Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sleek i-Divine Au Naturel Palette Review, Photos and Swatches

I recently ordered a few products from Sleek Makeup, a UK makeup company. I'd been hearing and reading a fair bit about their very well-priced eyeshadow palettes, highly pigmented blushes and BB cream online and the cost made it very accessible, despite the exchange rate and shipping. More on all of that later though...

This post takes a look at one of the two eyeshadow palettes I ordered, the Au Naturel Palette. It costs $9.99 US and contains 12 eyeshadows in a combination of matte and shimmer textures.

Here's what Sleek has to say about this palette:

Sleek MakeUP's legendary i-Divine palettes are 12 shades of super-pigmented, long lasting mineral based eyeshadow, designed to suit all. Each i-Divine contains pearlescent shades, which contain mica particles that highlight and illuminate giving an overall radiant effect. 

Au Naturel is an array of matte and shimmery eyeshadows providing a subtle yet contoured effect for day, that can be built up for a gorgeous evening smoky effect using the velvety browns and shimmering fawns.

12 x 1.1g/12x 0.03 oz

Some packaging photos follow. Each i-Divine palette comes in a black box.

The palette itself is made from matte black plastic with the logo in shiny black.

To give you a sense of the size of these, here it is in my hand.

Back of the palette
Each palette lid is a large mirror, which is a very nice feature. You could carry this palette in your purse for touch-ups during the day and/or creating an evening look for after work. Each palette also comes with a double-tipped sponge applicator. You can choose to work with these or not, but I prefer using brushes. The soft texture of some of the eyeshadows work a lot better with brushes than these applicators - more on the texture later though.

The palettes can be a bit tricky to open. They're quite thin so there's not a lot to hold on to and you have to hold the base a certain way and the lid a certain way to get it open.

Each palette also comes with a clear plastic overlay with the names of each shade of eyeshadow on it. It's a nice touch to have names for each shade, but Sleek doesn't appear to sell any of these as individual eyeshadows or have replacement pans available. It would also be better to have the names on the back of the palette rather than on this clear plastic sheet which I'll likely end up throwing out since it falls out every time I open the palette anyway.

Inside the Au Naturel Palette with the clear plastic overlay.

Inside the Au Naturel Palette without the clear plastic overlay.

And here we go with the swatches! I bet you're curious about this inexpensive, multi-shadow palette, right? 

Starting from the left side of the palette and doing four at a time...

Clockwise from top left: Nougat, Nubuck, Moss, Conker

L-R: Nougat, Conker, Nubuck, Moss

Nougat is the most matte of these four, with Nubuck next with a very soft shimmer, Moss being slightly more shimmery and Conker being quite frosty. 

Nougat is the lightest shade in the whole palette, and you might expect to be chalky since it's so white and matte. It's not. All of the shadows in this palette apply well, though some are creamier in texture than others. Nougat is pigmented but not so that it's opaque. Pigmentation-wise it's a little on the disappointing side, but I personally would not wear a highly pigmented white shade. This I could wear as a highlight very easily. 

Conker is a shimmery red-bronze. When applying this to my arm for the swatches, this was the one of the four that broke apart the most and had the most fall-out. It has great pigmentation and can be blended out for a more subtle effect.

Nubuck is warm taupe-grey shade. I liked the texture of this one the best of the four. It's one of those great colours that would suit both warm and cool skintones.

Moss is an antique brown-gold shade. It applies with a buttery texture and has a moderate amount of fall-out.

On to the middle four shadows:

Clockwise from top left: Cappuccino, Honeycomb, Mineral Earth, Bark

L-R: Cappuccino, Bark, Honeycomb, Mineral Earth
Cappuccino swatches similar to Nubuck, but with more golden-brown than grey. It has that look of cappuccino foam - milk mixed with coffee. The texture is a bit powdery and pigmentation is low on this one. You'll probably want to apply a few layers to see it properly on your skin.

Bark is a dark brown with a touch of red. It has excellent pigment but it does have a powdery texture, so anticipate some fall-out. This one is better not too blended out. It can go muddy.

Honeycomb is a warm, soft peachy-gold with good pigmentation. This is a lovely warm colour with a texture that's buttery and not too powdery.

Mineral Earth is a frosty bronze-red-brown with excellent pigmentation but some fall-out. It reminds me of MAC's Blue Brown Pigment without the green iridescence. 
And the final four shadows:
Clockwise from top left: Toast, Taupe, Noir, Regal

L-R: Toast, Regal, Taupe, Noir
Toast is a bright yellow-peach shade with a hint of gold to it. Very pretty, moderately pigmented and a little on the powdery side.

Regal is a plum-brown with excellent pigmentation but, as you can see in the photo above, it's a bit powdery. Beware of fall-out!

Taupe is a very wearable, very pretty shimmery peach-gold shade. It's a good highlight shade.Noir is a deep shade that's not quite black. It's got some grey and a little green to it. I really like this shade smudged along the lashline. It's like soot, if that makes sense. Powdery and deep but soft.

In summary, the Au Naturel i-Divine Palette is a mixed bag in terms of texture and pigmentation. To me all the shades are workable and wearable, despite some being lightly pigmented and some having issues with fall-out and powderiness. Some of the shades I can see myself wearing over and over and over again, and some I won't naturally be drawn to using. I especially like Noir, Mineral Earth and Nubuck, but also Bark, Conker and Moss. There are none of these shades that I dislike. I like that there are a mix of neutral shades ("flat" colours) and more stand-out shades (colour and shimmer) in this palette. There are so many different looks that can be created. 

In terms of cost, this is a very good palette. $10 (approximately) gets you 12 eyeshadows that range from average to good quality! 

Grade: B

A few things I've discovered about ordering Sleek products online: I looked into a few different ways to get my hands on Sleek products. You can order through the Sleek website directly, or find some products through Ebay. You can also order through Superdrug if you live in the UK. US residents, note that you cannot order eyeshadow from the Sleek website due to shipping regulations, but Canadian residents have no such issues. I ended up going through Sleek directly. Prices were in US$. Shipping was very reasonable. I paid $6.49 US in shipping for an order that came to just over $50 US. There was no duty once it arrived either. I was very happy with the cost! No added charges.

Another thing you should know was that it took about a week and a half for my order to arrive. From the UK. That's fantastic! I was shocked as I expected to have to wait for a month or more as I have ordering things from the UK in the past!

I was also happy that none of the products I'd ordered were damaged when they arrived.

Your turn! Have you used Sleek products? Have you tried their eyeshadows? Let us know in the comments below!

To see the other Sleek products reviewed:

Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm
Sleek Blush By 3 in Lace

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm Review, Swatches and Photos

Sleek Makeup is a UK beauty company, available in Superdrug in the UK and online. I had been hearing a lot about their products, namely their eyeshadow palettes, blushes and their BB cream, so I decided to place an order. I'll review each of the items I ordered individually. This post is for their BB cream, which they call Be Beautiful Blemish Balm.

Product Description (from the Sleek website):

Be Beautiful Blemish Balm combines unique properties of skincare with makeup, with this multi-tasking balm that can be used as a primer, tinted moisturizer or concealer. With added benefits of SPF 15 to protect you from harmful UV rays. Be Beautiful Blemish Balm is perfect for those who what light to medium coverage.

Contains red algae extract to combat anti-ageing, protein peptides that aid in skin repair, and Vitamin C to increase brightness to your overall complexion.
50 mL/1.76 fl oz
$11.49 USD

I'll refer to this product as a BB cream, just to save me some keystrokes.  Here are some photos of the packaging.
It's tough to order skintone-matching products without testing them first. But this was so inexpensive and I was ordering other products anyway, I thought I'd take the chance and chose Fair.
Packaging Photos: 
The BB cream comes in a black box, with a good amount of information on it.

The tube of BB cream is also black, that type of packaging that most of you probably have experienced before. It gets pretty grubby pretty quickly.

What I've heard sets this inexpensive BB cream apart from the other inexpensive BB creams is that it's got a good amount of pigment. I've heard that that's more in line with Asian BB creams though I've never tested or worn a BB cream from Asia so I can't compare them with any certainty.

But I can say that the Sleek BB cream does have more pigment to it than the other BB creams I've tried. 

Here are some swatch photos.

A dab of Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm in Fair on the back of my hand.

Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm spread out slightly on the back of my hand.

Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm almost completely worked into the skin on the back of my hand.
You can see that that one small dab of product would cover a cheek and a little more. The pigmentation is very good - more than a tinted moisturizer and about equivalent to a light-medium coverage foundation.

The Fair has cool yellow undertones, which makes it good for counteracting redness in the skin. This detail is noted on the website and for each BB cream shade, so that's definitely helpful in selecting which one is best for you. I wish that there were photos of the BB creams on the website. Trying to determine which one works for you without trying them first is pretty difficult. What does Medium look like compared to Medium 01? And how dark is Dark? 

If you're looking to order one of these BB creams from Sleek, do some research. Check some beauty blog reviews of the ones you're looking at. It will help, trust me.

In the photo below I applied the BB cream to one half of my face (the right half below) and left the other side bare, apart from some Benefit Porefessional primer on my t-zone. You can see that the Fair is a good match for me, as well as the subtle change it has on my complexion. The right half of my face looks smoother, even-toned but natural. The BB cream has brightened my complexion, evened my skintone and reduced redness without making me look like I'm wearing a lot of product. 

Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm Cream on right side only. Left side is bare.
Here's a close up of the right side of my face.
Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm Cream close-up

I like that this BB cream does not go on with a lot of dewiness as the Garnier BB Cream I've been using does. It doesn't mattify my skin either, but gives it a natural, healthy glow.

And this is what a complete make-up look with the Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm Cream looks like.

I've got concealer in areas that needed it, and loose powder on top as well as on my T-zone. 

I noticed the first time I wore the BB cream, when I washed my face at night, that my skin felt noticeably smoother and firmer. This did not change with subsequent wears and washes. 

Sleek says this BB cream can be worn as a primer, concealer or tinted moisturizer. In my experience I'd say this has light primer qualities, light-medium concealer qualities and medium-high tinted moisturizer qualities. I didn't notice that it kept my blush (the only visible product I wore on top) from fading any more or less than other products. It didn't keep the oily areas of my skin from getting shiny. As a concealer, it's good for areas that require light concealing and can be layered for areas in need of more concealing. And as a tinted moisturizer, it's best for skin that's not too oily and not too dry. Tint-wise, it's very good and for moisture, it's average. It left my combination (normal-oily) skin feeling hydrated all day but not excessively so. 

In summary, it is my opinion that this is a good BB cream. It applies and wears well and it makes my skin look and feel good. Since the cost to buy this is about the same as buying the Garnier BB cream I usually wear ($20 CDN), I may be ordering this again. 

One thing to note is that the SPF of 15 in the Sleek BB cream is not great. With the inclusion of vitamin C in it, it definitely needs SPF 15 MINIMUM, since vitamin C makes the skin more vulnerable to harmful UV rays. They've take away some of the skin's ability to protect itself from the sun with the vitamin C and put it back with the SPF 15. So that means this is basically a skin product with no SPF, in my opinion. A higher SPF (say SPF 30) would make this a very, very, very good BB cream. Why won't beauty brands LISTEN TO THIS already? Our skin needs more protection from the sun. Sort it out!

Grade: B 

A few things I've discovered about ordering Sleek products online: I looked into a few different ways to get my hands on Sleek products. You can order through the Sleek website directly, or find some products through Ebay. You can also order through Superdrug if you live in the UK. US residents, note that you cannot order eyeshadow from the Sleek website due to shipping regulations, but Canadian residents have no such issues. I ended up going through Sleek directly. Prices were in US$. Shipping was very reasonable. I paid $6.49 US for an order that came to just over $50 US. There was no duty once it arrived either. I was very happy with the cost! No added charges.

Another thing you should know was that it took about a week and a half for my order to arrive. From the UK. That's fantastic! I was shocked as I expected to have to wait for a month or more as I have ordering things from the UK in the past!

Your turn! Have you used Sleek products? Have you tried their Be Beautiful Blemish Balm? Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Ideas: Kat Von D Makeup

I love Halloween, but am pretty lazy when it comes to the costume department. Instead of elaborate costumes, I like doing dress up's that focus on makeup. Not only do they tend to be cheaper, they are generally more comfortable and don't rely on wearing something  too hot, cold, or embarrassing!

Here is a Kat Von D look I did a few years ago. I just copied her typical makeup look (albeit with a heavy hand) and covered my arms with temporary tattoos found at a dollar store.

I won't go through the basic makeup as this photo is several years old and I can't exactly remember all the products I used, but I will show you how to recreate the star tattoos she has on her cheekbones and temples. Apply your star tattoos after you have completed the basic makeup.

First draw 1 - 2 stars on an approximately 1" x 1" piece of masking or green painters tape (you won't want to use clear tape as it can rip easily.) Using an Exacto knife and a cutting mat, carefully cut out your drawing, and peel it away using the tip of the Exacto knife. 

Then stick the tape to your skin, and with a small brush, apply a medium thick layer of MAC Blacktrack Fluid line to the stencil, making sure to work the product into the corners of the stencil, overlapping slightly onto the tape to ensure you get crisp edges.  Allow the liner to dry for at least 30 seconds then slowly peel the tape away and repeat.

To make the tattoos seem even more convincing, once you are finished applying them, lightly brush them over with setting powder and highlighter. Having a thin layer of makeup on top of them will make them look as if they are truly part of your skin!

What is your Halloween costume this year?


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beauty Squared Round-Up - October 27, 2013

Happy Sunday, darlinks! That's right, it's time to take a look at some of the beauty-related stories we've come across this past week. In today's Round-Up you'll find some booze, some Hallowe'en links, and some fall beauty info, among other stuff. Let's do it!

  • Some fall street style looks that will give you some inspiration in these colder days.
  • Those fuller brows that everyone and their dog is talking about. Here's another article about how to get Cara Delevingne's thick brows with an eye on buildable brow gels (brow gels that, like thickening mascara claim to thicken your brows).
  • The terrifically talented, much-loved and gone-far-too-soon Kevyn Aucoin is being celebrated on Beautylish beginning on November 12. You can sign up for exclusive access to the five-part series here.  
  • I've long been a big fan of this punky, 60s eye look. Here's a step-by-step tutorial courtesy of The Beauty Department. 
  • Booze-inspired beauty products?
  • If you didn't celebrate Hallowe'en last night or if you have a few parties to go through, here are a couple of links if you're stuck for ideas: 

Friday, October 25, 2013

MAC Divine Night Mineralize Blushes Review, Swatches and Photos

MAC's Divine Night holiday 2013 collection, features three LE Mineralize Blushes: Lured to Love, Talk of the Town and Lavish Living ($32.50 CA/$27.50 US). These LE blushes are housed in matte black and gold packaging special (and more pricey) for the holidays. Photos in natural light on NC 35/40 skin.

MAC Mineralize Blush: Lured to Love, Talk of the Town and Lavish Living

Lured to Love - Described by MAC as a "coral pink base with pink frost", Lured to Love is a light pinky coral blush with a satin (not frost) finish. The texture is fairly powdery and the finish subtle but fresh on my medium skin tone.

Talk of the Town - Strangely described as a "warm brown base with yellow bronze" by MAC, I would describe this as a frosty pinky beige highlighter with iridescent pink pearl.This blush will not give much colour to most skin tones, and because of the heavy frost, you won't want to build this product up of the skin. Pretty, but a light hand is warranted.

Lavish Living - Aptly described by MAC as a "violet with silver pearl base with gold pearl", this blush is medium dark plum with slight grey overtones and fine silver shimmer. The most strongly pigmented of the three, this blush is also the most unique in terms of colour - I can't think of another blush like it. This blush will be amazing on darker skin tones.

I like that MAC offered three blush shades in one collection that are all very different. I also appreciate that they explored the darker end of the blush spectrum, though my feeling is Lavish Living will prove a challenging colour on most. My reservations are that the formula is powdery and the finishes of Talk of the Town and Lavish Living are very frosty for everyday wear. 


Lured to Love: B -
Talk of the Town: B-
Lavish Living: B

Monday, October 21, 2013

Goldeneye: Two Gold Eye Look Ideas and FOTDs

I've been really into wearing gold on my eyes lately. Typically, I prefer silver and copper as colours over gold, in jewellery, clothing and in general, but ever since falling in love with the Make Up For Ever Eye Pencil #20, a sort of antiquey gold. I wear it as a very simple liner on days when I want to go natural. It enhances the eye in a very subtle way, adding a lightness and sheen. Sometimes I line my eye, top and bottom, and sometimes just to the top.  

I really liked the effect this soft antiquey gold shade had on my skin and my eyes, so thought I'd show you a few ways I've come up with to wear gold on my eyes. 

The first look is one I love to wear with a red lip. With a red (or any bold shade) lip colour, you want to keep the rest of your makeup simple. I'm the queen of keeping my makeup simple, so here is a very simple look using OCC's Loose Colour Concentrate in Flawed (my review of it is here). It's a similar shade to the MUFE pencil, an antiquey gold-bronze. 

How's using only two eye colours for keeping it simple? Yup, I've got MAC's Wedge eyeshadow on my eyelid and smudged a bit heavier through my crease with Flawed pressed on top of my lid, as well as beneath my eye. The Wedge helps to give a bit of definition to the look. Since my eye look would be so simple, I used quite a bit of Flawed so the colour would really pop without looking too dramatic. I warmth of the shade flatters my eye colour as well. I applied MAC eye Kohl in Powersurge (another shimmery gold-bronze shade) on my waterline for more subtle definition. Tip: Powersurge Eye Kohl is fantastic for the waterline. It defines without closing in the eye like a black will.

*All products used in this and the following look were photographed together and the photo can be found at the end of this post. 

I applied Sephora's Advanced Lash Booster mascara to my top lashes and Clinique's Bottom Lash Mascara to my lower lashes. 

I wanted to keep my brows soft, so I used Wedge to fill them in and fill them out slightly, finishing them with Anastasia's clear brow gel. 

Oh, my base is Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Vanilla (see my review here), and a combination of OCC Skin Conceal in Y1 and MAC Select Cover-Up in NW20 under my eyes and on any red areas. I set the concealer with Ben Nye Neutral Set powder. 

On my cheeks is MAC The Perfect Cheek from the Marilyn collection - brushed beneath my cheekbones to contour. I wanted definition to keep my skin as clean as possible, and to allow the lips to take center stage. I did want to perk up my skin though (the Immaculate foundation is problematic on me - see my review) so I brushed MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Powder in Soft and Gentle to my cheekbones. It gives a subtle sheen and glow to the skin. 

On my lips is OCC Lip Tar in Vintage (see my review here), blotted down considerably so it's a bright red, not the deeper wine tone it can be. 

I really like the sophistication of this look. The gold makes it a little more playful, as does my fascinator which I don't wear enough.

The second golden eye look I wanted to show a less glam, retro look. This one is more colourful and playful but still simple and wearable. Again, I photographed the products I used for both these looks and that photo can be found at the very bottom of this post.

For this look, I started with the look above and added to it, but I did brush away most of the Flawed I was wearing on my eyes first as well as remove Vintage from my lips.

On my eyes, I layered MAC Solar Bits in Scatterrays. Solar Bits are "pearlized pigment clusters" which can be challenging to wear. Jill has said about MAC's crushed metallic pigments (see a review here) that they're not terribly usable, but they're SO PRETTY. It's true for Solar Bits as well. But I endeavour to not waste product by not using it and I wanted a very wearable gold shade for this look, Scatterrays is a "soft metallic peach with gold shimmer" so it's got pink and peach tones to it as well as the gold.

With a bit of MAC Mixing Medium on my brush, I dipped it into the Scatterrays and then patted it over my eyelid, focusing on just the lid area and sweeping it up into the crease. 

Then I used Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Rockstar - a dark purple - to line my eyes. On top, I smudged some MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in My Dark Magic (see a post featuring it here) to deepen the effect. 

Using some Duo eyelash glue, I applied Benefit's Big Spender eyelashes. These lashes are super-cool but very stiff. I really needed to work them to get them to soften enough to fit the curve of my eyelids. They are thick lashes, but not crazy-long and they're angled out, so they give less of a doe-eyed look and more of a coy look.

After the glue had set on these, I smudged a bit more of My Dark Magic along my upper lash line. 

On my cheeks, I added some MAC Mineralize Blush in Warmth of Coral - a blend of coral and peach tones, and some more Soft and Gentle on top for a warm glow.

On my lips, I applied MAC Partial to Pink Cremesheen Gloss - golden pink creamy gloss. Since Vintage had stained my lips a little, the gloss looks a bit orange-y but works really well with the overall look. 

I really liked both of these looks and was kind of amazed at how different one is from the other.

Sophisticated Gold Eyes with Red Lips: bottom, clockwise starting at the top right: MAC Eyeshadow in Wedge, OCC Loose Colour Concentrate in Flawed, Sephora Advanced Lash Booster Mascara, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, MAC Eye Kohl in Powersurge, Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler, OCC Lip Tar in Vintage, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle and MAC Blush in The Perfect Cheek.

Purple-Gold Eye Look - top row, clockwise starting at the top right: Benefit Big Spender lashes, Duo Lash Glue, MAC Cremesheen Gloss in Partial to Pink, Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Ransom.
How do you like to wear gold on your eyes?


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Beauty Squared Round-Up - October 20, 2013

Hello Beauty Squared readers! Are you in need of some beauty links today? You are in luck...we're here to help!

Let's get in there...

  • Allure Magazine has eight simple makeup tricks for flawless skin. 
  • Do you like to make your own beauty products? Do you like dry shampoo? This homemade dry shampoo tutorial video is for you! 
  • Sigh, Kim Kardashian. I wish I didn't know who she was, but I do. I will go back to ignoring her right after sharing this link with you. At least she's taught us a thing or two about contouring. 
  • Kelly from Glitter Diaries takes a look at the Laura Mercier Flawless Face Book Palette in Sand AKA all you need for flawless skin.
  • Speaking of flawless skin, the folks at Daily Candy have compiled their favourite concealers, foundations, tinted moisturizers, BB/CC creams and powders in one handy place
  • Understanding your hair texture - this is one of the most in-depth articles on hair type I've ever read. What's your curl pattern?
  • This make-up transformation is quite remarkable (though I've seen more dramatic ones) and had dudes on Reddit all worked up. 
  • Christine at Temptalia and her readers have shared their tips for pore minimizing
  • In case you've missed our previous Round-Ups and this FOTD, full brows are in for fall/winter 2013. Here's Elle Canada's how to get the look (without growing in your brows). 
  • Black eyeliner, that trademark look of the bad girl throughout history from Cleopatra to punk rock.
  • Extreme plastic surgery is not as rare as it used to be. Men and women around the world are using plastic surgery to dramatically alter their appearance and they aren't concerned with hiding the fact that their faces are created surgically. These dramatic (and disturbing) photos by photographer Phillip Toledano looks at some of these extreme plastic surgery enthusiasts.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hourglass Cosmetics Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Review

I had been hearing a lot about Hourglass' Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation. There's a video on the Sephora Hourglass page that really sells it (under related videos). I was intrigued after watching it but also very aware of the price tag - $64 CDN for a bottle. So I went to Sephora and tested it and then got a sample to take home. I was half hoping that I loved it because it sounds miraculous and half hoping that I'd hate it because of the cost. 

The description:
Taken from the Hourglass website. 

Consider Immaculate the miracle foundation for oily skin. This breakthrough liquid to powder formula absorbs oil, camouflages imperfections, and delivers a long-lasting velvet matte finish - without the need for touch-ups. In a consumer study, Immaculate's advanced formula was shown to target oily, acne-prone skin. 
  • Breakthrough liquid-to-powder formula delivers an unparalleled matte finish with real longevity that lasts all day, eliminating the need for powder, blotting tissues or constant touch-ups.
  • Cashmere Kaolinite Clay, an advanced new clay, offers exceptional oil absorption - absorbing 75% of its weight in sebum while retaining moisture in the skin. 
  • The oil-free and water-resistant foundation goes on smoothly and dries down instantly to a soft, velvet finish that never looks dull or flat.
  • Unlike matte foundations of old, Immaculate's superfine treated pigments provide unsurpassed coverage without looking cakey or mask-like, or feeling dry on the skin.
  • Ideal for oily or blemish-prone complexions or those seeking a medium-to-full coverage foundation with a velvet matte finish.
  • Research results: Based on a 4-week consumer study on 30 women with oily, acne-prone skin:
    • 100% reported an improvement in overall skin appearance and skin smoothness
    • 100% reported that the product worked without drying skin out
    • 83% reported a decrease in oil production and the need for touch-ups
    • 80% reported a visible improvement in acne scars
    • 70% reported a visible improvement in pore size
    • 63% reported a reduction in a severity of breakouts
  • Also infused with clinical levels of two active treatment ingredients - Phytostem Edelweiss and Lavandox - that have short- and long-term anti-aging benefits.
  • Free of oil, parabens, phthalates, gluten, fragrance, synthetic dyes, nanoparticles and vegan-friendly.

Impressive stuff, right? Considering the reputation of Hourglass products, it's not terribly surprising. And I recommend trying this foundation if it sounds like it'll suit you. For me though, I had some issues with it.

The skin:

My skin is combination - oily in the T-zone area (forehead, nose and chin) as well as on the cheeks closest to my nose. I have pronounced pores here and here is where I tend to break out. My cheeks, temples and jawline are normal in comparison. Pores here aren't visible and I don't tend to get shiny here. I do get breakouts along my jawline, as many people do. 

The review:

I got a sample of Immaculate in Vanilla - and it's worth noting that Immaculate comes in a decent range of shades - Porcelain being the lightest and Chestnut being the darkest. There aren't a lot of dark shades, which is sadly common among makeup lines. Undertone-wise, a decent range. 

I tried Immaculate on three separate occasions. The first time I applied it on clean skin that I'd treated with a primer (Benefit's The Porefessional). No moisturizer as is my practice most days.  I used my fingers to apply it to my skin and a foundation brush to buff it out. It goes on fairly sheer at first, and dries to powder very quickly but you can layer it for areas that require more coverage. I applied it all over my face. It gave me an even, matte complexion which I always find a bit off-putting since I'm quite fair. I look ghostly with a full face of foundation and nothing else on. It looked dry on my skin but still sheer, somehow. So the pink of my skin showed through, even with layers of Immaculate on top.

I applied the rest of my makeup - concealer, setting powder, eyeshadow, brows, mascara, blush - and I since I was still feeling like it was too ghostly pale and flat, I used my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light (my review is here) to soften it and give my skin a hint of a glow.

When examining my face a bit closer, I noticed that Immaculate didn't do a great job on reducing the appearance of my large pores and to make things worse (and weirder), it had settled into pores I didn't know were visible on my lower cheek, close to my ear. As in, made them terribly visible. And any dry patches of skin were highlighted. I also felt like it made my skin look a little too dry and matte overall. 

In terms of the wear, it did do so very well. I got a full day wear out of it and I didn't need to blot as much as I normally do. When touching my face, some product came off on my fingers towards the end of the day than when freshly applied. It held up pretty well though and didn't feel quite as pale and matte over the course of the day. It also looked fairly natural in natural light. 

But I hated that it made visible pores that I didn't realize were visible. Not cool. But I thought maybe my skin wasn't moisturized well enough so I tried wearing it again after a good exfoliating and moisturizing. It was a little better, but still enhanced the drier patches of skin, and highlighted those pores on my cheek as before! And still the dry


But I thought that perhaps it might be my skintone - not oily, problematic enough? I tried wearing it again, but mixing a tiny amount of BB cream (Vichy ProEven - review here) since mixing a drier, thicker product with one with more viscosity can help keep it settling into fine lines and pores. The BB cream may help with the drier patches of skin as well. The application was better in terms of the dry areas and the pores, though the problems still existed, and the BB cream didn't seem to change much about the Immaculate foundation apart from making it slightly less matte.

Still, three tries and still more frustrating than successful for me. 

In summary:

  • Immaculate is matte. Too matte for me.
  • The patchiness - perhaps my skin is dehydrated with the change in season (or in general) but I was disappointed with the emphasis of these dry areas.
  • The visible pores! Immaculate claims to reduce the appearance of large pores and I only wore it for three non-consecutive days, but to enhance what it's supposed to reduce? Disappointing.
If you have oily skin or acne-prone skin you might want to check it out, but if you've got combination skin you might want to steer clear, regardless of whether you've got acne, blemishes, oiliness, etc because you might run into the same problems. If you want to try it, go get a sample at Sephora, don't pay $64 for a bottle. If you have dry skin, stay away!

I tried to take photos, but I struggled to capture the issues I mentioned on film. I can say, in a positive for Immaculate, that it photographs pretty well. I'm wearing it in the photo below, mixed with the BB cream and topped with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. To be fair, it looks very nice on in this photo but not so up-close or in natural light.

Here's a close-up shot of the area where pores that aren't normally visible are visible with Immaculate. Right near my hair, under my cheekbone you can see it. This is worse to the naked eye, my camera's flash evens things out considerably in photos. 

Grade: C