Product Review: Clinique’s BIY Blend It Yourself Pigment Drops

Full disclosure, I previously managed a Clinique counter years ago, and so the brand holds a special place in my heart. But for good reason – even though they are a major beauty brand (owned and founded by the Estée Lauder company), I like that they stay true to their mission of producing great skin care and always allergy testing. So when Clinique launches products, I tend to perk up and listen. Case in point, they are on a recent kick of featuring newly customizable products. Since I’m always on the look out for a great tinted moisturizer, this newer product of BIY Blend It Yourself Pigment Drops caught my eye – this is pure pigment that allows you to make any moisturizer into a light tint or full-coverage hydrating foundation. Whee!!! As a makeup artist, my head immediately started swirling with all of the multi-purpose and functionality possibilities – even the idea of adding a bit to eye creams to help conceal dark circles and reduce puffiness while evening skin tone was amazing. As a pragmatic and sensitive skin-focused esthetician, I was also excited as this gives a lot of people who normally shy away from heavier foundations a chance to experiment by finding their perfect coverage on their terms. Foundation can often have a lot of fillers, so this allows you the option to take straight pigment and apply with the vehicle (serum or moisturizer) that you decide. The benefit of this is that it takes on whatever finish the serum or moisturizer is – matte, satin or dewy. Score!!

IMG_3800

There’s a full range of shades to pick from, and easy to test on the jawline just like you would with any foundation. My shade is BIY 105 (VF-N), which is Clinique-speak for “very fair – neutral”. Don’t let the small bottle fool you though. If you think about it, foundations are usually pigment mixed with a base that does specific functions: long-wearing, smoothing, anti-aging, SPF protection, moisturizing, full-coverage, oil-control, etc. If you think about it, you can accomplish this with a moisturizer (best fit for your specific skincare needs) and then customize it with a level of coverage that you want. Mind. Blown. Speaking of coverage, let’s get to that – the drops are measured and are very concentrated. Caution, a little goes a long way. It’s a very watery consistency but that doesn’t mean that it’s diluted. I like more full-coverage foundations and I’ve found that 2 drops in my dime-sized dot of Olay Complete All Day UV SPF 15 Moisturizer is the perfect blend. I’ve also found that the coverage is buildable – I’ll take a a little bit of the pigment, and layer where needed.

The one thing that I’ve learned from using this for the past 3 months is that I am not using a foundation brush to apply – this now falls into my morning regimen at my moisturizer phase. I will also apply this down my neck and around my eyes, with layering to build up coverage. I’ve found that it works best to use the back of my left hand as a palette: first squeeze a dime-size amount of Olay moisturizer, and then drop 2 drops of BIY into the moisturizer. Swirl to mix, and then apply and blend out. I’ll use a little bit more to layer where needed, if I want more coverage. If you want a more mattifying effect, I recommend using Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel rather than the Olay moisturizer – it creates a silky finish that helps keep oily spots shine free. If you are looking for a very full-coverage effect with more shine control, you can easily blend a powder foundation over the top. Conversely, if you want a dewy affect, blend a single drop with a moisturizing serum for a sheer, hydrated look.

I do still use foundations, as sometimes I prefer my favorites (such as L’Oreal True Match or PUR’s 4-in-1 Liquid foundations) to achieve a specific look or effect. But I now include BIY in my mix of makeup, as it provides options that I couldn’t get with other products. My hope is that this stays within the standard foundation line-up for Clinique, and that this review helps clarify how to use it. Once you get the hang of it, and you see how to blend it in with your favorite skincare treatments or moisturizers, I think you’ll love having it as an option to use.

© 2017 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Stick-style Makeup

Stick makeup, whether automatic or pencil-sharpener style, has been growing in popularity over the last several years. Especially due to certain brands, such as Nudestix, which are entirely sold in stick packaging only. I’ve heard many women say that they really don’t know how to use this type of makeup, but in reality, its incredibly easy and fun to use. Not to mention very convenient, especially if you are someone who doesn’t have a ton of time in your schedule or travels often. Hint: these are great choices for gym bags!

I much prefer automatic-style over pencil sharpening, especially for travel. Also, you end up getting more use of product and less waste, because you aren’t having to scrape away so much with a sharpener. The brands and products that I’m featuring below are the exact choices I used in my recent trip to Italy – they are not only easy to use, but also high-performance formulas in a high-humidity climate.  

cargo, clinique, billion dollar brows, revlon
my top picks for stick-style makeup

From the top:

1) Cargo Color Stick (in Key West) – Cargo has a hold on my heart, since their products are versatile and performance-driven. I love using this Color Stick with my foundation brush to create a beautiful flush of color on my cheeks, and also use with my fingers as a neutral lipstick. It’s creamy, with just a slight shimmer. Plus, it doesn’t streak or fade. Just twist up and dot to apply, then blend.

2) Billion Dollar Brows Univeral Eyebrow Pencil – this is amazing!! It’s a fantastic neutral shade that many can wear, and is an easy to use twist up pencil, with a spoolie brush on the end. It holds up to humidity, and is very buildable. The formula also controls brow hair, which makes it even more versatile.

3) Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick – new from Clinique, this is a bit of a echo of the Maybelline Express Foundation Sticks from the 1990’s (all hail Sarah Michelle Gellar’s ads), but the formula is modern and outstanding. Twist up and smooth across the broadest areas of forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Blend easily with a foundation brush, and the formula feels lightweight yet buildable. It also makes a great spot concealer, if needed. The formula does not contain sunscreen, so make sure to prep with an SPF moisturizer.

4) Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm (in Enchanting) – honestly, this is quickly becoming my favorite matte lipstick. The style is similar to glossy balms, but the coverage is full. Plus, the formula just rocks – it’s matte, but moisturizing, and wears well. I haven’t experienced the cracks or icky goo spots that some matte lipsticks create after an hour or so. Matte lipsticks can be hard to wear, especially lighter nude shades. But this one doesn’t disappoint – just beautiful! 

5) Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes – this is a great combination of color and staying power, which also can act as a base for powder shadow. This formula definitely has shimmer, but spreads easy with either your finger or shadow brush. The dry-down is fast, and is long-wearing. What I really like about these is they can be easily layered – just make sure to allow dry-down before applying the next shade.

clinique, cargo, revlon
easy to use formulas

I highly recommend these brands and formulas if you are going to be traveling, or want multi-tasking products that are easy to use. Plus, I think all are a great value for the performance you receive. 

©2016 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Clinique Beyond Perfecting foundation + concealer

Having been a part of the Clinique team years ago gave me insight into the level of technology placed within the formulas of their foundations. However, I never quite liked their selections of concealers. When this product launched a few months ago, I was really intrigued to see what the performance was of this product. And I don’t mind spending a bit more on foundation if I know it will make my skin look and feel great.

clinique, beyond perfecting, foundation, concealer
beyond perfecting foundation + concealer in alabaster

Upon selecting my shade, I was reminded how extensive the range is to match almost any skin tone. My exact shade is Alabaster, an ivory shade within the neutral range with the slightest pink undertone.

clinique, beyond perfecting
doe-foot applicator

The foundation is only able to be accessed from the bottle using the doe-foot applicator. And the bottle is actually glass – it surprised me, as I wasn’t sure how to best mix or shake the bottle as I typically do with my liquid foundations. My other concern was actually hygiene, as the doe-foot applicator sits within the bottle.

After a few applications, I found the best way to apply the formula was by using the doe-foot to dot the foundation on to the areas needing most coverage. I then used a foundation brush to apply. The lightweight formula applied smoothly, and literally melted into my skin. It was easy to layer the formula to build up more coverage where needed (like under-eye, or redness), and it didn’t settle into lines. I was also impressed with the long wear throughout the day, and my skin stayed comfortable with the fragrance-free formula. 

In short, I think this is a great foundation. But after trying it for several months, I’m not sure how easy the packaging will allow for using up a bottle’s worth of product. Plus, it’s an SPF-free formula, so you’ll want to ensure you have sun protection in your daily moisturizer. All in all, I definitely recommend it – even for those who have sensitive skin! 

© 2016 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Soap – is it bad?

I get asked this question a LOT. And the answer is no. Many of you may be surprised, since there are a lot of “soap-free” cleansers on the market, and I think the message has gotten rather confusing over the years. And I actually love bar soaps – I like the way they make my skin feel, travel easy, and can be used from head to toe. So, let me further clarify my answer: no, not all types of soap are bad. What causes some “bad” things to happen (like rashes, dryness, dermatitis, itchiness, etc) is not the soap itself, but the ingredients that are contained within the soap. What may feel like reactions to a soap being “drying” could be more likely a few common culprits:

  • Deodorants: check your soap’s label for anything that is identified as a deodorant. These types of soaps should only be used for your body, not your face. And even then, I dislike them. Deodorants can be rather harsh, and if you shower everyday (and don’t work on an oil rig), then you probably don’t need it when washing. 
  • Fragrance / Parfum: this is one of the most common causes of allergic reactions on the skin. Bar soaps especially are often scented or contain fragrance, and therefore can cause flare-ups of itching, breakouts, dryness, and rashes. My rule of thumb? I avoid soaps with fragrance.
  • Mineral oil / Paraffin: mineral oil, and variations of it, have been around for a very long time.  It’s an extremely common ingredient found in many cosmetics, soaps, lotions, and conditioners; mainly because it’s cheap and an ingredient that combines well with others. However, it’s not great to skin – it will clog pores if it sits for a long time, or create a “film” that causes skin to flake or feel itchy. If you have oily skin, this will not help clarify your skin.
  • Antibacterial ingredients: if you were a kid in the 80’s and 90’s, you’ll remember the antibacterial ad campaigns that were all over TV, reminding everyone how gross everything is that you touch. Unfortunately, while killing germs, this is also one of the fastest ways to dry your skin out. Other than your hands, you most likely don’t need antibacterial soap head to toe.

But what soaps out there are good to use? Well, here’s a list of my favorites – you’ll also notice most of them are from brands that have been around for a long time, especially since they can be used by any skin type, are affordable, and they deliver great results. Fantastic combination of reasons, if you ask me!

  1. Clinique Mild Soap – in the green soap dish, this is one of the best soaps on the market. I have used it head to toe, especially due to having more sensitive skin in winter. Skin feels balanced, clean, and calm.
  2. Dove Sensitive Skin Soap – if you have drier skin, you will love how moisturizing this is. Also, it makes a fantastic shave cream!
  3. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar – this is one of my new favorites. Also great for drier or combination skin, I find this makes an awesome head to toe cleanser. I often have this with me when I travel, as it is a face and body soap in one. 
  4. Shea Moisture Black Soap – an age-old type of soap, black soap is incredibly helpful in naturally fighting acne, clogged pores, and dullness in skin. It will also naturally deodorize, so it’s a very purifying soap for both men and women.
  5. Aveeno Moisturizing Bar – technically, this bar is soap-free. But it still functions like a bar soap. And it’s wonderful if you have hyper sensitive or dry skin – it comforts and cleans. Many people prefer it as a facial cleanser, but it is also wonderful as a body soap. 
  6. Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap and Lavender Soap – ohhhhhh, these are some of the best all-natural soaps you can get! The range of Dr. Bronner’s soaps are legendary, and these are some of the best examples of soap done right. Baby Mild and Lavender are two of my favorites. These are incredibly versatile, gentle, and purifying. And if you need reading material while in the tub, the labels are rather lengthy. 

“Soap” got a really bad rap over the years because of the harsh ingredients that had been commonly used in the distant past. But in the more recent decades, soaps have changed to be much more gentle and comforting to the skin. If you look for brands that stick to using good ingredients, you should have good luck. Especially if you like the convenience and affordability of bar soaps, give some of these a try! 

© 28daysbeauty 2015

Beauty Topic: Beauty Tools (part 2: makeup brushes & tools)

I will never forget the advice my beauty instructor told us in school: you can make even poor quality makeup look amazing if you use the right brushes. She was right – makeup brushes and tools are necessary for achieving even the most natural and basic of everyday looks. But I know many women have concerns about buying brushes and tools, especially when it comes to the vast variety of which brushes to choose. Featured below are the brushes and tools I use everyday, and my advice on why to use them.

#1: makeup brushes 

cargo, eco-tools, clinique, real techniques
my daily picks for makeup brushes
  • Foundation brushes: depending on which formula of foundation I wear, I choose either my Clinique brush (great for liquids) or my Real Techniques brush (great for creamier or BB formulas). I’ve had my Clinique brush for close to 8 years – the synthetic bristles are especially soft on sensitive skin. The Real Techniques brush is also great for concealer, as the bristles are shorter and provide more detailed control. 
  • Powder brush: my favorite powder/blush/all-purpose brush is the Magic Brush from Cargo. The bristles are super soft, but firm, and you can get great detail in application. I love using it for powder foundations too. 
  • Eyeshadow brush: my favorite eyeshadow brush is the Magic Eye Brush from Cargo. Like it’s bigger sibling the Magic Brush, the bristles and construction give it an amazing flexibility and versatility for application. The dome shape blends, shades, and also allows for detail in the crease. 
  • Liner brush: I really love the Eco-Tools flat cut liner brush, as it works wonderfully for creating a smokey eye with darker shadows. The flat edge creates an even line, and is perfect for using on the lower lash liner. This also an awesome brush for blending eyeliner too.  
  • Contouring brush: the LORAC contour brush that comes with the PRO Contour Palette is awesome for highlighting and contouring. I was really surprised with the quality of the bristles and cut of the brush. It creates even application, targeted detail, and blends smoothly.

#2: brush cleaner

 

elf cosmetics daily brush cleaner
daily brush cleaner

So, if you are going to make the investment of buying quality makeup brushes, then you absolutely need to keep them clean. Two reasons: 1.  the brushes will last you for years (seriously) and 2. your skin will have much less risk for breakout or irritation. This little bottle does the trick daily for me – after I’m done with my makeup, I spray each brush and wipe clean on tissue. Then I lay flat to dry, which only takes a few minutes. It takes me only about 2 minutes to clean all of my brushes that I use. The additional benefit is that they are ready to use the next day without any traces of remaining color, meaning I’ll get a fresh application of whichever color I want each day. It’s surprising to me how many people don’t regularly clean their brushes. If you don’t, you run the risk of not only ruining your investment of potentially expensive brushes, but also risk causing breakouts or dermatitis from buildup of oils, makeup and dead skin. 

#3: foundation sponges

 

miracle complexion sponge, foundation sponge
my faves for foundation sponges

Sometimes when I want to switch it up from my brushes, I’ll use foundation sponges to apply any liquid or cream makeup. These work great for cream blushes or liquid highlighters too. My two favorites that I’m using are the Miracle Complexion Sponge from Real Techniques and the Beauty Blending Sponge from Walgreens’ brand of Studio 35. Note: if you use the sponges wet, you will have more sheer coverage. I would rather invest more money in brushes than sponges, since the brushes will last you longer. But for the price, these sponges are a great tool to have when you want to achieve different looks. You can easily use the daily brush cleaner from e.l.f Cosmetics to clean the sponges too. Just make sure you let them air dry. 
#4: makeup tools

 

tweezerman, cargo
essential tools for everyday beauty

Last but not least, these little necessities can make or break your beauty routine. Let’s chat about why these are essential tools to have:

  • Pencil sharpener: I love the version from Cargo, as it can handle the two standard sizes of liners and pencils. This is essential for hygenic and precise application of eyeliners – no professional makeup artist would be caught dead without a pencil sharpener. The secret for everyday fabulous eyeliner looks is making sure the pencil is sharpened – the line will be cleaner and precise, which you can easily blend out with a liner brush if wanted. 
  • Tweezerman eyelash curler: this is one of the easiest ways to make the most of your mascara. Hate applying false lashes? Then simply use this instead. If your lashes are straight or grow downward, this is the best way to enhance your mascara’s formula.
  •  Tweezerman slant-edge tweezers: these have been with me for about 15 years, and are the gold standard in the beauty industry. My skin doesn’t wax easily without irritation, so I tweeze daily. There’s nothing that ruins a great eye makeup look faster than messy or unkempt eyebrows. Keep them under control, people! It’s super easy to tweeze and clean up brows daily with these tweezers – they grab every last hair. 
  • Clean-up razors: these little razors are awesome for hard to reach areas or wispy/fine hairs around your chin or upper lip. A pack of two will last you years, and you can also use them in cleaning up your hairline or bikini area. If you don’t like waxing or have super sensitive skin, I really recommend having a pack around for small grooming needs.

One last tip I want to make extremely clear is the tip to never share your tools. Salons, spas and makeup counters have the proper sanitizing techniques to keep tools ready for using on clients. But it’s harder to guarantee the correct hygiene at home, so I recommend keeping your tools to yourself to prevent risk of contamination of makeup or eye infections. Bottom line, if you keep your brushes and tools clean, they will keep you looking fabulous for years to come! 

© 2015 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: seasonal skincare switch

Now that it is officially Fall, it’s time to swap out some of your skincare to plan ahead for dry and colder air. Two of my favorites come from Clinique, because they are effective, incredibly gentle, and can be used comfortably by just about any skin type. It is essential to treat your skin according to climate changes, since no amount of makeup can cover up poor skincare choices. If you plan ahead accordingly, you’ll easily transition from Fall into Winter.

Top cleanser pick for Fall: Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser

 

clinique, cleanser
my go-to cleanser for fall and winter

If you have combination skin, it will naturally be oilier in Summer, and drier in Winter. Add in sensitivity (like me) and occasional breakouts, and you’ve got one of the most finicky types of skin to care for. That is why I love this cleanser, because it is fragrance free, removes ALL traces of makeup and debris, and is incredibly gentle to skin. Plus, a little goes a long way. Not kidding about that – if you apply too much, you’ll be rinsing for a while. When I worked for Clinique, they always had us recommend this in addition to the 3-step skincare regimen, as only a makeup remover. But to be honest, I found that it was just fine using it as my cleanser and then toning and moisturizing after. If I used soap after I washed with this cleanser, it dried me out too much. Regardless, I love this cleanser to keep my skin comforted and balanced as the weather starts to get transitional.
Top intense moisturizer for Fall: Clinique Moisture Surge

 

clinique, moisture surge, moisturizers
one of the most versatile moisturizers for fall
 
Simply put, this stuff is a dry skin saver. It can be layered over other moisturizers for a boost in hydration, used as a mask, mixed with foundation to create a tinted moisturizer, and makes skin feel extra smooth after applying serums. Fragrance free as well, it calms chafed and irritated skin. I usually get really dry skin around my nose during winter, and this prevents cracking and peeling. Even oily skins will love the gel-cream texture, since it feels weightless and will not add shine.

Give these a try if you have difficult skin to care for. Both of these last a while, so you’ll great a great value as well. Enjoy! 

© 2015 28daysbeauty

Product Reviews: Clinique makeup favorites

As a very sensitive-skinned person, I know exactly what it is like to want to try new trends in makeup products, but often become disappointed that my skin had a reaction when I did. Over time and through experience in the beauty industry, I’ve also learned that some of the best makeup looks come from the products that always deliver appropriately for your skin type. If you are one of those people who have reactive skin like me, I do recommend these makeup staples from Clinique to give you a great base of neutrals that you can always then modify with colors, based on the trends of the season. These products are fragrance-free, and allergy tested. 

For my everyday eye makeup, I swear by two things: Touch Base for Eyes in Canvas, and Cream Shaper for Eyes in Egyptian. Here’s why –

clinique, touch base, cream shaper, chubby stick
Touch Base, Cream Shaper & Chubby Stick for Eyes
  • Touch Base for Eyes in the Canvas shade is a perfect shade of champagne, that goes on like a silky cream. It dries to a powdery finish, and has a slight shimmer. If the counter is out of stock, I’ll grab one of the Chubby Sticks for Eyes in Bountiful Beige as a substitute. These products act like primer, preventing creasing and prolonging wear of powder shadows. But their neutral champagne shades allow other eyeshadows or colors to be vibrant and true as you create your final eye look.
  • Cream Shaper for Eyes in Egyptian is one of my favorite liners of all time. Reason being is that it’s actually a dark olive green, but has a bit of gold shimmer. It appears like a soft black on the lid, and is a fantastic shade for all eye colors. I love blending the pencil for a soft smudgey effect, and the formula stays all day. Just a great everyday shade that you can build to be more dramatic if you like, and works well underneath or on top of eyeshadow.
clinique, chubby stick, lip balm
Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm

For my lips, I often wear a softer shade everyday, rather than bold. But I usually layer my shades, over a neutral color.

  • Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm in Heaping Hazelnut is an awesome neutral color that looks great on many skin tones. I also like using this lip balm as a base for other brighter lip colors on top.  I love layering this shade under a bright pink or a deeper berry color for Fall. It’s moisturizing, and yet will give subtle shade of color on it’s own, similar to a gloss.

No matter what other products I choose for the seasonal trends, I typically have these products layered underneath to act as a great neutral base that is perfect for my sensitive skin type.

© 28daysbeauty 2015

Beauty Topic: DIY everyday home spa 

“I woke up like this.” Oh, sure you did. Well…it could be possible if your shower had a few secret weapons inside that gave you the chance to combat frizzy hair, reveal glowing skin, and always make sure your feet were sandal-ready. So, how do you do this? Gather up a few simple products that work their magic while you shower, and are gentle for frequent use throughout the week! (FYI – it’s easier than you think!)

 

clinique, deep conditioner, aussie, exfoliators
my go-to products for home spa DIY
 
In a spa, the two biggest treatments that are regularly performed are 1) exfoliation of the skin and 2) deep conditioning of hair. With weekly use of products that focus on these factors, you will notice that your skin and hair look amazing, but your effort and time spent is actually pretty small. Here’s how to do it:

Once per week, I replace my regular conditioner with Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditoner. I have long hair that gets color-treated every 8 weeks, and I’ve been using this stuff for years. It’s super concentrated, smells divine, eliminates frizz / dryness, and rinses easily. I’m not a fan of hair masks, so I like that this is as simple as using a normal conditioner.

One exfoliator staple of mine that I’ve been using for years is Clinique’s 7-day Scrub Cream. In the shower, I’ll smooth and scrub this one my face, chest, shoulders, and upper back. It’s one of the few physical exfoliators that doesn’t irritate my skin, and rinses clean. It takes me maybe 30 seconds to 1 minute to complete this routine, and I always do so before I use my body soap or face wash. Caution – if you are really sensitive, only do this once a week. If your skin is less sensitive, then do so up to 3 x a week max.

After I exfoliate and use my face wash, I’ll then apply Dead Sea Essentials by AHAVA Chamomile Spa Facial Mud Mask on my face. While the mud mask is on, I’ll then soap up and wash my body. This timing works perfectly, as mud masks do best when they have a constant steam for about 2-3 minutes to activate the purifying properties of the mineral-rich mud. Then, you can just wash everything off your face and body. Your skin will feel smooth, balanced, and purified.

Lastly, I’ll take about a minute and use a synthetic pumice stone on my heels and balls of my feet. I really like the Smoothing Pedicure Stone from Earth Therapeutics, since it doesn’t leave grainy bits all over your shower or tub floor. Plus, the stone lasts a long time – just keep it place where it can dry in the shower. I just use it with the running water, and it gently removes dry skin and calluses easily. 

All of this described routine may add about 3 more minutes on to my shower, if that. But as a former esthetician, I can tell you that these simple steps will basically give you amazing results, and are super easy to use. Enjoy! 

© 28daysbeauty 2015