes too! The caked up mascara can adhere to your lashes and rip them out of your lids!

Eek #3: You apply liner (eye, eyebrow and/or lip) with a dull pencil tip. – Basically, this faux pas creates the same issues in Eeks 1 and 2.

The Clean Up: Sharpen you pencil liners once a week. Also, can you remember to use a disinfecting wipe in between uses? Good. And if you can’t or you want to slack off, know this: shaving the top layer off will remove infection-causing bacteria. Not only that, it makes your liner that much easier to apply. Win/Win!

*Important side-note: clean out your sharpener too! Just use some soap and water, followed by a disinfectant. (Or, use the solution I make in Eek #4 below.)

Eek #4: You never wash your makeup brushes—ever. EEEEEK! Dead skin, oil, dirt, bacteria—all of that is collecting on all of those bristles. You’re clogging your pores and creating a breeding ground for breakouts.

The Clean Up: Wash them daily with brush cleaner or even warm, soapy water then rinse them and squeeze the water out with your fingers. Lay them flat to dry because brush bristles are heavier when wet and will lose their shape if you stand them up.

*I make my own brush cleaner with 1 cup of warm filtered water, about 4 drops tea tree oil (a natural anti-bacterial, non-greasy oil) and a tablespoon of baby shampoo (because it’s gentle). Cetaphil is pretty great, too.
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**Side-note: I don’t do this every day—guilty as charged! I try to clean my brushed every couple of days. Are you worse than I am? Shoot for at least once a week.

Eek #5:  Do you apply lipstick when you’ve got a cold? – Germs live on your lipstick, making you more vulnerable to other bugs/viruses, especially if your immune system is already on the fritz.

The Clean Up:  Using an alcohol or disinfecting sheet, wipe the outside of the lipstick case and rub the surface of the lipstick before applying next time. Do you use lip gloss with a doe-foot applicator? DON’T when you’re sick, unless you disinfect the applicator before re-inserting it into the tube.

Eek #6: You take your makeup bag to the bathroom, public and private. – If you’re the kind of woman who carries her makeup bag to the bathroom and sets it, along with your beauty products, on top of counters in public/private restrooms, they will pick up bacteria. Lots of them. Yours and a MILLION other women’s nasties!

The Clean Up: Put a paper towel under your bag before you sit it on the counter, or keep it inside your purse to avoid picking them up at all.

Speaking of bathrooms…Eek #7: You leave your makeup/tools by the toilet. – Every time you flush the toilet, fecal matter sprays into the air and lands on your counter and on/in your products and tools. This might be the eek of all eeks. Ew, ew, EW!

The Clean Up: Store your makeup, supplies and tools (toothbrush included) in a closed cabinet.

Eek #8: The makeup bag dilemma – Yes, your cloth/leather makeup bags looks great and super stylish, but it’s tough to clean. And what does that mean? You got it: bacteria.

The Clean Up: Use a bag that is made of plastic or nylon and clean it out at least once a month, wiping down the lining with a disinfectant wipe. What else is awesome about using a plastic or nylon bag is that they’re cheap enough to buy a cute new one every year. Woo hoo!

Eek #9: I know you love looking at your collection of makeup, but hoarding it all (foundation, concealer, lipstick, mascara, etc.) after you’ve already used it previously but haven’t worn in years, is a no-no. Even though there aren’t expiration dates on makeup products, you can still when it’s time to say goodbye.

The Clean Up:  Say “Adios!” to anything that smells different, looks cakey and dried out, has changed color, or the ingredients look like they’ve separated. The general principle for most creamy or liquid products: 12 months; powder/solid products/lipstick: 2-3 years.

Eek #10: Your icky fingers are making everything else icky, too. – Dipping dirty fingers into jars or touching the tips of tubes does what? Uh huh, you got it. It spreads germs and bacteria. I think you’ve caught on to the theme here, finally.

The Clean Up: Wash your hands before doing your makeup, or there will be germs, germs, everywhere.

Now that we all understand the moral of the story, let’s stick to not having bacteria stick to us! Don’t let makeup build up on the openings of your jars, tubes, etc.; clean them every now and then with an alcohol or disinfecting wipe. Always keep lids and caps screwed on tight in order to avoid exposing your products to the air and germs. And remember, the MUA term “beating face” is not to be taken literally. Stop the abuse!