Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sephora Mini Haul

I've been on the hunt for a good primer for a while now. My first experience with a moisturizing, non-silicone based primer was the Too Faced Hangover Primer. That experience was so bad that I started questioning my need for a primer in the first place. In my hunt for a new primer I recently hauled two Smashbox Try-It-Kits from Sephora and I've spending the past week or few playing with the things I snagged. Being in desperate need for an eyeshadow primer and wanting to find a new foundation primer I grabbed the Smashbox Try it Kit-Primer Authority and grabbed the Try-It-Kit: Bestsellers while I was at it (for a couple of backups and things I might use).

In my past experience, most primers don't really do too much for makeup longevity, only pore filling. I am a staunch advocate for silicone based primers for myself since I have cavernous pores that each support small villages of miners, but even then there is a specific, almost lubricating quality (if you work with graphite you will know what I mean) that I look for. I like clear, thick yet spreadable pore filling face spackle that mattifies and is almost entirely unlike lotion or any type of moisturizer. A common top ingredient I've found in these primers is Cyclopentasiloxane, a huge no-no if you are trying to avoid silicones in your beauty routine, but then I'm not. In this case  Cyclopentasiloxane serves the purpose of filling in large pores beautifully and fortunately Smashbox did not disappoint with their quality and ingredients list.

This kit included a deluxe sized Photo Finish Oil-Free Foundation Primer, sample sized Photo Finish Shadow Primer, deluxe sized Photo Finish Primer Water and sample sized Photo Finish Undereye Primer. I was let down by my own illiteracy: I was hoping to see the oil Primer which I've really been wanting to try but it wasn't included in the kit.

So the Oil Free Foundation Primer is one of the aforementioned perfect-for-me silicone based primers and it is pretty fucking fantastic. I love a primer that fills in nose craters, and this one absolutely does that. It goes on crazy smooth and evens out the texture on my face. Most importantly, it doesn't feel sticky or tacky at all.

I'm also enjoying the Photo Finish Shadow Primer. It has a very silly texture, almost a little tacky, but it definitely intensifies shadow pigments. The shadow primer also has the added benefit of making it damn near impossible to remove shadows. It makes them almost waterproof, if you will. A definite must for humid Chicago summer.

I'm still trying to find a use for the Hydrating Undereye Primer.  I don't use concealer to highlight and again, I don't really have a problem with creasing or bass slipping off of my face and sliding to the ground in a Me-shaped mask form. The under eye primer is brightening but I can get the same effect from a pearlized eye cream.

The Photo Finish Primer Water is refreshing but at this point I want to say unnecessary. If I had dry skin or wanted a spritz as a refresher or mid-day dewey look this would absolutely come in handy. The spritz is a fine mist so at least it's not like being blasted in the face by a firehouse.

From left to right are the Hydrating  Undereye Primer, Hydrating Undereye Primer sheered out, Photo Finish Face primer, Photo Finish Shadow Primer and Photo Finish Shadow Primer sheered out. 

Shitty kitchen light
With flash

This kit was a little more exciting. It included the sample sized  Photo Finish Shadow Primer, a sample sized Photo Finish Foundation Primer, a deluxe sized Full Exposure Mascara, a little baby Be Legendary Lipstick in the shade Primrose and a full sized Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Raven.

The lipstick had a decent formulation-your average lipstick really. The color however was so awful on my skin tone that I just had to pass it on.

I was thrilled to have a second shadow primer and another Foundation Primer (this is actually the one I opened. The larger one is my backup). I so rarely get to do a full face of makeup that these should last me a bit. I still have my face primer I scored from my October Ipsy bag, for God's sake.

I'm in love with the Full Exposure Mascara. I've been wanting to try this for months now but couldn't justify buying a tube with the few mascaras I've had open at the time. This thing is so much more dramatic than my current go-to mascara but I'm having a hard time trying to differentiate it from the X-Rated mascara (that I may or may not have left my husband for). God, that was a sexy mascara. My only complaint is that the wand is pretty intimidating in size.

Be Legendary Lipstick in Primrose and Eyeliner in Raven (no flash)
Be Legendary Lipstick in Primrose and Eyeliner in Raven (with flash)

The hero of this kit (for me) was definitely the Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner (shown above after some use and capping. Eyeliner is requisite for any makeup look I do and this liner actually lives up to its name. It doesn't bleed into my waterline immediately after application (which my current favorite eyeliner tends to do at times). It's perfect for tightlining. 
It has a sharpener built into the cap so whenever you twist the cap on or off it automatically sharpens. Ladies and gentlemen, I finally found a pencil eyeliner to rival (surpass even) my ColourPop liner that I've held on a pedestal for nearly a year now. 

I also claimed a couple of free samples with my order. I've never heard of Sol de Janeiro but they make a fine smelling body lotion. Unfortunately I have a shload of mediocre lotions from Victoria's Secret so it will be a while before I do much damage to this little guy. It's the perfect size for a purse though and moisturizes wonderfully.
I'm loving the idea of Dr. Roebuck's PURE Face Moisturizer. It's cruelty free, paraben, sulfate and pthalate free and it moisturizes so well. I love how quickly it absorbed into my skin and the smell is luxurious. Not only that but the sample size was a healthy 20mL. I can't say I would be able to get behind the jar packaging though.

One of my samples was the Skin Inc. Pure Revival Peel which is startlingly similar to the Real Chemistry 3-Minute Peel I received in January and yet retails for half the price. The foil packet only had enough for one use so I can't get a good idea of how effective this was. I do think I noticed a very slightly brightening effect though.

I loved the shit out of the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream. It had a pearlescent sheen that did brighten my undereye area and I also noticed a very slight reduction in puffiness. This foil packet was large enough that I was able to get about 3 uses out of it. I definitely want to try other Origins products in the future and I'm already itching to buy the full size of this.

I also selected a sample of Maison Margiela 'Replica' in the scent Lazy Sunday Morning. This floral scent is described as a combination of lily of the valley, patchouli, iris and white musk. I loved the musky scent this had yet the floral top notes kept this perfume smelling feminine. There was definitely a relaxed weekend vibe to this scent. My sniffer doesn't work very well at all so I had to use the description on the packaging for this one, sorry guys.

In conclusion: Do I need a primer? Absolutely not. I've found that using water based foundation primers or mattifying  primers without Cyclopentasiloxane as a top ingredient is pretty much useless (on me at any rate). I've found no improvement in how long Foundation lasts, I've seen no diminishing of fine lines or pores. In fact, I do not see any benefit in my complexion with lotion or water primers. The primers I love I will only (sometimes) use around my nose and cheeks where my pores are largest but most often I will use them on a bare face to reduce shine after moisturizing or using an SPF. We're the kits worth buying? Absolutely! I've learned what I want and need from a primer, found an alternative to primers I've already fallen in love with and had a chance to see what is generally useless to me

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