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The arrival of my baby has turned me into a -very happy- zombie mom who NEEDS a daily speedy and refreshing make-up routine, well, basically it comes down to doing the best I can with the very little time I am given!
Before, during and after the pregnancy I reduced all the skincare products to the bare minimum, I just recently slowly started to integrate a more serious(ly expensive) skincare routine. I can provide more detailed feedback on this topic once my skin has given additional signs of improvement and stability because I am still in the process of building up and tuning it, trying to find the most efficient products.
What I can say for sure is that today my skin has already improved a lot, I can wear foundations that I could not wear 4 months ago. I still have very dry skin but the dry patches or dry/flaky nose edges that were a huge issue before, are now more under control.
I am 46, yeah, at this age I better take care of my precious skin, I know! I spent a lot on drugstore and high end skincare that never worked, today I am willing to try again because with youtube gurus and amazing helpful friends all over the world it got easier.
So, 4 months ago my skin was very dry, dehydrated, dull, with plenty sun marks, plenty fine lines, plenty visible pores… Today, my skin is still very dry but less dull and feels so much softer. The sun marks, fine lines and pores are still around and visible of course but the comfort of my skin has improved a lot! This has also impacted the way the foundations work for me so I think it’s important that I explain what changed, specially if you also are suffering from extremely dry skin.
SKINCARE KICK START
While chatting with Nils (Beautylish CEO), I told him how difficult it was for me to find products that helped me with my awful dry skin. He mentioned May Lindstrom products and challenged me to give them a try, he was really confident they would work – I wasn’t…. 🙂 – then a few days later I received a May Lindstrom parcel that he prepared just for me.
That’s how my enthusiasm for skincare began, triggered by the May Lindstrom the Problem Solver and the Honey Mud! I was surprised that I started to see a difference just after a couple of tries, I knew my skin needed “something” else, I just did not know what or how to start. I started listening to YouTube skincare gurus and investigating. You may enjoy following Stephanie Nicole, I love her very useful and detailed reviews, my friends recommended her channel to me but I was already a huge fan of hers before this skincare kick.
In the past, I tried many different products or combinations and visited doctors but the only product that I was repurchasing over and over again was the Laura Mercier Repair Creme (the one without SPF). This was the only moisturizer that could handle my dry patches and allow me to wear foundation, the issue was that my foundation was not lasting that long because it had to be applied on a very moisturized, almost greasy canvas.
My strategy was to start adding a few new products one by one and see what happens, this is what I did:
I started using May Lindstrom Problem Solver and Honey Mud, not on a regular basis because with a little baby it’s not that easy to walk around covered in mud. After a few times, I noticed a huge improvement, it felt like my skin finally got some food after years of starving. I was completely amazed by how my skin felt afterwards (brighter and softer).
I also have the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon, I read great reviews and also that the scent was amazing, I personally don’t like this scent, that’s why I did not use it much. My husband who never ever loves scents on products, truly loves this Blue Cocoon… that’s strange, maybe my nose is playing tricks. In terms of texture and comfort yes it feels good, but I have to use it more than a couple of times to be able to report on results and I will.
After the May Lindstrom, I started using the Buffet serum from The Ordinary. I used other serums in the past but none of the ones I used made me want to continue with them. I noticed an improvement, I couldn’t stop touching my skin, really felt much softer and happier (=less pulling).
Seeing that my skin was loving this new attention, I decided to continue! At this stage I still had some flakiness on and around the nose. My skin still had dry patches but it felt much better, I was reducing the amount of Laura Mercier creme that I had to use daily, I did not need as much (=less of a greasy mess under the foundation!).
A few weeks later I added the Biologique Recherche Eyes and Lips creme, I wanted the Bio Kiss but they did not carry it (it’s ordered now!), so they suggested this one instead just to make me spend my money 🙂 I see that it smoothes and plumps slightly around the lips (did not see any improvement around the eyes) but I will report on the longer term.
I waited a few days then I introduced the BR Lotion P50W, then the Sunday Riley Juno (morning) and Luna (at night) oils. I was using a Sunday Riley Good Genes sample that I loved and decided to repurchase. I have introduced a bit too many things but at least not at once! My skin did not break out, so far no signs of issues.
At this stage, the dry patches and the flakiness on and around the nose are gone… or become only visible if I use terrible foundations. I see a huge difference when applying my make-up, lasts longer and at the end of the day my face feels comfortable enough. Sometimes it feels less comfortable because I have used too much BR P50W or not enough moisturizer… I am still in the process of balancing the right amount of cleansing/acids/oils, if I exfoliate too often my skin feels tight but exfoliating definitely makes all the other products work better so I still have to.
I am unstoppable!! 😀 Now I am upgrading to Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum that belonged to a dear friend, she says it did not work for her and kindly gave it to me, it’s too soon to say how it will work on myself, but so far so good.
I am actually aiming to find a replacement for the Laura Mercier Repair, hopefully cheaper alternatives (I am trying Belief The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, Dr. Jart+ and Fresh Seaberry oil as per Stephanie’s recommendation). I haven’t used the Laura Mercier for more than a week, my skin is still stable but sometimes feels tight, no signs of dry patches although it takes a while for my skin to reveal if a product is working or not.
The reason I am trying to replace the Laura Mercier is because I am afraid that one day this formula changes, the last few pots felt different to me, I may be wrong but since almost one year this doesn’t feel quite the same. I wrote to them and asked and they confirmed they didn’t change anything in the formula, so it must be my skin not appreciating this as much.
The other reason I use several new products today is because I want to improve the condition of my skin, it will take a while but I am finally doing something about it!
I rotate my cleansers and toners, so I believe the improvement that my skin is showing today is mainly due to the serums, acids and oils that I mentioned. Next step is to start using Vitamin C (I ordered the Drunk Elephant C-Firma serum based on the great online reviews).
I did not take care of my skin when I was younger, today my skin shows sun damage and wrinkles that I probably could have prevented at least partially. With my very dry skin I can only wear sheer to medium coverage and I have to stay away from a matte finish.
My foundations are categorized as follows:
- the top fav
- the “on hold”, parked awaiting another try in a few weeks. I used them, liked them but they were not completely making me happy, I want to give them another chance once my skin feels more comfy and less dry
- the ones that did not -and still don’t- work at all
THE TOP FAV
Best shade match for me in MAC for example would be a NW20 (NW25ish in summer), just in case this can be used as reference.
- SUQQU Foundation, best match is shade 30 but on the dark side
It’s a little bit on the dark side, better for summer, I will get a different shade for winter.
With this foundation I just have to make sure I apply it on nicely moisturized and comfortable skin but it does not emphasize my dry patches or pores or fine lines but after some hours of wear I feel when my skin has reached its limits and comfort starts to decrease slowly, it carries on still ok till the end of the day but before my updated skincare routine I used to remove the foundation as soon as I came back home.
The wear got better after the skincare routine upgrade but at the end of the day I still notice that my skin is not as comfortable as when I wear the Natasha Denona for example.
It’s still a foundation that I adore and that I wear because it looks really absolutely beautiful on the skin, dewy without being shiny, medium coverage and the skin looks younger and healthy.
My only issue with it is that it’s in a pot and I hate products in pots, will I still use it? yes, and I have just repurchased because I am at the bottom of mine but the packaging honestly drives me crazy.
This is a foundation that could suit several skin types, on my very dry skin I don’t powder it because I really don’t need it, there is no stickiness at all by the way, doesn’t feel like I am wearing foundation.
- Natasha Denona Face Glow, I am shade 40 ($42)
It’s effortless to apply, lightweight, dewy, I can apply this in the dark with confidence! If I had to grab only one, I would pick this.
It doesn’t look or feel like foundation, the coverage is more on the sheer side, won’t cover pigmentation marks but it evens out the skin beautifully. Since I am not aiming to cover my skin but just enhance it, it fits my needs.
I don’t often powder it, sometimes if I feel like my skin has still a lot of moisture at the surface, in this case only I will apply just a little bit of power.
It’s definitely a foundation for dry skin, probably also combination but I am not sure about the oily types.
It fades throughout the day but I neither see dry patches, nor unevenness during the fading. I have repurchased many times already, always have a backup because I know sometimes this shade can be sold out. I got mine on the Beautylish website and to get the best shade, I contacted their customer services, told them what shades I was wearing on other brands and they replied as follows: “Based on the shades that are a good match for you, I would recommend shade 40 for your skin. 20 would definitely be too light and 30 would be too yellow. But 40 has the right neutral undertones with a bit of pink falls in line with your MAC and Ellis Faas shades.“
The IT CC is a tad more yellow and the Estee Lauder below pinker and a bit darker but the three shades match me well enough without having to mix them with anything.
- Estee Lauder Double-Wear Nude, I am shade 3C2 Pebble ($39.50)
Sheer to Medium coverage and dewysh finish but again, more on the sheer side with just one layer. I discovered this foundation on Samantha Ravndahl youtube channel.
It’s also a great lightweight coverage for dry skin, easy to find in local shops and “cheap” in comparison to many other high end foundations! I purchased it in our local SunStore. You probably can find this anywhere and you could even ask to try it first.
I prefer the Denona because my skin appears smoother and more hydrated, my pores aren’t as visible compared to a similar application with the EL, the ND ends up more flattering. The EL works, but as long as I can have access and purchase the ND I will repurchase the ND. If you find the ND too dewy, you may want to try the EL.
I do powder on top of this on the T zone because the powder will also help with the appearance of pores in this case.
- IT Cosmetics CC Cream, I am shade Light (38$)
I used and repurchased so many of these in the past! When I am going for a slightly less dewy finish, I grab this. It’s “just” a CC cream but on myself it does a great correcting job that I consider better than many foundations.
I get a little more coverage with this compared to the ND, it also fades evenly, no complaints, it’s not as “invisible” as the Denona, I can see that I am wearing some kind of coverage, however, it still looks very natural.
It does agree with my dry skin, I have to say that some years ago this worked like magic on my fine lines, today it doesn’t help as much but I am still loving it.
I don’t need to powder on top of this CC cream but keep in mind that I have extremely dry skin! I read and heard several times on reviews that this is better with some powder but it really depends on how your skin can handle it.
The following may not apply to you since we all have different type of skin but this is how these 4 favs work:
- The Suqqu and the IT CC are the most long lasting with the higher coverage.
- The EL is the less long lasting but the shade matches me better.
- The ND is the most dewy and comfortable.
- The Suqqu is the one that makes my skin look better (smoother surface), radiant without being dewy. My ideal foundation will have the comfort of the Denona, the finish of the Suqqu, the coverage of the IT or the Suqqu, and the shade of the EL.
My very first foundation was Bare Minerals, then Nars, then Mac, then I jumped to Tom Ford (it was really nice but I stopped using it because of the scent), then I used By Terry and my fav got discontinued so I moved to Ellis Faas that I used during many years.
I have tried or used these in the past, right now they are on hold because either I couldn’t find the right shade (but I liked something about the formula), or because something about them makes me think they could work when my skin gets a bit better or they could work if my nose wasn’t being so picky.
- Sysleya Anti-Aging Foundation, I am close to shade 2.R Organza ($170)
This is a sheer to medium coverage foundation with a natural finish (not dewy on my skin), it’s supposed to improve the skin with usage but I can’t confirm about the long term, it helps a bit with the pores and fine lines but unfortunately did not bring enough radiance or dewiness. It doesn’t emphasize my dry patches but it’s clearly not the best foundation I have seen on my skin.
On top of that, there isn’t a shade that matches my skin, I could mix Vanilla and Organza but it’s too time consuming and if I pay a product such a price tag, I really don’t want to have to purchase two different shades!
It’s not an option today but I would like to try again in a couple of months and see if my skin finally loves it.
- By Terry CC Cream, I am shade 2 Natural ($87)
This is a your skin but better and definitely more radiant, doesn’t offer coverage but it’s very comfortable, skin looks healthy and dewy, the rose scent is strong for me and this is why it’s on hold. Sometimes we are more sensitive to scents and right now I really can’t stand it. I used to wear it on weekends when I did not want to admit to my hubby I was wearing make-up to do house tasks, of course, I woke up like that! XD
If my nose decides to be more forgiving I will continue using it, I still do sometimes but don’t reach that much for it.
- La Mer Soft Fluid Longwear, I am shade Natural 12 (110$)
I tried it 4 months ago, it was emphasizing all the dryness and I looked like I was clearly wearing a mask. I tried it again and it was not bad at all, there was a clear improvement in the result. With very dry skin this will fail on me, today with the dry patches more under control this works and looks pretty good. It’s not as radiant as the Suqqu Foundation so I very much prefer the Suqqu but it could be an option. I thought this one was doomed but I will give it a
secondthird chance because when I was wearing it recently I got repeated compliments saying I looked good and rested which did not happen since before the baby!
- Ellis Faas, I am shade 102 / 103
This was a great foundation for dry skin, it was on the dewy side and I have repurchased approx 10 bottles ( I used it for many years), I stopped using it because when I pressed the pump it was throwing the product everywhere, tried to repair the system but it kept damaging my clothes, since this happened with two bottles in a row, at the end I was just pissed and didn’t bother repurchasing anymore. It was working for so many years, then the formula wasn’t as dewy on my skin, I don’t know if the formula changed (because it became more powdery) or if it was just a problem with my bottles that altered the product inside. May give it another try in the future because of how much I loved it.
CUSHIONS ON HOLD
I have an issue with cushion foundations, well, two issues, first the hygiene and second the value, but I wanted to try these because I was too curious…
- Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion, I am definitely not shade 23 (60$)
The shade I have is too light, when I applied it, it felt creamy and thick but I did not like the end result, it emphasizes my dry skin and my facial hair. I will give it a second chance when my skin improves because I heard only great things about it.
- YSL Cushion Touche Eclat, I am shade B40 (48$)
This is a natural finish (neither dewy, nor matte), I don’t feel like this is the best foundation for dry skin, it catches on dry patches and gathers around the nose, after a while when it sets it looks surprisingly better but still not good enough for me. I have to give it a second chance in the near future because I love the texture but I see already two issues: the packaging (it doesn’t close well) and the scent is not pleasant at all, or is it my nose again???
- DIOR DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion, I am shade 020 but it’s becoming too light (82$)
I tried this at the counter, felt so good, so refreshing and my skin was glowing. I decided to get it because of how it felt on the skin, I had a voucher so the price did not hurt that much.
This is not a foundation, at most a CC type of product, it doesn’t deliver coverage but just evens out my skin and improves my pores. I used this on its own but I feel like this is only a base for foundation.
If you are just aiming to correct your skin without coverage this is amazing, feels so fresh and comfortable to wear, I have used it many times on its own, did like it but was disappointed it could not deliver coverage, will give it another try in winter, see if pairing it with something else it will work better.
Tinted skincare for sure.. but this is not a foundation.
THE ONES THAT DON’T WORK
I only pick some of the ones that don’t work (but I have many others…), I thought this may help you if you also have dry or very skin. I gave them a second try in case something had changed recently in the way they looked but they still remain in the same category.
- SUQQU Extra Rich Cream, I am close to shade 202 (it’s just a bit too light for me) (69$)
Unfortunately this one does not look good on my dry skin, I love the creamy consistency and the medium coverage but it ends up emphasizing dryness (and peach fuzz), it does help with pores and fine lines though. May look amazing on other skin types but on myself it’s definitely not an option.
- Gerda Spillman Bio Fond, I am shade 05 (not sure it’s the best shade match) (~30$)
Medium coverage, at first I thought it was not too bad specially for the price but it felt heavy and like sitting on the skin and I just wanted to remove it. It does work, I just don’t enjoy how it feels and it doesn’t do anything that impresses me (probably on younger skin it fits better).
- La Prairie Skin Caviar, I am not shade Honey Beige (225$)
The high price of this product doesn’t mean it will necessarily do wonders. I tried a sample and I thought it would work -it wasn’t that bad after a couple of applications and thought that its skincare benefits will kick in later… but after a few days of wear it made my skin dryer and became very uncomfortable so I had to stop.
First they could not match me to the right shade, they gave me one that was too light which made my skin look ill and grey (shade Buff), then they gave me this Honey Beige that ended up being too dark. Anyway, in terms of finish, this is absolutely horrible on my dry skin, emphasizes all the dry patches I have and even the ones I don’t have. Obviously I did not wear it long enough to see if this could have been a wearable foundation in the long term.
- The Ordinary Serum and Coverage foundations, I am shade 2.0 P (~7 EUR)
The Coverage’s formula is a tiny bit creamier than the Serum but both are quite liquid formulas. The Serum one feels more moisturizing on the skin, but, the Coverage one did not bring more coverage than the Serum.
These two did absolutely nothing for me, no coverage, no correction, no comfort. Both started to break out almost immediately, the foundations would not adhere on my nose specially the Coverage formula, on my chin it clumped up into the dry patches – that I thought did not had anymore. I have tried with a primer, with different application methods (also with my fingertips because I thought maybe that would help the product adhere better but it didn’t). I tried to apply a second layer but it did not feel comfortable and just made things worse, probably that the combination of the dryness of my skin and my age are not made for these. On another note, I really enjoyed The Ordinary Buffet serum.
OTHER BASE RELATED PRODUCTS
The primers, SPF and powders I use the most are from Suqqu, it just happened that I liked them!
I have and use mainly these two, the Base Creamy and the Treatment Primer.
They are both light pink, the Creamy is a bit more… creamy. They are not the same product but on the skin, under the foundation, I don’t see much of a difference… I love both, I have the feeling that the Treatment is targeted more towards mature skin, it feels more moisturizing and comfortable with a slightly more dewy finish. The Creamy has a more brightening/whitening blurring effect. The Treatment one is easier to apply and completely absorbs almost immediately, the Creamy takes longer to blend and to absorb and leaves the skin just slightly lighter, my advice is to apply a very small amount just in case this effect is too strong for you.
When I use the Suqqu foundation (the one I love) I reach for the Creamy primer but only a very small amount, a pot lasts forever! when I use other foundations I reach for the Treatment primer. I am happy that I have the Treatment to travel with because pots are not my cup of tea. 😛
OFFICIAL INFORMATION (from Suqqu’s website)
Providing the skin with the moisture of four kinds of Moisture Oils*, this serum-like primer gives the skin itself a more vibrant and brighter appearance. A translucent “Peony Pink” hue naturally brightens mature skin to prepare for the foundation.
※ Sunflower Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Camellia Seed Oil (all moisturising）
This creamy makeup base conceals pores and evens out skin tone. It naturally lightens and fine-tunes any discolouration to leave the skin flawless. For use with creamy type foundation.
Sisley Phyto Cernes Eclat, I am shade 1 (107$)
That’s an easy one… There is only one today that I really enjoy using, and only when I need to. It’s really difficult to find a concealer that doesn’t make dry skin look even dryer. This one is fine but the price is not.
I have to admit that I love the cold metal applicator… so gimmicky but feels good, but I still don’t get this price…
It will probably expire before I can manage to finish it, there is a huge amount of product here… Since I have it I did not purchase any more concealers so, in a way, it “saved” me some pointless splurges 😀 The shade range is not good enough imho, I already found the foundation shade range weird, this is even more strange…
I don’t powder, well, almost. For my face I mostly “powder” or “set” with my bronzer or meteorites or other “healthy” type of pressed powders that are meant to even and brighten the skin, I don’t need any help with oil control so it makes things easier and also much faster. However, I do powder my eyelids everyday, I use the Suqqu Chiffon on top of my eyeshadow base (Urban Decay or Nars). When powdering with this, there is no creasing at all, it’s like magic, seriously crazy stuff.
I believe this Suqqu Chiffon would do a great job if you have oily skin, I can’t review these because I got them quite recently, haven’t use them properly but in terms of keeping my eyelids under control, I simply could not live without it anymore.
If you are interested, please hop to Wondegondigo’s, Jane has a detailed post on the Suqqu Glow powder.
When I use the Suqqu Glow and the Chiffon Feel on my face I cannot really tell a difference in the result between them, the Glow delivered a bit more glow but so very subtle, since I don’t need help with controlling oils on my skin (except for the eyelids) I can’t really tell how they truly work.
I have hundreds of foundation brushes but these 4 are the ones that I reach for the most.
The sky blue duo-fiber (goat/synthetic) brush is from Hakuhodo, a Limited Edition. The idea of a flat surface with a duo-fiber material is something that I found works with many products, some more than others but let’s say that if I don’t know what products I am taking on my trip, I grab this and I know I will be able to manage, very nice multipurpose.
The Marc Jacobs Face II is a brush I could not live without, I use it with anything, even with cushion foundations, delivers more coverage than duo-fibers and I love the shape, bristles and the evenness of the result. Only con is that I sometimes want to blend or tone down my cream blush with my foundation brush but this is a thick dense brush that has a lot of strength, can not always achieve the best precision and while blending the top product, the bottom product can move.
For concealer application I use the Marc Jacobs The Conceal and the Sephora 57, I have two of each for easier rotation because of how much I enjoy them.
The Sephora is better with under eye application, it’s dense but airy enough to blend without moving the application, it’s flat and quite wide, nice for application and blending but not precise if you are aiming for a more precise application.
The MJ Conceal is an excellent shape to blend the concealer between the inner eye and the nose and it’s really soft, absolutely a necessity to approach the delicate skin in this area.
With this new skincare, the condition of my skin got better, specially when it comes to pores. I know it’s only the beginning because there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Today I don’t have the feeling that I will be able to entirely replace the Laura Mercier Repair creme but reducing how many times I have to use it helps, makes the foundation go on much better and longer.
If you are (still) reading and have very dry skin, hopefully you found whatever works for you and if not, I wish there is something in this post that can help you.
The biggest issue is TIME… in all sorts of way. As time passes our skin will not make it easier for us. Also having enough time in our lives to do all this heavy skincare/foundation ritual is a luxury! When we need it the most in our lives, free time becomes more rare and runs faster, it raises a hell of a challenge!
PS : I purchased these products myselft except for:
- the May Lindstrom that Beautylish sent me
- the Suqqu Extra Rich Cream that Suqqu PR sent me
- the Vintner Daughter’s serum that a friend gave me
- samples of BR Lotion P50V, SR Good Genes that were either sent to me by friends or given at Space NK.
A special gigantic thanks to all my friends all around the world, who either send me samples or help me get these products from places I can’t shop directly, I am really very grateful!!!