Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number



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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Makeup Brands, Best at what?

I thought it would be fun to do a little mental exercise of going through a few of the brands I own and identify what I think they do best in product. Here is what I came up with, it might help you if you are building your collection 🙂

Brand Product
Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyebrow Products & Eyeshadow
Becca Highlighter
Benefit Eyebrow Products & Blush
Bobbi Brown Lipstick & Eye Shadow
Cargo Eyeshadow & Lipstick
Chanel Lipstick
Charlotte Tilbury Lipliner
Essence – Catrice Highlighter & Mascara
Guerlain Primer, Powder & Bronzer
Hourglass Foundation, illuminating Powder
L’Oreal Mascara
Lancome Foundation & Blush
Laura Mercier Illuminating Powder
Lime Crime Liquid Lipstick
MAC Lipstick, Lipliner & Setting Spray
Nars Eyeshadow, Lipstick, all powders
Natasha Denona Eyeshadow & Blush
Physicians Formula Bronzer
Shiseido Foundation & Powder
Smashbox Contour (Powder)
Tarte Concealer, Blush & Mascara
TheBalm Highllighter & Liquid Lipstick
Too Faced Eye Shadow & Mascara
Urban Decay Eyeshadow, Setting Spray
Viseart Eyeshadow

I would love to hear your thoughts on what particular brands do best 🙂

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Very Surprising BB Cushion by Holika Holika

Korean Beauty is exciting. I was recently on a Korean website planning to order some Cushion Foundation, but I never completed the order as it would have meant another lengthy trip to the customs office, and yeah: I’m curious, but not that curious. So, I was pretty pleased to find 2 brands cushions in my local TJ Maxx and I picked up both of them, I’m starting here with a review of the Holika Holika Dodo Cat BB Cushion with SPF 50. From the Holika Holika website I can deduce that there are 2 shades and I picked up the lighter one, assuming it would be a match. Hmmm not quite, whilst I am usually the lightest shade in western cosmetics, it turns out not so in Korea and I would probably have been better off with the second shade, but I still made it work!

The design is via a collaboration with a French Illustrator called Audrey Jeanne, and the cat featured is her cat “Mikado”.

User experience: When you open the compact you immediately notice the paw print which is white in the beige cushion. This contain the “highlighter” which is supposed to give you a dewy complexion. You can avoid the pawprint to pick up only the bb cream, unfortunately I read this a bit late and applied everything, which may have attributed to my silvery face look in applying. In applying I noticed that on the first layer it seemingly sunk straight into my pores making them look enormous! I don’t actually have a lot of texture on my skin, but with this application I did! This was only marginally better with the second layer. The coverage was surprisingly full. I had no concealer on and achieved pretty much full cover, without it. The product absorbed really quickly, I did not expect that, I expected it to remain tacky far longer. As it absorbed pretty quickly and almost set by itself there was no travel into fine lines. To be sure though I set it with Laura Mercier Candleglow powder. The crazy silvery shine imparted by the SPF (which by the way is a physical sunblock rather than chemical) plus the shade being too light died down within 10 minutes and as time went by the product looked better and better throughout the day, not fading at all. After a full day’s wear, it had still not seeped into fine lines instead cracking slightly around my strongest mimic lines This did look worse than it does when I wear my holy grail Shiseido Synchro Skin foundation, but for a BB cream cushion this was an outstanding performance. The product would not remove with micellar water and to remove it I double cleansed, so really great staying power.

All in all I expect this cushion to perform very well on normal to dry skin. I was very pleasantly surprised, and let’s see when I have run out, whether I would repurchase. Holika Holika Dodo Cat BB Cushion retails for between 20 to 40 USD depending on the source.

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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 😀


The Truth about Foundation, Concealer, Under Eye Circles & Bags, Fine Lines and Wrinkles.

The questions most commonly posed in the beauty community are how to cover dark circles under the eye, what products to use that will not settle into fine lines and how to achieve an overall flawless finish.

Each time these questions are asked, you get a multitude of differing and often contradictory answers.

I have dry skin, under eye shadows, fine lines and a few prominent wrinkles. Here is what I have learnt through my own experience. I hope that if you are affected by these issues, you may be able to save a little money, as I have already spent it for you 😉

Truth: The more hydrating makeup you put on, the more it will move. There is a common belief that fine lines under the eye diminish through putting on extra moisturizer and using very moisturizing concealers. They don’t. All makeup products increase the visibility of fine lines, You can see this once you put your foundation on, immediately afterwards, your foundation will have had no time to settle in fine lines and despite that they are more evident. Smoothing out the complexion makes imperfections stand out.

It is common to color correct under eye shadows with a salmon/pink or even orange corrector (depending on your skin tone) and then layer concealer on top and set it with a powder. This can work well for up to 6 hours, but post that there will be a visible shift with cakey powdery zones and products gunked into fine lines, so whilst it can work very well, once it falls apart it can look really bad. They key to having it last, is to use as little product as possible and also to use products that move as little as possible and in order to be that they need to be dryish. So instead of using a silky smooth color correcting paste/concealer, use a drier product such as for example Bobbi Brown’s “Retouching Face Pencil”. Less is more. Having moisturized under the eye before applying the makeup, is an absolute given.

Truth: There is no one product that will solve your woes. I own 11 concealers, all of them claim not to settle into fine lines. They all do. Don’t fall for the marketing baloney. Getting the balance right of concealing is product combination and application. You probably already own fantastic products that can do a fantastic job when properly combined and applied in a way suitable for their consistency. You may see your favorite YouTuber broadly blending concealer with a beauty blender, but if that concealer is too fluid you may be blending it into your fine lines, you may have a color corrector beneath it, where that technique lifts and removes the product. So get to know your products and try out different application methods.

Truth: Baking creates raisin under eyes. If you have fine lines, just don’t do it, it’s not worth it.

Myth busted: You do not always need to set concealer with powder. Depending on the product, setting concealer with powder can make it look worse. Some concealers dry rapidly and don’t need that extra step, setting them makes them cakey. See what works best for your product before doing what everyone else is.

Finally: Regardless of which product combination and application method works for you, any product is going to apply better with a properly prepared canvas. That means well moisturized skin and a good primer. Do let them “set” before applying any color corrector or concealer or you will make the products slide around more than they should.

Product combinations that have worked for me include:

  1. Smashbox Primer with Lancome Teint Idole Ultra on the face, under the eyes, Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector topped with Benefit’s Fake Up or Mac’s Mineralize Concealer, or Maybelline’s Age Rewind Concealer, set with the “highlighting” shade from Smashbox Contour palette.
  2. Guerlain L’or Radiant Primer with Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover over the entire face, topped with Shiseido’s Sheer Eyezone Corrector (no setting required).

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