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.

Crease Lightning

Forever on the search for the perfect under-eye concealer, I have spent a not-so-small fortune and have endured a lot of slipping, sliding, and creasing. There has been one too many false alarms when I think I’ve found the perfect formula, only to find that the concealer has sunken into the folds under my eyes, making it look as if I’ve tried to caulk them like bathroom tiles. Not a good look. From cream formulas to liquid; from waterproof to mineral; from powder to mousse; all have creased on me (even with face primer and/or eyes shadow base), except for MAC Pro Longwear Concealer.

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Although this is my Holy Grail fixer, I go through this tiny vial very quickly and as a result, I end up spending a lot of money–US$18.00 every time really adds up. And honestly, sometimes my dark circles need more coverage than the Pro Longwear provides them (I’m all about the vampire life—I’ll sleep when I’m dead or I’ve achieved world domination, whichever comes first). So on the days when I need a stronger war paint, I’ve been at a loss as to how to combat creasing…until now, that is! After much experimentation, I have amended my application procedure. Let me introduce you to a trusty standby and a new friend, and I’ll show you how I use them both.

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The first step in my new regimen is to layer my eye cream; the more moisture you infuse into your skin, the less lines and creases it will have (common sense). I apply one layer of rich eye cream, put on my face moisturizer, and wait a couple of minutes to let everything sink in. In the meantime, I line up all of my cosmetics onto my sink to cut down on time. Then I apply second layer of eye cream and wait another minute (put my headband on and blow my nose)—this is the new part of my routine, using my trusty standby (I use eye cream every day and night). Next, I use eye shadow primer under my eyes—this is my new friend. Side note: I bought a cheapie for this experiment, just in case, figuring I can invest in a more expensive and/or better primer in the future if this trial actually works. However, if the Ruby Kisses is effective, I might not change at all! From this point on, everything else in my morning regimen is the same. For this experiment, I’m using Kat Von D’s Lock-It Tattoo Concealer because this has creased on me a lot in the past and will therefore be the perfect test product.

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Face primers and eye shadow bases haven’t worked, but eye shadow primer has some kind of magical power that hasn’t allowed this concealer to crease ALL DAY. 10 hours later and the above pic is the end result. I couldn’t be happier, and neither can my dark circles!

*Coincidentally, the makeup artist/guru Wayne Goss just posted about this exact same solution on YouTube not long ago. The saying is true: Great minds definitely think alike. 😉

**UPDATE: Since writing this post, I’ve switched from the Ruby Kisses primer to the Sephora brand and it works even better!

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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!

Sneak Peek

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Thanks to a massive Sephora haul, I will be doing a lot of reviews in the near future. I’m a skin junkie; flawlessly done foundation and concealer are my joys.

When it comes to makeup, I focus on skin, lashes and lips. Although I love eye looks, I have yet to find products that stay put on my lids; these greasy eyelids of mine have vanquished every waterproof, smudge-proof, budge-proof, longwear claim on the market (and yes, I’ve tried a slew of primers as well). I will never give up my quest, however,  because I long to wear a winged eyeliner look that doesn’t turn me into a sad panda within one hour. Until that blessed day comes, I will keep trying to perfect my “skin, lips and lashes” looks.

Never fear, readers; you will see all of my hits–and major misses–documented here for your entertainment.

I wonder which bottle of magic I will pull out of my goody box first!  Stay tuned 🙂