Face First

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Great for my mood, less so for my skin.

After riding around SoCal in a topless Jeep for almost two weeks, I came home with spotty skin.  I wear sunscreen religiously, but I still noticed subtle dark splotches on my forehead. My husband said you could only see them if you looked really hard. I must have been, because they were all I could see when I looked in the mirror. So I decided to take action.

I spent a bit in Sephora exploring what my favorite brands had to offer in terms of complexion evening potions.  I finally settled on this kit:

Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me Kit

At $45 for the whole set, it was less than the other full size products.  And it included three products. These are pretty generous bottles, and I've barely made a dent after a month.  I really like this brand of products, and just swapped their "Truth" products for these for the time being.  I noticed a difference pretty quickly.  Some freckles that border on sun spots even lightened up.  The cream irritates the seborrheic dermatitis on my nose if used twice a day every day, so I limit these products to bedtime.  By the time I've used them up, I'm confident that my spots will be close to gone, if not completely. Am I being too optimistic?

Because I was feeling uneven, I decided to seek out a little more coverage foundation-wise.  I've used Sephora's tinted moisturizer for several years and love the light color it gives.  It's not too sheer, so it has served my purposes well.  Deciding on their foundation seemed like a no-brainer.  Besides, I already had a color that worked for me since they are consistent between their face products; and matching foundation has always proved tricky for me. 

Sephora Collection Instant Radiance Foundation

This stuff did not make me happy.  It was too light for my skin tone, too pasty-looking, and didn't make my skin look at all flawless.  I looked like I'd been spackled, despite applying it with a cosmetic sponge and blending well.  I gave it the old college try, but ultimately had to say goodbye.  Because I was in St. Louis (I bought in in Boston) and didn't have my receipt, I exchanged it for a foundation brush.

I was walking through a Macy's one day during our trip and decided to stop by the Origins section and check out what they had to offer.  The salesperson approached me and offered to help match me.  I thought, why not?  She ended up giving me a full facial, in a reclining chair, and redid my makeup.  The whole time I kept wondering when the hard sell was going to come.  It didn't, really.  She showed me what she used and I chose a charcoal mask I liked as well as the foundation.  She didn't push me like other makeup counter salespeople I've dealt with in the past. In the end, I walked away with a new foundation, a pore refining mask, glowing skin, and some deluxe samples to boot.

Origins Stay Tuned balancing foundation in Angel

This foundation is amazing.  I was just using my fingers to apply it prior to exchanging for the foundation brush, and it looked flawless.  It goes on smooth, melts into my skin, and lasts all day.  And at $23, it was only a dollar more than Sephora's foundation.  As far as the foundation brush goes, well, time will tell. The lady at Origins applied my foundation with one and I liked the effect, but I have a feeling that I'll need practice to master a seamless look with it. The brush is well made, with oh so soft bristles, so I'm confident I will get the hang of it.

I'm an Origins convert.  I am working really  hard to use up what I have at home, but once my supply of products is depleted, I will likely turn to them for more of my skincare products.  They smell amazing and make my skin feel so good, so it's really hard not to say "I'll take it!" while squelching my more, more more! inclination.  I can be very instant gradification-ish when it comes to beauty products I love, but the excess of unused, abandoned products under my bathroom sink makes me feel hungover with product shame.  So I've been on a mission to use up or give away neglected products and samples.

My other purchase: Origins Clear Improvement charcoal mask
The fact that I returned the lackluster foundation was a huge accomplishment.  In the past, I've just stewed in my disappointment or lived with a product I didn't love, meanwhile feeling bad that I spent twenty bucks on a lipstick that doesn't quite suit my complexion.  Those days are gone.  I've been liberated by my experience and vow never to be tied down by expensive yet sub par cosmetics anymore.

While I love Sephora and the plethora of amazing products housed within each store, I also had a dysfunctional relationship with her.  She is fancy schmancy and I am, well, not so much.  At least not right now. I was intimidated by the upscale nature of the products and their often insane prices.

I like that I save my skin and money for only high quality products, but feelings of inadequacy were also trapping me in this vortex: Don't return it, just live with it. Or put it where you can't see it.  It will just make you feel bad.  Bad for the money you spent on it and the fact that the ill-suited product is a blaring sign that you're not good at this.  You know, being fancy.  Twenty dollar lipstick is wasted on a college student who rarely goes on a date with her husband and even then has no need for the fanciness.  You don't live in Manhattan, you live in Nowhereville, New Hampshire.  Stop pretending to be something you're not.

My next tone corrector: Origins Mega-Bright serum
My inner monologue can be a bitch, no?  The fact is, wearing nice makeup, however neutral, is an investment in my looks and I shouldn't be ashamed to spend money on it.  I will be putting on full makeup every day for work in the near future, so it's good to possess the skills now.  As far as my skin goes, forty and fifty year old me will be thankful I took such good care of it. But I needed to find a balance in terms of how and what to buy.  And to stop getting sucked into an unhealthy relationship with Sephora.  She's my friend, but one that needs boundaries.

Wow, what was intended to be a lighthearted post about foundation got deep. Real deep. I think I just purged some serious emotional baggage.  Did I just inadvertently use this blog as a cheap replacement for therapy? Thoughts on either my lunacy or the content of this post?

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