Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number

Best Foundation Tools!

Posts and Videos about Beauty Blender vs Artis Brush, Artis Brush vs Dupe have been done to death last year, and I don’t really find them helpful. It is due to these videos and posts that I own them all! I think in determining which is best for you, you need to know about what you need to achieve with your skin and the properties of your foundation and tool above all else. Knowing these will get you the result you need and this is where I’d like to help.

If you watch a YouTube marathon of Beauty Blender vs Brush the only result can be that you go out and buy a Beauty Blender. The Beauty Gurus who enjoy the largest followings tend to be those that do particularly glamorous makeup, usually using full coverage foundation and quite a few are relatively young and have oily skin.What works for that skin and finish demographic does not automatically translate to the rest of the world.

beautyblenderA damp Beauty Blender is particularly good for full coverage foundations and foundation which are thick and creamy with medium fluidity. This is because they absorb product and can remove excess product very well. Through the “pouncing” action of the sponge on your skin you can work foundation into the skin which is particularly useful if you need to cover large pores. It is also particularly good for blending out concealer, as it can be used to absorb product this can be super useful when trying out new concealers for if you have too much. The pouncing action also does a great job of covering texture. The disadvantages are keeping them clean, it can take quite a few rinses to be sure that your blender is clean.

The Artis Brush is really good for spreading product quickly. Any streaks you encounter artiswill be minimal comparable in the level of annoyance to blobs of foundation that need to be blended out by the Beauty Blender because a sweep over them eradicates them. Streakiness is more likely with thicker creamier foundation. Their strength is also in that they waste minimal product, the foundation sits on the surface of the very densely packed hairs and does not seep down into it. For reference I will use 3,5 pumps of foundation with a Beauty Blender, whilst I will use 2 with an Artis Brush. When you use the brush you use it in a sweeping motion, starting from the nose outwards (this is the best technique for all toothbrush style brushes), I use an Oval 7 which is the medium size which also gets well in around the eyes.They are particularly good for very fluid foundations such as for example Shiseido Synchro Skin and Water Blends. In shearing out foundation evenly they are more suited to covering pigmentation than texture. Using the same brush for concealer would gunk it up a bit, but can be done. If you use one brush for a week you would wipe it off twice over a paper towel to remove excess product for the following day and washing it once per week is pretty quick.

fantasia-pinselArtis Brush Dupes: There are plenty of affordable Artis dupes out there. I have tried a few. For the ones that mimic the build, do pay attention to the handle and the sturdiness of it when it connects to the brush head. This is a common weakness of dupes. Even the “By Terry” 50 dollar high-end dupe has this challenge. The connection tends to be flimsy and quickly snaps. To be able to use them for a longer period of time, you might be best of holding the brush head in your palm Not all dupes have hairs as tightly packed as the Artis and not all hairs are as soft, but the finish can be identical (not always!). Seeing as Artis brushes are very expensive, if you get a good dupe it really can be worth it, but if you get a bad one, don’t think Artis brushes are bad, because it could be very different.

The Etude House “My Beauty Tool Secret Brush 121 Skin” belongs to a different type of etudehouse“toothbrush” style foundation brush. Bdelium produces exactly the same brush in black. This brush is smaller than an Artis Brush and has longer hairs, despite this foundation does not sink in any deeper. For me this brush has the best of both worlds. It is fast to use, saves product and using it to blend out concealer works well due to the size. The handle is very stable and it is cheaper than a Beauty Blender. Provided you do not need the benefits of a Beauty Blender in removing excess product or needing to press into the pores, this would be my general recommendation.

zoevafoundationThe traditional “Kabuki” Style Foundation Brush: These are superb for when foundation
needs to be very quickly buffed into the skin. Great for formulations which are quick drying, applied in sections such as Estee Lauder Double Wear Extreme Cover. Also good for thicker formulas,  not so good for very fluid foundations as the product sinks straight down into the brush. As the hairs are as tightly packed as toothbrush style brushes and splay out, applying with a sweeping motion would give streak, so a buffing motion is required for a good finish. These are quick to wash.

foundationflatThe traditional paintbrush style foundation brush: Application with these is generally streaky. Depending on your product, the streaks can disappear of their own accord whilst settling. Typically foundations with high lipid levels might do this. Application is relatively quick (speed between Beauty Blender and Artis) and the brushes are really quick to wash and quick drying so potentially good for travel.

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Tarte’s limited-edition sculpted cheeks deluxe Amazonian clay blush set & brush

Happy Hump Day! Around the Holidays Tarte released a really cute blush set the “limited-edition sculpted cheeks deluxe Amazonian clay blush set & brush“. As it is (allegedly) limited edition, the time window you have to make a decision may be short, so maybe I can help you with that.

tarteblushThe set is four blushes each of which is in a different tone, so there is one more pinky, more mauvy, more browny and more peachy. The official shade names are pop, royal, genius and vibrant. The set also has a very cute gold colored handled brush. The formula is Tarte’s pretty well known 12 hour wear Amazonian Clay and the pan sites are pretty small, smaller than you would think from the official photos, each is 0,05 Oz = 1,5 gms. It cost me 35 Euros.

User Experience: I have a very fair complexion and I found I could wear all four shades and that they suited me.The application was easy and not patchy, colors built nicely.  They did stay on for the full working day, fading slightly towards the late afternoon, but that’s generally longer than my Mac blushes, so really cool!

The brush is cute, but really not that well suited to blush. The tip is too long, with a narrow tip and it strikes me as a much better highlighter brush, where use with a light hand and a small application area is to be desired. For blush I really wants a more diffused application but still want control so I have inserted a picture the Tarte brush demonstrating the flexibility of the head and of my favorite blush brush which is tiny, but has a rounded head.

The set is pretty, I would have preferred a brush that was better suited for blush. I know most people use larger brushes than I do, but they usually have broader heads, rather than super narrow, and the brush didn’t quite fit the set, though as I mentioned it really does make a lovely highlighter brush. The tiny amount of product did not bother me, though I know it would bother some, for me it was the great opportunity to try out all four shades, plus the small size makes them great for travel and the handbag, so a really nice edition to my collection. Would I repurchase? Well, I don’t need to as it would take me a while to get through them, but if I miraculously lost them I would! Nice product, well worth the price.

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Weird electric curling tongs for your eyes, are they worth it?

In a moment of madness, I bought this weird items from Muji for just under 20 Euros, its a heated wand where you can use either of the heated sides to curl your eyelashes. I don’t like conventional eyelash curlers. Whilst I have never actually gotten pinched using one, I kind of live in fear that I will end up curling them so hard they will snap (yep that’s not going to happen, but my irrational fear is as good as any other).


I thought I’d take a few pics for documentation, starting off with the untouched eye, the Muji electric eye, the conventional eye and an I where I used a conventional curler and then the electric one on top.

In order to curl your eyelashes with the electric wand you just stroke them upwards with it. The wand does not get very hot, it’s really just warm and quite pleasant to use. From the picture you might be able to see that it feathers they eyelashes out, but does not curl them particularly. The third picture is my lashes curled conventionally using 3 crimping motions. he lashes are far more upward and straight than with the electric wand. I do like the effect on the final eye of using the wand on top of conventionally curled eyelashes, you get the curl and they feather out quite nicely.

My key question, to find out whether I think something is worth it is to ask Would I buy it again? Nope. I just don’t care about my lashes enough. As pleasant as the warming sensation was, you need to be someone with a lot of time in the mornings and a great sense of appreciation of lashes to bother with this, in which case you might just go the whole way and slap on falsies. This is one of my more useless impulse buys, but I assure you: I haven’t learnt my lesson yet!



Memory Lane: Makeup in the 1990’s with Clinique’s Black Honey

Today I saw something that really surprised me, it was a preview I believe for a Sephora Play box and in it was Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. I was of the opinion this had been completely discontinued, as I have not been able to find it in stores for years, turns out it was discontinued in Europe but continues to be sold in the US and elsewhere. However, if you try to buy it online for example from Sephora, they will not ship it to Europe (very weird), but it does ship from Lookfantastic.

The reason I care about this is I turned 16 in 1990, which is the exact year my friend recommended I try it. There is no other product from my youth that I have been trying to buy repeatedly throughout adulthood and the same must apply to countless other people or it would not be a cult classic.

Me aged 18 wearing Black Honey

To provide a little context to those of us who did not go through beauty in the 90’s. In the 90’s the majority of our makeup products were crap, drug store was abysmal and high end was also atrocious.  My first “good” foundation was from Clinique, at the time it was the only brand that provided foundations for different skin types in particular for oily puberty skin. They even almost had my shade (I have always been ethereal white) and it was the best match I could get. No other manufacturer had shades even close to light enough for me. My foundation was the best on the market and it was terrible. It lasted maybe 3 hours and I was not the most oiliest kid out there. At least it faded, the yellow drugstore shades separated. The only full coverage foundation there was was theater makeup. I was fortunate to have high end foundation, everything else I had was drugstore, some shadows were so poorly pigmented they didn’t even show up. Towards the late 90’s I was only buying high-end at the time mascara was amusing, you could either have one thin layer where you didn’t see anything, or clumpy eyes, thanks to Lancome, Dior and Chanel. No, clumpy lashes were not in fashion, it was all we could have! Eyeshadows lasted maybe 5 hours maximum. The turnaround to what we have today was actually driven by drugstore brands upping their game, high end had to follow and so we find today many items being completely on par with it being irrelevant whether it counts as high or low end. Anything I get at the drugstore today, no matter if it sucks will still definitely be better than what we had in the 90’s: except for Clinique’s Black Honey.

cliniqueblackhoney-2Throughout this period Clinique’s Black Honey was a stand out product, it was unique; a sheer lipstick that looked great on anyone literally all skin tones. When layering, it took you from day to night. It did not last long on the lips, it had the staying power of a gloss rather than a lipstick. Everyone would have preferred better staying power, but you could be sure that when it faded it faded really nicely from the middle out, like a slight ombre lip. Provided you didn’t put too much on, you could be pretty certain there would be no embarrassing smearing. This is the genuine “grunge” look everyone was wearing, which actually looked pretty natural, rather than what people are told: which is that people wore chocolate lipstick. I am really pleased that I have found it and that people will be getting it in their Sephora Play boxes, it is a handbag staple and deservedly a cult classic.

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Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil worth 105 Bucks?

Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil is incredibly popular and has enjoyed a great deal of hype on YouTube. Retailing at 105 USD per ounce, it is a pricier skincare item. Influencers I hold in high regard support this product, so it’s kind of logical that I would test it.

lunaLuna Sleeping Night Oil is a blend of vegetable oils and botanical extracts containing hydroxypinacolone retinoate which is an ester (esters were acids, where one hydrogen molecule has been replaced by an alkali). The idea behind using this ester is that it should have the same collagen induction properties but without the irritation associated with retinol or tretinoin. As far as I am aware this effect is not proven, I find only one study where effectiveness was researched but in combination with retinol glycospheres as a replacement for tretinoin in acne patients, so for its effects on acne rather than collagen production. As such we may be the guinea pigs. The blue color of the product is a dye.

User Experience: The first thing you notice when using Luna is the blue color and the smell. The oil goes on blue and stays blue, by massaging the oil in some oil is absorbed and the color hue muted. The smell is very strong and reminds me of hay. I grew up in the countryside and love the smell of hay, but there have been many who greatly dislike the smell. Over the two weeks I sometimes used and entire dropper of oil, other nights I used only a few drops. Regardless of the amount I used, when I awoke in the morning the oil was not wholly absorbed. Many have reported that their skin felt very well moisturized in the morning. I did not experience that, I experienced my skin feeling taut (dry) and covered in oil.

If I used too much oil it would seep into my eyes during the night and I would awaken with very irritated puffy eyes.I noticed no positive change in my skin. The main issue will have been that my skin needs moisture and moisture is not imparted by oil alone, but also water. Creams have emulsifiers in them that help transport the water and the oil into the skin. If your skin does not require additional water, then using Luna alone every night might suit you.

I am bothered by the blue color, the color is not necessary and could color bed linen. Whilst I have no issue with the aroma of the oil, imparted by the chamomile, as hydroxypinacolone retinoate is supposed to be non-irritating, there should be no need for the calming properties of chamomile and this appears gimmicky. The use of avocado and grape oil makes this very suited to oily skin, very unlikely to block pores. Rosemary oil is astringent.

I am sure there are many people who experience positive effects to the skin from the use of this oil. My experience was pretty neutral and my skin definitely needed more moisture. At my age, I feel that it would be better for me to continue to progress with proven Retinol. For an unproven ingredient (hydroxypinacolone retinoate) I perceive this oil to be overpriced. I would be happy to continue using any skincare which includes this ingredient, but I also would want to have retinol and other ingredients as well to have more faith in it doing something.

Due to the use of the light grapeseed oil and astringent rosemary oil this product is probably best suited to consumers with oily or combination skin.

This Eyeshadow has been on for 13 Hours

Happy weekend everyone! The eyeshadow above is from my Natasha Denona Palette that I got in my Beautylish Lucky Bag. I put it on at 8am and as I am typing it is now 9pm. I applied in over Mac Paintpot in painterly and used the shades Lavender Gray and Rosewood from Palette 02 (the two shades on the furthest left below). I find the staying power outstanding, it has hardly faded.


I was wondering why these quints retails at 48 USD, now I know why. They apply really smoothly, blend superbly easily (especially for someone as clumsy as I am) and as for the staying power? Well, we just wrote about that. I had to admit this, but it’s the best eyeshadow formula I have ever tested. I think if you buy these you will actually save money, because they are a pleasure to work with, have reliable staying power and you will reach for them all the time.

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This is great! 

This Website Finds Your Perfect Foundation Shade in Every Brand –

Great News for Beauty Lovers in Germany!

Well knock me over with a feather, the days has come that I never thought would happen. Physicians Formula has come to Germany. I would like to think that this is due to me harassing them on twitter, but I guess I am not that important.

Two days ago I was slating Douglas for never spotting a good thing and being old fashioned, well they did spot a good thing and as of yesterday they have following range of Physicians Formula Products for sale.

Gone are the days of overpriced products on Amazon, or having to go to the customs office to pick up an i-Herb order. This really makes things far easier for us in Germany.

If you can’t quite follow why I am so excited, their Butter Bronzer is my favorite Bronzer of all time (and I own a lot of bronzers) I have not been able to try anything else from them due to the availability, but I have heard so much.

Granted, the range at Douglas is not their full range, but it is a start! I already have their liquid eyeliner, youthfulwear foundation and eyeshadow in my shopping cart.

Fellow makeup junkies in the US, what else should I try?

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My Beautylish Lucky Bag arrived!

I got it! Only 2 days after my fellow beauty junkies in the US! My Beautylish Overseas Edition Lucky Bag arrived! This is sooo exciting! I was expecting shipping to Germany to take far longer and considering that it entered Europe in the UK and completed customs there before forwarding to Germany, that is an amazing timeline! Enough exclamation marks? I think not!

If you don’t know what I am talking about here my post that explains: Have you already received your Beautylish Lucky Bag?

I guess you would love me to leap to what I got and here it all is, for 75 USD I got: Becca Afterglow Palette (3 highlighters & 2 blushes) worth 39,50 USD and the Natasha Denona Quint Eyeshadow Palette 02 worth 48 USD, Wayne Goss 06 Blending Brush worth 25 USD, It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil in Taupe worth 24 USD, 3 ounces of RCMA No Color Powder worth 12 USD and Clean Apothecary Brush Shampoo in Rose worth 15 USD, so in total goods worth  163,5 USD!

This is a great selection of products, there is not a single items I am not happy with, for me this is a very very lucky bag. Let me explain a little of the context, none of the brands retail in the country I live in. The Becca palette I have looked at online and coveted, but with the number of blushes I own I could not justify buying it, now I don’t need to! I have heard wonderful things about Natasha Denona eyeshadows. I have swatched this palette and the quality is amazing. These are not colors I would normally choose, but when I look at the colors individually there are 3 out of the 5 that I would normally reach for, seeing them all together in the palette and using the other two will push me to try out new things, so I really appreciate this. Having spent my youth in the 90’s, eyebrow products are pretty new to me, many times have I stood in front of the ABH display wanting to pick out a brow whiz, but I was never sure of the shade, now I have an IT Cosmetics pencil in taupe which for me is the perfect color, awesome!  I only own 3 good blending brushes, now with the Wayne Goss brush I own a Rolls Royce of blending brushes. The RCMA is held in very high regard and it supposed to be better for dry skin that the very expensive Laura Mercier I own, I am really looking forward to trying this! The brush cleanser is a lot of product and the quality gets great reviews a super useful addition. So I am totally thrilled with my lucky bag.

Over the last few days I have been watching a lot of unboxing videos. From seeing what was in the boxes Beautylish has done an amazing job of choosing products which have universal appeal. The way of running this lucky bag promotion has been very exciting for everyone who took part, the packaging and delivery have been outstanding. I am really impressed and will continue to support this company over the next year.

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