Fenty made me do it: Inclusivity in the beauty world

By this point so much has been said and written about how Fenty Beauty changed the makeup game in 2017. And with good reason. The launch of their Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 40 shades is now widely considered a hallmark moment in beauty. It sent an unequivocal message to the larger community of brands, corporations, and advertisers that coverage products should be formulated, produced, and distributed equally for all skin tones. To highlight this point further, Fenty produced an equal 10 shades per skin tone category (light, medium, tan, deep) for the grand total of 40 shades. The bottom line: no one (or nearly no one) felt left behind this time.

While the concept of 40 foundation shades wasn’t invented by Rihanna or Fenty (heritage and pro brands like Estee Lauder and Make Up For Ever, respectively, have historically produced extensive foundation lines with upwards of 35 to 40 shades), they were the first to successfully market or call out said concept. The Pro Filt’r launch awakened and revived the dialogue between brands and frustrated consumers who felt systematically excluded from certain segments of the beauty industry.

It’s a conversation that’s now clearly here to stay.

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All shades in the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Longwear Foundation range (Image source: allure.com)

The issue of companies not producing enough shades for either the very lightest skin tones, or in most cases the darkest skin tones, isn’t confined to just a few brands nor is it confined to just one segment of the makeup industry. Truthfully it’s been an issue across the board from luxury/high-end, to more middle-market brands, and in the drugstore. Drugstore brands have been particularly notorious for this in the past. Historically they’ve crammed most of their foundation & concealer shades into narrow buckets, and produced ranges of perhaps 10-15 shades that have left a lot of the makeup-wearing population out in the dark. (Off the top of my head Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus Concealer comes to mind. Really poor selection of shades.)

But the tide is certainly shifting since the Fenty launch. More consumers, more influencers, and more thought-leaders in the beauty community are speaking up and demanding more of companies and brands not only in regards to product ranges but also in regards to marketing imagery. They want to know that brands are formulating products not for just for those with light to medium skin tones. They want to see more people with medium to darker to deepest skin tones in beauty ads and campaigns. Quite simply, they want to be represented; they want to be included.

While 2018 started off on the wrong foot with the Tarte Shape Tape Foundation fiasco, I feel that this has been the year of inclusive foundation launches as both high-end and drugstore brands work to either mimic Fenty’s approach or best it. Below I’ve compiled just a few of the stand-out foundation launches that we’ve seen so far in 2018. These launches offer a broader range of shades that are more equally distributed from fair to deep skin tones.

Just a few things to note. Firstly, this is not an exhaustive list (plus the year isn’t over anyway). Secondly, this is not meant to be a traditional review of these foundations, especially since I’ve never tried any of them personally. This is just a commentary on how the heightened conversation around inclusivity in makeup has influenced recent product launches.

BEAUTY BAKERIE CAKE MIX DEMI-MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: Hiplatina.com
  • 30 shades total ranging from fair to deep

Like Fenty, Beauty Bakerie brought out an equal amount shades across skin tone categories for their widely celebrated Cake Mix Foundation launch back in April (their magic number is 5). While they launched a lesser amount of shades total than Fenty did, they spread their line across a slightly broader category range; meaning 5 fair, 5 light, 5 medium, 5 tan, 5 dark, and 5 deep shades. As a black-owned indie brand that’s gaining massive traction on social media, Beauty Bakerie took it one step further and reversed the standard convention of listing shades from lightest to darkest; their range is listed darkest to lightest. It’s subtle, but it’s brimming with meaning and significance at the same time.

NARS NATURAL RADIANT LONGWEAR FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: narscosmetics.com
  • 33 shades total ranging from fair to deep

While this launch from NARS may not have the most equal distribution across skin tones, it’s much more wide-ranging in comparison to some of their earlier launches like the Sheer Glow Foundation (20 shades) and the Luminous Weightless Foundation (also 20 shades), with more undertones represented as well.

DIOR BACKSTAGE FACE AND BODY FOUNDATIONShop here 

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Image Source: magi-mania.de
  • 40 shades total ranging from fair to deepest

This is Dior’s most recent foundation launch inspired by makeup artist secrets and backstage beauty, that includes what they call “16 intensities” and 6 undertones within a total of 40 shades (the magic number now). Looking at the visual above, it’s undoubtedly an impressive range. And if you take a quick peek at the other Dior complexion products currently on the market, the Backstage Face and Body is much more expansive in comparison. Diorskin Forever stands at 24 shades with significantly less variety in dark/deep skin tones.

COVER FX POWER PLAY FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: beautyalmanac.com
  • 40 shades total ranging from fair to deepest

Of all the visuals included in this post, this one holds the most weight to me. Look at that color range! Truly impressive. And Cover FX really wants you to know that too. If you scroll through their Instagram feed and take a look at the marketing on this product, the messaging is all to do with the vastness of the shade and undertone range (“ your perfect match awaits”) (“foundation for all”).

COVERGIRL TRUBLEND MATTE MADE FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: thebeautyinfluencers.com
  • 40 shades total ranging from porcelain to deep

CoverGirl made news this year with one of the largest drugstore foundation offerings after Maybelline’s expansion of the Fit Me range in 2017. The TruBlend Matte Made Foundation comes in at the magical 40 shade-number, making it broader than even L’Oreal’s True Match range. At less than $10 a bottle for both TruBlend and Fit Me, it’s reassuring to consumers of all skin tones that the more affordable brands are taking the issue of shade range seriously.

COLOURPOP NO FILTER NATURAL MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here 

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Image Source: allure.com
  • 42 shades total ranging from fair to deep-dark

Finally, ColourPop. With the largest offering of this entire list, the new No Filter Natural Matte Foundation comes in at a bulky 42 shades which are distributed equally amongst 6 skin tone categories, ranging from fair to deep-dark. This is another visual that has both great aesthetic and emotional impact when you stop to think just how many options ColourPop is offering to its customers at an extremely affordable price ($12/bottle). If any brand could best Fenty’s range, it would be ColourPop; a brand that has immense community, marketing and financial power within the industry and an extremely quick turn-around to market.

What is your opinion on inclusiveness in beauty? Do you think it’s at a good place now or do we have some distance to go still? Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

xo, Erica

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The best tinted moisturizer for summer?

If you keep up with my blog you know that I’ve spoken about my dry skin several times here. If you are a newer or first-time reader, well hello! I’m Erica and I have dry and sometimes rough-textured skin. It’s a key factor that influences how I shop and buy face products like foundations and concealers. So it stands to reason that I have been searching for the best tinted moisturizer for years.

In the past I was a big fan of the well-loved IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream, which I know is much more than just a tinted moisturizer. I loved the coverage, the finish it gave my skin and the intense hydration it offered. Unfortunately though I had to stop using it. Quick story time. If you’ve never used the IT Cosmetics CC Cream before, normally it smells faintly of lemons. However, I bought one tube from Ulta that smelled horribly as soon as I opened it. I returned it quickly and got a second tube: same horrible smell. I thought to myself, perhaps there’s a bad batch at Ulta. I’ll wait for a bit, use something else up, and then repurchase it. I finally bought a mini tube some time later that was fine for a few weeks, but then I went to use it again and that horrible smell was back. No joke, it smelled like I was spreading a fart on my face. Not cool IT Cosmetics. (Has anyone else had this experience by the way?)

I’ve been wearing Estee Lauder tinted moisturizers and BB creams for years now. Most recently I’m at the end of my Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup, which provides a lovely finish and glow to my skin but sadly not enough moisture for my liking. It seemed like the perfect lightweight moisturizing base always eluded me. So when my mother told me that the Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm was hands-down the most hydrating face product she had ever used, I was enthralled. She had bought a pot years ago and absolutely loved what it offered her dry skin: hydration, nourishment, & natural glow.

It’s all I needed to hear. I picked up a tub at a Blue Mercury store, but it was a little hard to track down to be honest. At Lord & Taylor they told my mother that the Moisturizing Balm is being discontinued, yet all the shades are still available for purchase on Bobbi Brown’s official website. I tried finding some additional information online but I couldn’t find anything that said this product is being phased out. It’s still available for purchase on Amazon as well, but it seems the stock is low so just be aware.

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Here is the official description, claims and benefits from Bobbi Brown’s official website.

Product description$60.00 for 1 oz./30 ml. 

A lightweight foundation alternative for dry, dehydrated skin, this formula is ultra-rich and blends easily, giving skin a dewy look with light coverage.

Who is this product for?

Those with dry skin who want an incredibly emollient tinted moisturizer with sun protection too that’s great for layering over other skincare favorites.

Product benefits

Broad spectrum SPF 25 helps protect skin against damaging UVA/UVB rays. Argireline® peptide boosts skin’s natural collagen production and clary sage ferment strengthens skin’s protective moisture barrier. Water-in-oil emul­sion creates a uniquely rich and emollient balm texture that helps promote immediate and long term moisturization.

How to use the product

Apply as you would a moisturizer all over the face using your fingertips or the Foundation Brush (sold separately) for a more finished look.

How I use the product

I apply just as described above. Using my fingers, I swipe and blend in the product all over my face just like I would with a moisturizer.

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My thoughts on…

Packaging: I feel two ways about the packaging; a slightly weighty glass component that’s sleek-looking with a matte black cap. On one hand, I think it’s quite beautiful and chic. On the other hand, I think it’s totally inconvenient and cumbersome. I’ll never travel with it unless I decant some of it into another container, which I never, ever bother doing.

Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️

Application: It goes on like a dream and blends right into the skin with a few swipes or circular motions of my fingers. As the brand claims, it’s extremely emollient and feels much more like a moisturizer than it does a base product. I have not used this with a beauty sponge or makeup brush, so I cannot attest to how the product would apply then. I also should mention, this product has a pronounced scent when you first apply it which may or may not be a problem for some. My mother describes it as being reminiscent of Noxzema products, so think of camphor or eucalyptus. The smell definitely dissipates after you apply the product. I love the smell personally.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Coverage: This does not provide much coverage at all, but then again it doesn’t claim to do that. “Lightweight foundation alternative” and “light coverage” are right in the product description. It just subtly evens out your skin tone, so if you have problem areas or blemishes you will absolutely need a good quality concealer to pair with this. Personally, light coverage is not a negative for me. Overall my skin is usually well-behaved, so whatever base or foundation I’m using tends to be lighter coverage anyway. I reserve my medium-to-high coverage products for concealing.

Rating: 2/5 ⭐️

Finish: What this lacks in coverage it makes up for in the finish. After you apply it all over your face, you’re left with beautifully moisturized skin that radiates with this natural, healthy glow. There’s a subtle sheen that bounces off the product that’s just perfect in my opinion; unlike any other face product I’ve used before. The product definitely has some tackiness to it that doesn’t completely 100% dry down. That being said, if you blend it in really well it will feel the same as if you’ve applied a really nourishing moisturizer a few hours before. You can still feel the softness or slight tackiness but the majority of the product will have dried down.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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Swatch of Alabaster Tint

Shade selection: There are 7 shades in this range: Alabaster Tint, Extra Light Tint, Light Tint, Light to Medium Tint, Medium Tint, Medium to Dark Tint, Dark Tint. When inclusivity in the makeup world is as important as it is now, this is not an ideal scenario. Brands, both high-end and affordable, are expected to produce fuller ranges of base products that cater to a wider spectrum of complexions. It would be preferable if Bobbi Brown would offer more colors in this range, however, remember again what kind of product this is. It wasn’t formulated to be a true foundation but a “foundation alternative.” It’s a very specific product that is not intended to perfectly match your complexion in order to provide coverage; its primary role is to offer hydration and some SPF to dry skin.

I will say though that the colors run quite dark and quite yellow. I first tried out the Light Tint in store, which if you had told me was the Medium Tint I would have easily believed you. I ended up going with the lightest shade, Alabaster Tint, which is still yellow but at least much lighter than the Light or Extra Light Tint. To be honest, the yellow undertone doesn’t show on my skin either in natural light or in photos, again proving the point that you don’t need a perfect match to use this product. I would recommend trying this in-store if you can, as the color swatches online are misleading.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Longevity: Surprisingly this has more longevity than you’d expect from such a lightweight product. I wore this out on a sunny, warm day for several hours and when I returned home and looked in the mirror, I still could see the effects of this product on my skin which was truly impressive. I’ve tried this both with and without a primer underneath; the base primer really boosts the longevity, as you would expect. So if you want this product to last the longest it can, use your favorite primer underneath.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Price: This stuff is super expensive at $60.00 for 1 oz. or 30 ml. of product. There’s no way around that. While I truly love this product, I don’t quite understand why it is as expensive as it is. If you compare it to another higher-end tinted moisturizer, like the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer for instance, you get 1.7 oz. or 50 ml. of product for $45.00. I have not used the Laura Mercier product so I cannot attest to its effects or quality, but you can’t deny that the difference in quantity & price between both products is significant.

Rating: 3/5 ⭐️

Final thoughts

I have to say my mother was right about this one. This is absolutely the most hydrating face product I have ever used. I love it so much because I feel like it was formulated just for me and my skin needs. I like lighter coverage products that offer moisture and glow to my skin, and this does it all. So is the Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm the best tinted moisturizer for summer? For me, definitely yes, and perhaps for others with dry or dehydrated skin who don’t mind splurging a bit. I just wish the packaging was a little less bulky and the price was lower. I will most likely continue to use this into the fall and winter since my skin will only become more dry as the weather becomes colder.

Would I repurchase this in the future (assuming this isn’t being discontinued)? Despite my love for it, I’m not sure at this point. I would like to try some more inexpensive tinted moisturizers to see if they could give me the same level of glow and hydration at a lower cost. If anyone has any affordable tinted moisturizer recommendations, please, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know!

Have you tried the Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizing Balm? If so, would do you think of it?

xo, Erica

 

 

How to shop for the right foundation: Understanding skin type. Plus bonus cheat sheet!

This is a continuation of my previous post linked here about how to shop for the right foundation, a subject that some often struggle with. Skin tone and undertone were covered in detail in my last post, and now I’ll cover skin type here. Specifically how it can affect how you shop for foundation.

I defined skin type in my last post as the texture or the chemistry of your skin, i.e. whether you are classified as dry, oily, normal or combo skin. It’s important to be aware of a few things. These 4 categories are buckets that in them contain a wide degree of variation. No two people’s dry skin or oily skin is exactly alike and exhibit the same symptoms. That’s why it’s always important for you to do your own research whether it be when shopping for new skincare or new makeup. No one knows your skin better than you, or perhaps your dermatologist. Also, skin type can vary within your lifecycle depending on a wide range of both external and internal factors. Your environment, hormones, medications, age, diet, and stress levels all can play into influencing your skin’s chemistry. And this is in no way an exhaustive list.

*For the sake of transparency, I consulted a few online resources in writing this post since I am not a credentialed skincare expert. Mainly trusted skincare brands like Paula’s Choice and Eucerin.

Here is a list of the typical characteristics that define each skin category. (The T-zone is defined as the forehead, nose and chin.)

Dry skin – generally less oil production

  • Tightness
  • Dullness
  • Roughness
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Flakiness/scales

Oily skin – a general over-production of oil

  • Large pores
  • Shininess
  • Pimples with accompanying redness & bumpiness
  • Varying degrees of acne

Normal skin – well-balanced skin between oily & dry

  • Smooth-textured
  • Brightness
  • May have slight shininess in T-zone

Combination skin – mix of oily & normal to dry textures; typically oily in T-zone, with normal to dry cheeks and outer portions of face

  • Larger pores in T-zone
  • Shiny in T-zone
  • Possible roughness or redness on cheeks if dry

Since this is not a post about how to care for your skin type, all I’ll say here is that good skin makes for good makeup. That doesn’t mean you have to have the best, brightest, or smoothest skin on the planet to wear makeup. Who does? It just means that it’s essential to take care of your skin needs, whatever they may be, from your skincare up. Makeup can horribly exaggerate skin problems that aren’t being tended to. For example, I’m prone to little dry patches on my face. Just the other day I applied a dab of concealer on my chin that emphasized a dry, textured patch of skin that I hadn’t properly exfoliated. Every time I looked in the mirror after that, it was all I could see!

The bottom line is to shop for your skin type, not against it. I must say I’m skeptical of foundations that say they are for “all skin types.” This seems like a huge generalization that assumes skincare is a “one size fits all” kinda thing. It’s anything but.

Here is a link to my cheat sheet that touches on all the information from these last two posts in an easy-to-digest format. This also includes buzzwords to look out for when shopping: Foundation Cheat Sheet.

Dry skin

Go for liquid, cream or cushion foundations, BB creams or tinted moisturizers that provide hydration and glow to the skin like the Revlon ColorStay for Dry/Normal Skin, or Estee Lauder Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup (longest name ever in humanity!). Also serum or whipped textures tend to be good for drier skins. I used to not see the point of primers for dry skin, but I’ve seen the light now and I go for the ones that, you guessed it, provide moisture and slip to the skin, like Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance with Hylaronic Acid or my beloved MAC Strobe Cream.

Oily Skin

Go for powder, stick or liquid foundations that will provide an overall mattifying finish to your skin. Ideally you want a product that will help to minimize the amount of oil that breaks through to the surface of your skin, although no foundation can ever completely block oil. I’ve read that the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light is quite good on oily skin. The original Estee Lauder Double Wear is by nature very mattifying, waterproof and long-wear, which I can attest to. If you struggle with blemishes or acne, try to hone in on the foundations that specifically target and treat these issues like the Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup. Just be aware of potential irritating ingredients in any foundation formula, and perhaps consult with your dermatologist or skincare specialist if in doubt.

Ultimately, what will work for you all depends on your degree of oilyness, the kind of primer you’re using, and a certain amount of trial and error in finding the right combination of products. Speaking of primers, Zahra from ZHAST just did a really comprehensive blog post on primers for every skin type. Go check it out here for more info!

Normal Skin

Since normal skin tends to be quite balanced, not too dry or oily, you have your pick of which foundation texture to buy based on how your skin is currently behaving. If you’re more dry, choose a foundation labeled for ‘Normal to Dry’ skin, like the Revlon ColorStay mentioned above. Or if you’re more oily, simply go for something more matte. However, I think you’re best going with a hybrid of the two, something with a satin or demi-matte finish like L’Oreal Infallible Pro Glow Foundation or Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup.

Combination Skin

The usual combo skin cocktail is an oily T-zone and normal to dry outer regions along the cheeks, jawline and hairline. Foundation choice then completely depends on your degree of oilyness. Brands often clump certain skin types together, like ‘Normal to Dry’ and ‘Combo to Oily.’ Refer to the section above under ‘Oily Skin’ or the Foundation Cheat Sheet above for more info and suggestions.

What skin type do you have? Do you have any foundation recommendations? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

 

 

How to shop for the right foundation: Understanding skin tone and undertones

Have you heard this lament before? “When I go into a department store or drugstore, I have no idea how to pick the right foundation shade for myself.” All of us have been there. You think you know your foundation shade, you buy a color and then take it home and it looks too light, too dark, or too orange. Please keep in mind and accept that matching is not an exact science. There’s always room for error due to a variety of factors. Skin color and texture can often change up throughout the seasons, so what works in summer on your skin may not work in winter. Artifical lighting in stores is different to natural daylight so what you see in an Ulta or Sephora may look different when you step outside, etc. So it can definitely be tricky and overwhelming, but there are some tips on how to make it easier on yourself which we’ll delve into in this post.

Continue reading “How to shop for the right foundation: Understanding skin tone and undertones”

Introducing the Makeup Beginner’s Series!

A quick announcement today to tell you that the next several posts on my blog will be part of what I’m calling my “Makeup Beginners Series.” The posts will have a more educational angle for those of us who struggle with understanding makeup or certain aspects of makeup application. For example, finding the right foundation for your skin tone or how to get more mileage out of your lipstick, or how to apply eye liner. The inspiration for this series comes from some of my best girlfriends, who will tell me from time to time that makeup often intimidates them. They don’t understand where to put what on their face or what colors most flatter them.

I think what people need to keep in mind is that you certainly don’t have to be an expert to apply or experiment with cosmetics. Makeup is all about creativity, having fun, and making ourselves feel like our best version. It should be open to all of us and like any other skill, practice makes perfect! Since I’m not a professional myself, all the information and tips I will be sharing come from years of absorbing makeup knowledge from artists and experts both online and in print; in addition to the knowledge I’ve amassed through shopping for and applying cosmetics onto my own face.

My goal with the series is ultimately to demystify makeup and take it back to basics. So whether you are a novice or are more experienced but looking for additional tips or tricks to hone your skills, this is for you! Foundation will be the first installment this week. I hope you enjoy!

xo, Erica