Sunday, September 17, 2017

Some Products I've Used for Almost a Decade

The beauty industry produces new formulas, shades, and applicators at a rapid pace, guided by the twin forces of scientific discovery and savvy marketing. Realizing we can put film formers in makeup and make it last for a full day, for example, lines up perfectly with trends that favor long-wearing products, matte textures, and minimal fuss. The huge variety of products is already a strong lure for beauty addicts like me, but I'm also an American, and we have easy access to most brands. So like many bloggers, I buy and try a ton of products.

Despite the fact that I'm always testing something, I've managed to collect a small assortment of makeup that is, to my mind, irreplaceable. And no matter how much I try other foundations, brow pencils, and eyeliners, I always come back to the staples that have stuck with me since college. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it highlights some of the all-time favorites I've gladly spent my money on many times over.

Wearing MAC Face & Body foundation and Rebel lipstick, Milani Liquid Eyes eyeliner, Shu Uemura Hard Formula pencil in Seal Brown, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, and Wet n' Wild Brulee eyeshadow.

MAC Face & Body foundation -- Ah, yes, the product everybody is sick of hearing me talk about! I'm sorry, but no matter how many foundations I try (and I sample a ton), I always come back to Face & Body. The buildable light coverage and slightly dewy finish give me the my-skin-but-better look I adore, it feels weightless on the skin, and it lasts a surprisingly long time for something that isn't uber-matte. Any time I ask my mother what she thinks of the new foundation I'm testing, she always says, "It's _______, but I like the MAC one you wear the best." What mom says is law, my friends.

Shu Uemura Hard Formula Pencil in Seal Brown -- I often hesitate to recommend this brow pencil because it's so hard to get in the states now, but if you wanted to know the absolute queen of brow products? Yeah, it's this one. No matter how many other pencils, powders, and gels I try, I always come back to this one. Beyond the fact that a single Hard Formula pencil will last you for a freaking decade or more, this is the most versatile formula I've ever used. Supposedly, the oil from your brow hairs is needed for the pigment to show up, which means it's hard to overdo. You can absolutely use it for a heavier brow look, though, if you just keep applying it. And Seal Brown is the sort of cool taupe shade I always look for from other brands.

Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer -- I decided to experiment with this product and have been using the Ivory shade lately, but really, my heart belongs to Radiant, the salmon-colored corrector. Blending a bit of this sheer, luminous formula with whatever concealer I'm using keeps my undereyes from looking dry and cakey. It also helps to bounce back a lot of light. As an added bonus, this is another lightweight product; my mom hates makeup she can feel on her face, but she wears the Medium shade without complaining.

Milani Liquid Eyes pencil -- I'm no longer as in to eye makeup as I was in college, but I still like to wear eyeliner, and the Milani Liquid Eyes pencils have been my go-tos for tightlining for at least a decade. I mean, I was buying these things when they were still called the Liquifeye pencils! They're incredibly smooth and richly pigmented, yet they also stick to the water line fairly well, meaning I get minimal smearing. No high end pencil liner has ever compared to this $5 beauty. The only downside? The formula is super soft, so you'll have to sharpen the pencil after every 2-3 uses.

MAC Strobe Cream -- How many tubes of this stuff have I actually gone through? It has to be at least three. I can kill a one ounce tub of this stuff annually because I use it for so many things: as a natural cheek highlight, as a glow-boosting moisturizer under my foundation, and as extra shimmer to mix in to my body lotion. MAC recently came out with a range of shades for this product, making it wearable for a variety of skintones.

MAC Lipsticks -- Let's be clear: MAC hasn't made my absolute favorite lipstick formula for about a year now. They've been usurped by Besame, because their lipstick formula is w389hvn2o3unrlasdjf AMAZING. That said, I still love MAC's Matte, Satin, and Amplified lipsticks, and their color selection is hard to beat. Also, it's always fun to get a free lipstick when you return 6 empty plastic products for the Back2MAC program; that's how I got Rebel! Which I...don't think really flatters me, but hey, I love the formula and it was free!

Wet n' Wild Color Icon eyeshadow in Brulee -- I'm on at least my second pan of this $2 eyeshadow, which is the perfect "nude lid" shade for me. The formula is quite soft, so it'll smash out of the pan easily, but that's a minor quibble. I like to use this when I'm wearing no other eye makeup to mask the blue veins on my lids and give me a more "finished" look. On the rare occasions when I wear stronger eye makeup, this is one of the only browbone shades I'll wear. I think Wet n' Wild has stopped making a lot of their eyeshadow singles, which is kind of a bummer, but this perfect pan is still readily available.

Becca Beach Tints -- The Beach Tints are my reference point for all other liquid blushes. If you can't compare to the Beach Tints even a bit? You're not worth my time. What always shocks me about this formula is how liquidy and blendable it is, and yet how much pigment you can get from the tiniest drop. They're great on bare skin or over foundation, which natural looks or more glamorous makeup. Watermelon is probably my most-used shade, since it's a medium pink that mirrors my natural flush, and I've actually used up a full tube of it.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

This Lipstick Calculator Gave Me Heart Palpitations (in a Good Way)

It's not at all shocking that I love lipstick and own a lot of it. I've also accepted that while I may not own as much as some bloggers and YouTubers, I own more than most of my friends, even some of the drag queens. Most of my friends who wear makeup only for work or special occasions and aren't especially in to "beauty" have all of two tubes of lipstick, banged up and lurking in the bottom of their makeup bag or jammed in to a drawer at their desk. That's fine. I've made my peace with this.

I do enjoy every shade I have, though, and I want to make sure I get as much use out of them as possible before they turn. So when somebody on Reddit's Makeup Rehab sub posted a downloadable lipstick calculator, I figured, "Hey, why not? Let's see how long my collection will last." You just plug in how many of each type of lipstick you have, how many grams each of those lipsticks is, how often you wear lipstick, and how often you reapply lipstick when you wear it. Easy! No fuss!


Wait a second.

Does that legitimately say that, at the rate I'm going, it'll take me fifteen years to finish my lipsticks?!

Okay, okay, so that's terrifying. But you know, I estimated that I only wear lipstick three times a week. I sometimes wear it more frequently, say 4 or 5 times a week. Let's try that! That might be less scary.

Technically, 9 years is much better than 15. And to be totally fair, there are some lipsticks you'll reapply more than 3 times a day; I wore Glossier Crush to work yesterday, for instance, and because it was a long day with a lot of talking, I reapplied the lipstick a solid 4 or 5 times. You also have to layer lipsticks like the Glossier Generation Gs for the color to show up.

But even then, that's a bit of a cop-out. For every lipstick I reapply frequently, there's one that needs touched up once a day tops, like the Besame reds or the iron-clad Lime Crime Velvetines. I may wear those Glossier lipsticks to work from time to time, but when I really want to look good for a while, I go for those fullproof formulas that almost never need reapplied unless you've eaten a big meal.

Most importantly, years of lipstick is still years of lipstick. And I have yet to meet the lipstick that lasts a decade.

I'm already on a lipstick no buy for the rest of 2017, and I'm doing pretty well. I've received a few new shades as gifts (MAC High Drama and Tom Ford Indian Rose), and I took advantage of the Back2MAC recycling program to get MAC Rebel. But I haven't gone out of my way to buy new lipsticks, even when a sale was happening. Instead, I've tried to pay attention to what's already in my collection.

Since things have shifted a bit since this tip post, I figured I'd do some more calculations. I still have, for me, a shocking amount of nude-type shades in my collection: 5 each, constituting half of what I own. Counting the number of lipsticks, though, didn't seem like an accurate way to assess what I have and what I need to finish up. So I added up how many grams I have of each shade. This actually shifts the numbers a bit:

I see this and I say, "Man, how is it that over a quarter of my lipstick collection is peach?!" Well, it's because two of my five peach lipsticks are quite hefty--NARS Apoline and NARS Raquel are 4.2 grams each. By contrast, my one brown lipstick is my mini Besame Chocolate Kiss, which only contains 1 gram of product.

I've decided to combine these charts with how old my lipsticks are and how often I reapply each shade. Most of that purple pie chart slice represents new shades (MAC Rebel and High Drama), and Glossier Jam is relatively easy to run through because it's sheer and needs reapplied regularly. Other tubes have been around for quite a while, and I drag my feet on using them for different reasons. I'm still mildly paranoid about finishing MAC Scarlet Ibis, for example, because it was a limited edition shade and one of my most perfect reds. But this is a silly way to think, because it'll just go bad if I don't use it, pretty much every lipstick shade is dupable, and--most importantly--this lipstick calculator has shown me just how long my collection will last me.

I won't be continuing the lipstick no buy in 2018, just because I'd like the option to replace a lipstick if it goes bad or try a new formula that piques my interest. But I have a strong feeling that these calculations will make me hesitant to expand my collection. For instance: if I buy a new lipstick, I'll likely want to purge one that's already in my collection so I can keep up. Realizing that I own 56.3 grams of lipstick, and a single gram lasts the average person many months? That was another wakeup call I needed on my "save more money" journey.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

VIDEO: Summer 2017 Empties

 (NOTE: To watch full-screen, start playing, then click the YouTube button at the bottom right.)


Fragrance -- 0:45 

Hair -- 1:40 

Body Care -- 4:50 

Skincare -- 9:45 

Makeup -- 12:35

Thursday, August 31, 2017

REVIEW: Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation

I stopped wearing a full face of makeup to class for a very specific reason: one day, when I was teaching with my usual assortment of gesticulations and hyper-active movements, I managed to swipe the sleeve of my white blouse right across my fuchsia lipstick. I didn't have time to run to the bathroom and fix the problem, so I finished class with my lipstick applied a la The Joker and a ruined shirt. After that, I decided to go to campus bare faced or barely-made-up.

But I started a second job this month, and since wildly waving your arms around medical equipment is generally frowned up, I figured it'd be a safer place to wear makeup. I'll still be waking up at 6:30am, so I wanted to try some products that promised fast and easy application. A friend recommended the Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation, a western take on Korean cushion foundations. (Sidenote: I know that Korean cushions are often similarly priced and come in cuter packaging, but every one I considered contained one of my DO NOT TOUCH ingredients or didn't have a shade match for me.)

I bought the Maybelline Dream Cushion in the lightest shade, 10 Porcelain, for $12; prices may vary in your area. Like most cushion foundations, this product comes in a plastic compact with a puff for application and an inner lid to keep the foundation drying out. It's decently sturdy packaging and, as promised, mess-free. The only issue is that the puffs are very hard to clean; I know some people just buy replacements on the regular.

There's 0.5 ounces of foundation in this product versus the standard full ounce for liquid foundations. You might want to write that off because it doesn't seem like a traditional liquid foundation, but...that's actually exactly what it is. You've just got a sponge on top of the liquid foundation to alter the application. That said, you're expected to pay a bit more per ounce for the convenience and travel-friendliness.

Flash on top, natural light on the bottom. From left to right: Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation in 10 Porcelain, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Pen in Ivory, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia, MAC Full Coverage foundation in W10.

Porcelain seemed to be the lightest shade, but when I swatch it, it actually looks relatively neutral to me. It's certainly darker and less yellow than my go-to shade match NARS Siberia. I'd peg this one at roughly N15 on a MAC scale. I wish Porcelain was closer in color to the Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer in Ivory, but eh, it's doable.

As a whole, I'd say the shade range is pretty "meh." There are plenty of light and medium shades, but the deeper end of the range disappoints me. It's especially unfortunate when you consider how broad Maybelline's Fit Me range is.

I'd been told that the Maybelline Dream Cushion gave "next to no coverage," but that's not how it worked for me. In the before-and-after photos above, I dabbed the provided sponge on to the cushion, then pressed the product in to my face using quick patting motions. I'd consider this a relatively solid medium coverage: my skin tone is completely evened out, and my blemishes and redness are covered. At the very least, it's on par with my Buxom Show Some Skin Foundation.

On the other hand, applying with the sponge seemed to make the foundation a bit thicker than I wanted. It didn't look bad, per se, but it kept sliding in to and emphasizing the fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth. It could also look a bit makeup-y. So the next time I tested the foundation, I tapped a buffing brush in to the cushion, then buffed it in to my skin. This prevented the settling in to fine lines. However, it also gave me lighter coverage, streaked a bit, and still looked a little makeup-y and fake up close. Obviously, most people aren't going to get that close to me, but I noticed things like this creasing above my lip:

And that bothered me.

Another issue I experienced in person: oxidization. You can't notice it in photos like these, where I've applied the foundation less than an hour ago and it's photographing beautifully, but this foundation definitely went orange on me. Halfway through the day, I was practically a kumquat. A glowy kumquat, but a kumquat, nonetheless. While it's relatively rare for a foundation to oxidize like that on me, I noticed a decent number of "this got really dark on my face" comments in other reviews.

In terms of staying power, I got some shine throughout the day on several parts of my face, and there was no product on my oily nose by the 6 hour mark. That's an average performance from a satin-finish foundation, but if you're oily skinned, you'll definitely want to take a pass on this one. I also had some trouble with this foundation transferring throughout the day, though only if a decent amount of pressure was involved. The nosepads of my glasses and the inside of my hoodie, for instance, had tiny swipes of foundation on them, but my cellphone and my cat were fine.

Overall, the Maybelline Dream Cushion foundation didn't live up to my expectations. It photographs well, no doubt, but the oxidization is a deal breaker for me. More importantly, this is not as fuss-free to apply as a cushion should be. Add the mediocre shade range in to the mix, and I'll take Maybelline's Fit Me Foundation over this lackluster cushion any day.

RATING: 3 out of 5.
You can purchase Maybelline products at Ulta.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

1P2L: Liquid Eyeshadow with Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadows

I'm re-using this photo from a previous post because I think it encapsulates my feelings re: Josie Maran's Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadows: they are a treasure. I love them. I adore them. I worship them. If they were a human being, I'd consider dumping my fiance and marrying them instead (but of course, I'd make the right decision in the end). Apparently, because Josie Maran hates happiness, they're being discontinued. I've complained about this before, so I'll resist the urge and will simply point out that this should work with any liquid or cream eyeshadow.

To demonstrate how versatile these can really be, I tried to create two looks with different tones and a different number of liquid eyeshadows. Obviously, I'm boring and not a makeup artist, so the one major difference is the color scheme...but I tried.

On the left, I used all three of my Josie Maran liquid eyeshadow shades, using the lightest (Playa del Pink) in the crease, the brightest (Rio de Rose Gold) on the lid, and the darkest (Beach Sand) smeared in to the lashes. Paired with Besame Portrait Peach lipstick and Glossier Beam Cloud Paint, it's a very warm, orange-heavy look that I actually enjoy.

On the right, I applied a base layer of Wet n' Wild Brulee eyeshadow all over my lid, then carefully applied Beach Sand as an eyeliner. This would actually be much easier if you had a thin brush that you dipped in the product, but I don't have any super thin brushes anymore, so I just used the tip of the applicator. My eyes are deepset, so you only get that peek of Beach Sand.

Again, you can do this with most well-formulated liquid and cream eyeshadows. Matte cream shadows can also be brushed through the brows like a pomade, provided they're the right shade and a suitably dry formula. Creamier shadow formulas can double as blushes or highlighters.

Here are the products I used for the above two looks. In both, I'm wearing the Maybelline Dream Cushion foundation, partly because I'm testing it for a review and partly because I'm aiming for slightly glowier skin on-the-lazy in these looks. In fact, a lot of the products double up in these FOTDs: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Concealer under the eyes, Glossier Boy Brow for a bit of texture over those shiny eyes, a cream highlighter, a bright blush...I'm not that creative.

Photographing both of these looks has reminded me that I still need to find a replacement for these Josie Maran eyeshadows. I've yet to find another I love nearly as much, so perhaps that will be my quest for 2017. That, or nag Josie Maran so much that she puts these bad boys back in to production.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Adding More to Project Pan 2017

Because I started a year-long, casual Project Pan, then fussed over not meeting my goals fast enough, I decided to add more goals. Maybe that sounds counter-productive, but if my goal is to finish 5 products and I'm barely denting more than two of them, adding more stuff to pan or finish improves my chances of know, hitting my goals. Granted, it means there are also more goals I won't reach, but ha ha ha, LOGIC.

I ran a few goals, like "pan any product" and "finish a pencil," through a randomizer app, then picked some more stuff to toss in to the project. Here's what we've got going on:

Products to Finish: Maybelline Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer Pen in Ivory, Glossier Balm Dot Com in Mint, Glossier Boy Brow in Clear, Milk Makeup Blur Stick (deluxe sample), Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, and miniature lipstick.

Products to Pan/Finish Half: YSL Creme de Blush in #9 Babydoll, MAC Strobe Cream (travel size).

Purged: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint. I've honestly loved the ease and the finish of this product, but after the first few months of use, I began to notice that my skin would react when I wore it. I rub on the tint, and within a half an hour, my chronic hives kicks up. I actually got rid of my first bottle because of this, missed it, thought it might be something completely unrelated, repurchased it, and have noticed the same thing happening over the past few months. My hives are generally not prompted by topical products, but my body has decided it dislikes something in this tint, so unfortunately, I'm going to have to hand it off to somebody else.

Goals I will almost definitely hit: I use MAC Strobe Cream frequently, so I'll be a bit surprised if I can't finish half of it by the end of the year. I've already gone through two thirds of the Glossier Balm Dot Com. Also, the Milk Makeup deluxe sample is heftier than you might think--a little goes a long way--but it is a deluxe sample, so I'm hopeful I can finish it in four and a half months. You can't see it in this picture, but I've already finished about half of the YSL blush; it's one of my favorites, and I'm forever pissed that they discontinued it.

Goals I'm nervous about: It's been a while since I've finished a lipstick, even a mini, because it's rare for me to wear the same color more than twice a week.  And I don't know how people are emptying those Maybelline concealer pens in less than 2 months! Granted, I don't wear makeup every day, but it still takes me a damn long time to even make a dent.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

REVIEW: Glossier Wowder + All Shades Swatched

So Glossier tried some sneakier marketing, and I don't know if it worked out the way they expected. Between the name of the product (which has been trademarked for the past year) and the brand's usual font on their "teaser" website, the internet immediately sussed out that "Wowder" was a Glossier product. But while the tactic may not have worked the way the brand expected, it did kick up a lot of interest. The day this product launched, for example, I noticed half a dozen posts on various forums asking if anybody was buying Wowder or had tested it. And on that day, after I'd woken up and settled in with my coffee, I did indeed buy it.

I bought all three shades using my store credit.

And the brush.

And I had them shipped to me via next day air.

I was intrigued by this product and very eager to try it, despite the fact that there's only ever been one powder I've loved on my like-the-deserts-miss-the-rain skin.

Hey, I admit to being a bitch about marketing ploys, but I've never claimed that I'm totally immune to them.

Since I've mentioned the brush twice and I'm not a brush expert by any means, let's just get it out of the way. It wasn't specially designed for Wowder; it was made in China and is a basic, dense powder brush with a "G" on the end, so it's likely a private label product the company liked. The bristles are synthetic and they're very soft. For comparison, I'd say that this brush is similar in shape to the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, but it's a little less dense, and it's not as fluffy or huge as most powder brushes. Basically, it's a perfectly decent brush that's worth it if you don't have a lot of brushes and you're purchasing the Wowder duo. However, if you have a powder brush you like? You probably don't need it.

Let's move on to the powder itself. Wowder is a loose powder that Glossier claims will give you "that glowy, real-skin finish, just without all the drawbacks of other powders." In other words, it'll be mattifying without being cakey or flat, smoothing without looking white in flash photos, and workable on both bare skin and over foundation. It's $22 for 0.25 ounces of product (or $35 for the powder and the brush) housed in a plastic container with a "trampoline mesh" insert and a screwtop lid.

Some people have complained about Wowder's packaging, saying it's not as "clean" or "elegant" as their other products. The jar may look like Benefit's cash poor, hipster cousin, but I don't think it's completely off-brand. Besides, the fact that Glossier sends you stickers to slap all over their products and never seems to use a model over the age of 30 suggests that they aren't striving for that grown up, sleek-and-chic image like NARS or Lancome.

That quarter of an ounce size has raised some eyebrows as well, and justifiably so--it's kind of tiny. When I compared the cost per ounce of Wowder to a slew of other loose powders, however, I noticed that it was middle of the road. Here they are, ranked from most expensive to cheapest:

Kevyn Aucoin Gossamer Loose Setting Powder, $72 for 0.11oz = $654.55/ounce
Makeup Forever Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder, $36 for 0.29oz = $124.14/ounce
RMS Beauty Tinted Un-Powder, $34 for 0.32oz = $106.25/ounce
NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder, $37 for 0.35oz = $105.71/ounce
Besame Brightening Setting Face Powder, $22 for 0.21oz = $104.76/ounce
Koh Gen Do Natural Lighting Powder, $42 for 0.42oz = $100/ounce
CoverFX Perfecting Setting Powder, $35 for 0.35oz = $100/ounce
Glossier Wowder, $22 for 0.25oz = $88/ounce
Armani Micro-Fil Loose Powder, $45 for 0.53oz = $84.91/ounce
Bare Minerals Mineral Veil, $23 for 0.3oz = $76.67/ounce
Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder, $30 for 0.67oz = $44.78/ounce
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, $38/ounce
Cinema Secrets Ultralucent Setting Powder, $22 for 0.67oz = $32.84/ounce
MAC Studio Finish Face Powder, $28 for 1.4oz = $20/ounce
L'Oreal Hydra Perfecte Powder, $8.97 for 0.5oz = $17.94/ounce
CoverGirl Translucent Professional Loose Powder, $5.85 for 0.7oz = $8.34/ounce
Coty Airspun Translucent Powder, $5.90 for 2.3oz = $2.60/ounce

Obviously, Coty Airspun is cheap as fuck, Laura Mercier Translucent is a better deal than people give it credit for, and Kevyn Aucoin Gossamer will rob you of your next iPhone. Taken as a whole, though, I don't think the price for Wowder is awful. A bit higher than it probably should be? Yes. Exorbitant and completely out of touch with average makeup costs? Eh, not really.

I'll also point out that the trampoline mesh does, in all fairness, keep you from losing too much powder every time you open the jar or swirl your brush. The one exception is when you open a brand new jar and peel off the sanitary sticker; two of my three Wowder jars blew out little spurts of powder as I peeled back that sticker. But overall, you shouldn't have too much powder waste.

Wowder was produced in three shades, and you're meant to select whatever color corresponds to your Perfecting Skin Tint or Stretch Concealer shade: Light/Medium, Dark/Deep, and Rich. Again, I purchased all three colors and used Light/Medium on my own fair skin. The other two shades were swatched up against some medium-to-deep foundation and concealer samples I've collected.

 For swatching purposes, I applied the tiniest bit of Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream to my arm to get the powder to stick and marked the swatch with some Milani Liquid Eyes eyeliner. As far as I can see, this did not impact the color accuracy of the swatches. I'm very fair, so please don't judge the depth of Dark/Deep and Rich by how dark they look on my arm; use the other shades as markers instead. In all of these swatches, the natural light photo is on top and the flash photo is on the bottom.


From left to right: NARS Sheer Glow in Siberia; Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint in Sand; Colourpop No Filter Concealer in Fair 5; Glossier Wowder in Light/Medium; Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation in 001; Deciem The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in 1.0N; Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Warm.


From left to right: Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint in Medium; YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat in Cool Bisque; Glossier Wowder in Dark/Deep; Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Medium Light; Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation in 002 and 301.


From left to right: Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint in Deep; Colourpop No Filter Concealer in Rich 75; Glossier Wowder in Rich; Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation in 302 and 303; Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Dark Golden.

This is a fairly inclusive shade range. I do wish Rich was a hair deeper, but Jackie Aina (linked above) was able to use it as a sort of natural contour powder on her skin, so perhaps I'm being overly picky. I will say that all of the shades read very neutral to me, though the product is (as I will show in a moment) so sheer that I don't think it'll matter much.

Now the ingredients! Glossier has done their usual "IT'S REVOLUTIONARY!" marketing ploy by claiming that Wowder is "not a powder" and is "unlike any powder you've met before." (Which, if it's NOT a powder, how are you comparing it to powders you've used BEFORE? I'm being a pedant. I'll stop. Sorry.) The truth is that Wowder contains many of the usual loose powder suspects: mica, silica, and kaolin top the list, and titanium dioxide and several iron oxides pull up the rear. Yet again, I wish Glossier would stop pretending their products are fresh, top-of-the-line formulations and instead focus on how easy and no-fuss their range is for the average consumer.

The one ingredient that concerned me, personally, was kaolin, which can suck the moisture from my already parched skin. I've used this product for about a week and haven't had any problems with this drying out my face or making me itchy. Also, it doesn't contain any of my acne triggers, but keep an eye out for your problem ingredients.

Sorry about the fucked up eyebrows. I was testing out a new technique.

 To demonstrate Wowder's texture, I decided to do most of this post's photos on a no-foundation day. I used the Wowder brush to apply a dusting of Light/Medium to my forehead, nose, and chin. The above before-and-after pictures look almost identical, right? You have to click on the picture and expand it to see a difference, don't you?

Yeah, that's not shocking. While Wowder does manage to mattify and smooth the skin a bit, it's a very subtle effect. This is clearly what the company wanted, and I won't deny that I'm happy with how much my skin still looks like skin. But if you're expecting dramatic results, you're not going to get it with this powder. It's very much a Glossier product, designed to be super sheer and natural. Here's a macro shot of my skin with a layer of the powder on top so you can see how seamlessly it applied:

So yeah, it's pretty on bare skin. It also looked nice on top of my staple foundations, MAC Face & Body and Buxom Show Some Skin. Wowder sounds like a wonder product so far.

But I noticed some issues with this powder over other base products. Specifically, it seems to cake up a bit over foundations and concealers that are more matte or have thicker formulations.

In the picture above, I applied MAC Face & Body all over my face, then used my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer wherever necessary, which on this day included my chin. It's a bit tough to see, but take a peek at the section of skin I boxed in: that's Wowder clinging to, and getting flaky on, my NARS concealer. I also tested this on my mother's base products, and while Wowder looked lovely over her Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (sheer and dewy), it went weirdly ashen over the IT Cosmetics CC Cream (medium coverage and satin).

Another issue with Wowder is the staying power. It's comfortable and satin-y on the dry parts of my face for about 3-4 hours before disappearing, and it only keeps my oily nose matte for about 2 hours before I have to reapply or blot. It does layer beautifully, insofar as reapplying the powder over oil breakthrough gives you the same smooth, soft look, but let's be honest: how many people are going to carry around a loose powder for touch-ups? And even if you're like me and you keep blotting sheets in your purse, shouldn't you get more than 3 hours out of a mattifying product?

Figuring out what to rate this product was a struggle. I do really enjoy it for my skin type and the looks I usually do, and it's a nice finishing touch on my no foundation days. I can see me using up the whole jar. But giving it a high rating just didn't feel right. After mulling it over, I realized the issue: I wouldn't recommend this to a lot of other people. If you have combination or oily skin, I can't imagine Wowder beating out your other loose powders, and it may cake up over your other base products if your taste in formulas is different from mine. If you have dry skin and you want a matte powder, I'm more likely to suggest the Dolce & Gabbana powder foundation I love so much, since it gives a matte finish with more coverage, better staying power, and a consistently smooth texture.

In the end, Glossier has done worse. They've also done better. Wowder is a decent powder, but it certainly doesn't (are you ready for it?) wow me like I hoped it would.

RATING: 3 out of 5
Glossier products are available on their website.