Review: Smashbox High Definition Concealer

I’ve pretty much felt “meh” about most of the Smashbox stuff I’ve tried.  The things I have liked seemed too expensive for what it was, but I’m not anti-Smashbox by any means.  This particular product ended up getting purchased because I did the thing at Sephora where you book a “custom makeover” appointment.  My daughter was going to Prom and it seemed like a good way to get her makeup done.  Her makeup did turn out beautifully and this was one of the products her stylist suggested, so I spent almost half of the $50 gift card on it…

Pros: Oil-free. Paraben-free. Lightweight (good for under-eye area).

Cons:  Expensive.  Small container.  Not very thick.  Not waterproof or full-coverage like my favorite concealer.  Not available in a great selection of shades.  The contents of the one I bought were very “separated” and when I first tried to use it, I got a mix of watery residue and actual product.

In Summary:  This is a good concealer for “average” use, but isn’t a great choice if you have very dark spots or blemishes to hide.  It is good for brightening/toning down dark areas like under-eye circles, and it doesn’t look “cakey” when you use it.  Overall, it’s a good product.  But I still think it’s overpriced. I’d much rather buy Amazing Cosmetics concealer and thin it out with under-eye cream when I want to use it for my dark circles.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars  3.5-stars

Price: $22 (USD) for .27 fl oz. tube

Available at:  Sephora, Ulta, Smashbox.com, beauty.com

Made in:  USA

smashbox high definition concealer

Beauty Tip: Getting More Coverage Out of Mineral Foundation

I love mineral foundation – in theory.  I like that it’s better for my skin and doesn’t feel all heavy on my face.  However, I don’t like that it doesn’t give me as much coverage as I’d like (OK, nothing does that – except Photoshop, but still…)  Here are a few things I’ve figured out to make mineral (powder) foundation work a little better, without buying a whole “system” of products…

Upgrade Your Brush:   The best coverage comes from dense brushes.  Find a brush that has bristles that don’t flop around when you push them against your skin.

Moisturize:  Applying a layer of moisturizer (or primer, if you have one you love) and letting it sit for 5 – 10 minutes will help your mineral foundation “stick” better.

Distribute:  To get the foundation to distribute evenly into/onto my brush, I use the following technique:  Pour a generous amount of the foundation into the lid.  Dip the brush into the foundation.  While holding the brush over the lid, tap around the outside of the brush’s bristles, going all the way around.  (This distributes the foundation into the bristles evenly.)  Swirl foundation onto face.  Use a tapping motion to “dab” the foundation over areas that need more coverage.

Concealer:  Apply concealer after foundation.  The swirling motion will probably wipe it off if you put it on before foundation.  Make sure the color is very close to your skin/foundation color, though.

Finish:  To get even more coverage (hey, I need it!), you can apply a translucent pressed powder.  I like Too Faced “Absolutely Invisible“, but there are tons of good ones out there.  If you’ve applied concealer, be sure to use a powder puff over those areas instead of a brush, which will disturb the concealer.

In Summary:  I’d love to always look like I’ve been Photoshopped, but that’s not possible.  So, these are just a few tricks I’ve learned to try to look better-than-natural.  If you know of any others, I’d love to hear them!

Comparison Review: Amazing Cosmetics vs Cover FX Concealer

Unfortunately, I have to use concealer almost every day.  Even though I’m not a teenager, I still get blemishes.  Also, I have some “spots” that I prefer to hide.  Here’s a side-by-side comparison (well, not literally…) of Cover FX’s “Camouflage” concealer and Amazing Cosmetics’ “Amazing Concealer”, which are two of the best concealers I’ve tried..  The star beside the product indicates it’s won in that category.  No “star” indicates there isn’t a clear winner, because the importance of the comparison items may vary by person…

Coverage

Amazing Cosmetics:   Excellent coverage.                            

Cover FX:  Good coverage.

Price

Amazing Cosmetics:  $28 for .2 oz, $42 for .5 oz.

Cover FX:  $28 for .5 oz 

Ingredients

Amazing Cosmetics:  Paraben-free.  NOT oil-free.

Cover FX:  Paraben-free.  Oil-free. Contains retinol, collagen, and anti-oxidants. 

Color Availability

Amazing Cosmetics:  10 shades 

Cover FX:  6 shades

Country of Origin

Amazing Cosmetics:  Made in USA.

Cover FX:  Made in Canada.

Pros

Amazing Cosmetics:  Waterproof.  Paraben-free.

Cover FX:  Paraben-free.  Oil-free.  Contains retinol, collagen, and anti-oxidants.  Contains bisabolol, which is supposed to reduce redness and inflammation.  Contains a multi-peptide complex to aid healing.

Cons:

Amazing Cosmetics:  Not oil-free.

Cover FX:  Not waterproof.

Miscellaneous Info


Amazing Cosmetics:  Available at Sephora, Ulta, manufacturer website, and some online retailers.

Cover FX:  Available at Sephora, manufacturer website, and some online retailers.

In Summary:  Both are good concealers and both are better than all the “drug store brands” I’ve tried.  Although the Cover FX one has a cheaper per-ounce price, I usually end up throwing away concealers due to age before I use them all up.  So, this is kind of a non-issue for me.  I like that Amazing Cosmetics covers a little better, comes in more shades, and is waterproof, but I hate that it isn’t oil-free.  (Um, hello, I obviously have breakout-prone skin.  I probably want it the stuff I put on it to be oil-free…)  All that being said, I think I’m going to use the Amazing Cosmetics stuff when I need more coverage and/or waterproof coverage and the Cover FX on my “less made-up” days.  Too bad I only have a sample of the Cover FX…

                           

Review: Benefit “Erase Paste”

One of my biggest beauty issues is my dark under-eye circles.  I’ve had them all my life.  (Looking at my maternal lineage, it seems they’re genetic.)  No amount of sleep, exercise, vitamins, or anything else has made a significant difference in their appearance.  So, I have no choice but to hide them with products like Erase Paste…

 Pros:  Creamy texture. (not pasty, as the name implies)  Easy to apply/blend.  Comes in three shades, including the peach-y color I need for my dark circles.  Doesn’t “crease” the way some concealers do when used under eyes.  A little goes a LONG way.  (Seriously, the tiny little container will last longer than you should ever keep makeup.)

Cons:  Expensive.  Not paraben-free.

Note: Do not try to get a better deal on this product by buying it on eBay or from an amazon third-party seller. If it’s offered at a much lower price, it’s probably counterfeit. Read my post about counterfeit cosmetics here: http://wp.me/p1Z8Rq-3n

In Summary:  I haven’t found anything better to hide my under-eye circles.  The “medium” color is perfect for my skin tone, and – if I apply it carefully – I can even use it when I’m not wearing makeup.

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars  

Price:  $26 for full-sized jar. 

$36 for “Confessions of a Concealaholic” set (comes with a small jar of “medium” color, as well as 5 other products and 2 dual-ended brushes)

Available at:  Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s, benefitcosmetics.com, amazon.com, beauty.com

Review: Physician’s Formula Conceal Rx

I needed a new green-tinted concealer to counteract redness in my skin.  I chose this one because it was on sale, but I’m glad I found it…

Pros:  It comes in a tube, so you can dispense the exact amount you need.  (I prefer tubes over sticks, brushes or sponge tip products because those can become contaminated quite easily.)  It has a nice, creamy texture, so it’s easy to apply.  It’s a nice shade of green that isn’t too overwhelming.

Cons:   The tube takes a little getting used to, so you’ll probably dispense more than you need when you first start using it.

Overall:  It’s a good product.  It does exactly what I need it to do and doesn’t cost a fortune.

Price:  approx $8 for a .49 oz. tube

Available at:  drugstores, mass merchandisers, drugstore.com

Beauty Tip: How to Hide

Since my skin is going through some sort of weird pre-midlife crisis, I’ve been getting lots of breakouts.  (Seriously, my teenaged children have better skin than I do right now!)  So, I’ve been forced to learn some new things about concealment…

Go Green:  No, I don’t mean eco-friendly.  Green concealer can be your best friend when it comes to hiding anything red.  Green neutralizes red on skin (or blemishes).  Just make sure you use the least amount you can.  The green can be hard to hide. (I follow up with skin-colored concealer.)

One Good Brush:  Get a good concealer brush that has a bit of pointy-ness to the tip.  If you have to, trim the bristles so there’s a little pointy part at the end. This will help you apply the concealer only where you need it.

Keep It Clean:  Clean your brush regularly.  Think about it – you’re using it to apply makeup to hide something that’s caused by bacteria.

Speaking of Clean:  Choose your concealer carefully.  If you’re using it to conceal blemishes every day, you should probably avoid anything that comes in a “pot” type of container.  You’ll be putting your (probably-not-cleaned-daily) brush in there over and over.  Try to find a concealer that comes in a squeezable tube, so you can just apply a bit of what you need onto your (clean!) hand, piece of foil, or whatever.  Or – if it doesn’t come in a tube – you can just dig out the amount you need with a toothpick and put it onto the hand, foil, whatever.

No Polka Dots:  Proper color choice is essential.  If the color is too dark or too light, you’re going to have spots on your face.  If your skin tone varies with the seasons, buy a dark and a light color that you blend to get what you need.

Find What Works:  Depending on your skin (and blemish) type, you might want a concealer that creamy or one that’s cake-y.  Start with inexpensive ones to see which you like better.

Good Choices:  The best liquid (creamy) concealer I’ve found is Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer.  It really covers, comes in a handy tube, and is one of those “a little goes a long way” products.  ($28 for a small tube at Sephora and Ulta)   The best paste type of concealer I’ve found is Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing.  OK, it has a silly name, but it works.  ($19 at Sephora Ulta, Macy’s)

Beyond Concealer:  Using the right foundation is essential if you’re really trying to get coverage.  Unfortunately, I don’t have much in the way of product recommendations, here.  The foundation I was using has been discontinued. (I don’t think Revlon’s Photo Ready foundation is a decent choice.)  I can tell you that unless you’re willing to commit to a multi-step process, mineral powder foundations aren’t going to give you much coverage.  If you’re using liquid/cream foundations, you can get better coverage by applying it with makeup sponges.

But…  Make sure you use a really good cleanser.  You might have to wash your face more than once or employ some other tactics (facial scrub, motorized cleansing brush, etc.) to get all that stuff off your face.