foundation review

Beauty Review: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation & Veil Powder*

Beauty Review: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation & Veil Powder | Writing Between Pauses

I love a new foundation. Having problem skin (I hate that phrase, but why is it the best way to describe everything?), my base makeup is one I almost always wear, even when I’m running late. Foundation & powder are crucial items for me, so getting the opportunity to review the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation stick (it’s that triangle shaped foundation stick that every beauty guru uses in their videos—seriously) and the Veil Powder is really a dream come true.

Like with all my foundation reviews, I gave myself a few days to experiment with this foundation and how I applied it. Here’s a rundown of each of my wear test methods:

  1. Clean face, moisturizer, foundation blended with kabuki brush, veil powder on top

  2. Clean face, moisturizer, It Cosmetics powder, foundation with brush, veil powder on top

  3. Clean face, moisturizer, foundation with sponge, It Cosmetics powder & veil powder on top

I felt like that gave me the most variety of how I applied it. I’ll share what I think worked and what I think didn’t later.

First, let’s talk about this foundation.

Hourglass Stick Foundation

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick (phew!) retails for $46 from Sephora. That is a pretty steep price point, especially as you only receive 0.25 ounces! For reference, the average foundation comes with 1 ounce as a standard measurement. However, this foundation has been everywhere. So I expected to be impressed: with a price point like that and so much hype from the beauty world, I found myself very easily swayed.

Here’s what this foundation promises:

A weightless, waterproof foundation with long-wearing, concentrated coverage in a custom, triangular component for fast and easy full coverage on-the-go. This long-wearing, waterproof formula provides up to 12 hours of coverage, contains double the amount of pigment versus traditional foundations, and adjusts to your body temperature to effortlessly blend into the skin. Multiple shades can also be used to contour and highlight.

I knew from the get-go that this promised to be a full-coverage foundation. From the videos I’ve watched, it definitely seemed to cover everything. But as we know, a lot of YouTube beauty gurus use blurring filters, which can make their skin look a lot better.

I received the shade Alabaster, which promises to be fair, with a cool undertone. As with most foundations, I found this to be a lie; it swatched very yellow/orange on my forearm, which made me pretty nervous from the start.

My first application, however, I felt like it matched my skin tone pretty well. My first wear test, I used a brush to apply it, as I’ve found in the past that stick foundations work best with a brush. However, I did feel like the brush left my foundation looking pretty streaky.

How Good is Hourglass Stick Foundation

Let’s discuss the powder for a minute as well. The Veil Translucent Setting Powder also retails for $46 for 0.36 ounce (so about 1/3 of an ounce). Comparatively, the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores powder (my favorite powder, review here) is $30 for 0.23 ounce (about 1/4 an ounce). So that’s a pretty standard size, but still pretty steep in price. Here’s what the powder promises:

The magic of Veil transformed into an ultra-refined loose powder designed to give skin a naturally flawless finish. This finely-milled, weightless powder is formulated with soft-focus light-reflecting particles to instantly blur imperfections and minimize the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles for effortlessly smooth skin. The translucent formula can be used on all skin tones for an invisible, natural skin finish.

You know I love a powder and I immediately loved the texture of this powder. It felt so heavenly when I swatched it; it’s so finely milled and soft. I don’t know how else to describe it. I was so excited to use it.

Hourglass Foundation Wear Test

The first day I wore this foundation, as I said, I applied it with a brush, then applied the powder. I didn’t use my usual It Cosmetics Bye Bye pores powder. (I already linked the review, but this powder really is my holy grail. I always go back to it. It’s that good.) Within a few hours, my nose was almost entirely bare of foundation, which is pretty standard if I don’t use my It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores. So, strike 1 for the Veil powder. However, on other areas of my face, the foundation had held up well. Despite the streakiness, I did really like the finish and even though I had been hesitant about the color, it didn’t oxidize or anything. It is not a matte finish, as it is a cream formula, and it is very full coverage without feeling heavy. I didn’t notice it getting cakey or gross, but it did slide around—again, probably because I didn’t use my holy grail powder.

On second wear test, I decided to try my tried-and-true method of using It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores as a base underneath my foundation. (This is the Wayne Goss method; if you’re oily-skinned, I highly recommend it!) However, this made it slightly harder to blend the foundation; I found it dried before I could get to brush it. It became a bit of a mess. However, once I applied the Veil powder over top, I had salvaged it a little bit. And honestly, I love the finish of this foundation combined with the Veil powder. The Veil powder really is beautiful on the skin. However, even with this method, I found it broke down, especially around my nose, within 3-4 hours.

For my third wear test, I think I found the best method: clean face, moisturized, then apply foundation with a sponge. Even though I usually apply cream foundations with brushes, something about this stick foundation definitely did not play nice with my brush! It looked great with a sponge and just as full coverage. I found I did not have to use any concealer with this application, as my undereyes and blemishes were covered. Then, I mixed the Veil powder with a little bit of my It Cosmetics Bye Bye pores; this gave me the gorgeous finish that the Veil powder has, while also setting my oily skin. This made my foundation last about 6 hours, which is pretty much as good as it gets for me, with only a little breakdown around my nose and no cakiness.

I know this picture to the left is a Snapchat photo (I love that filter, #noshame), but it’s the only photo I remembered to snap all day during the third wear test. I felt so pretty with this foundation on—and honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that. I’m going to keep playing around with applications for this foundation, but I’m pretty pleased that this method works best for me and my skin type. I’ll address other skin types in my final thoughts!

Beauty Guru Hourglass Foundation
Hourglass Vanish Foundation Stick

So what’s my final verdict?

If you are oily skinned, this foundation, like most foundations, will need a little work. As a cream foundation, it is best for normal skin types and maybe even dry-skinned cuties, as it is quite “moist” as far as stick foundations go. The powder is beautiful, but I don’t think it does much for oily skin. If you were going to a short event, the powder would actually probably be perfect: not too drying and absolutely gorgeous on the skin.

If you have dry skin, this foundation might require some testing. Without having dry skin myself, I don’t want to make any absolute calls. However, the powder would be perfect if you have dry skin; the finish is so beautiful and it doesn’t really mattify at all. It’s just really pretty.

If you have normal skin, how lucky are you, honestly? Just kidding; this foundation is really perfect if you don’t have any skin issues, but are looking for full coverage.

Would I repurchase these items? This is where I start to second guess myself. $46 is a lot for a foundation, especially one that, while nice, isn’t the best foundation I’ve ever used for my skin. As well, $46 for a powder that is pretty, but not super effective for my skin? I probably would say I wouldn’t repurchase either one of them. I like them, but I don’t absolutely positively love them—and that’s a big difference.

Want more foundation reviews?

Here are a few more foundation reviews like this one that I think you’ll love.

Disclaimer: As indicated by the asterisk (*) in the title of this post, I received this items from Influenster in exchange for an honest review. However, all opinions remain my own! To learn more about my disclosure policy, click here.

Beauty Review: Too Faced Dew You Full-Coverage Foundation

Beauty Review: Too Faced Dew You Full-Coverage Foundation | Writing Between Pauses

I write about foundation a lot. Like, more than I ever thought I would, really. Which makes sense, as foundation is the makeup I bought use the most and struggle the most with. The truth is there is never going to be a perfect foundation that suits every skin type and every need. When it comes to my reviews, I’m often speaking just of myself and making generalizations for people with skin types similar to my own.

When it comes to foundation, I’ve reviewed Sephora’s and Ulta’s quizzes (as well as 6 different foundations). I’ve reviewed the Wet’n’Wild Photo Focus foundation and the Makeup Revolution stick foundation. I’ve even developed a process that I use for making sure my foundation lasts longer than four hours.

In the process, I’ve tried a lot of good and bad foundations. In writing my blog post on the Sephora & Ulta foundation quizzes, I discovered that the Too Faced foundations were, surprisingly, some of the best I tried. I didn’t love the Born This Way foundation, because the colors closest to my skin tone were all a bit off and I found it broke down a little too quickly. The Peach Perfect foundation was one of my absolute favorites, but the strong peach scent was a bit of a turn off and I found it oxidized a lot.

As a birthday present to myself, I decided to try the Too Faced Dew You foundation. It’s a full-coverage, but “glowy” foundation that was part of the fruit-themed collection that came out at the beginning of Fall. (I won’t get started on my tangent about that collection; it was extremely cute, but was definitely a summer collection, so I don’t know why it came out in September! From a marketing perspective, I had a lot of questions.) My hopes weren’t exactly high, but I was excited to try this foundation; I hoped it would combine the things I loved about the Peach Perfect foundation in a slightly less oxidizing formula.

Too Faced Dew You Full Coverage Fresh Glow Foundation

This foundation is marketed as a “hydrating” foundation; it’s “dewy” as opposed to matte, but still full coverage. Here’s what it promises:

Hydrate and brighten your Tutti Frutti complexion with this dewy, gel-cream foundation infused with soothing watermelons and cucumbers.

And here are some more promises:

  • 20 hydrating, brightening shades

  • Formula leaves skin with a glowing satin finish

  • Infused with soothing watermelons & cucumbers

  • Helps even skin tone

  • Gel-cream formula leaves skin ultra-hydrated and brightened

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Longwearing

20 shades isn’t exactly very many. However, there do seem to be a fair number of medium shades; the parts that are missing out are the darker shades which is a systemic issue in the beauty industry. It doesn’t make me happy to see this foundation with so few shades for people who are darker skin toned, but I know they just recently expanded the Born This Way shades. Here is to hoping they expand all their shade ranges for all their foundations and concealers.

The idea of a hydrating formula that is also long-wearing was very exciting to me, shade issues aside. I am oily (very oily) often because my skin gets dehydrated; so I need a combination of both hydration and powder to keep my skin looking decent throughout the day.

So what did I think of this foundation?

Is the Too Faced Dew You Foundation Good for Oily Skin?

My first impression was, just like the Peach Perfect foundation, it has a very strong smell. It smells strongly of watermelon. It’s not bad, but again, it is sickly sweet. It’s not as bad as the fake peach scent, but if you’re sensitive to smells, it can be a huge issue. I found that the watermelon smell didn’t bother me nearly as much as the peach scent, so it works for me. But if that’s an issue for you, this foundation may not be the one.

Just like the Peach Perfect foundation, I love how it looks on my skin as I’m applying it and immediately after. Most Too Faced foundations are very, very yellow to me; I feel like they struggle with pink or neutral undertones. However, I’ve found that Swan is a close enough match that I can tone down the yellow with concealer afterwards. The finish is absolutely amazing, though, and looked great after applying.

I’ve worn this multiple times for 12+ hours. I find that with my standard method of applying (The Body Shop mattifying spray and powder underneath my foundation, then powder on top as well), it lasts about 6-7 hours looking really good and without touch ups. After 6 hours or so, I start to notice it getting quite patchy; by 8-10 hours of wear, I usually have patches where it has rubbed off or simply disappeared completely. This isn’t out-of-the-ordinary for foundations and my skin; 6 hours is actually longer than I’ve ever gotten most foundations to last! I’m impressed for that reason; very rarely do I even wear foundation for 8+ hours. However, if you’re very oily, struggle to make foundation last, and work long days, again, this might be a more difficult foundation.

My favorite thing about this foundation is that it manages to be both dewy and matte on my skin. It doesn’t look matte-matte; you know that look of a very dry foundation. It almost makes me look old. This foundation doesn’t do that, but it does dry down—and that can make it oxidize a tiny bit. However, it’s not nearly as bad as Peach Perfect, so I’ll take it. I feel like it’s a very natural finish on the skin; not too matte, not too dewy.

How long does the Too Faced Dew You foundation last?

Is this the perfect foundation for oily skin? Well, I think it depends on what you’re looking for. For me personal, I place how it looks over any super long-wearing abilities. I tend to wash my foundation off the moment I leave work and I don’t wear foundation on the weekends, unless I’m going to an event. If you need long-wearing, I don’t think this is the best foundation out there for that. If you do want something that looks incredibly natural, this is a great option—and despite being “dewy,” it does work very well for my oily skin.

Have you tried the Dew You foundation? What did you think?

Who Has the Better Foundation Match Quiz: Ulta vs. Sephora

Who Has the Better Foundation Match Quiz: Ulta vs. Sephora | Writing Between Pauses

Foundation is, and always has been, my bugbear. It's the one part of my routine that I can never really settle on. If the shade is good, then the wear is terrible; if the wear is great, it oxidizes, or breaks down, or just looks shiny as a new penny by the end of the day. I've tried all kinds methods to keep my foundation set and, while I finally settled on a good method in the last 6 months, I got it into my head that it was time to find... the Perfect Foundation. 

A few weeks ago, I was watching ThaTaylaa's video on her experience with the Ulta Foundation Quiz and it struck me that I should do that too. And then, as I was preparing to get all the foundations it recommend, I realized that Sephora has a foundation quiz as well. Ulta and Sephora have some crossover, in terms of the foundations that they carry, but they also have some exclusives; an example is that Ulta doesn't carry the Peach Perfect foundation from TooFaced, but it does exclusively have Tarte's FaceShape foundation and the Shape Tape concealer. 

I decided to buy what I could, get some samples, and test 3 foundations from each quiz to find the ultimate winner. 

How I Took the Quizzes

You can find the Ulta foundation quiz here and the Sephora foundation quiz here.  Each quiz asks the same 3 questions, with roughly the same answers, so I tried to answer them the exact same. 

  • I said I wanted medium coverage.
  • I said I wanted a satin or natural finish. 
  • I said I wanted long wearing. 

Sephora did ask an extra few questions about preference (with sunscreen or without, liquid or cream, etc), but those don't have much influence on the end results. I got roughly 10-15 foundation suggestions from each website; Ulta's included some drugstore brands, which was nice. 

Which Foundations I Picked

Due to money constraints (and honestly, time), I decided to pick 3 foundations from each store to try. 

From Ulta, I chose: 

  1. Maybelline Dewy & Smooth Fit Me in Shade 110 Porcelain
  2. NARS Radiant Longwear in Oslo
  3. TooFaced Born This Way foundation in Swan

From Sephora, I chose: 

  1. Tarte Rainforst of the Sea in Fair Neutral
  2. Marc Jacobs Shameless Youthful Look in Y110 
  3. TooFaced Peach Perfect in Snow

Methodology for Testing

I tested approximately 1 foundation a day for 2 weeks, trying to wear each foundation twice with different application methods. I kept note of the time I applied it, what I applied it with, how it wore, and any issues I had with application and wear. I kept notes on my computer with specific dates and times. I tried to be as fair as possible with each foundation, in terms of the amount I applied, how I applied it, and how long I wore it. 

I ended up only buying one foundation: the Maybelline Dewy & Smooth. I got samples from Sephora of all the others, which they weren't super happy about, but they did it. (Thanks, Sephora!) 

Foundation Swatches with Labels

The Swatches & Color Match

As you can see from swatches above, as much as I tried to get all of the foundations in a shade closest to my natural skin tone, they vary greatly. I'm a fair neutral shade, and true neutral foundations can be difficult to find. Initially, I was sure that the Marc Jacobs foundation would be the best match for me--and while I'll save my conclusion of best color match, it actually turned out to not be. It's funny how different foundations can look blended in versus just swatched! 

The way I determined my color for most of these was by using Sephora's Color IQ feature; I'm a 2Y01 in their color matching, so I picked the appropriate shades based on that.

Wearing TooFaced Peach Perfect Foundation

Wearing TooFaced Peach Perfect Foundation

Wearing the NARS Radiant Longer Wear 

Wearing the NARS Radiant Longer Wear 

The Results

I thought for a long time how to best go through this and I finally settled on sharing a brief review of each foundation, as well as information for how I wore it. Then, I'll share my picks for a few distinctions (least favorite, most favorite, best wearing, best color match, etc.) Ok, let's jump in! 

  • Maybelline Dewy & Smooth Fit Me in shade 110 Porcelain: I wore this 2 days in a row. The first time, I wore it with setting powder underneath and Maybelline Fit Me Loose Powder on top; the second time, I wore setting powder both underneath and on top (It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores loose powder both times). Both times, I felt like it looks really good going on, but it has relatively low coverage. The first time I wore it, it started breaking down and feeling tacky within 2 hours, and looked quite cake-y within three hours. in general I found that this didn't wear very well and it oxidized about 1/2 a shade each time I wore it. There is also a smell to this foundation; not as bad as the Wet'n'Wild Photofocus Foundation, but pretty chemical. 
  • NARS radiant Longwear in Oslo: I wore this two days in a row, both times with It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores loose powder underneath and on top. It went on really beautifully and seemed like a very good color match. In terms of how it looked immediately after applying, it was one of my favorites. However, by noon it had settled into my pores really badly and looked very cake-y on my chin and forehead. It had also broken down and rubbed off my nose and upper lip, emphasized the texture on my cheeks, and generally look awful within a few hours. 
  • TooFaced Born This Way in Swan: Initially, I thought this would be one of the worst color matches; however, it ended up looking beautiful on my skin and didn't oxidize at all throughout the day. I applied it with my usual method of setting powder under and over it. It wore really well. I did notice a little bit of breakdown around my nose, and I got quite oily on my chin and forehead, but not as bad as the previous two foundations. I was really impressed with this foundation. 
  • Tarte Rainforst of the Sea in Fair Neutral: First things first, this was too dark the moment I put it on. With lots of blending it looked fine, but I could definitely see the line to where I blended it. I went on beautifully, however, and looked great throughout the day. I wore my setting powder both under the foundation and over the top, as usual. Some breakdown on my chin and some settling into the pores on my forehead, but not as bad as I expected considering how dewy this foundation is. It did feel quite oily and tacky; I used blotting papers throughout the day and that did control the oily look quite well. 
  • Marc Jacobs Shameless Youthful Look in Y110: I thought this shade would be really close to my natural skin tone but going on, it was quite yellow, even in my admittedly bad bathroom light. I felt like it really enhanced and emphasized my texture. The coverage is quite low. I wore it with my usual setting powder under and over. It settled very oddly on my forehead almost immediately and it had a powdery look to it, almost as if it was just sitting on top of my skin. Throughout the day it got very cake-y, settled into all my pores and lines, emphasized my texture, and almost completely disappeared from my chin. It transferred almost everywhere and I had to wash it off my 3pm. I also felt like it made me breakout really bad. 
  • TooFaced Peach Perfect in Snow: This is the foundation I was most excited for! As usual, I wore it with setting powder under and over. It smells very sweet, like artificial peaches, but I didn't find it overwhelming. I'm not sure the color is the best match for me, but it did look great on my skin. The moment I applied it, it seemed to dry down to an extreme matte, which was really interesting. After about 5 hours, it wore really well, particularly on my cheeks and forehead; it did settle into my pores somewhat on my nose, and did breakdown slightly on my upper lip. I actually wore this through a nap both days and it looked great even after I'd slept in it! 

Here are a few distinctions:

  • Best Color Match: TooFaced Born This Way in Swan
  • Best Performance: TooFaced Peach Perfect. If you are very oily and need a matte, long wearing foundation, honestly this is the best I've ever worn. 
  • Least Favorite: Surprisingly, probably Marc Jacobs. Being a luxury brand, I was sure MJ would perform amazingly--but I was very disappointed by this foundation. 
  • Foundation I Would Purchase: I will probably purchase either of the TooFaced foundations in the next 3-4 months. Both wore extremely well and, in terms of price, gave the biggest bang for their buck.  

Which Quiz Got It Right? 

My two favorite foundations came from either quiz--so it's hard to narrow down which one really "got it". Each quiz, of the three foundations I picked from each one, gave me two foundations that worked well enough that I would consider purchasing. I do think that Ulta's quiz is better as it gave me some of the same recommendations as the Sephora quiz, but also provided some drugstore brands. If you're shopping on a budget, that's definitely a bonus. 

Have you tried either of these foundation quizzes? What did you think? What do you look for when it comes to foundation? 

Beauty Review: Wet'n'Wild Photo Focus Foundation

Wet'n'Wild Photo Focus Foundation Review | Writing Between Pauses

For the past few months, I'd been hearing nothing but positive, glowing reviews about the Wet'n'Wild Photo Focus foundation. Like the Liquid Catsuit liquid lips, it's highly affordable and reviewers said it had great coverage and wore great. Of course, this got my interested. 

I'm a high end foundation user. Personally, drug store foundations have just never worked for me; the color selection is usually very orange or warm-toned and gets neither very light nor very dark. For that reason, I just never look at drugstore foundation options. So the fact that I was seeing some top YouTube beauty gurus using Wet'n'Wild... color me intrigued, in the words of Natch Beaut

While on a trip to Idaho, I'd forgotten my foundation (ugh) so I ran to Walgreens fully intending to buy this foundation. They didn't have it at the store I went to though and since it was nearly 11pm at night, I instead bought the L'Oreal Pro-Matte foundation (which I liked but it's not cruelty free and it oxidized about 2 shades darker). 

Once I finally finished my tube of L'Oreal Pro-Matte, I vowed to buy Wet'n'Wild Photo Focus. My chance came about a week and a half ago. I picked out the lightest shade, Porcelain, feeling sure that the Shell Ivory shade would be too dark. I bought it after I'd gone to the gym, so I didn't get a chance to try it right away. 

The next day, I cracked it open and... the first thing that hit me was the smell. The smell of this foundation is what I can only describe as extremely chemical, somewhere between the smell of a hospital and paint thinner. It's horribly unpleasant. A little repulsed, I moved forward. 

Another note: I don't like the little paddle that you use to get the foundation out. It's so wonky and inflexible and mostly just drips everywhere. Another notch against this foundation. 

I put a few pools of it on my palette (I use a candle lid) and started dabbing it on. Beyond the smell, the color was a good match, if a little light; the undertone is neutral in the Porcelain shade, so if you're a pale, neutral-undertoned girl, this is pretty perfect. (It's hard to find!) 

I got my trust Beauty Blender and started blending. And... it disappeared. All the little dabs of foundation on my face? Baby, they were GONE. My blender sponge had sucked them up. 

As it turns out, this foundation is water-based... which means if you use a beauty blender or similar make up sponge, this thing can happen where it just absorbs all the foundation. All of it. 

I started over with dabs then used my e.l.f. kabuki brush to start blending. Immediately, The thing I noticed was the foundation was incredibly streaky and just... sitting on top of my skin. It was like I had been sprayed with white out liquid and brushed it with a paint brush. My kabuki brush NEVER leaves streaks that bad. I kept going, but no matter how much I blended, how much I worked, it just sat on top of my skin and didn't blend. 

Next, I try the beauty blender again and, thankfully, they blended out the streaks and seemed to help the foundation settle down. Every now, after using it daily for about 10 days, it applies super weird and requires so much work to get it to actually blend into my skin. For a drugstore foundation, it has decent color match for pale tones (FYI, the darkest shade is Mahogany and it's definitely still pretty light)--but the process I have to go through to blend! 

How does it wear through the day? I follow a process where I use setting powder after my moisturizer, then do my foundation, then a very light layer of setting powder. This foundation wears just about as well as any other foundation I've tried; after about 4-6 hours, it starts to break down around the corners of my nose and between my eyes (which are my two biggest trouble spots). My chin occasionally gets very oily with this foundation, but I can't figure out the correlation between days when it does and doesn't. It might just be a matter of application and powder on those days. 

My final thoughts: Is this foundation good? For drugstore, it's ok. It's only $5.99 at Ulta, so if you're in the market for trying a new foundation, it's not like dropping $34 on the new Fenty foundation only to dislike it!

The pros for me are that it has a great neutral undertone and it doesn't oxidize. 

The cons are the smell (It is VERY strong and very chemical-y, for lack of a better word), the difficulty of blending, and the areas of breakdown. The coverage is definitely medium, but not a miracle worker like many YouTube beauty gurus seem to suggest. 

I wouldn't rate it as better or worse than any other foundations. It wears about as well as any of them; if you get significantly oily like I do, you'll need a blotting powder or blotting paper throughout the day.