BECCA

All About Sunscreens

March 14, 2015

I have been road testing a lot of sunscreens in recent years, and in this post it covers some of my absolute favorites. As we all know, there are two different types of UVS – the UVA and UVB . What you probably aren’t aware is that UVB rays can burn the skin, whereas what we women really have to watch out for on a daily basis is the UVA rays that causes aging and pigmentation. SPF is only for blocking UVB. In most western brands, if the sunscreen also protects you from UVA it is indicated by the word “Broad Spectrum”, however how much coverage it provides is unknown. I personally prefer the Asian standard of labeling for UVA protection as it is denoted by the PA+. The more plus signs there are, the better job it does for blocking UVA which is valuable information for those who are sensitive to the sun.

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1. Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Brightening UV Protector SPF 50 PA+++: My top favorite and I would repurchase it over and over. It has all the protection I need, and the texture is like a lightweight gel cream that feels invisible and hydrating on the skin. It is neither greasy nor drying. And unlike other gel sunscreens, this one does not flake up and sits well under makeup. Highly recommend! (Asia version here)

2. DIOR DIORSNOW White Reveal UV Protection SPF 50 PA+++: It’s a sunscreen with moisturizing and brightening ingredients, so it doubles up as a makeup primer as it helps to brighten up and even out the skin tone. The texture feels very rich upon application – almost like a heavy moisturizer for dry skin but it absorbs into the skin after a few minutes without the oily residue, leaving your skin supple and slightly dewy. A lot of my friends who have dry skin really love this sunscreen because of the dewy finish. (Asia version here)

3. Lunasol Control Essence UV SPF34 PA+++ : It feels just as good as the Estee Lauder -very lightweight, and has a luxurious serum-like lotion texture that feels refreshing and hydrating on the skin without changing the skin color. I would rate this one as my second favorite because it has a lower SPF.

4. BECCA Mineral SPF30 Face and Body Sunscreen: This is a mineral sunscreen so it is better for sensitive as well as acne prone skin types, and more importantly, they become effective immediately upon application as opposed to the classic sunscreens that should be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. The texture of this is lovely – it is creamy but non greasy, feels refreshing on the face but it might leave a white cast if your skin tone is darker than NC30.

5. ORBIS UV Cut Sunscreen FACE SPF34 PA+++ – A Japanese drugstore brand and their UV CUT line that is highly raved about and just blows the western drugstore sunscreens out of the water. This is a mineral sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It has a watery milky lotion texture with more than 80% moisturizing ingredients that just melts into your skin and prevents oxidization. It sets immediately to a semi-matte finish without feeling drying nor powdery. I love using this one on days I don’t wear makeup, as it is tinted with a pale beige color that makes the complexion look really fresh and clean. My top pick for an affordable sunscreen!

6. ORBIS UV Cut Sunscreen SUPER SPF50 PA++++:  Offers maximum protection, and the texture is very similar to the face product without the beige tint, so it can be used for both the face and the body without leaving a white cast as it goes on invisible. Since it has the highest PA protection, it is great for prevention from being tanned.

7. Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral: Another mineral sunscreen but in powder form! I thought this is a brilliant idea as I like to re-apply sun protection every few hours without having it messing up my makeup! It applies pretty much like transparent loose powder, but the brush feels coarse and it doesn’t fit into the cap so it can get messy for carrying it around.

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Swatches from left to right: Estee Lauder; Dior; Lunasol; Becca; Orbis Face; Orbis Super

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November Favorites

November 30, 2014

Just in time to post my favorite products for the month of November!

frontrowbeauty-november-favorite-products-1Clockwise:

- Diptyque Mimosa Candle – I love the smell of Mimosa, and when this fresh and enchanting scent is packed into a candle by the magic hands of Diptyque it’s a must have for me! I have used this one for the home all year round.

- YSL Le Tient Touche Eclat Illuminating Powder Foundation (Asia exclusive, also available in Australia) – Currently obsessed with this one. I can’t stop looking at my complexion when I dust this one on top of the foundation – it makes skin look incredibly radiant and air-brushed but so natural with a decent coverage.

- YSL Touche Eclat  Foundation -  I thought the performance of this foundation was on the average side for me (reviewed here), however when it’s used in conjunction with the Touche Eclat Powder I am more than amazed! It is currently 20% off at YSLBeauty Online.

- Gucci Cat Eye Sunglasses (Take up to 25% off use code GOBIG)- Love the subtle cat eye shape and it is extremely lightweight so I can wear this for the whole day without leaving marks along my nose bridge!

- TATCHA Deep Hydrating Lifting Mask – A luxurious paper mask that guarantees to make your skin appear more plumped and glowy.

- Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle – Reviewed here.

- BEATS Mixr White – I cannot workout without music. So I rely on my BEATS Headphone to help me get through the sessions as I am hitting the gym more often now to get myself in shape before the holiday starts!

- Ipsa Premier Line Cleansing Creamy Paste – A gentle creamy and refreshing cleanser that I use in the morning. The texture reminds me of Neutrogena’s Deep Clean Cream Cleanser, but 100 times more luxurious overall.

- Bobbi Brown Smokey Nudes Eye Shadow Palette – My workhorse lately (reviewed here).

- Nars Audacious Lipsticks – I reviewed Natalie here, and went back and bought the shade Grace as I just love this new formulation. They are currently 20% off at NarsCosmeticsOnline.

 

 

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Becca has recently released a range of Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle that has absolutely blown me away. Though their counters are no longer available at David Jones, I bought them online after doing some research, and went ahead with the colors Watermelon/Moonstone and Lychee/Opal.

Please excuse that the pictures were taken after the products were “accidentally used”, so they looked nowhere as beautiful as they were originally are

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The Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle is a very lightweight gel blush in a whipped souffle texture that is mixed with two of their best sellers (hence the marbled effect) – the Beach Tint and the Shimmering Skin Perfector. Both products are my all time favorite products from Becca, so I was extremely happy to see this genius idea being born! The blush offers natural flush of colors with an illuminating glow, and the lasting power is excellent as it applies like a silky stain that just melts into the skin. Becca’s Beach Tint is known for its superb texture that applies completely streak free without enhancing the pores.  And this Tint Souffle is the same, the formula is light and hydrating so it takes no effort to apply and it blends in to the skin seamlessly without settling into the pores.It gives a satiny cream finish upon application and fades into a stain like finish.

The Watermelon/Moonstone (mixed with the Beach Tint in Watermelon and the Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone) is a warm red that has a hint of coral infused with pale gold. When it is applied it translates to a warm red with a pale gold sheen. It’s extremely wearable for a red blush and the gold shimmer adds a soft touch of highlighting effect to the finish.

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The Lychee/Opal (mixed with Beach Tint in Lychee and Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal) is a stunner. If you love pink blushes, then you have to give this one a go! It’s a bubblegum pink infused with rose gold! Words cannot describe how pretty this color is, and whether your skin tone is warm or cool, this pink blush would work really well.

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I feel bad that I cannot present how the products look like when they are brand new (because they looked much nicer!), and hopefully my swatch will do them the justice!

Left Watermelon/Moonstone Right Lychee/Opal

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close upbecca-beach-tint-shimmer-souffle-lychee-opal-watermelon-moonstone-review-swatch-2.jpgboth colors look warmer and more shimmery at a different angle

becca-beach-tint-shimmer-souffle-lychee-opal-watermelon-moonstone-review-swatch-3.jpgBottom Line: Love them! Very well priced for the quality, and its beautiful finish! I bought the Becca Beach Tint Souffle here in Australia, and they are also available at Sephora in the US and SpaceNK in the UK.

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This is the look I have been wearing for the past week. It is refreshing to switch from my usual preferred color palette of pink and cool neutrals to a warmer look, and what could be a better palette to use than my new Chanel Pearl River Eye Shadow Palette from the Hong Kong Collection (reviewed here). The overall look is peach for a natural day look, which is inspired by some of the makeup looks I have seen in Korean beauty magazines lately. I always find that a natural looking makeup requires more skill and effort to master. But once you get it right it just looks so beautiful and fresh on any woman, and best of all it helps to take away a few years of age!

In this FOTD, I have spent a lot of time and products creating the base – I wanted to achieve a fresh, dewy and almost barely-there base so that my own skin texture shows through. On the other hand subtle contouring was applied to mimic the natural shadow so my face won’t look too flat. Once this was achieved, everything else was straight forward – just applied light layers of colors to enhance the features.

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Face Products Used:

Brush 1: Giorgio Armani blender brush

Brush 2: Becca concealer brush

Brush 3: Suqqu face brush

Step 1: By Terry Teint De Rose as Primer, then MAC Mineralize Moisture Foundation (reviewed here) applied with brush 1

Step 2: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage followed by YSL Touche Eclat #1 applied with brush 2 for under-eyes concealing.

Step 3: Becca Finishing Powder applied with brush 3 over the t-zone.

Eye Products:

Brush 1: MAC 227

Brush 2: Stila Precision Brush

Brush 3: CHIKUHODO Z-10 (reviewed here)

Brush 4: Suqqu Eyeshadow Brush F

Brush 5: Suqqu Eyeshadow Brush L (reviewed here)

Brush 6: Nars #12

Step 1: With the Chanel Pearl River Palette, applied the gold shade with brush 5, then added the peach color along upper lash line with brush 4. Use brush 6 to apply the chocolate brown on the outer v. The champagne color is applied under the brow bone with brush 1.

Step 2: Applied the peach shade along the lower lash using brush 3, then added the brown to the outer corner. Brush 2 is used to add the pearly white color on the inner corner.

Step 3: Applied Majolica Automatic Eyeliner, and finished with Cover Girl Clump Free Mascara.

Step 4: Filled the brows using Shu Uemura Hard Formula H9.

Cheeks and Lips:

Brush 1: CHIKUHODO GS2 Contour and Highlight Brush

Brush 2: Suqqu Cheek Brush (reviewed here)

Step 1. Applied Nars Multiple Tint in Turks & Caicos with Coffret D’OR Blush on the cheeks using brush 2.

Step 2: Maquillage Face Creater 3D in #55 is used for highlight and contour with brush 1.

Step 3: Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Salmon finished with Lunasol Clear Lip Gloss.

One more pic!

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I really appreciate the way Becca release their makeup collections. They are one of the very few beauty houses (or perhaps the only) that schedule releases depending on the season of the country. The Becca Endless Summer 2012 Makeup Collection is just out in Australia. Whilst I find myself inevitably drawn to the dark and plummy shades from the current fall collection, it is refreshing to see the bright, tropical and summery hues.

Allow me to say – the Endless Summer Collection is the best collection Becca has ever done. Every shade is well edited for spring and summer, and the texture is superb. I had a very hard time limiting myself to a few products. After fiddling at the counter for 30 minutes, I settled with the Becca Ultimate Color Gloss Malibu Punch and their famous Beach Tint in Lychee. There were other products such as their Mineral Blushes that I was that close to buying, and even now I just can’t seem to get them out of my mind!

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The Becca Ultimate Color Gloss in Malibu Punch is a very intense and bright tangerine shade. This shade is worn by the model in their promotion campaign (here), and it looked absolutely stunning on her so it became their best selling shade from this range. Although it’s called a gloss, it almost feels like a liquid lipstick as the pigmentation is so intense, and delivers the ultimate bold color with a high glossy shine whilst feeling weightless on the lips. The lasting power is also phenomenal, as there is still a stain left on my lips after 4 to 5 hours of wear. Compared to the much raved YSL Glossy Stain, the Becca Ultimate Color Gloss truly deserves more credit, if not better.

I did my makeup differently in my FOTD today. To accentuate the bold lip color, I applied more-than-usual amount of bronzer in Nars Laguna along the cheeks and the jawline for a touch of sun-kissed warmth. Nars Luster is applied along the hollow of my cheekbones for a more defined look.  My eye makeup using Burberry Midnight Brown (reviewed here) is also more smoky hence it looks more dramatic than what I would normally wear. The overall result – romantic but with sharpness.

Other products used: Suqqu Moisturizing Cream Foundation( LOVE it!) and Shu Uemura Hard Formula Eyebrow Pencil in 6.

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Becca-Ultimate-Color-Gloss-Malibu-Punch-endless-summer-2012-collection-swatch-fotd-3The Becca Ultimate Color Gloss retails for USD$24 and the entire Becca Line is available at Sephora now! I bought mine at David Jones for AUD$42.

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I bought Becca Radiance Primer not long ago and it has quickly become my all time favorite radiance and illuminating primer. At the time I was purchasing I had a choice between the most raved Shimmering Perfector and the Radiance Primer which is a new product from Becca. As usual I like to go against the crowd…and took this baby home. I am so glad I did because it has surpassed my expectations.

becca-radiance-primerWhat is it:

- It is an age defying illuminating primer that instantly diminishes signs of dull, uneven complexion with a luminous, dewy finish.

- It has a water based formulation that hydrates and boosts the vitality of the skin.

- Can be used underneath foundation or on its own. Suitable for all skin types.

- Made in Italy

- Paraben Free, Fragrance Free and Alcohol Free.

This primer has a subtle gold tinge to it. When you squeeze the product out, you can see tiny particles of gold shimmer.

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What I love about it the most:

- Many primers are ivory or pink based, sometimes they can make my face look too white and oily in the photos . This primer blends into my skin seamlessly – I cannot detect that there is a layer of highlighter or shimmer on my face. It gives a nice glow-from-within effect.

- There really is no rule for applying makeup. Rather than using it underneath my foundation, I like to mix this product in with my foundation to achieve an all over radiant effect. The hydrating formulation also makes my foundation adhere to my skin even better.

- My favorite use of this product is that I like to apply, or more specifically pat this product into my skin on top of my foundation. It takes away the cakiness and thickness of foundation – instantly makes my skin look more lifted and gives a moist and dewy glow. In a way it reminds me of the Clarins Beauty balm but much better. I have no luck with the Clarins as it flakes on me horribly.

More pictures!

Slightly blended out

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Applied Becca Radiance Primer on top of the foundation along my cheekbone. Again the effect is hard to capture by the camera – it always looks better in real life.

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Becca Radiance Primer retails for $55 in Australia.

 

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I have been visiting the Becca counter quite regularly these days.. other than their makeup display, Becca brushes have also caught my attention. Not only are they so nicely displayed in the window, there are also a few unique brushes which I have not seen from other brands. These brushes scream my name because I am all about collecting all sorts of different makeup brushes.

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BECCA Foundation Brush 58

Let’s start with the foundation brush… I  featured this in my recent foundation brushes overview post. I really didn’t need another foundation brush but I caved in as this one looked so promising. It is made of tapered 3 tone Taklon fibers. The bristles are densely packed and soft – it doesn’t make the foundation go on streaky. They key attraction is the bullet like tip, which allows a very precise application around the hard to reach areas such as the side of the nose and lips and under eyes.  In terms of finish, this brush tends to give a more sheer finish compared to foundation brushes in other shapes, hence it works the best with foundations with a creamy texture.

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This brush is quite multipurpose in my opinion – good for those people who don’t like to own too many brushes. It can also be used to apply concealer, cream based blushes and highlighters. To give you a better idea of the size of the bristles, here is a side by side shot of Becca with MAC.

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BECCA Extra Small Polishing Brush

Hair Type: A blend of both natural goat hair and synthetic fibers

This is my favorite brush out of the three. It is a tiny stippling brush.  It is again another multipurpose brush – you can use it to blend eyeshadows as well as applying liquid and cream products. I use this one to apply concealer for the under eye areas – it is perfect. Previously I liked MAC 244, but this one outperforms MAC. It buffs even the driest concealer right into your skin and polishes, creating an airbrushed finish. It is probably the best brush to apply liquid highlighters since it buffs the product in so it gives a ‘glow within’ look. It is small enough for me to apply highlighter more precisely, such as on the bridge of the nose and temples.

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As you can see, it is a baby version of MAC 188,  about the same size as MAC 224.

mac-188-224-becca-polishing-brush-extra-smallBECCA Powder and Bronzer Brush 16

Hair Type: made of 100% Raccoon Hair with natural ending

This is the biggest brush in my entire collection. I always wanted an ultra big brush – with this fluffy brush it literally takes no effort to apply bronzers or powders. Two to three swipes would cover your entire face and give an effortlessly sheer sun-kissed look. I am quite a snob when it comes to brushes, so not a fan of brushes made of synthetic fibers. Most of my brushes are made of goat or squirrel hair – this is  my first raccoon hair brush. Although the hair itself is thicker than squirrel hair, when you actually apply it to the face gently, it feels just as soft as squirrel hairs. I have read a mix of positive and negative reviews of this brush on MUA with some saying this brush is too coarse. I swear my one is super soft..maybe I just got a good batch.

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Size comparison

becca-mac-bobbi-brown-powder-brushThanks for your patience to read through this long post! There are some general facts about Becca brushes which you may want to know from their site:

- All Becca brushes are individually hand crafted.

- The ferrule is drawn from annealed brass and then nickel plated to a satin finish.

-  A wooden handle is used to ensure optimal weight of the brush

-  Becca takes great care to ensure that no animals are harmed in producing their brushes.(very important to me :) )

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I have previously reviewed The Becca Lost Weekend Eyeshadow Palette and as I promised – I just did a FOTD with it. This makeup was focused on conturing – Becca Lost Weekend Eyeshadow palette was used to contour the eyes and all along the side of the nose. I also thickened and extended my eyebrows on both ends so they connect to the contours on the side of my nose bridge . On my face, lots of bronzing shades were used to contour the cheeks. Lip color was tossing between a berry or a nude shade – in the end I opted for a glossy nude shade.

This is the final look:

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A quick rundown on the products I used.

FACE PRODUCTS:

Dior Extreme Fit Foundation: I will be doing a review for this foundation this week. Overall it is a natural looking foundation with decent coverage that hides all my freckles!

MAC Bronzing Powder: applied the brown shade down the side of my cheeks to the jawlines.

Nars Blush in Madly: was applied along the hollow of the cheeks to the temples.

Guerlain Meteorites in Beige Chic: started from my cheekbones to the temples.

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EYE PRODUCTS:

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadow in Suede: was used as a base color all over the eye socket area to make the colors that were applied later pop out more.

Becca Lost Weekend Eyeshadow Palette: layered the shimmery mauvy shades with the matte mauvey shade all over the eyelids up to the sides of my upper nose bridge. The medium brown shade was then applied from the outer edge of the eyelid and blended into the crease, creating a v shape.

Majolica Perfect Automatic Liner: for upper lash line

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Rose Platine: was all along the lower lash line, intensified at the tear duct areas.

Lancome Le Crayon Khol in Brown: used to darken the outer edge of the lower lash line.

Laura Mercier Eyebrow Powders

False Eyelashes: Princess Lee Criss Cross in 7. (picture of it can be found in my previous FOTD)

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A closer up shot:

Lip Product:

Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani in beige 105. (reviewed here)

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