Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number



SISLEY: A 3 Month Test of the most Expensive Primer on the Market

It was almost a year ago that Sisley’s Double Tenseur Primer started making a splash in the Beauty Community. At that price it was not something I was eager to try out, but given that I have slowly but surely stocked up on all makeup necessities, there has come a stage to look into things that might just not be worth it and retailing at 192 USD for 1 oz, this could be amongst them.

When a product is so expensive, a first-impressions isn’t really what it’s about, I tested Double Tenseur over a period of 3 months.

Performance: You don’t need a lot of product and it does a great job of smoothing out the skin. Prior to using it, I used Guerlain L’Or on most of my face and Benefit’s Porefessional on large pores. Using this Sisley primer I could use this all over the face, as  it dealt with large pores really well. It did not feel heavy on the face and had a pleasant botanical smell. Of all the primers I have used; it delivered best on keeping makeup on the longest, even when it is blazing hot and you are having a “glowy” day. It does not play well though with strong setting sprays over longer periods. It sets on the skin creating (as advertised) a mesh whilst also sinking into the skin. On very hot days (ie you sweat under your makeup) having a strong setting spray on top of foundation such as Urban Decay’s All Nighter or Chill, will lead the makeup to breakup if you touch your face and wipe off in layers. This sounds very alarming, but it isn’t. If I left out setting spray, the primer kept everything on wonderfully.

Why is it so expensive? Sisley is expensive anyway, but this primer is skincare. It claims to help firm and lift  the skin over time using botanical extracts. I have experienced improvements in my skin since starting to use this. The botanicals and their (alleged) virtues are listed like this on the Sisley website: “Rhatany extract: astringent and toning, contributes to an immediate lifting effect. Lemon extract : astringent and toning. Oat seed extract: “3D lifter” active ingredient. Tiger Nut extract : restores the skin’s elasticity. Cotton extract: regenerating and replenishing. Red Vine extract: anti-free radicals. Watercress extract: tones and revitalizes. Biosaccharide solution : instant and long-term moisturizing properties. Plant-origin glycerin : moisturizes and softens.

Would I repurchase? Yes, although it is very expensive, I use very little product, it does what it says in the advertising and does this with great ingredients which benefit my skin. I am at the age, where I need the products that go onto my skin to all be anti-aging and I appreciate products that work, as as we age I don’t want to waste time on those that don’t.

Totally worth the hype.


Brand New from Shiseido: Synchro Skin Glow, Luminizing Fluid Foundation

Unusual for me, again I benefit from a product launch hitting the shelves in Europe. I am a huge fan of Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation, it is long-wearing and due to some super special technology I can not explain, combined with it being oil free it does not travel during the day, meaning it does not gather in fine lines and wrinkles. As it is matte, and I love glow; I was very excited to hear that Shiseido would be launching a luminous version. called: Synchro Skin Glow, Luminizing Fluid Foundation. It arrived about two weeks ago and here is my resume of testing it.

DSC00366First impressions: The foundation comes in the same packaging as the normal synchro skin, except that the glass bottle is transparent rather than frosted. This means that straight away you can gauge the shade and see that the fluid has got a glow to it. The foundation has SPF 20.

User Experience: The foundation is not quite as liquid as synchro skin, though it is still quite fluid. This makes it a little easier to apply. It does apply easily, blends out really well with an immediate glowy finish that looks as the name says luminous, not oily. Coverage is medium and it can be built to full cover.

Despite the luminizing finish it does not accentuate texture of wrinkles. But it does not hide them as well as it’s matte sister product. Set with a light dusting of powder, during the day it faded gradually, it did not have full day staying power and on areas of the face most touched it was gone by late afternoon. But by early evening the face was generally still well covered, but by 10pm there were only traces left. It did not travel into fine lines or wrinkles. Slight word of warning – it does appear to have microglitter in it, but this is only visible when standing in direct sunlight. I like it, but not everyone will.

It can last all day with a setting spray such as Urban Decay All Nighter.

Would I buy it again? Yes, it’s sister product has better staying power, but the luminous finish of Synchro Skin Glow is just beautiful! I see both products as complementing themselves, the normal Synchro Skin for more traditional type of make up days and the Skin Glow for the more natural glowing look.

OMG Shiseido launches Synchro Skin Glow!


synchro skin glowOMG! Shiseido has launched a new sister product to it’s fabulous Synchro Skin Foundation called Synchro Skin Glow!

I love my Synchro Skin it stays put all day and doesn’t gather in fine lines. My order is already on it’s way and I can’t wait to review it.

Until then here’s my review of the “older” sister Shiseido Synchro Skin in my Best of 2017. It’s my favorite all day natural looking foundation.

Revisited: Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric Foundation: Take Two

A few days ago I reviewed Giorgio Armani’s new Power Fabric Foundation here. Having been matched to the wrong shade, there was no way it was going to look good, but I did not downgrade it due to that, as that is “user error”. What I did criticize was it grabbing onto dry areas and creating texture where there was none. Well, when we review products we do take other factors such as kin prep into account and so I went out, got the correct shade and gave it a second chance.

Correctly equipped with the correct shade of 3,5 I went around my skin preparation quite differently. The goal was to see how good the product could perform with some small adjustments.I used a heavier moisturizer beneath and used a hydrating priming, ilamasquahydraveilspecifically Ilamasqua’s Hydra Veil, and this is where things took a very different turn. This primer is amazing for dry skin. There are not enough superlatives to describe it. It’s packaging and presentation as a gel with a “spoon” in a pot, set it apart as something different. You scoop out some product and spread it on your face, the gel immediately melts and your skin is covered with a hydrating protective barrier. Compared to Guerlain L’Or primer which sinks straight into the skin, Ilamasqua sinks into the skin, but you still have this smooth primer feeling.

This created a much better setting for the Power Fabric to perform on my dry skin. So I reapplied (the color match already looking more flattering) and waited. It wore well, far better than last time. It did not cling onto dry patches (as there weren’t any) and created a really nice finish. It did not creep into fine lines and wrinkles, but did crack around them toward the end of the day. It stayed out all day.

My holy grail is Shiseido Synchro Skin and this is the foundation I compare all new products to. In this second test, Shiseido came out tops again as it cracks less around fine lines and wrinkles, but Power Fabric has fuller coverage and is  better suited for glamorous looks, so the products are not quite the same for comparison. This time around I am very happy to have bought.

I see the Giorgio Armani Power Fabric as being a good counterpart to Shiseido Synchro Skin. Power Fabric being more glamorous full cover and Synchro Skin providing the more realistic finish, both are long wearing and worth my money.

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Brand New: Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric – First Impressions

As a friend of the flawless finish, I will always try any foundation that comes on the market claiming not to sink into fine lines, and Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric is a brand new product, boasting long-wear, high coverage with an SPF of 25. It is supposed to be ultra-light with a velvet matte finish.

power-fabricI got the foundation from a high-end department store in Berlin, it retailed at 50 Euros for 30 ml (1 Oz). Unpacking, first impressions: the cardboard box that the bottle comes in is a little flimsy and ripped in transporting it from the store, just from moving in my handbag. The bottle itself is beautiful, the pump is sturdy and well made. It has a very luxurious but minimalist look to it.

I was matched to shade 2, which is too light, I probably would have been better off with a shade down. I had been used to a somewhat sun-bronzed look from my bb cream, so was a little startled by the ghostly white look, the shade ran a little yellow and I am now certain that a shade down would have done better.

Skin preparation: I made sure my skin was very well moisturized (given that this has a matte finish) and used Becca Backlight Priming Filter as my primer.

dsc00212User experience: I used 1 pump and immediately noticed that this was very heavy cover, giving a slightly cakey look. It looked pretty good given the shade was wrong. I beat the shade issues, but using bronzer and Laura Mercier Candlelight Finishing powder.

It wore down a little unflattering and grabbed onto any areas that might be a little dry accentuating them. After a full day’s wear it was showing texture I did not possess and greatly accentuated dry areas. True to its promise, it did not slip into any fine lines. It did not provide coverage for the full day though and was worn down by around 4pm. 

broken up, catching onto dry patches and showing texture I don’t own (end of day)

All in all, it was a little disappointing. If I ignore the shade match issue (which is not the product), the wear was not as long as expected and the grabbing onto dry areas was very unfortunate. If I were to come up with 5 classes of foundation, with my Shiseido Synchro Skin being the best in Class 5, I would place this in class 3 for dry skin. I will be trying it again though with Ilamasqua Hydrating Primer and with Guerlain L’Or to see if we can get it to work better.

Users with Oily to Normal skin without dry patches should not experience the issues I did and will most likely enjoy it, particularly appreciating it not creeping into any lines.

Would I repurchase? Probably not, My Shiseido Synchro Skin is already way better, but I will continue to try and make it work.

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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 not 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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Silisponge mania – death of the Beauty Blender?

If you are interested in makeup you will have heard of the silisponge, the latest craze sweeping the scene. The product is a small sponge sized device made of polyurethane (no, not silicone as the name would suggest), to be used as a makeup sponge. It  is distributed by Molly Cosmetics, who by all accounts are now on their 9th restock.

The benefit of using this “sponge” is that it is not a sponge, it does not soak up product, meaning that it does not waste product, which also means that it is very easy to keep clean. Here is is video by the wonderful Jackie Aina giving it a good test.

It seems like a really good idea. In the tests it performs well, but does it replace the beauty blender? Only if you have been using one when you don’t really need it. The Beauty Blender is generally meant to be used damp. That way it is great for if you are working on full coverage, if you overdo it, it does a great job of removing product. The Beauty Blender also does a great job of dealing with texture.

Personally I don’t have those issues. I own 4 Beauty Blenders and also other similar sponges as well, and I don’t currently use them. The reason is: I use really liquid foundations with low lipid levels (these tend to work best for fine lines). With these types of foundation sponges soak up too much product and application is best done with a brush or fingers. The silisponge is also not useful for these products as they are literally liquid and would drip off it. But, I am interested in the planned future iteration of the the sponge:

silispongeThis version, the “Stardust” is scheduled to come out in January and is intended for cushion foundations. It is already allegedly sold out (btw I see what you are doing there Molly Cosmetics, making a point of publicizing selling out restocks to encourage our wish to get something before it is sold out. nobody else has the need to point out a restock, you use it for marketing).

If you use cushion foundations you will know that the product is really liquid and the cushion disperses it equally onto the sponge. This makes them the exact product where the beauty blender acts as a vampire stealing all your expensive stuff! With the even dispersal of the product onto the sponge there is little chance of dripping, ie its just not going to happen, and to be frank: cushion foundation sponges get gross and break really easily! I carry a great but super expensive cushion foundation in my handbag for on the go and I would love a sponge that is not gross, that I can just rinse off in a public sink with some soap, wipe off and be done with it.

So here’s my hope: Molly Cosmetics will tone it down on the product restock dramas, get their supply lines sorted, I will get one, be happy and so will millions of other cushion foundation owners 🙂


Best of the Best: Makeup 2016

The year is coming to a close and what an exciting makeup year it was. I thought it fun to list out the very best products I have enjoyed this year. Do note that I am writing from the perspective of a pale skinned, cool toned person, who has fine lines and some wrinkles. My requirements of products may be different to yours. When I list products ranked, it means that I think all the products listed are great, I just have a slight preference for the higher ranked product. Disappointing products are not on this list. So without further ado, let’s get started in the order I would normally apply products.


Joint 1st place to Guerlain’s D’Or (non-silicone based) & Becca’s Backlight Radiance Primer (silicone based). Both are beautiful. The Guerlain L’Or was overhyped earlier in the year on YouTube, but still a lovely product in its own right. Just pricey, but great for experienced skin and who knows, maybe it really does have a lifting effect. The Becca primer is amazing, wonderful glow. I wrote a post about my favorite product combinations with it. An absolute must-have in my opinion.


#1) Shiseido Synchro Skin. This stuff is a dream, looks beautifully natural, stays put, wears beautifully, no creeping into fine lines or wrinkles, great coverage, extremely lightweight, medium to full cover, easy to build, can easily be sheared out. A miracle!

#2) Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Extreme Cover. The limited Shade Range and weirdness of the shades delegates this to second. Apart from that it performs just as well as the Shiseido, with full cover. This is extra great if you can’t find a good concealer for the under-eye area. With this foundation you shouldn’t need one.


Under Eye: Maybelline Age Rewind. Of all the concealers I have tested (18 so far) this outperforms even the most high-end in cover and in its ability to restrain from creeping into fine lines. For hiding blemishes: L’Oreal Infallible stick concealer stays put for a very long time.

Finishing/Setting Powder:

Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder. I don’t need a powder to bake, just to finish and this powder is beautiful. Wonderful glow, almost impossible to overdo it. A discovery of December, I thoroughly enjoy it.


Smashbox Contour Palette. I have been using this for 3 years and did a lot of research to see if I could find one better, but I failed. The contour shade in the light/medium palette is just perfect for my skintone and this remains my go to.


Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer, in the unimaginatively named shade: “Bronzer”. I own a lot of bronzers, so making it to the top is a great achievement. Lovely smooth application, natural looking shade and stays put all day.


Joint 1st to Milani’s Luminoso & Lancome’s Blush Subtil in Brun Roche. Luminoso is such a beautiful peach shade, it suits so many skin tones. Being a drugstore brand it’s also very affordable, even from Europe via Amazon (it’s a US brand).  Brun Roche is a brown toned Rose, very subtle and very natural looking with great staying power. Wouldn’t want to give up either of these.


Becca Moonstone Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed. Just perfection.

Eyeshadow Palette:

Tarte’s tarteist™ PRO Amazonian Clay Palette. Having hooded eyes, I am not to bothered by reports of 5 colors muddying together when blended, because on hooded eyes you really don’t use that many colors. I may use up to 4 and they are not all the same tone, meaning I don’t experience those complaints. What I do experience is great color payoff, blendability and staying power and a very attractive shade range for a cool toned person like me. Love it.


Too Faced Better than Sex. I have lost count of the mascara’s I have tested this year, but I always come back to this one. Great volume and lengthening. Manages to make me look like I am wearing falsies and believe me, my natural lashes are nothing to write home about. Maybelline’s The Falsies Push Up Drama nearly upstaged this one, except I seem to be slightly allergic to one of the ingredients. I would still recommend that others try it out. At that price point, if it turns out you are allergic it’s no biggie, but if not; it really is a fabulous mascara.

Liquid Eyeliner: still searching for a holy grail

Pencil Eyeliner:

Cargo Swimmables. Formulated for the water ballet, in lovely shades these stay put on the waterline all day.

Liquid Lipstick:

TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes. I dedicated a whole post to these fabulous liquid lipsticks. Love, love, love, beating these would be a tall order.

Traditional Lipstick Favorite formula:

Mac’s Satin. I love this formula, it doesn’t feather out and has a nice smooth application & finish, not glossy, but also not thoroughly matte. My favorite shade is “Amorous”, beautiful for the fall/winter.

Best Lipliner:

Mac’s Pro Longwear Lip Pencil, as the name says, a long wearing dependable friend, it applies smoothly, no skipping or tugging.

Best Lipstick Primer:

Guerlain’s KissKiss Liplift plumps, fills in fine lines, cancels out pigment and keeps your lipstick on about twice as long. A great product.

Gloss: still no holy grail

Lip Plumper:

Glamglow Plumprageous Gloss Lip Treatment gives me the plump without the pain. This year I tried 4 plumpers and this is my winner. This product will not be suitable for everyone as everyone’s lips react differently to different plumpers. I experienced no real pain with any plumper. Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme did a slightly better job of plumping, but around 2 days later my skin would peel. I do not experience with the Glamglow product, where I get a minty tingle and my lips actually get conditioned and plumped.

Setting Spray:

Urban Decay All Nighter keeps everything on from dawn to dusk until it gets taken off. I only use this if I am out for the evening.

So, that’s it folks! I am excited about the new discoveries I will make in the coming year, thanks for reading along and making them with me.

Glow of an Angel: BECCA Backlight Priming Filter Product Combos

“Lit from within” is a phrase often bandied around in the beauty community, usually in conjunction with highlighters, but this product is a little different.

Becca’s Backlight Priming Filter is a primer, which has a pearly finish through and through. On the skin, you glow, quite literally light an angel, it is a pearly glow that is the personification of lit from within. No glitter in sight, just pure healthy luminescent skin.

It would make no sense to cover this with a full cover foundation. So I paired it with Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation which can have light to medium coverage. What can I say, this is a match made in heaven, just a beautiful finish! This is also a combination for all ages, as Synchro Skin does not creep into fine lines and is long lasting. It wore beautifully on me all day.

If you need heavier cover you can mix it with Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Maximum Cover. Double Wear is an extremely light weight camouflage make up, that like Synchro Skin does not creep into fine lines and stays put, again it is long-wear. It does wash all dimension out of the face due to the heavy cover. Mixing it with a little of the primer gives the combo a great luminescence without compromising cover. A fabulous combination.

These are my current winning combinations, which kind of sucks, as I enjoy seeking the perfect foundation and primer, and my search may already be over. Oh well, best search now for something else 😀


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