Finding the right stick foundation

I am the proud(ish) owner of 3 stick foundations. This may not sound like a lot but it is probably 3 more than the average person.For reference I have normal to dry skin and am as fair as they come! I have the HD stick foundation by Make Up Forever, the Revolution stick foundation and the Hourglass Vanish Stick.Β By now, I’ve realised there are a few things to consider in the search for your perfect stick foundation.

Cost

Obviously this is going to play a large role in choosing your foundation. Not everyone is able to afford high end makeup, but the availability of stick foundations in drugstore brands is starting to increase. You’ll probably find they are more prevalent in the high end (Bobbi Brown, MUF, Hourglass, Nars ), but you can also find versions for a much more affordable price (Revolution, Revlon, L’Oreal, NYX). I have tried more high end than low end, and what I would say is that with these three formulas, you can certainly tell which are inexpensive. The quality of the Revolution one just didn’t really compare to the other two, and the look on the skin was quite disappointing. However, I’ve only tried one drugstore brand and that’s certainly not to say that all brands would be of a lower quality based on price.

Your skin type vs the texture of the foundation

All 3 of my stick foundations have completeeeely different textures – let me explain.

The Hourglass texture is on the drier side, and can be a little difficult to blend out even when skin has been primed and has a smooth base (or is even still a bit wet from the primer). I find it a little frustrating sometimes that this is so dry because it’s such a great colour match on me and gives me nice coverage while still showing my forehead freckles. I find that it often picks up on dry patches on my nose that don’t exist except with this foundation. I normally use more of my Make Up Forever Step 1 primer in Hydrating and the Marc Jacobs Dew Drops to give my foundation the best chance of blending out! As it is so dry, I don’t really need powder with this one.

The Revolution one is the complete opposite – it’s overly oily and feels incredibly greasy on the skin. It is very thick and takes a whole heap of powder to set it (and you can still feel the wetness under the powder). It feels very wet on the face and I hate this (sorry, but honest).

The Make Up Forever is probably the happy medium – it goes on easily and blends out easily. It required a fair amount of powder to dry down, but no where near as much powder as the Revolution one.

Coverage/pigment

Stick foundations do tend to be buildable, but generally speaking one swipe will give you a pretty decent amount of coverage. Some of these are more highly pigmented than others (though not necessarily in a bad way) but can be used for sheer coverage too. If you were to put on the same amount as you would a liquid foundation, you may find that it looks far too thick and cakey. Use a lighter hand with stick foundations to begin with until you know the kind of coverage you like. The Hourglass one tends to offer a more ‘your skin but better’ coverage, but can certainly be built up to a full coverage (but I think that it looks quite strange as full coverage). The MUF stick is very highly pigmented and a little bit will go a very long way (as it blends very easily). The Revolution one actually does offer very good coverage, but you are at risk of overdoing it with this and the MUF one because they are so thick.

Colour range

This one is partially linked with cost. The higher end brands tend to have a much wider shade range than the drugstore brands. However, the Revolution stick foundation does have a pretty decent shade range for one so inexpensive. If you are at either end of the shade spectrum, you may have to turn to the high end to find a shade that suits your skin tone and undertone (though this is getting better – I did find my shade in the Revolution stick foundation). I was able to find my shade in the Revolution foundation, which I was actually quite surprised about. They are constantly expanding their shade range, particularly towards the medium-deep-deep dark end of the spectrum – which is fab! I will often turn to the higher end to ensure that I am getting my exact shade (or close enough) rather than just settling for the lightest shade that a high street brand can offer, which may still be a few shades too dark for me. I’m pretty sure I have the lightest shade in the MUF one and it is still too orange for me, so it does require quite a bit of shade searching.

Overall opinions

Love: Make Up Forever
Like: Hourglass
Hate: Revolution

To have more than one stick foundation may not be necessary for most people, but if stick is your favourite type of foundation then keep collecting! It is worth noting here that I used these foundations at very different times in my life and with very different skin concerns. The Make Up Forever Stick Foundation was the first stick foundation I ever used and wanted a very full coverage product to cover my severe acne. I wanted a base product that completely covered up and neutralised any redness and I did NOT want my natural skin to show through. I was totally embarrassed by it and wanted to create the illusion of a smooth base. This did it for me and made me feel normal again.

I recently started using the Hourglass one a few months ago when I had my makeup done at an Hourglass counter for my boyfriend’s graduation. I bought it as an impulse buy because it was such an amazing shade match. Now my skin is perfect, I like to go for a sheerer coverage so my freckles can show through. This would be the perfect foundation if it were just aΒ touch creamier.

I bought the Revolution one when I first started my blog as an alternative to high end makeup. I had heard good things about it, but unfortunately it just wasn’t right for me. It felt very heavy on the skin and just oozing with oil. I have dry skin and it was too much for me, so I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone with oilier skin.

Hopefully this will help you in your search for your perfect stick foundation. Please remember what didn’t work for me, may well work for you. Happy hunting!

Xo

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Full face of forgotten favourites/rarely used products

It’s super easy to get into a routine of wearing the same products day in, day out. I went through my make up collection recently and found so many old gems that I had forgotten I even had, or stuff I had bought on impulse and never used. I’m going to compare these to my favourites I use everyday, and see whether there was a reason I stopped using them!

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Foundation – Make Up Forever Ultra HD foundation in 117/Y225
Concealer – Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer in Chantilly
Powder – RCMA No Colour Powder in Translucent
Blush – Nars Orgasm blush
Bronzer – MUA MosaicΒ bronzer
Highlighter – Sleek highlighting palette
Eyeshadow – Morphe 35T palette
Lip pencil – Nyx Peekaboo Neutral
Lipstick – Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick

Foundation/Concealer
I love the Make Up Forever HD foundation and it just fell out of the regular foundations I use because I tried out new ones. It has always been quite dark for my skin tone because when I bought it online, Make Up Forever wasn’t easily found in stores. So to make the foundation work, I thought I would mix it in with the Nars Radiant Creamy concealer. When I bought this, I colour matched myself online and the shade was too light to use as a regular concealer. However, together these two made the perfect shade for my skin tone. So I will definitely be using this combination again! I have the same trouble with some of my other foundations, so now I know I have a concealer that can be mixed in, lasts a long time and has a lovely finish.

Nars creamyMUF foundation

Powder
I saw a lot of people raving about this translucent powder so I decided to try it out. It was my go-to powder for quite a long time, but I didn’t like that it left a white cast on my face when I took pictures with flash. I’d often use this to set my foundation before a big night out, so I wasn’t happy that I looked like a ghost. I used this to bake under my eyes again and lightly applied it to the rest of my face and was pretty content with how it looked. It did take the colour out of my face a little bit, but not as much as before. The finished look didn’t beat the Nars Soft Velvet powder I usually use, so I won’t be turning back to this again soon.

rcma

Blush
When I was living in Spain and got a bit Sephora obsessed I got a set that was Nars Orgasm Blush and Laguna Bronzer in one. But I then thought that the Blush was too pink and the bronzer was too dark for my skin. But I thought I’d give the Nars Blush another go. It actually was a really flattering shade of pink that wasn’t as bright pink as I thought it would be. I was really pleasantly surprised and I’d definitely start rotating this in to my usual routine!

nars blush

Bronzer
I decided to use my old favourite which is the MUA bronzer. I was pretty excited about using this one again because I actually liked this one and only stopped using it because I discovered the Make Up Geek ‘contour’ instead. However, when I applied this I did one swipe and was shocked at how red it looked on my skin. Rather than looking like a nice bronzey tan like my MUG one, I just looked really strange. I really loved this a few years ago, but I’m not sure I’ll be grabbing for this any time soon.

MUA bronzer

Highlighter
This palette was huge in 2015/2016 when American Youtubers stumbled across Sleek for the first time (when us UK gals have known about it for ages). It’s a little annoying to buy a palette and only really be able to use one colour, but I bought it anyway. I used to use this every day after I shattered my Mary Lou-maniser. I decided to try the slightly darker shade in the pan (bottom right) combined with my usual shade (bottom left). Somehow, I think some of the purple residue had fallen onto the darker shade, as my cheek had a purple sheen to it, which I wasn’t happy with. The lighter colour also wasn’t as golden and luminating as I remembered, which was a little sad. Even though my current Mary Lou-maniser has smashed AGAIN, I’m going to carry on using it because it’s just such a beautiful golden glow, especially for pale skin.

Sleek

Brows
This was one I was really nervous for. I had bought the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer when it first came out because I’d been dying to try ABH brow products. But it was such a disappointment! The idea is that you’re supposed to use the wide end of the Brow Definer’s triangular ‘nib’ to fill in gaps and then use the narrow end to draw on thin hair-like strokes. However I found it really difficult to use, it looked patchy and I couldn’t get the brows I wanted. So using this again, I felt like I really had to take my time (which I don’t usually have the time to do that!) The end result was okay – they were a nice shape, they were even (after combing through a lot) but the colour was not quite as dark as I’d like. The NYX Micro Brow pencil is just so much easier to use as the nib is very small and I can get theΒ result I want with less effort and lessΒ stress.Β I would potentially try this again, but with a brow powder as well and not during the week when I’m in a rush to get ready.

abh2ABH

Eyeshadow
I thought I’d find the eyeshadow portion of this make up experiment easy because I do tend to use most of my palettes fairly regularly… except this one. When I reopened this again, I hadn’t realised how dark the shades all were. There is no light shade for a base. There are no lighter transition colours. All of them are dark and that made it really hard for me to do a wearable look. I took one of the ‘lighter shades’ thinking it would be okay to use as a transition colour… NOPE. It was really dark straight away and I was a bit like… oh shit. I stuck to the lighter shades in the palette (aka 4 shades) and had to dive in to my usual go-to palette to make it more wearable. I really don’t think I’ll be able to use this as an every day palette. I’d certainly dip into this for night out make up, but I have other eyeshadow pans in my go-to palette that I’d much rather use.

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Lip pencil
I used to use Peekaboo Neutral all. the. time. It was really tricky to get a hold of and I used to buy it in bulk from Amazon. Because it was tricky to get my hands on, I stopped buying it when I fell for MAC Whirl lip liner. It was much more pink than I remembered, but it wasn’t unpleasant! I prefer a pinkish-brownish nude and this overall look was maybe a little pinker than I would have liked but I was happy with it (: As it is so difficult to find in the UK, I’m probably not going to repurchase this for a while.

nyx

Lipstick
Again, when I was living in Spain and was v. make up happy, I would buy the same nude shade by different brands. I got the Rimmel lipstick in 45 and basically never used it. Then accidentally bought it again lol. When I used it again, it was pinker than I like now, but it felt really nice on the lips, so I’ll definitely be using it again! It won’t be my go-to lipstick, as I prefer my Maybelline and MAC ones, but it’s one I would consider when I want a more pink lip.

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VERDICT:
I was pretty pleased with the over all look. I thought my base make up looked brill, but the red bronzer kind of ruined it a little bit. I did actually apply my Makeup Geek ‘contour’ in Love Triangle before I left the house just to warm my skin up and tone down the redish hue. I was really disappointed how the eyes ended up because I expected more of the eyeshadow palette. However, I. AM. SO. PLEASED. WITH MY WINGED LINER! I never do winged liner (because I can’t do it) but I thought I’d try and it came off really well.

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What products have you rediscovered lately? What do you think of the ones that I used? Leave me a comment on here or on my instagram

Xo

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When to save and when to splurge

As nice as high end products are, who has the money to use exclusively high end in their make up routine!? Affordable and high end products are going head-to-head to see when you should save and when you should splurge.

COMPLEXION

Primer: HIGH END

A good base for your make up is one of the most important steps. Depending on your skin type, your primer could hydrate, mattify, blur pores etc. By doing these things, a good primer should also make your make up last longerΒ than it would without it.

I can’t say that I have noticed many drugstore primers, and the ones I have tried (NYX Angel Veil and L’Oreal Lumi Magique) left my skin looking dry and broke my make-up up. Maybe that’s because the drugstore options cater more towards oily skin types, which obviously doesn’t suit my dry skin. If you do have oily skin, try them out!

My go-to primers that I use every time I wear make-up (whether minimal or for a night-out) are MAC’s Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage and Make Up Forever’s Step 1 Primer in number 3 Hydrate.

I would always go high end for primer, mainly to cater for my dry skin. The Make Up Forever Step One range of primers is especially good as it has a primer for any skincare concern you might have!

Foundation: HIGH END

For day-to-day make-up,Β  I prefer to use a cheaper foundation that I’m not so worried if it runs out quickly. However, I do find it difficult to find an affordable foundation in a shade that matches my pale skin. My favourite one is Boujois Healthy Mix, which I have in the palest colour 51 Light Vanilla, but even that isn’t quite light enough for me and leaves me with white neck syndrome. Alternatively, The Ordinary have recently come out with two foundations – the Coverage and Serum foundations – which are super cheap at Β£5.90. Their shade range isn’t bad to start with, and I’m sure they’ll expand it further. However, the more affordable foundations just don’t have the same staying power and break up on me throughout the day. If I really want to look good, or really want my make up to stay all day,Β IΒ use Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation. It gives beautiful, buildable coverage, and creates a lovely glow from within. It is one of the only foundations I have that has survived my commute so far! I am definitely willing to pay more for foundations that match me well and I know will stay well, while making me look like a glowing goddess.

Concealer: AFFORDABLE

This is definitely a win for team affordable! There are so many great concealers in the drugstore that do the job of a high-end concealer just as well. The Maybelline’s Eraser Eye concealer is full coverage and moisturising and is super affordable. My favourite concealer is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer which is only Β£4.19 and comes in a shade pale enough for me! Also, recently a ‘super fair’ shade has been launched which is the perfect highlight shade for under the eyes and the middle of the face. It is the same colour as the fair neutral shade by Urban Decay and like a quarter of the price!

Powder: HIGH END

I’ve tried quite a few affordable powders and they just do not work on my dry skin. I often feel like powders are more geared towards oily skin types, but I want to set my foundation too! I’m not about walking around with a wet face! This one is dependent on your skin type, but I’ve found that affordable options make my face look as though it’s going to crack after a few hours. The Nars Soft Velvet Loose powder is great for setting the face, without looking cakey or changing the colour of your face. Using a coloured powder, rather than a ‘translucent’ one doesn’t leave you looking like a corpse (:

Blush: AFFORDABLE

There is not a single high-end colour that you can’t find an affordable version of. The Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso is as good as everyone says it is and it’s easy to find on amazon (we don’t have Milani in shops in the UK). Some of the Revolution blushes are also great and they’re sooo cheap!

Bronzer: AFFORDABLE

For bronzer, I just can’t justify spending so much money on this when I know that I can find good affordable options. The first bronzer I ever bought was from Bare Minerals and it was soooo orange in tone rather than brown, it looked absolutely ridiculous on my pale skin. I think since then I’ve been a bit worried about the same thing happening again. Also, many high end bronzer pans are enormous(!) and you pay for a lot of product. If you’re really on a budget, MUA in Superdrug has some great bronzers that are pale girl friendly, but my favourite is a Makeup Geek contour shade called Love Triangle. It’s warm toned, super affordable, lasts a long time and is the perfect shade for anyone with fair skin. What more could you want?

EYES

Eyeliner: AFFORDABLE

I only have one high end eyeliner, because I just can’t justify spending Β£18 on a stick! I’m a real fan of the Sleek eyeliners – I’m pretty sure they only have black and white, but when applied into the waterline they don’t go anywhere all day! If you’re a fan of brighter colours, maybe you’ll have to turn to the high end, but be sure to check the more affordable options first. There are some really good options in Boots or Superdrug that give really good pigment.

Likewise with liquid eyeliner, I can’t justify the hefty price tag, plus I suck at liquid liner. Maybe if you can actually do a winged liner and do it every day, you could find justification in paying more, but I’m happy with my Rimmel and NYX eyeliners for the foreseeable future!

Eyeshadow: AFFORDABLE

I have a few high end palettes and have some cheaper shadows, and while the high end shadows are very good, there are cheaper alternatives that give the exact same pigment. Most of my eyeshadow kit is Makeup Geek because Marlena (the owner)Β just understands how to make amazing eyeshadows with great pigment. If you haven’t tried any of the Makeup Geek shadows, I’d highly recommend Beaches and Cream, Shimma Shimma and Vanilla BeanΒ just to get you started.

Mascara: DRAW

This one comes down to personal preference. There are great affordable mascaras, particularly Maybelline ones (I’ve never been a fan of L’Oreal mascaras). Recently I’ve been trying out the Maybelline Temptation Mascara and been really pleased with the results. It makes a great every day mascara. However, my true love will always be the Benefit Roller Lash. I get so much lift and volume with this that no other mascara compares. But this one is entirely up to you and your budget.

Brows: AFFORDABLE

I tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer when it first came out because I’d heard her products were cult faves and gave you perfect brows. I found it really disappointing. All the different angles on the brow pencil end made it very difficult to use and get the shape I wanted.

Instead, I love using the NYX Micro Brow Pencil, the one that is like a drugstore version of the Brow Wiz. The applicator is pretty small and thin so I can get natural brow hairs and get a nice thin line. They have a really good range of colours and even with very pale eyebrows, I don’t even use the lightest colour!

LIPS

Lipstick: AFFORDABLE

I think the drugstore might win this one. My faaaaaavourite lipstick is a Maybelline Colour Sensational lipstick in 725 Tantalizing Taupe. I have gotten through so many of these and seem to have about 3 at once in different bags. This is mainly because I misplace them, panic, and buy a new one rather than because I’m that extra πŸ™‚Β  Maybelline also have so many colours and tones that I’m sure you can find any colour you could want right there.

Lip liner: HIGH END

However, for lip liner, the higher end comes out as the winner. Mac Whirl Lip Liner is just brill. Some people find these a little dry, but I’ve always found that these go on well, and it compliments the colour lips I usually go for (nude). However, if you are looking for something a little cheaper, the NYX lip liners are pretty creamy and come in a nice array of colours.

Lip gloss: AFFORDABLE

THEREπŸ‘πŸΌISπŸ‘πŸΌNOTπŸ‘πŸΌAπŸ‘πŸΌSINGLEπŸ‘πŸΌHIGHπŸ‘πŸΌENDπŸ‘πŸΌCOLOURπŸ‘πŸΌYOUπŸ‘πŸΌCAN’TπŸ‘πŸΌGETπŸ‘πŸΌFORπŸ‘πŸΌLESS! (CAUSE WHO HAS THE MONEY HONEY)

If you want some great lip glosses, go to NYX. Swatch around in Boots/Superdrug. If you want a clear gloss, go to Natural Collection. You do not need to spend Β£15 on MAC’s clear lip gloss that is half the size when you can get it for a couple of quid. In terms of lip toppers, I love Jouer’s ones. They are GORGEOUS. I’m not really sure how these fall as they’re not super high end, or affordable. These are starting to emerge in more affordable forms now, and I’m super excited to try them out.

The overall score is: Affordable 9 – High end 5

I am actually a little surprised that the affordable products did as well as they did, but it just shows that as good as high end is, or perceived to be, if you look in the right places then you can really save your money! (to buy more high end lol)

High end is definitely better for the complexion products, especially as they usually cater for a wider range of skin types, skin colours andΒ undertones. Foundations are so hard to find for anyone lighter than ‘nude’ and darker than ‘tan’, but looking to certain high end brands makes this much easier.

At the end of the day, as long as you love the make up you are putting on, that is all that matters.

Xo

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