Archive - Face

When Two Become One: Mixing Foundation Shades To Get a Match

Published in: Face, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

Wearing Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation in Amber and NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Stromboli

It’s a match! Here I’m wearing a mix of Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation in Amber and NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Stromboli…

I held on to it for many years — the hope that somewhere out there was a bottle of foundation with my name on it. A perfect match for my skin tone in a perfect formula.

Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking! :)

It sounds kind of crazypants now that I think about it — like I was going to just walk up to a counter and see a shade called “KAREN (THE CRAZY CAT LADY ONE FROM NOVATO).”


Well, at least things are better now than they were in the ’80s and early ’90s. There weren’t a whole lot of foundation options back then if your skin had a little color.

There are huge shade ranges nowadays and many more brands, which is super cool because I have found shades that get really close to my skin tone, but I’ve still yet to find a perfect match off the shelf.

I’m guessing that I’m not the only person facing this issue.

But you know what? There is hope (cue Disney theme song: “Somewhere, out there!”). If you’ve been unable to find a perfect match, you might be able to make one yourself.

I’m talking about mixing, babe. Mixing foundations.

And you can do it in a bunch of different ways. There are some companies that will actually custom mix a color for you, like over at with their online beauty advisor chats. They ask you a series of questions over a webcam to create a custom color just for you.

Or, you can do what I do, which is more random, but when you get it right you feel awesome! — like a foundation ninja/MacGyver.

I highly recommend it, and if you decide to give it a try, here are a couple of different approaches you can take…

1. Mix two shades (one darker than the other) of your favorite foundation formula

This one’s the easiest and probably most obvious way, where you mix two shades of the same foundation or tinted moisturizer formula, one that you know you like. I do this all the time right on the spot, usually on the back of my hand, while I do my makeup with NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer or MAC Face & Body Foundation.

MAC Face & Body Foundations in C4, C5 and C6

MAC Face & Body Foundations in C4, C5 and C6

I usually keep two bottles in my main makeup bag — one lighter than my skin tone, or like my skin tone in the middle of the winter; and one darker than my skin tone, or closer to what my coloring is when I have a little tan.

Then it’s magic cauldron time. I mix until I get a match, which usually takes a minute or two.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizers in St. Mortiz and Cuba

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizers in St. Mortiz and Cuba

I’ll play with different ratios throughout the year, like maybe do three parts of the lighter shade and one part of the darker shade during winter, half and half in spring, then mostly the darker shade, with just a taste of the lighter shade, in summer.

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MAC Unsung Heroes: MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup, Makeup, Unsung Heroes

MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush

Wearing MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush ($25) on my cheeks

I love the way I feel with MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush on my cheeks…

I feel good, and by “good” I mean that feeling you get on a sunny day when you’re out walking in just jeans and a t-shirt, or “good,” like when you and a friend share dessert someplace on a lazy afternoon, and you both know each other so well that neither of you really feels the need to talk just to fill the space.

Comforting, natural and effortless. That’s how I feel with Warm Soul on my cheeks. It’s as if it was always meant to be there — like it was just waiting for me to find it, and when I did, the puzzle pieces fit.

MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush

MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush

Is it weird to feel this kind of connection with a golden beige powder blush?

If it is, I can’t say I care. :)

Warm Soul is the blush I’ve been waiting for — the one that works with errrrthing, that doesn’t get in the way of whatever eye or lip makeup I happen to be wearing, and yet has enough to stand on its own two legs when all I want to do that day is lightly fill in my brows, curl my lashes and apply a little concealer and gloss.

MAC Warm Soul Swatch on NC42 skin

Warm Soul on my NC42 skin

That’s how I wore it yesterday when El Hub and I made a last-minute Target run before The Walking Dead (which I thought was awesome, BTW).

I had less than five minutes to get ready. Only enough time for minimal makeup (“Brows, lashes, lips,” to quote Jeremy Renner) and to sweep Warm Soul on my cheeks.

Gotta love not having to do any elaborate blending or having to deal with any patchiness. Just a few swipes on each cheek, and it’s all good.

MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush

That’s MAC Cremesheen Glass in Over Indulgence on my lips

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Which Do You Use More Often — Highlighter or Bronzer?

Published in: Face, Just For Fun

Wearing MAC Antonio Lopez

Highlighter or bronzer, babe?

Ohmigosh! — bronzer, for sure. I feel weird without it.

I love both of them and wear one or the other (or both of them at the same time) practically daily, but I definitely do grab bronzer more often, especially when my foundation is a little intense.

Too Faced Bronzers

“I call this meeting of the Too Faced Cosmetics Bronzers Society to order!”

I used to not take bronzer very seriously because — hello! I’m already pretty tan — but then I started using it for very soft contouring and to slightly warm my skin tone when I wore medium- or full-coverage foundations.

Now I’m hooked!

Guerlain Crazy 68 Terracotta Bronzer

“Let the record show that I heart Guerlain Crazy 68 Terracotta Bronzer.”

Whenever I wear a medium- or full-coverage foundation, I feel like my skin looks kind of flat, especially in pics, but sweeping a bit of bronzer below my cheekbones, around the edge of my forehead, down the sides of my nose and beneath my chin puts the lifelike contours back where they belong.

It’s just sort of reflex now. Sometimes I think I actually do it in my sleep, LOL!

Jouer Sunswept Mattifying Bronzer, $28

Jouer Sunswept Mattifying Bronzer

As for highlighter, I wear it year round, but I wear it more often in spring and summer. A little dusted on the tops of my cheekbones after tinted moisturizer, followed by a light sweep of blush, and guurrrrrl…good stuff.

Oh, and I keep meaning to mention this: I just recently re-discovered a couple of highlighter loves in the MAC permanent line — Silver Dusk and Golden Bronze.

MAC Golden Bronze Iridescent Powder/Loose

MAC Golden Bronze Iridescent Powder/Loose

If you don’t have them already, drop everything immediately, and get thee to a MAC counter ASAP! You need them in your life (well, you don’t need them, but I think they’re great).

Both are very fine, loose shimmery powders that make skin glow, and a little goes a long way. I’ve met some MAC artists who use both of these often on brides.

mac silver dusk

MAC Silver Dusk Iridescent Powder/Loose

I can’t seem to find them on the MAC website right now…and that’s freaking me out a little (I hope they weren’t discontinued!), but if you happen to stumble across a jar in your makeup adventures, grab it.

Looks like they are available now on, if you’re interested.

How about you? Which one do you use more often — highlighter or bronzer?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Welcome to the hump!

Have a good one today. I have to go to the dentist on my lunch break, and I’m already anxious about it…

Perhaps I should reward myself afterward with makeup. :)

Natural-Looking Skin the Easy Way With Benefit’s Big Easy Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector

Published in: Benefit, Face, Makeup, Product Reviews

Benefit Big Easy

The new Benefit Big Easy Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector, $38

This morning I woke up feeling like this…

What the wha?!

What the wha?!

…because of this.

Yup, just call me TBK (Two Beer Karen), LOL!

We took that out-of-town friend of El Hub’s who stayed with us last night to a local brewery here in Novato called Moylan’s, where I “sampled” some of their Pomegranate Wheat, and since I hardly ever drink, I did not feel exceptional this morning.

I intended to do a full face o’ warpaint today, but when I sat down in front of my makeup mirror, my arms felt like lead weights… My body was like, “Oh, hell naw, hookah. We’re doing minimalist makeup today.”

So, out came my tube of Big Easy, a new BB cream from Benefit.

Benefit Big Easy

Cute packaging

Dude! This stuff is boss. I’m not usually a big BB cream fan, either, mostly because I rarely feel like they provide enough coverage for me.

Benefit Big Easy

It has a lightweight liquid-to-powder formula…

But Big Easy evens out my skin tone and blurs my pores without leaving my skin looking overly “done,” if you know what I mean, and the natural-looking, velvety matte finish is my favorite thing about it.

More quick and dirrrrty deets…

  • The oil-free liquid-to-powder formula is non-comedogenic.
  • It’s available in six shades. I wear the darkest one available, which is 06 Deep Beige.
  • The colors seem to be flexible with regard to working with your skin tone.
  • Contains broad-spectrum SPF 35.

It has an interesting texture — kind of slippery like many face primers (it does contain silicones), and it glides across my skin easily, buffing and blending with very little resistance.

Benefit Big Easy

The box

The matte finish looks very flat on my combination dry/oily skin — no shine whatsoever — and I can even skip setting it with a powder, which is nice. It stays matte, too, as the day wears on, and controls oil like a champ.

Benefit Big Easy Ingredients


I do find that Big Easy will settle into my pores and get a little streaky on my drier spots (like my cheeks) if I don’t moisturize immediately beforehand, almost like the product skips a bit on those dry patches. Benefit suggests applying it after moisturizer, and I can see why. It glides across my skin more smoothly when it’s thoroughly moisturized.

Three of the six Benefit Big Easy shades, from the left: 02 Light, 04 Medium and 06 Deep Beige

Three of the six Benefit Big Easy shades, from the left — 02 Light, 04 Medium and 06 Deep Beige — on my NC42 skin

02 Light, 04 Medium and 06 Deep Biege swatched on NW25 skin

02 Light, 04 Medium and 06 Deep Beige on NW25 skin

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MAC Unsung Heroes: Style Blush

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup, Makeup, Unsung Heroes

MAC Powder Blush in Style

Wearing a single layer of MAC Powder Blush in Style ($21) on my cheeks

I’ve had to do rapid-fire makeup to get out the door and catch appointments two days this week. From start to finish, I’m talkin’ 10, 15 minutes tops.

This pressure cooker of time has led me to MAC Style, a shimmery golden coral Powder Blush in the MAC permanent line.

I picked it up a while back during a stress shopping session (girl, you do it too!) but set it aside when I became totally infatuated with MAC Cantaloupe.

I guess I was just feeling more like matte cheeks and full-on wintery makeup looks for a while there, and Cantaloupe fit the bill. I had a blast layering different highlighters and shimmer products with it, too, but that was when I had enough time to play…

When my schedule doesn’t allow for that and I have to leave the house in a hurry, extra little makeup touches like highlighter usually get cut.

Which is where MAC Style comes in…

MAC Style Blush

MAC Style Blush

A lovely soft coral powder blush with a delicate golden sheen, I think it’s great for getting out the door in a flash. Its moderately pigmented coral base has just enough color to give a nice flush to my cheeks.

It’s not so intense that I have to spend precious breakfast time buffing and blending everything out if I inadvertently over-apply, and it’s easy to control. No exaggeration, but I can get it on my cheeks and be done with blush in less than a minute.

MAC Style Blush Swatch on NC42 Skin

Style Blush on my NC42 skin

But that’s not my favorite thing about Style. That distinction goes to its fine golden sheen.


While delicate and subtle, it totally takes this blush to the next level for me, transforming it into a hybrid blush/highlighting butterfly, and I smile every time I see a flash of its pearly golden glow.

Not only is Style dynamic, it also shaves a couple steps off my makeup routine.

MAC Style Blush Swatch on NW25 Skin

Style Blush on a good samaritan’s NW25 skin

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