There used to be times when the word “makeup” associated in my mind only with something I could use to cover my perfect imperfections. I remember using my very first drugstore foundation like it was yesterday (it wasn’t the best one, by the way). Only back then, it was all I used (and a mascara). Good ol’ simple times. It’s insane to see how far the beauty industry – and my makeup knowledge/stash – has come. While I still enjoy my favourite dupes, there is a number of high-end products I couldn’t have more love for. From my early 20s I have been having a somewhat “problem skin”. Breakouts, caused by hormones and stress, and the lack of understanding what to do in order to treat and prevent them (my sweet momma was doing her best to help me), all led to a bit of scarring left on my cheeks. Currently, my skin is being my friend and doesn’t act up badly, even though I do get an occasional spot. It is usually oily but goes dry during colder seasons. Basically, you get an idea – it’s quite a handful. That’s where my favourite high-end base makeup favourites come to play. Their “life mission” isn’t only to conceal whatever needs that perfect coverage, but also to make sure that my skin is breathing and reacting well to the ingredients. Here’s the magic trio!
When in Rome, ahem, in Sephora, you can’t walk out empty-handed. Unless your bank balance is screaming at you or you have supernatural self-control. On our holiday in Dubai hubby and I spent a lot of time in Dubai Mall (it is the most stunning shopping centre ever!) where there is a huge Sephora (of course!). Since I have been getting a bit more oily in my T-zone recently, I picked up this Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer. Boy, am I swooned! The packaging is lovely as per usual when it comes to the Smashbox signature look. The primer comes out as a thick’ish mousse and has a bit of a tint which transfers transparent onto your skin. Once it touches the surface, it glides on so well and feels like a super light silky coat. It gets brownie points for being fragrance and paraben free. The foundation and the concealer apply smoothly and don’t cake up sitting on top of this beauty. I do have to warn you though – it can be a hit or a miss sometimes. Some foundations tend to go patchy and cakey with this primer (or pretty much ANY primer). I guess it’s just the matter of the trial and error. Also, it’s not Houdini so it won’t make your pores disappear but it does a fab job at reducing the harshness of them, as well as keeping that shine at bay (my around-the-nose, chin and forehead areas are forever thankful). It’s non-drying, it doesn’t break me out and it lasts for up to 5 hours. Even though it’s a bit on the pricier side (£28 for 30ml), I highly recommend to give it a go. You can always pick up a sample or a cute travel size to put it to the test. It’s a win-win.
My forever number one love when it comes to makeup will always be a good ol’ foundation. There’s just something incredibly special about these little guys. They can either underline the natural beauty you have going on or make those unwanted insecurities shout out loud. In your face (or someone else’s). Literally. In my post Best Drugstore Foundation I shared my ultimate favourite one when it comes to I-am-on-a-budget situations. It is amazing but it’s not HG. Plus, it’s so not for oily skin. On top of that, I entered it into a “Mortal Kombat” like scenario with one of my ultimate favourite high-end foundations here (things got heated – if you can say that about a foundation review haha). Finally, I have tried a gazillion of them and have faced both success and disappointment. Then one day a number of years ago my friend (who also happens to be a MUA) told me to try a MUFE foundation. It was love at first sight. Yup, it exists.
When I got this Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation* in order to give it a go and share my thoughts (another MUFE favourite review here), I knew it would get repurchased many times. To say that I love this foundation would be an understatement. The packaging is classy, sleek and very much in the tradition of everything Make Up For Ever. It’s got a pump dispenser (yas!) and it’s packed with so much goodness inside. The formula is simply beautiful: it’s lightweight, silky and goes on smoothly. One of its superpowers is being buildable without looking caked on which gives your skin that natural flawless finish. I found that it applies perfectly with a Beautyblender (let’s face it, I can’t do my makeup without it any more). It doesn’t break me out (extremely important!) and it lets my skin “breathe” comparing to some heavy alternatives. It’s ideal for acne-prone skin but not too great for VERY oily complexion. If you’ve got a combination skin that sometimes goes a bit oily and on other occasions it greets you with dry patches, you will be golden. Before you ask me why I’d include this foundation into my recommendations for oily skin, I have to point up (literally). This beauty will meet your needs once applied on top on the Smashbox primer. It retails for £29 and there’s a wide range of shades (I am currently wearing 120/Y245 Soft Sand). Heart eyes emoji.
How difficult is it to find a perfect concealer? VERY! I have tried, loved or thrown away a number of bottles, jars and tubes which all promised pretty much the same thing. I have a big concealer post coming up so I will share a lot more about the variety of these handy little guys. Before we go any deeper, I have to say from the get-go – I have always had the dark circles sitch. While I know it’s not due to any medical conditions, I can definitely confirm that very little sleep does no good either. A magical concealer that will give you super light and smooth area under your eyes… drum roll… doesn’t exist. But there are amazing options out there! Another little (well, who am I kidding, it’s a big one) issue is hiding those spots, scars and whatnot. Some concealers cover well but don’t last. Other ones go orange the moment you barely touch them up with powder. And then there are pleasant exceptions and lovely discoveries such as this Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer. The packaging is gorgeous: it comes in a thin glass bottle with a gunmetal colour top. The applicator on its own deserves an ode as it’s very different from other concealers I’ve tried – it’s a soft spongy brush squished on both sides for the perfect amount of the product pick-up. What I absolutely love about this stunner is that it’s long lasting and it stays on all day once locked with your choice of the setting powder. Even though it’s a full coverage product, Naked Skin is super lightweight and it dries quickly (but not too quick unlike some concealers) to that lovely matte finish. For £17.50 you are paying a good bit more comparing to the drugstore sub but it is worth every single penny! Cherry on top: there is very little creasing into the fine lines once you set it like there’s no tomorrow. Such a champ!
This trio has been so well used and loved by me on a daily basis for a while now. As you can see from the swatches, my MUFE foundation and UD concealer are pretty much identical. It is recommended to have your concealer in a lighter shade but, in my humble opinion, this rule doesn’t apply when you have a tan. Since I got sunkissed in Dubai, I needed a more natural finish rather than “ghostly” under-eye look. Very happy with my current base makeup favourites and recommend checking them out if your complexion needs a bit of pampering. Sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more if you think dupes won’t cut it and you’re happy with the results you get. Your skin will be thankful, and you’ll be in for the long haul.
*PR sample; all opinions are, as always, my own.
Hope you enjoyed this post, lovelies.
I remember back when I had all these skin struggles I had no one to ask for advice,
it was the matter of “give it a go and see what happens”.
So I do hope this post will come in handy if you are currently dealing with
oily and acne-prone skin. Hang in there! I am with you 🙂
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Leave a comment and let me know what your HG base makeup is.
Have you found that perfect primer/foundation/concealer/etc.?
What type of complexion do you have and what’s your best advice for it?
Thank you so much for all the comments and messages on my previous post.
You guys are amazing!
In just a week it’s going to be my hubby’s birthday and I did the impossible –
all the presents are picked out and ordered! Eeekk!
I am never this early haha.
Also, I am all booked for a little trip to Ukraine
to see my family and friends in a few weeks time. I can’t wait!
It’s not easy to be away from them so a little visit here and there definitely helps.
I’m sure those of you who moved countries would be able to relate.