From the foundation test lab

 Hey, y’all. I thought I’d give you a quick first impression of two new foundations I tried this week. One was Tarte’s Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation ($39) and the other was Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation ($44).

As a bit of background, I’m always looking for the newest and best foundation — one that gives my skin that perfect coverage and texture. Since skin is ground zero for any makeup look, the right foundation is critical and I’ll go to great extremes to find it.

Things you should know: I’m 56 but don’t have serious issues with wrinkles; I’ve just a few fine lines. I have combination skin — occasionally slightly oily in the T-zone but normal everywhere else. So let’s get to it:

  • Tarte Hybrid Gel Foundation: I’m going to be honest, I didn’t like this one bit and it’s going straight back to Ulta this weekend. According to Tarte, it’s made with “skin-loving ingredients wrapped in a luxurious, creamy gel.” It may have loved my skin but my skin didn’t love it. The initial application was fine but within a couple of hours, it was breaking up and looking patchy. It didn’t provide that smooth, flawless look I prefer, even when it was freshly applied. It’s a no for me.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation: Unlike Tarte’s new entry into the foundation game, this one applied quite nicely with my Artis Elite Oval 8 brush. It gave me the good-skin look I crave. Coverage is nice, but not quite as full as, say Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD. I had a video conference call today and received a number of compliments on my makeup, so it clearly looks good on screen. I’m going to keep this one in my foundation rotation to see whether it becomes a permanent fixture.

Note: I’m wearing Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in the photo accompanying this blog. The photo has been cropped but it has not been edited or filtered. It was taken in natural sunlight on my front porch.

September beauty favorites: I liked them. I really liked them!

September FavoritesHello, everyone, from soggy Columbia, South Carolina. The city was hit hard this week by what weather experts are calling a thousand-year storm. My home is above water, although it was touch and go there for awhile, but others haven’t been as fortunate. We’re under a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, so it’s a good time to update you on — TaDah! — my September favorites. So, without further ado, here they are:

  • Let’s start with my favorite skin-care product of the month: Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Serum. I like it so much that I’ve just reordered because I don’t want to run out! It’s a beautiful serum that purports to promote cell renewal for a youthful-looking glow. I’m loving the effects, but I also love the ways it feels on my skin. It leaves it smooth and silky, with no stickiness at all. I have an aversion to any product that doesn’t dry completely — that “tacky” feeling isn’t for me — so this serum is perfection.
  • The foundation I’m reaching for most often right now is the Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able, which provides a matte finish, but I’m equally in love with the stick version of Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD foundation. I’ve never used a stick foundation before, but this one provides complete, satiny coverage and is absolutely no-muss, no-fuss. It’s perfect to pop into your bag for touchups or traveling.
  • ZoevaThere are so many gorgeous eyeshadow palettes out right now, but the one I’m reaching for most often is the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette. It includes 10 gorgeous warm shadows ranging from plum to cocoa to copper. There is a nice mix of shimmery shadows and matte shades, so you can create a complete eye look. The payoff is strong and the longevity is good too. Don’t fret about the fact that you have to order from the Zoeva website and that the company is based in Germany. I paid for my palette with PayPal and received it in about a week.
  • If you’re like me, you’re always looking for makeup products that are new and better, so sometimes old favorites are forgotten. I recently received a deluxe sample or Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer with a Sephora order and was reminded that it’s absolutely terrific. I ordered the full-sized version and it provides a smooth, even palette for makeup while diminishing the visibility of pores and fine lines. Reunited and it feels so good!
  • Cheek PopIf you haven’t tried Clinique Cheek Pop Blush, you absolutely should. Not only is the packaging adorable, but the colors and payoff are to die for. There are 12 shades to choose from, ranging from neutrals to peaches to pinks to browns. One (or more) will surely work for you.
  • I tried Benefit’s They’re Real! Push-Up Liner when it was first introduced and didn’t like it a bit. I found it dry and its unique, slanted applicator didn’t work for me. Flash-forward a few months and Benefit released the liners in several new colors — brown, green, purple and blue, in addition to the original black. I received a sample size of the black with an Ulta purchase and gave it another try. I’m glad I did, because the formula has changed. It’s creamier and much easier to work with. I’m even able to create a respectable wing!
  • If you’re going to wear lipstick, you’d better have smooth, flake-free lips. I have a jar full of lip treatments, but my fall favorite is Tarte’s Maracuja Lip Exfoliant. The sugar sloughs away dryness and gunk, while the maracuja oil provides lasting moisture. Good stuff!
  • Amazing GraceCharlotte Tilbury’s much-heralded makeup line lives up to expectations: The Deco-style rose gold packaging is to die for and the products themselves live up to the hype. Charlotte’s “Bitch Perfect” lipstick is my perfect go-to nude, but this month I fell in love with her Matte Revolution lippie in “Amazing Grace,” a tea-rose shade inspired by actress Grace Kelly.

There you have it, friends. I hope your October has gotten off to a good start. Mine’s been a bit soggy but there’s sunshine in the forecast!

A dream is a wish your heart makes: My fantasy beauty and skin care shopping list

Everyone has beauty wishes. Sometimes we have money in our pockets to make them come true. Other times we’re short on funds and simply daydreaming. This is a wishing and hoping day, so I’m adding products to my fantasy shopping list. Here are the items 7a4f88dbc523c6e35b53c2a6bf11af68currently on my “when my ship comes in” roster:

  • The Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Collection — This is my be-all and end-all. Why? First, because Charlotte’s products are simply amazing. I own the Film Star Bronze and Glow Palette,the Eyes to Mesmerize pot in Cleopatra, several Color Chameleon eye sticks and, best of all, my go-to nude lipstick: Bitch Perfect. You simply can’t go wrong with Charlotte, and the Norman Parkinson Collection is what my heart yearns for. Gorgeous products, gorgeous packaging and the gorgeous Jerry Hall. I’m a child of the 70s and don’t just want this collection; I need it. Desperately. I just hope my ship comes in very soon, because the products are limited edition.
  • Zelens Skin Care Products — I’ve heard nothing but great things about Zelens and I’m a fiend for skin care products. No matter how outstanding your makeup products or how talented you are at applying them, they’re never going to look as good as they should without the foundation of great skin. Top wish-list picks: Triple Action Eye Cream, Youth Serum Concentrate, Z-22 Absolute Face Oil.
  • Makeup Geek Eye Shadows and Blushes — I haven’t tried this line yet, but I’ve seen many beauty bloggers and YouTubers create gorgeous looks with Makeup Geek products. Beggars can’t be choosers in real life, but in my fantasy life I’d order the Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette, the Foiled Eyeshadow Set and the Blush Starter Pack.
  • Tom Ford Beauty — Tom Ford is, well, Tom Ford. His taste is impeccable. His designs (especially his bags) for Gucci were and are to die for. His makeup line is no less desirable. I own several pieces from the summer collection and, trust me, the quality is superior. What would I add to my trove? The Cognac Sable and Ice Queen Eyeshadow Quads and lipsticks in Cherry Lush and Pink Dusk.
  • Wayne Goss Makeup Brushes — I love me some Wayne Goss. His beauty advice is classic, ageless and honest. And, as I’ve said before, he’s charming and easy on the eyes. His makeup brush collection is luxe, handcrafted and cruelty-free. I’d choose the face and eye sets.

So there you have it: The products I’d add to my makeup and skin care collections today if money were no object. What about you? What items would you purchase to make your beauty dreams come true?