Glowy makeup primers – my picks!

Hi friends!

I’m sure you can tell from the title, but today I’ll be talking on the topic of glowy makeup primers. So if you’ve been a long-time, long-time reader of mine you may remember that I never really had much use for primers before last year. (And technically, I still don’t use traditional primers or products that are marketed as primers, I should say.) However, I have come to realize the benefits of applying a product that provides both hydration & subtle sheen to my dull, dry skin before I apply my base.

(If you’re unsure of what a primer is or why it’s used, check out this helpful article from HuffPo.)

So today I’m going to give you a peek at some of my favorite glowy makeup primers, and the best news is that you can pick up most of them at the drugstore! I’ve talked about most of these items on the blog before so I won’t go into great detail here; instead I’ll link you back to any relevant posts if you need or want greater detail.

Let’s get started!

MAC STROBE CREAM IN PINKLITE

MAC Strobe Cream in Pinklite

I talked about my love for this product way, way back when I first started this blog; this was my hydrating primer of choice whenever I used Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. This has been around in MAC’s line forever, and it’s now available in five varieties of pearl to compliment different skin tones. I have Pinklite, which is the original shade, and I apply this either all over my face or just to the high points before I put any base product down. It doesn’t stay too tacky for long, but leaves the skin with a smoothness & softness. The pearl in this is quite subtle, but when your skin hits the light you can see this beautiful, natural sheen. No glitter, no shimmer, nothing that obvious. I love it!

You get 50 mL for $34.00, or 30 ml for $14.00 in the mini size.

Read this: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation on dry skin: tips & tricks to success!

AVEENO POSTIVELY RADIANT MAXGLOW SERUM + PRIMER

Aveeno Positively Radiant MaxGlow Serum + Primer

This is my newest purchase from this list, and this is part of a larger range that Aveeno just brought out called MaxGlow. I believe there’s also infusion drops & masks in the range, but when I saw this in Walgreens I knew I had to snatch it! This is a bi-phase product with a thin oily consistency that you shake before use. I massage this hydrating oil into my skin before makeup and it leaves behind the most natural subtle sheen. Do not expect this to give you the kind of glow a highlighter would though. This is more of a skincare-makeup-primer-in-one item that helps build the foundation of glow; you will need to layer this with other glowy products to really bring out its full potential.

Aveeno Positively Radiant MaxGlow Serum + Primer

You get 45 mL for about $20.00 (depending on where you buy it).

L’OREAL true match LUMI GLOTION natural glow enhancer

L’Oreal Lumi Glotion

I featured this prominently in a post last year about drugstore alternatives to the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, as well as the next product I’ll mention. The Lumi Glotion probably has the most pearl of any of the products listed in this post, and it has a lovely creamy consistency that gives you such a beautiful, healthy look to the skin. (I do find I have to slightly shake the bottle before squeezing the product out since it can separate a little.) I usually alternate this product with the next product I’ll mention. For more detailed info, check out the post linked below.

Read this: Drugstore alternatives to Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter

You get 40 mL for $14.99.

L’OREAL VISIBLE LIFT LUMINOUS SERUM TINT In pearl

L’Oreal Visible Lift Luminous Serum Tint in Pearl

Like the Lumi Glotion, I also featured this in my drugstore alternative – Charlotte Tilbury post. This is a skincare/makeup-hybrid product that gives you a little moisture & a little pearl. The consistency here is definitely much thinner than the Lumi Glotion, and the radiance level is definitely lower. But it’s formulated to target fine lines and wrinkes so if that’s a concern for you, it could be the perfect product to apply all over the face or to your high points before you apply makeup. For more info on this product, please refer to the post linked under the Lumi Glotion.

You get 30 mL for $14.99.

Swatches of MAC Strobe Cream, L’Oreal Lumi Glotion, & L’Oreal Luminous Serum Tint

Just for the record, I 100% still stand behind the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter as a glowy primer & highlighter. I just didn’t include it here since I’ve spoken about it sooo much already; I didn’t want to be too repetitive for you guys!

Do you have any favorite glowy makeup primers I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

Xo, Erica

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Shopping for glowy makeup primers? Check out my list of favorites that deliver on both hydration & glow. Psst, and most of them are from the drugstore!
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Review: CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation

Hi friends!

Well, it’s review time. Back in December you may remember that I visited the CoverGirl flagship store in NYC, and snagged a few products for free (read the full story by clicking the first link below); I’m very lucky that the Clean Liquid Foundation was one of them. I’ve been testing this formula out since then so I’m ready to present you with my thoughts & opinions now! So let’s get into it.

(Just FYI, this is not about the matte/oil-free or the sensitive skin versions.)

Read this: I went to the new CoverGirl flagship store in NYC!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Let your natural beauty shine through with COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Makeup! Clean Makeup’s water-based foundation noncomedogenic formula lets your skin breathe, goes on easily, and blends perfectly, so the world doesn’t see makeup, just the look of great skin. COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Makeup is also available in Sensitive Skin and Oil Control formulas. 

CoverGirl website

PRODUCT BENEFITS

Water based foundation. Goes on easily and blends perfectly. Available in matte and sensitive formulas.

CoverGirl website

HOW I Apply THIS PRODUCT

I like to dab medium-sized dots of this on the areas I want coverage (generally around the T-zone), and then blend in circular motions with my fingers. I like my base products to appear and feel as skin-like as possible. I have not tried applying this with a brush. I do not set this foundation with powder (it’s winter and I already have dry skin, so that ain’t happenin’!).

MY THOUGHTS ON PACKAGING

Packaging of CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation

The glass bottle is small & dainty with no pump. Definite pro’s & con’s here. I like the fact that it’s small but still holds 30 mL; the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue holds just 5 mL more but is much bigger, for example. It’s also easy to store on your vanity at this size. However, it’s glass so you can’t really travel with it or toss it in your handbag if you wanted to. And no pump = more mess. I will always prefer a pump to control the amount of product.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 ⭐️

Read this: Review: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

MY THOUGHTS ON APPLICATION

This is marketed for normal skin types, but this formula applies & blends pretty effortlessly over my dry skin. The consistency is quite thin but that’s not surprising considering it’s a “water-based foundation.” I will tell you that I’ve applied this both over a moisturizing primer and over bare skin; I prefer over a primer but you can certainly apply over bare skin without much tugging or patching off. Ah, and before I forget, this foundation does have a scent that dissipates after application. I personally don’t mind it, but if you are sensitive please be aware.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON COVERAGE

Overall, I’d categorize this as a light coverage product, which is A-OK with me. You can build it up ever so slightly in places where you want more coverage, but do not buy it thinking it will give you a flawless complexion. It definitely won’t.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON FINISH

This has a very natural finish for sure. It’s definitely not matte, definitely not dewy; it’s completely somewhere in the middle. It just looks like skin, but slightly more perfected. As someone who doesn’t like wearing heavy coverage products, this is awesome!

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON SHADE SELECTION

Swatch of CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation in the shade Ivory in direct sunlight

I only see 11 shades listed on CoverGirl’s website for this foundation; not that great. Weirdly, the shade I have is 105 Ivory but that’s not even listed online. I see 110 Classic Ivory; is it the same? No idea, so not sure what’s going on there.

Rating: 2 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON LONGEVITY

This foundation definitely sticks around quite a while on my skin. Usually I wear my makeup anywhere from 8 – 11 hours depending on the day, and when I go to finally remove my makeup I still see the effects of this product on my skin. However, please keep in mind that I have not worn this foundation in heat or humidity yet, so I don’t know how this would stand up in that environment.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON PRICE

You can see some of the prices listed above from different retailers. It’s CoverGirl, you know the drill, it’s very affordable stuff. For me, someone who likes a lighter coverage, I think this product is totally worth the price tag(s). If you need or want fuller coverage, as cheap as this is, it would be a waste of money for you. So make sure you know what you want before you buy.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

Swatch of CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation blended out (in shade Ivory)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite the fumbles with packaging and shade range, I do think this is a lovely foundation if you’re looking for something lightweight and natural-looking. It’s very affordable and does exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak. I will gladly continue to use it!

Have you tried the Clean Liquid Foundation? If so, what are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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In the market for a new drugstore foundation? Check out my review of CoverGirl’s Clean Liquid Foundation, a water-based, natural-finish complexion product.

New skincare purchases & bits I’m loving

I haven’t written about skincare yet on here, which is probably a big shocker to a lot of other beauty bloggers. Truth be told I rarely change up my very basic skincare routine of eye cream, serum & moisturizer. Don’t skincare routines seem to be getting longer and more complicated as time goes on? It’s all very confusing to me. At the end of the day I think you should be guided only by what your skin needs and what it’s currently doing, rather than by what the new product releases are. By that rationale, I’m guided by my dry, sometimes flakey skin that needs as much moisture and illumination as possible.

I’m just not the biggest skincare connoisseur. I know what works for me and so I tend to be quite product-loyal (not necessarily brand-loyal). Historically, I’ve used both the Garnier SkinActive Ultra Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream and the No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum for years now. (I was quite late to the party on serums in general; back in the day I just used moisturizer and that was it.) But I can’t resist sometimes changing the product line up. For instance, I will change up moisturizers from time to time. I was a big fan of the Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme for a while but then I discovered the more affordable Clinique Moisture Surge range, which is a firm favorite for life.

With that being said, I have made a few sneaky skincare purchases over the past few months that I wanted to talk to you about now. Some of these products have already become favorites, some I’m still testing, and one I haven’t even tried yet. That is how I’m categorizing them for this post. Let’s get into it!

NEW FAVORITES!

Belif The True Cream Aqua & Moisturizing Bombs – Shop here

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Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

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Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

I spoke about my newfound love of The True Cream Aqua Bomb (and a little about the Moisturizing Bomb) in my earlier post on beauty mini’s, which was a hit with a lot of you. To recap, I didn’t buy either because I redeemed some of my Reward points on two separate Sephora visits, but I would absolutely buy either formula in the full size. You can buy either the standard size (50 ml for $38) or the mini size (25 ml for $22.00) from Sephora.

Belif is a Korean skincare brand I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong), that has exploded on social media recently. Their products already have reached cult status like that of Tatcha and Laneige. To that point, The Aqua Bomb and The Moisturizing Bomb are both considered ‘Bestsellers’ on Belif’s website. Everything is formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates & synthetic preservatives, synthetic dyes & fragrances, mineral oils or animal byproducts.

When I wrote my earlier post I didn’t realize that Aqua Bomb technically wasn’t formulated for dry skin; it’s more suited to normal, combo or oily skin since it has a very lightweight, gel-cream texture. I still felt it hydrated and plumped my skin quite nicely, however I used it during the very humid NY summer when my skin was probably at its best. I’m just about to finish my mini of the Moisturizing Bomb, which is indeed formulated for dry skin. It’s definitely thicker than the Aqua Bomb and is creamier as well.

BITS I’M TESTING!

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream – Shop here

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I just recently started using the Magic Cream after getting it at Sephora the day of the Charlotte Tilbury launch (and the day I met Charlotte herself!!). I deliberated for a while before putting this on my wishlist since it’s so darn expensive (50 ml for $100!), but I have to say the Sephora employees really talked me into this. The words “revolutionary” and “life-changing” were thrown around a lot, and while I’d like to say that I’m immune to all that sales mumbo-jumbo, clearly I’m not!

This is a very luxurious, thick cream that feels amazing to apply to your face and smells beautiful. The story is this is the secret weapon product that Charlotte formulated and used on models, clients and celebrities before they walk the red carpet. I think this will be a hero product for me going into the fall and winter months due to its richness. I tend to apply it at night before bedtime but you can also use it prior to makeup as Charlotte often promotes; I have yet to use it in that capacity. This gives a beautiful sheen and a feeling of plumpness to my dry skin. I really like it so far and it hasn’t broken me out at this point, but I’ve only been using it for about a week now.

(UPDATE 10/10/19 – sadly, I will be returning this product to Sephora. About a week after writing this post, I noticed little red bumps on my forehead, around my nose & my chin. I stopped using it for a few days to see if my skin would clear up and it did. Then I used it for about 3 more nights just to double-check and sure enough, the little red bumps came back. Such a bummer!)

On charlottetilbury.com there are 3 sizes available (150 ml, 50 ml, & 15 ml), although Sephora just seems to sell the 50 ml tub. The formula has SPF 15, and is gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free & cruelty-free.

Honey Belle Elixir Rejuvenating Facial Oil – Shop here

honeybelleelixirfacialoil

elixirfacialoiltexture

I spoke about the Elixir Facial Oil and about Honey Belle’s backstory in my earlier post detailing my Indie Beauty Expo haul. At the time of writing that post I still had not received this product in the mail, but since then I have incorporated this into my nightly routine. I hadn’t used a facial oil in ages so I was keen to get on that bandwagon again. I found a way to incorporate this product that didn’t extend the time of my normal routine: I combine it with my moisturizer. So far I’ve only added it to the Moisturizing Bomb from Belif and not the Magic Cream; I think the Magic Cream has enough richness on its own.

The smell of the Elixir is quite strongly herbal and ‘homemade’ but I like it. It gives serious shine and glow to the skin which you would expect from an oil. It doesn’t stay tacky for long and seems to absorb into the skin quite nicely, but keep in mind I’m applying this right after my shower so my pores are ready to drink this stuff up. Is it doing amazing things for my skin? I’m not sure at the moment to be honest, but it’s a lovely product that I like using. As the colder months approach and my skin gets drier, I will probably be able to tell more of a difference.

You can grab either the mini size (15 ml) for $15.00, which is pictured above, or the standard size (56 ml) for $34.00. Very affordable organic skincare.

BITS I HAVEN’T USED YET

Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream – Shop here 

freshroseeyecream

I purchased this just recently and it’s currently waiting its turn behind my latest pot of the Garnier eye cream, which I’m about halfway through at the moment. This smells amazing and as the name would suggest, it’s got a gel cream texture (my favorite). I’m new to Fresh skincare but I have high hopes for this little guy. There’s 15 ml of product in there for $41.00 so it’s definitely not cheap; this is actually my first foray into luxury eye cream. According to Fresh’s site, this is a cooling eye treatment that promises oodles of hydration and illumination. Oh, and ‘30 hours of continuous moisture.’ Cool, sign me up! I’ll have to report back 😉.

Fresh products are primarily made from natural ingredients and are cruelty-free.

Have you tried any of the products on this list? What skincare products are you currently loving or trialing? I’d love to know!

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

 

 

Top 5 cream blushes you need in your collection

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that cream products are my ultimate preference when it comes to makeup textures. I think creams look the most natural on the skin; they offer softness and dewiness, and as a person with dry skin they provide a certain amount of hydration as well. If you’re oily or have acne, your skin’s chemistry may not agree with creams so powders might be better for you.

Continue reading “Top 5 cream blushes you need in your collection”