Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Myth of the Flawless Complexion

I used to think a flawless complexion was a myth, at least for women my age. I mean, there's a lot you can do with makeup, but achieve a flawless complexion? Not so much. After playing with different combinations of products, though, I am pretty much a believer. Flawless is a pretty high standard, so I don't know if I want to claim that standard, but "skin that looks so good you can't believe it's yours" - I'll definitely go with that.

I have rosacea. That's not a secret. Without makeup, my skin is pretty pale, but with bright red splotches on my cheeks and a tiny bit over one eyebrow (I know - weird and massively attractive). You know what's ironic? In grad school I had a professor with rosacea (although I didn't know it by name then - ah, the days of ignorance and bliss!), and I always felt so sorry for her. She didn't wear makeup at all (you know female academics) and she was blond and pale, so it really stood out. She was, of course, the first person I thought of when I got my own fabulous diagnosis a few years after I got my PhD. It turns out that people with rosacea don't actually require sympathy.

Back to the point at hand. I won't say it will work for everyone, but I have been flabbergasted at how well it works for me. Here is my flawless complexion regimen:

1. Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (my color is 2C3 - Fresco)

Image Credit:

I have applied this with both a Beauty Blender and a flat-top buffing brush. I think the coverage is sheerer with the Beauty Blender, so for more flawless, I use a brush. This is good stuff. Yes, it's $37.00, but you don't need much at all. In fact, you really should only blend one part of your face at a time (I mean, dot foundation on one part of your face, blend, then dot on other part of your face, blend, etc.) because it is easy to overdo and get cakey, plus this stuff sets fast (as does most long-wearing foundation. I was really surprised that I was such a dark color - I am used to being the lightest in any foundation (for example, in MAC Pro Longwear, I am an NC15), but I got matched at an Estee Lauder counter, and this color really does work well. I only mention this to say that you shouldn't assume you know your color - get matched in person if you can. You can also get a generous sample when you're matched to make sure you like the way it wears before you commit to a whole bottle. 

2. Set the foundation with It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation (my color is Light-Medium)

Image Credit: It Cosmetics

I got both of these products from QVC, so I got better deals than are on the It Cosmetics website, but the compact and brush above are $49.50 and the brush below is $48. I realize that this is technically a powder foundation, and it works amazingly for this purpose. In fact, used over a BB cream, it is medium coverage and works just fine on an average day. When I am using it that way, I use the brush above. When I am using it for the flawless look, though, I use the brush below. I can't express my love for this brush enough. It's stellar. 

 Image Credit: It Cosmetics

3. Bronzer, blush, eyes, highlight, etc.

4. Finish with Ben Nye Rose Petal Powder - the magic step.

Image Credit:

If you are into makeup at all (and if you're not, I can't imagine how you read this far without your eyes rolling so far out of your head that you can no longer see!), you know about Kim Kardashian and her Ben Nye Banana powder. I'm here to tell you that not everyone can wear that powder (I'm also here to tell you that not everyone thinks her makeup is flawless or attractive - at least one person in the world disagrees with that seemingly universal opinion, but I digress). If you're fair skinned and cool toned, you will likely look, well, silly if you try to copy her look. 

Having said that, though, Ben Nye powders are the best thing I have discovered since watching beauty videos on YouTube. They are inexpensive and beautiful. I use Cameo to set my under eye concealer and I use Rose Petal to finish my entire face. It's the last step before I use setting spray. I am convinced it is what creates that flawless look. In fact, the first time I used it, Henry commented that my skin looked unusually even. He says even, I say flawless. You know all the hype about the Ambient Lighting Powders? I'm not immune to it, but neither am I about to pay $45 for one powder, especially when the reviews are so incredibly mixed. For less than $3 on Ebay, I got a 10 gram sample of the Ben Nye Rose Petal powder. I have been using it almost every day and I haven't made a dent. I apply it with my Real Techniques Powder brush (another absolute gem). It doesn't take much, but it instantly just...blurs everything. I can't explain it. It does what the Ambient Lighting powders claim to do. I am going to buy the 85 gram size of this powder ($20) and I plan never to be without it. I still can't get over the size of that jar. It's huge. I already know it hardly takes any, which makes it an ever better deal.

So, there you have it. My recipe for a flawless complexion. If you have fewer skin issues than I, I would imagine you'd be golden with this routine (or, if you're cool toned like me, pale pink). If you have more problematic skin, I would definitely add a concealer. I only conceal under my eyes (a routine unto itself - I'm the dark circle queen) because the Double Wear is amazing enough to deal with my rosacea on its own most of the time. If I need a little extra help, I use the LA Girl Pro Concealer, which is terrific and costs $2-$3. I only use it when I absolutely need it, though, because I am already layering two full-coverage products.

I have rambled enough. Just one clarification. I recently found out from a friend who reads my makeup posts that she thought I may be getting paid or compensated for promoting certain products. Not at all so! I talk about the things I love, all of which my dear husband's money has purchased (some of which he even knows about - ha!). There are no affiliate links in any of my blog posts, ever. If I ever add one, it will be blaringly obvious.

Thanks for reading. If you happen to already use (or try!) any of these products, I'd love to hear about it!

1 comment:

  1. Yours is the first post I have found online that references both the cameo and the rose petal ben nye powders. What is the difference, I am trying to figure out which one I should purchase.